Yoga Poses

Hip Openers

Tight hips are a major roadblock on the journey to a deeper yoga practice. Without flexibility in and around the hip cradle many of the seated forward bends, some arm balances and inversions will remain a struggle. The good news is that working on opening your hips pays benefits, Ka Ching!, that go far beyond your asana practice. Counteracting tightness in your hips can help to ease back pain, improve circulation to your legs and even improve the way you walk.

The hips have been called “the junk drawer of your house” because stress, emotion, fear and negative memories are energetically stored in your hips. Hip openers are an important key to releasing them and “cleaning out the drawer”. Cleaning out that drawer lightens your spiritual load making room for prana to flow through the entire pelvic region and allowing breath and vitality to move freely throughout your body. Deepen your practice with alignment based Hip Opening classes this week at Lake Center Yoga along with Yoga Sutra 1.16 and lighten your load to brighten your life!

Standing Poses

Become stable in your Being and merge with the second Yama in Yoga Sutra 2.37, Asteya: Non-Stealing, as you access the abundance of your inner and outer treasures with Lake Center Yoga.

The energy meridians in your feet affect your whole body and mind and ultimately spirit. When we are constricted through the feet we constrict on all levels and feel a need to grab and covet what we feel lacking in be it physical, mental or emotional. We’ll use the feet to align and enliven the abundance in our lives that is present in us and all around us.

The feet can be the gateway to alignment of the joints, balanced action in the muscles and ease in the Asanas.  In our practices this week you will mindfully focus on the actions of the feet as well as balancing the weight on the feet as the foundation of standing poses to bring evenness to the legs, hips, pelvis and back. You will feel a new strength and ease simultaneously revealing your fullness, completeness, and contentment!

Standing poses strengthen the body and the spirit. They invigorate us physically, mentally, and emotionally. The standing poses teach us to be simultaneously strong and flexible. The more precise our standing poses, the more energized and free, and internally stable we feel.

Yoga Sutra 1.39 is the last of the group of sutras on steadying the mind. We will integrate this sutra by approaching our asana practice as a bona fide support for fixing the mind without distraction to attain steadiness.

Once the mind has attained steadiness in one area, this steadiness can be readily transferred to other areas. Once the mind has become stilled, it’s sattvic nature can manifest, as a result of which the qualities of sattva, insight and lucidity, also gradually manifest. These then start to pervade all aspects of a Yogis life and transform one’s understanding and relationship with one’s asana practice over time giving the inclination to cultivate wisdom and enlightenment.

Standing Poses are also crucial for maintaining proper body alignment and equilibrium. Body alignment is essential for general well being. Standing poses help correct posture as poor posture is responsible for many ailments. By performing the Standing Poses you can correct this and be rid of a number of niggling conditions. Standing Poses build the body’s strength and flexibility. They stretch and tone the muscles of the body by working all the core muscle groups. They also stimulate the nervous system and improve circulation as well as develop focus by gathering up all the scattered thinking into the mind, body, spirit experience.

Along with Standing Poses we cultivate Yoga Sutra 1.33. which provides peace of mind and emotional stability. B.K.S Iyengar defines Sutra 1.33 as,“Through cultivation of friendliness, compassion, joy, and indifference to pain and pleasure, virtue and vice respectively, the consciousness becomes reasonably disposed, serene and benevolent.”

Inversion Poses

What will it be? Handstand, Headstand, Forearm Balance or Shoulderstand… or all those together tee, hee… come and see!

Benefits of Inversion Poses:

1. Gravity is used to provide the brain with more oxygen and blood and this increases mental functioning, improves concentration, memory and processing abilities.

2. Getting upside down allows lymph to more easily travel into the respiratory system to eliminate toxins and bacteria and increase immunity to prevent illness.

3. Heating inversions such as handstand, headstand and forearm balance get more blood moving to the brain which is physically invigorating and mentally revitalizing.

