Revisit Your Practice.

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 Winter Session 2019– #8

General Class Sequencing:
Attunement:
Restorative with the Breath: Legs on the chair(or up the wall) with blanket across and lengthwise. Arms in cactus.
Lets practice a little Meditation during this quiet time.
Think of a favorite phrase (Mantra) and repeat it once with the inhale and twice with the exhale. If you forget after a few minutes that just means that the monkey mind has wondered. Don’t do anything or think anything negative just go back to your Mantra.
Some examples: OM(AUM), Shanti (Peace), So Hum, Ham Sa, I am Grateful, I live the life I love – and I love the life I live, I am – So I am, or a phrase from your spiritual/religious practice.

Supine:

Morning Wake-Up Stretch:

Printable Link to Morning Wake-Up Stretch on my website: https://yogatherapyalacarte.com/2018/01/20/morning_wake_up_stretch/

Hip Openers with Bent Legs(Small Circles Together, Circles Apart and Large, In/Out Together), Ankles/Wrists Flex-Extend


Warm-Up/Prone: Child’s Pose, Walk to the Right/Left, Thread the Needle, Cat n’ Cow, Balancing Cat, Child’s Pose….


Prone:

Mini Vinyasa (Yoga Snack) no prep necessary, just a short sequence which consists of 2 or more asana, concentrating the movement in tune with the breath.
ex: Child’s Pose or Puppy (exhale) to Cow (Inhale) return and repeat x6 or more.
Can add Cat, Up-Dog, Down-Dog or Plank to make a longer vinyasa but add slowly as the body warms up and your time allows.

Additional ideas under General Short Flow Sequences (DVD Vol.2)

Sitting:

Picnic Table (see 5 Tibetans)  

Boat with Alternatives…

Supine:
Single/Double Leg lifts (see 5 Tibetans) or Alternative Knee Bends with Single/Double Leg Lifts:

Depending upon class and body needs, with strong belly and movement only with core engagement and lower back contact to the floor, do NOT arch the back. I like to lift on the exhale and release on the inhale.

I have shown four versions to choose from, begin slowly and only progress according to abdominal strength. The following is listed from easier to harder, go slowly.

1.Single Bent Knee to chest, straighten, bend and release to floor.

2.Single Straight leg lift and release.

3.Double Bent Knees to chest, straighten both, bend both and release to floor.

4.Double Straight leg lift and release.

Standing:

Balance:    
Test 4 Balance (details in the handout)

Sitting in a Chair:

Feet/Toes/Ankles

1.Picking up Marbles from the big toe to the little one, each foot separately and then together.

2.Scrunching the Paper to a Ball using the toes as much as possible to turn a letter size piece of paper into a tiny ball. Using either newspaper type printed paper and then making it harder by using a better grade Zerox paper.

3.Spreading the Toes
Pushing down on the big toe, slight lift all the little toes and spread them as far out to the side as possible. Do not invert or evert the foot. Feel the effort happening under the arch of that foot.

4.Lift all the toes of one foot and spread them, slowly bringing each one to the mat separately beginning with the pinky toe. Repeat on the other side.

Another option which we did not do in class.
Using a wash cloth. Place the foot down on the material, but not the heel.

1. Curl all toes under and try to grab the material with all toes don’t forget the pinky, that is the hardest.
Hold for a breath or two still keeping a slight contact with the big toe.
Still keeping the heel down on the floor, lifting only about an inch or so and hold again for a breath or two.
Feel the work and action which is being asked of the foot muscles, ligaments and tendons.  3x each foot.

2. Now curl the toes under without grabbing the material and try to push the material away, this will happen very gradually and don’t let the big toe do all the work.
Keep pushing with each curl until the material is no longer under the foot, switch feet.

It is suggested to do some of these foot exercises on a daily basis.

Crossing one leg over the other as men do (it is not suggested to do the female version of crossing the legs as it is not healthy for the circulation in the legs). Working with the toes/foot, flexing and pointing. R/L

Feet and Quad stretch on the side of the chair:
1.Sitting slightly over the right side of the chair and taking the right foot back (in line with the knees and hip) with the toes curled under.
2.Same position but this time point the toes and push down on the ankle for a nice stretch.
While doing each of these stretches you can also lean back into the chair (holding on with both hands or either hand on the chair between and next to the legs). You will feel this stretch in the right quad.

Switch and repeat on the left side.

Pranayama/Breathing:

Bhramari/Bee’s Breath: As you exhale making the sound of the female honeybee, feel calm and clearer.

Getting Started:
In a comfortable seated position, either using the floor/chair/bolster, with the thighs angled downward towards the knees and keeping the natural curve of your lumbar spine.
Always balance effort and ease. Beginning with a moderate volume but never forcing the buzzing sound.
Keep the facial muscles loose, lips lightly touching and jaw relaxed, with the upper and lower rows of teeth slightly separated.
Prolong the buzzing sound on the exhalation as long as it’s comfortable and you can still inhale smoothy, without gasping for air.
If you start to feel agitated, back off and return to normal breathing.

Basic Bhramari:
Sitting comfortably allow the eyes to close. Take a breath or two to settle in and notice the state of your mid.
When ready, inhale and then, for the entire length of your exhalation, make a low-to medium pitched humming sound with the throat.
Notice how the sound waves gently vibrate your tongue, teeth and sinuses.
Do this practice for six round of breath and then, keeping your eyes closed, return to your normal breathing.
Notice if anything has changed.

