Dancing to the DJ of Perfect Timing

Some days it seems to me that time drifts by so slowly, and yet I find myself rushing to complete tasks, trying to make the most of my productivity as if I am attempting to live out the lyrics of a Righteous Brothers song.  Other days go by so fast it feels as though I blink and the crisp brightness of morning has flashed into the dark of night, leaving me breathless with wonder watching the day go out like a blister in the sun.  

Admittedly, doing nothing, is not an easily found skill in my skill set.  I like a honey bee, buzz around all day picking up, putting down.  Some days there is clear vision behind the movement, a more beautifully choreographed dance of this and that, stuff and things.  Other days, I am a mish-mosh of clamoring about like a heavy footed boot wearing grunge kid in a mosh pit, moving deliberately, without much grace.

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Light on Unicorns

Last week the grandfather to yoga in the western world, B.K.S. Iyengar transitioned from embodiment to whatever comes next. Had it not been for the many health ailments he suffered as a young person, which resulted in his pursuit of a life-long dedicated practice of yoga, the world of yoga as we in the western hemisphere now know it, would likely be as much a mystery to us as Unicorns.

Looking through his quintessential book Light on Yoga, it is clear to see that Mr. Iyengar was a masterful practitioner, however, before he was an adept in the physical asana, he was already a great yogi for not giving in to giving up on the possibility of a long life of radiant health. In his seeing an invitation given to him by health ailments so severe it would be easy to label them only misfortune, not only did he realize the possibility of a long and flexible life, his optimistic choice by proxy has enabled me, as well as millions, if not billions of others to live radiant healthy meaningful lives too.

The opposite of his choice, seeing the detours of our lives, the ailments, and the challenges as misfortunes and direct assaults to our personal happiness, is not taking the invitation to expand and grow in the face of the hardship. When a wider perspective is taken, one of optimism and confidence in ones capacity to traverse the sidesteps of the extreme ranges of being human while maintaining inner peace, we come to know not only our innate strength and grit, but also the value of being open to enjoying life however it appears in front of us. This openness is the spacious place where steady inner peace can always be maintained.
Successfully dancing the complicated steps of this waltz while sometimes tripping over our own feet and maintaining inner peace, first and foremost, requires the desire to do so. Starting with clear focused intentions, and a heart full of passion enables our capacity to pursue wellbeing and resonant harmony within and without no matter the shape of the adversity we are experiencing. When we only perceive love, joy, and health as being available to us in one way then we limit ourselves to the myriad of other ways contentment and harmony can walk through our doors, for in the only one-way perspective, there is only one door. It’s like playing that game as children where you put the correct shaped pegs into the holes of their corresponding shape. Some holes will never correspond with some pegs no matter how much we batter them with our little plastic hammers. Allowing the circumstances of our lives the opportunity to manifest into their most full form of serenity and joyfulness without forcing the world around us to be as we think it should be, is living with an unconditioned heart, practicing really good yoga, and leaving room to shine some light onto Unicorns.

If you have not thumbed through the pictures of Light On Yoga, I recommend it. I offer that there is no need to feel like you are less of a person if the asana demonstrated in the book appears to never seem attainable to you, truth is, one never knows what the future has in store, and as far as I understand being able to put your feet behind your head does not necessarily make you a better person. For myself, looking at his photos and remembering that his journey to that amazing expression of his being was a long and patient walk, reminds me that no matter the foundation we may start with, through passionate focused intention and dedicated practice, many, if not all obstacles can be surmounted.

In the wake of Mr. Iyengars departure I find myself in deep gratitude for the so-called misfortunes of the human experience. Reflecting on my own personal journey as well, I know, that were it not for my hardships, my illnesses, my personal dance through discontent to content, the contentment I experience in the spaciousness of this knowing perspective would not exist. Something would be there, but it would be less evolved in empathetic understanding, less capable of compassion, and less knowing of my resilience.

Truly, it’s just more fun to think it may be a Unicorn not a monster that shows up in that deep blue of the mysterious unknown.

