“The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” -Lao Tzu
Focus: Sutra 1:1 Atha yoganusasanam // Now, the practice of yoga.
Sutra 1:1 reminds us that no matter where we are in life, we can always begin again. What is important is the present moment, not what is coming tomorrow, and not what happened yesterday, but what is happening right now. Making assumptions about life usually takes us out of the here and now. Often assumptions are not based on what is currently existing, rather they stem from what has existed or what we imagine might exist. The challenge is always to look back at ourselves and see what we are projecting in the moment. The teachings of yoga creep up every day on and off the mat — when the time comes, are we able to begin?
Flow/Align Classes: Virabhadrasana II // Warrior II
Warrior II is a pose that asks us to be firm and grounded, centered in the pull of life. We are neither leaning into the future nor dipping into the past but arriving calm and steady in the present moment. Pay attention to the positions of your shoulders in Warrior II — where do they naturally land? Is the tendency to shift forward over the front thigh, or to shift back in space? Some of us may even allow the upper body to tip forward. Can you align your spring straight out of the hips, landing balanced in the middle.
Can you also find balance in the feet? Allow your feet to push down into the ground while simultaneously hugging the inner thighs together — from here we create steadiness and lift. If you hold this pose for two, three, or ten breathes, every moment is an opportunity to tune in, adjust, and be aware. This pose takes a stance, it prepares you to move forward, to be ready — how do we use this posture to bring awareness and presence in the moment?
Stretch/Restore Classes: Constructive Rest
Constructive Rest is a wonderful reminder to be here and NOW, and to reconnect with the body and the breath. This is a pose that can be utilized throughout your day — if you need a moment of quiet, a moment of rest, or a moment to clear the mind and recenter your thoughts. Lying on your back, allow your knees to be bent, find adequate space between the feet and let the knees drop in together, like a tent. If it is comfortable, try resting one hand to your belly and one to your heart (or perhaps both to the belly), and start to feel each subtle sensation of the breath traveling from chest deep into the low belly and back out. Imagine the breath filling up your torso in three parts — belly, ribs, chest — and leaving in the reverse — chest, ribs, belly. Use this practice to help you find presence and awareness in the here and now.