Spring/Summer Yoga as a Spiritual Practice - Mothering Forums

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Old 04-09-2011, 12:33 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Posting in the winter thread seems to bleak...so I'm starting a new one.  New thread for a new season and a new awakening.  Folks of all faiths welcome!  :0)

 

There was a brief mention on the winter thread about reawakening which I thought would be an appropriate conversation for Spring.  I don't have time now, but anyone else find Spring reawakening things within your practice?

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Old 04-09-2011, 05:27 PM
 
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I mentioned the whole reawakening thing...

 

I've never been good at home practice. I've done yoga for ... 7-8ish years ... but never had a successful home practice. Which means that my practice, in general, has been spotty at best. It was strongest when I was pregnant, but in the aftermath of a devastating c/s, I lost my motivation, etc.

 

 

So now, I had the opportunity to lead a class of a dozen or so high school students from where I teach. This was two-ish weeks ago. It was amazing. Most of them had never done yoga in their lives, a few had done it a couple times, and one did it semi-regularly. And they all LOVED it. And I LOVED teaching it.

 

Something in me crawled out from under a deeply buried rock, and everything is different. Maybe it's because I'm naturally a teacher anyway (like, career wise) but I've always loved yoga. I just never had the confidence to know that I was skilled enough and educated enough to have a successful home practice. This session with the students somehow showed my my knowledge and my limits more clearly than I could see for myself.

 

I've done practice at home every night (minus one) since then. I bought an Ashtanga manual (by David Swenson - great and I highly recommend it). Not that I know much about or that I prefer Ashtanga over another type of practice, but because it's so accessible to memorize the series and get meditative. (I originally was instructed in Iyengar methodology, so vinyasa is a little less familiar to me). But I'm learning a lot about Ashtanga, and although some of the poses are challenging, the book does a great job of providing mods. And I'm going to a studio once weekly again (it's all I can afford).

 

I'm already seeing benefits - physical, mental, spiritual. I'm calmer, I have more faith that, oh, I don't know, that everything will work out. That everything will be okay. (ps, I have a history of panic/anxiety disorder, since childhood). I'm more flexible, my vinyasa is getting dialed in. I'm eating less, I'm drinking less wine, feeling less need to "check out" through the various ways our culture provides to do that. I'm trying to be more present in the moment. om.gif 

 

I don't know that it's a spring thing, a maturation thing, whatever. It's a gift. And I appreciate it. namaste.gif


K: high school teacher and mama to DS1 (7/07), loss (10/10) and DS2 (7/12). Married to my best friend and soon to be elementary school teacher!
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Old 04-09-2011, 09:02 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I can relate a bit to what you're talking about, although I'm very much a relative newbie given that I've only been doing yoga since October.  There was a brief period of time, maybe a couple of months or so where I was able to get to class at least twice a week and I that I profited greatly from the increased frequency.  I had found my groove and although I did not have an equally vibrant home practice I felt like I had found a home (and greater clarity).

 

Then, of course as life is ought to do, things in my state fell apart and my focus shifted.  Until Monday this week I hadn't been to a class since the beginning of February and my home practice was spotty at best.  Oh, and then my yoga studio closed.  I lost just about everything I had gained both spiritually and physically.  Seeing as part of my original reason for yoga was the big time pain in my lower back it was definitely a reminder of what I had lost seeing as I had been relatively pain free.

 

I felt like I was drowning in a sea of negativity after having been immersed and just about consumed with the politics of everything going on in our state.  I still have quite a bit of uncertainty about the things happening in our day to day lives, but as I've gained the confidence in my own home practice I've also regained some of the sense of centeredness and quiet that I had lost.

 

So, when you had mentioned awakening in your previous post it was one of those Oprah-esque "aha moments."  What a fantastic way to describe things and ever so apt for the season we're entering.  I agree that it's a pretty fantastic gift and I'm excited for the future possibilities for you!  :0)

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Old 04-09-2011, 10:44 PM
 
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Subbing as I really need to restart up my practice. It's been almost nonexistant for me for almost a year now. I always loved my class but it's not availabe to me anymore. I tried a few other classes but nothing seemed quiet right and now it's become too expensive to me. So I'm hoping to start up a home practive. I've never had much success with a home practice but it is time to give it another try. Yoga has alway brings me to a spiritual place but now my body also aches for it, literally.


