THE MAGIC OF PURNA YOGA ASANA PRACTICE

A few weeks ago I was working on Pincha Mayurasana during my personal practice and today, it was taken into a whole new level in my teacher’s, Aadil Palkhivala, advanced asana class. We did some very powerful shoulder and chest strengthening actions in Pincha Mayurasana and I was, once again, blown away by how many aspects one asana can have. When I thought of knowing this pose already inside out, my teacher brought a whole new meaning to it. 


These classes I get to take with my teacher prove, class after class, how important it is to study and practice with an experienced teacher. My own, personal practice is of course the most important thing but I would never grow this much as a student and a teacher of yoga if I didn’t regularly practice with someone who has that sacred & profound knowledge and understanding of yoga in all of its aspects.

 
This whole online yoga thing has been such a blessing to me. All my Purna Yoga teacher colleagues live in a different country which is why I haven’t had regular access to my teachers. I was really feeling the negative effects of that in my practice and teaching but now I feel so incredibly inspired! And that is an amazing feeling!


Learning new things on a daily basis and diving deeper into asana, meditation, and pranayama is truly magical. It’s amazing how much I’ve learned and how much there’s still to learn. 


What I really love and appreciate in the asana part of Purna Yoga is that it’s all about bringing your mind, your intelligence into the body through subtle movements. It’s never about performing a perfect pose or doing a sweaty workout. There is sweat, of course, and that’s all great, but it’s far from the main purpose. The asana is done with great respect towards the body and the gentle soul that lives in it. Doing the asana practice by being fully present and feeling every single action is a way of showing gratitude to all the amazing things that the body is able to do. Without our bodies, we would not be here on this planet and without taking good care of it it’s not able to serve us. To me, moving my body is an expression of joy and a way of feeling fully alive!


Everything that is done in a Purna Yoga class has a reason and there’s a reason why some things are left out of the practice. 
Safety, integrity, growth, inner & outer power are some of the keywords of the asana practice of Purna Yoga.


When the asana is done by being fully present, by finding the dualities and nuances in each pose you create new neuro-pathways. The grey matter in your brain is actually increasing in size and weight and that means sharper, more focused, and younger You. Now, who wouldn’t want to feel and be young!


This is so amazing that it gives me goosebumps!  In a Purna Yoga class, the mind and the body are connected in such a deep way that you can truly feel that amazing connection between your intelligence and the body.

It’s like the actor and martial arts instructor master Bruce Lee so perfectly said: 

I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.

Yoga is not about learning thousands of different postures but the beauty lies in practicing one posture so many times and so profoundly that the pose itself becomes you! Through this kind of practice, you get to own your body and not the other way round. 

Supta Padangusthasana. An asana that we practice almost in every class. It safely and effectively opens the hamstrings and frees the lower back from tension. A pose that each one of us should be practicing daily to help keep our hips and lower back happy and healthy.


Understanding the cause and effect relationship in asana makes the practice so much more powerful, safe, and interesting. Every action you do in an asana has an effect on your whole being and if that action is correct you evolve and if it is incorrect you devolve and might even end up injuring yourself.


I’m so grateful for being able to share all that with my students and beyond excited to pass these insights to all of you who come to my classes. 


If you never been to a Purna Yoga class but are curious to know what is this magical mind-body connection I’m talking about then check out my studio yoga class schedule and online yoga class schedule and come for a trial class. It might just be that what you’ve been looking for all along. To better understand if what I offer can be beneficial to you, check the testimonials to see what some of my students say about me and the classes I teach.

Namaste!

MAKE YOUR DREAMS BIGGER THAN YOUR OBSTACLES

Supported backbend with egg yoga props

Every evening I set my alarm at 5:30-6:00 am so that I could enjoy the peace and calm of the early morning and do my yoga practice.

Every evening I prepare my yoga clothes ready on the dresser so that I would find them easily without having to wake up the rest of the family and brake the calmness of the dawn.

Every evening I set my yoga mat and props on the livingroom floor so that I could easily start my practice.

