irena

A Quick Way to Clear the Vibes After Your Party!

We have a winter wonderland of ice today! And the holiday spirit is in the air! (Even though my little girl and her friends have been singing Christmas songs for a month now! Holy Cannoli!)

And Thanksgiving is next week! I'm so excited to be hosting and cooking all my favorite goodies! I even went into a crazy cleaning mode yesterday to get the house ready!

How about you?

Are you hosting? Traveling? Going to the movies? :) (If you're going to the movies let me know what you see :) I love the movies!!!)


And just in case you're hosting....

One of the things about hosting a party of course is the clean up (both before and after) that can send you into a tailspin. If you have a lot of people over you might notice that the vibes in your house feel differently. You may remember conversations and laughter (almost as if you could still hear the echo of the party) and it might be hard to simply relax. Like that "overtired, fried nerves, exhausted I can't fall asleep feeling."

Try this simple technique that I mention in the video above to clear the energy in the room and make your home feel like your's again!


And if you're traveling and staying in a hotel or maybe you're going back home and you end up on a cot in the laundry room by the washing machine like Steve Carell did in that movie, Dan in Real Life, this will help you! (Have you seen this movie? It's a great one! :) )


This quick energy exercise that I describe in the video will help you sleep better, lose the frazzled nerves, and feel the good vibes in your space once again!


Happy Early Thanksgiving!!!!

My heart is filled with joy because you are here!

I'll catch you on the flip side!

How can a tea bag help you make a decision you don't regret?

Join me and my friends and discover one way to tap into your unseen resources and make decisions that you don’t regret.

And if you are looking for ways to feed your spirit and connect to your unseen resources check out this intimate and small adventure!

Continue the Adventure and learn more

about the tools that help you ditch the aches and pains!

More Happy Lower Backs!

Life is like a rollercoaster.  We have ups and downs, twists and turns, and every now and then we're thrown for a loop!  Our ability to adapt to the moment and respond instead of react will determine how fun the ride can be. 

We start to ask ourselves how graceful can I be as I go up and over that first hill when, woosh, it seems like the ground drops away.  When a snapshot it taken of me, will I be cringing with eyes closed (often this is my picture from the rollercoaster ride!), will my arms be high in the sky with mouth open in joy, or better yet will we be posing for our candid camera moment?  

When we look back over time and remember snapshots of our life, where are the moments you threw your arms up in the air and just enjoyed the ride?  How did it feel?  

We can't control what's going on around us, but we can choose how we respond to it.  I invite you to become more flexible and strong in your back with these tips below.  Something amazing happens when we work with our bodies, the effects spill over into our mindset.  Watch how a flexible and strong spine changes your view of the world.

Quick Question

Are you an arms up rollercoaster rider?  Or hold on for dear life kinda person?

I hold on to the bar and to Lexi (my little girl, who is a throw your arms in the air kinda gal!).  I am working on being more of a throw your arms up kinda gal.  Maybe I'll start with one arm this rollercoaster season.

Fill me in on your rollercoaster style in the comments below or over on my facebook page!

lots of love to you!

If you didn't see Tips #1-5, check them out on the Happy Lower Back blog post.  

 

Tip #6 - Windshield Wipers!

  1. Lie down with your legs bent, feet mat distant wide.

  2. Lower your knees to the right.

  3. Lengthen from your tailbone out to the right knee.

  4. If you're not feeling much of a thigh opening, bring your right foot closer to your right hip.

  5. To release the back even more, stretch your right arm alongside the ear.

  6. Take 5-10 breaths and switch sides.

  7. Smile! 😉


Tip #7 - Hero's Pose - Virasana

 

"I think a hero is any person really intent on making this a better place for all people." Maya Angelou

  1. Begin with your knees very close and your feet a little wider than your hips.

  2. Carefully sit down between your heels.

  3. Make sure your feet are pointing directly back (imagine a line from the center of your heel to the second toe and point that line back.)

  4. Ok - the first 3 steps often are easier said than done. Take these modifications so you can smile here:

  5. If the tops of your feet or ankles are super uncomfortable place a rolled up blanket beneath them.

  6. If your bottom is not touching the floor or there is pain in the knees, place height (like a yoga block) beneath your bottom.

