After a summer of “busy” we finally got back to yoga class this week!
Naturally Birdelini was there and this evening Rosie went too. Our teacher started the class out, as she always does, with asking to think about and set our intent for the class. Intent takes away expectations – the “shoulds” of the day, the “shoulds” of our minds. Intent is what you want/need to work with on FOR YOURSELF. You bring yourself to the yoga mat to calm your mind and body, to help manage the stress and the turns of the day – to stretch your body and mind. Intent is not a goal, it’s a process …Intent does NOT equal expectations. Intent is actually to help erase those expectations, to be a little easier on yourself, to not think it all has to happen, especially not all at one time, season, even year.
Rosie settled right into class and enjoyed it throughly. I am starting my second series of yoga prints with poses that help open the heart, open palm living. This drawing is the first of that series (Series #2. Series #1 is “Grounding Poses.”)
“Anjali Mudra is an excellent way to induce a meditative state of awareness. Start your practice sitting in meditation in Anjali Mudra for 5 minutes. You can also use this hand position in Tadasana prior to beginning the Sun Salutation sequence, contemplating the “sun” or light of awareness the yogis say is resident in your heart.
Reduces stress and anxiety
Calms the brain
Creates flexibility in the hands, fingers, wrists, and arms
Another week and another sunday morning yoga class gave Birdelini and I food for thought. This times it’s about holding on to your own space, owning and nourishing that space however expansive or tiny it may be. It refers not to marking out your territory but to truly holding your own self/space with no harsh negative judgments, an acceptance of your space and peace with your space. In the winter “our space” sometimes feels tighter and more constricted. It’s not really. It’s our innate human nature of “winterizing”- we tend to stand less tall, fold into ourselves more, rounded shoulders and slouching. In the cold we bundle up, look down, and walk fast to our destinations. That’s pretty close to tight-fisted living. (see last weeks post). Holding your own space goes hand in hand (all puns intended) with open palm living. You need to understand you can’t micro manage your space, you need to let is be, to fill, expand, and contract as needed. You certainly don’t need to try to control anyones else’s space, for that is really fruitless. Your space is what it is- your space, don’t judge it or others and the sides of your space will be so much smoother.
I poked around on-line a bit and found this at Spiritual Awaking Process. I thought he did a nice job of talking about this issue.
“Holding Space: Some Key Attributes Let me try to break this down a little bit. Here are a couple key characteristics to holding space, and I’ll give an example to help solidify what I’m talking about. Some components are:
Letting go of judgment
Opening your heart
Allowing another to have whatever experience they’re having
Giving your complete undivided attention to the situation/other person
Those are really the key elements of holding space. You’re not trying to influence the situation. You’re not trying to fix it, win at it, or affect any kind of outcome. You are simply being with it fully so that it can work itself out. This doesn’t mean becoming a victim to it. Quite the contrary actually, you’re very powerful in this space, and it certainly doesn’t mean being hurt physically by another. By when you’re deep into a space like this, you are far more immune to any “emotional” hurt than you might realize…” ( read more)
Sunday mornings I often have a small argument with myself, there are three parts to this “conversations.” The first part is: I am most likely lying in bed, snug and comfortable, and since it’s winter the outside is cold and my bed is warm. Leaving it seems silly. The second part is from my body: It is often just plain old tired and going back to sleep is pretty much always tempting. The third part is my mind: You see, the ideal, and the goal is, to get up, get moving, and go to Sunday morning yoga class. The mind says: Go- you will be glad you did…Go-it is always a good idea to go to yoga …Go-you will learn something new, whether it be a corrected pose or a thought. … Go- it’s exercise and stretching, and especially in the winter it’s important to keep the body moving! … Go-you love it when you do. Go-you feel better after class/practice. Go-its self kindness. Im glad to say the mind usually wins these days, and I do get up and go!
This past Sunday my teacher brought up a topic she has mentioned a few times lately. It’s the wisdom of an open palm. Birdelini and I love this and keep thinking about it. Read on and we think you will too.
Lets try something. Stop reading for about 30 seconds and make two tight fists. Clamp your hands as hard as you can. Breathe in and out. Hold another bit. Now think about that for a moment. It doesn’t feel very good, your muscles tend to tense up, you may have even scrunched up your face muscles. Did you feel the tension that came with that? Thats a fist that lets nothing in! Now, just put your hands out and open your palms up to the ceiling. …. Breathe in and out. Stay there another bit….Kind of amazing the difference in feelings! One is tight, controlling and stressful to hold. The other is almost relaxing! That’s the beauty of open palm living! An open palm, lets the day take its course it doesn’t need to control everything, for an open palm is open for giving and receiving. “Often we are focused on what we can get for ourselves out of the fear that if we don’t get all we can then someone else will get it and we will be missing out. We clench our fist and hold on tight. The Open Palm knows that there is much for everyone…” –http://www.balancedlifeyoga.ca/the-wisdom-of-an-open-palm-finding-balance/. Open palm living lets it “be” – ebbing and flowing, giving and taking in an open manner.
Birdelini and I continue in our yoga practice….we’re loving the open palm thoughts, and trying to be open to all that comes our way. How about you?
Birdelini and I went to yoga for the first time in YEARS yesterday. Our legs are still a bit wobbly today, but it’s a good sore.
As you can see, Birdelini insists on being styling – I was not nearly as fancy! Click on image to see it larger .
In case you want to know: Virabhadrasana is the Sanskrit name for Warrior Pose. These beautiful but vigorous poses are named after the great hero warrior Virabhadra from Hindu mythology.
The Warrior Poses take strength, steadiness, and a fierce determination to hold them with integrity. The legs and arms need to be strong and extended (where the legs are straight), the hips flexible, the chest open and well-lifted, and the spine extended to hold these poses well.-http://www.squidoo.com/yoga-warrior-pose