In Love, Joy, and a never ending search for Unicorns,
Genevieve

The Great Classroom Of Relationship; and Learning To Communicate In It

Relationship is not without complication, challenge, and difficulty, even in the most well attended to and mindful of our interactions. Being in relationship requires communicating, which can lead to misunderstanding, hurt feelings, and sometimes even the end of a relationship all together. As humans we communicate in more ways than just with our words, we use our bodies, our actions, our non-actions, the reputations of our past actions, the way we dress, the work we do, these things and more relate who we are to the world as well as what we intend to do while living, and where we place the value and meaning in our lives. Relationship is the place where who we perceive ourselves to be interacts with the world around us. We have relationship with people, animals, insects, and with inanimate objects like our favorite pair of shoes or our beds. Relationship is taking place when we touch a stone, enjoy the freshness of the air when it rains, and pump gas into our cars. The varying layers of relationship all share the commonality of the way each of us singularly participates in the animate world we live in.

Our participation stems from our perception of who we believe we are and what we believe we are doing here in this world we live in. The beliefs of our experience formulate over the course of our lifetime and the varying relationships we have during it. Beliefs are created in the simplest observations of the people around us as children and the relationship those adults have to their perceived concept of the world, to the complicated study and discernment of heavy and weighted discussions on the cosmology of life and the universe, the presence of a power greater than one’s own, and the unlimited nature of energy in its limited forms of existence in the manifest world.

In Sanskrit there is the word Shraddha which does not translate directly into English. This word roughly refers to the actions we take that are founded in sincerity and faith; the ways in which we relate to the world based on the beliefs we have about the world that rarely, if ever come into question. The practice of yoga asks the student to question their Shraddha, as does life and being in relationship, which all of us are until we lock ourselves into a cave not to be bothered.

Though I give my best effort to being a human of integrity who gives thought to a deed before action, and mindfulness to intention before participation, I have traversed the rough seas of conflict in relationship more times than I can count. It is not uncommon for my sister and I to come into misunderstandings as we rub up against the boundaries of our own beliefs of who we think the other should be and how we perceive ourselves to be in relationship to the other. Currently I am in a dispute with my brother that has us in a stalemate of no communication because the communication we were working with was unsuccessfully efficient enough to clear the misunderstanding and hurt between us. I have no shame in sharing my digressions as well as the truth that I have been known to be aggressive in my desire to be right in these personal conflicts as well as being the stubborn headed contrarian, sometimes even self righteous brat, who generated the misunderstandings to begin with. These truths about my behavior I have learned while in relationship with all of my closest people from my parents to my husband, sister, brother, business partner, and dearest friends who, having been on the receiving end of my sharp and angry tongue, have cumulatively reflected this more clear picture back to me.

Diving ever more deeply into the teachings of yoga and the desire to be a person who lives a life of peace and harmony in all of my relationships, I am required to be honest with myself about who I am, the role I play in these conflicts, (my Shraddha) the beliefs I have that allow the conflicts to persist, what I can surrender to bring more harmony into the relationship experiencing conflict, and most importantly how to do it all with love. In theory this all makes great sense and seems very straight forward however in practice, when the need arises for this quality of beingness, the circumstances surrounding the need are generally immersed in emotions that create heat as they are passionately tied to perceived beliefs of myself upon which my whole world rotates. Learning to communicate in the midst of my passionate emotions without unleashing the sharpness of my tongue which is only a defense mechanism of my ego afraid to let go of a belief that has allowed it to hold up its wall of an illusion of separateness, is one of the most challenging things I have done in this life to date. It truly does not come with ease for me. For this reason, I am impressed and enthralled when I have the opportunity to witness others communicate their perceptions of the circumstances of relationship that did not leave them feeling safe, honored, or respected without becoming defensive, angry, hurtful, and cold.

This week I had the great good fortune to be on the receiving end of a person I am in relationship with clearing the air of their perceived experience of a less than enjoyable experience with me in a way that was beautifully straight forward, without baggage, respectful, honest, clear, and then done. It was a wonderful example of the use of the four pillars of communication which I attempt to skillfully use myself when I need to communicate my perceived experience in relationship with someone who I feel has not treated me in a way that is safe, respectful, or honoring of my beingness.

