Help Your Health – The Weekly Review

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.

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Guided Tadasana: AUDIO

Help Your Health – The Weekly Review Fall Session 2017 – #05

Asana this week:
Dolphin

Name: Dolphin/Ardha Pincha Mayurasana

Description including Adaptations:

Alternative Dolphin:
Begin on all fours in table pose, keeping the shoulders broad, widen 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 (you should be able to feel you hair/head on your arms as you stretch back each time towards child’s pose), hands interlaced (pinky pulled in).
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.
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). Breath and continue doing 3 sets of 6 Dolphins.
This is considered an alternative version.
Full Dolphin:
Continue as in the alternative 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.

Physical Benefits:
Especially powerful for women who would like to strengthen their shoulders/upper back/arms.
Coordinate with the breath and rest between sets while combining the set with both versions when the body is ready.
The Down-Dog version can also stretch the hamstrings, if they are uncomfortably tight you may slightly bend the knees but only if necessary, heels should remain on the floor in this version.

General Class: (if not listed above then the asana details can be found in previous weekly reviews under archives or will be coming during the next few weeks)
Supine: Chair Opening 2x, Morning Walk-Up Stretch R/L 18/24 breaths each side consisting of four different movements on each side, Various Hip Movements/Openers, Ankle/Wrist Movements-Flexion and Extension

Prone/Belly: Cat and Cow, Balancing Cat, Kneeling Sun Salutations, Heat Lifts, Locust R/L 6x@ plus 6x Full, Various Side Plank, Dolphin

Standing: Wide Leg Forward Fold Stretches to each Foot, Warrior II, Side Angle
Supine: Bridge, Various Windshield Wipers, Savasana

Pranayama:
We did add additional some optional Mantra Breathing to the hand Mudras.
Inhale/Exhale: Om/Shanti, So/Hum, Ham/Sah,

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

Music:
Ben Leinbach “The Spirit of Yoga”

Quote: What is Yoga?

Yoga is not only about asana. There is a three-part definition of yoga as follows:

Tapas is about inducing change in the system. It’s about changing its activity or behavior outside of its normal habitual way of operating, which is why it’s often translated as: austerity=simplicity of style or appearance

Isvara pranidhana is sort of the other end of that spectrum, which is you’re finding some phenomenon to which the only possible response is surrender:
“This isn’t going to change. This is just the way it is and the only relationship I can have to something that is not going to change, that I can’t control, is to surrender to that.”

And of course, the connecting principle is the:
svadhyaya = it’s the self-reflection = the introspection
the ability to sort out the things that we want to work on changing and the things that we want to work on surrendering to.

Feedback from me to you and you to me:

Dear Students,

It’s almost Thanksgiving week, how can that be? Why does time seem to go so quickly as we age?

We have just completed the fifth week of our Fall Session. Gradually we are working through many variation of what is considered the most important asanas for building bone density.

Yesterday, I shared a wonderful afternoon with 16 other Goddesses. We were all very fortunately to be with Ahn Chi Pham for her workshop on “Core Radiance”. Although I have taken workshops on this subject, actually from a mentor of hers, I had a very different experience with Ahn Chi. Often, we find a workshop/lecture rather clinical and dry but quite to the contrary, yesterday was filled with experience and emotion. Ahn Chi shared her experiences as well as created a safe space for us to share ours, leading by example was never more true.

For those of you who would have liked to attend but could not or are interested, as this is a very interesting and deep subject for all women, I have invited her to give this exact workshop again in January plus to offer a series of weekly workshop/classes so we can all find out more about ourselves, physically and emotionally. I will keep you posted as soon as I have confirmed dates.

Hope to see all of you in class this week, except for Monday – Chair and Gentle Yoga at the Founders Center. All other classes, Monday thru Saturday at both locations are as usually scheduled. Make-ups are strongly advised.

Please feel free to write me back with any ideas, comments, suggestions or thoughts on the past week etc.
student@help-your-health.com

Until…Namaste….
RoxAnn

Help Your Health – The Weekly Review Fall Session 2017 – #04

Asana this week:
Plank Variations/Four-limbed Staff Pose/Chaturanga Dandasana
(Please read to the end before beginning as there are various hints/tidbits appropriate for many versions of a plank.)

