Help Your Health Sangha

Important Disclaimer:
The news, suggestions, information, exercises and other items in this list are intended for informational purposes only. Not all exercise is suitable for everyone. To reduce the risk of injury, please consult your Doctor before engaging in any physical and/or therapeutic exercise program. Nothing is intended to be a substitute for professional medical care.

PLEASE NOTE, if you like to copy a review , copy and paste the one you want. Only this way you avoid printing out all reviews. Also understand that any form of copying can be only for personal use. Thank you!

My Yoga Class Schedule.

Guided Tadasana: AUDIO

Yoga Sangha – Weekly Review Summer Session 2017 – #7

Asana this week:
Donkey Kicks
Toe Tapes
The 5 Tibetans (in the Chair/details next week in the newsletter)

Name: Donkey Kicks (On Belly, Prone & Standing)
Description:
Begin on your hand and knees, in a prone position well stacked/hips over knees and shoulders over wrists.
Keeping the right knee bent to ninety degrees. Inhale lift your right foot up, thigh also if possible.
Exhale to lower.
Throughout, keep yourselves level – don’t let it tile
20-25 repetitions – switch sides

Find a sense of core engagement before beginning, if you feel it in your lower back take a break and reestablish your core engagement.

Physical Benefits:
Works to strengthen your gluts and confer stability to one side while the other side moves. This move will challenge both hips at once. also requiring support from your core.

Adaptations/Variations:

Belly: We also did this movement laying on our bellies with palms (facing up) under the hip bones. This helps control that the hips are not doing the work by rolling and lifting. Pushing the corresponding hip down into the palm while lifting the leg.

2. Can be done on your forearms while on the knees which take pressure off the wrists.

3. Standing: Can also be done standing with one had on your hip

4. Prone: If you would like to add to this movement you can additionally bring the knee towards the nose as you exhale, rounding out the back.

Name: Toe Taps
Description:
Begin on your hand and knees, prone.
Inhale and extend your flexed right leg straight and directly behind you, toes curl under on the floor, without tipping the pelvis forward or back or lifting the hip up, keep them level. lift the leg while on the inhale.
Exhale and 4x tap your left toes out to the right without curving the spine. keeping the foot flexed and toes directly under the heel with he foot perpendicular to the floor.
Inhale to lift your leg up, being mindful of positioning.
Exhale and 4x tap your right toes to the left, stop at mid-line – Inhale and lift/hold.
Exhale 4x tap and pass your left foot -again without angling your spine. Inhale/Life
Exhale 4x tax toward center, Inhale lift.
One circuit completed, switch legs.
Two circuits with each leg, alternating.

Physical Benefits:
The ability to hold your pelvis and spine steady as your legs move through space is critical, as this is what you do when you walk and run.
Be mindful to do these movements with full core engagement and do several repetitions you will then feel the importance of core and glue movement.

Adaptations/Variations:
Watch yourself in the mirror and see how difficult this is to do without tipping the pelvis back and forth.
You can do another version with the taps in air and not touch the floor.

General Class:
Supine then Prone:
Opening Sequences
Plus new listed movements (see above).
Heart Lifts
A-Symmetrical Locust and Symmetrical (with 6 arms positions and holding for 1-3 breaths on each lift)
Standing:
Block between the thighs while discovering the muscles of the Buttocks.
Pressing the feet down and out without letting them lift off the floor/engage to the gluts.
Chair Pose with the block between the knees.
Tibetan #1 Circles to the Right.
Sitting in the Chair:
Tibetan #2-#5 Sitting in the Chair version to……..Savasana (Chair or Supine)

Essential Oil:
Passion: Cardamon, Cinnamon, Ginger, Clove, Sandalwood, Jasmine, Vanilla, Damiana
Music: Deuter
Quote:
The Service you do for others is the rent you pay for the time you spend on Earth. -Muhammad Ali

 

Yoga Sangha – Weekly Review Summer Session 2017 – #6

Asana/ Body Areas worked with this week in class:
Shoulders
Feet/Ankles
The 5 Tibetans (continuing for the fifth week of developing and searching)

Description: Shoulder Rotation Movements with strength building.
1. Reaching overhead with steeple index fingers, squeezing the ears.
2. Reaching behind the body with palms together and steeple, can continue to take arms away from the body, adding a forward fold if desired (this could be an inversion), steeple to the heavens.
3. Small semi-circles from forward to back at sides of body with palms out.
4. Isometric stretch/strengthening with interlaced hands behind head, pushing/pulling at the same time.
5. With interlaced hands in front of chest, palms facing down and fingers engaged as one tries to pull them apart. Can also cup hands with fingers into each other and pulling out.

Physical Benefits:
Keeping the shoulder girdle flexible with maximum rotation and strength.
Countering all the forward shoulder and arm movement which one experiences throughout the day.

Description: Feet/Ankle Movements
Standing well balanced and supported with one hand on the wall and the other on the back of a chair with a block between the knees. Do each 5-10x
Rolling up on to the toes and then back onto the heels (lifting as much of the foot as possible).
Rolling out and in/inversion and eversion.
Rolling up on the toes/holding, returning almost to the floor but not touching/holding and returning again up.
Lifting all toes and spreading.
Lifting only the big toes and pushing down on the little ones/reverse.
Standing on the bottom step with only the toes and toe pad on the step. Releasing the heels down as far as possible and continuing up to be on your toes again.

Physical Benefits:
Building strength in the feet to support the rest of the body.

Be mindful to hold on to something for your balance so your rolls up and down can be straight forward and not out to the sides, this would only show that you do not have the strength to go higher. Take it slow and build.

Essential Oil: doTerra Peace: Vetiver, Lavender, Ylang Ylang, Clary Sage, Frankincense, Marjoram, Spearmint
Music: Deuter – Illumination

Quote:
Peace by Max Strom from “A Life Worth Breathing”
We all claim to want peace, but peace is not a noun — it is a verb, which is why we cannot get it.
One must live it.
Peace cannot be imposed, only embodied.
One cannot sell it, but one can teach it — but only by example.

 

 

Yoga Sangha – Weekly Review Summer Session 2017 – #5

Asana this week:
6 Movements Sitting in the Chair –
These stretches are from very basic yoga movements, which can be often done standing and sometimes prone on your mat. The variations can be quite inconspicuous and be used in public while waiting for an appointment or even a train or plane (and in a train or plane). Always thinking about combating the slouching of everyday life as well as the execution of everyday life in many quite normal activities such as: eating, reading, household activities such as cooking, cleaning, folding laundry, creative activities such as needlework, woodwork, etc. Possibly your daily job keeps your head in a more forward prone position (check out the article under misc. for more details).

[adapted from a Yoga International article by Jessica Walsh regarding texting and posture]

For 1-5 the seated position is the same.
Sitting tall in the forward third of your seat, feet firmly planted, hip width apart possibly a block between your knees.

Name: Seated Neck Stretch

Description:
Right hand holding on to the chair directly under the shoulder, engaged and strong.
Left arm slightly to the right palm facing up, no more than 6 inches, reaching.
(you can think of holding a heavy suitcase or your fingers being magnets to the floor)
Bring your chin to your chest and hold it there for a few breaths.
Gently roll your right ear towards your right shoulder, keep the chin contact.
Stay for 4-6 slow breaths before rolling back to midline, breathing and lifting beck to neutral.

Physical Benefits:
This stretch can help to prevent tension headaches caused by tight muscle sin the neck and scalp. It can also allow you to feel more comfortable sitting at your desk and can relax muscles from a less than perfect nights sleep.

Adaptations/Variations:
By moving the extended arm closer or farther, forward or backward and moving your chin closer to or farther from the shoulder you can feel the stretch in different areas.

Inconspicuous Version: Another option is just nodding the chin down as if you are falling asleep and then tilting to the right/left.
This can also be done without even bringing the chin down and instead just looking ahead as if you are gazing at something from a more side view, a lateral release of the ear to the shoulder, both right and left.
Different movements will effect different tension spots in the neck.

You can also place your hand on a specific tense muscle and move your head until you feel the stretch which effects this point, massaging and imagining your hand is radiating a warmth to release and relax the tension.

Name: Simple Cat n’ Cow

Description:
Taking your hand to your knees with the arms straight.
Inhale, hinging the torso at the hips/not at the back but with a flat back, bringing the heart forward towards the thighs.
Keeping the head aligned with the shoulders and looking with the eyes forward.
(bringing the chin forward gives the cervical also a stretch but is not necessary)
As you come forward the elbows will bend back towards the waist, keep the arms hugging the body.
Exhale, holding on to the knees with engaged arms which are straightening as you round out the back, leaning back with the belly pulling in and the chin coming to the chest.
Feel the stretch through the entire spinal column, arms, shoulders and neck.
If you would let go of your hands holding on to the knees you would come in contact with the back of the chair. This is not necessary but can show how strong this cat movement can be if you would choose.
Continue with sequential breathing, slow and steady with the movement.

Physical Benefits:
This sequence mobilizes the spine after sitting stationary for a period of time and prepares for further movement. Also being a good way of practicing sequential and slow, rhythmic breathing as each Cow is on the Inhale and each Cat is on the Exhale.

Adaptations/Variations:
Inconspicuous Version: Relaxing your hands on your thighs just drawing the abdomen in as much as you can on the exhale and arching your back on the inhale.

Can also be enjoyed prone on all fours with the movement happening only between the tale bone and the crown of the head. Arms and legs stationary and stacked, shoulders over the hands and hips over the knees with the toes pointed and feet flat stretching the tops of the feet.

Name: Simple Camel

Description:
Hands either on the back (if you need the back support), or on the chair.
Inhale and gently either pressing the hands into the back on down to the chair and you roll your shoulders back, lifting the chest and letting the head tilt back about halfway.
Exhale and return to neutral both back and head.

Be mindful to take deep breaths and expand the rib cage with each inhale, opening the check for the stretch.

Physical Benefits:
This movement is used for reversing the forward hunching action that is so much a part of our daily lives. as we spend more and more time on computers etc.

Adaptations/Variations:
Inconspicuous Version: Gentle just taking the shoulders back as you squeeze the shoulder blades together on the inhale and return to neutral from the movement on the exhale. No movement of the head is necessary.

There is always the option if you have good range of extension with your neck that you take the head farther back on the inhale.

Camel can always be done kneeling on your yoga mat with many adaptations depending on your back, see me in class and we will explore the options according to your needs and ability.

Name: Seated Twist
Description:
Taking a deep breath to lengthen the spine placing the left hand on the outside of the right knee (using this as leverage when twisting)
Place the right hand with an engaged arm, slightly behind the hips, holding on to the chair, placement depending upon the traction you need and the stretch which is possible.
Both arms engaged during the twist. Begin pushing the left hand into the right knee while the knee is resisting, the leg does not move.
Gentle turn the torso, from hips to the head to the right bringing the spine, little by little into a spinal twist, all the way to the head. Hold for a few breaths.
Without releasing the twist, slowly turn the head to the left looking over the left shoulder as you continue to turn the body to the right.
Slowly release back to center/neutral and repeat on the other side.

Physical Benefits:
A very basic movement for getting the body to move after sitting for a period of time. Often we are told that any twist can also warm up the body as it wrings the tissues of current liquids and allows for a new saturation of vital nourishment to flow.

Adaptations/Variations:
If you have a spinal issue then a twist may not be for you and would need to be adapted to avoid that portion of the spine with would not benefit from this movement.

Name: Seated Lateral Stretch
Description:
Sitting forward and upright in your chair.
If the chair has legs down the front corners of your chair you can use then as a guide.
Sliding the right hand down the right front leg as you slightly curve the body and reach down.
This stretch will be only slight as the spine does not have a tremendous amount of space to laterally bend. Do not bring the opposite shoulder forward, try to stay on the same lateral plane as if you had your buttocks, shoulder blades and head on the wall with contact during the movement.
Take it slow with the breath and slide down as you exhale then inhale on return to neutral.
Feel the QL’s stretch.
Do both sides.

Physical Benefits:
Allowing the spine to move in one of it’s natural movements, a lateral bend.
Stretch both sides of the vertebrae including the important muscles of the back/torso.

Adaptations/Variations:
Standing with your back on the wall, feet a few inches away.
Contact with buttocks, shoulder blades and head.
Left foot anchored to the floor, being mindful not to lean, this is a lateral stretch.
Palms facing inward and pinkies touching the wall.
Exhale and slide down the right side of your torso, keeping contact with the wall.
Reverse foot pressure and do the other side.
This is a guide for how it should feel when doing this sitting in a chair.

Name: Savasana with Diaphragmatic Breathing
Description:
This time you may sit all the way back in your chair with support, still upright with head over axis.
If the feet do not comfortably touch the floor you can bring the big toes together and roll the tops of the feet outward bringing the toes towards each other, the heels do not have to touch the floor. The knees should be wide on the chair and the legs completely relaxed. If you can touch the floor with your heels you may prefer this leg positioning as it is far more relaxing, let the weight of the knees draw the legs outward.
At first place the hand on the rib cage, as if you were grabbing a handful of ribs, fingers pointing towards mid-line with the heel of the hands in the vicinity of the side seam of your shirt.
Breathing into the hands with an expansion of the rib cage, this takes practice to learn as it was natural when we were babies but has been replaced with chest heaving over the years.
Be aware that the movement of the shoulders is minimal although you will notice movement in the breast.
After approximately 6+ of this exercise take the hands to the lap, both open and laying on top of each other with the palms facing upward.
The head should remain over the shoulders but the chin slightly relaxed, eyes closed.
Remain here and continue your Diaphragmatic Breathing.

Physical Benefits and Helpers:
Learning again how to breath Diaphragmatically will increase the oxygen in your blood bringing numerous benefits to the body.
Our ribs are lined with muscles which will help us in reestablishing this most healthy and what once was normal breathing pattern.
The hardest obstacle for many is not letting the shoulders heave upward with the belly coming in on the inhale (the opposite of what you want), this is often a reverse breathing which can be changed with practice.
Taking a Theraband around the back of the body, crossing in over in front and holding on to it with both hands, rather tightly and then trying to expand it will help in developing this technique and these muscles.
Practice, and more practice……
Natural breathing: Inhale belly slightly goes out as diaphragm descends/chest expands.
Exhale: belly comes inward towards the spine as the diaphragms returns.

General Class:

For Morning Wake-Up Stretch I have added this session and I know it has confused many but we will continue with this new movement.
A 6x cross over roll to the R, with the L leg after the 6x Apanasana/Wind Expeller.
Continuing then with the cross over/twist to the R, being static and still for three breaths
Then the opening with hand to the ankle for three breaths.
Then continue from the beginning on the other side.

Besides the work in the chair we continued with our 5 Tibetans.
Keeping #1 which is turning to the right out of the same number limit. Let yourself do this one daily and see the benefit for your balance working up to 21 to the right.
The other four Tibetans should be the same number and increase according to your ability.
If you are stuck on one I did show some more alternatives which we will continue working on.
There are also alternatives in the chair for both #4- Picnic Table and #5-Updog/Downdog,

Pranayama:
Diaphragmatic Breathing: #6 in Chair see listing.

Essential Oil:
Elevation (same as last week and still powerful)

Music:
Various

Quote:
Removing the Armor by Max Strom -a page from his book “A Life Worth Breathing”

Removing your armor is done partly through breath and postures and intention, but it also takes conscious attention on our part as we move through our day.

Practice being open to everyone as if they were part of your extended family.

Move through your day as if it were your charge to encourage joyfulness and calm.

Pay special attention to those in lower social positions and in the service industry. Address people in service positions, such as busboys/waitresses, as “sir” or “miss” since they are often ignored altogether and regularly treated as slave labor.
It is important for them – as well as for us – to treat them with extra respect.

Stop and talk to the parking lot attendant; look him in the eye, and thank him instead of just giving him the money and leaving, or, even worse, taking on the cell phone while in the midst of your transaction.
(If someone has a name tag on, use their name in sharing a “thank you” or “have a nice day”)

Talking on the cell phone as you interact with others is demeaning and makes them feel like a nonentity.

If your true wish is unity and transformation, this kind of behavior must cease forever. As seekers of truth, it is incumbent upon us to treat everyone with respect and car.

This exercise will bring an unexpected vitality to your life, relationships and reputation.

Miscellaneous:
additional information/articles on texting and posture:
http://www.medicaldaily.com/texting-puts-50-pounds-pressure-your-spine-adding-poor-postures-side-effects-311152

 

 

Yoga Sangha – Weekly Review Summer Session 2017 – #4

Asana this week:
Standing Twist with Chair
Quad Sets

Name: Standing Twist with Chair/Standing Maricyasana

Description:
Place a chair near the wall facing you, standing in Tadasana with the wall on your right.
Bend the right knee and place the foot on the chair keeping the right things and knee against the wall.
Second toes of both feet facing directly forward, bent knee perpendicular over ankle.
Inhale, stretch the left leg strongly up, while keeping both legs facing forward, reaching the torso towards the ceiling.
Exhale, turn the front body to face the wall and place the hands on the wall at shoulder level.
Inhale, extend the trunk further, exhale, press the hands into the wall to enable the trunk to turn more to the right.
Turn as far as you can, looking over the right shoulder. Holding 30-409 seconds, releasing and repeating on other side.
Using the breath to lift and turn. Relaxing the shoulders moving them away from the ears and into the body. The elbows can be either down or reaching back if you are comfortable and would like more stretch, see what this slight movement of the elbows creates around the torso including under the arm pits.

