I have found myself in a place that I can’t quite wrap my brain around lately, where I feel both sadness and joy and confusion and clarity all at the same time. Meanwhile, I have been struggling to find the answers, to move one way or the other, or to just squelch things from my life… and like I said, struggling with it.
“A gesture of reverence”
This mudra is probably the most famous of all mudras as it is used to end almost all yoga classes. Practitioners generally take this mudra while saying Namaste, which is also a gesture of respect and reverence. But you don’t have to wait until the end of class to come into this posture.
There is no better pose to learn the lesson of release and letting go than a forward fold. The more you surrender in this pose, the deeper you will go. The pose gently stretches the ligaments of the back and brings suppleness to the spine. Paired with deep conscious breathing, it also gently massages the organs of digestion and aids in elimination.
Triangle pose provides a nice combination of balance, strengthening, stretching and challenge, making it an overall beneficial pose for mind, body and spirit and a great pose for combating stress!
This is one of the most healing and important postures in a yoga class and can also be the most challenging especially if you are a survivor of trauma.
There is nothing like a balance pose to bring you to the present moment. Tree pose has the added benefit of also being very grounding and strengthening.
Practicing chair pose usually elicits a strong reaction, most likely because it can be mentally difficult and physically taxing. It engages muscles in the whole body and quickly brings your attention to the present moment as you feel the heat being generated in the muscles.
If you have ever attended a yoga class, you may have heard the teacher refer to Prana. Maybe they guided you in Pranayama techniques, or maybe they brought your attention to the concentration of prana in a certain area of your body.
In my work as a yoga therapist, I have had the opportunity to observe many bodies breathe and it is striking to see the many different variations. Some individuals breathe shallow, fast breaths into the chest, sometimes people hold their breath and many individuals draw their stomach in on the inhale and out on the exhale.
This is a wonderful calming and relaxing breath which helps to combat nervous energy. The result is a relaxed system and a clear mind therefore I often use alternate nostril breathing if I need to make a presentation, take a test or have an important conversation where I need to be alert yet relaxed.
If you are feeling down and out, foggy, fatigued or crabby the Breath of Joy will bring some invigoration and energy into the body, mind and spirit. The sips of breath will fill your body with life force energy and...
swelling in the legs and ankles, leg fatigue, low back pain, varicose veins, headaches, menstrual pain and a gentle stretch of the back and hamstrings. The list goes on and on. But one of its biggest benefits is deep relaxation and the affect it can have on reducing stress and anxiety.
This is one of my favorite poses because it allows me to connect into the present moment and ground myself. I am able to touch base with my support beneath me (the earth) which allows me some moments of comfort especially in times of stress, anxiety and when I generally feel upset. It also has the added benefit of gently...