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Yoga for Self-Compassion

Beginner II
This class is a more challenging beginner yoga flow that invites you to cultivate self compassion. Coming from a “no pain no gain” culture, many of us benefit from being reminded that practising yoga in a way that helps us honor the experience pleasure in the body can be a more effective way to calm the nervous system, while still building strength and alignment. This class can also help you appreciate the experience of pleasure in your daily life.
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Comments

Existing Comments

MaryRose Metcalfe
February 10, 2021
Comment:

Beautiful practice Ron. Thanks.

Just a comment, this is stated at Intermediate I, so I was expecting a little more of a challenge. From my experience on DYWM, this practice feels more like a Beginner I or II.

kapkap
February 19, 2021
Comment:

Hi David, as someone who enjoys Ron’s classes from Beginners to Advanced as well as those of other DYWM teachers, I agree with Mary Rose. If only to encourage some more beginner yoga students to enjoy this class! Thanks!

Mork
February 10, 2021
Comment:

I loved this class; didn't want it to end; I love your style and your focus on the body and the way it feels in any given moment; I love the dance and grace that you bring. Thank you Ron!

LucyHB
January 15, 2021
Comment:

What a lovely, relaxing class, thank you Ron! I'm doing the Poise and Precision challenge for the 2nd time (first did it as New Year 2020 challenge, if only we had known what was in store!) and this class feels extra necessary in January 2021.
As a runner prone to injuring myself through overtraining, I appreciate the reminder that 'no pain no gain' can be a detrimental mantra. I appreciated this opportunity to slow down and thank my body for all it does.

PianoWire
December 30, 2020
Comment:

Thank you for this class. Many yoga classes, even at Beginner I level, leave me feeling as if I'm "not flexible enough for yoga." As a textbook Type A, I appreciated your encouragement not to go where it doesn't feel good. Your adaptations were helpful and presented in a way that didn't make me feel as if I was wimping out. However, one of your stretches didn't work at all for me. I find it difficult to interlace my fingers and turn my palms away from my head, even with my hands as waist level. Raising my hands to shoulder level with elbows slightly bent is possible but uncomfortable. My limit is 30-45 degrees above horizontal, which I can hold only for a few seconds. Bending my elbows 90 degrees helps a little (including hands at waist level), but I still can't get close to arms overhead with palms facing the ceiling. Any suggestions?

Ron Stewart
December 30, 2020
Comment:

Hi there PianoWire
Sounds like many things going on so I'm going to make some suggestions based on my "guesses".
By your PianoWire name, it sounds as though you are recognizing a taught feeling in your muscles(?)
So, anywhere in your practice when you start to feel PianoWirey, make sure the sensation you feel in your body is still producing a pleasing "sound" ,... make music - don't go to where the feeling of PianoWire about to "snap" or break.
When you say "difficult to interlace my fingers and turn my palms away from my head," I'm guessing the primary sensation is in the hands/fingers? Perhaps the forearms? Try doing the stretches as noted above, pleasant sensation/"music" rather than snapping sensation, hold and breathe, longer than normal. 8 Deep Breathes. do just this a few times a day? before any yoga class?

And when you say "Raising my hands to shoulder level with elbows slightly bent is possible but uncomfortable. My limit is 30-45 degrees above horizontal," I'm guessing that you start to feel more unpleasant sensation into the shoulders? Work on should flexibility separately. How is it for you generally having arms above your head? ie Warrior poses or seated chair? With palms together? difficult? With arms in a wide "V" easier?
I generally practice with a wide "V", it makes for more space for the shoulders and allows more ease and dropped shoulders.
When doing down dog, let your pinky finger be off the side of your mat, arms that wide, let shoulders drop, let gravity do the work here. Also, for the hands, really open your palm to the ground, aim to drop the base of each finger into the floor.

Sometimes in standing postures, having your arms at shoulder height with fingers reaching for the horizon, straight in front or out to the sides, with dropped shoulders, will allow you to focus on other aspects of warrior, seated chair etc without being distracted by shoulder tightness. It's hard to constantly be reminded of your tight xyz ( fill in the blank) when you are doing postures that are opportunities to bring awareness to other aspects of our practice, our tight spot starts to inhibit the feeling of having a satisfying practice , so knowing when to "work on" your shoulders and when to give them a break and play with other aspects of your practice can bring more joy to your yoga.

