I read a good article last night that inspired me to share this practice intention with my students today because I think opening the heart is one of the most efficient way to parlay spirituality into yoga asanas. Most people (including myself up until about 8 months ago prior to my RYT training) tend to think yoga is all about the working out and asanas (postures). They were not able to see the link between yogasanas with spirituality, so I thought by creating the effect of offering the heart through this sequence, I can minimize my preaching and yet allow my students to feel the effects of the poses. Have a good weekend! Namaste!

Sun Salutation B sequence modified from YogaJournal’s article “Home Practice with James Higgins” by Andrea Ferretti. 

  1. Supine Bound Angle
  2. Child’s Pose
  3. Cat/Cow Tilts
  4. Seated Twists
  5. Sun Salutation A
    • Mountain
    • Standing Forward Bend
    • Plank
    • Chatturanga /  Knee-chest-chin
    • Updog / Urdhva Mukha Svanasana
    • Downdog / Adho Mukha Svanasana
    • Forward Bend
    • Mountain
  6. Sun Salutation B
    • Chair Pose / Utkatasana
    • Standing Forward Fold / Uttanasana
    • High Lunge (L) / Anjaneyasana (but with elbows bound behind back or in reverse prayer)
    • Downward Dog / Adho Mukha Svanasana
    • High Lunge (R) / Anjaneyasana (but with elbows bound behind back or in reverse prayer)
    • Downward Dog / Adho Mukha Svanasana
    • Plank
    • Chaturanga
    • Locust Pose / Salabhasana
    • Child’s Pose / Balasana
  7. Bow Pose
  8. Extended Puppy
  9. Happy Baby
  10. Savasana
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I had a lesson planned for today’s lunch yoga at work, but one of the girls were suffering from insomnia for unknown reasons. As a teacher, I believe in giving what my students need, and being that we had a rough start today with a snow advisory that began at 7am, we were all feeling down and cranky. Thus, I’ve did a quick research on yoga journal’s website and put together some light and refreshing asana sequence that would fit in 1 hour. I hope this sequence will be useful to you as well.

  1. Bound angle pose 
  2. Child’s pose 
  3. Cat/Cow poses 
  4. Seated twists (L & R) 
  5. Camel 
  6. Wide-legged forward fold
    • heel-toe feet to center
    • come down to the knees 
  7. Extended Puppy pose
    •  come to all fours
    • move buttocks halfway between the distance of the heels and knees
    • arms active, elbows not touching the mat
    • lower forehead to the mat/blanket
    • feel stretch on the spine, 1 min
    • pull hips to heels
    • release buttocks to heels, modified Child’s pose  
  8. Gateway pose (L & R)
    • place left hand on the mat on the side
    • extend right leg
    •  lift right hand
    • lower right knees to center, repeat on RIGHT side 
  9. Downward facing dog 
  10. Sphinx pose 
  11. Lie on the back, hug knees to chest, make circles with the sacrum 
  12. Happy Baby pose
    • lie on the back
    • bring knees close to armpits
    • hold the inside of the feet
    • shins should be vertical to the floor/ceiling
    • saturate into the pose 
  13. Savasana

I realized that I hadn’t been able to blog as much as I want to lately. I always think of soemthing to write during my practice but as soon as I get home, I’m overwhelmed with other commitmets (a.k.a. never-ending housechores).

Since I’ve begun teaching beginners for the past 1 month plus, I’ve came up with a few sequences. I thought it would be great to share that with those who frequent my blog, as well as using this blog to document the sequences for my own reference also.

I hope you find these sequences useful to you.

