Wednesday, February 20, 2019

More Yoga On Skis!

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Last month’s blog offered a short yoga sequence to try on skis. Here are two more poses for anyone who likes to play on skis and also has a strong sense of balance. The first pose could be called Monkey Pose (Hanumanasana). The second pose is a variation of King Dancer, Dancing Shiva or Natarajasana. These poses are an effective way to warm up for skiing because they stretch your hamstrings and quadriceps respectively. 

To practice these poses on skis, begin on a flat surface. If you’re on any kind of slight slope, stand at an angle so your downhill ski can get an edge. Plant your poles and lift your uphill ski to place your ski tail into the snow. Inhale and lengthen your spine, then exhale and fold forward, bringing your nose toward your knee. Reach your arms toward your feet and breathe here as your hamstrings relax. Come out of the pose by raising your torso and releasing your ski.

Next, plant your poles on your uphill side and shift your weight to your uphill ski. Balance here as you lift your downhill ski behind you so that your tip is facing backward. Grab the tail of your ski with your downhill hand and leverage your ski so that you lean forward with your uphill pole arm outstretched. Breathe here as your quadriceps relax.

Be sure to turn around and try Monkey Pose and King Dancer Pose on the other side, too. Happy winter! 

Image: The Letter K from Yoga Teddy Bear A-B-C. Video by K. Mae Copham, shot by Robert Oakley, Dec 2019 in Vail, CO.

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Build a Bridge to Love

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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.