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swans

it’s been a while since we had any ballet, so here’s some swan lake for you to have a go at this weekend!

the uplifting photograph is of the royal ballet’s Matthew Ball dancing Matthew Bourne’s swan lake a few years ago.

evening footwork

settle on your mat with bare feet – cross legged with as much support as you need

starting with the right foot, run your left hand over it, bringing the flat of your hand to meet the sole of your foot – centre of palm to centre of sole

move your fingers over the neat round ball of your heel

let your thumbs slide down the length of the foot to the toes. gently rub each toe, exploring the spaces between them delicately

invite the sole of your foot to face you for a moment, so it can gaze up into the quiet light – look into it – your precious foot

repeat with the left foot

lie down on your back and send both feet upwards so they are closer to the sky now – all their steady wisdom lofted above you

rest back – bare feet floating in space

see if the soles of the feet can breathe now, opening the channel that runs from the centre of the feet, down your legs, into your pelvis and the earth

see the out breath running down to the ground
when the time comes – let the tide of in breath rise up all the way to your feet

opening

i am delighted to tell you that the yoga studio is re-opening for one-to-one lessons.

yogaunion connects us more positively to ourselves and the world around us and invites healing and growth. this feels to me like a particularly important and life enhancing gift for us all at the moment.

the emphasis of the sessions will be on practising in a gentle, connected and sensitive way. rather like a yoga class for one. i hope the sessions will inspire and inform your own practice as well as being a support and comfort in themselves.

we could focus on postures, breath or meditation – whatever you think might help you.

lessons will be by appointment and adhere to physical distancing guidelines; they will be at the studio, in the garden, or via zoom if preferred.
i’ll ask you to bring your own mat and anything else you need for a comfortable practice.

if you would like more information please email leila@theyogastudiosomerset.co.uk

‘if deeper healing is to happen,
deeper surrender is necessary.’
Marion Woodman

this evening

come quietly to your mat – look around you at the little bit of world you can see from here – sky, road, field, room

take a seat – rub your tired feet

and then – why not lie down?

feel the ground at your back as you fold your legs over your body for a while, hands to your knees and your spine curled – rock and shift, perhaps creaking a little, like a small wooden boat on a calm sea

at some point, let your legs rise loosely up above you, sending your arms to the fresh air in the space behind your head

with your feet wide open, find a passage from the heel to the back of the knee to the pelvis and into the earth – breathe

let your head become quiet

roll back into your small boat when you feel like it

as you do all this, you might like to…

listen for the late birds calling through the window
watch the light playing with the evening shadows in your room
or listen to the rain against the window pane

and,

losing your self-importance

know you are free

poem

last week while i was walking by the river, a blue-grey heron rose up from the woods and flew, all angles and awkwardness, to a tree close by – and i remembered this poem by the great American writer Wendell Berry.

it seems a good time to share it.

sun dance

taking your favourite version of sun salutation

‘let each position become very simple. essential. innocent. clean. light.
lose intentions, knots. make the body something new in each position.’
sandra sabatini

honouring the cosmic rhythms of days, seasons, years – bring your hands to namaste – this is an ancient prayer

here you are, taking up your space in the world

tune in to your breath which sometimes rolls like surf through your chest and spine and sometimes ripples

this is a sun-dance – move through the choreography, shaping your body softly, pausing, hanging, holding your body delicately

pause – feel your length and shape extending differently

this is a celebration of life – as the day begins and ends the sequence is potent – connecting you deeply to earth and space

experimenting

you could add other standing postures to last week’s starfish practice…

let the movements flow through different shapes and sides.

try adding a standing triangle twist for example.

from the starfish position – letting your breath wash down through you to the earth – feel your way into a twist to the left, resting your right hand somewhere on your left leg or foot.

then let the in breath seep in through your skin. watch what happens. stay a while before unravelling again.

find your balance in the starfish shape, or with your thumbs against your forehead, your forearms and hands together in the giant namaste.

experiment…

‘all life is an experiment. the more experiments you make, the better.’ ralph waldo emerson

starfish

taking plenty of time in each shape…

stand and settle with your feet parallel and wide apart.

invite your hips and legs to feel their fluidity and strength.

bring your hands and forearms together, left to right, from fingertips to elbows – like a giant prayer position – the sides of your thumbs resting on your forehead. close your eyes perhaps.

can you feel your whole watery body breathing?

breathing out – let your arms open, exploring their own length – shoulders floating in your fluid back, as your body begins to understand its whole width –

like a starfish.

how does your new open shape effect your breath?

after a while, fold into a spread leg forward bend – hands connecting with your feet somehow. feel your way in, easing – like a starfish finding its footing.

let go of your out breath and then, when it comes, let the in breath flood in.

stay or repeat the sequence for as long as it’s helpful.

tidal

a few weeks ago i posted a ‘sitting’ practice.

here is some more material to explore in the same posture. you might like to refer back to that post first.

sit with your legs out in front, hands resting on your knees.

watch each outgoing breath wave wash down silently, delicately, thoroughly, through the beach of your body, into the earth. the next wave rises quiet, relentless, moving as far and as thoroughly into your body as it wants to… watch the breath tide for a while, as passively as if you were watching the waves on the beach – you can do nothing.

let your hands move down your shins as before – watch the waves again – feel the out breath eddy around the backs of your knees, and then wait for the high shore of the chest to call for the next wave.

now, using whichever version of a seated twist you prefer, twist to the left and watch the tidal flow again – stay for as long as you want to – easing the body, watching the tide.

come back to the centre – hands soft on the knees – how does your left side feel? go forward again towards the ankles – be with the breath tide at every step.

repeat to the right. return to the centre and sit again as before.

lie on your back. rest. keep the breath simple.