Tuesday, December 9.

The Tuesday review for the Interested…  

Our theme was Surrender: Being at peace with the body you brought to the mat.  Exploring the body, and allowing it, peacefully, to have whatever strength it has.  To see where your edges are, but once you’ve found those edges, to surrender to them: To not wish it was otherwise, to not become discouraged or irritated by your body or its perceived limits.

We began with some gentle stretches: the neck, twisting, cat/cow.  We added some hip circles, which help to loosen to the pelvic area and bring awareness to any tightness in the hip joints.  We did the Table Balance again, working not only on balance but abdominal strength, followed by Child’s Pose.

We explored rolling up onto the back of the head, very gently stretching the back of the neck.  After Warrior 1 finding Downward-Facing Dog a couple times (with Child’s in between for a lovely rest), we found the Full Warrior 1: Pulsing in and out of it in order to safely explore our edges and the amount of strength and balance we could bring to it that day. 

We also found 5-Pointed Star for the first time, followed by the Goddess Pose–

5-Pointed Star  

Goddess Pose…Which took us into Warrior 1 on the other side.  These are all ideal postures for building strength and confidence, which means they’re also great for learning Surrender.  Your body as it is has its limits, and this is not a bad thing.  It’s simply The Way It Is.  It’s a beautiful thing to feel strong and confident in your body, not because you’ve achieved a certain look to your pose, but because you’re truly feeling yourself IN that pose — Embracing the reaching, stretching, dipping, flexing, and breathing that’s happening.  Embracing it, enjoying it, appreciating it — However it looks for you at the moment.

We moved through a more full version of the Sun Salutation for the first time, which is lovely for raising the heartrate and warming the body.  And warmth throughout the body not only brings awareness to the muscles, circulation, etc, but it also allows those muscles to release a bit more easily.  Warmth also inspires the body into a deeper rest once Relaxation rolls around.  

sun-salute-sequence

We found the Tree Pose again, a great opportunity to Surrender.  In this posture, it can be easy to become irritated at yourself for being unable to stay balanced.  It’s a beautiful teacher — A beautiful opportunity to sense that ultimately, it doesn’t matter.  Your body is where it is today, and your ability to balance is not something to judge, but rather something to notice.  To appreciate.  To breathe through.  

Tree PoseWe finished the sequence with some belly-down postures, including Cobra and Half- and Full-Locust.  In these postures, rather than using our upper-body strength to thrust the body up, we focus on grounding through the pelvic bone and using our lower-back muscles to gently lift up.  Gently, so that we notice where our edges are.  So that the neck doesn’t crane back. (At least not yet!  Perhaps later on in the full version.)  And gently, so that the spine stays long and spacious, even as it enters into a mild backbend.  

Cobra PoseWe finished off with the Bridge Pose and a few leg stretches using a Yoga strap.  Bridge is another beautiful opportunity to Surrender: to see where the body can go, and then surrender to its limits, to its edges, with gratitude and compassion.  

Bridge Pose 1  Bridge Pose 2

In a beginning Bridge pose, the arms stay extended down the sides with the palms against the mat.  As in the second picture above, a straight line is created from the shoulders and chest through the knees.  As you advance in the posture, with increased strength and flexibility, the hands may clasp beneath the torso (as in the first picture above), and the body makes a bit more of an upside-down “U” shape from the shoulders to the knees.  The Bridge posture ultimately prepares the practitioner for Chakrasana, or Wheel Pose:

Wheel Pose

Thank you all so much for practicing, for finding compassion for your body, for taking time to be gentle with yourselves and for exploring your edges with me!  December 14th’s practice will post very soon. Meanwhile, take your five minutes today…

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