A Little Help From the Birthday Girl

Only 7 poses left to do!

Today is a very happy day. It is my little sisters birthday! You, my readers, get the extreme privilege of seeing her for the first time in my blog picture as she holds my feet. Sorry to say but I did not master this pose before I had to perform this one. I’ve tried my hardest but I don’t have the core strength to make it happen. Regular handstands I can do all day but not forearm ones. I think it might also be my bad shoulder that prevents me from completing this one. Also I took down my 9 foot tree and carried a ton of boxes downstairs with my Christmas decorations in them. But today you get to see that I’m human and some poses require assistance.

This is called the feathered peacock pose. Anytime you want to practice a pose and aren’t 100% sure about something its always ok to have someone hold you up so you can get a feel for the pose. This is one where I needed help. You can also use a door or wall to help you.

Today’s pose: pincha mayurasana- feathered peacock pose- start off with your forearms on the floor and kick your legs into the air. Stay here for a few breaths. Use a wall, door, or another person to help you if you need it.

What this pose works: Triceps brachii, pectineus, adductor longus, Gracilis, iliacus, psoas major, diaphragm, quadriceps, rectus abdominis, deltoid, pronators, hamstrings, gluteus Maximus, and serratus anterior.

Into the New Year Peacock Style

Happy new year! Hope everyone has a year filled with joy, peace, and health!

Today starts the new year. The day when New Year’s resolutions begin. New Year, New You! As I sit here this morning thinking about all I want to accomplish (most of it yoga related 😊) I’m reminded how far I have come. When I first started yoga there was a lot I couldn’t do or that I was afraid to do. Then my health scare happened and I thought I would never be able to practice again. Through determination, practice and help from my friends I am able to show you this pose today!

Now this pose is not something you can just jump into and perform. It takes a lot of core strength, arm strength, and guts. I’m going to share with you something funny. So the first time, actually the first few hundred times, I did this pose I don’t know how many times I fell forward on my face. I practiced this at work a lot while my employees sat there and watched me and laughed. I have to agree with them it was very funny. I started off using the giant jumbo block and I placed it underneath my stomach. I wanted to practice just getting my head up and my legs up without doing it just on my arms. Well let’s just say that was a disaster.You have no idea how heavy your head and your legs really are until you try to let both of them at the same time. After about a week of me trying this many many many times, I finally was able to do it without the block. You have to basically Teeter totter your body on your arms until you find your center of balance. A very fun pose to laugh at yourself in.

Today’s pose: mayurasana- peacock pose. Start off placing your hand on the floor with your fingers facing your knees. Place a blanket on the floor in front of you where your head may land. Press your elbows into your rib cage as you slowly start to lift your feet off the floor keeping your head off the floor as well. You will not be able to stay longer than 20 seconds as this does present to your lungs and it’s harder to breathe. And as I said earlier, yes you will fall down but if you fall on your face just laugh and get back up. Try this pose a few times.

What this pose works: triceps brachii, spinal extensors, and the gluteus Maximus.

A Little Grand Canyon Eight-Angle Pose

New Years Resolution Day!

It’s New Years Eve and the partying is starting in few hours.  Lets ring in the New Year with a New You.  As I have said previously, for your New Years Resolution, make it something attainable.  Stick with it and make it a lifestyle.  Easier said then done I know, but try.  Saturday at Christmas with my dad, my step-mother mentioned something about healthy recipes.  I always say the same thing, I eat what I want to eat and then I work out.  I don’t believe in dieting because that makes you yo-yo in weight.  Or sometimes when you are done dieting you gain more weight later than you lost.  I believe in being healthy and active.  Give in to your cravings and then work them off.  Don’t deprive yourself of what your body wants unless its a dozen cheeseburgers. LOL

I am so in love with this pose!! The first time I saw it and tried it, was a disaster.  I couldn’t figure out where to put what and how to shift my weight so I stopped falling on my face.  But after much trial and error I was able to (Safely) do this pose on the wall of the Grand Canyon! You should have seen everyone’s faces’ around my sister and I as I did this.  That is the picture I should post here.  Hysterical! I’m about 3 feet from the edge here so plenty of room for falling but I mostly fall forward. 🙂 The trick to this pose is having the bottom foot support the top leg and engaging the core to keep you up.  Yes you have to have the arm strength as well but it is not as important as you think.

Todays pose- astavakrasana- eight-angle pose- Start off in dandasana  with both legs in front of you.  Place the right hand on the floor on the outside of the right leg and take hold of the left leg and bring the leg as high up the left arm as you can.  Press into the left hand on the floor on the left side of the right leg.  Press into the hands as you bring the right leg across the front of you to the left foot.  Cross the feet and lean forward as you extend the legs to the left straightening them as much as possible.  Stay here for a few breaths and then slowly come back to dandasana as you try the other side.  Remember it may be easier or harder as we are different on both sides.

What this pose works: adductors, triceps brachii, and the pectoralis major

Crow into the Light

Happy New Years Adam Eve! I’m sure you are asking yourself right now what am I talking about.  Well its the day before New Years Eve and Adam came before Eve. LOL

I have to say how happy I am with todays picture.  I took a couple inside the store and they didn’t look right.  I then went outside and saw how the sun looked and thought perfect! 🙂 All my employees here at work today asked how I got the picture to look like that and I said I can’t take credit because all I did was do the pose.  The sun is shining and I wanted to show it off a little bit.

This is such a fun pose. I love practicing poses that if you fall, you can make another pose out of it.  In side crow pose, if you fall just stick your top leg up into the air and call it Falling Angel! 🙂 My yoga instructor taught me that and I teach it now every time I teach this pose.  And yes I have been a falling angel many many times! LOL  In this pose, while it is an arm balance, it is important to press the hip into the arm as well. Now granted the knee goes into one arm and the hip into the opposite arm, not both the same arms.  This is until you have the arm strength to support your body on one arm.  Somedays I can, but most of the time I use both arms.  It is also helpful to prevent injuries to the wrists. 

