Now that Spring has sprung many are looking to or have begun what we know as “Spring Cleaning.” the task is daunting as we begin, however, as we get closer to the finish line, then look at our clean space, there is a sense of accomplish and calm. A book that Cate Stillman of yogahealer.com recommends is The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. Japanese cleaning consultant Marie Kondo takes tidying to a whole new level, promising that if you properly simplify and organize your home once, you’ll never have to do it again. Most methods advocate a room-by-room or little-by-little approach, which doom you to pick away at your piles of stuff forever. The KonMari Method, with its revolutionary category-by-category system, leads to lasting results. With detailed guidance for determining which items in your house “spark joy” (and which don’t), this international bestseller will help you clear your clutter and enjoy the unique magic of a tidy home—and the calm, motivated mindset it can inspire.
Yoga is a practice that helps to strengthen your body using slow, controlled movements, in and out of poses. When practiced properly, one of the benefits is to alleviate pain. So why would you want strain to get into a pose? That hurts! Plus it won’t be short term!
The Lotus Pose (Padmasana) is forced by many during meditation. Pushing yourself in this way can lead to a sickening “pop” in the knee, followed by years of pain and limited mobility.
The safest way to practice Padmasana and related poses is to strongly rotate your thigh outward at the hip and not go deeper into the pose when you reach the limit of your outward rotation. This means that you’ll have to stop lifting your foot when your thigh stops rotating, so you may not get your foot on the opposite thigh. (Remember the upside: happy, functional, pain-free knees.) You can use your hands or a strap to help rotate your thighbone outward. Whether using your hands, a strap, or a cloth, if your knee ends up dangling in midair, support it with a folded blanket so you do not inadvertently force it downward as you turn the thigh outward.
If you have the misfortune of hurting your inner knee in Padmasana or a related pose, the first thing to do is leave it alone. You need to rest, ice, elevate, and compress it for a few days to reduce swelling and inflammation. If the injury seems serious, seek medical attention. It’s a good idea to reintroduce knee range of motion as early as you can by gently flexing and extending the knee to the extent possible. A yoga program for recovery needs to be individualized to your needs and supervised by a qualified instructor. Promoting alignment and strength with basic standing poses is ideal. You may try Trikonasana (Triangle Pose) and Virabhadrasana II (Warrior Pose II). If necessary, support your body with a chair to take weight off the knee. In addition, increase range of motion by doing Virasana (Hero Pose) with the pelvis supported on a prop, and eventually reintroduce outward rotating movements like Baddha Konasana (and perhaps Padmasana) using a rolled cloth behind the inner knee.
Your yoga practice should be pleasurable and healing. Be mindful and pay attention to your body so as to avoid long term injury. Namaste.
Spring is Coming and we are feeling warmer temperatures and seeing more of the sun! Let’s take a look at Sun Salutation, 12 poses that help improve strength and flexibility of the muscles and spinal column. This pose also warms up the body and tones the abdominal muscles.
STEP 1: Stand on your yoga mat and start with the Yoga Mountain Pose. Bring your palms together in prayer position. Exhale.
STEP 2: As you inhale, raise your arms overhead, keeping your palms together.
STEP 3: Exhale and then bend forward until your hands touch your feet.
STEP 4: As you inhale, step the right leg back, arch back and lift your chin.
STEP 5: Exhaling, step the left leg back into plank position. Keep your spine and legs in a straight line and support your weight on hands and feet.
STEP 6: Retaining the breath, lower your knees, your chest and then your forehead, keeping your hips up and toes curled under.
STEP 7: Inhaling, stretch forward and bend back. Keep your arms straight.
STEP 8: Exhaling, curl your toes under, press down into your heels, and lift your hips.
STEP 9: As you inhale, bring your right leg forward, with the top of the foot stretched out flat on the floor, and lift your chin.
STEP 10: Exhale and then bend forward until your hands touch your feet.
STEP 11: Inhaling, stretch your arms forward and over your head. Slowly bend backward from the waist.
STEP 12: Exhaling, gently come back to Tadasana.
B. K. S. Iyengar and yoga teachers strongly emphasize the use of props, such as blocks, blankets and eggs. Here are five ways these props and more will help to deepen your yoga practice.
1. More openness and freedom. Got short hamstrings? In many asanas, hamstrings hold some back like reins, tempting them to fight back by rounding the spine and collapsing the front body, which in turn shortens the breath. But add a folded blanket underneath the hips in seated forward bends, and the spine—and breath—can stay lengthened while entering the pose. Do this, and over time one can reduce the height of the blanket, stretching the hamstrings gradually, thus preventing injury. Too slow, you say? Not compared to healing a hamstring tear or a strained back.
2. Greater stability and strength. Daily activities—sitting, walking, reaching forward—tend to overemphasize certain muscles while neglecting others. When the muscles needed to anchor an asana aren’t strong enough, there’s a tendency to compensate by straining or struggling. For example, if the hip muscles aren’t able to stabilize the pelvis in Vrksasana (Tree Pose), we might torque the base of the spine or hyperextend the knee of the standing leg, triggering an anatomical “train wreck” as other muscles and joints follow the misalignment. Rather than reinforcing bad alignment habits in order to balance, touch a wall or hold the back of a chair, then focus on developing the muscle memory (proprioception) and strength needed for stable alignment.
