“Carve the Pow-Pow” Restorative Poses

My hubby is off on his “Man Ski Trip” this weekend so in honor of him I’m going to go through a couple of “feel better so you can get up in the morning” poses. I’m sure I’m supposed to note somewhere on here that you should check with your doctor before doing anything… so yep… do that.

Ok, so because I’m thinking of my burly man, I’ll be grooving the modifications (he’s not exactly Gumby, but getting there).

First, relax. Take a minute to do some deep inhales and exhales. Get the mighty pow-pow (or whatever has your mind in a bundle) out of your head and just breathe. Where are you tight? What’s going to hurt in the morning? Just breathe some air in there!

Cat and Cow warm-up: I love these to start. Starting from a tabletop (shoulders above wrists, hips stacked on knees) – on your inhale, drop your belly towards the ground, eyes gaze up, shoulders pull back and down (Cow). On your exhale, push your spine up the sky, pushing out of your shoulders and hips (Cat). Do about 5 of each… slowly… These are great for loosening up the spine and opening up your shoulders/chest.

Downdog: Come back to a neutral tabletop, curl your toes under and life your hips to the sky. Peddle your feet out; shake your hips side to side (feet are hip distance apart). Push down onto your hands (which are shoulder width apart). Now, pull your shoulders back and down. If your hammies are tight, take a little knee bend. If you want to open them more, after you bend your knees, kick your tailbone to the ceiling and straighten your legs. BREATHE!

Ragdoll: From downdog slowly walk your feet forward and let your body hang heavy. Hands grab opposite elbows. Sway slide to side – open your spine! Stay here for several breathes. Again, no rushing this buddy, just breathe and move so it feels good.

When you’re ready, slowly go back down to downdog – peddle it out again. Now lift your right leg high, move the hip around a little – breathe – step right foot forward into a low lunge.

Low Lunge (instead of Crescent Lunge): Drop your left knee to the ground and rise up. Put your hands on your right thigh and gently shift your weight forward so you are stretching out your hip flexors and glutes. Hold and breathe. Now reach your arms to the sky and take a baby back bend. BE GENTLE! Come back to center slowly. You can do an easy-twist here if you want to: reach your left hand out in front of you and your right arm back behind you. Keep and nice tall back and breathe. This will rinse out those inner organs (aka flush out the beer toxins from last night). Slowly come back to center, place your hands on the ground and go to downdog. Peddle out your feet and do the same sequence on the left side.

Modified Half Pigeon: Lay back on the ground with your knees bent to the sky, feet on the ground. Take your right ankle and place it on your left knee (right knee bowing to the right). Now gently grab behind your left thigh and slowly pull back. Hip flexor, glutes and hammies should be feeling this one. Hold here for several breathes and then do the left side.

Supine Twist: I’m assuming the glutes and core are a little sore, time to work those out. Laying on your back with your legs out in front of you, life your right knee and pull it into your armpit. Again, hold it here and breathe. When you’re ready to move on, bring your right arm out to the side, look at it, now use your left hand to gently pull your right knee across your body. Make sure to keep both shoulders are the ground. Hold here for several breathes. Now do the left side.

Good job all – this isn’t a very long sequence but it should help loosen anything up for the morning. Some other postures that would also be great: Prasarita, Supta Baddha Konasana and Warrior 2 .

Have fun  -B

February 22, 2010. Tags: , , , , . Sequence. Leave a comment.

A Few of My Favorite Yoga Things

Besides working, I’ve been prepping for my first (reffing) workshop this Saturday. It will be a heart opener for all levels. I’m excited/nervous which means I’ve been giggling, sweating, fidgeting and eating too many mini-Snickers.

So to take my mind off of it for a bit I thought I would start “ A Few of My Favorite Yoga Things” list:

First, my Yogitoes. I sweat. I sweat a lot! These have saved my a lot of slipping in downdog.

Next up, my Lululemon Wunder Unders. I will warn you, I’m pretty much obsessed with all of their clothes (bags, manifesto, water bottles… you get the picture) but these bad boys are amazing. I never thought I would be caught in public wearing leggings but I rock these pants just about everywhere. Check ’em out – you’ll be hooked!

India Arie, Beautiful. Just listen to it and you will understand why its a staple on any yoga mix…

I have a love/hate relationship with Chair Pose. It’s one of those postures in my asana practice that makes my forehead crunch up and my competitive nature kick into overdrive. I have very tight hamstrings so getting “low into my chair” never quite looks the way I want it to. And that’s why I dislike this pose. It conjures up that “you vs. me” mindset that I’ve worked so hard to banish. Yoga is not about what you look like or the person next to you… it’s about you. That is why I love this posture. Because it reminds me, tells me, that I’m not competing with anyone. I’m here, where I’m supposed to be, and if it’s not low, so what.

