Pose of the Week: Crow

Crow

Crow

BAKASANA

Benefits of the pose:

  • Strengthens Upper Arms & Wrists
  • Increases Focus
  • Works Core
  • Stretches Upper Back
  • Tones Abdominal Organs

Asana Breakdown:

To get into this pose, begin in malasana firmly place your hands directly in front of you. Rooting down through your first three knuckles, begin to lift up onto the balls of your feet. As a beginner, you can begin to rock back and forth hear. Perhaps, holding the pose for only a second or two and then coming back to the ground. Allow the knees to draw in closely to the armpits as the shoulders move over the wrists, aligning with the middle finger. Draw your feet close to your glutes as you begin to work towards gradually straightening the arms. Once the arms are completely extended, you move from Crow to Crane! ❤

Pose of the Week: Upward Facing Dog

Photo Credit: Lily Russo

Upward Facing Dog

URDVHA MUKHA SVANASANA

Benefits of the pose:

  • Strengthens arms, shoulders & wrists
  • Stretches spine, lungs & shoulders
  • Tones stomach muscles
  • Helps relieve mild depression and fatigue
  • Opens chest

Asana Breakdown:

To get into this pose, begin in low cobra. Firmly press your hands into the ground as your arms lengthen. Draw shoulder blades onto the back as the collar bones begin to lift and spread. Feet are together, big toes touching, tops of the feet touching the ground. Hips, thighs and shins are off the mat. Chin can gently tilt towards the ceiling.

Sources:

“Upward-Facing Dog.” Yoga Journal. Cruz Bay Publishing, n.d. Web. 5 Nov. 2015.

Let Food Be Your Medicine: Candida Cures

Candida Cures

During the Fall and Winter I tend to eat lots of sweets, basically from Halloween through New Years. And I think so do a lot of other people…. Unfortunately, in addition to exciting your taste buds, these seasonal eating habits add unwanted weight to the body and unwanted bacteria to the gut which can lead to imbalances in the body, namely Candida. So many people experience symptoms and side effects of Candida but they don’t even realize they have it. Common symptoms include: depression, anxiety, crying spells, low libido, poor memory, nausea, indigestion, stomach aches, athlete’s foot, hives, persistent cough, mucus in throught, sore throat, blurred vision, sensitivity to light, PMS and menstrual irregularities, yeast infections, and much much more1

The harsh reality is that everyone has Candida and most people experience one or more of these symptoms. In my unprofessional opinion I recommend doing the diet for one week to one month this holiday season will dramatically improve your health, your gut flora/bacteria, and your overall happiness in your body.

I, myself, recently found that I was experiencing a variety of Candida symptoms and am going on the diet for the next month. It’s a bit challenging as a vegetarian, and I will admit some rules will be broken for the sake of improving my health. But if you’re a strict vegetarian who may be experiencing these symptoms, don’t be scared away! You can still do the diet and be a vegetarian.

I’ve noticed that there is a huge emotional battle that happens when you try to rid the body of Candida, so just be aware of that. It’s like have the devil sit on your shoulder and tell you that not eating sugar is wrong. My guess is that this happens because your body is going through sugar withdrawals and sugar is 8x more addictive that cocaine.

Up above I took a picture of my groceries for Candida Care:

(From the left) Celery, Broccoli, Vaginal Yeast Suppositories, Salmon, Artichoke Heart, Olives, Sesame Seeds, Almond butter, Kyolic Garlic Supplement, Free range eggs, Plain Kefir, Zucchini, Zucchini squash, Lemon, Spinach, Candida Care, Licorice & Peppermint tea, Miso Soup, Quinoa, and Plant Based Abult Probiotic.

Being on the Candida Diet means not only avoiding sugar, but anything that can turn into sugar including: Rice, Sweet Potatoes, Honey, Wine, Alcohol, Bread, Oats, Pasta, Fruit, Carrots, all cured meat products, and so on. If nothing else, getting on a good probiotic will help a ton, but unfortunately not as much as giving your body a break from the sugar overload.

