Sunday, February 11, 2018

Invite Love Into Your Life

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February 14 is Valentine’s Day, a day we now associate with romantic love. But what of other kinds of love? Whether or not we are in a romantic relationship, we can use yoga to physically invite love into our life at all levels, from the macro (Universe, Earth) to the micro (breath, internal organs) and everything in between (friends, family, community.)


How do you use yoga to invite love into your life? Through taking moments throughout your day to stop, look, feel and breathe. Enhance this pause of awareness with a gentle backbend in the heart region. This can be done anywhere, anytime simply by inhaling deeply and lifting your heart area. Tilt your head back to look heavenward or support your lower back with your hands or a chair. Feel the bones in your chest begin to soften.

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Bring to mind your favorite mantra or affirmation. Simple thoughts and words such as “I am love,” “I love life” or “the Universe supports me” can help elevate our hearts and invite love into our lives on a moment-to-moment basis. Namaste!

Images: K. Mae Copham in heart-opening yoga poses such as Crescent Moon Lunge, Wild Thing, Fish Pose, Bridge Pose, Bow Pose and Camel Pose in nature, skiing in Vail, CO, and even waiting for the subway in New York, NY.  Coloring page from Yoga Teddy Bear’s Big LittleColoring Book of 108 Yoga Poses colored by Miss Michele Palumbo, Bay Shore, NY. Enter our coloring contest to win prizes!

Saturday, January 27, 2018

A Forest of Friends

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Why be a solitary tree when you can be part of a forest? Community and connection are antidotes to depression and addiction. What more important values to impart to our kids in the age of the iPhone? Using yoga to foster real human connection is a playful and fun way to break the ice with a new class or between new friends. Tree Pose (Vrksasana) is a natural place to start.

Stand side by side with your friend(s) and hold hands at shoulder height. Root one foot down into the earth until you feel solid and strong like a tree. When you’re ready, see if you can both lift your other foot off the ground while keeping your balance. Maybe place the bottom of your foot on your lower leg, or maybe place it on your upper leg. It doesn’t matter where your foot goes, what matters is that you all balance on one foot together. When you master one leg, try the other.

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If you have a group of friends, try forest in a line or in a circle. If you feel like you might lose your balance, put your foot on the ground, find your balance and try again. What other yoga poses might you practice as a pair or as a team?


Images: K. Mae Copham with Kat Williams at Truro Yoga Seva Retreat in Gitana del Mar, Colombia, 2017-2018. Photo by Robert Oakley. Drawing of “Forest” by Yoga Teddy Bear creator K. Mae Copham.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day!

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 "If you can't fly then run, if you can't run then walk, if you can't walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward." -Martin Luther King

Dr. King’s quote referred to the equal rights movement, yet it’s also a helpful image to apply to each individual’s journey through life.  Not only do these words encourage us when we feel overwhelmed or unable to continue, they remind us that all we can ever do is whatever we are able to do in this moment. While it is admirable to set high expectations for yourself, it is even more valuable to know and respect your limits. 

Today’s pose, High Lunge (Alanasana), embodies the dynamic act of moving forward. To practice Alanasana, begin standing in Mountain Pose. Take a big step forward. Bend your front knee so you can see your toes. Stretch your back leg straight behind you on your tiptoes. Reach your hands high in the sky and focus on a point in front of you. Tilt your hip points forward a little. Breathe in and make yourself tall like the top of a mountain.

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Like our movement through life, there is more than one way to execute High Lunge. You can step forward from Downward Dog, or step back from a forward fold. However you decide to move into and out of today’s pose, spend an equal amount of time on each side exploring your balance and your breath. Namaste!


Images: Practicing Alanasana at the Yoga Teddy Bear NYC 2015 Pop Up Shop. Photo by Ralph DeMatthews. Coloring page #76 from Yoga Teddy Bear’s Big Little Coloring Bookof 108 Yoga Poses colored by Miss Michele Palumbo, Bay Shore, NY. Enter ourcoloring contest to win prizes!

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Restore Yourself with this Gentle Pose

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 After the often hectic holiday season, it’s important to practice self-care to restore your energy and lighten your mood. The easy and gentle yoga pose known as “Legs up the Wall” (Viparita Karani) can boost both your immune system and your mood. It’s a gentle way to get upside down and get the blood flowing to your brain. Here are some tips and variations you can try:

To get into a basic version of Viparita Karani, lie on your side in a fetal position, with your tail and feet against the wall. Roll over onto your back, then slide your feet up the wall. Rest your heels on the wall about hip width apart. Rest your hands by your sides or on your heart and tummy. Close your eyes and breathe deeply.
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There are many variations to Legs up the Wall. Most yogis like to place a rolled up blanket, bolster or block under their sacrum for added support. You can also place a small rolled up towel under your neck to support the cervical spine. Your arms can be spread wide or with elbows bent like a cactus. To stretch your hips, you can slide your feet open to the sides or bring the soles of your feet together.


As you relax in Viparita Karani, check in with your body and emotions. Repeat a favorite mantra or affirmation. Count your breath or listen quietly to all the sounds in your environment. Hum as you exhale. Try spending five or ten minutes in this pose today and notice how it makes you feel. Namaste!

Images: Coloring page #76 from Yoga Teddy Bear’s Big Little Coloring Book of 108 YogaPoses colored by Miss Michele Palumbo, Bay Shore, NY. Enter our coloringcontest to win prizes. Pictures of Yoga Teddy Bear creator K. Mae Copham by Robert Oakley in New Paltz, NY.