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

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Dark & Sunny

Stretch pants circa 2011 www.gap.com

Whatever I practice usually comes through when I lead classes. Since practicing forward bending has been musing me to believe that a life that feels like it is in limbo will shift, I'm forward bending a lot these days and so are my students.

There's something funny about teaching a wide legged seated straddle pose. In the background I usually hear a muffled sigh, see an embarrassed grin or notice a blush come over someone's face. Teaching this pose I sometimes feel as if I'm asking people to show off their private parts. Perhaps I'm reminding them that they can no longer do a Russian split like they once did in grade school or plain and simple feel vulnerable for just a moment in their yoga practice.

Ballet flats www.ninewest.com

When this happens, I take a deep breath and try to let go of my judgements. I've come to learn that what comes through my consciousness is for me and only me and when it is laced with judgement, I need to zap it. With this said, the next time this pose upavista konasana, wide legged straddle pose shows up in your practice, notice how your body and mind responds.

Top & skull scarf www.zara.com

Take a deep inhale

Shades & beads www.forever21.com

and exhale forward into it.

As you sit in your forward bend, back off if your breath is not flowing evenly. You can bring ease to this pose by drawing your inner thighs slightly closer in towards your midline and lifting your torso away from the floor.

Make sure your knees are pointing straight up and your ankles are flexed.

If your body craves more depth in the pose and your judgements are quiet, then you can consider going into kurmasana, tortoise pose.

Notice where my hands are and how my feet are flat on the floor.

Then I flex at both ankles

and lengthen my legs over my arms.

You will feel squashed. Dark thoughts and bodily toxins will swell, so be sure to exhale and release them.

I felt a little nausea while this picture was taken. This is a big sign to get out of a pose and sit. Twenty minutes or so afterwards I really felt as though something very dark and ugly left me. Perhaps some nasty judgement? All I know is I felt lighter, clearer, more limber and OK with sitting in limbo... the not knowing space before what could be a huge and fabulous shift that is about to shine forward.

Monday, October 15, 2012

A Favorite Seated Sequence

Pigeon pose, bangle & thread earrings www.lailarowe.com

Seated extended side angle

Head to knee forward bend

Vintage cardigan style tunic from India, tights & tank www.forever21.com, ballet flats www.ninewest.com, vintage bag

Seated twist

Pigeon pose on the other side starts the 2nd side's sequence

This is an old time favorite seated sequence that never let's go of it's healing power. Practicing this seamless sequence is perfect for opening up a few clogged up channels in the hips, low back and waistline. Because these postures are seated they're easy to meditate in. This sequence is perfect to contemplate fall's theme of darkness and letting go. With nature on your side plus the final lessons that 2012 has to offer you, this is the perfect season to acknowledge the shadows of your consciousness.

Our shadow side is easy to smile over and pretend it doesn't exist. Well it does... we are all born a little flawed and it is our choice to glaze over it and let it show his or her face when times get tough or we can do the deep and difficult work to lighten ourselves up. I've come to learn practicing the mental practices of yoga are the antidote to taming our shadow side. It isn't easy. Doing the mental work makes doing the postures feel like eating the icing off a cake. What I've been guided to do plus I'm noticing it helps in the lightening process is to wholeheartedly feel what comes up, drop the blame game and breathe in as much of what comes in with your darkness. Feel it some more, this can take days, maybe even weeks or months and keep on exhaling it out. If speaking your truth and setting boundaries applies to your situation do so without pointing fingers. Remember, you create your world. While practicing this mental exercise which works great coupled with the postures shown above, visualize yourself shedding like a tree in autumn what needs to be dead.

Hang in there, the Great Goddess, Mother Nature does this process every fall. We can too... and prepare the way for the next spin of the wheel ahead.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Feeling Grounded & Warm as I Return to the Fast Track

Last week my husband and I were super sick and home bound. Weeks ago my toddler and Mother in law were sick, so this week as no Tylenol, herbal remedies or tissues were being passed around, I feel almost back to normal. As my toddler and I went for our morning walk after dropping Ryan off at school earlier this week, I noticed the trees in my neighborhood are still green with a little yellowing at the edges. October's air is chilly and damp enough to now call it sweater season and sadly it is time to say farewell to flip flops and sandals.

Sweater, vintage Banana Republic, tights with a booty cover www.forever21.com, scarf, gifted

Ayurveda (pronounced A-your-vay-duh) a natural medicinal practice from southern India calls this season, fall- mid winter, the Vata season. It is characterized by mobility, lightness and expansiveness. In other words the cooler crisp winds that can spin loose leaves in a whirlwind and sweep them off to a new space can easily be done to our energy during autumn. For this reason we now need to add warmth, stability, grounding and focus to our yoga practice and lifestyle to pacify our system.

Here are a few Ayurveda inspired pointers for your yoga practice during the Vata season:

* Fix your gaze on the horizon as often as possible. This is more grounding than gazing up towards the sky.

* Focus on lengthening your inhales and shortening your exhales. This will warm and ground you.

Earrings www.forever21.com, shoes www.ninewest.com

*Practice at a slow and steady pace.

*Explore fluidity in your poses with undulations of the pelvic and rotator joints such as the shoulders and hips. A big tip is to do a counter pose directly after a pose. This will ground your energy and keep you warm.

*Hold postures for a short amount of time and do multiple reps.

*As you move imagine you are moving from the neck down in a pool of warm water. This visualization will keep you fluid and steady.

*When you hold poses for a short amount of time focus on hugging your muscles onto your bones as you exhale. As you inhale feel yourself expand high and wide.

*Focus on the foundation of your poses to create stability. Use blocks under your hands if your hands don't touch the floor with ease.

*When standing ground all four corners of your feet onto the floor.

*Because our energy can be scattered as a result of the extra cold wind in the air as well as having to complete projects to end the year, try not to practice beyond your limit. Think opposite of what we do during spring training when we exert our energy. On the days you feel out of sorts opt for a slower and restorative practice or go to a Basics or Level 1 class to ground your energy.

*Be sure to dress in layers for your yoga practice. Peel them off as you heat up and cover back up as you cool down and rest in savasana/final relaxation pose.

We have a long dark and cold season ahead of us. Refer back to these notes when you're feeling your practice needs warmth, focus and grounding. As for your diet add more chai lattes and soups to it. Also you can check out my Ayurveda for fall-mid winter page for more easy to follow Vata season lifestyle tips.