Practice and modify according to what your body needs.


Tip #8 - Malasana

This pose was so much easier when I was 3!  These days the squatting pose, malasana, has been a challenging one for me.  It's important to keep your heels rooting down into something rather than lifting your heels.  This is so much easier to do if your are wearing a pretty pair of heels!  If you don't have great high heeled shoes nearby, use a blanket.

Please note: you can do this pose with your feet wide or close together, just make sure your heels are resting on something and your knees and toes are facing the same direction.

  1. For fun grab a blanket, fold it in half and stand with your feet a little wider than your hips.

  2. Place your heels on the blanket , with feet wider than your hips, turn your feet out slightly, and slowly bend the knees lowering your hips.

*you can always place a little stool beneath your bottom. Or hold a weight in your hands, or even the edge of the coffee table to help counterbalance.

Have fun! Keep those heels down! 😀


Tip #9 - Pigeon Variation

It's so important to laugh!  Don't take yourself so seriously!  This pose is called "pigeon prep", but for the longest time one of my students thought I was calling this pose "pigeon crap"!  Agh!  Needless to say they don't smile so much when we do this pose.  :)  But in their graceful way, they take it in stride and find something to be lighthearted about.  Like giving the pose an endearing nickname.  So here's to the parts of life that aren't always comfortable but help us to grow!  Keep smiling, it gets better.

  1. From downward facing dog swing your right leg forward.

  2. Bring your right knee to be a little wider than your right hip.  

  3. Square your hips to the front and work those right toes - pressing the tops of them towards the floor.  Keep the left toes curled under.

  4. For this variation, keep your chest upright, heads of the shoulders drawing back.

  5. Very slowly, as if a string were on your right inner thigh - one inch above the knee, lift the knee away from the floor.

  6. Lengthen from the belly back through the right heel.

  7. Switch sides!

 


Tip #10 - Pigeon with Thigh Stretch

Ok, this pose will make your eyes sparkle.  And it shouldn't be tears!  It should be the light of mischief that goes on inside your noggin.  You might think, as a pigeon, who would I bless?  Oh, it's all in silliness!

  1. From downward facing dog swing your right leg forward.

  2. Bring your right knee to be a little wider than your right hip.  

  3. Square your hips to the front and work those right toes - pressing the tops of them towards the floor. 

  4. Bend your left leg and reach back for the outer edge of the foot.  You can look over your shoulder initially and even turn your chest towards the left foot to help you find the foot.  If you can't reach the foot either use a belt around the foot or simply leave the foot on the floor for now.

  5. As soon as you have your foot - square your chest to the front of your mat once again.

  6. Press the foot into the hand (to engage the muscles of the leg) and then slowly draw the heel towards the outer left hip.  Here come's the sparkle!

  7. If finding your foot is easy.  Hold onto the inside edge of the foot.  Lift your elbow so it is pointing to the sky and then slowly rotate your hand in a clockwise direction over the top of your foot.

  8. Breathe.

  9. Switch sides.

 

with light and love,

Happy Lower Backs!

 The secret ingredient to an everyday happy lower back is open thighs - quadriceps, psoas (hip flexors), hamstrings.  If you are a runner, gardener, every day 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 everyday back tension.  Give them a try after a long hike, gardening session, or just general spring cleaning.  

In the comments below, let me know which one worked best for you.  Which one do you like the best?  Which one is most effective for you?  Remember, listen to your gut instincts and modify according to your needs.  

Keep Yoga-ing!

 

Tip#1 - Hips and Thighs Don't Lie

High Lunge with Blocks

  1. Grab 3 yoga blocks (or you can hold onto the seat of a chair and grab one block).

  2. From a forward bend, your hands each on a block, step the right leg back.

  3. Slide the front two blocks back to be in line with your left ankle.

  4. Wedge the third block under your right thigh (an inch or two above the knee on the base of the thigh).

  5. It's nice to bring your left arm and block to the inside of the left leg - you made need to widen your left foot a few inches to the left to accommodate this action.

  6. Spread the back toes, soften between the shoulder blades, and lengthen from the core of your belly to the crown of your head, and from belly back through right arch.

