Saturday, January 31, 2015

January pose: reclining bound angle

Supta Baddha Konasana
How to do it:

1. Start lying down on your back.
2. Bend your knees bringing the soles of your feet together and let your knees fall to the side
3. Depending on how open or tight you are, your heels can come closer towards you or further away.
4. For support, you may place blocks under your thighs

Relax and breathe. Settle into the pose anywhere from five to ten minutes. To come out, slowly draw your knees together and hug them into your chest, rocking side to side.

Benefits:

  • Stretches the inner thighs, groins and knees
  • Stimulates abdominal organs 
  • Calms the mind and helps relieve stress 

Friday, January 2, 2015

Happy 2015!

Happy New Year everyone! As we embark on a new year, here is something to reflect on everyday of your life. Be inspired from the Be the Breath mantra:


Thursday, December 25, 2014

Christmas pose: wheel

Urdhva Dhanurasana
How to do it:

1. Start lying on your back with your knees bent. Separate your feet hip distance apart and start to walk them back towards your hips so you can touch the back of your heels.
2.  Bring your hands behind you, bend your elbows back, palms flat on the floor, and fingers pointing towards your shoulders.
3. Press into your palms as you lift your hips to bring the crown of your head to the floor
4. Take a deep breath in, and as you exhale firm your legs, press into your feet and hands to lift your head off the floor then straighten the arms.

Relax the head, soften your glutes and keep your feet parallel to the mat. Stay for 5-10 breaths then slowing tuck your chin in, bend your elbows and slowly lower down to the floor. Hug your knees into your chest and rock side to side to massage your low back.

Modification: bridge pose

Benefits:
  • Strengthens the arms, legs, abdomen and spine
  • Stretches the chest and lungs 
  • Increases energy 

Saturday, November 22, 2014

november pose: revolved chair

parivrtta utkatasana
How to do it:
1. Start standing with your feet together, toes and heels touching.
2. Bend your knees deeply, until your fingertips touch the floor by your side. Inhale raise your arms up by your ears. This is chair pose.
3. Glance down to make sure you can see your toes. Do not let your knees past your toes.
4. Bring your palms together at your heart. Take a deep breathe in, and as you exhale twist to the right, bringing your left elbow to the outside of your right knee.
5. Press into your palms, lift the chest and gaze over your right shoulder.

As you breathe into your twist, make sure your knees are together and toes are still pointing forward, parallel to the mat. Hold for 5-10 breaths, come back to centre and repeat on the left side.

Benefits:

  • Strengthens the hips and thighs
  • Chest and shoulder opener
  • Stretches your calf muscles 



Thursday, October 30, 2014

october pose: cross-legged seated position (aka easy pose)

Sukhasana
How to do it:
1. Begin by sitting in a comfortable position. You may sit on a blanket or block for support
2. Start to bend your knees, crossing at the ankles or shins.
3. Rest your hands on your thighs or palms together at your heart, and relax the elbows
4. Keep your neck neutral and lengthen the spine up to the crown of the head
5. Have a soft gaze in your eyes

You may stay here sitting in a meditative state for as long as you wish. Even out your inhales and exhales and clear the mind. When you are ready to come out, extend your legs forward and shake it out.

Benefits:

  • Calms the brain
  • Strengthens the back and spine
  • Stretches the knees and ankles 


Tuesday, September 30, 2014

september pose: half lotus toe balance

padangustha padma utkatasana
How to do it:
1. Start standing up and begin to shift your weight onto your left foot.
2. Bend your right knee, and cross your ankle above your left knee.
3. Focus on a point to gaze at and bring your hands together at the heart centre (you may choose to stay here as the first variation)
4. Start to bend your standing leg, lean forward slightly as you begin sitting down into a one-legged squat
5. Lengthen the spine as you come deeper, lifting your left heel off of the ground, balancing on the ball of your foot (you may use your fingertips as a support when you come down)

Listen to your body and know your limitations. Stay for 5-10 breaths and slowly make your way back up into a standing position. Switch sides.

Benefits:

  • strengthens the ankles
  • opens the hips
  • develops balance and clarity of mind


image source: Laura May Photography 

Monday, August 25, 2014

inhale, exhale, goodnight.

As you begin to settle down from your day, ask yourself "Did I take a moment to breathe today?" Yes we all breathe, and that is why we are alive, however most of us do not take the time for ourselves to sit, reflect and catch a breath. I was asked by NYC-based memory foam mattress company Casper to share my favourite bedtime yoga poses, so here are some you can take to the bedroom after a long day. No props required other than your favourite mattress and maybe some pillows ;) Lie down, quiet the mind and wake up feeling refreshed!


1. Legs up the wall

  • Mild inversion, helps to calm the mind and release stress. Relieves tired or cramped legs and feet. 

2. Child's pose

  • Gentle stretches the hips, thighs and ankles. Relieves back and neck pain. 

3. Reclining twist

  • Aids in digestion. Improves breathing and calms the nerves. 

4. Forward bend

  • Stretches the spin, shoulders and hamstrings. Soothes headaches and anxiety. 

5. Sphinx

  • Mild backbend, strengthens the spine. Stimulates abdominal organs. 




6. Corpse

  • Time to be mindful. Calms the brain and eases you into a deep sleep. Relaxes the body.