Every evening I go to bed without knowing whether I get to sleep through the whole night or will my sleep be disturbed one or several times during the night by my kids.

Every evening I do all that without really knowing if I will have the energy to get up early in the morning. But I do it anyway. Why?

Because when I put my intention behind something it will sooner or later manifest in my life. If, on the other hand, I don’t take any action nothing will happen, everything will remain exactly the same.

This applies to everything in life. By making your dreams bigger than the obstacles, being persistent, putting on effort, and cultivating trust you can achieve great things!

My dream to practice yoga in the morning might be small but the desire behind the dream and the positive effects it brings, makes it big for me, and therefore, something worth pursuing.

yoga setup
Being a mom means accepting the fact that many things are out of my control, and sleepless nights are one of those things. The course of the night depends on the position of the moon and stars, air pressure, what was for dinner, how much TV they watched, did they get enough fresh air. Sometimes the night can be ruined just because one of the kids is snoring so loud that the other one wakes up in the darkness of the night and thinks there is a monster in the room. Sometimes it is a nightmare that interrups their, and my, sleep. It could be something as small and harmless as a night butterly gently sweeping their cheek that makes them scream from terror waking up half of the building. I mean, you got the point, anything can happen that is out of my power and control.

It has not been easy to arrive to this level of acceptance. I could’ve just give up after the first few nights of total hassle and a lack of sleep, but I didn’t. Giving up wouldn’t have taken me anywhere, but persistently continuing to work towards something that is important to me, will eventually bring fruit. It’s better to go to sleep every single evening with the mindset that at 6am I will wake up and enjoy a peaceful morning yoga practice even tho the chances are that only a fraction of the mornings I will actually get to do that. One morning yoga practice in a week is more than no morning yoga practice at all.

No mountain is grand enough to give up without trying

Pregnancy Yoga with a Beautiful Feeling

 

Sunny Sunday with a feeling of fall in the air. Kids were out with their dad and I got to enjoy few hours of precious yoga time in total peace and silence. It’s a rare luxury these days to have some hours just for me. But you know what, I appreciate these moments a lot more than I used to when I had more time to work and practice just by myself. I’ve noticed that I’m a lot more efficient nowadays. When you have only few hours in a day to do what you have to do, you become more creative and productive. When I have too much time on my hands, I tend to procrastinate a bit too much wasting time on useless things.

Today I used these two hours by combining work and yoga practice. I planned next week’s prenatal yoga class by doing the practice myself as well. For me, it’s important to feel in my own body all the asanas, meditation and breathing practices that I teach. Only in that way, I can truly transmit the effect the yoga practice has on the student’s body, mind and soul. This is one of the reasons I also do a prenatal yoga practice even though I’m not pregnant myself. Another reason is that since I was introduced to the prenatal yoga for the first time, I’ve simply loved the flowing, breath driven, and delicate Prenatal Yoga. Third reason is my favourite one: It’s the possibility to go back in time and reconnect with my pregnancies and with those little unborn souls. Going thru all the spectrums of feelings I experienced during those times is extremely healing and empowering. It’s like reading and rewriting the story about my journey into motherhood. A story that has changed me more than anything else, and the one that will continue changing and enriching me for the rest of my life.

vrksana with Elisabetta
Practicing Yoga together with my two year old daughter one month before her little brother was born ❤

Even though I don’t have a little baby growing inside me, I just need to use my imagination, and in a fraction of a second, I can recall those beautiful months when I was pregnant myself. It’s like reliving those times all over again. The meditation at the beginning of the practice and the relaxation and breathing exercise done at the end of the practice are emotionally the most powerful ones. During those moments, while sitting or lying with my eyes closed, I can connect with the memories of both my pregnancies and the miracles of birth.

pregnant 2012 ballerina
Me in 2012 at my friend’s bachelorette party. Pregnant with my daughter ❤

During a prenatal class, I ask my students to connect with the baby growing inside them, but in my personal practice, I ask myself to go back in time and really connect with the moments when:

  • The baby was kicking and punching so hard that it felt like he/she was going to break his/hers way out through the belly.
  • The baby was having so strong hiccups that my whole belly was dancing.
  • It felt like the baby was practicing somersaults in my womb.
  • I was sleeping together with a little soul resting together with me.
  • I was caressing my belly just to get a little signal from inside to know that my baby was ok.

gravidanza copy
Me in December 2014 pregnant with my son ❤ Modelling for Susanna Iovene Fotografia.

