Looking for softness and ease…an intention for the New Year.

denise balyoz yoga windsorHappy 2015! This year has a wonderful ring to it, doesn’t it? And…I have a such a good feeling about this year! I can’t wait to see what comes.

In the meantime, as the days being their tumble into January, I will be approaching my yoga practice (and my life) with the intention of ease.

Working hard, for me, is not a problem. Profound effort does not scare me. But as Patanjali says, the physical practice of yoga should be a combination of effort or steadiness (sthira) and ease or joy (sukham).

When the postures are difficult, can we remain soft? Can we remain connected to our breath? Can we pull back….just a little…and listen, really listen to what it is our body is saying to us?

And in life, when things get hard…when we are tired, or challenged…can we stay connected to ourselves? When we meet resistance, can we stay grounded? And even in the midst of sadness, can we find moments of joy?

In 2015, this is my practice. At least, part of it….

What is yours?

effort-and-relaxation

Swing Yoga

Denise flying high.Today, I’d like to talk about yoga. As some of you know, I teach Hatha yoga with a focus on vinyasa flow, but my personal practice is Ashtanga.

In Ashtanga yoga, the poses and their order are the same. Every time. Every movement is linked with the breath and every breath is counted. At least…this is the goal.

And while this might sound boring to those of you who like creative and different classes, I have found that this breath-link and the asana repetition have massive benefits for both my body and my mind. The only thing that changes in my practice is me….and thus my practice becomes a meditative experience – something that doesn’t happen if I take a class or follow a video.

Last week, when I arrived for my class (I take private classess to finesse my technique and work deeply and specifically with the needs of my body.) my teacher suggested that I try Swing yoga in the garden. I hesitated for just a moment. But the sun was shining. The birds were singing. Yoga outside? Yes please!

I loved it. Especially the meditation at the end…The sounds of nature were around me. The breeze was blowing gently. I felt like a marsupial in a pouch rocking ever so slightly.  Relaxing? Oh yes.

I’m back to my indoor evening Ashtanga practice. I love the consistency. But every now and then, I might just change things up with the swing.

Garden swing yoga with a twist to it... Denise in Warrior 3