Unfurling

unfurled fern

Now is the time to mirror the flowering in the plant world by expressing your own creative fullness in your heart, life and expression in the world” ~ Shiva Rea

Unfurling: unfolding, expanding, developing, opening out, spreading out…..

The natural world often inspires my yoga practice, and I love doing yoga outside on the grass in my garden, on a hillside or on the beach (with my husband pretending he’s not with me!). At this time of year, the ferns in my garden are just unrolling and unfurling, changing almost by the day. I took some of them in to my classes a week or so ago, and got a few strange looks when I said how much they remind me of the spine unfurling.

The spinal wave is a key concept in Dru yoga, and we often mention unrolling the spine from the base up to the crown of the head with a flowing wave-like movement. To me, the fern perfectly illustrates that concept as it grows taller and unfurls from the bottom of it’s stem right up to the top. As it unfurls, its leaves expand too – like the ribs on either side of the spine. So it ends up like this……

Fern

Tall, open, expanded, strong yet flexible. All qualities that I aspire to through my yoga practice.

Does anything in nature inspire you or help you with your yoga practice?

Build bridges

Bridge

Last week we practiced some postures to balance the heart chakra, thinking about being kind to ourselves. We often feel guilty or selfish if we take time out to do something we enjoy, but working with the heart centre to open the heart opens us to the possibility that it is OK to lie down for 10 minutes when we get in from work, or take a long relaxing bath. If you look after yourself, becoming less stressed and more patient, then everyone around you will benefit too.

This week we’re moving up the spine to the energy centre at the throat – Vishuddhi,  associated with the voice and communication. If this centre is out of balance, you can find it hard to communicate – words get stuck in your throat.  Our words are very powerful, and we can use them well or use them to hurt and lash out. Balancing the throat centre helps you to speak clearly and truthfully, improving your relationships both personally and professionally. For students at the University where I teach yoga, presentations are a key part of assessments, so communications skills are very important not only now, but for job interviews and in the workplace.

A posture that stimulates the throat centre and thyroid gland in the neck is the bridge (setubandhasana), so we’ll be practicing that this week. In this posture you create the shape of a bridge with your torso, and the throat centre acts as a bridge between heart and head. It’s good to keep a clear channel between these two so that you can make balanced decisions, listening to both your head and your heart.

When you prepare to speak, think first – “Is It True? Is It Necessary? Is It Kind?” ~Mary Ann Pietzker.