April on the Mat 四月の意図

The Storms of Transition

It just seems right to start the new year in April. We used to in the West, which are the roots of April Fool’s Day,  and in Japan and many other Asian countries, April is still the start of a new school year and financial year. The stormy lion of March comes in with lots of work to finish up, and moves into the lamb of Aries, the star sign from March 20 -April 19 (or so). In Japan, they also have what is called the 春一番 (haru-ichi-ban), the 1st storm of Spring, that rolls in to clear out the last of winter’s heavy and wet energy.

So it makes sense that this time of year is stormy emotionally and physically, as our bodies tend to mimic nature. We are more likely to catch a cold during the change of seasons, as warm days are followed by cooler ones, 三寒四温 (san-kan-shi-on) as they say in Japan. That’s why its exceptionally important to

It also seems natural to feel a desire for change, as the warm weather calls us to be more active and the influence of Aries, the cardinal fire sign who loves action and change, starts to light a fire under all our asses.

Last year at this time, I moved from Japan (where I lived for 12 years) to Georgia, a new place to live with my new partner, way out in the countryside. The huge transition made me feel sad, uncertain, unstable, and basically depressed for all of April. Fortunately, I had time, a comfortable home, and a loving partner who encouraged me to meditate and enjoy my transition free time. I meditated, practiced physical asana, and read books like the Yoga Sutras everyday. After a month of introspection, I came to some degree of clarity – I decided what studies to pursue in order to create the career that I dreamed of.

Ready to Spring into Action

As an Aries myself, I am feeling ready to embrace the change and call to action this year. I started off the month with our Karma Yoga project at Corepower Yoga with our teacher trainees, which I hope can become a regular practice. Taking my yoga practice off the mat into the shelter and other places where mindfulness and health are needed is my long term goal, so I felt like I was making a little progress on that path.

This month, as I prepare for motherhood and we all start to blossom towards the sun, I feel like focusing on heart and shoulder opening, all realms of the 4th chakra, the chakra of unconditional love. The 4th chakra is also connected to the thymus gland, the seat of our immunity, which we will ignite through yoga asana and breathing.

This Week at Corepower

As we open the physical chest and heart in poses, it is natural to feel emotional,

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Natajarasana

especially vulnerable and uncertain. That is why it is essential to stay grounded in one’s breath and legs.  The sequence this week will start in the legs, with plenty of grounding and strengthening poses. We will move into the standing balance and heart opener, Dancer’s Pose – Natajarasana, and deepen the unfolding process in King Pigeon – Eka Pada Rajakapotasana. These are two beautiful poses that are often photographed on Instagram, and that many even intermediate practitioners struggle with. Including myself (pre-pregnancy as well ^v^). We will work up to the poses mindfully, and use a strap to go deeper.  Allow your strap be an extension of your arms, and surprise yourself!

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Eka Pada Rajakapotasana

Inspired by a recent class with the wonderful Alicia and Jen’s inversion workshop, we will be starting with Shoulder Pressing Pose – Bhujapidasana this week, and working up to more challenging arm balances throughout the month. Truth be told, I am focusing on arm balances that I can still muster with my ever growing belly, thus limiting the possibilities. I do hope to offer lots of technical and emotional support and room for experimentation so that students can progress steadily and confidently.

 

It is my pleasure to share my practice with you all!  Check out the class schedule for my regular classes. Hope to see you in class soon!

 

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