Happy Hump-asana Day: Paschimottanasana/Seated Forward Fold

Well, hello, Wednesday!

Happy Hump-asana pose for today: Paschimottanasana/Seated Forward Fold

Yuuuum.

[Just looking at paschimottanasana makes me swoon]

How are you feeling today? Need some peace? I sure do – and seated forward fold always, always brings me a little bit of calm. Because I’ve had a crazy work week and am four days away from graduating from teacher training (read: upcoming test!), I’ll can it for once and leave you with this easy-to-follow instruction from the Yandara Institute. Feel free to fantasize about meditate on their Mexican Baja Peninsula scenery while in the pose, too.

For fellow tight-hammie yogis, I offer just one tip: If you can reach past your toes, try putting a block in front of the extended feet. Grab onto the block and then fold over. A block sometimes helps to keep the feet flexed and facilitates a more intense hamstring stretch. Then feel free to make this pose as passive as you’d like and just relish in the goodness.

Have a happy day and peace out – this yogini’s gotta study!

Happy Hump-asana Day, fellow yogis! Get your minds out of the gutter – Hump-asana Day, traditionally known as Wednesday or “Hump Day” in lamens/peasant/working-folk tongue, is a mid-week yogi treat. Hump-asana Day features a snippet of a pose worth spending some time exploring. And since they’re ALL worth exploring, we’ll never run out of poses for Hump-asana Day – rejoice!

Hairy Toes and Other Confessions

Happy Friday, fellow yogi(ni)s! What better way to wrap up the week than a public confessional? Here, I offer you this week’s admissions:

1.  During a hot class my attention was diverted on more than one occasion. Instead of refocusing my breath/gaze, I chose to make a superficial self-improvement to-do list. After noticing a display of self-tanner streaked across my feet and ankles [the horror!], I realized that spending time refocusing my energy on body maintenance may be a good idea. List Item #1: pay attention when blending self-tanner, or just quit altogether. I also noticed a trio of random hairs on my left big toe [disgusting]. List Item #2: invest in toe hair remover. Etc.

2.  I bought a DVD-player for the first time in my life. Being a gigantic closet nerd, my DVD viewing for the past six years has been via a Playstation 2, which I have also used to play copious amounts of DDR – If you don’t know what DDR is, kindly disregard. Last night, the PS2 pooped the proverbial bed amidst a rather intense competition with The Big Guy (I’m talking a Michael Jackson song here, people). Nerd rage ensued.

Nerd Rage

There I was, raging out, unable to DDR and also unable to watch DVDs. So, I put on my big girl pants and bought a very 21st Century DVD-player. Thank you, Target price cuts!

3.  I bought a $75 Kate Spade kindle cover. Despite endeavoring to save money and engage in aparigraha, I broke. That’s right, I broke and spent absurd coin for something seemingly silly. For a bookworm fused to her kindle, though, I argue that there is some sort of justification out there, especially considering that the cheapest, most oatmeal**  kindle cover is $30. The toughest part was choosing between The Great Gatsby, The Importance of Being Earnest, or Great Expectations:

One of each? Yes, please!

[book nerds, unite!]

The Importance of Being Earnest cover won. Wilde is my homedog.

** “Oatmeal” in adjective form was stolen from my former life as a sorority girl.

4.  While assisting during class last night, I purposely avoided touching one student. I had my reasons, though. Rewind to about an hour earlier: I was at the gas station buying bottled water and a random male patron proceeded to shamelessly eye-grope and stalk me [And for the record, due to my ninja-like awareness, I am complex prey to stalk].

Difficult prey to stalk, just like the Black Rhino in Botswana

Mmmmm, rhinos are cute! And also very ugly. I digress.

Male patron eye-groped, stalked, and then followed me out of the store to say hello and ask my name. Somewhat creepy but also mildly flattering. Whatever. I brushed it off and barely looked at him. Fast forward to class: A random student asked for help during hanumanasana. So, I displayed an appropriate variation on the floor next to him. Mid-explanation, he turned and whispered “Are you the girl I just saw at the gas station? What’s your name? Have I seen you here before? Why didn’t you want to talk to me?” I felt awkward and didn’t appreciate that I was trying to help him and he just wanted to holler at me. That’s right, he hollered (holla’d?) at me. Funny thing is, The Big Guy was suffering practicing on the other side of the room, completely oblivious. Anyway, I didn’t go back to give him any more assists. It was childish, I know. Go ahead and judge me.

5. I want to get a little bit drunk tonight. And by “get a little drunk,” I mean have two-and-a-half glasses of organic wine. Because of our YTT schedule, I’ve been foregoing most social engagements and keeping my wine consumption fairly low. Since I want to feel fresh and bushy-tailed early tomorrow morning, I’ll probably behave tonight, especially considering we’ll have another 8-class filled weekend. Don’t get me wrong, I am BEYOND excited for every bit of teacher training but I’m also really looking forward to having a few glasses and sleeping in until 10am after it’s over. For now, I’ll stick with sparkling water.

Well, maybe just a glass…

Any brave souls willing to add a confession or two? Have a great weekend, everyone!

Happy Hump-asana Day: Double Pigeon/Fire Log Pose

That’s right, it’s Wednesday again!

