Friday, 1 August 2014

Creative Yoga

 I have broken my wrist!  At first I was panic stricken thinking that I could not practice yoga asanas for up to six weeks.  This was awful, I had not missed a day of yoga practice for as long as I could remember.  Then I thought of what Krishnamacharya used to say, ‘If you can breathe, you can do yoga’ and with that as my inspiration, I set about adapting my yoga practice to accommodate my broken wrist.  My arm is in a plaster cast from almost my elbow to half way down my hand.  Only my fingers are useable and I cannot bear any weight on that hand.  Sun Salutations are out of the question but I can still do Egyptian Salutation (See Photo Sequences).  Although this is gentler than Sun Salutations, it still has all the same benefits to the circulatory system, endocrine system, respiratory system etc.  Cat/Cow is difficult but I can do a variation of it on forearms.  I cannot do prone backbends (except Sphinx) because pressing up on my hands is not possible but I can do Shoulder Bridge and Pigeon Pose.  Half Moon Balance is not possible (only on one side and that would lead to imbalance but many standing poses are still available to me – Triangle, Warrior 1, 2 and 3, Side Angle Pose, Revolved Triangle, Revolved Side Angle and even Intense Side Stretch holding the elbows.  In fact I am not really so very restricted at all.  Above all this enforced reassessment of my yoga practice has been good for me in some ways.  It has taught me to honour where my body is at the moment, working within my own capabilities (something I advise on the videos often) which are important aspects of ahimsa.  Being content with where I am in the healing process still eludes me at times but I am working on it.  I will be back soon to complete the series on the way energy moves in the body.

Meditation for Inner Peace

During the last few weeks of being restricted in my yoga practice due to a broken arm -NOT the result of a yoga injury but of a fall while out walking- meditation has become a more important part of my practice.  Here are some of my thoughts.

If we follow the guidelines of Patanjali’s yoga sutras we can journey a long way towards peace within ourselves.  Consider for instance ahimsa, non-harming.  This means treating yourself and others with loving kindness and compassion. Consider also Ishvara Pranidhana which translates as “surrender to God”.  My interpretation of this is to serve God through extending compassion and service to others.  In this way we come to know the connectedness of all beings. According to yoga philosophy, all disease emanates from our disconnection with others- something that can be interpreted at the level of the individual or at the level of society. Your yoga practice can lead to peace within you, and from this beginning peaceful energy can extend out into your community and even the world.

So be kind to yourself and take some time to meditate to benefit yourself and others.

Find a comfortable seat and gently close your eyes.  Take a moment at the start of your meditation to silently create a desire that the energy of the meditation may be of benefit to all beings as well as yourself.  Now visualise a lake.  When there is no wind the surface of the lake has no ripples and you can see clearly to the bottom of the lake. When there is a wind, the top of the lake becomes choppy and the mud at the bottom of the lake is stirred up so that you can no longer see the bottom.  Imagine that the lake is like your mind.  When your mind is busy flitting from thought to thought (yogis call this ‘monkey mind’) you cannot have clarity of mind but if you can still the mind clarity of thought and insight are gained.  Stay for a while just watching your breath as it moves in and out though your nostrils.  If a thought arises, visualise it as a ripple on the lake, and then let it go so that the surface of the lake becomes smooth once more.  Continue like this for 10-15 minutes, and then gently deepen your breath and open your eyes.

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