Archive for the ‘Calendar Themes’ Category

Daylight Savings ends this Sunday (Nov. 6, 2011)…..Celebrate with Trace the Clock Poses

November 4, 2011

Daylight Saving Time (U.S., except Arizona & HAwaii) began Sunday, March 13, 2011, and ends Sunday, November 6, 2011.. Move your clocks ahead 1 hour in spring and back 1 hour in fall (“Spring forward, fall back”).

“I object to being told that I am saving daylight when my reason tells me that I am doing nothing of the kind… At the back of the Daylight Saving scheme, I detect the bony, blue-fingered hand of Puritanism, eager to push people into bed earlier, and get them up earlier, to make them healthy, wealthy, and wise in spite of themselves.”
― Robertson DaviesThe Papers of Samuel Marchbanks

Celebrate with some Trace the Clock Stretches….

Trace the Clock (body)

Imagine you are the hour arm on a giant analog clock.  Stretch to each hour point on the clock.

Begin in Tadasana (Mountain Pose)

INHALE arms up, interlace your fingers together, index fingers pointed up (12 o’clock)

EXHALE Move arms to the 1 o’clock position and stretch, INHALE

EXHALE Move arms to the 2 o’clock position and stretch, INHALE

Continue on stretching at each point on the clock, clockwise two times, then repeat stretching in counter clockwise position two rotations. I like to change the cross of my fingers before beginning the 2nd revolution.

Note: 6 o’clock stretch is a forward fold

Variation-instead of stretching at each our mark on your clock, try a continuous stretch moving between each hour smoothly in both a clockwise, and counter clockwise position.

Trace the Clock Eye Rotation
Eye yoga stretches can help improve vision and focus.  It can help ease eye strain and stress.
More Table Poses Coming soon….  

Come to a comfortable, seated position.

Keeping your head level, look up with your eyes.

Move your eyes to 1 o’clock, 2 o’clock etc…..

It should take 10-20 seconds for each complete rotation

Repeat in a counter clockwise revolution.

When you have complete tracing the clock in both directions,

Rub the palms of your hands together vigorously creating heat.

Close your eyes and place your warm palms over your eyes.

Enjoy your one hour longer weekend!

“Time, time, time, see what’s become of me,
While I looked around,
For my possibilities;
I was so hard to please”
Paul Simon (from A Hazy Shade of Winter)

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November is National Peanut Butter Month | Celebrate with Empty Peanut Butter Jar

November 1, 2011

“Nothing takes the taste out of peanut butter quite like unrequited love.”  –Charles M. SchulzCharlie Brown

Empty Peanut Butter Jar is a fun spinal warm-up exercise.

Begin in Table Pose:
Come to your hands and knees
Wrists and Shoulders in alignment
Knees and Hips in alignment
Back in neutral

Imagine you are in a giant, almost empty Peanut Butter Jar.
You need to use your body to get the peanut butter out of the jar.

You can move forward and back,
You can move from side to side.

You can do circles,
You can do a worm like body motion.

Move in anyway that feels right.

More Calendar Theme Yoga Poses

More Table Poses Coming soon…. 

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Arbor Day is here again, Let’s try some Tree Pose Variations…

April 28, 2011

The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago.  The next best time is now.  ~Chinese Proverb

Arbor Day: (Arbor is Latin for Tree) is an annual event in countries all over the world that encourages people to get out, plant and care for trees.

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After you are done planting your trees, honor them with Vrksasana!

TREE POSE (vrksasana) is a standing posture that focuses on Balance, it stretches and strengthens calves, thighs and ankles.

Begin in Mountain Pose (Tadasana).

Allow all of your weight to sink into your right foot.

Begin to raise your left foot into kickstand, (left heel on the right ankle, left toes on the floor) or bring your left foot onto your right calf, or bring your left foot all the way up to your right thigh.

When you find your balance (concentrate your attention onto a stationary object),

Grow your Branches (arms) anyway you like:
Hands together in prayer position at heart center
Hands together over your head
Arms over your head in a ‘V’ position
Interlace your fingers and press your palms to the sky
Bring your elbows parallel to the floor (Palm Tree).

Repeat on the opposite side.

Want to make it more challenging?  Try closing your eyes in balance poses.

Tree Pose Variations:

Swaying Palm Tree
Come to a Tree Pose
On your next exhale bend towards your bent knee and hold.
Repeat on opposite side

Twisted Tree 1
Come to a Tree Pose
Extend arms out in ‘T’ position at shoulder height.
Then, on your next exhale twist torso towards your bent knee. Hold
Repeat on opposite side

Twisted Tree 2
Come to a Tree Pose
Cross your arms into Eagle Arms (Bring your arms to shoulder height. Wrap your right arm under your left arm, elbows bent.  Try to bring the palms of your hands together).
Repeat on opposite side with Left arm Under Right arm.