Physical Benefits: This posture reduces stiffness in the neck and shoulders. It improves the alignment of the spine and strengthens the spinal muscles while relieving lower back pain and sciatica. Teaching the knees directional alignment with the hips and feet.

Adaptations/Variations:
You can also exchange legs on the chair, proceed with the same movement and feel different an additional stretch on the inside of the bent leg.
Heed all the alignments instructions above, tracking is most important.
Hands: add If you would also like to work the fingers/hands/wrist.
place all ten finger tips, spread open, on the wall. Pulling on the fingers and the stretch in a concave form while pulling the palms upward.
Feel the work from the tips of the fingers to the wrists, building stretch and working on flexibility of all.
This movement is very precise so if you have questions please feel free to ask me in class and I will show you the stretch.

Name: Quad Sets
Description:
Begin with a block between the knees if you have one. Feet are firmly planted in proper alignment with the knees and hips. Legs are straight.
Contract the knees, this happens when you engage and lift and also engage the quads. Continue the engagement around the legs and if you would like you can continue to the buttocks while engaging the gluts but this is not the primary work so don’t let it weaken the thigh engagement.
Hold for a count of 10seconds, continuing with 10x for one set.
Do this daily and often during the day if you want to strengthen the patella (knee cap) tracking.

Physical Benefits:
Stretching and strengthening the quadriceps and hamstring muscle groups is critical for an effective and lasting rehabilitation of the knee. In particular this movement strengthens the inner portion of the quad muscle creating a straighter pathway for the patella to follow.
A foundational movement for proper tracking.

Adaptations/Variations:
Can be done sitting on the floor or supine. Watching the movement can be interesting.
Do not allow the heels to lift off the floor, this could be hyper-extending the knees.
In either of these positions the attention is on the thighs and not the buttocks.
Strengthening of the buttocks can be done separately.

General Class:

Supine:
Morning Wake-Up Stretch
Supine Leg/Arm Stretches with Flex/Extend/Circles for Wrists/Ankles
Prone:
Cat/Cow
Balancing Spine
The Five Tibetans
Standing:
Standing Twist with Chair
Quad Sets
Savasana

Essential Oil:
Elevation: Lavendin, Lavender, Hawaiian Sandalwood, Tangerine, Melissa, Ylang Ylang, Elemi Gum Oil (a relative of Frankincense and Myrrh)- Osmanthus, Lemon Myrtle

Music:
Barbara Thompson

Quote:

Two great spiritual friends – practice and non-attachment/dispassion.
Yoga Sutre 1.12 -translation from Yoga International

The purely intellectual knowledge of yoga is of little value. In fact, intellectual knowledge of any spiritual path is of little value.

So many of us know what is the right thing to do, and yet fail to do it.
It seems that we have no choice, as if there were an invisible yet powerful force motivating us to behave without regard to what we know is right or wrong.

That powerful force is embedded in the depths of our mind. Yogis call it “samskara” – the subtle impressions of our past deeds. And unless we gain access to those deep recesses of our mind, gain a direct understanding of the samskara deposits there, and learn the techniques that will nullify their effects or destroy them once and for all, we have no choice but to remain under their influence. The process of destroying our samskaras is called “spirituality”

Spirituality is composed of methodical practice and contemplation accompanied by dispassion/non-attachment.

Through systematic practice we gain stability of body and mind, we strengthen our power of will and determination. Persistent practice enables us to form new, spiritually enlivened habits, and as we do, unwanted, negative habits are gradually replaced by the newly formed habits.

The contemplative discipline of dispassion/non-attachment helps us avoid becoming entangled in the charms and temptations of the world. Non-attachment allows us to perform our actions skillfully so that we remain productive while living in the world; at the same time, it helps us cultivate a philosophy of life that enables us to avoid becoming a slave to the fruits of our own actions. Dispassion gives us the strength to discard these fruits when they are unpleasant, useless, and undesirable, as well as the strength to share them with others when they are pleasant, useful, and therefore desirable.

According to the yogis, the mind is like a river flowing between two banks. One bank is associated with worldly pleasure and its endless consequences; the other is associated with spiritual wisdom and spiritual freedom. Between these two banks there is a vast floodplain. Sometimes the river of mind flows more strongly toward the mundane realm, and sometimes more strongly toward the sacred. It is the quality of the water – the mental content of the mind – that determines whether the

river flows toward the worldly realm or toward the spiritual. The more polluted it is, the closer it flows to the worldly bank; the clearer and purer it is, the closer it flows to the sacred bank.

Methodical practice gives us access to new springs of clear, pure water to nourish this river, while dispassion helps us clean up the pollutants already present.

Therefore, according to the yogis, a spiritual discipline must contain these two components -practice and dispassion. Only then will it bear long-lasting fruit.

I believe that our daily inner practice should always include three essential elements:
Being careful never to hurt others.
Learning to meditate.
A relentless exploration of the question of where things really come from.

Miscellaneous:

What are the Yoga Sutras from Wikipedia:
The Yoga Sūtras of Patañjali are 196 Indian sutras (aphorisms). The Yoga Sutras were compiled prior to 400 CE by Sage Patanjali, taking materials about yoga from older traditions.[1][2][3] The Yoga Sūtras of Patañjali was the most translated ancient Indian text in the medieval era, having been translated into about forty Indian languages and two non-Indian languages: Old Javanese and Arabic.[4] The text fell into obscurity for nearly 700 years from the 12th to 19th century, and made a comeback in late 19th century due to the efforts of Swami Vivekananda, the Theosophical Society and others. It gained prominence again as a comeback classic in the 20th century.[5]

Various interpretations/translations of the Yoga Sutras:

The Secret Power of Yoga by Nischala Joy Devi
A Woman’s Guide to the Heart and Spirit of the Yoga Sutras

There are many other books on the subject of the Yoga Sutras. If you are interested in learning more I suggest looking at as many versions as you can and choosing what resonates with you. Some of my favorite authors are: T.K.S. Desikachar, B.K.S. Iyengar, Georg Feuerstein, Swami Satchidananda, Mukunda Stiles and Swami Vivekananda.

 

Yoga Sangha – Weekly Review Summer Session 2017 – #3

 

Asana this week:
Bent Leg Supine Rolling Twist/Jathara Parivritti
Wall Press
Reaching for that top branch!
Crooked Banana or Palm Tree Pose
Continue with The 5 Tibetans

In class during this past week I added a short anatomy introduction to the QL’s after doing the Tibetans. As you may have experience this muscle (on both sides) was actively a participant in all 5 Tibetans.

QL = Quadratus Lumborum
How to relieve, hard to release, back tension by unlocking your QL muscles.

Have you ever noticed lingering ache deep in your low back from prolonged sitting or standing?

With weak back muscles, these intrinsic rectangular muscles (between your ribs and hips) work overtime to stabilize your spine and pelvis, leaving the muscle tight and sore.

They also kick in to compensate for poor posture.

Sometimes soreness occurs, on one side, from carrying something heavy or a small chiid.

Side sleeping with your top hip hiked up every night can also tense the QL’s.

Leg discrepancies are also a common cause of QL tension as most people have a slight variance in leg length and approximately 20% of people have a clinically significant difference, greater than 2cm.

What can you do?
Yoga has been know to engage these muscles, keeping them agile and pain free.
By releasing tension from your QL you can lengthen the sides of your lower back, freeing and creating a powerful relaxation within the abdomen, lower back and hips.

Where are they?
They originate on the Internal side of the iliac crest, your hip bones.
Inserting into the 12th rib and the 1-4th lumbar vertebra (L1-4) at the transverse processes (the bony wing like protrusion on either side of the vertebrae).

How to find them?
By placing your right thumb on your back about halfway between your right side waist and your spine.
Pressing into the space between your bottom rib and/or hip.
Press in toward your transverse processes and up your right hip, you should feel your QL contract.

How do they help you move?
They sidebend your spine, help raise or “hike up” you hips one at a time, extend you lumbar spine in various asanas.

What standard yoga poses can help the QL’s?
Extended Triangle = Utthita Trikonasana
Standing Forward Bend = Uttanasana
Extended Side Angle = Utthita Parsakonasana
Side Seated Wide angle = Parsva Upavistha Konasana
Revolved Head-of-the-Knee = Parivrtta Jana Sirsasana

What restorative yoga movements can I use to warm up, creating ease around the lumbar spine and releasing tightness in the hips and thighs?
Picking Fruit -reaching with corresponding heel on the ground.
Side Flank Stretch from Prone Position
Belly-Down Twist (Wheel of Life = Ayurhakrasana)
Banana Supine/Palm Tree Pose

Name: Crocodile/Bent Leg Supine Rolling Twist/Jathara Parivritti
Description:
A gentle flow added to Morning Wake-Up Stretch before the cross over the body.

With left hand on right knee, knee directly over hip and heel a direct line with knee (not touching thigh), gently roll/guide the right side of the body off the mat and to the left. Allow the head to follow including the right shoulder lifting. As the shoulder lifts, according to the extend of your roll, allow the hand along with forearm to relax and hang in line with the shoulder, palm facing up. Feel the stretch with the section of torso in front of the shoulder as the arm hangs.
Relax and flow with the breath x6.
Continuing with Morning Wake-Up Stretch until you come to this point on the other side after Apanasana (Wind Expeller In and Out 6x) then insert the roll for this side x6.

Physical Benefits: Allow the body to gently start moving and opening from side to side before going into a static and dynamic twist/stretch.

Adaptations/Variations: Only go as far as you can and only when it feel right.

Name: Wall Press

Description:
Stand facing a wall about an arms’s length away.
Place bot hand on the wall at shoulder height and then step back, keeping your feet parallel until you can bend forward from the hips.
Lengthen the spine semi-parallel to the floor.
Bring the ears alongside the arms.
Press the palm into the wall and lengthen the inner edges of the arms.
Draw the pelvis away from the wall and elongate the whole spine.
Expand the chest, open the armpits, and broaden the upper back.
As you hold, lift the sitting bones and flatten the lower back.
Hold an breathe, broadening and lengthening the torso as you Inhale and relaxing tennis as you exhale.

Physical Benefits: A tension reliever for shoulder and upper back, a stretch that can be done at any time. The secret is to relax and at the same time reach out through the arms.

Adaptations/Variations: If one shoulder is hurting you may have to take that arm and lay the hand (palm up) on your sacrum. Or try the pose with that one arm positioned slightly lower on the wall than the other. Listening to your body and feeling what works for you.

The following two movements are to bring more mobility to your lumbar spine and sides while finding greater range of motion in side bending poses. We did these in class while finding and working with the QL’s (Quadratus Lumborum)

Name: Reaching for that top branch!

Description:
Stand in Tadasana (Mountain Pose) with your arms and hand reaching skyward.
Reach your left hand way up, as if trying to pluck a ripe apple tat ’s just out of reach.
Bend your right knee and hike up your right hip (opposite side).
Keep your left heal firmly on the floor.
Inhale and feel a stretch in your left QL, exhale to release.
Switch sides, then repeat up to 10 rounds.

Name: Crooked Banana or Palm Tree Pose

Description:
Can be done at the wall or on the mat.
Supine:
Bringing the spine into lateral flexion (side bending), bending to the right.
Keep the hips and shoulders on the floor.
Grasp your right wrist with you left hand.
Then move the feet to the right (attempting to take them slightly beyond the mat).
You can also cross the left ankle over the right to hold the legs in place.
Allow the entire left side of the body to stretch.
Stay there for several minutes, then come back to center and repeat on the other side.

General Class:

Supine:
Legs up on Chair with Blanket roll under back: across and lengthwise.
Bridge Series
Leg/hip openers with strap, also hamstring stretch with three positions R/L

Prone:
Cat n Cow
Spinal Balance R/L

Standing:
Wall Press
Reaching for the top branch!

On Belly:
Heart Lifts
A-Symmetrical Locust & Symmetrical

Supine:
Banana
Savasana

Pranayama:

Channel Cleaning Breath/Alternative Nostril Breathing
Nadi Shodhana/Anuloma Viloma
(nah-dee show-DAH-nah) nadi = channel shodhana = cleaning, purifying

Step by Step
Sit in a comfortable asana or in a chair as straight as possible, with seat bones grounded and chest opened out. Breathe freely. Make the gesture called Vishnu mudra by curling in the index and middle finger of the right hand so the thumb and fourth finger can be used on either side of the nose to close the nostrils.
Alternative hand position: middle and index fingers straight and tips resting on forehead between eye brows for entire breathing exercise.

1.Inhale/exhale through both nostrils.
2.Gently close your right nostril with your thumb at the sinus bridge.
3. Inhale through your left nostril for the count of four.
4.Close the left nostril with the fourth finger of right hand, exhale through the right nostril, counting to four. Inhale through the right nostril counting to four.
5.Close the right nostril, exhale through the left nostril counting to four. Inhale through the left nostril counting to four.
6.Release the right nostril and exhale completely.

This is one sequence You must first feel comfortable with this breathing technique, then different ratios can be added, deepening the exhalations to twice the length of the inhalations – but you must learn this technique with a teacher. Retention of the inhalations can also be developed. Ten sequences are usually practiced daily.

Benefits
This pranayama also strengthens and purifies the lungs, purifies the nadis (energy channels) and increases prana intake. Stale air is eliminated, as you increase the length of exhalation; retention of inhalation increases oxygen intake. The breathing pattern also helps calm the nerves and improves circulation. It is regarded as a general balancer and purifier of the physical and emotional systems.
Lowers heart rate and reduces stress and anxiety Said to synchronize the two hemispheres of the brain.

Stilling the breath, stills the mind!

Essential Oil:
Peace: Vetiver, Lavender, Ylang Ylang, Frankincense, Clary Sage, Marjoram, Spearmint.

Music:
Steve Halpern: Music for Yoga

Quote:
Positive thought and feelings are health enhancing.
Feeling trust and seeing the basic goodness in others and ourselves has healing power.
Seeing crises and threats as challenges and opportunities allows us to heal.

A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions. -Oliver Wendell Holmes

 

 

 

Yoga Sangha – Weekly Review Summer Session 2017 – #1-2

Asana this week: The 5 Tibetans

See Handout with stick figures Actual and Prep
see also this Article

and my videos.

Essential Oil:
Pep Talk: Peppermint and Sweet Orange

Music:
George Winston “Summer”

Quote:
Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing had ever happened…
-Winston Churchill

Your yoga teacher would add “Why?
– because the truth can often be quite inconvenient. As when faced with the truth, and if it is contrary to a present action or thought, then we would have to do something about it by being pro-active and making a change.

“Gratitude” -Melody Beattie
Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life
It turns what we have into enough and more…..
It turns denial into acceptance……chaos into order……..confusion into clarity.
It turns problems into gifts…..failures into successes…..the unexpected into perfect timing, and mistakes into important events.
Gratitude makes sense of our past……brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow.

Miscellaneous:
A suggested Netflix documentary: What the Health!

 

Yoga Sangha – Weekly Review Spring Session 2017 – #10

Wishing you all a healthy and happy two weeks between sessions. If you are looking for Everyday Yoga than try some push-ups at the kitchen sink and squats using the handles of a door. You can also do leg lifts while still in bed if your mattress is firm. Work up to 25 of each. Enjoy!

Asana this week:

20 Superposes
20 Superposes that carry maximum benefits with minimum risks, they are benefit-dense, accessible to most and offer multiple options/alternatives.

Description:

Supine:

1. Apanasana/Wind-Release pose
2. Jatthara Parivatti -crossing over and opening up

3. & 4.Chakravakasana -Cat and Cow to Balancing Cat

5. Vajrasana -Yoga Snack: from Childs pose to reaching arms overhead while up on knees then returning to Childs pose with palms facing up on sacrum, a flow which continues.

6. Dvipada Pitham/Setu Bandhasana – Bridge series

7. Urdhva Prasarita Padasana -Leg lifts single/double w/wo arm moving and head lift

Belly:

8. Bhujangasana -Cobra
9. Salabhasana/Ardha Salabhasana -Locust Symetrica/A-Symetrical
10. Vimanasana: Lifting both legs moving them in and out

Sitting:

11. Paschimottanasana -Seated forward fold bend (FF) w/wo knees bent, can be done with legs up the wall. Gradually leaning forward with a flat back protecting the lumbar.
12. Ardha Matsyendrasana – Spinal Twists/various

 

Standing: (with the wall near-by for balance and control)

13. Balancing Tadasana/Mountain Pose
14. Uttanasana/Ardha Uttanasana – FF + Half-FF
15. Ardha Utkatasana – Chair Pose

16. Prasarita Padottanasana – Wide leg forward fold with hands moving towards ankles.
17. Parivrtti Trikonasana – Forward fold with wide legs, one arm on floor/midline while the other reaches to the ceiling,rotating Triangle.

18. Virahhadrasana I – Warrior I
19 Utthita Trikonasana – Triangle Pose: for form control try to do with the back to the wall
20. Virabhadsasna III – Warrior III

 

Pranayama:
Ujjayi Pranayama (ooh-JAH-yee prah-nah-YAH-mah) is one technique that helps calm the mind and warm the body. When practicing Ujjayi, you completely fill your lungs, while slightly contracting your throat, and breathe through your nose.

