Updated: Jan 28
I seem to ponder my thoughts on patience a lot. Patience is something that seems to come up in my inquiry so regularly that I'm extremely attuned to where my level of patience lies on that given day. I believe that patience is something we learn and foster over time and there are different levels of patience.
For me, my patience really began to blossom when I was working as a flight attendant for an airline called Canadian North in my twenties. For whatever reason, flying seems to bring out the worst in people and many of those people will behave strangely on airplanes.
I dealt with my fair share of disgruntled passengers. I was the one who had to face the passengers when the captain would announce we couldn't land at our destination because of weather, or tell them the lavatory is closed because it's full, or let them know the bar is closed. I pissed people off regularly with things that were completely out of my control.
I had to learn not only how to deliver bad news (or be the face of the company when the bad news was delivered), but I had to manage the reactions of those who received the news. A flight attendant's main job is to keep the cabin peaceful and safe and it was a big job some days.
I also had to expect that things can and will go wrong sometimes. I dealt with an engine fire in the air (it was a bird strike), unruly passengers (drunk and/or disorderly), mechanical delays/cancellations away from base, weather issues (the weather up north is intense) and many other unexpected changes that can happen on the fly with airlines. I could rant on and on about this but I won't.
I'm sharing this with you because that was the start of my real, true awareness of my level of patience. My patience was STRONG and I knew it! Back in those flying days was when I started to get curious about yoga and all of the self awareness that comes with the practice. I enjoyed feeling aware of myself and the power it gave me over myself.
Then, cue kids! 😂 I thought I was a very patient lady. I was training for this moment of having children for YEARS as a patient flight attendant. If I could handle a man threatening the entire cabin of passengers with the end of an umbrella, well then I sure could handle some crying and night wakings. My yoga practice was dialled in and I was ready to be the most patient mama there is!
As I sit here writing this, I'm laughing and laughing at this. Something I learned is that once you have kids, you need to LEVEL UP to the next tier patience. Flight attendant patience is good, it's really good, but it's going to take even more strength and perseverance if I'm going to make it through this journey of parenthood alive!
This is when I really had to start to let go of my attachments. These kids challenge me every day to let go of expectations and just surrender. I can't control everything or everyone at all times. I pick my battles and try my hardest to come from a place of understanding. Kids teach us so much about ourselves and how we respond to things.
Sometimes I forget what it's like to be a kid so I'm slowly rediscovering my inner child that was lost for a while and I noticed that too. It's like coming full circle. All because of my awareness of my level of patience with my kids.
Parenting patience is, I believe the top tier of patience. It goes REGULAR PATIENCE, FLIGHT ATTENDANT PATIENCE, PARENTHOOD PATIENCE. Those are the levels. It's a fact, I promise. 😉
So what can we learn from this? We can learn that sometimes the best way to have patience is to let go of attachments to outcomes, people, ideas, feelings, etc., and just surrender. This can also be applied to our yoga practice. This IS your yoga practice!
One of the Niyamas (personal observances) in the 8 Limbs of Yoga is Ishvara Pranidhana and it teaches us to surrender to the self and surrender to the divine will. You can honor this by having patience, kindness and understanding for yourself and others.
That's the beauty of a yoga practice. You can apply the teachings to your life on and off your yoga mat.
Do some BADASS YIN with me this week and learn to have patience, kindness and understanding with yourself. Yin targets the areas mainly between the navel and knees, although the intention of the practice can be applied to the entire body.
SPHINX/SEAL POSE is one of my favourite ways to work into the lumbar spine and a great way to chill in a Yin Yoga practice.
Get yourself familiarized with SPHINX/SEAL POSE and then practice with me to the BADASS YIN: 6 DIRECTIONS OF THE SPINE SEQUENCE either Live this Thursday or on demand in the FREE VIDEO LIBRARY after the class airs live.
BADASS YOGA is live every Thursday at 8pm ET on Zoom for 15 minutes!
