Taking My Yoga Off the Board
This morning I was one of eight students in an amazing yoga class…on the water. When I say on the water, I actually mean, on the water, well on a paddleboard on the water. Have you ever tried to sit or stand on one of those things? It’s quite unstable at first as I was barely able to sit without wobbling side to side, and they forget to tell you at the beginning that eventually you’ll be upside down with one foot in the air. The first time Leanne, our incredibly brilliant and shiny instructor, told us while we were in downward dog to put our feet together at the back of the board, I was like hmm right sure (I totally skipped that step and kept my wide base of support). As we went along though things seemed to balance out and even though a few people met the morning water whole bodied, for the most part, we managed to stay on our boards, with almost ease.
For the next hour, we moved through various postures staying connected as possible with our breath, while simultaneously concentrating very hard not to take an unexpected plunge. If you’ve ever taken a yoga class, you understand how, for pretty much the whole class, you just wait to hear the sweet words “Okay now find your version of savasana or final relaxation.” Big relaxing exhale Ahhh. As we laid flat on our backs, fingertips maybe in the water and the warm rays of the sun starting to touch the skin, Leanne inspired us to try taking our yoga practice off the board, off the water…into the world.
Well what does that mean? Honestly my first thought was I could start doing downward dogs in the grocery store parking lot… or maybe come into a balanced airplane while I use the photocopy machine at work. Then I realized she probably meant something a little different, something a little deeper. I started thinking about the movements we just completed, and how Leanne gently and gradually guided us through the poses always taking care to set a solid foundation & slowly rise up from the base, and allow the movement to come from our core. Whoa, now there is some magic there!
Set a solid foundation and slowly rise up from the base. The goal in yoga may be to rise up to a standing position, but if we take this idea off the water into our everyday life, I can think of my goal as anything I am working towards achieving or obtaining. Right now I am teaching myself to play the guitar, and I keep wanting to jump right in and learn songs, but I have no foundational skill set. I need to spend time setting my foundation, practicing scales & chords, and building up my calluses. During the yoga class it was quite evident how if we moved too quickly into a pose, we would take a nice refreshing dive into the water. Similar to if I just picked up the guitar and expected to be able play the perfect song. Instead I sound like someone auditioning for the kindergarten class band. Okay maybe not that bad 😉 The idea here being: to find balance and success, start with and set a solid, strong foundation before rising up.
Allow the movement to come from the core. Thanks to the incredible yoga education I’ve been getting from Ann Green and Bliss, I know that movements in yoga, are meant to always start from the core of your body. Movements initiated from the core is what allows for the best protection of the spine and alignment of the body. Often times when we do yoga and are guided through a pose, we think we have to lift the hand here, bring the foot out to the side, and we disconnect from the power of moving from the core of our being. To me, this is exactly the same as making decisions in our life that come from the core of who we really are. Take actions based on what you believe is true for you… honouring and trusting your deepest self. When we go through our yoga practice moving from our deep core line, we experience a more aligned, powerful and true practice. When we go through our life making decisions based on our core values and who we really are, we experience a reality full of alignment, ease and joy.
So whatever it might be for you right now, go get on your board, have some fun with it, build a solid foundation, move from the core and do remember its kinda fun to fall off the board and get wet sometimes! A BIG thank you to Leanne and Bliss for the Inspiration and sharing of Funtimes! The peace on the water was incredible, the connection with nature and with the other paddleboard adventurers was awesome…a perfect way honour and nourish the spirit.