December 31, 2021

The Year of Gentle Strength

As 2022 approaches I have set a new year intention as I have done since 2009. My intention is Gentle Strength. This is a practice of taking the time to sit and notice what is in the moment. Gentleness is a soft touch. Strength is perseverance and agility. Separately, Gentle and Strength seem in opposition, but together they are a recipe for presence, awareness and compassion. 

How I recognize moments of Gentle Strength is with my breathing. When my breath flows easily, freely and deeply I know that I have tapped into Gentle Strength. Discomfort can occur when moving towards this intention because it requires stillness. Sitting in stillness takes time to notice the body, mind and breath. This practice requires patience to melt away anxiousness, fear and doubt. For me stillness leads to release, relief and even joy. 

This image I took in Stamford, Connecticut at Cove Beach, reminds me of Gentle Strength in that the weathered rocks yield to the fluidity of calm waters extending into the horizon where distant land joins the sky. Clouds above are thought bubbles moving through awareness. I imagine myself sitting on these ancient rocks as I overlook the Long Island Sound, breathing in synchronicity with the rippling water and breezy air. Headiness yields to grounding. My body, soul and spirit are warmed by sun beams and blessed by the fairy fleck of light seen in the bottom left corner. 

Gentle Strength is here and now. 

December 30, 2021

Yoga Poses Autumn 2021

Over a series of Friday morning Zoom yoga-Pilates classes with my teacher and teaching colleague Shannon Knoor I found strength, balance and centering. The classes inspired me to take these self-portraits photos during my pandemic home practice. 

Utthita Hasta Padangustasana - Extended Hand to Big Toe Pose

Vrksasana - Tree Pose

Virabhadrasana III - Warrior Three Pose

Parsvottanasana - Intense Side Stretch Pose

Ardha Padmasana - Standing Half Lotus Pose

Vasisthasana - Side Plank Pose

Ardha Chandrasana - Half Moon Pose

Garudasana - Eagle Pose

Salamba Sirsasana - Supported Headstand

Navasana - Boat Pose