How To Do Chaturanga Dandasana - The Four Limbed Staff Pose

How to Keep Your Shoulders Safe Doing Chaturanga

How many Chaturangas does it take to get to your center ..... of inner bliss?

Or how about just to feel strong and safe?

The key is in the alignment. Watch the video or check out the tips below to help you keep your shoulders safe.

1. Standing Plank Pose

How to do chaturanga safely. www.irenamiller.com Yoga with Irena

Extend your arms straight and keep them in line with your shoulders. Keep the top of the thighs rooting back, lower belly toned, sides of the waistline moving back, and soften between the shoulder blades.

 

2. Standing Chaturanga 

How to chaturanga safely. www.irenamiller.com Yoga with Irena

Bend your arms and draw the hands back in line with your chest. Notice how the chest feels....expansive? Notice the upper back....engaged? How about your triceps, the back of the upper arms....strong?  Do you feel steady and safe?

 

3. Standing Chaturanga - don't do this

How to do chaturanga safely. www.irenamiller.com Yoga with Irena

When you bend your arms from standing plank and draw the hands back to be in line with the shoulders it's not a solid pose. Notice how your chest feels.....collapsed, weak? What about the upper back.......disengaged? How about the arms, do you feel strong? Not me.

4. Modified Chaturanga

How to do chaturanga safely. www.irenamiller.com Yoga with Irena

From table pose, walk your knees behind your hips a good 8 inches, engage and tone your belly. Then move your chest forward an inch, so your shoulders are more in line with your fingertips, and bend your arms, so hands roughly line up with your chest. Root through the mound of your index fingers, keep the head of the shoulders lifted, shoulder blades drawing towards one another and down your back.

 

5. Avoid this move

How to do Chaturanga safely. www.irenamiller.com Yoga with Irena

Watch that the head of your shoulders never drop lower than your elbows. You will lose your feeling of strength and put your shoulders at risk for injury.

 

6. Chaturanga Dandasana - The Four Limbed Staff Pose

How to do Chaturanga safely. www.irenamiller.com Yoga with Irena

Your legs and tummy are working quite a bit in this pose. From plank position, spread your toes to engage your outer shin muscles. Keep the inner thighs lifting, tone the lower belly, move the sides of the waistline to the sky, and shift your chest forward an inch to bring shoulders over fingers. Maintain all these actions and bend your arms, just to the point where shoulders and elbows are level with one another.  Keep the head of your shoulders lifted and your shoulder blades drawing towards one another and down the back. Look forward slightly on your sticky mat.

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Happy Back Tips

Happy Back Yoga Tips

The secret ingredient to an every day happy lower back is open thighs - quadriceps, psoas (hip flexors), hamstrings.  

If you are a runner, gardener, everyday life liver then your legs are getting worked!  Muscles get tight and we lose range of motion if we don't balance out with a little lengthening and strengthening.

Any of the poses listed below are great to help relieve every day back tension.  Give them a try after a long hike, shoveling snow, a gardening session, or just general spring cleaning.  

Remember, listen to your gut instincts and modify according to your needs.  

Keep Yoga-ing!

(Pin this post to practice later. Hover over the pic and see the Pin It button!)

Yoga for a Happy Back with Irena Miller www.irenamiller.com/happy-back-tips

IN CASE YOU LIKE THE VIP TREATMENT

and you want me to talk you through these yoga poses

rather than looking up and down and trying to figure it out on your own,

GRAB THIS FREE LOWER BACK YOGA VIDEO

(it's just 15 minutes!)


Tip#1 - Hips and Thighs Don't Lie

HIGH LUNGE WITH BLOCKS

Yoga for a Happy Back with Irena Miller www.irenamiller.com/happy-back-tips
 

DO THIS WHEN:

Your lower back is tight and achy.

 

DO THIS AFTER:

Sitting at your desk or long car rides.


Tip #2 - The Calf Smasher!

LITTLE THUNDERBOLT VARIATIONS - VAJRASANA

Yoga for a Happy Back with Irena Miller www.irenamiller.com/happy-back-tips
 

DO THIS WHEN:

Your shins and calves are yelling! No one likes shin splints.

 

DO THIS AFTER:

A long hike, that quick run, or a night of dancing in high heels!


Tip #3 - Ribbit

THE HALF FROG - ARDHA BHEKASANA

Yoga for a Happy Back with Irena Miller www.irenamiller.com/happy-back-tips
 

DO THIS WHEN:

You're sleepy and need an energy boost! Or your lower back and mid back are feeling super tight.

 

DO THIS AFTER:

Yard work, running, or long periods of sitting binge watching your favorite show!


Tip #4 - Shoot for the Moon

MODIFIED WARRIOR 1

Yoga for a Happy Back with Irena Miller www.irenamiller.com/happy-back-tips
 

DO THIS WHEN:

You want to boost your confidence and feel strong. This will build your core and leg strength.

 

DO THIS AFTER:

You're warmed up from the previous poses.


Tip #5 - It's Not Over Until the Pigeon Sings!

VARIATIONS ON PIGEON II (EKA PADA RAJAKAPOTASANA II)

Yoga for a Happy Back with Irena Miller www.irenamiller.com/happy-back-tips
 

DO THIS WHEN:

Your lower back is achy, when you need inspiration, or when you are getting ready to take a leap of faith.

 

DO THIS AFTER:

Long periods of sitting.


Don't want the fun to stop?

WANT DETAILED GUIDANCE FOR THESE POSES?

Join me in this quick 15 minute video, where I show you just how to get in and out of these poses and link them into a beautiful, sequenced flow.

