Monday, November 28, 2011

More on Niyamas

Its been suggest by 2 of my teachers to keep a journal...this blog is the best I can do so far! I've been making a more conscious attempt to study the Sutras since I currently have really good teachers in my life. Something to be grateful -continuing with being thankful after Thanksgiving :)

Yoga is many things...its asana, its breathe work, its devotion, practice, surrender, being mindful. My favorite definition for Yoga is union. Its a union of all these things. Its a coming together, such as coming together in a class practicing as a whole. Its wholeness and its community.

Ishvara Pranidada, the last of the Niyamas is about surrendering to something bigger than yourself. I previously had a hard time digesting something that is written in such a religious matter...but I like these kinds of things because when you examine them, they can really be applied to everyday life. Surrendering even for a moment, your ego. Just letting it go in order to participate in something bigger.

Its the idea that we are all here as part of a it your neighborhood, your gym or your yoga studio that you practice at. The union is doing your Ujjai breathing together...beginning and ending class with OMing together and finding the same sounds and vibration, each persons breathe or OM carries you until you here one sound in unison. If its only for the hour or hour and half of your Yoga class, just close your eyes and breathe, listen and breathe...everyone breathing in the same air.

A lot of times we talk about Yoga as a personal thing...we say things like "this is your practice", "focus on your alignment" and we should not be comparing ourselves to our neighbor wondering if her trikonasana is better than mine. Well, it is personal, however talking about practicing Yoga throughout life, not just in class, its about how you fit into the world around you. We are all unique individuals, but we're part of something bigger than that. Creating something that is treaded together and interconnected. Creating union and surrendering to the PTB, or whatever it is that brings you together to class. This type of surrender gives us lightness. Physically it can lift the burdens that we carry from trivial worries of our day to day.

Ultimately whether or not my phone bill was paid on time or I missed the buys on any given day, it is what it is. There is a bigger picture that we're a part of. Just like when you're exhausted in a Yoga posture and the ujjai breathe and energy of the room keeps you going. We all flow in class together!

As we flow through the poses we are also embarking on and experiencing a journey as a whole, despite our personal journeys.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Be a Merman!

Or a Mermaid :)

On of my favorite seated poses to begin or end with. Stretches out the side body and psoas.
Sit over onto your right side, with your feet to the left of you
Put your bottom/right toes, on top of your left foot/heel.
Left hand comes to the floor by your feet
Reach your right arm, up and over. Palm faces down, bicep by your ear.
Look up at your hand, or your feet-pick one.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Boys doing Yoga

Dear Boys,
It's officially ok for you to do Yoga now. So get your butt to class because downward dog is good for you! Just because you can't touch your feet doesn't mean you can't do yoga. Get over yourself and grab a strap. Have fun, don't clench your teeth. You will be in headstand in no time! Touching your toes? That will take practice -often, consistently, for a long time and with earnestness.

Namaste to all the boys and men I teach!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

How do you find your center?

In studying the Yamas and Niyamas of Yoga I find great importance to the idea of Ethics. Yamas and Niyamas are all about how you treat the world around and you and how you treat yourself.

"Ethics is the glue that binds earth to Heaven. One cannot serve two masters. The only way a human being can reconcile the paradox of the demands of earth and soul is through the observation of ethical principles." From Iyengar's Light on Life

I am a person who relies on ethics in life. I find it important establishing what my limits are and how I treat the world around me. I am constantly checking and re-checking myself. Where is the boundary of right and wrong and how close do I allow myself to be to it? Does this boundary still work for me? Do I need to change my limits?

I also find that being so ethical ties me very closely to the earth. This can sometimes be a heavy and burdensome. I'm by nature and over-thinker. So, I have this breathing exercise for meditation in which I imagine I am inhaling in heaven -not religious heaven but more like the universe, the air and sky that is infinite. And on the exhale I imagine rooting in to the earth.

And with this exercise I think about this Heaven and Earth thing and what lies, people. Some of use are more Heaven oriented -have you ever met someone who is so up in the clouds? Flighty? Free spirited? And then there are Earthy types...myself -very grounded and realistic, easily brought down. There is this great middle path that has a little of both of these concepts. I like this breathing exercise because I'm overly grounded it helps me to breath in the heavens and take something in that is lighter. I feel lifted and freer. For my flighty heaven people, the rooting and grounding helps balance them out as well.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Pain in the neck

Everyone around me is coughing and sneezing and I am just getting by here. So I am taking my zinc with meals and doing my sesame seed oil ritual to keep things in check. Nonetheless the cold always gets into my muscles and here I am with back and neck pain. OK, to be fair, it also could be from sparring with some of the fighters the other day, but the point is my neck and upper back is all kinds of tight and painful. Red Flower Oil to the rescue! This is great for sore and tight muscles. Please don't cover your whole body in it though...that is actually really bad for you! A lil Red Flower goes a long way! So next time some one punches you in the face and it snaps your neck back, drags you by the neck or maybe you just slept all funny...try rubbing some Red Flower into your aches and pains.