We as yogis are versed in "Warrior I.” As a yoga teacher, functional fanatic and lifelong student, I have come across some very interesting variations to the traditional Warrior I.
When I teach the physical postures I try to give students a blue print to go off of. And before a student or teacher trainee learns any other postures with me, they first must understand the concept of neutral or Tadasana. In the West, we have an especially warped concept of good posture. Over the last decade teaching, I have found myself morphing my yoga practice and teaching into a more physically functional approach with a spiritual tradition wrapped in.
Whenever I introduce this concept to the public or new students I try to help people understand that once we can learn neutral, we then can learn un-neutral. A simple example would be a foot pattern besides neutral. Many people already have an external rotation on the foot with a collapsed main arch, so we need to approach postures with an understanding and re-educating of the foot to neutral, and then we can do other things. Understanding neutral can really help us function better in by getting us out of the rounded torso, tight hip flexors, the need for arch supports, fluffy pillow, and get back to knowing our bodies and what they really need.
With Functional Warrior I, students gain better insight into their body from a Mountain Pose perspective or neutral, and begin to see the blueprint of their bodies; what is tight, short, slack, strong or weak. From there, they can begin to heal and gain ground to what in yoga we call balance and what I suggest is finding the imbalances.
To read more on this topic visit MindBodyGreen, where Hope has this article posted.
Do you want to thrive, or survive? Ask yourself this simple question? Without much thought, the answer is obvious. We all want to live a healthy, happy, vibrant life. We all want to drink every last drop we can from this great life and this amazing Earth energy that we possibly can, and grow from it.
But what I come to find is that most of us are barely getting by, physically, mentally and emotionally. We are barely functioning inside and out and our insides are not happy. Most people are just surviving, and in this economic drought, most will say they have no other option. But let me ask you this, if a building was burning and you were locked inside would you just sit back and say, “well I have no other option other than to die in here”. Or would you say, “I’m not going to die today; the only way I’m going to die is trying to get out of this burning building”. My point is that when we are truly faced with a crisis we can do anything. And each person reading this right now is faced with a crisis; I’m faced with a crisis at this moment as well.
Most of us are:
To read more on this article by Hope Zvara visit (click on ->) MindBodyGreen.com
- Either over exercise or don’t exercise at all
- Have a distorted concept of what healthy eating is
- Have more negative self talk and thoughts than positive ones in any given day
Summer is off to a great start! Sun is shining, birds are chirping and the yoga mats are unfolding. This past month has been an interesting month for me personally. And in this past month I have been able to really realize again how important my yoga practice and my yoga family here at the studio truly is. Over ten years ago I started my yoga practice, still a teenager; yoga found me at the most critical time in my life EVER.
Now some people say they found God, or that they were saved, or born again, but for me, “I found life again”. And no matter how you say it or what sort of belief system provokes it, I have found through my own kind of crazy (and they have been quite crazy) that you are kidding yourself when you think that it’s a onetime deal. That all you have to do is one day “believe” or feel that feeling and that is it. In my own personal life, I have already proved that to be wrong.
In order to keep living, in order to “keep the faith”, in order to be an incessant part of Creation, it is a constant commitment, a continual trust and something that is not a one shot deal. In my own 28 years of life on this Earth-this time around, I have found that those “moments” are temporary, they get you over a hump, but then afterwards you must follow up, you must keep committing, keep-keeping the faith, you must continue to step onto your mat, especially on the days you would rather not.
I can’t tell you the number of times I “was a changed person” to only go right back to what I was doing prior. Looking back, each one of those experiences was necessary to get me to where I am now, a teaching lesson I wouldn’t otherwise have, but it was not the one “wish” deal I was hoping for.
Life is a continual “action” experience. Now that being said the more in tune you become the easier life gets. But I think what we often forget is that life may not exactly get easier, you just get better at dealing with it, you start to see life differently and you change, and as you change then life starts to shift.
So this last month I found myself a bit personally frustrated with areas of my life and what I was finally able to do with the help of some great people & tools in my life, (which I am grateful to have) was to realize that I need to step out and step up even more, I was at a standstill because life was rolling and I was stopped. And I am pretty sure this happens to us all. Some use the phrase “life happens”, but I don’t think it is quite that way. Sure life happens with or without us, but “our” life is only what we decide to make of it.
So I am humbled at the opportunity to grow out loud, to stumble without hiding, and to admit my strengths and areas of work. And my hope is that all who come to practice at the “Tree” realize that there is no judgment, and the only person we are trying to impress is ourselves and if we are already trying to impress ourselves, we for some reason have already let ourselves down. And that is nothing anyone else can fix. An interesting practice I personally have been working with lately is my ability to “let others grow” and “really be aware that it is ok to make a mistake”.
