Happy Easter to all of you who celebrate it. A happy beginning to all. When we wake up each day, it's like being born again. We have the chance to begin again. So, let go of all the stuff in the past that no longer serve you and begin to move forward toward your dreams. Start each day with gratitude for the opportunity to be the you that you've always wanted to be. Be grateful for the lessons of the past, have hope in the future and live firmly in the present. Try it!
Starting new is not always comfortable. As they say, usually new beginnings are disguised as painful endings. For some, it's a break up of a relationship or being laid off from a job. For me, my biggest new beginning was the death of my daughter. My life changed so much but I'm not going to go into that now. Let's just say I wouldn't be sitting here talking about new beginnings, teaching yoga, and being a happy, fairly chilled (yes, this is a very chilled version of the old me) person that I am now if my daughter did not come into my life and left so early.
The only way to start new after a painful ending is to be grateful for that ending. It's not easy but without being grateful, we can't start to see the lesson in it. Without learning, we can't really move on from it. If everything is always easy and comfy, there won't be lessons to learn and we won't be growing. If we didn't have that bitterly cold winter we just had, the sunshine and slightly warmer day today won't seem so special! Embrace the tough time, be grateful for all that you can learn from it, and then grow into a better future.
Here is a link to a video of one of my teachers, Sadie Nardini, teaching us how to start our yoga practice without overdoing it and freaking out the muscles - Power Stretching Yoga Warm Up. I would suggest you do some Happy Breath and Happy Twist (see below for directions) to warm up before you follow Sadie's video. Let this be your new way of practicing on the mat. Warm up sufficiently, then stretch gently as you continue to build heat before you launch into stronger, deeper poses.
Here is how to do the Happy Breath:
1. Stand with your feet about hip width apart, knees soft.
2. Inhale and stretch your arms forward, open to the sides and then raise up. All 3 movements in one smooth long breath in. Exhale with HA sound, bend the knees and drop your torso and arms down into easy forward bend.
3. Round the spine to come up as you breathe in and repeat the 3 arm movements. Exhale with HA and drop into easy rag doll-like forward bend again. Repeat at least 6-8 times. Make sure you really let the HA out loud!
4. These movements are done quite quickly so that you begin to warm up the body! Make sure you keep the pelvic floor and lower belly engaged (drawn in and up to protect the spine).
5. Stay in the last forward bend with soft knees and wave side to side or bend one knee and straighten the other to stretch the body out a bit. Slowly come back up with rounded back, head up last, when ready.
Now you're ready for the Happy Twist.
1. Stand with feet about hip width apart again. Let your arms hang loosely by your sides and keep the knees slightly bent. Engage the pelvic floor and the lower belly.
2. Breathe normally (soft ujjayi which is like when you blow to fog up a window but through the nose) and begin to gently twist side to side. Allow the arms and the head to move with your body.
3. Speed it up when you're ready and keep going for a while until you feel nice and warm. The spine will love it (as long as you don't overdo it!!).
4. Please don't just suddenly stop. Gently slow down. Just like the blades of a fan that spin a bit slower, then a bit slower still until they stop spinning.
You might want to add a few cat-cows (on hands and knees, inhale to open the heart in a gentle backbend, and exhale to round the spine, tucking the tailbone and the chin in). You're now ready to begin this wonderful 37 minutes Power Stretching Yoga Warm UP with Sadie.
Be well, everyone, be wildly happy and grateful for each new day, each new breath, and be the kindest and best you always. Have a fabulous April.