Friday, July 12, 2013

This is my brain on yoga

Marlene referred to BKS talking about "breaking the frame of your mind," those patterns and expectations that keep you rooted in place. It's good to shake things up to bring about a new frame of mind.

I am sure my brain has been making new pathways with improved neuroplasticity. Kicking up in headstand with the less familiar side. Finding myself in a posture I didn't think possible.

Instructions are repeated over and over again, and yet there is something new to hear because when something clicks, it suddenly makes sense. Connections are then made elsewhere.

The end of the five day intensive, Yoga in the Heart of the City, came very quickly.

The change in my routine was a blessing. Mornings doing yoga, afternoons at work. I enjoyed my coffee in the back garden at the start of the day and generally felt unhurried and calm, if a bit tired. Food tasted better and sleep was deep and renewing.

At the beginning of the week I came with the personal intention to "improve" sarvangasana (shoulder stand) and found it in many other poses instead... It was in the length of the torso in utkatasana (chair), in the bend of the arm during a twist, in the strength of the hips and legs during an arm balance, in salamba sarvangasana and in setubandha sarvangasana (bridge).

Marlene kept every day fresh with a new choreography of sequences that helped me with my ambition. I found it inspiring how she was able to "teach the room" and yet reach each individual student.  "There is some of us in all of us and all of us in some of us"... so when she made corrections and adjustments to others in the room I paid attention.

Five mornings of hour-long  pranayama. Forget the phrase "breath work" .... the two do not belong in the same sentence here because with pranayama nothing should be forced, merely observed. The simple mantra, "I am breathing in. I am breathing out," becomes an echo in savasana. Beginning with an exhale and ending on an inhale.  When thoughts come, don't push them away so much as move toward the breath. We took different shapes, sitting in a chair, over bolsters, against the wall. Lying back over 5 bricks was so effective for me I picked up a few more blocks for home.

illustration credit

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