Description:
Begin by visualizing a posture pole/yardstick resting on your tailbone then brace your muscles to make a line from your ear, shoulder, hip and knee.
Always slightly rotate the arms so the elbows can release backward/down not out when necessary, and the upper arms can support the shoulders as you feel them close over the armpits.

Progress slowly with your choice and hold for 10 seconds, doing the plank 3x, resting between each. As you become stronger add time to each and gradually work on a more difficult version
or the current version with movement.

Always exhaling as you move into the posture and inhale as your return.

Basic plus Adaptations/Variations:
#1. Wall Plank
Stand facing a wall. Extend your arms and plant your palms against the wall approximately 6 inches below shoulder height but at shoulder width (you can begin with shoulder height for an easier version)
Incline forward with proper foot placement as in Mountain Pose.
Using your core muscles, your chest, back, abs and hips -maintain a straight spine for as long as you can maintaining proper form.
Variation: This stationary plank can be turned into a push-up for strengthening your Down-Dog/Cobra. Exhaling as you incline forward with engaged arms and bent elbows pointing downward, Inhale return but do not lock the elbows, keep them soft on the return.

#2. Plank from hands and knees.
On the floor on your hands and knees in a prone position with wrist under shoulders and hips over knees (can be done eventually in a closer prone position for harder work).
If this position is difficult for your wrist, try resting your forearms on a block or stool in front of you that allows you to maintain a straight spine in this modified position.
Engage your abdominals to brace your spine and hold the position for as long as you can maintain proper form.
Variation:
Bending the elbows as mentioned above and guiding your forehead towards the mat.
The beginning version is bringing the forehead between the hands or closer to the knees. As you progress in building strength you will create an imaginary triangle with the hands and the top point reaching toward the top of your mat, this point being your end position eventually but do not begin here, read on….
With just bringing the shoulders slightly forward and the plank body a few inches down you will feel the work being done. Doing this slowly and holding for a moment before coming back up you will feel where this work is happening.
Being mindful not to do too many in the beginning and not going to low towards the mat as you may find it difficult to return to your beginning position.
Variation:
Placing your mat perpendicular to a wall and a chair, with its back to the wall, and a folded blanket on the floor in front of you.
Kneeling on the blanket and placing the hands on the side of the chair.
Firming the abdominal muscles and pull your tailbone down, keeping firm muscular control.
As with other forms you can cross the ankles and slightly raise the feet.
Inhale, pull your shoulder back and lengthen from your knees to the top of your head.
Exhale, bend your elbows and incline yourself toward the chair seat, always maintaining a straight line from your knees to the top of your head.
Check to be sure you shoulders stayed back and did to round forward. The pelvis should not move toward the chair or hang back, align your upper arms with the sides of your torso.
Holding the pose and/or moving in and out several times with the breath even and quiet.

#3. Plank from hands to toes.
In this variation, plant your hands on the floor directly under your shoulders.
Extend you legs behind you, with toes tucked under.
Brace your core muscles to maintain a straight line from head to toe as you lift the body.
Breathe and Hold.

#4 Sphinx Plank
Prep:
Always keep the belly engaged and do not use the shoulders to lift or allow the elbows to spread and help raise the body.
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.
Forearms incl. hands and elbows on the mat/ inhaling and slighting lifting the heart area.
Squeeze your upper arms into the body, keeping your shoulders down.
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. Begin by taking 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 public bone
4. then begin lifting 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 the side in a mirror to control the positioning of the back. It should look/and feel as if you are straightening it and not allowing a valley or hill 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. The correct position is usually the hardest and once you have felt/seen it you will know when you are there.

Physical Benefits:
As simple as two minutes a day for stronger bones.
Resistance exercises boost bone strength, and the plank which also strengthens your core is a great choice.
Forms of plank also help build the strength necessary for Up-Down, Cobra and Down-Dog.
Strengthening the upper back and arms. stimulating the thoracic, lumbar vertebrae as well as ankles, hips, shoulders and wrist.
We have been working with many variations and you can choose which one is best for you according to your strength and condition, using the wall, chair, mat and blanket.

Always making sure that you retract your shoulder blades and broaden the front of your chest.
Shoulders should stay square across and the necessary part of the body maintaining a long line using the abdominal muscles to maintain the alignment of the mid-section.

