Archive for March, 2011

Celebrate van Gogh’s Birthday with: Ear Pressure Pose – Karnapidasana

March 30, 2011

I wish they would only take me as I am– Vincent van Gogh

Today, March 30 is Vincent van Gogh‘s birthday (1853).

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One of my all time favorite artists, Dutch born Post-Impressionism painter, van Gogh is best known for is bright colored emotionally stimulating masterpieces.  His best know works include:  Starry Night, Sunflowers and Self Portraits.  van Gogh had a long history of depression and mental illness, resulting in his death by a self inflected gunshot wound.  He is also well known for cutting off  a portion of his left ear. (There has been some debate recently about who actually cut off the artist’s ear, some think it was Paul GauguinRead More Here).

To Celebrate van Gogh’s Birth and (possible) famous self inflected Ear Mutilation…

Try:

Ear Pressure Pose (Karnapidasana)
Also known as Knees to Ears or Deaf Man’s Pose

Begin by laying back

From Shoulderstand
bend you knees down towards your forehead (only going as far as is comfortable). Release your arms to the mat, palms down.

Ear Pressure Pose (Karnapidasana)
Hold this asana for a few long slow deep breaths, gently roll down onto your back when finished.

Pull Knees to Chest for a spinal release.

Please note: it takes time to totally achieve this asana, don;t worry, with time and practice, your needs will slowly get closer and closer to the floor.  before you know it, you will be in full expression of this pose.

View more Yoga Themes HERE

Here are some of my favorite van Gogh quotes:

“As we advance in life it becomes more and more difficult, but in fighting the difficulties the inmost strength of the heart is developed.”

“Conscience is a man’s compass.”

“Even the knowledge of my own fallibility cannot keep me from making mistakes. Only when I fall do I get up again.”

“Great things are done by a series of small things brought together.”

“I feel that there is nothing more truly artistic than to love people.”

“There is no blue without yellow and without orange.”

“What would life be if we had no courage to attempt anything?”

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CANDLE MEDITATION FOR EARTH HOUR

March 25, 2011

Thousands of candles can be lit from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.
-Buddha

On Saturday, March 26, 2011 at 8:30 PM, turn off your lights, take a stand against climate change and celebrate Earth Hour.   Together we WILL make the world a better place.

What will you do without lights for an hour? It’s the perfect time for a CANDLE MEDITATION.

Simple Candle Meditation

You need a Quiet Place and a Candle

Create a comfortable area.  You can sit on the floor, a chair or a cushion.  Your candle should be about 2 feet in front of you and at about eye level.

Light the candle

Turn off lights and all distractions (TV, Radio, Phone, Computer…)

Come to a comfortable seated position

Settle in

Set an intention or affirmation for your meditation
Try “World peace feels my soul. Love and protection surrounds the earth.”
More Affirmations, Click HERE

Gaze at the candle flame

Focus on the flame

If your mind starts to wander, make a mental note of the thought or sound or feeling you are experiencing,

Then, bring your attention back to the candle flame

When you are finished, take a moment, focus on your breath and notice how you are feeling.  You may want to journal your thoughts, ideas and feelings that came up during your meditation.

Candle meditation should not be done daily.

 

Deepen your Candle Meditation:

Imagine you are breathing in the light of the candle.

Feel the light of the candle flowing into your body and mind as you gently continue to breathe in and out.

Focus on the flame entering your body with your breath, creating health and wellbeing through your entire body.

As you exhale, imagine anything negative leaving your body with your out breath.

As you mind wanders, just remind yourself to focus on the flame.

Learn More about MEDITATION, Click HERE

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St Patrick’s Day, Drunk Yoga

March 17, 2011

Saint Patrick’s Day is here once again…Celebrate with YOGA.

March 17th has become a popular green beer drinking holiday in the US.
(CLICK HERE for instructions on making Green Beer)

IRISH YOGA (as defined my Urban Dictionary)
After a night of HEAVY drinking and passing out in a very strange position…
man 1: he was do drunk he fell back off his chair with his head on the floor and his ass still on the seat
man 2: like Irish yoga?

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If you are not willing to take your chances with drunk yoga, try the asanas sober:

Begin with a few minutes of Centering

Transition into Table for Cat Pose & Cow Pose

Garland Pose (wide squat)

Rag Doll

Mountain Pose

Beginning Sun Salutation A
Mountain Pose, Inhale arms up, Exhale Forward Fold, Inhale, look up with a flat back, exhale and step back into Down Dog.

