Loving Life Blog

Spur of the Moment Reflections

Risen From the Dead October 3, 2009

Filed under: coaching,Health,Inspiration — Johanna C. Nilsson @ 12:22 pm
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“I am in a dead man’s pose – not by choice. I agree that relaxation is important. We take too little time to do that in our everyday living. However, what is the recommendation for the opposite situation? When you are stuck in a “dead man” situation and can’t move out of it? Is there a…pose?…for getting yourself moving again? Energizing your brain? Stimulating your thinking to maximum creativity instead of numbness?”

This was a comment from Hannah on my previous postings “When Life Gets Busy” and “Dead Man Attracts Love“. There were 3 distinct actions that came to my mind as a response:

1. Stimulating the thinking – Yes! – The Artist Way

The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron is a process that will unleash your creativity, and you can make it into a really nice routine. Read about the two basic tools here – they are 1. Morning Pages and 2. The Artist Date. I had heard about The Artist Way several times before, bought the book a couple of years ago, and kept seeing quotes from it (still do today) everywhere – during the passed spring a decided from curiosity to give it a shot – what could come out of it?

As often as I could I started the morning with making myself a cup of tea and a toast (or Wasa Hard bread with Swedish cheese!;), put some nice meditative music on in the back-ground, removed the blinds so I could see the sun rise over the skyline, and sat down comfortably in my reading chair by the window and wrote the 3 morning pages. You are supposed to just write whatever is on your mind, don’t stop and it doesn’t need to make sense, and what ever you write – you are not supposed to go back and read it. 3 pages. 12 weeks. Or however long you want; once you started you may want to continue.

The second tool is the Artist Date. Set a date with yourself once a week and do something that feeds your soul. It could be anything. Visit a museum, hike in the nature, enjoy a concert, paint a painting, cook food, dance on the roof… create a Burning Man Art Car! :O

All I know is – had I not gone through that process – this blog had not been created. Not that fast. 😉 I knew I wanted to do it – just not how and exactly about what. And voila! Here it is. What would come out from your creative self?

2. Self-Healing Ritual to get moving – Nia and the 5 Stages

Nia is an expressive workout and lifestyle practice that uses the body’s way to achieve physical, mental, emotional and spiritual fitness and well-being. It combines the grace and spontaneity of dance, the power and explosiveness of martial art and the stillness and concentration of yoga and tai chi. One of the components of the healing art movement forms included is the Feldenkrais Method, which inspired the 5 stages exercise.

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The Nia 5 Stages is an integrative movement practice based on the five stages of human development: Embryonic, Creeping, Crawling, Standing and Walking. Practiced with awareness, these stages have the power to facilitate optimal alignment, improved function and comfort in the body. Whether practiced at length or for as little as five minutes a day, this system provides a tool for reclaiming and sustaining mobility, flexibility, strength, agility and stability.

Basically, the story I remember was that Moshé Feldenkrais became immobile and reached self-healing by studying newborn babies, observing how they with very fine movements become aware of their bodies, muscles and bones, and gradually increase their ability to move and develop as human beings. Imagine that you are a baby in the womb of your mother. Supported, warm, fed. Moving in water. Use your imagination, be curious about your body, explore and seak awareness of all parts and see what you need to do to move through the five stages above. What are the emotions that arise in the different stages? The Nia Technique book elaborate a little bit on the excursive on page 306-308 for further reference.

This was one of the most profound exercises during my Nia White Belt teacher training in San Diego. Today Nia have developed a certification program for this movement practice alone!  If you want to find out more about that or to find a class in your area – check out the Nia website. This passed Monday Nia was featured in San Francisco Chronicle. I just need to add – Nia needs to be experienced to get it. For those of you who live in San Francisco – go to the Nia Jam tomorrow Oct 4th at UC Berkeley. Soon I will arrange for my favorite teacher Rocco from San Diego to come up and teach – that will be another treat.

And by the way – the five stages are pretty much as the reversed evolution of a photographer below… add that exercise and you can loop back in!

3. Pose that can bridge to action

The more advanced pose after bridge pose is the Upward Bowl or Wheel Pose: Urdhva Dhanurasana. I hear Rusty’s comments from the evening yoga classes “if you don’t won’t to stay up late tonight, don’t do this one [pose], it will give you energy”. Now, I don’t recommend to go straight into an upward bowl pose – the you can risk being stuck in a dead man’s pose even longer – but incorporate the pose in your daily yoga routine. Starting out with warming up your body in a few sun salutations would probably be a nice segway.

Here are the benefits that the Yoga Journal lists for the Upward Bowl pose:

  • Strengthens the arms and wrists, legs, buttocks, abdomen, and spine
  • Stretches the chest and lungs
  • Stimulates the thyroid and pituitary
  • Increases energy and counteracts depression
  • Therapeutic for asthma, back pain, infertility, and osteoporosis

These would be my personal tips and recommendations for a roadmap back to creativity, healing and activity. However, we are all different, and the bottom line is to listen to your body, get active your body’s way, and do what feeds your soul.

