Monday, May 30, 2016

~ Balance ~

What a beautiful Memorial Day weekend it has been. Lots of time spent with family and being outdoors doing the things we love.  My face beams with happiness when Mr. Sunshine finally emerges from the overcast of most mornings, it would seem as of late. But I must stay content - for I am one to yearn quickly for things like sunshine all day long....summer will come....I must be patient.

Balance - the title of today's post.  It would seem I'm still continually learning to balance everything in my life - good vs. bad.....important vs. unimportant....needs vs. wants.....priorities vs. non-priorities......toxic thoughts vs. non-toxic thoughts........

It's all so overwhelming, but I think finding that perfect 'balance' in your life makes everything so much easier.  It's a beautiful thing to have balance and achieve little to no fear.


But it takes work, a lot of it. It's a process.  For now, I am exactly where I want to be.....

Friday, May 27, 2016

Day 27

Today will be the last day of the challenge for me for this month - as I will be skipping tomorrow's pose - bummer that I have to stay away from any major head to floor compression.  So today is forearm plank or Makara Adho Mukha Svanasana:


An end to a seamlessly perfect day.....I seriously couldn't have asked for a more perfect Friday! Let the long weekend begin!

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Day 26

Yay, yay, yay, almost Friday...can't wait til the long 3-day weekend.....I don't get to practice Flying Lizard Pose or Uttana Prasithasana all that often. It's a great arm balance too and I've done many face plants to the ground with this one.  Lots of fun!


Todays challenge pose is Navasana or Boat Pose:


Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Day 25

Plank Pose is up for today or Phalakasana:


One of the very first poses I ever learned when I started yoga! It's a great foundational pose that I constantly try to improve and almost always incorporate it into my daily flow.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Day 24

Today was really productive. I got an immense amount of time in for my practice.  First off was a yoga video from Adriene, this seemed easy until just about 10 minutes into it and I knew it was tough! Super intense workout for the abs, if you're interested, trust me...your tummy will BURN!


then, today's challenge pose is Dolphin Pose or Makarasana:


and finally, I had a huge breakthrough in advancing further my splits.  It was so exciting because I've been working on this for a while and there were so many moments of frustration.  At times, I just didn't know if I could do it.

So here is my progression from Steps 1 to 3.

The very top bar is my horizontal split that I've been practicing for a while now.  I wanted to do the variation by reaching for my left leg, bending it and grabbing with my arm....this was much harder to imagine than the  King Pigeon pose which is similar.  But, to me, the King pigeon is easier with both legs bent.

After a few months of trying....I finally managed the middle bar and was able to lift my leg and bend at the knee.  It was super tough and I once got stuck in this position....looking back in retrospect, it wasn't all that funny, but I can certainly giggle a little from it now.  I needed to straighten my torso and square my hips in order to turn....face front and then grab my foot without looking, and tilt backwards my head.

After so many attempts, I finally was able to accomplish this in the last bar.  I'd still like to clean it up a bit with the foot hold, but I'm ok with it for now.  Elation doesn't even cover it.  I was so happy and jumping up and down like a little teenager. So very thankful for progress and so thankful for attempting to be patient with all of this. I'm tired and can't wait to crawl into bed. Sore as can be but I'll be having sweet dreams tonight.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Day 23

Uttana Shishosana or Extended Puppy Pose:


Happy Monday Morning!!

Working out the kinks this morning before I head off to a meeting.....some really quick yoga on this beautiful, sunny a.m.

Having some play time with Parsva Bakasana or Side Crow.


Aw. Arm balances are my favorite and I think I practice them more than any other pose.  Wake me up today!!

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Day 22

Any downward facing dog pose has always been difficult for me.  To really evolve into this pose took me awhile, and even still, I struggle on some days. Today's pose is Tri Pada Adho Mukha Svanasana or Three-Legged Downward Facing Dog.


Saturday, May 21, 2016

Day 21

First time doing the flip-the-grip with my Dancer Pose or Natarajasana/King Dancer.


Definitely not an easy task.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Day 20

One of my favs, Virabhadrasana 2 or Warrior 2:


It is F-R-I-D-A-Y!! Yay, yay, and yay!!

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Day 19

I find Half Moon Pose or Ardha Chandrasana a very difficult asana, takes a wealth of balancing on your entire body.


