Monday, July 29, 2019

Let Your Body Mold Like Clay

Rishikesh, India

    If you think of your physical body as clay from the earth, then it is easy to mold your container into any shape. The asanas find their origin from the different animals that roam the earth. The intention is to invite your body to take the shape of the pose intuitively, without forcing the shape, but rather letting it unfold with grace.

    In the poem Sleeping in the Forest by Mary Oliver, she eloquently describes the sounds and sensations of the earth. She captures the pure essence of nature and completely embodies it into every aspect of her being. Read the words of her poem and notice how you feel.

Sleeping in the Forest

I thought the earth remembered me, she took me back so tenderly, arranging her dark skirts, her pockets full of lichens and seeds.

I slept as never before, a stone on the river bed, nothing between me and the white fire of the stars but my thoughts, and they floated light as moths among the branches of the perfect trees. All night I heard the small kingdoms breathing around me, the insects, and the birds who do their work in the darkness.

All night I rose and fell, as if in the water, grappling with a luminous doom. By morning I had vanished at least a dozen times into something better.




     The next time you roll out your yoga mat, take notice of your hands and feet, how they move into and out of the poses, and how they touch the earth. Notice how your body assumes the shape of the pose like clay being molded by an artist. You are the artist, the earth your palette, and your body the clay. Remove the layers you need to and add space where it feels squished. This is the practice, this is the journey, and you are the explorer. Explore!

Om!
Mary Jane Feng Shui Yoga Girl - www.fengyoganj.com


Monday, July 22, 2019

A Perfect Structure


     It's pretty amazing if you think about the human body. It really is an awesome structure. The skin, muscles, tendons, fascia, ligaments, bone, and fluid that circulates through the system is truly incredible. The bones in the body connect and attach in various ways allowing the body to move, balance, pivot, and bend. It really is a unique design when you stop and pay attention to the different shapes and attachments. The ability to lift an arm or leg, to turn and twist, or sit and stand. Take time to notice the marvelous ways the structure of your body is able to move. The human body is a thing of beauty!

Om!
Mary Jane - Feng Shui Yoga Girl - www.fengshuiyoganj.com

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Standing Head to Knee Pose - Dandayamana

Island Park, Long Island


  There are four distinct phases to standing head to knee pose. The key is to focusing on each step at a time. 

Phases:

Phase 1: You can interlock all ten fingers and pick one foot up in your hands while using all your strength to lock the knee of the standing leg. Since this is a static pose, it is safe and even beneficial to lock the knee of the standing leg

Phase 2:  Extend your leg forward until it is exactly parallel to the ground. The secret here to a straight leg is to flex your foot so your toes are pointing towards your face.

Phase 3: The legs don't change at all. You simply bend your elbows downwards and hug them in so they are touching the calf muscle. 

Phase 4: In this phase, the chin tucks into the chest and you bring your forehead to touch your knee. You'll notice in the photo of me, I am looking down as oppose to tucking my chin completely inward. I purposely did not tuck my chin for the photo as a reminder to concentrate looking downwards first before going for the full tuck. With several people waiting to take a photo on the "Big Chair" at Pops, I had to move fast.

     Head to knee pose is extremely beneficial for concentration, will power and confidence. It also strengthens the tissues surrounding the knee joint, strengthens the abdominal muscles, and improves flexibility for the sciatic nerve. 

Tips:

  •  Master one phase at a time before progressing to final stage
  • Keep stomach in. The abdominals contain a great source of power to assist in this pose.
  • To lock the knee of the standing leg simply contract the thigh muscle.
  • When you kick the leg forward, use your heel and flex your toes back towards your face.
  • Keep equal distribution of weight across the foot of the standing leg.
  • When  you start moving towards the final phase, send your gaze downward towards the floor first, then slowly navigate to tucking chin inward.
     Take your time moving through the phases. Patience is your best friend for this pose!

Om!
Mary Jane
Feng Shui Yoga Girl - www.fengshuiyoganj.com





Monday, July 15, 2019

Stages of the Human Journey



     In the Hindu thought there are four stages in the human journey. The first stage is the desire for pleasure. This is directly associated with the trigram of Dui and the second chakra Svadhistana. It is natural to seek pleasure whether it is a vacation, attending a party, or simply enjoying a savory meal.