General Class: (if not listed above then the asana details can be found in previous weekly reviews under “weekly review archives” or will be coming during the next few weeks)
Supine: Chair Opening 2x, Morning Walk-Up Stretch R/L 18/24 breaths each side consisting of four different movements on each side, Various Hip Movements/Openers, Ankle/Wrist Movements-Flexion and Extension
Prone/Belly: Cat and Cow, Balancing Cat, Kneeling Sun Salutations, Heat Lifts, Locust R/L 6x@ plus 6x Full, Plank and Cobra versions.

Standing: Pranayama/Dynamic Mudras x2, Tree+ Variations, Osteo+ Variations of Seated Twist using the Chair (detail explanation will be coming next week).
Supine: Savasana

Pranayama with a Dynamic Mudra:
#1. During the exhalation, place the tip of your thumb on one of the other finger tips of your hand beginning with the index finger, while inhaling return that finger to extension.

Speak a syllable mantra during the exhale, a different Mantra for each finger.
Press together the thumb and index finger voicing Saaaaaa
Press together the middle finger and thumb voicing Taaaaaa
Press together the ring finger and thumb voicing Naaaaa
Press together the little finger and thumb voicing Maaaaa

#2. This time press down on the top of your fingernail with your thumb, repeating with the same voice and sequence.
#3. During the third pass, press your whole finger, between the knuckles with the thumb as you press each individual fingertip into the palm of your hand.

This mudra can be practiced every day for 5-30 minutes.
This is a wonderful Mudra for promoting brain activity, creating concentration while relaxing the nerves bringing about and inner relaxation.

Please be sure the you breathe slowly, that you inhale and exhale evenly and in a relaxed manner. The voice can be deep so you can feel the resonance and vibration in the throat while you open the throat Chakra.

Pranayam with Niyasam Mudra:

At first we can begin with a slide on the back of each finger but with practice the thumb will be able to slide on the side of each finger which is the goal
Inhale on the way up to the tip and exhale on the way down to the base.

#1. Begin the gentle slide/glide of the thumb up the index finger on one side and down the other continuing to the pinky and repeating from pinky to index finger. The breath and movement as one.

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.
Should be done either standing or sitting unless one is bed ridden than you can be horizontal.
Palms are usually facing up.

Adaptations/Variations:

#2. Slide/Glide with a push when reaching the top, used to increase strength of the fingers.

#3. Slide/Glide with a flick when reaching the top, used for one with Neurologic diagnosis as Parkinsons, seizures etc.

Essential Oil from DoTerra:
Breathe: laurel Leaf (promotes confidence/courge), Peppermint, Eucalyptus Raidali (Black Peppermint Oil from the evergreen tree in Australia), Ravensara (the cure-all of Madagascar),Melaluca, Alteinifolia and Lemon.

Music:
Parijat: “Reiki Healing Waves” “Offerings” “The Healing Path”

Quote:
“If a problem is fixable, if a situation is such that you can do something about it, then there is no need to worry.
If it’s not fixable, then there is no help in worrying.
There is no benefit in worrying whatsoever.” -the Dalai Lama

Miscellaneous:

Roughly halfway through the so-called Bone and Joint Decade, it’s time to ask a simple question: Who’s selling Osteoporosis? by James Keough
An article in the magazine: Alternative Medicine April 2007 – Find the article here

Natural Sources of Vitamins

The following substances are reported to be necessary for strong bone health:
Natural Sources of Calcium: milk (milk along with dairy products can be counterproductive to building healthy bone is used too much) cheese, plain low-fat yogurt, sardines, salmon, any seafood containing bones, turnip greens, spinach, kale, broccoli, nuts (almonds, brazil nuts and pecans), legumes(peas, lentils and beans).
Natural Sources of Vitamin D: sunlight, dairy products, eggs, milk, tuna, liver oils, mackerel, cod, sea bass.
Natural Sources of Vitamin A: dairy product, milk, eggs, yellow vegetables (summer squash), carrots, liver, green leafy vegetables (kale, spinach, greens and romaine lettuce, fruits (cantaloupe, tomatoes and apricots).
Natural Sources of Vitamin B12: liver, lean beef, clams, salmon, haddock, trout, cheese, dairy and eggs.
Natural Sources of Potassium: milk, green leafy vegetables (romaine lettuce, spinach, swiss chard and greens), broccoli, lentils, winter squash, fruits (tomatoes, cantaloupe, avocado, oranges and strawberries)
Natural Sources of Copper: vegetables, liver, legumes, nuts, seeds, beans

Natural Sources of Magnesium: Brazil nuts, seeds(sunflower, sesame, pumpkin), bananas, legumes, tofu, green leafy veggies (sun dried spinach, kelp), whole grains (barley, oars and brown rice)

Feedback from me to you and you to me:

Dear Students:

I have decided to use the space here for general communication with students instead of in the mail which I send every weekend.