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Old 04-10-2011, 12:30 PM
 
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Thanks for starting this!

 

I was wondering if anyone would like to share what their yoga routine looks like. Do you have a set time of practice? Do you plan out what it is you will be doing or just go with the flow with it? etc etc 

 

Thanks! 


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Old 04-10-2011, 01:22 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by holyhelianthus View Post

Thanks for starting this!

 

I was wondering if anyone would like to share what their yoga routine looks like. Do you have a set time of practice? Do you plan out what it is you will be doing or just go with the flow with it? etc etc 

 

Thanks! 

 

I don't have a set time I do it - but what I have done (a little sneaky on my part...) since I taught that class at my school, now I know where the yoga mats are (owned by the Phys. Ed. Dept., although totally not in use right now - they have a whole class set.) So I've been locking my door and putting up Do Not Disturb, and doing yoga in my classroom after school is out!!! Sheepish.gif  This is if I know we have dinner plans or something. Otherwise, yeah, it happens after DS is in bed. Which keeps me awake a bit, so I'd really like to grow enough to do a morning practice - wouldn't my days be awesome!

 

The home practice thing, this is why I looked into Ashtanga, even though I have a background in Iyengar, and they are so different. In Ashtanga, the series was designed by K. Patthabi Jois, and there's two sun salutes, a standing sequence, a primary, intermediate, and advanced series (seated type poses - some are quite difficult) and a final sequence, ending with sivasana. All are set - the idea is that you memorize the series, so that yoga is available to you at all times in all locations. You are not dependent on a class or instructor (although you would, theoretically, learn from an instructor and then go your merry way to teach others, not from a book. But the world we live in...)

 

So I bought an Ashtanga book (this one) and am working from it to memorize the series. This particular book is good because he designed his own "short forms" that are 15, 30, and 45 minutes in length, which makes it more accesible (the whole series takes a few hours, I assume. Even if I only did the salutes, standing sequence, primary and final sequence, it'd be like, two hours for me. Besides, I can't do many of the intermediate poses - feet behind the head, etc. Also he gives awesome modification pics, so I feel like when my practice is strong enough, I can try them).
 

Another good option is the Yoga Journal website which has a sequence builder and a pose database. I use this if A. I don't feel like doing a flowing Vinyasa practice, or B. I want to focus on a particular area (you can sort by anatomical focus, etc). And sometimes I just design my own practice because I'm feeling in tune to myself and it works out.

 

Here is something great from that Ashtanga book from Swenson. He writes about how it's better to just practice, than worry about doing something the "official right way." Do what feels right to you. He says (not a direct quote - my paraphrase):

 

I have never regretted a practice. There have been days where I regretted not practicing, but I've never regretted doing a practice, no matter how abbreviated.


K: high school teacher and mama to DS1 (7/07), loss (10/10) and DS2 (7/12). Married to my best friend and soon to be elementary school teacher!
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Old 04-10-2011, 01:34 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:

Originally Posted by holyhelianthus View Post

Thanks for starting this!

 

I was wondering if anyone would like to share what their yoga routine looks like. Do you have a set time of practice? Do you plan out what it is you will be doing or just go with the flow with it? etc etc 

 

Thanks! 


In my dreams I get up in the morning and relish in the quiet of the house before everyone gets up.  Then again, my husband works second shift and about the only time we have alone together is when he gets home from work.  Staying up with him until midnight or later (depending on the night) pretty much eliminates the early morning practice.  I've tried at one time or another going to bed early, before he gets home, but then we end up feeling disconnected.

 

Part of what stood in my way for my home practice was a location issue.  For physical space with enough room not to feel cramped pretty much relegates me to the basement which gives me some difficulty with range of motion as I'm too tall when in standing pose to be able to stretch my arms all the way up.  But...refusing to do yoga in the basement pretty much meant that I wouldn't do yoga and I really had to work through my reluctance.  I've accepted my basement dwelling fate and enlisted my husband's help in getting things arranged in a more pleasing space.  