Yoga for a Happy Back with Irena Miller www.irenamiller.com/happy-back-tips

I'll see you on your mat!

with love and light,

Yoga for a Happy Back with Irena Miller www.irenamiller.com/happy-back-tips

Release Stress, Receive Love

What if you can't feel it? The love. Because you're overwhelmed, stressed, and just plain fed up with the craziness of day to day living. 

You know that feeling when you're late, rushing out the door, and your little one tries to give you a hug. Or the deadline just passed and someone tries to offer help. How easy is it to pause and receive the love?

Take a moment (3 minutes), do these 2 moves.

The purpose of this is to get you out of a state of being overwhelmed and back to clarity. A place where you can receive the offer of help and love.

Then like it says in the song, Love is All Around, you may find yourself singing:

 

I feel it in my fingers
I feel it in my toes
The love that's all around me
And so the feeling grows

 

Then pass it (the love and video) on :)

with love and light,

Release overwhelm and stress with these 2 moves. Yoga with Irena. www.irenamiller.com

3 Minute Pick-Me-Up, Shoulder Yoga

Wowsers! It's chilly here! And when it gets this cold, my shoulders seem to take residence around my ears and my back goes into a turtle shape.

Next thing you know, your back is hurting, shoulders are aching, and you just want to curl up with your favorite Netflix show and cuddle with your puppy. Happiness is a warm puppy after all.

If this sounds like you, try these 4 yoga moves to boost your energy, lift your spirits, and get you ready to jump into your day! It will only take 3 minutes! And you can do it in your jeans! :) I am!

 
 

Need more Calm in your life?

I'll see you on your mat!

with love and light,

Yoga with Irena. Find more at www.irenamiller.com.

Why Set an Intention?

Why set an intention for the New Year?

Everyone gets so serious at the beginning of the new year. Putting on intentions that don't necessarily fit and feel like scratchy wool sweaters. Lose 10 lbs, organize, systematize, legitimize. These are all great things to set our sights upon.

And if these intentions don't truly align to your heart's desire, there's a good chance they won't happen.

 

What is motivating you?

Take an honest look at your motivation. If it is to feel peaceful and at home in your body, spirit, and mind maybe losing 10 lbs isn't the right intention. It might bring stress, worry, and anxiety as you count calories and try to get to the gym. 

How about a motivation that knows movement will release happy endorphins and as a result will lift your spirits and help you make more loving choices?

This way, when 5 am rolls around and your sticky mat is calling to you to practice, the motivation to get out of bed comes from the knowing that you'll feel incredible after you've done your practice. Not from the forced march of you must lose 10 lbs.

 

Freedom = Discipline & Discipline = Strategy

Once you have an intention that is aligned with a true heart's desire, you need a plan.

One of my teachers has a fabulous quote she shares with us often, "Freedom = Discipline. Discipline = Strategy. And Strategy trumps Willpower." 

This is a great reminder for me that it's not about willpower. It's about aligning my intentions with my heart and setting up the strategies that will support me in accomplishing my dreams.

 

Think about your great accomplishments - the dreams that became a reality.

Were they a result of blind luck? Or did you have a plan you followed? 

 

Most likely, you had a strategy or step-by-step plan to bring you to your goal. And how great does it feel to look back and know that showing up day after day, doing the work, and having faith brought this dream into being?

 

Give it to me straight.

The bottom line, is yes - Setting an Intention is a powerful and wonderful practice to help you realize your dreams. 

 

What makes the intention truly work and become fully realized is to:

 

  1. Align with your heart's true desires
  2. Have a plan
  3. Show up to do the play (or work :))
  4. Have faith.
  5. Add humor.

 

Remember, anything of value requires discipline - essentially showing up and doing the work.

It also requires a certain amount of humor and humility. There will be falling, there will be missteps, fatigue, and sore muscles. And there will be strength, flexibility, peace of mind, and lots of laughing.  And there will be the "living your dream".

 

A Step-by-Step Plan for Strength & Flexibility

Here's a plan for playing yoga at home this winter. Because who has time to go to a studio? Let alone practice for over an hour a day everyday. You can find quiet mindful moments at home for a few minutes at a time.

Join the Winter Yoga Challenge - Strategize Your Way to Health 5-Day Challenge and let me show you exactly how it's done. We start the adventure January 11, 2017!

Find more information here or simply sign up for the free 5-Day Challenge below.

with love and light,

Signature.jpg

 

 

A Holiday Gift For You!

Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays!

Thank you for being a part of this community. It has been a joy having you play yoga with me! Here's to a healthy, happy, and adventurous new year!

My gift to you!

Enjoy the Yoga for A Happy Lower Back practice! It's 3 Simple moves, a 9-minute practice, and a great way to find calm during this busy season!

I feel so blessed that you are here! 

Thanks to all of your awesome feedback, I have some fun things planned for 2017! Keep your eyes open for our free 5 day Winter Yoga Challenge. 

I'll see you on your mat!

with light and love,

 

 

Happy Lower Back & Tummy Toner Yoga

Happy Lower Back + Strong Core = Confidence

 

A Strong Core will Boost Your Confidence

Do you ever question your decisions? Or second guess yourself? Your confidence seems to have drained away and doubt wants to creep in?

It's like you've unplugged from your gut instincts and there is a communication breakdown. 

What if you could boost your confidence and trust your decisions simply by moving your body into different shapes? Have you heard about the Superman stance? The idea is that by standing like Superman (feet wide, hands on hips, chest lifted, and a strong core) you will feel more confident. 

