Yoga Flavored Life http://www.yogaflavoredlife.com Resources for Yoga Teachers and Students Fri, 24 Oct 2014 00:19:25 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 Breathing In, I know I Am Alive http://www.yogaflavoredlife.com/everyday-spirit/breathing-know-alive.html http://www.yogaflavoredlife.com/everyday-spirit/breathing-know-alive.html#respond Fri, 24 Oct 2014 00:19:25 +0000 http://www.yogaflavoredlife.com/?p=5430 Today, everything is possible, because you are still breathing. You woke up, you’re alive; those two things in themselves should fill you with an almost ridiculous amount of optimism and joy. “Breathing in, I know I am alive. Breathing out, I smile to my life.” You’re connected to the entire universe: the iron in your […]

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breathing

Today, everything is possible, because you are still breathing. You woke up, you’re alive; those two things in themselves should fill you with an almost ridiculous amount of optimism and joy.

“Breathing in, I know I am alive.
Breathing out, I smile to my life.”

You’re connected to the entire universe: the iron in your blood, the electrons that cause your thoughts, and all the chemicals that comprise your body were once inside a star that exploded. It’s literally true that stars died so that you could live.

“Breathing in, I know I am connected to the whole universe.
Breathing out, I smile to the universe in myself.”

Widen your circle of compassion. We’re all in this together. Embrace those farthest away from you as well as those in your inner circle. Tribalism is passe; the human species is one big “tribe.”

“Breathing in, I embrace the whole of humanity.
Breathing out, I smile to myself.”

Even those committed to injustice are in need of your compassion; if fact, they are more in need of it than those committed to social justice. Their lack of compassion, their desire to subjugate those who think differently than they do, did not spring up suddenly out of nowhere. These unfortunate tendencies are the result of lifelong conditioning and fear.

“Breathing in, I recognize the suffering that motivates the unjust.
Breathing out, I embrace their suffering as my own.”

Those who are victims of injustice, including yourself, are in need of compassion and love as well. Distinguish between being compassionate with perpetrators of injustice and approval of their actions. Protect likely victims with everything you’ve got.

“Breathing in, I send love and compassion to all victims of injustice.
Breathing out, I commit myself to their protection.”

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A Short Yoga Sequence to Improve Posture http://www.yogaflavoredlife.com/styles-poses/yoga-sequence-posture.html http://www.yogaflavoredlife.com/styles-poses/yoga-sequence-posture.html#respond Tue, 21 Oct 2014 02:22:24 +0000 http://www.yogaflavoredlife.com/?p=5421 Slouched over your computer all day long …? Yoga can help overcome some of the detrimental effects that modern life has on our on posture. Yoga nurtures good posture by lengthening the spine, creating awareness of postural alignment, strengthening the back muscles and fostering the natural curves of the spine. Have a look at the sequence below […]

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Slouched over your computer all day long …? Yoga can help overcome some of the detrimental effects that modern life has on our on posture.

Yoga nurtures good posture by lengthening the spine, creating awareness of postural alignment, strengthening the back muscles and fostering the natural curves of the spine.

Have a look at the sequence below designed to foster good posture. Give it a try – it takes less than 10 minutes to do!

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Practicing Patience (or Are we there yet mom?) http://www.yogaflavoredlife.com/yoga-tips/practicing-patience-yet-mom.html http://www.yogaflavoredlife.com/yoga-tips/practicing-patience-yet-mom.html#respond Sun, 19 Oct 2014 16:37:53 +0000 http://www.yogaflavoredlife.com/?p=5411 There are three situations that really test my patience – Walmart, meetings and long drives with my two boys. Patience is “the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset.” Yoga has definitely made me more patient. This isn’t to say that I don’t get annoyed by long-winded meeting […]

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patience2There are three situations that really test my patience – Walmart, meetings and long drives with my two boys.

Patience is “the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset.”

