Out of Hibernation

Wow! I cannot believe it’s been almost 3 months since my last post. It wasn’t intentional but it seems I have been in hibernation.  I did recently celebrate my 50th birthday (no grey hairs yet) and have just returned from a beautiful relaxing retreat in Fiji, so I have also been a little preoccupied.

hibernation2I was fortunate to attend a 7 day silent retreat with my spiritual teacher, Richard Miller on 20 April and it has profoundly changed my life. As part of moving deep within and letting go of the busyness, I found that my priorities changed. I live more in the moment, allowing myself to be guided by what brings me happiness and peace. Even the mundane tasks can be pleasant and satisfying if done with awareness and purpose. I take more time in the “in between” moments; after a job is done, when I arrive somewhere in my car – time to pause, breathe and simply be in the moment. I have found that when I make space for myself, I create more space in my day. How cool is that?

Meditation has been part of my mornings now for just over 12 months and it really has made a difference to how I see, experience and meet each moment. I am more content than I have ever been and feel deeply connected to all of life.

With the days getting a little warmer and the wattle and blossoms beckoning, I feel a gentle pull to look outward again, to become more active, start planning and looking forward.

I would love to share with you a beautiful sequence called the Goddess Vinyasa. It’s beautifully warming, opening the upper body while strengthening the lower body. The combination of stability, movement and breath is wonderfully uplifting. You will feel great afterwards! Thanks to my friend Gina for the inspiration and recording below. As we approach Spring and the warmer weather, this would be lovely outdoors.

Goddess Vinyasa

With love,

G

Immunity Boost

I returned from a wonderful week teaching at Sanctuary Retreat in Mission beach, North Queensland to find my family coughing, sniffling and low in energy; yep they all had a head cold.  Determined to not be taken down, I put together a program of positive attitude, lots of rest (challenging for me!) Zinc, vitamin C, echinacea and a yoga sequence that boosts the immune system.  I am feeling really good! Sure, my throat was a little sore for a few days, and my hankie had a good workout, but it hasn’t developed into anything nasty.

Here is a little of what my students are practising this week; this sequence will also help the functioning of the lympathic system, which supports our immune response. A practice that includes supported and inverted postures, increases circulation of lymph—a clear, watery fluid that moves through the body picking up bacteria and viruses and filtering them out via the lymph nodes.

Unlike blood, which moves as a result of the heart pumping, lymph moves by muscular contractions. Physical exercise, such as yoga, is great for keeping lymph flowing. The movement of lymph is also affected by gravity, so anytime your head is below your heart—for example, in Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend) and Sarvangasana (Shoulderstand)—lymph moves into the respiratory organs, where germs often enter the body. When you return to an upright position, gravity drains the lymph, sending it through your lymph nodes for cleansing.

It is beneficial also to allow your neck, throat, and tongue to relax fully, thereby encouraging the lymph to flow freely through the nose and throat.

Thymus reset –

thymus reset

  • Make a fist and place your pinky finger side on your breastbone, just below the notch between the collarbones.
  • Take a deep breath, and as you slowly let it out, firmly pound on this spot 9 times or so.
  • Repeat 1-3 times, until you feel more balanced and calm.

This is like flipping a breaker off and on again and is said to balance the thymus and the central channel of healing prana (energy) it represents.

Uttanasana (standing forward bend)

Uttanasana: Standing forward bend

Practise with soft knees, weight slightly forward without crunching the toes; head, neck, throat and tongue all soft and arms resting back within the shoulders.

 

Adho Mukha svanasana (downward facing dog)

adho mukha svanasanaThis is a beautiful posture to explore balance between the weight and work on the shoulders and on the pelvis. There should be a balance too, between ease and effort, shoulders moving down the back away from the ears, with the lower ribs hugging into the body to avoid collapsing into the lower back. I like to think of my head and heart moving forwards and hips and shoulders moving back. Maintain a softness in the elbows and knees.

adho mukha svanasana - one leg raisedTry this pose, lifting one leg, bend at the knee and slowly cirle into the hip. Straighten, release then rest in child’s pose (see below) using bhramari breath (humming) for 5 rounds.

Repeat with the opposite leg, then explore a second round of bhramari in child’s pose.

Or this variation, add a twist……

adho mukha svanaasana twist

Reach back with right hand to left ankle. Stay for a few breaths, then switch to the opposite side. Maintain level hips so the twist occurs at the waist.

 

Balasana (child’s pose)

balasana image

Bring hips back towards the heels with your head resting comfortably on the floor; arms either gently extended forward or resting back beside you.  If needed, you can support the head with your hands.

Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (supported)

setu bandha sarvangasanaLie with support (bolster, blankets) under the spine, with shoulder blades resting on the floor. A gentle inversion that opens the chest, stimulates the throat and calms the busy mind.

A lovely way to finish your yoga practice.

Om

Awakening the spine

Here is a 10 minute sequence to awaken the spine.

FInd a comfortable seated position (elevate the hips with a folded blanket if your back is a little rounded) and ensure your base remains stable throughout the practice. Always move slowly and mindfully and work in a way that supports your body, breath and mind. It is worthwhile to consider what brings you to your practice today so that this may guide you to “work” appropriately.

Namaste

Yoga asana for 29th November

Wide leg forward bend – from standing. Hands on hips then to floor.
Warrior 1 – external rotation, then step back as bent front leg. ‘I surrender’ arms.
Warrior 2 – check knee over ankle, or release a little and engage abductors. Lift arms to be inline with hips.
warrior 3 – step fwd. Hands on hips. Hinge fwd.
b) engage abductors for pelvic stability
janu sirsasana – leg straight out from hip. Connect with inside line of leg to pelvic floor.
wide leg forward bend – upavista konasana. Soften knees if inside or backline of legs is too tight. Feel pelvis rolling over femur bones.
vajrasana – shoulder shrug with breath
toes under
buddha prostate
lunge
plank
baby cobra
parsvottanasana – step forward. Fold forward with spine in tadasana.
b) with arms behind.
Marichyasana – bend leg and place foot as close as spine stays in tadasana. Bring hand over knee and pull against knee, knee into hand.