Use Essential Oils in Yoga Class- Creating Optimal Health

Use Essential Oils in Yoga Class

Use essential oils in yoga class to find balance and create optimal health. Yoga has healing properties for the mind and body. Yoga improves strength, balance, and flexibility. Yoga helps ease pains in the body like back pain. It benefits our heart health. It relaxes you to help you sleep better. Yoga is beneficial for the mental health and emotions. Yoga teaches us to breathe deeply and take control of our breath. Yoga slows the breath down to release stress on the nervous system.

We can maximize these healing properties when we combine yoga practice with essential oilsYoga and Essential Oils can be combined together for some strong emotional and physical benefits. When we apply essential oils to skin, diffuse them, or drink them, we are taking the plants natural defense system for our own benefit. Aromatically, essential oils can directly affect the airways. It can affect our moods and emotions, and the aroma can purify the air. When used topically, essential oils can be applied directly to a specific area. When oils are ingested, they can directly support the digestive system and our immune system. So, use essential oils in yoga class to create optimal health.

Use Essential Oils in Yoga Class

Use Essential Oils in Yoga Class to Create a Healing Experience

Start by placing On Guard Doterra Blend (paid link) on your mat or in a diffuser. This will support a healthy immune response and strengthen the inner self. You are using the oil to directly affect the airways and elicit response. Keep a cup of water nearby to sip on and place Wild Orange (paid link) and Peppermint (paid link) in the cup. Wild Orange has uplifting properties that relieves feelings of anxiety and stress. Peppermint supports nervous system balance.

Sit in Sukhasana and place Balance Blend (paid link) on the arches of the feet. This harmonizes various physiological systems of the body. It promotes tranquility and a sense of balance. Next move into baddha konasana. Watch this quick tutorial on the pose:

Move through cobra pose and child’s pose and then prepare for Vinyasa to warm the entire body. Place Melaleuca oil (paid link) (Tea Tree Oil) on the throat and chest. This will support a healthy immune response. It is the oil or energetic balance and clears negative energetic balance. When you use essential oils in yoga class, you will understand that the oils create both a physical and emotional stimulus. This is what creates balance and optimal health. Watch this tutorial for Vinyasa:

Create Health for the Body with Yoga

Now that the body is warm, move through yoga poses to stimulate health in the body.

Use Essential Oils in Yoga Class

Parsvakonasana (Extended Side Bend) will strengthen the hips and hamstrings while stretching the side body, chest, and shoulders. Just add a twist to this pose to stimulate the digestive system and relieve back pain.

Counter balance Parsvakonasana with reverse Warrior to stretch the other side of the body and take pressure off the hip.

Prasarita Paddotanasana will further open the hips and take pressure off the sacrum as the spine lengthens.

Bring the Emotions Into Class

With the body warm and stretched, we can further use essential oils in yoga class to elicit an emotional response combined with the physical response. Move your body into Balasana, child’s pose. Place Deep Blue Blend (paid link) and Aromatouch Blend (paid link) to your lower back and neck. This will help relieve muscle tension and support decreased inflammation (physical response). They will help calm the mind and allow you to live in the here and now (emotional response).

Muladhara Chakra and Yoga

Counter balance poses bring balance and cultivate health in the body by stimulating and stretching muscle groups.

Paschimottonasana (forward bend) and Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (bridge pose) are counter poses for health. Paschimottonasana stretches the back body as we engage the abdominals through uddiyana bandha to lengthen the hamstrings, stretch the hips, and lengthen the back. Bridge Pose strengthens the back body, glutes, low back, and hamstrings, while lengthening the front of the body through the quadriceps, psoas, abdominals, and chest.

Use Essential Oils in Yoga Class to Create Calm

Finish your balancing, healthy yoga and essential oils practice with Lavender oil on the brow swipe, and back of neck. This will assist with calming and sedation. It encourages self care and nurturing the self. Nurture yourself with some time in savasana. Use essential oils in yoga class for balance in cultivating optimal health.

All healing is first a healing of the heart.

Carl Townsend

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Yoga Nidra for Grief in Deployment- 15 min of Blissful Sleep

Yoga Nidra for Grief in Deployment

Need a good cry? Let’s get our tears out with a Yoga Nidra for Grief in Deployment. During our deployment, I was listening to Josh Groban’s “I’ll Be Home for Christmas.” (paid link) He has a beautiful version of the song with heartbreaking audio from deployed military members.  All of the sudden, water works.  I have listened to this song for years, but this year, it had a greater meaning for me and my family and I felt grief. 

