It’s A New Day

So today is the day after.  For those of you joining in today, we have finished the book Yoga Anatomy by Leslie Kaminoff and Amy Matthews.  I have decided I will probably do random sequences instead of another book as the sequences will include all of the poses we just talked about.  Today is going to be the most important sequence for a lot of people.  It is the sequence for aches and pains.  Of course any kind of movement is always beneficial to prevent aches and pains. As with anything new or a posture that is new to you, move slowly.  Listen to your body as it tells you whether it enjoys a pose or whether you need to back off a pose.  Use your breath to move through the poses in the sequence.  Approach each pose with care and ease.  If your breath becomes shorter, back off a little.  Always all time to adjust to each new position. 

Start off with cow face pose.  This is done while sitting with one leg stacked on top of the other, knees in alighment.  Make sure both sit bones are flat on the floor.  From there, move into cow face with the shoulder opener.  Whatever leg is on top, take the opposite arm into the air as you drop it behind your back and reach the other arm in front and all the way around to find your other hand. Stay here and then repeat on other side.  If you have 2 blocks available this pose helps the spine. You will be going into a supported bridge pose. Place one block on the tallest under your neck and another block on the lowest right under the low back.  Open up the chest and stay here releasing into the blocks for a few breaths.  Next, remove blocks and extend one leg out while crossing the other leg all the way across your body in a nice spinal twist.  Repeat with other leg.  Squat with neck release follows spinal twist.  Go into a squat position and lace the fingers behind your head and drop your chin toward your chest.  To close the aches and pains poses, release onto the floor with a rolled up blanket under your spine and feet together in butterfly.  Arms can be at a T position opened up the chest.  Close your eyes and stay here for a few minutes.  Imagine your favorite place and breath!

A Very Rudolph Bow Pose

I apologize in advance for todays picture as it is pajama day at work and I am in Rudolph pajamas.  Santa is also here today so we are having a fun day here.  It is a very busy day here in the jewelry and restaurant business.  We have every table filled and are making people happy.  That’s one of the things I love about being in the business of retail and the food industry. As I am writing this I am sitting at my desk right now listening to singing. We have a table that has 4 little kids singing “I want a hippopotamus for Christmas.” Absolutely the cutest thing I have ever heard.  Everyone is happy, smiling and singing! 🙂

What better way to have fun then bow pose.  My yoga instructor would always laugh as we did this pose.  She told us that you can rock back and forth but it is very uncomfortable. LOL This is a great pose for the gluteus maximus as well and for the shoulders.  If the shoulders are tight, this pose will not be fun though. 

Todays Pose: Dhanurasan-bow pose- start off on your stomach with arms and legs extended.  Slowly bring the arms behind you and find the tops of your feet or ankles.  Extend the arms and legs up into the air and breath deeply. Slowly release back onto the floor and lay there for a moment.

What this pose works: pectoralis major, gluteus maximus, deltoid, adductor magnus, semitendinosus, semimembranosus, palmaris longus, pronator teres, flexor carpi radialis, and the flexor carpi ulnaris muscles

My Cobra Christmas Tree

10 more days left in 2018!  

Its incredible how fast this year has gone by. I’m afraid if I blink one more time today that 2019 will be here. Have you made your New Years Resolution yet? Every year, majority of people say that would like to lose weight, use that gym membership they never have, or get into shape.  Approximately 80% of New Years Resolutions fail by February.  Why is that? In my opinion, it is because we put too much pressure on ourselves and don’t set realistic goals.  Or we reach our goal and then get lazy and go back to our old ways.  I started going to the gym and taking yoga classes because that was my New Years Resolution almost 7 years ago now.  Sometimes it sticks and you are a “lifer” The challenge for this year is to set an attainable goal for yourself and make it a lifestyle. Don’t make it to lose 15 pounds or anything like that.  Say you want to be more physically active, or take yoga classes! 😀 Putting a number on it puts too much pressure on. Remember that muscle weighs more then fat does.  You might weigh the same or more but clothes fit you better and you look fit.

The pose for today is a great one to start off using those core muscles and toning the gluteus maximus.  And yes you may laugh at my picture because I’m dressed like a Christmas tree. LOL If you have low back trouble, practice this one with caution.  It is a very good back stretch but you must take it slowly and not jam the back.  Extend the back and relax the gluteus Maximus.

Today’s pose: Bhujangasana- cobra pose- start off on your stomachs with arms extending in front of you. Slide the hands toward you coming onto the hip bones. Lift the heart toward the ceiling and life the neck if your neck allows you to do so. Stay here for a few breaths and then slowly slide the hands back . Repeat if you would like to.

What this pose works: serratus anterior, triceps brachii, gluteus Maximus, and the hamstrings.

There is always a First Time for Everything

IMG_6977Happy Crazy Fish Thursday!

For the very first time since I started my blog, I am not posting a picture of me doing todays pose. As it is, I don’t really like seeing pictures of myself. I’m not one of those that loves taking selfies. I never have been and probably never will be. When I decided 44 days ago that I would begin a blog, the one thing I dreaded was a picture of me doing the poses. Todays pose in particular makes a part of me stick out a little too much if you know what I mean. LOL I’m not one to promote anything but yoga so todays pose is the picture out of the book. 🙂

One of the most important things about the pose of the day is the backbend. If your back and neck are not in the greatest shape then I would skip this pose. Only two muscles are really being worked in this pose but those two muscles fun along a quarter of our bodies. This is used as a counterpose to the salamba sarvangasana pose we did a few days ago.  Anytime we do a cervical spine flexion, it is always best to do the spinal extension.

