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Yoga challenge days 10-22

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014

Well hello out there.  I am always amazed at what comes up this time of year.  It is such a perfect time to do a yoga challenge.  Spring is all about change, growth, new beginnings, and preparation for summer.  Here in Portland the summertime is the best time of year.  Portlanders wait for it and plan for it.  This is the time of year for farmers markets, gardens, being outdoors, music, and exploration.  The yoga challenge always feels to me like taking off  the cloak that has been the winter.  So, in that rebirth so to speak it is a good time to cleanse and purge.  It is a good time to evaluate life and let go of what is not working and bring in what will.

When you are doing yoga 5-7 days a week and much of that hot flow, you certainly will be cleansing and purging.  The second week of the challenge I think I did close to 10 hours of yoga.  And 7 of the hours were hot.  Going that deep into your body helps you re-align with your life, but it also will bring out any old stories that we have lodged away somewhere in our bodies.  The term working it out on the mat is not without credence.

I was going strong and on my way to 30 classes in 30 days.  Then life happened and the intensity of cleansing increased.  So now it is the 23rd of April.  I have done 17 classes.  It looks like I will at least make it to 25 classes by the end of the month.  However, my yoga practice has been amazing and so very fulfilling.  Again, I look around at all these people also doing the challenge.  We are all working through our stuff in order to blossom into these amazing poses.  To feel yourself becoming stronger and more flexible at the same time is empowering.  Then when you can finally move into a deep and complicated pose, the reward is like no other.  To know and get to know your body on this level is incredible.  It is this kind of body work that can enliven us and leave us with a big smile on our faces, walking tall out into the world.

So, as far as the structure of the blog.  I will combine a few limbs of the eight limbs of yoga.  Asana(postures), Pranayama(breathing), and Pratyahara(turning inward) are the next pieces of the 8 limb picture.  This is the most physical part of yoga.  If this is all that interests a person about yoga, it is plenty.  Just focusing on the poses and your actual breathing are huge accomplishments.  Just breathing deeply is deep yoga.  A teacher mentioned that it puts more stress on the body to breathe shallowly vs. deeply.  We all do a lot of shallow breathing because we are all moving quickly in a world that demands it.  Slowing down enough to recognize how we are breathing is a sweet place to be.  It is so grounding and again, very cleansing.  Doing postures and breathing are what allow us to go a little more inward.  Yoga is amazing for just clearing the mind.

I will end with a quote that feels a little lighter to me, just like springtime!  “Be your breath, ah, smile, hey, and relax, ho, and remember this, you can’t miss.” Rick Fields.

Days 5-10-The Yinamas

Sunday, April 13th, 2014

Well, here it is April 10th, and I have gone to 9 classes.  I had forgotten the intensity of what your body goes through in order to do deep yoga every day.  It really is like maintaining yourself through a marathon of any kind.  You have to pace yourself and preserve your energy a little and stay on track.  Especially going to classes daily.  30 classes in 30 days.  This becomes a primary commitment in one’s life.  Actually having to plan your life around being able to make it to a yoga class.  A friend keeps reminding me that I could do yoga anywhere and consider that a class.  This is so true.  Maybe I should try that a little more.  I just learn so much from my teachers.  They are flowing over with amazing stories, music, knowledge, and an intense love of yoga and the work of yoga.  It truly is a science.  I felt mesmorized last night in yoga just hearing and thinking about my inner and outer ankle bones.   Oh, and the maximum rotation of the knee.  Alignment of the body is fascinating to me.  Then to actually feel an alignment you may not have felt before is absolutely profound!

To focus on the Niyamas…  This encompasses “The Five Observances”..  Sauca(purity), Santosa(contentment), Tapas(Zeal Austerity), Svadhyaya(self study), Isvara-pranidhana(devotion to your highest self)… It seems to me the the Yamas, which is the first limb of yoga is sort of how you are in the world.  The Niyamas seems like how you are with yourself.  It’s like getting right with yourself and then going out into the world in this way.

According to what some consider the father of yoga, Pantanjali theorizes on the concept of yoga on  a mind, body, and soul perspective.  “As we practice yoga, we are aware of both aspects of mental and physical-on the state of our minds.  On the mat, begin to experience asana and pranayama as purifying your body as well as strengthening it.  Off the mat, cultivate consciousness and care around the choices you make concerning your mental and physical environment.”  I think yoga can make a person very contemplative.  This is a good thing.  It is a good thing to think for ourselves in a time when we are inundated with technology.  It is so healthy to know and feel our own body and mind’s wisdom.  I continue to try.  I think this is the path of life.  Here’s to the second week of yoga challenge.  Much love.

April 1st-yoga challange: class 1-3

Friday, April 4th, 2014

Happy April to all you lovely peoples and yogi’s out there.  I thought I would add a little structure to this year’s blog.  I  would like to base this structure on the eight limbs of yoga.  These are the foundations and things to build upon in life and in the path of yoga.  As much as there is the desire to attain the ability to do a certain pose, there is also the desire to attain a certain mindset.  This mindset is one of peace, love, and balance in day to day life.  This is one of the reasons I love yoga so much.  You can work out all the stresses in life through your body.  This is great, because often times we store our stresses in our bodies anyway.

The eight limbs are as follows:  Yamas, Niyamas, Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana, and Samadhi.  I will focus on each limb for four days of the next month.  This equals just over one month.  I dedicate my practice to the focus of the eight limbs of yoga.  This will help me ensure that I go to a class every day.

So..  I will start with the Yamas.  This constitutes the Five Moral Restraints of nonviolence, truthfulness, nonstealing, moderation, and nonhoarding.  It is day three of the challenge.  So far the classes have been amazing at Yoga Union.  The teachers are fantastic and the community feeling is very alive and well.  It is exciting to see so many people doing the challenge.  It is also inspiring.  With regard to the Yama’s and the five moral restraints, I would like to go to a story told by Swami Vivekaananda.

