Pose of the Week: Dancer

dancer

Dancer

NATARAJASANA

Benefits of the pose:

  • Strengthens balance, core, ankle, and legs
  • Develops proprioception
  • Opens heart
  • Opens Shoulders
  • Stretches and strengthen low back

Asana Breakdown:

To get into this pose, begin in Samasthiti, equal standing, begin by placing all of your weight onto one leg, lift your opposite leg by bending the knee and allow your hand to find the top of your foot. Find your drishti here and extend the hand that is not holding the foot towards the sky. Imagine your body like a balancing scale as you begin to hinge your body forward. As you extend forward, lift your bent leg towards the sky like an archer’s bow. Lift and spread through the heart, while also allowing the tailbone to descend. ❤

Variations of Dancer:

Dancer can be achieved in a variety of energetic ways, to get a deep hip stretch, but take away the challenge of balance, feel free to go to a counter, ballet bar or a wall. Another approach is to rap a strap and loop it around your foot. This can get you deeper into the stretch or allow you to take away any strain you may feel in the arm that is holding the leg. If you have severe hip, knee or leg issues, you can come onto your stomach bend one knee, reach for it with one or both hands, and once again extend your leg towards the ceiling.

Mythology of the pose:

This pose exemplifies aspects of Shiva Nataraja, the lord of destruction. We often think of destruction as a terrible thing, however Shiva can be a liberating force of destruction, causing the death of ignorance, shame, malice and so on. Even more so, dancer is appropriate for this time of year because destruction causes rebirth and change.

As we enter into Fall and the change of seasons, we can honor the divinity and Shiva-like qualities within us all. Like Shiva, Natarajasana encourages us to turn our gaze within and find balance, ease, grace and joy no matter what kind of change we face around us in our day to day life.

Advertisements

Kitchari: Sattvic Goodness

IMG_2641

If you’ve ever been introduced to the yoga sutras or Ayurveda, you might have heard of the phrase Sattva. Sattva is one of the three Gunas (qualities) humans naturally cycle between. The other two are Rajas and Tamas. Rajas is fiery, anxious, and over stimulated while Tamas is lethargic, heavy, lazy, and stagnant. Think about a past meal that was really spicy, did it leave you feeling rajasic? Or how about after a thanksgiving meal where you over ate? Did you find you were you tired, sluggish and it was hard to do much of anything? That’s tamasic. Sattva, however, is balanced, pure, and clear minded. It is a quality that can be achieved by many different tasks and doings, but one way to bring the body into Sattvic balance is to eat a Sattvic meal. Kitchari is just this! It is designed to help digestion, cleanse and strengthen the organs, and bring the body into a state of wholeness.
Ingredients:

1 cup Mung Beans

1 cup Basmati rice

2-3 Tbsp Coconut oil or Ghee

1 yellow onion

1Tbsp fresh ginger

1 tsp cumin powder

1 tsp cumin seeds

1 tsp mustard seeds

1 tsp fennel seeds

1 tsp cardamon powder

1 tsp coriander powder

1 tsp turmeric powder

A pinch Pink Himalayan Salt

Optional:

2-3 carrots

1 large head of broccoli

Optional toppings:

Lime

Cilantro

Nutritional Yeast

Greek Yogurt

Serves: 4-6 Servings

Time: 45min

To start off, get one large pot and one medium pot. In the large pot bring 3 cups of water to boil. In the medium pot bring 5 cups of water to boil. Add the rice into the large pot, stir it, bring the temperature down to simmer, and cover your pot. Do then same thing with the medium bowl, adding the mung beans. If you have a slow cooker/crock-pot your can put the mung beans in there, filling the pot to the top with water, put on medium-high and let cook until the beans are a soft, saucy mix. This will take a few hours.

While the rice and mung beans begin to cook, take out a frying pan and add coconut oil or ghee. Next, chop up the entire white onion, place it in the pan and put on medium heat. Add chopped carrots and broccoli here. Then add shredded ginger (best if graded on fine part of a cheese grader), and all of the spices listed above. To be honest, I never measure out these spices, I just add what feels appropriate. So do the same, feel free to mix it up and add more or less. The dosage above is just a good outline.

