Support A Steady Yoga Practice: Hold Your Ground


“Just being low down in a room tends to clear the mind. Maybe it’s because being on the floor is so foreign to us that it breaks up our habitual neurological patterning and invites us to enter into this moment through a sudden opening in what we might call the body door.” – Jon Kabat-Zinn

This week, we will begin to explore the individual poses of yoga or the asanas. This is the 3rd limb of the yogic system. Although it is self-evident that a steady yoga practice will involve the postures themselves, in the vast scope of yoga the asanas have a specific role to play. The intention of asana is to bring attunement (or greater awareness) to our instinctual responses. For that reason, many of the poses derive from animals who, by nature, are strongly instinctive.

The other main purpose of the asana limb is to balance the energy or prana within our bodies. Continue reading “Support A Steady Yoga Practice: Hold Your Ground”

YOLY Challenge #40: Making a Joint Effort

There certainly is strength in numbers.  Take joint ventures, joint commissions, joint statements, joint maneuvers or joint peace talks. The joint effect of most things is stronger than the result of standing alone. background-478072__340

There is also strength in forming a joint connection between two things such as mortar between bricks or a wood joint that links the ceiling to the floor or a knee that connects the lower leg to the upper leg. They all work to create a thing that is stronger, more complete, more effective than the single component.

Your challenge for the week is to apply this principle to your yoga practice.  We’ve explored strength through alignment, now we will investigate the balanced effort of flexibility and strength.  This is critical for the health of our joints. Hips, shoulders, elbows, spine, knees, ankles, wrists, and even the fingers and toes all benefit from this “joint concept” of  mobility and stability.

Focus on one area each day this week to create joint mobility and stability. Be sure to warm up with a gentle sun salutation prior to beginning these sequences.

Hips    Stabilize: Warrior III Mobilize: Eka Pada Rajakopatasana

Spine   Stabilize: Utkatasana  Mobilize: Cat/Cow

Shoulders   Stabilize:  Elbow Plank  Mobilize: Gomukasana/Garudasana

Wrists   Stabilize: Balasana to Half Dog (with correct hand position)  Mobilize: Reverse Namaste

Ankles   Stabilize: Ardha Chandrasana  Mobilize: Malasana

Knees   Stabilize: Parsvakonasana  Mobilize: Virasana

Toes   Stabilize: Tadasana (spread toes away from each other) Mobilize: From Vajrasana, lift forward, curl toes under & sit on heels.




YOLY Challenge #19: Turn On Your Heart Light

heart-1616504__180After skipping a week for the first time since beginning this blog, I admit I feel slightly freer. Not guilty like I thought I would. But happy that I can drive this caravan when and where I’d like to. Within limits – I don’t want to get stuck in the desert from whence I may never return. What I’m trying to say is it feels good to honor myself and make the choice to do what brings me joy.

Accordingly, this week we will lead with our hearts as we return to our Monday challenge. Through the anahata chakra we will energize our love of self and others by opening our hearts and letting our brilliance shine.

Here are some heart-warming poses to ignite your flame. Begin today’s practice with the first pose and add-on a new pose from the list each day. That way by Saturday you are doing the whole group of postures.

  1. Bhujanasana (Cobra) or Sphinx
  2. Supported Matsyasana (Fish)
  3. Virahbadrasana I (Warrior I)
  4. Parsvottanasana (Pyramid)
  5. Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Bridge)
  6. Ustrasana (Camel) – put blocks or a chair behind you for support.

As always, use your judgement and proceed within your comfort zone.

YOLY Challenge #17: Catch the Energy from Your Solar Plexus

Our chakra journey continues today with the third level, the Manipura chakra.  It is anatomically connected with the solar plexus. This is a region that covers the mid-body and can be associated with the stomach or gut yet is literally a ganglia of nerves located behind the abdominal region at the level of the first lumbar vertebra.

The third chakra is related to our power, our intention and desires. The balanced movement of prana through this area gives us self-confidence, motivation and direction.

It’s an auspicious time to catch a solar wave as we move toward the Autumnal Equinox – the phase when our days in the sun become diminished as longer nights trump longer days.

So, soak up the sun while you can and harness its energy with yoga.



Try one pose each day this week:

1.) Surya Namaskar – Sun Salutation

2.) Virabhadrasana I – 1st Warrior Pose

3.) Virahbadrasana II – 2nd Warrior Pose

4.) Virabhadrasana III – 3rd Warrior Pose

5.) Supta Hasta Padangusthasana – Reclining Hand to Foot Pose

6.) Trikonsana – Triangle Pose

7.) Vasisthasana – Side Plank

Use your belly brain to discover your hidden power.

“The technique a teacher passes on are petals on the flower, but the stem is inside you. No one can show you what that looks and feels like. They can help you learn and show you what they have found useful but the inner teachings are going on all the time – the little discoveries that can only be made from within as you compare the you that was with the you that is awakening.”