Focus: Stira Stuka – Strong / Steady & Calm 

1.       OM X 3

2.       Wide-legged bound forward fold (extend & fold)

3.       (Sun Salutation A): X 3

a.       Mountain

b.      Standing Forward Bend

c.       Plank

d.      Chatturanga /  Knee-chest-chin

e.      Updog / Urdhva Mukha Svanasana

f.        Downdog / Adho Mukha Svanasana

g.       Forward Bend

h.      Mountain

4.       (Sun Salutation A): X 3

a.       Mountain

b.      Chair pose

c.       Standing Forward Bend

d.      Plank

e.      Lunge

f.        Crescent pose

g.       Chatturanga /  Knee-chest-chin

h.      Updog / Urdhva Mukha Svanasana

i.        Downdog / Adho Mukha Svanasana

j.        Forward Bend

k.       Chair pose

5.       Downdog

6.       Plank

7.       Side-plank > Gate Pose / Parighasana (L & R)

8.       Child’s pose / Balasana (hands behind)

9.       Standing Star

10.   Revolved Wide-Legged Standing Forward Bend / Parivrtta Prasarita Padottanasana  (L & R)

11.   Skandasana? (L & R): one leg extended squat, hands in prayer position

12.   Table

13.   Frog

14.   Sphinx pose

15.   Seated cross-legged twist

16.   Reclining Bound Angle Pose / Supta Baddha Konasana

17.   Savasana

“Half the spiritual life consists in remembering what we are up against and where we are going.”

-Ayya Khema, “When the Iron Eagle Flies”

I’ve completed the in-class portion of my certification, and am taking time to complete the practical portion. Meanwhile, I’ve heard many people who told me that they aren’t ready for yoga. It really frustrates me to hear that and just today, I read a great article that summarized my thoughts and gave me a good idea of how to advice people who think that they aren’t good enough for yoga.

The author wrote:

“The point is that yoga helps us find balance in all areas of our lives; we’re not supposed to arrive in yoga class as a fait accompli. We’re supposed to show up ready to take a journey of transformation, whatever that may be. Everyone comes to the mat with a different imbalance, but everyone is working on something, and it is the act of getting on the mat that points us in the right direction.

A dear friend of mine began practicing yoga at the age of 37. She had always avoided it because she thought she was too stiff and that she didn’t have a “yoga body.” After several months of classes, she made a remark that I have never forgotten. She said that on the days she does yoga, she consistently makes better food choices, and these choices come naturally because she is calmer, more centered, and more fully in the present moment.

To me, this observation is the essence of the impact that yoga can have in all areas of our lives. I encourage you to disregard your friends’ advice and find a class that lets you begin to experience yoga’s extraordinary potential. You may need to experiment a bit to find the class that is just right for you, but I am sure it will be worth it.”

http://www.yogajournal.com/basics/2 

I was browsing the Internet for something irrevelant, and this article found me. I was freaked out by the description of myself (on my precise birthdate) and as I read on, my hair was standing on it’s end. Why? Because it was a forecast for my specific birthdate (December 28). Here’s what it said about me from December 2006 to December 2007:

Busy, busy, busy! The Sun conjunct Mercury in your Solar Return chart suggests that you have a lot to do this year. At times, you may feel like the pace of your life is running ahead of you. You can be especially productive, however, in all types of communications–writing, speaking, learning, teaching, and so forth.
My comment: I planned my own wedding, signed up for yoga teaching certification, moderated a local bridal forum, started teaching yoga classes, signed up for cake decorating classes, dabbled in graphic editing, cooked a lot more creative meals at home, moved from the U.S. to Canada, planning to start a business… there’s no stopping at the moment!

Mercury conjuncts Pluto in your Solar Return chart, suggesting that your mental faculties are attuned to otherworldly impressions this year. This offers you increased insight, psychological understanding and awareness, and focused attention. You are inclined to do a lot of “digging”, researching, analyzing, investigating, and getting to the bottom of things. Increased psychological awareness of yourself and others can benefit you greatly, and employing strategy in your decision making is easier than usual this year. Relationships with younger people may be especially rewarding and meaningful.
My comment: This was brought forth by my yoga certification course, whereby I did a lot of reflecting and soul searching.

Mercury also forms a creative aspect with Uranus, re-emphasizing a strong theme of learning and communication in the year ahead. There may be unexpected and pleasant news this year that enhances your life. You are able to find new insight into old problems, and your thinking processes during this period are likely to be especially original. This is a good year for projects involving technology or New Age topics. You may find more opportunities to attend meetings and other organized group activities, to communicate online, and to take part in activities involving computers, scientific projects, or metaphysics. Unexpected gains may be realized through such mediums. Your intuition is strong, and insights seem to come from “out of the blue”. Original, creative ideas are easy to come by this year.
My comment: From all the reflection and soul searching, I found myself finding more answers in life. I was also able to see the situation as it is, especially in other’s problems. Yoga is catergorized as a New Age belief (this is paradoxical because it’s an ancient practice that is the science of all religions), so I was quite involved in the satsangs in class. I also learned a lot about graphic editing, just from merely editing the pictures of the food that I’ve made. I had also made quite a few dishes that some said, had been inspiring..LOL.

