Longer holds


The image above is one my teachers, Kathryn Budig, reminding us to be playful (hint, hint .... next week's theme!)

This past week we incorporated longer holds into our asana practice.  With lots of vinyasa, and a nice variety of twists and balancing poses, we sprinkled in about 6 longer holds ( 1 minute each ).    

When we can give ourselves time and space to just be in a pose, and we can resist the urge to get out of the pose, then we can start to see our mental and physical states transform.  We might enter the pose fragile, noisy, distracted .... and we can end the pose quiet in the mind and free in the body.  My teacher, Darren Rhodes, calls this "shape shift to state shift".   So with these shapes, your breath, your focus & intentions ... you can shift your state to be who you want to be and how you want to be today.   

We opened with ujjayi breath, then a minute of dog to plank followed by 2 minutes of half salutations.  Onto surya namaskar, a playful kick up to handstand, and then deep into our longer holds.  I'm pretty sure everyone would agree that the highlight of class was the minute hold in boat pose!  Class concluded with pigeon, camel and students could pick their finishing posture then onward to a deep, integrating savasana to experience letting go as a beautiful counter to the strong asana practice. Namaste, Lynn

"You lack nothing" Earth flow


Class this week was a deep, strong Earth flow.   We focused on getting into the legs, feet, hips ... into that grounded strength.  The theme:  "you lack nothing" reminds us that we can always show up, learn, try, grow, but we don't need improving.  

Yoga is a state where nothing is missing.  The real work of yoga is to create a deeper place of ease inside.  In class we experienced both letting go and feeling grounded & supported.  So we could feel that this day lacks nothing, this moment lacks nothing, this pose lacks nothing.  

Students were encouraged to be themselves, not a perfected or improved upon version of themselves.   They were invited to call on their strength and acceptance. We started with breath and students thought about what they wanted to create with their practice as they set an intention.  We warmed the body with surya namaskar followed by strong standing poses including humble Warrior 1 and humble Warrior 2.  Core work and crow occupied the middle of class.  Onward to parvottanasana and revolved triangle.  Once students felt grounded in their strength, we twisted and opened any stuck places students might be harboring feeling of insecurity, inadequacy, unworthiness.  Then we moved into balancing poses and backbends.  Throughout, the contemplation was "how can I experience letting go while equally tapping into the experience of feeling supported and grounded?"  This Earth flow touches on concept of the first Chakra, the root chakra, muladhara, which include a sense of safety, security, belonging and home.  When balanced, you feel stability in your life.

I bow to the place in you where the entire universe dwells; I bow to the place in you that is love, light, peace and truth;  when you are in that place in you & I am in that place in me ... we are one.  Namaste, Lynn




Class this week focused on freedom in the side body.  Familiar poses with an emphasis on opening, stretching and finding space in the side body.  The muscles between the ribs are the intercostal muscles.  When they are tight, its hard to take a deep, nourishing breath.  And a deep, nourishing breath is life.  Opening the side body helps everything :)

As we open the side seams of the body it naturally creates some opening in the front of the hips and possibly deeper into the psoas muscles.  Opening laterally into the rib cage also can bring freedom to the quadratus lumborum, a muscle in the back below the lowest rib and above the hip.  It is a tight spot for many of us on our backs.  Students often find this work creates access to deeper twists, forward bends & backbends.    

We opened with deep breathing.  I guided students to put their palms on their ribs and feel the breath in the their hands and ribs.  Then I had them put their right hand on their heart and their left hand on their right hand.  I asked them to observe when they inhale how the belly lowers, the ribs expand laterally and the sternum lifts. This deep, abdominal breathing is very calming for the nervous system.  When we are fearful or anxious, we tend to only breath into our chest.  

Poses included cresent lunge with a side bend, lunge twist with arm over top ear, core work, tree with a side bend, strong leg work in the warrior poses, parsva konasana with the top hand flexed like it was pushing into an imaginary wall, handstand to stretch the side body & ribs to get longer, Goddess pose with arms overhead into side bends, and a partner upavista konasana again opening deeply into the muscles along the side waist.  

Thank you for your feedback and for joining me for practice this week.  Namaste, Lynn

Myths and metaphors behind the Warrior poses


Class this week focused on myth and metaphor.  Many poses you've practiced in yoga are named after sages, animals and warriors.  .  Learning more about the history and symbolism behind the poses can infuse your practice with new inspiration.

There are many stories, myths and philosophy connected with yoga and yoga poses.  In this class we looked at Shiva in the form of the warrior.  Shiva is considered the Lord of the Yogis.  He is seen as the ideal mix of renunciant and householder.  Shiva became upset with the father of the person he was in love with.  Warrior 1, 2 and 3 represent Shiva when he went to defend his beloved.  

Warrior 1 is Shiva taking form out of the ground as he emerged with a sword above his head.  In Warrior 2 the arms represent when Shiva pulls his bow & arrow... the directionality and drishti you need when pulling a bow & arrow.  Warrior 3 is when Shiva really took target in defense of his loved one. 

The metaphor behind it is to have something you're devoted to ... whether its your practice, a person, a job, a pet or even a feeling inside of you when you practice of pure devotion, intention, commitment.  

Then anytime you have challenge:  the metaphor of these poses is that when you take them you gain strength; you're given energy. When you need strength and perhaps feel depleted, these 3 poses taken together in a sequence can help you gain that energy.  

The alignment with the Shiva poses:

* equanimity side to side; centerline work  

* Shiva was very focused and fearless, yet he did his actions with great love, with great yearning.  We repeated the warrior poses a few times throughout the practice.  I encouraged students to practice with a sense of becoming a "warrior in all adversity".  We took on the challenge, and stepped into the magic and mystery of it all.  

Om shanti, shanti, shanti,  Lynn

Qualities that make for a Great Day


This week we explored qualities that make for a great day.  Twists to stimulate our digestive system, standing poses to help us feel in command throughout our day, handstands to remember to stay playful, and I peppered the practice with a few fun, energetic 30 second bursts to bring good energy into our day.  

Examples included kicking your heels to your butt while turning in a circle.  Others: chair pose taking right toes out to the right then left toes out to the left, then back to chair with arms back and jump your feet off the ground :)  We did jumping jacks clapping our hands overhead and behind our back, and last burst of energy was high knee lifts slapping our palms which were at navel level. So, you know, classic yoga :)

Students took a couple minutes of free time to explore a pose of their choice.  I invited them to think of a pose that embodied the quality they wanted to interject into their day, be it courage or kindness or calm.  Students were encouraged to connect with a sense of humor so they could let things slide off when they didn't need to stick.  Our practice started with strong sun salutes to greet the day properly.  We built heat, stimulating our systems and engaging our muscles to support ourselves throughout our practice and our day.  Thanks for joining me.  

Namaste, Lynn