Behold the beauty and benefits of Tree Pose (Vrikshasana). Such as life, achieving balance and stability is a daily challenge. By adding this pose to a yoga practice, it helps with focus, concentration, and balance. Trees are grounded and strong. Tree pose strengthens and stabilizes the standing leg or “trunk” up through the buttocks due to the weight-bearing aspect of it. The toning of the hip bones through this pose provides stability in the pelvic region of the body.
Like a majestic cherry tree blooms and reaches toward the sky, the spine lifts in Vrikshasana through the crown of the head. The stretch expands the calves, ankles, thighs, and groin as well as the chest and shoulders. It further strengthens the ligaments and tendons of the feet.
For some additional foundation work with tree pose, check out this video by clicking here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yVE4XXFFO70
Our skin makes up one of the eleven systems of the body (specifically the integumentary). Products we use on it are absorbed through it, so being mindful of what we use could make a significant impact. Deodorant is absorbed through the skin in the lymphatic area of the body responsible for fighting disease and infection. Have you ever looked at the ingredients in your deodorant? Going natural is not only better for the body, but less expensive. It’s non-toxic, sustainable, effective…and it’s really easy. Try it!
- 5-6 tablespoons coconut oil (the coconut oil can go from solid to liquid depending on the storage temperature)
- 1/8 cup arrowroot powder
- 1/8 cup cornstarch
- 1/4 cup baking soda
- Scent Option: You can leave it unscented or add several drops of lavender or bergamot oil
Mix the powders together in a small jar (the “ball” brand makes a nice small glass jar) and slowly add the coconut oil until you create a “pomade” consistency and the powders are mostly dissolved. Add a few drops of oil until your reach your desired scent.
Scoop out a small amount and rub it between your fingers to melt and create a smooth texture. Or use a thin, round make-up sponge as an applicator. Apply under the arms and rub any left into your hands as a moisturizer.
There is far more going on in a yoga session than meets the eye. The blend of yoga postures, or asanas, with deep breathing and twists, stretches, massages and moves intestinal toxins out of the body. This helps with gas, bloating and constipation that can lead to more serious digestive disorders like heartburn, irritable bowel syndrome, and pain. Many of the yoga postures that benefit digestion also help to flatten and tone the stomach.
Here are a few yoga postures that specifically target the digestive area:
- Vajrasansa (thunderbolt pose) properly aligns the body for digestion in this seated, kneeling posture. The buttocks sit back toward the heels. To enable ease and comfort in this posture, try putting a block under the buttocks or a blanket in between the buttocks and calves. This posture is wonderful after a big meal or any meal.
- Seated or reclining twists like Ardha Matsyendrasana (half lord of the fishes pose) or Supta Matsyendrasana (supine spinal twist) in combination with breath, provide a deeply targeted massage of the digestive region. Twists can also be done in a seated cross-legged position or in a chair with one leg crossed over the other. Twists squeeze out toxins from the body facilitated by deep breathing.
- Uttanasana (standing forward fold) improves digestion due to the compression of the abdominal area. It prompts circulation within the region and movement. It is also a multipurpose pose in that it calms the nervous system and allows for relaxation. Because the heart is higher than the head in this posture, there is a reversal of blood flowing to the brain.
- Balasana (child’s pose) Positioning the upper body to lay directly onto the thighs helps the digestive process as well targets the digestive region.
A strong, regular practice of diaphragmatic breathing, inherent in some yoga classes, moves the digestive organs giving them a steady massage. It activates digestion and burns away toxins. A regular yoga practice incorporating the above-as well as good food choices-is a great way to do something healthy and beneficial for the body and mind.
The benefits of meditation are endless. So why isn’t everyone partaking? There appears to be a mystique around it. As a practitioner and an instructor, the hardest part is getting started and figuring out (and keeping to) the regularity. It’s simple. The best times are at sunrise and sunset because the earth becomes very still then. If that doesn’t work, then anytime is the right time. It is best to develop a workable, accessible routine.
To further simplify meditation, there are apps that you can use on a computer or phone. Not everyone can get to yoga or a class to practice meditation. That shouldn’t hinder the process. The picture above shows 3 apps: Sattva, Headspace, and Insight Timer. I have used all three and recommend them. All three have different options. All three are free. For beginners, Headspace has the option for a “Take 10.” It provides a little instruction each day for 10 days. See how you can tune in with your thoughts and relieve stress and anxiety. Every answer you seek, you will find. You just have to know where to look. Within.