Essential Oil:
Motivate: Encouraging blend from doTerra emotional aromatherapy
Peppermint, Clementine, Coriander, Basil, Yuzu, Melissa, Rosemary, Vanilla

Music:
Deuter: Koyasani Reiki Sound Healing

Quote:
Yoga exists in the world because everything is linked..
Yoga is relationship..
The goal of yoga is peace, not power.
Peace cannot be attained through power, yet power is the result of peace.
-Desikachar from “The Heart of Yoga”
His father, Krishnamacharya, is considered the “father of yoga”

Miscellaneous:
If you google “20 Superposes in yoga” you should be able to find a PDF of what we have been doing, along with variations/adaptations for each asana.

 

Yoga Sangha – Weekly Review Spring Session 2017 – #08-09

Asana this week:

Joint Freeing Series by Mikunda Stiles “Structural Yoga Therapy” (see PDF)
Push-Ups

Name: Joint Freeing Series

Description:
A series which moves each joint gently and systematically through its full and natural range of motion.
Starting with the feet and ankles, moving up to the knees, hips torso and spine, finishing with the neck. The motions in the series represent all the basic motions of the body.
Repeat each motion six times, go at your own pace and adjust your level of effort so you can sustain the sequence rhythmically, in harmony with your natural breath rate.

Physical Benefits and Why:
To heighten awareness and distinction between stretching and contraction muscles, knowing the difference between the feeling sensations of stretching and those of strengthening a muscle.
Enhancing joint mobility and often relieving joint pain and stiffness, if a joint is stiff, it lacks full mobility.
To observe and diagnose areas for comparative freedom.
To alleviate conditions associated with poor circulation, moving synovial fluid within the joint capsule and enhancing vascular circulation.
To find the point of “comfortable and steady”
Especially beneficial for those with limited mobility due to injuries or arthritis.
To uncover motions that are boring often revealing a site of conscious chronic tension or weakness.
Supporting the persistent conscientious practice of coordinated breathing.

Name: Push-Ups

Description:
Feet firmly planted shoulder width apart, body facing the wall.
Hands shoulder width apart and on the movement the elbows release down and towards the body in line with the wrists & shoulders on the exhale. Inhale, return.
Having good posture and not allowing the pelvic area to either sink forward or stick outward.
Engaging the torso, belly in and up, tailbone slightly down.
Keeping the ears over the shoulders and shoulders released down, open and back, shoulder blades into their pockets.
Chin neither reaching or tucked. Moving towards the wall as if the hairline area will touch although it does not have to touch.

Increasing repetitions in slow increments, up to 25 daily or three sets of 12 each with a short pause between each set. Don’t make the movement so hard that you are exhausted after 6 reps, rather less in intention and more often in repetition but do challenge yourself.

Physical Benefits:
Strengthening the arms which are a main site of “Sarcopenia” as we age, becoming weaker with the years.

Adaptations/Variations:
At the kitchen sink, hands on the wall or table pose on the mat, choose your degree of difficulty depending upon your strength or lack of strength.

General Class:

Supine:
Class Warm-UP #1
Hamstring stretch walking hand up the leg to the ankle with continually pulling leg towards torso.

Prone:
Cat n’Cow
Balancing Cat R/L “The Still Point” + Challenge and Reaching Back for the ankle
DD stack the hips-stretch and twist to one side R/L
Shorter DD and bring knee to nose with shoulders over wrists and on the toes of other leg.
Gate R/L including balancing Gate with eyes closed
Thread the Needle R/L

Standing:
Sun Salutations (with/wo chair)
Chair
Chair squat with block between knees-using wall or chair for support

On Belly:
2 versions of Cobra (with forearms on the mat and not)
Push-Ups from Table Pose to the Wall to the Kitchen Counter

Supine:
Leg Lifts (single or double) 25x
Bridge

Attune:
Meditate in a way you look forward to by Jon Wortman
The science on meditation is clear. What’s not for most people is what method to use. Here are three quick options to consider:
For at lease 12 minutes a day: Sit and breath, imagine yourself in your favorite place, or repeat a mantra or prayer. Never forget there are styles and methods of meditation. don’t meditate correctly, meditate in a way you can practice daily.

Pranayama:
Ujjai & The Breath of Joy

Essential Oil:
Cheer: Clove, Star Anise, Lemon Myrtle, Zdrevity( Bulgarian Geranium) Nutmeg. Vanilla, Ginger & Cinnamon Bark

Music:
Deuter: Mystic-Voyage & Illumination of the Heart

Quote:
Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.
-Leo F. Buscaglia often called: Dr. Love. A Professor at USC, author of numerous books many best sellers and 5 at one time on the NYTimes Best Sellers List . Believed in lots of “Love and Hugs*.

‘The Iron Yogi -a grueling race inspires a calm awareness of being’ by Lentine Zahler
The sun’s heat radiates off the lava fields, distorting the figures of the riders ahead. I had though to practice dharana (concentration) and dhyana (meditation) as I navigate the 2.4 mile swim, 112-mile bike ride, and 26.2 mile run from the start and finish lines of the Ironman World Championship, but my mind is off center. I am discouraged. The wind, sun, and sea have punished by body. My hopes for a fast finish are crushed; my competitive spirit has been beaten down.
I bring myself back to my breath. A whimper grows into a quivering OM: low undetected by other over the sounds of the wind and the spinning bike wheels. My frustration lifts as the speed, strength, and rhythm of my legs return. Another OM. On inhalation, I fill my body with my breath, and I smile, joyful in this marvelous Hawaiian landscape. Soon, my ride is over, and I am in my running shoes, gliding across the course.

I am proud of my healthy body for responding exactly as I ask during each intense moment of this day. Some athletes pass me, and I pass others, with smile and non-judgement, as we explore the limits of the human body and spirit together. Now, the brilliant moon illuminates the finish line. The thrill of the achievement will break my meditation in just a few minutes, but in this moment, I have found my samadhi.

‘Be All You Can Be’ by Kate Holcombe
When we are faced with a challenge, a helpful mind-set can be found in the concept of Ishvara Pranidhana, or non attachment tot he fruits of one’s actions. As the ancient sage Patanjali says in 11.1 of the Yoga Sutra, Ishvara Pranidhana can be a powerful practice that affects the way we approach every action we take.
Pantajali advises us to focus on the quality of an act, rather than on its outcome, leaving the ‘fruits’ of our actions to something greater. From this perspective, everything we do echoes an opportunity for practice; We do the very best we can, whether we’re running a race, giving a big presentation or doing the dishes.
Regardless of the outcome, the mind is calm, clear and present because our joy comes from the act itself, rather than the result.

Miscellaneous:
10 Hugs a Day…..begin now!
“We need [four] hugs a day for survival. We need [eight] hugs a day for maintenance. We need 12 hugs a day for growth.”

 

Yoga Sangha – Weekly Review Spring Session 2017 – #07

Asana this week:                                         

Modified Mini Squats -Walk Yourself Well 

Ujjayi

Name: Modified Mini Squats -Walk Yourself Well

Description:
Stand with one foot out 12 inches in front of the other foot.
Put the back foot on its toes while distributing your weight evenly between both feet.
On your forward foot, the weight should at the ball of the foot.
Set your shoulders, chest, and chin down and outstretch both arms wide in front of your body like you’re holding a big beach ball.
Exhale and lower your body. As you lower, let your belly engage, keep your buns under your torso, and put you chin slightly down.
Inhale as you raise your body straight up again.
You should go down only as far as is comfortable for your knees. You need to be able to come back up again to a full standing position without losing your balance.
Start with 3 sets of x5 R/L unless you find this easy that being with x10

In the beginning that may mean you go just a few inches down, a perfectly acceptable start. If you have knee problems premise, you should compensate by doing more reps but of course, never to the point of pain an indication to stop. Please don’t confuse muscular exertion with pain.

Physical Benefits:
To strengthen, your knees, quads and hamstrings, and to stabilize and strengthen the trunk.
Knee flexion and trunk stabilization are both part of a healthy gait and are vital in the balancing act of walking.

Adaptations/Variations:
Block on Wall and Knee pushing into block, feet wide in low lunge.

Name: Ujjayi
Looking to simultaneously relax and energize your mind and body? Your answer may be an ancient yogic breathing technique called Ujjayi.

Ujjayi (pronounced oo-jai) is commonly translated as “victorious breath” and has been used for thousands of years to enhance Hatha yoga practice. Also commonly referred to as the “oceanic breath” the sound that Ujjayi provides helps us to synchronize breath with movements during yoga, making the entire yoga practice more rhythmic.
Description:
1. Seal your lips and start to breath in and out through your nose.
2. Take an inhalation through your nose that is slightly deeper than normal. Exhale slowly through your nose while constricting the glottis in the back of your throat.
3. OR  With your mouth open, try exhaling the sound “HAAAAH”—it’s similar to the sound you make when you’re trying to fog up a mirror.
Close your mouth and attempt a similar sound, feeling the outflow of air through your nasal passages. Once you have mastered this on the outflow, use the same method for the in-flow breath, gently constricting the back of your throat as you inhale.
You can also silently, with the mouth closed, repeat the word So/with the Inhale and Hum/with the exhale. It can help the breath flow nicely.

With practice this breathing is not an effort and is never forced, it becomes quite natural and easy, just practice!

If you’re doing this correctly, you should sound like waves in the ocean—the inhales can be compared to the sound the ocean makes as the water is gathering up to form the wave, the exhales can be compared to the sound of the waves crashing to the shore. Some people compare Ujjayi breathing to Darth Vader from Star Wars, if that’s helpful.

Physical Benefits:
Ujjayi has a balancing influence on the entire cardiorespiratory system, releases feelings of irritation and frustration, and helps calm the mind and body.
Here are a few benefits you may enjoy as a result of practicing the Ujjayi breath:
Increases the amount of oxygen in the blood
Builds internal body heat and energy while encouraging free flow of prank
Relieves tension
Regulates blood pressure
Helps yoga practitioner to maintain a rhythm while they practice
Detoxifies mind and body
Increases feelings of presence, self-awareness, and meditative qualities

When to Use Ujjayi Breath

When you’re agitated:
Since the Ujjayi breath is especially good for settling agitation and stress, and balancing the mind, try shifting into Ujjayi breath whenever you find yourself becoming aggravated or stressed. You should notice a soothing effect promptly.

When you’re practicing hatha yoga:
Try focusing on Ujjayi breathing while practicing yoga to help you stay focused and centered as you flow from one posture to the next.

When exercising:
Ujjayi is also useful when you’re doing aerobic exercise such as running or cycling. In fact, some Olympic-level athletes have introduced Ujjayi into their training routines to improve their respiratory efficiency. Experiment with this breath technique when you’re working out and see if it reduces wear and tear on your body.

When you’re nervous:
The slow and rhythmic nature of the Ujjayi breath is incredibly helpful to calm nerves. Next time you find yourself with a case of the jitters, try some yogic breathing to settle the worries.

General Class:

Supine:
Class Warm-UP #1

Prone:
Cat n’Cow
Balancing Cat R/L

Standing:
Walk yourself Well- mini squats
Sun Salutations with Chair added (with/wo chair)

On the Belly:
2 versions of Cobra (with forearms on the mat and not)
Push-Ups from Table to the Wall to the Kitchen Counter (detail explanations next week)

Supine:
Leg Lifts (single or double) 25x

Attune:
#4. The twist on reframing is called reappraisal.  Many thinkers and therapist use reappraisal as a synonym or type of reframing.  I separate it here because it is too valuable not to emphasize.
Reappraisal is making meaning out of an ugly situation. The boss yells, you think I’ll be ready for him next time or I didn’t enjoy that, but now I know how to prepare for meetings differently.

Reframing takes the negative out of a memory and a weight out of a difficult moment. Reappraisal deepens the experience into a learning moment. When you learn, your brain gets healthier because it isn’t afraid of a future threat. The boss will yell again. Now you know you can deal with strong emotion. Your brain won’t forget that you believe there is no moment you can’t handle.

Pranayama:
Ujjai

Essential Oil:
Synergy: Cinnamon, Clove, Rosemary, Eucalyptus, Lemon

Music:
Deuter

Quote:
A Teaching from His Holiness The Dalai Lama
“Every day, think as you wake up, today I am fortunate to be alive, I have a precious human life, I am not going to waste it. I am going to use all my energies to develop myself, to expand my heart out to others; to achieve enlightenment for the benefit of all beings. I am going to have kind thoughts towards others, I am not going to get angry or think badly about others. I am going to benefit others as much as I can.”  

Miscellaneous:
Please note that due to our annual Joshua Tree Retreat, there will be no classes this Friday, Saturday and next Monday (May 26-29).       This was scheduled, no class dates, from inception of session so you do not have to make it up since you did not pay for these days.

 

Yoga Sangha – Weekly Review Spring Session 2017 – #06

Asana this week:
Chair Pose/Awkward Pose/Utkatasana
Tadasana with Balance/Hips

Name: Chair Pose/Awkward Pose/Utkatasana
This standing pose strengthens your lower body and torso as well as stretches your shoulders and opens your chest.
As you bend your knees to lower your hips in this pose, allow your torso to lean slightly over your thighs. However, at the same time, your torso should remain mostly upright with the shoulders slightly forward from the hips, keeping your head aligned with your spine. You can deepen Chair pose by lowering your hips a bit further, but you should not feel any strain in your knees or lower back. Make sure you do not lower your hips below your knees or allow your knees to extend past your toes. You should be able to look down and see your toes at all times.
While performing this pose, make sure you keep your feet firmly planted on the floor. Your legs should feel stable and grounded.
Try to concentrate on breathing deeply and evenly to help release any tension in your legs or any other part of the body.

Description:
1. Begin in Mountain Pose
2. Inhale as you raise your arms above your head (full version, not done in class only for advanced work), with your palms facing each other, shoulder width apart. Make sure your shoulders and arms are relaxed. Your arms should be straight, but your elbows should not be locked.
3. Exhale as you bend your knees as if you were about to sit in a chair until feeling a comfortable stretch in the front of your things. Make sure your heels stay on the floor.
4. Slightly tuck your tailbone under to protect your lower back from arching. Engage your belly and making sure your knees do not extend past your toes and your knees are hip width apart (you can always put a block between your knees for proper tracking).
5. Point the crown of your head toward the ceiling and gaze straight ahead.

Hold for 10 seconds or 1 minute/1-5 breaths.
To come out, inhale as you straighten your legs then exhale as you bring your arms back down to your sides returning to Mountain Pose.

Physical/Mental Benefits:
Lengthens the spine. Strengthens the feet, ankles, calves, knees buttocks and thighs, open the chest, Stimulates the digestive, circulatory and reproductive systems. Builds focus, develop willpower, stimulates the mind and reduces stress.

Cautions/Contraindications:
Be mindful if you have hip or knee injury/problems, insomnia, low blood pressure.

Adaptations/Variations:
You can perform Chair with the following arm variations:
1. With your arms extended in front of you
2. Out to the sides and slightly back
3. Hands on the top of your thighs
4. Interlacing the hands overhead then rotating the wrist so your palms face the ceiling then stretching your arms towards the ceiling.
5. Thumbs at the heart.

If you have difficulty with the balance in this pose you can go to the wall being approximately a foot from the wall. As you bend your knees to move into the pose, your tailbone should lightly touch the wall. You may need to adjust your distance from the wall to ensure you are in a correct position.

Difficulty in bringing the arms alongside the ears can be caused by shortness in the latissimus doors muscles.
Overly arching the lumbar spine or overly flexing the hips can happen because of a collapse into gravity.
Gravity, rather than muscles working against each other, should be the source of resistance in the pose.
This is an interesting pose to explore, a balance between effort and release.

Twisting Chair Pose with hands to the heart or straight on the outside of the opposite knee.
1. Begin in Chair Pose with arms above head.
2. Inhale as you lengthen your spine and join your hands in a prayer position in from of your heart.
3. Keep your hips square as you exhale and twist to the right, bringing your left elbow to the outside of your right thigh and your knee into your elbow.
4. Inhale to lengthen your spine, letting your belly move outward, and then exhale to twist as your navel draws strongly back toward the spine. 5. Hold for 1-5 breaths.
6. Inhaling coming to the center and reach your arm upward. Exhale as you begin to twist toward the left side bringing your right elbow to the outside of your left thigh to repeat.
7. Another version would not bring the hands into prayer position but instead, take the straight left arm and bring it to the outside of your right thigh/near the knee with the right arm reaching above.

Avoid rounding your shoulders as you twist, twisting with your hips or letting your left knee jut forward as you twist to the right and vice versa.

Name:
Tadasana: How to use Mountain Pose to train your balance and work the hips.