How can we use yoga nidra for grief in deployment and find some peace? In 2020, our lives have been disrupted by COVID-19. We have felt loss and heartache, injustice, and tremendous grief.  My family has been dealing with our first deployment on top of this and I have felt that what I do in this time matters.  I need to be alert to everything that arises and that includes my grief.  

Yoga Nidra for Grief in Deployment- Yogic Sleep

Yoga Nidra for grief in deployment can help us take the heaviness we feel and turn it into grounding, a connection to the earth that holds us and supports us. Yoga Nidra for grief in deployment allows us to stay awake and aware while we move through stages of consciousness and the transitions between them. We move through four stages- deep belly breathing, systematic relaxation of the body, visualization, and resting in spacious awareness. This is in efforts to reach a place between sleeping and wakefulness. This will feel restful and offers an entrance to the heart center. We can think of it as waking up to life.

Yoga Nidra for Deployment- Deep Belly Breathing
Deep Belly Breathing

 When we are grieving, we need support. Yoga Nidra for grief in deployment offers a chance to practice deep relaxation and presence while being supported.  

Yoga Sutra 1:36 describes a state of sorrow less joy that resides at the heart, a place free of grief and suffering illuminated by an eternal radiant light unaffected by conditions.  It is here we can rest when we’re experiencing grief.  If we can find this inner place, we recognize that are experiencing grief, but we know that joy is also present.

Yoga Nidra for Deployment- Heart

Yoga Nidra Guided Practice

Please join me for a guided Yoga Nidra for grief in Deployment practice Credits to Yoga Journal:

Yoga Nidra For Grief in Deployment

Are you in preparing for a deployment or in the midst of one?  Get my Top 10 List for Surviving Deployment

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4 Powerful Yoga Breathing Exercises for Beginners

Yoga Breathing Exercises for Beginners

In these days of stress and uncertainty, we can all benefit from yoga breathing practices.  Yoga breathing has been found to lower stress and improve cardio vascular functioning.  It improves lung function and respiratory endurance, helpful in the time of a respiratory pandemic! It lowers the heart rate and promotes well-being. So, why would not take a few minutes daily for yoga breathing exercises for beginners?

4 Yoga Breathing Exercises for Beginners

  1. Ujjayi breathing is a powerful warming breath where we keep our mouth closed and breathe through the nose only. Fill up the entire belly with air and allow the exhale to hum in the throat. This breath improves concentration in physical practice, it lessens distractions because we can hear the hum and we have a physical sensation to focus on, and it can release tension in the body. Ujjayi Breathing is the primary beginning method in Ashtanga Yoga. Here are the benefits of Ujjayi breath:
  • Improve your concentration
  • Release tension through the body
  • Regulate heating and cooling of the body
  • Warming the core from the inside- a piece of the powerful yoga breathing exercises for beginners

2. Alternate Nostril Breathing will open up the hemispheres of the brain allowing for clearer thinking. This exercise can relieve headaches, improve respiratory and cardio vascular health, reduce stress and anxiety, and prepare us for meditation. Benefits of alternate nostril breathing yoga breathing exercises for beginners:

  • Bring better balance to your nervous system
  • Less stress response and activity over time
  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Slows heartbeat
  • Improves breathing
Alternate Nostril Breathing

3. Counted Breathing can slow down our breath and our parasympathetic nervous system.  It is calming and rhythmic. It will send a message to your parasympathetic nervous system to slow down.  It is like taking the fight and flight syndrome down a notch.  It may also benefit the immune system. Benefits of counted breathing:

  • Pulls focus from the panic producing situation
  • Helps you control your response to stimuli
  • Helps sleep when having insomnia
  • Helps refocus when having a stressful day

4. Breath retention practice helps us find some control over our breath and can remind us that we do have control over one thing in a world that may be spinning out of control.  It can bring more blood to the brain and heart, allow more air to enter the lungs, and calm the nervous system. These benefits can result in a healthier digestive system as well. Benefits of yoga breathing exercises for beginners through breath retention practice:

  • Improves oxygen saturation
  • Helps the brain to stimulate our breathing
  • Gives you a sense of control over your body responses

Try some of these yoga breathing exercises for beginners today and let me know how you feel.

Yoga Breathing Exercises for Beginners
“For breath is life, and if you breathe well, you will live long on the earth.”

Breathing and Meditation go hand in hand!  Try my Program, Meditation Magic to feel the benefits for yourself.

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Yoga and Your Bones- Osteoporosis doesn’t have to be scary!

