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Goddess Vibes x Drill Exercise: Be Kind and Stay Still = Strength.

 

“perhaps just get more kind to yourself and those around you”

— apt words from my June horoscope

Once in a while I’ll stumble upon a horoscope, article, instagram and marvel at how perfectly these small happenings are timed to lessons and themes I am currently working on. For instance, the last few months have been really focused on the concept of kindness and softness. They’re NOT easy! It has taken so long for me to break down my need to never show softness and never backdown to really embrace how being soft can be a different kind of strength. Life isn’t just about how good a smackdown you can give or how feisty you can be. It’s terrifying and exhilarating to find that within all that being gentle, deep down there is a reservoir of true strength to withstand all outside forces as well as all the inner crazy. The best defence may be a good offence in sports but in life the best defence is inner strength. 

Continuously working on the ability to stay perfectly gracefully still despite everything going on will build up your strength reserves mentally as well as physically. You’ll only get stronger this way and you’ll always feel centered, because your center is strong! Today’s drill is the perfect physical illustration of that wonderful kooky circular logic. You’re staying as still as you can, whilst working on strengthening your core and you won’t need to do a single crunch, hurray! It works for me and I hope it will for you too. Try it and let me know!

Enough chit-chat from me, let’s do this.

THE STAY STILL [Working title I’m sticking with this – besides aren’t we over ‘labels’ already?]

Repeat this exercise 3 to 5 times, several times a week and you’ll definitely feel stronger physically and hopefully get closer to experiencing grace under pressure, even if it’s merely during the course of a yoga class. It will be worth it – eventually that grace will translate to beyond your physical class! 

  1. Start in a kneeling position
  2. Place your hands either side of your knees
  3. Lean your weight into your hands and press strongly into the ground as you exhale
  4. Breathe your belly button in and up towards your spine
  5. On your next exhalation squeeze your knees towards your chest
  6. Hold as you breathe in and out for 5 rounds of breathing (something like the picture above)
  7. Inhale and squeeze your knees in a little more then 
  8. Lower down on your next exhalation. (Finally!)
  9. Advance this by squeezing one heel off the floor and hold. 
  10. Super advance this by squeezing both heels off the floor. You’re basically ready to levitate. 

If it feels horrible for the front of your feet then you can start off kneeling with your toes tucked under. As you press up you will come high up onto your toes. When you’re stronger you can try again with your feet flat. 

 

Tips

Your back will naturally round — go with that instinct. 

Use your midsection to pull your knees into the curve of your body. Squeezing your inner thighs together will help activate your core just that extra more. As much of your weight is off the floor, not just dangling into the fronts of your feet.

Even though your back is rounded, don’t hunch your shoulders into your ears! And don’t scrunch your face! All the work is deep, deep down in your core. The rest of you is to resemble the surface of still water. 

What it do?

I’m glad you asked. This will work your entire core as well as your ability to maintain your straight-arm strength. With your knees sucked in as close to your body as you can you’ll notice how hard your belly is working to keep that knees to chest connection going. The back gets a great stretch too. 

Alternatives for wrist issues

Just do the same thing but laying on your back and imagine your pressing your hands into the ceiling and pushing it away. You’ll still get all the benefits and you’ll have a great time curling your body away from the floor. NOT EASY. You’ll know you’re doing it right because you’ll just know

You can build up as you get stronger by doing the alternative in addition. Make the two versions part of your regular strength exercise.

Video

Learning to Fly: Quick Tips – Yoga Arm Balance Workshopping

How was your cyber weekend? I tried to get into the sale action but I found myself overwhelmed by all the sale windows popping up on my ‘puter. And also we had some major blackouts so that just felt like a sign from the universe.

No shopping for you, specifically, you. You means Dominique.

I didn’t have anything I needed or simply wanted but tried to pass of as needed anyway. And I found myself thinking why don’t we just have everything 20% or 30% or 35% or whatever% off year round and we will buy it when we want to. The sort of “I’ll call you” type of response to an invitation to tender. You too? Yeah.

A girlfriend and I were chatting and figured if groceries had a cyber Monday though, different story. But groceries being groceries and economics working the way they do, that didn’t happen. So instead I saved my pennies and worked on editing a video I filmed just before my trip to Bali.

Oh yeah, haha, I went to Bali for a few days. And all I came back with was a lovely time, great memories, a full tummy and a tan. Tell you all about it another time, I really want to post this video first, if it ever finishes uploading though. A little tricky with all the power blackouts we have been having.

This will just take 1000 minutes
Be with you in 142 minutes. I kid you not five minutes later the little bar said it would take another 183 minutes. What’s with the strange math? hahaha

So let’s chat a bit more about what we’re doing in today’s video whilst this baby loads.

Itty Bitty Baby Pigeon

This is a preparatory posture. Some people will know the full version of this pose as Flying Pigeon Pose or One Legged Pigeon Balance. In Sanskrit this pose  is called Eka Pada Galavasana. People tend to drop the Eka Pada when referring to the posture and just say Galavasana although B.K.S. Iyengar listed Galavasana and Eka Pada Galavasana as two different postures with the latter being the one we will prep for here.

Gimme a second to squint and count, yep, got the right number of vowels in there. Sometimes one needs to check, you know?

