Thursday, August 22, 2013

Month of Shoulder Stand - Day 4

So I tried it, Shoulder stand without thinking about alignment too much.  Well, I tried anyway. I realized that I have to be ok with readjusting. I will collapse, so I will have to readjust. 

I do have to think about alignment. BKS Iyengar has been quoted as saying that God is on the midline of the body. Just like in meditation, we have to ensure that the body is in proper alignment. That alignment of the spine is the means for the travel of energy in the body. 

So here is my new goal - align the body without it being the focus. 

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Month of Shoulder Stand - Day 3

Today's practice was all about alignment and placement. In class tonight, we worked with Setu Bandha up the wall, as a means for aligning our shoulder stands. 

I often have my students work in this way, drawing the tailbone into the center of the room, groins toward the wall, and hands moving down to the shoulder blades. 

This made me realize that I am often very focused on alignment - to the point of perfection - trying to get my hands as close to the floor as possible, tailbone so very forward, groins back, tops of the shoulders, etc. 

Tomorrow, I plan on attacking the pose in a softer way- without attacking. Keeping it soft and without judgement. Relaxed. Lets see how it goes.

Month of Shoulder Stand - Day 2

As I practiced shoulder stand today, I couldn't help digesting something that I had heard yesterday. I was at a workshop with the amazing Kevin Gardner, when he shared something beautiful about Jalindara Bandha. Kevin said that when we are in the very earliest stages of life, the heart and the brain are the first parts if the body to develop (heart first, brain second). And they're developed right next to each other, in incredibly close proximity. So when we do shoulder stand, it is just like bringing the two back together.

I found this incredibly touching at the time, but it means much more and is so much deeper when meditating on this while doing shoulder stand. I can't help but be completely focused on this idea. It makes me wonder how influenced my brain was by the heart at the time, in the womb. And if I continue to bring them together, can I bring myself back to that original state? Can we return to leading from the heart, before the brain existed? Is this the point?

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Month of Shoulder Stand - Day 1

As many of you know, over the last year I have been recommitting myself to my pranayama practice. One thing that is very important to pranayama is Jalandara Bandha - which is perfected in shoulder stand. I feel like I have been neglecting my shoulder stand a bit - so I have determined that I will go back to doing 5 minutes of shoulder stand every day. 

I realized today how far I have drifted away from comfort in shoulder stand. I don't have a lot of trouble when others are telling me what to do (from a teacher in class), but when I practice on my own, I often back away from shoulder stand sooner than I originally intend to. Today I started easy (for me), by holding shoulder stand for about two minutes, then doing three minutes of halasana. I believe that my issues with the pose come from my shoulders and groins. Tightness and fatigue often pull me away from my holding, so I know that I have a lot of work ahead of me - to loosen up and maintain the holding for longer.

I will try to write something every day - try! Wish me luck.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Thoughts on Practice

I have been working with my classes lately with Sutra 1.14 - regarding practice. The sutra says that practice should be uninterrupted and practiced with devotion. 

I have to admit that my practice has slumped in the past few days. I typically do asana every day, I practice pranayama most days, I chant just about every day, etc. I have been away on business, and have unfortunately laxed. 

My attitude has changed noticeably. I feel grumpy, impatient, rude. I felt that recently I had found some peace. It is remarkable what a few days will do. Well, everyday is a new day and my practice starts over today.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

The Perfect Amount of Sleep

Recently I wrote about vacation and being in the present. Since then I've been trying to bring that feeling to my everyday life. It's so funny how difficult it is to be in the present. From the moment I wake up I put myself into the future. I often wake up telling myself that I didn't get enough sleep, and it's going to be a very hard day. All of a sudden I have created myself a story.

From that moment forward, I am in the future. Thinking about how rough the next hour or the next day is going to be. How can I possibly be present after that?

I read once, from BKS Iyengar I believe, that one should wake up believing they got the perfect amount of sleep. After all, once we've woken up, how can we change that. 

I've been noticing on my morning walk with Franklin, my dog, that I need to struggle to pull myself into the moment. It's fascinating to me, because it's such a beautiful time of day. The sun is coming up, It is so quiet, and there's no one there. So I've begun to take note of this issue. Drawing my attention to it. Allowing Myself to enjoy the moment or at least be in the moment.

I found tht beginning my day in this way chips away at some of the difficulty.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Vacation - a Lesson for the Present

I was very blessed recently, because I was able to go on vacation. Probably even more blessed than I had originally thought. Blessed because this time away helped me to realize quite a few things.

The biggest thing I learned is that I am not very present. It took me quite a few days to realize that I am as high strung as I am. I've always known that I am very future focused, but what I didn't realize was the toll that it was taking on me. 

It was about day four of my vacation that I realized how difficult it is for me to just relax and enjoy the moment. I'm constantly worried about what comes next, what my plans are, and how to achieve them. I live a very regimented life, with work, my own yoga practice, and the classes that I teach. The idea of being present is such a simple thing, I find that it's so easy to overlook. There's nothing like a vacation to help you realize this. What I need to do now is take that lesson and apply into my daily life. Today I figured I'd try something else -Try not to live for the next moment, instead living for the one I have right now.

I remember that I saw a television program was interviewing a pretty high-profile actor. He said that acting has taught him a lot, and the most important thing is to live in the moment, right now. Living in the moment like you are living it for the first time. We walk through life not actually enjoying our experiences, not living our experiences. We are home every day, we are at work and with friends every day. Taking the time to really be there changes everything.