Some days you just need a good reason to get out of bed and onto your mat. Lately, our impending move is motivation enough to rise and shine but when I need incentive to honor my practice first, I turn to dedication. This is my way of easing into the day, especially it it’s going to be a busy one.
This week I began each practice with a special dedication to stay focused on my greater purpose. Here are the seven different themes I chose to reflect upon.
Over the last few weeks I have relaunched my yoga practice – choosing to begin as a new student and establish a fresh daily yoga routine. I have started simply with sitting with my breath first thing in the morning and reflecting on the true meaning of yoga.
As a word, yoga (or yuj) means to bind, join or yoke. I love this definition as it plainly specifies a very important concept -connection. The connection of our breath to our bodies and minds and the connection of our energies to the universe.
Now I am excited to begin each day and reconnect to my practice and the foundation of yoga. However, I have found that in order to acquire any new connections, I first have to clean my slate. I need to allow for a fresh perspective; one that isn’t influenced by a prior practice or of what I presume to know.
This week I have been reflecting on a quote from the poet/calligrapher Kohad:
I cast the brush aside
From here on
I’ll speak to the moon
Face to face.
By reflecting on these words, I can receive what it is I seek in this new phase of my yoga practice. Like the waning moon, I will slowly dissolve my old state so that I can begin anew.
Do you want to bring a daily yoga practice into your life? We are building a community of support for this very thing here on the blog each Sunday. Last week we began the process of inviting ourselves to stand open to receive. This week, we are choosing when and where we practice in order to establish a daily ritual.
Namasté Friends! As promised, I am now using this blog to supplement my new book, Yoga Posts: Building a Steady Practice One Day at a Time. In book club fashion, this will be our space to reflect on each chapter’s challenge and the ways we honor it throughout the week. Please look to my last post to get more information on what to expect.
Here are my reflections for Week #1. The book’s first challenge provides us with a baseline to forge ahead in creating or reestablishing a personal yoga practice. No matter where we are coming from or where or we are going, regardless of the stage of life we are in and despite the types of burdens or expectations we hold onto – we are all starting here.
We begin by inviting ourselves to stand open. Although it appears simple, this first step is the most complex because it has many layers. In order to be clear, you must peel away the coverings that bind you and make you rigid. Like the stalk of lemongrass I used in my cooking this week – you need to eliminate the hard shell to access the soft core.
For myself, I am meditating on releasing my burdens by placing all of the guilt, anger and resentment I currently possess into an imaginary backpack. Each morning, I visualize myself carrying the backpack up a big grassy knoll, taking it off my shoulders and setting it down. Turning away from it, I imagine lying down on the cool, inviting grass. Then I visualize myself rolling wildly down the hill like I used to do as a child. It’s a wonderful way to release and let go!
One last note, this past weekend, I started reading a book that was gifted to me by one of my students called Drinking from the River of Light by Mark Nepo. I came across a passage that is so relevant to our studies and would like to share it with you:
“We can work long, hard hours with a dull mind or a calloused heart. Or, we can pause to sharpen our mind and refresh our heart. These efforts to be clear and touchable are part of the practice before practice.”
Enjoy your week and the clarity you receive! ☮️
And, please leave your comments and insights below so we can truly share this experience! 🙏🏼
I reached a wonderful milestone recently. I completed the journey of publishing my first book – a compilation of 30 plus years of learning and loving yoga!
This happened to coincide with another turning point in my life. The transition away from my teaching practice and long-time students here in Sedona, Arizona. After 15 years, my husband and I have decided to make a change and a new home in Prescott – another northern Arizona community one hour away. Fortunately, my farewell synchronizes with the launch of my new book. So with a sad departure comes a happy arrival – how fitting!
Lately I have been enjoying the benefits of essential oils in dozens of ways for my health and well-being. It seems only natural that I would start to incorporate the oils into my yoga routine. Today, I will begin a series based on the use of essential oils in yoga practice. I’d like to connect this usage to the more subtle aspects of yoga, specifically the chakras or energy centers.
In the past, I have posted frequently on the concept of the chakric system. Many books and articles explain how each chakra can be balanced or pacified. There are seven chakra centers that follow the body from its base to its crown. If you are interested in learning more about the specifics of the chakras, click here.
We will begin this series with the muladhara or root chakra. It’s the first chakra and is located at the base of the spine. It literally gives us our foundation and grounds us to the earth. Within yoga there are many poses that can help an individual to feel more grounded like tadasana (mountain pose), balasana (child’s pose) and various other seated and standing postures.
Chakras can also be influenced by the use of essential oils. When combined with the yoga postures, the benefit for this subtle energy system can be incredible.
In discussing the particular oils associated with a specific yogic quality, I will refer to the Young Living essential oils that are found in the Premium Starter Kit (see below). For the purposes of grounding, I suggest the blend Valor.
This is one of my favorite oils. It allows my “windy” personality and fluctuating nature to become still and rest. Valor is also known as the “chiropractor in a bottle” for its effect on the bones and alignment. I’ve heard stories of how worthwhile it is for those who experience chronic back pain or scoliosis.
Valor is composed of a mixture of oils, namely spruce, rosewood, blue tansy and frankincense. This combination is mixed together in an almond oil carrier base. All essential oils have a specific frequency and the oils in this blend tend to be in the lower frequencies in order to generate greater alignment and balance.
In addition, Valor can promote positivity and encourage confidence. Qualities that are definitely required if you want to feel more connected or grounded. Therefore, Valor may be helpful in cases of attention deficit disorder or hyperactivity since it is able to generate a considerable sense of peace and gentleness.
I would begin by placing a couple of drops of the oil on a damp, warm washcloth that you can apply to the bottoms of your feet. If you just use 2-3 drops you should not experience any oiliness on the practice mat.
If you are new to essential oils and want to get started incorporating them into your yoga practice, you can register with Young Living here and get your Premium Starter Kit. In the month of October, YL is offering free shipping for these kits. Once you are enrolled, I will be connecting with you directly to provide reference sources and helpful advice.