YOGA POSE + FOCUS: 08.21 – 08.27

“Let me not pray to be sheltered from dangers, but to be fearless in facing them.” -Rabindranath Tagore.

Weekly Focus: Abhaya (fearlessness / boldness)

A common concept in both Buddhism and Hinduism, abhaya is sanskrit for “fearlessness.”

A few weeks back, we found our courage with connection to the Sun, surya. Building off of that courage we now connect with abhaya — feeling the boldness to stand up for who we are + what we believe without fear or shame.

As we are still in high summer, the Sun continues to be a source of warmth, energy + inspiration. If we think back to the qualities of Surya (strength, confidence, courage, heat) we may build upon what we have gathered to find more fearlessness in our step. It takes a boldness to find intimate connections with the Self + who we truly are. When we step into the darkness of our own folds, we may find shadows or corners we didn’t expect, or don’t wish to acknowledge. Working on our fearlessness doesn’t mean that this deep work won’t always be scary or intimidating, but it means we choose to turn towards the discomfort rather than away from it. Rememeber, we always have the breath to help guide us through.

Passive Pose of the Week: Utthan Pristhasana (Lizard Lunge)

Lizard lunge provides the opportunity to stretch + expand to your physical edge, while providing the quiet moments to turn inwards reflectively. Both can be scary, so choose where you focus your breath. From a low lunge position, heel-toe your front foot about as wide as the mat + extend your back leg long behind you, allowing the knee rest on the floor. Let the weight of your torso drop you low inside of your front leg. This pose can be highly beneficial to linger in for 2 – 3 minutes. Something to notice in lizard — you may initially feel a lot of resistance or discomfort, perhaps an inability to old still. What happens when you breathe deeply and tune your awareness inwards. You may notice that over the course of a few minutes, the body allows itself to soften and you naturally fall deeper into the pose. The shift may be very subtle, but that doesn’t mean it is not worth noticing.

Active Pose of the Week: Parsva Bakasana (Side Crow Pose)

There is always a bit of fearlessness to overcome when you are trusting only the hands + arms to hold you up! Like any balance, this position will ask you to get somewhere uncomfortable + trust in your own body to hold you up. Begin in chair pose and twist your torso to the right or left. Begin to sink the hips lower until you are able to place both hands shoulder width distance apart on the ground, just in front of your legs. Lean forward, feel your weight shift and your hips lift as you balance on one or both elbows. One key to success in side crow is a deep twist in the body. The further you can spiral over your thighs, the more balance you will have in the body. To build deeper twists, think about creating space in your belly, either with the breath, or manually with the hands. Each time you breathe in, hug your belly button back and then twist before exhaling. If parts of your body are in the way, belly, chest, thighs — use your hands to help move your flesh away. It seems silly but it helps! Twists are all about finding space to rotate.