yoga with irena

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!

Detox Yoga Flow

How to detox with Yoga

Unhealthy thoughts, food, and emotions drag us down every now and then. To feel lighter and more energetic try Yoga! :) 

Yoga Detox - A Yoga flow to help boost your energy, loose the sluggishness, and elevate your spirits! www.irenamiller.com Yoga with Irena

How can yoga help physically?

The yoga twists are the go to poses for 'detoxing'. The idea is that as you twist your body you are stimulating the liver, the digestive and the lymphatic system, which flush the toxins out of the body. Leaving you with a feeling of refreshment and alertness.

As my grandmother used to love saying, "Energy, begets energy." 

You will boost your energy when you move with your breath and be less likely to reach for those stimulating caffeinated, over sugared treats!

So even if you're feeling sluggish, start moving! :)  It won't be easy, believe me I know. I have two adorable puppies that love to cuddle.  But once you get the momentum going, it will get easier. Think of the snowball at the top of the hill, who picks up speed and energy as he rolls down it!

Detox Yoga Flow - How to feel more energetic, lighter, and stronger with this Yoga Flow. www.irenamiller.com Yoga with Irena

How can yoga help with those harmful thoughts?

You know that phrase that just plays over and over in your head. The one that blocks you from enjoying the sunrise and your puppy playfully bouncing over to you with that ragged ball in her mouth?

Yes, that one.

Well....when you're twisting in crescent pose you'll be focusing on spreading your pinky toes. Hugging your legs towards the midline. And breathing with a deep even quality so that you can stay upright and balanced. As soon as one of those pesky thoughts enter into your mind, you'll experience your body wobbling.

There's just no room for extra thoughts. The yoga poses highly encourage you to focus in order to stay upright.

You'll discover that all yoga poses have a gaze point (a drishti) to help you find your balance. Just like the dancer who has a 'spot' as she pirouttes across the floor, so that she doesn't fall over from the dizziness. The difference with yoga is that you begin to uncover a gaze point within yourself. And you rely less and less on the external world for confirmation.

You discover discernment - viveka the yogis call it.  You welcome in those thoughts that are life enhancing and you release the thoughts that drag you down. 

Yoga Detox - A Yoga flow to help boost your energy, loose the sluggishness, and elevate your spirits! www.irenamiller.com Yoga with Irena

How does yoga help you connect to your spirit?

I have an amazing teacher, Sonia Choquette, who says, "How's your spirit today?"

I love this! 

What does it mean though?

Well you know when you go into autopilot? Your eyes glaze over, you're not all there.

Think of the time you drove to the grocery store and couldn't quite recall the trip in-between home and the store. Your mind was thinking about to do lists, what you needed to buy, did your kids get their homework done......and boom, grocery store parking lot.

Life provides a ton of distractions. Yoga helps you learn how to readjust your focus and be fully present in the moment. Just let that squirrel try to distract you!

Yoga Detox - A Yoga flow to help boost your energy, loose the sluggishness, and elevate your spirits! www.irenamiller.com Yoga with Irena

Try this

Before you do this yoga flow, look at your eyes in the mirror. Then do the practice and look at them again. What has changed?

The eyes are the window to the soul......

Length: 10 minutes

Props: none :)

Do you ever wonder if you're doing the yoga poses correctly? And where should you feel the stretch?

Come join the party over on my Facebook page for my weekly Yoga Show :) 

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

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.)


Happy Shoulders

Connecting to our Heart Song.  

With shoulder opening naturally comes heart opening.  The yogis knew that the physical state of our body will affect our mindset/emotions and vice versa our thoughts will affect our physical well being.  

Think of the grumpiest person you know.  Do they stand tall with their shoulders drawn back and chest wide open?  Do the corners of their mouth naturally turn up?  If they did stand like that, how grumpy do you think they would be?

Think of the happiest person you know.  Is there a bounce in their step?  Do they light up in smiles when they see you?  Is their a twinkle in their eye?  

The way we carry ourselves will shape our experience of the world.

Scientific studies have now been done to prove that simply standing like Superman (hands on hips, elbows out, feet wide, cape blowing - ok maybe not the cape) will do wonders for our confidence.  They suggest you do this before giving important presentations.

 

So, hows about we just try a few simple yoga poses (with cape or not)  :) to lift our spirits!

Make sure to check out the next in this series of Knot Free Shoulders.

Pin these Happy Heart tips to your favorite Pinterest Board as a reminder!

 

happy heart tips

 

It's amazing, but a simple smile will do wonders for your spirit!  Charlie Chaplin knew what he was talking about when he said, "Smile though your heart is breaking."

