Saturday, February 22, 2014

The Sun is out, Your Heart is Light, and Your Yoga is Waiting!

 The sun is out, the piles of snow aren't stable enough to walk on, and it's just too warm for my heavy winter coat! Spring hasn't sprung yet (and won't, for another month, technically; more snow is in the forecast for this coming week, which is fine by me), but I can feel it coiling up nice and tight! My thoughts are turning to those tender, green asparagus spears that will be nosing up through the soil (in more like two or three months, more's the pity!).

I think it's a universal part of the human condition: these first few warmer days of late winter cause a buoyancy in the heart, an urge to move, to dance, to celebrate! Even though we know, all too well, that Winter isn't done quite yet, we all get fooled by this false spring: we can't help it!

I think there's something really beautiful in that. The best things in life are the ones we let ourselves get fooled by over and over: eating too much decadent food, false springs, and of course, the early stages of becoming intoxicated by somebody new!

It might seem counter-intuitive to take your physical activity inside now that the sun's out, but this time of year is a great time to explore your yoga practice. One of the things I find myself saying over and over to the students in my classes is, "Be prepared to surprise yourself!" We get bogged down so easily in telling ourselves how something is going to go before we try it, perhaps to cushion ourselves from the disappointment of failure, but in doing so, we also predispose ourselves to failure! Which sucks!

Why not let the inherent optimism of this special, fickle time of year help you tap into the idea that, yes, maybe you'll do that arm balance/inversion/aerial trick that seems impossible when watching your instructor or another yogi do it.

That beautiful buoyant feeling can help all those tricky poses, as well as your standard planks, down dogs, mountains, and warriors feel more energetic, too. By tapping into the sense of lightness and lift in your upper body, you can find the energy to stay put long enough to put down proper roots and really set up your foundation properly. It's a beautiful thing.

On a day like this, I feel irresistibly drawn to aerial yoga, instead of vinyasa. I feel light, and free, like I want to fly...so why not go for it, with the help of a lovely hammock? If you've been toying with the idea of trying aerial yoga, today might just be the perfect day for it, and I'm subbing a class today at the Loom in Bushwick at 4:30!
 Regardless of whether you're taking the plunge, or sticking with a more grounded practice, today's a great day for graceful flows, challenging vinyasas, and poses that focus on lift-off, especially those with an emphasis on opening up or spreading out: half moon pose, hand stand, dancer's pose, forearm stand, rock star. For the most part, these are fairly advanced shapes. What do you do if they aren't yet on your radar? Well, in case you haven't noticed, those shapes are a lot easier with the help of a hammock! But if you don't have access to one, how about some extra Sun Salutations? Spend some time working with the balancing poses you're familiar with, but that are at the edge of your current capabilities...and of course, be prepared to surprise yourself. ;-D
Live Omily,
~em

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