     The second stage is the desire for success. This stage is deeply embedded in family roots, material objects, goals, relationships, connections and career. Essentially, it spans many trigrams on the feng shui map (Zhen, Xun, Li, Kun, Qian and Kan). Success has strong ties with the root (Muladhara), and the seat of your will (Manipura) chakra.

     The third is the desire for community. The relationships you form makes all the difference on the path to enlightenment.  In yoga, the reference to a community is called "Sangha." Connecting with like-minded people is helpful on your spiritual journey. Part of the spiritual process is to also learn how to work with those who do not share your beliefs. Albeit more challenging, it is an important part of the process.

     The fourth stage is the desire for liberation. This is tied to the trigram Gen - inner knowledge through meditation, and the refined chakras (Anahata, Visshuddha, Agna, and Sahasrara). This stage takes a great deal of perseverance and discipline.

     This progression is at one linear and nonlinear, they can correspond to different moments in your life. The practice of yoga is about getting unstuck - and our society is currently stuck in a search for success. Where are you? Are you desiring success or for something greater a spiritual connection - a sense of community?

     To move forward into the next stage of the human journey, you must break with the past. This is not a small thing as your need to succeed is tied into the expectation of families, gender, class and society.

     Letting go of this all can be difficult like the death of one self and the birth of another. We all get stuck somewhere along the path. Eventually you find you have no choice but to let go and move on.

Om,
Mary Jane - feng shui yoga girl - www.fengshuiyoganj.com

Monday, July 8, 2019

What Are You Grateful For?

Rishikesh, India


What re you grateful for? No doubt there are days when things aren't working right. You can either focus on the chaos or turn your energy towards those things you are grateful for. An attitude of gratitude is extremely powerful. The more you give thanks for what you have the more the universe provides for you.

Albert Einstein, the great scientist who changed the way we view time, space and gravity was well aware of recognizing his blessings. He made sure he said "Thank you" hundreds of times each day. He thanked his teachers, mentors and all those who contributed to his great works. As a result he became one of the greatest scientists who has ever lived.

Giving thanks every day is a powerful way to be consciously aware of your thoughts, words and actions. Make a habit to feel the feelings of gratitude and watch the floodgates of abundance open into your life.

Om!
Mary Jane

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Tree Pose & Food Elements for July 2019!

Long Beach, LI

Vrikshasana: 

Vriksha means "tree" in Sanskrit. The tree pose is a standing balance on one leg. The foot of the lifted leg is placed on the inner thigh of the standing leg, and both hands are held above the head. The legs represent the roots of the tree, buried underground, and the trunk of the tree begins at the trunk of the body, growing all the way up through the spine and the arms, which are the branches.

The Yogi Tree: Since ancient times, yogis have made the forest their favorite place for practice. The trees were their home, providing them with shelter and food in the form of fruits and nuts. In a broader sense, the forest refers to the world, the whole of creation, and we are a part of it.

The tree pose offers an opportunity to meditate on a tree's qualities. The tree is tolerant. It gives shade to even those who come to cut it down. The true yogi gives the fruits of spiritual wisdom as generously as trees offer flowers, fruits, wood and shade. Trees dedicate their lives to the welfare of others. This pose imbues the body, mind, and breath with the qualities of generosity, strength and balance. These are also the qualities of the 6 Metal Qian trigram that arises in the month of July. 

Include tree pose in your practice this month and contemplate the qualities it offers to us all.

See my Yoga Schedule Here!
 




This month prepare foods that invoke the elements of earth, metal and water. This will carry the flow from summer heat to cooling water chi. Some ideas include:

  • Fennel, sweet potato, beans, mushrooms, avocado, onions turnips, rice, shallots, radishes, ginger, fish, eggplant, sea vegetables, cabbage and variation of seeds.
*Since fire, earth and metal are in a trine this month, also consider practicing yin yoga poses that will open these meridians. Here a few suggestions:

Sphinx, Seal, Fish, Quarter Dog, Child's, Seated Forward Fold, Dragonfly, Dragon, and Saddle Pose. Get the chi flowing and fuel these systems with proper foods, thoughts and movement!

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