breath of fire

  • 5 Ways to Let Go

    releasing expectation

    If there’s one thing yoga has drilled into me time and time again it is this: Release expectation. People and situations will disappoint you. Some individuals will get off on seeing you wounded, flailing, or failing. These people will be strangers, mentors, and sometimes, they will even be those with whom you've deeply entrusted your friendship. It doesn’t matter. In the larger scheme of things, it’s not really about these people. Let them do as they will. Let them think what they wish. If you really know yourself, you have all the tools you need to take these punches and to freakin’ take them with grace. And after you take the heat, all you can do is let it go. Then, you put up a fight for the things in life that truly matter. You do you and you do it well. And you never, EVER let them see you sweat (off the mat, of course).

    Yes, this is easier said than done.

    Yes, this takes practice.

    Yes, this requires you choose to perceive this all as ultimately positive.

    How do you do that? What can you do to rebound from disappointment or pain? What can you do when people dish out these emotional punches or stings? How do you avoid letting your anger intervene? How do you confront the situation with grace? How do you let it go?

    1. Breathe. First and foremost, breathe. Practice pranayama. Breath of Fire is a powerful tool to expel overwhelming thoughts and any underlying anxieties you are feeling.
    2. Consider this a message. The universe, whether you realize it or not, is incredibly intelligent. If you have up to this point led with integrity and done your best to bring positive, clean energy into all of your experiences, the universe is most likely looking out for you here. Maybe this unfortunate event is simply a door closing to open a new one. Instead of mourning this loss, consider the new opportunities that are now awake. What will this situation open up for you?
    3. Control your reaction. This, at the end of the day, is the only thing you can count on: Your reaction in the face of a problem. Choose a reaction that you won’t look back on and regret. Choose the higher path. Choose rationality, calm, and discretion. Choose wisely in the emotions you reveal. Choose to view this “bad” situation as a "good" one in disguise. Choose to dwell in possibility, not negativity.
    4. Concentrate on your most important relationship: The one you have with yourself. This should be your priority. Observe how you are responding in the face of these punches. How are these stimuli influencing you? Watch yourself. Be an observer on your thoughts, feelings, emotions, and actions. All of this will create space between you and whatever is going on. A good way to take this watchfulness approach is to meditate. Meditation reveals all of the garbage. Gradually, it allows you to empty out the mental trash and rid yourself of things that are an incredible waste of your energy and space.
    5. Forgive. Don’t give this person or situation any more power over you than they are worth. Forgiveness is powerful because it releases the toxic energy that you share with this person or situation. Holding onto anger and other feelings and emotions will just add flame to the fire. It gives this person or thing great power over you and your thoughts whether you recognize it or not. Forgive it to free it.

    Letting s**t go is tough, yet it is well within your power. You have the power to allow what will and will not get to you. You have the power to open new doors. You have the power to view bad situations as opportunities. Don’t let the bad and the ugly saturate your experience and detract from all of the good. Because the bad and the ugly happen for a reason. If you can stop obsessing over it and consider it all a blessing in disguise, you will be in a place of security and strength. You will come out on top and that much stronger.

    Let it go. Let it all go.

    ~Tess

  • 5 Practices to Get Movin' & Groovin'

    warrior II

    Moving sloth-like? Stuck in a slump? Rebounding from sickness? Sounds like you could use a heavy dose of energizing yoga.

    Find liberation from stagnation and lethargy by taking yourself to the mat. And when you get there, bring it on. And by it, I mean an invigorating flow. I know your mental body is tricking you into a slower-paced, restorative-esque yoga at home experience. Don’t be persuaded by these slippery, sneaky thoughts. Sometimes what you need is the opposite of what you want. If your desire is to get pumped and overcome a state of “blah,” you need a yoga booster...not a yoga sedative.

    Battle and beat the blah-ness in the following online yoga videos.

    1. 30 Minute Pick Me Up! with Joan Hyman

    This fun moving online yoga flow will start off with breath of fire to get the Shakti surging. Stretch out your hip flexors and move into Ustrasana (camel pose) to boost your energy and receptivity!

    2. Invigorating Morning Flow with Ashley Turner

    This is the ideal online yoga class for energizing, detoxing, and building mental focus. Begin with a luxurious opening sequence of two invigorating kriyas to wake up the physical and pranic bodies and flush out any stagnation or lethargy. Then, dive into a strong, comprehensive standing sequence of twisting and balancing poses to wring out every corner of the body. End feeling energized, clear, and awake. (92 mins.)

    3. Ten-Minute Tune Up with Taj Paxton

    I know you’re busy, but I’m sure you can manage to set aside 10 minutes. In this short online yoga class, use powerful breath work, core exercises, and long, deep stretches to awaken and energize.

    Pre-practice, join Pete Guinosso for a brief pranayama practice:

    4. Using Your Breath to Energize Your Practice

    The breath connects the mind, body and spirit. Pranayama (breath/energy movement) is a powerful tool for working the nervous system in your yoga and in your life. Learn how to use breath in this online yoga practice to energize your nervous system and, therefore, you. Explore the advanced practice of getting the breath to reach different parts of your body. Energy flows to where your awareness and breath goes. (7 mins.)

