Category Archives: Yoga Inspiration

New Challenge: 40 Days of Asana!

Good intentions are my specialty. I am exceptional at setting lofty goals for myself. Following through on them is a whole ‘nother story. For years I have mentally beat myself up for not practicing as much nor as often as I think I should. Now, after ten years of practice, I practice most days, but I still lack consistency. At this point, after having recently completed my second 10-day silent Vipassana meditation retreat, I am meditating for at least one hour per day (sometimes split into two smaller segments.) And so I figure this is the perfect time to recommit to my personal yoga practice as well.

My inspiration? Mandala Yoga, one of my absolute favorite places to practice in Portland. I think it’s the most beautiful studio in town, and it specializes in the yoga of sound, with plenty of kirtan and gong opportunities. I also love their focus on Kundalini yoga, a style of yoga that you don’t see too often. Anyhoo, Mandala’s brilliant owner Signa has issued a challenge for us: To practice 40 days in a row! You can sign up for this challenge at the Facebook event page. My personal guidelines for this challenge will be as follows:

–I must practice every day!
–A practice should be at least 15 minutes long. (This is my personal requirement, don’t let even this time limit discourage you from doing the challenge!)
–Physical postures (asana), mantra, and breathing exercises (pranayama) count.

Also, I will be adding this to my current meditation goal of practicing 1 hour of Vipassana meditation per day. (Again, you don’t need to follow this guideline to participate!)

Tomorrow, in my 7am Hatha Flow class at Mandala, I will be presenting students with a simple 20-minute flow they can practice at home in order to participate in the challenge. Here is a picture of that simple practice:

img_20170117_154750.jpg

Written out, that is:

Cow/cat 3x
seated side stretch on each side
seated twist on each side
mountain, fold, 1/2 lift, fold, mountain (I would do this three times as well)
low lunge, crescent lunge, 1/2 splits, warrior 1, warrior 2, reverse warrior, extended side angle, warrior 2, low lunge, 1/2 lift, low lunge into crescent lunge, 1/2 splits, warrior sequence on other side
tree on each side
supine twist
savasana.

Mandala will be hosting a kirtan and potluck 30 days into the challenge, and a celebration at the very end. Whether or not you can attend those events, I invite you to join me in this challenge! I am excited to share the impact this daily sadhana (personal practice) has on my thinking, my body, and my emotions.

 

Yoga Inspiration: Rumi’s Poem “The Water You Want”

As a yoga instructor I am inspired by books, art, music, poetry… not to mention popular culture, stuff I see on Facebook, Pinterest boards… ha! There is inspiration all around us these days but sometimes it comes at us so fast that we can’t catch anything solid. For a long time in my life I have been looking outside of myself for guidance. I’ve been waiting for a guru–waiting for some signpost that I’m on the right path, and that there’s some series of steps I can follow to create the life of my dreams. But I’m learning that my own fate can’t be prewritten, and that my own inner map must guide my journey.

A poem from Rumi that I’m sharing in tonight’s CoreRestore at CorePower Yoga its on this point. Wait for that last line… it’s a doozie.

The Water You Want

Someone may be clairvoyant, able to see
the future, and yet have very little wisdom.

Like the man who sees water in his dream
and began leading everyone toward his mirage.

I am the one with heart vision.
I have torn open the veil.

So they set out with him inside the dream,
while he is actually sleeping
beside a river of pure water.

Any search moves away from the spot
where the object of the quest is.

Sleep deeply wherever you are on the way.
Maybe some traveler will wake you.

Give up subtle thinking, the twofold, threefold
multiplication of mistakes.

Listen to the sound of waves within you.

You are dreaming your thirst,
when the water you want
is inside the big vein on your neck.

What if all of us are walking around with our own salvation/happiness/peace already inside!? That’s what yoga teaches. That we are simply removing veils of illusion, polishing mud off the diamond until our true divine selves shine through.

If you see me in class this week, chat with me about this poem. I would love to hear your thoughts! (Once an English major, always an English major.) And if you feel like you’re running ragged these days, I heartily recommend silence and stillness. That’s where you can listen to your own heart song.

Namaste,

Colleen