Description:
1. Lifting onto the toes, hold for the count of 2-3, lower until almost touching, hovering. x15 or more
2. Marching in place, bringing the knees high, keeping the torso in line, do not lean forward. R/L x10
3. Right knee forward, cross the midline, open wide, back to forward, switch legs. x5
4. Bending leg and reaching back for ankle, hold. Continue taking it back keeping the torso erect. Can continue to Dancer if so desired, don’t lean too much forward. Switch legs.
5. Hands on the wall, walk away from the wall and lift one leg straight back and up, parallel to body. Can eventually take hands off the wall while working on balance hold and breath.  Switch legs.
6. Right leg, small circles to the the opposite of the other leg, returning to behind that leg. x5
Larger knee circles as if you were stirring a large pot but only half of the pot. x5 Switch legs.
7. Tree R/L

Physical Benefits:
Working on Flexion, Extension, Adduction and Abduction, Rotation and Balance.

General Class:

Supine:
Class Warm-UP #1
with 3 part Diaphragmatic Breathing

Prone:
Thread the Needle
Down Dog with stretches and stacking

Standing:
Breath of Joy
Uttanasana
Utkatasana
Sun Salutations with/without the Chair (see website for downloadable PDF or DVD)

On Belly:
Heart Lifts from the Forehead with a piece of fruit under the chin, don’t let it drop.
Locust A-Symmetrical R/L + Symmetrical with arms progressively opening from hips to overhead

Supine:
Bridge

Pranayama:
Breath of Joy with additional sounds.

Essential Oil:
Serenity or Pep Talk

Music:
Deuter

Quote:
Joy is not a thing, it is in us.
-Richard Wagner, German composer
Miscellaneous:
“The Book of Joy” by His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu

Yoga Sangha – Weekly Review Spring Session 2017 – #05

Asana this week:

Name: Uttanasana (Ardha-Half-Up, Hasta-Arms Overhead)
Description:
1. Begin in Mountain Pose/Tadasana.
2. Inhale as you stretch your arms above your head with your palms facing each other, keeping your shoulders relaxed. This is Hasta-Uttanasana.
3. Exhaling as you bend forward/hinge from your hips (at least a micro bend of the knees if your hamstrings or lower back are tight, it may be necessary to bend even more), keeping the soles of the feet evenly pressed into the floor/grounding, arms swan diving to the floor.
4. Placing your palms on the floor on either side or your feet, if this is not possible, place them in front of your feet or maybe just the fingertips touch the floor until you become more flexible to attain full hand position.
5. Relax your head and neck towards the floor as you lift your sitting bones toward the ceiling to lengthen the spine.  Stretching the back of the legs, continue pressing the soles of the feet into the floor (you can also push the feet outwards, without moving them, to help open for a forward bend). Always making sure the hips are directly above the knees and your knees are not locked. Let gravity do the work of moving one further into the pose.
6. Inhale and either come high onto the fingertips/spinal extension or slide the hands up over the feet and shins, drawing the stomach in, lengthening the spine away from the legs as the breast bone opens and lengthens forward, reaching with the heart, shoulders externally rotated and slowly start looking forwards. The legs should be straight but not locked, a hardly noticeable micro bend is appropriate the knees should never lock. This is Ardha-Uttanasana.
7. Exhale releasing down, inhaling and reaching out and up being mindful that you lead with the heart and not the head.

Physical/Mental Benefits:
Stretches and lengthens the entire back of the body including the back of the legs and decompresses the neck.
Opens the hips and groins.
Increases circulation in the upper/lower torso.
Improves digestion, stimulated the thyroid, parathyroid glands, liver kinds, tones the abdominal muscles and improves balance.
Alleviates discomfort from sinusitis.
Creates a calming effect on the body and mind, increases clarity.
Relieves stress, anxiety and mild depression.

Contraindications:
Acute hypertension, glaucoma, certain back conditions(can be modified), headaches, low blood pressure and pregnancy. If you become dizzy please come out of the pose very slowly by lifting the heart.

Adaptations/Variations:
Can use a block under each hand on the exhale.
Coming up on the inhale with the hands on the thighs for a flat back.
Holding the big toes on the exhale with the yogi lock.
Palms facing up and under the fronts of the feet on the exhale.
Bringing the hands to the back of the calves for an additional stretch on the exhale.
Interlacing the hands and taking them to behind the back and opening with a release on the exhale.
Using a chair instead of the floor for the forward fold, inhale and exhale with hands on the chair.

General Class:

Supine:
Legs up the Wall

Stretches on the wall in some classes otherwise Class Warm-UP #1(see previous Sangha Newsletter for listing of asana)

Kneeling:
Gate/Stacking/one side in contact with the wall from knee to fingertips R/L
Gate/Balancing & Flowing

Standing:
Uttanasana
Breath of Joy
Tadasana balance Challenges (with/without wall for balancing help)
Tree R/L

Seated:
Seated Twist Series (R/L)

to Savasana:  Guided Savasana: My Safe Space of Serenity

Attune:

#3 Reframe everything negative by Jon Wortmann
The technique is called reframing. Imagine your boss just yelled at you in front of a team of co-workers. The negative thought that sparks your arm is obvious: I am a failure. The possible reframes, however, are invaluable in jump-starting the rest of your day and your brain health.  Imagine immediately, even in the middle of this scene, thinking, “Well, at least he noticed me” or “That wasn’t fun, but it proves I can handle being embarrassed.”
When you reframe, you make an ugly thought into a positive one. It is not just positive thinking because you can’t lie to yourself and think you enjoyed the yelling.  What you can do is think how the experience was valuable.
When reframing becomes a habit, your alarm doesn’t have negative memories of experiences to shut you down in the future.

Pranayama:

3-part Diaphragmatic Yogi Breathing
Yogic breathing helps calm the nerves, cleanses the circulatory system, nourishes the abdominal organs, and improves digestion. It also helps us feel more grounded and relaxed in the body.
The three-part breath asks us to created a wave-like motion from the pelvis to the upper chest: inhaling into the belly, drawing the same breath up through the expanding rib cage and still farther up into the chest.
Begin in supine on your back (you can bend your knees if that is more comfortable and use a block between the knees with the feet slightly wider)
Place your hands on your belly with your middle fingers touching at the navel. Exhale completely, drawing the belly inward, then inhale, letting the breath touch the front, sides, and back of your belly. When you are ready, exhale completely.
Next, place your palms on your rib cage so that your fingers no longer touch but instead are at the inward points of the ribs (the heel of your palm should be in the vicinity of your side seam of your shirt). allow the ribs to gently widen, inhaling as if you are breathing into your palms. Sense how you are opening the front, sides, and back of the ribs. As you exhale, you’ll feel the fingers move towards each other.
Now, place one palm/or both at the center of your chest, (on the upper sides of the breast) and breath into your palm(s). Expand from your chest to the collarbones, feeling a flare but refrain from letting the shoulders move upwards (they should not become earnings). Exhale completely.
When you are done practicing a few rounds, take a moment to notice any changes. Become aware of your side body. How well is the air broadening the ribs? This takes practice!

Breath of Joy
This is an energizing breathing practice from the Kripalu tradition, awakening the whole system with strong inhalations and synchronized arm movements. A forceful exhalation lightly detoxifies the body and helps release accumulated tension.

This pranayama has been found to increase oxygen levels in the bloodstream. It counters the shallow upper chest breathing of anxiety by inviting the breath to fill every milliliter of the lungs. Like a strong bright wind, it also sweeps away that sluggishness in depression and infuses the mind with a serene sense of clarity.

Can be used to begin the day when one wakes up and can’t quite get the day started. Just sit in the corner of your bed if you don’t want to stand and repeat 9 times.
Also a good warm up at the beginning of any asana practice.
When you think you need it, use it!

Precautions are high blood pressure and if you suffer from any kind of head or eye injuries such as migraines or glaucoma.
If you start to feel light-headed or dizzy, instead light-hearted, stop and just breathe normally.

Description:
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and parallel, knees slightly bend (can also sit)
Inhale one-third of yearlong capacity and swing your arms up in front of your body, bringing them parallel to each other at shoulder level and palms facing the ceiling.
continue inhaling to two-thirds capacity and stretch your arm out to the side like wings to shoulder level.
Inhale to full capacity and swing your arms parallel and over your head, palms facing each other.
Open your mouth and exhale completely with an audible HA, bending the knees more deeply as you sink into a standing squat and swing your arm down and back behind you like a diver.

Repeat up to 9x, don’t force or strain the body or breath, simply be absorbed by the peacefully stimulating rhythm.
Return to standing.
Close your eyes and experience the effects.
Notice how quickly your heart beats (you can place your hands over your heart) feeling the sensation in your face, arms and tingling in your palm.

Variation:
For a lighter, brighter mood, add a bija/seed mantra to each arm movement.
As you lift your arms out in front of you, silently or lightly, inhale the sound of ‘va’; as your arms move to the side intone the syllable ‘ra’; with the arms overhead, the sound is ‘ya’. Finish with the exhale of ‘HA’ out loud.

Essential Oil:
Passion: Cardamon, Cinnamon, Ginger, Clove, Sandalwood, Jasmine, Vanille, Damiana

Music:
Deuter: Sea & Silence

Quote:
As a single footstep will not make a path on the earth, so a single thought will not make a pathway in the mind.
To make a deep physical path, we walk again and again.
To make a deep mental path, we must think over and over the kind of thoughts we wish to dominate our lives.
-Henry David Thoreau

Services/Suggestions/Links:

The book “Walden”  by Henry David Thoreau
edited and with an afterword by Jeffrey S. Cramer

Float Therapy Spa: http://www.floattherapyspa.com/
This is where I found complete silence for one hour, less than a mile from home, except for my own heartbeat.

Blankets for class: At “Local Fare” in the SoCo OC Mart Mix.  They are currently selling for $18. But if you tell her you are coming from me she will only charge $15.
https://oclocalfare.com/

Yoga Sangha – Weekly Review Spring Session 2017 – #04

Asana this week:

Dolphin (Static/Wrist/Block version)
Front Hip Strengthening (1 of 3 Series)
Lunge
Mountain Pose/Tadasana

Name:  Dolphin (Static – Wrist version with block)

Description:
1.  Rest forearms on a yoga mat and place a yoga block in between the wrists along the pinky side of the hands, pressing hands/wrists, down and towards the block.
2.  Spike the hips upwards forming an upside down “V” shape with the body, bending the knees if the hamstrings are tight.
3.  Attempt to press the thumb side of the hand into the floor and feel the traction of the stretch deeply within the muscles of the forearms as the spine extends away from the rooted forearms.
4.  Feel the fresh blood and newfound energy in the top of the forearms after you release the stretch.
5.  Holding for a series of breaths and repeating.

Physical Benefits:
The top of the forearms is even more neglected than the underside of the forearms.
The long muscles of the top of the forearm oppose the flexors, and they need to be strengthened in order to balance the overwhelming power of our gripper muscles.

Adaptations/Variations:
Just slightly lift the knees (or one knee at a time) off the mat, gradually increasing as strength builds.

Name: Front Hip Strengthening

The Muscles surrounding the hip joints and pelvis are dense due to the fact that they must bear the weight of the entire upper body. We have both deep hip flexors, muscles that run from the front of the spine to the top inner thigh and superficial hip flexors, which run from the hipbone to the knee.
Walking develops these muscles and they benefit greatly from being stretched.

Description:
Place your hands on your hips, and step forward with your left foot.
Stand with one leg forward and both knees slightly bent.
Pull the belly slightly in and take the tailbone down as you tilt/tuck the pelvis.
Lifting the back/right heel up and bending that leg even more.
Leaning back onto the toes of your right foot to isolate the muscles at the front of the hip.
Hold for 3-6 breath cycles, release and repeat on the other side.

Physical Benefits:
This stretch targets stretching the deep and the superficial hip flexors. Countering the hours one spends sitting which brings these muscles into a shorten and tighten position.

Name: Lunge

Why is this asana considered a yogi treasure?
Because we live in a couch-potato age which adds to a certain tightness in the hip area. Although sitting is not the only ingredient adding to this tightness, as walking, running and climbing stairs also tightens muscles in the leg and pelvis, unless these movements are counterbalanced by stretching.

If we do not stretch there will be a gradual restriction of hip movements and lunge pose, as it stretches the hip flexors, can reverse this tendency and help restore a natural range of motion.
This week in class we took a big step and went through variations plus a partial pigeon stretch and hamstring stretches.  We will continue in the weeks to come with some very basic versions, some using the wall and others the chair.

Description:
1. Start out kneeling on all fours.
The hands should be positioned directly under the shoulders, the knees should be directly under the hips, toes are curled into the ground.
2. Step forward with the right foot, placing it between the hands. Make sure the knee is directly over the ankle. creating a ninety-degree angle with the floor (tracking-this protects the knee).
The short version is hip over back knee, the long version is sliding knee back as far as possible which creates the stretching in the hip area.
3. Lift the left knee off the ground and press the left heel backward.
4. Feel the opposition created by pressing the left heel back and the right knee forward.

Benefits:  
Counteracts the tightness that occurs from frequent, everyday hip flexion.
Stretches the quadriceps and psoas.
Supports the stabilization of the knee joint.
Helps establish a comfortable seated meditation pose.

Variations:
Low Lunge
The variation will help the legs gradually strengthen so they can support your weight in a full lunge.
5. Lowering the back knee down to the floor.
6. Place the hands on the front thigh as you sink the hips forward and down toward the floor to stretch the groin. (in class this week we additionally reached back, with same side hand to grab the back foot and lift)

Supported Lunge:
Here, the legs are working harder to keep you upright.
5. Move both hands to rest on the front knee.
6. Work to bring the torso directly over the hips. Try not to lean the torso forward over the front thighs

Full Lunge (Alana):
Now you are ready for the full pose.
5. Take both arms up into the air above your head with the palms facing each other.
6. Lengthen the arms through the inner elbows n feel energy stretching to the fingertips.
7. Drop the shoulders away from your ears.

Name: Standing Mountain/Uttanasana

Mountain Pose a basic standing pose establishing a sense of poise for creating contemplation on being centered and grounded while slowing and modulating your breathing. Do not be tempted to rush through the pose, instead take the time to relax and remain still, breathe evenly, receiving the full benefits of the pose.

Description:
Standing on your mat, close your eyes or partially close the lids, your choice.
Continue with the AUDIO and enjoy your Mountain Pose.

Physical Benefits:
Aligns the spine, tones the abdominal muscles and buttocks opens the chest, improves posture, stability, balance, strengthens the arches, ankles, knees and thighs.

Mental Benefits:
Improves focus, develops willpower, reduces mild anxiety.

Adaptations/Variations:
Use a chair or wall for balancing if necessary.

General Class:
Supine:
2x blanket rolls(across at base of shoulder blades/lengthwise from tailbone to head/do not put it under the buttocks) with chair
Morning Wake-Up Stretch
Hip Circles/Flex/Extensions
Feet/Ankle-Hand/Wrist Circles/Flex/Extensions
Cat/Cow

Yoga Sangha – Weekly Review Spring Session 2017 – #03

Asana this week:
Feet/Toes/Ankles
Hands/Fingers/Wrist                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Lunge (to be continued next week)

Name: Feet/Toes/Ankles

Description: Flex and Extension of the toes and ankle.
Flexing the toes while sitting in a chair with proper tracking of the knee.
Extension/Pointing of the toes which continues to a strong stretch of the ankle.
Can be done daily while sitting in a chair.
In class, we did this sitting sideways on a chair and during the flexion, with the knee directly under the hip, we also did a slow/short lift of the buttocks off the chair.
Be mindful to hold on, as well as to engage the thighs/buttocks before lifting, as well as the core, in order not to put too much pressure on the knee and flexed toes.

Physical Benefits:
A natural stretch for the toes and ankles but one we often no longer do in normal movement and exercise. The toes love to be stretched in both directions, it’s just us who do not enjoy this in the beginning as we have a tendency to be tight. This will change with practice as we sit every day in a chair and this is something we can also do every day, be patient as it took decades to become tight it will take some dedication to stretch.

Adaptations/Variations:
We also did work the toes directly: lifting, pushing down and out etc.

Think about your feet, what do you do for them on a regular basis regarding TLC. Some don’t even acknowledge their feet as they don’t like they way they look. This calls for unconditional acceptance and love, they deserve it, after all, they carry you through your life and without them where would you be?  Give them more than an occasional pedicure and a touch of paint!

Name: Hands/Fingers/Wrist

Prevention:
Switch your computer mouse to your non-dominant hand for a change!
Carpal Tunnel is most often found in the dominant hand. A very simple way you can prevent the constant accumulation of stress and strain on your dominant hand and wrist is to start switching liege mundane tasks into your opposite hand.
For example, if you are right handed and use your computer’s mouse with the right hand, with it to the left hand.
At first, it will feel totally exotic, clunky and unnatural but trust me on this one, it will make a huge difference in your hands, wrists, forearms, elbows, shoulder and NECK!
Get past the awkward first day and you will eventually forget which hand was dominant in no time.

Maintenance = Stretching
Forearm Stretch:
Start on your hands and knees/Table.
With your hands aligned under your shoulders (palms downs and fingers facing your knees either single hand or both depending what you can do/inside of your forearms turned away from your chest) and your knees under your hips.
Relax, just breathing easy.
Gradually sink back until your buttocks are hovering over your heels.
Let the palms rise gradually as you sink back, let the thumbs peel away from the mat with the palms.
Leaving the other 4 fingers on the mat to press into the floor, feel the deep stretch throughout the fingers, wrists, and palms.

