Wednesday, October 17, 2012

7 yoga practices to help us move beyond...

We get stuck.  On our mats, it is called "inflexible", on our birthing beds, "failure to progress", and on paper, a "writer's block".  And whether it's our bodies not opening or our paint brush or words not flowing, our desires can lead to unimaginable frustration. In such moments, we are tempted to force the outcome, or in the case of our creative expression where sheer force would only hinder progression, we either give up after reaching a multitude of dead ends or worse yet fail to begin the exploration.
However, when we look to our ancient, sister yoginis who journeyed the long, narrow road to enlightenment,  consider that it would be beneficial for us to breathe, listen, and wait.  More often than not, when we begin something new, change is slow, even barely perceptible. It is when we persist with confidence, at some point, soon after we have allowed ourselves to move beyond our feelings of hopeless and despair, it happens. What is a ordinary perception of our selves wanes and we become privy to our granduer. In such precious, unbound moments, our bodies fold into our creation and we give birth to our babies, books, and elation!

 We  look back on the fruits of our labor and like our lovely Heather Benway of the circle declared of her birth story, want to hear the words over and over again. We feel awe, how could something so amazing, so brilliant, so original come out of us!   Consider that our effort in waiting is well worth our creation.
Below are 7 yoga practices to help  us move beyond.
1. Close the door. Surrender requires feeling safe.
2. Breathe. Keep your breathe fluid and even. There is a synergistic relationship between the mind and the breathe. When the breathe is balanced, your mind will follow.
3. Focus. Give your attention to something that you love that is still like a plant, coat, or perfume bottle.
4. Listen. You know more than what you think you know.
5. Change. Do something different if you don't feel movement frequently.
6. Feel. Allow your desire to drive your effort.
7. Persevere. Never give up, keep the course until the very end.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Stand up for yourself!

It's brave, to take action when you are feeling at your most vulnerable, surrounded by people that are perceived to have more power than you. That's exactly what our seasoned yogini Sara Varvaro did, when at 10 centimeters dilated, getting ready to push declared to her care providers that she needed to get out of her bed, and did! Sara had walked through most of her labor, singing to her baby as each contraction climbed (the way we did in class), being still at the peak, and then eager to receive her husband Chad's gentle touch as the contraction subsided. She found being in bed unworkable, unacceptable. Trust me, if Sara's move to get out of bed was dangerous to either her or her baby there would have been strong opposition to her movement. Consider that if Sara had not found the courage to assert herself her labor may have taken a very different course, one that may not have aligned with her intention for natural childbirth (which she was able to realize).
Can we be so inspired by Sara's act of bravery to want to learn the skills necessary to take immediate, appropriate action when the situation calls for it? Unfortunately so often in challenging, stressful situations we either freeze or flee, the only two established responses from our automatic nervous system. We look back on the situation and wished we would have had more clarity to respond in a different, more powerful, appropriate way.
Birth Blessings Yoga is steeped in the study and practice of our origins which includes knowledge that our nervous system stores unlimited possibility. Consider that every time we come to our yoga mat there is opportunity to step out of our comfort zone. For example, inversions (going up side down) and balancing poses require pushing through fear while standing poses demand more strength for stability and a solid grounding to the earth. Over time with continued practice, these movements enliven our nervous system to provide for alternative pathways that quite naturally will respond on or off of our mat. Then when the moment arises that we need to stand up for our self, we have the capacity, strength and ability to rise to the occasion. And just like Sara's action may very well have altered the course of her labor, we too may change the course of our lives when we take right action in life's most challenging situations.