Align Your Body. Calm Your Mind. Step Into Peace.


Friday, January 6, 2012

Why do YOU do yoga?

Recently, an internationally known belly dancer, Aziza Sa'id, contacted me and told me that she is moving from California to Missouri. The fact that someone would move FROM California TO Missouri boggled my mind, and made me want to learn more.  So in an effort to understand this curious being, I decided to read her blog. It was there that I came across the following entry, and it blew my mind wide open because it is something I have been trying to express for YEARS to friends and loved ones when I am asked about why I do yoga, but have been unable to put into words.... until now. 

The first of today’s Big Questions is one of my favorites… Why Do You Do What You Do? Dance? Yoga?

Think about it......  Because it’s fun; Because in it I find acceptance, of myself and others; Because I feel beautiful; Because I feel at peace; Because it is a way to create and express myself; Because I feel healthier; Because I feel better in and about my body when I do.

Because I love it.

And here’s where I need to say… No. You don’t. You do not love yoga, or dance.

You think you do, but you don’t. The “it” is not the object of your love… you do NOT love yoga or dance.

What you really love is Who You Are when you do it.

The dance, the yoga, it is a vehicle. It is the way, the path, the mechanism. It is Your way, it is what is working best for you right now, and may always be what works best for you, but it is still just a tool.

Consider this… when I taught ballroom dance for a living, nobody ever came in because they needed to learn to waltz. They THOUGHT they needed to learn to waltz… but… did they really? Was it that they needed a box step and a hesitation and an underarm turn to make their life complete?

"Really, I just desperately NEEEEED a box step! Pleeease! I am not whole until I have one!"

Or did they need what those moves were going to give them? The ability to go and do something fun with their spouse? The confidence to talk to a beautiful woman and know they were going to be able to entertain her? The knowledge and relief they would not look like fools on their wedding day?

What you really love is Who You Are and How You Feel when you do it.

It’s like strawberries. I say I love strawberries. But really, is it that I love them? Or is it that I love the sensation of their taste? The feeling of delight that comes from looking at their shiny redness? The stimulation of feeling their smooth and stubbly brail exterior? The sweet and sour satisfaction of eating them? What I love is the sensation of strawberries. I am grateful for their existence, but what I love is how I experience them.

What you love about yoga, about dance, is how you experience yourself and the world and others when you do it.

You can read more from Aziza by clicking here.


Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Asana (pose) of the Month

Asana of the Month- January
Eka Hasta Bhujasana (One Hand Arm Pose)

If that one is not challenging enough - take it up a notch with Astavakrasana!

Astavakrasana (Eight-Angle Pose)

Astavakrasana is a very challenging pose.  It's easy to get frustrated pretty quickly when trying to do Astavakrasana.  Practicing and learning this pose however, can help you develop the very things that you may be lacking: not just physical strength and flexibility, but also patience and insight.

This pose is centered around one of the principals of alignment: Muscular energy.  Muscular energy is a muscular contraction and with this act of engaging, contracting and pulling in you create an act of self love.

Suggested Prep Work

Flexibility in the hips and legs are necessary for this pose.  Standing poses and forward bends, especially Marichyasana I (Marichi's Pose), will be helpful.

Toned muscles in the abdomen and lower back are two more requirements.  Work on Paripurna and Ardha Navasana (Full and Half Boat Pose) and Jatara Parivartanasana.

To strengthen the upper body, try Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-Facing Dog), Adho Mukha Vrksasana (Downward-Facing Tree, a.k.a. Handstand), and Chaturanga Dandasana (Four Limbed Staff Pose).

Lolasana (Pendant Pose) is challenging in itself.  It will bring the whole package together.  Proficiency in all of these poses will give you a good start.

For a more in depth explanation, please visit Yoga Journal.
~ Dee

Monday, January 2, 2012

Dee's Playlist

Music inspires us!

Comforting Sounds by Mew
Tiger Mountain Peasant Song by Fleet Foxes
Reckoner by Radiohead
Title and Registration by Death Cab for Cutie
Norway by Beach House
Country Rain by Slowdive
Do You Realize??? by The Flaming Lips
Half Light I by Arcade Fire
Om Nashi Me by Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros
I Believe by Slowdive
Alexander - 03 - Truth by Alexander
Let's Dance by M. Ward
A Song For Our Fathers by Explosions in the Sky
Ocean of Wisdom by Kitaro

Total time - 1 hour

Rock On
~ Dee

Happy New Year!

Welcome to 2012!  Did you make a New Year resolution?  I like to make resolutions, however I prefer to keep them manageable.  With that being said, there have been many years I have given up on my resolutions mid-year.  Change is difficult even scary.  Change is also a good thing!  This week I decided to focus my yoga workouts on the Manipura chakra (energy vortex) - aka - naval center.

The Manipura chakra is located at the spine directly behind the naval center while its superficial activation point is located directly on the naval.  It is associated with the attributes of will power and strength of character.  The element associated with this chakra is fire and many of the practices we do to boost the energy at this center are heating.  When this chakra is deficient, we can lack confidence.  Maintaining a steady flame requires constant care and attention.  It is well worth the effort if you're trying to maintain those resolutions!  It gives a whole new meaning to "feel the burn"!  Of course, developing washboard abs in the process doesn't harm either!

Check out Yoga Journal for core poses. 

"It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves."  ~ Edmund Hillary

Sat Nam
~ Dee