Restful Yoga 2014 – November #3

The Pose – by – Pose: 

  1. Candle gazing meditation
  2. Supported fish
  3. Anahata
  4. Sphynx / seal
  5. Crocodile
  6. Sphynx with half frog
  7. Shoulder opening twist
  8. Crocodile / resting on belly
  9. Repeat poses 6-8 on the second side
  10. Table
  11. Savasana

*Notes from a Restful yoga class at Barre & Soul in Melrose and a Yin class at Coolidge Corner Yoga on November 13th.

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Restful Yoga 2014 – November #2

The Pose – by – Pose: 

  1. Seated meditation
  2. Butterfly forward fold
  3. Blocked bum butterfly
  4. Knock knees
  5. Figure 4 twist (left)
  6. Knock knees
  7. Figure 4 twist (right)
  8. Knock knees
  9. Hero / saddle
  10. Child’s pose
  11. Supported fish
  12. Spinal twist (both sides)
  13. Savasana

*Notes from a Yin yoga class at Coolidge Corner Yoga on November 6th, 3pm.

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Restful Yoga 2014 – November #1

The Pose – by – Pose: 

  1. Seated meditation (belly breathing)
  2. Wrist love (circles, stretches)
  3. Butterfly forward fold
  4. Blocked bum butterfly
  5. Figure 4 twist (both sides)
  6. Supported fish
  7. Savasana

*Notes from a Restful yoga class at Barre & Soul in Melrose on November 6th, 10:30am.

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Comfortably Uncomfortable?

When I teach yoga, any style of yoga, I relate the physical practice of being or moving through asanas to life.  If you practice often, you’ve probably heard a teacher say, “your mat is a microcosm for your life.”  The idea being that how you treat your yourself as you practice is likely how you treat yourself as you move through your life.   Your approach to the physical practice likely mirrors your approach to your day to day life.

This week, I’ve had to check myself about a cue I use somewhat often when sharing yin or sustaining a pose.  Yin yoga style pose holds are typified by a sort of dull achiness.  Through practice, you learn to understand and the distinguish the difference between pain and discomfort.  Through practice, you study the moments when the mind turns discomfort into pain.  As a means of explaining the physical sensation, I would talk about a shape as comfortably uncomfortable — meaning a place you can sit without freaking out or hurting yourself.

As I’ve thought about decisions I’m making in my life lately, I don’t particularly like what this cue comes to mean in terms of a life approach.  Like most things in yin yoga, there is of course a dualist perspective.

The Pros of Comfortably Uncomfortable

It is incredibly helpful to be able to remain comfortable in uncomfortable moments.  Instead of sitting with discomfort, we often distract ourselves instead of feeling uncomfortable emotions.  How often do you check your phone, grab a snack or take a bathroom break when you don’t really need to?  We all have our anxious ticks.  Sometimes they’re not even conscious. According to Pamela Madsen on Psychology Today, “Any personal growth usually involves some kind of ability to stay with feelings of discomfort.” And it’s true that you have to learn to function within uncomfortable moments to keep moving through them.

The Cons of Comfortably Uncomfortable

The pitfall of comfortably uncomfortable is when it becomes an M.O.   At what point does remaining comfortably uncomfortable for an extended period time take a turn for complacency? If you keep yourself in a place that’s uncomfortable, but tell yourself it’s not too bad, you may end up numbing yourself out to the discomfort or creating an over-pressurized internal system.  Perhaps you think to yourself, “I should be able to manage these feelings internally,” which is an inner dialogue predicated on personal, emotional expectation. It’s not a great place to operate from, because it ultimately begs the question: how long can you stay uncomfortable before you break down, freak out or start screaming at random people in your way?

