brahmacharya

8299_10151724145097732_576006781_nThis image is part of lululemons shopper series exploring the yamas and is in stores now!

Over the weekend, I noticed that the mall closest to me opened a lululemon.  Now, I try not to go into lulu if it is not the purpose of my shopping because I just can’t control myself in there. But of course I ended up going in and purchasing pants in less than than 5 minutes. I’m serious, I can’t control it.

Their new bag (always exciting getting a new shopper) is part of a line specifically exploring the yamas. This shopper design is Brahmacharya which  asks us to think twice and listen to what our mind and body needs. It teaches us to pay attention to where we focus our energy. Are we using our time, thoughts and efforts in a useful way or are we wasting precious time?

“In the long run,” says Brad Waites, “brahmacharya is about allocation: using your resources effectively to achieve your aspiration. To hone our practice of this principle, we must learn to conserve and not waste energy on things that do not serve our purpose.”
yamas

Being mindful and practicing Brahmacharya will help remove the clutter from your life, mind and not to mention your refrigerator. So I am challenging myself and you to be mindful. Think about what you are currently doing, thinking, worrying about, eating etc. and whether or not it is good for you and your future. So yes, maybe for dinner eat ground turkey or lean chicken rather than an entire meatloaf. What I will try to focus on most is attempting to detox my life of worry. I waste so much to worrying about what could happen.

Crazy to think I bought a pair of pants that I didn’t need causing me to go against this yama but it also lead me to it and to some life improvements. hmm.

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Upward Bow

This past weekend I was in Seattle with my sisters  who are pretty into yoga as well and while we were there, my younger sister was fixating on back bends because she felt like they really open up her chest to breathe better and feel better. So here it is! A post about how wonderful back bends are.

I suggest trying to do it every morning or evening, or both! Don’t worry about your level of flexibility or ability to hold the pose for a long period of time, because everyone starts at the same level. You may feel pressure in your head from being upside down, if so, just slowly come out of the pose and rock back and forth on your back.

Step by Step

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  • Lie on the floor with your knees bent and directly over heels and palms facing your shoulders, elbows bent.
  • Place arms at your sides, with palms facing down. Exhale, and press your feet into the floor as you lift hips.

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    For a more easy variation

  • Clasp hands under lower back and press arms down, lifting hips until thighs are parallel to floor, bringing chest toward chin. Hold for 1 minute.
  • Make it easier: Place a stack of pillows underneath your tailbone.

When you come out of the pose be sure to curl your body and rock out your back.

While in this pose focus on how your body feels, do not push your self too hard or make yourself feel uncomfortable.

Stay in the pose anywhere from 5 to 10 seconds or more, breathing easily. Repeat anywhere from 3 to 10 times.

A great thing to focus on while practicing the Upward Bow is the quote below. You will become better as you practice, just don’t rush it. The same with life, you will get where you are meant to be when it is right and not a moment too soon.

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Benefits to Upward Bow
Expands your chest and shoulders making your upper body and chest cavity feel open and light.
Stretches you hip flexors and core musculature. A majority of stress is held in your shoulders and hips.
Stretches your wrist flexor muscles, this is great because they are often not stretched enough.
Strengthens the muscles that control your shoulder blades, helping posture.
Relieves some forms of low back pain from stretching.

Image & Information from My Yoga Online and Fitness Magazine

Stress, Man.

I was recently told by a masseuse that I am very tense and that he could tell I hadn’t stopped thinking throughout the massage. I didn’t realize it until he said something, but now I notice how tense I really am – and I’m not happy about it.

Think too much

More and more, we fill our homes with electronics, constant communication and distractions. I know for me, I get caught up in entertainment and need to be continuously fed new information. Pinterest is basically the online version of my brain. I am always looking for more images, more recipes, more workouts, more knowledge, essentially, more unimportant information – just filling my day & brain with things that clutter my thinking. It is all just junk food for your mind & spirit.

The worst part is, I never had somewhere to go to get away from it all. Do you? Ideally, it should be someplace in your home. Even making tiny changes to your everyday routine can help cleanse your brain of the nonsense.

Breathe – The most simple but hardest to remember is to breathe. Try once an hour or every couple of hours to walk away from everyone & everything to take five deep breaths. Go into the bathroom or the supply room if you have to…

Morning Yoga & Before Bed Yoga – Turn off the TV, turn on quiet calming music and put down your phone for five minutes. Do these sequences twice and just breathe.

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Meditation – I never really understood the power of meditation until I tried it with assistance.  The Meditation Podcast has some awesome pod-casts that walk you through the experience. I have never been so relaxed or slept so well. You can even download it on your phone and take it with you!

Hot, decaffeinated Tea – Make a hot cup of decaffeinated tea and sit outside, alone or with a friend but leave the electronics inside. Just focus on yourself (or your friend) and your cup of tea. Caffeine can cause jitters, and the point of this exercise is to calm your thoughts. Breathe, sip, laugh… just be present.

Tea

Hang Mint or Eucalyptus leaves in your shower – When the steam starts rising, a relaxing scent will fill your bathroom and help you to, you guessed it… relax.

Image from BLDG 25
Image from BLDG 25

Let me know how you feel after a couple of time trying these!

Images from Pinterest – I do not take any credit for any of the above images.

Bell Rock Warrior – Virabhadra’s Pose

Practicing Warrior on Bell Rock

Practicing Warrior on Bell Rock

Hello hello!

Last weekend we went up to Sedona for some yoga/hiking. It is always interesting doing yoga during a hike, especially when your at a higher altitude than you are used to. It really makes you focus your breath. I love the background in this image, I just love Sedona in general though.

