Monthly Archives: January 2018

#WellnessWednesday: Reclining Butterfly

A couple of weeks ago, I shared a sequence that included reclining butterfly. You’ll find this pose not just in yin and restorative classes, but in other hatha class as well.

How to do it: Lay on your back with your knees bent and feet on the floor and bring the inside edges of your feet together. Bring the soles of the feet to come together while opening the knees wide. If your knees don’t rest on the floor, used blankets, yoga blocks or some other support to support the legs so that your muscles can relax. Turning your palms up helps roll the shoulders and collarbones open.

Benefits:

  • Increases blood circulation to the organs in the lower abdomen
  • Stretches the inner thighs and groins if the feet are close to the body; opens the connective tissue of the hip joint if the feet are farther away
  • Increases range of external rotation in the hips
  • Calms the nervous system

 

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Peace and love,

Debra

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#TuesdayTunes: Lotus Sutra

Here’s what I’ve been listening to a lot lately. Enjoy!

 

Peace & love,

Debra

#MondayMeditation: Sacral Chakra

Sacral Chakra mantra

Winter is a time when we often spend more time than normal indoors due to weather and shorter days. We often feel stuck in a rut. To help get rid of those feelings, try meditating on the sacral chakra (svadisthana) to help yourself feel more creative. So find a comfortable seat or reclined position, focus on the space between the pubic bone and belly button, and repeat the following mantra: I am creative. I am confident. I am at secure.

Peace out,

Debra

#ThoughtfulThursday: A Yin Yoga Resource List

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A teacher friend of mine introduced me to yin yoga a long time ago by teaching it occasionally in her yoga classes. I have to admit I didn’t love it at first. The long holds were a challenge for me to settle into and coming out of the poses made me feel like my joints were super old. I learned to accept the practice eventually and realized that it improved my more yang yoga practice.
Fast forward years later to when I was looking at teacher training programs. At that point, my intent was deepen my own practice and not teach. The evening I visited, the studio was culling some of their books and offered them to trainees and those of us visiting. I was looking over the books, when one of the trainers handed me Paul Grilley’s book. She simply said, “This looks like what you need.” I wasn’t sure what to think, but I love yoga and I love books so I thought, “What the heck.”
Fast forward again, and I teach yin yoga three times per week. It’s one of my favorite styles of yoga to practice and to teach. Here are some of the resources I use when I teach with a brief review of each.
Note: All of the resources here have sample practices included.
Clampett, Cheri, and Biff Mithoefer. The therapeutic yoga kit: sixteen postures for self-Healing through quiet yin awareness. Healing Arts Press, 2009.

I love Biff Mithoefer’s yoga kits. You get a book with discussion of the poses and more, a CD to use for practice or listen to cuing tips, and flashcards that are helpful to use when teaching. I admittedly haven’t used this kit as much as the one listed below, but this is a great resource for yin/restorative classes.

Clark, Bernie. The complete guide to yin yoga: the philosophy & practice of yin yoga. White Cloud Press, 2012.

This is by far the book I used the most. It has lots of detail about the poses and counterposes, the meridians, and a lot more. It’s fabulous.

Grilley, Paul. Yin yoga: outline of a quiet practice. White Cloud Press, 2002.

This is a great quick read from the person who helped make yin yoga what it is today. This is the book that made me want to dive deeper into yin.

Mithoefer, Biff. The yin yoga kit: the practice of quiet power. Healing Arts Press, 2006.

Like the kit referenced above, this is very user-friendly. I use the flashcards the most as quick reference points during classes. It’s also great to use the CD when I want to practice yin at home without keeping a constant eye on the clock.

Powers, Sarah. Insight yoga. Shambhala, 2009.

I use this resource the least but it’s good nonetheless. I did a great weekend intensive workshop with Sarah Powers several years ago and her perspective on yin has definitely influenced the way I teach. This is a great resource for those who want to mix more yang elements into their practice or teaching.

Feel free to share any resources you use or questions you have in the comments below.

Peace and love,

Debra

#WellnessWednesday: Easy Resting Pose

Last week, I shared a sequence that included easy resting pose. Easy resting pose, sometimes called constructive rest, is exactly what it name says: a simple shape that allows deep rest for the mind and the body.

How to do it: Lay on your back with your knees bent and feet on the floor, allowing the knees to fall toward each other. Let your hands rest comfortably on your rib cage. Support your head with a folded blanket. Set a timer for the amount of time you would like to practice. Soften the low back and the hips. Direct your breath to anywhere you feel tension. Then allow yourself to just be.