The four pillars of communication are:
1. Is it true?
2. Is it necessary?
3. Is it timely?
4. Is it kind?

When using language as the means of communication to smooth out any roughness in relationship with other humans that are important to you, it is proposed that you ask yourself these four questions before initiating the conversation. If the subject matter that you wish to speak on is true to you, and it is necessary to speak about to create more harmony in a relationship, and you time the conversation in a way that the receiving participant will not feel ambushed and will be able to listen and hear you, and you then approach your truth with kindness, there is a higher likelihood that the air will be cleared, harmony will return to the relationship, and both parties will feel better for having participated in relationship with such excellent skillfulness in communication.

There are of course exceptions to this wonderful way of resolving conflict. Sometimes the other party is not ready to transition into a resolution of conflict, other times the conflict itself is rooted in deep betrayal that first must be forgiven by the offended party or the words received are merely hollow and carry no weight. In these cases, should the offended party in the relationship find the spaciousness to forgive the trespass and move into a shared space of conflict resolution, then not only are the words that are communicated by the offender attempting to relay a resolution to make room for a new state of being having a great need for honesty, the offended party will generally also look to other means of communication like the offenders current and past actions as well as their body language to validate the truthfulness of what is being offered. At times the digressions between people in relationship can be so painful to one, or the other, or both, that the relationship may perhaps never go back to the freely trusting state it was once in, however with willingness on both sides in congruence with focused attention to personal behaviors and beliefs, the relationship has the potential to evolve into one of even better boundaries, more respect, more love, and true harmony, more so than even seemed possible before.

On either side of a conversation seeking conflict resolution is an individual with their own perceived concept of the conflict and their own ideas of which direction they wish to see the relationship go. In the best of cases, like the incident in which I was confronted last week, the offender, this time being me, listens and responds with honesty and a offering to remedy the relationship, often an apology is the perfect ingredient. Other times the receiving party wishes only to be left alone, in which case patience, and the continuing pursuit of impeccable behavior in all other relationships may be the only remedy available in that moment. In any case, returning to the offering of love for self and the person(s) on the other side of the line of conflict generally generates the best feelings overall.

Having the courage to clear the air of a conflicted relationship in a quality manner can be very hard to do, even though, as it is with most things of value in this life, it is the hard jobs and the challenges that require the most of us that are most satisfying. In the face of adversity and conflict in our relationships with others, and most importantly in relationship with ourselves, may we utilize the tools that were given to us and continue to dare to be brave enough with our communication skills to try to smooth out the rough edges, willing enough with our spacious hearts to surrender the strong hold of our egos, and open enough in our incredible minds to expand into new boundaries of being, which may be better than anything we could have ever imagined.

Being in relationship with this animate and inanimate world is a wild ride, up, down, and every which way between. It is my wish to teach by example, to rise to the occasion and the invitation offered by the classroom of life with patience and loving kindness for myself and others, as I work my way toward owning the title of human being.

I’ll continue to do my best.

In deep gratitude to those who have been patient, forgiving, loving, and beautiful teachers while in relationship with me.

With love, always, in all ways, for giving, in joy,
Genevieve

Unconditioning the heart, begins in the mind.

Surrender.  Let go.  Release.  Easier said than done.

Unless, you are on a long car journey and you really have to go…then when it is time, oh that sensation…it is one of my favorite releases of all. And like a full bladder that must be relieved, all things must be surrendered in time.

