Archive for November, 2010

Pranayama-Breath Control

November 30, 2010

Pranayama Restraint of the prana or breath. Pranayama is composed of two Sanskrit words:

Prana-life force, or vital energy, and āyāma, to suspend or restrain the measuring, control, and directing of the breath.

Practice of pranayama  has been reported to be beneficial in treating a range of stress related disorders, improving autonomic functions, relieving symptoms of asthma, and stuttering. Pranayama techniques help with depression, develops a steady mind, strong will-power and sound judgment.

When you practice Pranayama, you are practicing Yoga

Yoga Breath – Abdominal breathing:  used throughout your Hatha Yoga Practice

Focus on your breath, breathing in and out
Slowly fill your
Belly, ribs and chest with air on the inhale
Fully empty your body of air as you exhale

Ujayii Breath – Sounding or Ocean Breath:  used throughout your Astanga or Flow yoga Practice

Pretend that you are going to fog a mirror, creating a throaty, airy sound in the back of your throat as you inhale and exhale.  This technique gets easier with regular practice. If you find yourself making a snoring or snorting sound, then you’re expending too much effort

Nadi SodhanaAlternate Nostril Breathing:  Brings Balance

Hold your index and middle fingers on your forehead at your 3rd eye. Use your thumb on the right side of your nose to block your nostril and your ring and little fingers on the left side.

In Through The Left (plug your right nostril – count of 4)

Hold (count of 4)

Out Through The Right (plug your left nostril – count of 4)

Hold (count of 4)

In Through The Right (count of 4)

Hold (count of 4)

Out Through The Left (plug your right nostril – count of 4)

Hold (count of 4)

Repeat (Start by doing three rounds, adding one per week until you are doing seven rounds)

Find More Articles on Pranayama HERE

Kapalabhati Pranayama: Breath of Fire

Sheetali Pranayama:  Cooling Breath

See all the 8 Limbs of Yoga Posts HERE

www.SecondStarToTheRightYoga.com
Become a FaceBook Fan
Follow Second Star To The Right Yoga on Twitter

Did you (will you) over eat over the Holiday? Detoxify your body and soul with Yoga Twists.

November 24, 2010

Did you over eat over the Holiday?  Detoxify your body and soul with Yoga Twists.

Twists are great!  They help digestion; they clean and detoxify your internal organs.  They help stretch and strengthen the spine.

Start with a few minutes of centering, perhaps thinking of all you have to be grateful for.

Set an Intention, Mantra or Affirmation for your practice.

You can try this Affirmation:

“Each day, I automatically and successfully get healthier and healthier”

Find more Affirmations HERE

Here we will practice a few minutes of
Breath of Fire (Kapalabhati Pranayama)

Resume normal breath

Active Seated Twists: Come to a comfortable seated position.  Inhale arms up (next to ears, shoulders relaxed) Exhale and twist to the Right, lower arms (left hand in front of body, right hand behind).  Inhale return to Center arms.  Exhale, twist to the Left and lower arms.  Inhale back to center.

Repeat.

Eagle Arms

Table Pose

Thread the Needle Twist

Down Dog

Walking the Dog

Table Pose

Child’s Pose.  Rest for a few Breaths.

Table Pose and into Down Dog

Revolved Down Dog

Rag Doll

Mountain
Take a few breaths and come back to Center

Repeat your Mantra or Affirmation:
“Each day, I automatically and successfully get healthier and healthier”

Empty Coat Sleeves

Sun Salutation A

Mountain Pose (Tadasana)

Inhale, arms up

Exhale, fold forward

Inhale, look up-flat back

Ex, Plank; Slowly lower down (Chaturanga Dandasana)

In, Up Dog (Upward Facing Dog)

Ex, Down Dog:

Then* Side Angle on the Right

Down Dog

Side Angle-Left

Down Dog: (recovery)

In, Feet to hands; Look up-flat back.

Ex, Fold Forward

In, Reverse Swan dive up to standing.

Repeat to ‘*’ then Reverse (Revolved) Side Angle on Left,

Down Dog, Reverse Side Angle Right

Down Dog: (recovery)

In, Feet to hands; Look up-flat back.