It might seem silly, but it works. The yogis knew this. That's why yoga postures can help us evoke certain emotions or release them. 

Try this quick 8-minute yoga practice to help strengthen your core and reclaim your confidence!

 
 
 

Pin this practice for later! You'll be glad you have it!

A STRONG CORE WILL BOOST YOUR CONFIDENCE  Do you ever question your decisions? Or second guess yourself? Your confidence seems to have drained away and doubt wants to creep in?  It's like you've unplugged from your gut instincts and there is a communication breakdown.   What if you could boost your confidence and trust your decisions simply by moving your body into different shapes?  Try this quick 8 minute yoga flow to boost your confidence.

12 Minutes to a Smile

How do you find your smile?

Get moving :) 

Movement is one of the best ways to shift your mood. If it has been a stressful and frustrating week. Simply move with your breath through these Half Sun Salutations and you'll find yourself settling into the peace within. And most importantly Gracie the Boston Terrier will help you find your smile as she shows you just how upward facing dog should be done!

Play along with me for this 12 minute yoga practice.

Thanks for playing!

with love and light,

Release the Frenzy and Ground in Gratitude

Instead of chaos, anxiety, and missing out, connect with gratitude.

There are days when everyone wants to get your attention. Look over here, buy this, do this, jump here. It's impossible for you to be in so many places at once. What can happen is that you end up feeling at a loss. What has passed you by?

Breathe. Ground. Listen.

If it is meant to be, if it is so important and vital to your well being, it will find a way to you at just the right time.

The key is to connect to the peace that passes all understanding that is within your being. That place where the anxiety and worry fall away. The place you need to be in order to make good decisions. Decisions that you won't regret. Decisions where you weren't pressured because of time or worry.

Before you let crazy emotions push you in the wrong direction - root in love with gratitude.

Here is a quick 8 minute meditation to help you connect with love and gratitude to the people in your life. Notice how you feel before and after the meditation. 

With lots of love and so much gratitude for you.

Namaste.

10 Biggest Revelations AFTER Doing Yoga

To succeed, you achieve your desired result. When you practice yoga, you realize that it is made up of many moments of success. It is a continual practice, you will always find somewhere to improve. This is actually why it gets more interesting the longer you practice.  And that wonderful aha moment that has eluded you for so long, will constantly reveal itself over time in many ways.

 

In regards to fear, you will realize that you are not in control of what’s going on around you. These events might invoke fear. Then you remember, you are in control of how you respond to the events. Do you choose to live in fear? Or do you choose the path that will offer you a better life experience?

1. Now I know, there is a flip side to Fear, it is Love.

heart hands irena

At the beginning and end of a yoga class, you bring your hands together. This is anjali mudra sometimes called prayer position. It is a reminder to draw into your heart and connect to gratitude. Anjali Mudra calls you to remember all the blessings in life and pause in reflection. And when you are in space of gratitude, you connect to love. You realize that no matter what’s going on in life, there is a blessing happening simultaneously. Love is there to offer healing, inspiration, and motivation.


 

2. Making decisions based on love instead of fear is actually harder, because it takes courage and faith.

dove irena faith

Often, it seems easier to just stay where you are, “why fix it if it ain’t broke.”  

Something doesn’t have to be broken to cause complacency or take the sparkle out of your eyes. It’s so easy to talk yourself out of love based choices when fear kicks in.  Maybe you got an offer for your dream job, but it is out of state. You can feel it in your belly that this is it! Your chance to fly! But wait, it’s out of state? Hmmm….here you are presented with the opportunity to take a leap of faith, have courage, and pursue your heart’s desire! Will you let fear kick in and talk you out of it?

The more you practice yoga, the more you will cultivate courage and faith.

Courage in yourself that you can do these crazy moves with your body and still walk out of class. You can now do what seemed impossible a moment or two ago! You are resilient!

Faith that if you take one step forward, the universe will take at least two steps towards you.


 

3. Uh, oh. Not only do my actions affect others, but my thoughts do as well.

 

laughter irena yoga

Often you will hear the sound aum or om sung in a yoga class. The essence of singing this beautiful sound is three fold. One is to actively participate, you are choosing to show up. Two is to connect with all your classmates. Three is to recognize that your actions and thoughts have an affect on those around you. This happens as you harmonize your voice with others in class and you hear the sound of your om continue on, long after you’ve stopped singing. Maybe in the humming of a light above or the lawn mower outside. But the sound moves on, into the great silence.

 

Thank goodness, not everyone is a mind reader, but you can still feel it when bad thoughts are coming your way. Just like radio signals in the air, our thoughts go out on a frequency and somewhere someone is tuning in and downloading these vibes.

 

How wonderful would it be to sit and send out thoughts of love, well-wishes, uplifting someone on their journey today? So as that person tunes in, they download love.


 

4. It’s up to me to be welcoming.

laughter sunglasses irena

How many times have you waited for an invitation? Come to class with me, your friend says. Join me for this adventure!

 

You’re no longer the new kid to yoga anymore. You’ve been to a class or two, now it’s time to pay it forward and be welcoming and friendly to the new courageous student who walked through the door.



 

5. There is beauty and goodness hiding everywhere, my eye is trained to see it.

white rose irena

Over time with a yoga practice you train your eye to see the beauty and goodness all around you. Your legs may not be straight in your forward bend, but oh! Look at those feet! How wonderfully parallel are they?

 

It’s not about perfection, it’s about carving away the thoughts that don’t serve you and getting to the beauty that hides inside.

 

Now when you go into the crowded supermarket, your eye notices the helpful cashier and her awesome purple nails, instead of the frustration of a long line with check payers.



