"But I have no upper body strength!" is a line I hear DAILY in my yoga classes. It amazes me how many people keep talking to themselves like this! Have you said something like this to yourself before? I know I have! My dialogue usually goes something like this...
"I'm not flexible so why the hell am I going to even ATTEMPT this crazy ass posture?"
"I'm SO tired there is no way I can possibly must another low lunge twist..."
"My Dad just died...OF COURSE I can't focus on my breath-I can't possibly slow my mind down."
I teach many classes a day and I see various bodies of all shapes, sizes, abilities, disabilities, etc. One common thing I see is students giving over to their self imposed limitations. As soon as I START a crow practice there are many students who just plop down seated in defeat. Now of course if you have an injury or a legitimate medical reason not to do something then by all means DON'T DO IT. I'm talking about seeing students who I KNOW could try STEP 1. STEP 1. That's all we need to start is to start at STEP 1. You don't have to get into the full asana....but maybe try step one! And WHY do we not try step 1? It's two fold....
OUR NEGATIVE SELF TALK and OUR EGO'S DESIRE TO PROTECT ITSELF FROM "FAILURE"
So the negative self talk slows us down...we think we can't for one reason or another. I can't meditate because my mind is so busy and I deserve to keep that busy mind because my Dad died. And the ego goes crazy saying "you're never going to be able to take 30 minutes to meditate without a single thought about your dad...don't let yourself fail...so just don't do it."
HA! I'm encouraging us all to give up the idea that failure is BAD! It's not! We are programmed to think it is...but it's HEALTHY. FAILURE is NORMAL. FAILURE is NECESSARY. If we FALL from crow then we fall...we come back and we try again. One day we won't fall. But if we don't allow ourselves to fail then we will move out of the flow of life. Right now as we move into a new season it's more important than ever to keep moving forward, to take those risks. We tend to drop off from our goals as we near the end of the year. We think perhaps we'll just start anew on January 1st. Let's join together and just allow ourselves the space to fail. Our practice is that place where we can do that, we can learn from it.
So stop saying you don't have enough upper body strength....your holding yourself up and using your entire body in downward facing dog...you have body strength. It is enough. It is sufficient. And so are you!
Join me this week on the mat as we continue to move out the old stuff and get the body moving through a soulful vinyasa. Our yin this week we'll focus on the SHOULDERS and LEGS which are REALLLLLLLLY vulnerable right now as we hit this new season.
Namaste yogis! Be willing to fail, it's ok!
I recently learned of a Danish philosophy that is beautiful....it's called Hygge (Pronounced HOO-GAH). It's the art of embracing the little simple luxuries of life. I read a list of the things cherished in this philosophy and many stuck out to me: taking a long bath, sharing a meal with family/friends, coming home and getting into comfy pajamas after a long day, having a warm beverage, etc. In some ways I realized I embrace and try to live this way already...now there's a name for it! Hooray! GIVE me the Hygge!!!
As we emerge into fall (here in NYC mother nature still thinks it's summer) we naturally gravitate towards the practice of Hygge...we crave warmer foods, quiet time, a snuggle on the couch, and time in our pjs or comfy clothes. This shift happens naturally as the season changes and often there can be a hesitation to move towards the fall and towards the change. There's a hesitation to slow down in a world moving so quickly. A hesitation to go inward. How can we move forward and embrace this kind of philosophy in our life while the world moves quickly around us? We have to open our heart. I find this time of the year to be challenging...the heart chakra often gets congested as we move towards the end of the year realizing we haven't met our year end goals, maybe finances are tight, or maybe we're just burning the candle at both ends and longing for some rest. This is often the time when we need to let go of something in order to move forward. When we begin to take inventory of our lives we can release whatever we need to let go of and work towards an open heart to move forward embracing this slower more inward and simple pace. It's good to slow down and go inward...it's good to embrace life's simple luxuries.
What can you let go of? On the mat we have an opportunity to open our hearts this week. We'll explore Padma (Lotus) mudra and move through a purifying and vigorous flow to open ourselves up to what's next in the season of our lives. As we move the heat through the body in the asana practice, can we still find a sense of Hygee inside of ourselves? Can we listen to that still voice keeping us calm as we move? And can we trust in the practice to do it's subtle work opening and clearing those energetic blockages in the body as Prana flows through our being?
I think we can! So please join me in opening the heart this week. In the open level classes we'll be exploring a soulful vigorous flow with lots of arm balance. In our level 1 classes we'll be doing the same with a slower pace. In "Basics" this week we'll focus on moving energy through the body by connecting our breath with our movement as we work on heart opening and gentle backbends. Our Yin practice this week will be a soothing sequence that will aid in sleep, something we all desperately need more of as the days grow short.
Join me this week!
Love and Light-