Tag Archives: Practice

Go-To Yoga for Your Desk Job

8 Apr

Yoga is a wonderful practice you can incorporate into any part of your life.  If you are like 4 out of 5 Americans who have a desk job, it is even more important to bring some healthy, vital movement & breath into your workday.

Here are 5 poses you can integrate into your workplace that fit into a cubicle.

Desk-Yoga.jpg

Printable versionDesk Yoga

Feel free to share with your coworkers!

Meditation Motivation

1 Aug

Stroke_Of_InsightThis Ted talk by Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor, a neuroscientist who speaks eloquently of her experience having and recovering from a stroke, is always so compelling, inspiring and empowering. What a beautiful reminder of our interconnectedness with all of the universe, and how we are empowered to practice accessing the place within that is always at peace.

Her book is just as great at the talk. You can find it now at the Center’s Lending Library!

“I believe that the more time we spend choosing to run the deep inner peace circuitry of our right hemispheres, the more peace we will project into the world, and the more peaceful our planet will be.”

~Jill Bolte Taylor, PhD


 

My teacher often cites an ancient adage that I think sums up this topic beautifully: “Where attention goes, energy flows.”  We have a choice: we can focus on the pain and suffering in the world, worrying and feeling into the sense of lack and fear, or we can direct our focus on cultivating an inner space of love and peace, which will radiate out and create more of these qualities in the world around us.

We are familiar with methods that get us out of the left hemisphere, like yogasana, concentration, breathing, meditation.  How do we continue to reside in that place of inner peace once we leave the yoga mat or the meditation cushion?

Namaste.

Asana: Janu Sirsasana

6 Jan

Janu Sirsasana (head of the knee pose) is a seated forward fold.

This pose stretches the hamstring muscles, tones pelvic floor and deep abdominals (through breathing), lengthens the muscles of the spine, and strengthens the trunk.  Breathe slowly and fully as you practice, expanding on the inhale and drawing navel toward spine on the exhale; sit up and bend the knees to rest.  Notice sensation in your body, and please come out of the pose if you feel pain.

Janu Sirsasana

  • Eases stress by relaxing the heart and the mind
  • Stabilizes blood pressure
  • Gradually corrects the curvature of the spine and rounded shoulders
  • Eases stiffness in shoulders, elbows, wrists, fingers
  • Tones abdominals
  • Relieves stiffness in legs and strengthens leg muscles

Roger Cole, PhD’s article about finding balance in Paschimottanasana ~ Round Control ~ also applies to this pose.  The most common tendency for beginners I see is to round the spine in this pose, which is why I teach it as a neutral spine hip hinge.  However, this is not the full pose, and as you will read in Cole’s article, balance between rounding and neutral is where practitioners can find the best benefit.

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Approach these asanas slowly and mindfully. If something hurts, back out of the pose gently and reassess. Do not ever push through pain. The techniques and suggestions presented in these videos are not intended to substitute for medical advice. Consult your physician before beginning any new exercise program. Jessie Tierney and YogAscent/Horseback Yoga videos and website assume no responsibility for injuries suffered while practicing these techniques. If you are new to exercise or yoga, are elderly, have any chronic or recurring conditions such as high blood pressure, neck or back pain, arthritis, heart disease, and so on, seek your physician’s advice before practicing to determine necessary precautions.

Asana: Bharadvajasana

6 Jan

Bharadvajasana (sage’s twist / simple seated twist) is a seated twist.

This pose should never cause pain, especially in the knees or neck.  Breathe slowly and fully as you practice, use appropriate props to build your pose in a way that supports your body, and come out of the pose whenever you need to.

Bharadvajasana

  • Stretches the spine, shoulders, and hips
  • Massages the abdominal organs
  • Relieves lower back & neck pain and sciatica
  • Relieves stress
  • Improves digestion
  • Especially good in the second trimester of pregnancy for strengthening the lower back

_________________________________________________________________________________

Approach these asanas slowly and mindfully. If something hurts, back out of the pose gently and reassess. Do not ever push through pain. The techniques and suggestions presented in these videos are not intended to substitute for medical advice. Consult your physician before beginning any new exercise program. Jessie Tierney and YogAscent/Horseback Yoga videos and website assume no responsibility for injuries suffered while practicing these techniques. If you are new to exercise or yoga, are elderly, have any chronic or recurring conditions such as high blood pressure, neck or back pain, arthritis, heart disease, and so on, seek your physician’s advice before practicing to determine necessary precautions.