Imagine that each one of us lives at the center of a spider’s web of his or her own making.  The threads of the web are our thoughts, words, deeds; all together, these strands for our karma.  Yoga is the conscious manipulation of karma.  It is the study of how to avoid injurious karma and how to accrue positive karma.  The ultimate aim of yoga is to transcend this web of karma, so that we can reunite with our true selves.

“Karma is the eternal assertion of human freedom… our thoughts, our words, and deeds are threads of the net we throw around ourselves.”  Swami Vivekananda.

To me this sums up the idea of the Yamas.  In the meantime my shoulders are still tight and my hip flexors keep me from really sinking into some poses, but in my times of struggle and shake during yoga practice I will envision my negative karma releasing and blowing into the wind and into nothing.  Clearing is a good way to start any journey!  Salute!

 

 

Yoga challenge 2014!

Tuesday, April 1st, 2014

Hello any readers of this blog out there.  I am thrilled to announce the yoga challenge starting again tomorrow, April 1st.  My goal is to complete 30 classes in 30days.  I plan to blog about the experience regularly.  I welcome anyone out there to take the challenge as well and I welcome any comments to the blog!  Here’s to yoga challenge 2014!

Yoga challenge completed!

Tuesday, June 4th, 2013

Hello to all you yoga lovers out there.  I successfully completed the yoga challenge as of April 30th.  I then had a computer crash and a massive software meltdown.  Hence, the delayed post about the yoga challenge.  I am happy to say that I competed 25 classes in 30 days.  I can honestly say that I did my best.  I did not reach the goal of 30 classes in 30 days.  I see it as a continued goal and one that I will try to achieve next year for Yoga Challenge 2014.  I love yoga.  I have continued my practice as usual.  It is exciting to see the energy happening at the yoga studio.  Yoga Union is expanding into a new space.  They are growing as this yoga community is growing.  It is a beautiful thing to see manifest.  I am happy to be a part of it all.  I will end this post with a quote about yoga from Rolf Gates.. “Yoga is the study of balance, and balance is the aim of all living creatures; it is our home.”  Peace and balance to you all!

Yoga challenge day 18!

Friday, April 19th, 2013

So, here we are on the 18th day of April and I have completed 15 classes.  I wrote a long post last week.  I then thought I posted what I wrote only to find out it didn’t publicize correctly and I lost the whole post.  It has been difficult to find the inspiration again to write about the challenge.  The challenge is going well.  It is intense and it takes a whole level of commitment to the practice that I haven’t experienced before.  I have been going to all different kinds of classes.  It is so humbling to see how far I have to go.  It is humbling and also refreshing.  I don’t think I will ever get bored with the practice of yoga.  It is a journey, just like life.  I am feeling pretty sore all over and I am missing my cardio.  I went for a run today and it seemed to balance out my body.  I have often wondering if you could just do yoga everyday for exercise and nothing else, except for daily life of course.  I think every body is different.  However, I know for me that I have to balance out the yoga with some other form of exercise.  Ok, so half way there!

Yoga challenge day 11!

Friday, April 12th, 2013

Today is April 11 and the 10th class I have attended.  I missed a day and will likely have to make that up.  Perhaps I will do it on the last day of the month and really go out with a bang.  The challenge continues to gain in intensity.  I have been to several hot flow classes and other advanced classes as well.  It is all going good.

Yoga Challenge day 4!

Thursday, April 4th, 2013

I have started out the challenge slowly and gently.   This is the third year that I have done the yoga challenge.  The first year I did 20 classes in 30 days.  Last year I started strong with a goal of 25 classes in 30 days.  It was this time last year that my life completely changed.  I would have to face the loss and attachment to most of what I thought I valued.  I did not finish the challenge last year, but with good reason.  I am ready now!  This year I have total motivation and nothing to lose.  Over the course of the last year I have remained completely committed to the practice of yoga.  My practice of yoga.  I have let the practice carry me when I thought I couldn’t carry myself.  Yoga has been a complete life saver to me.  It is a therapist, a practitioner, a spiritual practice, and most importantly a Great JOY!  If it wasn’t so much fun I never would have lasted.

So, today is April 4th and I am happy to say the completion of the fourth class.   I am seeing the value of mixing things up.  I have been going to different classes than normal.  Learning from different teachers.  Most importantly, not pushing myself too hard.   Honoring our bodies and where we are at is one of the biggest challenges of yoga.  Every body is different.  We all have different structures, different cellular makeup, different genetics, and different paths.  This week so far I have been focusing on commitment and vulnerability.  I am completely committed to the daily practice of this month.  I am also learning to be vulnerable and strong at the same time.  I think often times we are afraid to be vulnerable because we are concerned what others will think of us.  Yoga has taught and is teaching me to be as strong as I can possibly be and imperfect and human at the same time.

Sometimes when we go into poses it hurts.  It seems like it shouldn’t hurt and maybe others do a pose with ease.  Sometimes we fall out of a pose and sometimes we make a funny noise or face while moving into a pose.  It is all part of it.  Honoring all of it is what makes our vulnerability perfection.  Perfect Vulnerability!  That is the phrase for this first week of the challenge.  Peace!

Yoga Challenge 2013!

Monday, April 1st, 2013

Yoga Challenge 2013.  Point to Health Acupuncture is proud to partake in the yoga challenge and blog about it too!  Follow our website blog or posts to our facebook page to see how it is going.

Colicky babies and Acupuncture

Wednesday, July 27th, 2011

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20959312