Archives for posts with tag: breathe

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.

 

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So at the beginning of January I embarked on a journey that would be sure to turn my world upside down, (hehe). A 31 day Handstand Photo Challenge.

I’m 9 days in and already feeling a bit more balanced and confident about holding myself up with my hands. But WHY would anyone want to do something as silly as a handstand challenge?

almost!

almost!

My husband says ‘you’re a yoga teacher, you can do that!”. To which I reply ‘Its all in my head, I know it.’ So like any other goal/ challenge that I’ve had success accomplishing or overcoming in my life, I decided to apply a few strategic principles:

1) Be consistent. After all, the reason NBA players are so good is because they practice e.v.e.r.y.d.a.y.

2) Be patient. Know that what you are aiming at takes time. Acknowledge where you are and move forward one step (or kick-up) at a time.

3) Create evidence. When I ran my first half marathon it was so cool to have so many other people there to see me cross the finish line. Then I knew it wasn’t a figment of my imagination.  And with these photos I’ll be able to catalogue my progress.

4) Know yourself. I know that I can do this. I also know that when I set goals that are not aligned with my truth, or that I don’t feel are possible in my bones, then I know I’m setting myself up. This takes a lot of honesty.

5) Focus on success instead of fear. MY MOTTO FOR 2014… all the good self help books insist on this one!

6) Have Fun!!! Life is simply too short, my time is too valuable, and so is yours.

I have a teacher who insists that being able to hold handstand in the middle of the room does NOT make you a better person. And though I’m not sure I agree with her (because all of the people I know who CAN do that are pretty awesome!) I’m bound and determined to overcome this fear. So that’s what it is for me, a fear thing. But I figure, its about time I start trusting my Self. Something that I have only really recently begun to take full ownership of. This handstand thing is symbolic to me in a way that will get to the core of some of the self-doubt that has been hindering my ‘success’ in a lot of ways my whole adult life.

So whatever you’re setting your mind to, do it with all your heart! (wobbles and giggles never hurt either!)

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