Project 40 & Figuring it Out - Day 50 - Root Chakra

IMG_6230.jpeg

Day 50: Yoga Training day 4, root chakra

Our dear teacher Bryce mentioned that the ability to keep the heart chakra (living a life full of compassion, love, patience...) open will only be possible if the root chakra (looking fear in the eye and dealing with it) is open.

It is not comfortable to deal with these fears, but yoga gives us tools / practices that are incredibly powerful in combination with 1) self exploration 2) self love.

group photo: group effort, group energy, group encouragement for deeper self study

Project 40 & Figuring it Out - Day 48 - Day 2, 50-hour training, Soft Touch

Day 48: 50-hour training, day 2, soft touch

As yoga teachers we often guide students with our hands. My yoga practice buddy Katie and I are discovering that there are many kinds of “adjustments” for every asana: touching to bring awareness, resistance, facilitating the opening...

Bryce continues to show us that a gentle touch can bring release & deepening through trust & awareness. What a fantastic second day!

photo: Bryce adjusting extended side angle with his fingertips

IMG_6206.jpeg

Project 40 & Figuring it Out - Day 47 - Day 1, 50-hour Yoga Training

IMG_7960.JPG

Project 40 & Figuring it Out

Day 47: day 1 of 50-hour yoga training

17 of us have committed to spend one week together learning from Bryce Delbridge. Today we all braved a public assessment of our bodies, learning how Bryce scans bodies from feet to head and customizes practices accordingly. We are all going to get the opportunity to do the same on one another each day. So exciting!

photo: learning a self-massage practice that is important to pair with a strength-building asana practice

Project 40 & Figuring It Out: Day 23 – Making Fitness a Priority

fullsizeoutput_7503.jpeg

Like I said yesterday, without naming names I would like to focus on celebrating other's efforts to do better for themselves and mankind.

A question for all of us: 
How many times do we get in our cars to run an errand 3 blocks away?

This friend (pictured below) has committed to getting stronger and incorporating fitness into every part of his life – including transportation. He rides his bike to work and to play, and has inspired my hubby to follow his lead. This is an A+ friend. They even rode in a downpour from Lawrence back to our home in Eudora (10 miles) for dinner yesterday.

I'm truly inspired by his efforts to use his bike for transportation, and his continued push to make fitness a priority.

photo: bike & friend covered in mud from the gravel roads & Mr. Sam enjoying the cooler temp

Project 40 & Figuring it Out – Day 21 – Scorpion Handstand

Day 21: scorpion handstand

I don’t want this challenge to be a platform for me to show off fancy tricks, but I have been working on this variation of handstand for at least a couple of years now. For me it is the pinnacle of balance, strength & flexibility.

When I first started, I so desperately wanted to get my feet to my head that I compressed my low back and shoulders. Perhaps that poor form would look more impressive in a photo, but i was not cultivating shoulder strength or proper back flexibility. I am now focused on opening through the chest and keeping my shoulders strong. It feels great!

Perhaps there is something to the phrase “older and wiser”. I’m in!

Project 40 & Figuring it Out – Day 13 – Power Yogasana for All Ages

Firefly 2.jpg

Day 13: Power Yogaasana for all ages

Ages in the room: 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s & 59

I recently started teaching a weekly Power Yoga class on Monday nights and am asking students to dig deep for endurance & strength. A sweet group of Topeka yogis lost their teacher (she moved) and they had difficulty finding a class that was challenging enough... I took on the challenge.

Last night we did about 20 minutes of dynamic warm up, 40 minutes of backbends interspersed with arm balances to counter, finishing with a long upside down inversion.

After all of that they went back up into Titibhaasana (Firefly) for this photo:
20 something: laughing and falling out of it
30 something: holding strong in the back
40 something: her 2nd time ever holding this asana
50 something: working on getting shoulders under legs
59 year old: strongest and most flexible yogi in the room!

~What we can look forward to at 59 if we put in the effort~

Project 40 & Figuring it Out – Day 10 – Finding a Practice Buddy

Katie.jpg

Day 10: Finding a practice buddy

The closest yoga studio offering Mysore practice is in KC so Katie and I decided to buddy up! We offer each other physical, energetic, emotional...support and I am so grateful for our time together.

We are constantly experimenting with different adjustments to ask our bodies (and minds) to accept and adapt to these different shapes. This one is our new favorite!

Love you Katie Tree!

Project 40 & Figuring it Out – Day 9 – Mysore Style Yoga Practice

Mysore.jpg

Day 9: Mysore style Yoga practice

I'm always amazed that anyone else wants to get up at the butt crack of dawn to practice. These amazing women have been very consistent with their Thursday morning Mysore practice ...which begins at 5:15AM!

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Mysore practice...
It was named after the city in India where Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga took form. There is an open time given for practice (usually 2-3 hours) where you can drop in any time and do your practice. The teacher is there to guide you when you get stuck or offer an adjustment or alignment suggestion.

As you can see everyone is doing their own thing, building their own unique practice which suits their needs & desires. I can't tell you how satisfying it is for me to "guide" practice in this format. I believe it is how Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga should be offered in order to be therapeutic, promote self inquiry and self awareness, and most importantly to become independent in your practice. As a teacher, this independence is my greatest wish for students.

Led classes are nice too, but I have seen massive transformations and lightbulbs go of in this style of Yoga practice. Not as much the transformations of achieving new and more exciting asanas, but rather the inner transformation and realization of what works/is healing for any body, any shape, any size, any ability.

Project 40 & Figuring it Out - Day 5 – Cultivating Subtle Awareness in Asana

MomSam.jpg

Day 5: cultivating subtle awareness in asana practice

I was reminded today in "Mysore" practice about the need to continually remind ourselves to cultivate subtle awareness within our asana practice. We tend to chase after more challenging asanas without spending time developing a deeper relationship with our body in these shapes.

Today I asked a student to describe what they are feeling in a sequence of postures. They couldn't answer although they have been practicing for quite some time. This is not uncommon and I catch myself moving through the motions in so much of my own practice.

This week I had a person tell me that they like yoga because they can zone out in class. There is no wrong reason or way to practice, but in my experience you are missing so much of the practice if you do this. Yogaasana is about cultivating subtle awareness within these postures to sharpen our senses and allow us to fully enjoy and experience them with our entire being. I hope I am able to continue my own body exploration with a little more awareness every day and also encourage others to do the same.

Photo: Tadaasana (mountain) with namaskara hands