Continue to stir your pan here. Bring down to medium heat and cover with a lid for a few minutes. Once you’ve done this, give your rice and beans a stir. The rice will probably be done by this point, but the beans will need a bit more time. Remove from heat. Add coconut oil to the rice and a pinch of pink himalayan salt. You’re veggies are probably done by now, too. Add them to the big pot of rice. Continue to let your beans cook until all the water has evaporated and the mung beans are soft. Once ready, add them to the rice pot and stir everything together. Sprinkle a bit of salt over the entire pot (not too much!) and you are ready to eat kitchari, my friend.

Add toppings of your choice!

Enjoy ❤

Leave a comment bellow to let me know what you think!

Quit the Midol: Alternatives to Menses Pain

truth about midol

This one is for the ladies. After having one of the most painful first days of my life, I felt inspired to write this post. When I was younger, I used to take Midol for period pains. It was the only thing that helped, but I couldn’t help feeling like I was doing my body harm for the price of taking away discomfort. Even just the few seconds it was in my mouth, it tasted like I was swallowing poison. I figured anything that tastes like that can’t be good for you. So I started doing a little research….

Basically, Midol is a version of Ibuprofen. Depending on what type of Midol you are using, you may be putting your body at risk, mainly the liver and kidneys. For example,”Midol Maximum Strength Menstrual may harm your liver,” Midol Complete research says, “Severe liver damage may occur if you take this product with other drugs containing acetaminophen or if you consume 3 or more alcoholic drinks every day while using this product”(Midol Maximum, Midol Complete). Even regular Ibuprofen “and other NSAIDs inhibit prostaglandins, and that can cause a problem [in the kidneys] because prostaglandins dilate blood vessels leading to the kidneys. Inhibiting prostaglandins may lead to kidney ischemia (dead tissue from decreased blood flow) and thus acute kidney injury”(Orrange).

So here are some alternative ways to make peace with the pains:

smoothiePeriod Smoothie:

2 bananas

1/2 cup strawberries

1-2 tbsp Cacao powder

1/2 cup of spinach

1 coconut water

Optional:

2 tsp Chia Seeds

1 tbsp flax seed oil

Bananas contain B6 and potassium, both of which can help ease bloating and water retention, while adding strawberries “helps to reduce a heavy menstrual flow, stress and irritability, and prevent anemia by increasing iron absorption” due to its vitamin C components (Orenstein, Merriment). Fresh fruits in general are good for fatigue and irritability during menstruation because of their natural fibers which are introduced slowly to the body and then converted into more energy (Merriment). Spinach is the go-to for menstrual cramps since it’s chock full of Folic Acid, Vitamin E, B6, and Magnesium (12). Coconut water is a great flavor in any smoothie, plus it’ll help to keep you hydrated. Surprisingly, coconut water is more hydrating that regular water because its chemical structure is similar to our blood. I also like to add in a little bit of chia seeds and flax seed oil to get some good oil, Omega-3, and antioxidants in the body. Chia seeds are full of protein, Vitamin B1, B3, E, zinc, copper, iron, flavinols (such as quercetin, myricetin, kaempferol), phenolic acids (such as caffeic acid), and lignin. Plus, Chia seeds have an antioxidant rating higher than “blackberries, mango, noni fruit, grapes, pineapple, or carambola” (Why). Allow your food to be your medicine, I promise it will serve you longer in this life than anything else.

IMG_2646In addition to the smoothie, treat yourself lady!