Yoga and Your Bones

Can yoga help bone health? Yes! Yoga and your bones go hand in hand. We can practice yoga for bone density. We all want to be healthy, inside and out.  And we often think about our muscles but do we pay much attention to our bones?  Let’s focus on bones today! Yoga and your bones will thank you!

Yoga and your bones

Yoga and your bones- Yoga can help with bone diseases

Osteoporosis is a bone disease that occurs when the body loses too much bone, makes too little bone, or both. As a result, bones become weak and may break from a fall. Osteoporosis means “porous bone.” Viewed under a microscope, healthy bone look like a honeycomb.


Yoga can be beneficial for people with osteoporosis. Studies have found that practicing yoga can actually increase bone density if done consistently and properly. Yoga also improves balance and flexibility, which can prevent falls and therefore prevent fractures. Weight bearing exercises can help you regain bone mass because they work against gravity.  Bone health is increased if the yoga pose activates muscles and has any part of the body touching the ground.  Sounds like a yoga asana to me. Yoga and your bones can beat osteoporosis! Check out great yoga styles today.

Yoga and Your Bones- Poses to help

Try the following yoga poses to increase your bone health:

Muladhara Chakra and Yoga
Virabhadrasana II

Virabhadrasana II increases stamina and bears weight into the hips and shoulders. Build stamina through yoga and your bones.

Stand in Tadasana (Mountain Pose). With an exhalation, step or lightly jump your feet 3 1/2 to 4 feet apart. Raise your arms parallel to the floor and reach them actively out to the sides, shoulder blades wide, palms down.

Turn your right foot slightly to the right and your left foot out to the left 90 degrees. Align the left heel with the right heel. Firm your thighs and turn your left thigh outward so that the center of the left knee cap is in line with the center of the left ankle.

Exhale and bend your left knee over the left ankle, so that the shin is perpendicular to the floor. If possible, bring the left thigh parallel to the floor. Anchor this movement of the left knee by strengthening the right leg and pressing the outer right heel firmly to the floor.

Stretch the arms away from the space between the shoulder blades, parallel to the floor. Don’t lean the torso over the left thigh: Keep the sides of the torso equally long and the shoulders directly over the pelvis. Press the tailbone slightly toward the pubis. Turn the head to the left and look out over the fingers.

Stay for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Inhale to come up. Reverse the feet and repeat for the same length of time to the left.

Ajna Chakra and Yoga
Dolphin Pose

Dolphin Pose will bear weight into your back, shoulders, and forearms. This is an excellent pose for building core strength. Build strength though yoga and your bones.

Come onto the floor on your hands and knees. Set your knees directly below your hips and your forearms on the floor with your shoulders directly above your wrists. Firmly press your palms together and your forearms into the floor.

Curl your toes under, then exhale and lift your knees away from the floor. At first keep the knees slightly bent and the heels lifted away from the floor. Lengthen your tailbone away from the back of your pelvis and press it lightly toward the pubis. Against this resistance, lift the sitting bones toward the ceiling, and from your inner ankles draw the inner legs up into the groins.

Continue to press the forearms actively into the floor. Firm your shoulder blades against your back, then widen them away from the spine and draw them toward the tailbone. Hold your head between the upper arms; don’t let it hang or press heavily against the floor.

You can straighten your knees if you like, but if your upper back rounds it’s best to keep them bent. Continue to lengthen your tailbone away from the pelvis and lift the top of your sternum away from the floor.

Stay between 30 seconds to one minute. Then release your knees to the floor with an exhale.

yoga oils and emotional relief
Yoga and your bones with Trikonasana

Stand in Tadasana. With an exhalation, step or lightly jump your feet 3 1/2 to 4 feet apart. Raise your arms parallel to the floor and reach them actively out to the sides, shoulder blades wide, palms down.

Turn your left foot in slightly to the right and your right foot out to the right 90 degrees. Align the right heel with the left heel. Firm your thighs and turn your right thigh outward, so that the center of the right knee cap is in line with the center of the right ankle.

Exhale and extend your torso to the right directly over the plane of the right leg, bending from the hip joint, not the waist. Anchor this movement by strengthening the left leg and pressing the outer heel firmly to the floor. Rotate the torso to the left, keeping the two sides equally long. Let the left hip come slightly forward and lengthen the tailbone toward the back heel.

Rest your right hand on your shin, ankle, or the floor outside your right foot, whatever is possible without distorting the sides of the torso. Stretch your left arm toward the ceiling, in line with the tops of your shoulders. Keep your head in a neutral position or turn it to the left, eyes gazing softly at the left thumb.

Stay in this pose for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Inhale to come up, strongly pressing the back heel into the floor and reaching the top arm toward the ceiling. Reverse the feet and repeat for the same length of time to the left.