Some of this is related to our ego. Can we let go of the text book image of the posture (what ego wants to look like) and embrace OUR true expression of the posture. This, in a way, for me, is where a "mature practice" evolves from.

Massage, self massage for forearms, massage for shoulders.
What other physical activities and practices do you have? If weight lifting, or doing heavy physical labour is a part of your reality, these will limit your range of motion, you can play with the Yin/Yan of these activities, try backing off on the weights and see if you start to experience more range of motion. There will be a "sweet spot" somewhere, the balance of strength and flexibility will find a happy place.

Hope this helps.
Ron

PianoWire
December 30, 2020
Comment:

Ron, thanks so much for the quick reply and the helpful coaching. Your guesses are on target. My shoulders and hamstrings are super-tight. I’ve been working on both (active and passive stretching, rolling, massage, bar hangs) a few times a week for nearly two years, but progress hasn’t been perceptible yet. My limitation with the palms-out-interlaced-fingers pose is shoulder rotation. The shoulders just don’t want to turn as much as that pose requires. I can raise my hands almost straight above my head with my palms together, but I hit a wall as soon as I try to rotate the palms away from each other. Regardless of hand and forearm position, my scapulae will consent to be lowered only when my elbows are at or below shoulder level. What do you suggest I do when you call for stretching arms overhead with interlaced fingers and palms facing up?

Your advice on down dog is astute. I find that pose unpleasantly challenging. My arms, shoulders, hamstrings, and calves complain. My hands feel as if they’re being pushed forcibly forward across the mat so that a face plant is imminent. I’m relieved when down dog transitions to plank, which I find much easier and more comfortable to hold. I’ve been coached to space my hands widely in down dog, but not quite “pinky off the mat” wide. I’ll definitely try that.

As for weights, I use light dumbbells for toning, but I don’t do any heavy lifting. Since my indoor rock climbing gym closed in March, the most intense shoulder work I’ve done is an occasional bound headstand. Otherwise, I swim, cycle, and carry a 30-lb backpack up and down mountains. Thanks again for your help!

Ron Stewart
December 31, 2020
Comment:

Hi PianoWire
I am recognizing a hesitancy to offering more "technical" ways to approach this without a more full intake. So please approach any of these ideas with your own sense of curiosity and with the knowledge you possess with regards to your body and its abilities.

I think for as little time we do hands interlaced/palms face up, you can extend arms to the sides (T), palms down, then flex the wrists, reaching through the heels of the hands toward the side wall. When/if this does not feel uncomfortable, start to raise the arms toward "V" - subtly.
For downdog, play with bending the knees - alot - this will bring some ease into the body's "Back line" allowing you to focus on your spine/ spinal alignment, see if you can feel the natural curves from tail to crown. If the shoulders still inhibit a sense of ease, lower your knees to the floor, hips over knees, hands walk forward, again focusing on your spinal alignment, maybe even forearms on the floor. The concept of neutral spine is a part of my Open Hips Neutral Spine class, if the concept isn't initially clear.

I'm appreciating the exchange, I hope their is some worthy adaptations here for you.

PianoWire
December 31, 2020
Comment:

Thank you, Ron, for the extremely helpful advice. I started yoga about 18 months ago to add variety and structure to my stretching routine. Many teachers, even in gentle introductory classes, assume their students are far more flexible than I even aspire to be. That has sometimes made yoga feel like something to endure rather than enjoy. I appreciate your "don't do it if it doesn't feel good" approach. I'll definitely check out your Open Hips Neutral Spine class, and I'll look at your other classes as well. Namaste.

Mork
December 29, 2020
Comment:

Love your approach.......thanks Ron!

d.arseneau
December 19, 2020
Comment:

Thank you, Ron. You heal me. Thank you for sharing your light.

Ron Stewart
December 30, 2020
Comment:

Hi d.arseneau
I'll admit appreciating this sentiment, and, I feel its important to note: You are healing yourself, through your commitment to mindfulness practices like yoga. So Great!! I just happened to be the voice/vehicle for your practice on this day.
Synergistic!
More like this for 2021... Please!
Ron

JMacDee
November 2, 2020
Comment:

I so love this class and Ron's approach to yoga. I feel more in touch with my body and breath now. Thank you!

dazyjmo
October 19, 2020
Comment:

I really enjoyed this class it was the perfect way to end my hectic work day! Now I feel amazing and ready for to relax at home. Thank you! <3
Namaste

JMacDee
October 19, 2020
Comment:

Every time I take this class I like it more and more.
I wish there was a Part 2!
Thank you Ron

JMacDee
September 21, 2020
Comment:

I love this class and Ron's ides of finding pleasure in the body while practicing. I also enjoy his encouragements to make sounds on the exhale and to become more aware of our breath.

