Friday, August 21, 2009

Enlighten Up!

This documentary by Kate Churchill follows journalist Nick Rosen around the globe where he studies different schools of yoga practice and philosophy. It was Churchill's intent that a genuine yoga practice is there for those who search for it. Her search, along with Rosen, took them from New York City and Woodstock to Hawaii and the great subcontinent of India.

"This simultaneously tongue-in-cheek and reverential docu will entertain the unenlightened without alienating the faithful" (Ronnie Scheib, Variety). I thoroughly agree. The film was a treat to watch and was filled with humor and passion. At one point, Rosen meets with Dr. Madan Kataria, the laughter yoga "guru". Rosen finds himself laughing at the laughter and asks Dr. Kataria how laughter yoga could possibly be considered spiritual. Kataria replies that laughter lifts your spirits. Your spirits are lifted...what's more spiritual than that?

Yogis, yoginis...go see this movie! You will appreciate it.

Monday, August 17, 2009

First Day of School

Well, not really "school"...but it was the very first day of the yoga class I'm teaching at the Topsfield Council on Aging. I visited the site last week so I could get a feel for the room. It's large with long lunchroom type tables and folding chairs. There are windows and the room was well lit. There was a corner table where I could stash my stuff and electricity was available for my mini boom box. So, today I arrived about a half hour early and met with the Director of the COA. Lydia was excited to have the yoga class up and running and helped me set up the room.

The students trickled in and I greeted them individually. Soon a young man walked in and he was carrying a large camera! Lydia wanted to publicize the class and explained that this fellow is from the local newspaper. (Had I known he'd be there for the entire class, I would have "dolled up" a little bit!!) Anyway, there were 10 people in all and none of them had any past experience with yoga - which was a good thing! I could then start with the basics - which I did - and they were enthusiastic and seemed to enjoy it.

I was a little nervous at the beginning of the class and I guess that's to be expected. But, I was really happy with the way it turned out and I think this is going to be a wonderful experience for me.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Moving Mountains

Take a look at the picture on the left of a woman in Mountain Pose. The body is in perfect balance and her posture is beautiful. I do this pose frequently and feel the difference it makes in my posture.

The other night I wanted to observe myself doing this pose step by step. So, in front of a mirror, I turned sideways so that I could properly check my alignment. I planted my feet and then firmed up my thighs. At this point, I glanced in the mirror. I then tilted my pelvis and gently brought my shoulders back and down. Wow! These two subtle movements made a huge difference in my alignment. Although I seldom practice in front of a mirror, I recommend checking yourself from time to time. You'll be pleased with the results. :)

Monday, August 10, 2009

Restorative Yoga

Everyone has an occasional sleepness night. Mine was on Saturday night and so when I got up on Sunday morning, I was really fatigued - and crabby. And, I just didn't have enough energy to unroll my mat and begin to practice. Then, I remembered reading about restorative yoga in Yoga for Life by Alan Finger. Restorative yoga can help you if you have injuries, physical limitations, or if you are just plain tired, like me. The postures are held for longer periods of time and this, in turn, gives the body what it needs to relax and heal. He suggests a sequence of 4 poses and recommends using several props such as folded blankets, blocks, etc., so that there is less strain on the body.

I concentrated on Viparita Karani (Legs up the wall pose) since I find this most relaxing and beneficial for me. In Finger's book, he tells us that "By doing this simple inversion, you redirect the blood flow in the body and remove some of the pressure that builds up in the legs and feet. This simple reversal can be powerfully rejuvenating."

An eyebag over my eyes increased the feeling of relaxation and my spirits were much improved!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Poetry in Motion

Take a look at this beautiful candle holder demonstrating the Upward Facing Dog pose! Is that poetry in motion or what!
My girlfriend, Linda, and I have been doing yoga together for about 4 weeks now. She's making great progress and has been tremendously helpful to me in improving my teaching skills. Yesterday she presented me with this gift and I just love it! Thank you, Linda!!!!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Let there be Light!

During yoga teacher training, Peggy and Karen scattered index cards in the center of the room. We were told to select a card, keep it face down until everyone had a card, and then together, we would turn the card over. Each card had one word on it and we then had to use that word as often as we could during that day. On two out of four days, my word was light. Now, what could be the meaning of that, I asked? But, here it is several weeks later and I find myself seeing light everywhere. There's moonlight, sunlight, daylight, and I've been told to lighten up and I'd be sure to see the light at the end of the tunnel!

Here's an affirmation, though, that makes great use of the word:

"The light within me is healing my entire body." Sounds like a plan.

Monday, August 3, 2009

A trip to your mind

I'm thinking of using a beach in Bermuda as a visualization when doing final relaxation. One look at this picture and I am totally relaxed!!!! And, if I think about it, I can recall the pink sand, soft as a pillow - I can see the clear blue sky - I can feel the warm ocean breeze - I hear the sounds of the tide coming in - the tide going out...and in the background, I'm listening to the tinkling music of a steel band. What is amazing about relaxation exercises is that you can truly experience all of the sensations if you just "let go". Of course, this is easier said than done...but that's why it's called a practice!!!!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Where does the time go?????

For some reason or other, time gets away from me. Here it is a Sunday night - a day of rest, mind you - and I barely had 5 minutes to sit down!!!! But, I did manage a mini yoga session early this morning. That seems to be the best time of day for me to do yoga. It's before breakfast and the "to do" list and I'm not as tired as I am at the end of the day. So, this morning I did some warm-ups, some balance poses, and a nice circular flow that I found in Renee LeVerrier's book, Yoga for Movement Disorders. I finished up with a shoulder stand and then relaxed with "legs up the wall" pose. Ahhh, that felt good!!!