Do you have something you are trying to "work through" or heal?
”Yoga is the perfect opportunity to be curious about who you are.” - Jason Crandell
Yoga has tremendous transformative power. It allows you to use it as a framework to move through a difficulty or a challenge. You can use the techniques to find your POWER and sense of self.
But the key to unlocking that power is to release the idea that you need to "take something" or have someone else fix you. You need to take that power for yourself. No one can force you to do that.
The healing begins in the acceptance that nothing happens until you decide it can. Coming to your mat with the intention of moving your body and breathing until you shake loose the energy of emotion stuck in your muscles, nerves, bones, and fascia will be the best decision you ever make.
This week we learn a few more poses closer to the mat. I outline a sequence you can use and a few postures I really like. I also include other teachers explanations of the poses so you can be sure you are doing them safely and correctly.
This week's postures are:
Cat and Cow-in table position
Gate Pose -side stretch
Bridge Pose- laying on back hips in air
Fish Pose - laying on back chest in air.
Legs up the Wall.-laying on your back, legs 90 degrees resting on the wall.
Simple poses with powerful abilty to open the body. Learn each one and get really comfortable with them so you can move easily in and out of them and close your eyes as you are comfortable. Then add the audio meditation with the sequence followed by a 10 + minute meditation.
Legs Up the Wall: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_OQEIiZLY-0
SCIENCE OF yOGA
There are many components to Yoga, according to Sat Bir Khalsa an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School.
1)Physical Postures- learning how to move your body and breath at the same time. The experience of feeling a stretch and feel your body move into new and different positions. This improves our basic global functioning.
2)Self Regulation- Our ability to be in a difficult or challenging situation and not be overtaken. Those moments in Yoga where you are in a posture, its hard, you want out, but you persist and move beyond what you thought you could do. This is the definition of resilience. You expand your belief in how much you think you can handle and allow yourself to return back to balance without being harmed. That is self-regulation and is a foundation of healing.
3) Mind Body Awareness- the sense of being able to feel and observe what is going on in the body. The observation skill is greatly diminished when we've lived in a state of stress for a long time. We stop noticing what our body is telling us, stop caring really. The outer threat feels too big and important, so we put all our energy into our protection and defence. But this is where disease begins and Yoga can give us back our power to notice and LISTEN to what our body is telling us. This is what is called Mindfulness and leads to our ability to consciously change our behaviour in ways we want, but just can't seem to talk ourselves into doing.
4)Experiencing Deeper States of Transcendence--the ability to have an "experience" in Yoga that you get in deep meditation can be totally transformative. It is these experiences that "stick with you" and keep you coming back for more. Just like falling in love, being a part of a baby's birth, being with someone as they die, Yoga and Meditation have the power to help you remember a state of being that is a "game changer". It was sparks you to think about life meaning and purpose and leave behind the distraction and details of so much of what our society focuses on.
So you may not care in the beginning about "transcendance"... you might just want to feel better and be able to live more freely. There is nothing wrong with using Yoga and meditation for any/all of these reasons. Have a look at the list and see what draws you and what you want to focus on in your next Yoga Session.
The evidence supports that if you do 12 min per day of something that includes mindful movement, breath and relaxation over 6 weeks you can lower measures of Depression and Anxiety.
SEATED LYING YOGA SEQUENCE video CatCow GateBridge
Here is the instruction video for the Seated Yoga Sequence. Use this after you've done a Sun Salutation (or two) and you aren't quite ready to meditate. If you still want to move, or you are still feeling "unsettled" Keep moving and breathing. Move through these postures until you are feeling really familiar with them and can move into and out of them easily. Then add the Audio track which has a few minutes of meditation music with it added to the end.
The goal is to be so good at a few Yoga sequences that you can do them silently or with music and help you get into a great meditation at the end. Yoga calms your nervous system, opens up stuck, old emotions stored in the body. Then find your "center" your alignment and sit and soak in a meditation. You should feel, light, free, floating, tuned out to the world.
Best. Feeling. Ever.
Then whenever you are ready, go through the Yoga sequence with just the Audio below. Or even with no sound at all if you prefer. Whatever gets you to find a deeply meditative and relaxed state. You create this yourself. Audio for Seated Yoga Sequence
If you would just like the music with no talking, here's the lovely music of Peter B. Helland. But hopefully, you find music that just really speaks to you and you can keep applying this method of Yoga and then Meditation more deeply into your life.
Instructions for Postures:
Here is another resource you can connect with to make sure you are doing the postures correctly. And keep on hand as you expand your Yoga practice.
Here is an excellent instructional video from a highly experienced Yoga Instructor to improve your postures.
Use this to keep improving your Yoga ability. But remember, our purposes here are beyond simply being "good at Yoga" or super flexible. When I listen to him teach and follow his instructions, I am so focused on my body and where every little muscle and body part is moving. Definitely out of my head, which is good. But in order to use Yoga at a deeper level to connect to your true self, I think you need to create more time and space to really let yourself FEEL what happens when you move your body in these ways. And I believe that is the benefit of a private, home practice, where you can press pause on the video, you're not feeling like you're not keeping up or holding others back.
It's just you and your mat and whatever you feel inside. When you become a "master" at being able to choose what you feel, regardless of what circumstances are going on in your life, you have "arrived". You are 100% healing your body in this state. The feeling of empowerment, ease, freedom and bliss is unmistakable and you will have that for the rest of your life. But do not worry if you don't feel like you've felt that yet, if you keep committing to FINDING the FEELING and releasing the immense pressure you have put on yourself, you will get there.