Thrive Program | Spring 2018

It’s about that time again…

As we look ahead to all that 2018 has in store for us, let’s get excited about the promise of springtime and sunny days! I am looking forward to offering my self-love workshop “The Thrive Program” again this April. The spring is the perfect time to go through a program like this with all the fresh produce and the sense of renewal that is all around us with buds popping up from the soil, birds chirping and warmth in the air. All of these support the detoxification process that Thrive works to produce – body, mind, and spirit.

In the Thrive Program, we will embark on a journey that includes yoga classes, a cleanse, journaling, and accountability. This program allows you the time and permission to truly hit the “reset button” on your wellbeing! This spring session will be held at Inspire Yoga – Denton.

Thrive_Horizontal

DATES

FRIDAY APR 6th | 7:15-9pm | Kickoff Session + Intention-setting

SUNDAY APR 8th | 2-3pm | Weekly Meeting

SUNDAY APR 15th | 4:30-7pm | Weekly Meeting + Mindfulness Dinner

SUNDAY APR 22nd | 2-3pm | Weekly Meeting

SUNDAY APR 29th | 2-3pm | Weekly Meeting

FRIDAY MAY 4th | 7:15-9pm Celebration Class + Community Potluck

The series will also include 4 yin yoga classes themed according to what we are discussing each week. These classes are on Mondays at 7:30pm at IYD. They are not mandatory, but an optional way to deepen your experience in the Thrive Program.

Interested in learning some of the specifics? Join me for a free info session held at Juice Lab in Denton, TX on March 1st at 5:30pm or email me at nancynelsonyoga@gmail.com


SPACE IS LIMITED. Sign up today!

Inspire Yoga MEMBER – Thrive Tuition

If you are already a member of Inspire Yoga or have a current class card, you are welcome to utilize this discount!

$150.00

Non-IY MEMBER – Thrive Tuition

If you are not a current member of Inspire Yoga, please choose this payment option as it will include 4 classes at the studio throughout the program.

$200.00

 

TERMS & CONDITIONS: BY CLICKING “BUY NOW” AND PURCHASING THE THRIVE FOUR-WEEK SERIES YOU ARE RESERVING YOUR SPACE IN THE WORKSHOP. NO REFUNDS, EXCHANGES OR RETURNS AFTER 4/1/18. 

If you would like to offer this workshop at your home studio, condensed into a weekend, contact me about details and scheduling.

5 Yoga Poses to Boost Immunity!

Happy new year, yin friends!

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season and are enjoying these crisp new days of 2018 thus far. I was in a super fun, yet super exhausting wedding over New Years and am recovering from a cold that followed. I love how the yoga practice can enhance functionality of the lymphatic system and encourage the healing process. Today I wanted to share with you some of my favorite poses for preventing/healing these winter sicknesses and to boost your immune system from here on out.

Some science for those interested: These first two poses specifically help to stimulate the lymphatic system in the body, which is basically your body’s drainage system. It aids in the absorption and transportation of excess fluid in the body and the lymph nodes. The lymph nodes hold important cells (called B and T cells) which are often much more effective in fighting foreign substances (like bacteria, viruses etc) than your average immune cell. These special cells are only present in the lymphatic system so to encourage the interaction between the foreign substance and and the B and T cells we need to get the lymphatic system working. The ironic part is that the lymph moves from your feet toward your neck, which is not how we are normally oriented. Yoga is a really great tool for encouraging this process to take place on a regular basis!

Legs up the wall. Help start the process of getting the lymph moving in the right direction (from the feet toward the torso). This pose also increases circulation and is very calming for the nervous system. Elevating your hips onto a blanket or block is even more beneficial!

Recommended hold time: 7 min

Dangling. To continue moving lymph in the right direction – this pose will help the tissue transition from the hips/midsection toward the head and neck. I would recommend modifying this by deeply bending your knees if you are already congested since it might be difficult holding the head heavy once you are stopped up.

Recommended hold time: 5 min

Supine Twist. Twists are an obvious choice for getting healthy. As you’ve probably heard before, the twists help aid in the detoxification process. When you breathe in a resting twist, you gently massage the internal organs encouraging your body to move out of the stagnant state that sickness lends itself to. Twists also help open up the chest and shoulders where we hold the stress of congestion in the body.

Recommended hold time: 3-5 min each side

Reclined Fish. Matsyasana has been known as the “destroyer of all diseases”. Quite a title, I must say! I do have to agree that this pose offers many wonderful physical and mental benefits worth noting. This pose opens your chest, releases tension through the hip flexors and with your head dropped below the heart it aids in lymph movement through the body. My favorite benefit is that it opens up the chest and allows more space for the breath – which is your most important aspect in immunity!

