The Urban Yoga Den

…where it's all yoga.

Comfort… December 3, 2009

Again, a yoga class moved me to tears.

Tonight’s closing “OMMMMMMM” had the sweetness and harmony of a lullaby.  It hummed out to the universe to join the OMs I’ve heard in other teachers’ classes lately (thanks, Jenn).  Perhaps there’s something about a mid-holiday season yoga class that releases the peace from students’ souls.  It seems so to me.

Continuing our bi-monthly focus of “Rest,” (see the “Firm and Pleasant” post) we enter this second month with a more conceptual approach – versus our very physical exploration of restfulness in November, when we re-visited Sutra 2:46’s exploration of the balance between a firm steadiness and restful comfort in Asana.  We engaged the heck out of every inch of our body, breath and mind, then released all effort within or between poses to cultivate a deep stillness.

In December, as the pace of the world quickens with work cramming, gift shopping and party hopping, we get to sloooooowwwwww down in yoga class.  We gently shift from the physical aspect of our “Rest” focus to concepts like slowness, comfort and joy.  Focusing on the breath, movements can flow effortlessly.  Between poses, transitions can be quiet and mindful.  Keeping the set simple, eyes can stay closed.  Body, breath and mind float away into a much-needed comfort.

Also this month, Yoga Nidra is a huge part of our practice.  In addition to the usual deep relaxation session toward the end of my classes at Past Tense Yoga (and elsewhere), the studio is hosting a donation-based Yoga Nidra each Sunday, following the normally scheduled 7pm Detox class.  (See “Events” page for details.)  Contributions for this luxuriously restful session of Nidra, Pranayama and meditation benefit Rosemount, an early childhood education center in our Mt. Pleasant neighborhood.  So if you’re burnt out from going, going, going all weekend, join us each Sunday, 8:15-9pm for some stopping, stopping, stopping.

Who knew you could save the world while laying flat on your back?

For Yoga Nidra during regular classes, I’m playing my favorite “comfort songs.”  (Set list below and on the “Tips-n-Tools” page.)  Typically, I use devotional Sanskrit chants, quiet instrumentals or other meditative music.  During December, a variety of folk, alt-country or other artists will sing their nurturing, peaceful messages.  Tonight, we rested our heads on the beautifully dreamy pillow of “(Don’t) Tremble” by The Low Anthem.

“If the wind surrounds your house, do not turn and twist about.  Just wait it out.”

Tonight’s Nidra lullaby connected to the quote we shared to both open and close the class, inviting us to make time this holiday season for comfort, slowness, nurturing and of course, rest.

“Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.”  – Lao Tzu

Hope to see you Sundays for Yoga Nidra at Past Tense (again, details on “Events” page).  And thank you, students, for tonight’s sweet and soulful OMMMMMMMM.  Shanti, Shanti, Shanti.  Peace, Peace, Peace.

COMFORT SONGS - THE LOW ANTHEM

COMFORT SONGS FOR A RESTFUL HOLIDAY SEASON

(updated 12/04/09 – how could I forget Joshua James???)

  • The Low Anthem – (Don’t) Tremble; Charlie Darwin; Keep on the Sunny Side (yup); Coal Mountain Lullaby
  • Calexico – Slowness
  • Donna De Lory – Sanctuary
  • Sera Cahoone – Baker Lake
  • Grant Lee Phillips – Little Moon; Nightbirds; Buried Treasure
  • U2 – Grace
  • EastMountainSouth – Hard Times
  • Son Volt – Windfall
  • Neil Halstead – A Gentle Heart
  • Eddi Reader – Lucky Penny
  • Nick Drake – Pink Moon
  • Robert Plant/Alison Krauss – Killing the Blues
  • KD Lang – The Valley
  • Joshua James – Pitchfork
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