Archives for category: yoga

I really didn’t want to go to the gym, again. My movement had been restricted for the last 5 weeks and I’d had more than my share of elliptical and stair step workouts. I decided to go home and roll out my yoga mat. It felt a bit like that scene in Eat Pray Love, where she rolls out her mat and just gives it a good stare down, wondering ‘what exactly are you going to put me through.’

Nonetheless, I folded into child’s pose. I began to move, honoring what my body was telling me and noticing all of the shapes and poses I couldn’t quite perform to my ‘norm’. I remind myself “healing takes time Sara, just keep moving.”

As I arrived in crescent lunge I went to lift my arms over my head and discovered how much work it takes to simply lift my arms. The tears began to fall.

The truth is, I had taken for granted, after healing from snowboard injuries, half marathon training, 2 natural child births of particularly large babies and several other small burdens, that I would ever need to heal again. I was sad for the version of me I was having to let go of, and I was anxious and overwhelmed not knowing who I would next become.

I continued through my modified flow, reverse warrior (no arm lift), extended side angle (my legs burning), the smarter version of me inside my head chose to skip the modified chaturunga- upward dog- downward dog, as I was terrified of laying on my stomach. I performed several rounds of the poses and the tears began to dry up. As I closed my practice in a meditation for peace, I was left with the residue of a thought… ‘Here I am again, healing, modifying, doing my best to say sane and to not be too hard on myself, as I respect the time it will take my body to HEAL.’

How many of us have forgotten that a few of the many gifts offered by a yoga practice are presence and healing. Sure we get to our mat because it’s part of our routine, we enjoy the exercise and even the community. But how many of us have forgotten the safe haven that yoga provides when we just need to heal. I believe at this point in my practice I need more than two hands to count the number of times my mat has caught my tears, and done so without any judgement or explanation necessary.  In that healing process we receive the reminder that our bodies are impermanent, our physical strength and flexibility are  fluid to our circumstance. We are reintroduced to the concepts of self- compassion and empathy.  And if ever there was a time when we could see into another person’s eyes and relate or connect with their pain and suffering, it’s when we can recall our own time of healing.  Let us not forget these precious gifts.

 

 

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So I’ve been thinking quite a bit about this lately. I realize how seldom I post yoga poses, of myself or otherwise on my social media platforms.

I guess over the years my teaching, as well as my philosophy off the mat have evolved beyond the poses. I used to be defined by my asana performance and get built up by a teacher saying ‘good job Sara.’ Lets face it, it feels great to be acknowledged.

Around that time yoga became more mainstream.

Around that time I had kids.

Around that time I became disenchanted with the abundance of handstands and arm balances parading around the social-media-yoga-scene.

To me, that is no longer what my practice is about.

Don’t get me wrong, I love asana. In fact, I have even more appreciation for it after having 2 children.  I am also more proud of my body and what its capable of after having 2 children than I EVER was before.

But the days that I don’t practice asana FAR outweigh the days that I do because I’m teaching, cleaning, cooking, feeding, bathing, emailing, texting, hugging, snuggling, wifing etc.

So how can your yoga practice continue to evolve if you don’t have time to get to a studio, let alone roll out your mat for a solid hour to do a home practice?

It will be helpful to understand that yoga poses are actually only a small part of a yoga practice or lifestyle. According to one of the ‘grandfathers’ of yoga, asana is only 1 of 8 limbs. Patanjali’s 8- limbed yoga path consists of yamas (ethical discipline), niyamas (self discipline), asana (postures), pranayama (breathing), pratyahara (withdrawal of the senses), dharana (concentration), dhyana (meditation), samadhi (enlightenment). You can think of these as puzzle pieces that fit together to construct a complete practice. I find it helpful to think of them this way because when you are putting a puzzle together there is often no rhyme or reason, yet your effort is spent on creating a whole piece, hence doing a yoga practice or becoming a  yogini.

Through my process of becoming a mother I needed to evolve a way of maintaining my yogi identity. So I pulled away from show-boaty poses and turned my focus to the things I was doing on a more regular basis. By accepting that I couldn’t get to my mat, I started creating opportunities to practice yoga and mindfulness in the daily tasks of motherhood.

Playing with my children became a practice of being present. Packing their lunches- an act of service. Deep breathing with them when they are upset or hurt has become a great way for me to practice breathing as well. When they creep out of bed first thing in the morning, I wrap my arms around them and close my eyes to meditate on the sound of their little angel breath and their warm sleepy bodies.

Mindfulness, breathing, meditation, presence, compassion, all things that show up in motherhood on a regular basis.  Utilizing these tools to extend your yoga practice beyond your mat will help you to evolve and appreciate the time you DO get to be on your mat.  Plus, one of the hardest things to do as a mother is to make time for yourself, so by weaving these practices into your day you will cultivate mindfulness for yourself AND your family. Its WIN-WIN.

namaste.