 

6. It’s no coincidence, it’s synchronicity.

irena clock synchronicity

Funny running into you here! Did you ever have someone cross your mind and next thing you know, they’re calling you on the phone? At first it seems out of the blue. Then you start to realize that something bigger is going on here. There’s valuable information to be shared.

 

You run into an old friend at the grocery store and find out that your favorite band is playing a pop up concert in the next town over. Or you’re in the right place at the right time and get your favorite item on a flash sale.

 

These moments happen a little too often to be considered just random happenings. Like, how did your yoga teacher know that you needed a class full of restorative yoga poses? You start to realize that there is a bigger dream at play.


 

7. Gotta trust those gut feelings.

hidden deer irena yoga

Goosebumps and hair standing up on the back of your neck? You learn to listen to your body. It is one of our greatest assets. Like a tuning fork you will tap into whether a situation is safe or not. Whether it’s a YES or a gotta run for the hills type feeling.

 

You learn to pay attention to what your body is telling you. If your knee is achy in a particular pose, you speak up and you let the teacher know. You are listening to your knee’s message that something isn’t right. Instead of ignoring it and soldiering through the moment, you trust that something is off. You ask for help and make adjustments accordingly to align yourself into a better place.


 

8. There are signs everywhere, in the music I listen to, to the bumper sticker in front of me.

Am I paying attention?

bumper sticker yoga irena

Awareness is a gift that comes from doing yoga. No longer do you cloak your thoughts, feelings, and environment, you pay attention.

 

You step into the role of observer and you learn to say, “Hmmm, that’s interesting. My leg is shaking here and my breath is shallow.” You practice taking the judgement out of the situation, so you can be impartial and take the best path that supports you and those around you in that moment.


 

9. Compassion, empathy, and engagement. I am actively participating and life is no longer happening to me.

 

dance partners irena yoga

Gravity is a wonderful thing! There are times in a yoga class where you exude effort against gravity and where you surrender and soften to it. You realize that it is a dance. An ebb and flow of giving and receiving. Trying and letting go.

 

You become aware that everyone has their own journey they must experience. Therefore certain people will struggle more in one pose than another. It doesn’t make anybody greater than or less than, it’s just their journey.

 

When you experience the falls and the triumphs of gravity in yoga you can’t help but be loving and compassionate to those around you. Life is an adventure with twists and turns, highs and lows. It’s not about where you’re going, as much as it is about how you’re going.


 

10. It is up to me to make a difference for the better.

bubbles irena yoga

Because you know that choices made from a place of Love will always work out better than ones made from fear. Because you have cultivated courage, belief in yourself, and faith.  Because you know you’re actions and thoughts affect the world around you. Because you know it’s up to you to lift up the next newbie. Because beauty and goodness are everywhere if you know how and where to look. Because, it’s not just a coincidence you ended up here. Because you have strong, inner knowings. Because those gut feelings are supported with songs that pop up on the radio. Because you are an active participant in life. You know you can make a difference for the better. You are a yogi.

 

 

Check out the 10 Biggest Fears BEFORE Starting Yoga.

 

What are your revelations around doing yoga?

love and light,

xoxo

irena yoga

10 Biggest Fears BEFORE Starting Yoga

How to prepare yourself for your first yoga class.

 

1. Is it for me? I’m not flexible.

 

irena yoga white birch

There is an image portrayed by the media of lithe, slender, flexible gals who bend and fold with the greatest of ease. If you don’t fit this image in your mind’s eye, the hesitancy to jump into a group yoga practice increases.

 

The beauty now is that there are many women and men who have flocked to social media and share an authentic and genuine self as they practice yoga. You see many more people doing yoga as self-expression. No longer do people try and change themselves to fit an old stereotype.


 

2. Will I be welcomed?

hello beautiful irena yoga

 

Yoga studios can be intimidating. It takes a lot of courage to show up for a class, put your mat down, and sit amongst strangers. They may be quietly preparing themselves or there might be chatty groups that leave you feeling adrift and alone.

 

Here’s the thing, it’s up to you to create connection. Take a deep breath and say hello. That’s all it takes. Yoga is about the realization that we are connected to one another. If you’re in the right place, the teacher and students will be welcoming and friendly. If this doesn’t happen, hightail it out of there, something’s missing.


 

3. I don’t know what to do.

 

question yoga irena

It’s ok. Being a yogi means that you are a life long student. There will always be things that you don’t know how to do. The more you practice yoga, the more you realize this.  

 

So if you’re a first timer, smile to yourself and know that we’re all learning as we go. There just might be a few people ahead of you - they’re the teachers, and a few people behind you - they’re the new students who have yet to come.



 

4. What if I fall?

 

bird fly yoga irena

Yogis develop a resilience. They know that it’s better to learn how to fall safely then to worry about never falling at all. Because really, in life you’re just going to fall every now and then. Why try to avoid it? You’ll hold yourself back from really amazing adventures.


 

5. Do I need special equipment or outfits?

 

photo shoot lights irena yoga

There will always be a product to help you out in yoga. Do you need them all? No. Are many of them fun and helpful? Yes. Don’t let logistics hold you back from jumping into the adventure of a lifetime.

 

Show up. Do your practice. And all is coming.


 

6. Will I understand what they’re saying?

 

smiling yoga irena

This fear ties back into whether or not you have been welcomed and greeted in a sweet and generous manner. If you were, then the teacher will go out of their way to make sure that you feel safe and understand the basics of what is going on.

 

That said, there will always be questions in the beginning. Like why do they do that strange OM singing at the beginning and end? What does Namaste mean?

