This is the yoga I originally vibed with in that little windowless cocoon of a Seoul apartment. I’ve hit a point in my yoga practice where I’ve just slowed down… actually, where I’ve come full circle.
Mellow Flow @ Le’Ahi Beach Park
Gentle, fluid flow that relaxes yet recharges my body AM or PM, yoga which brings me back into the delicious sensations of my body, with feels-so-good-in-my-body-hip openers, forward folds, supine sequences that twist and reset my spine and open up my tight hamstrings. Spine and central nervous system awakening backbends thrown in only in AM.
My Seoul apartment AKA The Yoga Loft
My real yoga practice began privately in that apartment. Yoga for healing, stress relief, and longevity of my tired limbs and mind after 12 hour city days in Seoul and warrior weekends spent hiking and/or urban exploring. Morning yoga flows before work to the start the day off happy and invigorated. Somehow, as I brought my yoga into the open, both in practice then teaching, it morphed into flailing limbs-through-vinyasa-after-vinyasa-pop-into-headstand-then-arm balance-and-sweep-my-leg-behind-my head-and-unable-to-sit-still-TADA!-sana. My ego got in the way; my body and spirit paid for it. So often my body was going through the motions, my mind somewhere else. My body spoke this truth long before my mind was ready to accept it. Burn out ensued, yet I kept going.
Was it fear? Was it ego? A bit of both. What will happen to my body, my abs, my arms?! What will people think–don’t they expect high-energy out of a 20something teacher?!
Last year in California, I finally gave in. I was gentle with myself once again, I channeled my inner 23-year old who was so wise to take good care of herself in a big city. And I was real with my teaching. I said no to teaching vigorous vinyasa and sculpt classes, even though I may have been losing money (fear!). I spoke up and coined the term “Mellow Flow”, taught this new class outdoors with Yoga by the Sea. It started off slow with one or two people, then attracted a group of yogis who felt the way I did about yoga way-back-when and now: healing, stress relief, longevity of body and mind.
Oh and guess what? Let’s talk about fears, or abinivesha, for a second. I’ll admit, I was scared for a time that my body would change with this mellow practice.
My body hasn’t changed much. I’m softer, for sure, in a good way. Less muscle in my arms. And I like looking and feeling feminine!
But moreso, I feel grounded. Less speedy. Better in my body. Less hungry from all that movement. I can still pop a headstand if I want to, or flow into a deep back bend with a proper warm up. (note on backbends: honestly, something that with a little consistency and patience, genetically comes naturally, Mama was a dancer…arm balances on the other hand, after ending up with tendinitis on one to many occasions, I refuse to even go there. Child’s pose.)
I’ve received and felt positive feedback once I began teaching authentically. When I wasn’t myself, it just didn’t feel right, even if no one said a word.
Since back on Oahu, I’ve kept my yoga practice for the most part, to myself. And I’ve started teaching a Mellow Flow class on Saturdays with a beachside yoga group.
Yogis: I’m not saying to mellow out your flow and shun group classes for your home practice. That’s just what I’ve come to grasp is what goes with my flow. And it’s what comes across in my teaching. I teach mellow and I encourage home practice (just let me teach you some safe moves, first ;)
Sure I’ll probably still drop in on an occasional high-energy class or bust out a chatturunga (yogic pushup) or ten to get my yayas out. Heck, I wake up every morning, dance around then do some mellow flow…and sometimes that flow will be more active than other days (p.s. yes, the burst has morphed into something way more fun). We’re not making any rules here. What I am saying is to listen to your body.
Whether its a strong vinyasa, a mellow flow, or perhaps no (physical) yoga at all today (the real yoga is off the mat and in life anyways), go with your own flow.
Readers, what type of yoga vibes with you? Where and how do you find your own flow?
xoxo Beach Girl