Thursday, March 10, 2011

#2 toothbrush tree

We all brush our teeth everyday. A simple act. A necessary act. Why not expand on it just a little and sneak a dash of yoga into it. Make it into an event. Make it into a daily moment to
check in
take account
balance(or not)
and brush our teeth.

Without further ado, I present to you:
#1 Watch
#2 Enjoy
#3 Watch again and join in with me
#4 Repeat # 3 often
#5 Take it to the streets: Learn the sequence, do it
now and again, here or there, at home, at the
office, in a cafe, or ... anywhere and everywhere

Have fun
Get a kick out of yoga
Tree Pose/Vrkasana:
One of my favorite times teaching this posture was in Gozo. I was teaching to a beautiful group of women 60+, they were all complete beginner yoginis. They were also open, curious, and full of laughter. I showed them the pose. They tried it and they kept falling. We were all laughing.
“This is great,” I said.

They looked at me skeptically.

“It really is. This posture isn't about being able to balance on one leg. It's about discovering what is your balance like at this moment and being okay with it. It's about not beating ourselves up for being unbalanced and not boasting ourselves up for being well balanced.”

Yoga is often like a big science experiment. We need to come to our practice, to each posture, curious and without expectations. (Easier said than done of course.)

How am I today?
What can I or can't I do today?
And how do I react to that information? I am totally unable to balance I can balance easily

Same same
Different only

In our society of value, I find not giving value to states of being, experiences, or moments, really challenging. The hardest part for me in practicing yoga is honouring ahimsa: non-judgement, self compassion, and acceptance.

I am what I am.
No more.
No less.
Beautiful and ugly.
Wonderful and full of short comings.
These differences are not negating rather complementing.

Chapter two of the Tao Te Ching comes to mind:

We can only see beauty as beauty because
there is ugliness.
We know good as good only because
there is evil.

Therefore having and not having arise together.
Difficult and easy compliment each other.
Long and short contrast each other.
High and low rest on each other.
Voice and tone blend with each other.
First and last follow each other.

When teaching this pose in class, I often encourage my student to bring the pose to a level of difficulty where they are bound to fall over (i.e. their foot a bit higher on their standing leg or their eyes closed). The posture then becomes about how do I deal with falling and 'failing/flailing.' Falling is okay. Failing is okay. Flailing is okay. Trying over and over and over again is beautiful and necessary.

Being the bubbly person that I am, I also encourage my students to have fun with yoga. So I hope you have fun being a tree while brushing your teeth.

Benefits of this sequence:
  • Improves awareness of balance
  • Strengthens focus
  • Improves balance
  • Relieves sciatica
  • Reduces flat feet
  • Strengthens ankles, calves, knees, thighs, spine, shoulders and arms
  • Stretches inner thighs, chest and shoulders
  • Makes brushing your teeth a fun event
Peace and daily dashes of yoga,

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