yoga journey – July – September 2021
This season of our yoga journey is a spotlight series. We’ll focus on an area of our body in each session, shining the light of awareness to reveal our tendencies, and exploring ways to enhance our balance of strength and mobility, while enhancing the vital flow of prana. Let’s journey inside my friends … enjoy.
Self-regulation in practice
This week your 3 practices are all around 20 minutes and each has a different practice focus. 21 minute breath. 25 minute active restorative. 20 minute passive restorative. You could practice all 3 in one session, for a deeply rejuvenating hour, practice 2 of the 3 for your 45 ish minute practice, or just choose one. How about taking the time to practice at least one each day for your week of recalibration? Enjoy.
Wrists & Hands
This session is about Adaptablility and modification. In this session we’ll minimise the weight bearing on our hands and wrists while still exploring a wide range of poses … and we’ll give our wrists and hands some loving attention. We all have challenges, we get injured, sick, we feel stiff … and that does not mean we can’t practice. We can always practice.
Start on your back with core activation, arm balance shapes (without the arm balance), sun salute variations on your forearms, standing poses, wrist and hand releases, some forward bends, and rest.
Our shoulders allow an incredible movement dexterity. Like our hips, the shoulder joints are a ball and socket joint, unlike our hips they are a shallow joint and so are potentially less stable. Strength, and mobility are really key for us to enjoy a huge range of potential action … Our shoulders allow us to bring things to life with our amazing hands, to lift and move things, push things, pull things and the huge number of muscles around the shoulder all contribute. We can have stiffness and limitation in our shoulders if fascia becomes restricted, even frozen.
This session moves your shoulders through a wide range, with freeing and strengthening woven through. Enjoy.
Amy Cuddy, a Harvard researcher, has shown that changing our body posture to a more open one, where our shoulders are back and our heart area feels open has the power not only to affect how others see us but also to change how we see ourselves. We can even alter our own chemistry, simply by changing body positions. An open, expansive posture, particularly in the region of your chest echos out feeling more positive and confident, we experience greater connectedness, and have better ability to adapt to stressors in our lives.
We’ll embody, what I have come to feel is like a mantra: ‘Strong back, Soft front, and Wild Heart’
Our focus is on the lower body, last session we explored the lower abdominal region, this session has a bit more focus on the upper abdominal region, also known as the solar plexus or manipura chakra. This area is associated with individual inspiration and transformation. The region of the belly is the home of our digestion and what in yoga physiology is referred to as agni, our digestive fire. It is seen as being THE key in our wellbeing. This practice aims to strengthen the core and also to release binding in the core which here is defined as the whole wrapping of your whole torso, to cultivate and balance your agni, and to bring space and new circulation to clear the stagnancy and free up a sense of flow. Start on your back, move to your side, then onto your front, toning the full circumference. Explore breath and cultivation of agni, some standing poses, play with ‘wild thing’ variations … and enjoy the warmth as you rest in savasana.
This region many traditions say, is the home of our source energy, our creative energy, our reserve energy. In this practice we explore the tilt of our pelvis, the balance of our hip flexors and extensors so we can simultaneously give space to the front of the hip and find an easeful lengthened curve in our lower back. This practice is intended to reveal and balance strength and mobility for optimal function and action. Start on your back mobilising your spine and strengthening core stabilisers and hip flexors. Come to hands and knees for some hip flexor and hip stabiliser strengthening. Flow through standing poses, psoas lengthening, gentle backbends, and rest in savasana. Enjoy.
Our hip joints offer incredible possibilities of movement through their shape and amidst all this possibility we benefit greatly from strength and stability and particulary through strength throughout the range of our movement. There is an adaptability and a stability that feels to me as though it echoes into every aspect of our lives. We can find clarity and stability, yet remain adaptable rather than rigid, as we choose the path that best serves us, and therefore the whole. Start on your back and explore mobility and stability of your core and hips. Use a strap in dog pose and modified sun salutes and move into a standing sequence. come back to the ground in pigeon and some seated hip work before resting in savasana. Enjoy.
In this session we’ll get to know our knees and their potential and boundaries and take care of our knees through balancing strength of support and freedom of flexibility. It is my hope that you can feel confidence in your fabulous knees and legs and take your true stand while you connect to that which is much bigger than us, and to which we are connected. Start standing, awaken your legs and your core as you move onto your front to strengthen your upper back, hamstrings and gluts, and then onto your back, engaging the 4 quadrants of your thighs. A standing sequence follows with an opportunity to find your squat, and then lengthen and strengthen your quads (VMO a priority), seated poses and rest well. Enjoy!
Feet, Ankles, Shins
We begin our new series at our feet, that which most often touches the earth and transmits that connection and ground reaction force through our bodies. In this session we attend to our feet, releasing tension while also building strength. Start with some core work, work into balances, squat, standing poses, some chest opening, bridge, clap your feet and end with a twist. There is no weight-bearing on your wrists in this sequence so it is perfect for when your wrists need a break. Enjoy!