Asana: Baddha Konasana

6 Jan

Baddha Konasana (Cobbler’s Pose / Bound Angle Pose) is a seated, hip-opening asana.

This pose should never cause pain, especially in the knees or back.  Breathe slowly and fully as you practice, use appropriate props to build your pose in a way that supports your body, and come out of the pose whenever you need to.

Baddha Konasana

  • Externally rotates the thighs, stretching and strengthening groins and knees (great preparation for seated meditation postures)
  • Alleviates fatigue
  • Maintains health of kidneys and prostate gland
  • Helps treat urinary tract disorders
  • Reduces sciatic pain, opens lower back
  • Prevents hernia
  • Keeps reproductive organs healthy
  • Overall very beneficial for menstruation: corrects irregular menstruation, checks heavy periods, relieves pain
  • Helps with digestion

Here is an additional resource that delves into the anatomy of the hip adductors by Julie Gudmestad, PT, of Gudmestad Yoga: Thigh Master II

_________________________________________________________________________________

Approach these asanas slowly and mindfully. If something hurts, back out of the pose gently and reassess. Do not ever push through pain. The techniques and suggestions presented in these videos are not intended to substitute for medical advice. Consult your physician before beginning any new exercise program. Jessie Tierney and YogAscent/Horseback Yoga videos and website assume no responsibility for injuries suffered while practicing these techniques. If you are new to exercise or yoga, are elderly, have any chronic or recurring conditions such as high blood pressure, neck or back pain, arthritis, heart disease, and so on, seek your physician’s advice before practicing to determine necessary precautions.

Asana: Uttanasana

6 Jan

Uttanasana (Standing forward fold / intense forward stretch pose) is a foundational standing asana.

This pose should never cause pain, especially in the back.  Bend your knees soon as your spine begins to round, and draw the navel back toward the spine to protect the back.  Breathe slowly and fully as you practice, use appropriate props and “stopping points” so that you practice this pose in a way that supports your body, and bend your knees to come out of the pose whenever you need to.

Uttanasana

  • Relieves mental and physical exhaustion
  • Slows heart beat
  • Tones liver, spleen, kidneys
  • Relieves stomach ache
  • Reduces abdominal and back pain during menstruation
  • Strengthens quadriceps while lengthening hamstrings

Here is a great article that demystifies what happens with the quadriceps, hamstrings, and erector spinae in Uttanasana by Julie Gudmestad, PT, of Gudmestad Yoga: Thigh Master

_________________________________________________________________________________

Approach these asanas slowly and mindfully. If something hurts, back out of the pose gently and reassess. Do not ever push through pain. The techniques and suggestions presented in these videos are not intended to substitute for medical advice. Consult your physician before beginning any new exercise program. Jessie Tierney and YogAscent/Horseback Yoga videos and website assume no responsibility for injuries suffered while practicing these techniques. If you are new to exercise or yoga, are elderly, have any chronic or recurring conditions such as high blood pressure, neck or back pain, arthritis, heart disease, and so on, seek your physician’s advice before practicing to determine necessary precautions.

Asana: Utthita Parsvakonasana

6 Jan

Utthita Parsvakonasana (extended side angle pose) is a strong, foundational standing pose.

Be mindful of the position of the front knee–never beyond the ankle, and stacked in alignment.  For help with balance, practice next to the wall for stability.  Breathe slowly and fully as you practice, and come out of the pose by straightening the knees whenever you need to.  Notice sensation in your body, and please come out of the pose if you feel pain.

Utthita Parsvakonasana is helpful for:

  • Constipation
  • Infertility
  • Low backache
  • Osteoporosis
  • Sciatica
  • Menstrual discomfort
  • Strengthening and stretching the legs, knees, and ankles
  • Stretching the groins, spine, waist, chest and lungs, and shoulders
  • Stimulating the abdominal organs
  • Increasing stamina

_________________________________________________________________________________

Approach these asanas slowly and mindfully. If something hurts, back out of the pose gently and reassess. Do not ever push through pain. The techniques and suggestions presented in these videos are not intended to substitute for medical advice. Consult your physician before beginning any new exercise program. Jessie Tierney and YogAscent/Horseback Yoga videos and website assume no responsibility for injuries suffered while practicing these techniques. If you are new to exercise or yoga, are elderly, have any chronic or recurring conditions such as high blood pressure, neck or back pain, arthritis, heart disease, and so on, seek your physician’s advice before practicing to determine necessary precautions.

