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What will a year bring…?

March 12, 2013
What does a year bring?… 
Each style of yoga has a particular way in which a class is set up and a way that all the classes work together to produce the desired results. 

In Svaroopa® Yoga, the desired results are an open spine and to help you live in your body in such a way that your spine stays open.  In order to achieve these results, each class is composed of sequenced poses that open your spine from tailbone to base of skull, and each month provides you with a different concentration of poses that helps this process to continue and deepen.  Each month brings  a new ‘theme of poses’ that build on the previous month’s poses.  There are 12 such themes in Svaroopa® Yoga.  

Daily Practice is the first theme and is concerned with the foundational resting poses that give you the most reliable spinal opening and are the poses that form the foundation of your home practice.  Then comes Lower Spinal Release and Upper Spinal Release, two months of continued resting poses for deeper release of the tightest areas of the spine.  Abdominals, Backbends, & Standing Poses are the focus of the next three months, helping you to learn how to exert yourself while still staying relaxed and open.   Months 7 – 9 consist of Forward Bends, Neck & Shoulders, and Balance & Inversions which all build upon each other to deepen your practice.  Now you have learned what an open spine feels like and you are ready to bring that openness into your everyday life finishing with  Classical Poses, Vinyasa Flow, and Seated Poses & Twists.

By the end of the 12 months, you have gone through a complete and balanced yoga practice combining poses, breathing techniques, and meditative elements that have a most positive affect in your body and for your mind. 

And then you repeat those 12 Themes the next year …and the next….and the next.  One is never ‘done’ with yoga…it is an ongoing practice that continues to deepen as you continue to soften…

What will a year of yoga bring you?…

this and that meanderings…july 1, 2012

July 1, 2012

Hot day today…the heat always forces me to slow down and not do … and if I do do, I do things more slowly…and when I give in to the heat and move at it’s pace, I am grateful for the lesson of it’s yoga…..this morning I gave myself a very long shavasana  guided awareness practice….began to feel my bones inside…this deep inner absorption then informed my asana practice in that I could feel the poses more deeply, could feel the alignment my bones were in, could feel how if I just moved this arm one or two inches toward my midline how it changed the effects of the pose… it was a very non doing, restorative practice session… although sometimes I get frustrated with the slowness, the not doing style of Svaroopa® Yoga…sometimes I worry that I am going to succumb to my inherent laziness and not do anything anymore….ever…

Later on in the day, as I was vacuuming layers of sanding dust in forward part of our boat, putting my body into small spaces, holding the vacuum cleaner steadily with one arm… I was grateful for my morning practice as I could feel my body more deeply, and would reposition myself so that I was using the muscles that only needed to be used, so that my actions, my doing, became more efficient and easier…efforting without the effort…it was less like work and more enjoyable…

And just a few moments ago, as an afternoon rain shower came through, I sprinted out to the patio area to bring in the multitude of boat cushions that I had put out yesterday for some fresh air and sunshine…and I was again grateful for my morning practice and the heat of the day for both had given me the deep rest that I needed so when a burst of activity and movement was called for, I could do so without it being difficult or  burdensome…it was actually fun and refreshing…

A nursing colleague sent me this link today  which I can very easily relate to…busyness….always something to do…always something next on a long list of things to do…my mind seems to be constantly ahead of my body and what it is doing…as I was drying my hair this morning I found myself  thinking about all the things I wanted/needed to get done today and soon found myself a bit overwhelmed…already zapped of energy and the day was only just beginning…when really all I needed to do in that moment was to dry my hair….how doable and simple was that?

I am learning the value of staying with my body, of keeping awareness into the body as it is always in the present moment…and what I notice is when I succeed at this, all the doings that need to be done get done without so much effort and struggle, and the things that don’t get done simply don’t get done and there is no problem… and so am learning to value both the doing and the not doing…and there is peace…

class reading week of june 17th

June 24, 2012

“The spiritual journey is one of constant transformation.  In order to grow you must learn to embrace change at all times.  Real transformation begins when you embrace your problems as agents for growth.”

