Tag Archives: asana

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.

 

 

Jan04

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.

 

Jan03

Warrior in Nature

Stopping to smell the roses or strike a pose can reconnect you with nature. Instead of speed walking from one thing to the next, taking time to pause and appreciate life as it is in the moment. This can help to cultivate a sense of leave and gratitude with the present moment.

Live Light Practice:

Take a break from what you are doing to take in the sights and sounds around you. If you can step into a warrior 2 position and breathe for 10 breaths with a soft gaze over your front hand. Notice what shifts for you as you take this time out from doing to being.

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Nov23

View from my mat

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When we walk out of the yoga studio, meditation room, or spiritual center we have the opportunity to put into action what we have learned. The studies of self-growth, compassion, and spirituality don’t have to stay within the walls of where we learn them. Developing a home practice of reading spiritual texts, asana (postures), meditation, and keeping a journal brings this life long journey to all aspects of your life. The classes we take are anywhere from 30-90 minutes, and that is a small part of our day.

The moment we walk out of class things come up to distract us, and that is part of the learning experience. Being able to use what we have learned in order to handle life from a place of balance instead of being overreactive. As my teaching and coaching develops further I have found that practicing at home is an invaluable part of my growth, and helps with how I live in the world. In the sacred space I have created I am able to explore areas in more detail that I am curious about. This way my experiences are not just from the classes I’ve taken, but from my own self study.

Meditating, reading spiritual texts and being in yoga postures in your home can be challenging. There is always something else that we could be doing. The moment we sit our eyes dart to the pile of dirty clothes that need to be washed, or the papers that need organizing. The discipline and will power it takes to resist getting right up and doing house chores is all a part of the practice.

When beginning a home practice start small, you don’t need to commit to a 90 or 120 minutes of practice off the bat. Start with a 5 minute meditation, one minute in a downward facing dog, or begin by dedicating ten minutes to reading the Yoga Sutras a day. Everyday these few minutes will make a large impact in your life. You will find a greater sense of ease, of understanding and compassion for others and yourself.

Live Light Practice:

Meditate for 5 minutes each morning before your day begins for one week. If you already have a home meditation practice continue and add an extra 5 minutes to it.

Find a quiet and clean space for you to sit. Once you have committed to sitting with meditation start with your eyes softly open and notice where your eyes wander. What is the view from your mat?

Set a timer for 5 minutes and close your eyes. When the timer goes off open your eyes and once again take in your surroundings. Do you notice a difference in how you perceive the space around you?

Take 5 more minutes to write in a journal. Notice your thoughts, sensations, emotions, tensions, and anything else that comes up. These few moments of writing are to bring conscious awareness to yourself before your day begins.

Shanti,

Liza

 

 

 

 

 

Jul18