Yoga challenge days 10-22

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.

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