 

The great news is that yoga teachers love to share these answers with you. And if you’re too shy to ask, Google will always fill you in.


 

7. What will the other people be like?

 

heart hands yoga irena

Preconceived ideas of what should be, could be, or maybe is, will hold you back in all areas of your life. Check out the yoga studio’s website and get a general vibe about them.

 

The people who attend the studio will be a reflection of the teacher. Attend a class, get a feel for the people who practice there. If you don’t “vibe with that tribe” move on. There are tons of options these days to practice different styles of yoga in person and online.

 

8. I’ve never done anything like this before.

 

sunrise new beginning yoga irena

A benefit of yoga is that you will always be presented with something you have never done before. Whether it’s a yoga pose, a way of thinking, or simply a way of being.

 

Again you’re not going to be alone in this fear. It takes a leap of faith and a willingness to do something out of our comfort zone in order to gain much reward.


 

9. Do I have to make a commitment?

 

ring hands yoga irena

Many yoga studios have a trial class. Drop in, see if the studio, teacher, and people are a good fit for you.

 

Ultimately, you will have to make a commitment. Mostly to yourself. That you will make the time to show up and do your yoga. Consistency is key to seeing a positive shift.


 

10. Will I anger or frustrate those around me?

 

fire yoga irena

In order to keep yourself young, you will need to learn new things. Whenever you learn something new, you must go slow. If you can go fast, it means that you already know it and it’s not new to you.

 

If there is a person who gets frustrated that you’re moving slowly or asking questions, they are the ones that have a lot of work to do. When you go to a yoga class it’s important to honor your boundaries. What you can and can’t do. Ask for help where you need it. It’s a good opportunity for other people to take a deep breath and bring their understanding to a deeper level. There is always something to be learned.

 

What are your fears around doing yoga?

love and light,

yoga with irena

xoxo

Want to know what happens after doing yoga?

Check out the 10 Biggest Revelations AFTER Doing Yoga


Your Vibe Attracts Your Tribe

"Dedicate yourself

to anything that

elevates

and

embraces your heart."

from Patanjali's Yoga Sutras (1.39)

 

FOR WHERE YOUR TREASURE IS,

THERE WILL YOUR HEART BE ALSO

Matthew 6:21

 

heart cave irena yoga

Have you heard the story of the two monks?

Two monks go for a walk in the woods. Now mind you, these are monks who have taken a vow of silence and celibacy.

They are enjoying the beauty of the trees, the birds singing, the rush of water, when they hear a young lady crying.

Soon they come upon her at the river's edge.

Seeing her distress, the first monk asks her, what is the matter? The second monk is aghast, how could monk number 1 break his silence?

The young lady must cross the river, yet alas, she cannot swim and it seems impossible that she will ever get to her destination. Monk number 1, picks her up and brings her safely across the river. After much thanks to the monk, she goes on her happy way.

Monk number 2, is practically having a seizure. How in the world could his buddy have broken so many rules? He is righteous in his indignation. Now he must break his vow of silence and let monk number 1 know how wrong he is in ways!

For miles and miles, monk number 2 rattles on about the horror of it all! Finally monk number 1 turns to him and says, "You must be awfully tired."

Surprised by the comment, monk number 2 says, "Excuse me?"

"Why I put that young lady down miles ago at the river's edge. Yet you continue to carry her.", replies monk number 1.

water drop vibe irena yoga

Who are you carrying? Is it worth the frustration?

Put down the unhelpful things, the thoughts, the emotions that are just dragging you down. You have the power to turn things around before it becomes a giant snowball of unhelpful emotions. Because if you hang out in the land of frustration and grumpiness, you're certain to find many more things to be upset about.

Instead of hanging out in the "bad neighborhood", become aware of those moments when you are saddened, angered, or wronged by someone. Will you let it ruin your whole day? Or will you leave it by the river's edge and enjoy your day? And high tail it back to your happy place, where more joyous moments will make their way to you. 

It's up to you.

Know that the sooner you catch yourself carrying these unhelpful things, the easier it is put them down.

Remember, to preserve openness of heart and calmness of mind, focus on those things that lift your spirit. That make your heart sing. Or find something to laugh about. Laughter is great medicine.

 

laughter irena yoga

Your Turn

Make this a game, be playful, don't take it too seriously. Whatever pushes your buttons today try this on for size:

  • Take a deep breath.
  • Place the incident in an imaginary balloon.
  • On the exhale, let the balloon float to the sun.
  • Imagine golden light washing over your whole body.
  • Focus on something that makes you smile.
balloons irena yoga

Let me know how it goes.

Lots of love to you and great big hugs!

irena miller yoga

5 Steps to Manifesting Your Dream

5 Steps to Manifesting Your Dream

Ever wonder why some dreams just don’t take root?  A moment of inspiration hits us.  We can see it happening.  We get excited and share this dream with others.  Our heart is pumping now!  Then the bottom drops out.

Where does that dream go?  What happened to all that enthusiasm and passion?

It’s time to light a fire, do a little yoga, and figure it out.  

More Travel Yoga for Road Trips

Stuck in a car for a long road trip?

To keep yourself alert for long road trips and feeling good physically, try these yoga poses!  

If you missed the first Travel Yoga post, check it out Yoga For Travel Blog Post and add even more poses to your happy traveler routine!

 

Downward Facing Dog

Tip # 1 - Tight legs? Stiff Shoulders? Try this.

