Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Swamp Cat ponders the Mystery

Swamp Cat ponders the mystery in the marshy, bottomland woods where she lives and loves. She contemplates the muddy, brown bayou and the way it slowly flows towards the cool, azure sea. She is here and Solstice has come. His warm energy pours upon the earth in all its radiant abundance.  She wonders what the season will bring.

She knows that if she lets go of trying to see the mystery this will allow her to actually see it. She knows that desiring and desirelessness are different and yet the same. They are part of the mystery.  She must let go of the desire to figure it all out and allow life to stretch out and unfold before her.

The soil is soft in the bottomland woods and shifts beneath her feet, yet Swamp Cat stands firm like a mountain. She trusts that she is supported by the earth. She is strong, steady, and stable. Her head lifts towards the heavens and she breathes. Facing east she salutes the splendid sun. She feels the long time sun shine upon her, all love surround her and believes the pure light within her will guide her way. She opens her heart and accepts what comes, for it will be what it will be, and Swamp Cat intends to enjoy the mystery.

Mountain pose (Tadasana) 
  • All standing poses arise from mountain pose so it’s important to prepare a firm foundation.
  • Stand with feet hip distance apart and parallel, legs straight, arms hang by your side, hands soft yet active.
  • Balance your weight evenly between the four corners of your feet, feel your connection to the earth.
  • Create a firm foundation, breathe and feel the energy filling your body, your ankles and calves become steady, your thighs and hips are stable, engage your belly and lengthen your spine, lifting your head high towards the sky. Stay here for 30 seconds to 1 minute.

Tada! You are still, strong, steady and stable like a mountain. Try it you just might like it and while since you're here, check out the following link. I love Erich's Schiffman's directions...snuggle your feet into the floor...experience the wide open...


Sunday, June 1, 2014

A Twisted Tale

Come on Baby; let’s do “The Twist.”

Do you remember hearing about “The Twist”?  It was a dance craze in the early 1960’s inspired by rock and roll. Popular songs by Chubby Checker and The Beatles as well as others had people up on their feet twisting the night away. You might be wondering, where in the world is she going with this? I thought this was a yoga blog…

Well yoga and dancing have all sorts of delightful things in common. First off, both dancing and yoga can be magical and transforming. They not only lift our spirits but energize our lives. Dancing and yoga are mind-body experiences, keeping our bodies and our brains healthy. We have to pay attention to the dance steps as well as the yoga instruction and these actions keep our minds engaged. They strengthen bones without stressing joints; toning the entire body, improving posture and balance. Stamina and flexibility increase and stress and tensions are reduced, sounds good to me. 

It has been said that the original inspiration for the “The Twist” came from the African American plantation dance called “Wringin' and Twistin’.”  Wringin’ and twistin’, that’s just what we do when we practice yoga twists. We wring the body out as we twist. 

Twisting poses help restore the spine’s natural range of motion, cleanse your organs, stimulate circulation and release tension. Twists penetrate deep into the core of the body, offering powerful benefits to muscles and organs. They encourage deep, full breaths. Practicing twists regularly can restore flexibility and mobility to the spine. Internal organs are compressed during a twist, pushing out blood filled with metabolic wastes and toxins. When we release the twist, fresh blood flows in bringing oxygen for healing, ahhhh.

Easy Pose Easy Twist
With mindfulness we begin by letting the breath be our guide. Inhaling we lengthen the spine lifting our heads towards the sky before we twist.  An exhale follows as you gently twist into the pose. Pause and breathe and when you are ready gently come back to center. Always repeat the twist on the opposite side bringing balance back into the body. The following are two gentle twists and a few of their benefits.

Bent knee Spinal Twist
  •    encourages mobility in the spine and vertebrae
  •    massages, stretches, and tones the internal organs
  •    improves digestion
  •    stretches the chest, shoulders, lower back, hips, middle and upper back

Half Lord of the Fishes Pose
  •     increases spinal flexibility
  •     expands chest and shoulders
  •     relieves mid back muscle tension
  •     stretches the hip
The physical practice of moving into these twisting poses helps us to have a balanced view of life. Giving us the ability to look at all sides of any given situation. This improves our overall sense of balance, calming the mind. So we learn through yoga, whatever is twisted can be untwisted.

Twists can help you eliminate tension from deep within. Emotional stresses often manifest as physical tensions. Twists help the muscles relax and allow stress to leave the body. Notice the aftereffects of your favorite twist. Perhaps you’ll feel more centered and balanced, energized or calmed.

Enjoy what comes your way and remember when dancing the night away is not an option then… come on baby, let’s do the twist!