Relaxation is the process of observing your tension... Hmmm...Sit or lie comfortably, breathe deeply and witness your thoughts, feelings, emotions - no judgement. Try this for 10 minutes today
Ego or egoism?? The ego can help set healthy boundries - but some push the ego to infinity and beyond. Hmmm...are you willing to argue your point or opinion just to be right? AKA - "right-fighter." Do you NEED to be right?? Egoism is an unhealthy attachment to having it your way all the time. Let's experiment - holidays with family, extended family and friends can be stressful - consider letting go of the draw (or maybe habit) to be the "winner."
Ujjayi Breath...not like garlic breath!
What is it?? It's ocean-sounding breath.
Why do it?? It calms the mind, promotes self-awareness, warms the breath as it comes into the lungs - which warms you! and it deepens the meditatiive experience in your yoga practice.
How do you do it??
1) Be aware of your breath right now, just as it is.
2)Breathe through your mouth like you're fogging a mirror (it sounds like the ocean).
3)Close your mouth and continue making the fogging or ocean sound with the mouth closed -if you cup you hands over your ears it's more prominent.
4) Breathe...being present to the breathe in and out. Take a few minutes to just listen to your own breath - pranayama...your life force...
5) You're warmer, calmer and more in touch with
It's simple, breathe deeply and exhale completely.
Rodney Yee, a former ballet dancer turned yoga instructor writes, "Focusing on the downward movement in breathing can contribute to headache relief. Think of the lungs as being like a sponge which first needs to empty in order to absorb. Exhale as smoothly as you can, using your abdominal muscles to gently squeeze the air out. Then, rather than actively drawing breath in, let your belly relax with the natural downward movement of the diaphragm, allowing the body to relax and absorb breath."
So during this busy holiday season, take a few minutes to turn your cell phone off, find a quiet spot, sit comfortably and just breathe!
Traffic backups, roadblock, detour ... breathe!...behind and cement mixer...home to fine the dog didn't make it outside in time...argh...breathe! After sleeping on it I see that the Universe was my teacher of patience!
Yoga and Flexibility:
When some people think of yoga, they imagine having to stretch like a gymnast. That makes them worry that they're too old, unfit, or "tight" to do yoga. The truth is you're never too old to improve flexibility.
The series of yoga poses called asanas work by safely stretching your muscles. This releases the lactic acid that builds up with muscle use and causes stiffness, tension, pain, and fatigue. In addition, yoga increases the range of motion in joints. It may also increase lubrication in the joints. The outcome is a sense of ease and fluidity throughout your body.
Yoga stretches not only your muscles but all of the soft tissues of your body. That includes ligaments, tendons, and the fascia sheath that surrounds your muscles. And no matter your level of yoga, you most likely will see benefits in a very short period of time. In one study, participants had up to 35% improvement in flexibility after only eight weeks of yoga. The greatest gains were in shoulder and trunk flexibility.
Breathe better, feel better with “Full Yogic breath” or simply Yoga breathing.
First, lie down on your back, relaxed, with hands and legs outstretched and eyes looking up at the roof. Gently close your eyes and relax.
Step 1: Abdominal breathing
Observe your natural breath. You will notice that as you inhale the abdomen rises and then falls with exhalation. Watch this for a few moments to check this flow. Now begin to deepen, lengthen and extend that movement. That is, while inhaling, let the abdomen rise to its limit and at exhalation let it fall completely. Keep the chest still during this entire process – only move the abdomen. Continue this for 20 breaths and then rest.
Step 2: Thoracic (chest) breathing
Again observe your normal breath, this time focusing your attention on the chest. You will notice the chest moving slightly up at inhalation and down with exhalation. Again observe this pattern for a few moments. Now again, begin to deepen, lengthen and extend that movement. This time, on inhalation expand and lift the rib cage, filling the lungs completely. Then on exhalation, let the lungs collapse fully, sinking to the limits. In this step, keep the abdomen still, moving only the chest. Do this for 20 breath cycles and then stop
Step 3: Full Yogic breathing
This combines the above 2 steps in the following way:
First inhale by filling the abdomen and then CONTINUE inhaling as you expand and fill the chest. Then exhale first from the chest as it empties and falls and then CONTINUE exhaling from the abdomen as it draws inwards completely. This is one round of the full yogic breath. Repeat this for 20 rounds.
Remember the pattern… Inhaling - abdomen then chest; Exhaling – chest then abdomen.
GOLDEN RULE: All of the above steps should be done WITHOUT strain. The natural tendency is to heave with effort. The right way is to make it smooth and effortless. Go slow and easy.
Initially you will experience unevenness or bumps in this breathing process – as if there are 4 separate parts to the full yogic breath. This is natural considering the years we have spent breathing improperly.
Instead, try to picture this breath as a continuous wave like pattern – as if the breath moves up from the navel to the throat with every inhalation and then, down from the throat to the navel with each exhalation. It may take a few weeks of practice to perfect a “SMOOTH flowing pattern with MINIMUM effort and with MAXIMUM capacity.”
This is the desired effect!! Over time, the yoga way of breathing will come naturally to you.
And now for the all-important benefits…
The full yogic breath is the basic building block of the powerful yoga breathing techniques, also called ‘Pranayama’ in Sanskrit, which are known for their multifarious benefits.
But the tangible benefits of the full yogic breath are that it:
1) Releases acute and chronic muscular tensions around the heart and digestive organs.
2)Helps sufferers of respiratory illnesses such as asthma and emphysema to overcome the fear of shortness of breath. It actually increases lung capacity.
3)Encourages proper nervous stimulus to the cardio-vascular system
Dramatically reduces emotional and nervous anxiety
Improves detoxification through increased exchange of carbon dioxide and oxygen
4)Amplifies the auto immune system by increased distribution of energy to the endocrine system
5)Calms the mind and integrates the mental / physical balance. And the real icing is that it contributes to both vitality and relaxation through this single practice.
"If you are going to
worry, enjoy it completely.
Living your Yoga: Worryingis
focusing onthe future, it takes you away from what is. But if you like it, do it
completely! This will make you smile and you will probably stop worrying about
what you can't control. Make today a day of conscious
P.T. Judith Hanson Lasater, PhD
There's always more to learn about yoga and in turn, learn about yourself.