4. Cooling inversions such as shoulderstand and legs up the wall calm the nervous system to activate the parasympathetic nervous system to produce feelings of balance and calm.

5. Balancing on the hands or head is the next step after balancing on one or two legs in finding equanimity.

6. Inversions create body balance by developing upper body strength.

7. Inversions build confidence which expands to all areas of life.

8. Inversions keep us humble.

9. Inversions take us upside down and teach us that there is another way to approach a situation/person/problem with new perspectives.

10. Inversions remind us that while yoga is contemplative in many ways, the asana practice is also a time to connect with our inner child and be playful and light hearted.

Yoga Master B.K.S. Iyengar says of Sutra 2.10, “The father of subtle afflictions is the mind, whose movements should be directed towards the seer by the yogic process of involution. In this way, subtle afflictions are vanquished and an unpolarized state of pure knowledge is attained.” What better process than involuting upside down with inversions or variations of them to suit you!

Here are some other benefits of Inversion Poses:

*Viparita Karani (legs up the wall pose)- Your head, throat and neck are supplied with blood in abundance resulting in a new surge of energy in the nerve centers of the brain, pituitary glands and thyroid gland. It helps you flush out stress and anxiety, eases low back pain, improves digestive power, rejuvenates tired legs, cures varicose veins and swollen ankles, helps heal migraine and headaches. This is called the elixir of youth pose.

*Adho Mukha Svanasana (Down Dog Pose)-eases sciatica pain and sinusitis, strengthens the arms, back and shoulders, eases constipation and other digestion problems, relieves tension in the spine, stretches the calves and hamstrings and hands, eases back pain, helps you relax and rejuvenate.

*Sirshasana (headstand pose) strengthens arms, neck and shoulders, helps in delaying and even reversing ageing, helps beat stress and depression, boosts digestive power, calms the mind, improves circulation to pituitary and pineal glands, tones and sculpts your core and abdomen, relieves symptoms of sinusitis and insomnia.

Arm Balances

Arm Balances give strength to your upper body for independent living as you age and make your core strong to hold you up in good balance. The combination of osteoporosis with poor balance reflexes can lead to falls and broken bones (wrist, shoulder, and hip fractures are most common), with potentially life-threatening consequences as you age.  Due to upper body weakness many seniors can’t even open heavy doors or carry their own grocery bags.  Arm Balancing Yoga Poses will help prevent these issues.

Arm Balances can be challenging so they are often the favorite category of poses to “forget” to practice.  One reason arm balances are so challenging is they require both strength and flexibility. You may be very strong but still not be able to do arm balances if you don’t have the necessary flexibility. And yet excellent flexibility is no guarantee of success if you don’t have the needed upper body and torso strength.

Many people, especially women, come to yoga weak in the upper body. This weakness may be due to a lifelong lack of regular work with the arms, shoulders, chest, and abdomen. Unfortunately, the weakness usually progresses as the decades go by and is often a factor in loss of independent living skills. Over many years, the lack of hard work that challenges the upper body muscles and bones also contributes to loss of mineralization in those bones—osteoporosis—which can be a serious health problem.

So the practice of poses that include weight bearing on the arms is a good idea to help prevent osteoporosis as well as to build upper body strength.  Arm balances develop core strength, keep the bones sturdy and sharpen mental discipline.  Even practicing the simplest Arm Balance Poses daily at home such as Down Dog, Plank, Vastistasana with the top leg on the floor, Purvottanasana, Bridge, and Chaturanga from the elbows held to build up time in them will give you the arm and core strength plus the flexibility to keep you balanced and independent through your Golden Years.

More challenging Arm balances give you great gratification when performed and can give frustration when not fully accomplished. In this way they are the perfect poses to practice persistence in the face of challenge, as well as practicing non-attachment to the fruits of your labors or the limitations of your mind!  These are yet more great strengths to cultivate as we age into enlightenment!