There's arm placement, leg placement, a twist, and then looking upwards with your entire head.  Then you need to hold and breathe. It's a lot to think of mentally.  C'mon weekend.....I need this weekend. It's been a long week.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Day 18

I've been working on the Full Lotus Lift, Elevated Lotus Lift or Utthita Padmasana.  A while back I was able to lift with my hands and arms on the outside of my knees.  Today - I was able to pull up from tucking my arms on the inside. Still not a super high lift but, once again, I am happy for the progress:


And the challenge pose for the day is Extended Hand to Big Toe Pose or Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana:


Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Day 17

Tiger Pose or Vyaghrasana is up for today.


I definitely feel an improvement with this pose....hardest part is coordinating and aligning both legs and both arms! Phew!! Always a tough one!

Monday, May 16, 2016

Day 16

Today was one of those days where everything was imbalanced in my life except for yoga, funny how that was....where you just say, what, what, what? What actually happened today? I no longer blame anything on 'Monday' blues....because you just can't.....so... among other things, my phone fell on the floor for the 100th time, oh wait....I mean I dropped it for the 100th time....it shattered...it's at the shop being fixed right now....I'm their VIP customer, I'm certain of it now....I walk into the store and they say, "Oh, Ms. Ervin, you're back." Sigh....

So I borrow my husbands phone to post to IG, he already knows I'm crazy, me and my yoga shenanigans....then I have to go to other computers to do other work.....real work...ha! Work that isn't social media or the fun of yoga related....which throws off my day further because - well, I didn't have my phone.  I'm not complaining, it's life, it's blogging....it's relating to what everyone else goes through.

But if I did accomplish anything to make me feel better today, it was my yoga....it comes through every time no matter what. It lifts my soul in no other way.

After I finished a nice morning flow from one of Adriene's videos, I attempted the Super Soldier Pose, it was such a nice stretch. Loved it. I need to practice this one more....love the intense feeling it gave me...I use that word 'intense' a lot, don't I?


I'm starting to really 'feel' some of these poses - how it makes my body feel and move. I think it took me a while to really appreciate those moments.

And the Challenge pose is Virabhadrasana 3 or Warrior 3:


Sunday, May 15, 2016

Day 15

Today was a fun day.....not quite warm enough to fully enjoy the beach, but overcast weather provided the perfect opportunity ~ so we went zip-lining....gah!!! We love it so much....and spent some time playing at the park.  A sweet friend captured these fun moments from a kiddie rock-climbing board....going from bottom to top....so fun playing with this kid, seriously.


I wouldn't want it any other way....outdoors with him is the best...for both of us! Kids need the exercise and I need the challenge of keeping up with him!

Ofcourse we had to strike-a-pose at the very top...ha! I love him soooo much....


And before I forget, the challenge pose is Parivrtta Prasarita Padottanasana or Revolved Wide-Legged Standing Forward Fold...one of the longest names ever to type:


An intense stretch, twist, and extension.  So sad the weekend is over, went by way too fast but definitely looking forward to a fresh, new week.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Day 14

Eka Pada Rajakapotasana is up for today. I've been excited ever since I was able to flip my grip with my hands and touch my foot.  It's been an exhilarating feeling.  I've been trying it with other poses with similar postures.  It's such an amazing and intense feeling, something I honestly thought I would never be able to do in a million years. So very hard.


It is truly humbling to know that everything can be accomplished with a lot of time, a lot of patience, practice, and believing.....what I've been learning through my journey....will never be taken for granted.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Day 13

Ardha Bhekasana or Half Frog Pose is up for today:


What a week! I'm ready to chill this weekend....


Thursday, May 12, 2016

Day 12

I've been practicing Flying Warrior or Vismaritrasana for a while now and I couldn't figure out for the life of me how to lift my leg.  I knew I had to use the right leg because it's my dominant one....but then I had to use my left arm to lift it....my left arm being the weaker....it was an impossible feat, but after some struggle, I was finally able to get some lift-off. I would still love to straighten my leg completely one day.


And for now, I can only perform this with the right arm towards the back instead of in front of the leg.


Felt really great...what a super, intense stretch for the hips, spine, muscles of the legs and arms! Great for core strength as well.

And the Day 12 Challenge pose is Fish pose or Matsyasana....I chose a variation of the fish pose with an addition of Eagle Legs and Eagle Arms. So fun!


Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Day 11

Today was such a nice and productive day....with a wonderful surprise at the very end of my day...I love networking, meeting new people....especially other parents....parents who share that common interest in my life - and it's such a great way to learn from each other as well....and with that said - I'm EXCITED and looking forward to great things to come in the near future....

