Love: Reflections

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Reflections on Love

Love: Reflections… In honor of my anniversary, I am celebrating love and great marriages. As the site responsible for more Jewish marriages than other dating sites, JDate makes a great muse for my reflections on meeting new potential partners online, the dating experience, and finding a lasting partnership.

Why Online Dating? Why JDate?

The face of dating has changed over the past years.   People spend way more time in front of their computers, mobile devices and tablets than ever before. The digital age has made the need to rely on dating sites even stronger.

If you are new to the online dating process, it may feel awkward and hard to navigate. However, let me walk you through how simple it is!

JDate has responded to these changes by updating their website to make the experience easier and more streamlined for users. They also have enhanced their mobile presence, with JDate mobile apps for IOS and Android as well as improved the experience for iPad and Tablet users. For instance, if you have AllAccess, it enables you to message and chat via Instant Messaging with anyone, even non-paying members. So with this great new design, why not get started with putting a fresh face on your dating presence!

Your JDate Profile Looks Fantastic!

Your profile is the key to meeting the “right” person. Someone who is in love with you for your quirks, like drinking coffee with chocolate soymilk in it. Someone who enjoys walking in nature, people watching in Central Park, or is looking for a partner who has laugh lines. This being said, be honest and thorough. If I met someone who lied on their profile, I would say, “red flag” and move on.

JDate has so much room for you to share tidbits about yourself that make you real, like your hobbies, interests and goals. This way, someone can see your profile, and get to know you at a glance. In fact, you might reach out to several potentially interesting profiles with a simple email message that expresses that you like what you saw. Since your inbox is now organized by conversations rather than messages, you are able to see all these communications very easily. Don’t forget, you can upgrade to make your profile stand out even more. Shine and browse on!

JDating and the Art of Matchmaking

Ok, so you signed up, have a great profile. You are still a little tentative to actually choose someone to greet and possibly meet. That is ok. JDate’s new Daily Matches feature is a simple, curated look at your best matches each and every day. They base this on the information that you provide so, don’t be so shy, say hi. Now, if someone says hello, be polite even if you are not interested. And likewise, if someone doesn’t respond to you, move on with a sense that meeting your mate is on the horizon, or, even at one of JDate’s offline events.

Going out on a JDate?

Inbox encounters are fine but take things offline so you don’t waste hours typing. First meetings are a chance to see if you have good energy with someone, or enjoy being in their company. If you do, book a date, if not, return to JDate. Hopefully, that person is a profile match away!

Savasana For Low Back

Savasana For A Tired Lower Back 

As I write this, it is the middle of Thanksgiving weekend. Many of us spent time in the car travelling to visit friends and family. Some spent long hours doing Black Friday shopping. I personally did not, but we went on a long hike, to be in the outdoors. It was uphill but worth the view. Hikers may want to practice viparita karani, or after a sequence of other poses, this variation is quite nice too. In any event, some of these circumstances breed lower back fatigue, leg fatigue and low grade back ache, and you might wonder what you can do using some simple yoga techniques to alleviate discomfort. 

savasana for hikers

Savasana is For Hikers Too

What is Savasana?

The classic meaning of savasana is corpse pose, or relaxation

. Not sleep, but deep relaxation. It is not always practiced the same way. If you have a stiff lower back, you might want to use props to practice savasana since lying flat on the floor may pull your back via tight hamstrings.

Propping in Savasana

how to practice savasana

Savasana for a tired back

What I propose for today is using a bolster, or a few stacked blankets to help weight the top of the thighs down so that the legs and lower back release into gravity. Fighting the physicality of a pose helps the nervous system to calm down, and once this takes place, a calmer breath and the possibility for relaxation can then occur.

You might even consider setting up for Pranayama using the bolster to open the chest, and then segway into a 15 minute relaxation practice. Remember that yoga sequences need to make sense; there are times when you might want the bolster under your knees, or some other variation. Tune into yourself, book a private yoga lesson, or come to class

asana 3 ways -perking up practice time

Asana 3 ways

In the spirit of satya (truthfullness), I sometimes shop for clothing online. This makes me the recipient of a gamut of email campaigns, which I mostly delete. A couple of them have captivated me, not because I am lured into buying what they are selling. It has more to do with how they are approaching their merchandise. For example, “this skirt, 3 ways” or “instant wardrobe update”. So, what I am proposing today, is taking the principles of creativity, versatility and gaining a fresh perspective on something we already have, into our asana practice. Hence, “asana 3 ways”. 

