The shell cracks, its insides come out and everything changes.
To someone who doesn’t understand growth, it would look like complete destruction
– Cynthia Occelli –
Hello, fellow friends on the path,
The quote above hits home for me. This past winter, I feel as though my shell/identity cracked, and everything within me fell out. It was time to sweep away the old. I didn’t know what I would replace it with—or who I thought I was, or how I related to the world. My mantra for about 2 months was, “I don’t know,” heh— and it still is.
In the last week or so, I’ve been feeling something shifting and growing within me. It’s so cool to witness. I’ve taken out my tools (meditation, contemplation, observing my old patterns wanting to kick in) and have begun tending the soil of my soul, letting what needs to come up come out, weeding out what I no longer want. I don’t know what I want to plant just yet, but I am laying down a new foundation.
This is the time of year to tend the soil and plant seeds you hope to see flourish in the coming months.
Whatever we do now will directly impact our future. No matter how small the choices, we eventually see the efforts of our endeavors. If you’re not sure what, where, or with whom your next move/choice is—then continue to tend your soul’s soil and listen.
▴ What would you like to plant in your garden?
▴ What would you like to see manifest in the coming months?
▴ What are you ready to weed out?
▴ What would you like your mantra/affirmation to be for this next season?
Highlights in March
The LIVE class is now at 9AM PST Saturday to accommodate our friends on the east coast.
All LIVE classes for March are OPEN levels. If you want to know more about the levels on PWC, feel free to read this article.
Each class will be available on-demand in three unique segments so if you want a shorter class, you can do just the vinyasa or meditation/mantra on your own.
We’re hosting a self-led spring equinox retreat. I’ll be sharing details in an email soon!
Join me SATURDAY, MARCH 6th, at 9AM PST
for a heart-opening and back strengthening practice
Tending the Soil
As the snow of winter begins to melt, our bodies also need to thaw. During the cold months, our bodies naturally contract. Generally, the shoulders round forward, the front body contracts to keep the core of us warm. This week’s class is all about thawing out the front body.
Join me for a 60-minute back strengthening and chest opening working towards Bow Pose. This class is inspired by my time with Ana Forest.
Props you’ll need, 1 Bolster.
Reap the Benefits of a Quick Nighttime Stretch Routine
Slowing down and taking rest may as difficult as a rigorous routine for some, especially if you have a lot of fire in your personality! To coincide with our theme of planting the seeds and cultivating tapas (discipline), we’re highlighting the importance of rest and recovery and making space to unwind regardless of how busy your routine!
If you’ve ever tended a fire, you’ve seen how there are many layers to the flame. The outer-most layer is the grandest, sending flames and sparks into the ether, the middle of the fire is white-hot whirling, and the inner layer of the fire is where the blue flame glows darkly amongst the coals. The more we feed the fire, the bigger it grows and the more it consumes. If we stop feeding the fire, the flames subside and eventually fade, but the embers glow very hot and remain after the fire has died off.
The fire embers represent the ability to sustain and maintain a specific state no matter what events occur in the external environments. The fire embers precede, support, and remain long after the flames and contain more heat.
Restorative/yin yoga represents the embers of your practice. When we slow down and cultivate habits that allow intensities to diminish, we’re able to rest and recuperate; this is an essential part of any long-term practice, be it yoga, work, or relationships.
A nighttime yoga practice that’s slow, simple, and focuses on the breath allows the body and mind to shift gears from the busyness of the day (think of the flames in full-force) to the calm state of the embers.
Why Yoga Before Bed is Beneficial:
✺ Gentle and slow stretching shifts the nervous system into rest and digest mode (the parasympathetic nervous system) from fight or flight mode (the sympathetic nervous system), which causes the heart rate to slow down.
✺ Stretching increases the blood flow and circulation to the muscles and brain, helping recover and repair tissues.
✺ Stretching releases feel-good hormones, dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine, which have a calming effect on the mind. The perception of pain lessens; it feels good and allows the body to enter a state of relaxation.
✺ Stretching the body goes hand-in-hand with the breath; when we move slowly, we’re more likely to pay attention to how we breathe and breathe more deeply. The breath directly influences the vagus nerve that connects to the body’s organs, including the brain, heart, lungs, and stomach. By breathing deeply as we stretch, we slow the vagal tone, which affects each of the associated organs and systems.
✺ Stretching before bed brings awareness to the body and the present moment. It allows the practitioner to focus on themselves and get quiet in body and mind through simple, slow movements. This is a great way to prepare for rest as the mind’s focus shifts from the busyness of the day to what’s going on right now.
Simple Stretches for every body
▴ Child’s Pose or Forward Fold ▴
▴ Reclined or Seated Bound Angle Pose ▴
▴ Reclined Spinal Twist ▴
▴ Supported Bridge Pose ▴
▴ Cat/Cow undulations from tabletop or seated ▴
BONUS: Shaking! Shaking hands, arms, feet, legs, and head may release energy that needs to shift before coming into restorative and restful poses.
Preview a selection of classes that complete a quick nighttime stretch routine:
Yoga Before Bed with Clara
Or take a look at a few of our favorite classes to unwind before bed:
Did You Know...
See how to align in your practice with one of the how-to videos
Search a selection of videos on the proper alignment, way to do specific pranayamas, and tips on how to get into peak poses
Email us if you have requests for a how-to video!
Sending love and a virtual hug,
Clara & the Team.