Yoga has definitely made me more patient. This isn’t to say that I don’t get annoyed by long-winded meeting talk. Or grit my teeth when from the back seat I hear “Are we there yet …?” for the 20th time.

But I have improved over the years. So what is it that has changed?

I think one thing that yoga has taught me is to be in the moment. During my yoga practice, I don’t feel pressured to be doing something else. I allow myself the time to stretch and flex, to breathe and heal. I like to think that I have brought a bit of this quality into my life. That I give my mind a little more space to think. That I am able to choose my responses more often, instead of simply reacting to things.

When you do yoga, you have to be there and be willing to put in the work. You simply can’t do many of the poses without focus (I have fallen out of tree pose a time or twelve!)

Also by putting aside time for yoga, you are telling yourself that it’s ok to slow down and let things unfold. You are training patience.

“Patience is not passive, on the contrary, it is active, it is concentrated strength.”  ~Edward Bulwer Lytton

Yoga can also challenge your patience. Like when you really want to be able to do a certain pose but it seems like a far off impossibility. Or you just don’t want to hold that posture any longer – “come on, hasn’t it been 5 breaths already?!”

The feeling of impatience creates a bit of anxiety. Patience, however, is powerful. It gives you the power to reflect and choose.

Maybe it is not that important to “get the pose” right now.

How can you train patience?

Patience is a hard quality to cultivate. We want things now. But it is something that you can cultivate through practice. And the yoga mat is a great place to start. In yoga you can practice patience towards your own body and mind.

This quote below made me laugh! But I think it makes a good point and is very relevant to yoga practice:

The key to everything is patience. You get the chicken by hatching the egg, not by smashing it.~Arnold H. Glasow

Makes sense, right? If you want to increase your flexibility, you have to do it slowly, with respect and care for you body. If you ask your body to change faster than it can, it will suffer. You will get sick or injured.

Patience creates a feeling of centeredness. It is like reminding yourself that where you are is ok.

Here are some tips for cultivating patience on your mat:

  • When moving from one posture to another, remember that the transitions are as important as the poses themselves. Stay connected with your body and breath during transitions.
  • When in the postures, try not to fidget. Adjust where necessary but then settle in.
  • Become aware of where you set your gaze, your drishti. Keep it steady and deliberate.
  • Focus on your breath and increase the length of inhales and exhales. Your mind will follow your breath and the steadier the breath, the steadier the mind.
  • Pick a pose that you find frustrating. Find your edge in the pose. Set an intention of being ok with where you are. Just for the moment, let go of expectations of what it should look like or what you want it to look like.

Next time I hear the refrain “Are we there yet ..?” I will probably still sigh and roll my eyes. But I might also smile; “Almost grasshopper. Enjoy the journey.”

How is your patience these days? Are you willing to wait for something that is important? How do you react when yoga or life just gets annoying?

I always love hearing from you. Just leave a comment below!

Photo courtesy of blinking idiot

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Sleeping Lord Vishnu Pose (not as restful as it looks!) http://www.yogaflavoredlife.com/styles-poses/sleeping-lord-vishnu-pose.html http://www.yogaflavoredlife.com/styles-poses/sleeping-lord-vishnu-pose.html#respond Tue, 14 Oct 2014 14:55:55 +0000 http://www.yogaflavoredlife.com/?p=5397 This past week,  Jill (check out her site here!) and I were emailing back and forth about this posture, also called – “Pose Dedicated to Lord Vishnu.”  It is not one that I have practiced very much. So I decided to play around and give it a try.  Not as easy as it looks … a few rather […]

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This past week,  Jill (check out her site here!) and I were emailing back and forth about this posture, also called – “Pose Dedicated to Lord Vishnu.”  It is not one that I have practiced very much. So I decided to play around and give it a try.  Not as easy as it looks … a few rather ungraceful endings to my pose :)

Have a look at the video below to see how it’s done.

