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 [/audio

Help Your Health – The Weekly Review Winter Session 2020– #1

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

Warm-Up/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/a massage of the lower back, Circles Apart and Large, In/Out Together
Warm-Up/Prone: Child’s Pose, Walk to the Right/Left and/or look over the shoulder R/L, Thread the Needle, Cat n’ Cow, Balancing Cat R/L @ Finding the still point for 6 breaths/switching sides.

A Short n’ Sweet Standing at Wall:

Begin with Tadasana and Stand up Taller (DVD Vol.2).

Proceed to four movements (feet, calves, thighs, belly/core, fore/upper arms, shoulders) for a quick Yogi Snack:

1.  Facing the wall, with fingertips all on wall for balance/rise up on your toes and the ball of your feet. Slowly up and slowly down with awareness that the feet do not roll out or in. Only go as far up as you can be steady and straight. Can also be done on a stairs and then you can come down slightly lower than the stair level to stretch the plantar of the feet and the achilles.

2.  Back to wall with buttock touching, knees slightly bent, feet hip width apart, maybe using a block between the knees. Pelvic tilting bringing waist to wall on exhale and return to create the slight tunnel. Eventually engaging the core muscles and bringing the curve of the lower back in touch with the wall, this is an isometric of the belly muscles, hold the core but don’t forget to breath. Legs are still and body does not slide. Then bring shoulder blades to wall  and eventually the back of the head. Watch for any jutting of chin, if so do neck strengthening exercise as shown in class called Turtle. Always working up to 2 minutes. Progressive as the thighs become more parallel to the floor.

3.  Wall push ups with elbows in and hands not higher than shoulders when this it is too easy, bring them down as hands will eventually be level with the elbows. Feet strong and hip with apart. The palms/fingers can be on the wall or just the fingers or even finger tips. Experience how these different placements feel different in the upper arm involvement and for some the wrists. Bringing top of forehead towards wall with body straight/stiff/strong. Don’t come so close to wall that you cannot push back to beginning position. Try to do 12 and work to 3 sets of 12. Then for more challenge go to the floor for Yoga Push-Ups.

4.  Clock on the Wall. In most classes we did not get to this so will be done next week.

Sun Salutations with the Chair and eventually challenging and not using the chair.

Hand Exercise
Niyasam -the gentle slide up and down each finger with the breath. Beginning with the thumb to the base of the index finger continuing to the pinky and returning. One hand at a time with concentration and coordinated breathing.

Savasana – Guided Meditation through the Physical Body


Essential Oil: Peppermint
Music:  Various
 from Parijat
Quote:
I’ve learned that people will forget what you said…People will forget what you did but people will never forget how you made them feel.                -Maya Angelou

 

Help Your Health – The Weekly Review Fall Session 2019– #10

I have not included the usual Morning Wake-Up-Stretch and Attunement, just scroll down for details.

On Belly: Sphinx Plank or Plank

Pranayama

Name: Ujjayi

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

Ujjayi (pronounced oo-jai) is commonly translated as “victorious breath,” and has been used for thousands of years to enhance Hatha yoga practice.

Also commonly referred to as the “oceanic breath,” the sound that Ujjayi provides helps us to synchronize breath with movements during yoga, making the entire yoga practice more rhythmic.

Description:
1. Seal your lips and start to breath in and out through your nose.
2. Take an inhalation through your nose that is slightly deeper than normal. Exhale slowly through your
nose while constricting the glottis in the back of your throat.
3. OR With your mouth open, try exhaling the sound “HAAAAH”—it’s similar to the sound you make
when you’re trying to fog up a mirror.
Close your mouth and attempt a similar sound, feeling the outflow of air through your nasal passages.
Once you have mastered this on the outflow, use the same method for the in-flow breath, gently
constricting the back of your throat as you inhale.
4. You can also silently, with the mouth closed, repeat the word So/with the Inhale and Hum/with the
exhale which can help the breath flow nicely.

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

If you’re doing this correctly, you should sound like waves in the ocean—the inhales can be compared to the sound the ocean makes as the water is gathering up to form the wave, the exhales can be compared to the sound of the waves crashing to the shore.

Some people compare Ujjayi breathing to Darth Vader from Star Wars, if that’s helpful.

Physical Benefits:
Ujjayi has a balancing influence on the entire cardiorespiratory system.

Here are a few benefits you may enjoy as a result of practicing the Ujjayi breath:
1. Increases the amount of oxygen in the blood
2. Builds internal body heat and energy while encouraging free flow of prana
3. Relieves tension, irritation and frustrations while calming the mind and body
4. Regulates blood pressure
5. Helps a yoga practitioner to maintain a rhythm while practicing
Detoxifies mind and body
6. Increases feelings of presence, self-awareness, and meditative qualities

When to Use Ujjayi Breath:

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

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

3. When exercising:
Ujjayi is also useful when you’re doing aerobic exercise such as running or cycling. In fact, some Olympic-level athletes have introduced Ujjayi into their training routines to improve their respiratory efficiency.

Experiment with this breath technique when you’re working out and see if
it reduces wear and tear on your body.

4. When you’re nervous:
The slow and rhythmic nature of the Ujjayi breath is incredibly helpful to calm nerves.

Next time you find yourself with a case of the jitters, try some yogic breathing to settle the worries.

Name: Alternative Nostril Breathing -Nadi Shodhana/Anuloma Viloma/Channel Cleaning Breath

(nah-dee show-DAH-nah) nadi = channel shodhana = cleaning, purifying

In a comfortable asana or in a chair as straight as possible, with sitz bones grounded and chest opened out.  Breathe freely.

Make the gesture called Vishnu Mudra by curling in the index and middle finger of the right hand so the thumb and fourth finger can be used on either side of the nose to close the nostrils. (or place the tip of the index finger and middle finger of the right hand on the forehead between the eyebrows, the ring finger and little finger on the left nostril and the thumb on the right nostril).

