A Wish for the Skeptics
By Laura Mills
This past weekend my husband swam in another meet. He’s been swimming his whole life—club team, high school, college, and now Masters. He’s also been running and core strengthening to help balance his training and keep him all-over fit. But he only recently began practicing yoga.
I’ve met many people skeptical about yoga as a complement to an exercise program. Most commonly, they cite the fact that yoga’s “not active enough” or “not really a workout” as the reason they’re just not interested. And I’ve found it’s nearly impossible to convince a non-believer of yoga’s benefits if that non-believer doesn’t at first see beyond stationary pretzel poses and chanted “Ohms.”
With regards to swimming, my husband—who started out as a curious half-believer—says yoga’s greatest help has been in enabling him to calm himself before a race, to better control rapid breathing into something that serves, and to guide him into a focused mindset for the mental and physical efforts ahead. But he also now understands that yoga’s benefits reach far beyond the starting block. Stronger shoulders, hips and ankles; greater flexibility; higher confidence…with time, little by little the effects of his yoga practice have positively revealed themselves in the nuances of his other activities.
My hope is that at least some of the non-believers out there will glimpse yoga’s positive effects in others. And whether or not that encourages them to venture a little further into the practice, they might at least embrace the process of opening their minds, the first step in ANY program that leads us closer to where we want to be.
YOGA LITE THIS WEEK MAR 15-21
Dear Yogis Hey I know a lot of you are getting ready for Spring Break, that's cool. So I thought I'd try an experiment this week and really focus on what I call Yoga Lite.
As you know for lots of years I've taught ALL 8 limbs of the philosophical "8 Limbed Path of Yoga" whereby I'd contexualize the yogic philosophy as part of our moving meditation with unique and clever sequencing of poses each class. Hey I know the spiritual stuff is not for everyone and bringing the full spectrum of the practice might be more than what you're looking for. Although we might enjoy a "gourmet" feast every now and again maybe there are times we just want sloppy joes and mac & cheese.
So this week I will not have any philosophy in the classes I teach and instead let's just focus on a SUPER GREAT WORKOUT to get you ready for Spring Break or Springtime in general. If you've been away from the practice because you just want stronger abs, more toned arms, weight loss but not the philosophy then come back and at least try it again (without all that spiritualization). Join me to get some exercise and just think of me as your personal trainer for a week of Yoga Lite!
Thank you for giving us another go I really appreciate it. Kindest regards, Silvia
SUPER SWEATY SHOULDER LOOP
March 14, 2010: Our physical focus was the shoulders today. We applied the principles of alignment and concentrated on Shoulder Loop energy using a variety of techniques like unplugging and plugging in which we performed in a variety of poses. I hope you enjoyed the sweaty fun and that it provided a great work out for you. Peaceful blessings, Silvia
SHOULDER LOOP: One of the seven energy loops within the body. This loop originates in the upper palate and flows backward to the base of the skull and down the back of the body to the bottom of the shoulder blades. When you engage Shoulder Loop, the head moves back slightly and the shoulder blades move down the back. At the bottom of the shoulder blades, the loop begins arcing forward and upward as it draws the bottom tips of the shoulder blades in and upward, toward the heart. The loop continues forward and up to the palate again as it lifts the chest and opens the throat.
The Universal Principles of Alignment
OPENING TO GRACE Having the intention to place oneself—body, mind, and heart—in alignment with the flow of supreme consciousness. This involves approaching asana practice with an attitude of softhearted devotion.
MUSCULAR ENERGY A drawing of energy from the periphery of the body into the Focal Point (see below), which increases stability, strength, and physical integration in the pose.
INNER SPIRAL An ever-expanding energy spiral that moves outward from the core; it runs from the feet up through the pelvis into the waistline area. Inner Spiral rotates the legs inward, moves the thighs backward, and widens the thighs and pelvis.
OUTER SPIRAL An ever-narrowing spiral that moves inward toward the core; it runs from the waistline area down through the tailbone and out through the legs and feet. Outer Spiral rotates the legs outward, moves the tailbone and thighs forward, and draws the pelvis and thighs closer together.
ORGANIC ENERGY An outward extension of energy from the Focal Point through the core lines of the body to the body's periphery, which increases expansion, flexibility, and freedom in the pose.