Reflections on the Restorative Reiki Workshop

5 Jan

What an incredibly powerful workshop!  I feel so privileged to be in a position to share the energy of Reiki and the beautiful philosophy and life-science of Yoga with participants at the Restorative Reiki Workshop: Intention-Setting for the New Year.

“What you seek   …
is seeking you.”

~Rumi

We worked through four stages of preparation–each in a different restorative yoga asana–by practicing mindful embodiment (being truly present in and listening to our bodies), reflection on past joys and learnings, opening our hearts to a deep sense of gratitude for all, and surrendering to discover our Deepest Heart’s Desires (which were inside all along, and once discovered, served as our Intentions at the culmination of the workshop).

Below are some examples of Restorative Postures:

YogAscnet_Restorative_Yoga_Collage

Restorative Yoga Postures offer us a chance to experience passive, deep, mindful (and sub-conscious) healing.  Spending up to twenty minutes in postures that are fully supported by bolsters, blankets, blocks and straps, our bodies are invited to truly surrender ~ letting go of tension on a deeper and deeper level with each exhalation.  Not only does this practice support the alignment of our physical body, but it also teaches us how to cultivate a still, clear mind–the alignment of our subtle body–which is being shown over and over in scientific communities to have myriad benefits.

The Reiki healing attunement and hands-on adjustments throughout the workshop helped clear the space for deeper, more whole and uninhibited healing to occur, aligning our energy and awareness toward our greatest good.

“Our instinctual desire for periods of stillness and reflection to digest and process our daily experience is always within us.  Creating time for this, either as a formal or informal meditation practice, enables us to address life’s discomforts as they arise.

We already spend hours of every day forgetting we have a body.  To be alive is to be embodied.

As you begin to quiet the mind from busy thoughts, discomfort raises its head, begging for attention.  An emotion, belief, or memory may surface.  Instead of analyzing the story behind it, let your body feel the sensation that accompanies it.  You might even take this sensation out of the body.  Ask it questions about what it might need or actions you might take.  When discomforts are engaged as messengers, they can become allies.”

~ Jacqui Neruater in Yoga Chicago Magazine

What a gift!  To be able to slow down long enough to discover our deepest heart’s desires, then make a commitment ~ pen-to-page, then voicing it aloud ~ to our Intention.  But perhaps it is not a gift, but our duty, our promise to ourselves, a virtue: “Leisure is not the privilege of a few who can afford to take time, but the virtue of all who are willing to give time to what takes time–to give as much time as a task rightly takes.” -Brother David Steindl-Rast

By setting aside our daily time for meditation, reflection, art-making, love-making, we are serving the greatest good, nourishing ourselves so that we can be of greater service to all.

“The pursuit of truth and beauty is a sphere of activity in which we are permitted to remain children all our lives.”

~Albert Einstein

I offer a heart-felt thanks to each of you for making the time for what matters.  2014 is going to be an incredible year!

And here … let us honor our intentions:

“I am already whole.”

“I am peace.”

“I am already healed.”

“I love my body!”

“I radiate health & vitality.”

“I take the time I need to nourish my heart every day.”

“I am already nourished and strong.”

Thank you, thank you, for co-creating a world full of love and light.  Please feel free to reflect, respond, or add your own intention below.

Namaste.

Asana: Virabhadrasana II

4 Jan

Virabhadrasana II (warrior two pose) is a strong, foundational standing pose that increases overall strength and stamina.

Be mindful of the position of the front knee–never beyond the ankle, and stacked in alignment.  For help with balance, practice next to a chair so you can place a hand on the chair for stability.  Breathe slowly and fully as you practice, and come out of the pose by straightening the knees whenever you need to.  Notice sensation in your body, and please come out of the pose if you feel pain.

Virabhadrasana II:

  • Strengthens & stretches the legs and ankles
  • Stretches the groins, chest and lungs, shoulders
  • Increases breathing capacity
  • Stimulates abdominal organs
  • Increases stamina
  • Relieves backaches, particularly in lower spine, and helps with prolapsed or herniated disc

_________________________________________________________________________________

Approach these asanas slowly and mindfully. If something hurts, back out of the pose gently and reassess. Do not ever push through pain. The techniques and suggestions presented in these videos are not intended to substitute for medical advice. Consult your physician before beginning any new exercise program. Jessie Tierney and YogAscent/Horseback Yoga videos and website assume no responsibility for injuries suffered while practicing these techniques. If you are new to exercise or yoga, are elderly, have any chronic or recurring conditions such as high blood pressure, neck or back pain, arthritis, heart disease, and so on, seek your physician’s advice before practicing to determine necessary precautions.

