Archive for ‘yoga diaries’

June 19, 2014

Falling Out of Love with Yoga

by mandy lipka


Every once in a while, it happens.

I fall out of love with my yoga practice.

And for the first few days, weeks, sometimes months, my mindfulness depletes– my glass lowers to mindless– and I start playing the “should” game. I should be breathing more and sitting less. I should increase my home practice when I can’t get to the studio. I should start meditating during the work day to alleviate stress. And so it goes…

In every meditation class I’ve taken, it’s a lesson learned. We must stop focusing on how it should feel, what we think we should happen, how often we should practice. And, you know, bring a little compassion into being mindful of ourselves. Sometimes all it takes is a moment to come back to ourselves… to our breath.

After a few weeks of more-than-usual melancholy (yes, of course, I’m feeling the effects of Merc retro), my most common stressor reared its ugly head again. I took a breath, checked the time, and realized I was only steps away from a sanctuary. To my bright-side surprise, I would make it in time for my most peaceful and wholesome yoga class.

A few things changed in the studio (including a sub) that at first, had me out of water. It only took a few deep and equal Ujjayi breaths in my beloved Supta Baddha Konasana before my breathing got deeper, longer, and the world washed away.

I set my intention: Come back to myself.

Nearly halfway through the class, it occurred to me how good this felt. My hip flexors open, my psoas juicy, my sacrum releasing deep tension. Plenty of oxytocin flowing. Damn, this feels good. So good I could feel my ladybits joining in the fun… It’s like amazing make-up sex but even more satisfying for the soul.

When you say something like [I love you] with your whole being, not just with your mouth or your intellect, it can transform the world. – Thich Nhat Hanh

As the class came to an end and I breathed into my feet up the wall, I felt a tingling in my toes, vibrations in the soles; and with a blanketing in-breath of lavender, it hit me…

Tonight, I came back to myself.

Photo credit:

August 15, 2012

Yoga Diaries – Second Chakra

by mandy lipka

Sometimes I like to take beginner and fundamentals classes to refresh proper alignments and basic adjustments in poses because once we get going on the yoga machine we often overlook the most important things we learned in the early days. Or, maybe our first teachers overlooked them, too, and we missed them completely. Either way, I find it a great exercise in learning and reminding our bodies.

Tonight, is a perfect example. We focused completely on our second chakra and began our session by meditating with legs bent up the wall to give our low backs some rest.

The second chakra is the Svadisthana, or Sacral chakra. In Tantric tradition, it can also be translated as

from Wikipedia

“one’s sweetest abode” or “one’s own place.” This second chakra is shown as the orange lotus in Shaktism, which has a crescent in the center– the tattwa, or truth, of water. Svadisthana corresponds to the element of Water and often is associated with sexual energy. Though it does not connect with the sex organs (that’s the first), it is the force behind the life-sustaining energy behind sexual impulse. The crescent moon in the center is also symbolic of the mysterious powers within the subconscious, relating to the pre-rational dream state of consciousness.

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July 13, 2012

Yoga Diaries: Present Moment of Success

by mandy lipka

It’s all a matter of paying attention, being awake in the present
moment, and not expecting a huge payoff. The magic in this world seems
to work in whispers and small kindnesses. Charles de Lint via Stress Resources

It’s been a busy summer and I have so much in the yoga backlog to write about. But, today was a special day worth noting. It’s the day I did my first successful headstand in ~4 years. I took a bit of a yoga break after I graduated college— focused my time on the move, reconnecting with friends and starting a new job.

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May 31, 2012

Yoga Diaries: Back to the Basics

by mandy lipka

Now that the dust is beginning to settle in the Anusara world, rather than worry about where the movement is going, I think it behooves us to revisit the beginning. Whenever I start to lose faith in something that matters to me, I tend to go back to the start to remind myself of those sparks that once ignited something special.

Anusara takes its name from a verse in the great text, the Kularnava Tantra. It reads in Sanskrit:

Shakti-nipata-anusarena sishyo’anugraham-arhati


By stepping into the current of Divine Grace’s descent into the heart, the true seeker becomes worthy, enveloped in the Grace that sustains and nurtures his or her every action.

So, let’s do it. Let’s bring meaning back to descending into our hearts to find the TRUTH. The truth in ourselves, the truth in grace– that which sustains us and nurtures our soul.

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June 2, 2010

Yoga Diaries: Week 1

by mandy lipka

A few weeks ago, I picked up a 50-card practice deck to keep myself disciplined in yoga when I’m not taking or skipping classes. Each card features photos and instructions for various poses by Rodney Yee— a very popular instructor who’s been on Oprah and in Time, People and USA Today.  Each week I’ll be picking three poses to do daily.

Here goes discipline.

Standing Pose #15: TREE POSE

Phew. A favorite of mine. Relatively easy as you’re allowed to sway and fall, but the reward is in eventually staying completely still.

Press down into your heels and rise up from the arches of your feet.

Reach your arms over your head and rise up through your core.

Keep breathing for about 30 seconds and let the energy trace through your spine to your head.

Bring your hands to your chest and lower your foot. Shake it off if you need to and repeat.

This guy’s got good form, but I recommend leaving the hats aside so you can stretch your arms completely.

Seated Pose #36: STAFF POSE

Press the backs of your thighs, calves and heels into the ground and flex your feet. Press open hands flat on the ground (shoulders straight) and lift your chest. Lengthen your waist and imagine your legs are buried so that you are lifting your torso to break free.

This one makes my arms feel short. It’s tough to keep hands flat and back straight at the same time.

Standing Pose #14: SIDE ANGLE POSE

Stretch your legs as if you’re going into a lunge with one foot facing forward and the other out. Keep your heels aligned and ground your pelvis in the direction of your back leg as you elongate your waste with the reach of your top arm (straight over your head). Lay your other hand flat next to the foot facing forward. For example, if your right foot is lunging forward, place your right hand beside it and stretch your left overhead, chest out, face up.

Dig your heels deeply as you launch your chest from your pelvis and rotate your knees away from each other. As you place your bottom arm for support, align yourself from your back heel through your fingertips.

I really enjoy this pose but it definitely reminds me to drink less dark, hoppy beer!

Please try these poses and let me know your thoughts. Which one(s) are more challenging, energizing? Do any of these poses not really do it for you at all? Share your experience below. Namaste.