Monday, November 27, 2017

Practice Peace with Pigeon Pose

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Yoga is a curious practice because what you hold in your body is reflected in the world. The beauty of yoga is that you can use it to release tension in the areas where you struggle to “let go.”  For all of us, it tends to be either fear (hips), stress (shoulders) or being open to others (heart region.)  If you want to change one of these areas in your life – and in the world – you can use yoga to help you accomplish your goal.

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The western version of Pigeon Pose (Eka Pada Rajakapotasana) is one of the best poses for releasing fear and welcoming peace.  To practice Pigeon, begin with a gentle hip opener such as Half Lotus (Ardha Padmasana.) Sit on the floor and bend your knee to bring your heel as close to your opposite hip as possible. Take three deep breaths on each side. Then transition to all fours or Downward Facing Dog. Bring one knee forward toward your wrist. Lay your leg on the floor so that your ankle is behind your other wrist. Slide your other foot back along the floor. Come up on your fingertips and tuck your chin like a pigeon. Feel the muscles around your hips release. If it feels nice, bend forward and rest your forehead on the ground or on your hands. Breathe deeply and sink into the softness of the earth. 

When we release fear and welcome peace in our own bodies and minds, our intentions are reflected in the world around us. May there be peace on Earth. Namaste.

Images: Pigeon Pose from the Color Me Yoga Teddy Bear App availableFREE for iPhones in iTunes. Use it to enter our coloring contest and win prizes! K. Mae Copham in Vail, CO. Photos by Robert Oakley.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Thank You

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Perhaps the two most important words we can think or speak are “Thank You.” When we express sincere gratitude, we spread loving kindness to everyone around us and we improve our own lives. By focusing on everything we appreciate, we open our consciousness to all the mysteries of the universe. Living in a state of gratefulness naturally invites more of what’s good into our life. It’s magic – and it’s real.

To embody thankfulness, first connect to the earth. Our beautiful blue planet supplies everything we need for life. A seed becomes a plant to nourish us. The atmosphere contains oxygen for us to breathe. The darkness of the night sky welcomes peaceful slumber. Begin in Child’s Pose (Balasana.) Fold your body forward widening your knees to give your tummy space to breathe. Gently press your forehead to Earth. Relax your arms by your side or stretch them out in front of you. Take 3 or more deep belly breaths.

Next, slide your hands forward while keeping your tail in the air. Your arms are strong and straight. Lengthen your spine by pushing down on your hands while you reach your chest toward the ground. This is playful Puppy Pose (Uttana Shishosana).

From here, move into Sphinx Pose (Salamba Bhujangasana).  Breathe in and press through your arms to lift your head and chest off the floor. Relax your shoulders away from your ears. Tuck your chin like a magnificent Sphinx. Take long deep breaths as you ground your hips into the earth. Finish in Crocodile Pose (Makarasana.) Rest your forehead on Earth and stretch your arms overhead in a full prostration of gratitude to all that is. You may also turn your head to rest on one cheek and move your arms to the side.

Breathe deeply and smell the air. Your life is a gift. Now is the present. Thank you.

Image: Yoga Teddy Bear Thank You Sequence with fall colors by K. Mae Copham
Video: Yoga Teddy Bear Thank You Sequence by K. Mae Copham, filmed by Robert Oakley, Guitar by K. Mae Copham.