Yoga and your bones in the future…

Yoga and your bones
This is what I will look like someday! Yoga and your bones!

Get started the right way with Yoga! Download for FREE “Top 10 List for Yoga Beginners.”

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Pregnancy Yoga Routine- 1, 2, 3, Time for Baby Love!

Pregnancy Yoga Routine

A Pregnancy yoga routine is considered safe if you have been exercising before getting pregnant.  The questions are always what yoga poses are beneficial or risky during pregnancy?  What are the changes that need to be made to a yoga practice in each trimester?  Most agree that the activity should not harm the mother or the child and is better if it is regular occurring exercise.

If you have never practiced yoga before or have some health risks, you would benefit from a pregnancy yoga routine class specifically designed for pregnant students, usually called Prenatal Yoga.  If you are a regular practitioner of yoga or other physical exercise, you should look for a yoga teacher who is able to give advice about how to modify postures in a regular class.

All pregnant yogis can benefit from focus on the structure, muscles, and support of the pelvis.  Mula bandha helps develop a stronger and more flexible set of perineal muscles, more awareness of the pelvic area, and greater ease in the future delivery of the baby.

Starting a Pregnancy Yoga Routine

I completely missed out on the benefits of prenatal yoga for each of my pregnancies.  For my first daughter, I worked full time at a desk job and lived 45 min from my work place.  I did not do any exercise.  In my second pregnancy with my son, I taught ballet.  Ballet has some of the balance strengthening and hip stretches that yoga offers.  I felt pretty good during this pregnancy. 

During my last pregnancy, I wore my body out doing heavy cardio classes until 39 weeks of pregnancy.  It wasn’t until after I gave birth to this last child that I embraced the benefits of yoga.  I was changed by yoga.

Pregnancy Yoga Routine
A little fun with pregnancy yoga at my YTT 200 Hour Teacher Training in Misawa, Japan. If only it was that easy, right??

Pregnancy Yoga Routine for the First Trimester

Here are some general guidelines for Yoga in the First Trimester:

  • Take it easy as your body is adjusting to changing hormones and energy.
  • Stay with simple and deep inhales and exhales or ujjayi breathing.
  • Do not jolt the body by jumping into asana
  • Minimize twists as they may restrict the air flow to the baby.
  • You can still lie on your belly until you are showing.
  • Develop pelvic awareness with Supta baddha konasana (reclined bound angle pose), Virasana (thunderbolt pose), Upavista konasana (wide-angle forward fold pose), Gomukhasana (cow faced pose), Happy baby, and Malasana (garland pose).
  • Learn a variety of shoulder strengtheners and openers.
  • Practice poses that open hips and stimulate circulation in the legs like Utthita Trikonasa (Triangle pose) and Utthita Parsvakonasana (Extended side angle pose.)
  • Look for a good bolster (paid link) as you will need it in the second trimester!

Pregnancy Yoga Routine for the Second Trimester

Pregnancy Yoga Routine
Pregnancy Yoga fun for my students in my 200 Hour YTT Teacher training in Misawa, Japan. If only it was that easy?!?!

If you want to practice yoga while in your second trimester, here are some tips:

  • The second trimester is the perfect time to build strength and stamina to prepare for the challenges that will happen as the baby grows.
  • The pelvis is no longer protecting the uterus so it is time to start adapting poses with props like bolsters (paid link) and blocks (paid link) .
  • Avoid jarring movements like Navasana (boat pose.)
  • Work on alignment of the spine with bridge roll practice.
  • Use folded blankets (paid link) to support the ribs and hips while laying on the stomach.
  • Practice standing poses to build strength in the legs, hips, and pelvis.
  • Explore hips openers like Bharadvajrasana (Sage Bharadvaj’s pose) and Marichyasana A (Sage Marichi’s pose).
  • Relax with legs up the wall or raising legs with a bolster in savasana.
  • Be aware of sensations when lying on your back.  Start propping the back, hips, and shoulders.

Pregnancy Yoga Tips for the Third Trimester

Pregnancy Yoga Routine

Tips for yoga in the third trimester:

  • Limit time lying on the back as the weight of the baby puts pressure on the spine.
  • You may notice weakness in the knees and instability in the sacroiliac and other joints.
  • Continue working on postural alignment to give support to the spine.
  • You may find chair yoga supportive in some standing and sitting poses.
  • After week 34, adho mukha svanasana (down dog) and other inversions can cause breech presentation.
  • Enjoy a bolster (paid link) in long holds like Supta Baddha Konasana (see picture above).
  • Rest on your side in savasana with a props between the knees, under the head, and under the upper arm.
  • Always keep breath flow to the baby.
  • Widen the legs in seated forward folds to create space for the stomach

Learn all you need to know about Prenatal Yoga with this program!