Bhramari with Shanmukhi Mudra (Variation): (this version we will do next week)
One way to intensify the effects of Bhramari is to add Shanmukhi Mudra.
Turning the senses inward by blocking some of the eternal input to the senses with your fingers, you can heighten the effect. This is the simplified version.
Use your thumbs to gently push on the tragus of each ear -the bump of cartilage on the cheek side – to block the ear canal. Practice six rounds.

High-Pitched Bhramari:
Now do six rounds of high-pitched Bhramari with or without Shanmukhi Mudra. Notice were you feel the vibration, most likely you’ll experience the vibration higher in the head than you did with the lower pitched sound.
Does this feel more stimulating?
Experiment with different tones and different volumes and compare the results. We are all individual with individual needs.

Bhramari Rx:
Although very few of the potential therapeutic applications of Bhramari have been studied scientifically, the yoga tradition teaches that well-chosen sounds have powerful and salutary effects.

The side effects of this practice may include a more balanced nervous system, a calmer mind and heightened awareness.

Insomnia: a quiet, low-pitched sound, perhaps with the addition of Shamukhi Mudra could be soothing to the nervous system and mind.
Sinus Infection or Nasal Congestion: A more forceful medium to high-pitched sound might be a better choice to open the passage ways.
Thyroid Problems: Try a medium-pitched sound and add Jalandhara Bandha (chin lock) to direct the sound waves to the throat.
Stressed Out: Use the silent variation, at work or in public, so no one around you
knows what you’re doing.

Savasana: Supine and Relaxed

Essential Oil: doTerra “Citrus Bliss” the Invigorating Blend, essential oil from the peel of many different citrus fruits plus a tad of vanilla bean.

Music:  Goldmund “Sometimes”

Quote:

Gratitude opens the door to more relationships.
Not only does saying ‘thank you” constitute good manners, but showing appreciation can help you win new friends.
A study found that thanking a new acquaintance makes them more likely to seek an ongoing relationship.
So whether you thank a stranger for holding the door or you send a quick thank you-note, acknowledging other peoples contributions can lead to new opportunities.

P.S. Sometimes just acknowledging another person with a few simple words or action is more than we often think of doing and that little “something” can mean a lot to another person.

9 Behaviors which will not only make your Brain Healthier, they are free and everyone can lean how to practice them:

#1. Research shows talking to strangers makes 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 because we don’t know where to focus.
That’s simply the alarm in your brain, your amygdala, overreacting.
Talking to strangers immediately 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, this is a powerful kicker.
You will see strangers as a potential friend rather than a certain threat.
-by Jon Wortman author of “Hijacked by your Brain”

For the next 8 suggestions go to the first listed Weekly Reviews from Spring 2016 ( #1 to the last listed in that session #8/9).

                                   Help Your Health – The Weekly Review Winter Session 2019 – #7

General Class Sequencing

Attunement:
Restorative with the Breath: Legs on the chair(or up the wall) with blanket across and lengthwise. Arms in cactus.

Breath Focus, during the first part of attunement with the blanket across the spine (if more comfortable you can do the following with the blanket along the spine in the second position) and legs up on the chair, relax with the eyes closed.
“Unlocking the Heart”, a 5 minute continuous breathing exercise followed with 5 minutes of relaxation.
Begin by engaging the abdominal muscles to prevent the belly from protruding during both the inhale and exhale.
If you are not sure if you are doing it correctly then take one hand for a moment to monitor that the belly is not rising up and down.
If you feel any discomfort in the lower back then readjust the roll as it should be at the base of the shoulder blades but allowing the shoulders to lay on the mat and the arms to be relaxed in cactus.
You may also need to add a small folded towel under the small of the back for support
when you being this exercise.
After multiple repetitions you will notice that you are more relaxed with the engagement and will probably not be feeling the same pressure in the lower back.
At first we are often tense wondering if we are doing it correctly.
You will notice that the breath has limited space and so will fill/expand the ribcage as well as
begin to open the shoulders and the chest in general.
It is suggested to repeat this pranayama exercise daily for a month.
You may experience a range of emotional releases and/or physical changes/sensations and
openings in the chest area.

Supine:

Morning Wake-Up Stretch

Printable Link to Morning Wake-Up Stretch on my website: https://yogatherapyalacarte.com/2018/01/20/morning_wake_up_stretch/

Hip Openers with Bent Legs(Small Circles Together, Circles Apart and Large, In/Out Together), Ankles/Wrists Flex-Extend plus Circle (clockwise and counter)

Warm-Up/Prone: Child’s Pose, Walk to the Right/Left, Thread the Needle, Cat n’ Cow, Balancing Cat, Child’s Pose….


Sitting on Mat:

A Walk In the Park
Sitting on your mat (or the floor if the mat is too sticky/hardwood floor is the best, carpeting can be a bit difficult) legs stretched straight, hands resting on thighs.
Keeping good posture, pick up right buttocks and leg, stretch/move it forward, release and go to the other side.
Do NOT bend the knees.
Gaining a few inches with each movement forward.
Once you have reached the end of your mat, or the distance you choose, then reverse the movement and walk your buttocks backwards on the surface, one side at a time and always switching from R/L.
Be aware that if you do not pick up the buttocks enough, your pants may become tight on the way forward and come down on the way back.
Alternative: do not begin with lifting the entire leg including the heel. Life the buttocks and slide the heel along the floor. This will get you familiar with the movement and it is much easier, you probably will not be sore the next day with this option so don’t stay there too long, move on to the leg lift sooner than later.

