The Will to Work Harder

melissaharris

For some time now I’ve believed that my journey with handstand is all about courage and trust. While I know this is true, it’s beginning to occur to me that there may be more to it. It is also about a willingness to fight through. There is this point, anyone working toward handstand will recognize it, when I “almost” get my hips high enough and there is a moment, a kind of a brief pause, where I either give up and take my feet back to the mat, or I fight a little harder to press my hips back in order to raise my feet in the air. More and more often recently, I push through and press my hips back to complete the pose, but I’m still not consistent. Sometimes I wonder if I ever will be. I believe there is a correlation with this to how I’ve approached life for a long time now. I’ve given up, all too often, when things have become even just a little bit difficult. I’ve had great ideas, and made big plans, only to decide that maybe it’s not that important to me and not worth the effort to follow through. I have allowed this to be a reason why something isn’t right for me, or told myself the hesitation or resistance is a sign that I didn’t really want to pursue it like I had thought. It’s also allowed me to do things half-assed. I’ve registered, trained for, and completed half-marathons… [Continue Reading]

A Pain in My …

kateb

As a former collegiate athlete, working out every day was just something I always did.  Three years ago I settled into a daily routine of walking or jogging a 5-mile circuit around my community alongside my 80-lb American bulldog.  I had come to enjoy this less ambitious approach to fitness, compared to the years I spent in high-intensity training with weights, plyometrics, and sprinting. Meanwhile my husband’s job requirements of tough physical labor began taking a toll on his body.  Hunched over for hours at a time and lifting heaving equipment up and down a ladder landed Matt in one of three places: at work on good days, in bed with debilitating backaches on bad days, and in the chiropractor’s office on so-so days. He had become depressed over his physical state and I did my best to come to his rescue with all kinds of fix-its.  I encouraged Matt to begin an exercise routine to better condition his body (and mind), but that didn’t seem to stick.  He had zero interest in walking unless it was on a golf course and running more than the length of the basketball court was out of question. “So, how about giving yoga another try?”  I asked. A couple years prior, we somehow landed in a local yoga class and I will never forget the look on Matt’s face as we entered into Happy Baby pose – the “I have to fart, this is miserable, please tell me it’s almost over face.” No,… [Continue Reading]

Short on Time? Here’s How to Practice…

sleptlate

Every so often there comes a day when you’re short on time and you don’t have the full forty-five minutes or an hour to devote to your Adamantine® Yoga practice. Maybe you forget to set your alarm, or you hit the snooze button a few too many times, or something really important suddenly requires your immediate attention. If you have been practicing Adamantine® Yoga for some time you know that regardless of circumstance your day is going to go better if you start it out with your practice. With that in mind, here are a few ways that you can modify the practice to meet your time constraints. 1. Hold the Standing Sequence postures for just one breath. Since the Standing Sequence is primarily designed as a warm-up for the deeper postures that follow, some practitioners can shorten the fixation in these poses to just one breath without experiencing any major losses. However, during the Sun Salutations that divide the Standing poses, continue to hold Downward Facing Dog for the full five breaths as you would during your normal practice. This will allow for you to receive the benefits of the temporary inversion (head below your heart) buried in this posture and will foster an overall pace that still feels relaxing. 2. Hold Downward Facing Dog for just one breath during the Seated Sequence and beyond. Since you have already hit Downward Facing Dog several times at this point in the Adamantine® Yoga sequence, this posture can also be shortened… [Continue Reading]

Why Isn’t This Obvious?

cobra

I swear it’s my destiny to be the champion of the obvious. Each time I introduce a new person to the practice of Adamantine® Yoga, I realize it all over again. This practice isn’t magic. It’s not mysterious, and it makes a ridiculous amount of sense. But why isn’t it more obvious? Why isn’t everyone already doing this? I don’t know that I have the answer to that question, or that I’m even the right person to ask. I’m not remotely objective about it. With all of the energy and intellect present in modern culture I can’t understand why we always try to solve the problem of healthy living with a pill, a surgery or some new type of exercise gadget. But what I can do is give you a few clues as to just how clear and evident this method of approaching whole person well-being is. And the first is simply this: buried in the central matrix that ties the framework of the Adamantine® Yoga sequence together is a series of movements that replicate the humble beginnings of every human being on this planet. Yes, even you. It’s called a Sun Salutation. The Adamantine® Yoga sequence could essentially be considered a series of Sun Salutations linking 20 postures that together express the potential of a high-functioning, well-balanced human body. A Sun Salutation isn’t some bizarre form of eastern exercise, or an ancient series of ritualized movements designed to worship the sun god (although it is similar to some forms… [Continue Reading]

Gaze Points

eye gaze

Have you ever been talking to someone when you suddenly realize they aren’t paying attention to anything you’ve said based on the observation that their eyes are darting around and they’re not making eye contact? It can be frustrating in a conversation to know that your listener’s mind is anywhere but on what you’re saying. Gaze points in your yoga practice are similar to eye contact in a conversation in that their use can represent steady, unbroken attention, while their disuse demonstrates distraction and inattentiveness. One of my biggest pet peeves as a teacher is to look around the room and see a student’s gaze wandering, watching another person doing a posture or picking a piece of lint off off their pants, essentially paying attention to everything except what they should be: their own body and their own practice. This drives me crazy because in my opinion, the gaze points are easily the most accessible part of the practice. Adamantine® Yoga is a game of attention. The first step in the Adamantine® Yoga practice is posture, which asks you to contort your body into unfamiliar positions to focus your mind on the most basic level. After these positions become a little less unfamiliar to your body, the mind has a tendency to wander once again. This is when the Adamantine® Yoga practice challenges you to move through those positions while breathing in a very specific way. Once you can move and breathe effortlessly through your sequence, the same problem of… [Continue Reading]