Earlier this morning, though, I had a bit of time to meditate, something I really need to focus on more, it's still a very hard task to do. Ha - I say 'task'.....ok, it's not really a task - it's something I enjoy but it's not easily accomplished in one sitting.  It takes a great amount of focus and patience.  It takes a great deal of filtering out everything around you and just quietly sitting and breathing.  But I did incorporate it into my practice today. Felt so good.


And today's challenge pose is a really intense stretcher - how do I know? When you can see your veins stick out of your neck and arms.....Baddha Utthita Parsvakonasana or Bound Extended Side Angle Pose:



Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Day 10

Today's pose has always been a challenging one. Over time, it has gotten a little easier but it is still one of the more difficult poses.  I've received a lot of tips on how to improve and such, some have worked, some haven't....every body type is so different....what works for one person may not work for someone else's physique.

But I have improved just a bit on my Uttanasana - or Intense Standing Forward Fold.



Sunday, May 8, 2016

Day 8

Today is Chest Opener....looks easy but is actually pretty intense the tighter you clasp your arms, hands - and the further you reach back.


This weekend went by way, way too fast, incredibly happy and thankful for so many things in my life.  Looking forward to another productive week ahead!

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Day 7

Although I've gotten much more comfortable with back bends, I still have a long ways to go of releasing my full energy, fear, and work into a full backbend.  Day 7 is Wheel Pose or Urdhva Dhanurasana:


I'm in no rush.  Just let it take its course.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Day 6

Ustrasana or Camel Pose was really one of the poses I didn't like in the very beginning.  But after time passed, I learned to like it more and it has really helped me with my backbends which is still a work in progress.


It is always the poses you dislike the most that often leads to greater flexibility and growth with more difficult poses later on.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Day 3

Bitilasana or Cow Pose is a favorite of mine for warm-ups and at the very beginning of my practice....getting the kinks out with Cat/Cow is always a feel good thing.


And I've had a major breakthrough with my backbending......as something that is still very much my nemesis, I don't like bending my back all that much.  But today, without really trying too hard, it just all came together and I was able to pivot my torso enough and bend my back to fully complete the King Pigeon Pose or Eka Pada RajaKapotasana:


This was super hard for me, but once I was able to sync up my arm and foot and align my body, it was much easier to grab my foot and touch my head.....I was so happy! The feeling was absolutely amazing, didn't think I could ever feel that way with a back bend.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Day 2

Today is Locust pose or Salabhasana, haven't practiced this pose in a while....oh, lift, lift, at least I got the legs to lift just a tad.....need to rest my little head on my pillow....what a long Monday it's been.  I need my sleep.....


Sunday, May 1, 2016

Day 1

Aw... the month of May.....when all the flowers are blooming in abundance, the sun sparkles just a little more than normal.....May is a month I cherish for so many reasons......perhaps there was a wedding in May a long, long time ago.....perhaps it's a month of celebration for moms everywhere......and, especially my own very, sweet mom.  How I adore her like crazy. How I wish I could have been more like her - I'm still wishing for that day. I love her.

May is a month that holds true to my heart for I had ventured out a few years ago and made a dream turn into a reality. It was unforseen....it was perhaps a stroke of luck. Whatever it may be, it still is very special to me.  It made me realize that I could do anything I put my mind to, I just had to work for it.

By all means, for all those who don't really know me and look at my life from the outside, it would sound like it has been a fairy tale for me for many years......some parts yes, some parts - no. With happiness, there is also struggle.  Fluctuation in happiness and struggle makes you stronger and determined. It makes you smarter.....you can't be happy all the time....your intellect will never grow if you are.  You must experience pain and sadness at some point in order to grow as a person. It's a true balance of life.....very much like the art of Yoga.....it's all just about balancing every single component of your life.

Any way you look at it, I've learned as I've become older, to cherish the every day.....the simpleness of it all...it's not to be taken for granted.

Day 1 of the new challenge, Yoga4Growth, is Cobra or Bhujangasana:


Earlier this morning was a fun day outdoors with family and friends. Husband unintentionally did a 5-mile walk......while the little man and I had our own yoga shenanigans with planks and downward facing dog poses.


I look at this photo and I kind of miss the innocence of the baby days when he was really little....but then again....I rejoice in the reality that he is so big now -  bigger and almost taller than me - and I think to myself how cool is that for this is the kind of stuff I get to do with him now.  What is that word again....Balance....I hope it will always be there for me.