Yoga is more about touching your heart than touching your toes.
Hello! I am at a 100 Hour Yoga Immersion in Vancouver, BC, with my husband, Bob Speck, friend and fellow yogini Melanie Morse, and her 17-year-old son Zach Morse. Zach has decided to stay on for an additional 100 hours to earn his 200 Hour yoga teacher certification. How cool is that? He’ll be home just in time to begin his senior year at BBA.
Can you find Bob, Melanie and Zach, and me in this photo of our fun loving group of yogis?
In addition to stimulating conversations about yoga philosophy, the importance of community and relationship, appreciation for nature, and sustainability, we are learning lots about posture alignment. “Alignment means using the muscles and soft tissues to align the bones to minimize the wear and tear of gravity on the joints in the most relaxed way possible,” says our immersion teacher, Eoin Finn. Sounds good, yes?
Patanjali, the father of contemporary yoga, wrote “sthira sukham asanam” in the definitive Yoga Sutras. The translation is that yoga asana (posture) must be steady and comfortable. Yoga teachers often prompt students to find the place between the hard and the soft, the balance between steadiness of effort and ease, in every pose. Proper alignment facilitates this process.
Below is a photo of Bob moving my sitting bones back by gently pressing his feet against my shins in Baddha Konasana (bound angle pose.) At the same time, he is gently extending my arms away from my sitting bones, lengthening my back. It feels great!!!
Vancouver is a beautiful, walkable city. We haven’t been in a motorized vehicle since we arrived last Thursday. Tree lined streets climb above the ocean inlet, lined with beaches, the Olympic Village, parks, walking paths, and apartment buildings. It seems everyone is biking or running somewhere with a yoga mat strapped to their back. The North Shore Mountains southernmost peaks are visible from most of Vancouver and form a breathtaking backdrop for the city.
Between our 10 hours of daily practice and study, we are enjoying beautiful walks along the water, Thai, Indian, and a variety of delicious vegetarian meals. We played as we watched the supermoon rise large in the night sky. See Zach below in Bakasana (crow pose.)
I’m enjoying being a student, practicing and studying. I am also looking forward to returning home on the 19th. I practice non-attachment, a state many spiritual philosophies define as the path to relieve suffering and attain peace. However, I am keenly aware of my attachment to my “empty-nest” pup, Emma, back home in Vermont, and to the yoga studio and community, I love dearly, and miss very much. Yoga, after all, is about paying attention. Awareness dilutes the veil of darkness caused by attachment. I’m witnessing my attachment and breathing through it, living and breathing each moment here in Vancouver, with joy and love.
Show up on your mat. Be present during your day. Before you go to bed at night, name five things you are grateful for. Hug someone you love. Take a walk in the woods. Be kind to a stranger. Treat yourself with loving-kindness. Spread kindness and love to your family, friends, community, and the world beyond.
Be ready for some hugs and some fabulous yoga. See you next week!
Jo Kirsch © 2014