Saturday, February 23, 2013


I've been soaking up some great remixes in a few yoga classes recently and it got me thinkin', going beyond the moves, what does it mean to remix? What would it mean to bring the idea of the remix and remixing into a yoga class and off the mat into life?

A remix takes a song and either adds a different beat, or messes rhythmically with the lyrics. Basically to remix means to take something already in existence and make it your own. It is indeed a message that is imbued in the yoga classes I attend with Brendan at Stretch, and indeed the place where I hear these remixes. Take the poses and make them your own, add your bass line. Take the flow and make it your own, where are you going to put the chorus? Maybe you'll leave it out all together. Your breath is your baseline, follow it and remix the class into your body.

Some of the most beautiful classes I've been too have had everyone flowing in all directions, but breath is loud and focus is intense. My other favourite yoga moment that embodies this principle is circles of Om where everyone starts together but, as each person runs out of breath, they each start again in their own time -- the circle of Om thus becomes wavelike. And somehow it subsides all together - everyone tuning in to themselves while keeping an ear to the ocean.

While we all take comfort in a set routine, or a set taught sequence, there is a beauty to knowing the flux of your own body, to really listening in. Find the space to explore teachings -- put your thing down, drop it, and reverse it -- find the rhythm of your breath, hear the beating of your heart, spin your remix.

Monday, February 11, 2013

My Fire, My Hearth

Last week I spoke of my abs, questioning their connection, never really feeling how exactly they connect to my body, how they fit in. I've been turning over the idea in my head all week, keeping it somewhere at the back of my mind, and had a little moment of clarity in yoga class yesterday.

As a Sagittarian, I've always known that my zodiac is a fire sign, but haven't really felt it until recently. I know that I can have a very fiery personality, intense passion, searing zeal, and sometimes a burning bluntness. Harnessing this fire has been a journey; fires can be violent and aggressive, but they can also be nurturing, warming, welcome. While paradoxical, it is interesting to reframe fire in a positive way. In meditations, I have been naturally finding mandala mudra. (As seen below, put your right open palm on top of your left, and bring the thumbs to touch) It is, apparently, a gesture of wholeness. This position places my inner flame in my abdomen.

I've also dug up my haramaki (from It is a garment -- I guess you'd call it a belly band -- that is of Japanese origin, actually originally worn by Samurai underneath their armour. In modern incarnation, it has become both a fashion and health accessory (the latter to help stimulate warmth in the belly's organs). It's really helped me become more aware of my belly, my abs, and how it supports my back and really acts as a center-point for my whole body.

I've come to visualize my abdomen as a hearth, a fire that stokes my body. Keeping such a visualization to mind in yoga and life, it can be quite strengthening to get into that central fire.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

From the Mat

I've decided that I am going to start a series of writings, little reflective posts, in the style of  those encouraging inward-turning messages that some yoga teachers use as a guiding principle throughout their classes. Thinking back to the powerful and influential teachers of my past -- their words of advice, their visual imagery, their flips in perspective -- a few of their inspired and articulate phrases have stuck with me over time -- not just through class, but through the rest of my life as well.

So stay tuned, nuggets of yogic inspiration coming soon...

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Journeying to the Core

For as long as I can remember, I've known that my 'weakpoint' has always been my core. It isn't that I don't have abdominal muscles. Really, it's more complicated then that. I think it is so easy for so many other muscles to jump into movements meant specifically for abs. Whether in a yoga class or following a podcast, the amount of attention I need to REALLY focus on my abs is seldom fully engaged. Honestly, if a class went at the speed I needed to be aware of my abdominals at every moment, it would be moving at the rate of molasses. And not that that is a bad thing. Such considered movement, feeling what it may feel like to alter some attention or fire on different muscles, would be such an incredible guided meditation of the body.

Part of my problem too is that I don't really know what the abdominals are connected to. I know they underline the whole thorax and basically ARE the midsection of the body and going to the ribs and whatever. But I fail to see how abs are supposed to be a powerhouse for inversions. I mean where do they connect? Curious, I did look it up and found the amazing muscle anatomy below -- the coolest thing I found was the little patch of muscle between the front and back body, showing the posterior abdominal muscles -- they connect down to the legs, making the link between abs and inner thighs a little more enlightened.

Now for it all to sink in and rev into use, that's another journey.