Why do you want to do this forearm stretch?
We are ‘graspers’ by nature, holding onto objects, tools, steering wheels and the like so the flexors of our forearms are disproportionately tight. To keep the fine flexors of the forearms and wrists supple, they need to have their own stretch series.

Next week we will add a movement for the top of the forearms which are even more neglected that the underside of the forearms.

Various Descriptions: Nyasam, Bend each Knuckle, Finger Circles, Squeezing the Knuckles.

Nyasam:
The slide/glide of the thumb up the index fix on one side and down the other continuing to the pinky and then coming back.
At first, we usually slide on the back of each finger, but with practice, the thumb will be able to slide on the side of each finger.
Inhale on the way up to the tip and exhale on the way down to the base.

Physical Benefits:
Can help relieve arthritic conditions in the hands, help the blood circulating and make the hands more agile and flexible. Can be done with the eyes closed, one hand at a time and be very relaxing.

Adaptations/Variations:
#1 Slide/Glide with a flick, used for one with Neurologic diagnosis as Parkinson’s, seizures etc.
#2 Slide/Glide with a push, use to increase the strength of the fingers.

Bend each Knuckle:
We also worked each knuckle of each finger from the proximal, medial and the distal. Each bending so the tip of that finger could touch the palm without the neighboring fingers following. Use your other hand to hold down the other fingers if necessary or to hold the other knuckle so you can isolate each knuckle of each finger, patience!

Single Finger Circles:
Beginning with the right thumb making circles clockwise to the pinky and returning with counterclockwise circles back to the thumb.
While making these circles make sure that nothing of that end moves except the one finger.
Spread the fingers wide, engage them with the palm facing down.

If they want to have a finger party, than use the other hand coming up from underneath to spread the neighboring fingers, holding them away while you practice moving the finger in between.
This takes concentration and a strong effort between the mind and the fingers. I suggest to concentrate on the two fingers next to the one you want to move and not the moving finger.
Good luck and stay with it. It will improve with practice and can become quite enjoyable once you can control those fingers.

Squeezing the knocks: from the sides as well and front/back using two fingers of the other hand. You will feel it if you have arthritis in a knuckle but I have been told (20 years ago) to continue doing it and let it feel uncomfortable. This was when I was diagnosed with Osteoarthritis in my hips and my hands.

Name: Lunge/Banarasana
We didn’t explore all the lunge options in every class so we will repeat this series next week.
But for now, I will give you the description of the important lunge to counter all sitting you might be doing. As asked in class, find a spot ready to use, in each room where you sit for a period of time and do it after a sitting session to stretch. Your body will thank you!

Description:
Standing near a wall (for support) and or chair.
Place on foot on a chair/stool/ottoman/sofa etc. with knees directly over the ankle.
Stepping back with other leg until one feels a strong stretch in the hip/pelvic/groin area.
The back heel should be sturdy on the floor.
Hold for at least 30 seconds on each side.
Besides the intention of this stretch you may also feel stretching in the back of the lower leg from heel to knee.

Physical Benefits:
Counteracts the tightness that occurs from frequent, everyday sitting/hip flexion. Stretches the quadriceps and the Psoas muscle.   Supports the stabilization of the knee joint. Helps establish a comfortable seated pose.

Adaptations/Variations: to be continued next week in class

Attune:  Behaviors for a healthier brain.
#1 Talk to Strangers:
Research shows talking to strangers make us happier.  The why is what’s so important. Our brains are constantly stressed these days by too much to pay attention to.  We feel on edge echoes we don’t know where to focus.  That’s simply the alarm in your brain, your amygdala, overreacting.
Talking to strangers immediate gives you something to focus on.  You get a shot of adrenaline from the alarm because you want to make sure this person is safe, but you also begin, sentence by sentence, to feel incredibly engaged.  Suddenly your fear of the new or unknown dissipates and your frontal lobes, which have to fire for your alarm to turn down, are in full gear.  You enjoy the novelty of a fresh conversation.  And in the future, there is a powerful kicker  You will see strangers as a potential friend rather than a certain threat.

Pranayama: Bhramari

Getting Started:
In a comfortable seated position, either on the floor or in a chair, with the thighs angled down and your natural curve of your lumbar spine honored. Always balance effort and ease.
Making a buzzing sound of moderate volume, but never forced.
Keep your facial muscles loose, your lips lightly touch, and your jaw relaxed (this is most important for resonance)
With the upper and lower rows of teeth slightly separated, tongue free and loose.
Prolong the buzzing sound on the exhalation as long as it’s comfortable and you can still inhale smoothly, without gasping for air.
If you start to feel agitated, back off and return to normal breathing.

Basic:
Sitting comfortably and allowing your eyes to close.
Take a breath or two to settle in and notice the state of your mind.
When you are ready, inhale and buzz for the entire length of your exhalation,  make a low-to medium-pitched humming sound in the throat.
Notice how a wave gently vibrates your tongue, teeth, and sinuses.
Imagine the sound is vibrating your entire brain (it really is).
Do this practice for 6 rounds of breath and then, keeping your eye’s closed, return to your normal breathing.
Notice if anything has changed.

Basic with Shanmukhi Mudra (Variation):
One way to intensify the effects is to use the thumbs to close the ear canal but placing them on the tragus (a piece of cartilage/like a bump on the cheek side of each ear).
Continue with the low-medium pitch buzzing sound on the exhale, do 6 rounds.
This reminds me of swimming under water with ear plugs.

Benefits: Can relieve insomnia, sinus issues/infections, nasal congestion, thyroid problems and stress.
The ‘noise’ of bhramari’s buzzing  can drown out the endless mental tape loops that can fuel emotional suffering, making it a useful starting point for those who mins are too ‘busy’ to meditate.
A safe, easy to learn practice has tremendous therapeutic potentials. Like other  pranayamas, its power comes partly from its effects on the autonomy nervous system (ANS). Lengthening the exhalation relative to the inhalation activated the calming parasympathetic brand of the ANS. For those who suffer from anxiety or anxious depression, the practice can begin to quiet a person within a few breaths.

We will continue next with with the traditional version using all the fingers and dressing all the senses.

Essential Oil:
Heart Song: lavender, Coriander, Geranium, Rose

Music: Deuter

Quote: Lao Tzu
The Ego is a monkey catapulting through the jungle:
Totally fascinated by the realm of the senses, it swings from one desire to the next, one conflict to the next, one self-centered idea to the next.
If you threaten it, it actually fears for its life.
Let the monkey go… let the senses go… let desires go… let conflicts go… let ideas go… let the fiction of life and death go… Just remain in the center, watching.
And then forget that you are there.

Miscellaneous:
I spoke about a vegetable which we use often and have since living in Germany.
It is not very common here but can be found at some Asian markets and middle eastern markets (the Farmers Market on Gothard which used to be Armstrong’s)
It is called “Kohlrabi” and can be eaten cold or prepared hot in various dishes.
Our daughters, when you were very young as well as now, always loved eating it.

Yoga Sangha – Weekly Review Spring Session 2017 – #02

Asana this week:

Boat
Dolphin
Sun Salutations (Standing & Chair)
Toe Tapping

Name: Boat/Navasana

Description: Seated boat pose can be done with the legs hip width apart or you can use a block between the knees. The Back should always be kept flat, shoulders back and down, do not cave in the chest and belly engaged.
Begin in staff pose placing the hands on the floor slightly behind your hips, fingers pointing toward your feet.
Lift your chest toward the ceiling as you lean back slightly always making sure your back remains flat.
Bend your knees and place your feet flat on the floor. Lift your feet one or two inches off the floor, balance on your tailbone and hips. (continue with our class version or follow *)
Inhale and slowly lift the shins/feet until they are parallel to the mat.
Bring your arms forward at shoulder height holding on to the outside/back of the thighs if necessary.
Relax your shoulders down away from your ears.
Tip your chin slightly toward your chest to lengthen the back of your neck.
Hold the pose longer with each practice, releasing on exhale and you lower your legs to the floor.

Physical Benefits:
Strengthens the abdomen, lumbar spine, hip flexors and helps with spine alignment and extension, creating physical sturdiness and stamina. Developing the muscles of the lower body evenly with regular practice and better sitting posture is achieved. Also aids in digestion as well as being a passive hamstring stretch when the legs are extended. Improves balance.
Target Muscles: Psoas, Rectus Femoris, Rectus Abdominis and Erector Spinea.

Adaptations/Variations:
#1 *Straighten your legs until the tips of your toes are slightly above your eye level.
Bring your arms forward at shoulder height, parallel to the floor with your palms facing in.
Relax your shoulders down away from your ears.
Tip your chin slightly toward your chest to lengthen the back of your neck.
Hold the pose longer with each practice, releasing on exhale and you lower your legs to the floor.
#2 You can also do this same pose raising one leg at a time.
#3 Resting back on your forearms with palms on the mat, brings knees over hips/feet parallel to the mat. Hold.

Name: Dolphin/Salamba Sirsasana

Description: This is the version we begin with, in most classes.
Begin on all fours in table pose, keeping the shoulders broad, wide through your collarbones.  Lengthen your tailbone away from the pelvis and press it towards the sitting bones.
Forearms on the mat, elbows under the shoulders but not as wide, hands interlaced
(pinky pulled in). You can easily judge your elbow width when you are able to feel your hair/ears sliding past your upper arms then the elbows are in place.

Gazing back at your feet, on an exhale draw the head back through the arms so you can feel the stretch along the sides of the body.
Placement of the knees will change with strength and ability as the closer they come towards the elbows the more difficult the range of the movement will become.  Always keeping the buttocks up and in dog tilt.

On the Inhale bring the head/torso forward as far as possible with the forehead/nose leading the way to the hands and possibly over the hands towards the floor (don’t go so far forward that you can’t get back).
Breathing deeply and coordinating the movement with the breath, continue doing 3 sets of 6-12 repetitions each. Then rest in Childs Pose.

See Alternative: Eventually using the last one or two of each set for lifting the knees at the end. Until they are all done with the knees off the floor (can be slightly bent if the hamstrings are tight).

This will probably be easier for men to do but it is highly effective for women who would like to build arm strength.

Physical Benefits: One of the best postures for developing strength, stretching and flexibility in the shoulders and improving the alignment of the upper back and shoulder girdle. It also increases the flexibility of the upper back and hamstrings.

Adaptations/Variations:
#1 Continue as described but lift the knees off the mat and walk the feet slightly forward. Continue the movement but do not expect to go as far forward or back as you did with the knees on the mat. Be patient, move slowly, less is more.

#2  the only change is to place the forearms perpendicular to the front edge of your mat/palms and fingers (middle finger pointing directly forward) flat on the mat.

The elbows are in the same place as the interlaced hand version, they will again have a tendency to slide outwards, please try to keep them within shoulder distance apart.

This arm variation may be easier for some students, be mindful how far you go forward as you still will need to stretch back towards Child’s pose. Still keeping the hips directly over the knees with the knees hip to shoulder width apart at the beginning of each movement or the variation with the knees off the mat.

Name: Sun Salutations.
Pictures, explanations, and YouTube videos are also to be found on the video page of my website. Just scroll, check and click on the thumbnails.
Or check and print out my stick figure explanation of the different stages of Sun Salutations, both with and without the chair. Click here.

Physical Benefits: All body stretching and strengthening from the fingertips to the toes. Plus can also be a cardio workout if done in unison with the breath and multiple sets.

Adaptations/Variations:  Sun Salutations with and without the Chair!

Name: Toe Tapping
Description: This is the version we begin with, in most classes.
Lie on your back with your arms by your side.
Engage your core and lift your legs in the air with your knees and get at hip width.
Keeping your spine and hips in a neutral position, (do not arch), relax your shoulders, using your arms to stabilize you if you need to.
Hold your left leg at a right angle, lower your right leg toward the floor slowly and with control, without letting your back arch off the floor.
Hold at the edge of the movement, keeping your core braced, tap the big toe one time on the mat slowly, then return to the start positions, maintaining control as you do so.
Repeat with the other leg and continue.

Physical Benefits: A core stabilizing exercise that can be helpful for strengthening the deep muscles of your abdomen and lower back. to get the best results from this movement, keep your core engaged throughout.
Target Muscles: Rectus Abdominis, Transverse Abdominis, Internal Obliques, Pelvic Floor Multifidus

Adaptations/Variations:
#1 A harder version is using both legs at the same time always keeping the knees at 90 degrees.
#2 Using the arms: first both vertical and held reaching towards the ceiling, continue toe taps.
#3 Using the arms: with an alternating moment to overhead (touching the floor if possible), a challenge of lateral instability, same arm, same leg movement of toe tapping. The other arm vertical and same side leg held at 90 degrees.
#4 Then with the same arm moving overhead adding rotational instability and dynamic movement but with this version bring the same side knee towards the chest while extending the opposite leg as far as possible without arching the back and without touching the floor/same side arm vertical as straight leg.

Attune:
Loving Kindness Meditation/Mantra (Sanskrit: Maitre) -Anytime, anywhere….
Many people equate self-love with selfishness and tend to be very hard on themselves, often feeling frustration and even self-loathing about their personal flaws. This Meditation/Mantra can help break mental habits of self-judgement, help develop positive feelings and lets us embrace all aspects of ourselves and other Unconditionally showing us how to meet our inner critic with love, being kind towards ourselves and finding the good in others.
Repeating these four phases several times, either silently or out loud, possibly when walking or at any time you would like to center yourself and send a message.

Repeating these phrases aimed first at oneself:
May I be happy.
May I be healthy.
May I be peaceful.
May I be safe.

Then to a loved one, then a person in your life where you may be having a difficult time and finally to the world at large/all living things and beings.
May you be happy.
May you be healthy.
May you be peaceful.
May you be safe.

And then again to yourself, with “I”.

Essential Oil:
Lavender Synergy: lavender, clove, cinnamon, lemon, eucalyptus, rosemary.

Music:
Deuter: Eternity

Quote:
Dedication of Merit
May all beings have happiness and the causes of happiness.
May all beings be free from suffering and the causes of suffering.
May all beings never be parted from freedom’s true joy.
May all beings dwell in equanimity, free from attachment and aversion.

Miscellaneous:

Help Your Health Lending Library Book: “Limbs from the Willow Tree” by Dr. Robert Chapman. I have bought four books to loan to students for reading. The wait list is on my desk, just put your name down and I will let you know when a book is returned.
The book is currently available as a Kindle download and a new edition will be available soon, I will let you know. This is a very inspiring read and I highly suggest it for anyone dealing with an addiction problem in family or friends circle, near or far.

Blankets for class: At “Local Fare” in the SoCo OC Mart Mix.  They are currently selling for $18. But if you tell her you are coming from me she will only charge $15.
https://oclocalfare.com/

Jade “Harmony” Yoga Mat – A wonderful mat to last a very long time.

Yoga for Dummies (Third Edition) by Dr. Larry Payne & Dr. Georg Feuerstein
A very basic and thorough book on Yoga.

Yoga as Medicine by Dr. Timothy McCall
Dr. Mc Call teams up with various yoga experts on specific diseases/ailments. Written for the lay person, good explanations, descriptions, and photos.

Yoga Sangha – Weekly Review Spring Session 2017 – #01

Asana this week:

For this newsletter, since we mostly repeated past asanas, I will list our sequencing with minimal details except for anything new. Otherwise, you can browse through previous newsletters, my website etc. and find more details.

Supine:
We spent the opening of class time with legs up on the chair, both with the blanket rolled across and lengthwise of the spine.

During the second part of this Attuning we practiced “The Attitude of Gratitude”, a short breathing visualization as follows:

Sit or lay comfortably.
Close your eyes and for a few moments focus on the gentle movement of your breath.
Then begin pausing briefly after each inhalation and exhalation.

Practice:
As you inhale: visualize/recollect an experience/element of your life, possibly a moment when you were moved/touched emotionally, things you are capable of ….with gratitude.
Pause: after each reflection, take a moment to integrate and appreciate the feeling fulfilled by this gift, feel that feeling again.
As you exhale: imagine others ex: your family, friends, or communicating with the world at large
Pause:sharing that sense of fulfillment with others,  receiving your offering with a similar sense of gratitude. Feel the connection.  Give.

Continue this cycle for several minutes and then shift your focus back to the subtle movement of your breath before gently opening your eyes.

Shanti for Belly Fat, Peace! (see PDF)

We did not continue with Morning Wake Up Stretch as we usually do because we already did some of the same stretchings in Shanti.

