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Grandmama Zen: yoga
Grandmama Zen is a series meant to raise the vibration of a lonesome grandmother as well as others who feel sad, depressed, directionless.
Some days my persona funk has nothing to do with being lonesome. It has to do with something deeper, even systemic. It is as if a tape of past experiences is playing inside my head that I cannot switch off. Have you had this experience?
Today I wondered whether I had churned up something from my past by means of my daily frenzied dancing practice. Maybe I could release it.
Forcing myself towards hope, I popped in a yoga DVD and sat on my mat, hardly believing such an activity could possibly make a difference. What was the point? I was sitting inside a rock slide, boulders all around me. My shoulders hung, my energy dragged.
Yoga had never failed to lift me into a higher state of being, though today was beginning to worry me. Aha! Another thing to worry about! What if yoga failed me?
Have you ever kicked a boulder or two before discovering that your weighty issue was an opportunity to break out into some new existence?
There are times when watching a gloomy movie fulfills my random need to wallow in sludge. But today was not that day. I was beyond that sort of surface satisfaction. I could not rationalize feeling as miserable as I did without at least giving yoga and frenzied dance a chance.
How does yoga work?
For those of you requiring a scientific explanation, Medicine Net offers a very detailed one. Evidently there is some evidence that practicing yoga lowers blood pressure, decreases stress as any exercise will, and lowers glucose levels, aiding diabetics. Indications are that it helps with asthma and carpal tunnel, balance and flexibility.
During a yoga class, participants focus on breathing in and breathing out. Breathing in and breathing out brings them into present time and helps connect the mind, the body and the spirit.
Each type of yoga helps in unique ways:
- I began with Iyengar yoga, which introduced me to poses and tuned me into balance and strength. I practiced the same routines over and over for 3-4 years before moving on to Astanga yoga. How could I stay with the same DVD, you might ask? Every morning I literally heard something new on this tape.
- I can say the same for the Astanga yoga tape I practiced over 2 years. I chose this form because I wanted to link poses without pausing as much as required in Iyengar, once my body/mind had the poses figured out. But teacher Richard Freeman had his foot way over my head as far as balance, so after a few years, I skipped the advanced portion of the tape and moved on to Kundalini.
- Kundalini introduced me to a new form of breathing, almost like panting. I have worked with this DVD for over 13 years and it has changed my perspective. It is a very intuitive yoga and, in my case, resulted in an unexpected Kundalini Awakening.
Many people experience yoga as a practice leading to increased spiritual awareness. This has yet to be proven scientifically, but a practitioner at MedicineNet will admit, "controlled breathing helps me focus on muscles that are working, and during savasana, it slows down my heart rate, calms my mind, and leads to a deep, inner calm and sense of relaxation."
Where the Yoga Practices I studied began
BKS Iyengar began Iyengar yoga in this place.
Ashtanga Yoga is the name given to a set of practices compiled by the sage Patañjali between 200 BCE to 250 CE. He may have been from Bharata.
The current form of Astanga was established by Sri Krishna Pattabhi Jois (Guruji) in 1948.
Yogi Bhajan came to the United States in 1969 and founded the 3HO nonprofit that same year, combining 8 limbs of yoga. It is considered a layman yoga
Today was difficult
One day all is well
One day naught is well
One day practice
One day practice
Breath in Mountain. Breath out Strength. Thich Nhat Hahn
Releases through yoga practice
Yoga has a way of releasing toxins as well as emotions.
Practitioner Allison Gamble writes, "The poses that are best suited to releasing toxins from the body are the twisting poses, which can bring many health benefits to the internal organs, the circulatory system, the musculoskeletal system, as well as psychological benefits that improve mood and mental health.
"Twisting poses work simply to provide all these benefits. When the practitioner twists her body, her organs become compressed. This compression forces blood that contains toxins and other harmful by-products to be expelled. When the twist is released, fresh, new, clean blood flows in, promoting healing and health."
Yoga also releases blockages in the subtle body caused by unresolved issues and stuck energy.
"Anytime you work with the body, you are also working with the mind and the energy system—which is the bridge between body and mind," Joan Shivarpita Harrigan explains. "And since that means working with emotions, emotional breakthroughs can be seen as markers of progress on the road to personal and spiritual growth."
Good to know!
I have been doing an ever-lengthening spat of shaking/dancing on a daily basis, by myself, avoiding curious eyes. This practice is yoga based and combines twisting with an intense movement of energy.
My disintegration into tears today came after three days of trapped energy seemed to work its way up both sides of my body, beginning in the pelvis and abdomen on day two, slipping up into the latissimus dorsi yesterday and sliding in along my heart area today.
For a brief moment, I worried that I would have a heart attack. But, I figured what was actually happening was movement of an energy blockage, not plaque in my blood stream. I went deeper into dance and yoga positions, and began to sob.
Tomorrow is another day, but I did feel an immediate sense of release. As if the rock slide had cleared and I was free to continue on my journey.
Finding Center. Finding Balance.
I have had an emotional experience during yoga.
© 2013 Barbara