Tag Archives: yoga

Summer yoga sequence 

Here is the yoga sequence we did at Bonnie’s in Crystal Lake. Let’s do a Facebook live for the sequence at Ohm Mother Yoga especially for those of you who wanted a slightly more active class. ūüôā I’ll keep you posted with a date for July. Photo credit to my joy filled mom Joyce Zender-Hodnett for the pictures by her roses. 


Centering with mudra: touch index and thumb together, place left palm up on thigh and right hand over heart. Find your breath. Inhale from base of the spine up and exhale from crown of the head down. Hold 2-10 minutes 

Shoulder shrugs and upper body alignment. (Not pictured) sit at end of seat feet hip distance apart. Inhale shoulders up to ears and exhale shoulders down. Let movements match breath. 

Lengthen the exhale: inhale shoulders up 

Exhale squeeze shoulder blades then slide shoulder blades down into back pockets

Feel the shoulder girdle grounded (we return to this in chair downdog)


Seated pigeon pose with over head stretch

Square hips and cross ankle over opposite thigh, let knee open 

Inhale arms up, exhale opposite arm back for extra stretch use other hand on elbow as pictured 


Inhale arms to T exhale and twist as far as upper body allows, take a breath here then deepen with hand behind you and on thigh if you wish


Take opposite hand to opposite thigh and take the other arm into a side stretch 


Take the arm in side stretch to opposite knee or thigh and round the back


Curl up from rounded back by crossing arms at elbows in eagle arms, soften shoulders and lift elbows. Palms work towards facing each other or clasping


Seated Cat

Inhale arch back and reach arms out in soft cactus position

Exhale round spine and reach arms forward 

Do 3-6 rounds


Chair lunge 

Swivel to the side of chair, back leg can be straight or bent, you could even put a block under a bent knee for support


Chair dog

Check your arm pit to feel the head of the humerus plugged into the socket, in downdog we feel this by releasing the shoulders away from the ears like we did in the beginning of class only now you are partially upside down 


Chair dancer

Keep the knees in line and bend your knee, bend the elbow and hold your hand out like you would holding a tray feel your chest open, stay here or scoop the inside of your ankle


Remember these fun stretches that open the meridians and nerves of the hands? Arms in a T ground the shoulders down, draw the ribs in and press the heel of the hands out as fingers reach toward shoulders, play around with fingers and wrist location for a different stretch, go deeper by slowly and gently tilting the head from side to side 


Seated band bend

Take hands to side of chair or back of chair depending on how open your chest and shoulders feel, lift up through the chest let the head and throats soften back


Chair fold

Rest torso on thighs and fold forward, reach for ground or block


Seated twist

One hand on block or floor and one reaching up, head can be neutral, looking up or down 


Closing

Hands in prayer, thumbs resting on third eye 

New Moon and Kidney Energy (Yogapuncture for Fertility)

Seed

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Have you ever held a seed in your hand before placing it in the dirt and marveled at its size? How can something so tiny possibly hold everything it needs to create a whole other plant that will bear roots, leaves, flowers and fruit? It almost seems inconceivable. This is the energetics of the water element, of the kidney/urinary bladder system. For ease I will simply refer to all of this as Kidney energy but all of the associations are included. (to be clear we are talking about the energetics of the kidneys as is related to Chinese Medicine not your physical organs) Just like a seed the kidneys are often referred to as ‚Äúthe root of life‚ÄĚ. This is where our essence or Jing is stored. Think of essence like a seed- everything is there to create life. The essence we hold in our bodies comes from 2 places: our parents‚Äô energy at conception (genetics) and energy of our lifestyle (food and movement). The energy of our lifestyle is considered most important because it is constantly being replenished whereas the energy from our parents is set and finite.

What this basically means is that the Kidney system is the foundation of the rest of the organ systems. The function of the kidneys is to store the essence as well as govern birth, growth, reproduction and development, produce marrow, fill up the brain, and control the bones. The energy of the kidney’s open into the ears, manifest in the hair and house the will power (perhaps that’s why we feel compelled to start New Year’s resolutions in the winter months).