ASANA LAB: SPHINX/SEAL POSE
Can be a very deep compression and stimulation of the sacral-lumbar arch
Tones the spine. People with bulging or herniated disks may find this very therapeutic
If the neck is dropped back, the thyroid will also be stimulated
In the full Seal pose, the stomach may receive a lovely stretch, as well
If you have a bad back or tight sacrum
If there are any sharp pains here, you must come out!
Avoid pressing the belly into the floor if you’re pregnant (use bolsters under the pelvis and the forearms)
Avoid if you have a headache
Getting Into the Pose:
Lie down on your belly. Clasp your elbows with the opposite hands and move the elbows just ahead of your shoulders, propping yourself up. Notice how this feels in your lower back. If the sensations are too strong, move your elbows further ahead, lowering your chest closer to the floor. If you like, you can place your palms flat on the floor in front of you like a sphinx
Alternatives & Options:
For a gentle Sphinx, rest on the ribs, sliding the elbows away to reduce compression in the lower back. Simply lying on your stomach may be enough of a backbend for you
You can use a cushion under the elbows, helping to elevate the chest and deepen the posture
Alternatively, you can place a bolster under the arm pits and relax completely
Seal pose with straight, locked arms is the deepest pose; let the hands rotate outward a little. Slide your hands away to lessen the intensity
You may feel the highest amount of compression in the lower back if your hands are not right under the shoulders but slightly forward. This provides some pressure in the lower back
Rather than have the arms in front, Paulie Zink likes to have the hands and arms straight out to the side, which makes this look more like a seal
Bend the knees for more compression in the sacrum
You may spread the legs apart to deepen the sensations in the lower back
You may prefer to keep the legs together to release the sacrum or make the sensations more even along the spine
You can place a bolster or blanket under the pubic bone or thighs to soften the pressure. This is really nice for pregnant women
Tightening the buttocks is okay within reason. Sagging the shoulders is also okay
To arch the neck and stimulate the cervical spine, lengthen the neck, drop the head back, lift the chin, and open the throat
If your head gets too heavy for your neck, try resting your head in your hands or your chin on your fists
If you’re flexible, try these postures with the legs in lotus (so juicy!)
Coming Out of the Pose:
To come out, slowly lower your chest to the floor. Turn your head to one side and rest your cheek on your palms. You may wish to decompress the lower back more by sliding one knee up. Choose the knee that you are looking toward, and keep the knee and foot on the floor
Child’s Pose is a nice, gentle forward fold; move into it slowly. You may need to rest your head on your palms
On your way to Child’s Pose you may crave Cat’s Breath: flow from the Upward Facing Cat to the Downward Facing Cat (aka Cat/Cow) but flow gently, in time with the breath. Don’t make these your deepest Cats ever
Meridians & Organs Affected:
Affects the Urinary Bladder and Kidney lines as they run through the lower back and sacrum
Affects the Stomach and Spleen meridians along top of legs
Stimulates the kidneys and adrenal glands through compression
Lower spine and the neck (if dropped back)
Recommended Hold Times:
Sphinx can be held longer than Seal
For Seal, start with one minute holds, then lower down, rest, and repeat several times
Up to five minutes
Eventually up for twenty minutes!
Similar Yang Asanas:
Sphinx and/or Cobra
Imagine the spine like a row of Christmas tree lights draping to the floor
If the arms are straight, this pose is a deeper backbend than Saddle and, thus, could be done after Saddle. If the arms are bent (as in Sphinx), this is not as deep as Saddle, so it may be done beforehand
Seal is nice and safe if you’re pregnant
Ideal for adding some breath work and conscious energy movement
Great pose for watching television!
BADASS YIN: 6 DIRECTIONS OF THE SPINE SEQUENCE
Practice this sequence with me LIVE on Thursday January 27th at 8pm ET
Straddle Side Bend right side - 1 minute
Straddle Side Bend left side - 1 minute
Straddle - 1 minute
Sphinx - 1 minute
Seal - 1 minute
Reclining Twist right side - 2 minutes
Reclining Twist left side - 2 minutes
Happy Baby Pose - 1 minute
Check out my FREE VIDEO LIBRARY for more BADASS Yin Yoga classes!
BADASS YOGA is live every Thursday at 8pm ET on Zoom and uploaded to my website video library afterward!