Today, my yoga practice was off mat and on the sand at Salisbury Beach.
As I put my toes in the sand and went through my practice, I learned a few things…
Those tiny grains of sand, always shifting and moving, are also grounding and supportive. Just as sand holds the beach umbrella in place, sinking a foot into the sand helps with standing balance. Lifting and spreading the toes and then lifting the heal, leads to finding a solid foundation to stand.
Sand provides resistance. It builds strength and engages the core as hands and feet push and pull through the sand in the transitions of the practice.
Sand makes a great prop, like a block, but better, because it is so easily adjustable and movable.
In forward folds the sand can be piled to a height to assist with tight hamstrings and a neutral spine. Sand can be gripped in downward facing dog. In pigeon, sand can be used to elevate the hips; and there is no better place to work towards splits.
The next time you are at the beach, I encourage you to engage with the sand. Sit in it, stand it, move in it, interact with it, play with it. Try a pose. On the towel, or off. Take the opportunity to experience yoga off mat, with the sand below, the sky above and the ocean in sight.
Let go of your expectation of what the practice should be.
I hope you are all well, staying safe and taking care of that deep spring cleaning and projects that have been pushed aside.
Coffee, Then Yoga FB group is going well.
I’m adjusting to teaching to a class that I can’t see or interact with. The format is challenging when I make a mistake, or something does not go as smoothly as it should, but it provides many lessons: the lesson in letting go of perfection; the lesson in patience, when my right and left cues get mixed up (my right is actually my left in the video); the lesson in letting go of competition as I am aware of the many professional videos out there; and lastly, the lesson in staying in the moment- even if it feels uncomfortable!
Meghan has been teaching yoga via zoom to raise money to those financially affected by the pandemic. I donated and took a class last week, and will do so again this week. I like the flow of the sequencing and the detail of her cueing. If you are interested, she announces on her IG account meghancurrieyoga.
Anatomy and Alignment
I recently took an Anatomy and Alignment class through YogaFit. Great content of the muscle and bone structures of the body in relation to the physical aspect of the practice. Originally to be held in Pittsfield, MA, the two day class was held via zoom in the comfort of home.
MyPenAndPost, Etsy Shop
The Drawing A Day Postcards hold an official place in MyPenAndPost Etsy shop. I hope to offer note cards and original work as time goes on.
The days are challenging, but there is always something to be thankful for.
Our senses combined with a breath that is slow, steady and full, allow us to enjoy a moment.
Often found in simple things: the warmth of the sun, the sound of rain, the sip of coffee, the smell of bread baking, the sight of the ocean or a starry night.
Look, listen, feel, taste and breathe.
Enjoy the moment.
My house has taken on the additional role of yoga studio where yogis are invited into my kitchen, not for coffee or wine, but for FB live classes as we strive to keep a familiar routine to our days.
Our homes have become daycare centers, schools, gyms and offices all under one roof.
As for that place to unwind and relax? We may need to find it elsewhere… like getting outside for a walk, or carving out a space in the kitchen for the yoga mat.
Coffee or wine, optional.
When we practice yoga, there is talk about being present in the moment, on the mat and off. I have had some interesting off the mat moments this past January that have kept me fully present.
The first was a trip to MASS MoCA, located in North Adams, MA. It is a contemporary art museum housed in converted factory buildings. Rooms, spacious with high ceilings are filled with natural light as well as views of the landscape.
Combine that with art, often quite large in scale, highly imaginative and often interactive. Curiosity takes over and there is no choice but to become immersed in the space and fall into the moment as you explore the museum room by room.
The second was a trip to see a friend. It has taken me many years to commit to this. Life has been busy, and there always seemed to be a reason why the time wasn’t right.
I visited Charleston, SC and found the city to be colorful and charming. Seeing new sights and enjoying new foods with an old friend, one can’t help but be in the moment.
The third was bringing back a family tradition. Taking time to honor and remember the past, to begin again and carry on with new variations and twists. Traditions bridge the past to the present moment. They remind us of what was then and what is now.
If there is something you’ve always wanted to do, consider this your nudge. Life is short and time goes by quickly.
Enjoy every moment.
The days are getting shorter and darker and busier and brighter as we begin to prepare for the upcoming holidays. Yoga and meditiation can help to keep one organized, efficient and focused. They allow time to relax, renew and focus on what’s most important.
For me it’s also a time for taking continuing education classes. Yoga Props is coming up at the end of the month and I look forward to offering new modifications for my students.
And, it’s a time for the seasonal art challenges of Inktober and Free Art as they become part of October and November in addition to the yearly challenge of a Drawing a Day. These challenges and others can be seen here- Art Video.
Enjoy every moment.
The world is a beautiful place when we look in the right direction.
But we need to not only find the beauty in the world, but also in our hearts. For when we shine, someone else sees the world as a beautiful place,
…and it goes around and has a wonderful impact.
I attended a Meditation and Mindfulness class at the Manchester YMCA, offered by YogaFit, and taught by Aimee Marshall.
The class focused on transformational meditation, (which incorporates mantras and chakras); the benefits of meditation, and different types of postures and practices that can be utilized.
Shavasana is about as close to meditation I have come to. Having tried meditation in the past with little success, I was pleased to learn there are several ways to meditate. Meditation can be alone, or in a group; led with guidance, or without. Meditation can be auditory, visual or somatic. And much like yoga practices, meditation is individual to each practitioner. What works for one, may not for another. There was a lot more flexibility to it than I realized, and through the class, as we tried many different meditations, I found what worked with me.
The practices of yoga and meditation bring awareness to our being; taking a look at how things are, evaluating how we feel, then having the option to change and work towards a healthier state of well-being physically, mentally and emotionally. At ease, calm, content and present are words that come to mind that are reflective of potential results.
The parallels between yoga and meditation continue with, be patient with yourself, let go of expectations, judgement and competition. Do what’s right for you, stay in the moment; and they both offer time to be without, or unaffected by, external distractions.
At the end of class, it was recommended we practice meditation before we begin to teach it. Along with the others, I begin a journey into meditation and mindfulness with a daily practice, starting off with a few minutes per day.
Don’t hesitate, meditate.
During the summer season,
shavasana is frequently seen in a hammock or on a beach towel.
Take a moment just to be.
Image from Pinterest
With the sand below and the sky above, we’ll be having yoga class this Sunday, 6/23 at Salisbury Beach, 8AM.
The sand will challenge balance and strength, hearts will open and lift towards the unlimited sky and nature will provide the sounds of the surf and gulls.
Savasana will be a natural close to the practice with refreshments and fresh fruit afterwards.
Beach Yoga is a Boston Sports Club, Salisbury sponsored event, open to the public and free. All are welcome!
What to bring: beach towel, water and sunscreen
From Beach Road, take right on Cable and left on Ocean. Class is to the right of the boardwalk decking.
Kiosk parking available.
If weather is questionable, call Boston Sports Club at 978-462-5662 by 7AM.
If class is cancelled, yoga will be held at 9:30 in the studio as usual.
This class takes the place of the 9:30AM studio class for this week only.
Namaste at the beach!