In the fall the plants have given the last energy to the last harvest and as the coldness sets in the leaves and fruit dry out, shrivel up and shrink. Any seeds remaining from this fruit might be lucky to settle into the earth and sleep during winter. Because summer is the winter’s opposition we might think of the summer time as the place to fill up our energetic savings account to hold us through the winter. Being that the kidneys are our body’s foundation for every other activity our body needs to function and thrive it is especially important to be kind to our kidneys. And just like seeds, our bodies need periods of rest in order to thrive. The tulip is a great example, as bulbs must be planted at the right time in fall and then need so much time to settle in coldness in order to emerge again in the spring.

When we think of the kidney energy and how it relates to fertility it can be seen as the foundation. By nourishing the kidneys we are building our reserves for high egg quality, a smooth pregnancy and post partum.

Associations for Kidney System

Element: Water                                                          Organs: Kidney/Urinary Bladder

Emotion: Fear                                                             Color: Black/Blue

Sound: Groaning                                                        Taste: Salt

Function: Storing                                                         Direction: North

Manifests in Hair                                                        Controls the Low back Bones and Marrow

Balance/Opposition: Summer/Heart/Joy/Fire           Time: Urinary Bladder 3-5pm Kidney 5-7pm

Drawing with Skeleton, Acupuncture Point KI17 Shangqu, 3D Illust

The kidney channel starts on the sole of the foot and works its way up the inner thigh, torso and ends just under the collar bones. The kidney channel is the yin organ and the urinary bladder channel the yang organ.

The urinary bladder channel starts at the inside corner of the eye and goes up the skull down the back to the back of the knee then up the back to the calf and ends at the outside edge of the pinky toe on each side. This channel has the most points of any channel 67 in all and is the most grounding in nature. The energy is so grounding in fact that burning an herb called Moxa over the last point on this channel is quite effective in bringing a breech or malposition baby into a more favorable position. The urinary bladder channel also has what are called ‚ÄúShu points‚ÄĚ along the back about 1.5 inches lateral of the spine. Each Shu point correlates to an organ and when these points are stimulated it nourishes the corresponding organ.

Because the bulk of our essence comes from food let’s start here. The kidneys are nourished by slow cooked foods, think crock pots, roasted meats and veggies etc. Red meat and meat with the bone in are especially strengthening to the kidneys. Don’t throw the bones away but rather make a nourishing stock for soups or even when cooking rice to give it more flavor. Foods that are kidney shaped also nourish the kidneys; kidney beans are an easy example. Foods that are rich deep colors are also especially nourishing to the kidneys, bonus points if they are black or blue as this is the color of the kidneys. Black beans, kidney beans, eggplant, dark leafy green veggies like spinach, kale, chard and dates. Foods with a natural salty flavor are also helpful such as seaweed and seafood. Walnuts are also said to lubricate the joints and strengthen the lower back (where the kidneys reside). A common herbal prescription to strengthen the lower back is to eat one walnut a day. Incorporating bell peppers, tomatoes, broccoli, kiwi, citrus foods helps with the absorbtion of iron from beans, whole grains and meat.

The Kidney energy can also be associated with the beginning of your cycle or menstruation. Day 1 is the first day of your period.

The kidneys are damaged by coldness so it is especially important to stay away from cold foods. Energetically speaking raw food is cold in nature so save salads for the summer months or later in your cycle when it is more appropriate. Avoid eating foods directly from the refrigerator or freezer. Stay away from ice in your drinks and ice cream. Dairy should be omitted completely with PCOS and avoid soy (read labels as most packaged foods contain soy) due to the phytoestrogens soy can deregulate a cycle. Keep the belly and low back warm especially in the winter months and start of your cycle. You might place your hand on your abdomen and notice the quality of the temperature of your skin, does it feel cool to the touch or warm? If you notice your belly is cool you might enjoy warm baths or hot water bottle over the abdomen especially in the first half of your cycle. Cold foods inhibit circulation and can contribute to cramping and clots in your menses.