Through the next few weeks we will continue working with the recommended asanas from Dr. Loren Fishman for better bone health.

If you have anything in particular you would like to work on, please do let me know, just click on the link and send me an e-mail: student@help-your-health.com

The workshop: Core Radiance will be held on November 11th, 1-4pm at my studio in Old World Village. You can read more: https://yogatherapyalacarte.com/workshops-2/workshop-pelvic-health-and-empowerment/, and sign up by either going directly to the site of Anh Chi Pham or giving me a check. Hope to see you there.

Namaste,

RoxAnn

Help Your Health – The Weekly Review Fall Session 2017 – #03

Asana this week:
Butterfly and Clock
Thigh Strengthening

Name: Butterfly and Clock

Description:
Do both Butterfly and Clock on one side and then switch sides.

Butterfly:
Begin on your right side with shoulder and hips stacked, right leg directly in line with the spine, left leg bent with knee resting on mat/heel in front of right knee, right arm extended in airplane with palm facing up. Head resting on the mat or a long rolled blanket. This is your beginning and ending position for both Butterfly and Clock.
With an inhale let the left arm raise up and fly over the body until the left shoulder to the fingers are resting on the mat behind your body.
During this movement allow the left knee to raise as much as is necessary to accomplish this arm movement but try to keep the foot in contact with the mat allowing it to roll from side to bottom.
Let the head and eyes following the moving arm for a good neck rotation.
On the exhale return the arm/hand/body to its beginning position. Repeat 6+.

Clock:
Begin in the same position but this time take the left hand/arm up and over the head, keeping as much contact with the mat/body as possible, as it circles over/behind and down/over forward and back to starting position. The knee is raising as much as is necessary. The moving arm will open and close/rotate as necessary and of course lift if necessary during the circle.
This arm movement, making a complete circle, is done 3x clockwise and 3x counterclockwise on each side after Butterfly.

Physical Benefits:
Can improve shoulder rotation and strengthening of the shoulder girdle.

Adaptations/Variations:
Butterfly:
Instead of flying the arm over, slide/glide the hand over the arm keeping contact the entire length, continuing over the chest to the opposite shoulder and return to starting position. This movement is used when a flying movement is too much for the shoulder due to certain conditions.
1/2 Clock Variation:
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 arm 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.

Name: Thigh Strengthening

Description:
Begin kneeling on your mat with the shoulders directly over the hips and hips over the knees.
Keeping your posture, engage a slight pelvic tilt as if you were going to sit down.
Release down only slightly, do not go too far until you have built up your thigh strength, keeping shoulders directly over hips.
Leaning forward with the shoulders will negate the action of building and leaning with the torso on a slanted backward angle will put undue pressure on the knees.

Physical Benefits:
If you place your fingertips gently on the things you will see the engagement of these muscles.

Adaptations/Variations:
Various other thigh strengthening exercises not on the knees, standing and/or sitting (see previous weekly reviews).

General Class: (if not listed above then the asana details can be found in previous weekly reviews under archives)

Supine: Chair Opening 2x, Morning Walk-Up Stretch R/L 18 breaths each side consisting of four different movements on each side, Various Hip Movements/Openers, Ankle/Wrist Movements-Flexion and Extension
Prone: Cat and Cow, Balancing Cat, Kneeling Sun Salutations, Thigh Strengthening
Sitting: Series of Twist and openings
Standing: Balancing Exercises: Shifting/Stationary with eyes open and closed.

Supine: Butterfly and Clock

Essential Oil:
Pep Talk: cardamom, Sweet Orange, Lemon, Peppermint

Music:
Steve Halpern: Music for Yoga

Quote:
Attention is the rarest and purest form of generosity… anonymous

After reading this you probably smiled, shook your head yes, this was also my reaction until….. Now think a little more and you will notice that there is something quite flawed with this statement.

