Minor breakthrough here. You see I have a fascination with uneven ground because when I was having a difficult time walking because of my knee, I discovered for me walking on uneven dirt or gravel trails tended to help (not necessarily while walking, but the next day). I have been trying to find ways to duplicate this on days I can’t get outside. This might do it. I think a rolled up mat works better than blocks I was trying to on my feed earlier. This is still experimental, I’ll let you know how it goes. There may be a life lesson in here somewhere, but your mileage might vary.
Here is Cincinnati the daffodils have been in bloom for a bit and the magnolias are starting. Take your practice outside:
Because a lot of us spend long hours like this, yoga is necessary to counterbalance our day to day life. I like computers, but after a lot of office time, I really recognize the value of the asana (postural) practice. Even if you don’t do yoga asana, remember to stand up and stretch from time to time (I will try to remember too). It will also help if you are trying to get some mental creativity for a work project.
Sometimes props do not make things easier or harder, they just let me explore a pose differently. In this case, a little extra resistance.
Sometimes I like to use the blocks at the highest height for lunges as it is an active but not overly stressful way to open the muscles around my hips. I know I showed a lunge recently, but I love them!
Urdhva mukha svanasana (upward facing dog) on blocks makes the pose feel more spacious in order to move the shoulders back and down although it may require more arm strength. I start with the knees on the ground to give me more power for the lift off into this pose.
Rooting the head and strengthening the shoulders without headstanding. (Yes, I often wear a coat doing yoga inside in the winter, I’m cold! ⛄️).
Using two blocks in high lunge to alleviate the pressure in my right hip. Don’t be afraid to use props in your yoga classes or home practice to achieve the best experience for your body.
Sometimes you need a little support to find your dance ~ dancer pose variation with strap.
Playing with shoulders and a backbend in utthita parsvakonasana.
Using a strap in tree gives me something to have resistance against on my injured knee. I’m pressing out into the strap.
I have an interesting view on honesty. I know many philosophy schools and religions extoll the virtue of being honest; however, as someone who was trained as a social scientist, I hold the contradiction that dishonesty is one of the skills that holds the social fabric of society together. Because of that knowledge, it becomes dishonest for me to claim that honesty is always the best way to express ourselves in the world. Even to ourselves, there are times that too much honesty, to much clarity, can cause serious mental distress. Times that honesty may not be the best policy. Despite this, there are moments when we touch something that feels primal and pure. One is the deep connection with the breath in yoga. Closing the eyes and softening the body until you feel the skin dancing to the the rhythm of the breath.
This is the place from which the movements unfold, from which the postures unfurl. Yes, the muscles support the bones, but there must be enough sensitivity from inside to let the body float on the wave of the breath. Sometimes, you can find this by integrating one motion with the breath – rounding and arching the back, bending and straightening the knee, or raising and lowering the arms. The beat of the breath charting the length in time that these actions occur. Other times, the bones settle and still, but the internal space out to the skin still finds the tempo instigated by the lungs. There are moments with abandon although perhaps not reckless, that the whole body flows in at out of postures or grand motions, riding on the wave of your breath. The breath creates the forms that encompass the entire reachable world for one.
This feels like a truth, a moment of purity. So what of lies then? Perhaps the falling out of rhythm of the breath as much as falling into it. We will notice disconnect – but instead of admonishment, truth beyond truth is that these moments of disconnect are part of the larger dance. And so we move to the rhythm of the breath, and so we dance.
Death has seemed to permeate spare moments recently. First I learned of the death of an influential teacher, then the news of the suicide of Robin Williams. In the meantime my own mind was manufacturing thoughts of my own death, so when I heard about Williams my thought was, “wow, he lasted a long time.” All the listings seemed to include his age at 63, a full 20 years more than I’ve lived, and in the moment of my own darkness that was seeming really amazing (as in how could he do it: live so long with such hopelessness!)—and I write this also knowing that 63 can be very young, but for someone carrying psychological heaviness 17 can also feel old.
In 2011 I wrote a couple pieces on SUICIDE (Suicidal Education. How Thinking on Death Might Help. and Open to a Radical Acceptance of Life, including Death and…
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We often see yoga pictures of lithe bodies moving through what appears to be impossible in serene ways. I was this, I did this – not with the skill of a dancer or a acrobat – but still in the full knowledge and pride that I could do what a lot of adults in the west could not. And I won’t lie to you, I still have moments of grace. But injury has made me explore more deeply what movement works for me. This creates forms that may not always look like the poses in pictures.
I know what I am doing in this picture is still not accessible to a lot if people, but part of me looks at it and thinks my feet should be all the way down. Even though only having the heels down feels better for me at this time. It allows me to move in a way that works for me. Isn’t this what so many of us are working on? Finding our way to move in this world that works for us? That doesn’t harm others? And then inhabiting it without shame?
I have decided to practice outside as much as possible as walking is still difficult for me. There was an older woman on Humans of New York who once side wonderful things happen when you go outside, so now that I am starting to feel better I am making an effort to get outside and do small explorations. That being said, into every life a little rain must fall. It is needed for growth.