Benefits of Sleeping Lord Vishnu (Anantasana in Sanskrit)

  • Stretches the hamstrings, hips, calves and groin muscles
  • Tones the abdomen and increases hip mobility
  • May help reduce low back pain
  • Improves balance and coordination
  • Develops focus and concentration, quiets the mind

How To

  1. Lie on the floor on your right side. Straighten your legs so they lineup with your torso.
  2. Bend your left knee so the foot is flat on the floor.
  3. Bend your right elbow to gently rest the right side of your head in your palm. Find a sense of balance.
  4. When you feel ready, bring the knee towards your torso. Clasp the big toe of your left foot. On an exhale, extend your left leg towards the ceiling.
  5. Softly fix your gaze on an unmoving object in front of you. Continue to breathe softly and smoothly.
  6. Think of extending the pose actively through both of your heels heels. Try to keep your balance as much as possible without rolling forward or backward.
  7. Hold for about one  minute.
  8. Release the top leg down and roll to your other side.

Tips

  • If your hips are tight, use a strap around the ball of your foot on the upper leg
  • To help with balance, press the soles of your feet against a wall. Keep the lower foot pressed against the wall throughout the pose.
  • Another helpful balancing tip – use a bolster or block between your back and the wall.

 

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Gratitude Connects Us http://www.yogaflavoredlife.com/everyday-spirit/gratitude-connects-us.html http://www.yogaflavoredlife.com/everyday-spirit/gratitude-connects-us.html#comments Sat, 11 Oct 2014 20:54:14 +0000 http://www.yogaflavoredlife.com/?p=5388 Have you ever had an experience that made you think, “wow, humans are awesome…?!” This happened to me at the grocery store. I was completely blown away by a stranger’s kindness. I had taken my son to buy some popsicles. I stood in line to pay and when my turn came up I realized I […]

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gratitude2Have you ever had an experience that made you think, “wow, humans are awesome…?!” This happened to me at the grocery store. I was completely blown away by a stranger’s kindness.

I had taken my son to buy some popsicles. I stood in line to pay and when my turn came up I realized I had forgotten my wallet. I turned to my little guy to explain that we would have to go back home and couldn’t get the popsicles right then. He expressed his dismay …

A young man working at the store overheard. He turned to us, and asked how much it was. Then he pulled out his wallet and offered to pay! I was taken aback by his generous offer. Young guy, part time job, I am sure he did not make a lot of money. Yet without hesitation he offered to help us out.

This simple gesture made my evening. I was so taken by his kind spirit. It was more than just gratitude for his offer to pay. It was an affirmation that I was somehow connected to this stranger and perhaps then to everyone.

Choose to be grateful

“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” — Albert Einstein

I love this because it says that we can choose to see miracles all the time.

In Canada, we celebrate Thanksgiving this weekend. This is the season where we are told we should count our blessings. We should be grateful for what we have. I believe that gratitude is a choice. We can choose to focus on the things that are good and positive in our lives rather than the things that are not.

For example, in our yoga practice we can choose to dwell on the things that we can do in our physical asana practice and build from there rather than mourning what we can’t.

Gratitude makes you feel better

“In daily life we must see that it is not happiness that makes us grateful, but gratefulness that makes us happy.” — Brother David Steindl-Rast

Acknowledging what you’re thankful for can lead to a happier, healthier life. For example, results from research studies suggest that focusing on blessings (e.g., making gratitude lists) can have both emotional and interpersonal benefits and improves overall well-being.

One study showed that even just thinking about giving has beneficial effects. College students who watched a movie about Mother Theresa caring for orphans, had a rise in a particular antibody. This suggests that the feeling of giving and receiving strengthens the immune system. How cool is that?!

Being thankful changes your world

Have you ever noticed that when you are thankful and focused on the positive, the number of good things that happen to you increases? That when you raise your vibration energetically (e.g., by practicing gratitude), other people and circumstances that are rocking that same vibe seem to find their way into your life?

A couple of months ago I decided to focus on my strength and fitness. I am incredibly thankful for my health and I really internalized this feeling as I set about looking for ways to improve my fitness.