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

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

Points To Remember While Practicing Alternate Nostril Breathing:
Do not force the breathing, and keep the flow gentle and natural.
Do not breathe from the mouth or make any sound while breathing. Also, do not use the Ujjayi breath.
Place the fingers very lightly on the forehead and nose. There is no need to apply any pressure.
Your exhalation should be longer than inhalation.

So here are three good reasons for practicing this pranayama:
1. It activates the parasympathetic nervous system and reduces blood pressure (Can lower heart rate and
reduces stress and anxiety, calming the nerves.
2. Stale air is eliminated, as you increase the length of exhalation; retention of inhalation increases oxygen intake.)
3.. It enhances respiratory functions: increases respiratory strength and endurance. (It is regarded as a general balancer and purifier of the physical and emotional systems, strengthens and purifies the lungs, purifies the nadis/energy channels and increases prank intake)
4. It improves attention and fine-motor coordination/performance (synchronizing the two hemispheres of the
brain).

Standing:

Asana this week: Langhana Asana Series

What does Langhana mean?

Langhana is a Sanskrit word that means “to fast,” “to reduce” or “to diminish back to its cause.”

In the traditional Indian medical practice known as Ayurveda, Langhana is used to describe dieting, fasting and weight-reducing therapy in general, but includes related treatments that reduce various types of heaviness in the body and mind.

For the mind, think in terms of clutter, hoarding, too much on your ‘to do’ list, Type A compulsive etc.
With these situations the mind is not in balance but instead has a pressure. Langhana brings balance with the breath.

General Descriptions with Alternatives:

Movement on the Exhale only.

Whenever Inhale is mentioned the intention is lengthening the body, just Think Taller.
These movements are done slowly on both the inhale and exhale as they will also address the balance as a slow flow, each series to be repeated 6-10x and of course on both sides when applicable.
Always being mindful to go slowly and moving only on the exhale. Asana can be held in either position with a slow breath or pause.

#1. Standing in Mountain Pose

Inhale (lengthening the torso by gently reaching with the crown of the head)

On the exhale -turn the palms up and slowly raise them overhead, let the fingers touch.
-Working towards bringing the upper arms in alignment with the ears, if this is not happening and the arms are forward of the ears then work slowly as the shoulder girdle is tight and range of motion can be limited.
Inhale -think taller….
On the exhale -turn the palms down and return to Mountain Pose.
On both movements feel the opening/expansion in the chest.

#2. Forward Fold from Mountain Pose

Standing either facing a chair (optional) or having a chair next to the body if needed for balance. You can also use a block as when you forward fold the hands should either reach the chair, block or floor.
Inhale -think taller and don’t move
On the exhale – bring the arms forward and up over head.
-Be mindful to engage core as you come up so as not to put unnecessary pressure on the back, if you feel it in your back possibly you are not engaging enough or the knees are not bent.
Inhale
On the exhale –  bending the knees, hinge forward from the hips to a forward fold, (arms following along side of the ears)  the body releasig straight forward to the chair, legs or floor.
Inhale -remain with the head down.

On the exhale -slowly return the arms overhead engaging the core/buttocks and thighs
Inhale
On the exhale – return the arms to Mountain Pose.

Alternative:
Inhale -standing straight with arms at the sides
Exhale-as you slowly bend the knees let the arms walk down the outside of the legs going as far as possible as you keep the contact of the hands on the legs
Inhale
Exhale-slowly bring the body up to standing as you began
Be mindful to engage the core/buttocks/thighs on movement only going as far down as possible.

#3 Warrior I

Standing either facing a chair (optional) or having a chair next to the body if needed for balance.
Place your feet in a proper Warrior I.
Inhale – Beginning with front leg straight and arms at your sides.
On the Exhale – bring the arms forward and up over head as you bend the front knee to Warrior I
Inhale -Hold and think taller
On the Exhale -return to original position
Inhale
continue….and repeat on the other side.

#4 Warrior II

Stand facing the chair on the side of your mat (just in case you need it for balance).
Open the legs wide (working towards being as wide as your wrists with out stretched arms).
Turn the right foot to the front of your mat and the left heel slightly towards the back of your mat.
Shoulders facing the chair but hips slightly angled towards the right of the chair.
Inhale – Begin in Warrior II and Think Taller.
On the Exhale -take the arms overhead, straighten the knee and turn the head to look towards the chair.
Inhale
On the Exhale -return to Warrior II by bending the knee, reaching out both arms and turning the head looking to the middle finger of your right hand.
Inhale
Exhale -optional if shoulder is an issue -release the arm down instead of up while you straighten the knee and turn the head to look towards the chair.
continue….repeat on the other side.

All the above mentioned Langhana Asanas can be repeated 6-10x and if they call for both sides,
please do.

Physical Benefits:
The emphasis in a Langhana practice is on exhaling and holding poses.
As well as slowing the heart rate, breathing and metabolism, relaxing the nervous system, and calming the mind.

If you are mindful during this practiced you will see that you are also using many muscles throughout the body both on movement and especially on holding.

Essential Oil:
Peppermint by d’Oterra

Music:
George Winston: Savasana

Quote:
Lao Tzu

“Mastering others is strength. Mastering yourself is true power”

‘I have just three things to teach: simplicity, patience, compassion. These three are your
greatest treasures.”

Miscellaneous:

An uplifting and positive film (thank you Lori for the suggestion):

“The Biggest Little Farm” can be seen on Hulu, Amazon Prime and ITunes or can be rented at HB Library

The book “A Life Worth Breathing” by Max Strom -a Yogi’s walk through his life with lots of good ideas and hints.

 

Help Your Health – The Weekly Review Fall Session 2019– #9

I have not included the usual Morning Wake-Up-Stretch and Attunement, just scroll down for details.
This week we have reviewed:

Joint-Freeing Series: Pavanmuktasana Chart 1 & 2.