Mars forms a pleasing angle to Neptune. You are more inclined to act upon your intuition, your sexual fantasies may be especially strong, and your creative impulses are potent. This aspect helps to soften your disposition, smoothing out some of the tension in your life. At times, you will have a “what will be, will be” attitude. This influence favors dancing, swimming, photography, arts, and entertainment. If you are an artist, this could be an especially inspired, imaginative, and productive year. Pay attention to your gut feelings, which will, more often than not, give you valuable information. If you are involved in sales, you will be able to tune into your client’s inner desires and motivations.
My comment: It’s true. I find myself simply “surrendering” to the Higher Consciousness that governs us all. I did not fret at much as before, especially during the latter half of the year. Every decision that I have made this year was driven by my gut feeling. I can’t attest to the part about sexual fantasies though 😛

Venus forms a dynamic aspect to Jupiter in your Solar Return chart, suggesting that your love nature is strong this year, but given to extremes at times. Over-inflated expectations is something to watch out for. You may overvalue something (or someone), perhaps in an attempt to dramatize your life. You could be feeling especially sociable, in the mood to party, dramatic, extravagant, and inclined to overindulge as a result of a feeling of inner discontent and a desire for more from life than daily routines. Your appetite for pleasure is very strong this year! You are likely to attract loving relationships and more social opportunities into your life this year with Venus sextile the North Node of the Moon.
My comment: I had been feeling like I just want to let the hair down and party all year round! I can definitely say that I had been very dramatic this year as well. Poor Andy and my family were the people whom I had extreme expectations for due to my wedding earlier this year, hence the manifestation of the dramatic Bridezilla 😛

Forecast courtesy of Cafe Astrology.

Revelations are cool, but they can be quite frightening as well. I don’t know if I want to know what’s in for me next year, because it’s not the same feeling if you’re expecting something. When I was a teenager, I used to check my horoscope daily at the end of the day just to check for it’s accuracy. Those were the days. If there’s anything that I’ve learned this year is to trust my gut feeling and simply deal with things as they come by. It’s silly to worry about things that may happen and consequently missing out on what’s righ under our noses. Nonetheless, I’m a WORRIER. It’s half the battle for me to simply not over-analyze things. I’m surprised at my own progress over this past year because of this innate streak in me.

What should I do next year? To change from a WORRIER to a WARRIOR? A warrior of my insecurities and fluctuations of my intellect. That would be awesome 🙂 With Yoga as my shield and my sword, that should set me straight for this challenge cum dharma. Like a good friend of mine said, “Dust of your Divine Consciousness and see the true you!!” 😀

With that, I’d like to dedicate this powerful chant to my Purusha and every consciousness around me. My heart cries everytime when I hear this chant.

Asatoma Sadgamaya

asato ma sadgamaya
tamaso ma jyotirgamaya
mrtyorma amrtam gamaya

Lead me from the asat to the sat.
Lead me from darkness to light.
Lead me from death to immortality.

(Brhadaranyaka Upanishad — I.iii.28)
Check out
here for specific explanation of this mantra.

allure_magsm.jpg

I haven’t written much lately, I’ve been swamped.

Anyway, I got my haircut (I’ve got a bob now) few weeks back, and my beloved hairdresser told me that she’s won the Allure magazine award for giving the best cut. I saw her plaque at the front of the salon, but I couldn’t find the write-up in the magazine.

While I was browsing the net idly at work, I stumbled upon Allure’s website and I decided to look up the award to see if my hairdresser, Jenny was indeed listed. To my big surprise, she is!! So here’s some pics of my new haircut, and the write-up on her award.

