So it is summer. Sweet, sweet, HOT summer. We have been on bikes a lot the past couple of months – thought I would do a little post series on poses to support your summer sports habits, namely mine: touring around on two wheels.
Which brings me to one of my favorite (and most often used/recommended) poses: Viparita Karani OR Legs up the wall pose. It is a beautifully restorative pose – and I find, can give me a shift in perspective like a traditional inversion (i.e: after long day at work/frustrating project/overwhelming week). Another wonderful benefit is that it can be done anywhere – and oftentimes, is done other places besides your yoga mat. On your bed, outside against a tree, living room, airport.
A couple of basic instructions to get yourself into the pose:
- Sit with the side of your body against wall. Slowly roll onto back (using arm/elbow for support), and swing your legs up the wall. The closer your seat is to the wall the more open the backs of your legs need to be – so be aware that you can back away a bit so that the legs are at an angle and heels are resting on wall. Once you find your position – arms out to the side of your torso, palms face up and BREATHE.
- It is sometimes wonderful to use some type of prop or support under your low back, but is not necessary. If you want to try it: a couple of towels rolled up, yoga bolster, blanket roll is placed to SUPPORT the natural curve in your low back. Make sure the roll is AT your lower back curve and NOT on the flat part of your sacrum/tailbone area. A little hand towel rolled up can be place behind the neck to support the curve there as well.
- Nice icing on top: use a strap tightened around the thighs allows the legs to relax more. Sand bag (or something heavier) on the tops of the feet will root your thighs and feel amazing. Eye pillow over the lids – complete heaven.
So try it out – after your ride. OR maybe after a taxing day or when the to-do list is looming in order to shift your state a bit and zoom out to the bigger picture.
Let me know how it goes!
We were in Milwaukee over the long weekend. Visiting old friends, connecting as new ones. It was quite lovely and made us feel like we were on VACATION. Imagine that. Couple of thoughts that have been simmering since:
1) Creative projects abound! Seeing a new space – expertly curated, has completely stoked my creative fire once again. Already on the hunt for some scrap wood for new coffee table and seeing multiple projects out of my fabric stash downstairs. Also – check out my girl Ghazal’s blog – Home Again. She is a budding interior design prowess, all around beauty, and a supreme hostess. love.
2) Cocktails?! Mmmmmmmmmm. Ok, I will admit – I am most definitely a novice in this department. A typical weekend evening consists of my sipping of a couple glasses of wine, good conversation, and then snugging into bed. Nothing wrong with that – but after an outing to Bryant’s with Ghazal and Travis – which felt like some kind of dream, I am re-thinking summer evening entertainment.
3) Good good conversation. Loving being reconnected. Funny how an old friend can be such a catalyst to seeing your path clearly once again. AND a new one can present this gift as well. Thank you friends for a great couple of days. Hope you can visit St. Paul soon where you will be greeted with farmer’s market trips, good meals, trips to the river, night bike-rides and pizza farms. :)
And – our only photographic proof of the weekend. Pretty much sums it up. Look at those ROSY cheeks. heehee.
Why this weekend rocks (and it is not even over yet)//and also why I love the midwest (part two):
1. Making new jewels.
2. New seedlings have sprouted. also cat grass is thriving (we shall see if cats actually like said cat grass).
3. 1st nighttime summer ride (although it is only mid-march!). Wonderful on one level, concerning on another.
5. Open mic nights hosted in friends basement – DAMN we have some talented & kind folks around here.
6. We have pup Daisy dogg for a couple of days. Trip planned to adventure-style dog park today.
7. Our spoiled cats. We let them lick our plates while sitting on our laps. See pic. ?!?! Yah. I know.
How sweet (& difficult at times) just to allow ourselves to settle. That we are truly vessels – that the lesson is to invite our entire being to be filled by experience/relationships/loves/hardship. Rather than to fight against or ahead of the current.
This poem illustrated that PERFECTLY for me today. So much so – that rather than continuing to bang my head against a wall of a project…… I am going to take a walk in the sunshine.
I make lists all. year. long. Weekly to-dos, dream big lists, project lists, grocery lists, gift lists, inspiration lists. I usually have 2 to 3 journal/class ideas/quote collections going all at the same time. As my husband can attest – I have a small obsession with 1) shoes, 2) bags, and 3) blank books for my lists. So when it comes time to shore up my 2012 resolutions – I really take it as a time to collate some things rather than starting from square one. With that said, the list above was a really quick exercise, mainly just from my own stream of consciousness. To be completely honest, I had some time to kill – so opened up my journal and, you know, whipped out my 2012 resolutions. Dear lord – do I need help?
Seriously though – this list making is really part of something larger, I believe. And something essential in any spiritual practice – in my case, my yoga. Creating a list of words/thoughts is one way to examine more closely how we are interacting and/or reacting in your world. Said another way to another person – journaling. Granted, I realize that a grocery list is well, a grocery list – or is it? Our words reflect our thoughts in any particular moment, and our thoughts are simultaneously holding our history and writing our future. List-making and/or journaling becomes a processing mechanism – a tool in which to see our thoughts/patterns from a more objective position. And this is huge – this is how we make grand life shifts and this is how we create our goals, hold ourselves accountable and get shit done.
With that said – go put some words down. Any form. Any length. Start the ball rolling.
Such a sweet retreat of a weekend. Doesn’t take much: date with my sister, trip to the woods, good meals. Slowing down around here and enjoying time un-planned.
In full nesting mode around here lately – lots of knitting, candles, good meals. Homemade-ness, good phone calls, thinking a lot about the people that I love. Something about these dark days — the perfect setting for cultivating a sense of home not only in my physical surroundings – but also in my body, thoughts, relationships.
We speak about this concept in a yoga practice quite a bit. That the whole point of your thighs burning in chair pose, or standing on your head, or breathing into your belly, or sitting with your thoughts is to begin to cultivate a practice that brings you home. Home being the sense of your highest self, the feeling when you see a newborn babe and parent, or when you are reunited with your bestest best. It zooms us out a little – and unites us with the wonderful, mystical world that is going on in every minute of every day.
It is what saves us as well. Personally – amongst all of the love and sweetness of this season, there has certainly been news of worlds being turned upside down. That was truly the inspiration for this post – for the moments that are so unbearable, knowing someone in much pain or uncertainty. That is why I practice. So that when I am at that place, whether my own news or another’s, I can invite myself home. And from that place take the action, conversation, pause needed.
Hope this makes sense – if not – make a comment! I would love to flush it out a bit more.
Wishes for the sweetest of this dark season – may you find the light! Much love.
Some pictures of home…