This morning was such a treat! Not in the way I woke from slumber, but in letting my dog, Stella, out of bed this morning. When I usually open her crate in the mornings, she does a little stretch and makes a bee-line from the bedroom to her water dish in the kitchen.
This morning, however, I felt and saw her excitement – especially how playful she was! This little ball of fur brought such a smile to my face! So naturally, we played for a bit where I signaled for her to do her routine of roll-over, then army-crawl, up to sit, and shake!
All of which I taught through picturing her doing these activities and showing her the sign gesture I came up with for them!
I’ll rewind a bit. Stella was born deaf and knew the basic commands from her time in foster care. When I adopted her (she was 2 ½ at the time), we created unique ways to connect and communicate
Giving Stella her bully stick to munch on for something to do this morning (the heeler in her gets super bored.. thus, the previous sassy looks I got), I prepared for my time on the mat.
During my yoga practice this morning, I felt the connection with each part of my body through each transition. Some areas in my body had more to say than others.
Standing nice and tall on the mat, I felt a bit of tension in my neck and shoulders with the first few motions of the practice. Through this, I was highly aware of the connection with the muscles in my neck reaching all the way down to my trapezius muscles.
I enjoyed discovering the rhythm of ebb and flow with my breath during my practice of cobra (Bhujangasana) variation. The rhythm of movement synchronizing with the flow of each breath – like catching a wave in the dancing sea.
From the softness of this movement and transitioning to the strong foundation in plank pose (Phalakasana), then back to gentle strength with downward dog. I inched my heels closer to the Earth with each inhale. I felt a strong connection on my right side from downward dog to reaching for the sky in warrior one (Virabhadrasana I), then making my way back to plank.
In plank pose, I noticed that I was clenching my jaw. Grateful for this awareness as a reminder to relax this area and direct my attention to my strong hands and feet – specifically their connection to the Earth. Cultivating support and strength from within.
One of my favorite moves is vinyasa (a sequential movement between poses). I like the graceful connection that’s felt from transitioning in one posture to another. Plus I just love this word – so fun to say!
Flowing into a vinyasa from plank and landing in downward dog brought such a smile to my face! And with maintaining balance, what we do for one side, we do for the other.
Cultivating balance by drawing up grounding energy from the Earth through the arches of my feet greatly helped. Especially as I practiced staying connected to my core when moving into wide-legged forward fold (Prasarita Padottanasana). I must say that this was a bit challenging for me.
In this stance I was able to reach forward and touch my fingertips to the Earth – as far as I could reach at this time. Even so, I reminded myself to be gentle with myself and have patience while focusing on my breath. I knew in my heart that, like my goal with downward dog, I will be able to plant my palms on the Earth in this pose. Working with my breath to gently, lovingly, and mindfully inch my way there with each practice.
During the last few moves I felt so much gratitude for this moment that I carved out for myself. To start my day with a mindful intention. To connect with my body and marry together the mind and heart.
The namaste, this morning, a reminder and tribute in honoring myself for taking the time to practice a little self-love in this simple, yet impactful way.
By dedicating time to love ourselves through just a small act (a hug, a yoga practice, treating yourself to something you enjoy, etc), our inner child can feel it! And we radiate the feeling – inspiring others along the way!
This concept was illuminated to me further once I finished up. After my practice I looked over at Stella and my little miss had a tiny smile on her face! I’m so grateful for the time to practice my connection to self! And afterwards, to see and experience the beautiful connection that I have with my fur child!
What a beautiful way to begin the day!
Stay tuned for more from The Empowered Hearth…
If you are curious about yoga and are on the fence about giving it a try, I encourage you to try out this Yoga with Adriene video at your convenience. It’s free, fun, and a good mindful work-out! You’re welcome to let me know how it goes for you in the comment section below!
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