In my yoga classes, I've been talking a lot lately about being present, living in the moment, and how difficult that is to really do in our modern, western, scheduled, distracted, busy lives. The yoga mat - our Asana Playground - is one place where we can teach ourselves to be present.
When we are truly present, we allow thoughts of the future and past slip away, and we are only in the NOW.
On a physical level, on our Asana Playground, we get to experience the NOW as we move through each posture. More specifically, as we move BETWEEN each posture. The posture itself, the Asana, is only a moment - "...a momentary gathering of alignment, breath and attention into one physical shape. And then it [is] gone." (Lee, Cindy. "Art of Asana." Yoga International, Spring 2013 #121.)
Isn't it true? Before that moment, we are deepening, opening, engaging, and breathing. Then, the moment happens, and voila! ASANA! What happens next is a TRANSITION - a transition OUT OF the Asana.
Now I realize that I teach a VINYASA yoga class - one that flows breath and movement, one that, at least I hope, feels fluid to my students. In the Vinyasa style, it is true, that alignment, breath and attention gather for a moment to create the Asana. But in a Bikram class, or a Hatha class, where each posture is taught individually without the focus on a fluid transition in between, the actual Asana, when you reach it (if you are supposed to reach it at all is another discussion in itself!) is still that momentary gathering.
I love that thought. Can I say it once more?
The Asana... is... a MOMENTARY gathering of ALIGNMENT, BREATH and ATTENTION...
Hallelujah! Yoga is DANCE! Yoga is LIFE! No wonder Yoga is so great!
So, let's come off our Asana Playground and back into the World.
When we have practiced graceful transitions through challenging, awkward, frustrating, glorious, fun postures in yoga, we allow ourselves to move gracefully from one moment into the next, whatever arises in that moment. When we have truly embodied that concept, isn't it grand how that transfers into the World, where we also allow ourselves to move gracefully through those transitions? Not postures, but situations - point A to point B, conversations, frustrations, elations, whatever arises in the NOW. We are much better equipped to accept it and transition - move - gracefully through it.
Now there is more... and this idea I credit to Ram Dass, whose writing I was reading this morning...
When we get caught up thinking about the future, our minds see in advance where we are going, and make us imitate where we think we are going. This doesn't give us a chance for our intuition to show us the way. And our intuition is highly intelligent.
Saul David Raye speaks a lot about the Mayan concept of the "heart-mind". We have the mind, the intellect, but then the heart also, the feeling, has wisdom. Somewhere between the two, lies our intuition, and it is with the heart-mind that the best decisions are made.
There is another blog entry in and of itself! I will have to save that for the next time!
Until then, inspiration abounds!
I uploaded 2 new videos to my YouTube channel today. These are from today's classes. Just playing around before class, I decided to record what I was doing. I'm not quite sure yet where these videos are headed. I know that one day I would like to dub music and instruction, or get good enough to instruct while I am demonstrating. But perhaps they will be inspiration to other yoga instructors to get creative, to students to feel the flow or practice something at home, a teaching tool? I am always open to feedback, so please contact me if you have something to say! Constructive is always best! :)
The first one:
This flow is meant to warm up the class quickly, moving straight through
integrating the mind and body into core strengthening plank variations,
Anjaneyasana (crescent moon) into Pyramid to open up hip flexors then
hamstrings, and straight into a Sun B flow.
The second one:
This sequence moves from Crescent Lunge, then straightens the front leg and
twists into Parivrtta Trikonasana (revolved triangle), finding a deep twist as
you lengthen side body, hip back, ground into big toe mound, and twist through
thoracic spine. From here bend standing leg to flow into Parivrtta Ardha
Chandrasana (revolved half-moon), continuing to expand through the torso,
deepening the twist. Then, focus on the transition into Parivrtta Natarajasana
(revolved dancer), feel the body grow and expand into the full posture. Land in
Utkatasana, and Prayer Twist. Shift the weight onto one foot, and extend the
other leg back into Revolved Crescent Lunge. Straighten the front leg and find
Parivrtta Trikonasana again. Next comes the arm balance, Parivrtta
Koundinyasana. Notice how this posture is almost identical to revolved triangle,
but the weight is on the arms rather than the feet! Have fun!
Click to see the latest video: "Be Present In The Flow"
This is the latest yoga posture series from Indieflow Yoga. This series is a good exercise for the yogi to stay focused and in the moment. It is a long series with a lot of balancing.
Move slowly through the transitions, maintaining balance and core strength.
Crescent lunge with heart opener - vertical twist - Crescent with heart opener - Dakasana -
Parivrtta Ardha Chandrasana -
Parivrtta Natarajasana - Garudasana - bound Dakasana - standing splits -
Matseyendrasana - Navasana - Dakasana - Virabradrasana II - Trikanasana -
reverse - runner's lunge - Eka Pada Vashistasana - Chatturanga
Kristen is the creator of Indieflow Yoga and Yoga For A Cause. She lives and teaches in Denver, Colorado