Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Handstands Update

We're coming to the end of the month of September and I want to report back on a happening in my pose of the month. Remember we were working on Handstand held for a little bit longer... And, well, that's what's happening for me. I'm holding it for a little bit longer, and a little bit longer. Last week we had our local Anusara (inspired, without the paperwork) teachers' practice and one of the girls was chatting away and I just went up in Handstand and stayed and stayed without the wall. I LOVE that.

But, the real breakthrough came on Sunday in my class. One of the students who is new to me but has become an instant regular kicked up to handstand at the wall for the first time! WOO-HOO! This is amazing since she could barely hold L-pose (half handstand) a few weeks ago when she started. Now she is queen of melting her heart and is working on keeping Muscular Energy in her arms and the handstand just happened. She was totally thrilled to get there and I'm thrilled for her. Hooray for Handstands!

Savasana

Sometimes I blog or come up with my Facebook status when I'm in savasana. It's not really ideal, but it happens.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Grace


My Fundamentals Series started last night. Six very sweet souls showed up and I know I have another signed up for the remaining 5 weeks. Lucky Number 7.
Last night being the first night we started at the beginning. Set the Foundation and Open to Grace. I say it is the beginning, but in reality it is the holding principle for all others and all of life. Set the Foundation. Open to Grace. I could just type that in the blog each day and that would be enough.
Recently I made a mind-blowing break through in my thoughts about Grace. I had had a wishy-washy understanding of what Grace actually is. And I had an even more difficult time explaining it to others. Then one night I was re-reading the immersion manual and I read that Grace is the power of revelation. Something clicked. Grace IS the POWER. Grace doesn't have the power or use the power, no, Grace is the actual power.
So when we Open to Grace we're opening to have a power work on us. As I prepared yesterday I was reminded that power is required to create change. Nothing happens without a power source. Grace is the power that enables us to remember our true nature of absolute auspiciousness and goodness. Grace is the power that lifts the veils we've created and allows us to know who we really really are deep inside.
I have a deep longing to live in that space where I always know myself as Source, and so I have a great love for Grace. A great heart space for her to enter when I remember to open wide. I think I have a long way to go in bringing students to truly Open to Grace. All I can do is lead by example and Open to Grace in the fullest, hoping that bit by bit we'll all learn to be most skillful at this principle on and off the mat.
Contemplation: What does Open to Grace mean to me?

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Vata Time aka Get your Scarf On!

video

The wind in town for the past few days

I know very very little about Ayurveda. Ridiculously little about it, actually. But, one of the few things I do know is that we are deep in the heart of Vata time. Particularly right now in the middle of September we are transitioning from Summer Vata to the Fall part of the Vata season. And in RVA you can literally SEE it in the air. The wind around here has been phenomenal.
Vata has a lot to do with our relationships to the elements of Air and Space. And it can kick up a sense of frenzy and stress, and loss of breathing when these Vata transitions are going on. Especially for a person with Vata tendencies, you can expect to feel stressed out and dried out.

My teacher's remedy... wear a scarf. Layer up, cover yourself, drink warm liquids, do an oil massage, and while we enjoy the change of season and the wind in our hair, protect yourself from being blown off course by rooting to the Earth whenever possible.
I know, I know, it's still 85 and 90 degrees here in RVA, who wants to wear a scarf? This I think is the perfect excuse for the scarf and tank top wardrobe that sometimes can seem silly. Not so, in the Vata transition time a scarf to protect the throat makes perfect sense. So rock the look and take good care.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

What's Coming

Fall is getting into full swing here in my life (even though it's still 90 degrees in Richmond). And I thought I'd take a moment to update on my First Ever Yoga Series!

The yoga scene in RVA is such that most classes are offered on a drop-in basis. It's great for teachers and students alike in many ways. But, the downfall is that when trying to teach in a sequence designed to build through time, I end up with some people in the class who've been building to a pose for months and others who I've never seen before. It is a challenge to say the least.

So, I am very excited to be offering a 6-week series course every Thursday night 7:45 - 9pm beginning Sept 23. Students will be able to sign-up for the full 6 weeks (or just 5, if needed). And we'll be able to explore This great yoga in a dynamic way, building on itself week to week. I will be relying heavily on resources from Todd and Ann, specifically their instructions for an introductory series. But I'll also be certain to add my own spin. Being able to work with the same people week after week will truly let me tailor the practice to my special group. I'm Super excited!!!

Here's an excerpt from the write up for Yoga Source:

Fundamentals of Anusara-Inspired Yoga


Yoga Source is proud to offer a six-week course in the fundamental alignment and philosophy of Anusara-Inspired™ yoga. Course study will focus on detailed explanation and instruction in the 5 Universal Principles of Alignment™ which have the power to transform every pose.

