One yogini sharing her path of discovery

Archive for February, 2013

Morning Light

Morning Light

sunbeams-through-trees

You still fast asleep

In this morning light

Been so long since the feel

Of the sun in my sight

No recall when

That warmth hit my skin

So long since

That blissful has been

With hope in hand

As I make my way

To the beams of truth

On this lovely day

Wake up my love

Join the song

Life is so much brighter

When you to sing along

February Fumbles

electric brain overload

February has been “no cellphone in social situations and no ipod while making my way from place to place” month. The second of 12 resolutions for the year. Although its not the end of the month I already feel as though I have failed. That being said, part of the reason I decided to take on resolutions in a new way was in order to let go of the failure side of things that I have always experienced in the past when my resolution didn’t exactly go as planned. So to keep with a positive spin I have decided to focus on my triumphs.

Despite my difficulties shedding away my cellphone habits I have stopped listening to my ipod while walking, on the bus, or in social situations. It wasn’t easy at first since I have been in the habit of turning my music or a podcast on before I head out anywhere, especially if I am walking long distances (which is often). I do feel as though it has helped me to tune into the sounds of the world around a little bit more as well as interact more often with people passing by. I’ve had conversations with people on the bus and quick laughs with strangers in a coffee shop. I am sure most or all of these experiences wouldn’t have taken place if I had had my earphones in.

As for my cellphone… I have broken the habit of taking my phone everywhere with me. If I am heading down the street to grab lunch I leave it on my desk. It stays hidden in my bag the whole time when I am out to dinner with friends, and any meeting of friends.

The part that I feel as though I failed is still using it and looking at it throughout my work day, glancing at it on my walk to and from work, or while I am on the bus. Although it appears normal and ingsignificant I believe these small things add up to an unessessary use of my phone aiding in removing me from the act of  engaging with people or places around me.

So what now? Keep it in practice from now on. Awareness of my electronic expectations, separations, and limitations. March is approaching along with the next resolution.

What has been your resolution experience thus far in 2013?

Namaste

Finding Your Winter Heart

winter heart

While at a class the other morning I was reminded of the importance of opening our heart centers during the colder months. Here in Vancouver with these heavy clouds and lack of sun the desire to close inwards is oh so appealing. But when we completely draw in during the winter our heart center can suffer. You may notice shallower breathe, disconnection with others, less people smiling at one another on the street and more tension in the chest, shoulders, neck, and arms.

The phrase “open your heart” is uttered a lot in yoga classes. I know I say it when I am guiding and thinking it when I am practicing. The first time I ever heard it in a class it was something that resonated deep within. Even now after years of practice its still something I return to. But what does it really mean and what can we do to cultivate it during the winter when we just want to get cozy?

Practice:

A lot of people resonate in the same way I do with heart-opening but the mistake that is commonly made with this cue is that instead of simply lifting up through the collar bone, people will collapse in their lower back and push out the rib cage. To help prevent this the first step is awareness. In the next few poses keep the idea of trucking the tailbone under, pulling belly button intowards the spine, lengthening the sides of the body, and the rib cage in.

Warm up

I find heart-openers the juciest when I am super duper warmed up, especially in my spine. So before letting go in a heartful backbend get your inner fire buring mobilize the spine. *Also feel free to wear lots of layers.

– Start with some cat/cow (marjaryasana/bitilasana) linked with breath to start to cultivate a little bit of heat as well as movment in the spine. Begin by finding your neutral spine and on the next inhale allow the belly to drop and the tailbone and heart to lift. Gaze remains forward elongating the back of the neck. On the exhale let the chin lower intowards the chest and press into the palms to help open up in between the shoulder blades and arc like an angry cat. *Explore with the breath. It may feel more comfortable to switch the inhale and exhales along with the movement. There is no wrong way. cat:cow  marjaryasana:bitilasana

