Prasarita Padottanasana C is just a fancy way of saying “Wide Leg Forward Fold” with an added shoulder stretch.
STEP 1. Facing the long way on your mat, take a wide stance. Make sure your feet are parallel to one another.
STEP 2. Press down through the inside arch of the foot.
STEP 3. Lift your knee caps to your quads.
STEP 4. Engage your glutes and pull your navel to your spine.
STEP 5. Interlace the hands behind you or bring them to your hips.
STEP 6. Lift your chest up on an inhale and fold forward on an exhale.
FORWARD being the keyword.
STEP 7. Bring the hands to the floor or on blocks if the floor is not accessible. Yogis with tight hamstrings, consider bending your knees.
STEP 8. If you chose to interlace the hands and the head touches the floor with ease, move the head further back and work on getting the hands to touch the floor.
STEP 9. To come out of the pose, lift half way up on an inhale, making sure the lower half of your body is resembling cat pose. On an exhale, place your hands on your hips making sure the elbows are facing the ceiling. Stand up the rest of the way.
STEP 10. For those doing Prasarita Padottanasana C, root your feet down and rise up keeping the hands interlaced the whole time.
Recently I started reading and also doing Julia Cameron’s book called The Artist Way. The book kept showing up in my path so I figured I should listen to that message. From the start of the book, you have to commit to three pages of free flow writing daily which has taken me anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour. On top of that, you also have to take yourself on an “Artist’s Date” which is another two-hour commitment per week. My initial enthusiasm quickly got replaced by a sense of dread as I had just added another thing to my ever-growing “to-do” list. I’m big on efficiency so I really started questioning if this was the best use of my time before getting started. I’m also extremely curious and curiosity won out. I was interested to see if a successful book like this with such amazing testimonials, would work on me or perhaps for me. By the way, the testimonials I had been reading did not come from Julia Cameron. They came from Tools of Titans by Tim Ferris which is advice from successful people in all different fields. Several of them swear by the exercises Julia Cameron presents in The Artist’s Way.
LIFE IS ABOUT PERCEPTION
I strongly believe that life is about our own personal view on things otherwise known as perception. Here is a quick example: recently I was at the Korean Spa which helps me keep my sanity in this crazy city and a group of girlfriends were coming out of getting a scrub treatment. This is a treatment that I try to get every month and can personally say leaves you feeling like a brand new human. They were asking each other how they felt and the answer was similar to what I stated above. When the last one came out, she hugged her friend and said; “Thanks for making me come today.”
Other friend: “You had to make her come?”
My thought exactly!
Friend: “Yes she did. You know I don’t like to try new things and it sounded weird. But I feel so good. When are we coming back?” They all broke out in laughter. We all do this. We all create a perception of things and make a judgment about people and places we know absolutely nothing about. Then we take it one step further and make the decision that a particular person or event is not for us. When having the actual experience, how often are you proved wrong? Yet, we turn around and do it all over again having learned nothing.
YOUR INNER GENIUS
I decided to take on the same mantra and approach that I ask of my students in class. I would “watch my attitude.” What if I approached the morning pages and the Artist dates with excitement? With curiosity? I figured if by some miracle I had a little genius inside just waiting to explode, this would be worth the investment in time. I can tell you that if a genius does exist inside of me, the little fellow is taking its time! What I can attest to so far in this writing journey is that I feel lighter in both body and mind. I feel more clear and focused when I’m teaching. More rooted and observant rather than reactive.
To encourage you to step out of your comfort zone, pick up a pen and paper and just freestyle write anything and everything that comes to mind. I now think of this process as “throw up of the mind.” An emptying of the mind if I was to be more polite. Below is one page of my morning pages. Enjoy and don’t judge! Who’s ready to take this on for the whole 12 weeks?
Well, today didn’t go as planned at all. Just getting to class/West Hollywood Yogaworks was of course crazy. Bulldozer truck trying to go through Hollywood Hills. Fire trucks by Runyon Canyon. A guy that was just chillin’ in his car at a stop sign that was either unaware of the cars behind him or gave zero fucks. His friend than proceeded to get out of his car and I had the urge to go up to the driver side and choke him slowly and pause right when he couldn’t take it anymore and ask: “Were you unaware of the line of cars behind you or do you simply not care that some us perhaps have to work today?” If I was the hero of the story, I would pause and take a sip of my Cafe Cubano. I wish the Korean Spa, Din Tai Fung, and Adidas would sponsor me. Gotta stay fresh in my kicks! Sal and I took Anjali for a walk on this perfect sunny day. I told Sal that I have to take myself on an Artist Date this weekend as I must follow the rules of the book. A two-hour date it must be!
Sal: Can I come with you?
