To Invert or Not To Invert: That is the Question!

drama-312318__180The recasting of this famous Shakespeare quote immediately came to mind while I was planning this week’s YOLY Challenge.  Some yogis will admit that performing headstand and shoulderstand can be debatable. Here are a few questions you may want to ask yourself before you begin these lofty postures.

1.) What Is There To Consider?

“To be, or not to be” is about choosing life or death.  Yes, this is fairly extreme but it was Hamlet’s dilemma within the play. Considering all of the consequences was imperative for him.

As you consider full inversions, please keep in mind that a deep understanding of the components of these postures is required. Headstand and shoulderstand should be approached step-by-step with guidance.

There is also an aspect of duality involved with inversions. Without the dual actions of lifting and grounding, maintaining the poses would not be possible.  These two principles are essential to finding a comfortable and safe inverted posture.

2.) What is the Point?

I learned that a literary inversion is when you switch the position of words for a specific purpose; for instance, placing an adjective after the noun it qualifies e.g. the soldier strong. In this case, the inversion in prose is to help the writer change the reader’s focus on a particular point. Shakespeare does this – a lot.

And, yoga inversions certainly change your focus. Being upside down, even for a relatively short period, clears your perspective and creates a sense of calmness.

Another point to note is that re-positioning yourself through inversions improves the flow of blood, lymph and oxygen throughout the body. This has a tremendous effect on the body as a whole.

3.) Can You Wear the Crown?

Hamlet’s soliloquy is all about deciding to do one thing over another. So, what is the right choice, do we invert? Headstand and shoulderstand are known as the kings and queens of yoga. And for good reason, they are truly remarkable poses. That being the case, why shouldn’t we all be doing them?

Because royalty sets high standards.  A heavy crown requires the appropriate strength, correct alignment and lots of guidance and preparation. Performing these pinnacle postures may not be accessible for all – at least not right away.

Do the right thing, prepare for the crown. In the end, abiding in wisdom is the most noble path.

4.) Want To Go Deeper?

Just for fun, I go51yjWiLM31L._SX318_BO1,204,203,200_ogled Shakespeare & Yoga.

Amazingly enough, I found this book!

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A Modicum of Moderation

On this our sharing day, I would like to address the idea of moderation.  I believe that it is the key to balance and the answer to many of the everyday choices we have in life.  How much do you eat? How often do you practice yoga and for how long? What is the correct amount of sleep? sun? or even sex?

If you can, be moderate.  Choose the middle.  A little of this and a little of that.                                                                                         telephone-1822040__340

Certainly a life lived in moderation should be a consideration as you develop your practice of ahimsa or non-violence.  And, like ahimsa, moderation is one of the yamas (restraints) within the 8 limb-fold of yoga. Its sanskrit name is brahmacharya.

If you seek to balance your tendencies, you will definitely honor your limitations.  Excess is almost always harmful.  Ever hear of too much of a good thing?

Lately, I am working on establishing reasonable limits for time spent on my computer and phone. It certainly has been a challenge. At the very least, I am becoming more mindful of some of the nonsensical ways that I use these devices.

What do you find most difficult to moderate?

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Ahimsa

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A key term for yogis.  Ahimsa is the sanskrit word for non-violence. The obvious definition for non-violence is to do no physical harm onto others. However, ahimsa goes way beyond the obvious.

Ahimsa is the first yama listed in the Yoga Sutra of Patanjali. The yamas (along with the niyamas) are important codes of morality found within yoga’s primary branch of its eight-limb system.

It’s important to recognize that when you practice ahimsa, you are pledging to do no harm in deed, word or thought.

And, another crucial point is that you apply this principle to yourself as well as to others. When practicing self non-harming, you should not only take care when crossing the street, but strive to live as healthy as possible.

In general, you should refrain from actions, words and thoughts that are destructive to your well-being and to the well-being of those around you.