Twist it out

– Twists are one of my favorite ways to begin to open up the chest and pectoral muscles that can tighten up during colder spells or with sitting a lot at a desk. Begin this “threading the needle” twist on hands and knees. Inhale as you lift right arm off of the floor and exhale as you take it under the palm that continues to rest on the mat. You can make this is flowing movement with breath or remain here lifting the left arm up towards the sky.

kneeling twist part 1     kneeling twist part 2

Lunge to the heart

– Begin with a low lunge letting proper alignment be the motivation before heart-opening to insure the low back is supported. Make sure the knee doesn’t come past the toes, tuck the tailbone under, and let the hips sick down. When you have found your Anjaneyasana on an inhale allow the arms (not shoulders) to lift to the sky, on an exhale let the arms gentle float back down. Now imagine a pendant on your chest that gradually lifts higher and higher towards the sky without comprimising the stability in the back.

anjaneyasana

Restore the heart

– There are a few different options for restorative heart-openers but this is one of my favorites because you don’t need anything special. *Make sure you are warm enough with socks a sweater, blanket for the body, and even an eye pillow. Just a a couple towles or blankets. Roll up one blanket and place another folded under the head insuring that the head doesn’t feel like its hanging down. Line up the bottom of the shoulder blades with the edge of the blanket allowing the sholders to rest in between the two blankets. Legs can straight but if the back is really talking to you than feel free to place something beneth the knees. Stay for at least 5-10 minutes. Breathe. * A similar pose can also be done with a bolster if its okay for the back.

heart with blanket

After you are done you can take the props out from underneath and allow the knees to pull into the chest to release the lower back.

Savasana (corpse pose) can shortly follow integrating the information. If it serves you visulize the color green while you are in rest. *Savasana is always an important part of practice even it hasn’t been a long one.

The way is not in the sky. The way is in the heart

– Buddha

Happy heart everyone!

Namaste

xo carly

February Resolution

The first month of my year of resolutions went good. January was no complaining and although I most definitely complained about this and that I feel the overall benefit of putting that intention forward. Not only did it help me to change some of my inner negative talk but it also influenced others. Even my partners cousins adapted “No complaining” for their own household for the year which I found very inspiring.

tuneinto the world

Now we enter into February. Where I intend to unplug from my cell phone and ipod and tune into the sounds of the world around me. This means no cellphone in social situations and no ipod while making my way from place to place. There were a few things that motivated this as the choice for February. (Also lets move forward without judgement and instead interest)

1. My boyfriend is constantly on his phone. When we are hanging out at home, when we are walking down the street, in a Car2Go, waiting for a movie to start, and out for dinner. Most of the instances didn’t really bother me but when he spent more time looking at his phone than at me during dinner I started to get impatient about it.

2. I am not really on my phone that much but I am constantly looking at my phone. I don’t know what exactly I am looking for but all day long I gaze at my phone seeing if my little red “message” light is flashing. If it is I will check to see what email or text I may have received. If its not, I will look again in 10 seconds. Also I don’t like to go ANYWHERE without my phone. It is generally within arms reach and I even take it with me on the 15 minute break from work to go and get some take-out.

3. I want to turn off my ipod and turn on my hearing. There are a couple reasons I want to include the ipod. If I am walking, it is always on playing whatever tickles my fancy at that particular moment. This is something I have always loved. Walking, or travelling with music. I have had many magical moments this way where I am often brought to tears by the beauty of the world around me and the power of a song. But I feel as though I am missing out on the sounds of birds, trees in the wind, and people passing by. Also, unfortunately one of my motivations is slightly rooted in fear. I work early most mornings and I up hours before the sun starts peeking its way on to the world. I had a thought that if anyone in those early morning walks wanted to follow me and/or attack me I may not hear it coming.

I am hoping that this will bring me closer to the world as well those around me. In our ever struggle to connect more with others through the internet we are indvertantly disconnecting from people in the ‘real world’. I don’t want it to be considered strange to chat with a stranger or smile at the people passing me by as I walk from place to place. I want to hear more stories of the world in hopes to cultivate more love and less seperation.

Namaste

xo

Carly

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