Tuesday, September 26, 2017

How Long is a Minute?

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Time seems so real, so concrete, and yet it is ever-changing and malleable. The minutes fly when we’re enjoying ourselves, yet when we are suffering one single minute painfully crawls. On my 50th birthday this year I realized that I have been alive for over 2.3 million minutes!

Today’s pose is Sphinx Pose (Salamba Bjujangasana), an ode to that timeless archetype of humanity’s monumental aspirations. Today’s challenge? To hold the pose for one full minute. While you do this, check in with how you feel. Take this minute to tune into the sensations in your body and the thoughts in your mind.
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Begin by warming up your spine with twenty or more Cat-Cow Poses. Next lower down to your tummy with your legs stretched out behind you. Start your timer. Put your forearms on the ground with your elbows under your shoulders. Breathe in and press through your arms to lift your head and chest off the floor. Keep your hips grounded and only extend as far as is comfortable. Tuck your chin like the magnificent Sphinx.

Take long deep breaths as you relax into the physical feelings that you feel. To strengthen and alleviate pain in your lower back, hold Sphinx Pose for 5-10 seconds, then lower down and repeat 8-10 times. When you’re finished, lay on your belly with your head turned to one side and contemplate whatever came up for you. Namaste!

Images: Coloring pages 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.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Take a One-Minute Break with Cat-Cow

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It can be a sweet treat to spend an hour or more in a yoga class, but it’s not always possible in today’s busy world. For those times when you only have a minute and you need a break, remember Cat-Cow Pose. This gentle spinal flex is an effective way to awaken your back in the morning while you get your blood pumping and your breath moving. And it can be practiced any time – even while standing or seated at a desk.

Traditionally, Cat-Cow (Marjaryasana) is done on all fours. Place your hands flat on the floor under your shoulders and your knees directly beneath your hips. Breathe in as you look up and lift your tail, chest and chin. Drop your belly like a sway-back cow and make your shoulder blades kiss. Next breathe out as you push your back upward like a cat. Look back at your belly button. You can even hiss to help push out all the air. Continue breathing in and out with the movement.

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Marjaryasana is rich with variations. Try switching the breath by inhaling during cat pose and exhaling during cow pose. Gyrate your hips and shoulders in time with your breath. Breathe deeply and slowly, or as fast as you can using the breath of fire (Kapalabati.) Tuck your toes to stretch your feet; point your fingers backwards to stretch your wrists. Practice Marjaryasana in a chair, standing in line or even in bed by using the small gentle action of arching and curving the spine in time with the breath. Be playful! Love your body and it will love you back. Namaste.

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Images: Coloring pages 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 Vail, CO.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Happy Labor Day!

On August 30, 2017, an amazing woman named Louise Hay passed away at the age of 90. Beginning in 1976 at the age of 50, Louise wrote revolutionary books that introduced millions to the idea of the power of the mind. The book “You Can Heal Your Life” has helped me learn to transform negative thoughts into helpful affirmations in an ongoing journey of self improvement and spiritual development.

On Labor Day, many Americans enjoy an extended weekend as we celebrate all workers’ achievements and contributions to our nation. Louise Hay’s reflections on work, success and prosperity are indispensible to anyone who wants to improve their professional life. The chapter on “Work” begins with today’s affirmation “I am deeply fulfilled by all that I do” then goes on to give the reader a mental path toward that fulfillment.

The butterfly is a universal symbol of transformation. Butterfly / Bound Angle Pose (Badhha Konasana) gently opens the hips – a place where most of us hold fearful emotions that can block our ability to enact change in our lives. To practice Butterfly Pose, sit on the floor and clasp the soles of your feet together with your hands. Your legs are spread like butterfly wings. Sit up straight and breathe in deeply. Breathe out and press your heels together. Notice how your knees naturally relax down.

Rest in peace, Louise, and thank you. Namaste.