Prone:

Child’s Pose
to Table/ Stretching the side of the body as we released the hips to one side and looked over the opposite shoulder. x6  R/L
to Thread the Needle R/L
to Knee to Nose/Stacking the Hips  x3-4 R/L
to Cat/Cow
to Balancing Cat R/L 1.The Still Point 2. Challenge 3. Stretch
to Gate/Static, then reaching up and extending to the side x4/Gate Pendulum to Gate/Balancing with a strong hold/possibly the eyes closed.
to Yoga Snack#1 from knee position to reaching overhead to releasing forehead to mat/hands to sacrum/palms facing up x6

On Belly:

Different Cobra to Up-Dog Asana Variations:
Always keep the belly engaged and do not use the shoulders to lift or allow the elbows to spread and help raise the body.
Always work from arms down to 3/4 up, it is not necessary to go all the way up, do not hyperextend of lock the elbows.
Take it slow, as this works the arms better and remember to always keep a safe position. Squeeze the arms into the body as if I was there holding your elbows from behind and keeping your shoulders down.
Keeping the eyes focusing on the front edge of your mat and neck/head in alignment with the shoulders.
Any quivering, please release and don’t work so far or so hard. Listen to your body.
1. Forearms and hands and elbows on the mat/ inhaling and slightly lifting, think about lengthening the body and don’t expect to come up too far as this takes steady practice.
2. Slide the hands down the mat until the elbows are almost pointing upwards and begin the same lift.
3. Sphinx Plank, progress slowly until you can begin to hold this position for a few seconds, building time as you build additional strength.
The most important aspect of this is to always engage the abdominal area to protect the back. Take it in steps and add gradually:
1. engage the forearms/hands/elbows pushing down and out but don’t let them move
2. engage the belly/pulling in and up
3. lift the pubic bone
4. then lift the thighs
5. then curl the toes under
6. lift the knees
7. push back on the heels. Hold.

This is a full Sphinx Plank and is not easy to do so only proceed to the point where you are comfortable and work on building your strength to that point before proceeding.

I do suggest that if you have the chance it is a good idea to practice this in the beginning while looking at the body from in side in a mirror to control the back. It should look/and feel as if you are straightening it and not allowing a valley to happen. You can feel the difference in your back, it is not healthy to let the belly sink down, think of raising it but not necessarily the buttocks, this takes a slight tilt of the tail bone in a downward direction. We will continue practicing this in class.

Heart Lifts x 8-10
A-Symmetrical Locust -6 R/L
Symmetrical Locust x4 with arms beginning next to body and progressing to overhead
Side Plank -your choice of 5 progressive variations

End this series of Backbends with a Childs’s Pose (or Puppy).

Standing:
Come to standing as yogi like as possible.

Have a wall will do some yoga!

Side Balancing Series facing wall
Tree R/L
Back on Wall/Squat with Arms in Cactus/fingertips at back of the head.
Yogi Push-UP facing the wall.

to
Savasana and Final Reading: Cultivating Gratitude by Scripting

Give Thanks from Yoga Journal by Jill Duman

Cultivating gratitude can boost well-being and ma help your sleep better.

Gratitude is a fundamental component of most spiritual paths, and a growing body of research suggests that it has important health implications, too, including better sleep, fewer physical ailments, and a greater ability to cope with stressful situations.

“Gratitude elevates, it energizes, it inspires, it transforms,” says Robert Emmons, a University of California, Davis, a psychology professor who has helped champion the study of gratitude as a factor in mental and physical health.

A series of studies he conducted in 2003 found that people who kept weekly written records of gratitude slept longer, exercised more frequently, had fewer health complaints, and generally felt better about their lives when compared with those who were asked to record only their complaints. In another study, he found that students who wrote in gratitude journals felt more satisfied with their lives and their school experience.

Practicing conscious gratitude has also been linked with positive mental health. Todd Kashdan, associate professor of psychology at Virginia’s George Mason University, found that when veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder kept gratitude journals, they experienced a greater sense of overall well-being in their lives. “There are two parts of being grateful,” Kashdan says. “One is recognizing that someone benefited in some way, then mindfully seeing the connection to yourself. You have to really be in the present to see what’s happening in your life, what’s causing things to happen, and how you fit into things bigger than yourself.”

A gratitude practice is a natural companion to yoga, which “offers numerous opportunities to reflect on all there is in one’s life to be grateful for,” says Emmons. To begin consciously cultivating gratitude, try considering what life would be like without a pleasure you now enjoy or think about who you are grateful for. A daily gratitude journal can help you be more mindful of these things in your life. But your gratitude practice doesn’t have to be scripted: Simply taking time on a regular basis to mentally note your blessings is a big step in the right direction.

Essential Oil:
doTerra: On Guard, the Protective Blend
This blend can be purchased directly from Robin at the Living Temple and do tell him you are a student of mine and he will give you a discount. He is located directly here in Old World Village, you can pick up a business card in the studio and look at his schedule of upcoming free lectures on the oils.

Music: Deuter  Koyasan “Reike Sound Healing”

Miscellaneous:

Hope you enjoyed my photos from the Grand Canyon if you didn’t see them then just “Follow” me on my website and you won’t miss the next posting.

Recent Help Your Health Lending Library Book: “Limbs from the Willow Tree” by Dr. Robert Chapman. I have bought four books to loan to students for reading. The wait list is on my desk, just put your name down and I will let you know when a book is returned.
The book is currently available as a Kindle download and a new edition will be available soon, I will let you know. This is a very inspiring read and I highly suggest it for anyone dealing with an addition problem in family or friends circle, near or far.

Two books which I have suggested to some interested students:
“Medical Medium” and  “Life Changing Foods” by Anthony William  
http://www.medicalmedium.com/
My husband and I have recently finished a 28-day detox based on these books and are thoroughly enjoying the results and what we have both learned about food and our bodies. We are contemplating sharing this with those interested in the form of a workshop.

I have recently been to Local Fare (SoCo OC Mart Mix)  and she has a supply of blankets for anyone interested in purchasing one. They are currently selling for $18. but if you tell her you are a yoga student of mine, she will only charge $15.

 

 

Yoga Sangha – Weekly Review Winter Session 2017 – #09

Something New:

Yogi Snack for Energy “Rise & Shine” Standing/Chair
Breathing: Alternative Nostril Breathing
plus Breathing Ratio Chart

Asana:
Yogi Snack for Energy “Rise & Shine”

Description: Standing without Chair
Consisting of five different asanas beginning and ending in Tadasana/Mountain Pose/Standing Pose.
1. Urdhva Hastasana/Upward Salute
Reaching the arms up and overhead
2. Uttanasana/Standing Forward Bend
Bending the knees slightly and with a flat back, hinging at the hips bend forward
3. Adho Mukha Svanasana/Downward Facing Dog
Step back to a full DD and place the feet next to each other centered under your body.
4. Adho Mukha Svanasana Variation/3 Legged Dog Pose with Hip Opener
Bend the right leg and lift, stack the hips trying to keep the right knee in line with the body.
Releasing the upper part of the body down and looking under the right arm pit.

5. Anjaneyasana/Low Lunge
Step the same side foot forward to a high/toes curled under or low lunge/toes uncurled, reaching the arms overhead, at the heart or placing them on the thigh.

Return to Mountain Pose and begin again on the other side,  repeating this sequence and reversing sides for stacking and lunge.

Alternative/Variation: With the Chair
1. Standing approximately one foot in front of a chair in Tadasana reaching up.
2. Forward Fold either using the chair or not.
3. Laying the hands on the chair and then step back in DD.
Stacking the hip can be done either standing or on the knees.
4. From DD come up on your heels, bring the shoulders forward and gently/slowly release the knees to the floor.
Do lean the left forearm on the chair and hold the chair with the right hand.
Take the right leg back and up, keep it bent and stack the hips.
Looking over the right shoulder as you try to align the right knee with the body.
(This can also be done standing on one leg if kneeling is an issue).
5. From here take that same leg forward directly to the chair, stacking the knee over the ankle.
Using the chair or not, lift the right knee off the floor and come into a lunge or stay in a low lunge with the knee on the floor and the toes not curled.

From lunge bring the front leg back from the chair approximately one foot and bring the back leg forward to join. Continue into a Forward Fold.
Then reaching out and reaching up to bring your thumbs to your heart in Tadasana.

Physical Benefits:
Energizing Poses give your day a bright start, yoga gets you going to a place where you feel really alive and awake, in a natural way.
Reversing the effects of lying supine for hours by awakening the spine, activation the breath, increasing circulation and flushing the body wit oxygen.
According to Ayurvedic tradition, the full invigorating benefits of a morning practice, as close to sunrise as possible, will give you optimal energy.
It is also advised to drink a glass of water with lemon in the morning to activate your digestion.
You can finish this practice with a short meditation to begin the day feeling calm and grounded setting the mood for the day.

Pranayama: Alternate- Nostril Breathing/Nadi Sodhana(meaning purification)/Channel Cleaning Breath/Anuloma Viloma

This practice emerges from yogis’ belief that each nostril is allied with a particular sort of energy. Breathing through the left nostril is considered to engender feelings of calmness and receptivity while breathing through the right is associated with feelings of brightness and invigoration.
Alternating between the two is said to promote a balanced, fortifying melding of these energies and a calm and centered mind.

Step by Step
Sit in a comfortable asana or in a chair as straight as possible, with seat bones grounded and chest opened out.
Breathe freely. Make the gesture called Vishnu Mudra by curling in the index and middle finger of the right hand so the thumb and fourth finger can be used on either side of the nose to close the nostrils.

1.Inhale/exhale through both nostrils.
2.Gently close your right nostril with your thumb at the sinus bridge.
3.Inhale through your left nostril for the count of four.
4.Close the left nostril with the fourth finger of right hand, exhale through the right nostril, counting to four. Inhale through the right nostril counting to four.
5.Close the right nostril, exhale through the left nostril counting to four. Inhale through the left nostril counting to four.
6.Release the right nostril and exhale completely.

This is one sequence, continue for at least 10 breaths, more if you choose, 2-2 sessions daily for breath maintenance, for health enhancement 4-6 sessions per day.
Check in with your body and mind.
Observe the effect this exercise has on you.
Do you feel a little more centered and grounded? A little more balanced and at ease, perhaps?
Enjoy the sense of wholeness and well-being this classic pranayama practice offers you.

You must first feel comfortable with this breathing technique, then different ratios can be added, deepening the exhalations to twice the length of the inhalations.
Retention of the inhalations can also be developed. Ten sequences are usually practiced daily.

Benefits:
This pranayama strengthens and purifies the lungs, purifies the nadis (energy channels) and increases prana intake.
Stale air is eliminated, as you increase the length of exhalation; retention of inhalation increases oxygen
intake.
The breathing pattern also helps calm the nerves and improves circulation.
It is regarded as a general balance enhancer and purifier of the physical and emotional systems.
Lowers heart rate and reduces stress and anxiety.

Stilling the breath, stills the mind!

Alternative Hand Positioning:
In Nadi Sodhana you adopt a particular hand position or Mudra.

Place your index and middle fingers in the middle of your forehead, between the eyebrows.
Place you thumb at your right nostril and your ring and little finger on your left nostril.

In this Mudra each finger has a special significance.
The thumb represents the cultivation of will power.
The index finger the “I”, or oneself.
The middle finger, the Absolute or one’s spiritual being.
The ring finger emotional maturity.
The little finger control of the mind.
The juxtaposition of the middle and index fingers symbolized the union of oneself with the Absolute or pure consciousness.

Breath Ration Chart which can be used with most breathing during a yoga practice:
The idea is to keep your awareness on your breath continuously as you move in and out of each posture.
And depending on whether you want to relax, balance, or energize, you can vary your breathing pattern to get the desired effect.
The following breath ration list shows the ration at the top to be very relaxing, while those at the end are more energizing.

Inhalation/HoldExhalation/Hold/Effect
4/1/8/4/Relaxing
4/1/12/1
6/1/10/1
6/1/8/4
8/1/8/1/Balanced
6/2/6/2/Balanced
6/4/6/1/Energizing
6/6/6/1

See how different kinds of breathing can enhance your yoga practice.
Lengthening and then holding your exhalation after all the air is expelled releases while lengthening and holding your inhalation increases your energy.
Be careful, though – if you’re feeling stressed, you’re better off using a balanced breath pattern, as holding your inhalation can make you tense.

Essential Oil: doTerra: Motivate -Peppermint, Clementine, Coriander, Basil, Yazu, Melissa, Rosemary, Vanille Bean
Music:     Deuter/Earth Blue or Reike Healing
Quote:  Happiness cannot come from without. It must come from within, It is not what we see and touch or that which others do for us which makes us happy; it is that which we think and feel and do, first for the other fellow and then for ourselves.                -Helen Keller

Miscellaneous:
Ten Hugs a Day -begin with yourself/x2 right over and left over reaching hands to the shoulder blades behind. You can continue with your cat and your dog but the remainder should be nice people.

Yoga Sangha – Weekly Review Winter Session 2017 – #08

Asana:
Balance (leaning Tower of Pisa and Tree)
Block between Thighs
Squat on Toes with Block between Knees
Supine Sideways Hip/Thigh Strengthener

This week was mostly a review from the classes during this session. I will list a few asanas we did and one new version of Supine Sideways Hip/Thigh Strengthener

Asana:
Balance (leaning Tower of Pisa and Tree)

Descriptions:
This can be done facing the wall with your fingertips touching the wall if and when necessary. Try with the eyes open and closed.
Sideways Balancing like the Tower of Pisa to the right, slowing lifting the left heel than the toe, pausing and placing down in reverse sequence first the toe than the heel.
Switch leaning to the other side and repeat.
Do not rush the pause, count one..two before continuing as this is the important moment of balance.

Tree:
We did Tree twice to see the difference in having a close Drishti* and a distant point of focus. Also noticing how the distraction of people etc. in our peripheral vision can effect one’s balance.
Facing the room and facing the wall, notice the difference?

*Drishti:  [ d̪r̩ʂʈi ]; Sanskrit: दृष्टि; IAST:dṛṣṭi), or focused gaze is a means for developing concentrated intention. It relates to the fifth limb of yoga (pratyahara) concerning sense withdrawal, as well as the sixth limb Dharana relating to concentration.

Physical Benefits:
The better your balance becomes the better chance you have a catching yourself if you are involved in a fall, always trying to be mindful and present in the moment.

Asana:
Block between Thighs In/Out

Description:
Placing the block between the thighs as high as possible.
Standing with a firm foundation (as explained in class).
Rolling the thighs inward as you see the block also move inward, feel the buttocks engage and the muscular movement from the buttocks to the toes.
Rolling the thighs outward and watch the block come forward again feel the muscles needed for this movement.
Do not bend the knees or hips, this is pure muscle engagement, or not?!
You can place your hands on your thighs/buttocks to feel the contractions and movements.

Asana:
Squat on Toes with Block between Knees

Description:
Standing facing the wall with or without hands/fingers on the wall for balance, better with for deeper work.
Place the block between the knees and note your toes are facing directly to the wall, no duck feet.
Lifting the heels off the mat try coming onto your toes, staying there, now engage in a squat either short or deep depending upon your thigh strength. You can also pulse and/or hold, your choice.
Always keeping the shoulders over the hips and feeling as if you are going to sit directly down, do not lean forward.
Posture is important from ears over shoulders etc. Note the difference if you lean forward versus good posture, you are actually not working as hard with the thighs and you could be compromising your lower back.
Repeat at least 6x Try not to go so deep that you are finished after only a couple of dips and can’t do anymore. Repetitions and depth will grow with additional strength.

Physical Benefits:
Tones the thighs, especially the front and inner.

Asana:
Sideways Hip/Thigh Strengthener.

Description:
The additional version of sideways hip strengthener, for the top leg when laying supine on your side, bottom leg lift is the same as last week.
Lying on side of body comfortably with bottom leg bent.
The leg is positioned slightly forward of the body, not in alignment with the vertebra as the original version.
Exterior rotating the top leg so your heel is in contact with the mat and the toes are pointing towards the ceiling.
Raising the leg half way up(not necessary to go all the way as this makes the movement less effective, pause for a count of two, and slowly lower until the heel is again resting on the mat.
This can be done 20x or what suits your body, each leg, each side.

Pranayama:
Placing the hands first on the belly to feel the rise and then to the side seams of your shirt to feel the expansion and contraction of the rib cage with every inhale and exhale.

Breathing slowly, especially on the exhale, and continue for some minutes.
Listening to your breath, close your eyes and relax.
You have no place to go and nothing to do!

Essential Oil: doTerra: On Guard (Sweet Orange, Clove, Cinnamon, Eucalyptus, Rosemary)

Music:     Deuter “Buddha’s Nature”

Quote:
Anything that comes in through the senses is also regarded as ‘food for the body and therefore affects one’s mental, emotional, and physical health.
ex: jack hammer next to where you are standing, waiting to cross the street/construction outside your window/bombs falling…….
from Gurus’s of Modern Yoga 

Miscellaneous:

The Posture Vest which I spoke about (thank you Judi) is from SpinalQ (Neuro Band Tension Level III) by http://www.alignmed.com located in Santa Ana.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kd-xrYvGoY0
It is an expensive version of the strap usage for better posture but it looks very functional and I was told that MediCare covers the expense if prescribed by an Orthopedic Doctor.
I have no personal review on this product but just want to pass on the information.