Benefits: This pose relaxes the whole body and releases tension in the iliopsoas muscle.

Peace and love,

Debra

#TimeOutTuesday: Root Chakra Meditation

Root Chakra mantraIf you’re feeling a bit unstable and unsettled this time of year, you’re definitely not alone. Meditate on the root chakra (muladhara) to help yourself feel more grounded. So find a comfortable seat or reclined position, focus on the base of the spine, and repeat the following mantra: I am grounded. I am strong. I am at peace.

Peace out,

Debra

 

#FeelGoodFriday: Dance of Joy

Do something today that makes you feel so good you want to do the Dance of Joy.

#ThoughtfulThursday: What’s Going On

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In Monday’s post, I mentioned that I would share an update explaining why I’ve not been posting regularly for a while. Basically it’s because my life has been full of changes and, while I know that’s always true, these have been some fairly big ones.

  • I’m trying to get the house I’ve lived in for 20 years ready to sell. My ex and I didn’t do a lot of updating and I’ve had to make some pretty major updates so that I won’t take a loss on it. It’s taking A LOT more time than I thought it would.
  • I’ve got a new guy. He’s awesome and helping me with my house and providing me amazing emotional support.
  • I’ve got a part time job. It took me my entire adult life to figure out that I wanted to teach yoga but it’s a hard way to make a living, so I’ve had to take an office job to pay the bills. One of my goals this year is to improve my hustle and/or find a part time job in the wellness industry that doesn’t suck my soul out.
  • I’m taking more yoga teacher training. It’s like being in grad school all over again but I love it!

I think I’ve finally found my groove again and plan to post more regularly this year. Thank you for tuning in!

 

Peace,

Debra

#WellnessWednesday: Keep It Simple Yin Practice

This week’s yin practice is focused on keeping things simple with accessible poses. I put it together while thinking of a friend who has knee issues. A lot of yin poses can strain the knees so these poses focus on opening the hips and back while keeping the knees safe.

Each pose can be held three to five minutes and you can use as much support as you need to make yourself comfortable.

(Note: Sorry I haven’t had time to get photos of all the poses, but I’ll get them eventually!)

PhotoGrid_1516803356769.jpgEasy Resting Pose: Lying on your back, bend your knees and bring your feet to the floor with your knees bent. Your feet should be a comfortable distance from your hips. You can choose to support your knees with blankets or a bolster. (Click here for more info.)

PhotoGrid_1516803549622.jpgReclining Butterfly: Staying reclined, heel-toe your feet together until the inside edges are touching. Let your knees open out to the side while bringing the soles of the feet together. You can support the legs with blocks or blankets, especially if your knees are not close to the floor.

Supported Caterpillar: Come to a seat and stretch your legs out in front of you. Support your knees with a blanket or bolster. Lengthen the spine and fold from the hips over the legs. If you want to give your internal organs a little massage, you can keep the legs close together; if you want to make a little more room for the breath, separate the legs a comfortable distance apart.

Crocodile: Transition to lying on your stomach and stretch your legs out behind you. Let the legs be a little wider than hip distance apart and rotate the legs out from the hips so your toes turn out. Bring your arms forward and let the hands stack on top of one another. Bring your forehead to your hands and breath. For a slightly deeper back bend, make gentle fists to take the forehead a little higher.

Twisted Root: Roll onto your back and bend your knees and bring your feet to the floor. Cross your right leg over your left with your knees close together. Shift your hips a little to the right and let your legs drop over to the left. You can support your legs with a bolster and your right shoulder with a blanket for comfort. Make sure to do both sides

Mermaid: Bring your bolster across your mat. Bring your legs to deer pose and lie on your side with your waist supported by the bolster and bottom arm extended. You can either let your top arm rest on the body, reach overhead, or rest behind you. Keep your shoulders stacked. Make sure to do both sides.

Supported Twist: Turn your bolster to parallel with your mat and sit with your hip next to the short end of the bolster, legs out to the side away from the bolster. Turn your torso to face the bolster and place hands to either side of it. Lengthen the spine before releasing your torso onto the support of the bolster. Depending on what’s most comfortable for your neck, you can turn your head toward or away from the knees. Again, make sure to do both sides.

Pentacle: Lie on your back and take your legs wider than the hips, letting the feet turn out. Extend your arms straight out from your shoulders, palms turned up. Stay in this one for 10 to 15 minutes.

Hope you enjoy!

Debra

#TuesdayTunes: Keep It Simple

Here’s a simple post in keeping with this week’s class theme. Enjoy!

Debra

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