One of the very best yoga poses to do every day is locust (Salabhasana). In my gentle mat and chair classes, I teach a few variations of it. Here’s why it’s so great:
Locust pose is a back bend and backward bending poses stimulate and tone the sympathetic nervous system (the fight or flight response in the body). It energizes the body and helps to improve focus.
Practicing locust pose involves core strength. As we engage the core muscles, we’re also lengthening and extending the entire spine, thus strengthening the back muscles, particularly the low back. Keep in mind while trying this pose that it’s mostly about the lengthening versus the lifting and keeping the neck long (because every body is different, we’re not going to necessarily look like the picture above).
Some other amazing benefits of this pose are that it opens the chest, which we all often collapse during the day due to our posture and how much time we spend sitting. Depending upon the version of locust (arms behind and parallel to the mat), we’re getting some nice retraction of the scapula — a good movement for the rotator cuff. Locust is great for strengthening the gluteal muscles in the butt that support the back, and it tones the inner thighs, hamstrings, adductors and calf muscles. For these reasons and more, it is often “prescribed” in PT for low back pain and improving posture.
As we move into this asana or posture, we put our body weight and balance into our abdomen (if practicing the mat version) so the internal organs get a massage and we activate our digestive system, getting everything moving along effectively.
Are you ready for a locust a day? It may keep the doctor away.
For our bodies to get the most out of the food we eat, it’s not only about what we eat, but our experience as well. Enjoying a meal using all of our senses will make a big impact on absorption – smell, taste, touch, sight, sound. Here are some additional helpful tips:
~Eat in a settled atmosphere.
~Ayurveda (the sister science to yoga) suggests we should include all 6 tastes in our meals: sweet, sour, astringent, bitter, salty, and pungent.
~Only eat when hungry.
~Enjoy a meal at a moderate pace. Like Goldilocks, not too fast, not too slow…
~Don’t eat when you’re upset. Your emotions are directly linked to your gut.
~Always sit down to eat (don’t eat while driving, typing on the computer or phone)
~Minimize raw foods, which are harder to digest than cooked ones.
Source: The Chopra Center
During this season of awareness of our immune systems, there are practices and suggestions quite helpful for keeping the immune system toned. Sharing some of the many:
1. Reduce and regulate your exposure to stress. Stress affects the entire body and weakens the immune system as well as the digestive system. This involves the way you process stressful events in life as well.
2. Evaluate your lifestyle. Eat and sleep well. Focus on foods that are anti-inflammatory. Manage time and don’t over book or over burden your life. Being well rested helps your immune system fight and repair. It also helps the liver do its job detoxifying. Check out the Love your Liver Workshop coming up in April at this link: http://feelthepeaceblog.lynsirota.com/about/
3. Keep hands clean and away from the face. Sanitizing is good, but it is possible to overdo this. We need good bacteria too.
4. There are many foods, spices, herbs, and supplements that help the immune system. One of my personal favorites is Black Elderberry Extract. You can find it in stores under the name Sambucus and online. Try looking for a brand that is organic with little to no sugar.
4. Stay tuned in to your body and what it needs. Cultivate balance in the body and in life by staying deeply connected through physical movement especially yoga. Balance the body/mind through meditation.
Always check with your medical professional if you are concerned about your immunity or if you are thinking of trying new herbs and/or supplements to ensure no contraindications.
Ever notice how prevalent even the word anxiety has become since the evolution of smart phones? This connection is ‘food for thought.’ Notice and observe screen time (phones, computers, devices). Notice posture and the structure of the body.
In addition, another body system is deeply impacted. Our respiration. Find some time in the day, even first thing or last thing, to breathe deeply. In gentle yoga classes we practice deep yogic breathing at the beginning of every class, no matter the type of class, or the body parts we’re focusing on. This targeted method of deep breathing goes by many different names, but they all mean the same thing. Deep breathing using the lower belly signals the nervous system to calm down. Building this breathing practice benefits sleep patterns, lowers blood pressure, strengthens the immune system, and enhances the digestive system.
Research indicates that 9 out of 10 people are chest breathers who take short, shallow breaths into their chest all day. This method of breathing tells the nervous system the body is under stress. The body reacts by releasing cortisol, increasing blood pressure. The body and immune system become strained. Next time something or someone is prompting anxiety – find your breath – it’s right under your nose!
Come learn more about deep breathing in my Gentle Yoga classes. Go to the “About, Programs, Schedule” page of this blog to find out more about classes/programs or contact me at email@example.com.
It’s not unheard of to have breakfast for dinner. But, what about dinner for breakfast? I was recently on a lovely retreat and each day for breakfast, we had Miso Soup with various toppings. The Miso is fermented making it a great choice for the digestive system as a probiotic. And, it’s tasty and really easy to make.
8 C water
3-4 scallions Chopped and save some as a topping
1/2 C grated carrots
1/4 C chopped celery
1/2-1 sheet chopped wakame or kombu sea vegetable (I just used snacking seaweed from Costo)
1/2 tub Miso (or Miso to taste-I bought Mellow Miso from Whole Foods). There are various types and some that are non-soy.
Options: Add Mushrooms Toppings: Sauteed Kale with garlic and ginger, Almonds, Sunflower Seeds, tofu, tempeh, sesame seeds, use your imagination
Boil water and remove 1 1/4 C before adding scallions, carrots, celery and seaweed to partially cook (about 5 minutes). Mix miso paste with hot water. Important, turn off the heat before adding paste mixture to the pot (if you boil the miso it kills the healthy properties…also don’t boil when reheating. Just heat till warm to the palate.)
Trikonasana (TREE-kone-AA-SUN-aa) — is an asana (posture) that activates and moves energy through the entire body by stretching the side body and challenging the balance. This asana is named from the Sanskrit words, Trikona, meaning triangle, and asana.
Some of the benefits
Stretches and opens the hips, chest, and lengthens the spine.
Opens the hamstrings, groin, calves, and shoulders.
Stretches and tones the muscles of the legs.
Stretches the intercostal muscles of the rib cage.
Strengthens the neck. Note: ensure the head isn’t droppping down to the shoulder.
Can bring relief to backaches and menstrual cramps.
Gives a deep, full, nourishing stretch to the sides of the body.
Strengthens the legs, knees, ankles, arms, and chest.
Increases mental and physical balance.
Reduces anxiety, stress, back pain, and sciatica