New Moon

The new moon is when the moon is completely hidden from view. It is a time of turning inward and is why the Kidney energy of Chinese Medicine is relevant. The new moon is also the time of renewal and setting intentions. If we didn’t have schedules to live by we would also sleep slightly longer during the new moon as the sky is darker and invites us to rest more. This is a restorative time.

Homework Pose for the Week: Constructive Rest Pose

Constructive Rest Pose is said to be the equivalent to 2 hours of sleep when held for 10 minutes. If you notice midafternoon fatigue use 5-10 minutes of your lunch break to practice constructive rest pose, this is also a nice way to end the day before bed and you could even practice in bed and drift right off to sleep.

How to do it:

Lay on a flat surface with your knees bent. Bring your feet out about shoulder width apart. Turn your toes in (slightly pigeon toed) If there is any discomfort in your lower back walk your feet either further away from your body or closer to your body depending on what feels better to you. Slide your shoulders down away from your ears and rest with your arms at your sides just far enough away from your body so that your palms can comfortably rest racing up. Slide your chin slightly towards your chest to lengthen the back of the neck. Close your eyes and practice deep breathing for 5-10 minutes.

To come out of the pose:

Take a stretch if you feel its needed. Protect your back and roll onto your side. Rest for a moment on your side if you aren’t fully alert and when ready press yourself back to a seated posture.

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Acupressure for the Week: KD6

KD6

This point is located on what is known as the conception vessel in Chinese Medicine. What better point to stimulate when preparing the body for pregnancy? This point has many benefits, opening the body to conception is one and can also be used to combat nausea during pregnancy as well as for insomnia, prolapse of the uterus, constipation, frequency of urination and sore throat. It is a safe acu-point to use through out your cycle and during pregnancy.

Located in the hollow just under the inner ankle bone. Sitting with the soles of feet together and legs in a diamond is an ideal position to access this point. Hold this point for 1-3 minutes as well.

Located in the hollow just under the inner ankle bone. Sitting with the soles of feet together and legs in a diamond is an ideal position to access this point. Hold this point for 1-3 minutes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blue Monday

There have been a lot of facebook posts going around (which I love btw) talking about couches being open to friends when they need a place to land, a shoulder to cry on etc.

I wanted to share this study I learned about awhile back that is so powerful especially so on blue Monday.

Many people especially in the Midwest suffer from seasonal affective disorder or SAD. Part of the problem is that we have less sunshine and the cold, dreary weather can contribute to isolation. We are social beings and need contact. Wayne Dyer describes a Swedish study of Random Acts of Kindness and serotonin levels. When a person practices an act of kindness his serotonin levels increase. The person receiving the act of kindness will also experience a boost in serotonin levels. And interestingly enough a witness to the act of kindness will also benefit with a rise in serotonin levels. What’s more is that this lift in endorphins has a lasting effect and because it impacts the giver, receiver and witness one small act of kindness can ripple out in the world. If the winter months leave you with a sense of dread this is a perfect time to practice random acts of kindness and contribute to not only your serotonin levels but those around you as well. The giver of kindness receives the highest boost in feel good endorphins but don’t be afraid to also receive kindness.

How many random acts of kindness can you offer your tiny corner of the world today? Lets raise up that serotonin! Share your stories on the facebook page. ūüôā

I’ll leave you with this, my favorite happy pose, named fittingly so.

Happy Buddha

look up and laugh!

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Yogapuncture for Winter (January)

Here is a little sneak peak into what we will be talking about at Yogapuncture for Winter this Saturday.

January is traditionally a time for resolutions, by Febuary most are abandoned or forgotten. There are a couple of reasons why I think this happens. One, being that most resolutions are about health and our idea of health is usually weight loss and the winter isn’t the time for that. We need insulation in the winter to stay warm! The other being that most resolutions revolve around some form of marketing and its not really what we want but rather what we think/are told¬†we want. Lastly our kidney energy is depleted making it hard to have strong resolve.

