Tag Archives: transition

Seasonal Self Care for Late Summer (yoga)

The focus of our yoga practice this season is about finding equilibrium during times of transition. In each pose be mindful of your breath especially in the spaces between the inhale and exhale, the place of becoming. That’s what this season is all about. We do a series of postures in different ways to explore how it feels and which feel best for right now. The intention is to bring these postures into your daily practice however they feel best. Remember especially if you are short on time to pick 2 poses to practice everyday, the one from class you liked best and the one you liked least. 😉 Let’s begin.

Qi Gong



Wide Mountain Twist

Stand with feet shoulder width apart or wider. Feel how your feet make contact with the ground. Inhale arms to T exhale twist upper body to the right keeping hips square. Move with breath inhaling to center and exhaling to twist noting the space between each inhale and exhale. Repeat 3 times on each side and return to wide mountain to observe body for 3 breaths.

Standing with wide legs march in place for 3 breath cycles.

Closed leg mountain 

Standing with big toes touching and outer feet parallel inhale finger tips to shoulders exhale releasing shoulders down. Inhale lengthen spine and exhale twist. Repeat on opposite side. Do 3 rounds o each side.


With feet together march in place for 3 breath cycles.

Mountain Pose

Bring feet hip width apart. Inhale arms to cactus, exhale twist. Repeat other side. Do 3 rounds, return to center and observe for 3 breaths.

Repeat one more round of standing mountain twist which ever feet and arm combination felt best in your body.

With feet hip distance apart march in place for 3 breath cycles.

Mahasirs Mudra

Curl ring finger into palm and bring middle and index finger to touch thumb. Keep pinky extended and rest back of hands on thighs or knees. This mudra can help with clearing congestion and headaches especially when caused by weather changes. It also can help when we are spending too much time in our heads. Rest in this mudra for 3-6 minutes spending time observing your breath allowing for the spaces between your inhalations and exhalations to comfortably lengthen.

Acupressure SP6 & ST36

Bridge wide legged

Place feet shoulder width apart keeping knees and feet parallel. Arms are in a wide “V”, shoulders and neck are relaxed. Take a deep breath and feel the pause, with the exhale lift the hips off of the ground and hold for 3 breaths. Inhale and release, exhale and allow the body to soften. Repeat 3 times.

Low Twist

Lie on your back, knees bent feet on the floor. Bring arms to a “T”. With an exhale drop knees to right with knees pointing down and away from the body. If you feel any tightness in the hips of knees elevate the left thigh/knee with a blanket or block. If you want to go deeper into the twist turn the head to the left. Take 3 deep breaths. Lift right leg and then left back to center when you are finished. Repeat on the left.  

Bridge feet together

Thighs, knees and feet touching and arms close to body. Inhale, pause and exhale lift hips into bridge. Slide shoulders down and slide arms toward midline. Take 3 breath cycles and release. Observe effects of pose.

Twist II

Take a deep breath and as you exhale drop knees to the right bringing the thighs parallel with right arm. If any tightness is felt place a blanket or block under your right thigh. To go deeper turn head to the left. Both shoulders should be resting comfortably on the ground. Take 3 deep breaths, observing the gentle squeeze of the internal organs as you exhale.

Bridge Pose

Bring feet hip distance apart for this bridge pose. You can place a block inbetween your thighs. Three breath cycles

Twist Up

Arms in T, exhale knees into chest. Inhale pause, exhale drop knees to right with the knees pointing up to the arm pit/shoulder. Place a blanket or block under thigh for support if needed. Take 3 breaths. Pause in the center and Repeat on the left.

Supine Spleen Salutation

Start lying on your back, knees bent, feet hip width apart.

  1. Inhale
  2. exhale bridge pose
  3. inhale release
  4. exhale knees to chest arms up and over head
  5. inhale release arms at sides, extend legs up bent knees if need be
  6. exhale knees to chest
  7. inhale to starting point, do 3-5 rounds

Final relaxation 

Hold for 5-10 minutes in restorative pose of your choice


Preparing for Spring, Seasonal Self Care Class Sneak Peak

We do yogapuncture with the seasons but there is always something happening in the body and our environment. If you’ve been curious about what yogapuncture is (a self care class!) read on and get a tiny peak in. If you’ve been coming to yogapuncture here is a tiny peak in what is going on as we look forward to spring. 🙂

February is the time of preparation for Spring! Even if it doesn’t feel like it. The energy that has been deep in the Kidneys all winter is starting to make its way back. The kidneys store our congenital qi or energy. This the energy given to us by our parents and could be considered the genetics of your body.

