Play

This week's theme was:  Play.  We focused on tapping into the mindset & energy of play.  Thinking of how children learn about their breath and their bodies and their surroundings through uninhibited play.  

Kids know that play begs us to get messy and to fail and to be okay with it.   It's like a good belly laugh.  When we really laugh, it's cleansing and freeing.  Play is like that.  If we can connect to play, we give our overwhelmed minds deep rest.  

Play also lets us tap into a "state of flow".  It's as simple as giving ourselves permission to experience what so many of us seek .... joy for the sake of joy.  We opened with a connection to our breath and then set an intention.  We set out to practice several variations of vasisthasana.  The apex pose being kapingalasana.  Students built toward this more advanced variation after several surya namaskars, quad stretches, twists and balancing poses.  I suggested they double back to a previous side plank if that was a better fit.  Students allowed in that bit of playfulness and softness as they got strong, and fun was had by all.  

 

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Happy Hips

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Class this week focused on happy hips.  Finding both strength and release.  We did a warming, heat building flow without crowding out the breath.  Students were encouraged to breath compassion into those areas where there is struggle or crankiness :)  

I invited students to keep some softness with them.  So they could take this ease with them as the practice built intensity.   We did childs pose as a group in the middle of the practice as a reminder to re-connect to that ease.  With the overall idea that the hips can learn to release even in the process of strengthening and invigorating the body.  

Class was a mix of standing poses, balancing poses,  a bit of silliness in a downward dog variation and crow into .... "tree frog" for those feeling especially playful.  A beautiful hip opener in horse stance, backbends on our belly and a few closing seating postures to further release any last bits of crankiness in the hips.  Thanks for joining me ~

Silence & Stillness

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This Thanksgiving week, my theme was Stillness and Silence.  "In stillness, the world is restored".  Tao Te Ching  

With the holiday season upon us, we took some time to find some silence and stillness in our yoga practice.  

As students went deep into their breath and their strength, they experienced silence on the second side of some poses.  Standing and balancing poses worked well.  I gave alignment cues on the first side of the pose, and then let students experience silence on the second side.  It was a chance to notice differences from side to side and tune into their own internal cues in their body and breath.    

Yoga can be hard, but sometimes we need to do something hard in order to feel more ease.  May your efforts in your yoga practice carry you through  your holidays with ease and Grace.  

3 things

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This week's class had the title "3 things". Five years ago, I heard an inspirational speaker (Hilary Rubin) offer this philosophy, and it has stayed with me and helped me many times.  She said that when you hit a low point in your life or your day and you're feeling down, unmotivated, low energy, in a slump.... to re-direct yourself try 1 of 3 things:  

Get grounded. Might look like stepping outside and getting fresh air, or moving your body (walk, yoga), or eat some protein & hydrate with a big gulp of water.  

Get light.  Get loose ends tied.  Do something useful like getting a chore done... pay bills to your favorite music, return that phone call or email, run that errand!  See how a sense of accomplishment may shift your energy.  

Get connected.  If you've been isolated for many hours...interact!  Go chat with a colleague, family member or barista! 

You ask, how does this apply to a yoga practice?  In yoga class this week, we connected with each other through partner poses: Tree, Dancer in small groups, & Utthita Hasta Padangustasana in which we playfully attempted to hold up each other's ankle so we could balance in lines of 8-10 students!  We got grounded by moving our bodies, sweating, breathing and strengthening while learning to focus our attention on the present moment.   We were useful in the sense that we aimed to attune to our body's needs for more challenge or more rest.  

In honor of Thanksgiving, I ask you to give yourself a gift this week.  Just as you might give a gift to a friend or family member, consciously offer yourself a small gift.... a nice coffee drink, a hike, a visit to the ocean, or a small token of appreciation for yourself.  We all have times of stress, sadness, overwhelm or fear.  Let this be a gift of compassion to yourself. 

Find extension from feet to crown

This week's class we focused on letting the whole body be receptive and expansive.  We need to feel it physically so we can open our perception, intuition, listening.  Feel the feet and the top of the head, that one unified line.  Keep this line open.... opening and receiving the information we need to hear.

The practical application of this focuses on this journey of getting grounded & receptive ... it helps us listen, and then we can extend this listening into our relationships, jobs, and creative endeavors.  

During intention setting at the start of class, I posed this question to students:  "What is the biggest question you have right now?".  I added, "Just hold it in front of you, in your minds eye, and receive."  Suggesting there is always guidance available if you open up and listen to your own internal knowing, but also to what you may hear, see or feel during your day.  The asana focus was to try to feel this long, expansive energy in all the shapes we explored.

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