Practicing heart opener

Recently my yoga theme was for the desk jockey, a person who sits at a desk.

One of the poses we practiced in the sequence was the heart opener over the blocks, aka supported fish pose (pictured to the left).

So many of my students love this pose. They love how it makes them feel. I love it as well.

This pose reverses the negative effects of our poor posture when we sit at a desk, pound away on a keyboard, sit in the car or on public transportation during our long commutes, look at our smart phone or tablet, etc.

The heart opener is a baby backbend and puts our body into extension (we are usually in flexion–think hunched over computer back).

We open our chest, spread shoulder blades, open the collarbones and take stress out of the low back. Having the block behind our shoulder blades reminds us where backbends should come from, behind our heart center, not the low back or the neck.

The muscles, ligaments, veins, etc. are tight in the neck, chest, shoulders, upper back because of our sitting culture. This pose helps to stretch these tight/overactive muscles, making them longer and more supple.

Many people have … Continue reading

Life can be unstable & out of control

The opposite of instability is … not certainty … it’s faith.

Vickie was teaching that to us during our practice yesterday. I like it. And it makes sense.

We all have had at some point in our life instability and lack of control.

I bet most of my readers are experiencing some sort of instability right now.

One of the amazing things about yoga (and there are a lot of amazing things about the practice) is that you can apply regular life stuff to your practice and vice versa.

Yesterday morning we tried various poses while standing on yoga blocks (aka bricks).

It gave an interesting perspective to the poses. I found them slightly easier. But I definitely felt like I had more control. Control within the stability … who would have thought?

When our life is crazy and in chaos we just want something to control. So remember the things you can control and try to accept the things you can’t.

I had an interesting conversation with a woman at the gym tonight before class started. We were talking about things that make people feel grounded. For some it is cooking, practicing yoga, knitting, exercising, gardening.

What keeps … Continue reading

Aligning the spine in yoga

I attended the 6 p.m. yoga class, which Baxter normally teaches. I forgot he is in Costa Rica this week for a yoga retreat.

Dominick was the sub. I like Dominick’s teaching style and he is funny. But his class starts at 4:30 on Mondays and Wednesdays. So I can rarely go. But I do enjoy when he subs one of my regular classes.

Today Dominick focused on the spine and back.

Focusing on the back/spine/alignment is always good for me. I have bad posture, kyphosis, weak back muscles, not the strongest core, low back pain and a strong lower back arch.

Dominick talked to us about the natural alignment of our spines. He had us hold full forward bend. And then half way up with blocks under our hands to help us really focus on keeping the back straight.

We also focused on hinging at the waist instead of rolling the back down. This also helps keep the back straight and engaged.

Every pose we performed today we focused on the alignment of the back and our breathing through the front and then down the back. We held the poses much longer while focusing on alignment … Continue reading