Mindful awareness

Friday, December 17, 2010

Creating Warmth

Ok, autumn is behind us and it is cold and dark now - really cold this week. It is difficult to get off the sofa to make my way to my yoga classes when my furry friends are piled on top of me keeping me warm. But once I get to my mat and class I warm up again quickly – from the inside.

I am not a fan of the “hot yoga” craze. The room temperatures are too warm to work my body hard and muscles aren’t required to generate as much energy. I prefer to practice in a comfortable-temperature room and build heat from the inside, finding my edge as I take expressions of asanas (poses) that will challenge me just as I need it on any one day. This week I’ve invited students to practice using large muscle groups of the thighs and abdomen. Using these muscles helps to increase blood supply to these areas as they require more energy to work harder. As large as the muscles of the thighs and abdomen are, there is potential to build lots of heat practicing standing asanas and asanas that rely on abdominal muscles like navasana (boat pose) and jumping through from adho mukha svanasana (down dog pose) to dandasana (staff pose).

But yoga practice is as much about community as it is about the physical practice. The students and I benefit at least as much by being in the room together as we do by finding our edge in different poses. The unity that yoga embodies comes from commitment to awareness and breath. That unity builds community and from community comes warmth and compassion. And warmth and compassion is what really matters. It all comes from within!

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