We are not the same from one moment to the next, so why should we expect that from our minds and bodies? Yoga requires patience, compassion, and honesty – on and off the mat.
This post courtesy of yogi Nina Endrst.
My practice as a student and teacher of yoga constantly changes and evolves as I do. I try to remind myself and others that we are not the same from one moment to the next, so why should we expect that from our minds and bodies? Yoga requires patience, compassion, and honesty – on and off the mat. While I am appreciative of the physical benefits, I come to my mat, first and foremost, for a moving meditation.
So let’s talk balance.
Some of us thrive in high intensity exercise classes, and if that is what allows you to blow off some steam and feel powerful, do your thing! But even the fieriest people (especially those) need a little softness every once and a while.
This sequence offers a gentle approach, blending the elements of earth, water, fire and air – encouraging us to listen a bit closer to the quiet voice within that asks us to accept ourselves just as we are.
Flow, breathe, let go.
Settle In – Find the Ground – Earth
(See lead image for direction.) Take a deep breath and welcome yourself to the practice. Come to the top of your mat and separate your feet hip-width apart. Take a deep exhale as you fold over your legs, bringing the weight to the center of the feet. Bend the knees slightly to protect your lower back. Ground your feet first, find space between your toes and feel for all four corners of each foot. Take your time to arrive here. As you inhale, draw your heart forward and your seat back, finding a flat back. Pull the navel gently in toward your spine. Exhale, release. Repeat 10-15 times, moving slowly at first and increasing the speed a bit if you like. Don’t lose the breath. If it becomes hard to breathe, slow down – come back to yourself, rest.
Clear the Space – Water
Step your left foot back, finding a low lunge. Settle into your foundation first, and find strength in your roots. Press the left heel back and lift the left thigh toward the sky. Remember to distribute the effort evenly between the front and back leg. (Use a wall if necessary.) Imagine you are clearing the space around you. On your inhale bring your right arm forward, left arm back, slowly moving upward, as if through water to a high lunge. When you arrive, bring your arms behind you and clasp your palms to touch. Breathe for 10 breaths. Repeat on left side,
Release Your Grip – Float. Air
Stand in a high lunge, put the pose into your legs. Take a deep inhale and exhale through the mouth, stick out your tongue — release tension around the mouth. Inhale and draw navel in toward your spine and up toward your heart, and float forward into warrior three. Bring the left leg parallel to the mat and press firmly through the back foot (use wall for extra support). Bring your fingertips to the earth for supported version or extend arms behind you. Hold and breathe, looking forward and down with a soft gaze. Repeat left side.
Find Your Strength, Twist Out the Toxins – Fire
Step both feet to the front of your mat and sit into your chair pose. Try not to arch the back too much here. Bring your navel to your spine and draw the shoulder blades together and down your back. Find space across your chest and shine your heart forward, reach your arms to the sky – hold and breathe for 5-10 breaths. As you exhale draw the hands to the heart and press palms firmly together. Twist to the left bringing your right elbow outside the left knee. Check in and make sure your right knee is in line with left. Press palms together and twist, reaching sit bones back in space and dropping into the feet. Soften. Use the fire energy to twist out the toxins and melt the tension. Repeat left side.
Lay down on your mat and rest one hand on your heart, one hand on your belly in savasana for 10-15 minutes. Surrender.
GIFs by Matthew Johnson.
Nina’s IG here!