Sunday, 29 July 2012

Deepest Garbha Pindasana to date!

It's been just over 1 year since I wrote about my first Utpluthi and finally getting into full Lotus. Since then I have been worked solidly on hip opening. Really taking the time over the Mari sequence, the konasanas, especially baddha konasana and garbha pindasana.

Finally got my knees to the floor and my chin to the floor in baddha konasana. To get the knees down is all about opening using ahwini mudra and mula bandha, then letting these go and holding the hips open with the hip flexors. The forward bend comes again from 'letting go' and leaning into it, lengthening out the spine from the bowl of the pelvic floor, trying to keep distance from the pelvis to the rib cage as long as possible. The opening of the feet 'like a book' actively pushing the outer edges of the feet towards each other seems to help with the lengthening of the adductors to get the knees down.

Upavistha konasana is a different storey altogether - will I ever be able to lay my chest on the floor in this posture?? Any tips would be welcomed :)

I used to HATE garbha pindasana with a passion. I think my teacher Ben could see how much I hated so told me that I had to put more effort into it and my hips would eventually open. So I did.

I spent the next 4 months with constant bruises on my inner arms from trying to squeeze them through, nice!! But I've cracked lotus now - the final deepening of the posture coming from realising that once in lotus I have to then draw the sitting bones together causing an outward and inward rotation which draws the femurs in closer towards each other which then gives the space between the calf and thigh to squeeze the arms through! I love these 'Aha!' moments!

Today they slipped straight through like a knife through butter. I haven't got my face in my hands yet but I have my thumbs touching my chin, I think this will come with relaxing more into it. However, I have to admit that I have produced my own 'magic' water spray (teacher doesn't know) - a mix of 50% water and 50% Sanctuary Body Mist, which has a little oil in it, but it sure saves on the hassle of not enough water and is a lifesaver for stopping the bruising! Smells nice too :)

So what else do I have to tell you - it's been sooo long since I've posted. I bind fully now in Mari D on both sides - again all the konasana work. I even bind fully in baddha padmasana, this has only happened in the past two weeks, so still a revelation for me, but it feels so good having both toes tightly held, a long spine and chin on the floor.

All the hip opening is finally paying off! Hurrah! Thought I'd add Mr Iyenga below :)

Nourishment...Guest blog post by my wonderful new friend Michele



The week has passed so quickly at the yoga farm, and along with it so many thoughts, emotions, ideas, inspirations, dreams, hellos and goodbyes to process. The hellos are sweet, tentative, and energizing as you gauge who you are sharing your company with and wonder about their stories when you first meet. A blank slate of expectations is essential as rarely does anyone ever fit into the box our human minds sometimes try to put them in upon that first hello. I won't bore you with that same old, "I can't believe how lucky I am to be living the life I am living and how enriched my life is everyday by love and yoga and the energy from the people and places I encounter"....but, it is quite frankly true. The gratitude I have come to feel on a daily basis just at being alive and in love with the world pales beside the actual experience itself and a week in Amieira at the yoga farm raises the gratitude levels to interstellar. I wish you all even some fraction of the peace and love of this beautiful journey of feeling awakened, alive, raw, vulnerable, loved, supported, and wholly nourished that I have come to know simply as a day in the life here at Peter and Sue's place in the mountains of Portugal. Nourishment is truly the apropos word that can encompass what I receive from the rigorous twice daily practice of Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga, the morning silence through breakfast, the deliciously fresh, creative and entirely natural nontoxic macrobiotic meals, the time to walk, reflect, read, nap, explore new friendships with people from around the world who have come here to have this experience, the endless and ongoing conversations that reveal the beauty in another's soul and often reveals the beauty in my own to me. To be nourished is not simply to fill your belly...people do that every day. And unfortunately often with poisons and chemicals and non-food substances created to feed the morbidly obese and insatiable appetites of profit driven industry. A dirty business that does so little to actually provide nourishment for the bodies being served, but as usual, I digress. Nourishment first of all comes from within. The recognition of and the desire to feed oneself with what will heal us. With what is good. With what really serves us. Light. Release. Beauty. Healthy foods. Water. Breath. Life. Experience. Love. Acceptance. Safety. Evolution and self actualization on the journey. We learn in yoga that the breath is primary and indeed it is. You can't live without the breath, yogically inclined or no. Without breath, there is no life. Take that on whatever level speaks to you. For me, it is at the core and heart of everything. It is nourishment. If I could ask you one question right now, it would be what do you do everyday that truly nourishes you? What feeds you and fills you with energy and wonder? What inspires you? What breathes life into your soul? What gives you purpose? What attracts you? What makes your very life-force sing? I suppose, as is my usual form, that was actually several questions, but they do all interrelate do they not? If those questions leave you unable to answer or thinking "I'm too busy for that mumbo jumbo" or scratching your head because don't know what I mean, or maybe even compelling you to tell me to go fly a kite...then with the deepest sense of love and compassion I'd like to ask you to challenge yourself to find at least one thing a day that nourishes you and do it. In fact, I'd like to implore you to do so. For the beautiful life you have, for the lives of those around you, for the world we all share and the connecting energy that ties us all together...nourish yourself. Every day. Then give gratitude to yourself for that nourishment. Thank yourself. Love yourself. Show others how to do it. Then do it a little more each day. Pretty soon, it will just become how you live and how you walk through the world. And as you walk in nourishment, you nourish others and they in turn will do the same and maybe, just maybe (yes, here's my kumbaya moment) we'll all start to appreciate each other more... That appreciation will lead us to appreciate our bodies more...our minds and souls more...our planet more...and maybe, just maybe we can care a little less about the things at don't serve us but that we think we need, and will know that the only thing that matters, the essence of it all, is love in all it's manifestations and definitions. Love. Breath. Gratitude. The ultimate nourishment. I believe these words are as interchangeable as they are connected. I've got another week ahead at the yoga farm and hope to check back in more than once. For now, I am left with the imprints of those I had to say goodbye to last night who made my life richer for knowing them. Michelle, beautiful artist, yogi, and gentle soul... Mir, loving, healing, engaging, and kind man... Lisa, beautifully funny, quirky, Ray of bubbly sunshine...Michael, German soul with great wit and contagious smile...Beth lovely yearning and filled with wonder...Lisanne, beautiful and exotic, marvelously fearless and ironically deaf but who hears much more than many ever will, Hannah, with the quiet and unassuming manner and the elegance and grace of the dancer, and the fabulously funny and Irish Georgina, an engineer and a blooming warrior spirit. I'd rather not say goodbye to any of you, so let's just say "till we meet again" or see you later. Thank you all for choosing this past week to have your yoga retreat journey. I'm honored to have shared time and space with you. Of course, I've spoken of Peter and Sue and Isabella before and I can only say that my respect, admiration and love for each of them has only been deepened (or nourished, if you will). And to those still here for either another few days or weeks, we've much left to share and learn and I am gratefully looking forward to it. One of so many sustaining pieces of wisdom has been beautifully painted and expressed by Michelle Hill in mural form on the yoga farm.