Archive for ‘yoga’

June 19, 2014

Falling Out of Love with Yoga

by mandy lipka

Image

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: HalfMoonYoga.org

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

Meaning:

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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February 13, 2012

MBSR: Week 3

by mandy lipka

Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,

you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.

You must wake up with sorrow.

You must speak to it ’til your voice

catches the thread of all sorrows

and you see the size of the cloth.

Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore,

only kindness that ties your shoes

and sends you out into the day to mail letters

and purchase bread,

only kindness that raises its head

from the crowd of the world to say

it is I you have been looking for,

and then goes with you everywhere like a shadow or a friend.

– Naomi Shibab Nye

By now, folks are starting to feel more as they develop their practice. The above quote is a nod to keep going. We may not like what we see, but to see it is the important part.

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February 4, 2012

Mind-Body Alignment

by mandy lipka

Just completed my second visit to a polarity healer/massage therapist in north central MA. The atmosphere is exactly as you expect– old Victorian home at the end of a dead end in a tiny rural New England town, complete with screened in gazebo for spring and summer visits. I absolutely adore the 50-minute drive. And I’m in good company, as one client travels all the way from New Jersey for Judy’s magical powers.

Judy, Judy, Judy. You caught me in such a whirlwind. And you picked up on it immediately. I let Judy know it was an exceptional week and she talked me down and reassured me that the first visit is the dating dance. We need to build our trust in one another before the healing begins. I started to meditate and smell the cleary sage as we worked through our first exercise. I began to tell her the laundry list of bad habits that misalign my body and she held her hands beneath my sit bones to see how much damage I have done over the years. While she worked her magic on my post-yoga sore body she challenged my mind with some probing questions— When was the last time you saw your father? At what age did you lose your virginity?

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January 26, 2012

Prayer of Oneness

by mandy lipka

“Love is how it feels to recognize our essential unity. Awakening to oneness is the experience of Big Love. Knowing you are one with all, you find yourself in love with all.”  –  Timothy Freke

Recently, a friend and I discussed the inconsistencies of a HuffPo article on why women aren’t married over a couple of beers. I respect the woman’s experience, but her wisdom didn’t follow with her three divorces. Instead, she helped perpetuate negative feelings toward single women, calling them shallow, slutty, lying, selfish, not-good-enough bitches (*gasp*). The more my friend read the article aloud, the more we’d cringe. What was she thinking?!

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April 29, 2011

Om Mani Padme Hum

by mandy lipka

Tonight, I used a freebie on a restorative class and it absolutely did the trick. Our practice was completely devoted to our Sahasrara, or crown chakra. This chakra, located at the very top of the head, is devine wisdom, our spirit, our Oneness with the Universe, our Unity and our spirituality. This aura-center is also known as our “Thousand-Petaled Lotus.” The lotus encompasses our light.

Despite being able to hear the wheels of cars pass through the damp streets, my practice was very focused on my mind and my breath. Between the face-down frog and the Supta Baddha Konasa (reclining bound angle pose), my mind, body and soul synced. As I repeated my personal mantra for the day, “I am content, I am transitioning,” I freed my thoughts. I attempted to throw out the tension from an old haunting event from my past.

For those 90 minutes, I did exactly that. Freed an 8-year-old moment of my past that had me shackled and welcomed the possibilities of the future. As we repeated our mantras, I became fully aware. Finally, we ended our restorative practice by repeating the mantra, “Om mani padme hum.” It’s often called the most important mantra in Buddhism as it is the six-syllable mantra of the Bodhisattva of compassion Avalokiteshvara. In English, it loosely translates to Praise to the Jewel in the Lotus.

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