YOGA POSE + FOCUS: 10/30 – 11/5

“Sometimes reality is the illusion, and the truth only visible where our eyes can’t see.” — Jeanine Henning

Weekly Focus: Maya (illusion)

Maya is the illusion that the world is as it appears to be with all of its distractions. Buddha described all of reality as an illusion. However, this doesn’t mean that everything around us is fake. More so, it means everything is just matter, shapes, and the true essence lies within, more difficult to see. At this time of the year where we love to think about afterlife, spirits, ghosts, returning from the dead — it can provide the opportunity to consider what we believe true essence to be. After all, we are just walking around in our flesh suits, our skin bags, which can sometimes distract us from the subtleties within. What does exist when the exterior deteriorates? A soul? Spirit? Atman? Nothing? What is your truth? Another way to consider this is thinking about the words and thoughts we use which are simply that, words and thoughts. But are they real? Are they truth? Is there something you are telling yourself that isn’t really real? The mind can play tricky games — how do we sort out reality?

Passive Pose of the Week: Ardha Dhanurasana (half bow pose / quad stretch)

Help your self stay grounded in reality while also looking out and beyond for truth with this low backbend. Come onto your belly, supporting yourself with your left arm. Reach your right arm back behind you, bend your right knee and find your foot. You have a couple of choices from here: 1) you might pull the heel towards your seat, getting a nice quad stretch. Imagine gently lengthening the thigh towards the ground and breathe; 2) you can prop up onto your left forearm and add a gentle backbend and heart opener, creating room for the breathe; 3) if you want to be more active, push into your left hand and kick your right foot strongly into your right hand. Can’t find your foot? No worries — this is a great time to grab for a strap to help make the arm longer. Looper it around the foot and give yourself something to hold.

Active Pose of the Week: Virabhadrasana III (warrior 3)

Step forward, leading with the mind’s eye, peeking beyond illusion. Standing on one leg, hinge at your hips and balance with your back leg lifted and your torso hovering, imagining yourself like a “T.” It is easy for our lifted leg to get a little loose-goosey here, so try to think about a strong back leg. One great way to practice this is by utilizing a wall. Stand in front of the wall, facing out towards the room. Place the foot of your lifted leg to the wall with a soft bend in the knee, so that you can press into the wall to straighten the leg.