Enjoy your walk and do it a few times, you will feel it the next day if you have done it correctly!

Standing:
Continuing with 2 x Sun Salutations with and/or without the Chair!

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 (PDF) my stick figure explanation of the different stages of Sun Salutations,
both with and without the chair. Click here.

If you haven’t purchased my two DVD’s yet, you may find them helpful for a home practice. $30. (2 DVD’s included- 1 hour each)

Supine with Legs up the Wall:
This version of the sitting twist with leg stretches is especially good for those with back issues as there is no chance of bending in the wrong place since the back is flat on the mat. This series also does not entail any twisting which is another problem for some back issues.

1. Legs straight up the wall/feet hip width apart, with the buttocks touching the wall but flat on the mat along with the back.

2. Open the legs wide.

3. Bend the Right leg and slowly slide the foot towards the top of the thigh with the knee coming straight towards the body. Exhaling on the slide down, Inhaling up.

4. Bring the Right foot to the top of the thigh and gently roll the knee out to the right bringing the bottom of the right foot to the inside of the left thigh. Place the right hand on the right knee easing it towards the wall and relax.

5. Keeping the right leg in the same position as #4 gently slide the right foot to the top of the ankle of the left leg on an inhale and exhale in back down again.

6. Pick up the right foot and gently place the foot, slightly above the outside ankle/ankle bone on the top of the left thigh as close to the top of the thigh as possible. Place the right hand on the right knee.

7. For those who would like to have more of a stretch. Be in #6 then slowly bend the left knee as you attempt to pace the bottom of that foot on the wall, keeping the buttocks on the mat.

8. Place the right knee over the left knee, knee to knee and thigh to thigh, relax.

9. Cobblers Pose.

10. Legs wide open.

The following is for those who want to continue and work on a Shoulder Stand.
This is a very basic beginning introduction to Shoulder Stand.
If you have any neck issues this asana is usually not advised.
Do NOT turn the head while lying on the mat.

11. Legs straight up the wall, bend the knees until the shins are almost parallel to the floor with both feet flat on the wall.

During this asana you will want to adjust the placement of the feet, up or down, according to the degree of Shoulder Stand, using the legs for stability and counter leverage.
Arms are on the mat next to the body.

12. Slowing and carefully push the feet into the wall as you lift the buttocks off the floor.
How far you lift is an individual call.

As you lift do the following:

keep the shoulder blades coming towards mid-line, the shoulders working their way under and the upper arms and elbows in line with the shoulders, then making a ledge for the hips/buttocks with the palm of the hands, fingers pointing upward.

Sometimes this step can take months to accomplish and then one day it happens and from there on it is a progression.

The goal of Shoulder Stand is to keep the head below the heart. Eventually working the shoulders, hips, knees/feet/legs in a perpendicular line.

Working with one foot on the wall will help elevate the torso so don’t be too quick to take both feet off the wall.

Bringing the legs more overhead is actually easier than taking the feet straight up and over the hips. Go slow, carefully and with caution, this asana is not for everyone.

Balance:    
Test 4 Balance – details in the handout

Pranayama/Breathing: The explanation for Bhramari/Bee’s Breath will be in next weeks WR, in most classes, we did not get to do it because we spent more time on Sun Salutation and Legs up the Wall/Shoulder Stand.

Savasana: Supine and Relaxed
Essential Oil: doTerra “Past Tense” the Tension Blend also used for pain relief.
Wintergreen, Lavender, Peppermint, Frankincense, Cilantro, Marjoram, Basil, Rosemary, Roman Camomile
Music:  Parijat
Quote: It’s not the load the weights you down. It’s how you carry it. -Lena Horn

MISCELLANEOUS: Recommended viewing…..

Netflix Original Series: The Most Extraordinary Homes around the World
From underground, coastal, mountains, island, city etc. travel with two guides.
An English property developer and an English Architect when they get the keys to extraordinary houses where they spend the night and explore the depth and experience of a very special house.
A combination of good humor, informative and a short trip to another world of beauty, charm and creativity.

another

Netflix Original Series: World War II
Not for the light hearted who can’t handle the true visual footage of the cold carnage of this war.
Very informative, with maps and strategy of actions and maneuvers behind the scenes,  at all fronts and so much in between.
Showing the how, why, what and when of the events which we hope will never be repeated again in the history of this planet.

 

Help Your Health – The Weekly Review Winter Session 2019– #6

General Class Sequencing:
Restorative with the Breath: Legs on the chair(or up the wall) with blanket across and lengthwise. Arms in cactus. with Counting Meditation
Attunement/Starting Pose/Supine:
Morning Wake-Up Stretch, 
Printable Link to Morning Wake-Up Stretch on my website: https://yogatherapyalacarte.com/2018/01/20/morning_wake_up_stretch/
Hip Openers with Bent Legs(Small Circles Together, Circles Apart and Large, In/Out Together), Ankles/Wrists Flex-Extend
Warm-Up/Prone: Child’s Pose, Walk to the Right/Left, Thread the Needle, Cat n’ Cow, Balancing Cat, Child’s Pose….


Prone:

Side Plank Knee Down Version or Gate-Latch Pose (Parighasana)

For those of you who enjoy reaching back for your ankle after balancing, this version of the reach back is much easier and safer to attain.
Classified as an asymmetrical kneeling side-bending asana working the spine, upper and lower limbs.

