Sitting in Fierce Pose (aka Utkatasana)

Who doesn’t like the word FIERCE? Ok, ok so it may have a wild or aggressive undertone but I can’t help but relish in the power of embracing our ‘wild’ sides.

In physical yoga, this pose is seen as just that: POWERFUL, FIERCE. The buck doesn’t have to stop there. Lately, I have found this pose to offer permission to let loose. FREE YOURSELF TO BE YOURSELF. When teaching or breathing in this pose I like to tune in and see what feels right. Some moments it is necessary to sit still in the seated-ness. GROUND the feet to the earth while the arms reach above the head (palms may also be placed together in front of the heart for tight shoulders). DIG in to the ass by bending the legs and sitting the seat as if about to sit in one’s most favorite chair, all while allowing the upper body to be free and open. A beautiful time to flow within the presence of fierceness.

As I have mentioned in past posts, fierceness was not always my cup of tea. I found it loud when I was use to quiet. I found it threatening to those with a past or present not yet understood. Today I realize that is a bunch of BS. Our power is in our presence and the more we shy away from be-ing in the moment, the more we will shy away from the power that lies within each an every one of us. Personally, the more I shied away from honing in to my fierce presence, the more I stood in my own way. A demon that still baffles me. “How can fear of being powerful halt so many life experiences?” It is hard to explain but so easy to see. I was afraid to have opinions because of my own, possibly fierce, voice being heard!?!? Insane right!? This demon has required a lot of inflection, reflection and awareness. THANK GOODNESS FOR A PHYSICAL YOGA PRACTICE to help through this process of quieting the mind, tuning in, and building an awareness practice.

Try this. The next time you encounter a life experience that throws you through a loop and you feel afraid, powerless and insecure, sit your fine ass in a chair/fierce/utkatasana pose and see what sits at the seat of your being. Do you revel in having the time to be with yourself and practice stillness? Then stay still. Do you always have something to say but don’t? Then sway your hips and move the arms around, all while keeping the lower half of the body grounded. And do we dare mention the possibility of dropping the pose all together and having a dance party on the mat?? Play with the idea of opening up to a little move & groove. Or remain presently still in your powerful presence. However this pose comes, remember to stop posing and start living!

NAMASTE

Pigeon Pose and the directions of depth

The other day in pigeon pose, a couple words repeated in this monkey mind. DEEP. DEPTH. 

When off the mat, I was compelled to write “Depth isn’t always downward. The depth of a projection outward. The depth of a hug & leaning in to someone or something. The depth of evolving spiritually. The depth of intention.” I was able to pull from this the many directions of depth. Once seen as only moving downward, you know…deep into the earth. Now seen as multi-dimensional. Depth isn’t always downward.

As I love to do, looking up the word depth in the dictionary it is found in a noun form to mean 1 of 2 things:

  1. The distance from the top or surface of something to its bottom.
  2. Distance from the nearest to the farthest point of something or from the front to the back.

Practicing poses on a mat (aka as Karma Yoga) continues to offer profound influences to my life. Deepening my desire to stop posing and start living! Deepening my vision of living out my ideal life. Don’t get me wrong, laying in pigeon pose is indeed not so comfortable at first. Which helps me remember that in life, experiences that are the most uncomfortable are usually the ones that propel us to make the deepest change or growth. So when life throws curves, fastballs or humps (whatev descriptive words you chose), remember there is a top with a bottom, a front with back and a rise with a fall. A nice reminder is that sometimes we have to get off our own backs. Ease into something that is deep and uncomfortable. And be kind to ourselves as we deal with what we find in it as well as when we come out of it.

So get deep into the funk that lies within this pose and see what offerings it has for you.

**This blog is not intended (not for the time being anyway) to teach or guide or strut yoga poses, which is why there are no photos of this pose included in the post. What my pigeon pose looks like is most likely not what yours looks like. However, if you are curious about the physical aspects of the pose, use your search engine and you will find a TON of varieties. Also, yogajournal.com is a great resource for more information on basic yoga poses. http://www.yogajournal.com/basics/2313

Physical Activity = weak link

Today, I am sharing with you my weakness, my weakest link, my vice so to speak. In wake of a new year, I decided to share my new action plan. The word action should be taken literally and figuratively. The idea is to incorporate some form(s) of physical activity into EVERY day. No more of this 3 days a week nonsense. That didn’t work for me then and won’t work for me now. What will work is my commitment to TRUE self-care.