Pavanmuktasana = pawana= namely air, wind or the vital breath
mukta= free
asana= to be seated in a firm position but also relaxed

Link to the Charts: www.crohnsforum.com/yoga/Joint-Freeing-Series.pdf

The version I have chosen to teach is from Mukunda Stiles (Structural Yoga Therapy) which does not just concentrate on the digestive benefits of the series but works on expelling the stagnant air of the body joints, moving each joint gently and systematically through its full and natural range of motion beginning with the feet and finishing with the hands. The motions described in this series represent all the basic motions of the body. I have added toes and fingers which we have covered in class.

This series is also a part of my DVD Volume 1, which is available for $10.00 directly from me.

The best part is that one can perform this regardless of any age, taking into consideration some adaptations, depending upon bodily restrictions.

See more information under memo at the end of the review.

On Belly:
Using the strap under the belly area, engaging/pushing down and then trying to pull it through. If you don’t concentrate you won’t be able to hold it down enough to secure the strap. Notice that directly under the belly button is the hardest and as you move the strap up and down it is easier to hold the force against the pull.

Object, you don’t want to be able to move the strap to the right or the left. Ask someone to pull for you and see how difficult it can be. this is not only a test but also a strong engagement in building strength.

Sphinx Forearm Plank
5.10.15….120 seconds (2 minutes) holding and working as you build strength.

Begin with arms in proper position, head high and chest open, engage and expand shoulder girdle. Push down from finger tips to elbows and engage upper arms while also pushing the forearms as if you are trying to spread them apart but they should not.

Engage and lift the belly button area and above, continuing with the public bone, upper thighs and continue to the knees.

Push the heels away from the body with the toes curled under.

Holding the core in alignment with the hips/slight tuck of the tailbone, so the lower back does not hang downward, rather level or above slightly especial if you have any back issues. We are working here to strengthen the core so it can better support the lower back. You should be able to feel the difference if you sag at the belly or engage, the back will let you know when it is happy.

Standing:

We discussed the ‘disconnect’ between the mind-body which can often become more prevalent as we age.

This ‘disconnect’ can be quite prevalent in the ‘apana’ region, the area of the colon, intestines, lower body organs as well as the lower back.

This is the location in our bodies where stress etc. has a tendency to settle, especially the lower back. In Ayurveda it is believed that 80% of all dis-ease/illnesses begin in this area.

As waistlines grow and adipose tissue accumulates one has a tendency to try to ignore this area.

It is suggested that instead of ignoring when the body is not doing/developing as one would chose we should instead love, massage and connect even more deeply to see and accept responsibility for what may not be working quite right.

Touch and talk to your body as discussing how you are treating it, what it needs and how you can change what needs to be changed. There is always something to pay attention to and do, start small, your body will be grateful.

At first the body whispers and then it screams, listen to the whispers and find the root.

“Take care of your body, it’s the only place you have to live and you only get one this time around.”

Regarding specific movement we did the following:

Pelvic Tilting
How much can you move the ‘pelvic tilt’ without moving the knees or upper torso?
Think of the water bucket and the water spilling off the front and back?
Can you find your neutral point with a slight movement of the pelvic girdle and only a ripple of water?
This tilting can also be practiced in supine, making a tunnel and then flattening with no space behind at the midsection.  You may be familiar with this as a prep for the Bridge.

Twisting – only above the waist.
Think of the body as a wooden figure divided into two sections which screw into each other with a wooden dowel: bottom/waist down and top/waist up.
Be mindful that the knees are soft but not bent.

Can you move just the upper portion without the lower section moving?
1. Place the hands on the hips to hold them in place and twist.
2. Place the hands on the rib cage and keep the lower part still as you twist.
3. Let the arms flap freely and slightly slap against the body as you twist but only the top section of the wooded doll.

Lateral Stretch R/L both sides
Standing, supine, sitting, against the wall.
Reach down with one arm and straight up with the other under it lays directly next to corresponding ear.
Stretch at the waist, as well as up, over the head with the reaching arm and the downward hand slides or reaches down. Feel the stretch on the up and over reaching arm.
Keeping the body and arms in the same plane. If supine/stand then touching the surface behind, if sitting don’t cheat as it is easy not to be able to judge if doing correctly.

Savasana

Essential Oil: Past Tense” -Wintergreen, Lavender, Peppermint, frankincense, Cilantro, Roman Camomile, Marjoram, Basil, Rosemary.
Effective for dealing with various problems related to the Nervous System and to the Muscles and Bones. Especially relieving pain and tension associated with headaches. Inhaling the aroma and relaxing with this pleasant blend.

Music:  Parijat “Journey Home”

Quote:

Choose People, Not Things

Some good advice to help us when we decide to unclutter our homes or a part of our lives.

“Don’t love what can’t love you back.”
Think about how much time, attention, care and yes, even love, we end up giving to our things.
We give a lot of ourselves over a selection of a piece of furniture, clothing etc. Saying, “I love this.”
We hold on to objects as though our happiness and fulfillment depend on them.
If we could create some distance between our feelings and our possessions, it would be much easier to determine what to keep and what to get rid of.
An item that enhances your life at one point could now be a: burden, obstacle or even a crutch.
Spend your time, energy and love on the people in your life!

There was a recent speech by the Pope where he spoke to the entire world and was very upset. He basically said that if we keep consuming at this rate we are lost as it can’t give us love, lasting happiness or a surviving planet.

