Tag Archives: restorative yoga

Shitali Pranayama

Shitali means cooling.  I thought it fitting to share this breath practice as the humidity of summer arrives.  This pranayama practice is great for my MS students to help deal with the heat and, great for my prenatal students to lessen their nausea.  My daughter and I routinely practice Shitali Pranayama when we are feeling nauseous from hormonal changes.

Benefits: 

*Activates the liver and spleen

*Improves digestion

*Relieves thirst

*Calm  feelings of anger

*Alleviates nausea

*Can help lower fever

Shitali

 

How to:

Find a comfortable seat with the natural curves in the spine.  Stick your tongue out and curl it, if you cannot curl your tongue as this is a genetic trait, make an O shape with your lips.  Inhale through the mouth, feeling the cool air flow over the tongue then, close your mouth and exhale through your nose.  I’ve read that you should do 5 rounds of this breath in order for it to be effective and, I recently read to do no more than 10 rounds in one sitting.   However, you can practice Shitali Pranayama several times a day.

Note:  Please discontinue practice if it does not feel right for you.  Also, if you start to get a sore throat, gargle with warm salt water.

“Feelings come and go like clouds in a windy sky. Conscious breathing is my anchor.” Thich Nhat Hanh

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Urban Zen

UZ

“We believe that it takes a strong back and a soft front to face the world.”  Roshi Joan Halifax

Are you being called to serve?  Do you have a passion to help your loved ones who may be living with terminal illness?  Do you want to work with persons undergoing cancer treatment and be able to offer them comfort?   You may have heard me mention Urban Zen here.  Urban Zen is the calm in the chaos.  Urban Zen Integrative Therapy is a very powerful yet simple way to help people that are dealing with pain, anxiety, nausea, insomnia, constipation and exhaustion.  Let’s face it, all of us at one point or another have suffered from one of these issues.  Urban Zen is being offered in hospitals, outpatient centers,  rehab and hospice centers, universities, schools as well as, corporations and in other countries.  Urban Zen Integrative Therapy is meant to serve as a compliment to modern medicine and it really works.  For example, I have worked with patients suffering from nausea and pain at a level 8 on a scale of 1-10 and after 15 minutes of using the Urban Zen modalities, these levels dropped to a 4.   The modalities used in Urban Zen are, gentle movements, Reiki, Essential oils, Body scan meditation, Breath awareness and simple breath practices and, Restorative yoga poses.  I feel so blessed to have gone through this training and to be doing this work!  UZ has changed my life in so many profound ways!  I can nurture myself, my family and friends when they are not well.  I have developed the ability to be present and, let’s face it, being present for others, to really listen and see someone, is a missing piece in our health care system and  in our world.  I’m so excited to share this with you as there will be an Urban Zen Integrative Therapy Training this year offered in Columbus, Ohio through Yoga on High.  Here is the link to there site and more information about the training.  There is an informational conference call on June 3.

http://yogaonhigh.com/teacher-training/urban-zen-integrative-therapy-training#IS

 

 

Put on Your Oxygen Mask First

If you’ve ever flown before, you’ve heard this statement, “In the event of an emergency and the oxygen masks drop down, please put  your mask on first before assisting children or others.”  This serves as a reminder that we need to care for ourselves before we can care for others.  As women, it is part of our nature to be the care-givers of the people in our lives, while also caring for our homes and maintaining a career outside of the home.   We, at least many of us, tend to place our needs and desires last on the list.  I invite you to make a change and “put on your oxygen mask first”!  I often find that, when I take some time for myself, I  have all that much more energy and love to give to my family.   So, make a date with yourself!  Below are some suggestions if you’re at a loss for where to begin.  Enjoy!  Please share in the comment section your self care ideas.

