The second in the series, this vinyasa is a little similar to the first in that it incorporates standing poses – but it also incorporates a strong balance pose. Don’t get too caught up on this balance pose, a lot is going on here in ardha chandrasana (half moon pose). Allow yourself the time to grow into the pose, use a block, if needed, as shown here under the front hand. Also, in parsvottanasana (pyramid pose) the hands can be alongside the front leg, or in reverse namaste (prayer position) as shown in the drawing. Focus on movement with the breath, breath with movement. In the transitional phases of this vinyasa, there should be almost no breath. The breath comes after putting the body into position. But that can take time, so respect your body, go at your pace and flow with the breath. You may take more breaths throughout the sequence than are described here. You can try two to three vinyasas to begin, then as you build strength increase your sequence number. Here it is! Vinyasa number four. Namaste.
Starting in downward facing dog we inhale and as we exhale, moving our right foot forward to lunge. We inhale bringing arms overhead into warrior one, keeping our core tight and moving with the strength of the legs, we straighten the right knee and bend forward at the hips either placing hands in prayer behind the back or moving them down the straight front leg into pyramid pose. From pyramid, we bend our right knee and kick off with the power of the back leg, lifting the leg only to hip height and balancing our trunk on our right hand, inhaling into half moon pose. Stepping back with our left foot and placing a hand on either side of the foot, we exhale into downward facing dog. Repeating on the other side. Inhaling and exhaling into lunge, inhaling into warrior one, straightening the front leg and hinging from the hips, exhaling into pyramid. Bending the front leg, kicking up with our right leg to hip height, balancing our body on our left hand, inhaling to half moon pose. Stepping back with our right foot and exhaling all the way back into downward facing dog.
Familiar to us is the strength and power of the word compassion; and seeing compassion can move people in strong, emotional ways. Compassion is prevalent in the animal world such as when we witness animals of different species helping one another. Tears fall freely when a deep sense of compassion is shown to others who have sustained great loss. In short, when compassion is the leading theme of an interaction between living beings, it’s as if the air has been sucked out of the room and we could hear a pin drop because of the deep level of respect we feel for the participants.
Let’s try an experiment today; it will be a tough experiment for me personally and all the more reason I want to try. A few days ago, there was a blog posted on A Cup o’ Yoga. It showcased a video of people going through some very emotional times with a theme that surrounded a hospital. In our interactions today make an internal statement before each interaction starts, “I don’t know what this person is going through personally.” And relate to a moment in that video that moved you deeply. The person you are facing, no matter the circumstance, deserves your compassion and respect. Human beings are all on the same road, all water runs downhill. We just call the journey different things, just as we call water creeks, streams and rivers. Extend a moment of compassion to the person before engaging in conversation, even with those you hold most dear! You will be amazed at what happens in both your heart and in your head.
Living a more yogic lifestyle is allowing others to be who they are, honoring them in their existence and becoming aware of our own thoughts, feelings and responses before acting. Be mindful of the story from the video that resonated deeply with you; we never know exactly what another is going through.
What about the times when we are afraid to be who we really are (authentic)?
This is a question we can hear about and struggle with constantly. First, my heart goes out to you in your deepest moment of need, and I’m beside you, if not literally, figuratively. Even if ultimately the choice made is something different than what you would have wanted going in…you, my dear yogi, were able to make a choice that felt right in your mind, heart and being for the moment; authentic to you. We are all human beings, joined together in our perfect imperfections and each one of us makes a difference in someone else’s life. It could be as simple as being that one extra stop on a mailman’s route; or as complex as when the nighttime story is read, one more time, to a little one before trucking them in for the night. In this moment, I would like to honor the authentic you, to reward you, to cherish you for the brave-ness you exhibit in your choices at every moment of your life. Right or wrong, left or right, up or down;…you take the road you freely chose to and you move forward albeit, maybe on the Road Less Traveled.
The choices we make aren’t perfect. I know sometimes we will disappoint others based on our decisions as autonomous human- wonderful-beings and our choices are made, for the most part, with an authentic belief that it is the right one!
