Moving Through Honey

Lately my yoga practice has been slow and strong. I imagine myself moving through honey and feeling as many subtleties of each pose as I can. To me, moving through honey means becoming aware of the many sensations that arise through movement; it means breathing into every sensation, whether it feels sticky or sweet. I've noticed that the simple act of moving slow and truly feeling -- whether that feeling is the expansion of my chest in a backbend or the little flares that erupt in my belly during core work -- ultimately is the gateway to knowing myself and my body better.

When we surrender to an experience rather than resist it or try to move through it quickly, we can catch the subtle messages running through that experience. Whether something feels pleasurable or challenging, the gamut of feelings we are blessed to experience are all teachers. Learning to surrender to these sensations is inherently feminine. Qualities of the feminine include receptivity, trust, tenderness, surrender, softness and so much more. When we can learn to lean into our sensations and savor them like the best bite of food, we start to stir up and activate our feminine power and force. 

On the mat, moving through honey makes things sweeter. We don't miss a beat. We feel every  muscle fire and we feel every vibration and tingle. We feel energy passing through our channels. We realize that we are dynamic and full of life force and high vibrational energy. This leads to gratitude and appreciation for ourselves and others. It makes us feel more confident and strong and connected. Small sensations expand and take up the space of the moment. We see more light in the little things, like the fact that our bodies can move in these ways (which actually isn't such a little thing. It's a huge incredible thing).

When we see more advanced poses, like the forearm balance below, we can shift our perception from thinking we'll never get into a pose like that to enjoying the process of working toward the pose. We revel in all the new sensations that arise when we work toward a new shape in our bodies. We revel in the process of growing stronger, more flexible and open. The journey toward the pose becomes more important than the actual pose because of everything that gets stirred up in that process. We open new layers of our being. We discover new parts of ourselves. We are reminded of the insane power and magic of the body. I'm telling you, moving like you're moving through honey and feeling eeeeeverything really is the sweetest. 

It reignites our inherent capacity for joy.

This is a great lesson for those of us who are just beginning yoga and those of us who have been doing yoga for years. Below is a short tutorial for how to work toward forearm stand. The point is not to enter the pose (although, if you do, that's a sweet bonus!). The point is to meet yourself where you are. Notice where you need to stay and feel to build the strength and flexibility needed to get into forearm stand. Maybe you need to practice forearm plank for a while before moving forward. Maybe you can get into forearm stand already but can benefit from staying in dolphin pose a little longer, building the strength to enter forearm stand with more control or working on your forearm press. Wherever you are, be with the sensations that arise. Notice what opens for you. Simply notice what you notice and allow the breath to flow in and out freely.


Note: It is important to warm up before working toward forearm stand. stretching the hamstrings and hips, doing some core work and warming up your arms and shoulders will help you a lot before getting into these steps!

Start in tabletop pose, with your hands and knees on the mat.. Bring your forearms down onto the mat. Make sure your forearms are shoulder distance apart.. Palms should be flat on the mat, fingers spread wide, and shoulders should be aligned over the elbows. Tuck your toes and step one foot back and then the other, coming into your forearm plank. In forearm plank, press through the heels and lift through your inner thighs. Magnetize your belly button and sternum toward one another (when you do this action you should feel a slight tuck of your tailbone toward your heels and an activation in your core). Press down into your forearms to activate/lift the upper back and shoulder muscles. Gaze down between your forearms and continue to breathe, noticing the sensations that show up for you. Stay for at least 5-10 breaths.

Start in tabletop pose, with your hands and knees on the mat.. Bring your forearms down onto the mat. Make sure your forearms are shoulder distance apart.. Palms should be flat on the mat, fingers spread wide, and shoulders should be aligned over the elbows. Tuck your toes and step one foot back and then the other, coming into your forearm plank. In forearm plank, press through the heels and lift through your inner thighs. Magnetize your belly button and sternum toward one another (when you do this action you should feel a slight tuck of your tailbone toward your heels and an activation in your core). Press down into your forearms to activate/lift the upper back and shoulder muscles. Gaze down between your forearms and continue to breathe, noticing the sensations that show up for you. Stay for at least 5-10 breaths.

In forearm plank, start to walk your feet toward your face, coming into dolphin pose. Don't lose the engagement in your forearms, arms and shoulders. Continue to press down into your forearms as you walk the feet in. As best you can, Keep your shoulders aligned over your elbows as you walk forward (it's okay if the shoulders come back a bit but make sure the shoulders don't come past the elbows!). In your dolphin pose, lift the hips up and back just as though you were in downward facing dog. Press into your forearms (arms will definitely be HOT here!) and bring your gaze toward your feet. This pose, in my opinion, is the hardest of them all so breathe even deeper and stay here even longer. Getting dolphin pose down will help you immensely in all of your inversions.

In forearm plank, start to walk your feet toward your face, coming into dolphin pose. Don't lose the engagement in your forearms, arms and shoulders. Continue to press down into your forearms as you walk the feet in. As best you can, Keep your shoulders aligned over your elbows as you walk forward (it's okay if the shoulders come back a bit but make sure the shoulders don't come past the elbows!). In your dolphin pose, lift the hips up and back just as though you were in downward facing dog. Press into your forearms (arms will definitely be HOT here!) and bring your gaze toward your feet. This pose, in my opinion, is the hardest of them all so breathe even deeper and stay here even longer. Getting dolphin pose down will help you immensely in all of your inversions.

In Dolphin pose, take an inhale and slowly lift one leg toward the sky. Try to keep your hips square as you extend and engage the lifted leg, spreading your toes (this really does help!) Press into your forearms, press your heart toward your legs, relax the gaze and breathe. Keep your leg lifted for 5-10 breaths before lowering it and lifting the other leg. 

In Dolphin pose, take an inhale and slowly lift one leg toward the sky. Try to keep your hips square as you extend and engage the lifted leg, spreading your toes (this really does help!) Press into your forearms, press your heart toward your legs, relax the gaze and breathe. Keep your leg lifted for 5-10 breaths before lowering it and lifting the other leg. 

If your arms and core feel strong in the previous variation with the leg lifted (and if your hips and hamstrings feel open) Try moving toward your forearm balance. Walk your feet in closer to your face. Lift one leg,, shifting more weight forward into your forearms and pressing them into the mat. Lift strongly through your extended leg and draw your belly button toward your spine, engaging through the core. Keep your gaze focused on one point, ideally between your hands. Come to the tippy toes of your grounded foot and notice if it feels lighter-- Maybe it even lifts off the mat. To build more control in your inversions, try to lift instead of jump into it. This will create major strength throughout your whole body and make you feel more stable!

If your arms and core feel strong in the previous variation with the leg lifted (and if your hips and hamstrings feel open) Try moving toward your forearm balance. Walk your feet in closer to your face. Lift one leg,, shifting more weight forward into your forearms and pressing them into the mat. Lift strongly through your extended leg and draw your belly button toward your spine, engaging through the core. Keep your gaze focused on one point, ideally between your hands. Come to the tippy toes of your grounded foot and notice if it feels lighter-- Maybe it even lifts off the mat. To build more control in your inversions, try to lift instead of jump into it. This will create major strength throughout your whole body and make you feel more stable!