Lost and Found at the Help Your Health Studio in OWV, please let me know if you recognize any of the following.
1 large pink towel
1 large burgundy/blue towel
2 pair of sunglasses
1 leopard print small umbrella
1 small pair black yoga socks
1 black wrist guard

Yoga Sangha – Weekly Review Winter Session 2017 – #07

Asana:
Gate Balancing
Hamstring Releases
Sideways Hip Strengthening

Description:
Gate Balancing: Come to the middle of your mat on both knees facing the side of your mat. Extend the right leg into a normal gate position. Then when you feel balanced, continue by pivoting the foot so you are on the heel, with the toes flexed and pointing towards the ceiling.
Engage the knee cap continuing up the thigh also include the other thigh.
Continue to engage the abdominal area by pulling the belly button towards the spine and drawing upwards.
Broaden the chest area, shoulder blades in their pockets and shoulders down.
Reaching the arms to the sides, slightly lower than shoulder height with forgiving limbs (elbows slightly bent).
You can gently press the tips of the index and thumbs together with the other fingers slightly bent and palms facing upward, Jnana Mudra.
Reaching with the crown of the head and creating good posture from the head to the tailbone as if someone is reeling you in on a fishing line from the ceiling, feel the body lengthen.
Find a fixed point, your Drishti and focus.
If you want to work harder on your balance then close the eyes. A slight movement is normal when you first try to balance with the eyes closed, don’t worry. If you feel, as if you are going to fall, then, by all means, open the eyes.
Practice often on both sides.

Physical Benefits:
Balancing, concentration, strengthening and posture improvement.

Adaptations:
#1. Instead of straightening the extended leg you can bend the knee and place the ankle under the knee being flat on your foot.

Variations: This same positioning can also be done sitting forward in a chair but you won’t attain the same benefit of balancing.

Additional stretch while you are in this position:
Curling the back toes under, placing the hands on the floor in front of you, slowly and gently see if you can release the buttocks until you are sitting on the heel.
If you find your heel, then while using the hands for balance, see if you can lift that knee off the mat. Your other leg is still extending with toes pointing up and flexed.
If you are a Puppy person this will be difficult but if you can do Childs Pose it should happen.
Do not attempt this sit back if you have knee issues.

Description: We did various hamstring releases, helping them with a more side-to-side wiggle, supine on the mat.

Taking one leg up and straighten it, as close to 90 degrees as possible and the other bent and foot placed directly on the mat behind the buttocks.

See at which angle you leg is completely straight and if it is bent at 90 then let it go slightly towards the floor until it is straight.
Keeping this leg straight reach for the thigh and hold the leg in place with both hands giving it a gentle pull but not to the point of it bending.
If you are not sure if your leg is straight just put one hand on the knee and the other on the thigh and see if the knee releases backward as the thigh remains in place, be careful not to hyperextend the knee.
Pushing with the heel towards the ceiling, the leg engaged, hold for some breaths.
Can flex and extend but be mindful of the tracking of the foot as it moves with the knee.

Repeat on the other side.

Physical Benefits:
Providing healthy alignment so the hamstrings can find their grooves where they are able to slide and glide freely, widening and spreading from side to side.
They have a tendency to accumulate knotty micro-entanglements in the fascia which are clumping your hamstrings together which is preventing any lateral play.

It is necessary to release these three muscles on a regular basis since then can be the cause of other issues in the body such as lower back pain/spinal disc injury.
They are also involved as being responsible for the knee to bend and the hip to extend.

We will work more next week on some contributing factors: skeletal alignment, rooting the feet, knee placement, weight distribution in the feet.

Sitting is a primary culprit of tight-feeling hamstrings. While sitting, your hamstrings are both inactive and in their shortest position.

Adaptations: In some classes, I also did this, using the strap, with one leg up and the other straight. With the strap, you can also open both legs wide for a different stretch.

Variations:
#1. Using the strap over one foot with the other straight on the mat. Engaging the leg, flexing the foot and pushing the heel towards the ceiling. Crossing over midline 4-5 inches both to the right and the left, holding the strap with the same side arm. Pausing after the stretch before returning.

#2. This is the most relaxing of all hamstring releases I am familiar with so far.
Laying in an open doorway with one leg up on the wall and the other through the opening on the floor. Come as close to the wall with your buttocks as the tight hamstrings will allow.
Keeping the leg straight pushing into the wall with the heel, you may want to place a hand on the knee at the beginning to see if the leg is straight. Be mindful of your leg alignment and you can add a sandbag on top of the foot.
Stay in this position for 5-10 minutes, relaxing, multitasking if you must!

Description:
Sideways Hip Strengthening
Outer Thigh: Lie on your side and support your head and neck comfortable on your hand or on a blanket/pillow.
Place your top arm in from to keep you from rolling forward or backward off your side.
Taking the top leg straight in alignment with the spine, lifting it up slowly but not higher than the hip and reaching a pause before lowering smoothly. Repeat 10 to 20 times
The bottom leg is bent laying on the mat with the knee forward and heel slightly behind the line of the spine.
Inner Thigh: Remaining on the same side but this time with the top leg bent and resting forward.
Lift the bottom leg straight up towards the ceiling so that at least the lower portion of the leg lifts up from the mat. Try to keep the leg straight and foot flexed and lift as much as possible and as straight as possible.
Repeat 10 to 30 times
Then turn over and lay on your other side repeating the same sequence.

Physical Benefits:
The muscles that these exercises strengthen provide stability for the hip, pelvis and low back. If weakened, these muscles will allow increased side-to-side wobbling during standing and walking, resulting in increased strain.

Essential Oil: doTerra: Lavender
Available here in OWV at The Living Temple, a retail shop specializing in products for healthy living, ask for Robin.  http://www.thelivingtemple.com/

Music:     Deuter “Flowers of Silence”

Quote:
If you believe you can, you probably can, if you believe you can’t, you most assuredly won’t. Belief is the ignition switch that gets you off the launching pad.    -Denis Waitley

Miscellaneous:

Float Therapy Spa: http://www.floattherapyspa.com/
This is where I found complete silence for one hour, less than a mile from home, except for my own heartbeat.

I-Spa a Korean Day Spa: http://www.irvinespa.com/
Besides the entrance fee of $25.00 which gives you unlimited time, the scrub and oil massage was most enjoyable and successful, costing an additional $60. for 80 minutes.

The Fuzz Speech by Dr. Gil Hedley on U-Tube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BdRqLrCF_Ys

Yoga Sangha – Weekly Review Winter Session 2017 – #06

Asana:
Feet Releases/Stretches (Chair and Mat versions)
Legs up the Wall (with sandbag)
Sitting against the Wall (with support under)
Sun Dance

Description:
Feet Releases/Stretches: While sitting in a chair there are various ways of stretching the feet in both directions, pointed/extension and toes curled back-up/flexed.
You can either sit towards the side of the chair and extend the outside leg backward with the knee bent
This can also be done, chair permitting, using one foot and taking it under the chair and sliding it back.
Be mindful that you are firmly planted on the chair.

Physical Benefits: The more adaptable our feet are the more freedom we have in movement, the better our balance and stability. It begins from the ground up.
The joints/muscles/tendons etc. of the feet need to remain flexible just like any other part of our bodies but mostly we just slip them in shoes and forget about them except for the occasional pedicure. When was the last time you massaged and/or oiled your feet including each and every toe and in between?

Adaptations/Variations:
If you would prefer to do a more challenging version than I would suggest beginning in Hero’s Pose on your knees, on the mat and using additional support if necessary (blanket/block). You can do both the extension and flexion in this position.
Also can be done in Child’s Pose or Puppy.

Description:
Legs up the Wall (with sandbag across feet): If you have tight hamstrings I would suggest that you place the buttocks at least a blocks width from the wall. As the hamstrings relax you may be able to come closer. If you can put the buttocks directly adjacent the wall do so but do not strain.

Be careful how you get the legs up the wall, scooting can be an endless process, it is best to lay on ones side with the shoulders and hips aligned and both part of the buttocks on the wall and then gently roll over until the legs are directly over the hips.
If you find this difficult than I would suggest beginning some inches away from the wall until you become familiar with the movement.

During the Wall Series we did many leg movements but we began with the legs directly overhead and placing a sandbag over the feet for a relaxing, beginning of class:

We then proceeded with:
1. Hip width apart tracking the knee directly to the hips and observing any pull inwards or out. Then adding the block between the knees and do the same slow sliding of the heel downwards.
2. Rolling the knee outwards with the bottom of one foot tracking down the inside of the opposite leg, do both sides individually and then together, this is a form of cobblers.
3. Placing one outside ankle over the opposite thigh and the same side hand on the inside of the knee. Easing but not pushing, the hips open and keeping the ankle and knee aligned. Both feet are flexed. If you would like more stretch (Piriformis stretch used by those prone to sciatic of this origin), you can bend the straight leg ever so slightly, don’t expect too much, and feel the stretch into the buttocks. If one is very tight this can change over a period of time by doing this on a regular basic at some point if you don’t see any change in the motion than it could be due to joint construction and accept that for your limits, this is honoring the body.
4. Opening the feet wide, be mindful not to over stretch the groin area.

Physical Benefits:
Strengthening/Stretching the feet/legs and lower torso.

Adaptations Variations:
Prep for Shoulder Stand:
Sliding both feet down the wall to a comfortable and firm position, hip to shoulder width apart. The shins should be parallel to the floor.
Being careful that you do not have anything under your neck or head and do not turn the head to look right or left. Slowly push the feet into the wall as you begin to lift the buttocks, each lift a little more loosing the fear and gaining the courage that you can hold your buttocks/hips up.Once you have reached a comfortable position you can either slide a block under the buttocks or use the hands to support the mid-torso in this position, keeping the feet secure on the wall until you attempt to take one off and then eventually both off. You would now be in a shoulder stand.

Description
Sitting against the Wall (with support under):
Take your buttocks as close to the wall as possible with as much support under as needed so the knees become level or slightly below your hips.

Sitting, straight against the wall, with the ankles either crossed or feet pointed. Find your feet position  slowly and see which is more comfortable for the knees. If you have a knee issue you may want to just straightening that leg and not cross it at all.

In order to attain this position, as we did in class, you may need to use a number of pillows/blankets/a bolster/step stool etc. If you would like to have more support for the lower back, a neck pillow is sometimes just the perfect size for inserting behind the waist.

Find the height which feels comfortable enough that you could remain so, for a portion of the evening.
It is necessary to have the hip/knees in this end position in order for the hips to open and relax.

Description
Sun Dance: Using using four of the dynamic poses we have practice over many sessions.
1. Begin in Mountain Pose/Tadasana at the top of your mat, feet hip to shoulder width apart, thumbs at the heart.
2. Inhale and bring your hands outward and upward and stretch them over your head, Imagine you are looking at the sun and feeling the warmth on your body.
3. Exhale and lower your hand forward, bending the knees as much as is necessary, and placing your fingers/eventually your hands on the mat in front of your feet with the fingers pointing forward (eventually the hands will lay outside the feet with the toes/fingers creating a straight line). Let the head and shoulders relax as you hinge forward from the hips.
4. Inhale and either come up on the fingertips or slide the hands towards the toes/feet and then up the legs as much as is necessary to attain a straight back while the legs are also straight and you have the ability to lift the head and look forward. Your fingers/hands may be anywhere from the floor to your thighs depending upon how tight your lower torso may be, especially the hamstrings. Do not push anything and do come up as needed, arms straight and feel the lift/opening of the chest and shoulders.
5. Exhale release, place the hands firmly on the mat with the knees bent and step back, one foot at a time, to a long position. Inhale and come into Plank so you can see if you are in a long enough stance to continue, if not adjust. (think about using Plank for teaching distance, eventually you may not continue with this asana in this place and go directly to Down-Dog.
6. Exhale and move into Down-Dog. ( you MAY want to add a Half-DD before and after)
7. Inhale to Up-Dog.
8. Exhale to Child’s Pose.

Child’s Pose is your middle marker. You can now do the above in reverse. There is no right and wrong with this sequence you can customize as you like or dislike certain asanas but do consider that we usually delete what is more difficult and go with the familiar.
The return changes only with the step forward from your last Down-Dog back to the Mountain Pose/Forward Fold as you do not have to do a Plank for distance judgement on the return.
The step forward will probably be the most difficult movement as this take sheer core power to pick up that foot and bring the entire leg eventually to the hands, take it in little steps as necessary and then slide the hands back to the feet until at a point in the future they will meet.

After a Forward Fold, mindfully reach other and up leading with the heart and not the head, we do not want to become dizzy shuttling off the oxygen flow to the head.

Sun Dance can be repeated as often as you like with the step back and forward initiating with different feet using both the right and left as they ask for different strengthening and muscle coordination depending upon with one goes first and which one follows.

Physical Benefits:
A strengthening and stretching of the entire torso. Can be done very slowly or quicker as desired, just don’t compromise the asanas and be very familiar with he movements before you speed up the flow.

Pranayama: We did not do any specific breathing exercises but Sun Dance can be very beneficial to the body as one concentrates are letting the breath lead the movement and taking it slower for controlled breathing and faster for a stronger cardio effect. Flow with the breath.

Essential Oil: doTerra: Balance the Grounding Blend

Music: Deuter  “Illumination”

Quote(s):
Taoist Meditation
Close your eyes and you will see clearly…Cease to listen and you will hear the truth…
Be silent and your heart will sing…Seek no contacts and you will find union…
Be still and you will move forward on the tide of the spirit.

Albert Einstein once wrote:
Science without religion is lame and Religion without science is blind.’

Miscellaneous:
No classes this week from Monday, Feb. 20th-Presidents Day to Saturday, Feb. 25th

For Old World Village Intermediate/Gentle and Solution class students, checks will be due by March 3rd, but held until the beginning of April.  If you would like to make any changes, adding/switching class, now is the time to let me know. Space is guaranteed when I receive your check and in this order. Sometimes switching can take a few sessions depending upon who else may want to switch. New students and returning students (after surgery or an accident) please get in touch with me regarding placement.
Monday and Friday classes in Spring will be 9 weeks/$138. because of the Memorial Day weekend and my annual Joshua Tree Retreat.
Tuesday/Wednesday and Thursday will be 10 weeks/$153. Please make checks payable to Help Your Health.

Rain: Flyers for Sandbags available F V and H B, where and how to use them.
Also, don’t forget to replace your windshield wipers, Costco has been having a good deal and you can buy one or more as needed.

What is Yoga Therapy?
The flyer, condensed with a few highlights and the complete article
Maybe your doctor would like to understand and know more or a friend or family member, who may be contemplating beginning a practice, near or far. Please feel free to circulate this information.

Feedback: Please feel free to comment and give suggestions as to what you are enjoying or maybe not. Are there aspect of class which you would like to see more of, specific asanas or working with specific parts of the body.

If I were to give some workshops in the Spring, what would you like to know more about, what are you interested in?

Yoga Sangha – Weekly Review Winter Session 2017 – #05

Asana:
Bridge (3-Asanas in Bridge Position)
Dolphin (Arm Variation)
Side Plank (Basic Beginning Variation)

Description:

Bridge:
3-Asanas using the Bridge Position
Supine in a Bridge position on your mat for all three asanas, all are done on both sides with both arms on the mat next to the body/palms facing down and approximately 4+ on each side. You can add, according to how you feel and how your strength develops. The slower you move with each the more effective the movement always trying to move consciously with the breath (Guidelines when possible: up and open/inhale, down and release/exhale).

This First asana has four parts:
Left leg bent/foot on mat with ankle under the knee if possible (end knee position is knee still over ankle), right leg straight/flat on the mat with engaged/flexed foot.
#1 Engage the core and proceed with raising the straight right leg to 90 degrees/slowly
#2 Keeping the leg in the end position, lift the torso to a Bridge
pause (length of time is your choice)
#3 Release the lift/Bridge until buttocks returns to the mat
#4 Then slowly release the right leg back to the mat.

As this is done in four distinct steps, please do not overlap.

You have options with the breath: one long inhale for the first two steps and then slow exhale on the last two steps and adding a pause when lifted. An additional breath if necessary at the mid-phase or two breaths during all four movements possible even beginning with exhale. Do what feel natural and if you have more questions we can clarify in class.

The Second asana:
Begin with both legs bent and ankles placed directly under knees

Place the outside of your left ankle on your right thigh slightly above the knee.

Being mindful the hips remain open and as level as possible to each other and the corresponding foot (depending upon your hip). Always being aware as to how level the hips are also during movement.

Lift the torso into Bridge, either rolling or a straight back lift, your choice depending on your individual need and condition.

The Third asana:
With the left leg bent (follow same leg placement as mentioned before) and right leg straight/flat on the mat with engaged/flexed foot.

Lift torso into a bridge, initially keeping right heel on mat. When you have attained your lift position then take the right heel, along with the leg, off the mat but only slightly, It should not come any higher than just below hip height, which probably wont’ be very high. The heel may only come up a few inches or even less.

If you can see your foot it is definitely too high, lower it until you feel as if the leg is hanging/dragging the hips down but don’t let it do so.  Try to keep the hips level. It is not a question of how high you go but how you do it.

You will feel that you have reached the correct height of the extended leg when it becomes more difficult and you will feel another set of muscles being asked to do the work.

For this asana, if you are doing it correct with a slight hold, you may not even be able to do four on each side.

You are only asked in my classes to do what you can, honor your body, every day is different and will be forever changing as long as you continue to do.

Dolphin:
Adaptation/Variation: the only change is to place the forearms perpendicular to the front edge of your mat/palms and fingers (middle finger pointing directly forward) flat on the mat.

The elbows are in the same place as the interlaced hand version, they will again have a tendency to slide outwards, please try to keep them within shoulder distance apart.

This arm variation may be easier for some students, be mindful how far you go forward as you still will need to stretch back towards Child’s pose. Still keeping the hips directly over the knees with the knees hip to shoulder width apart at the beginning of each movement.

