Daily Cup of Gratitude………. Working

I am grateful I have a job (several actually), we live in economically precarious times, as I write that previous bit the little voice in my head ( aaa shud’up, you have one too) pipes in with ‘but havent we always’, and yes I suppose we have, but the situation seems much worse now, economic collapse, high unemployment, retirement funds derailed, wow I have to stop watching the news. But I digress, yes I have several jobs, I teach yoga in a few different places, I train a few private clients and I work part-time at a bank. And I am grateful for each gig.

I am grateful that I am able to work, I know there those, who for one reason or another can’t work, So I am grateful my body is healthy enough to allow me to work.

I am grateful that I love what I do, yep folks I’m one of the lucky ones. I actually LOVE what I do, I love the folks I work with at the bank and the job allows me just enough freedom that I don’t get bored (the kissofdeath for me),  and Iconsider myself blessed to have the opportunity to teach yoga and to use what I know to help people get out of pain.

Nothing is perfect, no job is perfect, and no body is perfect. We just have to get up everyday and look for the joy, the laughter and at least some bliss in the things we do. If you have a sense of humor and an attitude of joy, then joy will find its way to you. In all that you do.

Om Shanti

Cheryl

PS having said all that I am sharing a very funny ‘Cat in the Hat’ poem about work 🙂 That should make you smile.

Daily cup o’ gratitude………… Sunshine

Grateful for sunshine in January, for even here in the south the winters are usually cold, wet and gray. Winter is the season for reflecting inward quiet meditations, for snuggling, hunkering down and taking things slow.  Winter gives us the opportunity for Sundays spent watching 2 movies back to back, reading a novel in 3 days, baking cookies and making vats of warm soup. For organizing closets, pantry’s and photographs. But….

Oh when the sun shines it reminds us that spring is just around the corner, that soon it will be time to play in the yard, hike in the hills and work in the garden. In that winter sunlight is hope, light and a peace that comes from knowing we can appreciate where we are and where we will be.

Om Shanti

Cheryl

Developing your home practice……. Downward facing Dog

Adho Mukha Svanasana, Downward facing dog aka Down Dog is a resting pose. No really, it is. I promise. It is also my very favorite pose. Yep, I even like it better than pigeon and that’s saying a lot. So it shouldnt surprise anyone,  that I would include it in our home sequence. And why not, it’s a staple pose, one I think almost anyone can do.

DD also reflects many aspects of my teachings, about foundation, opposition, stability and balance. The pose its self creates great strength and wonderful flexibility, it can challenge you, it can sooth you. It can help quiet your mind but also invigorate you for more challenging poses to come. And sometimes its the only inversion I do, most of the time its the only one I teach in a class. Its one of the few traditional poses that can done anywhere in your practice, it is a warm up pose, you can use it to create total body strength and flexibility and as I said to begin with, it can come in the middle of a vigorous flow practice as a resting phase.

Lets talk  foundation; come into your plank pose, Shoulders over your knuckles, long lines from the crown of your head to your heels, naval to spine; Begin to lift your hips, keep the knees soft. If your hamstrings are tight, go ahead and bend the knees. Remember basic foundation principles, Length in the spine before length in the hamstrings. Keep the ears between the elbows, dont drop your head. Some do’s and Dont’s…..

DO

  • Breath, smile and lengthen your spine
  • Create space between the shoulders and the ears
  • Rotate the shoulders onto the upper back
  • Engage Uddiyana Bandha.

DONT

  • Worry about the heels reaching the floor
  • Drop your weight into your hands
  • Look down your shirt
  • Frown or grit your teeth or hold your breath.

Down dog requires some time to gain the strength in your torso and in your legs to take some of the pressure off your wrists, elbows and shoulders. So be patient with yourself and over time maybe you will learn to love Down Dog as much as I do.

Om Shanti

Cheryl

 

100 days of yoga, friend

http://100daysofyoga-dc.blogspot.com/

A middle age, overweight, clumsy, non athletic woman in the process of transforming herself with a daily yoga practice.

Denise’s great blog, yea I know, its not a WP blog, but I like it, and I addore her. Check out my recent post about her quest to bring Yoga to the Local schools.

https://blissbodysoul.wordpress.com/2012/01/22/yogarecess/

Oh Shanti

Cheryl

 

Jen’s new article

“Leap and the net will appear” John Burroughs. .. We cant always know if there is a ‘chute or a net, but if all we do is stand there, we will never know. We have to trust, trust in our own abilities, the love of friends and family and of our divine gifts. These things are the nets that will support us, catch us and allow us to enjoy the view from the heights others have only dreamed of.

Om Shanti

Cheryl

My friend Jen is a columnist for The Chattanoogan, an online newspaper. She has been writing about her adventures in life for a while now and I read them all, and  although I dont always post a response, I do love her stuff, moxie and  chutzpah!  Most of the time she and I ‘talk’ via facebook, what I wrote above was what I posted about her most recent article. Peace Jen.