Get your butt into a bath, and scent it with essential oils like lavender and tea tree — or whatever your favorite scent is — even add bubbles and candles if you’d like! You may be surprised to find that this is the quickest relief to any of your pains and it’ll take away the physical stress on the body in no time. Set yourself up with a tall glass of water (of which you should continue to refill through out the day to keep your body hydrated and feeling good) and Chamomile or Peppermint tea. Chamomile can “relieve muscle spasms and reduce the severity of menstrual cramps” (Orenstein). In general, this will help reduce anxiety and stress that can and often does occur during menstruation. Peppermint tea is also good because it can help relax constricted muscles, especially the ones located on the uterus’ wall (Goodwin).

When you’re not in the bath, set yourself up with a hot water bottle to place on your stomach. These bottles are a lifesaver and deeply help to reduce pain, especially in the night when it can be hard to fall asleep.

Additionally, a lot of women crave dark meat on their period, however, this is not the best time to consume it. Really, what your body is craving is the vitamins and minerals that can be found in the smoothie above. The reason you want to avoid dark meats is because they can contribute to your hormones, therefore increasing your moodiness and pains. An alternative is to cook yourself up a nice salmon meal (follow link to find recipe) as it is full of omega-3, B6, and vitamin D (Orenstein). All of these components will will help to relieve breast pain, irritability, and fatigue.

IMG_2473 salmon salad

And if that’s not enough, and you find yourself tempted to reach for that bottle of Midol, here’s something different you can take. I am fortunate enough to work for a Master herbalist in my home town. She makes a variety of herbal formulas for just about everything. However, for the pain I just can’t beat, I take her Mense-Soothe. Works like a charm! (She also carries a formula for PMS). And good news: We ship! Just go to www.dancingwillowherbs.com and you can order a bottle of your own to see for yourself.

Mense soothe

So here’s a list of things to try next time your cycle comes around! Mainly, just go slow, take care of, and be kind to yourself! You work so hard the other 28 days, give yourself the space to be unruly, angry, tired, and crampy. Hopefully these help! As always, feel free to leave a comment bellow! Let me know what you think and if you thought this was helpful ❤

Oh, ONE MORE THING! Speaking of periods…If you haven’t, you should watch this video of a poem written by an amazing women… it’s titled The Period Poem. It’ll change your view of periods forever. Blessings to Dominque Christina for writing and inspiring all women: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4vu2BsePvoI

Much Love ❤

Sources:

“Midol Maximum Strength Menstrual: Indications, Side Effects, Warnings – Drugs.com.” Midol Maximum Strength Menstrual: Indications, Side Effects, Warnings – Drugs.com. Drugs.com, 31 Aug. 2015. Web. 26 Sept. 2015.

“Midol Complete – (Acetaminophen) Side Effects, Dosage, Uses, Interaction – PDRHealth.” Pdrhealth. PDRHealth, 2015. Web. 26 Sept. 2015.

Orrange, Dr. Sharron. “Is Ibuprofen/Advil Bad for My Liver and Kidneys?” GoodRx. GoodRx, 30 July 2013. Web. 26 Sept. 2015.

Orenstein, Ben. “8 Foods That Help Fight PMS.” EverydayHealth.com. Ed. Niya Jones. Everyday Health, 2015. Web. 26 Sept. 2015.

Merriment, Mary. “Food Remedies That Reduce Symptoms of PMS.” HubPages. HubPages, 4 Nov. 2012. Web. 26 Sept. 2015.

“12 Best Foods for Fighting Menstrual Cramps.” Heal With Foods. Heal With Foods, 2015. Web. 26 Sept. 2015.

“Why Chia Seeds Are Good for You (and the Healthiest Way to Eat Them).” Heal With Foods. Heal With Foods, 2015. Web. 26 Sept. 2015.

Goodwin, Lindsey. “Peppermint Tea Health Benefits and Side Effects.” About Food. About Food, 2015. Web. 26 Sept. 2015.