*Three Leg Down Dog (Right Foot off mat)
Dog at a Hydrant
Three Leg Down Dog
Bring your (right)Knee between your hands
Release your Left leg down to the mat-Half Pigeon Pose
Sleeping Pigeon

Half Pigeon
Curl your Right toes under and step your right leg back into Three Leg Down Dog
Repeat from * with Left foot off the mat

Twisted Tree (2) Balance Pose:  Tadasana, allow your weight to sink into your right Leg, Bring your Left Leg into Tree Pose. When you have found your balance, extend your arms out in T position at shoulder height.  On your next exhale, twist your upper body to the Left.  Repeat with Left Leg in Tree, twisting to the right.

Mountain Pose

Down Dog

Belly Rest for a moment

Locust

Child’s Pose

Forearm Table

Dolphin

Child’s Pose

Have a seat

Seated Forward Fold

Roll down to mat

Bridge Pose

Bring Knees to chest, rock from side to side

Plow Pose

Happy Baby

Twist, rotated Stomach posture

Savasana

My husband and I are both Irish and we actually met on Saint Patrick’s Day, 1995.  I had just turned 21 and we went out in search of Green Beer. We never found it.  In fact, we didn’t have our first green beers until last year at Blind Hartman’s Tavern (check out BHT, they have an awesome band, Black Hat Boris that plays there every 6 weeks or so).  We always celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day as an Anniversary, so if you celebrate too, try some Yoga Twists to help feel better the morning after.

May the long time sun
Shine upon you,
All love surround you,
And the pure light within you
Guide your way on.
(Irish Blessing, and a Kundalini yoga farewell)

History of Shamrock, Leprechaun, and the Blarney’s Stone

Cute St Patrick’s Day ideas for kids (and kids at heart)

Please note, the photos above (in slide show) are not my images.  I have not been able to determine their origin.  They have been re-posted several times all over the web.

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Beware the Ides of March Yoga Themes and Corpse Pose

March 15, 2011

There is so much going on in March, and lots of fun Yoga tie-ins.
March comes in like a lion…(Click Here for Lion Yoga Post)
March 2nd is Dr Seuss’ Birthday…(Click Here for Seuss Yoga)
March is National Woman’s History Month…(Celebrate your inner Goddess Post Here)
Lent Began on March 9…(Fasting, Abstinence and Yoga Post Here)
Yesterday was Pi Day…(Pi day….1/2 Circle Yoga Pose Post Here)
———————————————————-

…and that brings us to today:
The Ides of March

Lets spend some extra time in Corpse Pose – Savasana!

Lay down on your back in any comfortable Dead Man’s Pose

Legs Extended, allow the feet to fall out to the sides
(Knees Bent, Feet on the floor if that is better for your back)
Arms are at your sides, hands lower than your heart
Palms Facing up in a gesture that is open and receptive
Press into your elbows and tuck your shoulder blades under
Tip Your chin so your spine is nice and long
Settle in, close your eyes (try an eye pillow to allow sense withdraw)
Make any adjustments you need to allow you to relax and release into the pose
(you can cover yourself with a blanket, put on socks or a sweatshirt)
Begin to Focus on your Breath
Breathing in and out through your nose
Allowing your Belly, Ribs & Chest Expand on the inhale
Allow your Chest, Ribs & Belly to relax on the exhale
Focus on your Breath, Breathing in and out.

If you like you can do a Guided Meditation, or try a Self Guided Relaxation.

Here’s an easy Relaxation Exercise:

Inhale, and as you exhale relax and release into the floor while mentally thinking the number 12.

Take another slow full deep breath in, exhale, relax and release a litter further, mentally thinking 11.

Continue on in this way, focusing on your breath, mentally counting backwards, and relaxing and releasing with each breath out.

If you find that you reach Zero and your mind or body is still racing, simply begin again at 12.

—————————————————————-

March 17, Saint Patrick’s Day…(Post Coming soon)
March 19, 2011 is a ‘Supermoon‘….(Celebrate with Chandra Namaskar)
March 20 is the Vernal Equinox(Yoga for Balance)

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Happy Pi day….1/2 Circle Yoga Pose

March 14, 2011

Today, March 14 is Pi Day.  Pi is 3.1415926535897932384626433832….

Pi represents the relationship between a circle’s diameter (its width) and its circumference (the distance around the circle).

With the use of computers, Pi has been calculated to over 1 trillion digits past the decimal.

To celebrate have some pie and do half circle pose.

Come to a tall kneel

Extend your right leg, out to the side.

Exhale Left arm to the floor

Right arm into the air

Repeat on the other side

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Lent Begins: Ash Wednesday, Fasting and Abstinence and Yoga

March 9, 2011

Today Lent begins for Catholics, but regardless of your Religion or beliefs,self restraint can benefit everyone.