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I don’t know what’s wrong with me lately. So we did find a place to rent across the border in Windsor, but the escalating cost of living and moving is wrecking my nerves. I hadn’t been able to save any money this year due to our wedding in Malaysia back in May, and recently the emergency trip back for my grandma’s funeral. I try not to fret about money, because I truly belief that we will be provided for and will be sufficient if we just LET GO and do what is appropriate at the time and place that we happen to be. The struggle between wanting to trust that instinct and giving in to the paranoia of not being able to survive in the future is driving me lifeless and incapacitated to be at my best.

I’m supposed to be going to Micha’s class today (Friday) since I had to skip yesterday’s class to go house hunting South of the border (or North depending on where you’re coming from in Michigan). Not going to class makes me feel ultra-guilty, but at the same time, the body is unwilling. The soul is depleting with depression, and the body is sluggish and uninspired. I don’t know why I had lost trust in myself and in everything that I do, especially with the practice of yoga. Yoga used to be my salvation, but lately I that my heart is boxed and shut tightly from being in the light of yoga.

I don’t know what else to do other than ride it out and deal with my current stress of moving/relocating and catching up with the course. Hopefully, when all is settled I can concentrate on my practice again.

I guess I was ready to open up myself again after my grandmother’s passing, so on Monday I decided to go to RSY for Micha’s class. Unfortunately, Micha was out-of-commission that day, and Regina taught her class before. It was definitely a lot more gentle and easier compared to Micha’s class, which is not bad, but I was looking for more of a challenge that day. Nonetheless, I was thinking about what transpired on Sunday, with my failure to give proper instructions to the students. I’ve decided that I should really begin by taking everything back to basics and slow everything down so that I can give clear and concise instructions when I eventually start teaching. With that said, I’ve truly learned a lot about what I can do when I start out by observing Regina’s class.

I went to Sattva yesterday (Tuesday) and was glad to see Micha teaching the 5:45 Level 1 class. Due to the recent chaos in my life, I knew I was really tensed up and constricted and I wasn’t really sure if I would ever get back to where I left off prior to my grandma’s passing, in terms of flexibility and openness of the body. Perhaps that’s a manifestation of me wanting to hide inside my tortoise shell emotionally.

As I lie on the bolster on the my and crossed my legs in half lotus pose, I began to center myself with the tranquility of the room. Micha brought her 2 new chihuahua pups with her that day, so that helped to bring a smile to my face. As we progressed through the class, I was amazed at how ready and fluid my body was as we through the various asanas. It felt like my body was craving for the expression through the body, and Micha’s magic was just the catalyst I needed.

When I was done with the class, I felt amazed at what I did in the class and went to thank Micha. I told her that my grandma passed, and somehow I just started bawling. How embarassing!!! 😛 I told her that in fact, I had been avoiding her Yin class because I know that my heart is still full of grief and I will just start to bawl in the class. 

As much as I like a release, I just don’t think I’m ready for it yet although everything seems to be back to normal for me on the outside. I am quite surprised that deep down under my consciousness, I am still yet to accept the passing of my grandma.

What is this? This is very unusual for me to be down for so long. I tanked my first take at teaching a pose in class yesterday, and my morale is a bit down, but I know that it’s stupid to be affected by something so minor. I was the one who decided to throw myself under the bus because I wanted the experience and feedback, because I’ve never taught any sort of physical workout before. It’s very different from sitting in front of the computer and generating lines and lines of instruction like I do at work. I admit that I did not practice my lines, given the madness of the weeks leading up to yesterday, plus I tried to be radical (maybe too creative??) with my instruction by asking the students to stand in Tadasana and lunge back and pivot the heel down to get into Warrior II. See how easy it is for me to just write the “keywords” of the instruction out here, but when I was up there, I was lost for words.

I told myself that I would accept everything, good and bad with open heart. Although, I should have known that I was emotionally fragile yesterday because I was tempted to just lie in a coccoon in the bed and skip class yesterday due of being depressed and stressed.

Anyway, it’s already Monday and I don’t know what’s bugging me. I am still trying to feel positive about yesterday’s failure. Right now I am feeling a little regretful about being a teacher because, I totally suck at it. I should just stick to writing stuff online. 😦