Image from: http://diannemalone.com/blog/?p=1950

Pose of the Week: Garland Pose

malasana

MALASANA

Garland Pose

Benefits:

  • Opens hips
  • Heart opener
  • Strengthens legs
  • Opens & Strengthens ankles
  • Develops core

Asana Breakdown:

This is not one of the most difficult poses, but it is so powerful and is one of my favorites. I love coming into Malasana: using it as a transition, a rest, and a heart opener. It’s pretty basic to get into, however, every body is different and some people do experience a bit of difficulty when they first get into it. To start, get into Mountain Pose (Tadasana), heal toe your feet as wide as your mat, take your hands to heart center, and squat down. Allow your elbows to line up with the crux of your knee, feeling the sensation of your hands being pushed together while your elbows push gently into your knees. Allow the heart to lift and spread . If you find any pain here you can place blanket or a block underneath you to achieve a more restorative rendition of this posture.

Asana Variations:

  • Place a block or a blanket underneath your sit-bones.
  • Place one hand on the ground and open up to one side by lifting the other arm off the ground. Do this on both sides.
  • Take a side bind/twist. Rooting down through both feet, wrap one arm in front of your leg while the other comes behind your back. Both hands should meet behind the knee. Do this on both sides.

Thanks so much for taking the time to read this! Let me know if this was helpful or if you have any pose requests bellow! ❤

 A Response to Yoga and the Path of the Urban Mystic

cropped-12003249_10206905173363767_2147186166456652056_n.jpg

My mornings are very similar to those of Darren Main: The alarm goes off before the sun arises: it’s time for practice. I’m awake, but my eyes have not yet opened. I begin to weigh out how badly I really want to practice today. I think to myself, maybe I’ll sleep a little bit longer instead…. This thought never wins out. Eventually I get out of bed and turn a regular living room into a sanctuary lit with candles and incense. After my practice, I feel infinite and peaceful, as if nothing could shake me of this truth. But just like Main, the world hits me with a harsh reality. Whether it’s conflicts at work, a sour conversation, or just a multitude of little things not going my way, the ego flares up and the momentary bliss is gone. This is the life of the Urban Mystic: a spiritual practitioner and devotee who has one foot with spirit and one foot in the physical world.

This state of being between two worlds sets the grounds for Dharana, one of the eight limbs. Dharana translates into concentration. It has been described to me that one who embodies Dharana is like a candle flame that flickers in the wind and then continuously comes back to center. As yogis of the modern era, we are asked to do the same. The world continuously will distract us from our path, but we must choose to recenter ourselves as the flame within us bends one way or the other.

For me, this is one of the most important concepts in Yoga and the Path of the Urban Mystic. It reminds me of one of my favorite excerpts from Nichala Joy Devi’s book The Secret Power of Yoga:

“Yoga is the uniting of consciousness in the heart.

The lotus flower has long been a symbol for the unfolding of spirituality. It is one of the most elegant illustrations of the meshing of our human and Divine natures. 

The lotus seed is planted and grows in muddy waters, below the surface of the lake, far from the light. Though the light is murky and clear, the flower blossoms by drawing energy from within. As the bud passes through the muddy waters, it lifts its face to the sunlight and finally emerges. Miraculously, not a trace of soil remains on the flower. It lives in the mud yet it is not affected by it….

Yogah Citta Vritti Nirodahah. Yoga is the uniting of consciousness in the heart” (Devi 16).

We see from both Main and Joy that the ability to draw the attention back comes from continual practice and focus within. No matter how hard it can be to get out of bed or to take a breath in the midst of a heated moment, as yogis we have the opportunity to continually choose between the two words: like the lotus flower whose blossoms face the light, but whose stem is rooted in the darkness. From our position we see that both light and darkness have created out beauty, our strength, and our faith. We are living examples of the lotus flower. It is our choice to be affected by the mud or to shine our face towards the light, to drift from our path or to continuously choose to come back to it.

Sources:

Main, Darren John. Yoga and the Path of the Urban Mystic. Forres, Scotland: Findhorn, 2002. Print.

Devi, Nischala Joy. The Secret Power of Yoga: A Woman’s Guide to the Heart and Spirit of the Yoga Sutras. New York: Three Rivers, 2007. Print.