Recommended hold time: 5 min

Bridge. A classic! Bridge pose stretches the front body, encourages the blood to circulate, eases the nervous system (encouraging the parasympathetic nervous system to activate), and stimulates the lungs, thyroid glands, and abdominal organs which all take a hit when we are under the weather. You can start in an active variation holding about 5 breaths for several rounds and then rest in supported bridge (pictured below) for several minutes.

Recommended hold time: 5 min (supported bridge)

 


Additional remedies…

Breathe. As I mentioned above, your breath has a very powerful impact on your overall health. Countless studies have been done highlighting the importance of deep belly breathing. Move through ujjayi breaths, brahmari, alternate nostril (nadi shodanam) breaths for several rounds in the mornings and evenings on a regular basis and I promise you will notice a phenomenal difference.

Water. I know you’ve heard it countless times – “drink more water!”. It really is true. Water helps flush out ingested toxins and hydrate the body which improves overall functionality of all systems. If you drink anything dehydrating (coffee, black tea, alcohol etc) – drink twice that amount in water afterward.

Juice. I’m a big fan of juicing. It’s a great way to quickly absorb the nutrient density available to us in raw fruits and vegetables. Some of my favorite ingredients for immunity are: ginger, turmeric, lemon, apples, and oranges. Here’s a favorite juice for you to check out.

Neti Pot. After I got over how weird the concept of a neti pot was – I was totally hooked. Neti pots are little pots of warm/hot water with a diluted saline solution that you run through the nasal passageway to thin mucus and clear the junk and allergens that acquire in the body through our noses and throats. These work best to prevent colds or help you flush out the last of the congestion after a cold is almost gone. I use mine whenever I feel something weird coming on and usually try to do it at least once a week for maintenance.

Garlic. There are about a million supplements I could recommend, but my favorite is garlic. It sounds gross but there are many pills that are not odorous at all! You can take quite a bit throughout the day (I do 3 pills, 3x day) to aid in reducing the severity of the cold and/or flu boosting the body’s immune response.

Rest. The most helpful thing you can do for yourself to prevent and treat any kind of sickness is allowing your body to rest and not over exert. Though some movement is incredibly helpful, the more you can sleep and generally be still – the better. In many cultures these days, we are constantly moving. Rest feels almost counter-cultural to our bodies and is incredibly nourishing because of that. We are often over-caffeinated and under-rested, so do your best to get 8+ hours of sleep when you can and especially when you are sick!

Yin Yoga | Practicing Presence – Holiday Sequence

Hey friends!

I’m excited to finally be getting another sequence on my blog. Today is the perfect day to do so because it actually FEELS like Christmas on this cold, drizzly day in Texas. I’m currently leaning toward the warmth of the fire listening to the quiet hum of my home. As I sit here, my holiday mantra continues to pop up in my mind and heart and that is – the best present you can offer yourself is presence. Kind of cheesy, but oh so true. This mantra landed in my head a few weeks ago and has surfaced so many times since then serving as a wonderful reminder to practice stillness and mindfulness during the hectic holiday season. Wherever you find yourself today, remember that the best presence you can offer yourself is PRESENCE. That sweet reminder that you are here, you are alive and that means you are very truly blessed. In my experience, the more present I am – the more others around me are blessed by it as well. Be present in your conversations (short or long), your work, your mundane tasks, and your even your holiday gifting – you will enjoy life a bit more and notice the gifts you already have because of it. Today’s sequence is a good one to stretch out those tight wintery areas and invite in a sense of renewal and openness as we look toward the new year.

My Playlist (it’s a holiday one – if you’re not into that, browse my other YIN options)

Reclined Cow Face Arms (4 min) – We will jump right in and work on releasing the shoulder muscles and joints. Begin by placing your left hand into the low back so the palm lands onto the floor. The right arm can stretch overhead or bring it behind the neck. To go deeper, simply use your breath to walk the hands closer toward one another until you find the right amount of sensation for you. After 3 minutes, you can stay as you are or release the right arm, scoot your hips to the right slightly and then drop the knees to the left side to intensify the pressure on the left shoulder. The right arm can stay out to the side or stretch across your chest (bottom picture). To come out, slowly lean the knees to the right and remove the left palm. Stretch out anything that needs some attention and then switch to the other side.

 

Supported Bridge (5 min) – Bend the knees and place the arms at the sides. Slowly pick up your hips and place a block at your desired height under your sacrum (same place your hand started in the previous pose). Make sure you feel sturdy and then decide to stay or you can walk the legs forward and arms overhead. Rest completely into the pull of gravity.

