Yoga is the settling of the mind into silence. When the mind has settled, we are established in our essential nature, which is unbounded consciousness. – Patanjali
Day 10 of 40 days of yoga! 10 days – no way. Actually, yes way, because I am doing it – and guess what? It’s not hard. It really isn’t. Making the commitment is hard. Thinking about making the commitment is even harder. But once the commitment has been made, you leave yourself no options, no choices but to do yoga every day. And I love to do yoga, so it is interesting that I needed to make a commitment and give myself no other options – I had to back myself into a corner, essentially, to commit to do something that I really like to do. Hmmm.
In the 10 days that I have been doing this 40 day yoga home practice, there have been discoveries. Every day I have learnt something about myself and the way I operate. Some things I already knew, but had pushed aside, and some things were a genuine surprise.
It’s amazing that in applying commitment and discipline to one area of my life, I have become more committed and disciplined in other areas of my life. I had to, so that I could keep all of my juggling balls in the air. I discovered that I was juggling too many balls; so I dropped a couple. I don’t have to be a hero or a martyr in my own life. I recognised that I wasn’t paying as much attention to some important parts of my life; so, simply, I started paying more attention to those things. I don’t waste as much time as I used to – I am more efficient.
Who would have thought that all of this would happen, just by practicing yoga every day?
Today was no different in the learning department.
This morning I felt bright and energetic – finally the weather had changed, and it was cool(ish) and cloudy. I cooked, cleaned, washed, did some study, finished off some christmas tasks and baked. And then my energy levels plummeted. I felt so sleepy I had to go and lie down. I could easily have gone to sleep had my beloved daughter not chosen that time to perform her one-girl band act – and I nearly went to sleep in spite of the racket.
Ugh, how could I rouse myself from this stupor? I had an idea that I could look for an energising yoga sequence, to lift my energy levels. I found this sequence, and thought I would give it a go.
Ha! It served to remind me of the main reason why I like to go to a yoga class – the classes push me. Left to my own devices, I will fall into a slow paced, un-challenging, in-a-rut yoga practice. I followed the sequence through to the last pose, slightly bemused at the pace of it, sweating, hot, but giving it a go anyway. Up until that last posture – the side plank pose (Vasisthasana). Nup, I thought. I’m not doing that.
Now, if I was in a class, I wouldn’t have a choice. I would just be doing it the best I could.
Still, even without doing the dreaded side plank pose, my energy levels were totally transformed. I felt clear and fresh – at 4:30 in the afternoon! I thought about my slow-moving tendencies, and how moving quickly and more energetically is probably good for someone who has a strong Kapha dosha…
Oh yes, the Ayurvedic doshas! I’ll bet there is a way to use yoga to balance my excess Kapha, which is manifesting itself in tiredness and lethargy!
Briefly, Ayurveda uses doshas to describe the way the five elements (ether, air, fire, water, earth) interact within a person to form their constitution.
There are 3 doshas present within everyone, although we each have one that is dominant:
Vata: Ether and Air. Slim, fine boned, anxious, tense, difficulty sleeping, constipated. Autumn, early winter.
Pitta: Fire and Water. Medium build, passionate, ambitious, hot, competitive, high blood pressure, irritable. Late spring, summer.
Kapha: Earth and Water. Stamina, strength, groundedness, lethargy, excess weight, depression. Late winter, spring.
The ides is to bring these doshas or elements into balance within ourselves, so I started having a look at how I can use yoga in this process.
I am Kapha dominated, Pitta secondary. I also have 4 planets in Taurus (an earth sign), which makes me pretty damned earthy. And particularly susceptible to the pitfalls of Kapha.
I learned today that when practicing yoga, Kapha types should:
- do a stimulating, energising practice
- generate heat, sweat and challenge themselves to difficult positions and longer holds.
- Move through flow sequences quickly, lightly and precisely.
- Keep eye level high and reach for the sky.
- Standing poses and back bends are recommended.
- And guess what pose is specifically recommended? That’s right, the side plank pose :). Love it.
I’ll talk some more over the next few days about Pitta and Vata, but for now – I’m off to do the side plank pose 😉
Here are some links to websites that I visited today, if you would like to know more (and I know you do :)):
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