Photo credit: Damiane McMillen

Chilly seasons means it’s Chili Season

chili chili2

Well folks, we’re getting into that time of year again. The weather is getting a bit colder, the leaves are changing, and the sun greets the ridgeline a little earlier than it used to. I notice a huge shift in my palate when we first come into fall. I say goodbye to my frequent salads and smoothies to welcome warm, earthy foods. The recipe I am going to share with you is my mothers. Growing up I loved this Chili recipe and I still use it today, as you can see! It’s another easy piece and makes enough for a whole family. Or, if you’re me, you get to enjoy a lot of leftovers and the joy of sharing it with friends! This recipe is vegetarian. Feel free to add a meat if you’d like, but you might want to try it this way just once, ’cause it is just so good!

Ingredients:

2 15 oz cans Black Beans

2 15 oz cans Kidney Beans

1 15 oz can Garbanzo Beans

1 15 oz can Pinto Beans

1 15 oz can of 100% Pumpkin

1 28oz can of Fire Roasted Tomatoes

1 15 oz can of Hatch Red Enchilada Sauce

4 Tbsp Tamari

Salt

Pepper

Spike Seasoning

Tabasco

Cheese

Basically, the hardest part of this recipe is just getting all the cans open. Get out a big pot, put in 3 or 4 of the cans and turn the heat on medium. Adjust the heat as needed so that the beans don’t stick to the bottom. I like to strain the beans before putting them into the pot so that it isn’t too watery. Every 3-4 cans add a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Once you have all the cans opened and the contents has been poured into the pot, give it a good stir, add Tamari, Tabasco, and Spike or just another layer of Salt and Pepper. Season to your liking. I like to under-do the seasoning in the pot and then season each bowl to my liking. Grade Cheese, if you’d like, I recommend Sharp Cheddar or Pepperjack or add crackers.

The Sweetness of Eden

IMG_2636

Inspired by my simple, nutritious and delicious breakfast of apples, almond butter and honey, I thought I would share a journal entry I wrote about two months ago. Fruit inspired!

8/2/15

I am beginning to become more lucid in my thoughts. I noticed my ego was present in my practice. I noticed what it said, what it wanted, how it maneuvered, and how it made announcements that were not truly in alignment with my being and true soul.

My soul wishes for peace, while my ego wishes for war. My true soul wishes for love whilst my ego wishes for greed, lust, and envy. My true being appreciates and enjoys life with gratitude. My ego likes to mock, gossip, and create chaos and havoc in my life; ruthlessly, without considering the consequences.

Iyengar talks bout how the ego wants to create and recreate pleasures, no matter the consequences, but that is only partially true. Yes, the ego is an addict who solely wants to eat the fruit it remembers as sweet, even if it has rotted the next day. But within that repetitive want is a natural disease waiting to happen. If we eat the same fruit day after day we will not grow, our digestion will become weak, and out thoughts narrow. Repetitive want and seeking pleasure is an egoic misnomer. There is no way to recreate a moment or a sensation that has passed, for it no longer exists. Therefore, we lead a life full of pain and suffering, seeking every corner for the pleasure that once was, even if it ultimately leads us to insanity.

I was moved today by my practice, for I was able to observe the ego and allow it to rattle out its fallacies. Without judgment, I allowed each thought to rise and fall, but I was sure to police any thought that was not true and conscious by rephrasing, rewording, and by reminding myself what my truth is so I could continue to grow in my practice instead of eating rotten fruit.