Draw the knees in and then gently make your way to seated in a butterfly position.

Butterfly (5 min) – Take the knees wide and bring the feet together. Experiment with walking the feet forward until you have a nice long diamond shape (more distance between heels and groin than usual). Utilize your breath and slowly make your way forward into a fold. Allow the upper spine to gently round and make sure the hips stay grounded here. To come out, gently rise up and windshield wiper the knees side to side.

Pigeon (3 min) – Set up at the top of the mat with the right knee forward and shin somewhat parallel to the top of the mat. In your own time begin to fold forward. You can keep it simple or add a twist by threading the left arm across the chest and maybe wrap the right arm around the low back. That variation WILL take you deeper so make sure you find a place of stillness and “comfort” in the pose before finding that option. Move onto the next pose before switching sides.

Shoelace Lateral Bend (3 min) – From pigeon, rise up and gently bring the left leg on top of the right. If that doesn’t work out in your hips (if you can’t sit evenly), extend the right leg forward and just keep the left leg on top. Place a block over to your left side and slowly lower your elbow to rest on it. Place your head in your hand and you can decide to keep the right arm in your lap or dangle it over your head. Focus on deep breaths through the side body here. To release, slowly come up and switch to pigeon on the other side.

Caterpillar (5 min) – Come to a seated position with the feet stretching to the top of the mat. Lengthen through your spine and slowly begin to melt forward into a fold. As long as your low back is long – your upper back/neck can round in. Don’t worry about touching your toes, just let the arms and shoulders hang heavy here and let the magic of time do all the hard work of pulling you deeper! Rise up when done and slowly lower to the back.

Supine Twist/Cat Pulling its Tail (3 min) – Begin to move into a twist of your choice on your back. You can take the bound variation I’m taking here but make sure your breath can move fully through the lungs for optimal benefit. Switch to the opposite side when time is complete.

Final Hug + Savasana (10 min) – Give yourself one last hug and then find your way to a comfortable resting pose of your choice. Allow your body and mind to release effort and just enjoy the ability to be still and to breathe naturally. You’ve earned it!

 

Merry Christmas from Ama & I! 

Tulum, Mexico – Yoga Retreat!

Hello lovely friends!

I hope you are all enjoying the start of the holiday season. I’m writing today to let you know I have a yin sequence focused on presence coming soon to the blog so stay tuned on that front. I also wanted to let you know that my friend Tatiana and I are teaming up with FabFitTravel to lead a luxury yoga + adventure retreat in beautiful Tulum, Mexico in June 2018. We would LOVE to have you join us. The theme for the retreat will be connection. You will have 5 days and 4 night to spend devoted time connecting  with yourself, with others, and with nature. There is very minimal space available for this so if you are interested please click here for the details. We will be doing acroyoga, vinyasa, slow flow and of course I’ll be leading some yin! We will have plenty of time for you to explore, meditate and play! I would be honored to have you join us.

If you decide to join us, please feel free to use the PROMO CODE: CONNECT to save $250 on your registration. *Ladies only please*

Yin Yoga | Side Body

Greetings, yinsters!

I hope you are all doing well on this fine autumn day. For once, it feels cool outside (as it should this time of year) in Texas. The climate here never follows the rules so I am incredibly grateful for the crisp air. This weather always inspires me to practice yin. Stretching the side body is one of my favorite things to do. We focus a lot of our time on forward folds and backbends in the practice, but we should not neglect the side body! These poses will trigger the urinary bladder, kidney, stomach and gall bladder meridian lines which will help our body stay healthy amidst the changing of the seasons. These poses will also help stretch the ribcage and allow for deeper breath throughout the day after you practice. Deep breathing is so important to our immunity and we are less inclined to take deep breaths in the cooler temperatures. The openness you create in this sequence will create the physical space you need to be intentional with your breath on and off the mat. Enjoy!

My Playlist

Audio Version: 

Childs Pose

(Neutral – 3 min) Begin in a neutral childs pose. Walk your hands forward or toward your feet to relax your shoulders. Support your body as needed using your props. Take this time to bring your awareness into the space around you and beneath you. Feel your body making contact with the earth and expanding into the space around you as you breath. Use this time to settle into a rhythm with your breath and eventually to set an intention for your practice.

(Hands to Side – 1 min) Walk your hands to the left hand side of the mat, deepening your stretch into the right side body as you keep your hips grounded evenly on/toward the heels. Breathe intentional breaths into the right side of the rib cage while you are here.

(Thread – 2 min) Begin to come back to center and thread the right arm across the mat toward the left side. Left arm can stretch forward or wrap  behind you depending on what feels best.