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Yoga for Me- Take the 22 Yoga Style Quiz!

Yoga for Me- Take the Quiz

Yoga for Me- How do we figure out what is the best yoga style for our ability and personality? There are so many different yoga styles- from calm and meditative styles to styles that never stop moving in sweaty heat. Sometimes, if you end up in the wrong type of yoga class, you may say, “Is this yoga for me?” Yes, yoga is for you- just find the right kind!

Yoga for Me

You have to consider why you are practicing yoga. Do you want a sweaty workout or do you like the restorative properties of yoga? Do you want relief from back pain or a more spiritual community? Then we have preferences to consider. Maybe you want one on one attention, maybe you thrive on a community. Do you want to be encouraged or pushed to deepen or do you want a compassionate approach? So many questions about how to find “yoga for me.”

22 Yoga Styles

How to find the best yoga for me? You should pay attention to how you feel after class- more grounded, relaxed, open and connected to your body. If you feel inspired and want to take the class again, it is a good fit. Take this quiz to find “yoga for me”! It can guide you in the right direction to get started. Ultimate Yoga Style Guide Quiz.

Yoga for Me- 22 Yoga Styles

Acroyoga– Acro-yoga is a partner based practice that blends yoga with playfulness and acrobatics. A base and a flyer work together to explore movements and postures in a safe atmosphere. This style aims to bring trust and community to the yoga world. Co-Founders: Jason Nemer and Jenny Sauer-Klein

Ananda– This is a gentle practice that emphasizes alignment, pose modifications, pranayama, energy control techniques, meditation, and applied yoga philosophy. Students are encouraged to remain relaxed while silently repeating an affirmation in each pose. Developed by Swami Kriyananda from the teachings of Paramhansa Yogaananda

Ashtanga Yoga- Ashtanga is dynamic and physically demanding. It synchronizes breath and movement to produce an internal heat designed to purify the body. Ashtanga uses many vinyasas and is great for building core strength and toning the body. Prepare to sweat! Founder: K Pattabhi Jois

Yoga for ME!!

Baptiste Yoga– A combination of vigorous, flowing, heated asana, mediation, and active self-inquiry, Baptiste Yoga is designed to condition the whole body and allow students to step into their full potential. The practice seeks to inspire passion, commitment, and focus by giving students tools to change their lives. Founder: Baron Baptiste

Bikram Yoga– Bikram is a set series of 26 postures and two breathing exercises done in high heat for 90 minutes. It is said to work every part of the body and bring fresh blood to the organs, while the heat serves to detoxify. Founder: Bikram Choudhury

Core Power Yoga– This is one of more vigorous styles of yoga. It combines the practice of Power Yoga with heat for a variety of physically demanding, health focused yoga classes and a complete cardio-vascular strength training workout. Founder: Trevor Tice

Forrest Yoga– An intensely physical practice with a strong internal focus, Forrest yoga involves holding poses for a long period of time in a heated room. This demands everything you’ve got and the intense sequences emphasize abdominal work. The poses will make you sweat, eliminate toxins, and release emotional tension. Founder: Ana Forrest

Integrated Yoga Therapy– This is a personalized practice that uses yogic tools, modifications of poses, breathing exercises, guided imagery, and meditation, to address specific health needs. It is designed for medical wellness settings. Founder: Joseph Le Page

Ishta Yoga– Ishta Yoga integrates the ancient sciences of Hatha Yoga, Ayurveda, and Tantra. It is breath centered, alignment oriented and combines elements of Iyengar Yoga and Ashtanga Yoga to expand awareness and generate emotional well-being. Founder: Alan Finger

Iyengar Yoga- This style pays close attention to alignment of each posture. The poses are held for a long period of time and are often modified with props. It is designed to build strength, flexibility, stability, and awareness. Founder: BKS Iyengar

Jivamuhkti– This style incorporates chanting, meditation, pranayama, philosophy, and music in a vigorous flowing asana. It is stimulating physically and intellectually. It brings ancient teaching alive in a contemporary setting. Founders: David Life and Sharon Gannon

Kripalu Yoga– Asana, pranayama, relaxation, and meditation are Kripalu’s Primary tools for promoting physical and mental health and deeper levels of awareness. Students are encouraged to modify poses to discover what works best for them. Developed by Amrit Desai from the teachings of Kripalvananda

