By guest blogger Holly Walck, devoted Iyengar yoga student and teacher
"Nobody likes me, everybody hates me; guess I'll go eat worms. Long, thin, slimy ones; short, fat, juicy ones; itsy, bitsy, fuzzy, wuzzy worms."
The other night, as I was walking in through the garage, I saw a long, juicy, slimy worm wriggling out from under the garage door into the grass. Two thoughts popped into my consciousness: 1) "Woo-Hoo! Spring has sprung!" and 2) the lyrics to the song my dad would sing when I was feeling sorry for myself.
Back then, I might have been sad because I'd been the last one chosen for the soccer team during gym class or because my best friend invited another girl for a sleepover but didn't ask me. These youthful lamentations are a normal part of growing up and stepping out into the world, but the melancholy I was experiencing was more likely caused by the response from my truly softhearted but outwardly stoic father (read above lyrics and cringe).
As I have become older (turning 40 this July!), I have grown much wiser. I have the practice of yoga to thank for this graceful maturation from a self-conscious, provincial, 23-year-old (the age I was when I began a yoga practice) into the assured, cosmopolitan woman I am today.
Yoga has taught me how to comfort myself with soothing forward bends, cheer myself up with invigorating backbends, bring myself back into the present moment with a practice of seated poses and leg stretches, and give myself the opportunity to view a challenging situation differently with an inversion. Yoga is the ultimate mechanism for self-soothing.
The following sequence is one giant yoga hug from me to you--and if you practice it, from you to you.
Yoga Hug Sequence:
- Mountain Pose (Tadasana)
- Upward Arms Pose (Urdhva Hastasana) using a belt around the occiput
- Cow-Face Pose arms (Gomukhasana)
- Vinyasa: Fierce Pose (Utkatasana) to Garland Pose (Malasana) to Intense Stretch Pose (Uttanasana). First, flow through with the feet hip-distance apart; then flow through with the feet together.
- Revolved Side Angle Pose (Parivritta Parsvakonasana) from Airplane Pose (Vimanasana). Keep the arm up in line with the shoulder, or extend it alongside the hip if taking the arm overhead causes the chest to collapse or you have a shoulder problem.
- Bound Angle Pose (Baddha Konasana)
- Revolved Head-to-Knee Pose (Parivritta Janu Sirsasana)
- Relaxation Pose (Savasana)
For more from Maria Rodale, visit www.mariasfarmcountrykitchen.com