Welcome to Y.O.G.A. Community Connection #2. I hope that you are having a great Summer Solstice month. Of course, our beloved Sun Salutations, Surya Namaskar, fit into this month of practices beautifully. Surya means "sun" and Namaskar means "to show gratitude" or "bow to". Traditionally used in Hindu morning prayers, the sequences have evolved to become a key part of conditioning the body and preparing the mind, helping us to disconnect from the distractions of daily life and discover a more meditative state for our practice. Sun salutations sequences are designed to stretch, engage and invigorate the body while staying focused on our meditative breath.
It was also international Yoga Day this month and I took a moment to reflect on the impact that Yoga - teaching, practicing, and learning has had on me and my life. Yoga has offered a positive, safe and intimate platform for me to share practices and grow to be the person I am meant to be. It is intended to accept all who step on to a mat at every level, age, shape, fitness, and commitment and it supports individual practice. I feel honoured to share and to have shared practices with participants from my own neighbourhood and around the world. I learn every time that I step on the mat teaching, training or practicing. I am continuously inspired and grateful to all who have allowed me to share a Yoga practice with them.
Pose(s) of the month...no surprise - Sun Salutation
Repeat this traditional Hatha Yoga Sun Salutation as many times as you like, alternating the side that you step back on. Remember to move with your breath. You can slow it down and hold each pose for more than one full breath. You can also challenge yourself and maybe have a little fun by closing your eyes and connecting with your other senses. Enjoy your Sun Salutations as a warm - up, a wind down or just because they feel good. Let these poses warm up your body and illuminate your soul.
If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.
Sometimes when we begin a meditation practice, we have these expectations of illumination or big changes that will happen within ourselves. Now it is true that you may find more calmness and peace, or increased ability to focus with a continued practice but this doesn't always happen. The expectation sets us up to fail. We sometimes think that if we meditate, we have to be a certain way, act a certain way or speak a certain way. Meditation isn't about doing anything differently. It is about being ourselves. We see ourselves clearly, we may experience life in a different way. We are trying to simply be present in the moment. It is OK to not feel like you have to change!
My Meditation message for this Connection is:
Challenge yourself to a daily meditation practice understanding that all meditation doesn't have to be the same length or even at the same time. Allow yourself some time in silence this month. Now is the time to challenge yourself to fit it in.
Take the time, maybe once per week to notice yourself by journalling and answering the following questions:
How do I feel most of the time?
Is this different?
What do I notice?
Rather than expecting a huge change and feeling discouraged when you don't see it or realize it, take the time to notice the momentary shifts, and savor and celebrate those moments.
Retreat Update - Why Retreat?
We need to rest, relax, and change our environment. That may be it. But you also might want to dedicate retreat time to the rejuvenation of your body, your mind by integrating some additional activities like Yoga, Fitness, Meditation.
Sometimes we feel like we need a reset. Being your retreat, this is up to you. Your retreat is whatever you choose it to be for you at that time.
I have one room left in my upcoming November retreat in Manual Antonio, Costa Rica at the lovely Casa Tolteca. If you are interested, please send me a note.
Community Connection - SariKNOTSari sariKNOTsari is a female owned business that upcycles Indian Silk saris into clothing designed to support all types of Women's bodies. The products are ethically made in India by local artisans in a healthy work environment receiving fair wages. I ordered some product from them and it is so beautiful. I am EXCITED to share!