Adventures in Yoga – Out of the Darkness

winter_solstice

I went to winter solstice celebration. Honoring the longest night of the year would not have been top of my list unless honoring  means going to bed earlier then, I stand corrected.

Winter is my least favorite season. The short, cold wet days make me wonder how and why I have stayed on the East Coast for so long (note to self-check Zillow after this post). Even the word darkness brings up more sinister memories of depression and struggle. So when my friend Kathleen Kraft emailed me to go to a local studio and celebrate the solstice I reluctantly agreed.

There would be wine after so, there was that.

Jokes aside, I was looking forward to taking a class with one of her favorite teachers and the idea of chanting and meditation sounded cozy.

You would think that by now I would stop being surprised by yoga. You would think that I should have guessed that I was going to be in for a life changing experience simply by virtue of the fact that I was hesitant to attend because of my own crap.

You would think that.

Think again.

The asana practice was freaking brilliant- but the words wrapped around the class are what melted my cold, dark heart.

Kevin Lamb guided us through a series of heart openers and binds that with my eyes closed let me look inside without fear or judgement.

Plants grow up and out of the darkness. We come into this world from darkness.

Moving from Cresent Lunge to Vira II let my hips drop and open. Rooting through my feet I grew more grounded and my legs gave me support so I could lift my ribs and lengthen my spine. More still…He had us take our hands behind our back, palms squeezed shut bowing down, taking a bind. (I don’t usually bind with my arms outstretched) It was glorious.

In side angle bind I felt like a plant rooting down and rising up into the warm glow of the studio. Out of the darkness and into the light.

Just when you think you have it all figured out- you discover even more. This is yoga.

Namaste y’all.

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Adventures in Yoga- Get on the Good Foot

yoga toes

It’s all about the feet.

The plantar fascia is a long, thin ligament that lies beneath the skin on the bottom of the foot. It connects the heel to the front of your foot, and also supports the arch of your foot.

Strong feet make for strong poses, which builds the foundation for a strong practice. A strong stance works in concert with the breath which ultimately (in this humble yogini’s opinion) cultivates peace.

Last Friday with Daba, we worked on our feet. I love classes like this. A few months ago I talked about finger splits.  Finger splits changed my practice especially my downward dog. I want everyone to have hands like platypuses. Though incorrect, I like the sound of platypi better.

Hands flat and fingers wide like platypi. It sounds plain old silly when you say platypuses. 

Sorry, I digress.

Let’s jump back. After a vigorous standing series in the heat we spent time working on our toes. By standing on a block with the toes on and heel off, I was able to work on the big toe and the calf muscle. With my heel level as if I was standing on the floor I moved into vriksasana.

After we removed the block and did the posture on the ground. I swear I felt roots spring from the sole of my foot.

I also dug doing toe squats. You can feel the fascia stretch. It’s intense but wonderful. My feet felt fantastic the next morning, especially now that I’m getting older. The older I get the more my feet hurt in the morning. Ugh.

Toe squats are a part of my morning routine now. Foot pain be gone!

This is yoga. Haaaaiiiiiiy! Get on the good foot.

Namaste y’all.