Description:
Begin by kneeling on all fours.
Take the right leg straight back to the right corner of your mat, sole of foot on mat with heel pushing backwards and toes coming more forward, slightly rolling to the outside of the foot.
Take the left foot, lift and pivot to the side of mat almost off the mat (think of this movement as the back piece of a picture frame with one opens to help the frame sit on a flat surface).
Now take the left hand and place in also slightly off the left side of the mat but in a diagonal to the right foot.
Be mindful when the extremities are in position that the left hip should be directly over the left knee and the left shoulder over the left wrist. Stacking for support is important, no reaching.
You should now feel well balanced.
At this point when you are ready you can begin to lift the right foot, a few inches or more, eventually holding it level with the hip.
The next step would be to reach back for the right ankle with your right hand, engage and lift.
Hold and breathe. Repeat on the other side.

Physical Benefits:
Improves balance, strengthens abs, arms, legs and wrists.

Adaptations/Variations:
Instead of lifting the right leg you can lift the left arm and reach over head, bending from the waist as you stretch towards the rear leg. Right arm sliding down the leg and left arm reaching over head as you look up on the inside of the left arm, eventually reaching towards the right foot.
Repeat other side.
You can also use a block as an extension of the left arm which makes the lift a bit easier if the core is not up to the lift.

     Low Lunge (with back knee down plus Hamstring Stretch

Description:
Kneeling on the mat. Have two block near by for possible support during asana.
Bring the right leg forward with the front knee and shin directly over the ankle with the center of your knee aligned with your middle toes. Stretch/Inch the left leg back as much as is comfortable, feel the stretch in the left thigh/groin.
Be mindful, no groin pull, take it slow and don’t over due as you shift your pelvis forward to deepen the stretch.
Place a blanket under your knees if they feel sensitive.
You may think this is not my hamstring, that’s correct, one step at a time.
Gently release the torso down towards the inside of the right thigh and let the right armpit lay over the thigh slightly above the knee. Feel as if the right side of the torso is zippered to the thigh.
Frame your foot with both hands.
Keeping the contact, slowly begin to straighten the right leg with the right toes on the ground.
Only go as far as you can without lifting the chest, breathe into the stretch.
After a minute or two, start raising the torso, walking the hands back(using the blocks if necessary), lifting the heart and keep the back flat, engage the core during this process.
Lifting the toes and flexing the right foot, straightening the leg as much as possible.
Pushing down on the right heel and pulling slightly back on the right hip for additional stretching.
Take you time and do not rush this stretch.

Flow To:
      Pigeon Adaptation/Alternative
Bring the right knee back to beginning position with knee directly over ankle. (you can stay in the long lunge but that will intensify the movement)
Place both hands inside right foot and slowly roll over the right foot to the side, opening the hip and being in a pigeon prep position.
If you feel the need and the hips are open enough you can also bend the elbows back and start to lower the chest towards the floor. Don’t be concerned if this does not happen and does not feel comfortable, a little is a lot in this stretch!
Bring the knee back to center, take the right arm up reach over head towards the ceiling.
If you want more, raise the left knee off the mat, hold and breathe, building strength and stamina.
Repeat the series on the other side.

Physical Benefits:
Stretches hamstrings, thighs, hips. Strengthens thighs, tones hip abductor stabilizers.
Caution knee and lower back issues.
Avoid sinking into your lower back and letting your front ribs pop forward, find the balance.

AdaptationsVariations:
Sitting in the Chair: a daily alternative to getting down on the mat and for anyone with kneeling issues.
Description:
Sit forward in your chair so the buttocks is on the chair but the thigh is not, stretch the right leg straight and forward.
Left leg is bent with knee directly over ankle.

Hinge forward from the hip cradle with a flat back as far as feels comfortable. Flex the right foot.
Place the left forearm on the left thigh as the right hand gentle massages the back of the right thigh over the three hamstrings.
Although the stretch initially may not be localized in this area you are massaging, which is often referred to as the ‘belly’ of the hamstrings, you may be feeling the stretch more in the back and side of the knee where the tendons from the hamstrings attach to the bone.
The feeling of where the stretch is coming from may switch over time and may be different in each leg.
It is important to keep the lower back relatively flat as tight hamstrings will pull on the back (tight hamstrings can be a contributing factor for lower back issues).
Coming slowly forward, as much as your hamstrings will allow, they should be speaking to you so don’t over do, taking the stretch slowly in baby steps, holding for a minute or two and breathing fully.
Hold the stretch at your end position, the hamstrings like to have time to relax and unravel, but don’t forget to continue breathing into the stretch.
The stronger you flex the right foot, push the heel down and/or pull it gently back, the more you will feel the stretch.
Reverse and repeat on the left side.

Supine:
     Butterfly and Clock 6x each R/L

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. Supports full range of motion.

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 abdominals engaged if you decide to lift the legs, this is core work. But again, do not compromise the shoulder rotation.

     Seated Lower Body, Waist up to the Neck Stretch Series

Description:
Sitting in Easy Pose (Sukhasana): which was easy when we were children but now may take some practice again to enjoy comfortably. Our goal is steadiness and ease. Find that place of release which sitting on a stack, if necessary, of pillows/blankets to level the knees with the hips. Or, if you have a bolster have a seat against the wall and try cobblers pose, relax!

During most of this work if you are feeling very tight in your hamstrings, just raise the knees a little and use a small towel under each for support. How much you bend them is an individual call since we are all unique.
Always with a flat back and not leading with the chin or head but with the heart. Feeling the belly coming forward and you progressing forward of your site bones.

Think about a posture pole, keep the back flat, from tailbone to the top of the head.
We did several movements:
SS=straight sitting with flat back and FF=forward fold.

