I often get students who come to class and afterwards, they start speaking poorly of themselves. “Why can’t I fold forward? My belly is too big. I’m fat.” Then I remind them to think back. “Remember when you took your very first yoga class? Look at where you are now?” I remind them yoga is a practice, but it’s also little steps towards something more. It’s also a dedication, so you must step onto your yoga mat whole hearted.
Sometimes it’s not about getting into an advance pose. It’s really what you need out of a practice. Is it a space to breathe? Is it something you’re holding onto emotionally that’s toxic? What do you need in your practice?
We get caught up in competition within ourselves. We look around. We get caught up. Once you find yourself doing that, take a moment in child’s pose. Breathe. Was this your intention coming into the practice?
Always come back to why you came to yoga class. It’s cool to get into advanced postures, but get what you need. In time, you’ll find yourself there when you least expect it. Your body will tell you when you’re ready. Keep your chin up. Keep a positive perspective. An attitude of gratitude. Dedication to make time to practice. You’ll find a more enjoyable practice each time you approach yoga this way.
“We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.”
― Abraham Lincoln
Today, my practice focused on core, hips and hamstrings. Such a gorgeous day, I got to practice for 90 minutes today. The last 45 was long passive holds. I felt blessed, rich with the practice of yoga…in fact, Vashista means “most excellent, best, richest.”
My flow included (snapshot)
Surya A x 5
Surya B stepping into standing splits and some handstand jumps x 2
Warrior 1, 2, reverse, triangle
Balancing half moon
Vinyasa 3 legged plank option
Vashistasana variation (1st photo)
Surya B w extended side angle bound
Vishvamitrasana (2nd photo)
Supine hamstring stretch r leg
Supine hamstring stretch l leg
Seated forward fold (long hold)
Upavista konasana (long hold)
Happy Baby (long hold)
Supine twists (twisted roots)
Slowing down is always good. I am still working on the refinement of these poses. Step by step. Little by little. A little step in the right direction! I reflect back when I couldn’t even get into this pose. A small achievement makes heaps of contentment!
I read a fabulous article this morning I want to share. It is about teaching yoga. Needless to say, it is on point! I love this. If you plan to teach or if you are teaching, take a moment. Why are you truly teaching or inspired to teach yoga?
Thank you, Amy for this amazing and honest article.
It’s amazing how you can observe things and react so quickly without thinking. Or you hear something and you just get so defensive.
So I texted my best guy friend back because I didn’t want the situation to linger or fester. Words were exchanged. Not to be hateful, but we both got defensive. In the heat of the moment I told him to “f off”. What the heck happened? I was at a place where I was so angry.
Time passed. I talked to my girlfriends and my husband. “Let it go, he’s not trying to be malicious.” I realized I reacted from the wrong place. I was sorry, I just had to let him know how I felt. I texted him on What’s up application to apologize. No response back, I’m left hanging.
Life has everyday stresses, and it’s the way we approach it. We can react from a calmer place or in a more turbulent state of mind. If I had stayed in the conversation, I probably would have said something more hurtful back instead of cussing. Really hurtful. I’m glad I didn’t.
We can also storm off, drive away. Angry. I’ve known of others that leave a situation and drive off speeding down the freeway, angry. In my younger years, that may have been me. That would result in a worse situation.
We can react differently. We can observe. Then react from a safer calm place. A place of common sense. A place of strength.
I’m waiting to hear back. I’m not writing off the years of friendship. He is a piece of me, my friend, my brother. I’ll always love him. Maybe all will be forgotten and healed. We’ll see. Until then, I will just take a moment to breathe and observe.
I had a fight with my best guy friend last night. We never fought before, this is the first. Chatting on What’s up application, he’s in Thailand to find his nirvana. I talked to him about how there’s so much chaos in the world and how it would be nice just to be free from that. Long story short, it ended up where he insulted and judged my family. Needless to say, I stopped the conversation. He’s texted me back, I don’t plan to read it yet. This is where it comes to breathing. I came back to what was important to me. Maybe he is going through mid-life crisis. It makes me sad. I wish him to find peace. I let my anger go. Typically, I’d be venting and crying. Nope. I just sat there and thought. Wow. Let’s pray for some truth. Then I thought of a beautiful chant/mantra from Upanishads…
Om asato ma sadgamaya
tamaso ma jyotirgamaya
mrtyorma amrtam gamaya
Lead me from the untruth to the truth.
Lead me from darkness to light.
Lead me from death to immortality.
(Brhadaranyaka Upanishad — I.iii.28)
Today, I practiced opening my shoulders to release the tension I was holding. In my practice, it let me to Mutka Hasta Sirsasana B. Make sure you’ve nailed Salamba Sirsasana first before attempting it. Mutka means “Free” and Hasta means “Hands” headstand.
From Pravritta Padottasana
Back of hands on the ground
Press knuckles in the earth, drawing shoulders away from ears. Find dristi. Breathe. Activate feet.
Slowly lift legs and press toe mounds in the sky.
Release to child’s pose. Be sure that you press hands into the earth to take the pressure away from the neck.
Hasta La Vista Anger!
“This yoga should be practiced with firm determination and perseverance, without any mental reservation or doubts.” – Bhagavad Gita
Everyone starts somewhere. It’s a practice and dedication. I remember thinking — wow, I’m never gonna get into that pose. Never say never. I had to remember what I read in Bhagavad Gita. My spirit was down, I remember writing in my yoga journal one day and I let the negative chatter take over.
Eka Pada what? One thing I learnt in this posture is that you must start with a solid foundation. I start this from side crow (Parsva bakasana). Some start from a tripod headstand, but I prefer getting into it from side crow. So…how did I get there?
Get warm first. Sun sals and a few twists. I’d suggest core work to get that awareness in the belly.
Then, start to set your foundation. I get super twisty as I get low. I draw my elbow in….
Then I set my hands shoulder width. Claw your mat… Set your gaze forward.
Then draw in thru the inner thighs and core. Start to lean and balance in side crow.
Then, don’t be afraid. The secret is to trust yourself and keep focus. Lean forward and start to scissor position your legs.
Practice and persevere. Don’t despair. It will come in your own time!
Death is not the greatest loss in life. The greatest loss is what dies inside us while we live.