    5. Kundalini Practice to Fortify the Body's Stress Defenses with Maya Fiennes

    In this online Kundalini yoga class, musician and yoga teacher Maya Fiennes combines her talents to create a stunningly beautiful Kundalini practice focused on fortifying the body's stress defenses. Maya uses movement, breath, mantra, and chants all set to her own exhilarating music to awaken the spirit, energize the body, and relax the mind. These sequences are designed to detoxify and strengthen kidneys and adrenals, the body's first line of defense against stress-induced illness. Among the easiest styles of yoga to learn, Kundalini can produce dramatic results quickly. You will feel more awake and aware, healthier, and better able to face everyday challenges. Enjoy live music from Matthew Moon (www.matthewmoon.com). (88 mins.)

    Get moving, yogis.

    ~Tess

    Photo Credit: Warrior II via www.aliveinthefire.com

  • 10 Ways to Yoga Through Injury

    Injuries suck. I’m dealing with one currently and I’m not gonna lie - I was dealing with it poorly. At first, I allowed it to blow up into a big, fat catastrophe. Initially, I felt pretty damn sorry for myself and incredibly frustrated that I couldn’t hit the mat in the way that I wanted to. After some self-defeating days of pouting, I realized that I was becoming a negative Nancy. No one likes a negative Nancy. So, I said to my self: Self, get over it. Self, stop being a bum. Self, you got this. 

    Virabhadrasana I

    If you have an injury, I know it sucks, but it’s no excuse to enter negative Nancy mode like I did. So please, do yourself a favor and rebound quickly from the “poor me” attitude. You got this. If you need some help and inspiration to get over it, read on for tips to avoid morphing into a post-injury bum.

    1. Meditate. Come on. You know it’s good for you. Now that your physical body is temporarily relenting, this just may be the perfect opportunity to sit and be still. Maybe the idea of meditation – of stillness – freaks you out. Guess what? That’s normal. The only way to get over it is to actually meditate and work through the freak-outs. Start now. Check out some of our guided online meditation classes.
    2. Breathe. When the universe deals me some crappy cards, I find that there’s one super effective way to get over what I’ve been handed. Enter Breath of Fire. I know I shouldn’t have favorites and that I shouldn’t be super attached to any particular thing, but I most certainly am addicted to this form of pranayama. First, it’s killer core training. Second, it’s a sweet release. This forceful, powerful breath allows you to let go of the thinking mind and expel all the garbage that comes along with it. You may also release some nasal garbage. It’s cool. Let that go, too.
    3. Do what you can. Don’t entirely give up on the physical practice of yoga if you don’t have to. My current injury is neck related, so I’ve taken this opportunity to really focus on standing balances and stabilizing core work. It’s also given me the opportunity to create sequences that those with neck worries and injuries could handle. See...this is an opportunity in disguise! The universe is sneaky.
    4. Restore. Whip out the restorative party favors. Grab your blankets, blocks, and bolsters and go to town with some restorative yoga at home. But wait. Don’t stop with the restoration process post Namaste. Don’t step off your mat and enter bum mode. Keep feeding your body healing, pure foods, hydrating, and engaging in mentally stimulating and renewing activities.
    5. Surrender. Consider this minor setback a cosmic wake-up call. The universe is telling you to slow down. Listen up and surrender to this cosmic cautioning. You’ve now been warned.
    6. Release excuses. It’s easy to just throw in the towel and say, “To hell with all of this.” It’s easy to slump into your couch, numb the brain with crappy TV, and pig out on ice cream and beer. It’s easy to let an injury totally break you down in brain, body, and spirit. Don’t let it. Commit to a positive healing process. Being hurt isn’t an excuse to totally let yourself go. If you do, you’ll only make it worse.
    7. Stay positive. Don’t let this injury distract you too much. Handle it. Be mindful of it. But don’t let it consume you. This is NOT a catastrophe. This is NOT the end of the world. Consider this obstacle an opportunity to train the mind and body in new, unexplored ways.
    8. Affirm your healing. Write down some self-supporting affirmations to promote healing and keep your vibe high. Recite them daily. Examples: This too shall pass. All is temporary. Obstacles are opportunities…You get the idea.
    9. Recite mantra. Chanting is an awesome way to release tension, anxiety, and all the chatter of the thinking mind. Sing out loud to free your self-pitying, woe-is-me blues. Create elevating, positives vibes.
    10. Remember: Warriors get hurt. They get knocked down. They get roughed up. But then, they get back up. They brush off the crap and keep forging ahead. Getting knocked down and roughed up doesn’t make you any less of a warrior. Just don’t stay down. Get back up. Brush off the crap. This is the stuff of life that makes you strong, yogis.

    ~Tess

    Photo Credit: Warrior I via www.thatsmyyoga.tumblr.com

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