Monday, September 27, 2010

Rainy Day Essentials

It was a rainy day in NYC and supposed to be another one tomorrow.   A part of me likes the rain.   It feels very grounding and helps me to relax, but sometimes to the point where I feel lethargic and heavy.   Perhaps it's about finding a balance and here's what helped me today:

Abdominal work for energy.  Try this seated roll down:
Sit upright with your knees bent and feet about hip width apart on the floor.  Hold on to the backs of your thighs.
Inhale and on the exhale slowly roll down, letting your hands slide down the backs of your legs.  Focus on rolling down sequentially through your spine.
Inhale at the bottom and exhale roll up sequentially, leading with the crown of your head.  Use your hands on your legs to help you up if you need.


Rainy day tunes.  My pick today was Carla Bruni's Quelqu'un M'a Dit


Comfy lounge clothes because there's nothing better than being comfortable on a rainy day.  Those are my Alternative Apparel ones above.


Cup of spice tea to stimulate the digestive system.   Today I had Yogi Tea's Aztec Sweet Chile.   




Big bowl of soup.   My boyfriend and I made a corn soup using fresh veggies from the farmers market and topped it with avocado.




Sunday, September 26, 2010

Svadhyaya

The other day my new client had an amazing revelation.    Towards the end of our session she said, "You know I think many people use exercise to escape their problems, but with yoga you really have to face all your stuff."   I thought, "Wow!   You realized that in one session?"   In the yoga philosophy there's a concept known as svadhyaya, which means self-inquiry.   One of the points of the yoga practice is to get to know ourselves.   We discover our habits and patterns both physically and mentally.   We discover things we might like about ourselves and things we may not like so much.   It's a practice that takes a lot of bravery and honesty.   As one of my professors asked us to do in college (which I really despised hearing), "Please take off your rose colored glasses."   This was her way of asking us to practice svadhyaya.   I was not ready to take that deeper look at myself at the time, which is why I cringed every time I heard her say that.  Even still I notice resistance to take that deeper look every time I avoid certain postures or try to fix myself .  It takes time and patience to ease away from the rose colored glasses and when you're not ready it's easy to distract yourself.   I watch this in my clients who fly through their exercises or constantly talk rather than moving intently with their breath.   This prevents them from understanding themselves and what has happened in the moment.   It's a never ending process that requires both discipline and  some self-lovin'.   A sense of humor never hurt anyone either.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Bridge Baby

video
Bridging is a wonderful exercise that I introduce to most of my clients early on.   It gives me a sense of their understanding of their spine, legs, and breath.  There are many ways to approach this exercise, but in this blog I'm going to emphasize spinal articulation.  A healthy spine should be able to articulate, but many of us do not articulate our spines fully on a regular basis.  The variation I show in the video is from a wonderful NYC based teacher Leslie Kaminoff.   This variation further challenges the hamstrings and glutes as well as hip stability.  
Questions to think about :
Are you staying connected to the breath?
How does the spine feel?
Are the feet staying grounded?
Are the shoulders, neck, or facial muscles overworking?

So many things to explore!    Enjoy!

Here I Go

I am starting this blog for a couple of reasons.  For one I'd like to address some of the many questions I receive.  I also encourage readers to submit their thoughts and questions.  Secondly, I'd like to share my experiences as both a teacher and practitioner.  My process is constantly shifting and leading me to new discoveries; some of which I feel are worth sharing.  Lastly, I'd like to offer some exploratory exercises that people can try at home.  After all, the most common question I receive is, "What can I do at home on my own?"  Because of my experiences with different techniques the exercises in this blog will be a synthesis of the various modalities I've studied.  We can call them bite sized movement explorations.  I hope that the busy person can find a few minutes each day to move because a little bit of movement with breath on a regular basis can go a long way.  Go ahead and Explore Movement!