One of many links to more opinions from the Pope:

https://www.dw.com/en/pope-francis-condemns-virus-of-christmas-consumerism/a-51490490

“Structural Yoga Therapy” -adapting to the individual by Mukunda Stiles
-the book seems to be temporarily out of stock but a used edition (beginning at $11.) is available with some searching.

https://www.amazon.com/Structural-Yoga-Therapy-Adapting-Individual/dp/1578631777/ref=pd_cp_14_1/145-2726611-8496319?_encoding=UTF8&pd_rd_i=1578631777&pd_rd_r=1cc7d6ef-7cae-4877-8cd9-61f63503d4fe&pd_rd_w=JISou&pd_rd_wg=ZwwXD&pf_rd_p=ef4dc990-a9ca-4945-ae0b-f8d549198ed6&pf_rd_r=JDAM521E65V14V1MK8HZ&psc=1&refRID=JDAM521E65V14V1MK8HZ

The 8 Charts which I showed in the folder did not cost $50. when I bought them 20 years ago but they may also be found as used and they are in the book.

https://www.abebooks.com/products/isbn/1578632196?cm_mmc=AMZ-_-DetailPage-_-OOS-_-ISBN

 

Help Your Health – The Weekly Review Fall Session 2019– #8

Although we did the following in class, I have not included the details to Morning Wake-Up-Stretch and Attunement, see below in previous WR along with the Supine Hip Series which I suggest doing together.

On Belly:

Sphinx Forearm Plank
5.10.15….120 seconds (2 minutes) holding and working as you build strength.
1.  Begin with arms in proper position, head high and chest open, engage and expand shoulder girdle.

2.  Push down from finger tips to elbows and engage upper arms while also pushing the forearms as if you are trying to spread them apart but they should not.

3.  Engage and lift the belly button area and above, continuing with the public bone, upper thighs and continue to the knees.

4.  Push the heels away from the body with the toes curled under.

5.  Holding the core in alignment with the hips/slight tuck of the tailbone, so the lower back does not fall towards the mat, rather level or above slightly especial if you have any back issues.

We are working here to strengthen the core so it can better support the lower back. You should be able to feel the difference if you sag at the belly or engage and life, the back will let you know when it is happy, that is usually the most difficult place in which to hold if the core is weak.

Standing:

Sun Salutations with the Chair and also free standing.

Please see my website, either videos or PDF’s for details.

Simplified Chair Version: Just added a memory helper for sequencing.

Think of the three middle moves: Down-Dog, Up-Dog and Down-Dog as a sandwich. The two DD’s being the bread and the Up-Dog being the filling inside.

Begin with the Salute, Forward-Fold to Half-UP to Lunge, the Sandwich, Lunge again (each Lunge being a different lead leg forward and back) to Forward-Fold and ending with all the way up reaching out/overhead and ending with thumbs at the heart being careful how you come up.

Leading with the heart and not looking to see where you are going which could interrupt the flow of blood to the brain including oxygen and so the consequence could be dizziness, off balance and being light headed for the moment. Think about how you would react if you were working in the garden pulling weeds on your knees and someone called your name, your first reaction would be to look for who and where that person could be standing. If you stood up at the same time you could experience this reaction, think twice of the curvature of your neck and don’t self inflict a questionable moment.

Free Standing Version: Basically the same without the chair for balance and support except the filling for the Sandwich has more options: scoop, Cobra etc.

Savasana
Essential Oil: On Guard
Music:  Parijat “Journey Home”
Quote:
A short excerpt from a commencement speech given by Steve Jobs at Stanford University a few years before he passed:

No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there.
And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it.
And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life………
Your time is limited don’t waste it living someone else’s life.
Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking.
Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice.
And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.

]

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

This weekly review will include the opening ‘Attunement’ part of each class. I have added and made a few changes after “Morning Wake Up Stretch”.

Attunement:


Restorative with the Breath: Legs on the chair(or up the wall) with blanket across and lengthwise. Arms in cactus.
Warm-Up/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/a massage of the lower back, Circles Apart and Large, In/Out Together)

New:

Supine Hip Flexor/Opener Series
A series of movements which can be done (in bed) directly after MW-upS. This series is especially good for anyone with: tight hamstrings or Sciatica(Piriformis Syndrom):

Place left foot on the mat behind the buttocks, bend the right leg bringing the thigh towards the chest. Place both hands on the back of the right thigh and feel the shape and movement of the three hamstrings as you proceed with the following movement.

1. Holding the thigh close to the chest, slowly and with resistance begin to straighten the right leg, slowly through the extension of the arms allowing the leg to/especially the heel, reach towards the ceiling. Repeat 6 x on both the R/L sides.

2. Place the left foot on the mat behind the buttocks and cross the right ankle over the left thigh. Place the right hand on the right thigh and the left arm in airplane, turning the head and looking to the left hand.

Feel the energy channel between the right knee and the left hand. Try to keep both shoulders on the mat if possible and do not arch the back. Gently ease the right thigh/knee away from the body as you extend the left arm. Hold for 6 long breaths, at least.

3. Keeping the position of #2, release the legs to the right, keep the shoulders in contact with the mat if you can. Exhale long with each release, letting go and opening the lower torso, stay for six breaths. Turning the head in the opposite direction.

4. Bring the legs back to neural with the same cross and release to the left side, the arms can be in airplane and the head turned to the opposite direction as the stretch or take the left hand on the right knee and ease the legs towards the mat.

5. Come back to neutral with the same cross over and wrap the hands around the left thigh (eventually this warp will include the shin also)as you bring both legs in towards the torso on the exhale. The right elbow will help to keep the right leg at bay. Hold in position for a series of breaths.

Repeat #2 thru #5 on the left side.

Warm-Up/Prone: Child’s Pose, Walk to the Right/Left and/or look over the shoulder R/L, Thread the Needle, Cat n’ Cow, Balancing Cat R/L @ Finding the still point for 6 breaths/switching sides.

