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Vrksasana – Growing faith, acceptance and patience

Vrksasana – Tree Pose
Is a classic Yoga Pose. It opens the hips and represents grounding, stability and balance. However, for my prenatal students in their third trimester the thought of trying to steady themselves and balance when their centre of gravity has shifted so much made them feel uneasy. Rolling their eyes, they began to fidget and grimace at me for making such a preposterous suggestion.

However, my intention was to go beyond the shape of the pose.

Standing in Tadasana (Mountain Pose) they found their foundation, connected with their breath, shifted their awareness, aligned themselves…focused…breathed and opened themselves up to possibilities. They used the support of a wall, me, a friend, if they needed too…maybe they didn’t…maybe they did…just for a moment to steady themselves again..they connected with their breath..stayed focused and what grew was a beautiful lesson of faith, patience, acceptance…gifts I invited them to take with them into labour.

Namaste

Going with the flow….

So, it’s nearly the week-end and friends are asking me ‘What are your plans for the week-end?’ Personally I try to avoid making plans – since undoubtably they change. Our family has a bit of a reputation amongst close relatives and friends for this, so, for me  I find it better to be spontaneous.
Living here in Thailand helps, that’s why I like it so much it is an easy-going lifestyle.

Having no agenda, no fixed plans for the weekend, opens its up to us for anything to happen and I can limit my frustrations when things don’t happen because I have no expectations. Having no fixed plans, having no agenda opens us up to listen, to be inquisitive, explore, get lost, be fluid and to go with the flow.
Sometimes when we plan too much, we already get a sense of what we are going to get as we have already been there in our thoughts. We can become rigid in our expectations, unable to listen to what may arise and forget about living in the present moment.

So how do we find balance between being too fluid and too static  in life. Maybe instead of planning a stack of things to do set a simply intention…to finish a chapter in my book, to share a juice with a friend, to go to the movies then from this other experiences may arise.

We can become open to listen if we are present and not simply rushing from one thing to the next, focusing on achieving rather than being.

So, the next time you step on your yoga mat, come to your practice with no fixed agenda. Find your foundation, ground down, become connected, explore, have fun, play, listen to your intuition, let your body lead you and go with the flow.

My Hanumanasana

The school summer holidays are my Hanumanasana – three children off school for 10 weeks all wishing for different things, all on the same day whilst I juggle work, motherhood, my life and my children’s desires.
I am trying to find ease and  joy whilst feeling over stretched and challenged as I reach for and try to achieve what I believe to be humanly impossible with unconditional love and devotion. It’s the story of hanumanasana, one of faith, devotion, love and courage.

Rama’s, a king of ancient India, wife had been abducted by Ravana, a demon king from Sri Lanka. In the battle of love Rama’s brother, Laksmana, had become severely hurt and the only way to save him was with a herb which grew only in the Himalayas. However, how could that try to get this herb in time to save his life?
One of Rama’s great followers Hanuman said he could do it. He took only almighty leap which stretched all the way from South India to the Himalayas bring back the whole mountain with him, since he was unsure which herb to bring.
The healers found the herb and Lakmanas life was saved.

So, hanumanasana, the pose which splits us in two. It stretches out our hamstrings, hip flexors and challenges our devotion to our practice. On the Yoga mat we can learn to breathe into this pose to dissolve areas of discomfort, we can find support from props to guide us on our way, we can draw into our centre in order to gather extra power to help us extend and reach out further and we can practice finding joy when we feel frustrated, challenged and over stretched.

‘New Beginnings’ – A Podcast Prenatal Yoga Practice for the First Trimester.

The First Trimester – ‘New Beginnings’

The first trimester of a pregnancy are the most challenging in terms of practicing yoga. The body is going through rapid daily changes on the inside, although there is no evidence of this on the outside. As your baby starts to develop and nestle in to the uterus around sixteen weeks, where it will stay until the birth, it changes from a single embryonic cell into a developing fetus. The physical make-up of your growing baby is formed by the end of week nine and by the end of the first trimester it is moving effortlessly around in its ocean of ammonic fluid.  During these first weeks, it is vital you listen to your body, letting the wisdom of your body be your guide and respecting any cues your body gives you. Pregnancy is not the time to over exert your-self, by relinquishing any temptations to over achieve, you can learn to surrender, listen to the intelligence of your body and focus on a mindful practice of meditation, pranayama (breathing techniques) and restorative yoga which honors both your changing body and your growing baby.

During pregnancy your body is highly sensitive and naturally more intuitive and it is vital you tune into this sensitivity and intuition; so if something doesn’t feel comfortable in your practice the rule is don’t do it.

Please consult your medical physician before beginning any exercise or Yoga Program.

Here is a 2omin Prenatal Yoga Podcast I have created. It focuses on opening the hips and is ideally suited to the first trimester.


First Trimester Prenatal Yoga Podcast.
The Yoga of Pregnancy
A visual aid for the poses in this podcast

My Personal Practice

My Personal Practice is just that…Personal. So, personal in fact I don’t want to share it with anyone. I publicly and politely announce to the family ‘I am off to practice my yoga’, I indirectly turn on the ‘do not disturb me’ sign and I lock my bedroom door. Its time for me.
Being a  mum  to two pre-teen daughters and a toddler, life is constantly busy. I rarely go to the bathroom in peace and often have an audience when showering and I can’t remember when I last had the house to myself. So when I uncurl my yoga mat its time for me to reconnect with myself.Yoga for me is about deepening my awareness and connection with who I am and by doing this I can in turn deepen my connection with the outside world and be present with my family.

It’s an intimate journey I take in my own yoga practice, one I can’t describe; I cry, I laugh, I forgive myself, I accept myself, I fall, I pick myself up, I berate myself, I love myself.  It gives me time to recharge my batteries, re-energize, restore, to rest and to return to feeling and being me. And that’s why it’s so personal, it’s an expression of who I am.

The yoga I love best - being mum

Creating your Life’s Masterpiece

The other week, I went to an art exhibition at my daughter’s school. Like all proud parents there I was eager to see my child’s work of
art, so I briskly made my way over to the Grade 4 exhibits. This is what my daughter, Phoebe had painted and this was next to it.

Tears welled in my eyes, a lump stuck in my throat, I wrapped an arm around Phoebe, squeezing her gently on the shoulder. Looking up at me she said’ ‘Are you crying mummy?’ I gently kissed her on the forehead. ‘”That’s beautiful what you’ve written about your painting Phoebe. I love it when you say you ‘and I made it!’ that’s very true we do make our own life…” “:Oh no mummy, what I meant was I made it, the painting silly!’ and off she skipped to catch up with her friends.

 

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