#GetScattered & Santorini Flow

yogaBeing with yourself, regardless of whether you are achieving a goal or not, is never a waste of time, in fact it is an opportunity full of often unrecognized value. In our fast paced culture and rushed demanding lifestyle, how often do we let ourselves enjoy our confused state, let our imagination roam or, God forbid, watch the clouds? It has become very obvious here in Greece that even though their busses are surprisingly on time (I missed one today by arriving half a minute too late…), life runs on his own schedule dictated by a rhythm that is closer to nature than human ambition.

Why do I think that staring at a wall is a good thing? Because it allows us to let go of a fixed position and see a new perspective. A SETI enthusiast once told me something that can be applied to other things as it contains a morsel of a universal truth – how are we ever supposed to see anything extraordinary if we spend our days looking down at the ground? And I assure you, when you look within yourself, you are not being idle. One of the eight pillars of Ashtanga Yoga that leads to enlightenment is called Svadyaya and means self-study or self-observation.

Having said all that, you may not see a fireworks show under your lids or have a groundbreaking realization initially. But be patient and let yourself be aimless for a while. I believe we are inundated with static information that cling to us much like the EMF radiation from computers and wi-fi. In order to get IN, we first need to let that static OUT. I find movement really helpful in shortening that process. But aimless contemplation will get you there too.

 

Four Gears of the Brain

Much like car gears, our brains oscillate at various frequencies depending on how we feel or what we do. The mental undulations are divided into four main groups: Delta (0-4 cycles per second) occur during deep dreamless sleep or coma. Theta (4-7 cycles) are present as we are falling asleep and can also yield visions and bring new knowledge in deep states of awareness. Alpha (8-12 cycles) occur in effortless states of relaxation while fully awake. Beta (13-40 cycles) are the waves that drive most of our daily and often “automatic” actions such as when performing routine tasks, not rarely under stress.

Creative ideas arise best in Alpha and Theta states. The reason I encourage you to daydream and not be afraid of letting your marbles get scattered every once in awhile, instead of trying to hold it all together, is because when you let go, you allow your brain to naturally slow, bringing about a state that may just give you a hint as to how to resolve a problem or how to direct the next stage of your life.

Tune in tomorrow when I plan to post a short and simple and delicious (yeah, it really feels good) exercise of turning your incandescent mind into a blossoming laser without having to crank up your brain frequency.

 

Santorini Flow

As suspected, the Barcelona HIIT (performed twice already) got me pretty sore so I decided to take it easy today though my body still craved movement (well, sort of, my mind wanted it more, or conscience perhaps) so I gave it to myself in the form of Santorini Flow with two variations: high or low intensity yoga. Here it goes, try it if you dare!

Please note that I’m giving Tracy Anderson exercises another shot here. I’m choosing to incorporate it into the flow rather than making it the base. When holding yoga poses, hold for about 3-5 breaths.

Do all the sequences one after the other, or, for more intensity, do 2-3 sets of each before moving to the next one. If you’re feeling on the lower side of the energy spectrum, choose 1 or 2 sequences that call to you and return another day to try a different one.

Sequence 1

  • 4 sun salutations (A or B variation)
  • 3 x down dog into crescent lunge + 10 lunges – first leg
  • 1 sun salutation A (aka Vinyasa)
  • 3 x down dog into crescent lunge + 10 lunges – second leg
  • Vinyasa*

*Vinyasas up the intensity and act much like clearing the slate between each sequence and side. For a slower and more relaxing experience, you may skip the vinyasas, treating them as optional.

Sequence 2

  • 1 sun salutation into down dog
  • Warrior I into Warrior II into Side Angle Pose – one leg
  • Vinyasa + repeat on second leg + Vinyasa
  • Triangle pose + Pyramid pose + Reverse triangle – one leg
  • Vinyasa + repeat on second leg + Vinyasa
  • Crescent lunge into twisted crescent – one leg
  • Vinyasa + repeat on second leg + Vinyasa

Sequence 3

  • Crescent + Warrior III + 10 one legged dead lifts (squeeze butt and abs)
  • Vinyasa + repeat on second leg + Vinyasa

Sequence 4 (Tracy Anderson arms)

  • 50 arm circles each direction
  • 30 arm extensions – on inhale, reach arms to a V, on exhale flex into a W squeezing back, arms and fists

Sequence 5

  • 15 second plank hold + 10-15 pushups
  • 15 second boat pose for core

End with (5-10 breaths in each pose):

  • Deep forward fold
  • Pigeon pose on each leg
  • Bridge pose
  • Spine twist
  • Relax in Savasana…

A note about diet: I am finding the Greek cuisine absolutely delicious. Even the simplest of dishes burst with flavor melting in my mouth. Yesterday I tried the fava bean hummus with capers and zucchini stuffed with rice and beef. It was amazing! In the US, I tend to avoid dairy at all costs as I find that it clogs me up and makes my skin itch. I bought a bunch of raw veggies at the market yesterday and a block of goat feta. After an entire bowl of self-made Greek salad with a hefty portion of cheese, I noticed I had no bad reaction! It reminds me of how I felt after drinking cow milk lattes in Ireland. No reaction either! Makes me wonder why in the world the dairy in the US makes me feel the way it does… Still I don’t miss it when I have Whole Foods and almond milk.

 

Image credit: Kathryn Budig

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