  7. Now for the advanced part - turn the corners of your mouth up! 😊

  8. Switch legs!

 


Tip #2 - The Calf Smasher!

It really will help - once you get past the initial shock.  Breathe at least 10-20 breaths and you'll notice things get better. 

1. Roll up a sticky may (or firm blanket)

2. Wedge the jelly roll towards the back of the knees (top of the calves).

3. Sit back towards your heels (like you would for vajrasana/thunderbolt)

4. It might be a 'little' uncomfortable.

5. Breathe 10-20 breaths.

6. Slide the rolled up mat back towards the little space at the back of calves, above your heels.

7. This should feel much better!

 


Tip #3 - Ribbit

The half frog - Ardha Bhekasana. Sometimes we just can't take ourselves too seriously!  Laugh a little, live a lot,  love a ton!  and open up those thighs!

1. On your belly, bend your right leg.

2. Keep your thighs parallel and hips distance wide.

3. Right hand reaches back to hold onto the outer edge of right foot.

4. Press the foot into the hand and then draw the foot towards the outer edge of the right hip.

5. Lengthen from the belly to the crown of the head and from belly back through right knee.

6. Breathe.

7. Advanced option: turn up the corners of your mouth 😉

 


Tip #4 - Shoot for the Moon

"Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you'll land among the stars." Norman Vincent Peale

Modified Warrior 1

1. From a high lunge, place the heel of your back foot against a wall.

2. Keep the front leg bent to a 90 degree angle.

3. Square your hips and reach your arms for the stars!

4. Actively extend from your belly through the back leg and press that heel into the wall.

5. Lengthen from the belly up through the finger tips and breathe!

 


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

Variations on Pigeon II (Eka Pada Rajakapotasana II)

Now some people like to call this the screaming pigeon.  I find that name just scares all of us!  :)  Why not sing instead of scream.  Although I have been to some very interesting concerts where you could question singing versus screaming.  

  1. It's nice to have two blocks for this one and blanket or towel for your back knee.

  2. Starting from table, your hands on the blocks, slide your left knee back, about an inch from the wall.

  3. Place the top of the left foot on the wall (make sure your toes are pointing right up to the sky).

  4. Swing your right foot forward and plant the foot flat on the floor.

  5. Walk your hands and blocks a little to the left diagonally and see if you can lower down to your elbows or blocks.  (This is going for right inner thigh and hamstring, maybe the front of the left thigh too.)

  6. Your hips will move away from the wall.

  7. Come back up to your hands and slowly walk them back, moving your hips towards the wall.

  8. Maybe you keep your hands on the blocks, maybe you bring them up to rest on your right thigh.  Or maybe if you need more stretch, reach them all the way up to the sky.

  9. For even more opening, keep the hips square, muscles engaged, and move the hips forward away from the wall moving towards a backbend.

  10. Switch sides. (Hold each side 5 - 10 breaths.)

Sing your heart out!

 

If you're back is feeling happy, then you won't want to miss these extra Happy Lower Back Yoga tips.  Just click here to see more!

with light and love,

5 More Tips to Forearm Balance/Pincha Mayurasana

5 More Tips to Forearm Balance

Part of the joy to practicing yoga and life is learning.  There is always something new to learn.  Life never needs to be dull, we simply chart a course, prepare, practice, and play!  The 3 p's!  

If there is a dream you have in life it is important to take the time to sit with it.  Let it stew for a little while, not too long, and then start asking questions.  Look for answers.  Test that information and see what works for you and what doesn't.  Take note and watch how you get closer and closer to manifesting your dream!

In the spirit of always learning and going on adventures, here are 5 more tips to the Forearm Balance pose.  Try them on for size and remember, it comes down to showing up.  There is no fast path, no shortcut.  What fun would that be?  Where's your sense of adventure?  So I invite you to give it a go!

Tip #6 - Discipline = Freedom

It can be difficult at times to go to our mat and practice.  Maybe we create excuses, maybe we have legitimate reasons that keep us away.  This is when it becomes beneficial to make an appointment for yourself on the mat.  Everyday whether it's a few minutes or an hour, go to your mat.