When we abstain and focus on self reflection we learn to appreciate the things we have.  We learn to be present and to live intentionally.

In yoga we practice Bramacharya– moderation in all things.

There are several ways to approach Bramacharya, it’s really about living your life without being ruled by dependence on one thing.  It’s restraint that that gives us freedom.

A few years ago, my husband and I realized that slowly over time we became addicted to having the TV on.  It became a habit.  Come home form work, turn on the TV for company, sit on the couch and zone out in the evenings, we would even fall asleep with the television on.
We decided that we would give up TV just for one day a week during lent.  It was a challenge at first.  We had to hang signs on the TV so we would remember not to turn it on.  As the six weeks past, we read more, we talked more and we had more conversation, we went to bed earlier and slept more.
It was a great idea.  It broke the whole cycle of turning on the TV for no reason.  When lent arrived the next year, we gave up TV  three days a week. Again, we needed some reminders.  And this posed a bit of a struggle when there were several ‘Snow Days.’ At the time I was a field photographer and traveled over our five surrounding counties. The TV had the best closing schedules, but I restrained from using work as an excuse to break my TV fast.  The six weeks went by and we were successful.  We found that during the next year, TV didn’t have a hold on us anymore.  We consciously chose what to watch prior to tuning the set on.  No more randomly flipping through the channels.  By the next time lent rolled around, we hardly noticed the TV.  It would be off for weeks at a time.  The lent season was like making a  New Year’s resolution, it offered the perfect time to change bad habits and develop new ones.

We can all learn something by showing restraint and moderation.

My husband is a meat eater, and he gives up meat on Ash Wednesday and every Friday during Lent.  This isn’t really a big sacrifice for him, I am a vegetarian and he doesn’t generally eat meat at home.  Giving up Meat on certain days made him take notice of his habits.  It helped him to make a conscious choice at a restaurant and opened him up to new foods he may have not tried if a hamburger was not off limits.

There are so many ways to practice Bramacharya or observe Lent:

  • Give up Food or Drink – alcohol or meat, candy, soda or coffee
  • Stay Home-reduce your social engagements
  • Spend less Money
  • Drive less-ride a bike, walk or carpool
  • Text Less, talk more
  • Refrain from Multitasking
  • Spend less time surfing the web
  • Spend time with the sick or elderly
  • Start a new practice of prayer or meditation

The Church’s official position concerning penance and abstinence from meat during Lent…CLICK HERE

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March is National Women’s History Month: Celebrate your inner Goddess!

March 3, 2011

Wellbehaved women rarely make history(Laurel Thatcher Ulrich)

March is National Woman’s History Month.

Celebrate your inner Goddess!

Goddess Pose ( Utkata Konasana, Fierce Angle Pose, Victory Squat, Horse) tones the lower body and opens the hips and chest.  Strong and powerful, Goddess brings inner and outer strength.

I like to begin in Five Pointed Star Pose:
Five Pointed Star Pose is usually a transition pose, but done correctly, it brings your spine into alignment, it opens your chest, energizes and lengthens your entire body.

Begin with a nice wide stance (about 3 feet).  Toes pointed to the corners of the room

Raise arms up to shoulder height (parallel to the floor), stretching your arms in opposite directions.

Shoulders are down and back.  Head is level.  Tuck your tailbone under. Actively stretch your arms in opposite directions.  Your legs are straight, but avoid locking your knees.

Actively stretch in five directions:
Press both feet into the mat, keep your torso nice and tall,
Reach through both arms and fingers
Extend through the top of your head.

Drishti (eye gaze) is straight ahead.
Breath! Hold for several Breaths.

Goddess Pose:
Begin in Five Pointed Star

Inhale:
Raise arms into the air in a ‘V’ shape.  Upper arms next to your ears.

Exhale:
Lower arms: upper arms parallel to the floor, elbows to shoulder height & palms facing front
Bend your knees and lower hips into a tall, wide squat. Lower your thighs parallel to the floor.

Pull your knees back, and adjust your stance so that your knees and ankles stay in alignment.

Take a few, slow deep breaths.

Channel your Inner Goddess, You are Strong Confident and Powerful.  You have all the Answers.

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Seuss Yoga to celebrate the Doctor’s Birthday!

March 2, 2011

Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss!

Theodor Seuss Geisel, DrSeuss, was born in 1904 in Springfield, Massachusetts.

Dr Seuss, beloved writer and illustrator brought a love of reading to generations of children.  His unique way of looking at things taught us all important life lessons.  So, to honor Mr. Geisel, here are some of my favorite quotes and some Yoga Poses to accompany them. Boy I wish I could write this whole pose in Anapestic Tetrameter.