Some nice things started to happen.

I crossed paths with Mike, a wonderful wellness coach who helped me put together an awesome fitness program. I connected with friends online who have similar goals and mindsets and we now have a supportive little group. A friend at work invited me to jog with her yesterday. It turned out to be my best run yet. My opportunities seem to expand the more I dwell on the positive things that come my way.

How can you practice gratitude in your yoga?

Use your practice to turn inward and feel what you are thankful for:

  • Take note of the good and appreciate what your body can do
  • Practice heart-opening poses (e.g., cobra, supported fish). It’s like saying “I am here and I am open to blessings”
  • Practice child’s pose – it has been called the “pose of gratitude.” It is a calming posture that encourages surrender to and gratitude for the present moment.
  • Include mantras, gathas or affirmations as part of your practice. A couple that I have been working with:
    ~ I am open to the abundance of the universe.
    ~ Right now, in this moment, I have enough.
  • Hold your poses gently and without struggle
  • At the end of your practice, take a few moments to mentally list five things that you are grateful for in your life. Send your thankfulness to these people and/or things.

Gratitude fosters real joy. It reminds us that we are all connected. I didn’t let the young man pay for our popsicles but I have not forgotten his kindness and it changed me for the better.

The word “Namaste” embodies deep gratitude and recognition. Thank you so much for being here each with me.

Namaste,

Charlotte

Photograph courtesy of Ramon Peco

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A Yin Yoga Sequence http://www.yogaflavoredlife.com/styles-poses/yin-yoga-sequence.html http://www.yogaflavoredlife.com/styles-poses/yin-yoga-sequence.html#respond Wed, 08 Oct 2014 18:30:41 +0000 http://www.yogaflavoredlife.com/?p=5374 Last week I talked about the effects of yoga on our emotional body. It was timely for me. My weekend turned into an emotional one, as I had to say goodbye to my old dog Buddy. He had been sick for some time but it was still hard and very sad. I felt so grateful for my yoga practice. Yoga helps […]

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Sphinx Pose

Last week I talked about the effects of yoga on our emotional body. It was timely for me. My weekend turned into an emotional one, as I had to say goodbye to my old dog Buddy. He had been sick for some time but it was still hard and very sad.

I felt so grateful for my yoga practice.

Yoga helps me deal with things. For me, Yin yoga is especially effective in creating space to think and let go. It is like chocolate – sweet and comforting. This inward focused practice was exactly what I needed.

Physically, Yin yoga works on the connective tissue (ligaments and fascia) of the body. Long-held postures focus on the joints where compression restricts the flow of chi (energy) and blood to a particular area. Upon release, it flows back in. Emotions are energy in motion and this practice really gets the energy moving.

Today I would like to share a Yin practice with you. The idea is to deepen into each pose gradually and with as little muscle involvement as possible in order to target the deeper connective tissues. Each pose is held for 3-5 minutes. I use a great little app called Insight Timer to time the hold – love the Tibetan singing bowls and bells!

A few things to keep in mind as you go through the practice:

  1. Go into the pose until you reach your edge – where you feel something. It shouldn’t be excruciating but should make you take notice. Your edge isn’t static – it will change as you hold the pose and you may be able go deeper.
  2. The intention is to keep relatively still while in the pose. Make adjustments mindfully when needed but try to stay still and soft throughout.
  3. 3-5 minutes is long for our busy minds. Focus on your breath to help stay present.
  4. Use supports – bolsters, blocks, and blankets – generously!

Yin Sequence (45 minutes – 1 hour)

(Find an illustrated version here)

I have used the Yin pose names in order to differentiate the practice from a yang style but have included the yang style names, which may be more familiar.

I like to set my timer before I get settled into the pose. You might also have soft music playing.