Many times this creates the structure we need for a strong practice.  It fosters discipline and we find freedom. Our bodies are more energized and open, our minds calm and clear.

We will use the belt to create discipline and strength in the arms.

  1. Take a belt and make a loop. Make it as wide as your shoulders.

  2. Wiggle the belt up your arms - above your elbows.

  3. Plant your forearms on the floor.  Elbows beneath shoulders.  Hands, palms down, in line with your elbows.

  4. Soften between your shoulder blades, curl your toes under.

  5. Root through the forearms and lift the hips up and back.

  6. Your forehead will most likely rest against the belt.

  7. Take a few deep breaths and then rest in child's pose.

 


Tip #7 - Stay strong, stay bright, and share the love!

It's best to develop a strong inner core and sense of self.  We cultivate a relationship with ourselves and become strong in who we are and the gifts we have to share with others.  Then it is easier to be welcoming to others and celebrate their gifts.  We say yes to life!  And as life comes rushing in we practice viveka - discernment.  The things that enhance life we continue to welcome in.  Those things that diminish our light we say no to.

Forearm Plank with Block

  1. Starting like we did in tip #2 (click here for a refresher).

  2. From table, place your elbows on the floor beneath your shoulders, palms gently squeezing block.

  3. Root through the forearms, especially the underside of the wrists.

  4. Soften between the shoulder blades.

  5. Walk your knees back about 10 inches.

  6. With toes curled under, draw the belly in, move sides of the waistline towards the sky, and carefully lift your knees away from the floor.

  7. If you're breathing steadily and your back feels safe, lower one knee at a time towards the floor.

  8. Stay strong and lifted through your core.

  9. With good form hold just the forearm plank for 5-10 breaths. Or tap the knees to floor 5 times each side.


Tip #8 - Integrity in Action

The goals we have set in our lives can be great motivators.  But what happens when you want to achieve a goal so desperately that your are tempted to cut corners?  We lose integrity, stability, and trust.  This upside down forearm balance requires patience in our practice and realizing that to rush the process robs us of the true treasure - trust and confidence in ourselves.

  1. Stand with feet hips distance wide and parallel.

  2. Using a yoga block (or full tissue box). Stand with arms bent, elbows close to ribs, forearms parallel to the floor. Place the block between your hands.

  3. Slowly maintaining the bent armed position, rotate the arms (hands gently squeezing block) so the elbows point more to the sky.

  4. Maintain integrity, by keeping the sides of the waistline back (avoid popping the rib cage forward and overarching the back.)

  5. If you lose your core and arch the back, don't go so far.


Tip #9 - "What's in the way IS the way." Mary O'Malley

From Mary O'Malley's book, What's In the Way IS the Way"titled above:

"To open to the way things actually are, rather than always trying to make Life be what you think it should be, is the most courageous and healing thing you can do."

Upside down pigeon box will give you an opportunity to face your strengths and weaknesses along with fears and hopes. Which will you follow?

  1. After practicing tips 1-8, this will be a little friendlier. It's always nice to have a friend nearby to spot too!

  2. By a wall, come down to baby dolphin with the block between the palms. The ball of your foot touches the baseboard.

  3. Root through your forearms, look at the floor between your forearms, and soften between your shoulder blades.

  4. Lift your hips up, then slowly reach a leg up the wall. You can start higher than your hips and then walk your feet down to hip height.

  5. Again root through your forearms, upper arms resist as you press the center of your chest towards the wall.

  6. Press the tops of thighs up towards the ceiling to create a lift and lightness in the upper body.

  7. If you feel steady and a little saucy try lifting one leg away from the wall. Keep pressing the forearms down and reach up through your heel to get your core working!

  8. Breathe and smile!  This too shall pass. 


Tip #10 - Rise and Shine!

The time has finally come to put our practice into play.  I have a teacher who says, "Show up and Grow Up!"  Now is the time!  All the preparation from the previous poses has brought us to this place. 

This is one of my favorite variations for getting into forearm balance.  You'll notice that the head is down and your gaze point is towards your toes.  

  1. Facing the wall, come into baby dolphin (Tip #1 - click here to see it in action).  Knees beneath hips, shoulders over elbows, soften between shoulder blades, and palms around block.

