by guest blogger Holly Walck Kostura, certified Iyengar Yoga teacher
This is the time of year I call “bummer”—it’s not quite fall and not quite summer, either. My heart aches as my hands pass over the shorts and sandals in the closet and reach instead for pants and shoes that cover my yoga toes.
When something we enjoy is being removed from our grasp it can lead to thoughts and feelings of discomfort, even pain (kleshas and vrittis). Oftentimes, in an attempt to avoid the discomfort, we take actions (karmas) to try and hold on even tighter to what we want.
The philosophy of yoga teaches us that change is inevitable and asks us to practice cultivating acceptance of the present moment. This means we are neither trying to hold on to the past nor projecting forward into the future. Instead, we learn from our past experiences and open ourselves up to all the possibilities the future has to offer.
As I type this, I am sitting on a park bench on what I realize is a perfect bummer day!
You know the kind I am talking about: brilliant blue sky with nary a cloud to be seen and gentle breezes sifting through tree leaves that are the perfect green, tinged with a hint of red. I have my yoga practice to thank for this moment of contentment (santosha). Through yoga I have learned how to stay seated in the present and not to fall back into old patterns of attachment (raga) and aversion (dvesha).
Just as the present is the link between the past and the future, the breath is the link between the body and the mind. The following sequence includes poses that require you to stay connected to the foundation—or base—of the pose as other parts of the body move around in space.
As you practice, if you find yourself falling back into the habitual mind (the one that wants to repeat yesterday’s pose or do a better pose today), try this: Use your exhalations to press down into the base of the pose. Then take a precious pause before the inhalation and move in the silent moment between the two parts of the breath.
A Yoga Sequence for “Falling Back”
Mountain Pose (Tadasana)
Upward Arms Pose and Upward Bound Fingers Pose (Urdhva Hastasana and Urdhva Baddhanguliyasana)
Fierce Pose (Utkatasana)
Warrior I (Virabhadrasana I)
Upward-Facing Dog Pose, using blocks (Urdhva Mukha Svanasana)
Camel Pose, standing variation, (Ustrasana) in preparation for dropping back from Mountain Pose to Upward-Facing Bow Pose (Tadasana to Urdhva Dhanurasana)
Downward-Facing Dog Pose (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
Twist Dedicated to Sage Bharadvaja, seated on a chair (Bharadvajasana II)
Half-Bound Lotus Pose, seated on a chair (Ardha Baddha Padma Paschimottanasana)
Corpse Pose, seated on a chair (Savasana)
Holly Walck Kostura uses the healing practices of Ayurveda and Iyengar Yoga to secure her to the core of her being. Combining her bachelor’s degree in nursing with her certification in Iyengar Yoga gives her the ability to approach her students from a place of wholeness and infuse her yoga classes with a unique flavor. Find her online at yogawithholly.com.