  1. From table position - on all fours, hands beneath shoulders, knees as wide as hips.

  2. Root the hands firmly into the ground.

  3. Soften between the shoulder blades.

  4. Curl your toes under, lift your hips up.

  5. Stretch from the base of your heart all the way up and back through your hips.

  6. Draw the lower belly in and root from your sit bones down through your heels.

  7. Take 5 - 10 breaths.


3 Legged Dog

Tip #2 - Use this inversion and reinvirgorate fatigued legs

  1. From Downward Facing Dog, slowly lift one leg high to the sky at a time.

  2. Hold for 5 - 10 breaths and then switch sides.


Handstand

Tip #3 - Getting Sleepy? This will boost your energy and increase alertness.

  1. Practice common sense and caution when you kick up towards a handstand. It might be wise to have a wall to kick up to or a spotter.

  2. From downward facing dog, hands firmly planted, lift one leg, and keep it straight, this is considered the back leg.

  3. Looking at the ground, strong arms, soften between the shoulder blades.

  4. Bend your supporting leg (or front leg) a little, focus on the inner thigh of the back leg, and hop up to a handstand.

(Please Note:  For most of us Handstand is a pose that requires many hours of studying under the guidance of a good teacher, and lots of practice in a controlled environment. For those who do handstand as part of their regular practice, it is so amazing to do after being seated for so long.)


Upward Facing Bow

Tip #4 - The ultimate pick-me-up!

  1. Lying down on the ground, legs bent, feet hips distance wide.

  2. Plant your hands next to your ears, beneath your shoulders, fingertips pointing back towards your feet.

  3. Draw the head of the shoulders back, hollowing out your under arms, and engage your upper back muscles.

  4. Press down through your hands and feet and slowly lift away from the ground.

(Please Note:  Like Handstand, the Upward Facing Bow is a pose that requires many hours of studying under the guidance of a good teacher, and lots of practice in a controlled environment. If it is a part of regular practice, it is invigorating to do after being squished in a car for many hours.)


Got Overwhelm? Get Calm with Yoga.

Yoga to bring you through the fall season with Grace.

 

Can you do me a favor and close your eyes for a minute?

fall yoga irena lavendar

 

Picture the sun setting and a full moon rising over a river.  The colors of the leaves - oranges, reds, yellows - create a warm glow, just as the crispness of the fall evening starts to hit your skin.  There you sit, in a boat, floating on the water.  The peacefulness of the scene washes over you.  You are pleasantly spent after rowing in the heat of the late afternoon.  Senses alert, mind calm, feeling strong and able.  You have a sense of accomplishment and are still energized for the next adventure.

fall yoga irena lake
fall yoga irena sunset
fall yoga irena moon

 

This was me, in the fall of 1994.  I’ll never forget the peacefulness and hopefulness in that moment as I watched the bright, big, full autumn moon rise above the tree line.  There is something special about the fall.  Fall is a time of reaping rewards for your efforts over the year and savoring those quiet moments as the sun sets a little earlier.  
 

fall yoga irena lake boats

brillance of yoga at home

Being out on the water was an amazing and calming experience for me, but I don’t always have the time or the ability to go on those kinds of adventures. I still want to experience that same wonder, ease, and peacefulness, and I want to be able to get it from the comfort of my own home. And that is the brilliance of yoga. It has the power to do all of these things, and you don’t even need a boat, a crew team, or water!  You just need yourself and a sense of adventure.

 

fall yoga irena misty lake

You've Got it Going On!

Because face it, you want to feel like you’ve got it going on.  You want to be organized, not scattered.  You want to feel fit, be strong for those long hikes, and rock those skinny jeans with awesome boots!  

Hiking through the pumpkin patch everyone will wonder what you’ve been up to, as you squat with ease to lift the 30 pound pumpkin that your little one just has to have.  

fall yoga irena pumpkin patch

 

What about moving through the holidays with ease?  Having the right tools and techniques to get you through the family gatherings with all your hair still in place?  

 

YOU NEED YOGA.

fall yoga irena lotus

 

Specifically yoga geared for the season of fall.  

Yoga that grounds you, calms you, and prepares you for the hustle and bustle of holidays.  The type of practice where you do a little something every day because it adds up to something great.  

irena cow face pose

 

My daughter brought home a wonderful infographic about reading every night for 20 minutes versus just one night a week for an hour.  Over the long haul, the little one that reads every day for a short time, has a much better chance of succeeding than the little one who reads just once a week.  What would happen if you did just a pose a day?  Or reframed your thoughts in the morning, setting an intention for your day?

WANT TO FEEL BETTER? SIMPLY DO YOGA.

A little everyday.

 

 

EASE INTO THE FALL

fall yoga irena leaves

Fall is an amazing time of year, don’t let yourself get overwhelmed with back to school activities, sports, dancing, scouting, trying to make dinner, and oh by the way - the holidays are knocking on your door!  Did you get that family picture calendar done yet to gift to the grandparents?  Even I’m panicking now!  I need my yoga breathing!

To help you ease into this amazing Fall season,

here's how you can get that calm going in those in between moments:

 

Do just 1 yoga pose each day to boost your energy

  • Shoulder stretch - stand tall, interlace your fingers behind you, draw your shoulders back, and lengthen from from shoulders to knuckles, all while keeping your tummy engaged.

 

Get your yoga breathing on

  • Breathe in to a count of 4 and breathe out to a count of 4.  Do 4 rounds of this.

 

Light a Candle

  • Take 2 minutes, and focus on the flame of the candle.  Breathe out your worries, breathe in hope.

