Understanding follows attention: The subtle energies are accessible to me when I am really focused and attentive. When I'm trying but not trying. Sounds like a description of how people were able to see those Magic Eye pictures in the 90's (I never could). Or, if you've read the Golden Compass trilogy, the way Lyra trains her mind to decode the alethiometer (don't watch the movie though). The point is, I TOO CAN FEEL PRANA. It's not always obvious, or loud, but it's there. It's just a feeling of aliveness sometimes. Thank god, this means I can maybe teach yoga.
And whenever she was alone, Lyra took out the alethiometer and pored over it like a lover with a picture of the beloved...If she held the alethiometer just so in her palms and gazed at it in a particular lazy way, as she thought of it, the long needle would begin to move more purposefully...Although she understood nothing of it, she gained a deep calm enjoyment from it, unlike anything she'd known. Pantalaimon would crouch over the dial...and once or twice the two of them shared a glimpse of meaning that felt as if a shaft of sunlight had struck through the clouds to light up a majestic line of great hills in the distance--something far beyond, and never suspected. (p. 99)
Be just as diligently aware when relaxing: We often focus-focus-focus in the midst of our poses, and then we relax our muscles and our mind when the poses are over, tuning out. I love Kira's suggestion to stay aware of our bodies between the poses as well, so we can be just as alive and present with the feeling of relaxation as we are with the feeling of effort.
Best headstand ever: Kira helped me get into headstand by making sure my base was strong and lifting one leg at a time so that my spine was loooooonnnnnnng and my tailbone much more tucked. I felt so much more ease and balance than normal. When I came down and curled into child's pose, she put her hands on my neck and low back and I felt so happy and relieved that headstand could be so drastically better. Ever since then, I've felt extra interested in tucking my tailbone in all poses because I like the sense of simultaneous invincibility and ease it creates.
HelLO impressing the heart pose! Glorious to feel so supported in the heart and so open in the shoulders and neck. Laying on those blocks, I felt like I was floating; all the usual effort of lifting the arms overhead was gone.
Ujayyi (Ocean-sounding) Breath: All I will say is, ujayyi breath is pretty useful stuff.
Yoga allows us to DETOX: The word detox is so popular right now. Sometimes I feel so much compassion for us all and our deep desire to feel pure and light again. Last year, while working at the health food store, I helped dozens of people select bottles of Detox Pills every day. When probably most of those people just needed to make their exhales a little longer.
Trust, trust, trust, and be authentic: It's out of our hands. "Yoga wants to happen."
Practice: The practice will guide you to what you need to do.
Two Homework Assignments: One, to "choose to relax more often." Kira clarified that she didn't mean go numb, but instead, relax as you feel whatever you're feeling (homework hint: the ujayyi breath will help! :). Two, create a 90 minute yoga class that builds up to a pose by teaching its component actions and sensations in baby steps. I didn't know what pose I wanted to use until just now in the library bathroom. I remembered how much I love Dancer's pose. And it's got so many components. So maybe I'll use that. We'll see...