Here is a re-post on yoga eye pillows that I wrote back in September. I made an
eye pillow for my mom for Christmas and had a request for two more for family
members. Maybe you'd like to share a piece of yoga with someone you love during the holiday season!
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Looks like Santa sure benefits from a yoga eye pillow after travelling around the world in one night!
In my most recent practice session, we went through an extensive flow of
Warrior poses (Virabhadrasana I, II, III). I quite enjoy all three warrior poses
for different reasons but what I want to explore with this post is the "missing"
Warrior IV and V poses.
What? You ask. I didn't know there are more than three!
Well, I guess there isn't. But moving through the handful of
repeated Warrior poses, I started to wonder where these other two poses, Humble Warrior and Reverse Warrior, fit in.
If you are not familiar, Humble Warrior (also known as Devotional Warrior), is in the lunge
position with the arms clasped behind the back and the torso bent forward over
the front thigh. I have rarely done this pose so when I heard the teacher call it by name, I had a mental stoppage and wondered am I missing a Warrior.
As the flow continued, we moved into Reverse Warrior (also known as Crescent Pose or Proud Warrior). I have to admit I love this pose but never knew its name either. It is in an open lunge position (hips are open, facing side ways) where the back arm reaches back for the rear thigh and the front arm reaches over the head. With such flexibility in my hips and hamstrings, my body is able to reach back far and thus, I get a phenomenal stretch!
I went digging into my sources to discover that truly, these two poses are
actually a variation of either Warrior I or Warrior II. And they are not
considered traditional yoga poses as they do not have Sanskrit names. Oh,
that's why they really are not numbered like the other three distinct poses. But what I did find is that all five poses are considered Warrior poses.
Case solved. To read a comprehensive overview of a Warrior sequence, click here. And a bit more on the history of the Warrior poses, click here. It's an interesting read if you know nothing about the poses origin.
Putting the pieces together - one at a time,
Photo credit: yogamama.co.uk's photostream
I was very fortunate to travel to Mexico this past week and enjoy the sun, beach, and ocean. The resort we stayed at offered outdoor yoga classes. I knew I had to participate in at least one class. By the end of the week, I had attended three!
Practicing outdoors is a new experience for me. I would highly recommend it, not now in the dead of a Canadian winter, but when the weather and/or location permits. It is a feast for the senses and it is a whole other type of practice.
My five senses were on high alert through the downward facing dogs, tree poses and corpse pose. The first sense that was heightened was the sense of touch. The coolness of the wet grass we practiced on to the pressure of sand pressing back on my fingers on the beach, the sense of touch kept me engaged with my practice. The sense of sound resonated with the rustling of the palm trees and the crashing of the waves. And the smell and taste of the salty Sea of Cortez was moving in and out with every breath.
It was in practicing outdoors that I was encouraged to keep my eyes open. In my regular practice I typically have my eyes closed. Well, this certainly was not the case. Sunsets of pink, orange and red allow for such an inspired practice. Watching the waves crash into rocks on the beach bring power and strength to a warrior II (virabhadrasana II) pose. The teacher even said, "draw energy from the moving water". How amazing is that!!!
It is in these moments of yoga that really invigorate my soul and gratitude to the world around me. As I become a teacher, it is my hope to bring this sort of energy and experience to the mat even when not on the coast of Mexico.
To many more outdoor yoga classes,
The start of a yoga class quite often opens with reciting "OM". If memory serves, it is repeated three times. I suppose it is for some reason or another. In parent and tot yoga as well as postnatal yoga, it is often used to calm the babes to start practice but also at the end of class as a closing.
This week, our class was provided some additional insight into what OM really is. Our yoga teacher explained that it is a sound and a vibration more than a particularly meaning of the word. I had one of those, "oh,of course" moments.
The sound resonates in the back of the throat starting with "OOOOh" which has this amazing way of relaxing the body. I instantly feel my shoulders drop and chest open. Air seems to move effortlessly in and out of the mouth. The circle of the lips softens the muscles around the mouth and allows for the sound to deepen as the lips flatten and start the "Mmmmm" sound.
Talk about instant feedback for a purposeful action!
With no real hang up about doing OM with others, I do anticipate that when I am a yoga teacher, leading participants in three OMs may be more intimidating than I would like! To me, it is similar to singing solo in front of a crowd (which never interested me) so I've got some more practicing to do in regards to feeling comfortable in leading the OM.
Here's to the practice,
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.