Asana: Parsvottanasana

4 Jan

Parsvottanasana (standing head to knee pose / intense side stretch pose) is a strong, hip-balancing foundational standing pose.

Breathe slowly and fully as you practice, and come out of the pose by returning to standing whenever you need to.  Notice sensation in your body, and please come out of the pose if you feel pain.

Parsvottanasana:

  • Calms the brain, soothes the nerves
  • Relieves neck, shoulder, elbow and wrist arthritis when done with palms in reverse namascar
  • Stretches the spine, hips, and hamstrings
  • Strengthens the legs
  • Stimulates the abdominal organs, tones liver and spleen
  • Reduces menstrual pain
  • Improves posture and sense of balance
  • Improves digestion

Check out this article from Claudia Cummins on how to refine and progress your Parsvottanasana.

_________________________________________________________________________________

Approach these asanas slowly and mindfully. If something hurts, back out of the pose gently and reassess. Do not ever push through pain. The techniques and suggestions presented in these videos are not intended to substitute for medical advice. Consult your physician before beginning any new exercise program. Jessie Tierney and YogAscent/Horseback Yoga videos and website assume no responsibility for injuries suffered while practicing these techniques. If you are new to exercise or yoga, are elderly, have any chronic or recurring conditions such as high blood pressure, neck or back pain, arthritis, heart disease, and so on, seek your physician’s advice before practicing to determine necessary precautions.

Asana: Trikonasana

3 Jan

Trikonasana (triangle pose) is a foundational standing pose in asana.

Be mindful of knee alignment, not torquing the front knee but keeping it pointing in the same direction as the second toe.  If you tend to hyperextend the knee joint, keep a micro bend in the knee by engaging the hamstring strongly as it lengthens.  Breathe slowly and fully as you practice, and come out of the pose by returning to standing whenever you need to.  Notice sensation in your body, and please come out of the pose if you feel pain.

Trikonasana:

  • Stretches and strengthens the thighs, knees, and ankles
  • Stretches the hips, groins, hamstrings, and calves; shoulders, chest, and spine
  • Balances the hips and low back
  • Stimulates the abdominal organs
  • Helps relieve stress
  • Improves digestion (relieves gastritis, indigestion, acidity, and flatulence)
  • Helps relieve the symptoms of menopause and menstrual discomfort, as it massages and tones the pelvic area
  • Alleviates backache, improves flexibility of spine
  • Therapeutic for anxiety, flat feet, infertility, neck pain, osteoporosis, and sciatica

_________________________________________________________________________________

Approach these asanas slowly and mindfully. If something hurts, back out of the pose gently and reassess. Do not ever push through pain. The techniques and suggestions presented in these videos are not intended to substitute for medical advice. Consult your physician before beginning any new exercise program. Jessie Tierney and YogAscent/Horseback Yoga videos and website assume no responsibility for injuries suffered while practicing these techniques. If you are new to exercise or yoga, are elderly, have any chronic or recurring conditions such as high blood pressure, neck or back pain, arthritis, heart disease, and so on, seek your physician’s advice before practicing to determine necessary precautions.

Asana: Anjaneyasana

3 Jan

Anjaneyasana (low lunge / crescent lunge pose) is a great warm-up pose for the Warrior postures.

Breathe slowly and fully as you practice, and come out of the pose by returning to hands and knees or coming to standing whenever you need to.  Notice sensation in your body, and please come out of the pose if you feel pain.  This pose should not be painful.

Anjaneyasana:

  • Stretches hip flexors
  • Balances the hips
  • Strengthens the abdominal core
  • Stretches & strengthens the shoulder girdle
  • Relieves sciatica

The crescent comes from the shape of the body when arms are extended overhead and back slightly, and gaze lifts up toward the sky.  Begin practicing this pose with the gaze forward and the arms straight up to find a strong core, and then you may choose to progress the pose gradually as strength, alignment and endurance builds.

_________________________________________________________________________________

Approach these asanas slowly and mindfully. If something hurts, back out of the pose gently and reassess. Do not ever push through pain. The techniques and suggestions presented in these videos are not intended to substitute for medical advice. Consult your physician before beginning any new exercise program. Jessie Tierney and YogAscent/Horseback Yoga videos and website assume no responsibility for injuries suffered while practicing these techniques. If you are new to exercise or yoga, are elderly, have any chronic or recurring conditions such as high blood pressure, neck or back pain, arthritis, heart disease, and so on, seek your physician’s advice before practicing to determine necessary precautions.