Thank you.

More from Ron please!

Jasmd
September 3, 2020
Comment:

Thank you. This class is exactly what I needed at this stressful time in my life. Perfect.

JMacDee
August 6, 2020
Comment:

A wonderful class with some ideas from Ron that resonated with me. Recommended for anyone looking for a calming practice which is not too physically taxing. Thank you Ron!

dipatru
June 13, 2020
Comment:

Wow--this is a wonderfully calming and grounding practice. I love Ron Stewart and would appreciate more classes from him.

nicholem8710
June 11, 2020
Comment:

This practice brought me to an earthshattering realization: I NEVER smile during my yoga sessions, even though I would swear to anyone that yoga is the most enjoyable time of my day and my favorite form of exercise. About halfway through this practice, I found myself not only smiling but having FUN playing with my body's movement! I plan to take this with me as I continue to expand my yoga practice; I will find opportunities for joy and fun in my practice, rather than focusing so hard on doing it "right"! Thank you so much for this practice!

tarastarbird
May 30, 2020
Comment:

This practice was exactly what I needed after a couple days of self-loathing, grief and attempting to heal and self-reflect. I LOVE how Ron leads a very Tantric practice, using sound vibration through vocalization, triggering the body to relax, express and sense more deeply. This is my second class of his online and I plan to take more. I really appreciate what he says at the end of savasana about not always leading with the eyes. For years I have practiced this method of coming out of savasana back to a seat, keeping the head heavy (until fully seated) and the eyes closed throughout transition and until the finish of class. I find that using proprioception and listening for the sound of the teacher's voice to orient and navigate is essential for staying in that meditative state through to the very end. There is so much input through the eyes that it quickly engages the brain and takes us away from our "feeling mind". Thank you Ron. I highly suggest this class if you're considering nice, slow, fluid, well-rounded practice that is nourishing, deep and reflective. Namaste.

JMacDee
April 9, 2020
Comment:

I really like Ron's idea of showing us how to find pleasure in our yoga practice rather than enduring it. I will be trying to focus on that more. I thought the location was a beautiful choice and I wish I could be there too.

ama1031
April 4, 2020
Comment:

I started to write a comment and my words, thoughts, and gratitude are exactly the same as the person before me. What a beautiful class. I particularly enjoyed this being in nature, it created such a comforting sacred space. Thank you!

cgrdina
April 3, 2020
Comment:

What a beautiful class! Learning the strength to get the most of out the poses and keeping your body safe is so important. Thank you!

Callielou
April 3, 2020
Comment:

Really enjoyed this class. Peaceful and beautiful and I feel so good after. Thank you Ron!

Paulette9
January 12, 2020
Comment:

I love you Ron! I love your authenticity and inner joy! Your cues are right on and your choice of words helped me to feel more relaxed and open and accepting of my body - to really embrace pleasure. You are a wonderful yoga instructor - thanks for another great class!!

turnerck
December 14, 2019
Comment:

This was beautiful, just the opening my heart, mind, and body needed today. Thank you Ron!

mumseyllama
August 17, 2019
Comment:

Love the philosophy of pleasure in the body. Enjoying Ron's videos.

Kitkatkatey
January 28, 2019
Comment:

Oh Ron, what a beautiful class.

I feel entirely peaceful

Maryanndd
January 20, 2019
Comment:

I emjoy the emphasis on relaxing into the pose

Tina S
January 17, 2019
Comment:

My first class with Ron. I didn’t know what to expect. He’s got some interesting insight. It was hard to find pleasure when I’m struggling with the poses, maybe repetition will make it easier. I still enjoyed it overall.

Luna.Fjora
January 17, 2019
Comment:

I really appreciated Ron's teaching on self-compassion and what he says about finding pleasure in the poses as if you would stay in them for a very long time is so true. Thank you.

Sharyl M
January 17, 2019
Comment:

I find it very hard, every time a session starts to sit cross legged, even on a bolster. I will look up stretches I can do prior to starting, even a beginner class.
As the session continues it gets easier, but it s difficult to painful initially.
Great class. Great reminder not to be judgemental.