Week 22: The Moon and the Sun
Did you know that Sunday was a full moon? I didn't.
Did you know that there is such thing as moon salutations? I sure didn't. It took over 15 years of yoga practice to find out that there is a complement to the sun salutation (Surya Namaskar) sequence that is, oh so common. It's the moon salutation (Chandar Namaskar).
I was introduced to it during my last class with Judy and was quite refreshed with the sequence. With my little research on-line, I realized, as with every pose or sequence, there are variations. We participated in the Hatha variation during that class and since then, I've attended other classes which focused more on the Ashtanga variation of the moon sequence (Chandra Krama). Let's explore each briefly.
According to Yoga Journal, the moon salutation is considered to be yin in nature which is in opposition to the yang poses of sun salutation. Moon salutations are meant to be soothing and quieting (feminine) rather than fiery and powerful as the sun salutations (masculine).
The more recent practice of the Ashtanga yoga variation is a lengthy sequence developed by Matthew Sweeney and can be seen below in the schematic. Wow! I've been only doing the first sequence!
There is more to the moon salutation and sequence than I ever thought possible!
It starts from a kneeling position with the heels on the buttocks and torso tall. Arms reach up above the head and bow forward into an extended child's pose. From the child's pose, you move into a table top position (on hands and knees) and then press your hands and feet into the floor and rise up into downward facing dog. The sequence then follows the reverse order to end back in the kneeling positions where hands are placed in the small of the back for a slight back bend or extension.
Here it is in video form:
So, quite frankly, this little discovery of both moon salutations and moon sequence has made me once again realize I have SO much to learn about yoga, in general, AND how it impacts my practice.
Soaking up the glow of the moon,
Week 21: The Benefits of Fish
I've been eating a lot of fish lately. With the recent trip to Mexico, fresh fish was abundant and sure yummy! I've also been cooking fish often because my little one loves eating it. There are many known health benefits to eating fish but I would also argue that there are many health benefits to doing the fish pose (Matsyasana) too.
Photo credit: yogamama.co.uk
Fish pose is not a pose I am very familiar with as I've rarely done it. In a recent session in my parent's basement (with their DVD, SELF Ultimate De-Stress Yoga) it reminded me of how much I'm missing the benefits of fish pose in my practice.
Being a backbend and chest opener, it usually compliments shoulder stands (Sarvangāsana). It is considered an advanced pose due to the hyperextension of the cervical spine. It takes a fair amount of body awareness to ensure proper positioning as the body is being supported by the elbows, not the neck.
During the pose, it initially feels kinda awkward. It isn't a position our bodies are in frequently. And this is why it has such benefit! It passively stretches the chest as the scapula (shoulder blades) squeeze together. After 12 months of nursing and carrying a baby around, this lengthening of the pectorals is essential.
Once back on the ground, so to speak, I felt a release through the neck as well as the chest. This is not only beneficial for me but likely the majority of the population. This release will help facilitate better posture! Now, that is a health benefit we all need!
Interestingly, the Yoga Journal website, states that fish pose is the “destroyer of all diseases” based on traditional texts. It only makes sense, that better posture would equate to better health.
So, fish pose has now been entered into my yoga repertoire. Because I just can argue with the benefits.
Fishing for more,
Although it doesn't show the actual part of the DVD with fish pose, here is a small sample of the DVD I sampled in my parents basement!
Week 20: Funny Yoganista
Some weeks it is nice to just have a laugh and not get hung up on the yoga terms and poses. In my humble opinion, yoga is suppose to be fun and not taken too seriously. I found this hilarious YouTube video that I couldn't help but share. If you need a good "yoga laugh" have a watch and enjoy your week with some yoga!
Keeping life and yoga on the light side,
Week 19: Groundhog Day
Have you ever seen the movie Groundhog Day? Bill Murray plays a character who finds himself repeating the same day over and over again. Well, I can relate. Last week I blogged about not getting to do any yoga. Well, the same thing happened again this week. So, I'm calling it my groundhog week!
Thinking of groundhogs and yoga, I wondered if there is a groundhog pose. Many poses are called animal names in their non-sanskrit names so I went looking and this is what I found...Thank you YouTube!
In watching this video, it's kinda like my practice lately. Short and sweet, if it even happens! I'm looking forward to the upcoming weeks as life will settle into a routine and I'll be back on the mat.
Maybe I'll do the groundhog pose tomorrow!
Week 18: The Journey Continues
Do you ever feel like you just can't get everything done in a week? This week was just that for me. So you might have guessed it, no yoga practice.
As with anytime I feel behind with something, I am annoyed. All I wanted to do was a session or class but where did it fit in? And with all my irritation, I started to question if I am able to make the unwritten deadline of writing this blog every week.
I started to think that this kind of self-doubt is very much like the doubt the general public has with adhering to a physical activity program, yoga or otherwise. New Year`s resolutions are on the forefront this week and it is not surprising that over the next couple months this same type of self-doubt is to be oh-so common.
I can`t get to my exercise program.
Why do we questions ourselves about `keeping up`? Can`t we be happy for what unfolds in our week even if it does not fit our agenda? And maybe, just maybe, our week was the way it was suppose to be (in my case, no yoga).
Such loaded questions to ask. But these questions have made me take a step back and be easier on myself. Because it is only one week and there will always be another week to practice yoga.
I actually started to think - Wow, I`ve actually gone 18 weeks with at least one yoga session per week. Something to be proud of? Absolutely!
Back to the mat, doing the best I can,
Aspiring Yoga Teacher
I've practiced yoga since I was a pre-teen and have always found it to keep me centered. I will be a teacher one day and this is my journey to discover teaching and practice.