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*Sit outside and read a good book

*Enjoy a cup of tea and some quiet time

*Take a relaxing bath

*Practice yoga alone or take a class with some friends

*Practice some restorative yoga

*Take a walk and be with nature

*Share a meal with friends

*Get a massage

“Rest and self-care are so important. When you take time to replenish your spirit, it allows you to serve others from the overflow. You cannot serve from an empty vessel.”
Eleanor Brownn

 

 

Parent and Child Yoga Minutes

The truth of the matter is that I have reaped so many benefits from my yoga and meditation/mindfulness practice that yes, I would love for my entire family to practice on a daily basis with me.  I will say, my daughter does enjoy going to class with me when she is not hanging with her friends.  My son well, I think if he could teach the class he would practice yoga.  And my husband would rather play his guitar.  I have discovered a way to incorporate yoga into my son’s life. After attending a 1 day Workshop on Yoga 4 Classrooms in which I received this lovely deck of cards, my son and I started our Yoga Minutes.  In the morning just before going out to the bus stop, he chooses a card or two.  The cards have a pose and a description of how to do the pose as well as benefits of the pose.  There are also various visualizations and breath practices in the deck.  He and I look forward to choosing our card and, giggling always becomes part of the practice too. Another tool for mindfulness in our mornings is an app I have on my phone that I can set to chime at certain times.  When we hear the chime, we stop what we’re doing and take a breath or do wiggly tree.  These Yoga Minutes have proven to be a great way to incorporate mindfulness and yoga into my son’s life and mine.  My hope is that these minutes will provide him with tools for his daily life to manage his emotions and the stresses that children incur in this hectic world of ours.

I would love to hear in the comment section how you and your family incorporate yoga and mindfulness into your lives.

 

yoga cards

 

“Simple practices like conscious breathing and smiling are very important. They can change our civilization.” Thich Nhat Hanh, Peace is Every Step

Week 3 of Meditation/Mindfulness Journey

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Mindfulness:  Bringing ones complete attention to the present experience on a moment-to-moment basis, (according to Wikipedia).

My word for 2014 is presence, which to me is being mindful and fully present to each moment of my day as it unfolds.  I still find myself worrying about things in the future.  However, as I keep bringing my attention back to my intention of being present, I realize that I’m worrying about something that has not happened and may not even happen.  Instead of getting carried away by the anxiety and feeling overwhelmed which, has an ill effect on my overall health, I, am retraining my brain to come back to the moment.  This retraining creates new neural pathways, (this a whole other blog post).  Even if this moment is not a “pleasant” moment I can deal with it much more effectively when I’m present.  With presence, I can enjoy my meals, my afternoon tea and cuddling with my children with full attention.  With presence I can really see and hear people.  Think about it, when was the last time you really felt heard and seen by someone or, really listened and saw someone?

Multiple Sclerosis Survey

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Dear Reader,

I have been teaching yoga to persons with Multiple Sclerosis for 10 years and I have had many of the same amazingly dedicated students for these 10 years.   They come to class even though they may be in pain, having difficulty walking, suffering fatigue, anxiety and/or depression and, they leave the class feeling great with comments like, “I feel much better now”, or “this is the closest to pain free I have been in many years”.  It’s these smiling faces and these powerful words that keep me believing in the power of yoga and all it has to offer to persons with disabilities. This is the reason I partnered with Chuck Burmeister, a fellow yoga teacher, who also has MS, to create a DVD, “Yoga for Multiple Sclerosis”.  Through this DVD, we can offer yoga to those who live in other areas and may not have access to MS yoga classes or who may be afraid to try yoga or have difficulty getting out of the house.  You can purchase our DVD through my  blog site as well as through Amazon.   You can connect with us on our Facebook Page, Real Yoga, LLC.

We currently have a marketing team from Heidelberg University conducting a survey for persons with MS and or their care-givers.  Please take a few minutes to complete this survey so we can continue to help those with MS.

https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/HUWellness

Viparita Karani

Last week I came down with a cold and was not sleeping well.  I fortunately still had energy to go about my days however, every day I was sure to tune into what my body was calling for and Viparita Karani was it.  This pose can be modified with legs over a chair especially if you are new to yoga or on blood pressure medicine.  You never want to do this pose if you have detached retina.

This pose restores my energy and, supported by a bolster under the hips, becomes a restorative backbend.  Viparita Karani helps boost your immune system by reversing the flow of lymph, which is why this pose is so good when you are feeling under the weather.  Also, the pressure on the back of the head calms the nervous system.   It is recommended that you only stay for 10-20 minutes.

Our bodies have a wisdom to share if we tune in and listen we will know how to best support our health.