In time, this wild ride of a life has absolutely one thing in store for us, that it will end.  In the face of the truth of our someday demise, is another truth; It is probable and practically inevitable that we, each and everyone of us, will have attachments that we will never want to say good-bye too. These attachments may be people, things, money, thoughts and most likely the beliefs that we have built our lives on.  It is in this loving, coveting, knowing, holding onto, that we become limited and bound to the experience of what is, and feel challenged or even afraid to move into that which may become or will be.  I often find myself in a state of wonder as I ponder the fact that nothing remains forever the same, that all things will change, all humans will die, and in the face of this truth I question how it is we as a collective have not found a way to be more at peace in the process of surrender, in the face of loss, in the transitions of change.  Perhaps there is a fear in the collective conscious that if we (the entire human race) found this way, surrendering always with ease, we would become quite bored?  Perhaps we would find that everything from going to sleep, waking up, using the toilet, loosing a job, loosing a finger or even more, a leg, and loosing the ones we love to be all too easy?  I do not know.  What I do know is that energy is eternal, love is existent in everything, and it is a limited belief of the mind that says “just because something is no longer in form it no longer exits”.  I have also come to understand through the passing days of my own life that the facing of that which we do not know, mostly in the question of what lies beyond living, is the foundation upon which most practices of spirituality and religion or non-religion are based.

To know the unconditional boundaries of love, time, energy, and the universe we must first uncondition our minds of the belief that the boundaries exist.  It is the ultimate surrender, the ultimate letting go.

What would happen if we could perceive love in all things without condition?

What would happen if we could perceive the divine in all things without condition?

I propose we would know a state of peace John Lennon invited us to Imagine.  Or even more tangible, we may hug each other more often, and say I love you more often with deep tenderness and conviction, rather than suspicion or fear.

The fundamental tenant of the spiritual practice of yoga is Ahimsa, the practice of Non-Violence, or as I like to see it, the action/s of Loving Kindness. If we wish to truly honor the beauty of Ahimsa, surrendering our preconceived notions of good/bad, right/wrong, this/that, black/white, and letting in the all encompassing power of love without condition, by feeling, or even more profound, thinking with the heart, is where we must begin.  This does not mean that the value of active intelligence has no place in love, rather it means the heart guides the active intelligence to choices of thinking that encompass unconditional love.

One can actively give more power to the practice of loving unconditionally and letting go of belief structures that do not serve, with a practice with mantra and meditation.  I find in my own practice the following mantra to be a powerful vehicle into the spaciousness of my heart through the softening of my mind.

Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu

Lokah:  The location of all universes existing at this moment
Samastah: All beings living in this location
Sukhino: In happiness, joy and free from all suffering
Bhav: The divine mood or state of union
Antu: May it be so –

The practice of praying for the liberation from suffering for all things existent at this moment, as well as the prayer for happiness and peace, most importantly, includes yourself, as you are, right now, today, faults or no, good or bad, black or white, animal eating or vegan.  If you truly wish to know peace and unconditional love, you must endeavor to liberate yourself from the binds of suffering chained to the limiting, nonsupporting, hurtful, painful beliefs of your mind.  By offering yourself the same love and compassion you would offer another, you come to know the depth and value of your ability to love without condition and be a conduit of love without condition.

If it is inevitable that we will have attachments throughout the duration of our lives, may we attach ourselves to the ever expanding unconditional love of our hearts and spaciousness of our spirits.  May we be disciplined in our practices of self liberation and walking with honor and integrity in relationship to all life.  May we know when to let go, and surrender like the grace of a lowering tide, an exhale of full breath and a caterpillar going into its cocoon.

It is always truly my wish that all beings may be happy, healthy, free from suffering and know peace.  May we share that love and freedom with courage and joy.  May we all reap the rewards of peace from the surrender of the boundaries of our fearful minds together.

I’m doing my best, and admittedly still learning.  However, in the face of surrendering all that I have known to be true before, and making room for all that exists now, I do feel more peace…most especially when I let the energy move, as I do my bladder empty, when it is full…

