Yoga Intensive- the rest of the week….

ImageThe thing about yoga for many people and certainly for myself, it increases your sensitivity, five of the seven mornings of the intensive I cried. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, my tears often caught me by surprise as i felt the spontaneous warm drops spring from my eyes. Often I was trying to send the energy I was creating in my practice to a friend in need and other times I was releasing (or they were tears of petulance because I didn’t want the intensive to end!!). Yoga has brought about such an awareness of my emotional self and who I am, my body and the space around me- but unfortunately this awareness doesn’t come with an instruction manual and it can be difficult when you are looking at exactly who you are and unsure of whether you like it. Luckily yoga is also a vehicle for change and learning acceptance and the art of compassion can all come about through a practice. 

Each morning i was so surprised at how easy it was to wake up, get up and greet the freshness of each day. In Ayurveda, yoga’s sister science, it is optimal to rise before the sun and the first thing that you ingest for the day has a profound effect of how you feel for the remainder of the day- this week rather that a black coffee being the first thing i ingested I had lukewarm water with chlorophyll, and I think that this indeed had a profound effect on how I felt. My digestion has felt quieter, I have eaten and slept less but had more energy, I think being gluten free has helped in this too. I noticed in my inversions there is a lightness, rather than using brute strength and feeling somewhat like a baby elephant I was able to float up. (for the first time I could get into Pincha Mayurasana/forearm balance it felt releasing, I felt strong…and yes, I made my husband take a photograph of it!) 

Of the intensive the actual classes, the asana and the sequences felt timeless, the mornings have felt so magical and so right but then working the 5 working days of the week have been difficult. Possibly this is something that I realised about the intensive, there are factors in my life that make me quite unhappy. 

Another thing I realised about myself during this week is the way i habitually hold my diaphragm and upper abdominals and the toll this is taking on my physical, energetic and emotional body. I am now constantly reminding myself to relax. (a trip to the physio last night confirmed my suspicions of the problems this was causing.)  

It’s true that I didn’t want the intensive to end, but it has taught be so much about how wonderful discipline can be, while I usually practice yoga daily, some of that is rolling around on the mat, it is never practiced at the same time and my home practice has never had such a quietening effect of my whole body. I realise how valuable this mental quietness is and how wonderful my body feels, how sparkly my eyes are and how much more care I have for myself. I am determined to find much more ritual in my home practice, I am determined to be up before the sun, most of the week 😉 

 

With all of my heart I would like to thank my wonderful teacher, Wendy. 

Namaste. 

xxxx

When you have all the tools….

Tonight when I taught I spoke of yoga being a tool for us to use- that yoga is here to service us and not for us to service yoga. It is well documented that yoga is an excellent way to de-stress and relax, to help restore harmony in our bodies in a time, in a world, when we probably need it the most.

It would be my guess, for more seasoned yogi’s or those that attend classes regularly that their is a relaxation response just by stepping on the mat or lying over the bolster with a comforting familiarity. The opening class chant or a teachers voice you know so well. These yogi’s may take deep breathing off the mat when times are stressful, subconsciously or perhaps consciously aware that extending the exhalation calms the nervous system, having a profound effect on our emotions. Or how simply how relaxing it can be to be in your body, watching your breath. These yogi’s may take a savasana to revive when feeling weary, they know exactly which way to twist or stretch when something feels tight and could do with a fresh blood supply. Or even just to know the joy of a a backbend or handstand spontaneously in the sunshine. This is I guess like a ‘yoga toolbox’ yoga’s service to us, a reward for our service to ourselves.

I choose to study yoga because I believe in the wonderful, healing, cleansing effects it has on our bodies, I believe in the science. (yes, I said science 🙂 ). I have a very big ‘yoga toolbox’ of things I have read and experienced as well as wonderful things shared to me by teacher and her teacher and all the other teachers i have experienced.

This week I had a terrible week, I searched and dug deep and I thought there was nothing in my toolbox that could help me; I was too irritated for pranayama, too depressed for dynamic asana that would have given me a bit of sparkle, my head far too jumbled for any serious attempt at meditation.

It was tonight with the wonderful power of hindsight, some clarity of mind and the old saying ‘practice what you preach’ I realised that this week in my darkest moment, I did 5 headstands sirsasana, I knew whilst on my head I had to be in that moment, if I wasn’t, I’d simply fall. The falling didn’t worry me it was losing that tremendous sense of strength. Thank you, yoga. Namaste.

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