Inner Teacher

Eka pada raja kapotasana, 1 leg king pigeon pose.  I have always avoided the full expression of this shape.  I generally visit it as a deep hip opener, but seldom much more than that.  I've experimented with using a strap to access the back foot, but more as a means to open the quadriceps than to explore the realm of backbending.  Lately however, I find myself magnetically drawn to this pose.  I seek all the ways in which I can practice the pose without collapsing into my lower back and in a way that is painfree.  But the desire to find this shape is driven from the inside out and as a result I am discovering so many new things about my breath and my body. 

My yoga practice used to be about poses I could do and poses I couldn't do.  I would get stronger at those that came naturally and I would avoid those that required deeper study and work.  But now the unknowing is what lights me up.  It connects me to my inner teacher, something that only comes as a result of direct experience.   It's not always pretty, but it's practice.

Bhumi Bow - Earth Day Celebration!

In the chakra system of energetic anatomy, the base of the spine embodies the earth element, bhumi.  The pelvis can be thought of as the earth of the body, connecting the trunk to the legs and supporting all forms of movement.  This practice is a dedication to the earth both within and without - an expression of deep hip opening through forward bends, bowing in respect to this sweet little planet we call home. 

H A P P Y  E A R TH  D A Y!

Letting Go

In the yogic tradition, the spine is considered to be the central axis out of which all things arise and back to which all things return.  As an extension of this concept, the back side of the body represents the direction of the west.  It symbolizes the setting sun and all things that have come before, in the past. The back of the body cannot be directly seen with our own eyes and yet it supports so much of our forward movement and what lies ahead.  The western facing side of the body represents our deeply set, unconscious actions and habits.  By awakening and releasing the backs of the legs and the posterior muscles of the spine, we begin to invite to the surface any past imprints, samskaras, that we want to let go of. 

With the inhale, I encourage you to breathe into the areas that need space for possibility. 

With the exhale, commit to releasing anything that arises that is no longer serving you. 

This practice releases the hamstrings and the muscles that support the spine through deep split-leg forward bends and flexion.  As counterpose to the deep inward reflection of folding forward, we explore vibrant backbends to enliven the spine and open the heart. 

Find the Person inside the Pose

The body is not in service of the asana (pose), the asana is in service of the body, mind and spirit.  The pose is not the point.  The shapes that we create with our bodies are instead designed to give us even the subtlest little awakenings each time we practice.  If you feel better (kinder, calmer, more patient) at the end of your yoga practice than when you started, then you're doing it right.