  2. Palms gently squeeze block as you lower the crown of your head towards the floor (it may touch).  Soften between the shoulder blades.  

  3. Root through the forearms, curl the toes under, and lift your hips.

  4. Press the back of your head against the block, look at your toes.  Step your favorite leg in and just like the handstand tips (click here for a refresher), using the strong bent leg push off and swing your straight leg to the wall. 

  5. Once both feet are on the wall, press down through your forearms, slide your heels up the wall and to the sky.  You might find that your head has lifted a few inches above the ground.  If this is the case look between your forearms to the floor.

  6. Breathe!

  7. Come down the same way that you came up.  Lower one straight leg to the floor and then the other.


Feathered Peacock Pose - Pincha Mayurasana

Here's one of my favorite variations - palms squeezing the block.  Traditionally the palms are flat on the floor.

Strike a pose!

Our 21 Day Challenge starts today, April 1!  It will run from April 1 - 29.  (Challenges will be posted on InstagramFacebook, and via the 21 day challenge newsletter) where we will use these tips to build core strength, boost our energy, and lift our spirits!  I hope you will join me in this special journey, you are sure to see a difference in the way you feel and look at life!

Sign up here for the FREE 21 Day Yoga Challenge!

with light and love,

 

 

 

5 Tips to Forearm Balance/Pincha Mayurasana (Feathered Peacock Pose)

5 Tips to Forearm Balance

 

 

"Being colorful", boy that phrase can pack a wallop!  It’s not always meant as a compliment.  Yet, when I think about some of the colorful characters I’ve encountered in my life - they are the ones that seem to be most alive.  They are the people with the sparkle in their eye.  Mischief in their grins.  And adventures in their back pockets.  You know you’ll be living when you are around them.

So why is it that we avoid being colorful ourselves?  Or maybe it’s just me :)   I love colorful characters and am always drawn towards them.  They are like the peacock waving those brilliant feathers that seem to hypnotize you and draw you into their orbit.  They have developed a comfort being in their own skin - bien dans sa peau.

They know that they will not please everyone and at times might even offend by sharing their true colors and thoughts.  But the colorful characters I'm drawn to are the ones who act from the heart. The words they share come only if they are necessary and the timing is right.  They cut right to the heart of the matter - no wasting of time.  They act from the place of LOVE.

These are the wise ones who know how to step in and offer healing words and salves.  Why?  Because they know their true hearts and they can see that place of love and goodness in others.  They are the helpers in the crisis and chaos.  There is no hesitation to jump in and offer service.  Remember dear ones,  it isn’t all bravado.  There are big feelings these colorful characters must work through too.  Thing is, these bright beautiful souls are the willing ones.  Willing to show up and do the work.  They know they will fall at some point.  Then with a smile, they pick themselves back up and start again.  

I invite you.  Join me in this playful journey of learning and practicing the feathered peacock pose.  Let’s find our colorful selves my possums!  :)  (Bonus points if you know the colorful character that term of endearment comes from!)  

 

Tip #1 - Find Out What it Takes

The path to Forearm Balance (Pincha Mayurasana) is one of patience and tenacity.  We have to know that we're going to fall down on this path.  It's part of learning.  The question is, can we fall with Grace?  And with what heart feeling will we rise back up and try again?  Fall down 7, get up 8 with a smile :).  

We start at the beginning with baby dolphin pose.

  1. Using a yoga block or full tissue box is a wonderful addition.

  2. Start on your knees and lower your forearms to the floor. Elbows beneath shoulders. Hands shoulder distance wide.

  3. Place a yoga block between the hands. Thumbs up, palms gently squeeze the block, outer edge of hand roots into the floor (especially the underside of the wrists).

  4. Looking between your forearms, soften between your shoulder blades.

  5. Move your hips back a few inches and lower your head, so your ears are inline with your arms.

  6. Take a few deep breaths.


Tip #2 - Anything precious is worth the effort and the wait.

Patience and perseverance.  

This pose continues to be a challenge for me. Oddly enough I did experience a breakthrough when I was 7 months pregnant.  Big bellied, center of gravity completely shifted. I was waiting for my precious little one to arrive.  Journeys need time.  Be patient with yourself.

