get some soap
Yesterday, I visited the Boyz at Orbital Arts. Their friend Matt was there. We got chatting about yoga. Matt wondered about Upward Facing Dog. In a vary limited space, he demonstrated how he went from plank to upward facing dog.
I thought of a few more important points to that asana…..
In order to keep the weight from sitting in your low back…keep in mind that it is an upper body weight bearing exercise. Let the work be in your arms and lengthen your heels away from your waist. In this case, your toes are turned under. Try not to lock your elbows. They stay bent and hug into your ribs.
If you focus on opening your chest and taking the weight in your arms, there will be less pressure compressing on your lumbar. Shoulders are always dropping away from your ears and sliding down your back. Its more that your wings tuck in and come forward and apart rather than “squeezing them together”
YOGA DIARIES/TALK YOGA
When I was 9 years old, I was introduced to yoga. My sister and I use to go down to “the apartments” on Queen St. East at Craven Rd where we were taught Alternate Nostril Breathing. We were given a poster of Sun Salutation. The woman who “taught” us wasa free spirited , pot smoking, free loving hippie who was the older sister of my brothers friend…. It was 1969. I remember that poster being hung at the end of a hallway in our house. Trying to do those poses unassisted was short lived and frustrating to say the least.
In 1987, my friend Dominique convinced me to go to a yoga class with her and the teacher allowed me to bring my child (stroller and all) to the class. At that time, yoga showed me how disconnected I was from myself and how in many ways, I existed from the head up. I can’t even say I really liked it, it was hard and awkward and I tried to understand everything intellectually.
The stress of my life was too much and I quit. Thank god, my teacher sent me a letter once telling me that she was going to save a spot for me in her class whenever I was ready to return. What a gift she gave me. Her name is Elissa Gallender. She inspired me to teach.
I grew to love yoga but my practice was superficial. I was working too hard to “do yoga” instead of getting out of the way and letting “yoga do me”
Yoga made me feel good…and I wanted more but I was never able to master the art of dicipline.
I think it comes to each of us thru perserverance and dedication and time.
I believe INSPIRATION is the best motivator to establish a dicipline. Pain, illness and residing in an aging body are also very good motivators.
Yoga really does mean to unify ones self in all of our various parts and the poses and conscious breathing are simply the means to get there! Horray for yoga
———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Marguerite Arbour<firstname.lastname@example.org>
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With more and more time spent on computers and cellphones, people are getting tighter. Our bodies are fixed in awkward positions for long periods of time with our fingers overworked and head tilted forward. Too much static pressure on ones pelvis without the support of our
legs and even worse if you cross your legs and cut off your circulation . Notice how you feel when you get up after sitting too long…
Try these tips:
1. Hang forward in your chair let your upper body rest on your legs; let your head and arms hang
2. Lift your arms up as you come to sitting and open your chest by stretching your arms up and back
3. Repeat 1 and 2 standing
If you’ve ever experienced a pinched neck muscle then you know how debilitating it can be.
Try a Downward Dog pose and release it for a few deep breaths and release. It may seem counter intuitive but by putting weight on the shoulders, then releasing, you allow the muscles in the surrounding area (shoulders and back) to relax. Don’t let neck and body pain ruin your day, a little bit of yoga goes a long way!
Sign-up below for more free tips and tricks for keeping you happy and healthy and productive. If you or your organization would like to try Yoga At Work, drop me a line!
I’m trying to imagine a person with little to no yoga experience today looking for a studio or teacher. I also imagine that in the early stages of post cancer treatment, there are many physical changes one has to adjust to.
We know that movement and relaxation can contribute to physical and mental well being. I think if you are a person who wants to start a yoga class in your community,at any stage of your cancer journey, veer on the side of caution and listen to the wisdom of your body… start slow and steady if you are new to yoga.
All people have tension in their bodies and an imbalance to various degrees from the right to left side. As time passes, people hold emotions in their bodies, they have injuries, they get cancer, they have surgeries. We are all working with something. Most classes focus on a persons well being. I think that an experienced teacher can tell when they see a person move…where they are tight and where they are tender. Some people are more comfortable than others sharing personal information. Feel free to let the instructor know where you are tight. It will help them help you.