The only two things that are not food are the vaginal yeast suppositories and the Candida Care Tincture. The suppositories are for women, they are made up of boric acid and tea tree in gelatin capsules. They are inserted vaginally as needed. As a women, let me tell you, in my experience, they are the fastest relief to any irritation downstairs. The Candida Care Tincture promotes healthy intestines, heals the body of Candida albicans overgrowth, and supports the immune system and contains, Desert Willow, Usnea, Echinacea, Milk Thistle and Chaparro Amargosa. The tincture is taken orally and is a great addition to the other supplements useful on this diet/cleanse.

Yeast Suppositories:http://dancingwillowherbs.com/vaginal-yeast-suppositories.html

Candida Care: http://dancingwillowherbs.com/candida-care.html

To get recipes, Do’s & Don’ts, and more information about Candida follow the link bellow:

http://www.thecandidadiet.com

Sources:

  1. “The Candida Diet.” The Candida Diet. Perfect Health, n.d. Web. 20 Oct. 2015.

Please note that any and all posts on this blog do not substitute for professional medical help, diagnosis or treatment.I am not a health care provider my any means. The content provided on this site is designed to be used for informational purposes only. The content is based on personal experience and outside research. 

Pose of the Week: Child’s Pose

Child's Pose.jpg

Child’s Pose

BALASANA

“Life is the balance of holding on and letting go.”

~ Keith Urban

Benefits of the pose:

  • Relax’s the mind
  • Open’s hips gently
  • Stretches hips, thighs, and ankles
  • Releases the spine, offering pain relief

Asana Breakdown:

It seems like everyone I have talked to is going through a bit of a thunderous week. In honor of these trying times, I offer up one of my favorite poses: Child’s Pose (Balasana). When I teach, I often invite students to set an intention at the very beginning of class and then recall it here. It’s such a sweet opportunity to bow down to the Sadguru, the teacher within us all, and the forces around us, regardless of whether they are disconcerting or pleasant. Each is a gift. There is so much strength in surrendering.

Often, I enter into Balasana before the first Down Dog. From a table position where your knees are stacked under the hips and the wrists are stacked bellow the shoulders, push back into a wide-legged Child’s Pose. Allow the big toes to touch. Do not cross over the feet over one another. Natural inclination to cross the feet can mean there are other emotional and physical disturbances often in the spine or other areas of the body. Sink down through the hips, finding a seat on your ankles. Reach the arms over head, touching your forehead to the floor.

The variation above is an active child’s pose, it is not passive nor wavering: the arms stretched out overhead are not touching the ground. I am rooting down through my seat, aware of the placement of my hips and feet, releasing through the heart. The nature of this pose is very apanic. Apana is a counterpart to prana as one of the five Vayus (wind). Apana has it’s seat in the pelvic floor, whereas prana holds its seat in the heart’s center. The natural lengthening of the tailbone here provides the grounding and rooting qualities of apana to occur. To find balance between the two (prana and apana), take the awareness to the heart center, create space between the neck/head and shoulders. Spread the collar bones away from one another.

Variations:

If there is pain caused by being unable to rest your sit bones on your ankles, you may role up a blanket and place it between your upper and lower thighs. Some people also like to place a block underneath there forehead to offer more support and ease any intensity in the spine. Child’s pose can also be practiced in many ways, here are a few options: Option 1) wide legged child’s pose (as shown above), Options 2) Leg’s together, arms come on the floor behind your near the feet, Option 3) Legs together, walk hands out in front of you to one side to get stretch in the side body.

Contradictions:

Avoid child’s pose when pregnant, if you have sensitive knees or have had knee surgery, or if you are experiencing diarrhea (Child’s).

Sources:

“Child’s Pose – Balasana – Yoga Pose.” Yoga Journal. Yoga Journal, 28 Aug. 2007. Web. 08 Sept. 2015.

Pose of the Week: Tree

Tree

Tree Pose

VRIKSHASANA

“I felt my body changing and becoming one with the tree. I could feel my roots deepen into the earth, and my branches reaching towards the sun. Being a tree felt every bit as natural as being a human. I was the same but my form had changed. The whole physical universe became fluid, and time and space lost all meaning for me.”