Michael Singer, The Untethered Soul

june contemplation and pose of the month…

June 19, 2012

here is the contemplation for june…hard copies available at class


for the past two months (may and june) we have been focusing on the warrior poses…warrior 1 and warrior 2 – (the sanskrit names are virabhadrasana 1 and virabhadrasana 2)…once you begin to get enough spinal opening and experience what it feels like to have an open spine, the standing warrior poses teach you how to use your legs for strength instead of your spinal muscles…and you realize that your legs are stronger when your spine is released and open…and to build true strength and stamina, instead of widening the stance (which will only cause you to tighten your spine) you keep your stance  moderate and hold the pose for longer periods of time…as you lean into your bones and count on your bones to support you, it will help your spine to release which builds stamina ….and stamina is more important than strength…you need stamina to get through busy days more than you need strength…so relax and soften into those warrior poses…and cultivate your inner warrior ….

class reading week of june 10th

June 19, 2012

“is it possible that you are not your body or your thoughts?  is it possible that your body and thoughts are things you experience?  is it possible that what you are is the aware space in which these things live and move and have their being?  your body and thoughts do exist, and there is something that is aware of their existence…  that something is spacious awareness, that something is who and what you really are…rest in that…”

Nirmala – (paraphrased) from his book Living from the Heart

the healing ability of our own awareness…

June 1, 2012

i am really learning, really experiencing, the amazing healing power of pure awareness…awareness is what we ultimately are….one of the qualities of awareness is simple ‘allowingness’…awareness embraces does not judge, does not fear, does not worry, it simply allows things to be as they are and experiences them….when i can be in that space of simple awareness, caressing my body in this lovely awareness… if something is out of balance, the body will correct itself on it’s own….it is not a quick process… it takes time to sit in this pure awareness, and then it takes time for the body to balance, to heal, to restore itself….and if something more is needed to help the body to re-balance, i am naturally led to it, whether that is another healing modality, or uncovering the hidden emotions such as fear or worry that exist underneath the pain, or movement, or rest, or something nutritionally…and the more and more i dip into the blissful pool of my own awareness, the easier and easier it gets, and the better my body feels despite any aches or pains that might be in there….awareness of body and breath is a portal to peace….

Florence Nightingale and Yoga

May 5, 2012

As a young nursing student 35 years ago, Florence Nightingale was one of my nursing “gurus”, and I took to heart her understanding of the nurse’s role in healing:  “Nature alone cures…and what nursing has to do…is put the patient in the best condition for nature to act upon him.”

As I live quite comfortably with advanced arthritis of my lower spine, I have found yoga to be a very therapeutic modality for ‘putting the patient in the best condition for nature to act upon him’.   I do not mean the vigorous, athletic, fitness style of yoga that is so widely practiced here in the west, but rather Svaroopa® Yoga, a very gentle, slow, deeply restful,and rejuvenating style.

In Svaroopa® Yoga, well -propped, comfortable poses are simply rested in for 1-2 minutes, which is enough time for muscles to release and soften.  Instead of actively stretching a muscle, one softens in order to get a release and a natural lengthening of the muscle fibers. There is very little efforting involved.

Slow and gentle yoga is an approach that is quite different than every thing we read, hear, and experience out in the world.  “Work hard, push, strive, rush, hurry up, no pain, no gain, effort, effort, effort”.  Constant efforting is exhausting and causes tension and tightness of one’s whole muscular system. Over time, these tight, tense muscles constrict tiny blood vessels and impinge on nerves, leading to physical pain and discomfort with less blood and oxygen flowing throughout the body, weakening the entire system.

Establishing a practice that counteracts efforting is a highly therapeutic way to relieve tension and tightness, allowing your body-mind to be more open and flexible, resulting in less pain and improved health.  As a Registered Nurse and a Registered Yoga Teacher,  I consider myself a Registered Yoga Nurse who teaches slow, gentle yoga,  as a way to nurture one’s own body-mind.  Over time, and with patience, this practice allows nature to do its best healing work.