Have you ever tried to hold a clump of sand in your hands? Of course you have. Then you know that the more tightly you try to grip it the more the sand just falls from every crack and crevice. You also know the other side of that coin, too: if you're too lackadaisical you'll drop the whole load. To keep a hold on as much of your precious sand as possible, your grip must be structured yet relaxed, balanced, and at ease. It's much the same with our grip on anything we do to build our ideal lifestyle.
A happy Friday to you, and along with that we wish you happy hips, too! This week's #FreeVideoFriday is a classic favorite of ours from Shannon Algeo: his Happy Hips practice.
This 65-minute yoga session with Shannon is designed for all levels (take it at your pace) and is great to practice at any time of day. If your hips and lower back are feeling tight, this is a great practice to restore balance and oil up the joints for optimal ease and relief.
If life has you feeling a little rough around the edges, or just plain worn out, this week's #FreeVideoFriday will hit the reset button on the nose. Sara Crawford's Rest and Recovery Day invites us to take a nice full break from the rest of the world and dive in to a well-rounded practice to rejuvenate our bodies and our spirits. It's designed for CrossFitters and athletes, but every body will benefit from this recovery practice.
The new year is almost upon us, and are you as pumped as I am?! New Year's celebrations are my absolute favorite holiday, and you can hear why in this week's episode of The MOJO Show. And our #FreeVideoFriday feature this week is yet another new year ritual that makes this time of year so special: it's my Tips for Your 108 Sun Salutations!
On the 2nd day of MOJO my true love gave to me...free Twists with Kassandra!
Twists are a wonderfully detoxifying practice, and perfect to help us recover from those times when we might overindulge during the holiday season (Because even yogis gotta have some of that holiday cheer, right?).
Unwrap and enjoy this practice free for the next 24 hours!
Ok, pop quiz time. How well do you know your dogs? By that I mean your yoga dogs, of course! Yoga is all about dogs: downward facing ones, upward facing ones, three legged ones, and on and on. They’re a huge part of our practice on the mat, so let’s turn our spotlight on them to get our puppy mojo working!
Some of you might remember the Sutra Sagacity series from back in the days of Infinity Crossing. Well, partly because some of you asked for it, and partly because I feel the philosophy and psychology of yoga is vastly undervalued against the fun and immediacy of the physical practice, we are happily resurrecting, revamping, and updating this series here for you, the MOJO Mob. You see, the lessons we learn from our yoga practice can transform how and why we live our lives the way we do, driving us to live with more mojo off the mat and even design our own MOJO Life. So, whether this in-depth look at the wisdom of yoga is new to you or a review, I know there are fresh nuggets of knowledge for us all to glean here.
“Find a comfortable seat.”
It’s one of the first things we often hear in a yoga class or video, right before we dive into some form of introspection, breath work, or meditation. Raise your hand if this makes you say, “Aw, crrrrap.”
If your hand is up, trust me, you’re in good company. Whether we’re yoga practitioners and/or teachers we can all be so eager to get to the “fun” stuff in yoga asana practice (Urdhva Prasarita Eka Padasana, anyone?) that we’ll blow right through the foundational stuff, gritting our teeth through the pain and frustration of simple challenges unsolved...
Yoga asana practice, doing the physical poses, makes you feel pretty good afterward, doesn’t it? Now, there are all sorts of factors at play in this phenomenon, but I want to present to you here one of the simplest, yet most powerful aspects, as explained by Amy Cuddy in her TED Talk on how your body language shapes who you are. This is one of my all-time favorites, because it offers up a giant nugget of gold that we all have just sitting in our laps.
So, there’s this Instagram and yoga thing going on. Maybe you’ve heard about it, or even seen it? Perhaps you even participate in it? In case you don’t know, here’s a little glimpse into the strange world of Instayoga. I hopped on the Instagram train a couple of months ago in preparation to launch MOJO Yoga. I created the MOJO Yoga account only to be promptly pulled away to a more important task for about an hour or so. When I returned to create my first post, I already had 3 or 4 dozen followers on my empty account. A little freaked out by this, I ask a friend of mine who’s already in this scene what might be going on to prompt such premature engagement. She says simply, “Anything yoga on Instagram is a hit.”
Have you ever tried to hold a clump of sand in your hands? Of course you have. Then you know that the more tightly you try to grip it the more the sand just falls from every crack and crevice. You also know the other side of that coin, too: if you're too lackadaisical you'll drop the whole load. To keep a hold on as much of your precious sand as possible, your grip must be structured yet relaxed, balanced, and at ease. It's much the same with our grip on anything we do to build our ideal lifestyle. Be it our yoga practice, hobbies, exercise, work, or relationships, everything we pick up as part of creating a better way of living must be held as sand in our attention and efforts. If we try to grip any discipline or practice too tightly, it will find a way to escape our grasp. If our approach is too careless, we'll never retain it. Yet, when we hold the grains of our ideal lifestyle in our attention with a balanced, relaxed focus, enjoying every moment for just what it is, we'll be able to maintain our grip on a whole pile of great lifestyle at once.
Yet, this quality of ease and focus in our grip on our lives is of course not easy in and of itself. We naturally tend to lean either towards the tightly wound or the barely there extremes in our attitudes, depending on personality and life circumstances. And this is nothing new. Our struggles with maintaining focus and balance date back to long before iPads and television. Heck it's what most of the Yoga Sutras and yogic philosophy are about (i.e. calming the fluctuations of our mind, balancing our essential elements of passion/sleep/equanimity, and finding the middle ground between strength and openness). So why do we even try, then? Shouldn't we just give in to our impulses for cake, ice cream, debauchery, and small-mindedness? If we know that humankind has yet to find the magic button we can push to attain that elusive balance and finally get a grip on ourselves and our lives once and for all, why should we try so hard to figure it out?
The answer is we shouldn't...try so hard, that is. We know for a fact that no one is "perfect." And yet we also know for a fact that each of us is capable of achieving so much more for ourselves than we might do on any given day. We also know that it feels really good to move ourselves forward, to be better than we once were. So if we put those knowns together, we can approach every day with a sense of balance and motivation. We might say to ourselves on the one hand, "I'm going to work on x, y, and z amazing things that push me to be a better human being, and that I realistically believe I can accomplish today." Then, we remind ourselves that, "No matter how much of x, y, and z I get done, setting the goals and following through with even a little effort is a huge step forward." Let's compress that into a shorter affirmation you might like: "I believe I can. I will. And I'll enjoy the heck out of doing it."
Keep this in mind this week as you perhaps work on adding something to your yogafied way of life beyond remembering to breathe well. Don't be hard on yourself if things don't work as you plan, rather carry on planning and working on things. Get a grip that's steady, focused, yet at ease, and just watch how many grains of your ideal lifestyle you can collect before your very eyes.
To help you with finding this sense of balanced focus in everything you work on, I'm giving you dear blog readers a chance to try out our Balance and Focus practice for free this week. After that it'll go back into our MOJO Member Space, so if you dig it, join us. There are plenty more wonderful practices like it at your fingertips, 24/7 only in the MOJO Member Space. Get your yoga on, and get your MOJO working.
We've been working a lot on ways to Yogafy Your Life lately here on the blog. And I'm giving it so much attention because I know how powerful the skills we learn from yoga can be in transforming and improving our day-to-day lives. I'm certainly feeling it, and I hope you are, too!
BUT, methinks it's high time for a little asana love on this here blog. So, I've whipped up a short little treat for you.