Read Jen’s article below

A Chattanoogan Back Home – “Geronimo!”
posted January 23, 2012

Click to Enlarge
Jen Jeffrey

jen@jenjeffrey.com

you can read her full article here. http://www.chattanoogan.com/2012/1/23/217832/A-Chattanoogan-Back-Home—Geronimo.aspx

Yogarecess

My friend Denise Hahn Cooper, has a great yoga story to tell, she start yoga less than a year ago with the intent to just see if she could ‘hang in there’ and make it to “100 days of yoga” ( the name of her blog) http://100daysofyogadc.blogspot.com, well over 300 days later, she is now in the finals to receive a grant to bring yoga to schools. Please check out her video and vote for her, she is a wonderful person, a fantastic (Chattanooga ) school teacher and a lovely soul.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5y9bX2MuiqM&feature=share

Our teacher grant finalists have created videos for you to review. “Like” your favorite. The teacher with the most likes will receive funds to help support yoga in their school. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5y9bX2MuiqM&feature=share
 

…the best laid plans, better be flexible, I’m just sayin’.

You know how when you start something, maybe dinner or a craft project or in my case today, yoga class, and you know how you have a plan. Oh maybe it’s not a list makers dream plan, but you have a clear idea, maybe even some nice 3×5 cards with your ideas written out, in nice bold print so you can see it in the slightly dim room with new glasses and old eyes. You know what I mean; you start making chicken enchiladas for dinner but it morphs into chicken pot pie.  Or that time you started to make a real pretty pair of earrings out of paper clips and ended up with a new collar for the dog.

Well today’s class was like that.

 I had a plan.

I knew what I was going to do (the 3×5 cards were in my bag if I needed help), but about 15 minutes in I realized some folks needed help. Damn it they were struggling and Yoga is about giving that shit up, stopping the struggle. So I stopped after a few rounds of Suyranmaskara and asked a simple question, “Does anyone need help with any thing?” Class direction changed wildly from there and became an anatomy lesson with demonstrations; pose breakdowns and talks about energetic movement, with words like ‘internal & external rotation’, lifting, floating and ‘wrapping’. I loved it! It was awesome as it became a workshop for 20 minutes. They asked about their tight hips and weak shoulders, short hamstrings and bum knees. We talked about creating movement that starts with the breath, not with the movement dictating the breath. About how important the foundations are in creating the strength necessary to each pose and to each body. They helped each other with tips about what worked for them in poses, about what makes yoga accessible for them. And we should be able to make yoga accessible.

Yoga should be about a level of comfort as well as challenge. Let go of concepts and ideas you have of what you ‘cant’ do and embrace what you can access right now and grow your changes from there. Be comfortable, free and open, but continue to challenge your body, mind and spirit.

Yoga + everyday + commitment = strength, flexibility, health and freedom.

Om Shanti

Cheryl

Yogic Art

Check out this beautiful mosaic done by Rachel Rodenborg. Amazing! Maybe I like so much ’cause its my favorite colors or maybe its ’cause the mosaic girl, sort looks like me, well except for the blue eyes and the slightly larger bust LOL. But I think its gorgeous.

Click here for her blog and more pic’s Happy 2012 and Thoughts on Balance.

Om Shanti

Cheryl

Delevoping your home practice……Cat /Cow

Cat /Cow……..Next in our home sequence.

What I love about the linking of Cat & Cow is the simple flow of the poses. Linking these 2 poses together helps to really connect to our inhale & exhale and helps to understand spinal flexion and extension, along with making  a connection to the pelvic  action.

In Cat, with the back arched up, is spinal flexion and in Cow, with the lumber curve exaggerated, is a spinal extension.

Cow pose expands the chest and opens the abdomen to make room for a full inhale, as we exhale into Cat, the belly space becomes smaller helping the body to make a full exhale.

So try Cat/Cow. Come to hands and knees, with hands under your shoulders, knees under your hips and without creating any movement in the spine become aware of your breath. Each inhale moves into the ribs, maybe into the back body and on the exhale we lightly draw the belly in and up.

Now on your next inhale lift your chest forward and up, then lengthen your tailbone and tilt it up. Keep the shoulders away from your ears, wrap them around your upper back. Feel how free your inhale is, how much more expansive the breath can be.

As you begin your exhale, the belly draws in. Tucking the pelvis gently pulls the tailbone under,  the chest rounds under, the upper back opens and we drop our head. Try not to force the breath out, but let the natural movement of the body to contract moving the air completely out of the body.
Back and forth inhaling Cow, exhaling Cat. Soften the jaw, find a light Ujjayi breath ( Yoga journal has a nice description of Ujjayi breathing http://www.yogajournal.com/practice/768 ), allow the breath to control the speed of the movement. Let the breath lead you.

Simple huh, and so good for your back and hips. That same action of Cat & Cow can be done seated or standing too.

So if you’re a desk dweller or if you stand for long periods of time try it and see if it doesn’t relieve some of the tension, just don’t forget the breath, without the breath/body connection it really isn’t yoga.

Om Shanti

Wanting..

Be…… Don’t want. At the end of the day all you’ll have is that ‘wanting’. Want to be healthy want to make money want to be happy. Well then all you have is the wanting. Instead strive to ‘Be’ healthy ‘Be’ financially solvent, choose to ‘Be’ happy.
Our thoughts have the power to create our universe. Each time your thoughts go towards wanting, wanting, wanting, stop and move the thoughts toward being or doing and allow your thoughts to create in a more positive way.
Gandhi Said to “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.”
He didn’t ask us to ‘want’ change but instead to ‘Be’ the change.

OM Shanti