Hump-asana pose for today: Dwi Pada Rajakapotasana/Double Pigeon/Fire Log Pose

Looks something like this:

The beautiful Seane Corn in Double Pigeon

In honor of insanely tight hips, today we focus on double pigeon. If you’ve tried it, keep on keepin’ on – if you haven’t tried it, add this passive but powerful nugget to your repertoire, especially if your hips require a wrench-like self adjustment to simply move into sukhasana. If your hips and/or groin are super tight, have no fear: you can still enjoy the benefits of this pose. Instead of stacking your top shin in line with your bottom shin, simply place the top shin parallel to and in front of the bottom shin (see above link for a helpful step-by-step). And that might be enough for you. For a deeper stretch, though, you always have the option of folding the upper body over, just as you would in eka pada rajakapotasana, or single pigeon pose. As with any hip/groin opener, be mindful of your movement into and out of double pigeon. Use your hands for support to move the body if you need to. Never take the pose to the point of actual pain (past discomfort), and be especially mindful of the knees.

Sidenote: Although I self-admittedly cringe and am driven to internal fits of anger/panic when my teacher guides us into double pigeon, I’m secretly in love with it, too. Double pigeon (and single pigeon, for that matter) and I have a love-hate relationship. We’re working on it. I love to hate this pose but often take (painful) pleasure in it since I realize our most dreaded postures are those we probably need the most – at least, that’s what the yogi people say.

What postures do you have a love-hate relationship with? What are the tightest areas of your body? How do you cope with holding a mentally challenging pose?

Happy Hump-asana Day, fellow yogis! Get your minds out of the gutter – Hump-asana Day, traditionally known as Wednesday or “Hump Day” in lamens/peasant/working-folk tongue, is a mid-week yogi treat. Hump-asana Day features a snippet of a pose worth spending some time exploring. And since they’re ALL worth exploring, we’ll never run out of poses for Hump-asana Day – rejoice!

Take Some Time

…and read this YJ article that is not only informative but also beautifully-written. Dorothy Foltz-Gray explores how we come to crave certain comfort foods and how we can use mindfulness to satisfy not only our physical hunger but also our emotional needs. An excerpt:

We’ve lost the sense that comfort food is an act of love…We work hard and then get fast food. But how nice instead to sit for a minute and choose something that will make you feel whole again, like an orange. Or to ask, ‘What would restore me or give me a sense of who I am right now?’ That takes more than five minutes.

Rounding Home and Letting Go

Now that we’re rounding home in teacher training (hello, we’re done in TWO WEEKS!), we are officially immersed. I’m talking a weekend of four classes per day, mock teaching, workshops, lectures, etc., plus a Wednesday night class and lecture. It’s pretty awesome, and also pretty exhausting. Come Monday, I find myself physically tired but emotionally amped up. Amidst the chaos of the most manic of Mondays, I float on a happy-cloud, fully aware but half-present and half-daydreaming about snippets I’ve learned over the weekend. I wake up on time (which is unusual), pack lunch and snacks for me and The Big Guy, and head out the door with an upbeat aura in tow.  Soul-sucking traffic and aggravating roadragers cause me to chuckle – which seems to make them even more angry. I simply turn up the Krisna Das and smile. I am invincible.

They see me rollin'...they hatin'

(Shameless insertion of animal humor).

I digress.

Where was I? Traffic, smiles, invincibility. Ah, yes: I am invincible. That is, until reality inevitably shows up in the form of Tuesday. After cramming in a trip to Whole Foods in the evening (since Monday is now my grocery day in light of YTT scheduling), making a nice homemade dinner, cleaning the kitchen, throwing in a load of laundry, and proofreading something for The Big Guy, it’s midnight and I have yet to actually relax. So I write it off as a busy night and crash in bed.

Then Tuesday happens: I oversleep, schlep to the kitchen, flood the coffeemaker, cause the blender to erupt green monster all over the floor, get angry, yell, schlep to the shower, can’t find my razor (how far can it really go?!), fail to rinse all of the conditioner from my hair, smear mascara on my eyelid, dribble mouthwash onto my shirt, lose my keys, yell some more, grab my purse, hope I have pants on and run out the door. Traffic and roadragers are not met with a smile; instead, they inspire sobs of frustration and tears of defeat. In the course of 24 hours, I’ve managed to go from 100 to 0. Why? Because after a weekend of yoga bliss and constant practice, I return to this “other” world. And I’m tired of it. I want to practice and live in that immersed state 24/7 and I cannot. So, I act like a baby and cry about it. It’s easy to be happy among other yogis; it’s easy to practice in the studio. But out here, it’s more difficult – and look at me, defeated within 24 hours.

How exactly does it happen? Continue reading “Rounding Home and Letting Go”

Happy Hump-asana Day: Mayurasana or Peacock

Happy Hump-asana Day, fellow yogis! Get your minds out of the gutter – Hump-asana Day, traditionally known as Wednesday or “Hump Day” in lamens/peasant/working-folk tongue, is a mid-week yogi treat. Hump-asana Day features a snippet of a pose worth spending some time exploring. And since they’re ALL worth exploring, we’ll never run out of poses for Hump-asana Day – rejoice!

Hump-asana pose for today: Mayurasana (Advanced Variation)

Looks a li’ul [British accent] like this:

I'm flyyyyyyyyyyyyyying!

Selfish admission: I am currently completely obsessed with the above variation of mayurasana. I can’t stop doing it. It’s actually getting out of control: I nailed this version during a two-hour vinyasa flow and was so stoked that when I came home I did it three more times; on the third time, my shoulders gave out and intense chin rugburn followed = not very cool (shame on me for showing-off). That said, there are tons of benefits to performing mayurasana or peacock, one of which is digestive health, so don’t be surprised if you feel a little rumble in your tum-tum after performing this pose. Elbow pressure on the lower abdomen encourages cleansing of the digestive tract and “toning” of the abdomen. Also, according to the Hindus, the peacock symbolizes love and immortality – it’ll make you feel invincible! Just don’t get too carried away or you’ll end up with chin rugburn…

Does anyone else share my fondness for this posture? What pose are you currently obsessed with? Is it a physical asana or another element of your practice?

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