Me: No, not according to the book.
Sal: Than just pretend that I’m not there.
Me: You know I can’t do that. It will never work.
Sal: than f*ck your book!
All I could do was laugh because he said it ever so cute and he never uses a bad word. This book. This book! De done es little genius? De done es?
I’ve been listening to a lot of NPR’s, “How I Built This,” and what I’ve come to realize is that the most popular and successful household brands had no idea what they were doing when they started. Neither did I with my online classes. I knew one aspect of it which also happens to be my passion, Yoga. When people encouraged me to do it, they said, I would just have to release 14 classes. I never ever thought a blog would be necessary and probably laughed at the people who called themselves bloggers. I never realized I would have to do marketing and learn boring concepts that make me want to break out in a rash like SEO and CTA. Looking back now, I think how could I not have realized that I was starting an online business? How could I have been so naive? I questioned my common sense. But the thing is if you listen to episodes from how Whole Foods, Crate and Barrel, and Lonely Planet got started, none of them knew what they were doing.
They all had a strong burning desire that kept pulling at them all day long until they gave into that energy force and created an action plan. Which brings me to my next point.
All the brands stated above had a choice. They could fold before giving themselves a chance because they realized how much they did not know, or they could take the time to learn it.
As a full-time Yoga teacher in Los Angeles, I spend a lot of my time in my car. I can listen to the same songs on all 5 stations, or I can utilize that time to gain some free knowledge. Everything I need to learn on SEOs, CTAs and online platforms can be found for free on Youtube or other people’s podcasts who have had success and are willing to share their knowledge to you for FREE. It is all available to you if you are hungry, honest and humble enough to realize and acknowledge that you might need help learning about certain aspects of the business.
As I adjusted my yoga schedule recently, I have gained a new group of students who are asking me questions that I have not had to answer in awhile compared to my regular group of yogis. A big priority for me when building this site is to empower the students. To give the knowledge back to them by posting videos on my Youtube channel which builds their yoga practice from the ground up with my own personal cues and tips. In other words, “free knowledge” for those who are interested. What surprises me, is how few of them actually watch it. You are already showing up on your mat. Why wouldn’t you take the time to educate and empower yourself with the free knowledge already out there especially if it’s being offered by the teacher you are currently studying with? In my case and maybe yours, I’ve already started the online platform, and perhaps you have started a new business. So why wouldn’t you take the time to empower and educate yourself?
YOU CAN MAKE EXCUSES OR YOU CAN MAKE IT HAPPEN
I recently took a class with a senior yoga teacher who told me she liked the version of the twist I was doing but she doesn’t know HOW to teach it. To me, that’s just lazy. If you’re going to charge people thousands of dollars for teacher trainings but don’t know how to teach a basic twist, you have no business doing that. The how is not the problem here. In my opinion, it is a question about passion and desire: as long as you have access to the internet or a book, you can learn how to teach that twist. You can make excuses or you can make it happen. You can focus on your lack of resources—and I must admit I often do this and it can be a valid concern especially when it comes to lack of financial resources—or you can find a way to make it happen. Perhaps you feel a bit stuck because you can’t invest in your business in the way that you would want? But how does that mindset help you? How does that help your action plan? Your dream and potential? Or you can keep moving forward one step at a time. Start with the free knowledge that is already out there. Educate yourself on those that have done a version of what it is you are trying to do. Save yourself some headaches and most likely money by learning from their mistakes. This is your life, “so whatever you choose to believe will be the concept that runs your mind.” (Joe Vitale)
What do you choose? Fear or self-empowerment? Excuses and standing still or free knowledge as a step forward?
Let me know in the comments!
Long ago before Lululemon was the norm in class, there was a dude named Paulie Zink who taught Taoist Yoga. He was also a master of martial arts and used his yoga practice as the base/foundation for his training. He would start with supine poses which he held for 5-10 minutes. Two hours later, Paulie would begin the Yang portion of his training. At this point in time, Taoist Yoga is what we know as Yin yoga today. However, not in its entirety. Only the part dealing with Yin principles.
Taoist Yoga | Father of Yin Yoga
Paul Grilley is the most well-known teacher in the Yin style. He met Paulie Zink in 1989 and trained with him for one year. His interest was in Paulie’s Yin style of yoga although that name is not yet known. Paul dabbled in the active Yang styles, but it did not hold his interest like Yin did. When Paul Grilley started teaching Yin, the studio owners did not know what to call the class, so out of respect for Paulie Zink being his teacher, he too called it Taoist Yoga. This is the name that remained for next 10 years to follow.
