OPEN YOUR HEART

OPEN YOUR HEART One of the 8 Limbs of Yoga as noted by the Yoga Sutras, is Svadhyaya – self-study. The practice of yoga provides an opportunity to observe ourselves. We start with observing our breath and we notice how our physical body is doing as we practice poses (asanas). The physical practice of asanas is a great way to stay in tune with our body. The simple act of taking the time to feel how our body feels brings awareness to that which we may not have noticed. We can learn where there is tightness and then bring attention and breath to that area and create relaxation. Savasana is the final resting pose, at the end of our physical practice. The real challenge in this pose is not for the body, although to lie still can be a challenge for some, it is for the mind to be still. Is getting your mind to be quiet a challenge for you? If thoughts come, just let them go and bring your attention back to your breath. As we reflect on our asana and meditation practice, we can observe not only our body but also our mind and emotions. Just as the body can reflect to us tightness in certain parts, the mind reflects to us our tightness of mind and emotions, our clinging to certain thoughts. This shows us something about ourselves. After our practice we can then reflect on what arises during our practice. This self-reflection allows us to see ourselves more clearly. This opens us to look at ourselves as we show up in our lives. Where...

Do Your Practice And All Is Coming

“DO YOUR PRACTICE AND ALL IS COMING” Sri. K. Pattabhi Jois, (1915-2009) is famous for being the creator of The Ashtanga Yoga Series.  A disciplined system of Yoga, Ashtanga is practiced worldwide. One of the most remembered of his is sayings is “Do your practice and all is coming”. What practice and what is ‘all’? No matter what system, series or style of yoga you practice, true yoga encompasses more than just the physical practice that most people are familiar with. The postures (asanas) are one component of yoga, alongside breathing, focus, meditation, detoxification processes, chanting, mantras, mudras, acts of service, and living according to the Yamas and Niyamas (right conduct, ethical rules). So, “do your practice” is an invitation or a reminder to practice yoga in its entirety. And when we do, not only does our practice evolve – in that our body grows stronger and more flexible and able to accomplish more difficult asanas – we, in and of ourselves, evolve. We grow and our lives evolve. As we learn to calm our mind we are implementing Yoga as defined in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali (compiled circa 400CE). Sutra 1.4 “yogas chitta vritti nirodha” has been translated to mean – yoga is the cessation of the fluctuations of the mind. Daily adherence to the Yamas requires us to do no harm (Ahimsa), be truthful (Satya), to not steal (Asteya), to practice moderation in all things (Brahmacharya) and to practice non-attachment (Aparigraha). Respect of the Niyamas means that every day we keep ourselves clean (Saucha), that we find contentment in our lives as they are (Santosha), that...

Yoga Is For Every ‘Body’

Yoga Is For Every ‘Body’ Whether you can do the splits or think you’ll split in half if you try. Whether you can balance on one leg with your other leg wrapped around your head or fall over at the thought of balancing. Whether you can still your mind, sit like a Buddha and meditate or your thoughts run wild like a tap left on full blast. Whether you are lean or have a belly. Whether you are young or old, man or woman. It’s okay! Yoga truly is for every ‘body’. You don’t have to be flexible or strong to start. If your body is creaky and stiff, feels broken and twisted or just tired and stressed…yoga is there to help. Yoga is something that can be tailored to suit you and your needs. After all, the practice of yoga is about getting to know your body. It teaches you to work with your body rather than against it. It is about learning to listen to your body and finding ways to practice that support you in developing flexibility, strength and reducing the traffic noise in your head. Yes, a little bit of peace of mind is often found during yoga…sometimes even that much sought after good night’s sleep is a nice benefit. Calmer, stronger, stretchier and relaxed and healthier…good stuff!  ...