Happy Hips!

Monday, September 22, 2014 - Posted by Jess at 1:49 PM


Hello Yogi's-

This month my students and I have been working on strengthening and opening the pelvic girdle, or our Hips! :) So I thought I would share a short practice that you can do at  home to continue the stability and flexibility that is being built.

The pelvic girdle consists of the illium, the pubis, the ischium, the sacrum and the coccyx.  This structure is the bridge between the spine and the legs, transferring weight between the two. Its home to several muscles, ligaments, nerves, major organs and also houses the femur bone in the hip socket. So just hearing what is there should give you an idea on why it is so important to take good care of our hips. Not only does it consist of all these parts, it also affects the rest of the body. Many common complaints such as knee injuries, imbalances in the feet, low back pain, neck pain, bad digestion, sciatica, etc. stem from disfunction in the pelvic girdle. Energetically it is the place of our first two chakras which is our space for safety, stability, creativity, and sexuality. When this area is in balance in our body we feel strong, like "we can stand on our own two feet". Our stride is smooth and fluid; we have a sense of freedom and lightness that permeates the rest of our being. So in yoga asana we go between strengthening and stretching to create balance, moving the joints in all directions. So give this practice a try and see how it feels in your body. Remember to only practice with in your own range of motion. That means leaving pain, or added pain OUT of your practice.  Moving your body where you feel pain free. Hope you enjoy!

                                                                   Baddha Konasana
Sitting tall, either on the floor or on a pillow or block. Bring the soles of the feet together and allow the knees to come apart and relax in the direction of the floor. Stay for 5 breaths.


Bird Dog
Start on your hands and knees. Extend your Right leg behind you on an inhale. Keep your hips level. Bend your Right knee and draw it toward your chest on an exhale. Continue 5x moving with the breath. Switch sides.



Side Lying Internal/External Rotation

Lie on your side with knees bent, legs in a 90 degree angle. Keep the feet together and just lift the top knee, externally rotating the leg bone on an inhale. Exhale bring the knee back down. Repeat 5 times. Then with legs together, keep knees together and just lift the top foot, internally rotating the leg bone on an inhale. Exhale lower the foot back down. Repeat 5 times. Switch sides and repeat.





Butterfly

Lie flat on your back with your knees bent, feet on the floor. Squeeze the thighs in together. Take 5 breaths to slowly separate the knees, soles of the feet together. Hold for 2 breaths. Then slowly bring the knees back together taking 10 breaths. Practice 2x.




Setu Bandha Sarvangasan

Lie on your back with the knees bent, feet on the floor. Arms beside the body. As you inhale press down through the feet and arms and lift the hips up toward the sky. Hold for 5 breaths. Lower yourself slowly back to the floor.






Supta Pandagustasan 1

Lie flat on your back. Bring one knee in and place a strap on the bottom of your foot. Extend your leg straight toward the sky. Hold the stretch for 5 breaths. Open into Supta Pandagustasan 2, hold 5 breaths. Bring your leg back to center, then bring your leg across the body into Supta Pandagustasan 3, hold for 5 breaths. Bring your leg back to center. Then switch sides, doing all 3 postures. 



Supta Pandagustasan 2



Supta Pandagustasan 3


Supta Ardha Kapotasan

Lie on your back. Inhale, and cross your Left ankle across the Right thigh. Externally rotating the leg away from the body. Exhale and bring both legs toward the chest with the legs in position. Hold behind the thighs. Hold for 5 breaths. Inhale and release legs back to the floor. Switch sides and repeat. 






Supine Garudasan

Lie on your back. Inhale and cross your Right thigh on top of your left thigh. Then on the exhale bring both legs in toward the chest. Hold onto the knees. Hold for 5 breaths. Release the legs and switch sides. Repeat on the other side.




Apanasan

Lie your back with knees bent, feet on the floor. Bring both knees in toward the chest, placing your hands on your knees. Elbows bent. Inhale straighten the arms, knees away from the body. Exhale bring the knees toward the chest, elbows bent.  Continue to move with the breath 5 times. 



Shavasan

Come to lie flat on your back, legs and arms extended. (if your low back bothers you, place pillows under your knees) Separate your legs and let them relax. Bring your arms away from the body a few inches and turn the palms upward. Close your eyes and relax the body into the earth below you. Rest here for 5 minutes or more. 



(Poomba the cat loves yoga too!) 

Namaste'





























Yoga Nidra and why its an important practice!!!

Sunday, September 21, 2014 - Posted by Jess at 12:29 PM
Hello Friends,

Since I am going to be hosting a workshop about Yoga Nidra this coming week. I thought I would share with you why I find it to be such an important practice.

The definition of Yoga Nidra is derived from 2 Sanskrit words, yoga meaning union or to yoke, and Nidra meaning sleep. So it is typically defined as psychic sleep, or yogic sleep. Though this practice may resemble sleep;it is actually the state between sleep and wakefulness. Your body may be still and other sense organs subdued; but you are still conscious, using your auditory senses as your teacher or CD guides you through the practice. This is a powerful technique in which you learn to relax consciously. That means physically, mentally, and emotionally.

So why is this practice so important? Well, we live in a world that is fast paced, over taxed, extreme with overstimulation, lots of expectations and stress, and the list goes on! So we are plagued with stress related disorders such as PTSD, diabetes, over eating, addiction, violence, psychological disorders, hypertension, migraines, asthma, ulcers, digestive disorders as well as heart disease and cancer, that stem from tension being manifested physically. So how can we help ourselves when we are being challenged with stress from all angles? Learning to deal with this tension by changing our ideals and the way we think and feel. When we can balance our tension we can balance our emotions, anger and health.

When we practice yoga nidra we are relaxing and restructuring ourselves from the inside out. In order to have peace on the outside, we must manifest peace on the inside.

The process begins with preparing the body for stillness. Focusing physically on the different parts of the body and mentally relaxing them. Then we make our Resolve. The resolve or Sankalpa is where we "sow the seeds of change" so to speak. The Sankalpa is a positive short mental statement which is impressed on the subconscious mind when it is receptive and sensitive to suggestion. It is made by the person practicing yoga nidra; and  NOT by the teacher. So you are the one to decide what resolve you need. This is a very powerful practice. To be taken with great care, for it creates great change when practiced consistently. Then the practice continues with breath awareness. This helps to bring continued physical relaxation. Next is relaxation on the level of feelings and emotions. They are recalled and awakened to be experienced fully and then removed. Then moving onto Visualization which induces mental relaxation and developing self awareness. You then begin to end the practice by repeating your resolve or Sankalpa fertilizing those seeds that were planted in the beginning. Then bringing yourself back to consciousness.

There are several different options out there for practicing yoga nidra. I hope that you will give it a try so that it can help you in living a life filled with more peace, joy and  health. If practiced daily or just a few times a week, it can really create amazing change in your life. I know from experience what the effects can do when I practice consistently. And that is the key, Practice, Practice, Practice! :)

So join me Saturday September 27th at Wilmington Yoga Center for my Yoga Nidra Workshop 9:30-11:30 a.m. if you are in the area. If not I hope you find a teacher near you or a cd online that is helpful.
I will be having one of my own available soon. So be looking for it to be posted here on the website!

OM Shanti, Shanti, Shanti


Jess