1. SS with legs together (using the strap over the feet). Then spread them just 6 inches apart, feel the different work in the thighs as you work against the pull of the strap.

2. SS plus FF with legs wide open open.(this is the position I suggest doing every evening for 10-20 minutes)

3. Draw one foot towards the body, knee bent, wrap the opposite hand/elbow around the knee and twist to the side of the bent leg with that arm/hand behind the body for support.

4. Switch arms only, bring the same sided arm as bent leg inside that knee, using the elbow/knee as leverage against each other, twist and turn to the opposite side with that arm/hand behind body for support, SS.

5. Place the bent leg on the mat with the bottom of the foot against the opposite thigh. First, face the ankle FF, then the straight leg then the bent leg, using the opposite hand for leverage to twist. Feel the twist at the waist.

6. Lay the knee of the bent leg on the straight leg, knee over knee, put the strap on the flexed foot of the straight leg and SS, then if possible FF. Can also use the knee as leverage with the hands on the knee but do not pull the knee up, FF.

7. Place the bent leg upright on the outside of the opposite thigh, wrap the same side arm as the straight leg around the bent leg and twist into the opposite side with that corresponding arm/hand behind the body for support.

8. This is the final position which is usually referred to as the ‘pretzel’.

Leaning to one side with the opposite foot on the outside of the straight leg(same position as #7), bend the straight leg back towards the opposite buttocks, slowly and carefully return to sitting on both sitz bones. You can put a blanket under the buttocks which has raised from the floor or walk that foot around to the other side of the knee if there is strain on the laying bent leg.
Twist and turn so you feel the stretch in the buttocks of the upright leg as you draw the knee to the arm pit. Use your arm/hand behind the body for support, SS.

Now repeat on the other side!

Be mindful, less can be more, honor your body. If you feel the body warming up, that is normal and twists do create heat in the body.

Balance: 
Test 4 Balance (see handout with explanation)

Pranayama/Breathing: Review Counting Meditation from last week plus Three-Part Breath
Savasana: Supine and Relaxed Legs on the bolster…….

Essential Oil: doTerra “Elevation” the Joyful Blend -a proprietary blend of mood-elevating essential oils
Lavender, Tangerine, Clary Sage, Hawaiian Sandalwood, Ylang Ylang, Ho Wood, Osmanthus, Lemon Myrtle and Melissa.
Helps create a positive, elevating and energizing mood, promotes vitality. Used when dealing with sadness, grief, depression and various mood swings.

Music:  Parijat – Reiki Healing Waves

Quote: I read an excerpt from an article in the LA Times on a lecture at the Bowers Museum auditorium given by Gloria Steinem. “We look up instead of looking at each other” says 84-year-old feminist activist on how to effect change especially with stereotyped, old-fashioned, male role models.

https://www.latimes.com/socal/daily-pilot/entertainment/tn-wknd-et-steinem-20190221-story.html

Help Your Health – The Weekly Review Winter Session 2019– #5

General Class Sequencing:

Restorative with the Breath: Legs on the chair(or up the wall) with blanket across and lengthwise. Arms in cactus. with Counting Meditation

Attunement/Starting Pose/Supine:
Morning Wake-Up Stretch, 
Printable Link to Morning Wake-Up Stretch on my website: https://yogatherapyalacarte.com/2018/01/20/morning_wake_up_stretch/
Hip Openers with Bent Legs(Small Circles Together, Circles Apart and Large, In/Out Together), Ankles/Wrists Flex-Extend

Warm-Up/Prone: Child’s Pose, Walk to the Right/Left, Thread the Needle, Cat n’ Cow, Balancing Cat, Child’s Pose….


Prone:
     Plank (Regular to Knees down) Sphinx with knees down to full.
Find the place where you are in this series and work on it 3x weekly adding seconds at a time. Be inspired by the “Notorious RBG”.
I suggest the you start this in front of a mirror so you can see the line of your body, especially the lower back/waist area from the side. If you do not engage the core belly muscles you will feel it in your back which you want to avoid. Plank will give you an idea of whether you are dealing with a weak core or not.

Standing:
     Self Hugs – R/L changing dominant arms, exhale with a hug and bringing chin towards chest.
     Breath of Joy -see link WR#4

     Parking Lot Series: Any time, any where. – see details in WR#3

Posture:  “Strap”
Help support better posture while walking, sitting at your computer, driving or just being. This concept comes from Dr. Timothy McCall and can be found in his book “Yoga as Medicine”. You can buy a strap from me directly, depending on the size which you individually need with 8 or 10ft. The strap comes with written instructions on how to use.

Balance:   Test 4 Balance -details in the handout

Pranayama/Breathing: Three-Part Breath -belly, rib cage, collarbones and reverse

Savasana: Supine and Relaxed
Essential Oil: doTerra “Lime”
Music:  Deuter “ 90 minute Essentials”

Quote: “The What Over the Why”
When it comes to working with thoughts and emotions. it is important to know WHAT is happening before you try to understand WHY it is happening.

There are many reasons why certain thought patterns arise, but if you can’t see them clearly, then you can’t start to work with them.

Take some moments and make it a priority to clearly identify what categories of thoughts or emotions arise in your mind (for example: planning, worrying, fear, excitement, sadness, anger).
Noticing the categories that come up frequently.

Knowing that you are worrying – and developing healthy practices to address that thought pattern – is more important than fixating on what you are worrying about.