And finally, to rise from a Dead Man’s Pose: roll over to your right, put your right arm under your head for support and bend your knees in a comfortable position. Rest here for a while. Take a moment to think of an individual in your surrounding to whom you would dedicate your yoga practice, or for whom you would want to rise up, be present with and support. Slowly – your body’s way – bring your self up to a seated and standing position. Thank you for being here. Now, the practice of yoga begins – bring it to the world!

Enjoy,
Johanna

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Dead Man Attracts Love September 10, 2009

Welcome! I thought I would become a journalist – what do you think of my headline? Seriously, please read on – there lies something in it, as we would say in Swedish…

I started writing this last time I came back from yoga. Relaxed and happy – the session ended with a nice Savasana – dead man’s pose. Apparently it is the most challenging pose of them all, although it’s the one that seems the easiest. B.K.S. Iyengar wrote: deadmanspose

In this asana the object is to imitate a corpse. Once life has departed, the body remains still and no movements are possible. By remaining motionless for some time and keeping the mind still while you are fully conscious, you learn to relax. This conscious invigorates and refreshes both body and mind. But it is much harder to keep the mind than the body still. Therefore this apparently easy posture is one of the most difficult to master.

Keeping the mind still. It is good to practice. Not only to learn to relax, and refresh your body and mind, but also to allow things to happen. As Rusty put it at that time: “the biggest favor we sometimes can do to ourselves is to step out of our own way. To stop thinking, forcing or manipulating something to happen. Sometimes the quickest way to create what we really want is to step out of the way and let it happen.

The following evening I attended an entrepreneurship event organized by TiE – The Global Network of Entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley.  The title was “Wisdom From Past Entrepreneurs – The Dirty Little Secrets that No One Talks About” presented by the CEO Freedom Fighter Christine Comaford. Christine is a business accelerator referred by individuals such as Bill Clinton and Bill Gates. She has track record like few – check this video for a taste of her wisdom to help you as an entrepreneur avoid the mistakes that keep you overworked, underpaid, and feeling trapped by your business. As a former Buddhist monk (aside from software engineer, geisha trainee, entrepreneur and venture capitalist) one of her key tips at the end was “keep the mind still daily”. She recommended Eckhart Tolles latest books “Stillness Speaks”, and she reiterated what I have said beforeit is so often in that stillness that you find a great idea or the solution you have been looking for.

Next morning I receive an email from my leadership group where one individual shares along the same lines on a personal level:  “Awareness is just that…staying without judgment, feeling without adding shoulds, and in the end, being able to look into my own eyes and see the joy and strength and beauty of the moment – awareness of the moment is the connection to the heart…. connection to the heart is connection to everything else that exists in the Universe.  […] I have gained quite a swatch of grey hairs over the past year – and the peace I feel in my heart is allowing me to step into my role as an elder with courage and incredible enthusiasm.  While I have lost what I thought was the love of my life, I have gained what I know to be the life of my love.” So beautifully put. It made me think of the introductory words of a book I had just come across: Enchanted Love, by Marianne Williamson. “Forget logic. Forget your head. Open your heart, and come with me.” Now I am curious what more it has to say.

Dead man’s pose in reality – how attractive is that? Maybe more than you think.

With love,

Johanna

 

Wrapped in Love & Devotion August 18, 2009

Vacation is over, summer is soon gone, budget season has kicked off – the fall is here. The great thing with living in San Francisco is that the annual Indian Summer is soon to arrive (September – November is the best time to visit!) What a bonus! Also; Rusty Wells is back with some loving kick-butt yoga. Last night I attended the more mellow class.

Mellow Flow is an opportunity to connect with the interiorization of ones practice. There is a strong emphasis on connecting the breath with each and every movement and micromovement of the body. Students are invited to work as deeply as they desire. The environment is set to complement the quiet nature of this all-level flow experience. Come find yourself wrapped in love and devotion.

That can’t be wrong?! The door opens at 8pm and I am met by this heat wave from a slightly heated room filled with 100 students. The yogis are soaking wet, with a relaxed smile on their faces, people are meeting and greeting, the lounge type music is pumping in the back-ground while they leave the room and a new group of 100 students are finding their space with their mats on the floor. Yep – those classes are popular.

The class starts. It goes from heartfelt chanting to pretty intense poses. I am keenly aware that the strength that I have built up needs to be focused and present. I am wondering where or how will the feeling of being wrapped in love and devotion show up?

Suddenly I find myself in a position as if I am trying to make a knot of myself. Some kind of Marichyasana – a squat position with the left arm thrown around my bent left leg from the front side and back, and the other arm in the other direction around my back, fingers locked together in the level of my waist. Rusty guides something like: “let go of all the struggle and breathe into this place. Let go of the intensity and density. Breathe deeply, relax your jaws and smile. Open up and make space and rest in that you are exactly in the right spot right now.” Mmm… that’s what the class description related to. It totally shifted the experience.

In what situation in your daily life can this serve you?

Wrap your arms around your self and give yourself a big warm hug. Let go of any struggle, take a deep breath and know that you are exactly in the right spot, right now.

Enjoy!
Johanna

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