Side Plank (Basic Beginning Variation):
For anyone have any problem with plank this is where you should begin and possible again the wall also.

Begin in the bent arm position on one side, hips stacked, knees bent on top of each other and feet stacked.

If you are on your right side and the right elbow is under the right shoulder (forearm perpendicular to the body), place the left hand in from  the chest.

Leaning slight forward with the left shoulder begin by lifting the buttocks/hip and if possible also the thigh, the knees stay down in the beginning.

If you are not feeling completely stable and/or would like to see how this lift should feel, I suggest you place the back of the body (shoulders/hips/feet on the wall. Trying this position, even if you are proficient in the more advanced versions of side plank, will show one the proper shoulder alignment for any version.

Using your free hand to lift your buttocks and thighs and once you have lifted take the same hand and reach up with the arm trying to bring the straight arm directly over the shoulder towards the wall and eventually the hand/arm will be on the wall.

Keep using the wall until you have built up the strength to be comfortable in the end position for multiple breaths.

The next step will be eventually straightening the legs, little by little, until they are straight either stacked or with the upper leg in front of the lower one aligned feet heel to toes.

Coming off the wall when you are steady, familiar and stronger.

Quote:
Centuries old Yogic Philosophy:

Your thoughts will lead to your actions and your actions will become your habits.
Your habits will determine your character and ultimately your character will determine your destiny.

Pause for a moment and recollect what kind of thoughts have you been having?

Essential Oil: doTerra: Serenity
Available here in OWV at The Living Temple, a retail shop specializing in products for healthy living, ask for Robin.  http://www.thelivingtemple.com/

Music: Deuter  “Sea & Silence” plus George Winston “The Summer” for Savasana

Miscellaneous:
Book Suggestion:
On the subject of what it takes to become qualified in a specific field regarding the 10,000 hour philosophy, a good read would be “The Outliers” by Malcolm Gladwell
http://gladwell.com/outliers/

Looking for some help/advise/suggestions regarding health matters and nutrition:
“Medical Medium” and “Life Changing Foods” by Anthony William
http://www.medicalmedium.com/

Feedback: Please feel free to comment and give suggestions as to what you are enjoying or maybe not. Are there any aspects of class which you would like to see more of, specific asanas or working with specific parts of the body?

Also: If I were to offer workshops in the Spring, what would you like to know more about, any suggestions?! Thank you!

Yoga Sangha – Weekly Review Winter Session 2017 – #04

Asana this week:

Dolphin
Frog: Wall and Door
Getting Up (from the Floor) also helping someone else.
Standing Up (from Sitting)

Dolphin:
Begin in Table Pose, interlace hands and place the outside of hands on the mat (be careful to slide in and place your bottom picky finger behind the other so there will be equal weight on both).

Placement of the knees will change with strength and ability as the closer they come towards the elbows the more difficult the range of the movement will become.  Always keeping the buttocks up and in dog tilt.

Slowly bring the shoulders forward, possibly enough that the chin/nose begins to pass over the hands and eventually even lower towards the floor, you will be looking back between the legs as the head comes forward. Then move the head back through the arms to release the forehead to the floor.  Be mindful that the elbows remain within shoulder width distance as they will have a tendency to slide outwards.You can easily judge their width when you are able to feel your hair/ears sliding past your upper arms then the elbows are in place.

If this process is too easy then take the knees off the floor. Do not expect to go as far forward as before or as far back but you will have concentrated/intensified the strength building work into a smaller area of the upper body.

This can be done is sets of three with each set consisting of 6-12 depending on which version, eventually using the last one or two for lifting the knees at the end of each set. Until they are all done with the knees off the floor (can be slightly bent if the hamstrings are tight).

This will probably be easier for men to do but it is highly effective for women who would like to build arm strength.

Frog:
With your back against the wall, feet wide/forty-five degrees to the side, knees pointing in same direction as toes.
Inhale and lift your spine.
Bend your knees until your thighs are parallel to the floor.
Place your hands on thighs with your fingers pointing outward.
Press down on your hands allowing you to lift your spine up more and curl your tailbone down but with a flat back You can lean slightly forward if that feels right.

Widen your shoulders as you pull the elbows to the sides.
Hold..hold…hold…with constant strength.
When ready, push down through your feet and straightened legs while releasing hands.

 Version at door: same placement of feet and thighs, facing the edge of a door and holding on to the two handles/one in front and one behind (which is secured) squatting until the thighs are parallel to the floor and then slowly going down an inch or two and returning to original position.

The shoulders are stacked over the hips and open, the arms are long and chest lifted, follow previous directions.

Version at door for upper body strength: You can also use this position for strengthening the arms by pulling the head/shoulders towards the end of the door as the arms bend and elbows slide towards the waist with the upper arms coming into the sides of the chest to support the shoulders (similar to a yoga push up).

Keeping the back straight and legs strong. As you become stronger, go slower and bring the head towards either side of the door, alternating.

Getting Up (from the floor):
For anyone having a difficult time getting up from the floor now or anyone who would like to strengthen their thighs to avoid this independent process becoming an issue.

Do you know of someone who can’t get up from the floor anymore?
Some one who has put this simple activity on their ‘can’t do list’ ?
For fear that they will make fouls of themselves trying/attempting to get up and needing someones help. This is an exercise which could prevent or help one retrieve this ability again.

Using a chair or sofa, something which will not move.

Take one foot and place it as close to the near outside corner of this piece of furniture and try to stack the knee over the ankle and keep this foot in place.

Take your other leg, bend it and place the knee directly under the same side hip, this is not a lunge so it won’t be too far from the furniture.

Curl the toes of the floor knee under and if they don’t like this because they are not use to it then work with them to become use to this movement, it is usually good for most feet. If you absolutely cannot curl your toes under than the foot will remain straight back and pointed and you may then decide to place a blanket underneath the foot.

Since we want to build strength in the thighs we do not want to do the asana using any strength coming from the upper body so we need to place the forearms on the furniture and let the chest release and relax.

Begin by slowly and slightly straightening/lifting the knee from the floor (you can begin this with a block under that knee or under the shin if the knee is an issue). It is not necessary to straighten this leg completely just use the middle range, a little at a time and eventually not touching the floor again when you come down.

You will feel the thigh becoming warm as it is activated to work, do not over do this and increase the movement slowly over day and weeks.

While the movement is happening try to keep the other knee, with is next to the furniture, as still as possible, it should not go forward but remain over the ankle, shin is perpendicular to the floor.

Be sure to work both sides.

Helping someone get up from the floor:
If you are in a situation where someone is on the floor and can’t get up you can use the above mentioned exercise with a few modifications.

You may have to place them into the position using a piece of furniture which can’t move.

Instead of them leaning on their forearms you will help them put their hands on the seat so they can use any upper body strength.

While the person is pushing down with hands and feet you can stand behind them (feet well braced and knees slightly bent) placing your hands on both front sides of their hips and as they begin to have some leverage of moving upward you can help them where most need the help, getting the buttocks area up enough so they can again regain a balanced standing position.

Do not remove your hands from them as they rise but help guide them and hold onto them until they feel secure and are also holding on to a structure or a wall.

Do not do this if you think they have broken a bone, instead make them comfortable and call 911.

Standing Up (from Sitting):
Sitting on the front half of a chair with a block between the knees (this keeps the work more concentrated on the quadriceps and helps support the knees, especially if one has an issue with a knee).

Begin with heels slightly behind knees (usually we have one or both farther back for leverage but this will become a strength building exercise), hands on thighs and torso leaning forward. We usually use one or all of these supports in getting up.

Depending upon your strength and ability to stand easily, begin by not using the above mentioned supports. First, try the lift with the heels directly under the knees, then take the arms off the thighs and last, if all is going well, do not lean forward any more than necessary.

With all three of these elements not being used you will feel the work is harder and the body needs to work differently. Go slowly and try one at a time until you can do numerous repetitions without any hesitation.

It is advised that the the chair be against the wall as we want to be assured that it is there when we come down.

If someone is not stable and balanced when sitting down I suggest that they feel the chair behind them with one leg to be assured of its placement.

This can become a steady habit and it will build new strength in the body while also working on your balance.

Essential Oil:
doTerra: On Guard, the Protective Blend
This blend can be purchased directly from Robin at the Living Temple and do tell him you are a student of mine and he will give you a discount. He is located directly here in Old World Village, you can pick up a business card in the studio and look at his schedule of upcoming free lectures on the oils.

Music:      Deuter  “Illumination” plus George Winston “The Summer” for Savasana

Quote:
I offer you peace.   I offer you love.   I offer you friendship.
I see your beauty.   I hear your need.    I feel your feelings.
My wisdom flows from the highest source and I salute that source in you.
Let us work together for unity and love.                           -Gandhi

Miscellaneous:
Two books which I have suggested to some interested students:
“Medical Medium” and  “Life Changing Foods” by Anthony William
http://www.medicalmedium.com/

I was just at Local Fare (SoCo OC Mart Mix) today and she has a supply of blankets for anyone interested in purchasing one. They are currently selling for $18. But if you tell her you are coming from me she will only charge $15.

Feedback: Please feel free to comment and give suggestions as to what you are enjoying or maybe not. Are there aspect of class which you would like to see more of, specific asanas or working with specific parts of the body.

If I were to give some workshops in the Spring, what would you like to know more about, what are you interested in?

 Yoga Sangha – Weekly Review Winter Session 2017 – #03

Continuing with Side Plank (see instructions from last week). Please let me know if you have Scoliosis and if you have intentions to do this asana as suggested by Dr. Fishman. If you have Scoliosis and have a copy of your MRI or X-Ray I would love to see it.

Pranayama:
In some classes we did deep breathing without letting the belly move, engaging the stomach muscles and letting the breath fill the ribs and shoulders. We will continue this Pranayama exercise of “Unlocking the Heart”.  This can be practiced while sitting or supine. It takes steady and constant concentration as we are so use to the belly moving.

Asana:
I introduced a new shoulder rotation exercise which may remind many of Butterfly/Clock.

Half Clock:
Supine on your back, roll to the right side (shoulders stacked) with the knees bent and feet together on top of each other. Bring the left palm to the right palm which is extended on the floor at shoulder height. Keeping the arm straight and clocking it from 9 to 3, letting it come directly on to the head/ear and releasing the shoulder down with floor contact as soon as the head rolls to the other side. The arms continues to 3 and then goes back with the same intention. Attempting to keep the moving arm straight with as much floor contact as possible, it will roll with palm moving up over and up.

The knees can roll up and over as the feet also roll from the side to flat to the other side, the amount the knees need to roll has to do with the need of the shoulder to maintain normal contact rotation.

You may find that your knees hardly roll at all, staying down and keeping contact. This is fine if it does not compromise the shoulder rotation. This creates a very powerful twist in the back, do take it slow if you have any back issues.

Eventually you may even be able to lift the legs off the floor and have them (as in windshield wipers) go from side to side with the arm. The closer the knees are to the body the easier.
Be mindful that you have your abdominal engaged if you decide to lift the legs, this is core work. But again, do not compromise the shoulder rotation.

Down Dog Variations:
This new asana which we have not done before is #1/2 DD and can be integrated into a Yogi Snack flow. Beginning in Child’s Pose to Up-Dog  to 1/2 Down Dog to Down Dog to Plank to Up-Dog to Child’s Pose.

Since this information is for multiple levels of ability please listen to your body and only do what feels right for you, the next step will come eventually with steady practice.

This first version (no included in the Yogi Snack Flow) can be done at any time during the warm up portion of your practice:

#1/4 DD  (a version of Thread the Needle)
-In Puppy (buttocks over knees/knees hip to shoulder width apart), right forearm on mat, palm down/fingers spread, left arm eventually reaching/stretching over head but keeping the arm aligned next to the left ear, release forehead to lay on forearm/gradually moving it forward as you release and stretch feeling the arm pits coming closer to the mat. Let the back completely relax with the relaxation moving to the shoulders. Breath wide and full, long and slow.
Switch Sides.

This is the Asymmetrical Version and can be done with both arms stretching forward, forehead on the mat and eventually sliding the nose forward on the mat, go slowly as this is a mighty stretch and not for everyone.

#1/2 Down Dog  – Coming from Up-Dog, draw the shoulders back so they are not stacked over the wrist, curl the toes under and slowly and slightly lift the knees off the mat as you bring the thighs closer to the  chest, the pelvic area is in a dog tilt and do not loose this placement. Hold and feel the thighs working.

If you can’t lift the knees off the mat, bring the shoulders slightly forward until you can, once the knees are up you will eventually be able to draw the shoulders back, they will have a tendency to come forward but then the thighs will not be working and the shoulders will not be lengthening. If you hold for sequential breaths you will feel the thighs begin to heat up. This is a gradual strengthening practice.

Please work on this during the week and we will review in class, ask if you have any questions or would like to have this asanas adjusted or corrected. I always suggest that if you have the possibility, that seeing yourself in a new asana will give you an idea of exactly what you are doing and not doing. A mirror can be used once in a while as a prop for guidance but not to become a regular habit. Once you know how an asana feels you will be able to come to that placement without a mirror or my adjustment. Feel your yoga!

#Full Down Dog -slowly from 1/2 DD straighten the leg bringing the heels towards the floor , if they easily come to the floor you DD may not be long enough. If the hamstrings are tight the legs may not straighten and the heels will be some distance from the floor (you can add a rolled blanket under the heels), this is a continual process of slowly stretching.

Down Dog is an inverted V, so be mindful that you still do not let the shoulders come forward. Drop the head slightly so the ears are aligned between the upper arms, spread the shoulder blades.

Eventually you may want to continue releasing the chest down if you are looking for a deeper stretch for the back and shoulders.

Essential Oil: do Terra: On Guard  /Protective Blend, we will continue using this the coming week since I did not share it in all classes.

Music:  Deuter  “Illumination” plus George Winston “The Summer” for Savasana

Quote:A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, him aim fulfilled, they will say:  “We did it ourselves”   -Lao Tzu

One last tidbit:
When you come to your yoga class just remember: You have no place to go and nothing to do…except possibly some yoga and breathing. Try to leave everything else outside the front door. If you are have any physical issues you can always come to your class and just be there, supine or sitting in a chair and breathing. Yoga offers a myriad of possibilities.

Miscellaneous:  Suggested book for anyone with Scoliosis: Yoga for Arthritis by Dr. Loren Fishman and Ellen Saltonstall.  There is a full chapter in this book on the subject.

This 11-year-old could be the youngest certified yoga instructor in the country
http://www.ocregister.com/articles/yoga-741524-tabay-mother.html

Question to all my students: Please feel free to comment and give suggestions as to what you are enjoying or maybe not. Are there aspect of class which you would like to see more of, specific asanas or working with specific parts of the body.

If I were to give some workshops in the Spring, what would you like to know more about, what are you interested in?

Yoga Sangha – Weekly Review Winter Session 2017 – #01&2

Asana:

For most classes we added Side Plank after Gate.
This can be done either on the forearm or on the hand (mindfull that the wrist is directly under the shoulder).

Coming from gate, slowly extend the bent underneath leg to the back of your mat becoming straight with that foot more on its inside and resting behind the other/front foot (toe to heel).
If the wrist is an issue please do this on your forearms.
Take your weight, which you will feel as soon as you begin to slide the leg back, into the upper side of the body, reaching arm/fingers towards the ceiling from the shoulder and lifting the torso upwards. We will continue to work on this in most classes for this session.

This is the suggested asana from Dr. Loren Fishman for working with Scoliosis. We had a lovely testimonial from a student who has been doing this, at my suggestion, since she started the Solution. She has worked up to twice daily, only on one side, strong on her hand and after 5-6 months she is feeling and seeing a change in her Scoliosis to the positive, the ‘bump’ is receding.

In all classes we worked on Shoulder Rotation (either in Hero Pose or sitting in a chair) with approximately 20 minutes of various movements, some including the strap and some not. Too much to detail in a newsletter but if there is enough interest I would do a workshop (towards the end of this session) which would include a handout.

The first week of class we did Butterfly and Clock for the shoulders.

Feet Lifts and Releases: Facing the wall with all ten fingertips on the wall to begin with, feet him apart, begin by rolling up on your toes and reversing. Slowly up and down and feeling if there is a tendency to either roll out or in during the process, try working against this if it is apparent and keep the roll straight.

I suggested that this could also be done on a stair, holding on to the railing and if you chose this location you can very carefully after rolling up also release down to give the achilles a gentle stretch. Daily or every other day, a few sets could also help with the often cramping one experiences from using the feet in other ways other than just putting them in our shoes and off we go.

Otherwise, the first two weeks have been a review of familiar asanas from past classes.

Music: Deuter  “Sea and Silence” plus George Winston “The Summer” for Savasana

Quote:
“It is not only what we do, but also what we do not do, for which we are accountable.”   -Moliere

One last tidbit: for every 1 negative thought we should counter with 3 positive thoughts.

Miscellaneous:   A suggestion from a past newsletter just in case you missed it:
A 30 minute video worthy of your time: The Science Behind Yoga

http://upliftconnect.com/watch-science-behind-yoga/

I hope you will not only enjoy the video but pass it to others who may have contemplated a yoga class but not yet experienced or possibly those who are skeptical about the practice of yoga.

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