Monday, April 23, 2012

Twist and Detox - One Week Later

It has been one week since the twist workshop and I feel amazing - very open and light. I have been trying to carry over some of these new habits: changing my diet moderately to include more vegetables and fruit, with more basic grains. As far as my diet goes -I have gotten much simpler. Nothing too fussy, just simple and clean.

I have also been taking more time for myself, or what I would like to call "smell the flowers time". My workload has picked up at my full time job, but even with this extra work and stress, I am taking more time for myself and allowing time to be with myself. Spring brings so many beautiful things that you can miss if you don't pay attention - in yourself and your surroundings. If my time with the detox has taught me anything, it is to enjoy that time.

The workshop itself had a larger effect on me than I originally thought. I left with a rather large post-class euphoria. I was really affected by the chakra-related twist. I love working with natural rotation/axis. Feeling the natural rotation and momentum that the body has, without much effort, is very powerful. I look forward to next year's detox and Twist Into Spring workshop.

Cultivating the Opposite

I had such a wonderful weekend - a yoga weekend. After two full days of yoga therapeutics training, I taught my Sunday night class. I felt so open and sharing and loving. The idea of helping others, of course, brings such joy. For some reason, within one day, I found myself angry and frustrated. I easily found reasons to be upset at work and at home - distracted by how things "should be" or "could be." I am consistently amazed at how quickly our minds can change our mood within a short span of hours.

I have come to believe that our minds sabotage our work. At the end of the day, I know that I have to work, not assume that I can change without work. After days like today, I come back to Sutra II.33, "Upon being harassed by negative thoughts, one should cultivate counteracting thoughts." I understand that it is ok to be angry and it is good to be with my feelings. I feel, however, that these feelings are not helping me. After being with my feelings, I know that I also have to cultivate the opposite (pratipaksa bhavanam).

I was particularly bothered by the words and actions of a few people. I have to realize that while no one is perfect, we are all made of the same piece of perfection. My work - looking beyond the surface level, what I can see, and instead think of what is common and perfect about all of us.

I will think of the following to overcome this:

          svasti prajabhyah paripalayantam
          nyayena margena mahim mahisah
          gobrahmanebhyah subhamastu nityam
          lokasamasta sukhino bhavantu

"May all of humankind be happy and well. May the great noble lords protect the earth in every way by the path of just virtue. May there be perpetual joy for those who know the real nature of things. May al the worlds be happy."

Monday, April 9, 2012

Yoga Weird - Kriyas - Neti

For those of you who delve deeply into Hatha Yoga, you will eventually hear about kriyas, or cleansing techniques. It is believed that these cleansing techniques help to prepare the body for the physical practice of asana.

One of the most common Kriyas is neti. There are two types of neti:

  • jala neti - pouring water in one nostril and draining it out of the other

  • sutra neti - pulling a fine thread in one nostril and out of the other
In addition, there are other types of neti where the practitioner can draw milk in one nostril and out the other. Some even use ghee - or clarified butter. Regardless, this practice is used to cleanse the nasal passage to help eliminate distraction and prepare the body for practice (asana, pranayama, etc).

As part of my teacher training, I had to buy a neti pot and join in on a group neti. Of course, I wanted to try a neti prior to class to ensure that I looked like I knew what I was doing. Unfortunately I could not figure it out on my own. For this reason, I walked in incredibly nervous. I did not want to be the student that gagged on my neti in front of everyone.

I was very thankful to have a teacher that could easily explain the process. I was also very stuffed up at the time, so I was doubly thankful to have a good nasal cleaning. I began to use my neti pot every morning, helping me easily keep my nasal passage clean - virtually eliminating my fall allergies. I stopped using it once the weather got cold, because I know that if one is susceptible to nose bleeds, they should not use the neti pot. When I was a child, I would get nose bleeds all winter long, so I have strayed from using it.

I am writing about neti today because I brought my neti pot back out for spring. Now that allergy season has started, I have been waking up with a runny nose - typical. I feel wonderful today - still some runny nose, but much better.

For those of you who have not tried it, I would encourage you to give neti a shot. When you do, ask someone who has been doing it for a while to show you how. This person can help you make sure that you have the right water/salt mixture and ensure that you are using the proper head tilting technique.

It is not as weird as you think - I promise.