May 14, 2011

7 Spring-Inspired Things to Improve our Yoga Practice.

And so the spring is finally here! I have been taking in all those pink colors from the Cherry trees and enjoying the warmer weather practices which usually mean deeper back bends, lots of sweating and even more purification.

Here are 7 things I am doing to give my yoga practice a boost:

1- Eating healthy, as in mostly salads, greens or raw food when possible.  Yesterday I tried flax seed oil with lunch and it felt as if my body was grateful.  If it could speak it would have said something like: “what took you so long?” – “feed me this always”.

The flax seed oil tastes delicious and is packed with nutrition.  The only precaution a reader gave me was to use it quickly as it can go bad rather fast.

2- I am taking a supplement for joint-wellbeing that has Glucosamine MSM and Chondroitin, not exactly the brand shown in the picture, but rather one I found in the Whole Foods.  Talking to a yogi the other day she suggested upping the dose, so I am taking one in the morning and one in the afternoon.

Janu B which -if modified- can remove death

3. I am pushing the practice a tiny bit over the edge, breathing deeply and staying for 6 counts or more in each asana and going deeper into the edge.  I am paying especial attention to those poses that have so many benefits, like Janu Sirsassana, which is not just a pose but can also be a mudra –if slightly modified– and remove all afflictions and the cause of death. Yeah!, I like the sound of that.  See the Hatha Yoga Pradipika for more on that.

Other poses with great benefits that are attracting my lingering include the headstand and the forward bends.

4.- I am drinking plenty of water and a bit less coffee.  I don’t know what it is about coffee.  About 3 years ago I was able to give it up for a whole year, but that is just not happening again.  I think I know why I started to drink it again but I cannot really blame my husband, can I? Just cause he drinks it does not mean I have to! This business of being a yogi certainly limits one blaming choices.

5- Focus on pranayama.  I have began to notice my breath at a much deeper level, and I am convinced it is all due to point 3 above, to the slow breathing.  If my intake of air becomes shorter I notice, if while sitting at the computer the pattern changes I also notice.

I have not yet become so sophisticated as to notice when I am breathing out of the right or left nostril, although in this precise moment is the right, which might explain why I am typing so fast (right nostril breathing increases energy while left nostril may induce a more relaxed state), but I aspire to catch it when it changes from one side to the other and go: aha! gotcha!

As a result pranayama has began to show up before meditation practices every day.  I just do a little of alternating breathing before I settle into the cushion and stay there motionless hoping that the mind will take a cue.  No pressures, easy does it, spring like.

Spring inspired nails in revolved triangle

6- Allowing myself other creative endeavors, like cooking, dancing, meeting friends making collages, and encouraging banners (just put one in the place where I practice yoga that reads: Yes I Can) and painting my toe-nails in never before seen -in me- colors.

I am also writing a book, coming out in a few weeks.

On the spare time I’ve been reading some great books, one in particular that I enjoyed much was this one about Krishnamacharya and how amazing he was.

7- Health Checks. I’ve been visiting doctors. Not my favorite activity I must say, but there are certain things that need regular check-ups, and root canals are sometimes necessary as well.  Now that all tests, exams and canals have been done, performed and excavated I feel a little more reassured that all is well, and can prepare for the summer and those hot and sweaty practices.

What are you doing to improve your spring practice?


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