With love always, in all ways, for giving,

Genevieve

10 Reasons to Walk Softly

  1. Build a strong foundation. (Ahimsa) Cultivate beginners mind, go somewhere new, study with new teachers and new classmates, practice nonviolence with your self.
  2. Open your heart to our shared potential. (Satya)  The truth is, that truth is always changing. Honor your truth, take time for your self, know what is important to you, serve the highest.
  3. Be generous with your Self and others.  (Asteya) Learn ways to integrate your yoga practice with the world around you. Cultivate more skillfulness and mindfulness in the balanced use and renewal of energy.
  4. Reinforce your Integrity. (Brahmacharya) Nature does not know right or wrong, nature only knows balance and imbalance.  Explore and relish in the nature of all aspects of yourself, and over the course of the retreat, integrate your being into a more cohesive whole.
  5. Giving it all away. (Aparigraha) Cultivate a well of generosity from which your motivations arise.  Allow yourself freedom from an attachment to the results of your work.  Learn to do, and do well, for the joy of doing.
  6. Clear pathways. (Saucha)  Detox physically with Asana, and mentally with meditation, to provide for yourself purity of mind, body and spirit.
  7. Be With What Is.  (Santosa) Relax and de-stress during the day, and enjoy peaceful tranquility and ease at night while sleeping on the sacred grounds of the Mabel Dodge Lujan house, tucked sweetly beneath Taos Mountain.
  8. Know your capacity to be more, do more, get out, collaborate and create!  (Tapas) Deepen your yoga practice, and replace old habits.  Through intentionally placing yourself in the position to learn, you will adopt new ways of being: on the mat, in relationship, and in the world.
  9. Self-study leads to self-love. (Svadyaya)  Return home feeling capable and self empowered to meet life willingly, openly, as yourself, no matter how it appears in front of you.
  10. Freedom from the stress.  (Ishvara Pranidhana) Show up, experience the delight of embodiment, the spaciousness of spirit, the acrobatic skillfulness of the mind…leave renewed, refreshed, and reinforced using a system that has worked for thousands of years.

Join experienced and registered yoga teachers Suki Dalury and Genevieve Oswald for a beautiful journey into the Yamas (precepts for being with community) and the Niyamas (precepts for being with self.  Apply the ancient secrets of yoga and invite the future with internal power and open arms.  Lecture, creative workshoping with visual art and written word combine with the sacred practices of asana, pranayama, and meditation to align with your most alive and vibrant self. Awaken awareness and lay the groundwork for a lifetime of well-being in your body, and in the world.  Yoga Alliance CEU’s available.

Walk Softly: Yoga and Our Future Yoga Retreat at Mabel Dodge Lujan House in Taos New Mexico Nov. 14-19, 2013.  Check out www.shreeyogataos.com for more details, and http://mabeldodgeluhan.com for information regarding the beautiful grounds and accommodations.  The Mabel Dodge Luhan House is one of the most quintessential Taos places. Rooms must be booked on or before October 7, 2013.  Board includes breakfast and lunch. Single and Double room occupancy available.  $1425.00-$1725.00  For those wishing to attend the retreat and not lodge at the Mabel Dodge Luhan House, the cost is $800.00.

Please call or email Shree Yoga Taos to register.

shreeyogataos@gmail.com

575-758-8014

 

 

Patience

It has been just over a month since I have fallen down a flight of stairs, resulting in hurting myself quite a bit. For the last month, yoga has been a practice of sitting and laying in stillness, resting, and knowing that in time, this too will pass.  It is not my first rodeo, as they say.  Even though I have known the wearing on patience long bouts of healing bring, it has been a small gift to be reminded of the remarkable practice of patience.  As I see it today, patience is waiting with purpose, being still in the not knowing, believing in and leaving room for time to tell the story.  Patience is a practice in mindfulness, it requires only being, without being attached.  As I return to my practice on the mat I practice slowly, mindful of the places where my body has been screaming out for months, as the fall just compounded pains that already existed.  I take into mind what I have been teaching my students, be nice to yourself, mind your body.  I listen, I mind, I move slow.  My body urges me to seek out the places where space can be made, and to move with more strength in the places where there is instability.  Every time I am on my mat I feel my body is echoing the voice of spirit as well as the song of my soul, and my mind is just catching up to the good news;  No need to move so quickly, move slowly and see more, feel more, sense more, observe more, or as Ram Das would say “be here now”.  My body responds to the amount of rest by alerting me to its needs with the awareness of more sensation.  I continue to remind myself that on the journey of my on the mat, or in my life, showing up is what really counts.  I continue to show up on my mat, even when it hurts, and in my daily life, especially when its hard.  Showing up for what is, and being patient for what will be, is the best we can do.