Ex, fold forward

In, Reverse Swan Dive up to standing.

Shiva Twist (Balance)

Five Pointed Star

Revolved Triangle (Right)

Five Pointed Star

Revolved Triangle (Left)

Five Pointed Star

Wide Legged Standing Forward Fold, then twist on each side.

Five Pointed Star

Eagle Balance Pose (both sides)

Five Pointed Star

Goddess (Horse, Victory Squat)

Squat

Squat Twist (both sides)

Sit- Staff (Dadasana)

Half Spinal Twist, Half Lord of the Fishes Pose (Ardha Matsyendrasana) (both Sides)

Seated Forward Fold

Modified Fish

Knees to Chest

Supine Spinal Twist (Supta Matsyendrasana)

Happy Baby

Savasana
Repeat your Mantra or Affirmation:
“Each day, I automatically and successfully get healthier and healthier”

Look for more Twist Asanas Coming Soon

Click here for more Asanas for Ailments

More Calendar Theme Yoga Poses

www.SecondStarToTheRightYoga.com
Become a FaceBook Fan
Follow Second Star To The Right Yoga on Twitter

Kapalabhati Pranayama: Breath of Fire, Cleansing Breath, Bellows Breath, Skull Polishing Breath

November 24, 2010

Breath of Fire

Kapalabhati Pranayama (kah-pah-lah-BAH-tee)
kapala = skull
; bhati = light (perception, knowledge)
Breath of Fire, Cleansing Breath, Bellows Breath, Skull Polishing Breath

Kapalabhati Pranayama or the Breath of Fire is a great cleansing breath that brings energy into your life.  This breath is also said to aid in digestion and weight loss.

**Stop this breath immediately if you begin to feel nauseous or lightheaded.**
This breath is not recommended for pregnant women.

Kapalabhati Pranayama is a breath in which we churn the belly on the exhale with powerful contractions:

Begin with a nice deep full breath in and a nice full exhale releasing all of the air from your body.

Then, Inhale fully one again…

Breath our and pump the belly in short explosive exhales.  Try for 9 pumps
to one inhale.

Try a few rounds slowly building up cycles over time.

Resume normal breathing when you have completed the Breath of Fire.

CLICK HERE for more Pranayama Exercises

www.SecondStarToTheRightYoga.com
Become a FaceBook Fan
Follow Second Star To The Right Yoga on Twitter

A Thankful Yoga Practice: Open your heart with gratitude and begin the Holiday Season with a Thankful Yoga Practice.

November 19, 2010

“Give thanks for a little and you will find a lot.” — The Hausa of Nigeria

Open your heart with gratitude and begin the Holiday Season with a Thankful Yoga Practice.

Begin by making a list (mental or physical) of 5 things that you are grateful for today.

As always, we will begin with a few minutes of Centering.

Come to a comfortable seated position:
Take a few slow full deep breathes, focus on your breathing,
Breathing In & Out.
Slowly fill your Belly, Ribs and Chest with air on the Inhale.
Slowly allow your Chest, Ribs and Belly Relax on the Exhale.

Begin to let everything from the outside world drift away and give yourself permission to here in this time, in this space.

Now, Bring your attention to your Heart Chakra, feel a warm healing glowing light enter your heart space.  Feel this light & energy fill your body, drawing this healing  into your entire being.

Bring  your attention on this light, and mentally say ‘Thank You’ to yourself for your 5 gratitude items…Say to yourself:

“Thank you, Spirit, today I am grateful for ____________.”

After you have given thanks, notice how you are feeling, take a few more slow, deep full breaths.

Here you can set an intention for your practice or use this healing affirmation that promotes gratitude:

“Right now, in this moment, I have enough.”

A Thankful Yoga Practice: Asanas

Ok, open your eyes we are ready to begin our Asanas.
Today, we will focus on ‘opening our hearts with gratitude.’
We will be focusing on back bends and forward folds:

Cat and Cow
Down Dog
Three Leg Down Dog
Dog at a Hydrant
Table
Thread the Needle
Dolphin
Rag Doll

Mountain Pose (repeat Mantra or Intention)
“Right now, in this moment, I have enough.”

