Loving life with nature, beauty and yoga's wisdom.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Inspirations & Transitions from Warrior 2 into an Open Hearted 1/2 Moon

Orbs of light!

When it comes to sequencing postures that flow seamlessly out of my posture of the moment, Warrior 2, I'm a big believer in not planning it out to perfection while I practice alone or before I teach a class. Instead I begin each practice by releasing my lower body into the earth's constant embrace while I feel my upper body take in the sky's spaciousness. To slow my wanting to know "What's next?" mind down, I fix my mind on watching my breath move in and out. In between each breath and thought there's moments of emptiness where I slowly open up to tuning into my present environment. I take it in with all my senses.

the harem pant, looks like a skirt and is great yogini proof slip on pants

Here the air feels soft, A moment ago I saw a rainbow colored butterfly dance around me, the trees are full of chirping birds, occasionally on a breeze I catch a whiff of the nearby lilac flowers while I'm not craving to quench my thirst as I practice because the temperature is mild.

My 6th sense, which yoga calls our ajna chakra and 3rd eye intuitive center is located above and in the center of our eyebrows. Here the purple swirling mist of ajna's light is slowly opening to notice the universe's affect on my body's natural intelligence.

This is where nature ignites within my body the first spark of posture choreography.

harem pant bought 2 years back during an end of season sale @ http://www.anthropologie.com/

My feeling is to release the density in my tight neck and shoulders. After last Wednesday's total full moon lunar eclipse and another new moon eclipse on the horizon life's events have been on overdrive causing me to run here and there, more specifically finding a way to do everything differently. Haven't you noticed the same? We are being forced to change and charge forward. In the process of "Going Forth!" it is only human to clench your jaw and hunch your shoulders up into your ears when you're being swept away and trying to breathe and hold your ground with life's demands.

As I move into a shoulder opener my front ribs open and expand with my inhale. Here I start to receiving air, space, light and guidance.

you can move in these pants plus they are so concealing if you're in the mood to tone down your curves

Feeling lighter and more breathing room in my lungs, I lunge into a Peaceful Warrior variation.

tank top $2.50 cents!!! @ http://www.forever21.com/

As I connect to my warrior's power I transition into a classical Warrior 2 pose. Feeling breath in between my shoulder blades and the earth supporting my strength's growth.

I chose Warrior 2 as a posture focus during this period for many reasons.

First what comes to mind is way back on New Year's Eve a whole bunch of us made New Year's resolutions which I like to call New Year's dreams. If your dreams don't have a spark of light by this June then it is time to get moving and putting some feet on them. Now don't get me wrong I know that spirit has an enormous part in making our wishes materialize but if the best you can do for now is see your dreams in your mind daily then you're practicing like a Warrior and not a victim.

Second, the sun is hitting it's peak strength by way of it's longest day of light this coming Tuesday June 21st, the Summer Solstice. I've always found doing strong masculine solar postures in alignment with the weeks and days preceding the Summer Solstice gives us an extra shot of power because they are connected to the strengthening sun.

Finally and most importantly now is the time for me to go even deeper into my personal emotional healing. The topic of emotional healing is often skipped over in a basic asana/posture yoga class. I've had many gurus and the hippest yoga teachers say nothing on the topic of emotional healing. One said to a group of us years ago in New York City, the beloved Geshe Michael Roach, "Do the postures and meditate daily and your body's channels will open. From there your emotional healing will surface." He then said "It is up to you to notice them."

Practicing Warrior 2 postures and variations of this pose since late April has assisted in strengthening my inner and outer self. I need big doses of this now because I've come to realize I've been running scared and numb for years, afraid to speak up for myself and others I love dearly. Daily I'm seeing myself speaking up with a powerful strength coupled with a dose of compassion.

underneath my tank I'm wearing a matching periwinkle foam cup bra $4.50 from http://www.forever21.com/

Coming into a modified extended angle turns on my inner heat.

Expanding my arms away from my heart center on an inhale is somehow cooling and heating at the same time.

bracelets are NYC street vendor finds

Adding a 1/2 bind, I soften my front toes to release my muscles around my knees from gripping while I inhale space into my top ribs and shoulder.

thong sandals are from http://www.forever21.com/

Feeling open and stronger I transition into a bound extended side angle.

sunglasses are from http://www.forever21.com/

I love the stream of light here!