If we are fortunate we have many things to bring to the mat, or to the table, or even more magnificent the game of life, when we show up.  If we are clear enough about our intentions, motivations, needs, boundaries, and skills we are extraordinarily prepared to respond to what is at hand.  If we are patient, we can hold energetic boundaries that enable us to continue perpetual positive progressive momentum.  If we are humble, we allow ourselves to have the journey, and others to have theirs as well.

Today I am grateful, I have a heart that enlivens, harmonizes, and pumps the blood through the entirety of my being.  I have a mind and consciousness to ask questions and to answer them, to acknowledge the sensation of being in the animate world and to respond in whatever way I may choose.  I have the ability to respond with awareness and the use of all of the extraordinary capacities of my body including the limitations of my hurt bones and muscles.  Recognizing all of this is enough to make me happy,  and in that happiness, it is with a sense of ease that I can continue to be patient for the arrival of whatever gift comes next.

Following is my personal practice from this morning, dedicated to the patient and the teachers of patience, who most often are children and old people, the slow moving people, and to the healing, the creating, and the waiting.

Practicing the Art of Patience on the Mat:

(This practice is supported by strong muscular drawing in, and deep long holds in each pose.  Focusing on the surrender of the exhale to allow for a softening within the strength, or the waiting.)

Seated in Sukhasana (Easy Seated Posture) 5 rounds Ujjayi Pranayama, and 10 rounds Nadi Shodana Pranayama.

(Ujjayi Pranayama: breathing in and out through both nostrils with a contraction at back of the throat.)

(Nadi Shodana Pranayama: maintaining Ujjayi Pranayama while using ring finger and pinky finger as well as thumb of the right hand to alternate breath between nostrils.  Begin after an inhalation through both nostrils, close one nostril, exhale and inhale through open nostril then switch.  Continue in this pattern, exhale/inhale switch.)

Sukhasana: Switch cross of legs, forward fold arms outstretched.

Standing forward fold.  (Uttanasana) Bowing over strong legs, fingertips touch the floor (or blocks).

(Tadasana) Stand tall in Mountain pose arms along sides.

Extend arms overhead while bringing your gaze high on your inhalation, and lower arms and gaze to Tadasana (Mountain Pose) on the exhale.  Repeat 5 times.

(Uttanasana) Bow forward over strong legs, fingertips touch the floor.

Extend your spine and look forward as you inhale, maintain strong legs, come to finger tips with straight arms or hands to shins.  As you exhale bow in.  Repeat 5 times.

Inhale to stand tall and reach for the sky, gazing upward.  (Urdhva Hastasana), exhale for Tadasana (Mountain Pose).

Inhale for Undvha Hastasana (arms over head) take your left wrist in your right hand and as you exhale reach- hands, arms, spine, ribcage, head,-up and over to the right.  After a patient amount of breath, return on an inhale to center, switch hands and exhale to the second side.

Exhale to bow over strong legs.  (Uttanasana)  Take 5 breaths.

Exhale to Plank pose and all the way down to the mat.

Cobra Prep: Laying on your stomach bend your elbows and place your fingertips in line with your shoulders wider than your mat.  Lift your elbows higher to place your shoulders with strength on your back, hold for 5-10 breaths. Rest and repeat 1 time.

Inchworm:  Laying on your stomach bend your knees lifting your feet as if you were standing on the ceiling.  Press your knees down to lift your hips off the mat, the closer you draw your knees in toward your heart, the deeper the back bend.  Take 5-10 breaths, exhale to draw your tailbone down toward the floor, bringing your hips and legs down in succession.  As you inhale lift your head and heart and inchworm them forward on the mat.  Rest and repeat 1 time.

Cobra. (Bhujangasana)  Build cobra pose using Cobra Prep and Inchworm.  Move with your breath and repeat as many times as you like.

