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!

Yogatherapy – the shoulder jacket

Yogatherapy – shoulder pain relief: – the shoulder jacket for yoga shoulder pain relief. If you have a desk job, drive a lot, walk a lot or just plain shlump-a-lot, your shoulders may round forward and your head may drop. That is a lot of strain for the shoulders and neck, don’t you think? Headaches anyone? Probably that and other issues. Basically if you take that posture with you into everything else you do, it will not improve unless you teach yourself new muscular movement tricks.  Here is a simple but highly beneficial way to use a yoga strap to keep the shoulders seated on the back and open the front chest. You can even use it while you sit at your desk. It is a great yoga therapy tip for anyone who suffers from the shoulder shlumps ! I like 8ft or 10ft straps; you can get one here.

If you look like or are worried about looking like the kyphosis in this photo, yoga as therapy works wonders, I see it and work with it in private yoga classes all the time.

yogatherapy yoga shoulder pain relief

The steps for following along side this use of the yoga strap for a yogatherapy shoulder jacket are:

A ~ take belt buckle over left shoulder, leave tail down

B ~ take the tail cross the back under right armpit

C ~ loop the belt over the right armpit, take it with left hand

D ~ buckle up!

You can use this when you are sitting at your desk, or try a brief meditation with it.

 

Using Your Yoga Practice To Connect With Yourself

yoga practiceUsing Your Yoga Practice To Connect With Yourself

Stress induced illness and anxiety and muscle tightness can definitely be worked with through yoga practice:

 Yoga practice gives you a sense of connecting with yourself, by cultivating a strong body and calmly positive mind-set, even and especially during tough times..

Hatha yoga is the term used for the type of yoga practice where the mind is accessed, brought into focus and serenity, through the use of asanas. Sometimes this will or can be, a vigorous practice, other times it may be restorative yoga and other times, balanced. Whether you are practicing one-one, in a group, or on your own, the connection that takes place can be very subtle, as in getting the chance to hear your own instincts. “Serenity comes when you trade expectations for acceptance.” Being present with yourself in class is the best way to honour your body and its limitations. When you do this routinely, you build a sense of confidence and trust in yourself which is a pretty useful tool off the yoga mat as well.

Stress induced illness and anxiety and muscle tightness can definitely be worked with. If you are on the fence about starting, the patient progress you will make in a private yoga class is encouraging and may be just the ticket.

I found the divine within -Rumi

Prenatal Yoga as Therapy

Prenatal Yoga in private class format is tailored to your needs, as they change and evolve through your pregnancy.  There is a great read over on Yoga International about modifying a practice for prenatal students and some of the tips are pretty spot on if you teach a group class and a pregnant woman is among the participants. I have usually, in my career, taught prenatal yoga one on one and each of these lovely students has had different requirements.

In all the years I am teaching, I agree with the author that no 2 pregnant women are alike. Sometimes an active practice is helpful, but when fatigue sets in, a restorative yoga practice can feel refreshing. As I have mentioned before, restorative yoga is not merely stretching out over a bolster. Skills can be taught and employed. Today I taught someone who was complaining about not being able to breathe well. The baby’s weight pulls the rib cage inward, so you have to really focus – especially when you are off the yoga mat – to stretch the top chest upwards toward the jaw line, without jutting the jaw forward.

prenatal yoga supta baddha konasana

The pose above/below is a really great rest and digest – Supta Baddha Konasana (reclined bound angle). The 3 minute Eggs were great to fill all the spaces, and hold the hands (really softens the shoulders) this mom was breathing way easier after class and during the week that passed, had translated the new awareness to better all-day posture. Private yoga classes rock! 

supta baddha konasana

Sunny Day Savasana

Sunny Day Savasana: Summer may feel relaxing but the extra light and heat coupled with more sitting (car? soccer watching? cycling?) plus walking/standing/running can often leave the body out of whack. More than a stretch, a passive way to restore balance is to set yourself up for a 15 minute savasana. For guided yoga based relaxation practices, download my YOGA MIND cd

Here is a photo where the back legs from behind the knee crease to the heels is supported. Guaranteed to please. I absolutely love to have my calves and feet elevated. I obviously have a lot of props and bolsters in my studio – you can substitute with blankets and or folded towels or cushions that are firm.

Sunny Day Savasana

For a personalized approach contact me. The benefits of relaxation (savasana) are numerous:

– savasana allows you to deepen your breathing,
– savasana reduces stress hormones,
– savasana slows down heart rate and blood pressure,
– savasana un-tenses your muscles
– savasana increases energy and focus,
– savasana combats illness,
– savasana relieves aches and pains,
– savasana heightens problem-solving abilities by turning down the thinking mind
– savasana boosts motivation and productivity – rest and digest !
– savasana increases happiness, by releasing dopamine, seratonin, oxytocin and other immunomodulators to change brain chemistry

so what are you going to practice ?

 

Revolved Head To Knee Pose – Yoga Therapy Version

Revolved Head To Knee Pose – Yoga Therapy Version was written on a day I felt like experimenting….sometimes I get into a playful mood about being so tight ~ sitting, driving, walking…feel a bit seized up here: Quadratus Lumborum  – the QL – the hip hikers that never quit….so I try to mix in some inspiration from my trusty yoga props and get going to explore the terrain of the side waist. Here is a fun pose to try. One of the articles that I incorporated was a study of how to use the feet in asana by one of my teachers – this is why I have used the block on my extended foot – to keep doing the work in the feet and explore how that translated to working the hips

Revolved Head To Knee Pose - Yoga Therapy Version

Revolved Head To Knee Pose Rana Waxman

Revolved Head To Knee Pose Rana Waxman A

 

 

 

 

 

Revolved Head To Knee Pose – Yoga Therapy Version –

parivrtta = revolved

janu = knee
sirsa = head

Revolved Head To Knee Pose Rana Waxman

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I found using a strap and block made me really have to do the work of grounding the femurs, engaging my glutes and lifting through the spine to get the side bend.