How to Make Sunshine in a Glass

green drink

For all you wild juicers out there or for those who need that extra pick-me-up in the morning, here is the ultimate green drink! Now this green drink is not for the light of heart. The beauty in its ingredients is that most of them should be and can be wild crafted, even in your back yard. So here is goes:

Ingredients:

3 Milk Thistle Leaves*

1/4-1/2 cup Mallow Leaves*

1/4-1/2 cup Dandelion Leaves*

1 Red Apple

1-2 tablespoons honey

1 Lemon

Serves 1-3 people

*Wild Crafted 

Basically, you throw all the ingredients in a blender and go. However, be sure to peel your lemon (leaving the seeds in is okay). There’s no need to do anything with the rind or the core of the apple, just cut it into slices and keep it as it is. You may want gloves or tools to work with the milk thistle. This recipe only works with fresh Milk Thistle, not dried or powdered. Once all the ingredients are in the blender, fill it up about 3/4 of the way full or until all the greens are covered. Next, be sure to strain your juice! This is very important to separate the pulp from the liquid, mainly because our bodies can’t digest the Thistle leaves and it could do damage to the body if you intake a large quantity. But there you have it! A Wild Crafted cup of Sunshine! I know it sounds bit weird and hardy, but I promise it is so delicious! ❤

dandelion mallow-plant Milk_thistle_flower

Dandelion                                    Mallow                                        Milk Thistle

Images from:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silybum

http://www.ediblewildfood.com/mallow.aspx

http://www.tuffturfmolebusters.com/lawn-care/weed-control/dandelions/

The True Purpose of Yoga

sky

Hello All!

Often when people find out that I practice yoga, one of the first responses is, “Oh that’s so wonderful! I wish I could do that.” The statement is often followed by me saying something to the effect of, “Well, why can’t you?”. The reply usually has something to do with not being flexible or strong enough.

I wanted to bring this into awareness because the idea that yoga has anything to do with capability or, rather, flexibility is delusional. Can you breathe? Yes? Great. You can do yoga.

Our culture has saturated our minds to believe that the practice that has so little to do with competition, value judgements, and image, is, in fact, all of these things.

It comes from a distorted idea that yoga’s true purpose has to do with flexible, hot, trendy-dressed, acrobats who sit in a hot room for an hour or so and basically do really intense stretching and contortions, with maybe with a little more focus on the breath than usual. THIS. IS. FALSE.

Yoga comes from the Sanskrit language and translates into the word “yoke” or “union”, meaning to unite the bodies (of which there are five: physical, energetic, emotional, wisdom, and bliss), mind, and spirit. It has absolutely nothing to do with Lulu Lemon pants or getting into a full Hanuman (splits). In fact, in yoga there is something called the Eight Limbs. The Eight Limbs function as a “Code of Conduct” for yogis and the practice of asana (poses) is only one of the Eight Limbs.

Additionally, while the limbs offer yogis guidance, there is the question of what they are guiding us to? If it’s not the toned body or sexy yoga instructor, what is it?

Often the next belief is that the purpose of yoga is enlightenment.

We see the eighth limb is Samadhi, often referred to as ecstasy or being one with the eternal. This, too, is not the goal. One does not practice yoga for the Physical Body nor does one practice yoga solely for the Bliss Body. Again, the purpose of yoga is not to strengthen our own desires to obtain a certain image of ourselves or perception of the world. These are, in fact, only the side effects of yoga. Therefore, we see a culture worshiping the chest and not the treasure.

Well then, what, pray tell, is the treasure?

Patience. I will get there.

Does anyone ever wonder why we practice Savasana (corse pose) at the end of every class? Why laying down is so, so important that every single teacher in every single lineage, home practice, or studio does it repeatedly, every single time, without fail?

So that we can take a nap because we’re really tired after our exhausting hour of stretching?

No, I’m sorry. That’s not it either.

Does anyone ever wonder why it is considered to be the most important pose? Why laying on the ground for five minutes is more important that down dog or a vinyasa, which most classes, including some of my own, do a hundred times in a hour?

It is said that the yogi practices Savasana to prepare for death. This idea is often taken quite literally, however, it took me a long time to understand what it meant on a deeper level. The truth is that yogis adhere to the knowledge that every second is death and rebirth. Every moment is wilting to blossom into a new one, every season is changing; constantly moving towards death and in the very same breathe moving towards new life.

