Please meet Julie Williams. She is Mind Body Flow Yoga’s featured student for this month’s newsletter. Julie has a beautiful yoga practice and was generous in sharing it with us, as she demonstrates tree pose (Vrikasana).
Mind Body Flow Yoga’s Very Own Julie Williams
Shortly after the birth of my second child, I began to suffer a number of chronic symptoms that my doctors had trouble explaining. It was scary. I found myself constantly worried about what tomorrow would bring. Would it be a good day, where I could take the kids out with a friend? Or, would it be a tough day, where I would hardly be able to get out of bed? That worry on a daily basis was in and of itself at times debilitating. I regularly turned down invitations and pulled away from friends with the anticipation I may not feel well.
Through it all, I was tenacious about doing everything I could on the good days to get healthy. Running. Spinning. Zumba. Personal Training. Boot Camp. I did it all thinking I could somehow heal myself. It left me exhausted.
About two years ago, following a surgery, I realized I needed to be kinder to my body. I’d read about the healing effects of yoga in my research of my illness and I decided to give it a try. When I walked into Mind Body Flow Yoga, I thought I was simply going to get a gentle workout. I had no idea it would create such a paradigm shift in my mind; that everything in my life would change.
In addition to the terrific physical workout I’ve found at MBFY, I have come to greatly appreciate the advice and lessons delivered in the classes. One of those lessons, often discussed in class, is staying in the moment. We are taught not to anticipate what the future will bring. This can be very challenging when you are on your mat. When you are used to the rhythm of a certain sequence, it is extremely difficult to stop the anticipation, as the teacher cues an unexpected move, out of sync with the normal sequence.
Over time, I’ve come to appreciate how this lesson can be applied off my mat. Why am I worrying about how I will feel tomorrow? Why react to what I fear will come to pass faster than taking life as it comes. If I feel well enough to live my life well today, I might as well enjoy it. This lesson has changed my outlook completely. I now plan ahead with friends and family. I say YES to exciting opportunities. I have hope for good days.
This lesson I learned at MBFY, has been helpful over the past year. Some of those chronic symptoms I’ve suffered have been explained in a recent diagnosis of Rheumatoid Arthritis. R.A. is an auto-immune disease that causes chronic joint inflammation and pain. When my doctor delivered the diagnosis, she noted that she has never had a patient take the news so well. I credit the team at MBFY for giving me the tools I needed to accept that diagnosis with grace because I am better able to stay in the moment.
I don’t know what the future will bring. For now, you will find me on my mat at MBFY as often as a busy life allows. It is one of the greatest joys in my life, not only because it relieves my physical pain, but, more importantly, it fills my soul. It reminds me there are lessons to be learned in the storms of life. It reminds me I am strong, even though I don’t feel that way every day. It reminds me to be present in my life because each day is truly a gift.
Leave a comment below. What stood out to you in the testimonial? What significant experience have you had in your yoga journey?
What is this Pose About?
This is a grounded balancing pose. The resulting shape is a deep opening through the thighs, calves, and ankles. Watch Julie enter into this asana from Mountain Pose (Tadasana). She will exit the pose and land back in Mountain Pose (Tadasana) as well.
Here are a few things to keep in mind, if you decide to try this pose, or if you have already started to experiment and play around with it.
Tips for Tree Pose (Vrikasana)
- Stand in Tadasana. Shift your weight onto the left foot, keeping the left foot and twelve on a clock and the foot rooted firm into the floor.
- Bend your right knee. Reach down with your right hand and draw your right foot up and place the sole of the foot against the inner left thigh; if possible, press the right heel into the inner left groin, toes pointing toward the floor.
- Make sure your pelvis is neutral and that your hips are parallel with the front edge of your mat.
- Lengthen your tailbone towards the floor. Firmly press the right sole of the foot against the inner thigh and resist the outer left leg.
- Press your hands together in Anjali Mudra (hands together at heart center in prayer).
- Gaze softly at a foxed point in front of you.
- Hold for 3 – 5 breaths.
- Come back to Mountain Pose (Tadasana).
- Strengthens thighs, calves, ankles and spine
- Stretches the groins and inner thighs, chest and shoulders
- Improves sense of balance
- Relieves sciatica and reduces flat feet
- Use caution with this pose if you have a headache, insomnia, low blood pressure, high blood pressure: Don’t raise arms overhead
Have you tried this pose before? What has been your experience?