Monday, July 23, 2012

The Dancing Shiva Sequence

Kate has created this one for all of the advanced Yogis to test their strength, balance, and good humor. In fact, all the joints are strengthened by this sequence and it is a rigorous workout for all the muscles. Have a good time with it.

Beginners: Dancing Shiva, when taken with a light heart and from an experiential viewpoint, is a challenging and fun practice to attempt. Don't push the poses. Take baby steps with the more challenging postures. If you enjoy them, return to them over and over! The Earth-Rain breath body link pulls grounding energy from the earth while showering the mind and body with positive energy flow. Elbows seal as you lift your hands on the inhale. Drop shoulders and release tension on the exhale breath. Keep your weight balanced on both elgs and feel grounded in your feet through the link.

Advanced: Dancing Shiva is an empowering practice for the advanced yogi. It will test your strength, balance and sense of humor. This is a great workout for all the muscles. Enjoy the sequence and it will teach you as much about your spirit as it will your physique! The link is Earth-Rain. Focus on creating energy in the palms of the hands and as the forearms and elbows connect on the inhale lift. Drop the chin and left from the head as your arms rain down on the exhalation. Feel grounded in your feet and tuck your tailbone gently under.

And may the peace of the Lord be always with you.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Why Do I Choose to Veil?

Earlier this year, during Lent, I took on the discipline of veiling or wearing a headcovering of some sort full-time from Ash Wednesday until Easter Sunday. It was a practice that evoked many questions from my friends and peers, and I think it brought an awareness that did not previously exist. When one of the priests from my church asked me how my Lenten discipline was going, I responded that it did not bring me as much joy as I was expecting. I think, though, that it had less to do with the spiritual aspect of veiling and more to do with the practical, everyday stuff... like keeping my veil in place on a windy day or not passing out from heat stroke when it was unseasonably warm for about two weeks or chickening out at the airport when I went to visit my mother-in-law for spring break. These were all key reasons why I didn't love my full-time  veiling discipline for Lent, but that doesn't mean I wouldn't do it again. In fact, maybe they are reasons why I absolutely should try it again for Lent next year.

In any case, Lent has long since passed and I am living life uncovered.. which is a good thing since there is no sign of this heat wave ending any time soon. However, I have chosen to continue veiling when I go to church. Instead of the long and flowy scarves I used during Lent, I have opted instead to wear a lightweight and lacy chapel veil. So far, no one at church has said much to me about it except to compliment me on how pretty my veil is. The question of WHY that I've been dreading for the past few weeks has yet to come up and I'm beginning to expect that maybe it never will. Episcopalians are far too polite for that. However, the fact remains that I cannot properly verbalize just why I feel like I should wear a veil at all. To be perfectly honest, I can't verbalize it because I don't know. I don't have a reason. It just feels like something I should do.

While browsing the retail website where I purchased my veil (I'm toying with the idea of getting another one), I happened upon this article explaining the rationale for why Christian women of all denominations should veil during worship. It made reference to the same pieces of Scripture that I had read at least a dozen times during Lent, but it presented a slightly different (or may just easier to understand) perspective about veiling that I really enjoyed. So I'm going to share it with you here in the hope that it will finally put into words what I have been unable to.

Monday, July 16, 2012

The Dove Sequence

"Although the arm balance may pose a challenge, the fun is giving it a try. This flow of movements uses balances, twists and side bends to tone the waistline and increase flexibility in the back and hips. All levels with care." Kate Potter

Beginner: Have fun with the challenges presented by this sequence. You will find familiarity in some poses, and will explore how to approach them when they are changed. Bring your confidence, observe the results of your efforts, then let it all go! The Sun Moon breath body link will call you to take control of your oppositional forces - strength in the legs and feet as you stretch your arms and spine. Be mindful of your alignment on the inhale - tuck your tailbone under and focus on pulling your belly and chest up. On the exhale, contract your belly and use the strength of your arms to bring the calm energy of the moon back to you.

Advanced: Explore balance, arm strength and overall upper body flexibility in this sequence. Focus on expressing each pose fully, being aware of the nuances that increase the benefits of each position. Confidence and a playful approach will make it a lot more fun! upon exhalation in the sun-moon breath body link, feel the earth energy rising through you, lifting with the bandhas. On the inhale, stretch your arms and upper body outward and up as the lower body reaches down

And may the peace of the Lord be always with you.

Monday, July 9, 2012

The Lord of the Fishes Sequence

"This sequence starts standing and moves to the floor to take us through the variations of Sage Post and the Sitting Head to Knee. The spine, the shoulders, and the hips are all deeply stretched. Caution to beginners. This is an intermediate/advanced practice." Kate Potter

Beginner: Lord of the Fishes is a challenging sequence. It is designed to teach you to "go with the flow," so bare that in mind as you attempt the postures. It doesn't matter how far you go into each posture, just breathe, and be comfortable and enjoy! The breath body link is Lotus Link. Stretch arms overhead and cross the wrists on the inhale. Arms descend on the exhald and the elbows bend as the wrists and hands begin to open. Keep your shoulders low and body aligned as you move through the link.

Advanced: Lord of the Fishes is invigorating and inspiring. Focus on expressing each pose fully. Use the deepening movements to check your alignment. Lift and open through the torso to keep the breath full. The Lotus Link will draw your attention to your hands, their grace, strength, and fluidity. As you are comfortable with the timing of your breath, focus on using the energy from your center to lift the arms and provide graceful support to the hands as they express the unfurling of the lotus flower.


And may the peace of the Lord be always with you.