Dear Sweet Community,
Wow, last week I got really sick. I apologize for not sending a newsletter out but I was so feverish I really couldn't do anything but sleep. It felt like my body was burning through anything toxic in my system. Once again, I have had to slow down and listen to what the bigger picture is here. I keep thinking about how every time I attach to getting to some "goal" in my life, I find myself hitting a detour. It's not that it is a detour per say, it's that I am so attached to it looking a certain way that any deviation from that I interpret as a detour. Here I am again with a reminder that it is not WHAT I am headed towards that will give me contentment, but rather the JOURNEY of getting there. I always reference in times like these one of my favorite books "The Alchemist". The story speaks of our truest fulfillment being in our backyard, it is and has always been with us. So it is not WHERE we are headed to find it, but rather HOW we walk the journey of connecting to it.
Alignment Tip of The Week:
The past few Fridays we focused on our propensity to have a twisty pelvis, going upside down in Pincha Mayurasana (Forearm Stand) and The traditional transition of the jump through and jump back.
Everyone's pelvis slightly twists to the right. This is because the right lung is slightly bigger and the heart is on the left. Because of this we tend to protect the left side and breathe into the right. The right energetic channel is the masculine or the protector and the left is the feminine or the nurturer. To work with your twisty pelvis, lie down so you are perpendicular to, and facing, a wall. Bring your hips against the wall and your legs up the wall. Bend your knees and press both feet into the wall so your shins are parallel to the floor. Place a block between your knees and quadriceps and squeeze the block. Press your right hip forward and your left hip back. Try this a few times. This is working with habitual patterns of holding in the pelvis. Try in poses like Virabhdrasana I (Warrior I) to bring your feet wide enough on separate train tracks to really work on squaring off the pelvis and unwinding the twisty nature of the pelvis. Other poses such as pyramid pose and low or high lunge can also really address the twisty pelvis by pulling the back quadricep forward and pulling back through the front heel and hip.
Once the hips are aligned so too are our other joints. Having the joints "stacked" is a very important part of standing. We balance on our feet by finding our bones stacked on top of each other. The same is true when we invert. We must stack our joints upside down. For Pincha Mayurasana, face a wall and sit on your heels. Bring your arms out wide in a T and then bend your elbows with your palms facing the wall. Now anchor your shoulder blades down the back and press the elbows back without opening the front of your ribs. Bring your forearms parallel and place them on the earth with a block between your elbows. With the palms flat onto the earth, press down through the forearms and pull your shoulder blades down the back. Tuck your toes under and straighten your legs like down ward facing dog into Dolphin pose. Press your chest back towards your toes. Try lifting your elbows and the block off of the ground and bring them back down. This will encourage you to keep your elbows in line with the shoulders. After a few rounds of this exercise, slide your hands and elbows back so that the block is between your thumbs or remove the block. Walk your toes in a bit and lift the right leg towards the sky. Rock onto the left big toe and rock backwards and forwards until the left foot lifts to the sky. REACH both legs up to the sky and squeeze them together. Think of someone or something that inspires you and reach out in all directions while you reach down through the arms and in with your belly. Let your legs rest against the wall if you need to. To come down by lowering one leg at a time.
Remember that inverting requires that the bones be aligned with the core supporting them. Do not backbend. Even if you don't get off of the ground practice standing on your forearms the way you stand on your feet; in control and confident!
Lastly, we take the principles of going upside down to our transitions. Remember that it is not about WHERE we are going, but rather HOW we get there. To jump back from seated, start with your ankles crossed and the knees bent. With your hands on blocks framing your hips, press your hands onto the blocks and lift your hips and maybe ankles off of the ground into Tolasana. If you get up lean your chin forwards and bring your feet through your hands for Lolasana. Maybe gently land on your shins and then jump or step back to plank. Or tap the bottom toes to the ground and jump back to plank or preferably chaturanga. The final variation is to not tap your toes on the ground and jump straight back. To jump back through to seated, come to downward facing dog and walk your feet about an inch closer to you hands. Come on to your toes and bend your knees. Lift your tail bone to the sky and think about stacking your joint; hips over shoulders and shoulders over wrists. Take a shakti jump- jumping to a half handstand with the knees bent and trying to balance here. At the very top of your shakti jump, cross your ankles and lower yourself to tolasana and either to seated or stretch your legs out in front of you hovering off of the ground and then lower down for the final pose.
Jumping the feet to the hands from downward facing dog is really just jumping into a shakti jump and lowering the feet by the hands. Jumping back from a forward bend is a done by jumping up to a half handstand and shooting the legs back. One you learn these transitions you can come into a full handstand for EVERYTIME you find tolasana and a shakti jump.
I encourage you to really find these transitions. They remind us to be intentional about how we are moving through our present moments and they discourage us from getting attached to some moment in time, some fantasy of what will bring us happiness. It is here, is this moment. It is in slowing down our actions so we really savor challenges and moments when we feel fearful. This is where we find what we are made of!
Have a sweet day,
See you on the mat,