Here is Austin we work hard, play hard, and that is why Svasana (corpse pose) is an incredibly important aspect of yoga. In every class, we raise the heart rate, activate every muscle, and connect your breath with the movements of your body. First, your victorious breath called Ujjaji fuels your blood cells with fresh oxygen. Secondly connecting your breath with Muscle Energy (muscle contraction), stimulates the production of red blood cells in the marrow of the bones. Combine your “breath" and your "body” and you will generate a spark, an awakening on the deepest level of the consciousness. This is pure potential power in your body and this spark gives your body the power to strike these life changing poses. As important as fire, fuel and vitality is to the body, so is the opposite. If yoga is union of polar energies, it’s equally important in our yoga system that the body is rested and the muscles pull away from the bones at the end of class. In svasana (final resting pose), your blood pressure will lower as well as your heart rate. As you lie on your back and release each bone and muscle, the body teaches itself to let go, surrender and relax. So as much as we teach you to fire up the muscle, the rest at the end of class is just as important. In other words, stay in svasana. It’s important to balance your health.
Initially I was drawn to this excerpt because of its undertone of tough love, to which, as I’m sure you know by now, I am very receptive. Upon further examination I realize that the philosophy behind it is applicable to every part of my life.
I attribute my hard-working, determined personality to the fact that I am Capricorn. Also attributable to this is could be my constant self-deprecation through criticism. Never am I smart enough, productive enough, accomplished enough, capable enough. This is of course through my own limited perception: I am not enough for myself, and I need to be better for myself. This internal monologue sabotages my power and successes in the long run as I look for concrete signs that I am improving.
However, in my bountiful 16 years I have scarcely seen a blatant or obvious mark of validation. If my “fruit of work” is my own satisfaction, then maybe I will have to do without it. This is not to say that I will be unsatisfied, but rather a suggestion that where I am, at any moment in time, is going to have to be enough: no more, no less.
Through this thinking, and with the eradication of my own undermining tendencies, I can move past my own mindset and expedite my growth boundlessly and without a reward or endpoint in sight.
This same thought process is important in an everyday yoga practice. No pose should be performed with the goal of perfection, or even to immediately reach full expression. Instead, focus should be on correct alignment, muscle energy, breath; all of the components that bring life to the pose as opposed to a quick artificial success or reward of an asana.
After all, the best part of any reward (whether it’s attainable or not) is working toward it. To quote Miley Cyrus, “It’s The Climb.” The best part of working toward being a yoga teacher is learning in a supportive and challenging environment with people I am safe with and deeply connected to; not the certificate at the end. The best part of Side-Angle Lunge is feeling the rock hard burn in my thighs as my breath circulates completely through my being as I glue my hands together for the bind; not the wobbly Bird of Paradise that I attempt just to prove I can.
The best part of life is living it.
200 Hour Teacher Training Graduate
Breath and Body Yoga 2017
Time. We can’t make more of it. With the holiday season upon us, how do we balance work, family, travel, shopping, celebrating and a yoga practice? How do we squeeze everything into our day and not feel exhausted? This season, I’ve committed to practicing “precision”. Recently, I’ve found myself in a haze. My mind wanders and my actions mirrored that with incompletion and sloppiness. During that foggy time, it’s easy to waste time and check out, surf the web, or even check in with the news on the latest daily political drama. But starting this week, when I feel myself drifting away, it’s time to get into action. It’s time to get precise my life with words, communication, actions and practice. This holiday season I invite you to cut out all the things that do not empower you and waste your energy. We only have a limited amount of time and energy, so let’s stay on a path of empowerment. If our words create our world, let’s communicate with words that serve others and spread love and uplift others. Let’s knock out our action items with a commitment to completeness. Precision is a practice and it starts on the mat. It’s time to get on our mat and practice with out wasting energy but empowering ourselves. Today, step bigger and bolder into Warrior 1. Inhale deeper, exhale more. Remove the excess steps in your downward facing dog. Notice how much energy you save when focused on precision. Save your energy for the things most important in the world. Save your energy for love, sharing, friends and family.
I love practicing and all the poses yoga offers. They are landing points that we work deep actions. But, have you ever considered that the transitions in between the poses are just as important as the poses? How many times have you left your house and then 2 minutes later questioned yourself if you locked the front door? Last month I wrote about the big changes happening in the world. The big changes seem to keep coming. So how do we set ourselves up success with so many changes happening? Here’s one way; let’s focus on the transitions on and off the mat.
If your transitions between the poses are treated with mindfulness, the poses are then set up for success. With this mindfulness you are set up to maintain a solid foundation, strong muscle connection to the bones, and then the poses and the transitions flow together smoothly. The breath then ties together the movement in-between the poses together. I invite you to focus on transitions on and off the mat. Be mindful and diligent and ease will come when we are present to each moment. These principles on the mat also work in our life. Be mindful of the transitions in your life. With one breath at a time, one step at a time, we can make it through anything. Everything we need is inside of us. We just need to access it. This will give us the foundation to face the challenges and changes happening in our lives.
This month we celebrate the two year anniversary of the Exposition studio. We are also starting a scholarship fund for teacher training and need your help. We when come together anything is possible. We can do this.
Change is in the air. Stay in the flow and you’ll catch the freshness.
This morning a cool breeze blew through the open doors at the studio. With the fall school session beginning, the eclipse, teacher training beginning for us, the breeze stopped me in my tracks and I realized that change is here and nothing is permanent in the world, good, bad, high or low. As I felt the breeze on my skin, it reminded me to experience what is happening in this moment and be with the change. My friend Liz Moody is experiencing change moment by moment as her first baby is due any minute now. Also my dear friend, architect and legend, Dick Clark passed last week. From birth to death and everything in between, we are so lucky to experience life, love, and change.
So get on your mat and get real with the change happening in your life. The body changes moment by moment. Are you stronger, weaker, more flexible, or balanced from yesterday? If you are resisting change, your body will tighten up. When you accept change, the body with move with ease. Your mat is the best place to experience change and check in with your life.
Change is a constant and power vinyasa yoga, teaches you to let go of resistance and move with strength and ease. Feel what you need to feel. Let the sun shine on your skin. Allow the breeze to blow through you hair. Feel fully and love your life. It is a precious one.