Slow and Steady

As the first week of the new year passes by I am reminded to slow down, which has helped me stay in line with my intention for the year. I, like many this season, have come down with a cold and am forced to take it easy. If I keep moving and doing I will only continue to make myself sick. So instead I’ve decided to slow down, this means my asana practice is much more restorative daily.

If you are feeling under the weather and need to recharge try supta virasana. Look at the cold as a way to let your body receive the down time it needs.

Live Light Practice:

Click on the video below to try out supta virasana, a restorative yoga pose. supta virasana (reclined hero posture) helps to stretch the front of the body, sooth the nervous system, and aids digestion.

Using propping underneath the body will allow you to stay in this pose for an extended period of time and move towards the relaxation response.

If you have a knee injury avoid this position and instead have your legs straight in front of you.




Relaxation Response

Restorative yoga is a conscious mind-body practice best described as active relaxation. Restorative asanas (postures) have wonderful healing properties for those recovering from injuries, depression and life in general.

We all live such stressful lives that increase the rate at which our sympathetic nervous system is triggered. The sympathetic nervous system manages our response to dire circumstances when we have to choose between ‘fight or flight’ — whether we protect ourselves or try to run away. The sympathetic nervous system sends blood to the extremities to prepare the body to attack or escape. A continued state of ‘fight or flight’ can lead to high levels of stress and cause illness and disease. Yoga can help counteract this increasing trend in our society and promote a balanced life.

Yoga, and especially Restorative Yoga, helps to teach the body to cultivate the parasympathetic nervous system — the ‘relaxation response’. This system helps to regulate our breathing, decrease heart rate, lower blood pressure, and improve digestion, because the blood flows to the organs that specifically need it and not only to the extremities.

The restorative nature of the asanas relaxes the body so it can open up to release tension and toxins that can cause illness. Benefits you receive from Restorative Yoga are plentiful. At times when you feel week, fatigued, or stressed, they can calm and sooth your body and mind. Restorative postures can also be beneficial for difficult times in your life like the death of a loved one, change of job or residence, marriage, divorce, vacations, major holidays, or when you are ill or recovering from an injury.

This gentle approach to yoga can be wearisome for beginners, as it is difficult to quiet the mind. If this is you, it is important to focus on being in the asanas rather than doing them. There are many props used in order to make you comfortable enough to stay in the postures for 5 to 10 minutes at a time. The idea is to use the props (blankets, blocks, eye pillow, etc.) to your advantage so there is no strain in your practice.



Happy New Year

Another year has passed, one full of ups and downs. Before the clock strikes midnight, take time to reflect on 2012 and clear what no longer serves you. By reviewing what went well and what didn’t go so well in the past year, you can shrug off anything weighing you down and feel lighter in the new year.

Live Light Practice:

Take out a journal and review the following questions before you go out celebrating another year gone by:

What are your favorite highlights of 2012?
What from this year makes you smile when you think of it?
What are you most proud of this year?
What do you wish went differently in 2012?
What do you want to leave behind?

Keeping all of your reflections in mind, create an intention that you will keep for 2013. Write it on a piece of paper and keep it in your wallet or some place you’ll see on a daily basis.

Wishing you a healthy and joyful new year!




Bring in the new year with Ganesha












Ganesha is an elephant-headed deity that is worshiped in India and many parts of the world. Daily routines, opening of new businesses, the start of a journey, and even an exam are preceded by a prayer to Ganesha. It is felt that he is the remover of all obstacles and before all endeavors it is important to seek Ganesha’s blessing first.

Live Light Practice:

Begin the new year by chanting this Ganesha mantra to yourself or out loud for 5-10 minutes each morning:

om gam ganapataye namaha

(I offer my love and devotion to Sri Ganesha; please grant me success in my noble endeavor)