July 13, 2011

Cobra and Breath

I learned how to breathe in Cobra pose, yesterday.

I did my first set of Cobra, as per normal - I love Cobra pose.  And then during Savasana, the teacher started talking about how you need to inhale up into the pose and then you naturally exhale but then on your next inhale, focus on the expansion of the chest, then exhale 20% of your breath and then inhale and expand again.

Well, if I wasn't looking even further back on the ceiling in my second set of Cobra.  I always thought I was breathing in the pose, maybe I was but maybe I wasn't breathing enough.  This morning I tried it again and it felt good - new, different, deeper.

On another note, I tried to do the splits yesterday, which I haven't done since the competition and holy tight hip flexors!  I guessing with all my BodyRocks and weights some parts of me have tightened up again.  I'm also not as far along as I was 2 months ago with King Pigeon pose - a sore shoulder and lack of back bends and practice will do that.  So new goal is to practice King Pigeon and the splits a few times a week.

But I've improved with Crow and Crane pose!  Yesterday I was actually able to balance in both those poses for maybe 2 seconds.  I like to think that I've gained some upper body strength and some confidence!

July 2, 2011

Strength Fueled By Compassion

There is a teacher at my yoga studio who I admire greatly. She is a tough cookie and makes you work your ass off. She takes the time to get you into the proper set up in every single pose, she'll call you out if you aren't working to your potential. I remember her telling me in my first few months of practice about water and how you really should just sip your water and that, yes, your heart will be pounding fiercely by the time you are finished the first set of Standing Bow. Just breathe and stand still, she says.

She is also so very kind. She will tell the class to smile at themselves in the mirror. She will remind us constantly that we should have compassion for ourselves at the same time as kicking our heel forward in Standing Head to Knee.

I worked very hard in class this morning at the same time as being kind and gentle to my sore shoulder.

It reminded me that I need to stop kicking myself when I'm down. It reminded me to keep my head up. It reminded me that I am surrounded my supportive and caring people everyday - virtually and in person. It reminded me to have faith, have trust in myself and to know sometimes I need to just stand still and breathe.