Todays pose: Parsva Bakasana- Side Crow pose- Start off as you did with crow pose having both hands on the floor in front of you.  Turn to the right.  Bring your left knee to your right forearm and bring your left hip to your left forearm. Press the elbows into the knee and hip and the knee and hip back into the elbows.  Slowly bring the left foot up as you find your balance.  Let the left leg pick up the right leg as you start to lean more into the arms.  If the foot needs to stay down for the first few times, that is ok.  Nice deep breaths in this pose as you find something to focus on to keep your balance.  Slowly come back down and then repeat on the other side.  Do try the other side as sometimes it may be easier. 

What this pose works: external oblique, pectineus, adductor brevis, and triceps brachii

Hat Tipping Crow Pose

Its the last Saturday of the 2018 year! Hope everyone is enjoying their day and preparing for the New Year.  Has everyone made their New Years Resolution yet?  We only have 3 days left to prepare them so make sure you write them down.  I am so excited as I look ahead to the poses for the next few days.  My employees think I’m a little nuts because lets face it: I am! I love what I do and I love to teach others the passion I have for yoga. 

This is a fun pose especially today because I am wearing a hat. It looks so funny.  I told my employees that on the way here I had the idea of keeping the hat on for the picture because I thought it would be so fun.  Plus side is that you cant see my face because I’m laughing in the picture.  Abi was counting down as the iPad counted down and then said “Happy New Year” when it hit 0.  We have way too much fun here! It definitely makes it fun to work here when you enjoy the people you are with! 🙂 Shout out to Abi and Tammy as I know they are reading this! Love you ladies! 😀

Todays pose: Bakasana- Crow/Crane Pose- Start off having your hands in front of you.  Make sure you look out to start with.  Elbows should be bent.  Start to lean forward and rest your knees against your upper arms.  Slowly start to lift the feet off of the ground.  Find your balance and take nice deep breaths.  Hold for a few breaths keeping your head neutral.  Slowly lower the feet back to the ground. 

What this pose works: obliquus externus, iliacus, pectoralis major, infraspinatus, deltoideus anterior, trapezius, deltoideus posterior, sternocleidomastoideus, biceps brachii, coracobrachialis, triceps brachii, and the ilipsoas muscles. 

How about a Four-legged Stick Pose

What a crazy day today. My sister is really sick, my mother is on vacation in Mexico, and I am trying to keep it all together. I usually try to finish my blog by 10 but today I’m lucky to finish it at all. I went and opened up my store this morning and then came back home because I’m usually off Friday mornings. It is my morning to get things done around the house. I still have to go to work later because I cook on Friday nights but at least for now I’m home trying to get things done. I’ve decided I’m not putting Christmas away until New Year’s Day because I just don’t have time today. Have any of you ever had that day where there’s way too much to do and nowhere near as much time to finish it all in? So what does that mean? That means let’s pause and do a little yoga and play with my kitten!😊 he loves to play with his new toys. But then again so does the dog. Lol

Speaking of my cats, he decided to join me on today’s yoga pose. If you look closely at the picture you will see his ears in the foreground. Today’s pose is one that is considered an arm balance. When doing this pose you’re supposed to keep your elbows tucked in, not like a push up. They call it four-limbed stick or staff pose. Also great for the core.

Today’s pose: chaturanga dandasana- four-limbed stick pose- Start off in push-up stance pressing through the heels. Start to lower yourself down keeping your elbows tucked into your rib cage. Stay there for a few breaths. Then released down onto the ground. Repeat if you would like to. As you are doing this pose keep the core engaged and don’t let the belly drop down.

What this pose works: triceps brachii, spinal extensors, gluteus maximus, hamstrings, rectus abdominis, pectoralis major, external oblique, serratus anterior, quadriceps,and the gastrocnemius muscles.

Handstands on a Rainy Day

A very rainy day here in Illinois.  I’m beginning to think that the calendar is wrong.  We had our cold and snow back in November and now 40’s and rain in late December.  It feels so strange that New Years Day is less then a week now and this is our weather.  It feels so much like spring that I cannot wait until I get my house back together. I usually take down Christmas decorations on New Years Day. A few of my neighbors have already turned their lights off.  I think that is too early.  Most people, like me, have multiple Christmas gatherings and haven’t had Christmas with everyone yet.  This Saturday is Christmas with my Dad.  At my store and restaurant, I am still playing Christmas music.  Not ready to give it up yet. 

Todays pose is an experiential pose.  It is our own experience. Our pose. We can make of it what we can do.  You can try it out and play with it.  They say to start off by practicing handstand rocks.  That is where you practicing going into a handstand without the feet both going up in the air at the same time.  The other thing you need to do is practice this against a wall or door.  I love to practice handstands but I have to say I was a little afraid of doing a handstand in the middle of my jewelry store with all those showcases.  I can sometimes control what I am doing but with the fear of falling into the glass, I wasn’t as stable as I should have been and can be.

Todays Pose: Adho Mukha Vrksasana- Downward-facing tree pose- Start off on your feet.  Spot where you want your hands to go and place your hands on the floor.  If a full handstand is out of the question, try pushing yourself up for a moment and then coming back down.  Once you are up in the air, breathe the entire time.  Slowly come back out of it by bringing your feet back to the ground.

What this pose works: rectus abdominis, triceps brachii, pronators, spinal extensors, psoas major, gluteus maximus, latissimus dorsi, trapezius, deltoid, internal oblique, external oblique, and the flexor carpi radialis muscles.