Christmas is a lovely time of the year. There is joy, celebration and … intensity. I am truly humbled by my family and the challenges that arise whenever we meet up. I remember one of my teachers once told me that her family, her daughters, sons and grandchildren, were her real gurus. In a time when gurus have abused their power I have come to the conclusion that you do not need a guru for guidance, everyone and anyone can teach you a lesson in life.
My own family offers me plenty of opportunities to exercise all the different aspects of yogic psychology. No wonder Ahimsa (non-violence) is the first of the 5 Yamas (disciplines) according to Sri Patanjali. When we have the intention to be non-violent we establish a very clear path and direction in our lives. There is a softening and a letting go of beliefs (i.e. I want to prove my point, I want to prove I am right, they must know this or that, things should be this way or that way and not this way or that way etc). Ahimsa is a discipline and it is not only directed towards others but towards our own being.
When we have the intention to be non-violent towards ourselves we become more loving and accepting. We stop judging ourselves and others for not being perfect; that means to say we tolerate our imperfections and those of others; we start to get real and eventually we are able to recognise what matters the most. There is nothing wrong with being an imperfect daughter, mother, sister, cousin. As we learn to accept our imperfections we actually become less aggressive, less tight and fixed in “shoulds” and “woulds” and we start to feel free and more calm. At least that is what I experienced during these festive days. Now I am happy to embrace January and this New Year.
I love this photo next to the Christmas tree, it was taken by my multi-talented brother Beto Cabrera, who kindly and patiently took many other lovely pictures of his sister. I will share those with you in another post ;). As you can see, this posture offers a twist that helps to speed up metabolism. I must say I’ve become a Yoga twists fan and will be sharing lots of them in class with you this semester.
Lunge Twist or Equestrian Twist:
1. Practice 1 round of Surya Namaskar and warm up your ankles.
2. Take Downward Facing Dog.
3. Step the right foot forwards between the hands and drop your left knee down to the floor (use a blanket if you have sensitive knees).
4. Bring your left wrist to the right and press it to your right thigh. Twist the torso from the waist aiming to keep your hips as square as possible.
5. Extend your right arm back and gaze back. If this is uncomfortable for your neck, then gaze forward and maintain the pose for 2 to 5 minutes.
6. Untwist and take Downward Facing Dog.
7. Step the left foot forwards between the hands and drop the right knee down to the floor. Repeat the twist on the other side.
This is great way to release the back and it offers a gentle detox. Enjoy!