MISCELLANEOUS: recommended read…….
Dr. Timothy McCall author of “Yoga as Medicine”. I just read his new book about his recent journey with throat cancer. Inspiring and full of ideas and tidbits regarding health and yoga, something for everyone both physically and mentally to think about with ideas to experience.
“Saving My Neck” A Doctor’s East/West Journey Through Cancer

“Dr. Timothy McCall’s new book documents his life-changing journey using Ayurvedic and Western medicine to cure his cancer. It is a guide that will change your life.”

Link to book on Kindle: https://www.amazon.com/Saving-My-Neck-Doctors-Journey-ebook/dp/B07KJDNDZP
Link to his home page: http://www.drmccall.com/saving-my-neck.html

 

Help Your Health – The Weekly Review Winter Session 2019– #4

General Class Sequencing:
Restorative with the Breath: Legs on the chair(or up the wall) with blanket across and lengthwise. Arms in cactus. with Counting Meditation
Attunement/Starting Pose/Supine:
Morning Wake-Up Stretch, 
Printable Link to Morning Wake-Up Stretch on my website: https://yogatherapyalacarte.com/2018/01/20/morning_wake_up_stretch/
Hip Openers with Bent Legs(Small Circles Together, Circles Apart and Large, In/Out Together), Ankles/Wrists Flex-Extend

Warm-Up/Prone: Child’s Pose, Walk to the Right/Left, Thread the Needle, Cat n’ Cow, Balancing Cat, Child’s Pose….

Hugging Arms:
Exhale, warp your arms around your torso reaching the fingertips for your shoulder blades, pass the arm pits/bring the chin down.
Inhale, open the arms out and wide, squeezing the shoulder blades together and looking up.
Repeat 6x. Switch arms dominance each time. Moving with the breath.

Heel Lift and Squat:
Version I: Standing with your feet hip width apart, lift the heels and bend the knees as if you were going to sit on a chair.
Version II: Same stance except turn the toes outward/10 & 2 (on a clock) repeat the same movement, lifting and squatting.
Do each version 6x + slowly with the breath.

Supine:
Shanti! Shanti! Shanti!: Belly Fat Series

Standing:
Review: Parking Lot/Any Where/Time
Review: Test Your Balance

Pranayama/Breathing:
Review: Three-Part Breath
Breath of Joy: Wake up, open the windows and breathe good morning!

Savasana: Supine and Relaxed – Legs on the bolster…….

Essential Oil: doTerra “East of the Moon”

Music:  Deuter “Spearmint”

Quote:
“Straight Back, Soft Belly”
Posture is important. The physical shape with which we meet the world can have a big impact on how we feel and how we act.
Nothing embodies the ideal of mindfulness better than the combination of a straight back and as soft belly. The straight back encourages alertness and brightness, and the soft belly fosters a sense of relaxation and openness.
Practice this position by bringing your attention to your posture several times a day – when you’re brushing your teeth or waiting…..Notice how mindful posture impact show you meet whatever comes your way.

Help Your Health – The Weekly Review Winter Session 2019– #3

General Class Sequencing:

Restorative with the Breath: Legs on the chair(or up the wall) with blanket across and lengthwise. Arms in cactus. with Counting Meditation

Attunement/Starting Pose/Supine:
Morning Wake-Up Stretch, 
Printable Link to Morning Wake-Up Stretch on my website: https://yogatherapyalacarte.com/2018/01/20/morning_wake_up_stretch/
Hip Openers with Bent Legs(Small Circles Together, Circles Apart and Large, In/Out Together), Ankles/Wrists Flex-Extend


Warm-Up/Prone: Child’s Pose, Walk to the Right/Left, Thread the Needle, Cat n’ Cow, Balancing Cat, Child’s Pose….

Prone: Heart Lifts, A-Symmetrical Locust Lifts + Symmetrical

Standing Flow:

Parking Lot/Any Where/Time Yoga: This sequence combines several standing poses without bringing the hands to the floor, meaning that it can be done mat-free in a parking lot, as well as almost anywhere else. Also working on the balance and breath.
1.  From Mountain Pose, inhale and lift your arms straight forward and up overhead on the next inhale lift the right leg, bring to hip height for Crane, on the next inhale take the lifted leg out to the side, work on balance and breath.
2.  Exhale and step the right foot back for a long Crescent Lunge, stacking the hips, shoulders and arms straight up.
3.  On an exhale and bending from the hips, take the torso forward to a Diagonal Lunge, shoulders over left knee (leaning forward) and upper arms adjacent to the ears. Feel the stretch and strength engagement in the buttocks and upper thigh.
4.  Place one or both hands on the chair for balance as you slide the back foot a little forward and come into Warrior I, dropping the heel down and slightly in. Bringing the hips and shoulders to face forward and the arms up overhead.
Be static and dynamic for a minute of a hold and then add movement on the breath. Going in and out of this warrior x6.
5. On an exhale lean forward with either hands on the back of the chair or on the seat of the chair. Stack the hips to the shoulders and turn the head in the same direction, eventually taking the corresponding arm straight up to the ceiling for Half-Moon.
6. On an exhale take the right leg down to Warrior II, dropping the heel and slightly turning inwards, while keeping that leg in line with the hip on a diagonal. Turn the shoulders to the right/squared with the side of the mat, arms outstretched to adjoining walls/ends of the mat, and take the focus/stair turning your head to the index finger of the left hand.
Be static and dynamic for a minute of a hold and then add movement on the breath. Going in and out of this warrior x6.
7. From Warrior II continue to Side Angle. Place the left elbow on the left knee/thigh and reach with the right arm overhead to the right ear and either take the chin to the left shoulder or look up to the ceiling pass the right armpit. You can also wrap the upper arm around the waist to the back and reach for the thigh.
8. Inhale, come up, turn the body towards the back of the chair and lift the back leg through to Crane, take the arms overhead, hold balance and on an exhale return to Mountain Pose.

