One yogini sharing her path of discovery

Posts tagged ‘relaxation’

My 3 Favorite Poses (today)

yoga love

There are a lot of things that I love about yoga. If I were to write a column called “My favorite things about Yoga” it would take a lifetime because everyday I learn something new either about myself or the practice. Today the thing I love is the freedom to change and grow. To have new hobbies and ideas. To meet different people and open you up to new experiences. There is no pressure to do the same thing everyday and the desire to explore the practice is encouraged. So when I say my 5 favorite poses…. they are today’s favorites. Because who knows what tomorrow will bring and thats exciting, not scary.

 

When I woke up this morning and began to breathe fully and move my body inbetween the sheets an excitment for the mat and 3 poses got me to take the next step of getting up.

 

1. Sukhasana (Easy Pose)

Sukasana For me and many others this is the place I am at the beginning and end of an asana practice. This is a place for centering and calm. A place for discovery and discipline. Even though it may appear easy to sit, it is where the challenges of the mind that can rise up.

Try: linking breath and movement by inhaling the arms up and over the head and exhaling the arms back down to your sides 10 times. If it resonates with you, also imagine surrounding yourself with a white light; clearing a space around you that is full of love and contentment.

 

2. Parivrtta Janu Sirsasana (revolved head to knee pose)

Parivrtta Janu SirsasanaSide bends are extremely important to my practice right now. With the combination of sitting at a desk 5 days a week and mild scoliosis my pelvis and scuplas  don’t  live in harmony. Opening each side of the body with this posture benefits the Hamstrings, kidneys, liver, groins, shoulders, armpits, and spine all at once. It also plays a role in my own body of stabalizing the pelvis so that when I move into a seated or stand twist I won’t put any extra strain on my SI joint (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sacroiliac_joint).

Try: If it works with your body, add sidebends to your routine throughout the day. It is available sitting, standing or on the floor. Imagine expanding the sides of the rib-cage and sending breath to any place of discomfort.

3. Supta Virasana (reclining hero pose)

Supta Virasana An absolutely amazing opener for the hips and ankles. Keep in mind if you have any serious back, knee, or ankle problems, avoid this pose unless you have the assistance of an experienced instructor. I love this pose right now because it really helps me to feel open. Not only in body but also in mind and spirit. It can feel very intense and exposing and making my way through those discomforts and anxiety’s associated with that is very satisfying. There is also room to explore by either lessening the intensity and sitting upright in regular hero pose or (if it serves you) deeping by bringing the arms up overhead to help with tight shoulders.

Try: If you are feeling too exposed try this pose with hands or a blanket resting on the belly.

 

Remember my 3 favorites (for today) are linked into a whole practice. If you are doing 2 and 3 make sure the body has been warmed with movement and breath and when it serves feel the freedom of exploration through postures.

*In yoga breath is always first*

What are your favorite poses today? Please share 🙂

Namaste

xo Carly

Advertisements

Finding Your Inner Focus Focus

 

 

FOCUS seems to be a necessary word in our world. We are taught we should have focus in school. Focus in the workplace. Focus on our talents. Focus on our goals and making sure others focus on our achievements. When we lose this focus we can sometimes tend to lose ourselves along with it. If you find throughout your day your focus or insight is becoming more and more clouded, take a moment to step back to see and feel what you need. What are you trying to focus on? Is it coming from a place of pure intention? Will it lead you to truth? If it is truth, STAY ON YOUR PATH

“Pursuing the task of everyday life, I walk along the ancient path. I am not disheartened in the mindless void.” – C. Zenji (9th Century, CE), China

In times of multiple tasks, goals, commitments, decisions and needs our focus can become clouded. Although all these things may among your journey, it to can get a little foggy now and then. So where do we go when we can’t decide what to wear in the morning? What is the solution when we can’t find the inspiration to write or complete an assignment? Where do we start when our mind is full of air, jumping from one thought to another?

 

Practice:

 

 There are many different ways to bring your inner sight back into focus through asana practice as well as meditation and pranayama. (Side note: If its your actual eyesight that seems to be the trouble then I suggest seeing a doctor) I will give an example of each and if there is one in particular that you found helpful I can suggest some other similar options.

 

1. Balance to focus: All balance postures in asana practice cultivate and enrich concentration. One you can try is Tree Pose (vrksasana) http://www.yogajournal.com/poses/496 You emulate the steady balance, strength and focus of a tree, firmly rooted in the earth while growing tall toward the sun. To increase your focus while in tree pose or during other moments throughout, set your gaze on something in front of you. This is your drishti. Let your eyes be soft and your mind liquid. Let your breath flow like water as you find softness to the point of focus. You can remain for just a few breaths or a few minutes. Remember to honor your body in any posture.

 

2. Candle to concentration: Tratak is the yogic practice of candle gazing. Begin in a comfortable seated position in a quiet place. Sit approximately 3 ft in front of a lit candle. Let your sit bones become heavy and the spine long. Feel the breath become more mindful as you let your drishti float to the flame. Let the gaze be still and with intention until the eyes begin to slightly water. Then close your eyes and visualize the flame in your mind’s eye for two minutes. This will develop your inner focus. When ready gently open the eyes looking to the candle. Let yourself become aware of difference and feel of having outer focus. Concentration leads the mind a little more softly into meditation and from there into a more balanced mind. This is also a more natural way to ease into the practice of meditation and quieting of the mind. *** After this practice, or after a long period of looking at a computer or book, soothe the eyes. Place your hands into prayer position and begin to quickly rub them together until you can feel the warmth, then place the palms over the eyes. Let your lids become heavy and give the eyes the opportunity to rest.

 

3. Sharpen with ujjayi: The Ujjayi offers mental focus, calming for the nervous system, increase in oxygen, warming for the body and many other benefits to those who practice it. Ujjiya, also known as ocean breath because it can emulate the sound of the tide coming in and going out from shore. To do, breathe in and out through the nose while contracting the back of the throat (glottis) so you can hear the breath flowing. If you feel as though you are forcing the tightening sensation at the back of the throat just relax slightly and enjoy the slowing of the flow as you were breathing through a very thin straw. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fcPjvp4La8A&feature=related

 

“One who is undisturbed by the flow of desires finds peace, as the ocean – though filled by incessant rivers.” Bhagavad Gita (400-300 BCE), India

 

Finding your own rhythm, relaxation and calm in times of stress and lost focus can be challenging but let it be an exploration and enjoy the things you learn about yourself along the way. If you have any questions, concerns or want to explore further don’t hesitate to connect. We are all just making our way through the fog a little more each day but I am okay with not always being able to see in front of me because I still have the rest of me as a guide.

 

Namaste xo

Tag Cloud