Revolved Head To Knee PoseSometimes less is more

Benefits

Stretches the spine, shoulders, and hamstrings
Stimulates abdominal organs such as the liver and kidneys
Improves digestion

Therapeutic Applications

Mild backache
Anxiety
Fatigue
Headache
Insomnia

Tip- Before you work at a long hold, experiment with getting just the right amount of real rotation in the mid back….When you release, loosen anything that is straight and neutralize (center) the torso before moving to next sidestretch QL

Yoga and avoidance

I think this is partly true in that if an asana feels too challenging we may avoid it rather than break it down into steps or modify it to suit our present needs…for me as a teacher, the importance thing is to learn the skill and people often find my classes challenge them in entirely unexpected ways.

On the other hand, we have to learn what would just definitely not suit us and omit it if possible so as not to provoke injury, dis-harmony or imbalance…

The nice thing about using yoga as therapy is that you get a chance to understand why you might avoid a pose. Perhaps there is a lot of tightness around a certain area that you are unsure how to work into. That is the beauty of private yoga lessons, you get to ask lots of questions, have undivided attention and get into a practice that is not superficial at all.

avoidance

Yogatherapy for the Subscapularis

Yogatherapy for the Subscapularis:

Yoga Therapy for the Subscapularis: In case you here the cue “open the heart” – I find the cue not as informative as seeing anatomically how the chest and arms work together here are some tips and a great infograph to put join yoga mind body and spirit. This infographic is cool  – it shows muscles, has some mind/body self-reflections/spirit  and also gets into the meridians. Yoga Therapy for the Subscapularis ! If you are someone whose shoulder blades ‘wing’, or, you have tight pectorals, and can never understand the cue ‘ keep your shoulder blades seated on your back’ this is a muscle group you can investigate and look towards strengthening.

Too much tightness in one area can simultaneously create tightness (and pinching) in another. There are a few ways that yoga, used therapeutically can address this. A restorative backbend can nicely open the front lines of the body while allowing the back body to re-pattern, plus you get to facilitate breathing.

Muscle metaphor questions to answer:

-What are you hiding or keeping private?

-Is there something that you need to reveal?

-What do you feel in your heart as opposed to your head?

-How are you receiving and sending messages about your life to yourself and others?

-ow is your communication and circulation within your soul, or in your daily activities, literally or figuratively?
Yoga Therapy for the Subscapularis

Feet First: Yoga Therapy Tip Basic

Feet First: Yoga Therapy Tip Basic

Let’s face it – our feet take a beating in daily life, whether it is the shoes we wear, the activities we do, or the way we stand, the feet are our foundations. If you already have a pre-existing condition, then you can use Yoga Therapy to strengthen and even prevent further damage to your feet as well as  learn to stand using better posture. It is always good to know, who you are and what you bring to asana.  Sometimes cues are for the general public.  I have found, through years of practice, that my bunions have gone from pain level 10+ to almost no pain ever (with the exception of walking in some shoes for prolonged periods).  However, I have to do a lot of work in my feet especially in standing poses. Great read on bunions by one of my teachers, Doug Keller

Tips

Yesterday at a client’s house, we didn’t have a tennis ball but they had some small 3 pound weights which we used to

-roll the feet over as a little preliminary massage before

-some ankle rolls

– toe tractions.

Don’t wait for your next pedicure to take care of your feet from the inside out. Try to distribute your weight on your feet (not so easy).  And don’t forget, the feet communicate with your calves so don’t expect to get tension out of the calves without working the tootsies…For more tips contact mefoot healthreflexes in the feet

Why Using a Wall is a Useful Yoga Prop

Yoga Props To Increase The Benefits

Why Using a Wall is a  Useful Yoga Prop

As a yoga therapist, I  have never seen anyone not benefit from the use of a strategically placed yoga prop. Apart from a sticky and reliable yoga mat, the wall itself is a fantastic yoga prop and one of your best teachers for a few reasons:

-it does not lie; when you press into it you feel direct postural feedback of where you are in time and space

-it helps you maintain balance which can deliver you into more self-confidence, and strength

-it helps you maintain alignment and so conserve energy and keeps you safer (because there are healthy ways to stretch and ways that create injury)

-you can stack things against it like yoga blocks, bolsters, yoga chair

-it reminds us to ground, lengthen, align the spine and helps deepen awareness

Sounds pretty great right? right now, while I get to know the ropes here in Jersey City,  I am available for private yoga classes

The belief that using props is cheating or makes things ‘easy’ is ridiculous. Believe me.

Try this variation of a lunge: Come into downward facing dog with your heels up the baseboard of the wall. Step your right foot forward between your hands (you can use blocks). Keep pressing the back heel into the wall, draw your top thighs into the body so your hips are steady, as you lengthen through the spine. 60-90 seconds each side, steady breathing steady alignment

Join me for restorative yoga whether in private or in Jersey City to explore some calming options

wall as yoga prop

wall as yoga prop