I double dog dare you to try it!  Smile!  :)

 

navasana boat pose garden yoga

yoga routine for shoulders

before you move on!

Grab this free Happy Shoulders Yoga Video

All the Happy Shoulder Tips listed in the blog are interwoven into a quick 14 minute practice!  It's epic!  And we're playing yoga outside!  Listen for the woodpecker at the very end.  He wanted to add ambiance to savasana!  Ha ha!


Happy Shoulders 😄

TIP #1 - Happy Talk

shoulder release

"Happy talk, keep talking happy talk,
Talk about things you'd like to do,
You gotta have a dream, if you don't have a dream,
How you gonna have a dream come true?" - Rodgers and Hammerstein, South Pacific

 

  1. Clasp your hands behind you.

  2. Bring your hands towards your right waist.

  3. Lower your right ear towards your right shoulder.

  4. Gently draw the shoulder blades and elbows towards each other.

  5. Breathe and switch sides!

 


Happy Shoulders 😄

Tip #2 - Pause and Reflect

windmill shoulder opener

At certain points on a journey, we get stuck. Pause, ask for guidance, reflect. What will happen is that we'll naturally soften and listen. When we make space for this, things start to flow once again.

 

  1. Grab a belt, rope, or tie.

  2. Hold the belt with your hands by your hips, about shoulder distance wide.

  3. Stand with your feet hips distance wide.

  4. Start raising your arms and pause when you get overhead. You'll probably be stuck. Breathe!

  5. Widen your hands farther apart until you can safely continue bringing your arms behind you and the belt to your bottom.

  6. Come back up the same way you came down.

  7. Try this at least 2 more times!


Happy Shoulders 😄

TIP 3 - eyes like an eagle

eagle arms garudasana

Eagle Arms/Garudasana

With eagle eye vision, colors would be more vivid, long distance vision superior, and we'd have the ability to almost see entirely around ourselves.

What do you need to keep an eagle eye on?

 

  1. Extend the arms into a T.

  2. Cross them in front of you.

  3. Place right elbow on top of left.

  4. Bend your arms and bring palms together.

  5. Take a few breaths and switch sides.

 


Happy Shoulders 😄

TIP 4 - Shift your Perspective 🙃

prasarita shoulder opener

Sometimes you just have to look at things from another perspective. 🙃

 

  1. Grab a belt or tie.

  2. Stand with your feet wide apart.

  3. Hold the belt behind you so that your palms face away from you.

  4. Lift up the through the chest, draw the shoulder blades towards each other and down the back.

  5. Fold forward and bring your arms over your head.

  6. Very important: continue to draw your shoulder blades towards each other and the sky, so that your neck is long.

  7. Pull your hands away from each other on the belt.

  8. Breathe! 😀

 


Happy Shoulders 😄

TIP 5 - Time to wake up

 

shoulder opener tennis ball

 

  1. Grab a tennis ball.

  2. Lie down and place the tennis ball beneath you.  Start on the left side, specifically in the space between your shoulder blade and spine (the rhomboid).  Begin with the tennis ball more towards the bottom of your shoulder blades.

  3. Lie on the ball and do your best to breathe.

  4. Maybe roll side to side, forward and back a little, or just stay put and breathe.

  5. After a few breaths move your body forward an inch.  This way the ball moves 'up' your back.  Repeat step 4.

  6. As soon as you get to about two thirds of the way up your shoulder blade, make things a little more interesting by placing some height beneath your hips.  You can use a yoga block or a little stool.

  7. Move the left arm around now.  Across the body, to the sky, overhead, out to the side.  Notice all the interesting sensations.  P.S.  This might be a little uncomfortable as you work into all those tight knots in the upper back.

  8. Move the body forward again, moving the block forward too.  So now the ball is at the top of your shoulders.  Repeat step 7.

  9. Remove all props, rest on your back for 3 breaths.  Feel the difference between sides!  Wowsers!  This is the best part!  Your back should feel more open and free on that left side now.

  10. Switch sides and have fun!  Those shoulders will be ready for swimming in no time!


If you liked these tips for Happy Shoulders, here are even more yummy yoga ways to create happy, stress free, no more knots poses.  Just click here for the More Happy Shoulder tips.

Yoga for Runners

Run for your spirit!

Anyone who has trained for a race or simply a big adventure can attest to the work involved in preparing for the big day.  The ups and downs of training, those moments when you question if it really is worth it.  Do you have what it takes?  Did you prepare well enough?  Are you ready?And then the day comes when we must step out.  

