What’s Missing from Your Yoga Practice?

Most yoga students begin the practice of yoga to learn and benefit from its physical postures or asana.

It’s the way that I got started. As a former dancer, I was drawn to the slow movements and deep sense of alignment that the poses provided. At that time, I didn’t realize that I was simultaneously tuning into my breath. My first teacher would gently remind the class to inhale and exhale as we stretched and contracted. It felt fluid and natural and my body felt aligned and peaceful at the end of each session. But we didn’t call it pranayama. At the end of class, we took time to close our eyes and sit quietly. We were encouraged to focus on the simple pattern of our breath, the sounds within the space or a specific intention for ourselves. But we didn’t call it meditation. Continue reading “What’s Missing from Your Yoga Practice?”

Support A Steady Yoga Practice: Combine Effort & Ease

“Focus your attention on your breath. When your mind wanders, simply return your awareness to the inhalation and exhalation. You don’t need to empty your mind or have perfect attention. It is the act of noticing mental distractions and bringing the attention back to the breath that lends the mind steadiness (sthira) and ease (sukha).”

How do we keep ourselves physically challenged yet safe? Continue reading “Support A Steady Yoga Practice: Combine Effort & Ease”

Support A Steady Yoga Practice: Let Go

“In the entire path of yoga, there is really only one lesson. It is the one lesson we have to learn over and over again. Whenever we relinquish our craving, clinging and grasping, whenever we are totally present and undivided, we are immediately in union with our true nature.” – Stephen Cope

Through yoga, we can address our attachments, our extreme possessiveness, with the concept of non-attachment or aparigraha. Aparigraha is the 5th yama or abstinence in the 8 fold path of yoga. In Sanskrit, the word aparigraha is broken down into graha = to take/grab, pari=all sides & a=against. So, aparigraha means “against taking all” or non-greed. While we can certainly have attachments to physical things, we can also be possessive on an intellectual or verbal level.

Here are some basic methods for practicing non-attachment or aparigraha this week in your asana practice: Continue reading “Support A Steady Yoga Practice: Let Go”

Support A Steady Yoga Practice: What is Your Truth?

…we should progressively embrace what is real for us, so that we may find health and harmony. As you go deeper into yoga, remember that you are doing this study in order to remember yourself, to come home to all of you…  – Rolf Gates

In our practices this week, let’s focus on the second ethical quality or yama known as truthfulness. As a moral principle, truthfulness or satya, as it is called in Sanskrit, asks us to convey truth responsibly. Like the other yamas, we should consider truthfulness in thought, speech and action.

This week set a goal for yourself to be more authentic in your asana practice. Continue reading “Support A Steady Yoga Practice: What is Your Truth?”

YOLY Challenge #12: Journaling Your Yoga

Over the past two weeks, I have discovered that when I journal my yoga practice, I see an improvement in my daily commitment. Like any good yoga prop, a journal makes my practice more accessible and more productive.

In the beginning, I simply used my calendar to record the date/time and basic content of each yoga practice.  For example, I recorded, “Monday, August 1st at 8-8:30am, Sun Salutations and Restorative Viparita Karani”.

But lately, I give even more detail to my plans. Developing and writing down a 20-30 minute sequence ahead of time assures that I keep a consistent daily practice which is varied and beneficial.

This week your challenge is to document your home practice through journaling. 

Here are my guidelines for using a Yoga Practice Journal:

  1. Sit down and plan out your home practice either each evening or on a weekly basis.
  2. Nothing has to be written in stone – if you decide to vary the length, time of day or type of practice, then change it.
  3. Each practice does not have to be complex –
    1. Use your the weekly YOLY Challenges to inspire you.
    2. Write down an intention for the day & meditate on your mat for a few minutes.
    3. Note something from class or even draw a pose for quick reference.
  4. Take a couple of minutes after your practice to reflect and maybe jot down some ideas for the next day.
  5. Contact me with your questions/comments – I’d love to share your process!