Childs Pose. (Balasana)

Uttanasana (Standing forward fold)

Lizard Lunge: Begin in a lunge, back leg straight, front knee bent to 90 degrees.  Walk hands inside front leg enough to stretch the side of the body nearest the front leg, not so much you feel tightening in the side body (ribs) of the back leg.  Turn the top of the back leg in and down toward the floor, take hands wider and onto finger tips, (Cobra Prep in the arms).  Look forward and slowly move your heart toward the floor as you tuck your tailbone toward your front foot.  Hold for 5-10 breaths, repeat on the second side.

Wide legged forward fold.  (Prasarita Padottanasana), hands in Cobra Prep alongside shoulders.

Triangle Pose.  (Trikonasana)  In Prasarita Padottanasana turn your right foot out so that the heal of the right foot intersects the arch of the left foot.  Keeping this, pull your hips back toward the left foot.  As you exhale tuck your tailbone to initiate the action of extending your right hand toward your right shin; the floor outstide the right shin; or the big toe of the right foot; on your next exhalation the left arm extends toward the ceiling.  Hold 5-10 breaths.  Repeat on left side.

Uttanasana (Standing forward fold.)

Intense Hamstring Stretch.  (Parsvottanasana) Step one foot back behind you, with the length of one of your legs between each foot.  Turn the back foot’s toes out 45 degrees.  Pull both hips back toward your back foot and bow over your front leg.  Refine by lifting your waist and using your tailbone to root your heals as you bow in more deeply.  Patiently take 5-10 breaths and repeat on the second side, moving through Uttanasana to switch.

Parsvakonasana Prep/Parsvakonasana (Side Angle Stretch) From Uttanasana (standing forward fold) exhale to a lunge.  Turn your back heal to the mat and mindfully placing your front foot so that the heal intersects the arch of the back foot.  Walk your hands inside your front foot and place them like you did for Lizard Lunge.  Using the strength of your legs, isometrically draw your feet toward each other, with this strength lift your hips and move both hips back beyond your heals.  On your inhalation, breathe into the back of your waist between your ribs and hips.  Use your breath to expand into the space there, broadening and widening the inside of the back of your pelvis.  With an exhalation pull your tailbone down toward your front foot, your pelvic bone and glutial muscle on the front leg will follow.  Spin your waist and ribs toward the ceiling, and place your hands accordingly: bottom elbow on the knee and top hand on the hip; or bottom hand on the  floor inside or outside the front leg, and top hand and arm extending over the top ear.  Take patient breaths and move through Down Dog to repeat on the second side.

Down Dog. (Adho Muhka Svanasana) 5-10 breaths. Use the strength of your legs and abdomen to press your hips up and back, allowing room for and open chest, softness in the back of the heart, and deep breath.

Balasana (Childs Pose) 10 + Breaths

Laying Supine (on your back), bend your knees and lift your hips to place a block under your sacrum (the base of your spine).  The following poses can be done without the hips supported if a block is not accessible.

Supta Padangusthasana Prep (Reclined hand to big toe pose) Bend both knees, lift one foot off the floor and draw the knee into your chest.  Use the strength of your legs to pull your hips toward your bottom foot.  Hold 5-10 breaths, repeat on the second side.  After the second side return to the first leg, drawing the knee into your chest and interlacing your hands behind the thigh, as you exhale extend both legs long with the bottom legs heal on the floor, and top leg reaching for the ceiling.  Continue to use the strength of your legs to pull your hips toward your bottom foot.  Hold 5-10 breaths, repeat on the second side.

Setubhandasana (Bridge Pose) Laying on your back with your knees bent and your shoulders underneath your heart, inhale to make your legs strong and feet heavy, exhale to lift your hips away from the mat.  If you have a block support your sacrum and spend 3-5 minutes.  If you have no block enjoy 5-10 breaths.  Follow an exhale to place sitting bones (the boney part of your butt) down on the mat.

Savasana (Corpse Pose) The epoch of patience on the yoga mat.  Enjoy the stillness, the waiting with purpose, the calm and the quiet for as long as you like.

Close with a comfortable seat, and an acknowledgement of your own capacity to be in stillness, to wait with purpose, to move slow, and to know patience.

Love,

Always, In All Ways, For Giving,

Genevieve