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blog on inspirational yoga


On inspiration and how it touches you

believe in yourself (Omkarasana)

Inspiration comes in many forms.

We are inspired by nature, by animals, by other people, and the list goes on. Today I am inspired by all 3 including the birds (not just my cats) and by a fellow yogini for inspiring me to attempt a challenging yoga asana.

Just trying is half the battle--within your limits, of course.

feel your passions

It's a beautiful life when you feel passion and inspiration moving through you. Believe in yourself. It touches all you do.


~ Robin Ellen Lucas, MA


Face yourself each day, rain or shine

open your heart (Natarajasana B)

My daily ashtanga yoga practice allows me to feel what it means to face myself each day, rain or shine.

I've always loved backbends. They feel euphoric. I don't hold tension in my lower or mid back.

discover where you hold tension

However, I have recently discovered the reason why some backbends bring up a lot of emotion for me and others not. I hold my tension in my shoulders. Certain weight-bearing positions on my shoulders causes a bit of what I hold to seep out, along with emotions as this occurs (or within the hour).

The shoulders are an extension of the Heart Chakra (Anahata Chakra). But, asanas with a really deep shoulder rotation first, such as this one (Natarajasana B) free that energy completely--or so it seems--because I am not only feeling the euphoria of a backbend but my shoulders are unlocked!

free yourself

Here in this state, I feel serious personal power and like nothing could ever harm me. 


~ Robin Ellen Lucas, MA


The key to making your mind stable

Yoga is not performance. Asanas are known to make your mind very stable, and that’s why I do them, along with the profound after effects and how these effects trickle into life as a whole.

Each person is different (mind, history, physical skeletal structure, lifestyle, heart and soul); I don't believe that there is just one way to do a yoga pose to be "correct". There is more to it.

on the other side of challenge

This pose, Viranchyasana A (the third part of it) in the Ashtanga 3rd series (Advanced A) has a lot more going on than performance in the moment. It's a challenge.

It's not that I enjoy struggle. For me it's what's hidden on the other side of challenge, and how that pursuit translates into life on many levels.

It's taken me over 20 years to have the flexibility and strength and trust to even try this asana, and mostly to get my mind out of the way.

look inside yourself

The benefits are in the nervous system, the somatic subtle body, the ego, emotions, hormones, etc. (I could keep adding to that list all day). I am looking inside my own self here, and it's a very calm and beautiful place.


~ Robin Ellen Lucas, MA


Enter into a devotional relationship with your yoga practice

Chakorasana is an asana in the Ashtanga Third Series (Sthira Bhaga) and also an exit for some of the poses in Third and also Second series.

Some words about Third Series from Kino Macgregor (paraphrased), "It is a devotional practice that burns through some of the deepest blockages that exist in the human mind and body. The true lesson comes when you move through that initial phase into a daily devotional relationship with the practice (i.e., when you feel good, when you feel just ok and also when you feel bad)."

burn out blockages

I do this asana approximately 27 times per week, both sides.

It burns out subtle blockages in the hips, strengthens arms, frees the neck and strengthens the core (bandhas). For me it's also a chance to work on my very tightest body part, my shoulders; it's a reminder to push them back in order to free my neck while keeping the strength to lift--a continual lesson for me in becoming flexible by doing it over and over again for years (and smiling at even the smallest amount of progress in my shoulder flexibility).

Most importantly, when the channels within me are open, my mind and body feel free, resulting in physical health, happiness and mental clarity.


~ Robin Ellen Lucas, MA


Calming your mind and shattering illusion

This pose is Tittibhasana A. It's in the Ashtanga Intermediate series (Nadi Shodhana). Each yoga asana has an ancient story behind it.

Tittibha = a little bird living along the sea. A story of the tittibha birds can be used as a symbol of yoga, where the birds lay their eggs, live peacefully, and the sea swallows them up; but, the sea gives them back when commanded to do so.

power of illusion

The sea with its might and power represents the power of illusion, ignorance and prejudice (i.e., citta - all aspect of human existence subject to change).

The small tittibha bird stands for the effort of the yogi, an effort which seems ineffectual when compared with the challenge.

calm the mind through practice

But just as the little tittibha bird succeeds, the yogi can calm citta through practice and shatter illusion. (Story from the Panchatantra).


~ Robin Ellen Lucas, MA


Drop your usual excuses: Rewiring your mental patterns

The one place where my tailbone feels comfortable in this asana (Navasana): at the beach. Now to bring a bag of beach sand with me to yoga class.

Why do this pose? It's a good way for me to describe what ashtanga yoga does for me.

breathe into challenge

On a yoga mat on hardwood floor, all of my focus is on slow deep breaths and on engaging uddiyana bandha and mula bandha. Going to the edge of challenge and breathing into it cultivates this pattern in other areas of my life.

When I first walked into a mysore-style ashtanga class and was asked to do this, I had all the excuses on why I'm not so good at it (One, I had 3 pregnancies and my abdominal muscles split apart; two, I fractured my tailbone). All of this was ten+ years before but I carried that excuse with me.

transform excuses to power

What I was really doing was coming up with an excuse to hide and not grow into being more than I was. Good metaphor for why I have continued with ashtanga yoga. It has only gotten better (the lessons) since then.


Robin Ellen Lucas, MA


Float tanking for true relaxation and soothing muscle fatigue

floating, soothing muscles, improving toxin release, healthy immune system

thoughts before floating

I heard about this nearby Float Tank last night. Already I have an appointment. I'm all for complete relaxation, increasing the levels of dopamine and endorphins in my brain and reducing stress (and zapping the dreaded Cortisol). All of this leads to greater well-being. I'm sure I'll sleep well tonight!