3. The Best rejuvenation, ever. If you’ve ever been injured, ill, or just plain tired, you know how tempting it can be to skip daily asana practice because it “takes too much energy.” With blankets and bolsters to support poses, Restorative Yoga can give (not deplete) energy. Even something as effortless as lying back on a rolled towel or a bolster during pranayama can recharge your inner batteries.
4. Keener self-awareness. “One size fits all” is a lie when it comes to yoga pants, and it’s not true for asana, either. Proportion, bone structure, strength, flexibility, and other factors vary from person to person, but all too often, we try to match our asanas to the teacher’s because that’s the “right way.” Except that it’s not. How an asana feels, not how it looks, is a better guide. Experimenting with props can help you learn to recognize the inner cues that tell you when something doesn’t fit and why. Wonky hips in Eka Pada Rajakapotasana (Pigeon Pose)? Try a folded blanket under the low hip. Struggling to breathe deeply in Utthita Trikonasana (Triangle Pose)? Place the hand on a chair instead of the floor so that you can open both sides of the ribcage.
5. Sharper concentration. When a prop can free us from the distracting struggle to overcome short hamstrings or other challenges, then the mind can become fully focused. This is essential during seated meditation poses, and lifting the pelvis by sitting on a folded blanket that the back muscles won’t have to overwork to support the pose. Props can help us reach a state of awareness in many other asanas as well.
This series of four poses is designed to support spinal health and relieve back pain through yoga.
1. Come to lie in your back with the knees bent and the soles of your feet on the floor.
2. Do 5-10 Pelvic Tilts to warm up the spine.
Supported Bridge Pose
1. Have a yoga block nearby.
2. Press into the soles of the feet to lift the hips. Slide a yoga block under your sacrum, coming into Supported Bridge.
3. This should be a comfortable resting position that you may want to hold for several minutes.
4. To come out, press into the feet the lift the sacrum off the block, slide the block out, and slowly lower your back on to the floor.
Reclined Big-Toe Pose – Supta Padangusthasana
1. Have a yoga strap nearby.
2. Release your left leg flat on the floor (you may keep it bent with the sole on the floor if this is more comfortable) as you draw the right knee in to your chest.
3. Loop the strap over your right foot and straighten the leg coming in to Reclined Big Toe Pose – Supta Padangusthasana.
4. Repeat on the other leg.
Supine Spinal Twist – Supta Matsyendrasana
1. Lift your hips slightly off the floor and shift them about an inch to your right.
2. Bring your right knee into your chest and extend the left leg on the floor.
3. Drop your right knee over to the left side of your body, coming in to Supine Spinal Twist – Supta Matsyendrasana.
We are quickly approaching Valentine’s Day and possibly looking to do something special for loved ones, oftentimes neglecting ourselves. Please know it is perfectly right and necessary to take steps to love yourself. Here are some tips you can begin to do to improve well-being:
We’re at the mercy of the external world when we launch into the day without plugging into ourselves first. Maybe we need to cancel a meeting or spend more time on our personal lives.
Stop saying you’ll start meditating once you have a better handle on your schedule. Just taking five minutes in the morning benefits you all day.
Meditation creates a space for honesty in all its beautiful (and brutal) forms. That means we accept responsibility for our own decisions and how they aid and abet relationship issues and frustrations. “Stop saying yes when we want to say no, and quit running around doing things that don’t matter to us because we don’t feel complete.
Women are especially guilty of making jokes about how fat or how bad we look, but when we do that, we empower other women (or men) to do the same. On the other hand, articulating something we love about ourselves gives a friend permission to feel good too.
Are you eating what you want to eat or did someone throw down a deep-dish and make the choice for you? Give yourself the space to consider how to nourish and fuel your body, and you’ll leave the table feeling good about yourself.
Have a pal who always ropes you into splitting nachos and chocolate cake derailing your diet and sense of wellbeing in the process? You’re not alone: In a 2012 Stanford University study, 90% of women who started a weight loss journey did not feel supported by their friends when they tried eating healthfully.
If it isn’t possible to schedule an activity away from a dinner menu, prepare a set response to shut down any second-guessing. A simple “That’s right, I am not having the dessert again” may do the trick.
Feeling low on self-love may be solved with food science. Diets rich with Omega-3 fatty acids (like salmon, flaxseeds, and hemp) reduce inflammation in our brain and help improve our moods. Similarly, spinach, asparagus, and Brussels sprouts are bursting with folate, a nutrient linked to lower depression rates.
Just because work, friends, and family place large demands on us, carving out time for ourselves isn’t selfish: Ultimately, it’s an investment in those around us.