 

This is going to sound so corny, but we watched Eat, Pray, Love the other week where she's in India and she's talking to Richard (?) about how when she meditates all she can think about is decorating her meditation room.  He challenges her that it's really about what's inside, not out which probably helped me commit to changing - I don't normally take advice from movies.  :0)

 

So, now I do yoga around 10pm.  If I try to do yoga too early then I spend a lot of time going upstairs and down getting children back to bed (another hazard of a second shift partner).  I don't really plan it that way, it just seems to naturally work out that way.  I've got a decent music mix on my iTunes so I usually start that and then work through the flow that I can remember from when I was going to class - basically a few sun salutations (although I'm pondering finding a lunar salutation instead) followed by hip openers with lots of downward dog and child's pose.  I try to work in a few that I don't care for like triangle and always include half-pigeon which is one of my favorites.  I'll end with savasana sometimes, but lately it seems more appropriate to take the time for centering prayer and meditation.

 

I might switch it up with a video that I bought from Yoga Today which has been a nice way to change it up.  Yoga Today has a subscription option where you could pay by the month or by the year and then have unlimited access to all of their videos.  I thought it would be a really nice alternative if the new yoga studio in my area ends up being one I don't care for.  Oh, and sometimes I'll just get out my mat with the intention of just doing one pose - it's manageable and I'll be less likely to find excuses not to.  Once I get into the one pose then it's not usually long before I decided to do one more...and so on.  :0)

 

Part of what freed me up to try things on my own was a conversation I had with my last yoga teacher.  She said for her, a personal practice was a bit like a dance.  An opportunity to go with what feels right at the moment, what flows the best, or what your body seems to need.  I stopped looking at that point for someone else's structure (although I do rely heavily on what I've learned from past teachers) and instead went with what worked for me.  I'd like to get a decent reference book for poses, although Yoga Journal has a lot of that online for free (and some videos for free as well).  Sometimes that means I'll watch a Yoga Today video because it helps in that moment to free and clear up my mind.  Other times I'll pull out a past issue of Yoga Journal and go through the home practice flow they include in each issue of the magazine.

 

Oh, and the other thing that's really helped is getting a decent mat.  I recently got some money that my husband required I spend just on myself so I got a Manduka black mat pro and a few props and cushions.  I'm really amazed at how much it's helped - especially on the cement floor in the basement - which has made it easier for me to really focus in on my practice...even though I'll admit it shouldn't just be about the external "stuff."  I guess in a way some of the "stuff" made me stop putting myself last which I'm prone to do.

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Old 04-17-2011, 03:14 PM
 
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How's everyone's home practice shaping up? Three weeks into my revival, and I'm averaging 5-6 days a week. I think I've missed three days total, two in the past week. whistling.gif It was my birthday, after all, so that's way I slacked a bit this week. I'm still really noticing the benefits, mentally/spiritually and physically. Anyone else experiencing success? Need encouragement? Let's support each other!

 

Anyone have experience or knowledge of mantra and/or mudras? I'd like to expand my meditation practice that way, but don't really have the teacher or background available to me. And if I feel silly, I won't do it. So any yogic meditation resources out there would be much appreciated! om.gif

 

I'm also super excited - I'm teaching a second class at my high school this Thursday. I'm hoping more kids show up - some guys would really be nice to see there! If there's a lot of interest, I might start teaching a free class out of my room after school one day a week. We'll see how it goes...

 

Hope this finds you all well... namaste.gif

 

 


K: high school teacher and mama to DS1 (7/07), loss (10/10) and DS2 (7/12). Married to my best friend and soon to be elementary school teacher!
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Old 05-04-2011, 08:35 AM
 
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Anyone read the Yoga Sutras? I found it via Google books and am sticking it on my Nook today. That and the Bhagavad-Gita. I also found this one. Just looking for thoughts on any of the three.