Virabhadra’s is the name of a warrior incarnation of Shiva. Described wearing a tiger’s skin with 1000 heads, eyes & feet. Also wielding a thousand clubs. Warrior improves legs muscles, hips strength & placement, back muscles, and shoulders.

“Learning to do the Warrior pose series safely and correctly is a major stepping-stone in your yoga practice”, says Seane Corn, a YogaLife advisor who teaches at Sacred Movement in Santa Monica, California, “because you’ll notice similar movements showing up in thousands of other yoga poses.”

To start this pose, begin in the traditional Downward Facing Dog.

Image from http://yoga.prevention.com

Now inhale while you bring your right foot forward (next to your right hand) as you come into a lunge. Ensure that your toes are in-line with your fingertips (as Alicia’s are below). Pivot on the ball of your left foot and drop your left heel down to touch the earth. Finally exhale while opening both arms and pulling the left hip back.

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Bring your hands to hearts center, exhale and reach arms up & back, lifting your rib-cage away from pelvic bones. Keep your palms together and head tilted back slightly.

Hold for about 30 seconds and release. Take a breath and flow through the other side.

Practicing Warrior on Bell Rock
Practicing Warrior on Bell Rock

Once you have completed bend forward to stretch your back.

Image from http://yoga.prevention.com

Where do you do yoga? I’d love to see some images of you practicing yoga in interesting/beautiful places!

Remember to Take Breaks

After going on a hike recently and looking through the pictures, I realized something… People need breaks. Physical breaks, mental breaks, emotional breaks…. just breaks. Yes, this was a picture taken purposefully but as hard as you work and as much as you do for other people, you need to remember to take a break for yourself and just sit.  Now granted, mid-work out is not the ideal time to sit down and think about nothing, but who knows? Maybe it is, and can give you a new perspective on a tough decision that has recently come your way.
Now sit down, even for just a couple of minutes and take a break… meditate! If you are new to meditation, check out this meditation podcast.
One of the things I like to focus on while meditating is the quote “Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.” What can you do to improve yourself that will inspire or motivate people to improve the world?

Image

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Sumits Yoga… Go tomorrow!

It’s awesome, I feel so refreshed after a class for the next few days. BUT let’s start from the beginning.

I got a Groupon as a Christmas gift this year to Sumits Yoga studio. Yes, it may be a bit of a strange gift, but I am so thankful that I was somewhat forced into going.

The Breakdown –
Arrive 15 minutes early
Wear clothing you are comfortable sweating in
Bring Water and arrive hydrated
Bring a yoga mat & towel
Don’t eat a large meal before class
Expect the lights to be on and for upbeat music to be played during certain flows

-You need to stay hydrated the entire day before your yoga class, otherwise your body can dehydrate and you may get sick.
-Some Yoga mat towels come with anti-slip pads. I highly recommend YogiToes. They cost more, but it is so worth it. My Lucy towel is anti-slip “when wet.” It folds, slips and distracts me.
-Don’t talk in class, and don’t leave early. If you feel faint or dizzy (it happens to us all) just lay down and reclaim your breath.
-Expect to not necessarily enjoy your first class, it is a totally different yoga experience. Go a handful of times and then form your opinion.

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I used to go to yoga regularly at 24 Hour Fitness and always enjoyed it, and once I tried a Bikram class (that I didn’t fully enjoy), but let’s be honest, I haven’t gone to a class in years… SO I was nervous to go to a hot yoga class but excited at the same time.

“Sumits sequence is designed for all levels beginner through advanced” – Yes, so true. One of the best parts is that every time I have gone, there are at least one or two new students, so you are never the only one who feels lost. I still choose to sit out during a flow or two, you should never feel uncomfortable sitting out if you start to feel dizzy.

“Classes at Sumit’s Yoga flow to music through a sequence of both balancing and energizing asanas (poses) in a heated practice environment.” – First, just accept that you will sweat your b*lls off. It is HOT (around 105 degrees). Second, no one cares what you look like, or even looks at you – everyone is too concerned with themselves. Oh, and don’t forget to wear as little clothing as you feel comfortable. I met Sumit one of my first times (He’s awesome BTW), he showed me booty shorts & a sport bra and told me that it was the most appropriate attire, but I still wear my Lulu’s and a tank.  *A flow is a sequence of poses.

sumits

Is it weird that I absolutely LOVE how much I sweat in hot yoga? On that note, bring a yoga towel, but if you do not have one, ask at the check in desk, they will let you borrow one.

I hope that this has helped and that you enjoy it as much as I do.

Yoga Warriors

Virabhadrasana II

Meet Alicia, she is practicing Warrior II by the San Francisco Bay! 

Virabhadra is the name of a warrior incarnation of Shiva. Described wearing a tiger’s skin with 1000 heads, eyes & feet. Also wielding a thousand clubs. Warrior improves legs muscles, hips strength & placement, back muscles, and shoulders.

“Learning to do the Warrior pose series safely and correctly is a major stepping-stone in your yoga practice”, says Seane Corn, a YogaLife advisor who teaches at Sacred Movement in Santa Monica, California, “because you’ll notice similar movements showing up in thousands of other yoga poses.”

To start this pose, begin in the traditional Downward Facing Dog.

Image from http://yoga.prevention.com

Now inhale while you bring your right foot forward (next to your right hand) as you come into a lunge. Ensure that your toes are in-line with your fingertips (as Alicia’s are). Pivot on the ball of your left foot and drop your left heel down to touch the earth. Finally exhale while opening both arms and pulling the left hip back.

“We do not need guns and bombs to bring peace, we need love and compassion.” – Mother Theresa