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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Adopt the "middle way"

Today we focused on:  not all fun, not all work in our practice.  Finding effort and sweetness.  Finding the edge of our strength, flexibility, breath and attention.  You'll begin to feel your body as your ally.  So you can truly start to feel this practice support you.  

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In the asanas, the focus was on feeling less rushed as you move from one pose to the next.  Time was opened up to investigate and go deeper and linger longer in fewer poses.  

Students were asked in the beginning of class which pose they preferred to breath into longer and the requests included:  triangle, pigeon, revolved triangle,  Warrior 2, supported bridge, and flowing a few times from Warrior 2 to exalted Warrior.  A few students commented after class that it was a harder sequence when we slowed it down a bit.  I value your feedback very much, so keep it coming and I will continue to incorporate it into my themes.  

Love your fear

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This week's class theme was "Love your fear, forgive your fear".  That's the way to release it.  We all have fears.  The fear could be of trying something new or of disappointing someone or of making a wrong decision.  And then, we tend to hold our fears & worries close, creating this protective tightness around our heart.  The asana practice this week was to open around the shoulders and the hips, the four quadrants of the body.

As you begin to speak to yourself in a manner of forgiving your fears, even loving them away, that rhetoric begins to heal and transform.  Think about a specific worry or fear when you practice, and as you imagine loving that part of yourself, see how that may deepen and soften you into your poses.  

Society doesn't always accept our fears and hesitations.  So we turn around and judge ourselves for having them.  But often its not the fear itself that's the issue, but how we judge it.  Let the yoga practice help you let go of that outer protectiveness and tightness to see how the fear may bring you some clarity and help you say Yes or No to a situation.  

Rooted & Chill (and agni)

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A practice to honor the season of Autumn.  In class this week we focused on feeling grounded, rooted, steady in our bodies as we stoked the belly fire, or agni.  In the fall, the weather gets cold, dry, and windy.  We want to feel our strong legs and the denseness of the bones ground into the earth ... giving the wind energy vector, direction.  We also want to keep the digestive fire strong.   

Our asana practice included leg strengthening standing poses plus six "agni" poses that gave the digestive system a good squeeze as they toned the abdominal  muscles.  The essence of agni is strong metabolism, good hunger, change, evolution and transformation.  

We  started with an Autumn intention:  How would you like to root down in this season?  If there is a pace that is not serving you, how would you like to change it to feel more grounded, more able to listen to what your body is calling for... be it food, sleep, activity.  Set an intention that will serve you this season.  See you on the mat ~