 

fall yoga irena single leaf

MAKE LIFE EASIER

If you want a little help bringing yoga and this idea of reflection and renewal into your life, I have created a set of short yoga practices that will help you:

  • lose the overwhelm
  • stop feeling so scattered
  • find your calm
  • and rock those skinny jeans while pumpkin hunting!  

Theses yoga videos are easy, digestible, bite-sized practices that will fit seamlessly into your day.  

 

Make life easier for yourself and simply follow the yoga practices that I have customized for you in the FREE 3 Day Fall Yoga Adventure.  

fall yoga irena pumpkin bins

 

FREE 3 DAY YOGA ADVENTURE

 

Three 5-10 minute Yoga Videos straight to your inbox.

Schedule 5-10 minutes into your calendar to practice.  You choose when!

irena yoga warrior

 

  • 9/19 - Yoga for Happy Lower Backs
    • Great for after big yard work projects - hello leaves!

 

  • 9/21 - Yoga for Happy Shoulders
    • Fabulous for releasing the stress and anxiety that creep on with holiday deadlines or figuring out the carpool.

 

  • 9/23 - Yoga for Focus (Slow Moving Meditation)
    • Super helpful for those times when you go into a room and forget why you're there.  


 

All you need to do, is show up, do the 5-10 minute practice, and walk away feeling like a rock star!  

 

I’ll see you on your mat!

 

Love and light,

Irena magician focus

Rough Week? Try this Meditation :)

Rough Week?  

CHANGE YOUR THOUGHTS

 

YOU ARE WHAT YOU THINK!  

Where your mind goes, there your energy flows!  

 

How can you change what you're thinking?  A meditation using a mantra.

Now you may ask yourself, what is a mantra?  A mantra is a set of words or a phrase that is meaningful to you that is repeated again and again.  It could be like the Little Blue Engine's, "I think I can!  I think I can! I think I can!".  

The intention behind using a mantra is to help quiet and focus the mind on one thing.  And because your energy goes towards what you're thinking about, it is important to choose your mantra mindfully.  You have an incredible ability to bring about that which you put your attention on.  So for today's practice, we will use the mantra HAM SA.

HAM SA means "I am That".  This mantra reinforces the fact, that what you focus upon ultimately becomes part of your identity.   I am strong!  I can do this!  I am creative!  Henry Ford's words come to mind, “Whether you think you can, or you think you can't--you're right.”  

Working with the mantra, HAM SA, is an opportunity for you to connect with your own identity and to have an experience of connecting with the Great I AM.  You take a moment to recognize that you are a part of a bigger picture.  Your actions, thoughts, and words ripple out affecting those around yourself and beyond.  You are not isolated and abandoned but you are loved and connected.  You can make a difference.

I invite you to experience this connection.  Play along in the video below.

Keep breathing and smiling!  I'll see you on your mat. :)

 

Quick Question

Fill in the blank:

I am ___________________ . 

Let me know in the form below or a better yet, JOIN our "Yoga with Irena" Facebook group and be a part of the conversation!  :)

 

Here's mine:

I am grateful that you are here!

Yoga Hip Openers

It's not often that we have to sit on the floor, park benches, or high school bleachers but those moments do come up every now and then.  You might find yourself having to reach down for ice that jumped out of the fridge.  Or even getting down onto the floor to play with little ones.  

Can you get up and down with ease and grace?  

 

Take last evening for example.  My teenage son loves to give me minimal information.  Usually it's because he's just going with the flow and he thinks naturally his yogi mom will too. :)  The understanding was that a ceremony was to take place and introduce this year's soccer players.

Being new to this and sports ball; it was a mystery as to where these events were happening at the school.  When this happens, it's good to just follow the pack :).  So as parents streamed into the high school bleachers, I followed along.  These knowing parents brought cushions and back jacks (do they still call them that? I am so proud I know this!).  And we all settled in for a 2 hour rest on metal slabs as all the high school athletes were introduced and cheered on!  

Irena

This is where yoga saved me!  

Instead of feeling achy, uncomfortable, and tired.  Imagine feeling strong enough in your core to support you, without tiring your back.  Visualize your hips, happily seated on the bench, thanks to all those yoga hip openers.  And the ability to hold steady for 2 hours, thanks to the mindfulness that yoga brings as learn to live in the present moment.

Join me for this Yoga for Happy Hips practice and find yourself moving with more grace and ease.  

 

Got Stress? Get Tools to Live Gracefully :)

In this coaching call, a sneak peek from the Summer Yoga Coaching group, discover a way to manage everyday stressors.

This recorded call will go into creating a 'Medicine Bag'.  A metaphorical or symbolic bag of go to items and yoga poses that help you to live life gracefully.

Learn how to create a list that will serve you during the tough times.  For example, if I can't sleep and my mind is racing - Do Legs Up the Wall (or headboard if I don't want to get out of bed! ha ha!)  Exhausted after a long day - Do a Forward Bend or Handstand.  Bad Traffic? - Do even breathing - 4 breaths in/4 breaths out.  

Watch to find out more, then let me know one of your favorite go to yoga poses :)

Downloadable Audio File for Tools to Manage Stress - Medicine Bag

Manifest Your Dreams

SANKALPA MUDRA

Use this Yoga Mudra to set your resolve, take courage in your heart's dreams, and bring your dreams to life.  

Mudra means seal.  

And not the mammal, who swims in the ocean.  Think of the seal as either the instrument you use to make an impression or the impression that is left behind.  

You can align your body in such a way, that you become like a seal (again not the cute little whiskered faced seal that loves to sun on the rocks).   But like the instrument, with all it's grooves.  Creating pathways for the wax to pour into and take shape.  Then see yourself like the wax impression left behind - a result of the way you shaped your body, heart and mind.   Instead of wax though, Grace was able to pour in, and it take the shape of your heart's resolve.  