I back off as I transition into...

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1/2 moon pose.

American Apparel, Forever 21 and Free People 

I prefer a block under my grounded hand but since I'm practicing nature girl style reaching with the opposite hand a little extra into the sky creates space in my shoulders like wings of a butterfly to fly and balance.

I also found unique harem pants in Nyack, New York @ http://www.sanctuary-home.com/

To transition into my bow I place my extended hand onto my hip gaze down for grounding.

Keep your gaze down, this will quiet your mind a bit while bending the top knee and reaching for your outer ankle with your available hand.

Once you feel the ground supporting you, push down into the earth with your supporting foot, yield your heart center and gaze open upward towards the sky. Breathe.

I find it to be debatable on whether or not to point your foot or flex at your ankle while in this pose. What I have noticed through the years is Beginner students balance better by flexing their ankles and pushing the air away from their foot while the Intermediate and onward students benefit from a little foot pointing and flexing the toes back into what some call Barbie doll feet or Shiva feet.

I like the latter foot position because I then feel the air between my toes and space within my front ankle.

A good way out of this pose is to ground both hands onto the earth.

If the yoga angels allow you to fly up to standing follow their lead. When it comes to balancing on one leg some days you have it and others are a mess. What helps on the messy days is doing less of the pose, be glad you showed up and remind yourself that every cloud has a silver lining. That same corny wisdom is true of our pain and suffering. Although it stinks chances are you would never have practiced and stuck on the yoga path if your life was peachy keen. It is only human to have a nagging story line, an enemy coming from your mind, tight hamstrings and cellulite on your butt and thighs. Good thing there's harem pants and dark colored leggings to cover a bit of that up. :) In truth the physical stuff often gets us on the mat day after day but what keeps you a lifer in the yoga practice path is allowing the pain and suffering to surface in your emotional body.

Feel it.

Breathe it in.

Release it little by little.

Watch it mutate into something else... and wake up the next day to continue your healing process.

Isn't this why we incarnated into this form? To feel and heal.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Inspirations and Transitions out of Warrior 2

Warrior 2 legs
Towards the end of May we took a road trip north to Boston. Here we celebrated Sunil's graduation from Boston University.

Warrior 2 upper body

Peaceful Warrior
After many hours of driving and settling our bags down in our hotel, we went into the park for a body unwinding stroll. As you can see I stretched out a bit within this monument. My son Ryan is seated below me.

My current interest is intuitively feeling and observing where my body wants to go as I transition out of Warrior 2.

The overhead arm's rib opening expands my inhale allowing me to take in my new surroundings.

modified extended side angle, bracelets http://www.accessorize.com/
 Resting my forearm on my thigh as I reach my other arm up to the sky, I feel my ribs close down, in opposition I twist upward with a deep exhale. I counter this heavy feeling with each inhale revolving my chest upwards towards the sky receiving light, space and guidance.

a half bind

Reaching my top arm behind me and half binding allows the front of my shoulder to open and feel more receptive as I back bend.

Releasing the bent knee's arm down creates a little more fire within me which I felt I needed since it is chilly here.

These pictures were taken the last week of May. I was surprised to see daffodils sitting pretty because in New York City which is about 6 slow driving hours south, our daffodils came in late March and went by early April.

vintage embellished tunic coat from India, tank top http://www.forever21.com/

Intuitively my body is guiding me into Bird of Paradise pose to counter the early spring feel of nippy moist air and heavy damp ground. I feel this pose brings the opposite sensations of lightness, air, heat and space within me. To understand my technique of balancing yourself by doing postures that oppose what is happening in nature read my earlier post "Bird's Eye View."

It is so nice to use this railing to secure my bind (hands interlacing) behind my right back pocket.

sunglasses http://www.urbanoutfitters.com/ necklace http://www.forever21.com/

After extending my bound leg upwards, I turn my thighbone out from the hip joint, then slightly internally rotate my shin bone into my front bound arm's tricep. As I gaze in the opposite direction, I feel so much life in my bound leg, as well as a back bend in between my shoulder blades, a twist in my mid section, hip opening and a standing balance while heat moves through me. All of these qualities balance me after a long car ride and feeling Boston's cooler damp weather.

sandals http://www.forever21.com/

Here's a back view. Here I'm deeply exhaling, contracting my abdomen and pushing my standing leg into the ground.

