Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Happy New Year 2012 - New Year's Intentions

This morning, I've been sitting at my computer (will do some yoga right after this to counteract the computer slump and clicking wrist ache!). Reading through lots of blogs, checking friends on FB/Twitter and reading local & world news and seeing themes emerge about the New Year.

Lately it's been bothering me how we all rush to make those BIG New Year's Resolutions... Lose Weight, Stop Smoking, Make More Money, Get Rid Of Stress.

In the last few months, I've been setting small intentions for practice and thought the idea of setting New Year's Intentions was probably a better alternative, for me at least. Not that I have been big on resolutions ANYway... too easy to forget! But I guess I have always understood that it takes more that making a resolution. Change, real lasting personal change, takes time. Takes INTENTION. Takes thought... understanding that just saying: " I will lose weight or workout more or get rid of stress" does not address the underlying issues. What makes us eat that puts on weight, what makes us stressed etc? How can we reduce stress? Maybe we just need to learn to accept that some stress is a part of life. Just learn to sit with it for a bit.

Also a part of setting intentions, whatever they are, is reminding ourselves each and every day. Reaffirming those intentions. Accepting that some days those intentions will get no further than stating them. And knowing that some days we will live those intentions and feel the powerful happiness that comes with having lived those intentions.

At the beginning of class I often ask students to set an intention... maybe just a feeling, a word or a dedication of that day's practice to someone who needs their love. A New Year's Intention can be the same. An intention to be more grateful, more loving, or to take a moment every day to think of someone else. Perhaps to feel lightness or to walk around with open eyes or open heart. I saw a great video on FaceBook today that I'd like to share here... it is so simple and profound.

Also wanted to share this blog posting of the Yinsights newsletter that I read. It addresses how resolutions are Yang and the Yin is learning to accept. Read and let me know what you think, if you like! The Yinside of New Year's Resolutions

Here is an excerpt that stood out to me:

"This year, why not resolve to accept something about yourself that you will no longer try to change or improve! You may even decide that this is the year that you accept something about someone else and vow to no longer try to change him or her! Sure, go ahead and consciously make a yang resolution to do or not do something, but why not add a yin resolution this New Year's? What are you going to accept, allow and no longer try to change this year?"

Hmmmm. Makes you think!

SO Happy New Year 2012... live every day as if it were your first and your last!

And Namaste

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Happy Solstice

Just a little note to say Happy Solstice... Really just a Happy whatever it is that you celebrate. In our area, we have been so fortunate this year to have lots of sunshine during the day and clear nights (awesome stars & moon) so the shortest day of the year didn't feel as oppressive as it sometimes can. It is amazing what light does for our bodies, souls and minds...

But thinking about this time of year and what it can mean led me to something that I am focusing a lot on in classes this week: letting go of the old, or un-needed and making room for the new or needed. Letting go of old hurts, be they physical or spiritual and making room for new feelings and new experiences. We can ALL benefit from this. I know that I sometimes hold a physical "hurt" or injury and it takes a lot of conscious thought to let it go, to ease out of that scar-tissue zone and let the healing in. To let the new blood-flow and ease back in. And so it goes with the heart and with the spirit....

Namaste, my friends. Have a wonderful holiday season, hug your loved ones near and far. Appreciate each and every person for who they are; each and every day for what it is for you: a gift.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

What I'm Reading Now: 4 reasons pigeon pose makes you cry - Y is for Yogini

I just revisited this blog today and wanted to share with everyone what I am RE-reading! 4 reasons pigeon pose makes you cry - Y is for Yogini

It is amazing how we learn... well, I suppose I have to clarify that it is how I learn! Sometimes it seems that I make leaps and bounds and learn something new everyday. My brain can't contain it all, can't absorb it and I struggle to convey all that has made its way into my consciousness. At other times it seems that I am not keyed into what is out there for me. Maybe I am, just on a very subconscious level and it where all that I have absorbed is then integrated into me.

SO hips... they are a constant source of interest in class. We complain of tight hips and strain to release what we feel we need to. Pigeon, also knows as Eka Pada Rajakapotasana, is awesome and amazing, although not appropriate for all of us in the most common form. However, if you CAN ease into a pigeon it is amazing what it does for body and mind. I love how the layers of trying begin to melt away as I ease into the pose and feel the hip opening, and the muscles and fascia releasing. Mmmm, good! At times, what is also amazing is how the emotions start bubbling to the surface.

On that note, click on the link from Y is for Yogini, read her posting and let me know what you think!


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Yoga in the Wintertime.... and What I'm Reading Now

Went for a great training session this morning in our town. We are fortunate to have a great set of public stairs over-looking town and the awesome river. And at a count of 413, it means we have a great training area. I sprint down them and walk fast & jog (or do some interval training) up them for a total of 4 times round trip. That's a lot of stairs. And a lot of fun... now. Didn't used to be!

I'm about ready to up it to 5 rounds but am not sure when to make that call. Yoga has taught me to look for the balance between ease and effort... to walk the line and know where I am each and every day. As if by magic Sage Rountree's new blog posting arrived in my email in-box today to remind me that as an athlete, there are some traits that are plusses in sports can be a hindrance in yoga. If you are interested, here is her blog:

Click on the link, read the posting and let me know what you think.

Being that it is winter, I'm also enjoying downhill skiing again! Woot, woot. So that means that I'm adding a few different poses to my yoga classes. Yes, we are doing more Chair Pose - Utkatasana. But also more deep stretches and gentle poses to balance out the actions of skiing. We are spending more time in balances, and looking out for our knees in poses like Warrior 1 & 2 - Virabhadrasana I and II. We are concentrating a little more on our ankles and feet as they spend so much more time immobilized in boots.

I love the change of seasons, the change of sports and the change in my yoga practice. It helps us remember that the only constant in life is change. It helps us learn to embrace the impermanence that is our life and to perhaps appreciate what is now.