Sunday, September 25, 2011
There is a style of practicing yoga that is called Vinyasa. One way of interpreting Vinyasa is "to flow." When yoga poses are sequenced together in a fluid way and is guided by breath, it is often referred to as Vinyasa. With this style of yoga, one can experience a flow with their breath and body. Personally, when I teach yoga, it is usually in the style of Vinyasa. It reminds me of being a choreographer as I guide my yoga dancers through a series of poses and breath. It is a wonderful way to find your own personal rhythm. Have you been feeling a little disjointed, disconnected, or even clumsy recently? Does it feel like things are not flowing the way that you'd like at work, home, or school? Perhaps some yoga breath and Vinyasa flow will bring you back to a rhythmic pattern that is more balanced. A classic Vinyasa yoga flow is the Sun Salutation, so why not move through several series of the Sun Salutation to regain a sense of fluidity and balance. Start in Mountain Pose. Bring your hands to heart center. Begin your yoga breath and set your intention: to bring rhythm back into your life. Inhale: extend your arms overhead Exhale: fold forward, touch your toes Inhale: lift up half way to a flat back, extend your spine Exhale: plant your hands on the floor and jump back (or step back) into a high plank pose Inhale: hold plank and feel the strength in your entire body Exhale: remain straight and strong bend your elbows, and lower your heart to the floor Inhale: lengthen your arms to lift the upper portion of your body forming a back bend (Upward Facing Dog) Exhale: lift your hips toward the sky until your body forms an inverted "V" shape (Downward Facing Dog) Inhale: hold the former pose Exhale: jump (or step) both feet back up to the top of your mat Inhale: extend the spine to a flat back Exhale: fold forward Inhale: stand up all the way with your arms extending over head Exhale: bring your hands back to heart center Repeat this as many times as you like. And although this is a classic sun salute, you don't have to feel confined to this particular flow. Why not create your own rhythm and do your own yoga flow. Do what ever feels right for your body. In fact, do not think too much. Just allow the body to move freely. Need some inspiration? Turn on some music and play your favorite song. Allow the music to inspire you. The idea and intention here is to be yourself. Express yourself authentically. We can be inspired by our favorite things or guided by structure. Either way, allow your body to flow. I don't normally do this, but I wanted to let you know of a yoga retreat that is coming up that I am co-facilitating with a colleague. It is called A Rhythm Yoga Winter Retreat held at Alta Lodge in Utah December 9-11, 2011. The intention of the retreat is to discover and experience your own personal rhythm. We will do that on the yoga mat as well as on the ski slopes! For more information, go to www.RhythmYogaRetreat.com Namaste
Friday, September 16, 2011
Friday, September 9, 2011
Friday, September 2, 2011
"Open yourself up to your greatest potential." That could certainly be a person's mantra or motivational quote that they have taped to their bathroom mirror! It could also be the intention behind any yoga practice. But what does it really mean? I have often defined yoga to my new yoga students as the practice of finding greater awareness of self by focusing on breath and movement. When you focus on these areas, you find and feel a clarity about yourself that seems to open many doors. You find that you have greater strength, ability, focus, balance, integrity, peace of mind, and the list goes on. Yoga can be the practice that opens the doors to many possibilities. One can start simply and easily to find those inner openings; to discover your own greatest potential.
Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose)
Also called Cobbler's Pose, named for the Indian cobbler as he sits and builds shoes, this yoga posture is essentially a hip opener, but can also demonstrate that inner potential one seeks to discover. Start by sitting on the floor and bring the bottoms of your feet together. Draw your heels closer to your pelvis. Your knees will naturally drop down to the side. Don't worry if your knees do not touch the floor. They don't need to. If your hips are little tight, this is great pose to begin that release. Hold onto your toes, ankles or shins so that you are able to sit up tall with an extended spine. (Feel free to practice this pose sitting against a wall. You can also do Supta Baddha Konasana, or Reclining Bound Angle Pose which is done lying on your back.)
Once you have established the pose, set your intention. Perhaps you want to be more extroverted or be able to speak your mind more freely and with confidence. Maybe you feel stuck in a rut and want to find a way to move forward; created a change in the old routine. When our minds and bodies are opened, we can see the possibilities; the doors begin to open. Cobbler's Pose can guide you toward feeling more alive, free, and open.
Hold here for 10-15 breaths. Allow the natural release and the opening to occur. If you focus on the exhale, this can assist the release of any tightness in the inner thighs and hips. Further, if your intention is to open yourself up more, then this, too, will happen with the practice of this pose. Remember your initial intention and experience the revealing of your natural potential.