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From Comfort Zone to Twilight Zone

May 29th, 2024 oddfam Blog, Community, Education, Practice

When June Gloom settles over Los Angeles, and the sun peeks from behind the clouds for a few precious hours each day, the air swiftly swells with vibrancy and discovery, hinting at the bright season of new experiences to come. Then, as quickly as it appeared, the sun disappears to its cozy, cloudy quarters, and we retreat to our own comfort zone. There's nothing wrong with this cycle of solar solace. In fact, we need comfortable moments of rest and recovery to bring our best and brightest selves to moments of discomfort and change.

This cycle is not unlike the formative changes we experienced in 4th grade, when teachers and parents sent us off with a book or two about our changing bodies, and, after quiet contemplation, we emerged with questions and concerns in order to formulate a plan forward through the uncertainty. Not every discovery has a greasy, pimply, confusing awkward phase, but now aren't you even more grateful for the wisdom, grace, and ease with which adult-you experiences the unknown? This month, we part the clouds and open your yoga practice to something new. When you open your heart to discovery, catharsis follows – a shift in how you approach a particular situation. Yoga's greatest gifts can be found in the meaning it gives to discovery – that all of life is here to experience, educate, and enjoy.

When you're ready to step outside your comfort zone, meet us here in The Twilight Zone. In the wise words of Rod Serling, who's probably partying with Patanjali, "There is a fifth dimension beyond that which is known to man. It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition, and it lies between the pit of man's fears and the summit of his knowledge. This is the dimension of imagination. It is an area which we call 'The Twilight Zone.'"

Unlock your imagination and get in the zone with monthly workshops, summer-ready specials, and community-building events, challenges, and more:

  • You asked, we listened: three of our most popular workshops are going monthly! Let's go inward, upside down, and all around with monthly Sound Baths, Inversions, and Roll It Out Massage Ball Sessions. When you commit to regular, recurring workshops like these, your yoga practice will go in yet another direction – upward!
  • Since you made it through the earlier references to puberty, you deserve a bit of positive nostalgia. Balance! There's a lot going on in the world right now, and, although it's important to stay informed and do our part to make the world better for everyone, we all have limits to what we can endure. We got to thinking about the places that fostered our greatest discoveries and our most pleasant escapes. Some of our fondest memories came from Summer Camp, where we honed a beloved skill, met interesting people beyond the confines of a small town, or just existed in nature. Escape to that simpler time free from news alerts and inboxes with Summer Specials that work with your summer schedule, whether vacationing [hello, flexible 10 pack], staycationing, or just in town for the summer [hello, 3-month unlimited]. Discover something new through the lens of something familiar!
  • We're also feeling campy in a new challenge inspired by the Scavenger Hunts of yore. Beginning June 3, grab a "Practice Feeling Campy" game board from the front desk, take lots of classes with the Summer Specials, follow the clues, and connect with fellow classmates to discover ODD facts and win goodies.
  • Practice feeling the other kind of campy with one of 4 Pride Events this month. Get inspired by the fun and delightfully over-the-top creativity of queer celebration. Whether hiking or flowing in community, participating in Pride Month at ODD is an impactful reminder to spread love, uplift others, and not take life too seriously.

 

Who doesn't love a cover? It creates a familiar entry point for a new discovery, whether that's a song, artist, or perspective. The ODD Fam sprang into a frenzy of action with this playlist because **spoiler alert** we really love covers. Certain songs can't always find their way to the mat until we hear just the right approach, tempo, or even remix. Whether in the mood to discover or duck under the covers, may these fresh takes on tunes inspire fresh takes on you!

Listen to 'Discover a Cover' on Spotify >>

 

 

As you may already know, our approach to yoga on and beyond the mat is to practice feeling good, one down dog at a time. Discovery and change aren't easy, which is why we take it one step, or one pose, at a time. Downward Dog is also a place we return to often, actively resetting our movements and breaths in between sequences. One Down Dog is both our comfort zone and our twilight zone – a safe space to find something new and transform through imagination. There are also helpful mental and physical benefits to our namesake asana:

  • strengthens arms, upper back, shoulders, hands, wrists, and even fingers
  • opens and elongates the spine and back of the legs, improving posture
  • boosts circulation
  • relieves tension and stress
  • helps with focus

Here's a quick guide to getting into Adho Much Svanasana:

  1. From table top or plank, with palms spread wide, shoulders over the wrists, and knees apart at hips' width, you'll raise the body up and back into the pose.
  2. Imagine a string is pulling your tailbone up and back while toes remain forward, legs straighten to a micro bend in the knees, and stomach presses toward the thighs. If your ankles don't reach the mat, don't sweat it! As your flexibility improves, you can work toward getting the ankles down at your own pace and in your own time.
  3. Breathe and discover!

Ujjayi has become so foundational to asana practice, that we often forget all about the "victorious" or "ocean" breath. Although we may be quite familiar with this particular pranayama, it's not often we take the time to practice it on its own, settling into a steady cycle of breath and intentionality. Start by breathing against your hand as if fogging up a window or checking your breath. The back of the throat will be slightly constricted, making a Huhhhh sound, like the sound of the ocean we hear when we press our ears to a conch shell. Once you're comfortable breathing in and out with the throat constriction, close your mouth and continue breathing through the nose. The sound may be audible just to you, but when the entire class is Ujjayi-ng, it's a powerful and transformative sound underlying each motion.

 


In April, we discussed the Yamas, and in May, the Niyamas, but when these values are actually lived, that's when the magic of yoga becomes apparent. Sutra 2.33 is often translated to mean: when unhelpful thoughts and emotions arise, cultivate uplifting thoughts and emotions or turning around the disruptive ways of being. Take a look back at the Yamas and Niyamas to find patterns of behavior keeping you from more fulfilling experiences. For example, do you approach the success of others through non-greed or "Aparigraha" or do you immediately wonder why that success isn't yours? Is it an imbalance in energy that throws you out of balance and wholeness, like when you don't properly recharge your social battery? Identify that which upsets the balance and cultivate a positive way to live "Brahmacharya" by recognizing when it's time to say no.

 

 

Last but not least, reflect on the discoveries you've made this month with a li'l journal prompt:

What emotions were stirred up while you were confronting the unknown? How did you identify those feelings and transform them into something positive?

 

 

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