Prone to Standing:

Down-Dog Short and Narrow/Back and Forth
The first step of the challenging nose to knee exercise:

1. Begin in a short Down-Dog with the feet centered and together.
2. Inhale and come up high on the toes, continue by bringing the shoulders forward over the wrists, keep the buttocks pointed up. If you can’t lift the torso then the DD is probably too long, just step the feet and hands a little closer to each other The lift should be felt in the belly core.
3. Exhale bringing the heels down towards the mat and the shoulders back for a long stretch on the back side of the body. Don’t be concerned if the heels do not touch the mat, they may with time.

Continue 2-6x or as many as you feel comfortable doing, no pain just a slow flowing stretch with strength building combined. I am not asking you yet to bring the nose to the knee as you lift the torso, that is the next step.

On Belly:

Sphinx to Forearm Plank and Back Again -please read all possibilities before beginning.

General Set up:
1. Begin on your belly, legs hip width apart.
2. Place your elbows under your shoulders and your forearms on the floor parallel to each other.
– Your head should remain  in line with the shoulders as you are looking down onto your mat.
3. On an inhale, draw your chin up and back, and engage while push your forearms/hands on the mat — coming into Sphinx.

4. Push the heels back, broaden the shoulder and upper chest.

Hold in full position and work up to 2 minutes by gradually increasing in 5 second intervals. It takes time, patience and continual practice as this is a full body engagement.

As you tire you will notice that the core of the torso will gradually sink or rise, these are both easier positions but not proper. To protect the back, the belly area needs to be engaged on a continual basis, as if you are trying to zip up a pair of tight jeans. Consciously feel the expansion and the lifting of the upper chest area.

Sequence broken down for introduction in steps where you decide when to stop and hold:
– Inhale: Lift only the front ribs off the floor. Exhale to maintain.
– Inhale: Lift the belly off the floor. Exhale to maintain.
– Inhale: Lift your front hip points and pubic bone off the floor. Exhale to maintain.
– Inhale: Lift your upper thighs off the floor. Exhale to maintain.
– Move into the Forearm Plank. Inhale: Tuck your toes under, lift your knees off the floor and push your heels back. Exhale to maintain forearm plank.
– Hold for 3 breaths.
– Then exit by reversing the above sequence. You should end up in sphinx with your forehead to the floor.
Complete two rounds.

plus
Place a block between your thighs to activate your inner thighs (this is the beginning of mulabanda) while repeating this sequence until you’ve reached your edge.

plus
Place a block between your ankles as well to activate the drawing in and up of the ankles. This begins the zipping of the legs all the way up.

Standing:

Series of three movements for building strength in the legs. Try not to count numbers but rather work in reference to time 1-2 + minutes, feeling the tree trunk/standing leg getting tired as you are working on stamina and strength building.

Set Up:Standing sidebars to a chair or wall to touch for balance support. Left hand near the back of a chair/or wall with left leg being the tree truck. Straight but not locked.

1.Bend the right leg keep the toes on the ground. Flex the ankle and begin circles with the right foot, both directions.

2. Point the right leg forward with power, slowly sliding the foot back, flexing, until the heel is in alignment with the left heel. With force straighten and point forward with toes touching or almost touching the floor. Continue with the movement engaging with the extension and flexion.

3. Taking the right left directly behind and as straight as possible. The toes should feel as if you are smudging the polish on the toe nails. Engage, stretching and slightly lifting the left a few inches to move between flexion and extension.

Before continuing to the other side, I would like you to stretch the hip a little as it may feel tight due to the pressure required of the standing leg.

4. Bend the left leg and take the right ankle placing it on the left thigh. Place the right hand on the right thigh pushing down gently as you bend the left leg more. You can bend forward at the ‘hip cradle’ not at the waist. You should feel the hip releasing if it was feeling any tightness. This should be done on both sides.

REPEAT #1 thru #4 on the opposite side.
If at any time you begin to lose your balance please touch the chair or wall to regain balance and then continue.

Knee Slaps:
Either on a walk or walking in place bring the knees/thighs up to the palms with each step.
If this is too high for you than begin with less lift and instead of the forearms/hands being perpendicular to the body take the arms down so the thighs don’t have as far to raise for the slap.
Work on endurance.

Sumo Squats at a Door:
You should be familiar with this from previous classes. These are mostly done free standing or with your hands on a chair or wall but I believe using the door directly addresses what we are looking for and takes most postures and tracking mistakes out of the equation.

1. Find a secure door, face the edge holding on with both hands.
2. Opening the legs wide, equating so the knees remain over the ankles (tracking is most important).
3. Release down until the thighs are parallel to the floor, arms straight and shoulders over buttocks, back straight.
plus
For more work you can slowly move the buttocks up and down just an inch or so. Feel the heat build in the thighs and notice the lack of pressure in the knees, if you are doing this properly. Please let me know if you have any problem with this move and I can observe and/or correct you in class if necessary.

HAND EXERCISE
This hand movement is included in my “Healthy, Happy Hands” workshop which is being repeated this coming Saturday November 16th from 1-3:30pm
Working to control the movement of the palm. proximal knuckles and the direction of the digits.
Hope to see you in the workshop and if you have already attended, check out your handout for the details of this movement.

Savasana
Essential Oil: Peppermint
Music:  Various
Quote: Less is More -from my experience in Africa over the past three weeks.

Do we really need so much? I am still purging and it feel sgood.

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

For the opening Attunement, please scroll down to #1 as I only list these movements once in each session, they are repeated in each an every class every week.

Standing:
     5 Tibetans/Rites of Rejuvenation
– reviewing #1 Twirling PLUS four additional asana. I have slightly altered the sequence. For many students doing two asana in sequence, with continual pressure on the wrist, can be too much. I suggest to switch, Updog/Down-Dog from being the last asana/#5 to either #2 or #3, ending with Picnic Table.

Supine:
     Legs up the Wall Series -a series of movements using both legs, sliding, opening, crossing etc. culminating with a basic/beginning shoulder stand.

     Butterfly & Clock R/L

Sitting:

Review Pranayama techniques: Alternate Nostril Breathing & Single Nostril Inhale R-Sun/L- Moon.

