#WellnessWednesday: Supported Caterpillar

Quite a while ago, I shared a keep it simple yin practice. I may be slow to finish things, but I keep plugging away. So here is the third pose of the practice: supported caterpillar. This grounding forward fold can be used in any yin or restorative yoga sequence.

How to do it: Sit tall with your legs stretched out in front of you, knees over a bolster. Let the legs be hip-width or wider to accommodate for comfort. Keeping the spine long, hinge from the hips until the abdomen contacts the thighs. If your abdomen doesn’t reach the thighs, you can use blankets or pillows between the thighs and abdomen for support. Once you’ve folded forward, you can allow the head to round forward. The head can be supported by your hands or stacked blocks so that the neck can be relaxed. Hold for three to five minutes.

Benefits:

  • Stretches ligaments in back of spine;
  • Compresses internal organs, helping with digestion;
  • Stimulates the kidneys; and
  • Balances chi (energy) flow.

To come out: If you’ve rounded the back, lift up through the sternum to lengthen the spine. Use the hands for support and walk them back toward the hips as you bring the torso upright. Slide the bolster out from under the legs before shaking them out.

Love and light,

Debra

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#TuesdayTravels: Start Where You Are, Part 1

A few weeks ago, I posted about adding a travel element to my blog. It occurred to me today that I should highlight where “home” is for those who may not know. I live in the Greater Lafayette area in Indiana and currently teach at three locations around town: the Art Museum of Greater Lafayette, Community Yoga, and Yoga Balance.

 

#FeatureFriday: Body Positive Yoga

Today I would like to share with you a site and video from a wonderful yoga teacher who is one of the leaders of the body inclusivity movement in the yoga world: Body Positive Yoga from Amber Karnes. Karnes gives thought-provoking and norm shattering insight on how the language and approach to poses we often use can be limiting to people living in larger bodies. Many of her principles apply to those of us (myself included) who live in less flexible bodies.

In a video she recently shared, Karnes breaks down some modifications for virasana (hero’s pose) that also could be used for vajrasana (thunderbolt pose). Too often yoga teachers (myself included) assume that what is easy for us is easy for everyone in the class. I’ve been to many classes in which students were asked to sit in one or the other of these poses without discussion of how to make them accessible for those with joint pain or other discomfort.

Yoga can be a great way to challenge the body but pain in a pose is the body telling us something is wrong. Modification of poses is not about weakness or inability, it is a way for us to find the balance between effort (Sthira) and ease (Sukham) in poses and create a sustainable practice. As yoga teachers, it’s important to know ways to help our students achieve that balance. As students, it’s important to let our teachers know when we experience pain in a pose.

In peace and light,

Debra

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#ThoughtfulThursday: FB Book Cover Challenge, Part 2

Last week I shared something that’s been going around on Facebook. A little disclaimer here: I don’t usually participate in this modern-day equivalent of chain letters, but I like this because it involves reading.

The challenge is to post the covers of seven books I love, one each day. No explanations, no reviews, just the covers. I posted the first two last week and here are the rest.

 

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Day Three

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Day Four

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Day Five

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Day Six

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Day Seven

 

In peace and light,

Debra

#ThoughtfulThursday: FB Book Cover Challenge

Just for fun, I thought I would share something that’s been going around on Facebook. A little disclaimer here: I don’t usually participate in this modern-day equivalent of chain letters, but I like this because it involves reading.

The challenge is to post the covers of seven books I love, one each day. No explanations, no reviews, just the covers.

I’ll do the same here with a twist: I’ll post two today that have been posted on my personal page and the rest next week.

 

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Day One

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Day Two

In peace and light,

Debra

#TuesdayTravels: New Feature

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I have a tendency to be a homebody and be a bit sluggish, a true kapha when it relates to matters of the physical body and activity. The ability to rest and restore is a good skill to have but, when taken to extremes, can lead to dulling of the senses and loss of motivation. To help motivate myself to break unhealthy patterns, I decided to add a new feature to the blog: Travel Tuesdays. My goal is to get out to somewhere new at least once a week and maybe try a new yoga studio or new activity to stoke my inner fire. I’m not talking about big trips to faraway lands every week, but at least places that get me out of my home-to-studio-to-home rut. I’ll share the results here from time to time. Feel free to offer suggestions!

In peace and light,

Debra

#MondayMeditation: Ra Ma Da Sa

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I’ll be honest: I’m exhausted. All the hate, turmoil, and fear gets me all riled up and agitated. I want to be loving, open, a kind always but it’s hard to do at times. To help me feel more healed and focused this week, I’m going to use one of the mantras we have learned in my teacher training. It’s simple and is lovely.

Ra Ma Da Sa

Sa Say So Hung

Meant to be sung for 10 minutes or more, it is a healing mantra for yourself, anyone who needs it, or the world. It all depends on who you hold in your heart while repeating it or listening.

 

In peace and light,

Debra

#FeatureFriday: J. Brown Yoga Talks

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New to the blog this week is #FeatureFriday, a chance for me to share that which inspires me in some way.

This week, I’d like to share J. Brown’s Yoga Talks podcasts and blog. J. Brown came to my intention early in my teaching career, when I felt somehow out of the loop with my gentle style of teaching and was searching for like-minded individuals.  Searching for “gentle yoga” led me to J.’s website. His motto, “gentle is the new advanced,” thrilled me. Here was a more experienced teacher in a major market (he was based in New York at the time), who shared many of the same philosophies on yoga. His blog is always thoughtful and thought-provoking and his podcasts feature some of the most well-respected senior teachers in yoga like Erich Schiffmann, Judith Hanson Lasater, and Richard Miller. You should give him a listen. Even if you don’t agree with everything he has to say, you will likely learn a lot about the history and philosophy of yoga.

In peace & light,

Debra

#TuesdayTunes: More than One Way Home

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Yoga is about going deep within to discover the true Self and the unity of all beings. How you get there is your path. Do the practice, the style, the study that works for you where you are now. There is no one way to get there. There are many paths to the one Truth. Find yours.

 

In peace and light,

Debra

#ThoughtfulThursday: Quotes, Part III

textgram_1486173348.pngLast such post for a while, but here are a few more of my favorite quotes.

  • “This practice of yoga is to remove the weeds from the body so the garden can grow.” – B.K.S. Iyengar
  • “Silence the angry man with love. Silence the ill-natured man with kindness. Silence the miser with generosity. Silence the liar with truth.” – Buddha
  • “A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they will never sit in.” – Greek proverb
  • “What is a weed? A plant whose virtues have never been discovered.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • “I believe we are here on Earth to live, grow up and do what we can to make this world a better place for all to enjoy freedom.” – Rosa Parks
  • “The garden of the world has no limits, except in your mind.” – Rumi
  • “Keep the peace within yourself, then you can also bring peace to others.” – Thomas a Kempis

Namaste,

Debra

 

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