Variations on a theme

In the fashion sense of using something different ways, there is usually a product – we are going to substitute asana – with how to wear it classically or low key, to work or slightly basic and out for an event, which is usually slightly snazzy. We are going to replace this with a basic variation to learn a skill, one with a little more subtlety, and one which requires a bit more work. I am going to propose we use props for this exercise. You aren’t trying to reinvent the wheel, just explore something from a different angle, self-reflect, observe, and get to know yourself, your breathing patterns, your tension packages and all that other good stuff. 

What yoga props you need for this asana experiment

I used the wall, a long mat, a travel mat folded folded in 4 then accordion fold, and a yoga strap.

helpful yoga props

yoga props for asana 3 ways

Let’s look at Tadasana, which teaches the art of standing and taking your place in the world. Planting the feet firmly can create emotional and physical stability. This being said, often the feet turn in or out which shifts the hips-shoulders-neck. Let’s try a supine variation of this asana 3 ways to help correct faulty posture. The main things we will explore are:

  1. Getting the feet parallel, lifting and spreading the toes with attention in the heels so that the pelvis can align
  2. Lifting the inner ankles to bring the legs to life
  3. Opening the chest

Variation 1- Getting the feet parallel. Lie down and use the folded mat under the heels, so that you can access the heels. This actually allows the top thighs to go back and the tailbone to draw in so that the pelvis aligns

how to practice an asana 3 ways

supine tadasana variation 1

Variation 2- Lifting the inner ankles. Placing the belt across the feet to lift the inner ankles into the outer ankles will actually also help to roll the groins back, lengthening and activating the legs

how to practice tadasana

using yoga props to access the ankles

Variation 3 – Opening the chest by placing the folded mat under the breastbone/thick ribs to free the emotional center, release shoulder blades down and away from neck and be able to lengthen the crown of the head

how to open the chest in tadasana

supine tadasana with arms overhead

Supine variations of asana allow us to access a calmer mind, without fighting gravity.

They do not necessarily make things ‘easy’. Try holding each variation for 30 seconds, then increase that time. Then try taking the skills with you as you practice standing up.

Enjoy.

Defuse Anxiety

how to diffuse anxiety through yoga practice

Setu Bandha Sarvangasana
to diffuse anxiety

Defuse Anxiety With Yoga Practice

Are you anxious or irritable? Do you feel emotionally vulnerable or prone to mild depression? If you are nodding here, then you may want to read on. 

Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Supported Bridge Pose)

In this variation of setu bandha sarvangasana, the supported expansion of the chest helps to stabilize the chest and calm anxiety. It is a backbend, and because the heart is above the head, it is also considered a mild inversion.

Benefits

This is a pose that helps you rest, and quiet the brain. It can also help to relieve diarrhea, and stabilize the thyroid and parathyroid, as it engages the chin lock. The open chest helps you to access a relaxed breathing pattern. It can therefore be practiced prior to a formal pranayama practice or as a restorative pose at the end of an active session.

How to practice

Set up a bolster on the floor, not a mat, at a right angle to a wall, in such a way that when you stretch out over it, the top edge of the bolster is at your lower rib area and your feet touch the wall. Place an upright yoga block against the wall for your feet in line with the center of the bolster. Sit on the edge of the bolster, close to the wall. Secure a strap on the top thighs to help the abdomen staff soft, and compact the hips. Curve your torso back over the bolster so the shoulders and back of the head are on the floor ( you can always have a thin blanket under these areas). Allow the soles of the feet to touch the wall.

Roll the shoulders back and down and the upper arms out, palms up. Breathe smoothly. When the breathing is quick and choppy, it is a sign of alert and anxiety. When the breath is calm, mind quiet, thoughts quiet, these feelings can be diffused, and peace can set in.