Seuss Yoga

Begin in a comfortable seated position for a few minutes of Centering.

Set an intention here or use this Mantra:
“Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.” (Happy Birthday to You)

Move into Lion & Prune Face
“If you never did you should. These things are fun and fun is good.” (And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street)

Switch the Cross of your legs

Begin Cat & Cow
“We looked! Then we saw him step in on the mat! We looked!
And we saw him! The Cat in the Hat!” (Cat in the Hat)

Rainbow Side Stretch & Butterfly (Cobbler’s Pose)
‎”In my world, everyone’s a pony and they all eat rainbows and poop butterflies!”(Horton Hears a Who!)

Half Lord of the Fishes Twist
‘One fish, Two fish, Red fish, Blue fish, Black fish, Blue fish, Old fish, New fish.
This one has a little car. This one has a little star. Say! What a lot of fish there are.” (One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish)

Table

Down Dog
“They say I’m old-fashioned, and live in the past, but sometimes I think progress progresses too fast!”

Rag Doll
“You’ll miss the best things if you keep your eyes shut.”

Roll up to Mountain Pose
“You’re off to Great Places!  Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting, So… get on your way!” (Oh, the Places You’ll Go!)

Empty Coat Sleeves
“poor empty pants with nobody inside them.”

Left Leg Forward:
Triangle
Revolved Triangle
Warrior II
Repeat with Right Leg
The storm starts, when the drops start dropping When the drops stop dropping then the storm starts stopping.”

Tree Pose
“I am the Lorax. I speak for the trees. I speak for the trees for the trees have no tongues.” (The Lorax)

Eagle Pose
“You’ll get mixed up, of course, as you already know. You’ll get mixed up with many strange birds as you go. So be sure when you step. Step with care and great tact and remember that Life’s a Great Balancing Act. Just never forget to be dexterous and deft. And never mix up your right foot with your left.”

Sun Salutation to Belly
“Think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh, the thinks you can think up if only you try!”

Child’s Pose
“A person’s a person, no matter how small.” (Horton Hears a Who!)

Tall Kneel – Camel
“There’s no limit to how much you’ll know, depending how far beyond zebra you go.”

Sit – Forward Fold
“If things start happening, don’t worry, don’t stew, just go right along and you’ll start happening too.”

Turtle Pose
“And the turtles, of course… All the turtles are free- As turtles and, maybe, all creatures should be.” (Yertle the Turtle)

Cow Face Pose
“I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells.”

Elephant Trunk Pose
“I meant what I said, and I said what I meant An elephant’s faithful, One hundred percent.” (Horton Hatches the Egg)

Fish Pose
“From there to here, from here to there, funny things are everywhere!” (One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish)

Lay Back, Knees to chest

Dead Bug Pose
“When beetles fight these battles in a bottle with their paddles and the bottle’s on a poodle and the poodle’s eating noodles…they call this a muddle puddle tweetle poodle beetle noodle bottle paddle battle.” (Fox in Socks)

Shoulder Stand
“If you never did you should. These things are fun and fun is good.”

Bridge or Wheel Pose
“Only you can control your future.”

Knees to Chest

Swiss Army Knife Twist
“Mishaps are like knives, that either serve us or cut us, as we grasp them by the blade or the handle”

Savasana
“Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”

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…in like a lion

March 1, 2011

Welcome to March.

As the idiom goes, March comes in like a Lion and out like a Lamb.
(The month of March usually starts with cold, unpleasant weather, but ends mild and pleasant.)

Why not celebrate with Lion Pose?

This in one I always do in a Brand new class to break the ice and teach everyone that yoga doesn’t have to be stuffy.  Life is fun and so is Yoga!

Roaring Lion – Simhasana
Simha = Lion
;  This asana gets its name because the open mouth and extended tongue resembles the face of a Roaring Lion.

Click HERE for Animation

  • Come to a Comfortable seated position
  • Take a full deep breath in, and bring your hands next to your ears in loose fists
  • On your next exhale, lean forward slightly, spread your fingers and stretch all of your facial muscles, widen your eyes
  • Extend your tongue with a sounding exhale.
  • Repeat several times.

Lion pose, releases stress.  It’s great for sore throats and sinus issues.  It exercises the facial muscles and helps relieve eye strain.

I like to pair lion and prune face (lemon face).

Click HERE for Animation
Prune Face– Inhale and squeeze your eyes shut. Clench your hands in fists, raise your shoulders and pinch your facial muscles.

Exhale into Lion Pose.

Learn More Animal Poses Here

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