Seiza (Hero’s pose) - Hold 5 minutes

From a kneeling position, sit back on your heels. You may sit on a bolster or block. Close your eyes. Take a few moments to settle in. Bring your awareness into the room. Bring your awareness to your own body. Target area is the quadriceps.

Butterfly (Cobbler’s pose) - Hold 5 minutes

Sitting on the floor, bring the bottoms of your feet together. Inhale and lengthen the spine. Exhale and fold forward. In this version allow your spine to round, creating traction throughout. Support your forehead with a block.

Shoelace (Cow face legs) - Hold 3 minutes each side

Begin by kneeling on all fours (table top) then place one knee behind the other and sit back between the heels. Sit on a bolster or block if hips are tight. Remain upright or fold forward. Target area is the hip.

Sphinx - Hold 5 minutes

Set your elbows under your shoulders with your forearms on the floor parallel to each other. Bring your chest and torso forward to move into a gentle backbend. Target area is the front of the torso.

Arm Pigeon - Hold 3 minutes each side

Have a look at this video for a demo.

  • Start on your stomach with your forehead on your palms
  • Outstretch one arm in a t-position, palm down at shoulder height
  • Turn your head in the opposite direction so that your cheek is on the floor
  • Place the palm of your opposite hand on the floor by your chest. Use this hand to gently roll yourself on to your hip
  • Bring your knees towards your chest and open your chest towards the sky
  • For more intensity, open the top knee

Target area is the shoulder and front of torso.

Lateral Dragonfly (Side seated angle) - Hold 3 minutes each side

From a seated position, bring legs apart (90 degrees or wider). Turn your torso to face one knee. Inhale to extend up, exhale gently and fold forward.  I like using a block to support my forehead.

Dragonfly (Wide angle seated forward bend) - Hold 5 minutes

From a seated position, bring legs apart (90 degrees or wider). Inhale and lengthen the spine, exhale and fold forward. This is particularly delicious with a bolster under your torso to lie on as you fold forward.

Twisted Roots (Reclined twist)  - Hold 5 minutes

Put your feet flat on floor, knees bent.  Let your knees gently fall to one side. Place a support under the knees if you like. You can look in the opposite direction if it is comfortable for your neck. This version is more freeform than its yang counterpart. Allow your legs to be bent or straighter and arms outstretched to the side or higher (cactus arms) depending on what you can comfortably hold. Target area is the spine.

Pentacle (Savasana) - Hold 5 minutes

Relax on your back in pentacle, which is like Savasana but star shaped – legs and arms spread wide. Hold for 5 minutes or longer to integrate the practice.

I hope you love this practice as much as I do. Or at least enjoy the change!

Photo courtesy of Christy Collins, Bernie Clark

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Try Shoelace Pose to Open Your Hips http://www.yogaflavoredlife.com/styles-poses/shoelace-pose-open-hips.html http://www.yogaflavoredlife.com/styles-poses/shoelace-pose-open-hips.html#respond Mon, 06 Oct 2014 19:43:48 +0000 http://www.yogaflavoredlife.com/?p=5357 Shoelace pose is a yin yoga posture that targets the hips and lower spine. Have a look at the video below to see how it’s done. Benefits There is not a lot of muscle involvement in Yin yoga postures. The intention is to target the deeper connective tissue (ligaments, fascia). This is important for both the […]

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Shoelace pose is a yin yoga posture that targets the hips and lower spine. Have a look at the video below to see how it’s done.

Benefits

There is not a lot of muscle involvement in Yin yoga postures. The intention is to target the deeper connective tissue (ligaments, fascia). This is important for both the physical and energetic bodies.

Just like muscles need to be exercised, the connective tissues also need to be exercised (or stressed) in order to strengthen them. Connective tissue responds to a slow and steady load thus the poses are more gentle and held for longer periods (typically 3-5 minutes). Recently, it has been posited that connective tissue running throughout the body provides pathways for the energy to flow.  A yin practice may result in emotional release as the energy is moved and becomes unblocked.

