As a child I did gymnastics and recall the happiness I found in moving my body into various positions. Balancing and stretching, inverting, tumbling and focusing. Twenty years later, I was fortunate to find yoga due to my new friend who was known to be an extraordinary yoga teacher. She invited me to join her beginner class. I recall fondly my very first practise with her and the joy I felt moving back into my body to feel every muscle. Breathing and feeling blessed. I was in tears of thankfulness during her led savasana (final relaxation) her soft accent nudged me further into comfort and reminded me to let go and just be. The chanting of om* while sitting cross-legged, eyes closed, the walls of the room humming with our combined voices, then my palms together, nodding, peace.
My yoga sequence is organic in nature, unconventional. It works for me as I concentrate on doing my favourite postures which reveal themselves to me as I practise. This is just an example of one of my practices which is almost always oriented to inversions (head lower than heart). What to do on the mat comes with practise, like anything else. Start by taking a few classes then take action. Start slowly and build. Stand in mountain. Tree. Sit in easy-seat. Kneel in hero. Roll. Even a ten minute practise is something. It will come. As another fabulous teacher used to say to me: Any amount. Any amount.
I come to the mat on my knees, creases of ankles flat to mat, glutes on heels, hero pose, virasana, prayer hands, breathing. Tuck toes under and sit on heels, breath. Hands flat to mat, all fours alternating cat and cow back arches with inhales and deep rounds with exhales then into down-ward facing dog, up dog, down dog then one leg kicks up and over my back for three-legged dog, switch legs. From there to easy seat, sukhasana, with one leg in front then the other. Then butterfly seat. Five breaths. Knees together hands under bent knees, round spine rolling back on spine from tailbone to neck. Five rolls which massage spine. Hands on mat behind me, feet to mat into reverse table, I alternate lifting and lowering hips until triceps zing. Flip over. Prone on elbows for plank for 25 breaths or more. Cobra. Plank for a few breaths. Cobra. Flipping over and lying on my back, corpse pose, savasana. Breathe. Pointed toes now flexed now pointed, raise straight legs up and over my head. Plow, halasana. Five deep breaths. Knees rest just above face. Then bent knees rest gently on forehead. Thankful. Ankles and toes symmetrical. Grasp large toes, straddle legs over head, round spine, rock to seated vee toe-hold on sits bones, ubhaya padangusthasana. Legs together, roll to back for 60 elbow-to-opposite-knee crunches. Hands to small of back, elbows on floor roll back and up into shoulder stand, sarvangasana, toes pointed in air, glutes tight. Split legs, arch back and reach with one leg to mat then other leg comes down arch into bridge, setu bandashana. Bend one knee and push off the mat with other foot back up into shoulder stand and again. Roll down. Taking a foot in each hand, Happy baby. Rocking side to side bringing first the side of one ankle to the floor the over to the other ankle. Focus is at my feet thanking them for each journey they allow. Bring feet flat to the mat, edges of each foot to each edge of mat, back on mat. Bend elbows to place hands under each shoulder to take full wheel, urdva dhanurasana, three times, five breaths each. Flipping over into crow, kakasana, slowly bending elbows lowering my crown to the mat into headstand, sirsana, 15 breaths, pressing into hands and with focus lifting back into crow. Feet spread on edges of mat deep squat with prayer hands, malasana. Hands on mat. Bring feet in front of each hand. Wrap legs around arms drop seat into arm balance with ankles hooked, bhujapidasana. Move mat to wall. Forearm stand, pincha mayurasana, at the wall. Child, balasana. Handstand, adho mukha vrksasana, at the wall. Forward fold into sun salutations, surya namaskar. Grateful. Blessed. Savasana. Namaste.
*Om is a sound thought to be the original sound of the Universe. Om is chanted to promote relaxation and focus. Om, pronounced ah-uu-mm is considered an unlimited or eternal sound. It is a deep humming sound made while expelling breath.
Photo courtesy of currieyogagraphy.ca Thank you!