100 Days of Yoga, Day 7

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August 26, 2012 by blogmasterjdeam

Dear All,  Yesterday (as well as the day before) was warm and muggy.  The air was so thick you could almost drink it.  I did more sivasana than asana.  Regardless of the weather right now, however, fall is in the air.


We’ve had a larger than normal crop of hummingbird babies this year and right now we are encouraged to feed, feed, feed.  Carol Alcoe, writing for The Sawyer County Record tells us: “Hummingbirds that usually weigh two and one half grams must add two grams of fat in order to fly nonstop over the Gulf of Mexico.  The males will leave first, leaving the females and young to finish up preparations.  Eventually, the young are left by the females to get up to the proper weight.”  Ms. Alcoe went on to write:  “The young ones then follow.  The family reunites in a warmer climate.”  How do the hummingbird babies, who have never been further than my backyard, know how to do this?

Today I will put into action the five yamas from last week:  Compassion; Truthfulness; Non-Stealing; Sense Control; and Neutralizing the desire to acquire and hoard wealth.  (That’s right … I’ll be getting out the checkbook.)

Tomorrow I will move on to the Niyamas.

Pranayama:  I’m really working on expanding my lungs.  My first 5K of the season is Sept. 9th.  I’d like to be able to arrive at the end of the race still breathing through my nose instead of gasping for breath from my mouth.  Once you are in the mode of using only your mouth for breathing, you are using your secondary breathing system.  In the secondary breathing system, we are taking short, shallow breaths, which, unfortunately, cause our bodies to start releasing cortisol, adrenaline and other such chemicals.  The function of these chemicals is to help us in a near death situation (fight or flight.)  Once released and running through our systems our bodies are in full out stress mode.  I think you know when you’ve gotten there, either from an emotional or actual physical event.  Rampant cortisol (and its friends) causes damage to our bodies.  If this topic is new to you and you feel you might be one of the people living off your secondary breathing system (which is easy to determine: long, slow breaths or fast, rapid breaths,) you might want to do some research on the subject.  If you do no other form of yoga, just practicing breath control will change your life.  I promise.

As to asana:  I am really far from being able to do a wheel pose.  I was trying to think of the last time I did one, perhaps four years ago?  It now seems important that I get back to that place.  The wheel pose represents full on heart opening, and that doesn’t just mean physical.  All through life (when did it first start for you?  High School?  Earlier?) we start closing our hearts as a means of protection against emotional pain.  Matt (Pilates instructor/friend) suggests our bodies are born this way and it is our job to train them to unfurl.)  Whatever your reasoning is for why, do you really want it that way?  How has it served you to not trust, to assume people are out to hurt you, to assume, if your heart is open to everyone, someone will take advantage of you in some way.  I propose we reopen our hearts and then use the wise practice of discernment — in other words, presume everyone has the best of intentions for you, that life is unfolding exactly the way it is supposed to and that every word, action, interaction from others, as well as yourself, is a possible teacher on the road of your journey.

In my practice of the wheel, I will do some standing lunges to open my groin muscles.  I will add a fish pose (using the block to open my shoulders even more) and finally a bridge pose, putting the block at its full height under my sacrum.  I will try the wheel pose again, but I will do so only with gentleness to my body.  A millimeter each day goes a long way.




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