**repeat side stretch and thread on other side**

Lizard (4 min)

Rise up from childs pose and gently rise up into a table top position. Step your right foot to the top of the mat and bring both hands to the inside of the foot. Give your chest plenty of space by walking the right foot over until you can comfortably relax your shoulders. Keep the right toes pointing forward for the first minute as you get settled in and find an appropriate depth for you. When your body is still, you can add on by dropping to the pinky edge of the right foot and let the knee fall open to the right. Stay here or begin to walk your hands toward the left top corner of the mat deepening the stretch into the outer right hip and right side of the ribcage.

Wide Leg Fold (dangle) (2 min first time through, 3 min second time)

When you are ready,  begin to lift the hips and pivot on the feet to come into a standing wide leg fold facing the left side of the room. Place a block or two underneath you for support and begin to find a fold, letting the head hang heavy.

Shoelace + lateral bend (2 min)

Come back toward the top of the mat and begin to transition over to the right side as you scoot the left knee behind the right ankle facing the right side of the room for shoelace/cowface pose. You can stack both knees or gently straighten out the bottom leg if it’s too intense.

We will move into a lateral stretch by placing a block out to the right side of the mat and placing the elbow onto the block. Rest your head into the right hand and the left arm can stretch overhead or relax it at your side. When the time is up, rise up off the block and sit up tall for a moment to feel the release from the posture.

Deer (4 min)

Gently slide the right knee off of the left and place the shin toward the short end of the back of the mat setting up for deer pose. The inner left leg can rest on the floor or move it into more of a half hero/saddle shape. Fold over the right shin toward the back of the mat and breathe deeply into this release for the outer hip.

Wipers (1 min)

Lift up from your fold and begin to windshield wiper the knees toward the long edge of the mat slowly releasing and feeling the effects of these poses through the body.

**Move to the other side of the body by starting with lizard on the left leg and moving through deer pose once more.**

Frog (3 min)

After completing the sequence on both sides, come into a table top position at the long edge of the mat and begin to open the knees and feet wide into frog pose. Alternatively tadpole (wide legged childs pose) will also work here if it’s too much. Gently fold your chest forward and if desired, support it with a block or bolster. Breathe deeply here and do your best not to resist the pull of gravity as you sink into the release.

Saddle/Hero

Neck Stretches (1 min): Find a comfortable upright position sitting back onto the heels or to the inside of the ankles on a block or blanket if needed. Drop the right ear toward the shoulder for 3 deep breaths, then gently switch to the other side for the same amount of time.

Recline (3 min): Bring the head back to center and gently begin to recline back onto the hands. Scoot your hips forward to lengthen out the low back and to avoid too much compression. You can continue to move down to your forearms if it’s comfortable. If you do not have a prop under your hips feel free to move all the way down as long as there is no pain. Take your time with this one!

Twisted Roots (3 min each side)

Gently rise up from hero and slowly come down to your back. Hug the knees into the chest and rock side to side massaging the low back. Cross the right leg all the way over the left, move the hips slightly to the right and then drop the knees to the left side with arms open wide like a T. Gaze can stay centered or release the head toward the right hand to complete the twist into the cervical spine. Make your way back to center and switch to the other side when the time is up.

Savasana (10 min)

Find a position you can rest in and begin to relax your body. Take rest here and use this time to bask in the space and openness you have created physically, mentally, and even emotionally.

 

Yin Yoga for the Upper Body | Shoulders + Spine

Good afternoon, yogi friends!

I hope that all is well in your world and that you are finding time for your yin practice in the warmer summer months. It is during the warmth of the season that our bodies and mind crave the benefits and environment of the yin practice to draw us back into balance. Yes, it’s of course ok to practice the yang side of the practice during this time of the year – but you do need to be intentional about incorporating your yin practice all the more.

Today I am sharing one of my go-to heart-opening sequences that I shared this summer at my “Understanding + Teaching Yin Yoga” workshop. It’s very simple, but can be a very powerful flow as it accesses the heart center and encourages blood and energy flow through areas that tend to get constricted by how we physically carry ourselves and mentally/emotionally hold onto and process our cares, passions and the things/people we love. My hope is that these poses offer you the time to gently open up and create space where there’s stagnancy as well as restore a sense of peace where there is anxiety. I am also trying out a new technique by recording me cueing the poses and timing it out for you. This will hopefully help the sequence easier to DIY at home.

Here’s the link to the recorded cues (it’s at 53 min. in length):

MY PLAYLIST

Reclined Fish (5 min)

Criss-Cross Arms (3 min. each)

Reverse Needle (3 min. each)

Elbows to Blocks (3 min.)

