Being present with yoga

Jennifer's Childs poseYoga has been part of my life for nearly twenty years. I’ve changed, and so has my yoga. It started as an activity to stretch my track/ volleyball/ basketball/ hockey/ snowboarding muscles. It felt good. I was flexible and acrobatic, and I looked for dynamic and advanced physical practices. It was fun. But then, it was more. It was a time to be present. Although that sounds easy, and in theory it is, it was more than I was expecting. It was, and really is, the practice of finding union. Body, mind and soul.

The practice of being present is different now. Running a business, chasing a two-year-old, sneaking in surf sessions, paddle board yoga, and teaching yoga classes have shifted, or maybe just have strengthened, the idea of being present. One day at a time has become one breath at a time. Before, crazy arm balances brought a sense of achievement; now, simple poses bring that same satisfaction.
One thing that I have noticed through this practice: I have a few favorite poses that have been (mostly) constant. 
Yoga meditation overlooking Hermosa beach Costa Rica
-Child’s pose (balasana) offers the best stretch to my back. It’s comforting. Benefits: 
  • Gently stretches the hips, thighs, and ankles
  • Calms the brain and helps relieve stress and fatigue
  • Relieves back and neck pain when done with head and torso supported
-Extended side angle (utthita parsvakonasana) opens into my side body like no other. I always marvel that the two sides feel completely different. Benefits: 
  • Strengthens and stretches the legs, knees, and ankles
  • Stretches the groins, spine, waist, chest, lungs, and shoulders
  • Stimulates abdominal organs
  • Increases stamina

Jennifer's practicing yoga overlooking Jaco beach

-Butterfly /  bound angle pose (baddha konasana ) is my hips’ best friend. Benefits: 
  • Stimulates abdominal organs, ovaries and prostate gland, bladder, and kidneys
  • Stimulates the heart and improves general circulation
  • Stretches the inner thighs, groins, and knees
  • Helps relieve mild depression, anxiety, and fatigue
  • Soothes menstrual discomfort and sciatica
These poses are my go-to, rain or shine favorites. Pre-surf, post sitting in San José traffic, waking up in the morning, winding down at night, whatever the case, they feel good. And most importantly these poses bring me back to now. The present in each breath. The union of the body, mind and soul.

Written by Jennifer Saunders.

Jennifer is Owner of Aurora Yoga & Wellness Center in Jaco beach.


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