Kundalini Yoga– Kundalini is a spiritual practice which uses rhythmic movements, breathwork, and sound to stimulate and move energy through the body. It alternates between kriyas and short periods of relaxation to release stored emotions. Founder: Yogi Bhajan

Laughter Yoga- Laughter Yoga is a combination of deep breathing and laughter exercises. It uses eye contact and childlike playfulness to initiate laughter. This will release endorphins and stress. Founder: Dr. Madan Kataria

Parayoga– Parayoga incorporates asana, pranayama, mudra, mantra, mediation, visualization, and kriya to offer a complete experience. It strives to make the ancient principles of yoga accessible to students and teachers. Founder: Rod Stryker

Power Yoga– This is a fitness based vinyasa practice which is an offshoot from Ashtanga. It builds internal heat, increased stamina, strength, stress reduction, and flexibility. Breath and movement is synchronized. Founder: Beryl Bender Birch

Prana Vinyasa Flow Yoga- A creative, energetic and fluid form of vinyasa flow. It is guided by the flow of energy through the body. It incorporates elements of dance, moving meditation, Bhakti, Ayurveda, and music. Founder: Shiva Rea

Restorative Yoga– Restorative Yoga uses five or six poses each class. Each pose is supported by props that allow students to completely relax and rest. Each pose is held for at least 5 minutes. Poses are light twists, forward folds, gentle backbends. Based on the teachings of BKS Iyengar

Sivananda Yoga– This gentle practice revolves around the principles of proper exercise, proper breathing, proper relaxation, proper diet, positive thinking, and meditation. Classes follow a set combo of poses and breathwork with relaxation between poses. Developed from Swami Vishnudevandanda from the teachings of Swami Sivananda

Viniyoga– Viniyoga adapts yoga poses and techniques and applies them to each person’s needs, interests, abilities, and desired results. The teachers are skilled therapeutic teachers who emphasize breath and biomechanics of the poses, safe sequencing, and holding poses for longer periods of time. Developed by Gary Kraftsow from the teachings of TKV Desikachar

Yin Yoga– This practice is designed to help you sit longer and more comfortably in mediation. It stretches the connective tissues around the joints (knees, pelvis, sacrus, and spine.) Yin Yoga is a passive practice and involves variations of seated and supine poses typically held for at least 3 minutes to access deeper layers of fascia. Founder: Paulie Zink

Yoga Nidra- Yoga Nidra is yogic sleep. The teacher takes students through a guided mediation that systematically brings awareness to each part of the body. Students find a deep state of relaxation while still maintaining full consciousness. Popularized by Satyananda Saraswati

Yoga For Me- How to Know You Are in the Right Class

Finding the right yoga for me is a combination of the right teacher and the right style. While in class, tune into your inner voice and see if you notice a few key elements:

  • The teacher honors your physical limitations but can help you move out of your comfort zone safely.
  • You feel safe and supported in the space
  • The teacher is approachable. You can ask questions like, “what yoga for me,” and you can share concerns.
  • The teacher customizes their teachings to the skill level and ability of the students in the class. This is not determined by level or class description.
  • You feel inspired during and after class
  • The teacher addresses everyone- newbies and regulars
  • You can hear and understand the teacher’s instructions.

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Macros Recipes for Summer- 5 Ideas for a Quick Meal

Macros Recipes for Summer

How do you prep your meals?  How about macros recipes for summer? I am hypoglycemic and macros recipes for summer makes my body feel good! Macros is a short term for macronutrients, the three categories of nutrients that we eat the most and fill our bodies with energy- fats, carbohydrates, and protein.

I started the Macros way of preparing my food with recipes from Clean Simple Eats. I have been doing it for so long that now I adjust my favorite recipes from my childhood into macros too. It is simple to create a balance with the app MyNetDiary.

I like lots of variety in my diet so I plan my recipes seasonally. I try to use fruits and vegetables that are in season to save a little in our budget. I am never home to cook when we actually need to eat so my husband and I do all our meal prep in the evenings. We prep two-three days at a time and eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner with two snacks throughout the day. Each meal is around 350 calories, divided into macros. I am not a fancy cook, so I pick recipes that are quick and taste good! Macros recipes for summer works for me!

Save Time In Your Day- Macros Recipes for Summer

Breakfast

Breakfast is probably my favorite meal of the day. I like something filling and that still tastes good after a night in the fridge. Overnight oats are simple to throw together and taste wonderful. A good breakfast fuels my yoga daily routine!

Snack

I eat every three hours or so. That means two yummy snacks per day. In the summer, we can take advantage of all the wonderful fruits and vegetables of the season.