The Spleen/Stomach system which is active in periods of transition is continuously supplying the Kidney qi with new energy. Recall the old equation da qi + gu qi = zhen qi What this means is that the air we breathe and the food we eat gives us available energy to use. Any surplus is given to the kidneys for storage in times of need. Now is the time to fill the savings account so to speak so the body is prepared for the transition to spring. It is very common to get sick, worn down, allergies etc in spring because of depletion.

Ways to nourish the spleen: eating yellow foods, especially root veggies. Start to incorporate more veggies and meatless meals to give the spleen/stomach a break from the rich, heavy foods of winter.

Here is an almost perfect meal for the transition from winter to spring. Don’t worry it tastes pretty good too! Mung Bean Stew with Eggplant and Mushrooms


Chinese Medicine believes that colds and other sickness can “attack” the body from wind, especially blowing on the back of the neck. It’s especially important to keep your neck protected while you sleep, so avoid fans blowing directly on you or sleeping with a window open when its windy out. Its tempting when the weather breaks (and it will!) to change from winter to spring clothes quickly. Make sure that if you do go out in an open shirt to wear a scarf to protect your neck.

Here is a fun way to wear a scarf. 

One way to strengthen your neck to keep the wind out is to practice this exercise throughout the day especially if you sit in front of a computer for an extended period of time or while driving. You can do it at each stop light as you get good at remembering.

In Chinese Medicine the kidneys control the bones and the spleen controls the muscles. A misconception is that muscles should do all the work. The foundation of proper health, movement etc is stacking the bones of the body first. Healthy muscles contract when working and relax at rest. When the bones are properly aligned the muscles simply hug the bones in support without effort.

To avoid injury don’t lengthen or strengthen muscles if the bones are not properly lined up.

Stay healthy friends and I’ll see you at the Spring Yogapuncture(s) in March!

Crystal Lake Bonnie Ricica March 3rd,

West Dundee OhmMother Yoga March 18th

Antioch Blu Rain Yoga March 25th!



What’s for Dinner Week 4

Have you ever woken up from a deep sleep and felt fuzzy or disoriented? That’s almost how the weather feels lately, doesn’t it? Some days the sun is shining and its warm and feels like spring and then the gloom and chill settles back in. It is almost like mother nature can’t decide, hit the snooze or go to the gym. This is the transition time from winter to spring. It takes awhile to wake back up and sometimes it might even feel like we are still dreaming.

In Chinese Medicine transition times are when the spleen/stomach system are most active. You can think of this as the core of our bodies, the center. Foods that are bland or mildly sweet (like wheat and sweet potatoes), and yellow and orange foods deeply nourish the spleen/stomach and digestion and help keep us grounded in times of transition.

I’ve included recipes this week for my family to help nourish the spleen system. Check back for a new chocolate chip recipe I’ve been playing with later this week too.


Coconut Lime Butternut Squash Soup

Yellow Curry Chicken and Vegetables (basically crock pot chicken in trader joe’s curry with broccoli and peas over rice) 🙂

Black Bean and Sweet Potato Chili

Corned beef and cabbage

homemade pizza


What are you cooking up this week?


Feeling Tired? This Could Be Why

The last 2 days we’ve been living in the clouds, literally. The fog yesterday was pretty intense. If you are feeling sluggish this could be why.

We are transitioning into winter. This is a time of turning inward and for many animals it’s also hibernation time. We’ve talked about this already. The sunless sky and all the fog is a very damp environment. It may even feel like the dampness is in your bones. Dampness in Chinese Medicine is an obstruction or blockage that can cause you to feel weighed down, it’s also mother nature’s reminder to slow down! Cold causes energy to constrict and move slow and so as much as you can let your life reflect that.

