Posts tagged ‘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

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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.

read more »

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.