“The master gives himself up to whatever the moment brings.”-Lao-Tzu
We have all experienced being lost in thought when, at the same time, our surroundings are calling for our attention. For example, an alarm goes off and we snap out of our day dream and jump right back into the moment.
Eckhart Tolle writes beautifully in the Power of Now about the ego that lives within each of us and the stories that we tell ourselves. His recommendations and teachings encourage all to “flap their wings,” “let go of the of the story” and “return to the only place of power- the present moment.” Each of these actions is powerful in its own right but put them all together and you have a way into the now.
Explore: Wake Up!
To be in the now, it helps to have a dristi, a focal point to gaze upon when practicing. In the case of standing poses, the focal point is held strongly in the direction you are going. You can play with your gaze in different poses to see how you feel. In Warrior II the gaze is directed right along your front arm reaching forward. When practiced often this can be translated to active presence and truly seeing in any situation.
Virabhadrasana (veer-uh-buh-DRAHS-uh-nuh) – Warrior II
Virabhadra is a tall, dark and fierce deity depicted with a thousand arms, flaming hair and eyes, and wearing a garland of skulls. She represents patience (explored in Spiraling to Wellness Layer 1 “Patience”) and persistence, which we will explore in the next chapter. Practicing this pose helps to build strength, presence, stability and stamina in the body and the mind. Find your gaze, set your intention and ride the waves of your breath to find your flow in this most peaceful warrior pose.
• Strengthens and stretches the legs and ankles
• Stretches the groins, chest and lungs, shoulders
• Stimulates abdominal organs
• Increases stamina
• Relieves backaches, especially through second trimester of pregnancy
• Therapeutic for carpal tunnel syndrome, flat feet, infertility, osteoporosis, and sciatica
– Benefits (from yogajournal.com)
1. Start in Tadasana (Mountain Pose) and step your left foot back so your feet are about 3-4 feet apart. Front heel inline with the arch of the back foot.
2. Bend your right knee over your ankle keeping your right toes facing forward while keeping your back leg straight and left foot angled at 90 degrees. Draw your arms out and gaze over your right middle finger and left arm reaching back behind you, palms facing down.
3. Feel the strength and length you are creating in your legs, arms and torso.
4. To release, inhale as you press down through your back foot and straighten your front leg. Lower your arms. Turn to the left, reversing the position of your feet, and repeat for the same length of time on the opposite side.
• Make it a flow – inhale, straighten your front leg and take arms overhead, exhale, bend the front knee and release the arms back out
• Less of a bend of the knee in the front leg
• Hands to hips
• If you have difficulty supporting yourself in this pose, position a chair outside your left leg, with the front edge of the chair seat facing you. As you bend the left knee to come into the pose, slide the front edge of the seat under your left thigh (taller students may need to build up the height of the chair seat with a thickly folded blanket). Repeat with the right leg bent.
Take a Cooking Class
For the past ten years, I have been working with a company called Simple Again, traveling around the country to help set up juice bars and offer nutritional trainings. I loved my job so much that when I started my own cafe (next to the yoga studio) I knew I needed to find a way to fit in both. It was a juggling act but trips like the one I am about to describe make the whole thing so worth it.
When I travel, I love to spend time with the businesses owners and find out what we can learn from each other. And when my work is done at the juice bar, I look for what I can learn about the town I am in.
While in Atlanta, refreshing a juice bar, I found a French inn right near the airport. I was flying out the next day early and so I wanted to be close to get a good night’s sleep, something that rarely happens on my work trips. This inn happened to offer french cooking classes, so I took them up on it and requested to make a breakfast. When I arrived, I was greeted by the owner and my chef and teacher for the evening, Eileen, along with her dog Mack. We got started right away. We first prepared the potatoes, then the quiche and then the creme brulee French toast. I learned so much and thought about how I could incorporate these ideas into the cafe and future expansions. We enjoyed the meal together and I was satisfied in every way imaginable. I think mostly because she demanded my presence at every moment as is necessary when preparing a meal. As I was flying home I felt so happy to have been there in each moment savoring every insight and bite- ooh la la!
So go ahead, book a cooking class by region, meal or maybe even a specific sensitivity such as gluten-free and/or vegan…whatever excites you. The sky’s the limit in what we can learn here in this moment and the next, and so on and so on.
+ Spiraling Tools
Playlist: NS Presence