Forum Posts

Caroline Cardino
Instructor
Instructor
Apr 22, 2022
In Caroline's Corner
Who doesn’t love savasana? It’s the dessert at the end of the yoga meal: the sweet release from doing, thinking, controlling, processing - the part of the practice where we simply STOP and LET GO. The Sanskrit word savasana is translated to “Corpse Pose” (sav - corpse or dead body, asana - pose or posture). It's pronounced “shavasana” - in Sanskrit, the initial “s” has a dialectal mark indicating a “shh” sound instead of “sss”. Savasana is usually the last pose in asana-based yoga practices like hatha and vinyasa, often presented tongue-in-cheek as "the final resting pose". In the Yoga Nidra (“yogic sleep”) tradition, it’s the only pose, practiced as an energetic meditation. At the end of an asana (active yoga) practice, savasana allows the body and nervous system to integrate the processing work experienced throughout the practice. The mind is given permission to meditate instead of thinking. The body is allowed to feel the experience of death: full release and relaxation of all muscular action, giving oneself over to earth/gravity. The way you come out of savasana is as important as the non-doing of being in it: Allow yourself to stay in the relaxed state you reached. Feel your breath slowly deepen, and maybe shift back into ujjayi (the whispered breath). Keep your eyes closed as movement slowly returns to the extremities of your body - your fingers and toes: don't just squeeze and stretch them, but truly feel the air around them, moving them like seedlings emerging from earth. Let your body become aware of the space it inhabits: feel the sensations of air on your skin, the floor supporting your body, the gentle rise and fall of breath in your body. Hear the sounds in the space around you: clock ticking, your pet moving around, air blowing through a vent, fan whirring overhead. Hear the sounds farther away from you: a drying tumbling downstairs, people talking outside, traffic in the distance. Once you have the full awareness of being IN your body, IN this space, then ease into action, sitting up slowly, opening your eyes, and becoming fully present. This practice of emerging from savasana can be useful on days you struggle to wake up and get out of bed! If you’ve hit snooze a couple of times and know you need to get up soon, instead of falling back asleep for 9 more minutes, turn onto your back and consciously deepen your breath. Move your fingers and toes slowly - feel the sheets and blankets, feel the warm and cool areas of the bedding and air, become aware of the sounds your hear. Shifting into ujjayi - consciously breathing - reengages the body and mind on a subtle level, allowing the mind to gently awaken before that last alarm goes off. Consider how you usually emerge from savasana after yoga practice. Do you have a tendency to "jump" out of savasana? Try easing your way back to presence and find out if you can retain the "release" of savasana as you reenter your day. How do you feel when you wake up in the morning? Are you halfway through brushing your teeth before your brain comes online? Incorporate a slow savasana-style emergence from sleep to help your mind and body awaken before getting out of bed!
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Caroline Cardino
Instructor
Instructor
Apr 05, 2022
In Caroline's Corner
Yin <—> Yang Darkness <—> Light Contraction <—> Expansion Self <—> Other Tension <—> Release Dichotomies are pairs of opposites perpetually dancing around a state of equilibrium. Light and dark cannot exist without each other; without their counterpart, neither has definition. Our human existence is a constant experience of relationships, dichotomies, and balance. By definition, dichotomies are extremes of existence, and either of those extremes will feel dissonant. We feel it when we’re out of balance, out of step, in discord. Our bodies, minds, and souls crave the moment when dissonance becomes harmonized. Music offers a perfect experience of this embodied feeling: there’s a tension created with dissonant notes and chords - the body feels the discord - and there’s a deep sense of relief or even bliss when the dissonance finally resolves into harmony. We experience the beauty of that release viscerally. Another example is our yin and yang. These are energies (types of qi) that exist in a balance within us - too much yin makes us feel cold, sluggish, heavy, depressed; too much yang makes us feel airy, overheated, frenetic, anxious. Likewise, contraction and expansion have their uses, but neither is an optimal state of being; we need to find the center point in order to feel balanced and grounded. The word yoga comes from the Sanskrit root yuj or “yoke” - as in, linking together, combining, bridging the gap. It is often translated as “union”. Yoga is the practice of harmonizing the dissonant - turning counterparts into partners - seeking the shades of gray between the black and white. Yoga is the process of seeking the balance that makes us feel connected and alive. Through steady practice, we connect mind, body, emotions, and spirit in order to resonate within this world as autonomous individuals integrated into our communities. In your practice this week, feel for the dissonance in your system (physical, mental, or emotional) and seek harmony. Don’t stress about achieving harmony - just allow yourself to engage in the practice of finding the middle-ground! How have you experienced discord and harmony in your life or your practice? Share in the comments!