The Kidneys in Chinese Medicine house the will. It might be why in January we feel so inspired to start anew because winter is when the kidneys are most active. The kidney energy also controls the bones. In Yoga, alignment is of utmost importance for full benefit of postures as well as to prevent injury. My teacher would say, when bones are stacked properly there is no effort of the muscles, the muscles simply support the bones. When we find neutrality in our spine and our bodies are in alignment our bodies can take in more oxygen and are able to store more for available usable energy. On the flip side if our bodies are not in alignment it can compromise every system of the body.

Mountain Pose:, steady, strong, immovable

Mountain Pose:, steady, strong, immovable

 

In yogapuncture for Winter we will talk about the foundation of our yoga practice and how we can use this as a tool for the year. Through proper alignment the kidney energy can remain strong and keep the will focused. In our yoga practice we will work on foundation postures and build slowly from there. Movement in the winter should be slow and restorative but we are also every day closer to spring now that we have passed the winter solstice. Through these slow and restorative postures we are able to keep the kidneys nourished and keep our energetic savings account full.

This year already feels full of potential doesn’t it? The intention of class is to give you the tools you need to achieve your goals for 2017, lets enjoy the Winter season instead of “getting through it.”

The Shortest Day of the Year

Happy Winter Solstice!

Today is the shortest day of the year and to me that feels like really good news. It means that everyday will become just a little bit lighter.

Like we talked about in the winter yogapuncture winter is the time of going inward, when our energy is deep and we should be resting. This can be tricky to balance with the holiday season.

Today take some time ideally somewhere between 3-7 (its when the kidney/urinary bladder the organ system of the season is most active in the body) and come into constructive rest pose. Its deeply restorative for your body and if held for 10 minutes is the equivalent of 2 hours sleep.

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For more info and how to do constructive rest pose head over here to the archives! Breathe deep and enjoy!

Want to know more about thriving in the winter season? Join me Saturday Jan 14th at OhmMother Yoga for the next Seasonal Harmony: Yogapuncture for Winter. For more information and to register visit here. 

What is Yogapuncture?

I have been refining this collection of information for over 10 years, it began as my thesis on Chinese Medicine and the seasons and then one day at the beach the idea to incorporate yoga with the seasons and meridians hit me. It seems everyone I talk to about the concepts of Chinese Medicine asks where can I read a book about all of this. I’ve never found one that I felt was a simple introduction to the concepts of acupuncture that a lay person could understand and use in their daily life.

 It is my intention for this ongoing class to be a way to learn and understand these concepts not only intellectually but also as an experience that can be applied to your daily life.

  
  The ancient doctors’ job of their community was keeping people healthy; if someone got sick they had to pay their patient because they had not done their job correctly. This system was born out of prevention, to sustain a healthy life to the age of 100. It is also a system based on observation because of this it is easy to find contradictions because teachers may have made conflicting observations and passed those on to their students. They honored all ways of practicing as each way served a purpose or had a value even if a different or better way was later discovered. Sometimes these are simply cultural. For example, in China they prefer thicker gauged needles and they manipulate the needles until a strong sensation is felt, in Japan thin gauged needles are barely inserted into the skin, Korean acupuncture uses a hand system, some acupuncturists prefer to only use a method of acupuncture in the ear. The most fascinating part is that all of these systems work and it is also why acupuncture can be so hard to do clinical controlled studies on because they may think they are doing sham acupuncture when they may just be using an unknown system.

 

With that being said the idea and concepts discussed should never be taken at face value. They are simply points to consider. It’s up to you to be your own advocate in your body and find what makes you feel most whole. Not all ideas will work at all times and each season will be different just like we have mild winters and long winters. Some days are rainy or sunny or foggy. Taking on small bits of information and making small changes over time can add up to a lifestyle of wellness.

