To all the yoga newbies out there, there are a couple of things I really want to tell you…..
keep coming to class,
keep trying new things,
keep practicing (remember we call it yoga practice not yoga perfect)
and the next time you are in class look around (and yes, even up front at the teacher) everybody started right where you are right now…Everybody!! Talk to the folks that are doing ‘stuff’ in class you think you could never do, I bet you’ll find out they haven’t been doing this yoga thing very long. Learning Yoga, is about learning to express yourself, learning yoga is learning understanding, about who you are and where you’re going. This is Yoga. A never-ending journey to be who we are right now. It is not now, nor has it ever been about trying to put your foot behind your ear, Let me say that again! Yoga is not about tying yourself in a knot, that’s gymnastics not Yoga, but hey if you can that’s Great! ’cause I sure as hell can’t. Baby I don’t bend that way!
So when you take a Yoga class, remember, that practice is an opportunity to wake up our body, shake loose the stiffness and dump that junk we carry. And it’s never too late to wake your body and when the body is awake the Spirit very quickly follows and when the Spirit is awake there isn’t anything you can’t do.
I Love January.
To me January is like fresh paint on the walls, that new car smell or pulling up old carpet. January is a new beginning. A clean slate. From Halloween through December its go go go! With so many extra things going on that our regular routine gets shot all to hell. It starts with Halloween then it’s one holiday after another & by the time January 1 rolls around you’re pretty beat & as much as I love the feasts, the decorations & my family I am ready to get back to normal. So January 1 has always been the day to take down the tree & decorations, to clean out the fridge & vacuum up pine needles. Getting my house back in order is exciting, cleaning closets & restocking the pantry makes me happy (not George Clooney just phoned me happy, but happy none the less) & with things back in order I can start moving forward. A new year holds as much potential as a new box of 64 Crayola crayons! Now I have time for all the new things coming over the horizon. I have started a list “100 THINGS TO DO IN 2013!” I am up to about 40 so far, with big hairy & scary (i.e. exciting!) things related to business & smaller mundane things like get the console fixed on my truck, oh and to wear more hats, I also have travel plans (see grandbabies and go to the beach).
So what’s on the horizon for you? Do you have any big plans? How about the small things that always seem to get pushed aside? Try making your own list. “100 THINGS TO DO IN 2013!” Then post that list on the fridge or in your office and at the end of the year look back at all you have accomplished! When you write your list blog about it, post your list here as a comment or on your own blog (be sure to link to me so I can read your list) & let’s compare them and then encourage each other (I’ll show you mine if you show me yours). Remember your list isn’t a new year’s resolution and there’s no judgment if you don’t complete everything, it’s just oodles of fun and sometimes it’s needed to stay on track with your goals and plans.
For the “to do list” I use click HERE, it’s awesome and part of a cool “have your best your best year ever” workbook.
or ‘whats in a name and does it really matter when you’ve scraped your nose on the mat?’
Kakasana (crow pose) and Bakasana (crane pose)
2 variations on the same theme, that theme being “Let’s try an arm balance and lets try not to break our necks”. Now as far as arm balances go, crow is relatively easy. I mean it’s not scorpion right?
Mr. Iyengar in Scorpion pose
So basically the difference between the 2 poses is with the arms, in ‘crow’ the arms are bent so the knees can rest just above the triceps and in ‘crane’ the arms are straight so the core has to do all the work, no resting on the elbows here. To learn the basics of the pose start in a squat (malasana pose) with the feet as close together as you can and knees wider than your hips, place your hands on the floor about 6 -8 inches in front of you, place the knees as high on the arms as possible and hug the inner thighs close to the body to activate more core strength.
Begin to shift your weight back and forth on your toes to get the feel for your core engagement. Let your gaze be more forward than down, in other words if your hands are at 10 and 2 (like on a steering wheel) then your gaze are at 12. Notice the lifting of the pelvic floor (mula bandha) and then the lifting of the belly (uddiyana bandha) drawing the belly button into the back, then float the heart center forward, pull your ears back to keep the eyes lifted. If you tuck your chin and drop your head you will almost certainly fall on your noggin’ or your nose. Now try lifting one foot at a time by pointing your toes back, rather than just lifting the heel up. Then try pointing both toes back to take your body up in flight.
Once you have these steps down, you can work on flattening your back, lifting your chest up, and keeping your gaze focused ahead rather than down. And then you can try doing the ‘crane’ version with straight arms.
Remember that even though you’re close to the ground that the energy in the body is lifting up and to create lift you need to press down, moving in opposition helps to create strength. Press the hands down to engage hasta (hand) bandha, this gives you more lift up through the belly and shoulders. The pointing of the toes (instead of just lifting the heels) engages padha (foot) bandha. Notice the opposition here as well, reaching back through the toes & out through the crown of the head, while drawing in at your center, reinforces that strength and stability. And to be honest it doesn’t hurt (as much) to have pillows in front of you for when you fall… and you will, everyone does when learning to fly. And while we don’t have fairy dust to help us fly like Peter Pan, it does help to keep happy thoughts and not get frustrated.
Its fun! Give it a try. Let me know how you do.
Yep that’s me, in blue jeans and boots Doing ‘Crow in the snow’ October 2011 at Clingman’s Dome, near Gatlinburgh TN