Friday, January 21, 2011
Bring New Life To Your Routine
Are you stuck in a rut? Do you do the same thing day in and day out? What's that old saying..."variety is the spice of life?" Well, how about adding a little spice in YOUR life! Sometimes our lives can seem routine, rote, and even boring at times. So, is it possible to take that same (boring) routine and make it a whole new experience? How can you bring life, energy, and SPICE to your life journey?
Let's begin on the yoga mat. Even the routine on the yoga mat can get a little rote; particularly the Sun Salutation. It is a basic flow that can feel pretty repetitive at times. You can spice up the flow, however, by focusing on different aspects of the sequence: the pace of your movement, the depth of your poses, the intensity of your breath. All of these (and more) can bring new life to your routine.
Let's take a particular yoga pose Extended Side Angle Pose (Utthita Parsvakonasana) and bring new life to this posture. Start by coming to a Warrior II pose with your right foot in front (leg bent at 90 degrees) and your (straight) left leg in back. Be sure your hips are aligned and can experience the hip opening effect of the posture. Your upper body should be nice and tall as if you were standing in Mountain Pose. To move into Extended Side Angle Pose, reach and move your right arm forward out over your knee and foot. This will put your torso at about a 45 degree angle.
For the first version of this pose, simply place your right hand on your thigh while you extend your left hand toward the ceiling. In this modified version of the pose, you can really focus on proper alignment of the hips and keeping your heart open to the side of the room without feeling like your heart/chest is falling down toward the floor. Remain here for at least 5 breaths.
Now, to add some variety to the pose, begin to take it deeper by placing your right forearm on your thigh. This may intensify the pose. Because it may feel more intense, be sure to keep your focus on the breath, the depth of the new variation of the pose, and stay in tuned with your alignment. Be mindful of this new sensation. Remain here for another 5 breaths.
To complete this side, now take your right hand and place it on the floor next to your right foot. This, too, should change the sensation of the pose. Feel the extended stretch as you have now moved deeper into this angled hip opening pose. Remain here for 5 breaths. The pose itself, has not changed. It is still Extended Side Angle Pose, but YOU have the ability to change the intensity of the pose. Going deeper, for example, may provide more opening and release for tight inner thighs. Going lighter (with your hand on your thigh) may help you with alignment, balance and focus. Repeat this series on your left side.
Imagine doing the same thing with other routines in your life. YOU add variety and change to your life experience to bring more intensity or lightness - whatever your heart and soul are needing at the moment. Here are some very simple examples: take a different driving route to work; don't put cream and sugar in your morning coffee one day; re-arrange the furniture in your bedroom; order something new at your favorite restaurant; attend a yoga class taught by a different instructor. Once you've added some spice to your life, write a comment in this blog about your experience.