Saturday, February 9, 2019

Build a Bridge to Love

Yoga, Yoga Teddy Bear, yogateddybeartv, Bridge Pose, Setu Bandha Sarvangasana, affirmations, love

When people say “build a bridge,” it’s often followed by “and get over it.” A bridge takes us from one side to the other.  Whenever we’re in a dark, fearful or sad place, building a bridge to a better place – a place of love, acceptance and receptivity - is something we can practice with our body, our breath and our mind.  Bridge Pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana) offers us a gentle way to open the heart center. Try pairing it with these affirmations to get yourself back to the other side when you need it.

To practice Bridge Pose, lay on your back. Bend your knees so that your feet are on the ground. Reach your hands toward your heels and try to grab them while using your legs to lift your hips toward the sky. Keep your knees in line like two train tracks. Inhale and lift your hips to curve your back like a bridge. If it feels nice, clasp your hands together underneath you. You can use the leverage of your shoulder blades squeezing beneath you to spread open your chest muscles. Keep flexing and lifting your thighs as you breathe deeply.

While breathing in Bridge Pose, choose kind words to speak to yourself. Some of my favorites are: “I am enough.” “All is well.” “I trust the process of life.” “I love and approve of myself.” Pick one short sentence, or even just a word such as “love” and mentally repeat it with each breath. By taking a little time to breathe deeply with an open heart while you speak kindly to yourself, you are building a bridge to love. 

Monday, January 21, 2019

Happy Winter – with Yoga on Skis!

Yoga Teddy Bear, Upward Facing Dog, Urdhva Mukha Svanasana, yoga poses, yoga education, yoga ed, yogateddybear, yogateddybeartv, yoga on skis, ski yoga

These days, we see yoga being paired with all kinds of things. Not only are there traditional styles of yoga such as Ashtanga and Vinyasa, but here in the west people combine yoga with everything from weightlifting to wine to goats. Even though these yoga combinations sometimes seem silly, they still have the power to make you laugh, make you sweat or loosen you up – all of which are good things.

Since winter is upon us and some of us may be suffering from cabin fever, this week’s blog looks at combining yoga with a popular outdoor sport: skiing. Here is just one short sequence that can be practiced on skis, but there are many more you might dream up using skis, snowboards, snowshoes, sleds or moon boots.

Begin by standing on a flat surface with your skis on. Bring your hands behind you to support your lower back with your fingers pointing upward in a standing Camel Pose (Ustrasana). Lift your chest skyward and inhale deeply. Bend forward on your exhale, running your hands down the backs of your legs and bending your knees slightly in a Standing Forward Fold (Uttanasana). Breathe in as you walk your hands forward to your ski tips, then breath out in Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana). Inhale deeply. Exhale and walk your hands back to your feet lifting your hands into Chair Pose (Utkatasana). Chair pose on skis is great because you can shift your weight to your heels without feeling like you’ll fall backwards. From here you can twist your chair pose into a Revolved Chair Pose (Parivttra Utkatasana). 

Whatever you do to incorporate yoga into your daily life, by keeping your practice light and playful you'll naturally be encouraged to practice more. Stay warm and see you on the slopes!

Video of K. Mae Copham by Robert Oakley, shot in Vail, CO December 2018. Image of Yoga Teddy Bear Upward Facing Dog from Yoga Teddy Bear’s Big Little Coloring Book of 108 Poses, colored by VYSHU.N.N, 4 years old, India. Enter our coloring contest to win prizes!