Thursday, 12 December 2013

Playing catch up

Who’s feeling frazzled? Is it just me or does time jump through some hyperdrive barrier and speed up as the end of the year approaches? There’s all that racing to get things done.. finish work before holidays, get pressies, see family and friends, fit in parties, and of course yoga! That’s even more important when life gets frenetic.

I am lucky to practice and teach different styles of yoga and notice the different affects on students—and myself. In fact I am just lucky to do yoga!

In ashtanga, and vinyasa flow classes—where us yoga teachers string together a sequence of postures to work on a particular theme—the breath is especially important to help the movements feel flowing and gentle no matter what postures are put into the mix.

Sometimes, especially in ashtanga, where you practice a similar sequence most sessions, it can be tempting to just switch off and you can get half way through your practice without realising what postures you have done! That’s cool if you are really lost in the breath, meditating on the inhales and exhales. It clears the mind and the practice becomes a kind of moving meditation and that’s what’s intended. But have you ever found yourself doing it almost on auto pilot? Taking that same 'I’m going to get this done’ approach to yoga as you do to shopping, and clearing the work load, or say cleaning! And maybe (gulp!) thinking about all these things while practicing, or worse while in Savasana! (Yup, I’ve spotted the occasional flickering expressions and frown lines creeping up while students are supposedly relaxing.) Sound familiar? If so, just watch and bring yourself back to the breath and the moment.   

Yoga is great for creating space in the body and the mind, almost a chance to step off the wheel for a  while. It can get us to focus, to be present in the moment, concentrating on the ebb and flow of the breath washing waves of calmness over us. And if you try some restorative postures in your yoga mix, you give the body and the mind time to unwind and release a little more. As long as you indulge yourself and get the right props so you are comfortable enough to just settle and be. OK, I’m ready to retreat from the treadmill and switch off with some supported forward bends over bolsters and blocks… and then I might just be ready to party at the weekend!

Don’t forget your yoga in the festivities!