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Caroline Cardino
Instructor
Instructor
Mar 28, 2022
In Caroline's Corner
“What is a human being?” “A human being is a container invented by water so that it can walk around.” There is a good deal of truth couched in this little joke .…The fluid bathing our own cells throughout every nook and cranny of our bodies can still be resolved into the basic proportions of elements, salts, and carbon compounds — the organic building blocks —that are found in the ocean. So we did not really leave the sea behind at all; we were, and are, obliged to carry part of it with us. We are, in fact, mostly water. As terrestrial organisms we may live on solid ground and breathe air, but as a collection of individual cells we still live within the same liquid medium from which we first emerged. — Deane Juhan, Job’s Body: A Handbook for Bodywork These passages are found in the introduction to Juhan’s chapter on connective tissue, or fascia - the semi-solid, fluid substance that supports the communication and nourishment of all other cells of the body (muscles, bones, organs, vessels, nerves). The substance of ocean lives within us as connective tissue. The memory of ocean - its tides, rhythms, fluidity - is preserved within our bodies’ movements. Like ships on an ocean, our bones and muscles are supported and carried within the bounds of our skin by our connective tissues, allowing us to flow through space. When our connective tissues harden or become sticky, stuck, or injured, there’s less ease of movement within our bodies. We feel pain, aches, tweaks when we move in the direction of what’s stuck. Limitations in our movement make us feel frustrated and confined and, over time, a sense of disconnect develops: our sense of self begins to separate from the body and views it as “other”, this thing that won’t move the way we want it to, this thing we’re imprisoned in. As oceanic beings, we chafe at feeling restricted. Our impulse is to stretch, undulate, ebb and flow, glide - and it’s frustrating when our hardened and overly tight connective tissues resist that movement. Breath is the mover of the connective tissue - the wind that surges the ocean within. Your breath - your life-wind - will ultimately allow your body to remember it’s fluidity. The practices of yoga and qigong hone in on this connection - whether it's moving with breath or holding a pose while allowing the body to expand and release with breath, these are powerful practices for reminding the body of its primal (primordial?) state of fluidity. Even in TRE, when we relax enough to allow the shaking, the body's innate movement pattern always shifts a little when we take a lovely, deep breath and sigh it out. Consider this connection in your movement practices and your life: in those moments when something feels stuck, instead of pushing into the stuckness, try letting go and breathing into it. If you feel a tweak in your shoulder, stop what you’re doing, relax, and breathe into it. When you find yourself stuck in a situation in life, pause, relax, and take a deep breath. What have you experienced when linking breath and movement? Feel free to share your thoughts, I'd love to hear them!
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Caroline Cardino
Instructor
Instructor
Mar 23, 2022
In Caroline's Corner
As the time of year when the earth literally surges back into life, Spring is energetically the season of rebirth, renewal, growth, and creativity. This season is rich with transitions, clarity, and a buzzing life-energy - and there are practices we can do to harness and embody that energy! In qigong, the vernal equinox marks the transition from water-element Winter into wood-element Spring. Wood element is associated with the color green, the processes of growth, transition, outward expansion, movement, creative drive. Our wood element channels and organs are the Liver and Gallbladder, which govern the tendons and the eyes. When the qi is balanced in these organs and channels, the cycles of our bodies function as they should, we have a broad perspective that allows us to see all our options, and we’re able to move freely in any direction we choose. In the chakra system, the energy of Spring resonates in our 2nd and 6th chakras. Second chakra (Sacral Chakra) holds the energy of our creativity, reproduction and procreation, connection to others, and our drive for life. Sixth chakra (Third Eye) holds the energy of vision, insight, dreams, and imagination. The functions of these chakras align nicely with the wood element in qigong - all of the energy we experience at this time of year revolves around growth, change, creativity, sexuality and sensuality, planning, moving, and re-emerging from the stillness of Winter. Embody the essence of Spring with movements that twist and side-stretch the trunk and expand the limbs out in all directions; qigong and yoga exercises that nourish the qi of the eyes and the wood channels; and practices that help release anger (the emotion that overwhelms the Liver). Join me for Qigong & Meditation and Core Yoga Basics to learn more!