Some Benefits of Arm Balances

Arm Balances require both strength and flexibility. They require weight bearing on the arms which builds bone density and muscle which prevents osteoporosis as well as building upper body strength. They also help strengthen the balance reflexes to prevent falls. Arm Balances strengthen the abdominal muscles as most balance poses require abdominal strength to support and stabilize the center of your body. The abdominal muscles must contract even more strongly to lift the weight of your pelvis and legs off the floor in some of the arm balance poses. Mentally Arm Balances are the perfect poses to practice persistence in the face of challenge, as well as non-attachment to the fruits of your labors.

Backbends

Detox your body and mind with Twisting Poses, Forward Bends and Yoga Sutra 1.11 and move your spirit into a pristine space of pure energy and a blissful, high state of Consciousness!

Forward Bends slow you down so that you can imbibe Yoga Sutra 1.11 which teaches about memory as a form of knowledge. There are different forms of memory. In Yoga we practice discriminating between them to cultivate the influence of constructive and life-enhancing memories as causative influences (karma) to empower our yogic path to Higher Consciousness.

Twisting poses support us in this endeavor with their naturally detoxifying and purifying benefits. There are physiological benefits to the circulatory system and internal organs, structural benefits to the musculoskeletal system, and focusing, de-stressing benefits to our consciousness.

Yoga Master B.K. S. Iyengar describes twists as a “squeeze-and soak” action. The organs compressed during a twist, pushing out blood filled with metabolic by-products and toxins. When you release the twist, fresh blood flows in, carrying oxygen and the building blocks for tissue healing. From a physiological standpoint, twists stimulate circulation and have a cleansing and refreshing effect on the torso organs like the liver, pancreas, stomach and spleen.

Yoga Twists help eliminate tension from deep within your body. This physical tension can show itself as emotional stress which blocks memory. When memory does occur from that place, it is restrictive and troublesome due to stress which is not constructive or life enhancing. Yoga twists help the muscles of the chest, back and shoulders relax and when combined with slow nasal breathing, allow stress to leave the body and uplifting memories conducive to higher consciousness to come through.

Yoga Sutra 1.11 Anubhuta Visayasampramosah Smrtih- When a mental modification of an object, words or experiences previously encountered and not forgotten comes back to consciousness, that is memory.

Most of us come to Yoga seeking sanctuary. We realize how important it is to briefly step away from the demands of life and relax into a spacious quality of mind that allows us to be with ourselves as we are, without judgment. Insulated from the racket of demands and from the need to rush, we become quiet enough to hear the stirrings of our hearts. In this act of opening to subtle perceptions within, we replenish our energy and inspiration.

Connecting with the Truth of our selves, our hearts, our muscles, and our level of energy in any given moment is the height of subtle perception which takes us to exalted states of Being. With this experience we can have a steady union with our blissful inner Self that is always present beyond any outer drama, while living in the outer world.

With subtle perception Back Bending Poses will open and balance the stiff upper back and chest muscles while you are both stable and comfortable in your body. With this you will glow with an inner experience of joy, exhilaration, and freedom!

Handstands

5 Reasons To Do Handstands Every Day
Handstands are an extremely underrated exercise, for one main reason: most people think they just can’t do them.  But just because you didn’t do gymnastics when you were younger and aren’t yet an advanced yoga practitioner doesn’t mean you can’t start doing handstands starting today.

Aside from bringing out your inner kid and just being plain fun to do, there are actually several ways handstands can benefit your health, especially if you do them on a daily basis.

So whether you do them against a wall or manage to do freestanding ones, here are five reasons why you should do handstands every day:

1. They’ll make your upper body super strong.
In order to stay upside down for any length of time, you’ll need a massive amount of shoulder, arm, and upper back strength. In fact, it’s not uncommon for beginners to start shaking after just a few seconds of holding a handstand.

To build up strength, start by holding a handstand against a wall for three sets of 5-10 seconds. Work up to holding them for a minute or two at a time. Practice often, and watch as your upper body strength skyrockets.