I encourage you to continue to move forward with your choices – be authentic, and cherish them. When we move closer toward acting in accordance with our internal truths, we will find peace of mind and step even closer to samadhi.
Whatever your choices, big and small, and especially surrounding your daily practice of living yoga – Believe me; The best is always yet to come in yoga… and; that makes all the difference!
How do you define courage? Think about it a moment, use it in a sentence by saying: “I have courage when I ___________”. This is your own personal courage statement, it could be as simple as, I have courage when I face work every, single day. Or, I have courage when I show compassion to my mortal enemy (the laundry – in my case). And it can even be, I have courage when I try to get into adho mukha vrksasana (handstand) time after time, after time! Courage doesn’t come easy – otherwise it would be called couch potatoing – but we all have it inside of us! I’m reminded of the squeals and shrieks of fear my sister creates whenever she sees a spider or bug and yet also the courage she displays the moment someone loses their temper inappropriately and her ability to step in and speak up when needed. We may not always feel our courage however, I can tell you this, the instant we land that handstand, crow pose, dragonfly or ___________ (insert difficult pose here) for the first time we feel an immense, overwhelming sense of honor (in the name of courage) for what we have accomplished. We have overcome any of those fears that sneak up on us like little spiders; and created a beautiful work of art that is ours alone to relish and enjoy!
Here’s to your training on your difficult pose! May you land it with all the joy that you can muster!!
Today, I had the pleasure of connecting with a friend that when we last met; we disagreed and kind of “fell off” chatting with one another. During this time, I did a lot of reflection and study (Svadhyaya) and came to understand that because a person doesn’t see eye to eye with me; doesn’t necessarily mean that they don’t ‘see me’. I think this concept is a powerful one; it’s not about allowing ourselves to ‘agree to disagree’ and all those other cliches; but instead that often times we take a difference of opinion as a slight, when in reality; we aren’t appreciating the autonomy and authenticity the person is sharing with us. A person with whom we have a misunderstanding with, is daring to be authentic with us. They are practicing Satya, and we should be practicing Ahimsa (in thought & action of course!) and the other yamas that are applicable to each situation. When we relinquish the need for control, we free ourselves to growth, compassion and understanding. As it has been said, “…all misunderstandings result from our own failure to see that someone is not at the same level of awareness as we are…”. When we begin to practice the 8 limbs of yoga, and reach out for understanding and respecting the person who trusts us enough to be authentic in our presence; we open ourselves up to new levels of growth both internally and within our relationships.
- Willa McFadden Yoga (mcfaddenmcfaddenblog.wordpress.com)
- Svadhyaya (yogagirlsherri.wordpress.com)
- Samskaras (yogagirlsherri.wordpress.com)
- Samskara Runs Deep. (elephantjournal.com)
- Ahhhhh, What Are We Controlling? (yogagirlsherri.wordpress.com)
I’ve said it before, and will continue. Gratitude is a never-ending post for me. Today, off the yoga mat, I am grateful for all I have been blessed with – including the little things that I can find bothersome throughout the day. For example, today I had a four hour class dealing with coaching others; the class had great insight and taught me a lot and I couldn’t wait to get out of there! What a long morning, which would be followed by an interesting, yet long afternoon. So my gratitude settles in on me as I arrive home to my peaceful, little home with my little, happy puppies. Sometimes, life is about the solitary moments that we feel contentment in. Contentment can find us and translate into our yogic lifestyle moments off the mat, in moments of self-reflection, observation, and self-study (svadhyaya). Svadhyaya is the niyama that is the study of self-reflection. In a moment of contentment and peaceful gratitude, it is easier to view ourselves deeply and reflect on any of our yogic studies and readings.
To our study and self-reflection today, Namaste.
- Svadhyaya (yogagirlsherri.wordpress.com)
- Two Books I’m looking forward to receiving (yogagirlsherri.wordpress.com)
- 5 Minute Gratitude Meditation (littlewindmillyoga.com)
- Gratitude… (alzjourney.com)
- Contentment and Gratitude (oneragamuffin.wordpress.com)