July 27, 2010
Side-Angle Pose is a feel-good hip and heart opener that has many other physical benefits too. Some of those include: strengthening and stretching the legs and ankles, and stretching the groins, chest, lungs and shoulders. The abdominal organs are stimulated here and the core is turned on. Side-Angle Pose increases stamina, relieves backache and is therapeutic for carpal tunnel syndrome, flat feet, infertility, osteoporosis, and sciatica.
In every yoga pose, we are mindful of contraindications, cautions and keep in mind that our practice will be different from day to day. So, do not practice Side-Angle if you are experiencing diarrhea or high blood pressure. Be aware of the neck, and if you are having neck problems, don’t turn your head to look over the front hand; continue to look straight ahead with both sides of the neck lengthened evenly.
Being mindful in your practice, means flowing through with acceptance and grace, allowing for limitations to give you information about your body in that particular moment. Simply be aware of what new sensations arrive here, in this moment and have a sense of gratitude for being on your mat.
July 22, 2010
Cooling Breath (Sheetali Pranayama)
1.) Find a comfortable seated position with an elongated spine and relaxed shoulders. Elevate the hips with a blanket or pillow to assist in maintaining length in the spine.
2.) Close the eyes and begin relaxing the entire body from the crown of the head all the way down to the toes.
3.) Begin slow, deep belly breathing, allowing your belly to expand with each inhalation and contract with each exhalation.
4.) Once you’ve found a rhythmic breathing pattern, extend the tongue outside the mouth and roll the sides of the tongue into a tube shape. Inhale, drawing breath into this tube. (If you can’t roll your tongue, then simply purse your lips as if sipping through a straw)
5.) At the end of the inhalation, draw the tongue in, close the mouth and exhale through the nose.
6.) Practice 15 rounds in a relaxed manner, keeping your awareness on the cool sensation on your tongue, the roof of your mouth and maybe extend this cooling sensation throughout your entire body.
July 12, 2010
Dharma has to do with our priorities and roles in life, including responsibilities to self, family and friends, work, society and all of humanity. Of course by neglecting our duty, or dharma, we are drawn toward conflicts and problems in daily life.
Some typical examples for neglecting our dharma would be over-working, having poor eating habits, not resting sufficiently, not exercising enough, or emotionally neglecting our families.
When we integrate the attitude of dharma in our lives, we are able to see clearer the concepts of: responsibility, routine, discipline, self-direction, self-control, moderation, commitment, concentration and character. We practice restraining from impulses, regulating desires, and accepting internal authority and mastery. This is a means through which we can achieve self-realization (the true Self).
Practicing dharma corresponds to meditative yoga asanas. While all asanas have a meditative quality to them, some are defined specifically by their meditative nature, such as balancing and meditative poses. (Tree Pose, Dancer Pose, Boat Pose, Easy Pose, Half-Lotus are all good examples of having a meditative nature). Taking time in your day (even 15-30 mins.) to simply practice these asanas with the intention of having duty, will bring you closer to realizing the effects of dharma.
July 10, 2010
New to Yoga? Already practicing? This is a glorious opportunity to learn about Yoga philosophy, history, postures, breathing, and meditation whether you are beginning a practice, or deepening your existing one!
Enjoy this beginner’s immersion workshop and you’ll be well on your way to developing a stress-relieving yoga practice and for optimizing health. Must pre-register-limited space available. Bring a yoga mat and an open mind. REGISTRATION CLOSES THIS WEDNESDAY, JULY 14th!
July 1, 2010
Practicing Tree Pose (Vrksasana) strengthens the thighs, calves, ankles and spine. It stretches the groins, inner thighs, chest and shoulders. It surely improves a sense of balance and can help to relieve sciatica and reduce flat feet.
We also know that we benefit in many other ways practicing asanas. While practicing tree pose, we invite the attitude of giving, or having the abundance of a tree. Here we may set an intention based on individual growth, being deeply rooted into the earth, while reaching for the sky.
Common psychological blocks include challenges to attachment to having good balance, an aversion to balance or a fear of falling. When looking at our emotional transformation in practicing tree pose, we allow ourselves to let go of worry and have faith.
When we let go of self-judgment, and bring focus of the breath to the root chakra, we explore a steady sense of stability through our supporting foot reaching beneath the floor. From here, we breathe into the heart chakra, feeling the giving nature of a tree, nourishing not only ourselves, but also those around us.
From Tadasana (Mountain Pose), pour your weight into the right foot. Fix your gaze softly. In tree pose, the drawn foot may be placed on the ankle, the calf muscle or the thigh, being careful not to place it on the knee. Engage the inner thigh muscle of the standing leg and press the sole of the left foot into the thigh, creating a sealing effect. Lengthen the tailbone to the floor, lift the inner heart toward the ceiling. Find equal length on both sides of the waistline. Grow your tree in any way that feels good to you, keeping hands at heart’s center, raising them up with palms sealed or apart. Stay for 3-5 breaths, maintaining a connection with your intention and repeat on other side.