Do you know your Gomukasana from your Adho Mukha Svanasana? Is your Vrksasana all it can be? And how do you feel about Supta Baddha Konasana? Do you know what I'm even talking about?
Sometimes the Sanskrit - however beautiful it sounds - is not very helpful. So, to encourage my students to expand their yoga practice into their home, I sketch the poses we practice during class on a chart and add the Sanskrit and common name. Hopefully, this is a useful tool to help them along in their yogic journey. I also troll the internet, books, and journals to find interesting articles about yoga and the yogic lifestyle.
Eventually, most of us come to realize that the practice of yoga is more than just poses on the mat. It begins to seep into every aspect of our lives. One way to practice your yoga is through saucha, the cleanliness of body, mind, and environment. To that end, here's a recipe for cleaning your mat:
The recipe is simple.
one part vinegar
three parts water
10 drops tea tree oil (optional)
a couple drops lavender oil (optional)
Practice saucha and keep your mat clean
You could put this in a spray bottle, or just place your mat in a bathtub, barely cover with lukewarm water, pour in a couple glugs of vinegar and dashes of oils. Then swish it around for a bit. Lift the mat out of the water and hang outside on an overcast day to dry (this could take a while, and too much direct sun can break down the mat material).
Over the summer, I will still be teaching at 5:30 on Mondays and 7:00 on Wednesdays at the Yoga 4 All studio. Additionally, from June 7th through July 5th, I will be subbing on Indian Shores on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 9:00 a.m. The classes are in the Indian Shores Community Center next door to the Salt Rock Grill and they are only $6! I hope you can make it - maybe we'll go to the Lighthouse for coffee and donuts after class?
Lots of internal rotation (Warrior 1, pyramid, Warrior 3, yoga splits, hero) and external rotation (tree, wide angle series, frog, janu sirsasana) of the hips in tonight's class.
Quote for class: "No pessimist ever discovered the secrets of the stars, or sailed to an uncharted land, or opened a new heaven to the human spirit." -Helen Keller
Is there anyone who doesn't love a twist (whether in yoga or with Chubby Checker)? Wringing out your spine is such a treat, but finding ways to reach each part of our spine is sometimes a challenge. Hopefully the twist variations we did in Wednesday evening's class got to the good stuff for you!
Melody Beattie provided the quote for tonight: "Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, rings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow."
Oh, lotus pose! The iconic stereotype of a yogi deep in meditation. If only getting into this pose was as peaceful as the image in our minds! Here's the thing: if your knees are aching in the pose (first, don't do it!), then it is probably your hips that are tight. So tonight we worked through some poses aimed at stretching and stabilizing our "body's junk drawer".
Tonight's quote was from a French proverb: "Gratitude is the heart's memory"
Just a general class exploring some of the more common standing poses, building strength and practicing alignment. If you haven't tried downward facing dog with your heels up the wall, give it a try. It changes the entire feel of the dog...in a good way.
The quote for tonight is actually a Sanskrit chant (translated): "May all beings in all realms experience joy."
I think there are probably as many variations on the Moon Salutation as there are yogis practicing. To me, a moon salutation should revovle around the side body (whereas Sun Salutations are usually front/back body focused). So starting with Mountain and working through forward fold, then reversing the poses back to mountain (first one side, then the other) creates a version of a moon salutation. Be creative and do what feels good!
Tonight's quote is about attitude: "There is no duty we so much under-rate as the duty of being happy. By being happy we sow anonymous benefits upon the world." -Robert Louis Stevenson
Monday night was everyone's favorite (even though you won't admit it!) - core work. We were looking to plug into those transverse abdominals - take a look on Google for more information than you'd ever care to know about the TA. Be sure during the practice you imagine your spine pressing into the mat, like leaving a footprint.
Walt Whitman provided tonight's quote: "I am large; I contain multitudes".
Anti-slouching tonight! My favorite pose is the second one drawn, "spine mobilization". Lay across a pool noodle, placed just below the shoulder blades for 3-5 breaths and then sit up for 3-5 breaths. Repeat a few times and then just roll the noodle to the next vertebra down and repeat again, as much as you'd like. So delicious.
Quote for tonight: "So, if you stop trying to make yourself into more than you are out of fear that you are less than you are, whoever you really are will be a lot lighter and happier, and easier to live with, too."