Dec 8, 2008

Yoga moves for that perfect Body!

Thousands of years ago, a man sat with his eyes closed, deep in meditation, yet aware of the connection between all beings. When he opened his eyes, he noticed a beautiful, strong tree. But instead of breaking the meditative state and experiencing the tree as "over there," he had a shift in perception.

He saw, for the first time, that there was no separation between himself and the tree. They were made of the same molecules, they breathed the same air, and they could not live without one another -- they actually were the same being in different physical forms.

Sara Ivanhoe, Yoga Instructor/writer, www.saraivanhoe.com. "Like the lotus flower that grows out of the mud, I feel totally grounded here, balanced...so that I can bloom completely,"
In other words, he and the tree were one. This was a moment of identification, connection, and unity. It was yoga. Overwhelmed by this feeling of "tree-ness," he could no longer keep it confined in his mind. This feeling of union had to take a physical form.

The man spontaneously stood up, balanced on one leg, and shot his arms into the air in a passionate expression of the bhav (feeling) of the tree. He had channeled his tree-ness, and was so overtaken with compassionate feeling that he couldn’t help but spring into the pose to experience being the tree: "I know how it feels to be you, it feels like this..." This was the beginning of hatha yoga.

Beyond words, yoga is the experience of union that we once thought was outside ourselves. The yogis pictured here went on a personal journey within to channel their own nature of asana. And because the focus of this issue is on our environment, we especially wanted to explore yoga’s connection to nature.

Sara Ivanhoe, Yoga Instructor/writer. "I am the tree! The tree is me!" says she. This redwood tree, planted in 1908, will turn 100 years old next year. Special thanks to Gary Deutschman for the use of his home.

eEka Pada Rajakapotasana (Pigeon pos) Keshni Kashyap, writer

"Pigeon opens my hips and makes me feel creative!" says she.

Simhasana (Lion pose) Ross, yoga instructor.

"It's all good. Yoga feels good and it's fun!" says he

Vatayanasana (Horse pose) Schein, yoga instructor

"I love Horse because it’s a deep hip-and-shoulder opener. As a balancing pose, it also challenges me to focus on my drishti. It’s fun to incorporate hips, shoulders, drishti, and balance into one posture."

Garudasana (Eagle pose)
Kahshanna Evans, Actress, upcoming indie film The Wrong Hands, her first lead.

"I love Eagle Pose! I love that an eagle connects the ‘heavens’ to the earth. There is something empowering in journeying between the God and the Goddess, connecting and understanding, receiving inspiration from both...uh, oh, now I sound like a real hippie! I feel strong, rooted, and still very feminine when I rock my Eagle Pose."

Parsva bakasana (Side crow) Vinnie Marino, yoga instructor

"It's a little bit like taking flight..."

Ardha chandrasana (Half moon pose) Tom Morley, yoga instructor

"I like Half Moon Pose because I feel like I'm flying for a moment. I actually feel the transition from effort to effortlessness.

Krouhancsana (Heron pose)
Sofia Vassilieva, actress on NBC hit series Medium

"The heron is an intense stretch that restores my inner balance, releases tension in the body and mind, and opens the heart."

nasana (Upward facing dog) Maxine Bahns, actress/certified yoga work instructor

"I love the way I feel in Upward Facing Dog. My chest and shoulders are open, allowing me to take a deep breath. And, at the same time, my spine is elongated and flexed, which helps with the lower back pain I sometimes get from cycling and running. It’s a gentle backbend that fires up the whole body."