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Namaste Journal

Open the Gate: Including Peaceful Creatures In Your Practice

#namasteNewViews connected practice

There is a vast difference between being self-aware and being self-absorbed. You've probably observed this in your own life. For instance, the person in line at the grocery store who decides to change lanes: forcing everyone behind to back up lest their carts are jostled, and then inadvertantly cutting in front of other people and their carts who were headed to the very line they just entered. How about at home? Have you been the person doing a silent, mindful activity, only to have someone walk in the room and turn on some noisy, electronic device?

These moments can make you feel as if you are invisible, but truly, it's more about those who haven't chosen to practice mindful awareness. As you become aware of your strengths and weaknesses and practice forgiveness of yourself, you expand and work to be more forgiving of others as well. Remember, this can be a challenge pose in and of itself! As with postures, time, patience and breath are key.

#namasteNewViews connected practiceTo encourage growth in these areas, try combining Gate Opening with Dove, and taking them to a place of not only awareness and acceptance, but curiosity: a pasture that contains some of our most treasured partners in life. As you approach your practice, you will notice the different reactions of the creatures you've chosen to share space with. All are quickly aware of your presence, and some may approach you in a spirit of exploration and with very few reservations! Others will keep their distance, while tuning into your presence and remaining aware of your location in space, even while gaining comfort with the addition of your energy.

You can build trust while in a wide-legged forward fold, as well as expanded awareness, as you feel the ground vibrate with the impact of hooved feet and you realize that even though you cannot see them, you can feel the presence of the energies around you. For those who have a tendency to hold their breath in practice, it seems most fortuitous to hear a horse snort at an opportune moment - as if there were a yoga instructor within that equine body, reminding you to exhale. You may even have to quietly ask that your yoga mat not be snacked upon, which creates an interesting moment of realization as it becomes apparent that allowing others to infringe on your needs benefits no one actually.

The lateral postures in both sequences are fantastic opportunities to explore your entire space fully. The sky above beckons you to stretch and expand through your ribs, the gentle sway of tall blades of grass entice you to fill every internal space with breath and life. Watch the patterns of movement within a herd of cattle change as you flow from one pose to the next and feel connected with an element of simplicity and beauty that are not easily observed from a roadside.

As you leave your practice, remember that you are never invisible. Your energy is present and constant. Stay whole and grounded, so that even those who seem stuck deep inside the container of their own space might be touched by your gentle awareness.

Will you try this combination this week? We would love to see what you see. Be sure to share in image of your #namasteNewViews with us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. We'll give one contributor a Namaste travel yoga mat at the end of the week.



ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Heather Gregory is an avid Namaste yogini and has been practicing the sequences nearly every day for nearly four years. Her favourite part of Namaste is the opportunity it affords to find her calm, collected center and carry that forward through each day. We enlisted Heather to share her #namasteNewViews as she explores the practice with our iTunes downloads, and blog about her experiences. You can contact her at heather@namaste.tv

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