Lunch

I am always ready for lunch. I do most of my teaching in the morning so my snack is on the go, and I am ready to sit down for lunch when it is time.

Protein Balls

I always have a batch of protein balls in my fridge for in between meals. They help me to avoid the munchies. I know that I am grabbing something that will give me a burst of energy.

Dinner

In these busy times, it is easy to get dinner on your way home. Usually, the choices out will not be as healthy as you could make at home. Having a macros recipes for summer in the fridge will support your healthy lifestyle.

Macros Recipes for Summer

Enjoy your healthy, seasonal, and quick eats. Let me know which is your favorite!

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Celebrate Your Power with Yoga- 6 Oils to Free your tight Hips!

Celebrate Your Power with Yoga

Celebrate your power with yoga and find a new sense of freedom.  We can find this power through yoga and essential oils.  Yoga and Essential Oils can be combined together for some strong emotional and physical benefits. We can celebrate your power with yoga poses paired with essential oils.

When we apply essential oils to skin, diffuse them, or drink them, we are taking the plants natural defense system for our own benefit. Aromatically, essential oils can directly affect the airways. It can affect our moods and emotions, and the aroma can purify the air. When used topically, essential oils can be applied directly to a specific area. When oils are ingested, they can directly support the digestive system and our immune system.

How to Celebrate Your Power with Yoga

Let’s have a powerful yoga experience with essential oils.  Place a few drops of Eucaluptus oil (paid link) at the top of your yoga mat.  This is the oil of wellness and will support healthy respiratory function. Place a drop of Peppermint oil (paid link) in a cup to sip on during the yoga practice.  Peppermint is cooling and support healthy, normal digestion.  It fosters joy and offers a reprieve from disappointment. Place Frankincense oil in your hands, breathe it in and rub it on your chest.  This will help with cell regeneration and is a powerful cleanser of spiritual darkness.

Place Frankincense oil (paid link) on your hands and chest.  This helps with cell regeneration and is a powerful cleanser of spiritual darkness. Move through Cat and Cow and into Child’s Pose.  Place Pasttense Blend (paid link) at your hairline to assist with relief in migranes and headaches.  This will also help your regain equilibrium during periods of fatigue.  Move into back bends like Salabhasana or Dhanurasana (pictured below.)

Manipura Chakra and Yoga

Feel Freedom with Hip Openers

Celebrate your power with yoga as you open the hips through poses like Pigeon, Mermaid, Half Moon, Virabhadrasana II, and Trikonasana.  Hips hold  the creative energy in our body.   They are also the house of deep emotions.  Long sustained hip opening poses will help to us find Freedom from pent up emotional distress.

Celebrate your Power with Yoga

Place Wild Orange oil (paid link) on your belly.  This may help with muscle soreness and encourages self confidence and positivity.  Continue with hip opening poses to open and release stress and tension.  Gomukhasa will open the outer hips and happy baby will relax the back and open the sacrum to prepare the body for a calm savasana.  Use Roman Chamomile oil (paid link) on your brown swipe in savasana to help with muscle tension and encourage inner peace.

Celebrate Your Power with Yoga

“And the day came when the risk to remain a tight bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” -Anais Nin

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Arm Support Yoga Poses- Strengthen Wrists and Shoulders!

Arm Support Yoga Poses

When we balance our entire body on the hands, it requires focus, strength, and control. Arm support yoga poses are freeing and energizing. Arm support yoga poses bring us closer to the logical fear of falling and this is linked to our ego and the desire of being in control. The irony is that we are trying to loose the ego when we practice yoga. This is why practicing arm support yoga poses bring us a balance between self-confidence and humility. We can also begin to feel a bit of humor and playfulness in our practice because the poses are so challenging. The more we practice, the more we will find these poses attainable.

Here is a little humor as I try to sequence Mayurasana!

Arm Support Yoga Poses
Lucky shot!

How to Care for Wrists in Arm Support Yoga Poses

The wrists are at greatest risk in all arm support yoga poses as the weight of body is held on the forearms, hands, and wrists. Be cautious if you suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome and learn to modify the arm balances. You can use a wedge to help prop up wrists until you are free of pain. Try rolling the wrists through a full range of motion, place of back of the wrists on the floor in forward folds, press palms and finger together in prayer motion, or stretch one hand with the other. This will help to prepare your wrists for the pressure of arm balances.

Students should always place hands on the floor with fingers fully extended and knuckles on the flat on the floor and be mindful of alignment- wrists, elbows, and shoulders. Along with wrist support, we should know how to fire up the core in preparation for arm support yoga poses. Abdominal work can help you feel the sense of lifting and radiating out of the core.