At a yoga training a couple years ago, I was asked to bring a childhood photo. I picked my favorite (funny because it took me hours to search for the right one and when I saw it I knew it was “the one”). The picture is of me at the age of 5 on Halloween. I was wearing a homemade mermaid costume made by my mother (to this day, this is my favorite Halloween costume ever!). Along with the coolest glow-in-the-dark dangly earrings. I had smeared subtle amounts of glitter makeup along random parts of my face. And was holding my cool bucket for treats. The person behind the camera must have called my name seconds before snapping because there is no posing. It is just me, looking into the lens, with a look I couldn’t associate with because it had been so long since I felt like that well taken care of girl. The first mission of this photo was to look at it. For a long, at first uncomfortable length of time. Secondly, we were asked bring that photo EVERYWHERE during the remainder of the training. Just as if you were the parent of that child. Yoga class, lecture, meals, bathroom, bed, etc. If you were caught without the photo, you were held accountable for the safety of that child being left alone. If you felt lonely, you were responsible for singing the child a lullaby or holding its hand. One night, I sang myself a lullaby and felt comfort I forgot I was capable of producing. One day during yoga class I grabbed my own leg and hugged it so gently and remembered that I am alive and well and blessed beyond measure. Now, I am able to wake up each day saying “Hey! I woke up again! Let’s get this day started!”. And so it is here, where I begin the journey of taking the sweetest, deepest care of myself. And it is from here, where I can take the sweetest deepest care of others.

A lot of my laziness sprung out of having the 8-5 career. I did not feel comfortable in my own skin and experienced debilitating digestive problems. So trust me when I say I understand the TIME issue. I also understand the benefit of getting past TIME being an issue and using it as an advantage. The more TIME I put into taking care of myself, the more TIME I will have living.

The plan is this. Because of the dance company, Saturdays are usually full of yoga and moving and grooving. The other 6 days of the week are open for whatever activity is needed. While walking one Wednesday morning, I thought to myself, “What if Wednesdays are for walking?” Then came to mind, “Thursdays for stretching…breathing…yoga-ing…so Thinkin”. Etcetera. So the following are list of ideas to get me moving, consistently and gratefully. Can be done in groups or as individual activities. Just remember to concentrate on the bigger picture, cooperate with the gifts we are given, and commit to your health.

Movin’ Mondays: Put on music, make a 30 min. playlist and get moving! Dance around the house, bedroom, wherever! Where clothes, or not, or whatever makes you feel like you. Try to stay out of sight from mirrors. Get out of your head and do the first thing that comes to mind.

Treatin’ Tuesdays: Treat yourself. Do whatever feels good and right. Ride a bike, go for a walk, yoga, pilates, run, skip, lift weights…whatever your heart, mind, soul desires.

Walkin’ Wednesdays: Get together with friends, clients, loved ones and walk. Explore your town and find great places to walk. Get creative when the weather presents challenges, just keep walking!

Thinkin’ Thursdays: Yoga time. Create a flow or use the media (TV, DVD’s, or YouTube) to switch things up when needed. Yoga is great because it can be customized. Slow Flow/Gentle Flow, Relaxing poses, Booty-In-Check poses, etc. Time to step into the driver seat and take back our lives. Yoga is a great place to start thinking with a clearer mind!

Funky Fridays: Because Fridays can be busy, mix it up. Maybe the family goes for a bike ride when everyone is home from school or work. Maybe a sunrise or sunset yoga sesh, walk or bike ride. Maybe an afternoon walk-it-out with girlfriends. Maybe a swim in the ocean. Use this day to cater to yourself and your support system.

Splendid Sundays: Definitely a challenge to keep momentum on Sundays. I find Sundays can be left for house cleaning and chores. Use these activities as inspiration to get moving. Crank up the tunes and clean the house. Do laundry. Maybe between loads add in a weight lifting routine or a set of pilates core work.

Cheers to self-care!