Everyone thinks that the purpose of meditation is to handle stress, to tune out, to get away from it all. That is part of the process for sure. But the most important thing for you to know is that small doses of regular meditation actually are intended to make you MORE mindful of your situation and the world, and to handle stress better… rather than merely avoiding it.
Practicing meditation is not to just de-stress, but to find that peace within, the peace that spiritual traditions talk about that passes all understanding.
Deepak Chopra says ” meditation is a way to get in the space between your thoughts. You have a thought here, a thought here, and there’s little space between every thought” Here’s more from Deepak on this …
How to Quiet Your Mind During Meditation
Keep your eyes closed, and bring your awareness into your heart, right in the middle of the chest. With all of your awareness try to see, sense, feel your heartbeat. See if you can sense your heartbeat either as a sound or a sensation.
Now that you’re experiencing your heartbeat as a sound or a sensation, bring your awareness to your fingertips, to your hands. See where my hands are? Bring your awareness into your fingertips. You can open you eyes and peek for a second and then go back with your eyes closed. Feel your heartbeat in your fingertips. You feel that? You’ve just diverted blood flow to your hands. This is one of the fastest ways to relieve a migraine headache.
Now bring your awareness back into your heart and just mentally repeat the four words that I’m going to ask you to repeat, mentally.
Peace. Harmony. Laughter. Love.
Peace. Harmony. Laughter. Love.
Do that for two minutes and now move your awareness anywhere in your body that you want to bring healing to. You don’t have to visualize anything, you don’t have to say anything, just bring your awareness. Just bringing awareness to these different parts of your body will bring consciousness, which is healing.
Finally, come back to your heart, and in one minute or so say again those four words: Peace. Harmony. Laughter. Love. Remember those are the goals of all the other goals in our life, whatever we want, ultimately that’s what we want. So repeat: Peace. Harmony. Laughter. Love.
Now keep your awareness in your heart and just for one minute, experience gratitude. You experience gratitude by thinking of all the things you’re already grateful for. The more you experience gratitude, the more you’ll attract things in your life that will make you feel even more grateful. Do that for a second, a few seconds, relax into your body, and open your eyes. This is a healing meditation.
Now that is a simple technique. If you really spend time with those 4 words… and really put your heart into them…. you WILL bring peace, harmony, laughter and love into you life in greater and greater amounts.
Do Yoga – Asana practice is an excellent way to keep your lymphatic system flowing, as it does not have a natural pump, and it helps to strengthen your immune system.
Vitamins and Supplements- Eating a healthy diet is important to our health. The vitamins and minerals we absorb through our food allow our cells to be stronger and our immune systems to do their jobs. But sometimes our best dietary intentions are derailed by busy schedules or travel. Even if we try to eat well, sometimes we can use a little boost if we know that we’re going to be in situations where there are lots of germs. Taking an extra supplement can help to boost your immune system, keeping you happy and healthy.
Neti Pot – It is a wonderful way to provide relief from sinus pressure and congestion. Using it when you’re well is a nice way to flush out your nasal and sinus cavities, keeping them hydrated and healthy. Your first couple of times will feel strange. However, as you get used to the process, it becomes more relaxing.
Mantra – It is not a magical process that will prevent you from getting sick. But if you are a believer in the power of sound and vibration, chanting a mantra can raise your vibration and align you with Health. Even if you aren’t sure about that, mantra lovers know that it feels good to chant. Chanting can stimulate the pituitary gland, and release hormones that help us to feel good. It’s a wonderful remedy for those days you’re feeling under the weather!
Tea – When you have a cold, it’s important to stay hydrated. Getting plenty of fluids can help with congestion, and flushing germs out of the body. Different herbs can help to soothe the body, and many people find it comforting to drink a warm beverage when they don’t feel well.
Sunrise Yoga is thrilled announce the opening of our third studio space located directly across from our main front door! Our student population has grown significantly and it is our desire to make our yoga family as comfortable as we can. Students attending classes in the new space will still check in at the main studio. Come join us for our Space Clearing and Blessing Ceremony on Friday, January 1 at 12:00 noon to officially open our new space.
Thank you All for being a part of the Sunrise Yoga Family! Have a safe and blessed holiday!
Namaste (pronounced Nah-mah-stay) is used as a salutation in India and other countries in the East. It is similar, in a way, to “Aloha” in Hawaii. It has many meanings and uses, including “Hello” and “Goodbye” in verbal communication. In written communication it is used in a manner similar to how we use “Sincerely.” In short, it is a considerate way to acknowledge and pay respect to another.
Namaste is a Sanskrit word that has been given many meanings, and I encourage you to find one that works for you and make it your own. Here are some common examples of how it’s used:
*The spirit in me honors the spirit in you.
*The teacher in me acknowledges the teacher in you.
*The light in me sees the light in you.
If you study the origin of the word and meaning of each syllable, Namaste translates roughly to “Not me, but you.” Those who teach or want to deepen their practice are sharing with others what they have learned. It is not just for themselves. If saying Namaste is not for you, please refrain. Saying “thank you” in your heart for all who are with you in class and your teacher is quite appropriate.
So, for now, I leave you with Namaste.