Category Archives: Asana
Viparita 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,
Think 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,
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.
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.
- Helps reestablish the natural curve of the lumbar region
- Helps relieve lower back pain and stiffness
- Tones the spine
June 28 is Paul Bunyan Day, a day to celebrate American folklore and the legendary giant lumberjack in particular. You can celebrate a number of ways including:
- Familiarizing yourself with the legend of Paul Bunyan and Babe the Big Blue Ox,
- Wearing flannel,
- Visiting one of the many states that lay claim to Paul Bunyan,
- Planning a trip to Paul Bunyan Days or Paul Bunyan Land, or
- In honor of his lumberjack heritage — practicing tree pose.
Whatever you do, have a little fun with your day!
National Canoe Day is June 26th. Sounds like a perfect day to work on boat pose, or navasana! Boat is a great way to work on both your abs and back muscles. To do boat, you sit on your mat and tilt back until you can pick your feet up of the floor. Most traditionally, boat is done with the legs extended, arms parallel to the floor, and back long. There are number of ways to modify the pose to make it a bit more accessible as well as amp it up a bit.
- To make it a bit easier, keep the shins parallel to the floor and either hold behind the knees or extend the arms along the floor.
- For a bit more challenge, take the shoulders and feet closer to the floor, either holding or raising and lowering the shoulders with the breath.
- For variation, reach the arms forward and practice twisting from side to side
- You can really do almost any variation that comes to mind as long as you keep the back long and your breath moving.
Introduce your inner geek to your inner yogi with this fun Star Wars-inspired yoga as drawn by Rob Ozborne.
- Side plank
- Extend side angle
- Lord of the dance
- Bird of paradise
- Half moon
- Downward facing dog
- Feathered peacock
Celebrate the light and May the Fourth be with you,