yoga journey – january – march

Brené Brown’s 10 Guideposts for Wholehearted Living inspire this ten week series. We cultivate a quality, and we let go of what is in the way of that quality being fully revealed in us. The 10 qualities are Authenticity, Self-Compassion, A resilient spirit, Gratitude & Joy, Intuition & Trusting Faith, Creativity, Play & Rest, Calm & Stillness, Meaningful work, Laughter

week 10:

Cultivating Laughter, Song, and Dance: Letting Go of Being Cool and “Always in Control”

Brene brown says, when we value being cool and in control over granting ourselves the freedom to unleash the passionate, heartfelt and soulful expressions of who we are, we betray ourselves. Not only that, when we don’t give ourselves permission to be free, we rarely tolerate that freedom in others. She says we often seek worthiness by slipping on the emotional and behavioural straightjacket of being in control and cool. Last week I had an incredible day trip to immense, wild and wide open South West wilderness and experienced a great example of cultivating this kind of lightness and freedom to be when a woman on our tour (who was probably in her mid 60’s), seeing a few of us in the water having dived or jumped off the front of the boat into dark tannin stained water and joyfully spinning and swimming, removed her clothes (having not brought a swimsuit) and jumped in to join us. She was so delighted, as we all were with her contagious laughter and joy. After the swim she proclaimed the day to be the best day ever. Being out of our usual environment, embraced by the immensity and wildness of nature it feels to me we are invited to unleash some of our own immensity and wildness, take some risks, to let go of being in control, and to feel that freedom that is potentially always there and that we can cultivate. In this session we focus on releasing the deep grip so many of us experience in the hip flexors through a range of supine, standing and seated poses. Enjoy.

week 9:

Cultivating Meaningful Work & Letting Go of Self‐Doubt and “Supposed To”

This guidepost brings to mind Parker Palmer’s idea of living on the Mobius strip. The image of the mobius is a circle, with a simple twist that means that Inner and outer are indistinguishable, they are in congruence with one another. Parker Palmer refers to the joining of soul and role. What I love about this form of yoga is that it is about bringing intention into action, about authenticity, acting in alignment (our own unique expression). In this practice we explore keeping the back body, kidney area, full and free in a range of poses … including taking flight from eagle pose into warrior III. Enjoy!

week 8:

Cultivating Calm and Stillness & Letting Go of Anxiety as a Lifestyle

Anxiety is part of life, it is a reality, but it need not be a lifestyle. Yoga is a way of moving into stillness and finding calm in the storms life brings. In this session with a focus on twists, we find our steady, unwavering centre, while maintaining a soft and steady gaze (drishti). Enjoy!

week 7:

Cultivating play and rest & letting go of exhaustion as a status symbol and productivity as self‐worth

Neither Play nor rest are typically seen as productive or purposeful … and yet they both are incredibly important for our wellbeing.
In this session we spend about half our time in movement, exploring the play of all the joints, nourishing, revitalising every part, flooding ourselves with prana, with breath. Then, we’ll spend the last half in deeply restful yoga, in supported poses. Enjoy!

week 6:

Cultivating creativity & letting go of comparison

Yoga is an amazingly creative endeavour. We are invited to explore and honour our uniqueness as an expression of Shakti, to be innovative from the inside out. In this all round practice we sprinkle in some balancing poses including tree pose, half moon and crow pose (bakasana). Enjoy!

An additional offering for you this week … a few mindfulness audio recordings (I have created these to share with UTAS Advanced Healthcare Leadership students) … there is a whole library of similar offerings in ‘supportive elements’ which you can add to your ‘courses’ should you wish … let me know what you think … and what you want more of … 

week 5:

Cultivating intuition and trusting faith & Letting go of the need for certainty

The brain likes to know what is going on by recognising patterns in the world. It likes to feel certain. When we are stressed and holding on to certainty we miss a whole world of knowing that is trustworthy. How then can we hold space for uncertainty and to open to a knowing that is not based on the mind and ‘logic’? Let’s practice, welcoming uncertainty, and the gifts of intuition and insight. This is a general practice, weaving in the principle of practicing with ‘soft eyes’ and adding some inversion play.

week 4:

Cultivating Gratitude and Joy & Letting Go of Scarcity and fear 

The Greek word for joy is chairo. Chairo was described by the ancient Greeks as the “good mood of the soul.” True joy comes from internal factors. They say its opposite of joy is not sadness, but fear. This session focusses on kidney and shoulder loops, cultivating both length and strength of the deep hip flexor, the psoas, Start with wall work, come to the floor for some core stability play, and progressively open your front body with various backbend options. Wind down with seated forward bending before rest. Enjoy.

week 3:

Cultivating a Resilient spirit & Letting go of numbing and powerlessness

Living in these times it seems to me we really need the capacity of resilience. Resilience is defined as “The ability of an individual to “bounce back” and adapt in response to adversity and stressful circumstances.” Yoga is a process of cultivating resilience as it invites us to be present, to find our centre, to notice the forgotten, bound, and help places in ourselves and to kindly move and breathe and soothe and release them. Tom Meyers says that for systemic resilience we need to explore whole body movement, every day. This practice has a focus on twists, lying down, sitting, and a standing pose flow, eagle to warrior III. Enjoy.

week 2:

Cultivating self‐compassion & Letting go of perfectionism and self-harassment

To overcome perfectionism, we need to be able to:1. acknowledge our vulnerabilities to the universal experiences of shame, judgment, and blame; 2. develop shame resilience; 3. and practice self-compassion.Dr Kristin Neff says self compassion has 3 elements:1. Self-kindness, not self judgement 2. Common humanity, not isolation 3. Mindfulness, not overidentifying. In this general practice we cultivate strength of connection the back of our hearts. Start standing, warm up by moving in and out of chair pose, sun salute variations, shoulder strengtheners and releases with the strap, weave in some front body openers, end on your back with bridge pose, a twist, and happy baby pose. Enjoy.

week 1:

Cultivating authenticity & Letting go of what other people think

“Authenticity is a collection of choices that we have to make every day. It’s about the choice to show up and be real. The choice to be honest. The choice to let our true selves be seen.” Brené Brown. These sessions begin lying down, with some core activation, shoulder release and strengthening, flowing into standing and supine backbends. Enjoy.