Dr. Hiroshi Motoyama’s Discovery of Acupuncture
Dr. Hiroshi Motoyama is one established dude. His mom must be very proud! He was able to demonstrate not only the existence chakras but of meridians as well. I wonder if he ever did Ayahuasca! As an acupuncturist, my partner Sal works with meridians on a daily basis. As yogis, we too work with them but use the name “Nadis”. Among Dr. Motoyoma’s experiments, he was able to show that the meridian acupuncture points is a water-rich network located in our connective tissue and cover every part of our body. This discovery gives light to the whole system of yoga. It makes more sense how the system of postures was created to cleanse the body and help in a therapeutic manner as well.
Sarah Powers introduces Yin Yoga to the world
Sarah Powers started her practice and career in Ashtanga. She traveled and taught all over the world and attended some of Paul Grilley’s classes back in the 90’s. In 2000, Paul and his wife were teaching a workshop in Berkley called Taoist Yoga. When Sarah started traveling again, she started introducing Taoist Yoga into her workshops calling it and explaining it as the Yin part of the practice and referred to the Vinyasa portion as the Yang. She peeked people’s interest and when they asked how they can learn more about it, she referred them to Paul Grilley. What Paul was able to show Sarah, is that you can blend both Yin and Yang with the practice. It doesn’t just have to be the rigid Ashtanga or the slow-moving Yin. She went on to start Insight Yoga with her husband.
Studios started requesting Paul Grilley for Yin yoga workshops but the official name change from Taoist Yoga had yet to happen.
How Yin Yoga got its name
Paul Grilley was just finishing up his first manual and planned on naming it Taoist Yoga. However, he realized that it’s truly not Taoist Yoga as he is only talking about 1/2 of the system here. Nothing was mentioned about the Yang principles of Taoist Yoga. And this, ladies and gents, is how Yin Yoga got its name officially changed. The final name for the manuscript was Yin Yoga: Outline of a Quiet Practice.
Some can argue that Hatha Yoga also included Yin but for me, the above is what I believe in. Now that you know the key players, do further research on the ones that intrigue you!
How Yin was practiced before it got its name
This style of stretching has been around for about 2000 years and taught in Taiwan and China under the system of Daoist Yoga. This branch was called Dao Yin. Taoist priests taught it to Kung Fu priests to help with their martial arts training and aid in making them mentally strong as well.
I hope you can understand and feel the power and benefits of this practice! Life never feels right when we are constantly running around always on the go. Always in a Yang state of mind. You eventually have to find a balance or the Universe will force you into one. That is the balance most of us struggle with and strive for. Same goes for the practice. It is incomplete unless you are practicing both Yin and Yang forms.
“Ego is an imposter, imposing on the real you, making you think you are something that you’re not.” – Oprah
On the bathroom walls of Forward-Fold where I teach and film my online classes, reads: “Your ego is not your amigo.”
I have no idea what student wrote this on the wall as when the studio opened, the owner Matt, allowed peeps to write whatever they wanted. I often use this phrase in class and life. The ego is an imposter and a real son-of- a-bitch. It will haunt us forever so we better teach it its place and build a better relationship with it.
There’s no winning with the ego. No escaping it. So, start by noticing how much, how often, and in what areas the ego is running your life. I spend most of my time teaching and observing other people’s patterns of behavior and these are things you will often hear me say about the ego:
“The ego is strong tonight. What about the heart? Where’s the heart guys? Who are you making all this effort for? Not me, I hope.”
We have to expand our awareness, create a longer, bigger and stronger bridge so we can hit pause for a second and observe ourselves. Are my thoughts true? Am I really feeling hurt that I didn’t get asked to be in the naked Alo Yoga book? Is this something that I align with and desire, or is this my ego talking? Am I a shit teacher because I can’t do Scorpion pose? Who do I think I am for trying to teach yoga and create an online platform? Before we know it, the ego becomes fully in charge as we make ourselves small shrinking into all of our fears and insecurities. All of this drama is being created by the greatest magician alive, the EGO!
Time to wake up to your life and challenge your thoughts, especially the ones driven by FEAR. The first time I did this, it went a little something like this:
Ego: You can’t sell online classes. No one will ever buy them. Who do you think you are?
Me: I know who I am. I’m Ella and you shut up. I’ve been working on this all of my life. I have faith in myself so you shut it down Ego.
Ego: I don’t know what to say……you’ve never questioned me before. Fine than. I will shut up for now but I’m watching you because I know your fear and anxiety will return.
Me: Get out of here Ego. I won’t allow you to walk around in my head any longer.
I see you Ego. I see you and will continue to challenge you, while moving forward, my dear fake friend! I will no longer let you be the mastermind of my life. I will not take what you say to be obsolete. I know the ego will always scream. The heart will always whisper. So the question is, have you noticed your ego? What do YOU plan to do about it?