I came across the following breathing practice, Tonglen, this week and thought it fit well with yogic principles even though it is a Buddhist practice. And it fits very well with the Christmas Spirit.
Breathe the Christmas Spirit!
"Breathe in for all of us and breathe out for all of us. Breathe in suffering - yours, others, the world's. Breathe out compassion - for yourself, for others, for the world."
Wishing you the best during the holiday season,
It's 6:30 am Tuesday morning.
I wander sleepily down to my yoga mat and prep the TV for my practice.
Whoops! Technological malfunction (surprise, surprise) and the DVD I want is playing but there is no image on the screen.
Well, no point in walking all the way back to bed, I must just follow along with the teacher's words.
And by the end of the hour practice, I didn't miss a beat or pose for that matter.
This week's practice was a clear indication that yoga teachers' words are quite honestly their best asset. The flawless description of each pose enabled me to follow along without a visual cue. I was forced to LISTEN to each sentence and follow what she described.
I am the first to admit that during my early morning practice I frequently keep the lights off and my eyes closed. So most visual cues are limited by my behavior. Yet, I had no choice this week. My practice was dependent on how well each pose was described and how well I listened.
Now, Shiva Rae, is one experienced teacher. How can I emulate her use of words once I am a yoga teacher?
Slow, controlled voice. Precise descriptions with just enough detail. Pleasant tone with appropriately matched intonation. This is how Shiva Rae does it and it is what carried me through practice.
The technological hiccup was the perfect learning situation this week.
Listening to the words of yoga,
Spur of the moment this week, I attended a concert at Edmonton's world famous Winspear Centre. It was a performance of the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra (ESO) and Canadian songwriter and singer, Chantal Kreviazuk. I have seen Kreviazuk many, many years ago but I have never attended the symphony in Edmonton.
And having not been to see the ESO before, I have never been to this iconic theatre (known as the "one of the finest performance spaces in North America"). So imagine my amazement as I walk into an "in the round" theatre with a massive pipe organ at centre stage and the room buzzing with the sounds of tuning instruments and mic checks.
People were filling into the theatre with great urgency to sit down and enjoy the concert before them.
The performers did not disappoint.
Chills, goose bumps, hair standing upright can only slightly describe the voice of Kreviazuk and her accompaniment. Sitting as an observer, I too was able to feel the passion and purpose behind every note, of every carefully crafted song.
This is what yoga does for me - brings out this feeling of passion and purpose. Well, quite frankly, any movement (dare I say, exercise) does for me. An indescribable rush or shall I say flow of energy takes over.
As I was watching and taking in every juicy note, I was thinking to myself "this is it". This is what I (hope) I provide in my work, to my audience, and to my participants/patients. This is what I want to GIVE as a yoga teacher.
I also thought, does Kreviazuk practice yoga? She just glows and it's gotta come from yoga!
Can you tell who practices yoga?
Accidentally, after the program I had to tweet my thoughts to ESO and Kreviazuk and what do I find on Kreviazuk's tweeter feed but a picture of her practicing yoga at home (and her dog wanting to join in!)
It just made sense.
What does yoga do for you? Can you tell who practices? Does it show up in our work, personal lives and how we walk on this earth?
Extended side angle pose (Utthita Parsvakonasana), to me, is a foundational pose but receives little attention compared to its sister Warrior poses. Officially, not a warrior pose it has the markings of one (such as the bent knee like in warrior II) except for the side bending.
It was an enlightening pose this week, which follows the past two weeks' pattern of bending (forward and side). To be honest, I had a major release (physical and emotionally) with extended side angle pose this week and I don't totally get why. Was it from the hips? Apparently, releasing the hips can be an emotional experience but I have no reference or source to date. Is it the place of tension that rarely gets a break?
Especially as a pregnant women.
I really like this pose for my pregnant body. It focuses on single leg strength and opening of the side body among opening the hips.
One of the things I want to maintain is my leg strength. After sitting for many months nursing with my first child, my legs atrophied to a point where my pants were hanging off me. Muscle tone and strength were gone. So, continually working on leg strength now and once baby arrives is key for me.
Also, in the past couple weeks I've been stretched (read: my belly has popped). And the sensation it brings is very bizarre. It's like the pressure of the abdominal cavity is increasing and my skins elasticity is not ready for the stretch. So a dull ache. Extended side angle pose is fantastic for stretching the areas of my torso that have been under such pressure. *sigh*
Note: That's not me…yet. Nor have I ever seen something like this before!
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.