In school whether its grade school, high school, college etc. we study the body by systems. When do we put all of these systems back together to understand how the body functions as a whole?

Do we understand what a whole, healthy body feels like?

The body has the amazing capacity not only to maintain homeostasis but to remain in the present moment. What most people might not understand is how choices impact this. For example, the body’s ph is 7.34 and no matter what we do it will strive to stay here as long as we are alive. For example, if you drink a coke which is very acidic (somewhere around a 2) the body will compensate to keep homeostasis by leaching calcium out of the bones. One coke might not change the body, however, overtime all of that compensation could lead to many problems from muscle cramping to osteoporosis.

So how do we find balance in our lives? Perhaps we should learn a lesson from our bodies. In order to maintain homeostasis in the moment the body compensates after drinking that coke and borrows some calcium. It doesn’t consider the detrimental effect this loss of calcium will have long term- it is trying to survive in the present moment. The easy answer then is, if we stay present in this moment, the future is planned for.

Let’s talk about balance. What does the concept of balance look like to you? Perhaps an image of a judicial scale comes to mind. This idea is very static and rigid, life most times is not. I’d like for you to consider the idea of harmony. This concept is more fluid. The idea of Chinese Medicine is that each system supports the next and they all work together to keep the body healthy.

If a disharmony occurs it doesn’t happen in isolation to one organ system- the entire body is impacted, emotions are impacted, the individual’s life and all those a part of it are impacted. Kind of like that saying, “If mom’s not happy, ain’t no body happy.” To find harmony we need to look at what caused the dis-harmony. As the body becomes healthier all areas become healthier. It‚Äôs a domino effect in the right direction.

 

So where do we start? With awareness. A teacher once told me, awareness precedes change. First we have to know how we feel, what we are doing and then we can make changes if necessary. Small, realistic changes over time have the deepest impact and longest results.

 

Take some time to think about your day from turning the alarm clock off, showering, eating breakfast (if you ate breakfast), driving to work, tending to your family, phone calls, emails, going to the bathroom etc etc. As you are thinking about your day notice your body, notice your breath. How does your life feel in your body? How is your body compromising to maintain homeostasis? Are you bracing your body with tight muscles? Holding your breath?

 

You might imagine how over time this un-awareness of how your body manages your day can contribute to disharmony in the body, in relationships, in the very activities that we enjoy.

With that in mind, could you use a little more energy to use during your day?

 

In Chinese Medicine it is believed we get our energy from 2 places: our parents and our lifestyle. There’s not much we can do about our parents. The rest of the equation we have a little more control over. Da Qi + Gu Qi = Zhen Qi. What in the world does that mean? How you breathe and how/what you eat contributes to how much usable energy you have and how good you feel.

 

Da Qi: The Breath

The yogis believed we have a certain number of breaths to live, so they practice slow, deep, mindful breathing. An easy way to shut off fight/flight (stress!) is to exhale deeper than your inhale. This will not only calm you it will help tone your abdominal muscles strengthening your core and lower back in addition to taking stress off of the neck and shoulders. When you can, take a moment to check in with your breathing or take one or two deep breaths for a quick time out in the middle of a stress filled moment. You might end your day with some deep breaths as well to drift off into more restful sleep.

Breath is the mirror of the mind. Here are some examples of what happens to our breath on a day to day basis:

 

  • Fear- gasping for air
  • Resisting something- hold the breath
  • Anger- short jerky, incomplete breaths
  • Fatigue- long inhales through the mouth. Yawn

For optimal health, breathing should be performed nasally and should be full and rhythmic. The breath should come in through the nose and out through the nose. The nose is anatomically designed to filter and warm the air for the lungs, therefore try to use it as nature intended.

Gu Qi: Food

There are gobs of information on what you should and shouldn’t be eating. Alot of it can be confusing as many ideas are contradictory. One thing just about everyone agrees on is that Twinkies will never be a “superfood”. I tell my patients to eat food that is alive. Anything that can live longer than you can on a shelf try to avoid. The best thing you can do when you eat, whatever it is that you eat is to eat with awareness. Don’t multitask when you eat! The spleen/stomach controls digestion and is damaged by overthinking. If you are answering emails while munching you could be setting yourself up for digestive problems, period issues, obsessive thinking and not to mention overeating.

