Ever feel like you’re a ball of energy trapped into many boxes? From our past experiences, actions, and the people we live with, we lay upon the body layers of tension, and Dis-EASE. Through our yoga practice, we begin to take off these layers, one by one. This is how yoga works to keep us free from DIS-ease. This happens when we surrender, find optimal alignment, and use our breath to release these coverings. These coverings affect our posture, our health, and most of all, our wellbeing.
What are some things that can affect your posture, or the way you carry yourself?
Who we know…..we can copy our friends postures, even family members..
What we do….if we favor one side of the body, due to injuries, or say, playing a violin
Yoga!! What we do on the right, we do on the left, this balances the body, also back bending, forward bending, and side bending all even out the body.
Spiritual connection…..yes, if we meditate, or pray, this affects our posture in a good way
So, it’s time…..it’s time to take off that huge snow suit that you can’t walk in. It’s time to gently peel away the layers of fear, doubt, and worry. This is no easy task, but yoga works when done every day, with effort and ease, consistency, and JOY!
Don’t believe me? Try the March Yoga Challenge…..31 days for 31$. Go ahead, come every day, and tell me you don’t feel better after 31 days of consistent practice.
Our physical yoga practice is a great metaphor for how we show up in the world and how the world shows up in our lives, or you could say, how you do one thing, is how you do EVERYTHING. A couple of weeks ago, my 2 boys exchanged some heated words. Because they work together, it’s sometimes hit or miss, but in the end, they always love each other. I noticed how I was in that moment.
My oldest came in the house, dropped the baby in my arms, and went to go find the youngest, and have a “talking”. During the argument, I noticed that I just “checked out”, and went to the other room, away from the conflict, because that is what I do. In yoga texts, philosophy, they talk about this, because I’m guessing a fair amount of us do it. What they talk about, is stopping violence with loving effort. That means stepping in, and actually stopping the person who is being the most confrontational, and in that moment, if you can do it without being violent yourself, a tremendously good seed will be planted in your mind; that stops violence from happening around you permanently. Yes, what that means is this:
“in your presence all violence will cease”.
Can you imagine a better world that this? I cannot. After everything settled down, apologies were made, I noticed my response. When I was holding my granddaughter in the heat of the argument, she started crying, which made me try and comfort her. Anyone of us would do the same, and offer hugs, especially to little ones who are upset. What would have stopped the strong words immediately, would have been my granddaughter, because everyone has a soft spot for her. Instead of running away (my typical response) I should have walked in with the baby, and believe me, those boys would have stopped fighting immediately.
The yoga practice we do off the mat can be more important than the time on our mat. If we can notice our behavior, and then try to change our thought patterns, we are truly making excellent strides in the practice of yoga; a body that is free from dis-ease. It’s not easy, it takes a humble heart of noticing what you are doing, as you are doing it. Looking at past mistakes, and try to make things better the next time around. At first you just have to recognize your behavior. That is a huge effort. (We all want to think we are above everything, and don’t need to change a thing about ourselves!). After recognizing the way you are, you can visualize a different ending scenario. This helps when this argument happens again. If you don’t recognize how you are “feeding” this energy, it will happen over and over again, until you “get it” or understand this is for you to change about yourself.
This is how we change our world around us. This is our yoga practice on and off the mat. In our yoga practice are we being kind to ourselves?
Reduce stress hormones and increase “well being” hormones
Lowers blood pressure
Balances the immune system
Hugging someone for 20 seconds will put the body and brain in balance
Before Covid, touch was paramount in the classes I taught. A light touch here, can awaken the body part I’m trying to get to move. A nudge there can help the student feel and activate that muscle, and everyone loves a low back release from someone pressing on your sacrum in downward dog.
But what about the touch your partner gives you? Do you feel like you need more? I think most of us do. Touch connects us to each other, and promotes a strong bond of loving communication.
I will be going back to my old way of teaching and communicating the yoga, through demo’s, sight, using my voice and my body to adjust the asana. I believe though touch that the student understands so much more of the energy of the asana or posture, and can avoid pitfalls of pain in the long run.
Come and Learn a new way to communicate with your partner in our Thai Yoga Massage workshop. In Thai yoga you use a pressing down technique with your palms, as well as other methods to promote health to your partner. It’s incredibly relaxing technique that you can take home and practice with each other.
One evening, a Native American grandmother sat around the crackle of the village fire telling stories to the young.
“There is a battle going on inside every human. Including you. It’s a battle of two wolves — a dark and a light wolf. The dark wolf represents envy, arrogance, anxiety, ego, inferiority, regret, greed, self-pity, guilt, false pride, fear, pain, anger, jealousy, rage; the light wolf represents love, peace, humility, kindness, serenity, generosity, trust, tranquility, compassion, empathy, joy, gratitude.”
The grandmother sips her tea and turns silent, waiting for one of the wide-eyed kids to take the bait.
One finally does. “Grandma, which wolf wins?”
The Grandmother responds, “Whichever one you choose to feed.”
At first when you come to yoga, you may be unaware of the dark places that are in your body. But just as much as yoga brings out the light, happy, carefree moments, it also highlights the dark; sadness, loss, anger. This becomes the work of yoga; to get rid of the dark, or at least dim the dark.
What separates us, and really transforms us is our CHOICES. We CHOOSE to eat healthy, because great food creates health in our body. We CHOOSE to practice yoga, because the practice makes us feel good in our body. We CHOOSE to work because we have gifts to contribute to others, and yes, money is a side benefit. We CHOOSE to spend time with family and friends, because our mental health depends on healthy interactions.
All of these are important things to CHOOSE, but did you know that near the top of your CHOICES should be a yoga practice? And WHY?? Yoga practice begins to bring more light in our bodies, thoughts and minds, so that dark CHOICES cannot rule our thoughts. Everyone knows that sitting down binge eating and watching leads to unwanted pounds, and feeling off.
Sometimes despite our best efforts, we CHOOSE to travel down the dark path. We blame the family, weather, or others for feeling down or blue. Luckily, for some of us, it is short lived until we snap out of that way of thinking. Just this morning I woke up, and started to run down the things I had to do, and WOKE up, made the change into Gratitude. I can and do CHOOSE my thoughts, and good thoughts come easier with yoga practice. As I started my day with Gratitude thoughts, my body lightened up, and gave me fuel for all of those things I had to do.
I realize now that before Christmas I was also letting my thoughts travel in the wrong direction. It’s no surprise that I got a head cold. I also took a week off of yoga practice. When I came back I had some shoulder pain and stiffness. Thank God for all the years of consistent practice I had built up, because within 2 practices the pain was gone. See, the dark travels and tries to settle somewhere in your being: your joints, heart, organs. If you shoo it out of one area, it might settle somewhere else, until finally with consistent yoga the dark finally gives up trying to find a home in you. Despite darkness trying to get into your mind, or your body, you feel light.
I’m finding there are levels to our light/dark ratios. When you bump your head on the next spiritual level, more darkness comes in. I think the saying goes, “new level? new devil”.
Thank God there are yogi’s that came before us, and gave us tips, and guidelines on how to live and banish the dark. It’s important not only to do the yoga physically, but to sit down and learn the philosophy behind the poses. That is where change really happens, when we live the yoga off our mat as well.