Should giving someone our attention be a form of generosity or basic human respect?
Have we come so far as a people that we no longer naturally give our attention to another person who may be interacting with us?

generous |ˈjen(ə)rəs|
adjective
(of a person) showing a readiness to give more of something, as money or time, than is strictly necessary or expected: she was generous with her money.
• showing kindness toward others: it was generous of them to ask her along.
(of a thing) larger or more plentiful than is usual or necessary: a generous sprinkle of pepper.

ORIGIN
late 16th century: via Old French from Latin generosus ‘noble, magnanimous,’ from genus, gener- ‘stock, race.’ The original sense was ‘of noble birth,’ hence ‘characteristic of noble birth, courageous, magnanimous, not mean’ (a sense already present in Latin).

Miscellaneous: I promised the following recipes to my fellow travelers to Africa and thought it to be a good idea to share with everyone.

Health Seed Loaf Bread
(makes two loaf)
400 ml yogurt, plain
2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
6 tbls sugar
60 ml or 4 tbls olive oil
1 tsp salt
60 ml or 4 tbls honey
4 cups nutty wheat flour (whole wheat flour)
1/3 cup sesame seeds
1/3 cup sunflower seeds
1/3 cup linseed

Method:
Using a kitchen aid mixer, mix the dry ingredients first then add your wet ingredients until fully incorporated.
Line bread pan with spray, fill wet health bread mixture and bake at 180 degrees Celsius for 1 hour.
Remove from oven and turn, let cool over rack.

Thanda Muesli

Ingredients:
1 packet cashew nuts
(not quite sure how large they consider a packet but I am trying to find out)
1 packet Brazil nuts
1 packet whole almonds
1packet flaked almonds
1 Kg oats
1 Kg corn flakes
1 Kg pumpkin seeds
1 Kg sunflower seeds
4 x 500 g Butter
4 x 500 g Honey
4 x 500 fromg Golden Syrup or Agave

Preparation Method:
Mix all dry ingredients together.
Bring butter, honey and syrup to a boil.
Place all dry ingredients in oven trays and mix thrust evenly the mixture of butter, honey and syrup until all has been coated evenly.
Bake in over 180 degrees Celsius until gold brown and crispy,
Once baked, let it rest outside the oven making sure to mix it regularly as this will prevent the sugar from sticking together and forming lungs of Muesli.

 

 

Help Your Health – The Weekly Review Fall Session 2017 – #02

Asana this week:
Kneeling Sun Salutations
Ten Key Asanas from Dr. Fishman for Bone Health
Seated Twists and Stretches

Name: Kneeling Sun Salutations (Yogi Snack #4)
Description:
Begin in Hero Pose (sitting on your heels if possible) hands at the heart, Inhale reaching the arms out and up coming up off your heels, exhale and come to Childs’ pose, inhale to Up-dog, exhale to Cobra, inhale to Up-dog, exhale to Down-dog, inhale to prone on all fours than with the knees on the floor reaching out and up with the arms, exhale to Hero Pose (if this does not work for your knees than begin and end off your heels in a more upright pose). Hands at the heart.

Physical Benefits:
Multiple as you will feel from doing a dozen or so, suitable for an evening stretch, moving with the breath.

Adaptations/Variations:
Begin by sitting on a block and not the heels, gradually most will be able to release lower as the thighs stretch. Be very careful if you have a knee issue, do not do ‘Hero pose’ if there is any pain.

Name:  10 Key Asanas from Dr. Fishman for Bone Health

Description:
Find here and here your asanas

Name: Seated Twists/Stretches
Description:
Sitting on your mat, possible with a blanket under the buttocks. Throughout this series move slower and carefully if you have a knee condition, possibly not bending the knee but rather keeping it straighter. Often this series is used to release a tight Piriformis (often referred as Sciatica or Piriformis Syndrom).
Begin with legs straight in Staff Pose (Dandasana), we will do everything on the right side and you will then transform each movement to the left side.
Simple Spinal Twist (Marichyasana I): Slide the right foot along the left leg until it is comfortable close to the mid thigh.
*Press your sitting bones into the floor and point the crown of the head toward the ceiling. Place your right hand on the floor behind you, close to your body, fingers pointing away from the body. Wrap your left arm or hand around your right knee and hug your thigh to your torso. Exhale and turn your body to the right, turning your head to look over your right shoulder, do not strain any part of the body during this twist. Pressing the sitting bones into the floor and point the crown of your head toward the ceiling. Make sure your best is lifted and your shoulder are relaxed and parallel to the floor. Hold the pose for 30-60 seconds.

