Autumn – time to pause!

This autumn; pause, catch your breath and allow yourself a bit of time for clarity and perspective.

With a nip in the air and the leaves starting to fall – it’s important we regcognise this time of change; both inside us and out in nature. If we are awareful, this time of year can be very beneficial to us and our journey forward. As the earth begins to cool and the nights draw in, how about reaching inward to the warmth inside?

In Dru Yoga we often talk of ‘Dru Points’ or places of internal and eternal stillness that we can encounter through our yoga and meditation practice. It is where we find ourselves in perfect balance and harmony with ourselves, our loved ones and the world around us. Dru Points are a  powerful way to stay connected to your inner self – even when things are a little rough round the edges.

By pausing for a few breaths each day and taking just a few minutes to anchor yourself in reality, it is also less easy for people or situations to knock you off balance. How you sit or stand to do this is really important as your posture effects not just your physical body, but also your emotions. If your spine is tall,straight and strong – those are exactly the qualities you will feel inside too.

Practical Tip – Vertical Alignment Breath

Tadasana
Stand tall; ideally out in nature. Iif this is not possible, sit comfortably with your spine straight – not slouched! Close your eyes and begin to take your awareness inwards towards your physical body. Take your awareness down to the feet, where they are in contact with the earth or floor beneath you. Feel a balance between the left and right feet and the toes and heels. Feel perfectly centered and balanced.

Draw the awareness up the legs feeling a wave of strength moving upward into the hips. Engage your core muscles by gently pulling in at the lower abdomen and up from the pelvic floor muscles. Feel that wave moving up the spine, to the top of the head. Feel as though the crown is being lifted slightly, so that the rest of the body feels light. The shoulders and gluteals are relaxed.

Vertical Alignment Breath
Once more focus at the feet. This time take you awareness down into the earth beneath you. See if you can tune in to the trees around you the soft earth, the leaves on the ground. Then spread your awareness outward so you feel the hills around you, the fields, rivers and lakes. From here take the focus downward again into the solid strength of the earth. You may be able to touch a feeling of light and warmth from the earth.

With a conscious in breath, draw warmth, strength and light up from the earth to the souls of the feet and up through the legs to the heart. At the heart allow yourself to pause and as you breathe out continue the journey of the breath up to the crown of the head. Breathe naturally as you focus here. Become aware of the air and spaciousness around you. The birds in the air, the clouds, the wind and the blue sky. Move the awareness upward as in your mind’s eye you see the sky above you filled with stars, solar systems and planets. You can feel the warmth from our sun. With the next in breath draw that warmth, spaciousness and openness down to the crown of the head, and down through the chest into the heart once again. Pause here as the focus starts to move down again to the earth.

Once you have identified your visualisations of Earth and Sky, you can move through this process a little quicker. From the heart take a breath in and then breathe out and push the awareness down into the earth. Connect with the earth and with the in breath raise the awareness again to the heart. With the next out breath, push the awareness upward from the heart to the crown and beyond into the space above you pause in that expansion and again with the next in breath draw those qualities back down to the heart. Repeat several times. When you are ready to complete; rest your awareness at the heart centre for a few breaths. Touch the deep stillness within.

This technique is very powerful for helping you to establish your place on this earth. You are walking firmly anchored to the world around you, but, as Gandhi said, “your head is crowned with the stars”. At the heart is a place of balance – this is your centre. Your equilibrium. Come to rest here daily and you will feel calm and peace pervade everything you do.

Enjoy the peaceful earth this autumn!

by Anouschka Dack
Dru Yoga Teacher trainer and holistic therapist in Manchester

FaceBook
Twitter
www.druworldwide.com (yoga holidays in North Wales)
www.drumanchester.com (200 hr Dru Yoga Teacher Training – November 2012)
www.druhealthyliving.com (Holistic therapies and mentoring)
anouschka@druworldwide.com

Online yoga studio
Online Meditation course
Online Gita Course

Advertisements

October – Natarajasana

Natarajasana or the ‘lord of the dance’ is an ancient posture which is indicative of a place of perfect poise and balance. It is a graceful and elegant posture which helps us to connect to those qualities within us.

At a deeper level, this posture also connects us to the energy of Shiva. Shiva, in ancient Hindu mythology, relates to the qualities of letting go – of completion and fulfillment. With autumn nearby, this posture is perfect to help us ‘tune in’ to the rhythm of the earth as it begins it’s autumnal cycle, ready for the quietness of winter before once again bursting to life with the warmth of spring. “In the midst of movement we find stillness and peace – the Dru point.”

Benefits: Physically this posture helps to strengthen the legs and stretch the quads/ iliopsoas. The pectorial muscles and shoulder are stretched as the chest opens. Balance is also improved. Mentally, this posture helps with the qualities of concentration and clarity,.

Contraindications: As this is a balancing posture, you may feel more confident with a chair, or wall to keep you stable. Also if you have knee problems, please go gently.

Body preparations: This posture takes your body into a very strong stretch, especially around the quads and iliopsoas, therefore it is very important to prepare for this posture by doing some extended runner positions (as in the sun sequence). Also please do some general body movements, such as activations or Energy Block Release 1 to ensure the rest of the body is prepared.

How to do this posture:
Stand in Tadasana. Breathe deeply and engage your core muscles. Place your left palm on the left thigh. Bend the right elbow, so the back of the right hand comes toward the right shoulder, at the same time raise the left thigh, bending at the knee.

Keeping your left hand in contact with the leg, slide the left hand down the leg to the ankle and take hold of the left foot with the left hand. Slowly raise the left leg out behind you and reach forward with the right arm.

Be aware not to extend the left leg too far back that it becomes uncomfortable and not to twist the pelvis  – imagine headlights on the hip bones – and both of them still facing forwards.

To come out of the posture bring the knees closer together and slide your left hand up the left leg and the knee comes forward, simultaneously drawing in the right arm. Lower the left foot to the floor as you lower your arms. Repeat on the other side.

Top Tip: This posture represents the dance of nature itself. The whole power of natarajasana comes from the very centre of your being. It begins and ends from a place of stillness. If you find yourself stuck in a particular emotion, you can practice this posture facing the rising or setting sun or moon. It will assist the letting go process. This posture works best when performed outside. Enjoy!