Yoga detox, refresh and renew flow

Intention:
“Don’t push the river, it flows by itself.” Collective Wisdom

Seated meditation
Hand to heart, other on belly
Feel the breath move in the body

Seated forward fold
Walk hands to right side then to center then Left
Then to center and fold

Cat cow flow seated eight times

Boat pose
Half boat (hold)
Stay in half boat pose. Split leg lift one let other leg hover keeping belly strong switch sides continue for eight reps
Add twists upper body (working obliques)
Basic crunches center eight times
Come back to half boat hold
Supine crow pose focusing on core

Sun salutation classical x 6

Vira 2
Ardha Chandrasana
Vira 3 airplane arms
Knee lift and to Garudasana
Chair
Chair twist flow
Step back wind swept warrior
Trikonasa
Goddess squat (wide squats x 5)
Pravritta Padottonasana
Malasana
Bakasana
Pivot to front low lunge
Low lunge twist
Lizard (option jump switch to lift heart rate)
Sink down
Shoulder under arm to Eka Pada Koundiyasana II
Three legged dog
Wild thing
Side plank with variations

Repeat top sequence on other side

Meet at seated posture

Apasana
Reclining twists
Ananda balasana

Savasana

Get Off Your Chair!

We sit at our desks all day at work. We sit in meetings. We try to sit in our best posture. Did you know prolonged sitting in a chair will tighten your hip flexors and rectus femoris? It may also contribute to low back pain. Why? The body will accommodate for the shortened range of motion. The pelvis starts to suffer too, thereby eventually leading to low back pain. It’s all interconnected. This is best explained in
an article posted by The Yoga Journal written by Gudmustad:

If the iliopsoas and other hip flexors are tight, they pull down and forward on the pelvis, which tilts the pelvis forward and compresses the lower back. Picture a man standing with the front of his pelvis tilting forward and his tailbone lifting. To stand upright, he has to overarch his lower back. Anatomically, this is called hyperextension; commonly, it’s called “swayback.” Prolonged standing or sitting in this position increases pressure on the facet joints of the lower spine, which can contribute to arthritis in those joints.

(http://www.yogajournal.com/practice/588)

What to do? Try the recommended stretches in the article link posted above. Or…try a Yin Yoga class. In Yin, the poses specifically targets the connective tissues in the hips, pelvis and lower spine. Cant make it to a Yin class? Bernie Clark, Yin Yoga extraordinaire (my mentor) has some videos online to guide you through. Visit http://www.yinyoga.com.

Time to get off your chairs!

Funky Side Crow aka Parsva Bakasana

Today’s practice was twisty and fun — being light hearted and taking a chance to try something new! Which led us to funky side crow…something my yoga spirit sibling Peggy Sung showed me almost a year ago. So I dedicate this practice to her!

Start off my warming up with some twists, planks, binds…then try Parsva bakasana first.

How to get into Parsva bakasana (aka Side Crow)

1. Come to a knees together squatting position.
2. Twist towards the side, turning the knees to the opposite side.
3. Place your hands down on your mat shoulder with apart and spread your fingers apart like starfish. Claw the mat!
(see photo)
4. Elbows in, lean and look forward, lift hips high and engage inner thighs and core.
5. Lift one foot at a time for beginners.

20130403-120824.jpg

Now when ready, try funky side crow! Follow the same procedure above but place your outside elbow under your shoulder, palm faces down.

20130403-121100.jpg

Then, engage inner thighs and core– start to lean..keep your gaze forward and balance.

20130403-121220.jpg

Thanks to Pegstars for showing me this!!!

Preparatory poses

Downdog to planks
Cat cow
Sunbirds
Sunbird leg lifted to knees chin chest flow
Surya knee down lunge twist
Standing Lunge twist to warrior 2
Pyramid to lunge to prayer twist
Warrior 2 to triangle
Triangle to reverse warrior
Extended right angle to bound right angle to bound triangle
Chair twists
Warrior 2 to lunge to lunge twist on outer edge of feet to side planks
Revolved triangle
Vinyasas in between with chatarunga arm emphasis
Then get funky with side crow!