Zhen Qi= True Energy

Your true energy is the combination of your genetics and your lifestyle (air and food). TCM believes that your lifestyle is most important of these two forces because it is constantly being replenished. Our genes are our genes but our role in what we eat, how we breathe and move can have a huge impact on what genes manifest. Due to the changes in our environment each season our lifestyle can modify to adjust accordingly. There is a time to expend energy and a time to conserve. When we follow the flow of nature our bodies can function most optimally.

The gist of TCM is to keep harmony in the body by keeping the circulation of blood and energy flowing unimpeded. When blockages happen this causes the body to not be able to function as optimally as it can which can eventually affect every part of the body. Acupuncture can be a gateway to awareness. It literally forces you to be still for a while. After treatments most people feel better, “cleaned out,” energized and relaxed. With this new awareness they naturally start to make other changes in how they respond to situations that used to “stress them out.”

A bit about what acupuncture feels like

Many people are surprised how painless acupuncture is. Occasionally you might feel a quick pinch or electrical sensation that you might think about longer than you actually feel, this sensation is called ‚Äúda qi‚ÄĚ and basically means we woke up some stagnation and got energy flowing there again. If anything feels uncomfortable for longer than 30 seconds or so ask for needles to be adjusted. Once needles are in, your body may feel heavy/weighed down or light/floating or both sensations at once. Sometimes awareness can rest on a couple of needles like they are “talking” to each other and then change to another group of needles, sometimes you might swear there is a needle where you know there is not, we call this a phantom needle. It is opening up a pathway. Sometimes acupuncture points can feel really achy or itchy, this is all within the realm of normal and will subside during the treatment. A treatment can make some sleepy and others alert, the needles are tapping into your body’s healing resources for what is needed now. Each treatment can be a different experience. Because acupuncture addresses the body as a whole positive “side effects” can include more energy, better quality sleep, improved digestion and a more even mood.

  
When acupuncture is practiced in a group setting the effects are magnified. This happens because of entrainment. Basically everyone is on the same wave length and so deeper relaxation can occur. My teacher once said that needles are like antennas pulling universal qi/energy into the body. When a group receives acupuncture together more energy is harnessed.

A bit on yoga

The systems of Yoga and Traditional Chinese Medicine are very similar, sometimes referred to as sister medicine with the Himalayan Mountains being their only divide. In the West we have picked a part these systems and taken pieces when in actuality they are both parts of bigger systems. While we won’t get into all of the specifics of these systems I wanted to address the nature of the yoga postures that will be demonstrated/preformed in class. There are over 84,000 yoga postures and chances are there will be some that just about any body can do. I choose to find postures that are simple and effective in nature so that you can feel confident in developing a home practice free of injury or over thinking. Looking like a picture of a yogi on a beach in a pretzel like posture is not necessary to receive the benefits of this practice. Whether you’ve never done yoga or you have been practicing for a long time it is my hope that you will find these sequences of postures for each season beneficial. Postures should be comfortable to get in and out of, free of pain that you can easily breathe through. Yoga means to unite the breath with the body so it is essential that we breathe during our postures to receive the intended benefit of each pose. It is often said if you’re not breathing, you’re not doing yoga.

  
Each yogapuncture class includes a short lecture on Chinese medicine and how it relates to what is happening environmentally/seasonally. Yoga postures are tailored to the current season and are accessible to beginning and seasoned students. Class ends with a seasonal acupuncture treatment.

Winter is the time of Kidney/Urinary Bladder system, the emotion of fear and coldness. We will explore these concepts with restorative postures to fortify our constitution, build endurance, peace and will power during this time of inner reflection, reverence and rest.