2. They’ll increase your balance
If you’ve ever tried a handstand, you know that besides needing to be strong to do them, you’ll also need to have substantial balancing skills as well in order to be able to hold yourself up. Freestanding handstands, especially, require you to be able to have full control over your muscles and to constantly make small adjustments to avoid falling.

Practicing freestanding handstands or doing handstands against a wall and trying to take your feet off the wall for as long as possible will help increase your balancing abilities like no other exercise can.

3. They can boost your mood.
Not only will handstands make you strong and help improve your balancing abilities, handstands can also make you feel happier, since the blood flow to your brain has an energizing and calming effect, especially when you’re feeling really stressed out.

Another way handstands can help your mood is by reducing the production of the stress hormone, cortisol, which can not only de-stress you in the short-term but could also help relieve minor depression and anxiety.

4. They build core strength.
There’s no need to spend hours focusing just on your abs — you can have fun doing handstands and build core strength as well.

Since staying upside down forces you to stabilize your muscles, you’re constantly working your abs, as well as other key muscle groups such as your hip flexors, hamstrings, inner thigh muscles, obliques and lower back while in a handstand. Training handstands every day will get you a well balanced, super strong core.

5. They help with bone health, circulation and breathing.
Since handstands are technically a weight-bearing exercise, they can help strengthen your bones, making you less prone to osteoporosis. Handstands are also beneficial for your spine, and help aid bone health in your shoulders, arms and wrists.

Not only that, the upside-down nature of a handstand can increase circulation to your upper body, while relieving pressure on your feet and legs and stretching your diaphragm at the same time, which in turn can increase blood flow to your lungs.

So start building handstands into your daily routine, even if it’s just a few a day. You’ll not only be benefiting your health; you’ll have a blast while doing it!

Twisting Poses and Forward Bends

Detox your body and mind with Twisting Poses, Forward Bends and Yoga Sutra 1.11 and move your spirit into a pristine space of pure energy and a blissful, high state of Consciousness!

Forward Bends slow you down so that you can imbibe Yoga Sutra 1.11 which teaches about memory as a form of knowledge. There are different forms of memory. In Yoga we practice discriminating between them to cultivate the influence of constructive and life-enhancing memories as causative influences (karma) to empower our yogic path to Higher Consciousness.

Twisting poses support us in this endeavor with their naturally detoxifying and purifying benefits. There are physiological benefits to the circulatory system and internal organs, structural benefits to the musculoskeletal system, and focusing, de-stressing benefits to our consciousness.

Yoga Master B.K. S. Iyengar describes twists as a “squeeze-and soak” action. The organs compressed during a twist, pushing out blood filled with metabolic by-products and toxins. When you release the twist, fresh blood flows in, carrying oxygen and the building blocks for tissue healing. From a physiological standpoint, twists stimulate circulation and have a cleansing and refreshing effect on the torso organs like the liver, pancreas, stomach and spleen.

Yoga Twists help eliminate tension from deep within your body. This physical tension can show itself as emotional stress which blocks memory. When memory does occur from that place, it is restrictive and troublesome due to stress which is not constructive or life enhancing. Yoga twists help the muscles of the chest, back and shoulders relax and when combined with slow nasal breathing, allow stress to leave the body and uplifting memories conducive to higher consciousness to come through.

Yoga Sutra 1.11 Anubhuta Visayasampramosah Smrtih- When a mental modification of an object, words or experiences previously encountered and not forgotten comes back to consciousness, that is memory.

Yoga Sutra 1.4 vrtti sarupyam itaratra

The natural tendency of consciousness is to become involved with the object seen, drawing us towards it, and moving us to identify with it. We then become engrossed in the object. This becomes the seed for diversification of our intelligence and makes us forget our own radiant awareness. When the soul does not radiate its own glory, it is a sign that the thinking faculty has manifested itself in place of the soul.

The whole technique of yoga, its practice and restraint is aimed at dissociating consciousness from its identification with the phenomenal world, at restraining the senses by which it is ensnared and at cleansing and purifying the lens of the mind until it transmits wholly and only the light of the soul.

