Tag Archives: Balasana

Series: Top 5 Vinyasa Sequences – #2

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The top five vinyasa sequences continues with the next in the series which is a boat to canoe flow. As we know, a vinyasa, or flow, in a yoga class is a movement aligned with the breath that elevates your heart rate and makes your body sweat! Use these brief vinyasa moments in your practice to “pick up the pace and elevate the heart rate” in yoga. Remember to be mindful of keeping an awareness of the breath. Initially, practice the one movement per breath, one breath per movement technique. This will slow the movements down so that the focus can be on form. If the breathing becomes too quickened, stop, move into balasana (child’s pose) and slow the breath once again.

Here is the fourth vinyasa sequence in the series, enjoy! Namaste

From our comfortable seated position, we inhale and exhaling, bringing our legs up to a balanced seated position, beginning boat pose. As we inhale, raising our arms to our bent knee height (modified boat). As we exhale, moving our legs and upper body in opposite directions, canoe pose. Inhaling, we bring our upper body and legs back to the center into boat pose. Exhaling back into canoe pose, inhaling into boat, moving with the breath, moving at our own pace and continuing the sequence up to 3 times for beginner and up to 12 times for advanced or moving through the vinyasa as many times as we feel necessary. While this is a shorter flow, the intense focus on our core muscles makes this one of the toughest. Be sure to keep your head and neck aligned with the spine, pretend that you are holding an orange with you chin against your chest for proper alignment. See below for a great video!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gLa3G47UqAs

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Helping Scoliosis

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Scoliosis is not that uncommon in our society. I battle it myself and have found that I am aided in that battle with yoga. Scoliosis is a condition in which the spine experiences a curvature that renders one hip higher and that same shoulder lower. This can cause a number of problems from shoulder to hip, including respiratory problems. For some, surgery is an option, for others – surgery is out of the question. Rather than searching for a medical solution to helping battle scoliosis, yoga can offer relief by stretching and contracting the muscles on either side of the spine.  This being said, here is a list of the best asanas that help to stretch the spinal muscles:

1. Kurmasana (Tortoise pose)

2. Balasana (Child’s pose)

3. Paschimottanasana (Seated forward bend)

Here is a list of the asanas that help to contract and strengthen the spinal muscles:

1. Salabhasana (Locust pose)

2. Urdhva Danurasana (Wheel pose)

3. Purvottanasana (Upward Plank pose)

Additionally, it is always important to twist the spine and the best poses for that are:

1. Marichyasana III

2. Parivrtta Trikonasana (Revolved triangle pose)

3. Parivrtta Parsvakonasana (Revolved angle pose)

Both Parivrtta Trikonasana and Parivrtta Parsvakonasana also stretch the hamstrings which can alleviate lower back tightness as tight hamstrings can pull the pelvic girdle posterior, creating misalignment in the body.

Practicing these poses can alleviate some of the symptoms common with scoliosis while strengthening the mind & body connection.

Here’s to your healthy spine!

Namaste

This is an posterior-to-anterior X-ray of a ca...

This is an posterior-to-anterior X-ray of a case of adolescent idiopathic scoliosis – specifically, my spine. There is a thoracic curve of 30° and a lumbar curve of 53° (Cobb angle – see scoliosis). This was taken at the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital. The largest curve (53°) is of a magnitude typically near the lower surgery boundary, although many factors decide whether surgery is necessary on a scoliosis case. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 


Releasing Anxiety

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It happens. We get that notice from our boss that they want to meet, we get a letter from the utility company that we’re past due, we have a disagreement with a significant other that we are going to have to see later in the day, or any other non-clinical anxiety inducing incident that occurs throughout a given day, week or month. Here we are, stuck with the weight of something that feels so overwhelmingly powerful that we find ourselves tight in the chest, tied up in knots (not the good yoga knots), and full of non-clinical anxiety about what will or will not happen.

Of course, I would love to say that ‘living in the moment and being present’ are all you need to hear. Of course, I would like to say that you can overcome this by ‘Letting go’! OK, who am I kidding? These things aren’t so easily overcome and they aren’t so unimportant that we can just ‘let go’. So, instead, why don’t I let you know what you can do to help yourself?

That tightness in your chest? Let’s do some chest-opening yoga poses:

1. Cat/Cow pose  2. Fish pose  3. Chest expansion w/forward fold

Focus on the pose, you can come back to your worry in a minute!

Tightness starting to relax? Now, let’s move into soothing poses for our body:

1. Forward Fold  2. Child’s pose  3. Bridge pose

Focus on the pose, you can come back to your worry in a minute!

OK, the physical is starting to release, let’s work on the mind with a centering pose:

1. Easy seated pose with hands in anjali mudra  2. Balancing half-moon pose  3. Half Lord of the Fishes pose    4. Equal ratio breath

Focus on the pose, you can come back to your worry in a minute!

OK. Now that our body is soothed to some degree, and I mean, really focus on those poses! Let them twist, soothe and strengthen your body. Focus on the poses, start over with them if you need to, you can come back to your worry in a minute!

As I was saying, do the poses until you feel some of the tension in your body releasing; then, come sit down. Write out the worst case scenario. Next, write out what you could do should the worst case scenario play out. Really! Write it out! Look at it. Give yourself some options. Your worst case scenario should look something like this:

1. Boss called me into office    2. I could be reprimanded, or fired!     3. If I was fired, I could collect unemployment until I got another job. If I was reprimanded, I could change my behavior and/or actions to align more closely with what my boss wants to see out of me.  (see the options here?) And, added benefit; what if you were called in for a congratulations and find your worry was for nothing – you are golden!

Now, in this situation, I want you to think of the WORST POSSIBLE THING (WPT) because once we face that fear of the WPT, it has no longer has paralyzing power over us. If you feel that non-clinical anxiety creeping up again, come back to the poses. You don’t have to do them all, I recommend at least one in each of the categories of chest-opener, soothing pose, and centering pose. Then read what you’ve wrote again, add to it, take away from it – the point is to take some action for ourselves to relieve non-clinical anxiety and move into the right direction of feeling stable once again. Your options create your reality, step away from the WPT and give yourself a better reality. And, if you are suffering from a clinically diagnosed anxiety, please work with your doctor.

I wish the best to you in this endeavor! ~ Namaste

lincoln