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No Fooling…It’s Time To Kiss My Asana! April 1, 2018

Posted by ajoyfulpractice in 31-Day Challenge, Abhyasa, Books, Changing Perspectives, Dharma, Donate, Faith, Fitness, Healing Stories, Hope, Karma Yoga, Meditation, Minneapolis, Minnesota, Music, One Hoop, Peace, Poetry, Twin Cities, Volunteer, Wisdom, Writing, Yoga.
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I dwell in Possibility –

A fairer House than Prose –

– Emily Dickinson

When Emily Dickinson wrote, “I dwell in Possibility – / A fairer House than Prose” she used capital P’s to juxtapose possibility and prose. (Yes, she capitalizes house as well, but we’ll get to that in a moment.) Her Possibility was Poetry; it allowed her to move beyond the confines of her physical house, as well as beyond the limits of her physical body and mind. Poetry allowed her to move beyond her reclusive, mundane, commonplace, and (dare I say it…), prosaic life. It took her deeper.

Every April, I ask my classes, “What if the “P” stood for Pose? What if it stood for Prana? Could you dwell in that possibility? Could you go deeper?”

Since 1996, April has been National Poetry Month. For four of the last five years April has also been the month for the Kiss My Asana yogathon. This year, I’m joining the two and offering you the possibility to experience poetry as you practice more yoga and support Mind Body Solutions and their adaptive yoga programs.

Founded by Matthew Sanford, Mind Body Solutions helps those who have experienced trauma, loss, and disability find new ways to live by integrating both mind and body. They provide classes, workshops, and outreach programs. They also train yoga teachers and offer highly specialized training for health care professionals. By participating in the Kiss My Asana yogathon you join a global movement, but in a personal way. In other words, you practice yoga. Or, as this year’s tag line states, “do yoga. share yoga. help others.”

Part of my offering for the 2018 Kiss My Asana yogathon is to post a poem, which you can explore on the mat. I encourage you to set aside at least 5 minutes a day during April, to practice with the poem as inspiration. You can practice in a class or on your own, but since the Kiss My Asana yogathon raises resources as well as awareness, I invite you to join me at one of the donation-based classes listed below.

I also challenge you to set aside a certain amount every day that you practice with a poem in mind. It doesn’t matter if its one dollar per practice or $25 – set aside that amount each time you practice and donate it by April 30th.

I dwell in Possibility – by Emily Dickinson

Move into Child’s Pose (Balasana) as if you are moving into a new House. Come to your hands and knees; bring your big toes to touch; spread your knees as wide as you feel comfortable. Try it with knees together, then knees as wide as your mat, then knees somewhere in between – the same way you might move furniture around until you find what works. Sink your hips to your heels and bring your forehead and nose to your mat. Hands may be overhead, stretched out wide, by your hips– or you can use them as a pillow. Shift around until you are comfortable enough to be still. If there’s a lot of pressure on your knees, put something under your hips. (Other options for this pose include lying down on your back, curling up in a fetal position, or folding over while seated in a chair.)

Now, consider the Possibilities. In my vinyasa classes I say, “Remember that Child’s Pose, Balasana, is your modification for every pose,” because there are elements of everything in Child’s Pose. Take a moment to consider the difference aspects of the pose:

  • Child’s Pose is a baby Downward Facing Dog, which is a standing pose, an arm balance, a forward bend, a back bend, and an inversion.
  • It stretches out your quadriceps, front of thighs, knees, shins, ankles and feet.
  • Curling the toes under (with knees and feet together or the same distance apart) addresses the fascia on the soles of your feet.
  • Knees-wide adds a little hip opening, while bringing the knees together creates hip adduction and gives extra support for the low back.
  • Knees together also creates a massage for the belly and internal organs.
  • You can add a twist by threading one arm under the opposite arm pit.
  • You can use Child’s Pose to move into almost any pose – including Splits (Hanumanasana).

They say our eyes are the Windows to the soul, but here your eyes are shielded, maybe even closed, forcing your awareness inward. Even the other senses (which may be considered Doors into the world) turn your awareness inward.

Next inhale, go deeper: Start to notice your breath or Prana. One of the most Prosaic things we do is breath and yet, as the Upanishads point out, Prana as breath is Superior to the other functions of the body – because without breath, we cease to be.

We can go days without food, water, shelter, sleep, company, and movement. It won’t be comfortable. In fact, going without those essentials will ultimately become painful and eventually lead to our demise. But, we can do it; we can go without those particular essentials. On the flip side, our bodies and mind will not allow us to be without breath/spirit/prana for more the a few minutes. Breathing is an autonomous Occupation, but consciously receiving the breath and letting go of the breath takes us deeper into ourselves and into the practice.

Go deeper still. Follow the breath as it moves from your nose into all the Chambers of your body: into your Cedar-like legs; into the Roof that is your mind, the Gambrels of your hips as they touch the back that now serves as your body’s Sky. Notice what happens when the breath moves out of these same areas.

Breathe, as if you are drawing Paradise into your body and mind – because you are!

Notice something missing from today’s practice? It’s not an April Fool’s Joke…it’s the next poem!

Please join me for a donation-based class to benefit Mind Body Solutions and their adaptive yoga programs. Inspired by the teachings of Matthew Sanford, this special donation-based practice will explore the connections between centering, grounding, expansion, rhythm, and balance. Please RSVP via myra(at)ajoyfulpractice(dot)com.

Saturday, April 7th (2:30 PM – 4:30 PM) at Nokomis Yoga (2722 E 50th Street, Minneapolis)

Saturday, April 28th (4:00 PM – 6:00 PM) at Flourish pilates+yoga+bodywork (3347 42nd Ave S, Minneapolis)

do yoga. share yoga. help others.


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