Simple Half Spinal Twist (Ardha Matsyendrasana): Begin as above but this time place your right foot on the floor outside your left thigh as close to your hip as is comfortable, your knee should point toward the ceiling. Repeat from * as stated above.

3. Simple Spinal Twist II (Marichyasana II): This is the more difficult twist and is not for everyone, especially if you have a knee issue. I would prefer if everyone did this first in class so the modifications are clear. This twist is a very strong Piriformis muscle stretch if done properly.

4. Simple Wide Open Legs (Upavistha Konasana): rocking back and forth over the sitting bones. For this stretch to happen I would suggest a daily practice, maybe instead of sitting in a comfy chair or sofa while watching TV, getting down on the floor and leaning forward on a foot stool/blankets/chair seat/block etc. Be patient and eventually you will see progress, always remembering not to lose your natural cures of the spine. The head and shoulders are not the instruments coming forward they must follow the lower torso and the heart, be patient and consistent.

5. Seated Half Spinal Twist with Forward Fold (Janu Sirasana): Begin in Staff/Dandasana, turning right leg/foot out and sliding to the top of the left inner thigh. Placing the sole of your right foot against the inside of your left leg. Let the right knee top toward the floor and then perform the twist with the left hand behind on the floor and the right hand sliding down the outside of the left leg, keep the back in neutral/flat. If you feel a tug If your right knee is off the floor you can support it with a block/blanket.

Physical Benefits:
Besides this series massaging the abdominal organs, these movements will help to increase the flexibility/strength of your spine and upper back while stretching the shoulders and upper chest and tone the abdominal muscles. Helping with posture while opening the shoulders and chest.
Twist are also known to stimulate/improve the digestive system, help circulatory and lymphatic systems (especially the kidneys and liver) while also promoting healthy function to the pituitary gland.
The Forward Fold from above lengthens the spine, opens the hips, groin and shoulders, stretches the hamstring, calves and inner thighs as well as stimulating and increasing circulation. Know to soothe the nervous system while relieving stress, anxiety and mild depression.

Give this series a try instead of sitting on the sofa and snacking while watching TV. Take it slow with nice long hold as you lengthen in the inhale and release into the movement on the exhale.

Contra-indications can be low blood pressure, low back/groin/hamstring/knee injury, asthma, pregnancy

Pranayama: Fountain Breathing

Either in a chair/on the floor/standing/supine. Close your eyes.

Take a few normal breaths inhaling and exhaling all the way.

Now Inhale in three even stages, with a pause after each one.
Inhale, pause, inhale, pause; inhale, pause)

From the bottom up see if you can direct the breath:
1. into your lower belly and back
2. into your mid-chest and back
3. final all the way up to your collar bones

When you come to the end of the last pause, hold and feel the prana revitalizing each and every cell – then let all of the air out of yourself in one smooth exhalation. Pause and then repeat.
Practice 10 to 15 times taking in more and releasing more with every breath (if in supine you may fall asleep before that point).

If you feel out of control, take a few normal breaths after each round to readjust. Don’t fret if it does not work the first time. You have all the time in the world.

If you find this difficult consider counting the breaths: breathing in for a 2-3 with each segment, don’t forget the pause, then exhale for an equal amount of counts 6-9. Adding if so desired eventually with practice and patience.

As you become more comfortable with this breathing exercise you will not have to count any longer but just feel the breath.

We should think of the Fountain as it rises through you and flushes away fears of passing time letting go of thinking of time as finite and something there is never enough of.

Let the breath guide you back to the natural and true. Yoga encourages all kinds of contrary thinking, even the word ‘guru’ which is often used in the meaning of teacher is composed of two words the are opposites of each other: gu/darkness and ru/light. A guru leads you from darkness into light away from tires used-up thinking toward fresh and helpful ideas.

