Saturday, August 13, 2011

Turn Things Around

Ever find yourself in a rut? Going through the motions of the same routine day after day? Maybe it's time for a change. Or perhaps begin to look at your regular routine in a new way. This home yoga practice introduces a simple maneuver that will change the perspective on a common yoga pose as well as your perspective on life.

This simple sequence of poses will allow you to look at yourself and your everyday life in a new way. Start by standing in Mountain Pose. Here, set your intention. Be mindful of your daily routines and the desire to shift and/or change to bring a fresh look to what seems mundane.

Sun Salutation
Inhale to extend your arms over head. Extended Mountain Pose.
Exhale and Swan Dive to Forward Fold.
Inhale to lift up half way. Be sure to extend your spine and lengthen your neck.
Exhale and jump or step back to Plank Pose.
Inhale to continue lengthening your spine and legs in this posture.
Exhale to lower yourself down to finish the push up (Chaturanga Dandasana).
Inhale to Upward Facing Dog.
Exhale to Downward Facing Dog.
Inhale to lift your right leg into the air behind you.
Exhale to step your right foot forward near your right hand. Lower your left heel to the floor to ground yourself.
Inhale, extend your arms forward, and rise up into Warrior One.

You will remain here in this pose for a few breaths. Gather yourself. Be aware of your posture, your breath, and how you're feeling in the pose. Be sure your feet are well grounded into your mat. Your right knee is bent at 90 degrees and directly over your ankle. Your torso is facing forward. Your Dristi (gaze) is forward and your arms are extended directly over your head.

As you gaze forward, be aware of what you see in front of you. Bring to mind your daily routines. Recognize how common things seem to be because you are always looking in the same direction or doing the same thing repeatedly. Now, without turning your head, be aware of what is happening behind you. Start by focusing on your left leg. It is straight and strong while the outer edge of the foot is pressed firmly into the earth to secure your stance. The awareness of the leg and foot alone only gives you a partial awareness of what is happening behind you. Follow the next set of instructions to change the position of the posture and your perspective.

Extend your right leg so it is straight. Turn your feet all the way around so that your left foot is now pointing to the back of the room. (You will also need to turn the right foot at the proper comfortable angle.) Bend your left knee until it is at 90 degrees and directly over your left ankle. Your arms will remain extended over head as you make this transition. Now you are in Warrior One facing the back of the room.

The pose is relatively the same, but your view is now different. Perhaps your life can resemble this shift. Our routines can be the same everyday, but we can view them differently. Open your eyes to things you may not have noticed before. Open your mind to new ideas.

After holding here for about five breaths, windmill your hands to the floor on either side of your left foot. Slide your left foot back until you are in Plank Pose. Finish the flow....

Exhale. Chaturanga Dandasana.
Inhale. Upward Facing Dog.
Exhale. Downward Facing Dog.
Hold for 5 breaths.
Jump or step to the top of the mat.
Inhale. Extend the spine.
Exhale. Forward Fold.
Inhale. Stand up all the way to Extended Mountain Pose.
Exhale. Lower your hands to heart center.
You are still facing the back of the room. Hold here to contemplate this new view from a familiar stance.

(Feel free to repeat the entire sequence until you are facing the front of the room again. Or you can simply end your practice here.)

Life does not necessarily have to be boring and mundane. Bring new life to your routine. It can be easy to turn things around.


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