In my life I have been heavily criticized for all sorts of reasons, some I will never know exactly and it has taken many, many years to understand that all those people are merely teachers for me, that I now thank regularly, and actually welcome (sometimes it’s easier to do than others) what they have to say. Because if they are anything like me, the criticism is usually more about themselves than the person they are saying it to anyway. So in the weeks and months to come, step up and step out, be YOU and welcome what others have to say, now don’t be mean, because remember are you talking with compassion for the other or hatred? But Welcome the opportunities to be a better person, take each instance as life telling you to clean up your act, to refine who you are, what ends up happening is we see these things as threats and instead of growing we burrow down and deflect. So as I work on me I hope that you will work on you. And when I see you on your mat we will help work on each other.
So as many of you know, I tend to write about my own personal experiences and my life. And as I continue to grow and evolve with the rest of the “willing” world, I am continually awed at the notion of what growth is. Many of us like the idea of growth, but what we often leave out is that we like it on our own terms. We prefer it to be how we see fit, how it “makes sense to us”. I say HA! You wish, heck, I wish! It can’t be growth if you are controlling it. A great teacher of mine says that “you can’t engage in anger and frustration and still expect to grow spiritually, you are just kidding yourself. The only thing that grows is your ego to thinking you have grown”. Frustration simply put, is mental confusion. And so, when I get frustrated am I always able to stay cool and calm, not 100%, but what I am really working on is noticing that when I do get frustrated it’s usually not the other person, but me that needs to learn something (well them too but that is for them to see). And so we have a choice. Do I stay as I am or breathe, and see if there is a different way to look at what is in front of me?
There is a big world out there and you will only be holding yourself back if you continually pride yourself on remembering every little thing someone did to you and that you are older and wiser that everyone else. Wisdom is not counted by the number of years on this earth in this lifetime, but rather if you have taken the knowledge you have and applied it to life, you have actually “learned”. Rudi, a great Swami says in many of his books, that a teacher will want to be on your level with you and grow with you, not want to be above you or put you below him or herself, but rather be side by side. And I think of this only because I was just talking about Kids Yoga classes with a instructor friend and I told her the number one thing to remember is “play with the kids” their whole life is people telling them what to do, you can reach them in a much better way if you become a child, and simply maintain a understanding that you are leading the group. For me this is something I often try to implement into my teaching and life. So to all my yogi friends, my hope is that we walk side by side rather than in a single file line. That when growth is stunted we are all a big enough person to look to ourselves first, that at the end of the day real growth has to do with the total annihilation of your limited definition of self. So grow to your potential, because you are the only one holding you back.
In the midst of frustration what else are we to do but lash out. Why would we rather have to figure out coping strategies to lessen the blow or better yet not be able to take it out on someone else? And like a food addiction we can so easily become addicted to anger, out bursts and worse off abuse. We say it’s not going to happen again, that it was just this once-because we were stressed out, annoyed or out of our element, but really we fear change. We fear that we will be different and that we will possibly have to work at it alter our lifestyle somehow and in some way. Wouldn’t it simply be easier to just give me a pill or zap me a few times and make it all better?
Isn’t that is so much our society-quick fix without the effort. So I ask you now to STOP! Stop with the lies, the anger, the violence towards yourself and all those around you. If you are to the point where you are hurting others in any way, I can guarantee you that you have been hurting yourself for years. So the change will have to be gradual and will put you in positions that will challenge you to go back to your ways or to challenge them and turn away. It comes down to your choice. We complain that we have no choices in life yet the ones we have control over, we’d rather not have. So in the midst of frustration here’s the thing, you can choose to change, alter your life, ruffle your feather in the hopes of a new look at the horizon. Or you can keep down the same path you have continually gone down over and over and over again with zero success, but it’s comfortable and easy and you basically don’t have to try.
Life is full of bumps and bruises, tears and laughs, questions and very few answers but this does not have to stop you from living, from the opportunity of change, from the life you keep saying you want and wonder why you never have. I know more people that I can count on all my hands and feet that say one thing and NEVER FOLLLOW THROUGH-heck I use to be one of them. But I’ve learned to say no, to admit when I am wrong (and boy is it hard), to speak up and go after what I know I am capable at in life. Why watch everyone else live the life you want because you simply don’t want to put the work in. Really that is what it comes down to. Give me all the excuses you want, I’ve heard them all because I’ve said them all and simply put-it’s all a load of crap. Am I perfect no, but, do I try my damdest and hardest to follow my heart, my gut my passion and you bet your bottom dollar I see my work paying off. And am I afraid to fall; no because I have told myself enough now that falling is part of the game, no shame, just necessary and a requirement in life.
So that anger, that frustration, it’s not your computer (would be an easy fix though), it’s not your Mom or Dad, your boss, your scale, your partner, your date book….it’s you. You have to step up and step out and welcome fear that makes you start living the life you have been dying to live. That fear, that worry that doubt is just a wake up that you need to keep moving, keep praying, keep believing and keep WORKING your ass off until you see yourself on the other end. There is no other way. I’ve been to the point in my own life that I chanced death all to many times, held death in my arms and still came out above it. So step up, step out and be somebody—YOURSELF!