Happy Birthday, Mom!

20130401-113107.jpg

Not only is it April fools day, but also my Mom’s birthday. She is no longer with us, I lost her nearly 6 years ago. Heaven is blessed to have an angel like her.

She was the best Mom anyone could ask for, her love unconditional for her kids. She had a quirky sense of humor, loved dressing up (or as she would say “doll up”) and loved Elizabeth Taylor (she idolized her). She enjoyed her Doris Day movies and listening to Johnny Mathis and Barry Manilow. She was my best friend, I told her everything. Yes. Everything.

Today, I remember her with happiness. She was always there for me…for the time I was blessed to have her– I am filled with gratitude to have had her as my Mom.

20130401-113159.jpg
(Auntie Val on the left, my mom on the right)

Happy Birthday, Momma!

Chances Are by Johnny Mathis…

Chances are, ’cause I wear a silly grin
The moment you come into view
Chances are you think that I’m in love with you

Just because my composure sort of slips
The moment that your lips meet mine
Chances are you think my heart’s your valentine

In the magic of moonlight
When I sigh, “Hold me close, dear”
Chances are you’ll believe the stars
That fill the skies are in my eyes

Guess you feel you’ll always be
The one and only one for me
And if you think you could
Well, chances are your chances are awfully good

Chances are you’ll believe the stars
That fill the skies are in my eyes

Guess you feel you’ll always be
The one and only one for me
And if you think you could
Well, chances are your chances are awfully good

The chances are your chances are awfully good

———————————————
Death is the last chapter in time, but the first chapter in eternity.

A thousand words won’t bring you back, I know because I’ve tried; neither will a million tears, I know because I’ve cried.

Each happiness of yesterday is a memory for tomorrow.
Always on my mind; Forever in my heart.

The life of the dead is placed in the heart of the living. (Cicero)

——————————————-

Firefly (Tittibhasana) Pose in BodyFlow 60

BodyFlow (BF) seems to be including more advanced postures each time I see a new release. Particularly, BF 60 — we see what the kiwis call “Bird in Flight”, normally know was Firefly or Tittibhasana. We also see Wheel Pose, we will leave that posture for another topic to blog about.

This is an advanced posture, I do love that Jackie gives the option of Happy Baby. Remember, it is a practice. The good news is that you can try it and fall on your butt instead of your head (like in Bakasana).

What do you need to do in this posture? Well, we use arms and wrists. We also use our core, hamstrings and our inner thighs. Start slowly.
Make sure you warm up first with a few sun salutations.

I start off with a squat that is narrower that shoulder with and wiggle the trunk of my body under. I try to get as deep as possible. I engage Mula and Uddiyana Bandha, my thighs are pressing into my arms. My hands are like starfish, fingers spread apart. I slowly shift my weight back, finding my dristi.

20130517-165147.jpg
Then I start to slide one foot forward, playing with my balance. I do this slowly. When ready, I lift the other and come into flight.

20130517-165309.jpg

I find that if my legs come out too wide, it is counterintuitive. I keep engaging the bandhas and then I focus Pada bandha as well. This helps me take flight.

Remember, it takes time and practice. I did not get here overnight! Happy flying!

Dwi Pada Koundiyasana

“When we think failure, failure will be ours. If we remain undecided, nothing will ever change. All we need to do is want to achieve something great and then simply do it. Never think failure, for what we think will come about.” Mahareshi Mahesh

This quote is so poignant, especially when it comes to approaching challenging asanas such as Dwi Pada Koundiyasana.

This pose will require strength in your arms, shoulders, chest, core, and back. There is also deep spinal twisting; use of hips and finding your dristi.

We enter this pose via Parsva Bakasana (Side Crow). Feet together, come to chair twist. Then squat lower. Hands are shoulder width and knees will face the other way. Make sure your elbow is as far up in your thigh by your hip as possible. Draw your inner thighs together as you shift your weight in your arms. Dristi, gaze forward and find your balance.

20130328-223841.jpg

Once you’re there, extend your legs coming to Dwi Pada Koundiyasana.

20130328-224034.jpg

Preparatory poses/flow
Classical Surya Namaskar 6x
Downdog twist
Anjayasana with Garudasana arms
Lunge twists
Warrior 2
Reverse Warrior
Chair twists
Garudasana to warrior 3 with eagle arms
Pyramid to paravritta trikonasa
Standing spits to revolved balancing half moon
Balancing Half Moon with namaste hands
Abs (knee to nose flow)
Pigeon pose

An Attitude of Gratitude

β€œMake an attitude to be in gratitude, you will find the whole Universe will come to you.” ~ Yogi Bhajan

I was shocked with some news this morning. I grow very fond of my students, so to find out they were moving out of state was a surprise to me. Early morning yin yoga will not be the same without them.

With the news settling in, I cannot be a little sad of their departure. Although, it brings me back to an attitude of gratitude. I’m so thankful that I was able to meet them and glad they will be taking the yin practice with them. I will always remember their places in my yin class and keep them in my heart.

Thank you for your dedication, Andy and Jo. Good luck in all your future endeavors. Houston is lucky to have you two!

Love and light,
Lisa J

Cultivating a Yin Practice

Why was I so drawn to Yin Yoga? I stumbled into this practice a few years ago. It took a while for me to understand because I consider myself a “yangster”. I’m always moving. I love a good kickboxing class. I love jumping…I like to sweat and work hard. So with the Yin practice, I have to admit that it was hard for me to sit still. Don’t get me wrong, I still love my vinyasa practice…however, Yin compliments it.
Yin brings out a meditative state in me where I need to face myself, my thoughts and emotions that surface in the deep, intense posture. Instead of escaping them, I face them head on and try to deal with them. It’s hard, sometimes I want to jump out of a posture. Then, I breathe, am reminded of the second tattva (principle) in yin – “keeping the mind still” and allow myself to face the raw emotions and the intensity of the pose. It teaches me to stay calm.
Not to mention I get energetic (chi) benefits and physical benefits (ROM) as well. It’s amazing.
If you haven’t tried it, find a class nearby your town and give it at least 3-4 times before making a decision if you like it. The first couple times will take some understanding and next few times you may find this practice will grow on you.
To find out more, you may want to visit Bernie Clark’s site (my mentor) at http://www.yinyoga.com. Happy Yin’ing!

Approaching your yoga practice…I challenge you!

Health is the greatest possession. Contentment is the greatest treasure. Confidence is the greatest friend. -Lao Tzu

Making time to practice yoga is important. I think it’s wonderful that I see people doing yoga daily challenges and are inspired to do more! I see so many photos of different asanas and people inspired to look like others in their postures.
Inspiration is wonderful. Be mindful as you approach your practice. Remember that yoga is a practice. Listen to your body. Its common to want to get competitive in your own mind.

Everyone is built differently and someone who looks super awesome and bendy in a backbend may not be for you. Maybe it’s your shoulders, your range, but remember that you may not look exactly the same as someone who could be on the cover of a yoga magazine.

Approach your practice with open loving kindness to yourself. Getting hurt in a pose is not worth it. Pull back when you need to. Breathe in each pose. Experience each pose. Do what’s right for you. It’s a practice. Not just a challenge. Enjoy your practice to its fullest potential. Mostly, I challenge you to love yourself and cultivate contentment as you approach your yoga mat.

Namaste.

Yin Teacher Intensive…Saha Navavatu

Two weeks later, I reflect on my experience in the Yin Teacher intensive with Bernie Clark. I’m forever grateful, but I know that I’m in a constant state of learning- eager to learn more. I love Yin…learning of the meridians and chi.Thank you Bernie for sharing your knowledge and to my new yoga siblings for always being you.

Saha Navavatu Chant

om saha naavavatu
saha nau bhunaktu
saha veeryam karavaavahai
Tejas winavadhi tamastu
ma vidvisaavahai
om shanti shanti shanti

20130308-211225.jpg