Category Archives: Yoga

Happy Cat Month

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As mentioned in an earlier post, September is Happy Cat Month. Week one focused on how to keep kitty healthy, while week two focuses on enrichment.

Enrichment, if you’re unfamiliar with the term, means providing mental stimulus that complements a cat’s natural behavior. Toys that mimic hunting, furniture or towers that can let a cat get vertical, or food games are all enrichment tools that help cats mimic their natural prey drive. You can buy them or create your own.

Keeping your cat not only physically but mentally healthy will lead to a better experience for the entire household.

Peace,

Debra

 

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National Cheese Pizza Day

September 5 is National Cheese Pizza Day! So eat up!

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Happy Cat Month

September is Happy Cat Month. Week one focuses on Happy Healthy Cats. Cats are amazingly self-sufficient creatures, but they still need a safe place to live, food and water, and proper vet care. A healthy cat is a happier cat.

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Meows and kisses,

Debra

 

 

 

It’s My Birthday!

Today’s my birthday. Here’s the number one song from the day I was born. Feel free to dance down the street like Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker.

Peace,

Debra

National Yoga Month: Lovingkindness Theme

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September is National Yoga Month, so expect lots of random yoga-related musings this month!

Today I thought I would talk about themes in relation to planning and teaching classes. Often when I plan a class, my theme focuses on one or more parts of the body (I’m a rather practical person, so such a practical themes come easily for m). For the past couple of weeks, however, I’ve focused on concepts like gratitude and kindness.

textgram_1503844659My inspiration for the kindness classes was, of all things, a post on the site scarymommy.com. I tweaked the author’s daily question to her children, “Who were you kind to?” to “How were you kind today?” and asked students to meditate on that question while in a pose (yin and restorative yoga both lend themselves well to this with their long holds).

In some of my classes, I also used a version of the metta mediation. You can learn more about metta meditation here. The version of the meditation that I used in class is below: the first round is directed at bringing lovingkindness to ourselves; the next round is directed at some we feel needs lovingkindess directed to them; and the last round is directed to all the earth.

May I be free from suffering.

May I be well.

May I be at peace.

May I be joyful.

May I be filled with lovingkindness.

 

May you be free from suffering.

May you be well.

May you be at peace.

May you be joyful.

May you be filled with lovingkindness.

 

May all beings be free from suffering.

May all beings be well.

May all beings be at peace.

May all beings be joyful.

May all beings be filled with lovingkindness.

Thanks for reading!

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

Paul Bunyan Day

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:

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Whatever you do, have a little fun with your day!

Debra

 

National Canoe 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.

Anchors away!

IDebra

Global Running Day

June 7 is Global Running Day. Whether you’re a newby or an experienced runner, yoga can be a great cross-training activity to aid in recovery and improve performance. Yin poses like dragon and frog can be great for deeply opening the hips. Another pose that can be great and gets into the hips at a different angle is cat tail pose.

Cat Tail (suggested hold time 3-5 minutes)

Contraindications

  • Go gently with lower back issues

Getting into the Pose:

  • From seated, twist to the right and lean onto the right elbow. Bring top leg forward and to the side. Bend the right (lower leg) and take foot with the opposite hand. Pull the hand toward the buttocks while pushing the foot away.
  • Can also start from lying down.

Modifications

  • (Easiest) Stay propped up on elbow.
  • (Intermediate) Extended bottom arm straight out from shoulder above the head.
  • (Fullest) Recline so that both shoulders are on the floor, making it a reclining twist

Benefits:

  • Good counterpose for forward bends
  • Mildly compresses lower back
  • Opens quads and upper thighs

Meridians & Organs Affected:

  • Stomach and spleen
  • Urinary and kidney (more with deeper twists)
  • Gall bladder (if twisting rib cage)

Joints Affected:

  • Lumbar, sacrum
  • Ribs (if twisting)

Chakras Affected:

  • First (muladhara)
  • Second (svadhistana)
  • Third (anahata)

Coming Out:

  • Release foot and roll onto front

Counterposes

  • Hug knees into chest
  • Child’s pose

Enjoy the day!

Debra

 

International Pickle Day

My life has gotten a bit hectic and I haven’t kept up with my blog schedule very well. For today, I had planned to celebrate National Love a Tree Day with a beautifully written entry about the beauty and necessity of trees as well as tree pose… but that’s not coming together. Time to switch to plan B. Instead, let’s celebrate International Pickle Day with a couple of silly songs because I feel like we could all use a little laughter.

First up, Mr. Arlo Guthrie and The Motorcycle Song, sometimes referred to as The Motorcycle Song (The Significance of the Pickle).

For some reason, thinking of this song brought another one to mind. Maybe it’s because Steve Goodman wrote City of New Orleans, which Arlo recorded, as well as our next selection. Here’s David Allan Coe with You Never Even Call Me by My Name. Even if you don’t like country music, you should listen until the last verse; I still laugh every time I hear it.

And just for kicks, here’s what is probably my most loved silly song: Roger Miller’s You Can’t Rollerskate in a Buffalo Herd. Good advice for us all.

May you put your mind to being happy,

Debra

 

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