Yoga Actually

Yoga, like love, actually is all around.

This weekend, while attending my first rugby tournament,*  I made this realization.

With my personal interest in yoga, I like to see it whenever I can, but this weekend, without looking, I saw it everywhere.

Before we left (early--so early!), like every morning, my dogs stretched.  Chloe is especially tight first thing in the morning.  She has a long sequence of down dog and up dog that she does to start each day.  Because it's so common to see, I didn't think anything of it, until I noticed the other organic and unexpected yoga throughout my day.

As we've discussed in most of the yoga fundamentals posts, yoga is simply movement.  Many movements that we naturally and normally complete daily, can be tied back to yoga (perhaps just because yoga includes many natural and normal movements).  If you've ever watched a child crawl, run, and play, you've likely witnessed them naturally doing yoga.  Just as children don't need to be taught to belly breathe, they are in tune with their bodies, not self-conscious about their looks or limits, and are excited to move freely.  They expand their bellies while breathing, because it is how we breathe most naturally--it is only when we grow older that we begin to manipulate and modify our natural body functions and movements (how many times have you thought you needed to suck in your belly for a photo?).  Children, however, regularly swing their arms, twist their torsos, and stretch their legs.

Yesterday morning, while I watched the first game, I noticed the adorable son of one of Danny's teammates (his name was Oliver; he told me he turns four in a few days).  He had been running circles around his mother and brother all morning, with airplane arms.  With each circle, he came closer and closer to me.  At every pass, he smiled and gave me lion paw (or maybe t-rex?) greeting.  As I continued to watch the game, he again came into my view.  In addition to the lion paws, his arms were outstretched, his tongue extended and down his chin, his eyes wide.  In yoga, this in normally performed on knees, but it has a name: lion pose.  Because I don't have a photo of Oliver, and likely wouldn't post it even if I did, here is one from my yoga training.

all of the yoga teacher training participants and the co-founder of the wellness center from my program doing "lion"
--a little bit of an inside joke--
 March 2014, Glenmore Yoga & Wellness Center, Richmond, VA

Later on, between Danny's team's games, I saw a rugby player from another team stretching and moving--he looked to be either preparing for an upcoming match or recovering from one previous.  Sitting in the grass, he rolled back, raised his legs, and pushed them with his feet on either side of his head to the ground below.  He moved effortlessly into plow pose, perhaps without even knowing it had a name.  As I smiled, thinking about this manly man unknowingly (but happily) getting his yoga on, he returned his feet and back of legs to the ground.  From here he lay down, lifted one leg, moved it across his body, and twisted his torso and head: a reclining spinal twist.

After making these observations, I began to think about how many other daily settings yoga can be naturally observed.  I came up with a short list:
- the beach
- the playground
- the pool
- after a movie
and in the coming months, I hope to explore these as well.

Today's hope: notice whether you have begun to become more aware and if you've changed your breathing or moving habits for the better.  Are you more in tune with your body?  your breath?  how you feel?

* Danny now plays rugby.

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