Monday, October 26, 2009

snowflakes=unique asanas=unique

As I watch the snowflakes dancing, i am reminded of their uniqueness. Every asana (yoga posture) should have this same uniqueness. Not just unique from person form person, moment to moment, but every time you get into a pose it should be unique.

When a new student starts to practice yoga, they learn the different poses and the alignment. Then when the teacher says virabhadrasana 2 (warrior 2) the student immediately assumes the position, knee over ankle, back leg internally rotating front leg externally rotating, rooting the the fee, knee over ankle, shoulders on the back, side body long, and reaching out through the finger tips. And then they stay, they hold the pose, this is the same warrior pose they come to in every class. The student starts to develop this idea that they "know" this pose, and they "know" where they are in the pose.

But where is the uniqueness, the playfulness, the mystery?

I used to practice like this, and I see many students practicing like this. But now when I practice asana I work at discovering each unique pose. The way I do this is by moving into the pose softly. This means that when a teacher says virabhadrasana 2 I don't go into my deepest warrior and become stiff and hold. Instead I just go in a little bit. Then I slowly more by body into alignment as I so this I focus on the sensations that arise in the body. I keep breathing and I continue to go deeper. As I do this I try to forget about what my warrior pose looked like last week, or even yesterday. Because it is a new day and a new pose. The pose I do today is going to be unique I have never done a warrior two like this before and I will never do the same warrior two again. It might look similar, but it is different. The energy is flowing different, the sensations feel different, and I shine out in a different way.

Practicing like this makes yoga SO FUN. It takes you out of the mind and gets you super interested in what is happening right NOW, in you body, and then moving accordingly. Practicing like this also insures that a student wont get stuck. that they wont plateau, because they are no longer going into the same pose and stopping, they are continuing to evolve, continuing to push, to play on the edge of flexibility and strength.

This uniqueness exists in every pose. it doesn't matter the difficult, if its upside down, standing, or lying on the floor. All that matters is you don't reach a point in the pose and think "I am just going to hang out here", instead you think with a curious mind "where is this pose going to take me today?" Let this be our intention in our practice, get out of the mind, of assuming you know where you are going, and drop into the heart and go on a adventure. Just like a snowflake floating down from above.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Feel with your Heart

We live so much of our life in our mind. We over analyze, our mind spins around with thoughts. We get attached to the thoughts, we get hooked. This is living anchored in the ego, in the mind derived sense of self.

What I suggest is that instead we anchor into our hearts. In order to do this we have to soften and open. We have to break down the walls around the heart, we have to let go of the accumulated stress, and habitual tensions. And then we can honestly feel from the center of our heart. We can feel the different sensation in the body. This is how I love to practice yoga, from the heart.

I come to my mat, I soften my heart, and then I drop into my heat and feel. As i move into a yoga posture I bring my awareness to the different sensation that are arising. i see how I can move differently to increase the sensations. When I practice like this it is safe. Because I know if i listen to my heart truthfully it will never guide me into a pose that I am not ready for. However if i am practicing anchored in the mind, i analyze and judge. I look around the room and I can feel my mind wanting me to push my body so i can look like my neighbor, or my teacher. This is a sure way to get hurt because I am no longer following the truth of my heart. Instead I am following the ego.

Practicing following the heart on the mat is a great way to develop intuition off the mat. Intuition isn't a gift that some people have and others don't. No, it is a skill that we have forgotten because we don't live authentically from the heart. We have good reason not to trust and follow what the mind says. But if we can learn on the mat to soften our heart, to be truthful, to follow and trust the sensations that arise, we can take that honest internal listening off the mat. Then when we are out living our life we can continue to live and act from the heart, truthful, honest, and playful.

This is a practice. It is hard. It isn't something you switch on. It takes awareness. It takes a lot of forgetting to follow the heart, noticing you forgot and starting again. I feel this cycle every time I practice asana. I always have the intention to let go of my ego and practice following the sensation. But multiple times throughout the class I catch my ego mind taking off, then I come back to my breath to my sensations and I begin again. The more you do this, the more you develop your ability to notice when the ego takes over. And the gap becomes shorter and shorter until, and you inhibit your heart fully for longer and longer periods of time.

many blessings.

Intention and Testimonials

Testimonials & My Intention

My Intention It is my intention as a yoga teacher to help you bring more health and vibrancy to your body, ease and alertness to your mind...