Well friends, we made it! This is your final week of yoga training.
I hope you have found this series to be useful and maybe even enough of an inspiration to make lifestyle changes for your personal wellness. Of course, there is so much depth that we could not cover here and I trust that you will seek further learning if you feel called. Perhaps, a recap will help spark your memory to recall what parts of the yoga training you were most drawn to and which ones challenged your fortitude.
In week one, we talked briefly about the ancient philosophy of yoga, explored yogi sages and yoga benefits in week two. We touched on the trick to creating lasting healthy habits and getting comfortable with being uncomfortable in week three.
Week four, we worked with breath and the key to a stress free life. An introduction to meditation and the power of focus, balance and strength stretched in through week five. That covers quite a lot of ground! Please take a moment to offer yourself gratitude for showing up.
This week, I would like to give you three more bits of knowledge that you can use to enrich your practice; Mantra or Aum, Savasana and the meaning of Namaste.
First, we breathe. Then find a centered seated position and clear your mind. As thoughts come up, take another deep breath and try again. Every moment is a new opportunity. I like to begin my practice with Aum (or Om) chant because it helps me to clear my lungs and open my mind, but you can try it anytime you like. According to ancient Vedic science, this chant aligns our vibration with that of all life. It is the sound of everything!
After about three or four rounds come onto all fours, bring knees to the outer edges of your mat and on an inhale send your sits bones back and your hands forward.
Child’s Pose / Balasana
This is a resting pose and can be used multiple times in your practice between more challenging poses. Exhale and lay your body onto the mat feeling the stretch through your hips. Your toes should be touching and you can use a blanket between your thighs and calves. Allow your shoulder blades to move away from each other as you lengthen your spine and let your forehead rest on the mat. This pose is an off switch for anxiety and stress. Use it often!
*Modification: Use a bolster or pillow to prop your torso if the depth of this stretch is too much for your hips.
If we were in yoga training class together, this moment would be where we would rest on our backs in savasana or corpse pose. Your eyes would be closed, your body covered and totally relaxed. You would breathe gently and let the mat support your weight. This is where we can give ourselves completely to the moment.
For some, emotional clearing happens in yoga and savasana becomes a rich time for integration. The mind is given permission to stop. Nothing else is important except the full immersion of relaxation. This is a gift you can give yourself each day without doing anything else. Imagine, if every day we all took 15 minutes to breathe and rest in savasana? It calms the nervous system and lowers blood pressure, it offers us the opportunity to be embodied, feel into the blessings of our health and just be.
Yoga is a practice of letting go of the need to be in control. Rather it is fertile ground for discovering a new sense of self, one that allows a space for imperfection without judgement. It is not a religious practice nor does it refuse to open its bounty to religious practitioners. The world is big enough for both. Yoga is not only for people with perfect health as it can help you heal and greatly increase your wellness. It is attainable, simple and just a few minutes a day gives back exponentially.
The last thing I want to share with you is the meaning of namaste. If you have been to a yoga training class or go to one, it is very likely the instructor will use this word at some point. Many times it is uttered in total seriousness or spiritual reverence and is said to mean “the god in me sees the god in you” or “i bow to the soul in you”. It is meant as a greeting that honors the higher intelligence of one’s spirit.
In Nepal, as folks pass each other on dusty roads, they press their hands together, bow their heads and with wide grins yell ‘Namaste’ in exclamation! It is a gesture of our human beingness, an acknowledgement of the beauty that we are alive. I much prefer this style.
Thank you for joining me on this journey.
Until next time, Namaste!