February... the month of purification and great festivities. The word "February" actually means to "purify." This makes complete sense. Our crazy busy holidays filled with abundance in every corner of our lives are behind us now and we are finally able to get our first big breath of fresh air. Our New Year's resolutions have either become part of our daily routine, or they have fallen by the wayside. Either way, we no longer worry or spend time thinking about them. Devoting a whole month to the process of purification allows us to purge the clutter in all ways and create more space to live and breathe. February is a transitional month and change is in the air. It is the last month of winter and signs of spring can be seen.
We cannot think of February without remembering Valentine's Day and our celebration of love. It is a lovely day to remember and honor the people in our life we love.
As for yoga postures that would benefit us during this month, try: Legs up the Wall (Viparita Karani) to allow
gravity to move lymph out of the legs; Wide-Legged Forward Bend (Prasarita Padottanasana) which will allow your head to fall below your heart reversing the pull of gravity, encouraging circulation of blood throughout the body as well as filtering lymph nodes; Half Lord of the Fishes (Ardha Matsya Indra) or any twisting pose to stimulate the liver and kidneys and stimulate the digestive fire in the belly; Warrior 2 (Virabhadrasana) for more cardiovascular stamina; Cobra (Bhujangasana) to stimulate abdominal organs and open your heart and lungs; and a daily practice of belly breathing to nourish your body's cells in doing their detox work. Be sure to come to my yoga classes for a full program of detoxification and heart opening poses.
“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage."- Lao Tzu
Meet Chris Wilson! She is one of the original five Val Vista Village yogis who began classes with me six years ago. Chris has also become a dear friend and faithful dog sitter for our big girl, Heidi. Here are Chris's answers to my Featured Student questions where we learn more about our fellow yogis who brighten our path and make our journey joyful.
SJ: Where is your permanent home?
CW: I am a Canadian snowbird, and my permanent home is Lethbridge Alberta which is 60 miles north of the Montana border. I retired in 2008, and attended Susan's yoga class the first season that she started teaching at VVV.
SJ: What prompted you to try yoga for the first time, and why do you keep practicing?
CW: The reason I went to yoga was to find a way to heal my aching body. My left knee was wrecked, I tore the meniscus and severed the ACL and above that I had a herniated disk in my lower back. These injuries were the result of years of competitive curling. However, as a side note, all of the practice and effort was not in vane because after winning the provincial title twice and Canadian title, our team went on to win the World Senior Ladies Curling Competition in Veramaki Finland March 2008. A proud moment. Susan taught me how to use yoga to heal and stretch my aching muscles which is the reason I continue to practice to this day. For me it is equally as effective as physical and massage therapy for a fraction of the price.
SJ: How does yoga influence your life outside of classes?
CW: Besides the physical benefit, I believe yoga has taught me patience and respect. Regardless of our differences, the person next to me on a yoga mat is the much the same as me.. We are all doing what we can with what we have.
SJ: Name three things on your bucket list.
CW: I want to go to England to see the queen - ha. Actually I just want to see England, Scotland and Ireland plus more of Europe.
SJ: What would your friends say you are most known for?
CW: As for this last question, my husband says I am kind and caring. I hope my friends think the same. (SJ: We absolutely agree with Jack!)
Thank you Chris for being a 'Featured Student' and for being part of our yoga community at Val Vista Village. Your presence indeed makes a difference!
Send your answers to these questions to Susan@susanjarvie.com so I can feature you in my next newsletter.
Our teachers often use just the right words to inspire us on our mat, and in our lives. Here are some of my favorite quotes, thoughts and stories that inspire me to live my best life.