This week, my friend and teacher at Nourish Yoga Studio, Nancy Burtenshaw, has been putting us through the paces with binds. Binds are those poses you think of when you think yogis and yoginis in seemingly impossible positions — various appendages wrapped around various other body parts. Meanwhile, while in these binds, we’ve been exploring the back body, which in yoga is said to connect us to community and the more universal (front body is more our own will and individual self. In Nia, the back body is said to get us in touch with that which is unknown or less known. In every way, the practice takes us right to edge. Lots of intensity and curiosity at that point — an amazing place to “play” this week.
Kudos to a new friend for letting me borrow the “yoga dudes” image at right from his site. Reminds me to say special thanks to all of the “yoga dudes” I have the honor to teach each week . . . You guys/men know who you are, and YOU ROCK!
A fantastically fun time playing together at Nia tonight! Notice the amazing color coordination of Erin, Nancy, Gail, Sue, Kristine, and Monique! We danced, laughed, kicked, and sweated our way through — total immersion in joy. BTW, this group can make an amazing array of animal noises — which we featured during our final song, when we played our way through every yoga pose with an animal name I could think of . . . “dead bug”/”happy baby” was a particular hit. They are also capable of some amazing cow noises. It was just like being back on the Zakarison farm, north of Pullman, where I grew up! Nice job, “Women In Nia” (“WIN”)!
During yoga and Nia yesterday, we were reflecting upon the way in which, when kids play, they become totally immersed in whatever it is they are doing . . . They live fully in the moment. My friend, Patricia, just sent me this photo of a group of women on Cannon Beach celebrating the 50th birthday of one of them. A good reminder that we can play at whatever age! In a world that often distracts us, we can bring “lila,” or play into our lives by fully saying “yes” to the moment we find ourselves in . . . Another way to take yoga off the mat, or dance out of the studio, and into life!
Last week, we spent some time in the wonderful world of back bends, using the concept of lila, the sanskrit word for “play.” Back bends open the heart as well as the spirit. It was an amazing week, watching people finding their ways into asanas like urdhva dhanurasana, or wheel pose, who never thought they’d be there! If you’ve ever been in a yoga class doing back bends, it also makes everyone quite giddy . . . the yoga of a good laugh is great for the spirit! As a teacher, it was amazing to watch the difference between the attempt to “effort” into something, versus lightening up a bit, letting it be playful, and seeing where that playful immersion will take us. Pure joy!