1.1 With humility (an open heart and mind) we embrace the sacred study of yoga.

The Yoga Sutras – Pulling it all together

During class this week, I shared with you the first sutra of the Yoga Sutras. This first sutra is a wonderful way to begin this month of opening our heart.  Many of you asked for the name of the book I read from, which I’ll share with you below.  But first, I would like to give you more information on the Sutras and why they are so important to our yoga practice and to living life at our fullest.

The Sutras are a compilation of elements from older yogic texts (like the Vedas, the Upanishads, Buddha’s teachings, and the Bhagavad Gita) which when put together have created a comprehensive system for life.  There are 196 nuggets of wisdom in the Sutras which are easy to read as they may only be a sentence or two long.  But to really grasp these wisdom bites, spend time contemplating each and every sutra and then putting them into practice.  Nischala’s book shares anecdotes for each sutra(s) as well as ways to put the sutra into practice.  One part of the Yoga Sutras are the 8 Limbs.  We are very familiar with asana and possibly pranayama from our yoga classes but these are just two of the eight limbs.  Jennie Lee’s book will guide you through those 8 Limbs of yoga planting the seeds along the way for joyful living.

I feel that the sutras can be practiced anywhere, your car, your mat or even talking on the phone with your insurance company.  They are intuitive, practical and make a lot of sense.  In fact, some may call them common sense on how to live your life.  One sutra may really resonate with you and that becomes your daily inspiration.  Write it down, place it on your fridge, repeat it during meditation.  It is yours and what you do with it, is up to you.

Joy, Joy, Joy

*I highly recommend both books.
Sutra References
The Secret Power of Yoga by Nischala Joy Devi  www.abundantwellbeing.com

True Yoga – Practicing with the Yoga Sutras by Jennie Lee www.jennieleeyogatherapy.com

The Poses
Heart Opener (Minimal Prop)

Props: blanket folded
Benefits: supports breathing, stretching the chest and shoulders, releases low back, can provide energy for someone lethargic

Fold a blanket over so that it is comfortable under the bra line. Shoulders should be rolling onto the floor. Arms can stretch out to the sides, palms up or come into goddess arms, as shown. Support under wrists and behind cervical spine.

Reclined Twist Pose

Props: bolster, 2-4 blocks, 4 blankets, neck roll, eye pillow

Extras: blanket for warmth
Benefits: Allows breath to come in to the rib cage and belly more freely. Detoxifying. Can reduce high blood pressure. Relieves fatigue and insomnia.  Safe for a Prenatal twist.
This can be a very prop intensive pose but once you are in it, it is worth it.  Begin with right side of body, place the bottom of your right foot against the wall with leg extended. Left leg is bent at a 90 deg. angle and propped up with two blocks and a bolster with maybe a blanket on top. at least two blankets, S-fold blankets, and/or pillows placed along spine for support, lengthwise.  Extend your left arm out to the left side and lay it on a smaller stack of blankets either s-fold or triple-fold out to your side.  Right arm extends out to the right.  This means the left arm is at a higher elevation than right. Head can remain neutral to ceiling or turn to one side.   Extra blankets can be placed in spaces that need more support.  Neck roll for cervical spine and eye pillow.
*we are digging placing the arms in Goddess pose (not pictured) so try that one out as well. Place blanket support under arms. 

Nesting Pose

Props: blankets, bolster

Benefits; Nurturing, sense of security, well-supported pose to regulate the nervous system, good for when you are feeling anxious, keeps body in alignment, supportive for the spine, hips, shoulders, head.  Allows for optimal healing and sleeping position. nurturing, sense of security, optimal for sleeping

Create a big enough folded blanket to place between the knees to align the legs in Tadasana. Add a folded blanket to rest your top arm on. Recline on a side that is comfortable, resting your head on a blanket. A neck roll can go under the ankles for support.  Bolster can rest along spine for further support and grounding. Finally, cover yourself with a blanket from head to toes.  Sink down with each long exhalation.  Mantra to accompany pose “I am safe, I am supported”.