Alternative easier: Lift only the right heel, to the right hip to Crane slide the- right foot along the mat as you step back to Diagonal Lunge. Lower your arms to prayer position to lighten the load on your shoulders. As you step forward, omit Crane and simply move into Mountain Pose.

Alternative harder: Depending on your needs, this sequence can be a dynamic warm-up (using a half breath for each asana) or a strength building practice (hold each pose for several breaths before moving to the next).

REPEAT THE SEQUENCE ON THE OTHER SIDE

Balance:
Dynamic Balancing Sequence (simple version of the above without Warriors/Half-Moon/Side Angel)

Pranayama/Breathing: Review Counting Meditation from last week.
Three-Part Breath – two different versions -one easier and one harder
Feel the breath enter from the top down, noticing the movement of inhalation in the upper chest, ribcage, then belly, and the reverse on exhalation, belly/ribcage/clavical-shoulders. This version is easier for most as this is more like we are use to breathing.

I recommend working with the harder version (see explanation below) as this one will make you more aware of taking the breath into the belly. Removing more of that static and stale air which accumulates in the lower third of our lungs and which we don’t expel because our breathing is usually short and shallow.
Get comfortable and bring your attention to your breath.
1. Bring in your inhalation a third of the way then pause briefly.
2. Continue to inhale to two-thirds full, then pause.
3. Finish by inhaling completely then pause.
4. Exhale in three parts, as well. Continue for several rounds and release.
Easier: Divide the inhalation into three parts, but keep the exhalation continuous and smooth, or enjoy a continuous inhalation and pause over the course of a three part exhalation.
Harder: begin the breath from the belly up and reverse, clavical-shoulders, ribcage, belly.

Savasana: Supine and Relaxed Legs on the bolster…….
Essential Oil: doTerra “Cassia” (see separate email)
Music:  Deuter ‘Eternity”
Quote:
Meditation and mindfulness invite us to be radically honest about what is happening inside us – and that invitation can be as challenging as it is beautiful.
One of the best ways to encourage this sense of inner honesty is the practice of …JUST. ..THIS. Use this simple phrase to turn your attention toward what ever is happening in the present moment and meet that experience with acknowledgment, allow, and acceptance.
You can even turn it into a bit of a mantra to carry with you through your daily life.

MISCELLANEOUS:
Mindfulness Cards: Simple practices for Everyday Life by Rohan Guntillake
www:Chronicle Books.com

Help Your Health – The Weekly Review Winter Session 2019– #2

Always remember that when we lose our focus we lose our balance. So true, both physically and mentally.

General Class Sequencing:
Restorative with the Breath: Legs on the chair(or up the wall) with blanket across and lengthwise. Arms in cactus.
Attunement/Starting Pose/Supine:
Morning Wake-Up Stretch, 
Printable Link to Morning Wake-Up Stretch on my website: https://yogatherapyalacarte.com/2018/01/20/morning_wake_up_stretch/

Hip Openers with Bent Legs(Small Circles Together, Circles Apart and Large, In/Out Together), Ankles/Wrists Flex-Extend
Warm-Up/Prone: Child’s Pose, Walk to the Right/Left, Thread the Needle, Cat n’ Cow, Balancing Cat, Child’s Pose….

Supine:
Psoas Spirals (Leg Circles) -A dynamic hip warm up, core strength builder and also helping to tone the psoas. Strengthening hips in every range of motion. Drawing spirals on the ceiling.

Begin with one leg straight & pointed on the mat and the other one straight up/perpendicular and pointed, keep the mat leg pined to the floor as much as possible, do not arch your back and stay in contact with the floor, keep the   abs/core engaged and solid. Do not allow the pelvis to rock as you circle.

Extended leg to ceiling, bend the knee if needed due to tight hamstrings but still keep the toes pointed. Start with a small circle/spiral and gradually increase the size with each revolution until you can’t go any wider.

Each leg clockwise and counterclockwise, alternating between legs and directions if the leg seems tired.

Standing:
Both of the following we have done in class many time in the past years:
Arm Half-Circles: beginning arms length from the wall and eventually coming closer R/L.
Yogi push ups: at the wall keeping the elbows in and going down, body straight and strong. Can advance to the floor on the knees with feet crossed behind.
Balance:    finding your “Balance Point”. Because we are each unique, we each have our own balance point of gravity. This would be the position in which, when one is balancing, your weight is evenly distributed and you feel comfortable and safe.
How to find it? If you would drop a plumb line down from your head through the center of your body, you’d find you ‘center of balance”, the position in which you’d feel most balanced (secure) and least likely to fall.
In yoga, in order to help establishing and keep a balance point we use a tool called “fixed point/focal point or drishti” This could be an imperfection in the wall,    chair etc. by keeping your eyes on this point one can more fully ‘feel’ ones balance.
Basic balancing exercises usually engage one main foot position and many possibilities for the arms:
     Foot: Stand well grounded (follow previous instructions for Tadasana/Mountain Pose on one foot with the other leg slightly bent, all toes pointing directly ahead. Beginning with heel off the ground and eventually flexing the foot as the toes also lift.
     Arms: Many options: arms directly at the sides, hands on the hips, arms out to the sides, arms up over head in the V position, arms crossed and fingertips at shoulders.
Continue with handout for details. (which I gave to everyone who attended class and if you missed class your copy is waiting for you)“Test 4 Balance” based on      a study from the University College London and published in AARP magazine.
Balancing & Breath:
IF you want to combine this balance work with the breath than do so.  Long, slow and smooth, breathing through the nose during the 10-30 second holds.

