This & That: Intentions

new intentions

If you’re intentions aren’t sticking, try leading with your core instead of your head. Twists are a great way to practice. Yeah, scroll it.

seated twist

A lot of us base our resolutions on what we think we should be doing. Eating right, going to the gym, drinking less. (Or was that just me?) But experience is teaching me that it’s tough to follow through with a decision you don’t believe in with your heart. Which is why the gym is packed in January and not in March.

There’s a reason we say ‘go with your gut’ and ‘follow your heart’ and it isn’t just because we like to be folksy. Our bodies have wisdom. Intuition doesn’t come from what we convince ourselves to be true. It simply is the truth. And that’s a much cleaner place to act from than the pigpen where our thoughts live.

Enough yoga folk wisdom, let’s get down to twists. Pretend you can turn your body in segments. Let’s say, in seated twist. Start with your belly button. Leave your ribcage, shoulders and neck in place and just turn the belly button. Then add the ribcage. Keep your face forward. Turn your shoulders next. Do you feel the difference in this twist already? I do. Turn your head and neck last to align with your spine.

Your head follows your heart.

In a twist, if you initiate with your head and neck, the rest of the body doesn’t always follow. You can strain your neck and miss some of the squeeze-and-soak benefits of the twist on your internal organs. If, however, you start from the abdomen, you’ll have the support of the major muscles of your back and core to support your intention. And your twist.

Top image from the Daily Mail UK. Seated twist image from the beautiful Kora Organics site.

It’s Right There

The door is right there. It’s right in front of me. All I have to do is open it, and walk through.

And guess what? I’m not walking through. I see it. It’s very seeable. I’m standing there. I carried a watermelon.

I clicked on the link that said, “You Can’t Force the Release” and read this:

It feels unfair and wrong that someone such as you or me or everyone else we’re friends with should be intelligent and loveable and hard-working, with access to resources or full of ideas – and yet, we can’t seem to get unstuck from this one bit of stuckness…

Yes! It feels unfair. But “forcing the release” doesn’t work. Closing my eyes and clenching my fist and banging my entire body against the door won’t work. So, yeah, like a lot of things, I don’t really know what comes next. I think I’m supposed to trust that seeing the door is a good thing. And trust that it won’t disappear anytime soon. That it will be there when I’m ready to walk through it.

To Thine Own Self Be True

[via imagezoo]

I had the honor of assisting another Prana Yoga Teacher Training class this weekend. The students, in month three, are focusing on the manipura chakra, the seat of creative self-empowerment.

Even though my training was just a year ago, I realize how far I’ve gone from my yoga focus. And going to these teacher trainings reminds me of how powerful this practice can be. It seems appropriate as the year comes to a close, to focus on core energy and the creative power of the third chakra.

This last year, I’ve been rebuilding my self and my core, and lately I’ve felt an itch for more creative action. With a more stable base, I feel like it’s time to take myself and my energy and put it out into the world.

We also learned teaching points for setu bandhasana. Bridge pose has never been my favorite, and I’ll often skip it – or use a block for supported bridge – when I do my own practice. (Yogis can be lazy sometimes!) But as an assistant, I had to demo bridge for the class. And so up to the front of the room I go.

Along with the support of the class (and maybe a little ego pushing past my laziness), I had such a complete experience. I’m not sure how else to describe it. My breath was deep and my chest open. I felt that my base was stable enough that the rest of my body was weightless and I could lift up, up, up. I could have stayed there for an hour.

After a day of kind of letting the class settle in to me, I realize those thoughts or experiences are so closely related. The rebuilding year I’ve had, the building of the strong base, and now the readiness to expand outwards, pushing my heart out into the world a little more.

I’d love to hear how a pose, or a meditation, has clicked for you recently. Inspiration is welcome.