YOGA POSE + FOCUS: 02.19 – 02.25

“Your greatest revelations are waiting for you to rest and receive them.” — Octavia Raheem

Weekly Focus: Sutra 1:2 yoga citta vrtti nirodhah — Yoga is the stilling of the fluctuations of the mind.

As we come to calm the chatter of the mind, the spaces between offer glimpses of our union with the divine or the universe. Like the snow after a heavy fall, this calming of the mind allows us to observe our thoughts with a crisp clarity. Notice, this Sutra does not suggest that we use yoga to clear the mind, but rather, that we calm the mind. If you ever manage to clear the mind fully, you are dead, non-existent 😱. The mind is essential — it serves as our connection between the external and the internal, between divinity/universal and Self, a bridge to our infinite nature. Notice, are we using yoga as a means to “zone out” or “space out?” OK, that’s alright, and sometimes, it serves a necessary purpose. But to truly practice yoga is to not just allow your mind to become blank, it is to come to a space where we can pause, take a moment, and observe what is happening within the mind. This is where the real magic happens! It is within this space that we realize the empowering nature of controlling and analyzing our own thoughts. We can choose to let negative and unhelpful thoughts simmer, OR, we can release them and ruminate on the thoughts moving us forward, aligning with our most authentic nature. Once the mind  can be observed, we can more fully realize our truest Self.

Passive Pose of the Week: Sukhasana — comfortable seat

Allow yourself to come to a comfortable seat of reflection in your Sukhasana, easy seat. Come to any cross-legged seat that feels comfortable (think criss-cross-applesauce!) and allow your hands to rest gently in the lap. To allow yourself to hold this pose more sustainably, consider sitting up on a cushion or a blanket. As you sit on your cushion, make sure you are close to the edge of the cushion, which will allow for a natural tilt in the pelvis and help ti drop the knees lower. If you like, take this pose against a wall, to help support your spine. Spend some time here looking to the tip of your nose, or closing your eyes, and focus on observing your thoughts. As a thought passes through the mind, label that thought for what it is: “that is a task,” “that is a memory,” “that is an idea,” and then set it aside. Eventually, you start to feel the thoughts slow down, and the mind quiet. Set yourself a timer for 5-minutes, and enjoy this small time set aside for yourself.

Active Pose of the Week: Deviasana — goddess squat

Deviasana can be a challenging pose to hold in calm and still. Step your feet 2 – 3(ish) feet wide. Turn your toes out slightly, bend your knees and sink your hips low. Keep your chest and head lifted. Allow your arms to come wide to a cactus position, bending the elbows to 90 degrees. Imagine breathing into the spaces of the body that might feel sticky or tight here, letting the breath help you release tension and find some calm in this pose. Hold for 5 – 7 breaths.