“Living is easy with eyes closed.” – John Lennon
As we close out the month and our second quarter, we may come to realize that quite often, we can trace any unhappiness or discontent back to misconstrued or false perceptions of reality. We create our own perspectives though they are mutated and informed by a myriad of circumstances — past events, internal fears, outer distractions, incorrect knowledge. All of these experiences created the biased lens of our mind. It is through deep personal inquiry and reflection that we challenge these perceptions. The ability to shift your perspective truly is a strong super power and may very well greatly impact your ability to find peace day to day. This doesn’t mean that we need to ignore the problems of the world of walk around with a constant smile on our face if it feels forced — rather, can we recognize problems, acknowledge our relationship to them, and find a place of contentment with our circumstances. Create the reality that you want by adjusting the lens on your mind’s eye.
Flow/Align Classes: Supported Side Plank
Supported Side Plank offers us a chance to shift our perspective — rather than looking straight ahead to the future, we might look behind us, reflecting on the past, look skyward, seeking insight, or see who is just to the side of us. The gaze in this pose and shift in perspective will impact the balance, the exaggeration of the shape, and the rotation in the neck. Notice, if you look down, up, straight ahead, are you more or less stable, more or less strained?
You might also consider your initial perspective of pose. Do you automatically push it aside and jump into full side plank? Is this because of a perspective, a judgment of the pose? If you find yourself itching to jump into the full version, try closing the eyes and seeing how you can expand in the supported version. You might have more ability to breath fully, to stretch long, to feel the pose. On the flip side, if this pose brings you discomfort, try these modifications: a blanket under the knee will help with pain and the top hand on the hip might make balance easier. You could even take this next to a chair and prop your stabilizing forearm onto the chair, taking weight off of the wrist.
Stretch/Restore Classes: Kurmasana // Tortoise Pose
Tortoise Pose offers a chance to slide back into our shell and take a moment of solitude when we need a shift in perspective. It can be hard to challenge our perceptions, and often that requires a moment of turning inward. So let’s literally fold inside of ourselves and look back to the Self.
To make this pose easier to hold for a longer period of time, we recommend sitting up on the edge of a blank. The feet come together like badha konasana (bound angle pose) with much space between heel and pelvis. If you are at home and have a nice stack of bath towels or blankets, you might try setting this stack between the legs, overlapping the feet, and allowing yourself to gently fold forward, perhaps resting on one cheek. If you are comfortable closing the eyes do so, and take as long as you like to find a quiet meditative space of reflection. Use this as a time to consider your perceptions of your practice and your physical body — what can you shift?