Some Sanskrit here: Eka means one and Pada means leg… soo far so got it. Galavasana is the pose named after the sage Galava. The word for pigeon is Kapota. I know, I know, confusing! When I first started paying attention to the names of postures a lot of them just sounded like Something Something Blah Asana. I just couldn’t get a handle on the front part. And I got a whole lot worse before I got anywhere near better by the time I went for training.

Every second sentence out of me was, “Whaddjyamacallthis?” As soon as I managed to remember one name I’d promptly forget the previous one I had learned.

But a lot of people will know what you are talking about if you happen to mention flying pigeon. But you’d both need to be talking about yoga postures otherwise things just get really confusing obvs. The shape of that front bent leg leaning against your arms is the same as the one-legged version of the posture performed on the floor. Just know that the pose goes by more than one name. 

I am calling this version we are attempting Itty Bitty Pigeon Pose because that back leg is not yet stretched out as in the full expression of the posture, it’s still tucked in close to the body. This makes it a little easier to focus on locating that exact tipping point you need to get the balance going. And here we thought we’d never see the likes of Physics again after high school.

The video is pretty straight forward, but make sure you are warmed up before you launch. For example you can go for a 20 minute march around the block, or you can do a few rounds of Sun Salutations, or a few cycles of my easy to do 2 minute yoga sequence (here).

Yoga is all about expressing curiosity and learning new things. So once you are up, try stretching out that floating leg and see what happens! Fly, birdie, fly!

[gasp] I’m flying, Jack!

C’mon, if I didn’t say it someone else would have. What a line. And they totally could have both fit on that door. Move over Rose, blimey.

IMPORTANT: Please be aware that if you are not yet comfortable in a plank position, you may still need a little more time before you visit this. Don’t rush! In the Ashtanga practice for instance, this posture is in the third series. THIRD! There are people (cough, me included) who may or may not just stay in Primary for the rest of our lives. B.K.S. Iyengar rated the intensity of this posture as 21, the most difficult posture being 60. So take it easy, slow and steady. Taking the time now to develop a strong foundation, smelling the roses along the way, will save you the heartache of hurrying before you are ready and perhaps even hurting yourself. You need to be careful and practice safely. Be kind! Enjoy the scenic route! How often do we get the luxury of taking things slow?

Happy workshopping! 

Questions? Holla! Feel free to discuss down below any of the following:

Who B.K.S. Iyengar?

What Ashtanga?

Kapota what?

Is this still yoga?

What does Galavasana look like then?

What does it take to rate a 60?

Who Jack? (Where have you been…)

What door? (See above re: Jack)

Does anyone else feel terrified when they see flying pigeons IRL?

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Predicting the future

If we wish to predict the future,

then we must create it. 

It is that simple. 

Life is very simple, it is just our habit to complicate things. 

You are powerful beyond all measure

The truth is that we are powerful beyond measure.

We are the decider in our lives.

We can choose where to plant our feet and where our footsteps lead us. 

Let’s start living in alignment with the life we dream of.

And then get read to watch our dreams come to life.

xx

Video

Hurrah for Yoga in Pyjamas

Heyyy! How have you been?

I know, I have been away for so so so long. I missed you though! I will totally update you on what I have been up to one of these days. But, let’s get down to business, yoga business.

Please can we pretend I said that in a Morgan Freeman type voice.

Are you wondering if I was away doing a Masters in how to be even more cheesy? Maybe I was.

ANYWHO, I promised I would upload a yoga video for the Not So Flexible.

Let’s make it a series!

High five to those of you who, like me, roll out of bed and are almost deafened by the sound of creaking as you stumble around the place. And you also struggle with identifying the difference between words and grunting. Oh, aaaaaand you feel incredibly un-coordinated and any kind of activity that involves looking graceful and fluid just leaves you standing there on the spot, blinking with a thought bubble hovering over your head that goes, “NOPE”.

Enter: a very short session for easing into the morning. This little segment takes about 2 minutes so you don’t need to worry that you will lose your spot in the queue for the shower/someone will finish all the coffee. Well done, by the way, if you have a queueing system for who gets to use the bathroom next. We sort of have an “I’ll scissor-paper-stone you for it”/arm wrestle system.

So, ok, not really a system.

Shall we get moving? I didn’t bother with an introductory greeting (who can speak coherently in the morning?! besides, we’ve already met) so be prepared to just hop straight to it.

Super important: Please be kind to your body, practice safely and I really hope you enjoy! No judgement here if you head straight back to bed with your coffee/tea/cat/dog/human/all the above/etc afterwards. That’s just awesome!

If you’re already at work for the day, then just give this a go when you get home. Ixnay on the changing into PJs in the office, unless you work at home, then, cool, go nuts!

Chat soon X

Good morning!

If you’re anything like me, it doesn’t matter how much stretching happens at night, when you wake up in the morning you can just about hear everything creaking as you start to move around… into the kitchen to make coffee. Ha!

So here’s a really short easy sequence you can do to help you ease into the day. Whilst the coffee brews. No special equipment needed and you can do it in your pyjamas.

You can repeat this sequence as many times as you like just be sure to take it slow and gently to give your body a chance to awaken. Please please please listen to your body, practice safely and enjoy!

Thanks so much for watching. Please let me know if you enjoyed that and if you have any special requests, comment down below. X