Sunflower Breath
Standing Quad Stretch Balance
Sun Salutation A with Low Lunges
Sun Salutation a second time with the One Legged King Pigeon Lunge Variation
Dancer’s Pose
Sun Salutation to Down Dog, Flip the Dog
Table
Thread the Needle, Balance
Dolphin
Come to your belly
Sphinx
Half Frog Pose (Cobra with left knee bent, foot towards bottom, hold left foot with left hand)
Switch sides
Child’s Pose

Camel
Puppy, with Chest Expansion
Child’s Pose

Fore Arm Stand (feathered Peacock) (or repeat dolphin)
Child’s Pose

Sit
Cow Face Pose
Fish
Happy Baby
Bridge/Wheel
Knees to chest
Twist

Savasana
(Repeat Mantra or Intention) “Right now, in this moment, I have enough.”
Relaxation:  ‘Thank You Life’ by Gary van Warmerdam

Thank you Life
by Gary van Warmerdam

Thank you for this breath
Thank you for this inhale; Thank you for this exhale
Thank you for this Life

Thank you Heart
Thank you for this pounding; Thank you for this pulsing
Thank you for this Love

Thank you feet
Thank you for this walk; Thank you for this run
Thank you for the Dancing

Thank you Eyes
Thank you for the Sunrise; Thank you for the Sunset
Thank you for all the Colors

Thank you Ears
Thank you for The Music; Thank you for the Rhythm
And Thank you for the Stillness

Thank you Hands
Thank you for the Caressing; Thank you for the Clapping
And Thank you for the Holding

Thank you Mouth
Thank you for the nourishment; Thank you for the Wine
Thank you for the Kisses

Thank you Nose
Thank you for the Flowers; Thank you for the Pines
Thank you for the Sniffles

Thank you Arms and Shoulders
Thank you for the Carrying; Thank you for the Burdening
And Thank you for the Hugging

Thank you Voice
Thank you for the Expression; Thank you for the Word
Thank you for the Gift of Creation

Thank you for this Day; Thank you for the Light
Thank you for the Stars; Thank you for the Night

Thank you Self
Thank you for the Laughter; Thank you for the Play
Thank you for You

Thank you for the Emotions
Thank you for the Joys; Thank you for the Tears and Sorrows

Thank you for the Richness
Thank you for the Abundance that is.
Thank you for the Abundance that is given.
Thank you for the so many experiences and so many things

Thank you for this Dance.

Thank you Life.

———————

More Calendar Theme Yoga Poses

www.SecondStarToTheRightYoga.com
Become a FaceBook Fan
Follow on Twitter

Become a Yoga Warrior with Virabhadrasana

November 10, 2010

Virabhadrasana  (veer-ah-bah-DRAHS-anna)

Vira = Hero; Bhadra = Auspicious; Asana = Body Pose

Virabhadra = the name of a fierce warrior created by Shiva. Virabhadra had a thousand heads, a thousand eyes, and a thousand feet, wielding a thousand clubs.

Warrior Poses are not meant to honor violence.  Warrior Poses bring strength and power into our lives.  We learn to battle ignorance and ego.  We learn to fight for truth and justice.

Some Warrior Pose benefits include:  strengthening lower back and body, opens the chest, neck and shoulders, increases endurance and core strength, helps with balance and concentration.

There are three main Warrior Poses and several other variations.

