Saturday DO

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Saturday DO: breathe and smile.

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I used to always hate pigeon pose – the hip opening exercise which you are supposed to relax into for several minutes at the end of a yoga practice. It hurt me, and having to sit through it for so long just made it worse. I’m already horrible at sitting still, and I would fidget with my arms and upper body – trying to get comfortable. This is usually the point where the yoga teacher will include a thoughtful lesson, but the distraction of my discomfort always took away from my attentiveness. Then one class my teacher began talking about the ying and the yang. It spoke to how I was feeling right then and there, and I couldn’t help but pay deep attention.

She explained how the first half of the practice is all about moving fast and getting the heart racing: the ying. This is the part that people usually focus on. They try to keep up and push themselves – moving  fast to burn those calories and strengthen those muscles. Then you get to the second half of the practice which involves slow, deep poses: the yang. People tend to think this should be the easy part, but my teacher surprised me in saying that it’s not. The yang portion of a yoga practice has its own challenges like keeping yourself still and maintaining your breathing through uncomfortable positions. I was so relieved to hear that this was supposed to be a challenge, and it was difficult for other people besides me.

I took an important lesson away that day. Challenges don’t always present themselves as so, and sometimes being calm and still is tougher than anything else in the world. Next time something easy turns out to be hard – realize that you set out to do it for a reason and there is something to gain from pushing through. Use your mental power to strengthen your yang, take a deep breath, and push through it with a smile.

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Comments

Taylor -August 13, 2011, 12:46PM

I love this post!!! I studied Taoism and the ying and yang. I really loved it and took lots of notes! I still have a drawing I made and read it every-so-often. I am a pretty calm person for the most part. If my family and I are in the car, and we get ‘lost,’ I’m the one to say “ok, so we will end up somewhere else. we will get there eventually…enjoy the ride.” On the other hand, I can become impatient and negative, which I need to work on.
I think the pigeon pose is something that you have to practice. Thoughts always run through my head lol!
And yeah, there is always something you can take away from a tough situation or challenge, you might just have to adjust your mind to see it though.
http://www.forsurejadore.blogspot.com

alisha -August 13, 2011, 12:47PM

this is the best saturday do so far! lovely :)

Morgan Krhin -August 13, 2011, 2:36PM

This post was very moving. I actually just returned from the first yoga class I have taken in a few months and have to agree that the yang portion of the yoga practice does take more concentration and patience. After stressful past days, my mind wanted to race at a fast and confusing speed and taking the time to consciously make myself aware of my breath was difficult. Thank you for teaching me the connection between the ying yang symbol and the relaxation method I enjoy practicing! <3

Boho Chica -August 13, 2011, 2:58PM

Beautiful post, thanks for sharing.

BohoQueen -August 13, 2011, 3:02PM

Love the gorgeous pictures! Oh, and it made me chuckle; this dad with two sons were walking past me at my gate in the airport, and the one son said, “Oh, we should go to Outside Lands.” (We’re arriving at SFO). It just made me think of you all! ;) xoxo

Juls -August 14, 2011, 3:41AM

I practice yoga too!! Love the pics, I actually enjoy pigeon pose, at the begging it was awful but now I;m used to it. The one I really can’t stand is chair pose!!

Aqilah -August 16, 2011, 3:06AM

man, this is so apt for me at the moment. thank you for sharing this amazing post!

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