Savasana

Essential Oil: “Serenity”: Lavender, Ylang Ylang, Hawaiian Sandalwood, Cedarwood

Music:The Healing Path ” -Parijat

Quote:
There is very little difference in people but the little difference makes a big difference. That little difference being attitude and the big difference is whether it is a positive or negative attitude.
-William C. Stone

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

For the opening Attunement, please scroll down to #1 as I only list these movements once in each session, they are repeated in each an every class every week.

Kneeling & or Hero’s Pose: Yogi Snack
no prep necessary, just a short sequence which consists of 2 or more asana, concentrating the movement in tune with the breath.

Sitting:

      Seated Twists w/wo strap

-individualized in many classes for the students needs and abilities, limitations and injuries. This series needs my visual guidance so I will not give details on the review.

A series of 6 different seated twists with variations. To be done slowly and each one with the right and left leg dominant while also turning to the right and left. Do not push any of these movements but challenge your body, never to the point of pain. Repetitive stretching can increase range of motion over the weeks and months showing us what we can do today is much less than what we can do tomorrow with constant discipline of practice.

Supine:

Butterfly + Clock R/L
For details please follow the link to my website: Revisit, Research, Reflect  and scroll down to #57.

     https://yogatherapyalacarte.com/news-2/revisit-research-reflect/

Savasana

Essential Oil: “Aroma Touch” -cypress, peppermint, marjoram basil, grapefruit, lavender. A blend to add to any massage oil or cream, can also be used in its pure state in a diffuser.

“Verage” -skin care system (4 products -see usage and ingredient details below under MISC.)
All 4 products are available to order for $105. including tax and S/H. Just let me know!

For more general information go to: https://www.doterra.com/US/en/what-is-an-essential-oil

Music: “ Yoga Moods ” -Stadler

Quote:
There are fears that keep us alive and fears that keep us from living…
Wisdom is knowing and understanding the difference. -by David Svenson

Misc:
What is Hatha Yoga? The Science of Breath and Posture

Hatha yoga is that branch of the Yoga philosophy, which deals with the physical body -it’s care, its’s well being its health and its strength.
Focusing on healthy living, proper diet and hygiene, correct breathing and posture in daily life to help bodies in their natural and normal state of health. Exercise and rules to relaxation are part to this yoga and enjoyed in simple and uncomplicated terms.
Collectively helping to develop a sound, strong and health body which is necessary for the enlightened journey of life.
A more detailed article: https://www.doyogawithme.com/hatha-yoga-history

Verage Skin Care Ingredients and Directions (use every morning and night):

Step #1 – Verage Cleanser to lift away dirt and makeup
Wild Orange, Melaleuca and Basil to cleanse and rejuvenate the skin
Coconut and olive oil * to reduce water loss and boosts natural surfactants
Amino acids and lipids to nourish and hydrate skin

Step #2 – Verage Toner to tighten pores and refresh the skin
Ylang Ylang and Palmarosa to nourish, revive and protect skin
Coriander and Cypress Essential Oils are known for their soothing and toning benefits
Witch hazel to support a healthy inflammatory response
Aloe for moisturizing properties

Step # 3 – Verage Immortelle Hydrating Serum applied to clean face in an upward motion
Immortelle Blend to supports the overall health of skin
Olive, jojoba and sunflower oils to support the skin barrier function
Lipid complex to mimic the skin’s natural surface lipids at their prime

Step #4 – Verage Moisturizer applied to a clean face to promote firmness, elasticity and hydration
Juniper Berry to inhibit the enzyme that causes the appearance of aging skin (Source)
Jasmine and Geranium for dry and irritated skin
Sea Buckthorn Berry to help skin retain moisture for anti-aging benefits
Shea Butter to plump skin while hydrating

 

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

Sitting: This week we have reviewed Joint-Freeing Series: Pavanmuktasana Chart 1 & 2.

Pavanmuktasana = pawana means namely air, wind or the vital breath
mukta = free
asana = “to be seated in a position that is firm, but relaxed”

Link to the Charts:  just Google/Safari: joint freeing series pdf

The version I have chosen to teach is from Mukunda Stiles (Structural Yoga Therapy) which does not just concentrate on the digestive benefits of the series but works on expelling the stagnant air of the body joints, moving each joint gently and systematically through its full and natural range of motion beginning with the feet and finishing with the hands. The motions described in this series represent all the basic motions of the body. I have added toes and fingers which we have covered in class.

This series is also a part of my DVD Volume 1, which is available for $10.00

The best part is that one can perform this regardless of any age, taking into consideration some adaptations, depending upon bodily restrictions.

Savasana
Essential Oil: doTerra “Tumeric” – read, browse and let me know if you are interested in purchasing or become a wholesale buyer.
https://www.doterra.com/US/en/blog/spotlight-turmeric-oil
https://www.doterra.com/US/en/p/doterra-turmeric-essential-oil
https://www.doterra.com/US/en/blog/science-research-news

Music: Parijat “Offerings”

Quote/Reading:
A look at one of the nine behaviors which will not only make your Brain Healthier, they are free and everyone can lean how to practice them:

REFRAME everything negative.
The third on the list of what to to for your brain is known in organizational behavior and political science circle, but not often enough in ordinary life.

The technique is call ‘Reframing’.

Imagine your boss (family member or friend) just yelled at you in front of the whole team of co-workers (relatives or friends). The negative thought that sparks your alarm is obvious: I am a failure, I am stupid etc..

The possible reframes, however, are invaluable in jump starting the rest of your day and your brain health. Imagine immediately, even in the middle of the scene, thinking, “Well, at least he/she noticed me.” or “That wasn’t fun, but it proves I can handle being embarrassed.”

When you reframe, you make an ugly thought into a positive one.