 

I had to share this because I completely didn't expect it- I have a bit of weight to lose (15 to 20 lbs) so I have been wanting to step my physical exercise up a notch. I decided to do the advanced Yoga Booty Ballet because I did one of their videos about 3 years ago and it kicked my butt. No other reason I wanted to do it beyond getting my heart going. What surprised me was there at the end while doing the small yoga portion I totally had this spiritual experience. Everything slowed, I felt so peaceful, I melted into the posses... it was an awesome feeling! And it left me spiritually and physically charged for the rest of the day. Shocked me, too, as I generally find YBB annoying. 


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Old 05-04-2011, 10:46 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by holyhelianthus View Post

Anyone read the Yoga Sutras? I found it via Google books and am sticking it on my Nook today. That and the Bhagavad-Gita. I also found this one. Just looking for thoughts on any of the three.

 

I had to share this because I completely didn't expect it- I have a bit of weight to lose (15 to 20 lbs) so I have been wanting to step my physical exercise up a notch. I decided to do the advanced Yoga Booty Ballet because I did one of their videos about 3 years ago and it kicked my butt. No other reason I wanted to do it beyond getting my heart going. What surprised me was there at the end while doing the small yoga portion I totally had this spiritual experience. Everything slowed, I felt so peaceful, I melted into the posses... it was an awesome feeling! And it left me spiritually and physically charged for the rest of the day. Shocked me, too, as I generally find YBB annoying. 

 

First - yay for you! I'm so glad you had a such a moving experience! I remember feeling the same way only weeks ago, when I posted to this thread, and now I'm leading free yoga classes for teens at the high school where I teach. So fulfilling. My heart is warm for you. love.gif Like you, I'm sure that the YBB is the most entry level to developing this. It's good that you are looking into more holistic and spiritual type resources for yoga.

 

The yoga sutras have been on my list for a while now. As far as the Gita, I've attempted it multiple times. I kinda feel like it's like reading the Bible, or the Canterbury tales, or something. Like, a great thing to read, but you kinda need an expert to get through it and understand it. IMO, of course. Many props to anyone who gets through it and learns from it!

 

The Ramacharaka link, now that's a book I would read. I found him because he wrote the basic books on all four paths of yoga: hatha, jnani, karma, and bakti, and my local library has the jnani and bakti ones, but not the hatha one. Based on looking at the others, I really wanted to read the hatha one. I'm excited to see it on Amazon! It's way old too - one of the first sets of books published in English about yoga - 1906 is what the library copies said.

 

Have you looked into a subscription to Yoga Journal? It'd be progress toward where you are heading, but cheaply and less intensive of a read. Just got my own subscription!

 

Keep us posted on what you read and how it turns out!
 

 


K: high school teacher and mama to DS1 (7/07), loss (10/10) and DS2 (7/12). Married to my best friend and soon to be elementary school teacher!
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Old 05-04-2011, 11:54 PM
 
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I subscribe to Yoga Journal and love it. Right now I am just sort of craving that... deepness? Not as if these other things are shallow by any means but I guess I'm just really interested in this sort of thing probably because I'm a nerd. I have thought of maybe just opting for Iyengar's Light on Yoga. A way of preventing myself from biting off more than I can chew at the moment. But these other books are still on my list. They look way too good to pass up (says the bookworm). 

 

Your students are so lucky, K! They are blessed to have you. 


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Old 05-05-2011, 12:03 PM
 
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Anything by Iyengar should be manageable. I think he has a translation of the sutras too? Ah... here.


K: high school teacher and mama to DS1 (7/07), loss (10/10) and DS2 (7/12). Married to my best friend and soon to be elementary school teacher!
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Old 08-12-2011, 10:25 AM
 
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bumping this to see if anyone is still following this thread!  I'm just starting to explore yoga a bit more as a practice with some chanting and meditation in the morning and want to stop in and say hi!namaste.gif


treehugger.gifAnd you who seek to know Me, know that the seeking and yearning will avail you not, unless you know the Mystery: for if that which you seek, you find not within yourself, you will never find it without.treehugger.gif

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Old 10-02-2011, 02:15 AM
 
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Hey, I'm still here! I've dropped off the MDC for a while (spotty Internet access) but have still maintained my practice. Although I was averaging 5-6days a week, now I'm down to four. School started, and I transferred to a different school, and am teaching new classes, so things are fairly hectic. 