Shoelace pose:

  • Opens the hips
  • Decompresses the spin if folding forward
  • Energetically, it targets the liver and gall bladder meridians

Tips

  • If hips are tight, sit on a pillow or block
  • If the knees feel stressed, you can try extending the lower leg out in front of you

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Useful Gathas for Meditation Practice, Freely Adapted from Thich Nhat Hahn http://www.yogaflavoredlife.com/meditation/gathas-meditation.html http://www.yogaflavoredlife.com/meditation/gathas-meditation.html#comments Fri, 03 Oct 2014 19:51:44 +0000 http://www.yogaflavoredlife.com/?p=5350 (And a few thoughts of my own!) Breathing in, I know I am breathing in. Breathing out, I know I am breathing out. Breathing in, I know this is my in-breath. Breathing out, I know this is my out-breath. Breathing in, I notice my in-breath is becoming deeper. Breathing out, I notice my out-breath is […]

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Breathe and Smile

(And a few thoughts of my own!)

Breathing in, I know I am breathing in.
Breathing out, I know I am breathing out.

Breathing in, I know this is my in-breath.
Breathing out, I know this is my out-breath.

Breathing in, I notice my in-breath is becoming deeper.
Breathing out, I notice my out-breath is becoming longer.

Deeper…
Longer.

* * *

Breathing in, I see myself as a blooming flower.
Breathing out, I feel fresh and alive.

Breathing in, I see myself as a great mountain.
Breathing out, I feel solid and strong.

Breathing in, I see myself as a pool of still water.
Breathing out, I feel lucid and clear.

Breathing in, I see myself as infinite space.
Breathing out, I feel boundless and free.

Blooming flower…
Fresh and alive.

Great mountain…
Solid and strong.

Still water…
Lucid and clear.

Infinite space…
Boundless and free.

* * *

Breathing in, I calm myself;
Breathing out, I smile.
Solid, free and lucid,
In The Ultimate I dwell.

* * *

What does it mean to dwell in The Ultimate? The way I interpret it is as follows.

There is a historical dimension to life, one governed by the passage of time and the limits of geography. Then there is the ultimate dimension, one that transcends those limitations. In the historical dimension, spiritual leaders such as Jesus, the Buddha and Martin Luther King are dead and gone. In the ultimate dimension, they are very much alive in each of us who recognize spiritual ancestors in these individuals. To dwell in The Ultimate is to breathe in awareness and transcend the limits of the historical dimension.

Is there enough corroborating evidence from extrabiblical sources to prove that Jesus was an historical figure? Perhaps not, but it doesn’t matter. Someone came up with The Sermon on the Mount, which represents a quantum leap in first century Jewish spirituality; this is what’s important. Evidence of the Buddha’s historicity is easier to come by, as he started out as a royal personage in India about whom careful written records were kept. His dharma lives on in every practicing Buddhist, and in those of us who recognize a highly practical wisdom
therein.

My chief spiritual ancestor is Socrates, about whom there is slightly better proof of historicity than Jesus, but perhaps less than the Buddha. Again, it doesn’t matter if a historical figure called Socrates lived in Classical Greece or not. Someone invented the Socratic Method of imparting philosophical wisdom; that’s the important thing.

And finally, directly from my Sensei:

I’ve arrived and I am home,
In the here, in the now.
I am solid, I am free;
In The Ultimate I dwell.

Best regards,

William

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Emotions and Yoga Asana http://www.yogaflavoredlife.com/everyday-spirit/asana-emotions.html http://www.yogaflavoredlife.com/everyday-spirit/asana-emotions.html#comments Wed, 01 Oct 2014 15:40:22 +0000 http://www.yogaflavoredlife.com/?p=5318 I grew up in a wonderful family where I felt very loved. However, we weren’t really huge emotional expressers. I think this is just kind of the way it was in our generation. As we grew and got older that changed and it became less embarrassing to say, “I love you” or to give a […]

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shutterstock_152924762I grew up in a wonderful family where I felt very loved. However, we weren’t really huge emotional expressers. I think this is just kind of the way it was in our generation. As we grew and got older that changed and it became less embarrassing to say, “I love you” or to give a big hug.

