Not everyone can do all yoga poses, but everyone can do all yoga actions.
In each of our books, the journey toward calm abiding with clear seeing is laid out in beginner, intermediate and integration yoga actions and sequences. Yoga Actions for Shoulders & Arms is the fifth in what has now become a six-volume series of print and e-books emphasizing actions in focused areas of our bodies — Feet & Ankles, Legs & Knees, Pelvis & Psoas, Torso & Spine. We recently added The Yoga Actions Glossary, which is still in production. Within every volume, each yoga action is displayed in a two-page layout with the first page describing the action and visually demonstrating the experience through a Pre Pose, followed by a five-pose Peak sequence to further expand your experience of the action. Finally, we follow each sequence with Plus Poses to further develop the action and Post Poses to fully relax the body and integrate the asana experience.
We encourage you to read the yoga action on the first page and then apply it with the Pre Pose. If you do not immediately feel the action in your body, continue using it for the sequence (Peak Poses) on the following page as well as the Plus Poses. It may take two or three poses or a full practice sequence before you awaken the area of emphasis. Additionally, you may wish to include poses that you know create greater opening for your own body. Gaining awareness and accepting what is true for you are two rewards emerging from the many wonders of a yoga practice. Yoga emphasizes whole-being wellness so continue to incorporate the actions from our previous books that most suit your current needs.
Our yoga actions and breath regulation practices engage your willpower (emotion and thoughts) to regulate the breath and body. You may also wish to practice holding your awareness on the sensations that arise during your practice. When we hold our awareness on sensation, we are witnessing, rather than willing, the collective action of mind, body and spirit in whatever healing and transformation is needed.
Thank you for joining us. We are all being called to awaken, and the yoga path to truth feeds all.
Helen & Candace
Sensation Emotion Thought
Yoga has been described as a practice that disturbs the comfortable by taking us to the “razor’s edge” of experience. Once there, we can choose to awaken to ourselves (authenticity and truth) or continue to deepen our habitual unhealthy patterns (distraction and delusion). During these crossroads of crucial decision-making, do you have a tendency to choose comfort over courage? In a society where pleasure seeking and pain avoidance are often favoured, comfort’s short-term fix appeals even though courage’s long-term benefit is a wiser choice.READ MORE
Because everyone’s experiences are unique so are their needs, which raises the question “How do I know what comfort needs disturbing?” Fortunately, we have some visible clues. Yoga, as well as contemporary psychology, teaches that everything and everyone mirror our current experiences, so we can begin by understanding what these experiences show us. At their simplest, all experiences begin with sensation, which we often react to through our emotions and thoughts. Historically, in Western education, we have fixated on intellectual cognition (thought) with less regard for emotion and sensation (includes intuition).
We have kept spiritual, intuitive education out of our schools at the same time that we have kept out dogmatic religious indoctrination. […] As a result, we tend to be intellectually and physically adept, and spiritually and emotionally inept. John Selby
Without the guiding wisdom of intuition, our decisions and thus actions are filtered through the perception-coloured looking glass of ego as opposed to the truth of spirit and body. The Evolution of an Experience, depicted here, illustrates the series of sequential responses triggered when an event occurs.
(insert Evolution of an Experience here)
Significantly, we are first alerted through the sensation triggers of our six senses — intuition, taste, touch, sight, sound, smell. Only then does our filter of perception (ego) interpret an emotional reaction — attraction or aversion or neutrality. Depending on whether we feel positive, negative or indifferent emotions toward the sensation, our subsequent thoughts create a story to address our perception, which is our deluded attempt at gaining control (comfort) over the external event.
As Nietzsche (1844-1900) so eloquently stated, “we do not have any say about the events of our lives, but we do have say over how we interpret them.” What if we choose to courageously awaken to our truth, to become aware of what an event is trying to tell us about ourselves?
Fortunately, yoga provides us with the exploration and discovery tools — the eight limbs — needed to navigate this awareness journey into calm abiding and clear seeing. So, what if we let our awareness do the work? Instead of seeking pleasure, avoiding pain or ignoring neutrality, can you hold your awareness on the sensation that shows up in your body when you are in an asana, meditating or just hanging out? What would happen if we choose to understand life’s events through our sensations instead of through the judgment of ego’s emotions and thoughts? As yoga practitioners, the truth of our experiences when garnered from sensation allows us to see and eradicate delusional emotions and thoughts. As B. K. S. Iyengar claims, “This is not yoga by the body for the body, but yoga by the body for the mind, for the intelligence.” Thus, when we marry cellular instinct (body wisdom) with spiritual intuition and mental awareness, we no longer need to use our willpower (ego) to regulate our body, breath or mind. Holding our awareness on our sensations allows us to witness a balanced response within our being to whatever is emerging. Our challenge is to stay with the sensation. When we are able to do so, each aspect of our being is allowed to bring forth whatever is required for balancing calm abiding with clear seeing.COLLAPSE
Candace and Helen continue to produce well-crafted practices that take the yoga practitioner deeper into the inner workings and experiences of alignment. While editing this fifth volume of Creating Space, I had to restrain myself multiple times from stopping the editing process and starting to work with the actions and practises before me.
Yoga Actions for Shoulders & Arms explores an area of the body where many of us carry the weight of our life experiences. This book offers guidance for those seeking to wake up and shine light into places that keep us living in past pain and in fear of future suffering. Thank you, Candace and Helen, for the integrity, knowledge, and love you bring to our yoga community.