Additional emphasis will be placed on the Shiva/Shakti Tantric "Life is Good" philosophy underlying Anusara-Inspired™ instruction. Particularly of interest are the 3 A’s: Attitude, Alignment, and Action which can help you create a full expression of joy in all asana. As always, inspirational language will lead your practice to become a true

"Celebration of the Heart!"

(OK, So that's not the actual picture we're using. I just think it's a fun one, look back and see why if you weren't paying attention)

Monday, September 13, 2010

Done UP

Hopefully there will be video and photography from Saturday night... but here's the make-up from the demo. FUN!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Tomorrow

If you're around Richmond and looking for something to do tomorrow evening, you can check out Yoga Source's 10th anniversary Open House from 6 to 9.

I might not mention it except that I'm participating in the 'Yoga Demonstration' with the two owners. I wrote about this earlier in the blog and thankfully I'm off the hook for Sirsasana with variations without a mat.

But if you're interested in checking it out, the Demo is now going to be sometime around 7. Come out, have a drink, visit with yoga friends, celebrate the force that is Yoga Source, and give a little moral support too. Whew!

Photos to come after tomorrow night!

Pose of the Month: September 2010

I realize I'm a bit late getting this up here, travel travel travel is my only excuse.

Anyway. Let's go for good old fashioned handstand this month. I could use work not on getting up, but on staying up once I get there. I tend to go up and then play around with balance and end up falling rather quickly. So this month, let's play with staying up for a while. Keep connected to the wall if you need to and stay for 10 breaths, or if 10 is easy... stay for 1 minute, or if 1 is easy... stay for 5. You get the idea. Go up, stay up, and challenge yourself!
This pose is easy to work with if you're not quite there yet. Practice downward facing dog, and 3 legged dog. Or practice 1/2 handstands. You can also play around with getting a good strong push and swing with your legs to build power towards getting to the wall or your friend's support.
But,whatever you do, STAY PUT.

Some poses that could help with handstands are:
Plank to build the heart melt and stamina, arms hug the midline
Downward facing dog heart melt and stamina, arms hug the midline
Parsvottanasana to open the hamstrings
Standing Split to strengthen and open the hamstrings

And, as with any inversion, check your foundation first and make sure you have that good juicy heart melt with your shoulders working all the principles.

Handstand for me is a fun pose and one that I took very lightly as I learned it. If you're not there yet, just laugh each time you come down and try again. Let it go. It's a great pose for that.
And when you ARE there, build that stick in there attitude and play play play. Hopefully once we've all expanded our time in handstand all month this pose will have some real power and energy, and when we finally come to floating up all on our own in the center of the room, it will be No Sweat to stay for hours.
Enjoy! leave a comment if you give it a shot.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Intentional

September is back to school time and seems like the start of a new year to me. I find September to be wildly full of possibilities and a good time to check in with my intentions or set new ones. I like to think of it as new years' resolutions... in fall.

These days my head and heart are brimming with ideas and possibilities. Trying to keep things simple when I'm overwhelmed with enthusiasm never works for me. So here are the three areas I hope to embrace and bring more deeply into my life this fall.

Nature
I realize I have far too little time in nature, specifically in wild nature and I'd like to have more of it. Plus I'd like to bring nature into my home more abundantly

Beauty
Inspired by several blogs commenting on this idea I've been noticing how un-beautiful my living space is. It isn't ugly. There just isn't anything in it that I sigh in rapture about. I'd like to change that.

Movement
not yoga, but dance or pure body movement. I've been thinking a lot lately about how limited the range of movement possibilities and dynamics are in yoga (even in Anusara). I think my body and soul will feel better if I remember the Dancing part of Dancing Yogini.

I understand these are not mutually exclusive and are perhaps quite inclusive of each other (like, I could take my practice of movement into the beauty of a field of flowers or pumpkins since it's fall). I will expand on each of these and the way I'm exploring them in my life as the days go on.
But I love the idea of September new years resolutions. Something about it feels just right.

Contemplation: What are you starting fresh with as we transition to fall?

Monday, September 6, 2010

Maine

What do you do in an outdoor shower?




Headstands, of course!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Away

While we were away our dear friend departed us. Tyco was with max for 15 years and me for 7 and he was certainly a handful but a very sweet pup. This pic is by Mary Heath Swanson and was taken a few years ago, but the grey in his mask is there and the sweetness in his eyes. The house is quieter now without him going in and out.