It is not just positive thinking because you can’t lie to yourself and think you enjoyed the yelling. What you do is think how the experience was valuable.

When reframing becomes a habit, your alarm doesn’t have negative memories of experience to shut you down in the future.

You fill a bucket, drop by drop.
You clear your mind, thought by thought.
You heal yourself, moment by moment.
-by Lisa Limburger, Founder of the Neurosculpting Institute

Link: http://www.neurosculptinginstitute.com/

Misc:
“Structural Yoga Therapy” -adapting to the individual by Mukunda Stiles
-the book seems to be temporarily out of stock but a used edition(beginning at $11.) is available with some searching
https://www.amazon.com/Structural-Yoga-Therapy-Adapting-Individual/dp/1578631777/ref=pd_cp_14_1/145-2726611-8496319?_encoding=UTF8&pd_rd_i=1578631777&pd_rd_r=1cc7d6ef-7cae-4877-8cd9-61f63503d4fe&pd_rd_w=JISou&pd_rd_wg=ZwwXD&pf_rd_p=ef4dc990-a9ca-4945-ae0b-f8d549198ed6&pf_rd_r=JDAM521E65V14V1MK8HZ&psc=1&refRID=JDAM521E65V14V1MK8HZ

The 8 Charts which I showed in the folder did not cost $50. when I bought them 20 years ago but they may also be found as used and they are in the book.
https://www.abebooks.com/products/isbn/1578632196?cm_mmc=AMZ-_-DetailPage-_-OOS-_-ISBN

 

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

For the opening Attunement, please scroll down to #1 as I only list these movements once in each session, they are repeated in each an every class every week.

Kneeling & or Hero’s Pose: Yogi Snack
no prep necessary, just a short sequence which consists of 2 or more asana, concentrating the movement in tune with the breath.

This week we did the following:
Begin either in Hero’s Pose or on your knees with thumbs to the heart.
Inhale -reach your arms down and then out to the side taking the arms up over head and exhaling then out to the sides with the hands eventually laying, palms facing up, on the sacrum as you continue to exhale as you are lowering your head to the mat.
Inhale -reach the arms out and up overhead and then exhale and lower the head to the mat as the hands come to lay on the sacrum palms facing up.
Continue..
If you find it is not possible to reach the head to the floor than go as far as you can, working the core and gaining strength with each movement, be sure to move slowly co-ordinating with the breath.
The buttocks can either be in puppy or child’s pose, work between the two and see what is best for your individual body.

Standing: Stand up Taller (DVD Vol.2) Mountain Pose/Tadasana
to
Pranayama – Ujjayi Breathing

Standing:
Short Sequence standing at Wall: Solution Classes
Facing wall with fingertips touching wall for balance.

1.     Rise up on your toes and the balls of your feet. Slowly up and slowly down with awareness that the feet do not roll out or in. Can also be done on a stairs and then you can come down slightly lower than the stair level to stretch the plantar of the feet as well as the achilles and calf muscles. If you find that your feet are wobbly just do go up so far until you have built up the strength in your feet.

2.     Taking the elbows/forearms and hands to the wall shoulder width apart, keep the body on an angle with the heels down as far away from the wall as possible but still keeping them on the mat. Feel the stretch in the back of the legs. Just be there for 6x breaths, keeping the body on a straight angle like an unbendable piece of wood.

3.     Sliding the hands down the wall until they are level with the shoulders and still shoulder width apart, lower is harder, higher is easier. Being mindful that the arms are rotated so when you bend the arms the elbows come down and not out, this takes a slight rotation so the inside of the elbows are more facing upward. Again, keeping the body on a straight angle as if it were an unbendable piece of wood. Exhale to the wall, inhale straighten the arms.
Bringing top of your forehead towards wall with body straight/stiff/strong.
Don’t come so close to the wall that you can’t push away.
Start slow and strong and grow. 6-12x working up to 3 sets.

4.     Placing your back on the wall with buttock and shoulder blades touching the wall, knees slightly bent, feet hip width apart/block between the knees. Head should be on the wall without the chin pointing upward, if this does not happen just bring the head away from the wall so the chin can be in neutral (a good time to practice Turtle) Pelvic tilting bringing waist to wall on exhale and return to create the slight tunnel. Legs are relatively still and body does not slide.

Warrior I -working on balance/agility. Beginning close enough to the wall for stability and eventually coming farther away to work more on balance and strength building. Go slowly and think of both form and function. Please use the block for knee stability. Keeping the hips squared and both facing forward along with the shoulders, arms up in the air. Static and strong working on stamina.
and
Lunge Series
The lunge series using a block against the wall. The heel should line up with the toes, both being straight facing the wall.
1. Coming way up on toes… lifting the heel.
2. Dips (not too much if your knee is an issue, let’s build first gently) short and sweet, slow and strong.
3. Right and left and then again holding the stretch, working up to 90 seconds on each side for a long hold while engaging hugging muscle to bone.
4. Arms can be out to the sides or up over head unless you need to touch the wall for balance. Work on the front thigh eventually becoming more parallel to the floor.

Supine:
Supta Padangustasana
-Reclining Hand to Big Toe Pose with Strap to Happy Baby and Cobblers Pose

A strong stretch of the hamstrings where you are in control every moment. Also stretching and strengthening the hip abductors against resistance.

Single Leg Lift (with Strap)– 90 degree Hamstring Stretch-4 inches to right & left of midline, continuing if so desired to open completely and cross over. Continuing to Happy Baby/Dead Bug and then to Cobblers Pose.
or
Classic:
Lying on your back, bringing one leg across the body. use your opposite hand or a strap to hold the outer arch of your foot. When you feel a stretch in your side hip, press up into your hand or strap, as if you were coming out of the pose. This strengthens the abductor muscles of the hip and at the same time, engage the quadriceps while turning the top leg slightly outward as you straighten the knee, which draws the kneecap into alignment. Hold for 30 seconds, switch sides and repeat if you would like.

