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Strength & Weakness

By | Life Inspiration from a Yogi | No Comments

Its interesting as humans how a lot of the times we feel weakness while only seeing others’ strength.  We compare ourselves and tear ourselves down for what we cannot do.  I was making a video for this week’s “10 Days of Gratitude Challenge” which was supposed to include a flow with crow, headstand, back to crow, jumpback, lower down to chaturanga, up-dog, then down dog.  By the time I was ready to film I had been through almost two hours of yoga and was just… tired.  Trying to make the video I ended up having to switch my flow to exclude the headstand because my body just wasn’t there anymore in the strength department.

 

I was disappointed because I’ve never felt better in headstand than I have lately, but you really can’t fake a yoga flow video.  Then I thought about it more and realized I needed to appreciate the strength that I had put out already that day, even if it wasn’t recorded to show and inspire other people.  Over the course of my time with yoga I have felt the ideas of strength and weakness trade places for me in moments like these.  I could feel my mind and body leveling out to find quiet strength, but I’m now more aware of other’s weaknesses.  That would have used to make me feel stronger- that little vindictive part of me that felt better about myself because I could do something someone else couldn’t.  Yoga has showed me the truth in becoming humble.  Knowing each day is different and strength is a journey, not something defined in a pose or video.  Now instead of one-upping myself off someone’s weakness, I’m aware of it but want to help them find their own strength too.  I want to share my yoga journey with others and I know they will help me in my moments of weakness too.

 

Namaste, Angela

10 Days of Gratitude

By | Life Inspiration from a Yogi | No Comments

Today is day 5 of our 10 Days of Gratitude Challenge at Backwards Yoga.  Each year I participate in this challenge I feel like it genuinely changes me as a yogi and a person.  Every day we’re prompted to think deeply on a topic that we may give little attention to on a normal day.  Yesterday we reflected on other people supporting us… which led me to send out a number of texts to people that may not even know how much I’ve needed them… but prompting me to think about it made me want to reach out and tell them how much they mean to me.  I think that’s pretty normal in our everyday lives to walk around and take so much for granted.  Challenges like this 10 Days of Gratitude really help us all to slow down.

 

Sometimes this slowing down can mean that the days are dragging by… how many classes do I have to stay for today to make up for the fact I don’t want to get here at 5:30am when its cold out and my bed is warm?  But mostly this slowing down just gives a good time to reflect on our lives.  The last 5 days have also opened up seeing how other people interpret their world.  Its easy to come to class and not even interact with anyone- I prefer a quiet practice most of the time anyway.  But the Gratitude Challenge gives us a chance to know each other better and connect on a level that we may not get to even if we spoke every time we all came to class.  I’ve gained so much appreciation for each and every yogi at the studio through watching what they post throughout these 10 Days.

 

Its fun to see cute kids and pets- all of us getting out of our comfort zones- even beautiful selfies when we don’t have anyone to take the photo for us… but these 10 Days are short in the grand scheme of things.. I wish everyone would take advantage of it!  Good luck on the next 5 days fellow challenge-goers.  If you have not yet signed up to be a part of the challenge I highly encourage you to do so.  You definitely put yourself out there, but the love and embrace you feel back from our little family is so worth it!

 

Namaste, Angela

Kino MacGregor- my guided Ashtanga experience

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On Thursday, November 2nd I had the privilege of attending a workshop with Ashtanga teacher Kino MacGregor.  She’s the youngest person ever to be certified in Ashtanga (at 26) and is a total social media queen.  If you don’t know who Kino is but you like looking at yoga posts on Instagram.. I’m sure you’ve seen her at some point.  For those of you who don’t know what Ashtanga is… let me tell you, it is intense. The practice takes place is an unheated room for the purpose of “building the fire within”.  For this same reason, the first direction Kino gave us was to put our water at the edge of the room and we could have it when we were done.  SCARY.

I was nervous going into the practice having very little prior experience with Ashtanga and knowing there would be a lot of people there with more flexibility and strength than me.  My worries were quickly put aside when Kino started giving her talk before we started practicing and her cough drop fell out of her mouth.  It was at that point I remembered we are indeed all human and to get the most out of the experience as I could. We flowed through sun salutations, triangle, warrior, wide folds, and seated postures with limitless amounts of jump-backs like we were as boss as Kino herself.  Her energy radiated throughout the room and brought out the best in every yogi that attended.

Moving forward from the experience, Ashtanga is something I will definitely be incorporating into my own practice around the full moon/new moon times as is tradition.  I have been wanting something cleansing to work in routinely and I think Ashtanga will be the perfect form of yoga for that purpose.  I’m grateful for our time spent with Kino and would definitely take another one of her classes or workshops again in the future.  For any of you out there who are curious about workshops but have been nervous to give one a try- DO IT.  It is so worth the time and money to get closer to the teacher and learn the little tips and tricks that make the flow- flow.

HINT: keep an eye on your MINDBODY app for our own studio’s upcoming workshops as well!  They’re a great way to break into workshops while still in a comfortable environment.  Still nervous?  Bring a friend!  But I guarantee every person there has insecurities about your practice- or they wouldn’t be there to improve!

 

Namaste, Angela

There’s this girl in my yoga class…

By | Life Inspiration from a Yogi | No Comments

Every time I go to class I notice the girl in front of me. Some days she’s wearing a t-shirt because facing me is too much to do in a tank top. Other times she has the confidence I could only dream of, and it has nothing to do with what she ate or didn’t.   There are windy yoga classes where her tree is spent swaying, her half moon crumbling, and her butterfly looking more like a flying squirrel. There are days she has the grace of the ballerina that she used to be, and a mind as grounded as all four corners of her feet to our mats.

 

Two years ago she didn’t know a foot had four corners. She went through life without ever self-reflecting. Only looking in the mirror that stays between us to paint a face on- who ever she needed to be that day. Now here we are- she faces me bravely, knowing the only way to be proud of a better version of me is to be a better version of her. She will never truly see herself- when the first light of the day hits her face, when she laughs uncontrollably, how wonderful other people can find her… she only sees me to see her.

 

We are identical. When she moves to the right, I am moving to the left. Her long blonde hair in the same sloppy bun. Same name, same face, same intention. She is all that matters. All I strive to be and all I strive to be better than. I vow to never be concerned with what’s going on beside me, but rather within me. Within all of us.

 

Namaste, Angela.