6/25/2013

alignment, strength, attention

maryoliver_lowres

Hi everyone! I hope your week has gotten off to a great start. I just finished sketching out some recipes to post this week. I’ll be heading back in the kitchen in a bit to test one of them out ;)

As many of you know I have been teaching yoga in my neighborhood for several months now. I love teaching and being part of the community in this way. It is such a great feeling to be able to share my practice and talk about what really matters to me.

In class today the theme was alignment/strength/attention. We worked out this theme in an intense series of standing poses, many of them balancing on one leg. Since I injuring my left wrist I have had to switch up my asana practice. As funny as it sounds, I wasn’t aware of just how much I use my wrist in everyday life and in yoga. So many postures require bearing some amount of weight in the hands and if we are not working our arms, backs, and hands, the weight tends to collect in the wrist. I don’t love not using my wrist but I am taking this opportunity to learn as much as I can about my body and work on more standing poses.

Recently I have fallen in love with these balancing poses. The challenge of engaging and stretching my muscles in new ways as well as focus my attention on a still point while trying to not fall over is awesome. Practicing asana speaks to me on every level. In order to feel a sense of ease and grace and steadiness in these poses I have to engage my mind, body, and spirit.

Balancing on one leg requires a sustained effort. It demands a cultivation of determination, focus and softness. When we embody these qualities the results can lead to sense of calmness and evenness that is truly priceless.

Feel like taking on your ego? Work on these types of asanas. Aside from arm balances, nothing is more crushing to my ego than not being able to hold steady on one leg. Writing about it cracks me up because it’s just so silly. Nobody cares if I lose my balance! Nothing bad will happen if I fall out of tree pose before the teacher asks us to release our leg to the floor. However, my ego does not see it this way. For years I would beat myself up every time I fell out of one of these poses. I have come to recognize that my level of humiliation was not proportionate to what was happening.

Over the years of practicing these asanas, and especially now with my wrist out of whack, I have gained a great deal from bringing alignment, strength, and attention to all areas of my practice and life. Drawing on these three qualities I am able to live in a way that is aligned with my values, be a powerful force in my community, and pay attention to the abundance and joy that is part of my everyday living.

xoa

image credit // lisa congdon

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