Todays Pose: matsyasana- Fish pose- start off on your backs. Bring your arms under your back with your hands cradling your tailbone.  Start curling the head under coming onto the top of the head if your neck allows.  Always protect yourself in any yoga pose.  Stay here for a few breaths and then slowly bring the head back to resting on the floor and remove the arms from under you. 

What this pose works: sternocleidomastoid and the rectus abdominis muscles

A Twisty Wednesday

Happy Wednesday all my fellow yogis and friends! Hope everyone is enjoying the week. We have 5 shopping days left before the big day! My big baking day is happening Friday morning. I did bake the fudge already and made my other homemade gifts. I can’t say what they are because some of the recipients read this blog daily. 😊 If anyone wants any of the extra cookies, please take them as I don’t need anymore! Lol

I hate to say it but we are taking a 3 day break from arm balances because I skipped a couple pages. Not on purpose either. Silly me. It’s ok because this is a pose that I do every single day and every class I teach. It is way too important to skip. I have always had back trouble from the time I was 16. My aunt, cousins and I were involved in a car accident that left my back in pain ever since. I have discovered that this pose/twist always makes my back feel a little better. Ironically my chiropractor puts me in this same pose sometimes to crack and pop my back so it must be good for me! Lol Don’t be afraid to practice this pose daily to maintain a healthy back.

Today’s pose: jathara parivrtti- belly twist- start off on your back with your feet flat on the floor. Pull the knees in toward you and drop them to the left or right as you will do both sides. Look over the opposite shoulder and enjoy this twist and you take nice deep breaths. You may place you hand on the knee to get more out of the twist if you would like. Don’t forget to do the other side!

What this pose works: sternocleidmastoid, scalenes, pectoralis major, external oblique, internal oblique, and the gluteus Maximus

A Little Side Bend to Ease the Pain

Welcome to day 35 and the 35th pose in the book Yoga Anatomy by Leslie Kaminoff and Amy Matthews.

I said earlier in my blogs that I have fibromyalgia.  The last couple of days I feel it intensely.  People ask me how I keep going because you can become bed-ridden with it.  My answer is because I can’t sit still for any length of time.  Yesterday was the first time in a long time I literally taught a morning yoga class, went home and didn’t move until 5:30pm and then taught my evening class.  They call them “flares” or “flare-ups” when it decides to take over your body. Yes its extremely painful and sometimes I can’t even stand up straight.  Two of the biggest triggers, for me anyway, are stress and weather change and right now I have both.  It’s Christmas time and I own a jewelry store.  Sometimes a flare can last a day, a week, or even longer.  This one has been taking over me since last Thursday.  My poor chiropractor is trying so hard to help me so this doesn’t become worse.  I love her for that! Thank you! 🙂 And yes I know she is probably reading this!

I’m grateful that todays pose is one I enjoy doing and it doesn’t require a lot of strength or flexibility.  It does, thankfully, help to rid us of those love handles.  This pose has many names in forms of exercise.  I have heard it called gate pose, side bend, half circle pose, and even bird pose.  But for todays intents and purposes we will call it gate pose.  According to my reading that seems to be the universal yoga name.

Todays pose: Parighasana- Gate latch pose- Start off in a tall kneeling position.  Bring your right leg out to the right nice and straight with the right foot firm into the floor.  Inhale the left arm up into the air and bring the right arm to the right leg.  Exhale bring your right ribcage toward your right leg.  Stay here for a breath and then turn your palm and bring yourself back up slowly.  Bring both legs together and repeat on the other side.  Do this a couple times each side for a good side stretch.

What this pose works: latissimus dorsi, intercostals, external oblique, tensor fasciae latae, rectus femoris, gracilis, and the adductor magnus muscles.

Yoga begins with Breathing

I have been told many times by various people throughout my life that they can’t do yoga because… That is crazy!  Yoga isn’t all about the postures and the crazy arm balances and headstands and handstands. It is about the breathing and finding yourself and healing.  Even if you can only be in corpse pose for an hour, as long as you are practicing the deep belly breaths who cares.  You are still practicing the most important part of yoga.  The pranayama, literally “breath control”, is something we from the West do not practice enough.  We breath from the top of our lungs and hardly ever from the diaphragm.  We need to extend our breathe all the way down pushing on the diaphragm and then exhale completely.  Yes you may feel lightheaded the first couple of times that you practice this as it is foreign to you. Most students new to yoga will hold their breaths while in certain poses because of it being new and unfamiliar.  You must attend a few classes for the breath to finally begin to be deep and controlled while in poses.

This pose for today is no different.  The first few times I have ever done it, I held my breath. It is extremely challenging and not a pose everyone can do.  Please do not follow this pose if you have knee or hip issues or if your quadricep muscles are tight.  A couple days ago we did the beginning of this pose and this is the advanced posture.  I have read that this pose is a great help for the sciatic nerve but must be taken slowly with great caution and you may need to start out supported on blankets, or bolsters. If not executed properly, you could aggravate the low back causing pain.  So please take great care when starting off with this posture.

Today’s Pose: Supta Virasana-Reclining Hero pose- start off in hero pose with your knees apart and your sit bones firmly in the floor.  Slowly recline back until your shoulders are on the floor.  My hands prefer to come forward and come to the bottoms of my feet but you may bring them behind your head and come hand to elbow.  Stay here for a few breaths.

~Supported supta virasana- place a bolster under your back and release into that.  If a bolster is unavailable, a stack of blankets and a pillow with suffice.

What this pose works: pectoralis major, rectus abdominis, vastus lateralis, tibialis anterior, gluteus maximus, psoas major, latissimus, extensor hallucis longus, extensor digitorum longus and the peroneus longus muscles.