Yoga Suits Her
I've been teaching yoga since 1980. A lot of my identity is tied up with being a yoga teacher. What does that mean? What should that mean? On this site I explore my personal journey and provide commentary on the state of yoga in the twenty-first century. I invite you to have a look and see what may be here for you.
Photo by: Julie Slavin Photography, Old Bar
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The theme for my yoga classes during the month of March is 'The Quality of Balance'. Like last month's theme--Befriending Backbends, I thought, gee, I wonder if we can make the sometimes pesky balancing yoga poses more enjoyable, more user friendly. Cultivating balance is a key factor in ease of walking, standing, most any movement. And then there's lifestyle balance, emotional, mental balance, spiritual balance.
So, the balancing yoga poses seem to be a door opening to more than the actual doing of the physical poses. I thought it might be interesting to look at what our minds get up to when we try to balance on one leg or on our elbows or our head.
It's generally true that we humans tend to be rather judgmental and hard on ourselves when we do things that are out of our comfort range. And not just yoga poses. Think of attempts you might have had at rollerblading or making a souffle for a dinner party or starting up a conversation with a new and attractive person. If you are anything like me, while you are doing these activities, you are concerned about the outcome; you are checking out how well things are going, or not. Or maybe later, you are still processing the experience.
Oftentimes, I see yoga students doing tree pose or big toe pose pose and clearly keeping a scorecard on themselves. I admit to being not much different. I find that I am disgruntled if I'm having a bad balance day, frowning and perhaps even grumbling to myself. Then, when I'm in the role of teacher and demonstrating a balancing pose, I'm thinking, 'This has to be perfect, as well as inspiring.'
Kindness to self
Only now, late in my practice of yoga, have I come to adopt a kindlier attitude. I try to convey this in my teaching by emphasising that we are on a journey of discovery when we do any sort of poses. Paying attention and generating interest and curiosity are the most helpful tools in the doing of any poses.
When trying to balance, when we find we are wobbly, we might wonder where does that shakiness come from. For me, I have a left ankle that for some reason has become somewhat swollen in recent years, with reduced dorsiflexion. It definitely needs kind attention not criticism when doing one-legged balancing poses. When I can remember to apply a curious attitude to what's going on in my ankle, it seems to displace any pushiness or unrealistic expectations I have.
And regarding breathing, calm and regular is always the starting place for balancing. It's too big a sacrifice to hold one's breath just to be able to hold a position. Much better to breathe normally and quietly, even if how long you hold the pose is of the order of microseconds rather than minutes.
In my daily practice I include loving kindness meditation. I start by directing the blessings of loving kindness towards myself: 'May I be safe and protected and free from inner and outer harm.' I'm acutely aware that 'inner harm' for me comes from the negativity and harshness of my thoughts.
The balancing poses are excellent devices for discovering what's going on in our internal dialogue. Negative self-talk doesn't even have to be rooted out. Just shining the light of loving attention on any negative self-talk can be enough.
Happy March and happy balancing!
The theme for my yoga classes during the month of March is ‘The Quality of Balance’. Like last month’s theme–Befriending Backbends, I thought, gee, I wonder if we can make the sometimes pesky balancing poses more enjoyable, more user friendly. Cultivating balance is a key factor in ease of walking, standing, most any movement. And then there’s lifestyle balance, emotional, mental balance, spiritual balance.
The Previous 4 Posts
At my age, physiology has conspired to make me much more considerate of my energy levels. No matter what kind of yoga I do, how much or how little, let’s be honest, I don’t have the verve of my 40 year old self.
And yet, the last couple of months have pushed me onto a bigger stage. Without seeking renown, some special opportunities have found me.
In the past I haven't shown up here as a political commentator or even particularly opinionated on current topics. But always always I've been a proponent of everything that supports the highest good of the community. Increasingly I'm aware that the way you and I can...
Osteoporosis, as distinct from osteoarthritis, is a condition in which bones become weak and brittle. They can become so porous that they are sometimes described as honey-combed.
Normally the body constantly absorbs and replaces bone tissue, but with osteoporosis new bone creation doesn’t keep up with old bone removal.
Risk factors that contribute to the condition are smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, unhealthy diet, familial tendency, low vitamin D levels, inadequate intake of calcium, low body weight, physical inactivity and a history of falls.
The danger with is that many people have no symptoms until they have a bone fracture.
It's Upon Us Bad news abounds. I have a NASA Earth Now App which flashes me the latest global events. Today and for many days, 'Wildfire Smoke Streams Across the U.S.' is the main headline. The west coast, northwestern and southwestern states are burning. To date,...
It's been out of print for 15 or more years but now it's back. It's available as a paperback as well as a range of digital formats for different devices. The design of this edition is modelled as closely as possible on the original release from 1997.
(Note: Book retailers set their own prices that are all different and constantly change. It's worth shopping around for the best price.)
Any bookshop, whether online or bricks and mortar, can order copies of Teach Yourself Yoga. Just ask and quote ISBN: 978-0-6487945-0-9.
Please send me feedback about the book. I'd love to hear about any errors or problems with eBooks on various devices. And please review the book wherever you get it. Reviews will help more people discover the book.
Yoga Basics Pack. $24.95
10-week beginners Yoga course.
Specially designed for beginners, Yoga Basics is an easy to follow program for better health, flexibility and peace of mind. This pack contains 10 beautifully illustrated cards, one for each week of a ten-week course that tie a clear, practical and portable guide to getting started in yoga.
Yoga Tool Kit. $24.95
10 beautifully illustrated cards that give clear, practical and portable programs to meet a variety of needs. The customised sequences help provide holistic healthcare – better health, flexibility and peace of mind – so you can stay on top of your daily requirements with a safe and effective regime. Practices for boosting the immune system, insomnia, menstruation, post travel, low backache, stress and anxiety relief, fatigue, encouraging mental balance, managing menopause and regenerating.
No, I'm not selling yoga mats or clothing. I don't even have a t-shirt... yet. But from time to time I find myself with something that someone may want. Have a look, I'm never sure what you'll find.