Ok, that’s a bit dramatic.  But we practice yoga so we can treat our reactions as a science experiment on a mat; study the difference between discomfort and pain, and the moments when one becomes the other.  In day-to-day life, you are constantly able to reevaluating what’s working and what isn’t.  Being comfortably uncomfortable requires impermanence, not just the awareness of constant change, as much as allowing space for changes to take place.  In a way, telling yourself you should be able to manage your emotions or numbing yourself out blocks the regular movement of life.  Complacency blocks the flow of life.   Fear can have the same result.  Stagnation.

It’s for these reasons, I’m saying no to comfortably uncomfortable.  Instead, in uncomfortable moments, I’ll ask myself these questions:

  1. What is the nature of this discomfort?  (Is it physical? Logical? Emotional?)
  2. What is the actual cause?  (Is it a habitual response? Is there an injustice? Are people being crazy?)
  3. Am I the only one who’s noticed? (Every now and then you need a sanity check.)
  4. What action, if any, can I take to alleviate the issue?

This process isn’t necessarily comfortable in the short term.  In the long term, examining discomfort in this way puts you on the path to right effort, right action, right speech.  Moving forward in this way keeps you learning, holding yourself accountable for your direction and making changes based on what actually serves your intention and deeper sense of purpose.

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Restful Yoga 2014 – October #9

The Pose – by – Pose: 

  1. Reclining butterflyyinonion
  2. Holding feet butterfly (on back)
  3. Half happy baby (rock left foot)
  4. Figure 4 (left)
  5. Spinal twist (knees to right)
  6. Knock knees
  7. Repeat poses 3-6
  8. Seated meditation
  9. Supported fish
  10. Savasana

*Notes from a Yin class at Coolidge Corner Yoga on October 30th, 3pm.

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Restful Yoga 2014 – October #8

The Pose – by – Pose: 

  1. Seated hero / saddle
  2. Meditation
  3. Table – hip sways
  4. Strap on left foot (lower leg on wall)
  5. Reclining half straddle (left leg extended)
  6. Figure 4 (left)
  7. Spinal twist (right)
  8. Repeat poses 4-7 on second side
  9. Bolster twist (both sides)
  10. Savasana

*Notes from Restful yoga class at Barre & Soul in Melrose October 30th, 10:30am.

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Restful Yoga 2014 – October #7

The Pose – by – Pose: 

  1. Seated meditation
  2. Spinal circles (on back)
  3. Butterfly forward fold
  4. Butterfly reclined
  5. Supported bridge (low block, then medium height)
  6. Spinal twist (both sides)
  7. Table
  8. Anahata
  9. Sphynx
  10. Crocodile
  11. Table
  12. Threaded needle (left then right)
  13. Table sways
  14. Fish
  15. Savasana

*Notes from a Yin class taught at Coolidge Corner Yoga on October 26th, 4pm.

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Restful Yoga 2014 – October #6

The Pose – by – Pose: 

  1. Sphynx
  2. Crocodile
  3. Anahata
  4. Seated meditation in butterfly
  5. Seated sidebend
  6. Quarter dog
  7. Repeat poses 5-6 on second side
  8. Instant maui / savasana

*Notes from a Restful yoga class taught at Barre & Soul in Melrose on October 23, 10:30am.

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Restful Yoga 2014 – October #5

The Pose – by – Pose: 

  1. Seated meditation
  2. Butterfly forward fold
  3. Anahata
  4. Dragon (left)
  5. Bolster twist (left hip)
  6. Figure 4 (right leg crossed over)
  7. Repeat poses 4- 6 on second side
  8. Savasana

*Notes from a Yin yoga class at Coolidge Corner Yoga on October 19th, 4pm.

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Restful Yoga 2014 – October #3

The Pose – by – Pose: 

  1. Ardha savasana
  2. Easy seated twist (left)
  3. IT band twist (right)
  4. Half reclining split (right)
  5. Figure 4 (optional figure 4 twist)
  6. Knee circles
  7. Repeat poses 2-6
  8. Savasana

*Notes from a Restful yoga class at Barre & Soul in Melrose on October 16th, 10:30am.

 

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