Asana: Virabhadrasana I

2 Jan

Virabhadrasana I (warrior one pose) is a strong, foundational standing pose.

From YogaJournal: “What’s really being commemorated in this pose’s name, and held up as an ideal for all practitioners, is the spiritual warrior, who bravely does battle with the universal enemy, self-ignorance (avidya), the ultimate source of all our suffering.”  Breathe slowly and fully as you practice, and come out of the pose by straightening the knees whenever you need to.  Notice sensation in your body, and please come out of the pose if you feel pain.

Virabhadrasana I:

  • Stretches the chest and lungs, shoulders and neck, belly, groins (psoas)
  • Strengthens the shoulders, arms, abdominal and back muscles
  • Strengthens and stretches the thighs, calves, and ankles
  • Reduces backache, lumbago and sciatica
  • Relieves acidity and improves digestion
  • Strengthens bladder and corrects displaced uterus

_________________________________________________________________________________

Approach these asanas slowly and mindfully. If something hurts, back out of the pose gently and reassess. Do not ever push through pain. The techniques and suggestions presented in these videos are not intended to substitute for medical advice. Consult your physician before beginning any new exercise program. Jessie Tierney and YogAscent/Horseback Yoga videos and website assume no responsibility for injuries suffered while practicing these techniques. If you are new to exercise or yoga, are elderly, have any chronic or recurring conditions such as high blood pressure, neck or back pain, arthritis, heart disease, and so on, seek your physician’s advice before practicing to determine necessary precautions.

Asana: Bhujangasana

2 Jan

Bhujangasana (cobra pose) is a stabilizing back bend that helps to build core strength and balance the front and back body.

Note: Keep the low back from crunching by rooting the pubic bone into the floor and finding the arch in the upper spine.  This pose is a great tonic for those of us who spend much of the day seated, at a desk, driving, or hunched over.  Breathe slowly and fully as you practice, and lower down onto your belly-chest when you need to.  Notice sensation in your body, and please come out of the pose if you feel pain.

Bhujangasana can:

  • Strengthen the spine, core
  • Stretch chest, lungs, abdomen, shoulders
  • Firm the buttocks
  • Stimulat abdominal organs
  • Relieve stress and fatigue
  • Open the heart and lungs
  • Sooth sciatica
  • Help with asthma
  • Increase body heat

_________________________________________________________________________________

Approach these asanas slowly and mindfully. If something hurts, back out of the pose gently and reassess. Do not ever push through pain. The techniques and suggestions presented in these videos are not intended to substitute for medical advice. Consult your physician before beginning any new exercise program. Jessie Tierney and YogAscent/Horseback Yoga videos and website assume no responsibility for injuries suffered while practicing these techniques. If you are new to exercise or yoga, are elderly, have any chronic or recurring conditions such as high blood pressure, neck or back pain, arthritis, heart disease, and so on, seek your physician’s advice before practicing to determine necessary precautions.

Asana: Balasana & Bhaktasana

2 Jan

Balasana (child’s pose) & Bhaktasana (devotional pose) are resting poses, where we can re-visit our intention, re-connect with breath, and reflect.

Note: Balasana & Bhaktasana are often referred to a “home base” or a “recovery pose” in asana classes.  However, if you have knee pain, a tear, or a history of knee surgery, neither of these poses are advised; try “Puppy Pose” instead, and place a cushion or blanket under the knees (depending upon the severity of your knee injury, even Puppy may not be advisable, and you might benefit from sticking to the standing postures).  Breathe slowly and fully as you practice, and come back up to hands and knees when you need to.  Notice sensation in your body, and please come out of the pose if you feel pain.

Bhaktasana and Balasana can:

  • Stretch hips, thighs, ankles
  • Calm the brain and help relieve stress and fatigue
  • Relieve back and neck pain (support head with a block and place a bolster under the torso if needed)

_________________________________________________________________________________

Approach these asanas slowly and mindfully. If something hurts, back out of the pose gently and reassess. Do not ever push through pain. The techniques and suggestions presented in these videos are not intended to substitute for medical advice. Consult your physician before beginning any new exercise program. Jessie Tierney and YogAscent/Horseback Yoga videos and website assume no responsibility for injuries suffered while practicing these techniques. If you are new to exercise or yoga, are elderly, have any chronic or recurring conditions such as high blood pressure, neck or back pain, arthritis, heart disease, and so on, seek your physician’s advice before practicing to determine necessary precautions.