So that’s it for now – Have a wonderful weekend! -B

[note: I’ m silly and forgot to publish this on Friday 🙂  ]

February 21, 2010. Tags: , , , , . Yogi Things. 1 comment.

Reffing Yoga (also known to some as Teaching Yoga)

I started reffing people through yoga practices Jan4, 2010. Yep, not that long ago. [sorry if you thought I was a 110 year old guru; should have read my “about me” page] I can’t put it into words how much I love it. It’s so very hard to describe the feeling you get after leading a group of yogis through a strenuous asana practice. You basically get high off their energy. Even better is the look in a beginners eyes when something “clicks”. When you can see it in their quirky smile that tells you they’ve just accomplished something that couldn’t do last week. You get that in seasoned yogis but something about a newbie’s look is just so fun! Probably because I was that yogi. Not that long ago either. Well, it doesn’t feel that long ago though it was probably 5 years now.

I guess that’s why I love yoga (since I know you were thinking that exact question); it’s an ever evolving, ever challenging, ever changing game. I call it a game because using the word practice brings up flashbacks of running sprints at basketball – working towards the BIG game at the end of the week. With yoga there is no end goal, no play-off. Every time you step onto your mat it’s THE show. And a show for yourself. I’m sure in the next couple of weeks I’ll write about my struggles with competition and how challenging it was (and still is) for me to overcome that. But not today. Nope, today I wanted to tell you about my love or yoga and leading yoga games. Leading yoga games = Reffing yoga.

Here are some things I’ve learned so far while referring yoga:

Go in with a plan but be ok with ditching it: I’ve gone into to lead a Level 2 class and had a room full of beginners. That series of going from Warrior 2, to standing cat, to half moon to standing splits just isn’t going to work.

It’s ok to mess up: My mind tends to run a few steps ahead of my verbal skills so I constantly trip up on cueing – ‘sokay! I laugh, I say “rather lift your LEFT leg”, I move on. The players aren’t there to judge me. They are there to move and groove – so don’t beat yourself up over it!

Tell it like it is: Don’t try and get fancy with cues. Not only will you get tongue tied (see above) but it won’t sound natural. It won’t sound genuine. It will also probably mess up people’s groove. “Glide your right appendage to the sun above you”? Really? How about “life your leg”!

Tell it like it is: This one refers to the “musings” throughout class. Again, people can tell when you’re speaking from your heart and when you’re verbally copying what someone else has said. You’ll never catch me taking about the peace within or shining your love out from every limb as you extend in wheel. Not that I don’t love hearing that out of one of my favorite refs, but because it’s not me.

Look and Listen: Stop focusing on your words and look around the room. How are the players doing? Are they out of sync with their breathe? Are they totally hunched over from that not-so-great cue you just gave? Well then adjust. Give them another cue. Bring them back into down-dog or child’s pose to reconnect with their breathe. Again, take a minute to go outside what YOU thought the class would be and make it what the players need it to be. Warning: This is hard for anyone, especially beginning refs. Hell, I’m still learning this one.

That brings me to my last “learning” for this post: It’s about THEM (the players), NOT YOU! All of the above comments lead into this and this is what I tell myself before I walk into any class. I guess it’s my reffing mantra. “It’s about them, not me”. If you teach for yourself then it’s not going to benefit anyone, not even you. If you teach for your players, then they will benefit. When you ref it’s to help someone else’s game. You can play your own game later, let them play this one.

Ok, that’s all for this one.  See ya yogis! -B

February 17, 2010. Tags: , , . Teaching. 2 comments.

Really? Another One!

“Another blog? Another blog about yoga? Is she going to talk about chanting? Is she going to convince me to stop eating meat?”

To answer your questions: yes; yes; maybe; nope!

This is another blog and it is about yoga. More than that, it’s about the adventures in yoga. I’ll tell you about me, and I hope you tell me about you. I’ll share stories from teaching, I hope you share stories from your practices. I’ll talk about my obsession with Lululemon, Kings of Leon, Twilight, forward folds, and marshmallows – and I hope you talk to me about all the stuff you love. That’s what blogging is about but even cooler, that’s what yoga is about. It’s about yoking yourself down to your true self – and loving that self! So stay tuned for lots of random musings, (hopefully) funny stories, and maybe some insightful things to get your mind a spinning.

-B

February 16, 2010. Tags: , . Uncategorized. 1 comment.