Virabhadrasana I, II, III (Warrior I, II, III)

Virabhadrasana I (Warrior I) Right leg forward; Take a wide stance, Right Toes forward, Left foot turned in slightly.  Either line up your front heel and back heel, or line up your front heel with the instep of your back foot.  Hips and torso are turned forward; sink into the front leg, bending the front knee over the front ankle.  Adjust your stance so that you knee and ankle remain in alignment. Then, Choose your hand position.  Hands can be in prayer and heart’s center, the arms can be raised over head, perhaps you would like to interlace your fingers with the index fingers pointing up.  Drishti (eye gaze) is up at your extended fingers. (Repeat with the Left leg forward)

Virabhadrasana II (Warrior II) also known as Proud Warrior: Legs are in same position as in Virabhadrasana I (Right leg forward).  Avoid allowing the right knee to turn in. Then, turn torso to the Left.  Arms are extended out straight out to the sides at shoulder height, arms parallel to floor. Drishti (eye gaze) is out over the fingers of your front hand.  (Repeat with the Left leg forward)

Virabhadrasana III (Warrior III): Begin in Tadasana (Mountain Pose).  Take a step forward with your Right leg.  Raise arms next to your ears as you transfer your weight into your Right leg.  Lift your left leg off the mat, and slowly hinge forward from the hips.  Your raised leg, torso and arms should be parallel to the floor. (Arms can also be back at sides like airplane wings).  Drishti (eye gaze) is out over your front fingers. (Repeat with the Left leg forward)

Ok, now that you have the basic warrior poses down, lets add some variations.

Asana Variations for Virabhadrasana I (Warrior I):

Peaceful Warrior: Legs and torso are in Warrior I.  With the Right leg forward in Warrior I, Left hand comes to the Left Thigh, the Right hand and arm rise above the head from the shoulder.  The Right hand faces backwards.  The heart and chest are open. (Repeat with the Left leg forward)

Humble Warrior: Legs and torso are in Warrior I.  With the right leg forward, bring both hands behind the back, and interlace the fingers.  Add a little mini backbend opening the chest.  Drishti is up where a ceiling a wall would normally meet. (Repeat with the Left leg forward)

Humble Warrior Forward Fold: Begin with Humble Warrior, then hinge forward at the hips bringing the forehead close to the mat, raise interlocked hands and arms into the air. (Repeat with the Left leg forward)

Open Hearted Warrior: Begin with legs and torso in Warrior I.  With the right leg forward and both arms overhead, begin to lean back opening your chest and bring your arms into a wide ‘v.’ Drishti is up and shoulders are relaxed. (Repeat with the Left leg forward)

Twisted Warrior: Begin with legs and torso in Warrior I.  With the right leg forward bring your right arm under the left arm, then either bring the back of your arms together or twist the right arm around the left (Eagle Arms).  Drishti is up.  (Repeat with the Left leg forward)

Twisted Warrior Forward Fold: Begin in twisted Warrior, then hinge forward at the hips bringing your elbows to the outside of the right knee. Arms are parallel to the mat.  (Repeat with the Left leg forward)

Asana Variations for Virabhadrasana II (Warrior II):

Archer Pose Warrior: Begin with legs and torso in Warrior I.  With the right leg forward, bring both arms up to shoulder height, parallel to the floor, and over the bend right leg.  Slowly begin to pull the left arm back (as if pulling an arrow back on a bow).  As your left arm pulls across the chest, open the left shoulder and hip into a Warrior II position.  Left elbow remains bent and the forearm is parallel to the floor.  Drishti is out over the right arm. (Repeat with the Left leg forward)

Dancing Warrior (Revolved or Reverse Warrior): Begin in Warrior II pose.  With the right leg forward, drop the left hand to the left leg and sweep the right arm up into the air.  The right fingers can be pointed up, or you can add a little side stretch by bending side torso towards the back leg and bringing the right forearm nest to the ear.  Drishti is up to the right fingers. (Repeat with the Left leg forward)

Asana Variations for Virabhadrasana III (Warrior III):

Twisted Warrior III: Begin in Warrior III pose.  Balancing on the right leg, bring the right arm under the left arm in eagle arms.  Arms remain parallel to the floor.  Drishti is to the floor. (Repeat with the Left leg forward)

Are there any Warrior Variations I forgot?  Please let me know.
Need some help with some of the Sanskrit Terms?  CLICK HERE

See more POSE FOCUS posts HERE.

Coming soon Trikonasanas.

www.SecondStarToTheRightYoga.com
Become a FaceBook Fan
Follow on Twitter