On the upside, I've made the mental commitment to go through yoga teacher training. I've selected a first choice and a back up, both scheduled for next summer. Dh and I have discussed financials and we really think it's a go! The only wrench would be if I turned up preggers, but after trying for so long and pretty much giving up, that would be no cause for upset, let me tell you! The only reason I would postpone the training would be for that, so I just look at life like there is so much possible and so much to look forward to. 

How's everyone else? Should someone start a fall/winter thread to keep us motivated/in tune? I have dependable Internet now, so that person could be me but I'm not sure anyone's still interested. Let me know and we'll get a fresh start!

K: high school teacher and mama to DS1 (7/07), loss (10/10) and DS2 (7/12). Married to my best friend and soon to be elementary school teacher!
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Old 10-05-2011, 03:07 PM
 
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I am very interested as I've fallen off the wagon with my practice.  I notice that when my stress & demands go up, I have a tendancy to drop all habits, practices, and diets which are better for me.  Yes I neglect myself when I get stressed, instead of taking care of myself first.  

 

I feel just ragged and being pulled in 1000 directions, so I would welcome a thread to help me get back on track with this spiritual practice in baby steps (such as 10 minute chunks in my day).   joy.gif

 

 


treehugger.gifAnd you who seek to know Me, know that the seeking and yearning will avail you not, unless you know the Mystery: for if that which you seek, you find not within yourself, you will never find it without.treehugger.gif

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Old 10-05-2011, 08:00 PM
 
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I really fall off the wagon in the summers since moving out to the country.  My summer practice has become berries and gardens and chickens and the canoe.  It's this time of year I get motivated.  My background is Ashtanga, and I keep Pattabhi Jois' own book, Yoga Mala on hand for home practice.  If I ever need something different, I try Yoga Journal, but the beauty of Ashtanga is the familiar routine, and it's still so do-able since being away from a regular Mysore practice with a teacher present because of the familiar sequence.


Busy keeping up with three children and an awful lot of chickens!

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Old 11-03-2011, 07:52 PM
 
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Hi everyone, I too haven't practiced hardly all summer but now that Autum is here and we'll be spending more time indoors soon, I plan on practicing more. I really miss it and plan to spend at least 15 minutes daily to begin.


"If you truly love nature, you will find beauty everywhere." -Vincent Van Gogh
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Old 11-04-2011, 11:54 AM
 
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I just picked up a book on Kundalini meditation practices and it's quite interesting so far.  I've just done some of the warm-ups and simple mediative chants to get back into the rhythm of mediation.  I'm liking it so far. smile.gif


treehugger.gifAnd you who seek to know Me, know that the seeking and yearning will avail you not, unless you know the Mystery: for if that which you seek, you find not within yourself, you will never find it without.treehugger.gif

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Old 11-05-2011, 11:42 PM
 
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Hey all, sorry I fell of the thread - especially after volunteering to start a new one! Well, I did, so here it is - jump on!

 

http://www.mothering.com/community/t/1335322/autumn-winter-yoga-as-spiritual-practice#post_16734951

 

I've been away because... I turned up pregnant a few weeks ago. It's been an up and down, happy and worried sort of rollercoaster ride for our family, so I'm looking forward to finding my practice again and getting centered. This also throws all my plans for certification into chaos (had just made contacts with a master teacher that I found was semi-local and was getting really excited about it, so it's a little bittersweet) but the universe  is always in harmony, even if I don't think so. I'm also rather spiritual in a Taoist sense, and I'm doing my darnedest to tap into my sense of wu-wei and embrace the non-action that is pregnancy. As a controlling, type A person, this is proving difficult for me!

 

Anyway, I did finally start the thread and I'm hoping we can all help keep each other motivated and share more of our wisdom, especially specific tips and other practice stuff, since I know there's a rich assortment of yoginis here. 

 

Namaste!


K: high school teacher and mama to DS1 (7/07), loss (10/10) and DS2 (7/12). Married to my best friend and soon to be elementary school teacher!
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