A lot of stuff bubbles to the surface when you are in the fire.

A lot of stuff bubbles to the surface when you are in the fire.

This first picture is of a hip flexor stretch that I love. If your hip flexors are tight — your low back is going to suffer when you backbend. Monkey Pose and Hanuman variations are great to open the hip flexors. And variations of Lying Down Kneeling Warrior, like this one — using the block. And the Backbends themselves will open the hip flexors as well. Use your core to stabilize the low back, lengthen the spine, and help the hip flexors release.

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Go deeper!

Go deeper!

I was talking last night in class about the need to contemplate the knowledge you are learning…

Go deeper.  There is always more you can learn about something.  

It’s through deeper concentration on an object that MORE is revealed.  This process of concentration, meditation, and Samadhi can be applied to anything.  You have to sit with something.  You have to dig deeper.  There’s MORE there.  You just can’t see it yet.  You have to do your practice, over and over again, and you have to be curious, open, and receptive.  The ego loves to have us believe that we’ve got it, we’ve figured it all out, there’s no more to learn.  The mind says, "I’m bored.  What’s next?  Give me something else.  Give me something harder.  What’s next?"  There is NO NEXT.  This is it!  Right here.  Right now.  And you haven’t come close to figuring this out yet.  You’re ready to move on already?  You’re barely scratching the surface of this place.  There is no place to go.  And if you are constantly thinking about the destination, and what is coming next, you aren’t really right here and right now.  Pay attention!

Your practice can be as hard or as easy as you make it.  Move slower.  Move like you are moving through water.  Reach.  Stretch.  Contract.  Open and close.  Follow the breath.  Inhale and exhale.  Slow it down.  Slow down.  Get more juice out of the orange!  Have you really figured out that pose?  Really?  Are you really present right now?  Look at each pose like you are looking at them for the very first time.  Approach your practice like you haven’t got it all figured out.  Slow down. Breathe deeply.  Take your time.  Experience everything you can.  Breathe into each moment.  Feel your body.  Feel how amazing it is to move your body, to stretch, to feel your muscles contracting.  

Your practice will keep getting more subtle and more refined but you have to keep practicing. The minute you buy into the idea that you’ve got it all figured out is the minute you stop learning and growing.  There is nowhere to go!  It’s all happening right here.  Right now your life is happening, while you are thinking about something else.

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