I inhale into length, space and light. My next exhale grounds me deeper downward while my next inhale rebounds my energy up.

Notice my back hand in jnana mudra. Mudras are hand gestures. In this hand gesture my pointer finger and thumb are touching. This mudra means the sign of wisdom in the east.

Walking through the park, I felt like I was in London.

A view from under the weeping willow tree. Do you see the blue orb of light?

I guess my bird of paradise posture attracted me towards finding Boston's local great park bird, the swan.

Monday, June 6, 2011

A Summer Solstice Yoga Workshop: Yoga Belly/Divinely Guided Mind

On June 21st 2011, the Summer Solstice, the 1st day of summer nearly 20,000 hippies, Druids, Fey, yogis and sun worshippers will watch the sunrise in Great Britain's megaliths of Stonehenge. To this day, the sun does not fail to fall upon the Heel Stone, casting a lingering shadow on the morning of the Summer Solstice and again on the evening of the Winter Solstice.

My ancient Celtic ancestors called the first day of Summer "Litha." A short and sweet version of the ritual space's megalith name. I wish I could join them. I'll close my eyes and be there for a moment.

In celebration of what appears to be the sun standing still in the sky for 6 days prior to and after the Summer Solstice in addition to being the longest day of light for 2011, I will teach a healing yoga workshop called Yoga Belly, Divinely Guided Mind.

This workshop will focus on opening, clearing, toning and assisting the healing process of our 3rd chakra. In other words we are going to strengthen our bellies and loosen our lower backs to get us up and out this summer. See yourself playing volley ball on the beach, swinging a golf club, driving to your vacation destination pain free and doing whatever comes to mind for you regarding a youthful and healthy summertime.

What are Chakras?

Chakras are wheels of different colored spinning light energy that run along our spine and through our skull. Yogis, Eastern medicine practioners like acupuncturists, healers and Shamans refer to chakras as our subtle body. We have several of them and each energy center of light governs different emotions and behavioral patterns within our conciousness. 

Our 3rd chakra, Manipura Chakra in Sanskrit, is a yellow mist of swirling light found at our sternum which is the area above our navel and below the center of our chest. The back gate to this center would be our lower back ribs.

Our 3rd energy center is said to be the area of our body where the sun's light comes into us and then funnels throughout our entire system. This sunny center is where our will power, ego and gut instinct is born. When this center is overactive we have thick repetitive mind patterns. We charge through our lives doing what we think we are supposed to do while never paying attention to our personal truth. When this center is under active we simply watch our dreams come true in movies and never in our own reality. The result of an unbalanced 3rd center is emotional eating, excess belly fat, digestive disease and lower back pain.

Regarding our abs and lower back..

Countless times I've heard students say off the mat "I love this teacher because they teach abdominal exercises." In a yoga physical practice there are only a few postures that target the abs. However if you learn how to inhale and exhale while activating your locks, in Sanskrit they are called bandhas, specifically your navel lock/uddiyana bandha, you will be able to to tone your core body throughout your yoga practice more deeply than doing gym style crunches.

Imagine, you can tone up your abs if you pay attention to your gut instinct's truth, your divine guidance and activate the subtle locks in your body while breathing in all yoga postures. 

When: Saturday June 18th 3:30 pm 2 hours

This is the Saturday before the Summer Solstice. Focusing on our sun chakra at this time will be given extra power as we align our intentions with the sun's strongest day.

Where: Bamboo Moves Yoga  Englewood, NJ

Exchange: $40 in advance $50 at the door

Please visit http://www.bamboomovesyoga.com/ or call 201 871 7000  to register

With this past Wednesday's New Moon and partial Solar Eclipse along with 2 more eclipses sandwiching the Summer Solstice on the horizon, practicing yoga together can be very grounding.

My weekly teaching schedule @ Bamboo Moves Yoga Englewood:

Tuesdays Basics 11:45am 1hr and 30min

Thursdays Basics 11:30am 1hr and 30min