Why float? I love swimming in water, especially floating in the warm ocean. I grew up in Florida and floated most of my childhood in the ocean or my pool. This cooler time of year draws me to my hot tub each evening. But the water is not buoyant. Sounds like true bliss to float with music, dim lights and a completely private and surreal setting. It may be like amniotic fluid.

The float tank is filled with epsom salt (magnesium). I'm a big fan of epsom salt baths because it soothes my aching muscles from yoga. Why does magnesium help?

Here's how it works. Building muscle causes fatigue. Healthy muscles (called "red muscles”) have a reserve oxygen supply, permitting them to contract and relax repeatedly while maintaining cellular respiration which resists muscle fatigue. The myosin protein in muscles causes contraction and relaxation acting as enzymes, which break down ATP molecules (adenosine triphosphate). ATP provides energy so we want to keep an ample supply in our muscles. When ATP is used up too quickly without the oxygen to support it, muscles (called "white muscles") become quickly fatigued with the build-up of lactic acid—an indication that muscle cell oxygen has been depleted.

Magnesium in epsom salts helps by flushing lactic acid build-up in the muscles. Magnesium is an abundant mineral in our bodies and its role in our overall health is important. It can be found in over 300 different enzymes in our body and is vital for activating muscles and nerves, creating energy in the body and efficiently digesting proteins, carbohydrates and fats. Other ways to replenish magnesium are eating organic foods, lowering sugar intake and lowering stress.

(Read more here from my healing series on muscle fatigue)

about the float tank

I went to Float North County. The water is 93.5 degrees and filled with 1,100 pounds of epsom salt which means you float effortlessly. People float to relieve stress, recover from injuries, fight addiction, eliminate chronic pain, etc.

It is said that after 30-45 minutes of floating, your mind starts producing theta brainwaves, which are responsible for that state between waking and sleeping.

reflections after floating

At first I wondered how I'd keep myself company for 90 minutes. I wasn't tired. I began by playing with the lighting and moving around, bouncing lightly off the walls. I found it difficult to relax the back of my neck at first even though I completely trusted that I didn't need to hold it up. The water was only like 1-2 feet deep. The attendant told me that I don't want to get the epsom salt in my eyes, but that wasn't making me tense as I had my towel nearby.

I realized in there that you are faced with yourself, but in a different way than a yoga practice where you get to move the energy around. I felt the tension that I carry around with me in the world. It was highlighted as I put all of my focus on it. Coincidentally, the back of my neck is my latest tense spot in my yoga practice that is holding me back so it's my new focus. Who knew I'd end up in this float tank to fulfill my destiny...

I began to do pranayama breathing—the simple 1:4:2 ratio through my nose. I could hear my breathing. It was soothing. I did this for about 30 minutes. I watched my reflection on the ceiling which was very faint but clear enough. Eventually I felt the need to do some yoga-like poses from side to side, feel some bones crack, etc. Felt great.

I flipped my body around to the other side and was then noticing my hair flowing in the blue light. The next thing I knew I was making mermaid shapes on the ceiling, different swaying motions to see which hairdo I could make in my reflection.

Next time I checked in with myself I realized the tension in the back of my neck was gone. Everything was in slow motion. I was like a blue avatar (from the movie Avatar) floating in the tank. My fingers seemed really long. I could see them on the ceiling. I spent about 5 minutes moving them slowly, checking them out. I was almost motionless.

At this point I realized that I was distracted. I was entertaining myself. I wanted to try to be extra still. I knew I needed to grab my phone for a photo first. I'd relax better after that...

It wasn't until later that I turned the lights out so that it was completely dark. When I tried this at the beginning I didn't like it. The music was only playing for the first 8 minutes. In the dark I stopped breathing through my nose as if I were in a yoga class trying to stay present. I breathed through my mouth. I wasn't sleeping but I was in heaven. 

I finally knew what it was like to completely relax while floating. I didn't want the moment to end.

I'll be back and expand upon my journey.

reactions next day

I woke with a headache. I've known epsom salt baths to be detoxifying, but this concentrated amount and for a long period of time really amplified the process.

Magnesium increases circulatory functions, improving toxin release. Today I will using my juicer often to flush the toxins that are being released, replenish with good electrolytes and minerals, assisting my immune system, hormones and more! I'll start with celery, cucumber, cilantro, lemon, microgreens. And a shot of apple cider vinegar.

My skin feels awesome! I was surprisingly awake later than normal last night, feeling vibrant, but had a deep sleep. I remembered very detailed dreams.


-Robin Ellen Lucas, MA


In my blood: Cardiovascular system, the heart and its many facets

Koundinyasana B (Image © Robin Ellen Lucas)

In a song that keeps playing today, I hear my blood. It speaks of being inside my blood. From my yoga Healing Series on Cardiovascular System—combing through various anatomical systems, presenting the physiological, emotional, spiritual and yoga aspects—I am reminded that this was my favorite section. It was the last one; I saved the best for last, as the cliché goes.

It's all about the heart. Blood and plasma, protection from disease, effects of oxygenating the blood, emotional and subtle heart, unresolved traumas, yoga and the venous return to the heart, blood as a healing entity, blood circulation affecting the nervous system, traditional chinese medicine perspectives, somatic levels of changes, etc.

Back to the song:

"Every time I close my eyes I know that I'll wake up." 

We know that we'll wake up again each morning because our blood is flowing.

"I don't know how it happened, but you got into my blood. And I feel like you're lifting me up. Was it real or did I just make it up?"

It's real.

Read more here ->


Robin Ellen Lucas, M.A.