You might be thinking, “this all sounds great, but I have stuff to do.” Here are some simple ways to prepare for winter so that you can be mindful of what your body needs and realistic of your life as well.

1. Eat warming foods and spices. The season of winter is cold and is associated with the bones and low back and the color is black. Incorporate stews, soups and chilis in to your menu and add warming spices like black pepper, cumin, cinnamon, ginger etc. Look forward to some yummy winter recipes. 🙂

2. Because this is a season of turning in it is important to avoid stimulants like coffee. Also avoid damp causing foods like dairy, processed foods and refined sugar as this can contribute to fatigue.

3. Take some time to hibernate. If extra sleep isn’t possible try incorporating meditation or quiet time into your routine even if its just for 5 minutes. There is a saying that says meditate everyday for 20 minutes and if you are really busy meditate for an hour!

4. Switch up your exercise routine. Avoid high impact cardio exercise in the winter months to replenish your system.  Add restorative yoga, walking and weight training to your routine.

5. Surrender! It is few and far between the number of comments I hear of someone looking forward to the dark and cold or winter. Find beauty in the season, it is after all the balance to the summer and the sun is always shining behind the clouds! 😉


Natural Medicine Cabinet Essential: Staying Grounded

My go to natural medicine cabinet essential when I’m feeling out of balance mentally and physically is Valor.

Valor is an essential oil blend that is known for its balancing properties. Physically it is sometimes referred to as a “chiropractor in a bottle” because this blend of oils can assist in keeping proper spinal alignment. Emotionally it has energetic balancing properties as well. The name Valor is fitting especially for times of change when you might need a little boost in courage.

The Essential Oil Desk Reference says Valor was formulated to balance energies and instill courage, confidence and self esteem. It helps the body self-correct its balance and alignment. 

Valor contains:

Rosewood (anti-infectious, antibacterial, antifungal and antispasmodic, is very grounding and strengthening)

Blue Tansy ( helps cleanse the liver and lymphatic system, helping one to overcome anger and negative emotions, promoting a feeling of self control)

Frankincense (is considered a holy anointing oil in the Middle East and has been used in religious ceremonies for thousands of years. It stimulates the limbic part of the brain, elevating the mind and helping to overcome stress and despair. It is used in European medicine to combat depression)

Spruce (opens and releases emotional blocks, fostering a sense of balance and grounding. Traditionally, it was believed to possess the frequency of prosperity)

Almond Oil (is used in this blend as a carrier oil. It is sweet to the taste and offers a rich source of vitamin E. In Ayurvedic medicine it is considered a nutrient for the brain and nervous system)

How to Use: 

When I’m looking to feel balanced and grounded I like to put Valor on the soles of my feet first thing in the morning and before bed. Put 3-6 drops of Valor in your non-dominant hand and circle with your finger clockwise. Massage your palms together and then rub on the soles of your feet and lower back. When the oil has been absorbed I cup my hands over my nose and take a few deep breaths with my feet planted firmly on the ground. Give it a try every day for a week and see what you notice. And don’t forget to let me know!

Don’t have any Valor? You can order here. Or send me a message and I will help you get all set up. 🙂

Medical & Health Information

Any information on this website is not meant to diagnose, prescribe, cure, or treat any illness or disease: it has not been evaluated by the FDA. Neither are the products mentioned on this website meant to do the same: they have been evaluated by the FDA. Information here is strictly for informational and educational purposes only and is not medical advice. Please seek a qualified health professional of your choice when making health choices for yourself or any member of your family – pets included. By proceeding to read articles / posts, look at pictures, watch videos, contact Sarah Canga, and listen to audios you agree and accept these terms.


How to Stay Grounded During Transition

This week’s theme will be around staying grounded. The fall is a time of transition between the brightness, lightness of summer to darkness and a returning inward of fall.


Especially in the Midwest many people have trouble with the darker times of year. Check back this week for a recipe, medicine cabinet essential, meditation, and natural remedy geared towards keeping you grounded as we move into the colder, darker months of the year.

If you have questions or want more information send me a message and I will post more in our facebook page. Don’t forget to “like” the page too! 🙂