Tips for Practicing Arm Support Yoga Poses

  • Practice Adho Muhka Savasana (down dog), Phalankasana (plank), and chaturanga for at least one year to strengthen the wrists, arms, and shoulders so that the body is prepared for bringing more weight onto the hands.
  • Don’t rush through arm balances. Learn them step by step and take your time to open and warm the muscles needed to achieve the poses.
Arm Support Yoga Poses- Eka Pada Koundinyasana A
Follow along with me- step by step Eka Pada Koundinyasana A
  • Want to start with an Arm Support Yoga Pose but don’t know what one to start with? Try Bakasana (crow pose) or Vasistasana (side plank)!
  • Arm Balances warm the body and are good preparation for back bends. The arm balances often warm and strengthen the shoulders that are needed for later back bends.
  • Don’t be afraid to utilize props to learn how to lift. See this tutorial about Tolasana (scale pose).

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5 Yoga Back Bends for Beginners

5 Yoga Back Bends for Beginners

Yoga back bends for beginners can provide deep stretching across the front of the body- the heart center, belly, groin, chest. Yoga students work to feel release and balance between a fear of letting go and balance in their bodies. The focus of yoga back bends for beginners is to open to the full movement of breath and energy in the front of the body. We play with the edge in back bends. We can learn to feel compassion to ourselves and start to understand how yoga back bends can provide a feeling of freedom. We should not focus on perfection, but on opening the heart.

Yoga Back Bends for Beginners

Asanas in the back bend family can be categorized into contraction, traction, and leverage back bends. Each has an important distinction and action.

1. Contraction Back Bends

Muscles along the back of the body concentrically contract to overcome gravity. This means that the back muscles are squeezing together.

Manipura Chakra and Yoga
Salabhasana A and Dhanurasana are examples of Contraction Back bends

2. Traction Back Bends

Muscles in the front of the body contract to overcome gravity.

Yoga for Gratitude for Beginner Yogis
The action of lowering the body into Ustrasana is an example of traction back bend.

3. Leverage Back Bend

The arms or legs (or both) press against a stable object like the floor, the wall, or another part of the body, to stretch the front of the body.

Manipura Chakra and Yoga
Cobra pose is an example of a leverage back bend.

Extension or Flexion

Each type of yoga back bend for beginners can be extension or flexion of muscles. To extend the muscles in the front of the body, try Salabhasana A, Ustrasana (shown above) or Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (bridge pose.)

Ashtanga Primary Series Closing Sequence

To feel flexion in back bends try Salabhasana C, or Kapotasana (pigeon pose). The bends require different arm positions that require areas of engagement and release through the shoulder girdle.

Yoga Back Bends for Beginners

4. Shoulder Extension Back Bends

Extension of the arms requires the scapulae to be stabilized by the rhomboids, lower trapeziuses, and serratus anterior muscles. At the same time, the pectoralis majors and minors release.

Yoga Back Bends for Beginners

5. Shoulder Flexion Back Bend

Flexion requires the rhomboids, pectoralis majors, triceps, and latissimi dorsi to release.

Yoga Back Bends for Beginners

How to Build Yoga Back Bends for Beginners into Sequences

Surya Namaskara A is a warming sequence for a reason. It employs back bends in every posture. The exploration of back bends can be done lightly and safely in this beginning flowing sequence. As the body warms, we can move deeper into back bends as long as the body does not strain. Deep and held back bends can be done at the peak of a yoga practice when the body is most warm.

Practicing standing yoga asanas that open the quadriceps, hip flexors, and groin muscles allow for greater hip extension. Try poses like Anjanyasana, Ashta Chandrasana, and Virabhadrasana A to open the hip flexors. These poses teach pelvic neutrality in relation to the extension of the spine in back bends.

Yoga Poses to Ease Back Pain

Supta Virasana is an one of the best yoga back bends for beginners. It teaches internal rotation of the femurs and prepares for deeper back bends by stretching the thighs, hip flexors, and groin muscles.

Yoga back bends for beginners

Use gentle twists for deep release of tension. Be sure to transition from side to side after holding briefly. Then start to move into deeper and more sustained twists.

Marichyasana C with a bind to open the shoulder girdle and prepare for deeper twists.

Forward folding hip openers like gomukhasana will stretch external rotators and piriformis muscles and will help to release pressure in the lower back and sacroiliac joint. This will make more deeply relaxing forward bends more accessible. Yoga back bends for beginners will make the yoga body feel great!

Would you like to learn ways to ease pain in the hips, back and hamstrings? Check out this program below:

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