TENACIOUS D-etermination

Tenacity is the practice of persistent determination as we move towards fulfilling our intentions.  Once we choose a specific goal,  we must cultivate the patience and stamina to get up when we fall or refocus when we lose our way.
When exploring the virtue of tenacity, I struggled to find much in-depth writing from the yogic perspective.  The following quote is sourced from my original inspiration to work through the practice of the 18 Ities – Happinez magazine.  It reminds me of the importance of returning to my intentions.  When things get tough for me, when I feel myself grasping and clinging on for dear life – if I return to my intention ALL IS WELL.

Perseverance.  Life is a spiritual search and this search is not a straight, vertical line, it’s a winding road.  Dark patches, mountain roads, side-paths, crossroads where choices have to be made, getting lost, stumbling, getting back up again.  These aspects are all part of it.  This is where we learn to be tenacious.  What was the objective?  If we bear this in mind, we won’t easily let go.  Don’t be discouraged if something fails.  But more importantly: don’t be discouraged if you sometimes fail.  Hold on to who you are as well as who you want to be.

~ Happinez Magazine


#TheItyProject

 

Open Your Legs and Hips With This Mini Flow To Go. . .

Legs & Hip Opening Sequence
Anjaneyasana, Ardha Hanumanasana, Prasarita Padottanasana, & Parsvottanasana

This week, my pal Ellie Bernstein and I are hosting a little Instagram challenge #GetYourHanumanOn as we prepare to travel to Boulder for my favorite yoga festival, Hanuman Festival!   Hanumanasana, or squared hip splits is a big posture that can be very challenging!  This asana necessarily requires patient opening of the hips, hamstrings as well as the quadriceps.  It encourages us to cultivate a burning desire to work towards a long-term goal of a pose that may never show up in our bodies.  It demands that we check our ego at the door, so we can avoid pushing too far, too fast.   Working towards Hanumanasana just might help us open the back line of fascia that often tightens causing problems up the back chain of our bodies.  It could help open our hip flexors that tighten due to our desk jobs and sedetary lifestyles.  Finally, it teaches us that if we have faith in the work, reaching the asana will simply be icing on the cake.

The above sequence can be done anywhere, anytime.  Once in Parsvottanasana, you can step back into Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Facing Dog) or forward into Uttanasana (forward fold).  It can even be added onto your Sun Salutations to make a mini flow!

Have Faith.                        Do The Work.                      Keep Practicing.

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And We Have Lift Off. . . Finding Flight in Mayurasana: Peacock Pose!

Mayurasana-SEY

 

Finding a sense of balance often means tapping into our deeper selves and beginning to move from our true center. Few poses in our asana practice illustrate this idea better than Mayurasana, Peacock Pose.

Initially, Mayurasana seems like a feat of impossible strength, after all, we are essentially creating a flying plank pose with just our hands and arms as the foundation. It only takes a couple of attempts though to realize it is much more.  This pose requires patience, perseverance, an ability to soften, a willingness to fall, and a sense of humor.

As with most things in life, if we try to muscle our way in, use brut strength and push ourselves too far – we wind up flat on our faces! Mayurasana teaches us to soften our bellies so we might access our deeper core muscles, and to leverage our upper and lower bodies against gravity using finess rather than force.

Once we transfer our focus to our true center, energy can radiate differently. In addition to the balance we learn to strike between strength and grace, Mayurasana shifts the attention of our breath from the front line of our bodies to the back lines. We are suddenly very aware that the compression of our upper arms into our bellies and diaphragm, requires us to shift our breaths focus to the back sides of our lungs. We learn that we are capable of expanding the backs of our rib cages and can tap into using the full capacity of our lungs.

 

What needs to be open? 

Shoulders, wrist and mind!

What needs to be strengthened or active? 

Legs, glutes, arms, deeper core muscles, sense of humor!

Some Helpful Prep poses:

Plank, Chaturanga – mid pushup,  shoulder openers ie Eagle – Garudasana, wrist openers, Firefly – Titibasana, Rabbit – Sasangasana, Double Wind Removing Pose – Pavanamuktasana

Variations:

Hamsasana – Dove Pose : fingers pointing forward

Padma Mayurasana – Peacock Pose with Lotus Legs

Uttana Padma Mayurasana – Intense Stretch Lotus Peacock Pose: essentially shoulder stand with lotus legs

Pincha Mayurasana – Forearm Stand


Let’s Play:

1. come to hands and knees

2. reverse fingers so they point towards knees

3. open wrists by finding subtle movement back and forth

4. bend elbows and work to the soft part of the belly below the navel

5. relax the superficial belly muscles and soften them around the bent elbows (elbows will slide off against overly engaged abdominal muscles and can cause more discomfort)

6. option to press the big toes together as leverage and tilt forward (knees may still be down)

Mayurasana Variation2-SEY

or

7. lengthen legs out into a plank pose (toes still on ground)

Mayurasana Mid Plank Prep

8. stay here and breathe

or

9. continue to tilt into upper body, activating leg and glute muscles, breathing steadily, try to work weight forward until toes leave the earth (play with placing forehead on the ground and finding a teeter-totter effect, this can help find your center of gravity)

Mayurasana-SEY

10. another option is to enter through low lunge (as you might when flowing postures) – in low lunge, reverse the wrists and bend the elbows toward belly, activate both legs engaging inner thigh muscles and pelvic floor, lean into elbows and step the forward leg back – this controlled momentum can help move the energy forward (similar to entering Koundinyasana or Hurdlers Pose from a 3-legged Down Dog in a flow)

Mayurasana Lunge Prep

Cultivate your sense of play!  Remember to have patience!