We see this in every corner of our lives. Take for example oxygen: Billions of years ago, oxygen was introduced to our atmosphere. Cells quickly had to evolve to process this new element. Many couldn’t and perished, however, those that were able to lived on. Interestingly enough, this one element is what allowed single-celled organisms to evolve into complex organisms, that over the course of another billion years lead to us. But with this new found evolution also came decay. You see, oxygen, itself, gives us life, but it is also the very thing that causes us to age and eventually die.

And here. Here in this knowledge lies the truth. The truth that from the moment we are born, we are terminal. So we face death in the corner of every day, knowing someday it will greet us. Some people accept this as the sole truth of reality: every body and every thing dies. This is often looked at as a very sad thing, but yogis, on the contrary do not. We see death as a cycle of life, in line with the law of physics: energy cannot be created or destroyed, only changed.

And so what does death really have to do with yoga? Do we just lay in Savasana so we can feel what it will be like to lay in our graves?

No.

For those of you who are familiar with Hindi mythology might recognize this linguistic clue: Savasana (pronounced Shiv-Aw-San -Nah) auditorally sounds a lot like the name of the God Shiva. Shiva is known as the destroyer, but also the creator. Here, we see again both life and death spouting from the same seed.

So now I will tell you: The true truth of yoga, unmasked by any marketing scheme religious, propagandistic, or the like is that yoga’s true purpose is freedom and ultimate liberation. Why is Savasana the hardest pose? Because death is the ultimate liberation. Because it is preparing for death in life. Death before death has occurred. The death is not one of pain, but one that causes the ability to renounce all pains and all things, and then renounce the renouncer of all of these things.

Imagine a moment, after a yoga class where you lay down and suddenly, you are no longer aware of whether or not you are in a yoga studio, you have no idea what you’re wearing or what magazine you saw it in, you have no attachments to your belongings, your friends, your family, your joys, or your sorrows. You are able to, for the first time, be completely capable of being present and allowing the present to leave and continuously show up again and again as a new gift. This state is completely aligned with the universe. You know all of your needs are met. You are whole. You are God remembering Self once again.

page1_blog_entry383_1 life and death

Pose of the Week: Shoulder Stand

shoulder stand

Shoulder Stand

SALAMBA SIRSASANA

When the will is ready, the feet are light.” 

~ Proverbs

Benefits of the Pose:

  • Relieves stress & mild depression
  • Strengthens core, lungs, arms, spine, & neck
  • Improves balance & focus
  • Tones Organs in the abdominal region
  • Improves digestion
  • Stimulates pituitary & Pineal glands
  • Brings new blood to brain cells

Asana breakdown:

I love this pose! I have often heard it referred to as the “King pose of Yoga”. For some people this is their go-to pose: if they only have ten minutes to do some yoga, they are probably doing this. It has so many benefits beyond what is listed above. It’ll definitely give you a different perspective.

Now, it can look a little daunting at first, but I promise you that with practice the yoga Gods will bless you with the ability to get into this! It is safest to try this pose for the first time with a spot or against the wall. I like to do this with in the first half of my practice, often starting either in Down Dog (Adho Muhka Svanasana) or Dolphin (Makarasana). Use the position of your hands, which should align your middle finger with the middle of your shoulder, to find the proper width the elbows should be apart from one another. Another way to check is to come onto your forearms and reach for the opposite elbow. Clasp your hands together in front of you, place your head in your hands. Pressing into the floor, walk the legs closer to the upper body. Come onto your tip toes, aligning the hips so that then are directly above the torso, and lift the feet off the ground. Keep the knees bent, allowing them to draw close to the abdomen. Once stable here, Extend the legs directly overhead. Lock into a drishti (gazing point), unclench the jaw, and breath deeply.

Sources:

“The Health Benefits of Salamba Sirsasana (Supported Headstand Pose).” CNY Healing Arts. CNY Healing Arts, 21 Mar. 2011. Web. 15 Sept. 2015.

“Supported Headstand – Salamba Sirsasana – Yoga Pose.” Yoga Journal. Yoga Journal, 28 Aug. 2007. Web. 15 Sept. 2015.