Tumbling Tree
Tumbling tree is basically Warrior III with a chest Expansion
From Tadasana, take a step forward with your left leg
Come onto your Right toes
Interlace your fingers behind your back
Slowly transition your weight onto your left foot
Begin to raise your right leg into the air
Full expression:  Body is in ‘T’ position with arms raised into the air (fingers interlaced)
Repeat on opposite side

Tree Plank
Tree plank is a side plank with your top leg in Tree Pose
Begin in Down Dog
Roll onto the outside of your Right Foot
Raise your Left Arm into the air
Bend your Left Knee and place your Left Foot on your Right Calf or Thigh
Repeat on opposite side

Reclining Tree Pose
Corpse Pose
Bend Right knee, Right foot on the Floor
Exhale and open your Right Knee to the Right side
Hold for several breaths
Inhale Right knee to center
Switch Sides

 

Do you know of more Tree Pose Variations?  Please share.

How to plant a tree, CLICK HERE.

Become an Arbor Day Foundation Member ($10) and receive 10 FREE TREES!

I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.
A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the earth’s sweet flowing breast;
A tree that looks at God all day
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;
A tree that may in Summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;
Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.
Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.
~Joyce Kilmer, “Trees,” 1914

More Calendar Theme Yoga Poses

ARBOR DAY 2010 Post

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Pyramid Pose for Passover

April 19, 2011

Passover is upon us, it’s the day when god helps the Israelites escape Slavery in Egypt.

Pyramid Pose – Parsvottanasana (Standing Runners Stretch, Intense Stretch)

Begin in Tadasana (Mountain Pose)

Turn your Left foot out slightly, and step your Right foot forward (about the length of your normal stride).

*Hips remain square to your front leg.

Inahale

As you Exhale fold forward out over your front leg.

Your hands can be reaching towards the floor, your hands can be on the floor, or you can bend your front knee slightly and place your hands above your knee

Hold for several breaths

Inhale come back to standing

Rotate feet so that your Left foot is now forward, and repeat from *

Variation:  Interlace your fingers behind your back and add a chest expansion when folding forward


Modified Pyramid Pose: (Kneeling Pyramid, Kneeling Runners Stretch)

Begin in a tall kneel

Extend your right leg.  Leg is straight toes are pointed up

Exhale and fold forward out over your right front leg

Hold for several Breaths

Repeat on the Left

Camel Pose – Ustrasana

Begin in a tall kneel, knees are hip width apart

As you exhale Slowly lean back into a Back Bend

Bring your hands to your heals and hold for several breaths

Your Drishti (eye gaze) is at the ceiling

Inhale and come back to a tall kneel

Variation: Try bringing your hands to your hips if your heels are too far away.  You can also try half camel, one hand to heel and other arm raised (each side).

Release from Camel Pose with Child’s Pose, hold for several Breaths.

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Celebrate Palm Sunday with Palm Tree Yoga Pose

April 15, 2011

Palm Sunday 2011 is April 17.  Christians celebrate Palm Sunday the one-week before Easter.  It marks the day Jesus entered into Jerusalem. The palm tree was considered a symbol of victory and well-being. Before Ash Wednesday (of the next year), the Palm is burned and used as a symbol of penitence during Lent.

The Palm Tree was also sacred to the Greek god Apollo.

PALM TREE POSE
Palm Tree Pose is a great spinal alignment pose.  It lengthens your entire body.  It opens your heart and chest.  Palm Tree energizes and releases tension as it strengthens your arms and legs.

Palm Tree Pose (Talasana)

Begin in Mountain Pose

Inhale, raise arms over head (palms facing each other), and rise up onto toes

Breathe

Inhale and straighten your entire body reaching up

Exhale bend back slightly

Drishti (gaze) is on fingers

Hold for a few slow deep breaths

Exhale-lower arms and heels

Return to Mountain Pose

Palm Tree Variations…

Kundalini Palm Tree Pose

Same as above, but legs are wider than hip width apart, toes turned out slightly

Swaying  (or Swinging) Palm Tree Pose (Tiryaka Tadasana)

Palm tree with side stretch to each side

Tree Pose Variation-Palm Tree

Come to Tree Balance Pose

Inhale arms up

Exhale elbows down to shoulder height, arms at a right angle (upper arms parallel to floor).

Palms facing forward, fingers spread

Wall/Palm Tree Variation

Begin in Mountain Pose

Inhale arms up into the air

Exhale elbows down to shoulder height, arms at a right angle (upper arms parallel to floor).

Palms facing forward, fingers spread

Slowly walk backwards until your entire back is against a wall

Concentrate on aligning your body with the wall

More Calendar Theme Yoga Poses

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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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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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