Behold

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.

See

how tree

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For some additional foundation work with tree pose, check out this video by clicking here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yVE4XXFFO70

Your Epidermis is Showing!

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.

 

Yoga and Digestion

 

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

 

Deepening your Drishti

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In Sanskrit, the word drishti can mean point of view, vision, and even wisdom.

Using a drishti – or focal point – harnesses awareness and directs it energetically. It builds and develops concentration. By focusing with a soft gaze,  attention can be shifted from distractions in a room to continuing our inner work.

A drishti can serve us by removing obstacles that prevent us from seeing our true selves. This technique can be helpful when used with asanas (yoga postures) and balancing/standing poses.

Behold your drishti!

The Simplicity of Meditation

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.

Finding the Balance in Busy

                Whether we’re busy working at our desks or doing activities with children or grandchildren at home, we often lose sight of our own bodies. Checking in with the body, posture, and alignment is a great way to do something healthy for ourselves that can be as beneficial as going to the gym or participating in an exercise class. Here is a great way to check in with a 10 step Chair Yoga sequence:

                Begin any chair activity with lengthening the spine, sitting up tall, and ensuring the crown, or top of the head, is toward the ceiling. Roll the shoulders up, back, and down to open the chest.

  1. Exhale and move the head to look right, inhale the head center. Exhale and look left, inhale to center. Repeat.

  2. Computer, tablet, and phone work are taxing on the eyes. Without moving the head, move only the eyes up to 12:00, as if there is an imaginary clock in front of the face. Now move the eyes down in a straight line to 6:00. Make this movement smooth. Take deep breaths. Repeat. Bring the gaze all the way to the right, looking into the periphery. Without moving the head, move the eyes along the horizon to the left going back and forth in a smooth motion. Repeat.

  3. Interlace the fingers over the head palms facing upward. Stretch to one side, breathing into that side body. Repeat on the other side.

  4. Roll the shoulders forward and then backward in circular motions.

  5. Twist – Place left hand on right knee, reach right arm around the back of the chair. Beginning from the waist, turn the body to look out over that right shoulder. Inhale to lengthen, exhale to twist. Repeat with opposite hand and knee.

  6. Head to knee pose – Cross the right leg over left. Lengthen the spine. Leading with the chin stretch the body over the right thigh placing the abdomen directly on it. To come up, lengthen the crown of the head out and hinge the body back up with a flat back. Repeat with left leg crossed over right.

  7. Forward bend – Open knees. Extend the arms overhead, next to the ears, and hinge the upper body down keeping the back straight. Let the arms hang or grasp the elbows. This posture reverses blood flow to the brain and puts the head lower than the heart in an inversion. Hinge the body back up after a few minutes. Caution: If this causes dizziness, come up.

  8. Sitting with the feet flat on the floor, holding underneath the chair extend both legs out, pointing the toes on the extension and flexing the feet as the legs are drawn back. Exhale them out, inhale them in.

  9. L Stretch – Stand behind the chair. Place both hands on the top of the chair, stepping the feet back far enough so the back can be completely flat and the arms are straight. Entire body forms the letter L.

  10. Hold top right side of chair with left hand and lunge forward with right knee. Extend right arm up next to right ear. Reverse on left side.