7-Day Self-Care Yoga Challenge, Day 4: SURRENDERBy Studio Anya / November 30, 2017 / News / 0 Comments
The creative process is a process of surrender, not control. – Julia Cameron
To a culture who likes to win, the idea of surrender seems, well, lazy, or at best, a letdown. In some instances, this mainstream mindset couldn’t be farther from the truth. There comes a point when pushing forward hits a wall, we plateau and even get set back.
Stuck points can happen in our creative process, relationships, career, and even in our hearts. We’ve all been there. More of the same, including the habitual scramble to reinvent and redo, has reached its limit.
We need an alternative strategy to break through the cycle. It’s possible, door number 3 (or 3,000) is just around the corner, but to get there you may need to relinquish control, get quiet and trust in your inner wisdom.
Lao Tzu (ancient sage) said “action is born of stillness,” so try on his advice. Explore a softer side of discipline where choices like resting, listening, loving, allowing and dreaming are elevated as powerful guides, winners in their own right.
1. Place a standard fold blanket on the right upper corner of your mat.
2. Come to all 4s, position shoulders over hands and hips over knees, press tops of feet into mat. Bring right foot forward between hands. Inch your right foot toward the left hand while shifting your body weight to the right.
3. Use your arm and core strength to lower right outer hip onto the blanket. Level your hips- position hip bones at the same height and sit bones equidistant from your tailbone.
4. Inhale; lengthen spine. Exhale; fold torso toward the mat. Rest your head onto a block or on the mat.
5. Hold Pigeon for 8 breath cycles.
* Carefully, transition out of the stretch. Enliven hands into mat, curl back toes under, straighten arms. Take the weight off of your right hip and return to all 4s. Sit back and rest into Child’s Pose for 30-60 seconds. Repeat on the other side.
Modification: Do Figure Four Stretch.
1. Lay on your back, bend your knees and place feet on the mat, hip distance apart.
2. Lift right leg toward ceiling, externally rotate and bend right leg, place right outer ankle on left thigh. Interlace fingers around left hamstring and pull left knee to chest.
3. Keep sacrum and tailbone on the mat and equalize weight on left and right side of your lower back.
4. Hold Figure Four Stretch for 8 breath cycles.
* Carefully transition out of the stretch. Release hands, place left foot on the mat, neutralize and stretch right leg up toward the ceiling. Bend right knee and place right foot on the mat. Repeat on the other side.
Self-Care Benefit: Show your hips some love with this powerful stretch, considered the king of hip openers. Reclaim your space at center and clear your central channel. The hips are the handle to the spine- the superhighway of the mind-body connection and gateway to our ultimate wisdom. When we let go of excess tension in our hips, we tap into a wellspring of vital energy. Make sure to drink plenty of water afterwards to flush the toxins out!
Meditation Technique: Clench Test
On the Mat
1. In Pigeon, slowly clench your outer hip and glute muscles (your butt). Hold the clench for 5 seconds, then gradually release all the tension.
2. Make this into a breathing exercise. Inhale: clench and hold for 5 seconds. Exhale; slowly and completely release tension.
3. Repeat for 8 breath cycles.
Off the Mat
1. Anytime throughout your day, while standing, seated or lying down.
2. Take 30 seconds to consciously clench and release your butt in slow motion.
3. Count to 10 and gradually increase the tension of your gluteal muscles. Notice how the sit bones (bones you feel when seated in a hard chair) move toward your tailbone. Then take 20 seconds to release the tension and observe how the sit bones move away from your tailbone.
4. Breathe naturally.
Self-Care Benefit: The Clench Test Technique releases excess tension. Holding on to stress is a real thing and, over time, excess tension in the body becomes our new normal. Most of this stress and tension builds up unconsciously, and we simply forget to exhale it out. Letting go of tension requires surrender- ultimately, trusting it’s safe to let our guard down. One area of excess clenching is in the buttocks. The Clench Test brings your attention to your glute muscles so you can actively release undue clenching, wring out stale energy, and restore optimal blood flow to these tired and tight muscles.
Essential Oil: Spikenard (Nardostachys jatamansi)
Aromatherapy Technique: https://www.essentialbodywisdom.com/create-aromatherapy-rituals/
Self-Care Benefits: One of the most ancient oils used for ritual and healing. Modern aromatherapy uses are for regulating the nervous system and heart. According to Gabriel Mojay, “nourishing the hope of both heart and soul, spikenard allows us to “surrender,” and through its serenity, and earthly humility, conveys the power of devotion to one’s chosen path.
Mantra: Aum Namah Shivaya
Self-Care Benefit: Aum Namah Shivaya is a devotional mantra based in the Vedic, Tantric and Himalayan Traditions. It is difficult to adequately translate the meaning of this mantra. In many ways it is about surrender. Aum calls upon the vastness of existence. Namah bows to the sublime essence. Shivaya refers to Shiva, the Hindu Deity known as the destroyer (of the false) and felt as a downward force of grounding energy. Together they create a powerful prayer, drawing upon cosmic power to release the binds of suffering, let go of fear and trust in the flow of the universe.
Suggested Reading for more Inspiration from Yoffie Life