Often, whether I’m teaching prenatal, postnatal, or “normal” yoga class, I ask my students to connect with a beautiful feeling. That gives them a positive mindset for the practice. We all have different methods, memories, and preferences about what it is that gives us beautiful feelings. For me, the most beautiful feeling is the moment right after my babies have been born, and being able to hold them, skin on skin. Holding, hugging, smelling, caressing, and feeding that little and delicate beautiful soul that I have been given the privilege to take care of. It always brings tears to my eyes, tears of true happiness, joy, gratitude, and unconditional love. It opens my heart and flushes away any negative feeling or stress I might have had before that. Simple and small, but yet very affective way of shifting your mood. Focusing on the beautiful feeling is a powerful way of reminding yourself that no matter what the outer circumstances are, you can always find beauty from the inside. So, the next time you feel dark clouds swarming over you, close your eyes and dive deep into the archives of your memory, or use the power of your imagination, and allow beautiful feelings to blow the dark clouds away and give room to the inner beauty we all carry in our hearts.

“Our feelings are our most genuine paths to knowledge.” – Audre Lord

Morning Yoga Bliss

IMG_3293Sometimes a great opportunity represents itself in the form of a fly at 05:00 am. This morning I was woken up by one and couldn’t sleep anymore. Sun started to rise, birds were having a beautiful concert and then this little, loud, and very persistent fly was buzzing around my ears and tickling the tip of my nose. Just like he would have come into my bedroom with a mission: to kick me out of the bed and out into the beautiful spring morning.

The image of waking up into the song of a bird would have been a little more peaceful and harmonious way of waking up but probably not so efficient. You might even imagine yourself falling back into the sweet sleep while birds are singing. Their wake up song just might turn into your lullaby. But the buzzing of a fly tends to be such an annoying distraction that you just give up and jump out of the bed. And this morning Indis exactly that and let me tell you, it was worth it!

I drank my morning lemon water drink, took my daily probiotics, rinsed my face with a cold water, got dressed up, packed my toga mat and props and went out into the crispy morning while the rest of my family was still in sweet sleep (I hope the fly left the room after it managed to get me out of the bed and left my husband continue his sleep).

There is a big sports area at the school very near my home where I’ve been planning to organize yoga lessons during this summer. So, since I was already up, I decided to go and do my morning practice there, under the rising sun that painted everything in gold. I enjoyed my practice there more than I’ve ever enjoyed inside my home. It was just so beautiful and peaceful there. The magic of early morning was more tangible outside than inside. I could still see the morning mist in the grass field, listen to the birds singing, hearing the cow bells and their moos somewhere further away and smell the freshness of the air (luckily no disturbing flys or mosquitos where even near me).

And the first thought that came into my mind after I had laid down my yoga was; WHY have I not thought about this before?! I mean could there be a better place to do my yoga practice! So, sometimes even that annoying little fly can have something very important to tell you if you just listen to it instead of let yourself get annoyed by it. Everything has a meaning and purpose in life, and to me, that fly’s purpose was to make me discover this amazing place so that I could experience the harmony and peace of practicing outside in the nature and to take a step closer to one of my dreams: teaching yoga! Thank you for your persistence mr. or ms. Fly!

It was a perfect practice, a perfect moment. After I had finished my practice I found a comfortable spot where to sit, leaning against a wall with the morning sun shining against me and sipping my herbal tea. The only thing that was missing was a proper breakfast. I could’ve sat there for hours enjoying the sun and silence, so next time I will take breakfast with me and have a little morning picnic. After working the body and feeding the soul & mind the body graves some healthy nutrition as well.