Loving life with nature, beauty and yoga's wisdom.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Enlighten Your Arms Workshop

When we think about our arms, our Western minds most likely envision toning and strengthening them by pushing and pulling with great effort and sweat. Although power and precision work is key in developing fit arms it is only half of what is needed when it comes to creating healthy arms by way of yoga. A balanced combination of space and ease coupled with detail and energy is required when practicing upper body focused yoga poses like arm balances, inversions and back bends like wheel pose. To be able to stand on one hand and balance on the side of one foot in one arm plank pose without toppling over takes practice, awareness plus taking the time to learn a few tricks to enlighten your arms.

In this workshop we will:

Review the myths and reality of moving your arms in space and placing them on the ground.

Practice exercises to strengthen the body's bandhas/locks so you can feel light as you jump to the top of the mat and back as well as move through upper body focused postures.

Learn how to contract the muscles needed in poses like caturanga, crow pose and headstand so the muscles that commonly tense up and later feel neck and shoulder pain will be at ease.

Develop posture awareness where you can check in at any moment and improve it. 

Attune to Mother Earth as she moves through her cycle of awakening by putting your hands onto her with yoga. Doing so will recharge you both physically and emotionally and prepare you for the season of growth ahead.

Saturday   May 3rd   4 pm - 6:30 pm

$40 paid in advance and $50 day of

Register @ www.bamboomovesyoga.com in Englewood, NJ

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Exploring Balance on the Equinox with Yoga Balances

The Spring Equinox, also known as Ostara by our ancestors, usually falls on or around March 20th. It is when day and night are approximately equal in length. The theme of balance is naturally felt at this time as what would have been a snow storm turns into rain and spring inspired pastel colored t shirts are worn under our winter sweaters. Now is a good time to practice yoga poses that focus on balance.

Here I'm in tip toe pose which can be easily modified by placing a yoga block under your knees. When practicing this pose, press the insides of your feet, knees and hands together as you gaze on your horizon line. If you have to, do the pose with your knees and feet apart.

Feel your shoulders over your hips, chin parallel to the floor and the crown of your head energizing upward as your toes claw into the earth like a cat who's scratching a surface. Quiet your mind by watching your next inhale and exhale. While in the pose explore the feeling that comes from being balanced. Allow your inquiry to bring wisdom to your everyday life as you seek steadiness in all you do.

Tip toe pose is also an excellent pose for strengthening and opening your feet.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Adding Early Spring Brights and Bird Poses to Lighten Your Mood

With the clock springing forward this past weekend, I'm celebrating the brightening of days and all the   beautiful birdies coming home by adding bright sunshine colors to my wardrobe in addition to putting my hands onto to the earth and practicing bird poses. It is still winter cold where I live so my early spring style is limited to making my winter clothes look brighter. I find wearing bright scarves, colored sunglasses, applying a new shade of pink lipstick and blush plus adding a chunky jeweled bangle on top of a sweater's sleeve works well.

Wearing colorful sweaters or a coat also instantly adds a refreshing vibe to your look. Fortunately I've collected a few over the years. To keep my collection interesting, I'm going to visit some sale racks to see if I can catch a few more bright colored sweater and coat deals before they are put away. A shopping tip I learned a long time ago is people generally gravitate to buying dark colors during winter shopping and the bright and often the most unique pieces are on super sale by late February and March.

Finally, Spring means adding a little more kick to your training. I personally feel bird poses which are mostly arm balances are very fitting to practice now as the day's light is balancing with the night's dark plus there are more birds singing out loud these days. Bakasana/crow pose (shown here) shakes things up a bit by grounding your upper body instead of what we are used to, our lower body. Practicing this pose will physically and emotionally recharge your late winter body and prepare you for the season of growth ahead.

Happy Spring!

Sweater on sale www.zara.com leggings www.carmenandersonny.etsy.com boots www.ninewest.com scarf and bangle gifted, make up www.onehundredpercentpure.com glasses www.forever21.com

Friday, March 7, 2014

Seeing Beauty as a Path to Everyday Healing

Seeing beauty when life is difficult, calm and joyous is a spiritual as well as a Buddhist teaching that fortunately comes easy to me. Perhaps because I was raised by remarkably open and artistic parents that encouraged me to see the contrast of dark and light shadows in a snow covered forest landscape while driving to Grandma's or notice a mediocre painting of a flower on a wall.

The Buddhist practice of cultivating sacred attention, where you can retrieve what is beautiful under the most dire and mundane of circumstances doesn't mean that you are not paying attention to the joys and sorrows of life but rather understanding that there's a grace in a never ending cycle from high to low to a steady pace of thoughts and feelings to experience. Practicing seeing beauty as a path to everyday healing keeps me attuned to the moment, fosters acceptance and I believe can accelerate healing. 

This past February, was chock full of disappointments and pain for me. Yet somehow, I feel like I've been initiated. I've been changed. Like receiving a diploma without the gown. I'm feeling like a part of myself died and another evolution in my journey is being absorbed into myself. I don't think I could have come to this place of understanding my recent experiences without my daily practice of seeing beauty regardless of the situation.

Practicing sacred attention is simple. Start by being still and looking around. Notice what is beautiful without interacting with it. A child after school with his Dad eagerly waiting on a coffee shop line for a cookie while his Dad gets his latte. Notice the sun lighten what it touches even on the greyest of days. See, smell, hear, feel and taste if you can. All you have to do is pay attention. Your thoughts maybe dark, neutral or content however when you notice what is beautiful you become lighter, more spacious and appreciative thus enabling you to process the moment at hand.

Despite of this past month taking a toll on my mind and body, my arms and legs have been recently able to slip into this extreme camel pose variation. Is my heart and all it's front body armor getting lighter? I believe so. I'm feeling my practice of healing and becoming whole with nature, beauty and yoga's wisdom is working. 

Because of the cold, this layered sweater and legging look worked well under my big black parka, not shown. Layered sweaters from www.zara.com Layered straight legged and loose cut leggings on top from www.carmenandersonny.etsy.com Booties www.ninewest.com gloves www.zara.com bangles, earrings and headband from 3 summer's back www.lailarowe.com