Here are some questions to ask yourself:
Here are some questions to ask studio or instructor:
One style is not better than another. It takes time to understand how simple and complex the practice is. One starts off by doing yoga and over time… yoga does you! Bring a friend, ask questions! Information is power and clarity will bring you closer to what you want.There are far too many styles of yoga for me to list. I am sure I would miss many… I will leave you with a few general styles that you can work from.
Try out some different styles. Don’t feel obliged to make a commitment. Remember, this is your time and you can design it how you like!
Originally published on Wellspring: Pass It On!
Because no one can really show us how.
I’ve been teaching yoga for twenty years and to master the art of practice is exactly that:; an art form and in my experience, something that does not come easy and something that is earned by each of us. So if you struggle in your practice, I think its par for the course. How does one become disciplined? There are no magic answers. How does one inspire one’s self to achieve what is best for the self and those they make contact with? It’s a process. We fall off the horse and get back on.
Lower your expectations. Be nice to yourself. Don’t expect to recreate a practice for the same time you are in a class. A short focused practice is a more realistic goal.
Once i connected with yoga, I attended four classes per week for years to give myself the practice without having to rely on the discipline I knew I did not have. I wanted to practice but I just couldn’t. One of the mistakes I made was that I was looking for esteem as if the more I did yoga, the better I was and the less I did…’
I was a perfectionist when it came to my yoga and a tyrant . I I had unrealistic and unattainable goals. Fortunately, I was accepting and nurturing and open and loving and supportive to my students. I didn’t know how to extend that to myself.. The pressure was exhausting. I was aware of the dynamic that I had set up in myself but I didn’t really have anyone in the yoga world to process it with.
My practice or lack of it suffered for many years. The more my inner tyrant cracked the whip, the more my inner rebel rebelled. I really had declared war on myself. During this time I got a hamstring injury (not from yoga. When we know each other better I will tell you how I got it). I was in a lot of pain for a long time and I lost a lot of flexibility. I honestly had no idea how to inspire myself . I tried for many years to ignore it my injury and discovered;“The more I resist, the more it persists.”
Yoga was bringing me closer to myself and showing me what my inner world was all about. It takes It takes time to establish our patterns and to undo them. .On an intellectual level, I realized my own judgement was holding me back but I really didn’t know what to do differently. That first step to change for me was being open to doing things in a different way and really living the truth that what I was doing was not working.I think it is fair to say that transformation is experiential. Sometimes we have to saturate what does not work in order to move toward change…. I understood how open and free the body could be yet I couldn’t find a loving way to take myself there.
Eventually, I started to do a gentle practice and found a teacher to work with me. Enter Patricia White. I was ready to open up to different ways of working. Her style is powerful and she focuses on balance and the entire body being involved in movement. She does some very serious slow cook yoga.
I started to work from a place of listening. I was inspired by working with Patricia and motivated to shift things for myself. I put value on undoing and breathing and letting go. I was looking to balance my body. I took on the challenge of discovery and was motivated to “Keep the monsters at bay.” I started to practice from enthusiasm and inspiration. I saw that my hamstring injury was my gift.
Unravelling the layers of resistance is a long process for some people. I get students who mirror me so I see things in them that I have gone thru and I see physical things thru them that my body also does. It really is a work in progress for me now and I mostly welcome my aches and pains as a challenge to see what I can creatively do to move beyond it.
Inspiration, motivation, love, enthusiasm, being clear, calm, regrouping, moving thru blocks, releasing pain, lengthening tight muscles…these are reasons for me to practice. On a practical note I don’t put a time line on my practice. I practice 5 to 6 days a week. I try to work with myself and practice in the morning when I am fresh. I use these inspirational tricks on myself instead of an iron fist. I show up, do my best and let it be what it is.
I am grateful and try not to chase it.Like the weather, there are good days, bad days and go thru the motion days. I devote myself to the whole ball of wax: the good, the bad and the ugly.
I don’t pressure my students to practice because I don’t want to set them up for disappointment. I think for someone who will be doing yoga for years, the discipline of practice It will evolve naturally. I let people know that if they want to practice and are not sure what to do, I can set them up (for free) with a personal practice. Few take me up on the offer.
It takes a lotta love!
Originally published on Toronto Body Mind