However, I still hold my emotions close. I think there are two reasons. First, it is really hard to be vulnerable (read about my dance with that one here!). If others know how I feel, then that leaves me wide open. Secondly, I am a positive person and I try very hard to look for the good in things. But maybe sometimes it is just better to feel what really is, even if it is negative, and then let it go.

One definition of emotion is “energy in motion”. This sounds less scary. The word emotion comes from the Latin “emotere” which means to move out. And emotions, or energy vibrations that aren’t allowed to move out get stuck inside of us.

I have this likened to a ball. With just the right amount of air, that ball will bounce perfectly. Add a bit more and it will still bounce but maybe not as well or get out of control. Add too much air, and it will explode.

As you take in the energy of emotions, you also need to express or release it in order to regain and maintain balance. If you repress it and force the energy to remain stagnant inside, your energy field will become deformed. The effects may be felt in your body as knots, tension, psychological disturbance and illness.

Have you ever noticed the effects that yoga has on your emotions? What an amazing tool! It is like our pose practice creates a great sense of spaciousness that allows for healing and release to take place.

During yoga practice, emotions may surface. There are positive ones, such as joy, contentment and patience. These ones are easy to welcome as they feel good and we want to surrender to them.

Of course the flipside also occurs and your yoga practice may bring up negative emotions such as fear, frustration or sadness. Crying in yoga class? This can really take you by surprise – it sure did me the first time it happened. (I will have to tell you about my love/hate relationship with camel pose sometime…)

However, if we can accept and release these emotions, let them move through, then this can bring about a sense of renewal. Give yourself space to feel what you’re feeling. Instead of trying to hold them back, consider that the emotions came about for a reason. Stay mindful and give yourself the latitude to feel. Even embrace the discomfort.

It is quite amazing how yoga postures influence our emotional state. For example, backbends are expansive and heart opening so tend to lift the spirits and elevate your mood. However, they can also leave you feeling vulnerable which may bring up feelings of fear (I’m talking to you camel pose!) Forward folds tend to be calming and balancing and usually create a sense of harmony and inward focus.

Woodchopper

I recently came across a yoga practice called “Woodchopper.” Despite its funny name (kind of makes me think of a horror movie…) it really does help release anger and frustration. Here’s how it goes:

  • Stand with your feet a bit wider than your hips, knees slightly bent.
  • Interlace your fingers. Inhale and lift your (imaginary) axe above your head.
  • Exhale and swing forward bending your knees, hands chopping the imaginary wood between your legs. Forcefully say the word “Ha.”
  • Repeat several times.

woodchopper

Does your yoga practice help you feel your emotions?  Please share your story, I always love hearing from you.

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Pigeon Pose with a Twist http://www.yogaflavoredlife.com/styles-poses/pigeon-pose-twist.html http://www.yogaflavoredlife.com/styles-poses/pigeon-pose-twist.html#respond Tue, 30 Sep 2014 00:50:35 +0000 http://www.yogaflavoredlife.com/?p=5326 I love pigeon pose (in fact I may be addicted to it). An added twist makes it truly delicious! Have a look at the video below for some guidance on how to do the pose. Benefits of Twisted Pigeon Stretches both the hip flexors and hip rotators Opens the chest and shoulders (when you are in […]

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I love pigeon pose (in fact I may be addicted to it). An added twist makes it truly delicious!

Have a look at the video below for some guidance on how to do the pose.

Benefits of Twisted Pigeon

  • Stretches both the hip flexors and hip rotators
  • Opens the chest and shoulders (when you are in the upright position) which can help relieve anxiety and stress
  • Forward fold turns your focus inward
  • Twisting helps maintain spinal rotation and is detoxifying
  • Stretches the quadricep of the back leg
  • It is fun!

 

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