Yoga’s Mind Body Connection – Two Minutes or 40 Days

Yoga’s Mind Body Connection –
Two Minutes or 40 Days

40 Day Kriya or short standing side stretch – it’s all making the magic

Do you sometimes have an aha moment after the fact? That kept happening while I was doing Brett Larkin’s 40 Day Kriya. I chose to do the hour Kirya – and that time every day shifted so many things. It was obviously quite an commitment – but you can find the same yoga mind-body magic yoga  in something as straightforward as a luscious standing side stretch. Yoga’s mind body connection – two minutes or 40 Days.

Surrendering to the 40 Day Kriya

I surrendered myself to the discipline of this Kundalini yoga. You do the same practice every day and if you miss a day, you have to start from the beginning again. The idea is that this builds energy to break negative habits that stop you from expanding and stepping into something new.  That’s why you should start at the beginning again if you miss a day – your energy is building.

Understanding imagery

This journey had lots of twists and turns. During the first week, I had vivid images – the Gordian Knot symbolism that I wrote about here was one of them. I kept reporting amazing things in my journal.  One day, my heart went through the basket ball hoop of my Third Eye. Those of you who know me will understand that sports metaphors are not at all something I’m liable to use. 

 Digging deep into the pose

Day by day I became more and more in tune with the physical aspects of the practice. This asana  part of the hour Kriya took 35 minutes and had long, long holds. There’s a locust variation and baby cobra which are both held for 2.5 minutes – and then glorious rests!

These are active holds – in movement,  in strenth and in alignment. My brain began to quieten and I began to feel the different aspects of the posture more intensely and my focus shifted.  I often felt fully wrung out.

Locust Variation

Baby Cobra

Silent transformation

The Kriya has meditation and silent mantras along with the poses – with a beautifully designed arc. Some days I couldn’t get into it and muttered under my breath, some days I expanded with wonder – and of course, there were the almost psychedelic visions I had during my first week.

The last 15 days of the Kriya is just bells for transitions. There’s no talk, you can watch Brett move though the practice with you – silently. I soaked uptake hour of silence and found profound depth in it.

I was in London for the last five days of the 40 Day Kriya. I spent two weeks there clearing mum’s flat – and it made all the difference.  What a huge task – yet I was able to be flexible and approach this very intense task with equanimity, thanks to yoga. I wrote more about this journey here. (The photo at the top is in London).

Yoga’s mind body connection – two minutes or 40 Days.

Whether it’s a 40 day Kriya  or something that just takes a few minutes, yoga’s mind – body connection makes all the difference inside and out. Interested in exploring – I’ve got a luscious free, short side stretch sequence. You’ll be amazed.

Find out more about Brett Larkin here.

Snag your free standing short side stretch video sequence and
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Comfort with Fluidity

Comfort With Fluidity

I love a plan – a goal. We’re taught that this is the right way to approach life. When there’s only so much planning you can do or when you find you can’t control outcomes it leaves you with many negatives feelings: rudderless, unsuccessful, frightened. That sort of focus can also lead to tunnel vision, so you aren’t open to opportunities. Recently I was in London clearing out mum’s flat after she moved into a care home – I did this in two weeks. Unlike the US, Estate Sales aren’t a thing in UK and often in London charities won’t collect.  I had to have comfort with fluidity.

Everyone thought I was bonkers – even I thought I was bonkers. 

On the one hand, this huge task was overwhelming – the property managers need to do their refurb before we let the flat. On the other hand, I couldn’t wait to get back over. It was four years since I’d been to the UK. That’s the longest I’ve even been away – but looking after mum, I couldn’t leave her for more than a few days. 

Refurb, clearing out, yoga

To remain flexible

Clearing the flat contained so many moving parts and imponderables that having a plan was well nigh impossible. I was incredibly fortunate to get excellent help along the way – both before I arrived and during my trip. 

Let your mind go to an extremely cluttered flat with bursting closets and an overwhelming amount of furniture to understand the extent of this task.  I could only have the barest sketch of a plan and each day I had to step forward with trust and confidence that things would work out.

Several weeks before I headed to London, I began Brett Larkin’s 40 Day Kriya. I surrendered myself to the discipline. You do the same practice every day and if you miss a day, you have to start from the beginning again. The idea is that this builds energy to break negative habits that stop you from expanding and stepping into something new. 

What I really noticed is that I was able to go with the flow.
I trusted that it would all work out. 

Yoga gives the quiet and the space to have comfort with Fluidity 

The main thing that yoga gives me is the space and the quiet to face what the day brings with equanimity. So often we’re running, and in the midst of a cacophony of noise. Our life is a whirl. The quiet can be difficult – but it’s important.

When I was in London, I didn’t get too stressed at the twists and turns of getting the flat cleared.  I didn’t, as it were, ‘borrow trouble’. I still kept my sense of proportion. I hoped that the furniture I put on freecycle would be taken – although I was prepared still to have clearance / to haul away.  At the same time, I knew that no matter how hard I worked, there would still be things for Clearance to take.

I just kept plowing away. I talked to people, kept myself open to ideas and rolled with whatever came my way.  All the time I had faith it would all get done. I made sure I did my yoga!

Unsure how to tap into this energy?
Use my free meditation on exploring fluidity.

Three Reasons to Use Yoga Straps

Three Reasons to Use Yoga Straps

Why Use Your Yoga Strap?

Straps are the most overlooked prop in yoga – but I’m a great fan. It can be intimidating to see some of the complicated ways yoga straps can be used. Yet are some very straightforward uses for a strap that can be extremely beneficial – and you don’t even have to buy one,  just use the belt from your robe or something similar. Consider these three reasons to use yoga straps.

forward fold, yoga, strap Yoga, forward fold, strap

Alignment – and bad habits

Are you full present during forward folds? When a pose isn’t difficult our mind tends to wander – it’s only human nature.

Next time you do a forward fold – whether standing or seated – a strap can help focus on

  • lengthening your spine rather than reaching.
  • We tend to have the habit of bending our back to get closer to our body  – we’ve all done it – but that’s not as good for our spine. Notice any difference in feeling when you use a strap.

Best of all,  I find using a strap reminds me
to be present and really notice my forward fold.

Extend Your Arms – and feel the pose while gaining flexibility

strap hand to big toe pose yoga
See how cramped I am without a strap – I’m not very flexible

yoga hand to big toe pose strap
See how open and steady I am using my strap. The strap is also building more flexibility.

I’m quite inflexible, and I like to use a strap to help get the benefit of a pose that is ‘outside of my grasp’. This is true of some more complicated poses like Dancer Pose or Hand to Big Toe Pose, but makes a huge difference in some more straightforward poses like supine leg stretches. You can get my guide to using a strap for supine leg stretches.

What happens with a strap is that you can do the pose while keeping good form
and this in turn means you benefit more from the pose while increasing your flexibility.

Tune into your Body That Day – connect your mind and body and prevent injury

Some days it makes sense to dial it back and take it easy. Perhaps you’ve mastered Hand to Big Toe Pose but it doesn’t feel like a day to extend yourself to your fullest. Listen to your body, some days ease into the pose and feel what it’s like with a strap. Another day your body will tell you that it’s ready for a good stretch.

Don’t let your ego interfere with what you’re body’s saying
– that way lies injury.

There are many  reasons to use yoga straps –
let me know how and why you like you yours. If you don’t use a strap -experiment with it  and let me know how it goes.