Pulling up our courage, music pumping, we stand in the crowd surrounded.  Just like sardines we pack in.  Excitement building and anticipation moving through like waves.  When can we go?  Then the noise sounds and we're off.   Feet shuffling, bodies knocking, we strive to find a rhythm.  Yet, the first few moments are spent walking - way back in my 10 minute a mile group.  Where will my opening be?  When will the crowd thin out?  And it happens naturally.  

There we are, all struggling for a foothold and just a few moments later we fall into our own rhythm.  You see the people who run for one another.  Carrying a friend, encouraging them with the struggle.  The bright faces of strangers who cheer you on.  The ones who show up on cold, early mornings to hold silly signs of inspiration.   I LOVE these people.  What an amazing display of coming together and cheering one another on.

I run races for the thrill of being with people who are going for big goals and the LOVE that is shared by cheering one another on.  Because when we all make it to that finish line, there's no sweeter feeling.  Whether we run across it on our own two legs, hands and knees, or friends carrying us.  We did this together.  We ran OUR race and we shared it with OTHERS.

If you ever find yourself shying away from certain adventures because the work seems daunting, surround yourself with uplifting spirits!  We are the company we keep.  So keep great company! :)

Thanks for being my uplifting company!  Here's me cheering you on with Don (my awesome hubby) photobombing.  In the words of Hans and Franz, "We're here to PUMP YOU UP!"

yoga for runners Irena Miller

You got this!

 

Have a blessed week!

These tips are wonderful for walkers, hikers, and gardeners too!

Chace, Lexi, myself, and Don's thumb :)     Flying Pig 2012

Chace, Lexi, myself, and Don's thumb :) 

Flying Pig 2012

Tip #1 - "Nothing will work, unless you do." Maya Angelou

parsvakonasana irena miller

We're getting ready for the Flying Pig here in Cincinnati! It's a wonderful adventure! So here's to all the runners out there! Keep going!

 

1. Find a tree, curb, or post.

2. Place the edge of your outer left foot against it.

3. Step your right foot out and line up right heel to left arch.

4. Bend the right knee over the ankle. Place your right forearm on your thigh.

5. Stretch your left arm along side your ear.

6. Keep pressing the outer edge of the left foot against the tree so you can lengthen even more through the left arm.

7. Switch sides!


Tip #2 - Make space for possibility. 

trikonasana irena miller

See it and believe it!! You've got this!

 

1. Find a tree, wall, or post.

2. Place your right toes near the tree and step your left foot back about 3.5 - 4 feet.

3. Line up right heel to left arch.

4. Now we play!

5. Right hand can reach for shin or ankle. Left arm the sky!

6. Or reach left arm towards tree.

7. Or reach right hand to tree and left arm to sky!

8. Have fun and be playful!

9. Switch sides!


Tip #3 - Spread your wings and fly!

reclining warrior irena miller

With open side bodies your breath will come with greater ease. More oxygen = more energy. 

1. Find a tree, wall, or post.

2. Place the edge of your left foot against the tree and step your right foot out about 3.5 - 4 feet.

3. Line up right heel to left arch.

4. Bend your right leg, knee over the ankle.

5. Lean back and place your left hand on your thigh or shin. Reach your right arm for the sky!

6. Switch sides!


Tip #4 - Meet Yourself in the Moment

garudasana irena miller

Eagle Pose is great for the IT band! And upper back - helping with deep breathing!

Meet yourself where you are in that moment. By meeting yourself at your edge, your maximum, you will grow. That edge will continuously move. There is no need to bust through our boundaries to make transformations happen. Give your 100% in that moment and the rest will come. 👍

  1. Bend your left leg and move your inner thighs back.

  2. Cross your right leg over and here are the options:

    • place the ball of your right foot on the ground - just to the left of your foot (so legs are crossed).

    • or press the outer edge of your foot against your shin.

    • or wrap your right foot behind your left calf.Now for the arms 😄 

  3. Reach our arms out like wings, palms up.

  4. Bring your arms towards your chest and cross left elbow on top of right. See if you can bring your palms to touch.

  5. Switch sides - legs and arms!

Don't take yourself too seriously. Remember eagles soar and move with the wind! It might be very windy where you are 😉

 


Tip #5 - Let's get this fire started!

fire log irena miller

Standing fire log pose!  This is a great one to keep those hips happy for running!

  1.  Bend your left leg and move the inner thighs back

  2. Place your right ankle on your left thigh and squeeze the inner thighs towards one another to stabilize the hips.

  3.  You can bring the hands to prayer position.

  4. Maybe you try to reach the hands for the ground.

  5. Enjoy and take 5 deep breaths 

  6. Switch sides!


Want more fabulous tips on how to keep in top running condition with yoga?  

Check out More Yoga For Runners here!  


with light and love,

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,

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,