Spring is the time of Liver/Gall Bladder system, the emotion of anger and wind. We will discuss spring cleaning/cleanses, anger and courage.

Summer is the time of the Heart/Small Intestine system, the emotion of joy and heat. We will discuss how to harness the abundant energy of the season and how to not “burn the candle at both ends.”

Late Summer is the time of the Spleen/Stomach system, the emotion of worry and dampness. The spleen/stomach is related to all times of transition/transformation and is present in each season.

Autumn is the time of the Lung/Large Intestine system, the emotion of grief and dryness. This is a period of starting to turn inward.

Each yogapuncture class is unique!

Natural Remedy for Sleep

Here is a natural remedy for sleep that has no negative side effects, is not addictive (at least not in a negative way), and requires no fancy equipment or training.

Constructive Rest Pose is said to be the equivalent to 2 hours of sleep when held for 10 minutes. Give this a try when you’ve had a rough night’s sleep, when you are having trouble falling asleep, or as a part of your every day routine to feel more rested, focused, and alert. If you notice midafternoon fatigue use 5-10 minutes of your lunch break to practice constructive rest pose.

How to do it:

 

Lay on a flat surface with your knees bent. Bring your feet out about shoulder width apart. Turn your toes in (slightly pigeon toed) If there is any discomfort in your lower back walk your feet either further away from your body or closer to your body depending on what feels better to you. Slide your shoulders down away from your ears and rest with your arms at your sides just far enough away from your body so that your palms can comfortably rest racing up. Slide your chin slightly towards your chest to lengthen the back of the neck. Close your eyes and practice deep breathing for 5-10 minutes.

To come out of the pose:

Take a stretch if you feel its needed. Protect your back and roll onto your side. Rest for a moment on your side if you aren’t fully alert and when ready press yourself back to a seated posture.

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The Yogi Cure All Meditation

 

There is a yoga posture that has often been called the “yogi cure all” and can be used for just about any ailment. The best part is that it is simple and easy to do. For anyone who held the excuse that they aren’t flexible and could never do any yoga this posture is a great place to start.

Vaprita Karani or Legs Up the Wall Pose is pretty self explanatory. (see picture above)

Here are a couple of tips: 

* Sitting next to the wall, bring your hips as close to the wall as you can.

* Protect your back by laying on your side and then gently swing your legs up against the wall. It it not imperative that your legs be at a 90 angle against the wall, only that your legs are straight. If the back of your legs feel tight, scoot your hips away from the wall until you find a place of comfort and ease in your body.

* You might also place a pillow under your hips or lengthwise along your spine for more comfort and higher elevation.

* Your arms can rest at your sides, out into a “t” or up over your head.

* This pose can also be done using a chair or ball to rest your legs on for more comfort.
The ancient yogis believed that “legs up the wall” pose was a cure-all. They believed that once the feet were up over the head in a resting posture a secret serum was released from the heels and would gently trickle down to wherever the ailment was and could especially assist with headaches, low back pain, varicose veins, anti-aging and metabolism. These ancient yogis were such fans of “legs up the wall” they felt it had just as much benefit on the body if held for 10 minutes a day as a full yoga class does.This pose is doing many things physiologically.
>> helping to traction the spine, alleviating pressure through the low back>> reversing the direction of circulation giving the veins of the legs a break from gravity which also helps slow the aging process and nourish circulation.>> bringing fresh circulation to the head>> assisting the blood pressure to decrease

To release from this pose gently walk your feet down the wall and bring your knees into your chest. You might enjoy rocking from side to side. To protect your back roll on to your side (you might prefer to rest on your side for a moment) and slowly push yourself back to a seated posture.

While holding this posture close your eyes and practice some deep breathing. Imagine a balloon in your abdomen. With your inhale imagine filling this balloon up with any stress or tension and with your exhale imagine your balloon slowly deflating letting your stress or tension out. Focus on slow, long exhales to promote further relaxation in your body. You might be aware of a tingling sensation in your legs or even feel your back naturally start to loosen.

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