Snap Out of It

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This week’s theme: Snap Out Of It! The idea is more supportive than the theme suggests :)

We practiced a flow of familiar poses with some playful twists and turns. The asanas have the ability to help us create a calm, steady, joyful connection to the earth, our breath, ourselves and the present moment. The concept of “snap out of it” is referring to letting the practice help you snap out of any stress patterns or worry patterns. So we literally snapped and clapped weariness and tension away.

Class started with a variation of cat-cow that got into the outer hips and core. Students extended one leg out to the side, and in one large, rowdy class we playfully rested our foot on our neighbor’s sacrum. The fun continued as we danced out chair pose, and snapped through side plank, and lunging twist and any pose where we had a hand free to snap. Snapping was of course optional.

We flowed through Warrior 2 jumping jacks into Triangle with the option to add dwi hasta arms. A deep squat emerged from standing pigeon. Two blocks came in handy here! Much harder now, but still, a few claps and snaps were heard. Finishing with pigeon, brigde, and boddha konasana and a deep refreshing savasana. Thanks for joining me. Namaste, Lynn

Might and effortlessness

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We examined the crossroads between mightiness and effortlessness this week. Can you be intensely engaged and still capture a thread of effortlessness? Sometimes when something is hard, we just don’t do it. Other times, we take on the challenge but we’re tense, angry, and stressed as we go about it.

I mentioned to students that I sometimes revisit portions of themes that have something universal to us as humans. To be fully present in a challenge and to be able to maintain a bit of peace or calm is not easy. It sounds straightforward but its not easy to implement. My thoughts land on this concept of “letting go of the struggle”. I think sometime it’s not the hard yoga pose, or the needed conversation or the tough work problem that is the challenge, but its the struggle we layer on top of a challenge.

This week, it didn’t really matter what yoga pose we were in, the concept applied to all of our poses. We moved through sun salutations, a long hold in side plank, humble warrior 2, a playful boat series, standing splits into ardha matseyandrasana into an optional koundinyasana :) Class included pigeon, backbends, tree to dancer, and chrownchasana. We felt for effortlessness … noticing where and how and when it showed up. We laughed as we clapped it out in chair. Try it. Chair pose will go so much faster, and you may even fall into that enviable “state of flow” where even hard things feel effortless. Namaste, Lynn

Trust

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This week’s theme was Trust. It's a theme I love to teach a couple times a year.  Trust is a big concept. I suggested students might approach the word in a sweet and simple way, maybe just trusting in their practice and when they felt capable of challenging themselves and when they needed rest. If they wanted to approach the more profound aspects of trust, they could look at where they wanted to experience more trust in their lives. Maybe trusting someone else or having someone else trust them. Or applying it more broadly to trusting the process or trusting life.

My favorite part of being a yoga teacher, is teaching yoga :) My second favorite part is choreographing a sequence and theme and an apex pose, etc. When I teach this trust class, I do not plan a sequence. So an additional part of trust is for the students and me to trust that something good will come out of the class and we’ll get our needs met.  

Once we connected with our deep, silky smooth breath,  I let the students know that I would take requests. They could ask for a specific pose or a category of poses or an area of the body like hips or shoulders.  I asked them to notice if they wanted to feel more grounded, centered, open, free, clear? And to think about which pose might represent that feeling for them. In some classes I get almost more requests than I can fulfill, but it’s always playful and interactive.  

A highlight in one class was when we headed into some core with chair to boat. When we sunk to the floor from chair to boat, and then I told the group we were headed straight back UP to chair again, one students shouted out, “WHAT?” and everyone laughed! Some classes emphasized hips, other classes wanted more twists. Yogis also wanted triangle, lizard, ardha chandrasana, heart openers, low back, and pigeon.  Thanks everyone for trusting yourself and me and celebrating our community!  Namaste, Lynn

Ardha Bakasana

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This week we did a twisting practice, lots of twisting shapes. We worked toward ardha bakasana, side crow. There were many options for students and lots of warm up twists before we attempted our apex pose … the challenging, twisting arm balance: side crow.

I suggested students think about what meaning twists might have for them in this practice. What do you want to twist into or turn toward? What do you want to twist out of or turn away from? When we make space, insights arise. I told students, “Whatever you want or need, something good will come out”. Have patience. Be present.

We started by dancing out the hips in down dog. Paying attention to pressing the knuckles of the hand and fingertips into the earth while also pressing the balls of the feet into the earth. That rootedness starts distributing space throughout the whole body. In cat/cow, we hovered our knees to add a burst of strength. Core moves were sprinkled throughout. We opened the outer hips in a variation of down down into plank with one leg off to the side. We played in crow, balanced in eagle and dancer, greeted a friend in partner squat, and after deeply breathing through pigeon pose, we dove deep into side crow. Laughter ensued. We let ourselves be buoyed up by the desire to learn, be curious, have fun and challenge ourselves. Perfectionism was left behind. We slowed it down with a nice, strong bridge pose then students let themselves feel all of their body supported in a restful savasana. Om, shanti, shanti, shanti, Lynn

Stand.

 Baby mandrill, SF Zoo (born May 7, 2018)

Baby mandrill, SF Zoo (born May 7, 2018)

The theme this week was: Stand. Keep the ground. Stay grounded as you move through transitions. Oprah said, “Once you’ve done everything you can, STAND”. Krishna says to Arjuna in the Bhagavad Gita, “Stand in Your Yoga”.

Stand in that place of change. Be patient. Stand in the gap, the transition. Change brings space. If we don’t resist change, we may find it has something to offer us. When we turn toward that space and stand in it and wait patiently, something might open up for us.

Change and transitions are upon us. The fall season brings a change in weather and light. The new school year might bring a new grade, new school, new position, new routine. You may be experiencing changes in your job or living situation. Even if big changes aren’t happening in your life, each of us has to negotiate transitions in our day as we move from home to yoga to school to work, etc.

An example from my own life. Space really changed for me last year. My twin girls went away for college. I lost the anchor of my Mom. There were a lot of ups and downs. It was hard to adjust to the change with my girls as they kept coming home then going back to college. This fall, my one daughter is far away again in San Diego. However, she has given me permission to turn part of her bedroom into my office :) It’s been so fun to get a new office chair and pick out a cute lamp and sign up for an online writing class. It took some time, but space opened up and presented me with this space of my own and a chance to write.

When change comes, we don’t have to act or decide what to do right away. Just try to resist collapsing and giving up, or the other end of the spectrum … busying every minute of your schedule. We applied this concept to our yoga practice by paying attention as we moved in and out of each pose, feeling our footing, our long spine, our strong legs and excavating what we could learn or notice or feel in those transitions to help us more fully experience the pose. Those skills can help us off the mat, too. Thank you Kiran for the beautiful scarf and your kind words to our community. Namaste, Lynn