Friday, August 6, 2010

Journey From Home

This yoga practice will take you from your home base, The Breath and The Sun Salutation, to other places that may be new, uncomfortable, or risky. The intention of this practice is to demonstrate that sometimes we can feel very far from home, but we can still have a connection to home, our foundation, even when we are far away.

The Ujjayi Breath:
The Ujjayi Breath (or Uplifting Breath) will be the foundation of your practice. It will guide you through your yoga journey. To engage the Ujjayi Breath, start in a seated posture (e.g. Easy Pose, Half Lotus, Perfect Pose) and begin to breathe easily through your nose. Just take a moment to realize that you ARE breathing. Feel how the air moves in and out of your body. Experience how breath is filling your lungs. Now, place the tip of your tongue on the roof of your mouth. Continue to breathe through your nose, but the sensation of your breath will be from your throat as if you’re breathing through your mouth. (It may feel and sound like you’re fogging a mirror with your breath.) Continue to breathe in this fashion as you deepen your connection to the breath.

As you continue to engage the Ujjayi Breath, experience the calming effect of this breath style. Feel how peaceful you feel. Allow this way of breathing to feel like home: a place of safety, refuge, and relief. This foundational breath is your comfort. Take slower and deeper breaths as you experience this greater connection to your home base.

Once you’ve established this connection, slowly rise to a standing posture: Mountain Pose, to begin your Sun Salutations. As you stand, be aware of this new base you’ve created. Take note of your feet connecting to the floor or yoga mat. Even grip the mat with your toes to be fully aware of this grounded feeling you’ve created. This, too, is your home base. Create for yourself a solid foundation. be aware of the even distribution of weight between both feet. Feel solid and centered as you stand tall in Mountain Pose.

Begin your sun salute, but only add one pose at a time then return to Mountain Pose. For example, start your flow with an inhale to extend your arms upward to an Extended Mountain Pose. Exhale to return your hands to your side or heart centered. In this very simple flow, you have moved away from home, Mountain Pose, but quickly returned home. Continue by adding your next pose, Swan Dive to a Forward Fold, then return to Mountain.

Move through an entire Sun Salutation only adding one pose then return all the way home to Mountain Pose. Stay completely aware of your breath as you travel. The breath is constant. It is always with you. No matter how far you travel from home, you will always have this reliable resource: the breath. Each step you take away from home, you always have the choice to return to your starting point.

Feel free, in this practice, to add other poses: perhaps new or challenging poses that really take you away from your comfort zone. The intention here is to remind you that even when you stray from your original foundation, you can always turn around and come home.

Think about your current life journey. Have you found yourself on new ground, exploring new paths, but uncertain of the destination? Have no fear....remember that you have your reliable resource, the breath, that guides you through these life challenges. Allow the breath to remind you of home: that sense of safety, comfort, and ease.

Let this practice be a reminder to you that you don’t always have to stay home or remain in one place. Explore what is out there. Be willing to take risks. Open new doors. You may find that you create new foundations or even multiple home bases. This will keep you moving forward on your life journey. You’ll never feel stuck or limited. The road is endless.


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