A teacher once said. “A successful life should live each day as if it were your first!” He explained that to live it as if it were your last you would be trying to remedy all the mistakes you thought you had made in your life, all the regrets, al the things undone and unsaid. whereas if you live each day as if it was your first, you are freed from all obligations, all guilt and all regret. And that is why the great is such a potent tool – it clears away the accumulated confusion of the yeas an allow us to begin again. And again. And Again………..

From: “Breathing Space Twelve Lessons for the Modern Woman” by Katrina Repka & Alan Finger

Essential Oil:
Elevation: Lavender, Hawaiian Sandalwood, Melissa Leaf, Ylang Ylang, Osmanthus, Eleni, Tangerine, Lemon Myrtle

Music: George Winston “Summer” Barbara Thompson “Center of the Earth” and Steve Halpern “Music for Yoga”

Quote:
If you can’t handle me at my worst the you sure don’t deserve me at my best.   _Marilyn Monroe

Miscellaneous:

TUMERIC/ CURCUMIN
INFORMATION from my Ayurvedic studies:
Before you start sprinkling turmeric on everything you eat, you need to know what most people don’t: turmeric is poorly absorbed in the body and has minimal impact on blood levels when taken alone. The good news is that there are ways you can enhance its absorption.  Here are four things you can do:
1. Sprinkle Black Pepper: piperine, a compound found in black pepper that’s responsible for its pungency, can greatly improve absorption of turmeric in the body.  In one study, when taken with 20 mg of piperine per 2.2 pounds of body weight, piperine improved the bioavailability of turmeric by 2000% !
2. Add Some Fat: turmeric is fat-soluble and thus much better absorbed when taken with fat, such as coconut or almond milk .
3. Heat It Up: heat is said to increase the solubility of curcumin (the primary active constituent in turmeric) by 12 times, which may also increase its bio-availability in the body.
4. Eat Quercetin-Rich Foods: quercetin is a flavonoid found in many plant foods such as onions, capers, and Serrano peppers, and is known to inhibit an enzyme that activates curcumin. Adding turmeric to quercetin-rich foods can increase the absorbability of turmeric in the body.

A hot coconut curry made with coconut milk, black pepper, turmeric and onions is a great option for maximizing your body’s ability to absorb turmeric. Golden milk is also another delicious way to help you reap the benefits of turmeric.  Here’s my go to Golden Milk recipe:

Golden Milk 
Ingredients:
1. 2 cups coconut milk or almond milk)
2. 1 Tbsp each of coconut oil, ghee, turmeric powder, and Ceylon cinnamon powder
3. 2 tsp fresh grated ginger
4. 1 pinch black pepper
5. Stevia drops to taste if necessary, I prefer xylitol powder.
Directions: Blend all ingredients in a Vitamix or other blender on high for 3 minutes. If not hot when finished, add to stove over low heat until hot. Enjoy! Serves 2.
Another option: Tumeric Paste
Use organic tumeric power (fresh tumeric root which is shredded/pulverized can also work) and in a small saucepan with water, stir and heat but not to boiling, remove from the heat and stir to let it thicken. Then add the black pepper, honey to taste if necessary and a little coconut oil and or ghee. When it is completely cool, transfer to a glass container which has a lid so you can store it in the refrigerator, it will keep for at least a week.
Every day just take a nice large tablespoon of the mixture and swallow, it’s not so bad!

 

Help Your Health – The Weekly Review Fall Session 2017 – #01

Asana this week:
Posture Poles
Sun Salutations in the Chair
Walking Lunge

Name: Posture Poles

Description:
Using a 3ft. long, about 1/2 inch round pole to help guide you towards honoring your natural curves of the spine/body.
Holding the pole with one hand at the bottom, as much as possible in contact with the tail bone. Take the other hand and hold the top of the pole to the back of the head.
Standing in good Mountain Pose/Tadasana begin walking around and keep the contact points of the pole to the body. There are more details which were described in class.

Physical Benefits: Awareness of current posture and a tool for better posture.

Adaptations/Variations:
Standing: With feet wide apart/soft knees or more of a bend if the hamstrings are tight and pole in place, hinging at the hips (never at the waist), forward fold slowly and carefully being mindful not to round the spine (if you do you will notice how quickly the pole comes off the tailbone and possibly the head also, continuing to honor the natural curves of the body (explained this past week and to be discussed again in class).
Sitting: Forward on the chair with the legs spread apart and proper alignment of knees/ankles. Holding the pole in place and hinging forward (following FF instruction above).