Why we would do that?

The idea is to align your body, thoughts, and mind in such a way that you focus on your dream.  Not the naysayers or the doubts that like to creep into your mind.  

Instead, you realize dreams take courage.  If courage is not involved, it's merely a wish.  Something that is hoped for.  A dream is a passion hidden in your heart.  Unseen by the world and maybe on occasion spoken about.  

To bring this dream to the surface, takes courage, tenacity, and action.  

Not everyone will believe in it - that's not what counts.  

 

What does count is that YOU BELIEVE & take action

 

How do we do this?

The left arm crosses your body, giving you the strength and courage to turn into your heart. Left palm faces up, ready to receive the blessings that come when you take action on your heart's desire.  Recognizing that the road ahead is paved with challenges, we set our resolve.  The right hand, palm facing down, roots down on the left.  

Anchor yourself in this moment.  Make a commitment, a resolve to continue forward on this adventure.  When times get tough, come back to the Sankalpa Mudra.  It will guide you back to your courage, remind you of your heart's passion, and ultimately connect you with your resolve.

Watch the video to see it in action:

Summer Yoga Adventure!

Summer means adventures to me!  Opportunities to play outside, get my hands into the garden, hike through the woods, get on or into the water!!  Oh, the list can go on forever!

What fascinates me is how much the seasons affect me.  Whether it's my mood, what I'm willing to eat, or how motivated I am to move my body and spirit.  

There are innate rhythms within us that, if we're listening, will help to guide us into the right activities.  Ultimately creating harmony between our body, mind, spirit, and environment.

upward facing bow irena

 

What is Seasonal Yoga?

Yoga is yoga, right?  Why worry about the seasons and yoga?

Skillfully approached, yoga can help make a big positive effect on your experience of each season.  Using your energy most efficiently, getting the right amount of rest, checking off the to do lists, being productive, and all according to mindful movement in harmony with the state of your environment.

Let's take a quick look at this mindset.

SUMMER =

  • Hot and Humid
  • Fire
  • In Balance:  Ideas, inspiration
  • Out of Balance:  Burnout, exhaustion

FALL =

  • Warm, Cool, and Crisp
  • Earth
  • In Balance:  Abundance, Prosperity, Harvest, reaping what you sow
  • Out of Balance:  Holding on too tight, fear of losing possessions

WINTER =

  • Cold and Dry
  • Air
  • In Balance:  Mental clarity, ability to daydream, creativity
  • Out of Balance:  Overwhelmed with thoughts, Worry, Anxiety, "head in the clouds"

SPRING =

  • Cool and Wet
  • Water
  • In Balance:  Empathic, intuitive, nurturing
  • Out of Balance:  Overwhelmed with emotions, lack of boundaries, taking on other people's feelings as your own.

 

 

YOGA CAN HELP

Yoga creates HARMONY.  It is one of the most fun ways to find your groove and get into rhythm with the seasons.  The yoga postures present you with an opportunity to be present in your body.  No more ignoring those aches and pains.  Just pushing through the moment so you can get on with your day.  

Instead, yoga brings it all to the surface and gives you the tools to process tight muscles, achy backs, a weak core, and those pesky unhelpful thoughts that seem to be on repeat.  You will release toxic thoughts and feelings, and finally find yourself at home in your body.

 

EVERYTHING HAS ITS SEASON

You can have it all, just not at the same time.  And who would want that, really?  

When your kids are infants, they wake you up in the middle of the night, you stumble around half awake.  Date nights seem to be far and few between.  Then there's the magical moment, when your little ones are old enough to make themselves breakfast and let you sleep in a bit longer.  I'll never forget that moment when my son helped himself to cereal and I blissfully got another few minutes in bed.  Now, he's 14 and cooking breakfast.  No more cereal.  He'll be driving soon and my season of shuttling him to and from events will change.  Time will be freed up.  

Balance has turned into a controversial topic.  That makes sense - balance is boring and it has the potential of being harmful.  My art teacher taught me that a long time ago.  

Look at this like harmonics.  "Your vibe attracts your tribe."  Your thoughts and actions affect your experience of this world.  You have an opportunity to create harmony and therefore beauty.  It's not meant to be 50/50.  More often than not, it's 90/10 - you give 90% of the care giving to your little one, and you're rewarded with chocolatey kisses and sticky hugs, the best kind :) .  The balance seems out of whack, yet you can still experience bliss when you're in harmony.  

Remember your 100% is going to be different every single day.  Breathe, check in with yourself every morning, tune in.

 

WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?

There's so much information out there, but how do you piece it together in a meaningful way that makes a difference?  Questions come up, confusion can arise, and sometimes you can just feel plain lost.  Instead of fumbling in the dark, you just want to ask a trusted guide for a road-map and directions.

Recognizing those gut feelings and matching them up with the proper yoga practice takes a lot of time.  How fabulous is it when you can have a guide to lead you and a community to cheer you on?  Someone who has walked that road before you and has hours of trial and error put in.  A tribe who is there to lift you up when you feel like you just can't get to your mat.  Accountability and ultimately love and acceptance of who you are.  

 

Let's Do This!

  • Basic Set Up Information
  • 3 Flowing Yoga Practice Videos
    • (15-20 minutes long)
  • Meditation Practice
  • Gentle Restorative Yoga Practice 

 

 

handstand irena
lotus padmasana irena

Come on, jump in!  The water's amazing!