Adaptation/Variation:
Lying on your back, knees bent and feet together directly behind buttocks on the floor. Lift the buttocks and take it to the left a few inches, bring the knees into the chest and release them to the floor to the right. Arms in airplane and both shoulders, as much as possible, on the floor. Relax for a moment. Then slowly straighten the top leg taking the toes in the direction of your right hand, see if they will meet, if so, wrap your thumb and index finger around the big toe. Be mindful of your hamstrings, go gently and slowly. Once the top leg is straight you can begin to straighten your bottom leg.
It may take weeks/months until the final posture is achieved but it took years/decades to become so tight, be patient. This can be practiced in bed as the mattress can be very forgiving as long as you are not laying in a valley.
This is also a twist and often twists are not a friend of lower back issues so use your awareness and proceed with caution

Sitting:

Max Strom: Closing words to a class!
Take your palms to your thighs and drop your shoulder blades down your back…Sit very, very tall and close your eyes.
We want to lift the spine by pressing the buttocks down – by pressing down you can lift the spine tall….and even higher than you think.
The spine is like a column of energy that the rest of the body is merely suspended from…
Let your breath….. -breath itself now…
I invite you to visualize into the heart center…to the eye of your heart
Visualize, what is most precious to you in the world, the most precious thing that you know: person, idea, concept, belief…..
What ever it is that opens you’re heart to deep, deep gratitude
Visualize this precious, precious thing and let your heart blossom toward it and radiate its gratitude
We can never do this enough….
Please bring your hands together and to your forehead..…this simply indicates the desire for a clear and calmer mind
Take you hands to your lips..…indicating a desire for clear and loving communication.
Bring the hands to your heart center..indicating a desire for clear and loving intention.
May our practice help us become kinder and more truthful human beings and may we all teach peace by example.
Namaste

Savasana
Essential Oil: doTerra “Peppermint and Wild Orange”
Music: “Serenity” – Parijat
Quote: “How wonderful that nobody need wait a single moment before beginning to improve the world” -Anne Frank
Misc:
“A Life Worth Breathing” by Max Strom (the closing words of class were from his book, an inspring read)

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

The following Attunement section will only appear in #1 during this session but is a weekly part of every class which I teach, except for the chair classes.

Attunement

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

Warm-Up 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), Legs/Arms UP -Ankles/Wrists Flex-Extend, Happy Baby and Cobblers Pose (next week we will work with the strap which can make these two specific asana easier for many)

Warm-Up/Prone: Child’s Pose, Walk to the Right/Left, Thread the Needle, Cat n’ Cow, Balancing Cat R/L @ Finding the still point for 6 breaths/switching sides then Challenging for 6 breaths bringing knee to nose and elbow to hip following with reaching back for the ankle (optional).

Or you may option for the more challenging version starting in a short Down-Dog with the feet together and ending on the tips of your toes on one foot with the knee to to the nose and the shoulders forward as you come up on your toes. Repeating on the opposite side. Each side being one breath.

Kneeling:

A “Short n’Sweet”
Beginning in Hero’s Pose sitting on our heels (if possible) if not, begin on your knees with hands together in front of your chest, thumbs at the heart.
Inhale reach out and up, exhale to Child’s Pose, use the core to slower move down
Inhale to Up-Dog, curl the toes under and you can keep them so during the entire Short n;Sweet, exhale to Down-Dog
Inhale to Plank, exhale to Down-Dog
Inhale to Up-Dog exhale to Child’s Pose
Inhale reach out and up, exhale to Hero’s Pose or remain on the knees

Sitting: 

Pranayama/Breathing

Alternate Nostril Breathing -details on my website see the link

Single Nostril Breath (scroll down for detailed explanation from Summer Reviews)

Standing: Warrior II and Triangle
both with the block and using the wall for guidance. (see website for pix/video etc.)

Warrior II
Using the wall as a guidance, where balance is not an issue, but concentrating on the form of each of these asana. Honoring your limitations, especially in the shoulders.
Prep: Standing with your back to the wall, widen your legs as much as is comfortable with the feet in the direction of your body. Place the block behind the R heel and line up both feet the same distance from the wall.
Turn the R foot parallel to the wall and take the L heel slightly out so the L foot/knee/hip are in the same alignment.
Bend the R leg taking the knee over the ankle with the thigh as parallel to the floor as possible.
Bend the R arm and take the elbow to the thigh above the knee (as if you are holding a precious object on the palm of your hand)
Take the L shoulder/hip to the wall, bend the left arm placing the hand on the hip and take the L elbow to the wall. This may be as far as you can go with this arm. If the elbow is on the wall you may want to try to extend the forearm/hand on the wall and slowing. keeping contact. slide the arm up and eventually over the head until it is near the L ear. If looking into a mirror your L arm will look like an extension of your L leg.
Rotate you head either up or down: chin to the shoulder or looking at the ceiling inside the armpit.
Hold to work on stamina and building strength.
Reverse and do on the L side.

Triangle
Similar to Warrior II except the front leg remains perfectly straight and the corresponding arm either sits on the block or lays on the shin. While the opposite arm reaches directly to the ceiling as if both arms are in a straight line and the legs look like an inverted wide V. Your gaze divided the room in half.

Supine:

Bridge Series

Savasana

Essential Oil: doTerra “Spearmint” –
Music: “Music for the Mind” – Steve Halpern
Quote: It’s not the load that breaks you down, it’s how you carry it.” Lena Horn

Misc:
Ayurveda Medical Doctor in Tustin: Dr. Ram Tamang   www:thehealinggardens.com

A good read if you are interested in aging/life and the medical care system which is offered during the third portion of one’s life span:
“Elderhood: Redefining Aging, Transforming Medicine, Re-imagining Life”
by Louise Aronson M.D.

 

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