Name: Sun Salutations with the Chair

Description: Please find both PDF stick figure description here on my website. Find Sun Salutations with and without the chair also as video (first and last) on my video page or on my recent DVD.

Name: Walking Lunge

Description:
To begin stand in good Mountain Pose/ Tadasana next to the wall with one hand on the wall for balance. It is necessary to learn proper foot/knee/leg placement before adding balance into the movement.
Taking a comfortable step forward with one foot bending the knee so it remains directly over the ankle. Bend the back leg so the heel comes off the floor. Keeping your shoulders and head over the hips, do not bend the upper body forward. Dipping with the back knee only a little to begin with and while you dip make sure the front knee does not move forward, you should always be able to see the toes of the front foot.
Keeping all points facing directly forward: shoulders, hips, knees, feet including toes and heels.
Alternating legs and eventually doing this without holding on to the wall. Don’t rush leaving the wall, first be secure with the movement.

Physical Benefits:
Building bone density of the hips and strengthening the leg/feet.

Adaptations/ Variations:
Standing facing a chair: with the front knee at the chair seat/ ankle directly under the knee.
Also holding on to the wall if necessary.
Do not lean forward to hold the chair, keep shoulders over the hips and face forward. Following movement as described above.

General Class:

Supine: Chair Opening 2x, Morning Walk-Up Stretch, Hip Openers, Ankle/Wrist Movements

Prone: Cat and Cow, Balancing Cat

Standing: Tadasana/Mountain Pose, Posture Polls (Sitting/Standing/Walking), Walking Lunge

On Belly: Heart Lift, Locust (A-Symmetrical/ Symmetrical), Yogi Snack: A flow of any or all, of the following with the breath: Cobra/Up-dog/Down-Dog/Plank/Child’s Pose.

Sun Salutations with the Chair

Pranayama: Remembering to breath in and out through your nose, the mouth is closed.

Music: Barbara Thompson “Songs from the Center of the Earth”

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:

Balance Check (from the AARP magazine)
The issue of balance will be an important part of our Fall session “Balance, Bones & the Breath”, ……..don’t be disillusioned by the results at first if they are not what you imagined, practice can make a big difference. Consider also, although it is not mention in the article, if you are taking certain medications they can interfere with your balance.

Test for Balance:
Stand on a flat, hard surface, with your arms folded across your chest. (this is harder than arms extended out to the side or overhead-begin slowly and progress)

While standing on your preferred leg, raise the other foot off the floor a few inches, making sure the foot remains parallel to the floor and isn’t resting against the standing leg.

Time how long you can keep the leg raised before it touches the floor as you lose your balance (try to keep up for 30 seconds).

Do the test twice, once with the eyes open and once with them closed (see my additional suggestions below).

What you want to see!
The ability to hold your balance with your eyes closed.

Science suggests that those who can perform this task have lower rates of mortality from all causes than those who cannot.

If you see….
That you can’t hold the position at all with your eyes closed:

Consider talking to your doctor about doing a deeper dive into your overall health and fitness.

In a study of 53-year old men and women conducted at University College London, those who could balance on one leg with their eyes closed for more than 10 seconds were more likely to survive over the next 12 years of the study.

The following is my suggestion as to how to begin:
Standing with arms folded across the chest, firmly grounded on both feet. (As described in class)
Bending one knee and reaming on those toes, other foot grounded.
Begin with the eyes open and then try with the eyes closed.
If you feel the body wobbling then begin with both feet grounded, first eyes open and then eyes closed.
Try any and all of these above before proceeding to lifting one foot off the floor while standing with the eyes closed.
I believe that the body needs to become accustomed to balancing with the eyes closed and this needs to be done in sequences of skill over a longer period of practicing twice daily.

The only thing you can do wrong is to give up, keep practicing.

Feel free to pass this mail to others who may want to do a ‘Balance Check’.

Lecture at the Founder Center on Monday, September 18th by Dr. Gary Small:       

A few notes, suggested by many students who attended:

The suggested Curcumin/Tumeric is “Theacurmin” -90mg twice daily, available at Mothers (possible Sprouts and Whole Foods) a bottle of 30 -60mg cost $25.

His most recent book “2 Weeks to a Younger Brain”.

http://www2.semel.ucla.edu/longevity

 

 

 

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