Balancing & Breath:    Sun Salutations with the Chair: please find details on my website or on my DVD’s.

Pranayama/Breathing:   Counting Meditation

Don’t be alarmed if you find it difficult to maintain focus even to count to 10. Your ability to sustain attention in the moment will grow with practice.
Get comfortable and choose a number from 10 to 50 to count forward.

Inhaling, think one, exhaling, think one. Inhaling, think two, exhaling, think two.
Continue until you reach the number or until you lose focus, at which point you can start again from one.

With practice continue to the following: Count each half of the breath, inhaling ‘one’, exhaling ‘two’.  Or count from a bigger number back down to one.

Savasana: Supine and Relaxed

Essential Oil: doTerra “Motivate” the Encouraging Blend of mint and citrus oils + vanilla bean.
Music:  Deuter “Bamboo Forest or Illumination”
Quote:
Your mind has a deep and powerful connection with your body.

When we’re mentally stressed, our bodies mirror our minds by tightening; and  when we’re mentally open and relaxed, our bodies can soften and relax.

The magical thing is that this relationship works the other way too, so if we make our body more relaxed, our mind will follow.

One of the best ways to do this is by SMILING.

Next time you’re dealing with a difficult emotion or situation, try softening your face and smiling. This will tell your mind that you’re doing OK – even if you’re not feeling super-happy in the moment.

Help Your Health – The Weekly Review Winter Session 2019– #1

Another fresh New Year is here…another year to live…to banish worry, doubt & fear…to love and laugh and give!

The bright New Year is given to me to live each day with zest…to daily grow and   try to be my brightest and my best!

I have the opportunity once more to right some wrongs…to pray for peace…to plant a tree and sing more joyful songs!
                                                                                                                     -William Arthur Ward

The theme this session is: Breath and Balance which will also include Posture.

I am asking each and every student to TAKE SOMETHING HOME! It can be from   our weekly class, my DVD’s, website or previous Weekly Reviews.

Establish a routine of doing one breathing and one balance exercise on a daily basis. It will only take a few moments and in return help you establish a practice with numerous benefits, if you do it daily.

Try to find a specific time which could work for you every day.

You can choose the same exercise every week or change, it doesn’t matter as long as you stay with the concept. You can combine the work or do it separately.

Be playful and enjoy!

General Class Sequencing:



Restorative with the Breath: Legs on the chair(or up the wall) with blanket across and lengthwise.


Attunement/Starting Pose/Supine:

Morning Wake-Up Stretch, 
Printable Link to Morning Wake-Up Stretch on my website: https://yogatherapyalacarte.com/2018/01/20/morning_wake_up_stretch/

Hip Openers with Bent Legs(Small Circles Together, Circles Apart and Large, In/Out Together), Ankles/Wrists Flex-Extend
Warm-Up/Prone: Child’s Pose, Walk to the Right/Left, Thread the Needle, Cat n’ Cow, Balancing Cat, Child’s Pose….


Prone: Heart Lifts, A-Symmetrical Locust Lifts + Symmetrical
Supine: Bridge Series to Windshield Wipers to the Flop/Rag Doll – Can you let go?

Standing:
    Balance: Either using the back of a chair or facing the wall: Shifting your weight from R/L, pick up in sequence: heel/toe/both, with eyes open and/or closed. Moving with the breath and continuing to Tree R/L -holding for 30-60 seconds on each side.

     Balancing & Breath: Standing Tall and Lifting – With buttocks against the wall and block between the hands, Inhale reaching the arms overhead so the block can be on the wall/lengthwise and rise up on your toes.
Coordinating with the breath using a ratio:
2:3/4:2:4/6
pause-still/inhale-reaching & rising/pause-holding/exhale-releasing & returning

Sun Salutations with the Chair: please find details on my website or on my DVD’s

Savasana: Supine and Relaxed

Essential Oil: doTerra “Forgive” (see separate e-mail with details) Herbaceous & Woodsy!
Uses: Diffuse to promote feelings of contentment. Apply to neck and wrist for feelings of patience and relief. Apply it to a cotton ball and clip onto the car’s air vent for a calming aroma. Place on bottoms of feet in the morning to promote feeling of patience. Use during a massage to counteract negative emotions and promote feelings of serenity

Music:  Ben Leinbach  “The Spirit of Yoga”  or George Winston “Winter”

Quote:


“Breath as Anchor”
On the emotional roller coarser of life, it’s incredibly helpful to have an accessible mindfulness tool at our disposal at all times. Our breath is just that tool.
Practice bringing your awareness to the quality of your breath a few times a day – you can start spending one minute noticing your breath before each meal.
Practicing giving your attention to your breath will give you something to turn to whenever you need to anchor yourself.

MISCELLANEOUS:
Marie Kondo -the KonMari Method -Tidy your space, transform your life.

https://konmari.com/

If you have Netflix I suggest watching any and/all of the 8 part series. The common thread to her philosophy is quite beautiful to watch unfold during this series. There is something there for everyone, be it ever so small OR a garage which has no space for the car.

 

 

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