~Darren Main, Yoga and the Path of the Urban Mystic

Benefits of the Pose:

  • Increases Balance
  • Stretches and strengthens the legs
  • Opens the Hips
  • Helps to relieve Sciatica
  • Rejuvenates the mind
  • Increases focus and concentration
  • Heart opening

Asana Breakdown:

Start off in Samasthiti, equal standing, also referred to as Mountain Pose (Tadasana). Shift your weight into the left foot, rooting down through your mat. Bend the right knee and allow the right foot to find its placement above or below the knee. Beginners may take a variation where the right ankle comes off the ground and finds its seat on the left leg while keeping the right ball of the foot on the mat. I like to start with my hands in heart center to allow my body to find balance easily as I look upon my chosen drishti (gazing point). From here you may lift your arms overhead, as if they were branches. Heart lifts and spreads as the gaze comes towards the thumbs.

Troubles often Encountered:

You may begin to sway here, like trees often do in the wind. Take deep breathes and try to center yourself, focusing on your third chakra, manipura, located in the middle of your solar plexus. If you fall, that’s okay, too. Trees fall all the time, but then they seed and become trees once again. Do they same and find your expression of tree pose.

Variations:

The dynamic tree has many variations. Option one: Keep hands at heart center. Option two: Hands towards the sky with gaze towards the thumbs or eyes straight ahead. Option three: Close the eyes. Option four: Take a twist to your left side with arms spanning out from the shoulders. Option five: Take a twist to your right side.

tree1 tree2 tree3

Contraindications of the pose:

“Avoid doing this posture if you are suffering from migraine, insomnia, low or high blood pressure (those with high blood pressure may do this pose but without raising their hands overhead, as this may further raise their blood pressure)”(Tree).

“I knew in that moment that the tree was Spirit masquerading as a tree, and I was Spirit disguised as a human . I knew for the first time that there was only One that took shape in many.” 

~Darren Main, Yoga and the Path of the Urban Mystic

Sources:

“Tree Pose (Vrikshasana).” Tree Pose. Art of Living, n.d. Web. 30 Aug. 2015.

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

Pose of the Week: Bird of Paradise

bird of paradise

Bird of Paradise

SVARGA DVIJASANA

Benefits of the pose:

  • Strengthens legs, hips, quads, and pelvis.
  • Opens the shoulders
  • Increase balance and body awareness
  • Strengthens Core and Abdominals
  • Lengthens the hamstrings

Asana breakdown:

Traditionally, I get into this posture from a variation of extended side angle. I take my hand that is placed on my thigh and reach it under my leg and bring my other hand to grasp it, coming into a bind, Utthita Parsvakonasana (Bound Extended Side Angle). From here, I take my back leg and bring it to the front of my mat, squaring both of my feet. Keeping in mind that I will pour my weight into the leg which is not bound by my hands, I find my drishti (gazing point) and slowly begin to rise up, keeping my bound leg bent. Once my spine is fully erect, I root down through my standing leg. Noticing my foot and toes, allowing them to unclench and find the four corners of the foot. I then draw my shoulder blades closer together, allowing the collarbones to lift and spread away from one another. Once I feel stable in my foundation and my gaze is locked on my drishti, I will extend the bound leg towards the sky. ❤

Troubles often encountered:

It is in the troubles or difficulties with this pose I feel most like a bird. For me, if I have not focused my mind and taken my awareness to the breath, I will begin to wobble, hop (with my leg raised), or loose my balance. My advice here is to release the pose. Come into Tadasana (Mountain) and take some grounding breathes. Assess why you are trying to get into this pose: is it ego or curiosity? Find your root through your mat and pour all of your energy into the quality of your breathe. The quality of the breathe will be the defining factor in all of your asanas, especially more difficult or new pose. When you are ready, reproach the asana with integrity and respect. Find your gazing point and come into your full expression. If you don’t get it on your first try, warm up the legs more with more hip openers and remember why we call it a practice.

Sources:

“Bird of Paradise – Svarga Dvijasana | GaiamTV.” Gaiam TV. Gaiam TV, n.d. Web. 23 Aug. 2015.

Editor, YJ. “Bird of Paradise: 5 Steps to Master This Standing Pose – Yoga Journal.” Yoga

Journal. Yoga Journal, 18 Nov. 2014. Web. 23 Aug. 2015.