Benefits of Twisting and Forward Bending Poses

Twisting poses provide an abundance of benefits. There are physiological benefits to the circulatory system and internal organs, structural benefits to the musculoskeletal system, and focusing benefits to your consciousness. Twisting poses act as a squeeze and soak action to the organs which are compressed during a twist, pushing out blood filled with metabolic by-products and toxins. When we release the twist, fresh blood flows in, carrying oxygen and the building blocks for tissue healing. From the physiological standpoint, twists stimulate circulation and have a cleansing and refreshing effect on the torso organs and glands.

Forward bends create length and space in the spine counteracting compression and their inward nature can promote introspection. Forward bends can help us dissolve patterns so we can uncover fresh ways of looking and experiencing ourselves to cultivate a deeper, richer yoga practice. Forward bends stretch the hips, hamstrings and calves. They strengthen the thighs and knees, reduce stress, anxiety, depression and fatigue, calm the mind and soothe the nerves. They relive tension in the spine, neck and back, activate the abdominal muscles, stimulate the kidneys, liver and spleen, ease menopause symptoms and help lower high blood pressure.

Twists are postures that generally involve moving the shoulder girdle to face in an opposing direction in relation to the hips. There are different twists that target the upper, middle and lower portions of the torso, all having heir own unique set of health benefits.

Twists improve digestive function by flooding your digestive organs with fresh oxygen and nutrients via fresh blood flow. This also cleanses the cells of any built up waste and so detox’s stagnated impurities and moves them through the digestive tract due to the compression that comes with twisting. Twists stretch and strengthen the back muscles which can provide a big relief from the back pain caused by everyday life. Twists are wonderful postures to relax stress and anxiety. These postures open the chest, shoulders and back, all of which can help to decrease feelings of anxiousness. You will be releasing stored tension in the body as you twist which has a positive effect on your mental state.

Twisting poses bring us to a state of stillness and peace connecting with Satya, the second Yama in Yoga Sutra 2.36, which means Truth and Honesty.

Samskaras, or laughingly called Sam-scare-as keep us bound in postural patterns, reactions, imbalances in our asanas and a clogged outlook. They come from staying glued to repetitive, knee jerk reactions from something in the past that continues to influence our life and behavior in the present in an unfavorable way.

Emotions, stress, anxiety and fear are held in the belly area, the Manipurika energy center. Twisting poses (as opposed to regular turning in life or in unconscious asana practice), clear and detoxify that area including the vital organs of the intestines, liver, spleen and stomach. They flush loads of fresh blood and energy into all those organs. You may find you don’t need antacids after twisting poses and you are much more mellow. Twisting poses literally and figuratively clear out the past impressions and reveal a clarity and beauty and we are immersed in the transcendent joy beyond our robotic reactions to old impressions. The world around us loves this new space in us too.

Comments
  • Massa suspendisse lorem turpis ac. Pellentesque volutpat faucibus pellentesque velit in, leo odio molestie, magnis vitae condimentum.

    • Aute mi ut suspendisse velit leo, vel risus ac. Amet dui dignissim fermentum malesuada auctor volutpat, vestibulum ipsum nulla.

      • Sed reprehenderit quam, non felis, erat cum a, gravida lorem a. Ultricies in pellentesque ipsum arcu ipsum ridiculus velit magna, ut a elit est. Ultricies metus arcu sed massa. Massa suspendisse lorem turpis ac.

    • Eu et tellus vestibulum taciti et sit, nunc enim ipsum donec aliquam vitae, per mauris, amet ultrices. Pellentesque amet proin ut vestibulum eleifend nam, wisi vel tellus pulvinar mi risus consectetuer, sed faucibus facilisi, accumsan nam.

  • Nec ut tellus ornare, orci tortor suspendisse aliquet sollicitudin rhoncus, maecenas suscipit cras porttitor vestibulum vivamus.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *