Going for Gold!
Do your best and try to take home the highest prize! Most of us have grown up with the impression and instruction that the harder we try the better we do. Why doesn’t this work for Yoga too? Should we ‘Go for Gold’ in class? Many of us do what we are told. Isn’t that why we looked for a teacher in the first place? And the highest prize is the much sought after peak pose. It looks so delicious when the teacher sweeps their way into it. We can see the results clearly on them! A healthy body and a calm mind as each breath fills the vessel that is now trikonasana or handstand or full splits. Surely, we would feel much better if we were to get closer to that pose, that special prize!
It wasn’t long ago that indignation and concern rippled through the Yoga journals, blogs and studios when The New York Times article declared ‘Yoga can damage your body’! ‘The offending article, which appeared across several pages of the paper’s prestigious Sunday magazine, was written by senior science writer William Broad. In it, he alleged that students and even “celebrated teachers” were injuring themselves “in droves” by over-ambitious and under-taught yoga moves.’ (http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2012/jan/14/yoga-can-damage-body-row). Today, we are looking at removing ‘over ambition’ from our yoga practice. Taking ambition out of the mix is the very thing that may give you what you were searching for (in all the wrong places). More flexibility, more calm, more movement, more focus, more feeling of being present, less anxiety, less feeling of being less than. When we stop reaching and berating, the body can relax. When the body is relaxed and comfortable, it is capable of amazing feats (still you must be patient and forgiving too).
Click below for the Yoganonymous article on Meeting Yourself Where You Are. A fantastic article on letting acceptance onto the mat with you and kicking over ambition off!
Relaxation/Corpse or Savasana Pose, lying on the back, relaxing the body with simple natural breath, is the most important pose of the class, not just a fancy name for a nap! One of my very favorite teachers, and certainly the one that has me in giggles the most, Sue Woodd of Seasonal Yoga School (http://www.seasonalyoga.co.uk/preston-course/), says that your Yoga practice is like an energetic poo – and forgetting Savasana is like forgetting to flush. How’s that for arresting imagery and becoming almost embarrassed NOT to relax at the end of your class!? Click below for Five Life Affirming Benefits of Corpse Pose http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-2571/5-LifeAffirming-Benefits-of-Corpse-Pose.html
I am not talking about vitamins and minerals here, although nutrition is a very important subject in yoga. I am talking about not leaving your Yoga class as just that. A class. A one and a half hours on the mat with your teacher and your sequence of the Season.
Although this is a big achievement, it is in the supplementation of this class that we often find the most prized gems from our teacher, such as the philosophy of Yoga, advice on sleep, diet and lifestyle, partner disciplines such as Chi Kung, marma massage, Ayurvedic body-typing and the hugely popular (both with students AND with yoga teachers) – Seasonal Yoga Workshops. Look to your Yoga teacher for some extra hours, your Sunday supplement, to dive into the juicy extras that freshen your practice and increase that much needed time out for body and mind.
Seasonal Yoga is a way of practicing yoga within the natural cycles of Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter. It can be easy with our fast paced, technologically focused, work hard, work out, play hard, out late culture to become disconnected from Nature’s rhythms. During each day is the rhythm of the Sun arching over us bringing dynamic fire energy toward us and away from us. As the sun lifts so does our energy, till it peaks at midday. Then our energy drops lightly each hour until the sunset. During the course of the year the Sun also sets a rhythm. During the height of Summer our energy is at its most powerful. Each month our expressive energy drops a little but is matched by a rising tendency for reflection and quiet. During the depths of Winter we find stillness, peace and retreat until once again with the melting warmth of Spring, rising shoots and bursts of colour our energy starts to lift and move outwards and upwards once again. Seasonal Yoga also offers advice and enlightenment on the way to eat and move during the Seasons. Certain foods can help restore and rejuvinate during the colder months and others lighten us, allowing for quick expression and animation during the exciting and longer days of Summer.