  1. Starting from where we ended in Tip #1.

  2. On your knees (that are hips distance wide), place your forearms on the floor (elbows beneath shoulders, palms gently squeezing a yoga block).

  3. Soften between the shoulder blades.

  4. Look between your forearms.

  5. Maintain the upper body's actions, curl the toes under, and lift your hips up and back.

  6. Root through the forearms, lengthen from the base of your heart all the way up to your sit bones.

  7. Anchor the outer hip creases back.

  8. Relax your head and neck - ears in line with upper arms.

  9. Breathe. Turn the corners of your mouth up 😉


Tip #3 - What's Wrong with Being Confident?

Pincha Mayurasana is also known as the feathered peacock pose.  And peacocks are known for strutting their stuff!  This pose requires that you tap into your confidence and self-esteem and share your beauty.  This can be unnerving for many of us to be so bold and bright.  Without the confidence we'll be too timid to try.  With too much confidence we will lack the strength to go the distance and find balance.

So with a playful heart we try to find the path of the middle.

  1. Take a belt and make a loop that is about as wide as your shoulders (or a little wider for tight shoulders) when it is folded in half.

  2. Slide one arm into the loop.

  3. With your arms behind you, slide the other arm into the loop and wiggle it up above your elbows.  

  4. Stand tall - lengthen from hips to underarms.

  5. With elbows slightly bent, draw the shoulder blades towards each other and down the back.

  6. Maintaining those actions of step 4 and 5 press the upper arms out into the belt.

  7. Keep the sides of your waistline drawing back - tummy engaged. Lengthen the tailbone towards the floor.

  8. If you can maintain all those actions, straighten your arms and lift them a little higher!

Shine bright like a diamond!


 Tip #4 - Soften and Ask For Help

A peacock feather can represent the eye of God and remind us that we are not alone in our journey. Because we have free will, it is up to us to soften, surrender, and ask for help when we need it. Remember you can always call on your angels.

  1. Set up 2 yoga blocks, shoulder distance wide. (No blocks? Try the coffee table.)

  2. Place the back of the upper arms on a block.

  3. Bring palms together as you walk your knees back.

  4. With torso parallel to the floor, gently press the upper arms down into the blocks as you soften between the shoulder blades.

  5. Lengthen from the base of the heart back to the sit bones.

  6. If your breathing is steady, fold your forearms toward your upper back and bring your hands towards the base of your skull.


Tip #5 - Rise from the Chaos

We practice and prepare ourselves for those moments off our yoga mat.  Those moments when our world is thrown into chaos and we still need to figure out how to function. What do we do when our world is turned upside down? Do we have the strength to go on? Which way is up? How do we rise from the ashes? This is where the beautiful feathered peacock pose comes in to help. Use the Dolphin push-ups to gain strength in your arms, upper back, and legs. And figure out which way is up as you are in this unusual upside down position. Discover that strength, hope, and faith that you possess deep down inside.

 

  1. Like Tip #2, start on all fours, place the elbows beneath the shoulders, this time gently interlace the fingers.

  2. Root down through the forearms (especially the under side of the wrists) and lift the hips up and back, allow your neck and head to relax.  Take 3 deep breaths.

  3. Look towards your hands and slowly lower your chin towards your hands.

  4. Lower as far as is breathable and keep the tummy engaged.  If you sag in your back or there is pain, you've gone too low. Only go to the point where you can maintain integrity in the pose.

  5. Root through the forearms and lift the hips back up .

  6. Your spine like a sewing needle goes up and down, while the shoulder blades engage - drawing towards each other and towards the hips.

 

 

Keep playing, keep trying, fall down 7, get up 8 with a smile.   

Stay tuned for our 21 Day Challenge starting April 1 - 29 Challenge (challenges will be posted on InstagramFacebook, and via the newsletter) where we will use these tips to build core strength, boost our energy, and lift our spirits!  I hope you will join me in this special journey, you are sure to see a difference in the way you feel and look at life!

Sign up here for the FREE 21 Day Yoga Challenge!

 

with love,