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Using Yoga

Everything is changing. But everything is always changing. In several different places in my life, there is movement and change. I know my instinct in the past would be to get quiet and hibernate. But this time I feel the need to move with it.

As the focus of my days shifts to my career, it started to shift away from my practice. But it’s getting to be pretty clear that I can’t replace yoga with work. They just occupy two completely different facets of life. I still need yoga. Maybe even more now.

My almost two-decades-long practice (oh, no. not really) is still serving me. It’s reminding me to breathe, it’s nudging me to get back on the mat. It’s telling me that even though “yoga” might not be my focus, that this is the time to truly integrate yoga into my life. This is where all the lessons come into play.

I need to USE yoga to stay sane, to keep moving, and to breathe.

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Shining in Ardha Chandrasana

ardha chandrasana

I have been drawn to Ardha Chandrasana lately. For some reason, I can feel the dynamic tension between grounding and expanding so profoundly in this posture. The foot stable, roots deep through the mat, through the floor, into the earth below me. And my heart searching, yearning, turning upwards. It’s felt pretty amazing.

Am I drawn to it to relieve anxiety, to work my ankles, stretch my groin? Or is it that something inside me knows that ‘chandra’ can mean glittering, shining, brilliant light, and I’m approaching the idea of shining with everything I do?

Or maybe it’s just because I found a cool new way to come into the pose. I learned a long time ago to just do what my body wants when it comes to my time on the mat. I don’t ask too many questions.

Here’s my new entry into Ardha Chandrasana: (Here’s a more traditional entry.)

1. Start in down dog
2. Identify the point on your mat half way between your hands and your feet
3. Step the right food forward to that point
4. Adjust your right hand to be forward and to the right of your standing foot (like a kickstand or second leg)
5. Slowly, using your core, lift the back leg AS YOU rotate the body towards the side wall
6. Keep the left hand at your waist, or extend it upward to the sky, following it with your gaze

This is a pretty subtle variation to coming from triangle pose, but for me, I feel a big shift. It’s much easier for me to shift my gaze from my standing foot, to the sidewall, to my upward-reaching hand and shine.

Image from Fine Featherheads.

Yoga is…

[at Kripalu]

Yoga is the practice of tolerating the consequences of being yourself. – Bhagavad Gida

Hustling up and down the stairs at least four times a day this long weekend, and damned if this one didn’t smack me between the eyes every time. That is some serious business right there, and for me, there’s no running away from it. It grinds me down, but I like it.