Childs Pose (2 min.)

Reclined Cow Face Arms (3 min. each side)

Butterfly (5 min.)

Savasana (6 min.)

Yin Yoga | Four Agreements: Always Do Your Best

“If you try to do your best, there is no failure.”    -Mike Farrell

Good afternoon, yin friends!

I know what you are thinking…she started this series AGES ago! And you are right! It took me forever to get the final sequence that lines up with my Four Agreements theme up. However, it kind of works perfectly that I’m so “late” in posting this, because me posting this today is actually me doing my best! I led a couple weekends of teacher training, my weekend immersion yin training and now my Thrive Program (4 weeks) all in addition to my regular workload of teaching, marketing and managing a studio. It’s been a busy season and I have had hardly any spare time to devote to my blog. But over the last month or so as I struggled with the pressure of feeling like I “had” to post the final agreement sequence on here, I had an AHA moment when I remembered what this fourth agreement is all about. And it’s all about giving yourself grace and knowing that if you really, truly have done your very best – then there is no need (or room) for shame/guilt. So I knew when time opened up for me to do this, it would be me posting it at a moment I was able to devote my full attention to. Nothing is coincidence!

Today’s sequence focusing on the fourth agreement, Always Do Your Best, includes some poses that we tend to internally put expectations and judgments on. But today, I want to encourage you to approach the poses with the attitude of doing your best and just see what happens. If we let go of our standard of perfection, we are able to embrace what is truly here in the present moment with gratitude and honesty. This agreement is what keeps the other three agreements grounded. For instance, we are not able to…

  1. Be impeccable with your word.
  2. Don’t take anything personally.
  3. Don’t make assumptions.

perfectly! We have to remember that if we do our best in each of these then, even though it won’t be perfect, it will be what we could 100% offer the situation in that given moment and that. is. enough.

My Playlist

Seated Hero (5 min) – Make your way into a seated position with the knees bent and sit either evenly on the heels, or open the feet wide enough to sit onto a block or to the floor in between the feet. Find a tall spine and settle the hands into the lap. Breathe deeply here for several minutes as you focus your attention on the present moment. Showing up simply to do your best on a moment-by-moment basis. Let that be your only expectation today as you practice.

Reclined Hero / Supported Bridge  (5 min) – From here, remain in hero pose if there is no pain and begin to work your way into a reclined hero (or Saddle) pose. You can support your spine with more props if you are elevating the hips. Alternatively, supported bridge pose with the block under the sacrum is a nice alternative to gently opening the front body.

Butterfly (5 minutes) – Wherever you are, slowly and mindfully make your way back to seated and come into butterfly pose. You can support either knee with blocks if it helps alleviate any unnecessary aches here. Fold forward in your own time, being mindful of sensations as they come and go.

Deer Twist + Neck Release (1 min) – From butterfly, make your way back upright. Draw the knees together and hug them in close or windshield wiper them side to side. Eventually drop both knees over to the right so that the right foot rests next to the left thigh. Begin to twist the torso over to the right placing the left hand to the right knee and the left hand behind the hip. Stay here and breathe several rounds of the complete breath. As an option, you can gently drop the right ear toward the right shoulder to stretch the left side of the neck. Relax the jaw here.

Belly Twist (4 min) – Stay twisted OR come back to neutral for a few breaths. Begin to transition back to the right side and walk the hands forward as the chest melts toward the floor in front of that right thigh. You can rest onto a prop or just come to the forearms. Be gentle and mindful as you twist.

Deer Fold / Half Pigeon (Swan) (5 min) – Come back to center and maybe take a gentle counter twist to the left side if needed. We will stay in this shape to fold over the front (right) thigh OR you can move the left leg behind you and come into half pigeon (Swan) pose instead if you are craving that release in the front of the hip joint.

*repeat Deer Twist + Neck Release through Deer Fold / Half Pigeon (Swan) on the other side before moving on

Half Butterfly Fold (5 min) – Begin to extend the right leg forward and plug the left foot into the right inner thigh in a half butterfly shape. As always, utilize props here as needed. Begin to fold forward over the extended leg and let the chest and head be heavy here as you find stillness. Once you complete this side, move right into the other.

Savasana + 5 Rounds of Brahmari Breath (10) – Find your way into a shape you’d like to take final relaxation in. Allow yourself a moment to physically settle into stillness and then move through 5 rounds of brahmari breath before releasing into savasana. Spend quality time here allowing your body to absorb the benefits and space created by you doing your best in the past bit of time. Savor this feeling and carry it with you into your day allowing it to influence the way you interact, work and live! Namaste