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Caroline Cardino
Instructor
Instructor
Feb 01, 2022
In Hear ye, Hear ye!
Hello, Comfy community!! If we haven't met in class yet, I teach the Qigong & Meditation and Core Yoga Basics classes here at Comfy, and co-host seasonal Moon Gatherings and Ceremonies with the lovely embodied mover and shaker, Carrie Drapac. I want to let you all know about lifestyle workshops and courses I'm offering in the coming months - and extend a special invitation with a 30% discount to Comfy members! Details about these events are below - if you have any questions, please feel free to ask here in the forum. Registration for these virtual courses is through my website. Meet Your Chakras! Embodied Spirituality Workshop If you’ve spent any time in a yoga studio, you probably have a general idea of what chakras are. You’ve googled them and know the basic concepts of the energies they retain. Maybe an energy worker once told you something like, “Your 3rd chakra is blocked and your 2nd chakra is open”. So, you have this vague sense that something is out of balance in your system - but, what are you supposed to do with that info?! If this sounds familiar, I invite you to…Meet Your Chakras! In this workshop, you'll transform the way you relate to your chakras. Evolve from thinking of them as abstract concepts to feeling them as an integrated part of your existence! We’ll cover: The details of what chakras are and the physical anatomy associated with each The functional energetics of each chakra and what it really means for them to be “blocked”, “open”, or “activated” How to tap into your chakras as a source of your Intuition Clarifying common misconceptions about chakras that keep us disconnected Virtual workshop via Zoom Saturday, February 26 | 1-3:30pm CT $108 (30% discount - redeem coupon with code: COMFYLOVE) Workshop includes lecture, discussion, and guided meditation. Zoom link is emailed to participants upon registration. 2020, In Hindsight Living Mythology Course How do we make sense of the senseless? Our human existence on earth inevitably brings challenging, painful, and devastating experiences that leave us feeling powerless and adrift. As we approach the 2-year anniversary of arguably the most profound, difficult shift we’ve collectively experienced, many of us are still adjusting, grieving, integrating, and seeking a clear path forward. This transformational course is an opportunity to source direction and integration from the collective unconscious of our ancestors. You'll use the gift of hindsight to view “2020” through the lens of archetypal mythology, seeking out the symbolism, synchronicities, and universal truths of your lived experiences and learning how to weave them into the lush fabric of your life story. 2020, In Hindsight is for anyone seeking to make sense of, process, and integrate any traumatic or painful experience; the course focus is on the collective pandemic experience, but this work can be applied to any aspect of your life you feel emotionally or energetically “stuck” on. Workshop 1: The Hero’s Journey Explore the major archetypes and mythological structure of the Hero’s Journey Workshop 2: Initiation Into the Mystery Use the principles of the Hero’s Journey to reflect on your life, direction, and identity before and during the pandemic (or any unresolved event you choose to focus on) Workshop 3: The Return Take stock and find direction: integrate the experiences, lessons, and gifts of the journey with the Hero’s Return Virtual course via Zoom Sundays | March 13th, 20th, and 27th | 3-4:30pm CT $168 (30% discount - redeem coupon with code: COMFYLOVE) Course consists of three 90-minute virtual workshops. Each workshop includes lecture, journaling, and discussion, with introspective journaling homework between workshops. Zoom link is emailed to participants upon registration.
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