Category Archives: Eight Limbs of Yoga

#ThoughtfulThursday: Favorite Quotes, Part II

20171001_171950

Just expanding a bit on last week’s post. Hope you enjoy and find a little inspiration.

  • “Sometimes you’re in the right place looking at things in the wrong way.” – Abraham Hicks
  • “You’re never too old for anything.” – Betty White
  • “In the sky, there is no distinction of east and west; people create distinctions out of their own minds and then believe them to be true.” – Buddha
  • “Thousands of candles can be lit from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.” – Buddha
  • “My religion is kindness.” – The Dalai Lama
  • “I took a walk in the woods and came out taller than the trees.” – Henry David Thoreau
  • “In every walk with nature one receives more than he seeks. – John Muir
  • “If you are depressed, you are living in the past. If you are anxious, you are living in the future. If you are at peace, you are living in the present.” – Lao Tzu
  • “The old law about an ‘eye for an eye’ leaves everybody blind. The time is always right to do the right thing.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • “Do not let yesterday use up too much of today.” – Will Rogers

In peace & light,

Debra

Advertisements

#TuesdayTips: Viparita Karani Mudra

20160504_203018Viparita Karani Mudra, or legs up the wall pose, is a deeply restorative asana meant to be held for long periods of time (5 to 20 minutes).

Inverting the body is beneficial to the body’s physical systems – aiding the circulatory, respiratory, and lymphatic systems, and allowing deep relaxation of the muscles in the legs. It is also beneficial for the nervous system – allowing the mind to relax deeply.

Even when the body is in a shape meant to be relaxing, the mind sometimes resists and struggles to remain active. If you find it hard to quiet the mind in this (or really any) asana, here are some tips to try:

  • If you’re feeling spacey or scattered, allow yourself to focus on the points where the body is making contact with the floor. Allow yourself to feel grounded and fully supported by the floor below you. Anytime the mind wanders, come back to this feeling of grounding.
  • If you’re feeling agitated, angry, or unhappy, focus on the flow of the breath. Imagine breathing in through the soles of the feet into the heart center and out in the opposite direction. Allow the breath to flow over you like a waterfall, washing away any tension.
  • If you’re feeling stuck or your mind keeps revisiting past events, focus on opening the heart center with each breath. The heart is the seat of balance, wisdom, and peace. Allow yourself to return to the peaceful present by coming back to the heart anytime the mind gets caught up in thoughts.

Enjoy a little rejuvenation whenever you can!

In peace and light,

Debra

#MondayMeditation: Focus on the Breath

PhotoGrid_1532357780231

 

Ever notice what happens to the breath when we get scared? Anxious? Angry? We usually either hold the breath or breathe in rapid, short bursts. And what happens to the body as a result? It gets increasingly tense. The sympathetic nervous system – the home of our “fight or flight response” –  is triggered and our stress levels soar, which triggers more irregular breath.

We may think of these responses as involuntary, but we can consciously train ourselves to stimulate our parasympathetic nervous system – the part of the nervous system that allows us to rest and relax. Slow, deep breaths are the key. Whenever you feel your breath changing in reaction to a stressful or scary situation, remind yourself to pause and take a deep breath in and out. Do it as often as you need to help defuse the situation. You may not be able to control what’s happening, but you can learn to train yourself how to react to adverse situations.

 

Peace,

Debra

#ThrowBackThursday: Getting Outside Your Comfort Zone

photoThink yoga can only be done in a studio setting? Yoga can be done anywhere, including in the middle of a fashion mall concourse (pictured here).

I tend to be a very introverted person and at first was hesitant to practice where non-yoga practitioners could see me. This picture was taken not too very long after my ex and I first split, and I was both feeling lost and re-discovering my independence. It helped to be surrounded by supportive friends. Learning to push past my comfort zone helped me re-claim my strength.

I encourage you to look for places to practice that are outside the normal studio setting (like the Art Museum of Greater Lafayette, where I just happen to teach on Mondays and Thursdays). It can give you a new perspective on your practice and yourself.

 

Peace and love,

Debra

#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

 

PhotoGrid_1516803549622.jpg

 

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

You’re Never Too…

PhotoGrid_1509123549792

On October 29, 1998, John Glenn became the oldest person to fly in space at the age of 77. We have an interesting relationship with aging in our society: we’re often told to respect our elders and listen to their wisdom while at the same time we are bombarded with media and advertising that tells us 40 is over the hill.

Yoga teaches us to let go of attachment to these labels. We often let our labels define us. How often have we looked around and compared ourselves to others thinking things like, “I can’t do this pose as well as her because I’m too fat/old/inflexible…”? Too often, the ways we define ourselves limit us.

I invite you to observe your thought patterns this week and really examine how you label yourself. When we build awareness, we can let go of limiting thoughts and actions and let our true inner Self shine through.

Namaste,

Debra

 

Dream Day Quest and Jubilee

PhotoGrid_1484115108203

The 3rd of three annual Emancipation Days of Respect, Dream Day Quest and Jubilee honors the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by promoting unity, respect and remembrance. Held on August 28th to mark the anniversary of  King’s “I Have a Dream” speech. Delivered in 1963, the speech calls for the end of racism in the United States. You can read the full text here or listen to it here.

Unfortunately, racism is all too alive in America. We need to own up to that and we need to do what we can to fix it. Mindfulness can help us build self-awareness but should also help us be aware of others’ experiences. We are all in this together and we are all one.

I have a dream that someday MLK’s dream can be realized and that I will have the courage to help it come true.

In peace and unity,

Debra

 

World Snake Day

July 16 is World Snake Day. While snakes may seem a bit scary, they play a vital role in our ecosystem. Indiana, where I live, has 33 native species of snakes, four of which are venomous. If you’re afraid of snakes, learning about them can help dispel your fears or at least teach you how to avoid them. If you love snakes, celebrate them by doing a little cobra pose.

Cobra Pose

Getting into it

  • Lying on your stomach, bring your hands under elbows (or under your shoulders for less intensity) and hug your elbows in to your sides.
  • Engage the legs so that all toes are gently pressed into the floor; the feet will stay on the floor in this pose. Engage the abdomen. Lengthen the spine and, on an inhale, begin to lift the head, neck, and shoulders as one unit.
  • Press into the hands without straightening the arms all the way and keep your neck in neutral.

Benefits

  • Helps reestablish the natural curve of the lumbar region
  • Helps relieve lower back pain and stiffness
  • Tones the spine

Happy yoga-ing!

Debra

National Simplicity Day

PhotoGrid_1499642407181

July 12 is National Simplicity Day. There are many ways to practice simplicity, including bringing awareness to our daily actions. Practice kindness, even when it’s hard.

xo,

Debra

%d bloggers like this: