Annie Carpenter Yoga

Invitation to Transformation: Embracing Stillness

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We all know that for some, Savasana can be the hardest posture of any yoga class. The ability to find total stillness for so many of us can be extremely challenging, especially in our fast moving and busy lives. But remember, you are not alone!

The wonderful Annie Carpenter shares her experience of finding transformation through stillness.

“Lately (the last 10 or 12 years), in my Asana practice I’ve been choosing poses that I can hold — in stillness — for longer periods of time. They may even be easy poses, rather than the fun, more challenging ones. In fact there are just a few that I can hold for 3 minutes, 5 minutes, 10 minutes. Of course there are supported restorative poses—and yes, I love those too. But in my heart of hearts, it is Sarvangasana, shoulder-stand, and Sirsasana, head-stand, that really are my loves.

I have had a love-hate relationship with stillness my whole Yogic life. I love to move! The 5 breaths in (and out!) of poses a la Astanga Yoga, the vinyasa (movement with the breath) of flow and even the art of adjusting and aligning the body just so in the alignment practices, have enraptured and sharpened my attention for many years.

And so the fascination with stillness continues to surprise me, even as it delights. In the stillness of the body, I am engulfed with the movements of the mind. These vritti (mental movements) can be joyous or sad, helpful or frustrating, soft or maddeningly loud. Some days they swarm like angry bees who have lost their queen; others they calm and settle and my drishti (gaze) rests in effortless awareness of both outer and inner in steady poise.

For me, stillness summons an ever subtler awareness of what is—including all the little urges to fidget and fix, and wishing and regretting — and the possibility of allowing, and releasing. Of Let; and its necessary partner, Go. And in the gap that follows: Peace.

For 2017— In the context and inspiration of Liforme’s “Live for More” – may we find joy in stillness and embrace this simple mantra: “Let. Go.” and trust that peace will follow.”

 

Annie Carpenter is the founder of SmartFLOW Yoga and has more than two decades of yoga teaching experience. Widely regarded as a ‘teacher’s teacher’, Annie lives and teaches in San Francisco, California.

Find out more about Annie at http://anniecarpenter.com/

And you can find Annie on Instagram @anniecarpentersmartflow or on Facebook @annie.carpenter1.

Photo thanks: Allyson Pfeifer

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  • Sierra Taye

    I find stillness to be the most challenging while meditating. I have known of my anxiety disorder an aspergers from a young age, and grew into the habit of brushing off attention troubles as the adults would – certainly, the lack of focus would be a wasted effort to address. When these disorders quite literally began to control my life – anxiety confused my nervous system so my stomach would not digest food, aspergers leading to meltdowns that would last hours – I turned to yoga. And off the bat, I enjoyed the physicality of it. I enjoyed expressing myself through movement.. until someone explained that part of what you learned from yoga came from stillness. The idea of “clearing your mind of thoughts” and “letting go” shook me to my core. It seemed like a waste of time.. thinking it through, how could one possibly be doing something right if they were doing nothing at all? It still didn’t make sense when I gave meditation my first try. Or my second. Or my ninth… but I stuck with it and found once or twice, for a fleeting moment, my heart was unburdened by the future or past. It felt divine, unreal. And now while I do revel in the physical practice of yoga, that moment of revelation has made me keen on practicing meditation and stillness. So much growth can happen, and it is all already there inside us!

  • Kate Matthews

    Such an insightful article!

  • Hannah Reddy

    What an interesting article. How much does a Liforme Mat cost?