Here I go again on my own! And Just the two of us… These two song lyrics resonate with this week’s yoga session, as to start, we were off on our own again and there was only two of us for this session.
As instructed, I unrolled my mat and began to review what we’d done over the past 3 weeks. I noticed something as I was going through my Sun Salutations and into the standing poses. Well actually I noticed two things. First, that my breathing is starting to match really well with the poses, which is good. The second is that the woman next to me was having trouble with her breathing and Chris has to instruct her on how not to be so laboured or rushed when she was breathing through the poses. I know that I am suppose to be focusing on my own practise and not let my mind be distracted, but sometimes I can’t help it. Hence the theme of this post is mindfulness. I’ll come back to that though.
As I was going through Sun Salutation B, Chris stopped me mid Warrior Pose to correct my posture. When I stretch my arms up to the sky, my shoulders tend to go up by my ears. This is not correct. Which I didn’t know, but should have guessed. He told me to keep my shoulders down, stretch my arms up in a wider position and look up over my fingers. This dramatically changed everything and made me feel like my body was opening up more. I tend to hunch my shoulders on a regular basis, which leads me to have quite a bit of tension in my neck and shoulders. By relaxing them whilst stretching my arms up to the sky, it made the pose feel more powerful. Of course it also gave me something else to remember to do during my practise but at some point it will all just flow.
This brings me to what Chris talked to us about. Mindfulness and being present in our practise. I have discussed this before but Chris often brings it up as it is very important. He said that we need to keep practising so that we get to the point where we aren’t thinking about each position and whether we are doing it right. This is what we are working towards. Once we can do the yoga movements without thinking, we will be deepening our practise and go into a form a meditation. Obviously yoga is good for our bodies, but the point of yoga is to deepen our understanding of our own minds and become one with the present (Mindfulness). This is how I understand it and really had never thought of it like that before (I apologise if I haven’t described it that well).
We added two more standing poses to our repertoire. The second one involved standing on one foot, grasping your toes of the other foot and stretching your leg out straight in front of you at head height and than to the side. (See image below of the sequence and its official name)
Not QUITE there yet, but luckily there were adjustments for people with tight leg muscles like me. This pose will particularly help with my balance.
After the session was done, Chris told me that my focus is really good but that he can see that I struggle with my body. This is a very apt observation. I do struggle with my body but that is why I’m starting to practise yoga. He went on to suggest that once I am done this course, that I come to the Ashtanga Yoga Level 2 class. This will focus more on breathing and deepening my practise on a guided level. As I get a months unlimited practise, once the 6 weeks are up, I am definitely going to do that!
As an aside, My boyfriend and I went out with another couple last night. We had dinner and went to a local pub for some really good ale. It was such a lovely evening and I noticed that none of us felt the need to get out our phones and document the night. I quite liked this. We were present in the moment, enjoying each other’s company and felt no need to ruin it with technology. We knew we were there and there was no need to share that on social media. I felt truly present in the evening. Every little bit of mindfulness is leading towards a goal of being truly present in my life.