To come out, bend the knees, feet to floor, beside bolster. Remove the strap, and let the lower back settle. Tip: Not a wise posture if you have a herniated disk.

Yoga Belt Video Tutorial

Yoga Belt Video Tutorial

Yoga Belt: How to Use Without Getting Tied Up In Knots

Yoga Belt – A Versatile Yoga Prop

I have noticed when it comes to using a yoga belt in class that many students get flustered. I have even encountered students who are so confused that they actually tie a knot in their strap, which is a pet peeve of mine. Here’s why: in the first instance, this is not as secure, in the second, it doesn’t allow for any movement, so if it is either too tight or too loose, you can then not improve that situation, and third, come on! just plain lazy! :-)

The yoga belt itself comes in different lengths. This one is my favorite D-ring. I prefer the long 10 feet ones because I am tall and they also adapt to different uses. I prefer the D-ring because it locks well so I do not worry it will slip open.

A yoga belt can be used to stabilize your joints, and they can either encourage flexibility or help to create both traction and ‘space’ if you are inflexible (which is not a bad thing, it just is what it is). I find I use a strap both to warm up and prepare for postures, as well as for any number of postures – both active and restorative. They really do help de-compress and give a pretty immediate sense of length and relief. Check through some of my other yogatherapy blogs for other insight

Yoga Belt Video Tutorial

Learning to tie a yoga belt in this video tutorial should set you up for ease and success for your home or group yoga class practice  

Tips For the Visual Learner

Simple video on the ‘anatomy of the yoga belt’ and a visual explanation so you don’t get tied up in knots! 

Group yoga classes

Group Yoga Classes in September:

group restorative yoga classes

group restorative yoga classes

This season I’m kicking the restorative yoga classes up a notch, through the use of weekly themes and focuses on different categories of asanas. 

This is primarily because I notice a prevalence of folks who either come expecting to just lay out on a bolster and sleep, or are already burnt out and tired that they should really be coming more often (preventative measures) rather than 1&1/2 hours of “curative”. Don’t get me wrong, it’s all good, but discipline (tapas) pays off, especially with restorative yoga, since we do not always cultivate the softer forms of practice (meditation, relaxation, pranayama). 

Also, holding any pose for any length of time is either not helpful (if you do not have the alignment or trajectory of the pose in the first instance), or helpful if you are really in tune with proper prop placement and so on. Comfort is really learned too!

Many of you come to group yoga classes when you are already tired; have lower back pain, stiff shoulders, and tight hips. We will address all these issues in weekly themes during our yoga classes where you can learn sequences and alignment skills to complement your busy life and your active yoga practices. The sequences will progress as you learn them…right?! so come to class – or just book me privately.

The first week of the month will be devoted to supine standing poses, which are great to alleviate tension in the whole body. The second will be devoted to backbends and twists, to improve posture, circulation, the third to forward bends and light inversions, which have great benefits for immunity and overall calmness, and the fourth to peaceful practices and pranayama.

Look forward to seeing you in class, 

Rana

meditation for your muscles

meditation blog at ranawaxman.com

meditation

Meditation: For the mind and also for the muscles

Today I want to talk about using meditation for your muscles. I am preparing for my restorative yoga class, and came across an interesting article this week which focused on tight muscles and why not to actively stretch them. You can read it by clicking here; where the author says insightful things like “We have been conditioned to think of the tightness itself as the problem, thus the automatic tendency to try to stretch. But in reality, sometimes tightness is a result of the problem. In those situations, stretching is not the answer–at best it gets you nowhere, and at worst, it aggravates the problem. So the key to correcting the issue is figuring out why a muscle is tight. It might even clue you in to a problem you didn’t know you had….TIP: Not all tight muscles need to be or should be stretched;  sometimes the real problem is weakness not tightness. This needs to be considered when inflexibility persists despite consistent attempts at stretching.”

Why meditation for your muscles?

