Prana and Coldest Morning Yoga

February 14, 2016


My goal in teaching yoga is to get you, the student, to practice at home.  I don’t care if it is 10 minutes a day or 90 – I have done both on a regular basis over 38 years of practicing.  I sometimes use a prescribed set of poses, like the handouts I give out in class, or just I sit and watch what happens.  Yes, I know your mind balks and says that you don’t know enough, but, it is not true.



Don’t trust your mind, it is not your friend.   ….. Stuart


Just get on your mat and start with stillness and allow something to move.  It will.


Sometimes, as you will read, my mind thinks of a pose, sometimes my body responds to the last movement and does something in response.  Sometimes the body just does something weird (a movement like pic below).  Sometimes I drop into a flow and then realize that I haven’t been thinking for a while, but my body has been moving itself – Kripalu yoga calls this guiding force the Prana, the wisdom of the body.  I call it the autonomic nervous system.  Either word, it is that which propels you through your yoga practice AND LIFE, without the help of the mind.  Mind has developed and strengthened over time (100,000 years).  It thinks it is and is desperate to remain in charge of all things.  Through yoga, I have discovered that mind is a helpful participant, but it is not in charge, Prana, the life force is.


As you read my morning practice, it might not be in complete sentences.  I tried to write in between movements.  That which is in quotes is my mind doing it’s thinking thing.  This morning, all movements were slow as was the breath in ujjayi throughout.



Roll out of bed and make my way to the mat. “Rats, we let the heat go down to 65 and it is -10 degrees outside.  It will take a while to be comfortable.”  (I know, some of you live at 65 degrees all the time – burr)



Stand and breathe.  Contracting inwards (from the cold) and ujjayi breathing.  Head down, neck stretch side to side. “Oh that feels good.”  Neck in circle. Upright.  The beginning of a thought to move arms in circle breath, but no, my body does not do the usual, instead arms go out to side hands up, like ‘stop walls stop’. Breathe … Shoulder blades squeeze and release …  fingers down, wrists stretch, … now arms up over head, backs of hands together, "that's weird"… ujjayi continues.  Arms slowly bend, hands on head, backs of hands together, “bet that looks weird too”. … Breathe. Wrists straight and arms down.


Yoga mudra, knees bent, elbows bend, can’t hold straight, rest hands on low back.  Change hand clasp and lift arms – “easier this side”.


Periformis balance (probably modified tip toe pose). Held on right foot long time – breathe feel relax. “yeah”, Left, tried 3 times and down, no balance, no stretch.  Breathing heavier now.


Prasarita, don’t want to take socks off, “will I slip?  It’s ok.”  Forearms on floor, hang, sensations in back, "wonder if they are"… thought goes away, hands on floor, feet slip, walk a little closer together, arms on couch, like modified downward dog … breathe … quiet in head… feel … relax … witness… al... “time to get up” interupts something in my head.


Easy down dog, feet slip, move them further out and apart, knees bent – being nice to back this AM (lots of skiing and heavy lifting this week in the field)


Bend knees and sit back into virasana with right leg over left. Breathe … think about twist pressing into legs and floor and remember that it is a locked twist, the kind I am suggesting not to do and know that my body should not do it.  Hands in prayer and solely core strength small twists side to side. Forward fold hands on floor.  Repeat other side slowly.  When I get to the forward bend part, “wow, this side is different” (aka uh oh)


Settle and breathe, quiet for a moment, then see small black dot in my vision – “there it is again, I wonder if I have macular degeneration (I have had this thought before)”, I think about thinking, and breathe.


Sit cross legged and write for a moment. Ujjayi. Notice right knee different from left, not quite sore, but …  Thinking stops and sit up tall, engage core a bit to hold, straighten legs and rock right leg like a baby. Repeat left.


Table uddiyana bandha – once only.


Lie down with legs over couch edge, Flow: supported shoulder stand, attempt shoulder stand, return to


supported version. Then down. Other movements happened but I can’t remember (it was a flow), reclining dandasana, low back sore, return to legs on couch, massage low belly, return to reclining dandasana – better, reach up to grab toes both hands, knees slightly bent, bound angle, twists knees bent, side to side with ujjayi. …write, can’t remember flow.


“Oh, I Should do a core strengthener”, follow minds orders and do the marching core strengthener.  After 25 rounds, mind starts to think about teaching and demonstrating this because of all the variations I see in class.




Write. That was about 20 min.


Sit – meditate?, no just sitting.



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