Where meditation comes in is that once your mind is calm, you get the space necessary to allow yourself to to move away fro “automatic tendency” and more towards a balanced and thoughtful approach that could include rest, postural changes or other modifications that are actually at the root of your tightness. So let’s allow our meditation to inform our muscles! See you on the mat or meditation cushion! Check out my Yoga Mind Cd for portable peace :-)

meditation ~ Rana Waxman Yoga Yoga Therapy

Yoga For Fatigue

Yoga for Fatigue

yoga for fatigue

yoga for fatigue

Do you suffer from being tired, not getting enough rest, or just having low energy?  Here are a few reasons to do yoga for fatigue and improved energy so that you can deal with the challenges of being tired mentally, physically, emotionally.

First of all, it helps to identify whether you are mentally, physically, emotionally tired, but have energy, or, either of these with no energy. This should help you somewhat with a basic idea of how to use your yoga practice for fatigue.

Yoga can be a good way to tone and invigorate your adrenals, but if your adrenals are shot due to being overly tired or stressed, you should think of pacifying your nervous system. You can do this with forward bends, or downward dog, and use some head support if you are mentally tired.

A balanced practice can massage and stimulate your adrenal glands; backbends tend to squeeze them and rid them of stale blood, twists will rinse them with freshly oxygenated blood.

What I enjoy about restorative yoga is that it can certainly open your body but without the brain having to do so much work. Navigating alignment is work, its still you doing something. Apart from legs up the wall, which is a go-to pose, I like Matseyasana when I have been working at my desk and my neck and shoulders are congested. It can be a little stimulating, because the heart and chest open, but this affords a nice opportunity to breathe too.

create the life of your dreams

Come to class or book a private yoga lesson for more tips

yoga for fatigue

yoga for fatigue

Restorative spinal twisting asanas

Restorative spinal twisting asanas are both calming and important for creating a healthy spine.

When I think of twisting, I think of opening a water bottle. You cannot just twist the cap off, something has to hold the bottom steady in order to move the lid. In restorative yoga, the same principles apply, although we are not working against gravity to maintain the fixed base.

Restorative spinal twisting asanas are calming:

The relaxation, or calming effect of the pose comes from relying on prop placement where you (uniquely) require it.

Restorative spinal twisting asanas are important for the vertebrae:

The mobility improvement to spinal joint flexibility comes from extending the thoracic spine or wringing out the spine. Much like a water bottle, the lumbar, or lower part of our body, is not intended to be torqued. In this way, we are involving opposite movements, the spine is straight,while pelvis and shoulder girdles stack up like shelves. I found the sandbag helped to relax the shoulder opposite to the legs, since it tends to roll forward.

restorative twing asanas Rana

You can see this in the bellow variation of Jathara Parivartanasana (basic stomach turn) which is a great restorative twisting asana to unwind from stress, a lot of walking, standing, or sitting. I also find it helpful to digestion.

We will explore this in class today at 4 in Jersey City!

Finding Your Yoga Practice

Finding your yoga practice

Finding your yoga practice is an organic process that should take into consideration different factors. To me, there are three major ones.
First, who are you ? What body structure you are working with is important. A qualified yoga therapist can help you determine what your overall posture is and whether there are any imbalances.

yoga practice

 

 

 

The goal is not perfection, but rather, symmetry and balance. You can use yoga postures to strengthen dormant muscles, or areas of awareness, as well as to relax the ones that are highly over worked.

yoga practice

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Second, what kind of time do you have? The time you can commit to may change, but usually we have enough of a tight schedule, that we can determine a bottom line clearly. When you know, then you can format things accordingly. Some poses require a lot of warm-ups so if you are not able to devote a lot of time, just keep things simple. Chose something that will be refreshing. If you have time to center, warm-up, do a few static poses, a few restorative poses, a savasana, then you can get a bit more complex. Don’t forget, that relaxation is a practice in and of itself, as is a restorative like viparita karani. Breathing practices that are simple enough can also form a nice simple practice. Check out my Yoga Mind Cd

start where you are

Third, what are you going through right now? Postures are neither one size fits all, nor are they all necessary or recommended for every one at every stage. I find several postures way too heating and agitating for menopause, but they work really well for someone who needs to ‘get’ energized and moving. Use what you have and again, strive to use your yoga practice, not for perfection, but for symmetry, harmony, balance…to the best of your ability. Get some qualified help too
yoga practice