LIVE on Twitch at 12pm CST today: Gentle Yoga + Meditation

Hey all!

I hope you are having a wonderful week so far and a good start to your Valentine’s Day! Just a little reminder that YOU. ARE. LOVED. Today & every day! I wanted to extend my gratitude to those of you who have subscribed to my channel on twitch and tuned in to my first live stream class this past Sunday. If you are free in about an hour, I’ll be leading a short mid-week gentle yoga flow and a meditation focused on presence. Click here to tune in! If you weren’t able to make it or want to do the class again, I’m embedding the youtube video below:

Hope to see some of you shortly on my stream!

-Nancy

Yin Sequence - Zap Tired Energy - Bridge

LIVE STREAM Yoga Class on Sunday! + Yin Sequence for Zapping Tired Energy


5 days until my first live stream yoga class on Twitch!

And I’m starting to get REALLY EXCITED to connect with all of you! The stream will begin at 4:30pm CST and I will be introducing you to the channel and what all you will be seeing on there as well as leading a yoga class. The class will be a vinyasa flow and we will close with a short yin sequence. The style of yoga will vary week to week and I will likely be adding more classes to the schedule as we go along.

Check out this sneak peak of the sequence on my instagram page.

Don’t forget to FOLLOW MY PAGE so you will be updated each time I go LIVE!


Below is a quick yin sequence you can do to wake up if you’re in an energy slump. I like to do these poses midday before the afternoon zzz’s kick in. ENJOY!

Wide Legged Childs Pose (2 min) – Settle the hips back to the heels and rest the chest and arms forward. Slowly roll the head side to side to massage the brow line, those muscles that help us express ourselves through the day. Move into your breath and deepen it until you find a steady rhythm to guide you through your practice.

Yin Sequence - Zap Tired Energy - Childs Pose

Frog Pose (3 min) – Rise up into table top and slowly begin to inch the knees and feet away from one another allowing the pelvis to sink down toward the floor. Cushion the knees if needed. Lower down as far as is comfortable for you today. You can support your chest with a block or bolster here as well.

Yin Sequence - Zap Tired Energy - Frog

Cat Pose (5 breaths) – Slowly make your way up and draw the knees together. Place the hands onto the thighs and round the back toward the space behind you as you drop your chin in toward your chest.

Yin Sequence - Zap Tired Energy - Cat pose

Puppy Pose (3 min) – Bring the spine back to neutral and walk back into table top. Slowly walk the hands forward and keep the hips above the knees coming into puppy/melted heart pose. Again, support your chest with a prop if it helps you surrender with more ease. Breathe into the backs of the shoulders and the spine.

Yin Sequence - Zap Tired Energy - Puppy

Sphinx (2 min) – Come to the belly slowly and prop yourself up onto your forearms. Align the elbows beneath the shoulders or slightly forward of the shoulders. Keep the head and neck elevated and in line with the length of the spine for the energizing purposes of today.

Yin Sequence - Zap Tired Energy - Sphinx

Reverse Needle (3 min) – Gently make your way down and rest the head to face the right side. Take your left arm out 90 degrees from the body, prop your right hand under your shoulder and then gently press yourself over to the left side body. You can use your right leg as a kickstand here.

Yin Sequence - Zap Tired Energy - Reverse Needle

Partial Threaded Needle (1 min) – Slowly come back to the belly and thread the left arm across the chest, reaching the right arm overhead. Let the chest sink in toward the floor to release the other side of your shoulder head.

Yin Sequence - Zap Tired Energy - Threaded Needle

Cat Pulling Its Tail (3 min) – From threaded needle, begin to slide the right knee up the side of the mat like your heading for half frog pose and then gently drop the right arm and shoulder toward the space behind you moving into a twist. Adjust as needed to settle in and consider binding with the left foot (right hand) if you want an additional stretch through the front of the bottom hip.

Yin Sequence - Zap Tired Energy - Cat Pulling Its Tail

*repeat reverse needle through cat pulling its tail on the other side*

Forward Fold (3 min) – Come to a seated position and take the legs forward. You can keep the legs hips distance from each other or widen them a bit (pictured). Begin to melt forward and keep some length through the low back, but allow your upper back and neck to round as is comfortable in your body. Surrender the stress of your day, letting it melt off of you here.

Yin Sequence - Zap Tired Energy - Forward Fold

Bridge Pose (2 min) – Make your way slowly to the back (one vertebrae at a time) and bend the knees placing the feet to the earth, arms alongside you. Press into the feet and lift your hips coming into bridge pose. Slide a block under the sacrum at a height that feels nice in your spine and rest into it. You can keep it simple or stretch the legs forward, arms overhead, or even add a quad stretch by coming into a half hero position for a few breaths on each side.

Yin Sequence - Zap Tired Energy - BridgeYin Sequence - Zap Tired Energy - Bridge Saddle

Reclined Butterfly (5 min) – Take these last few minutes to rest into savasana. Support yourself with props if you would like or even take a different position than pictured. Allow the space and feeling of release to settle over, in and through you.

Yin Sequence - Zap Tired Energy - Reclined Butterfly

Namaste

Yoga Classes, Workshops & Meditation | LIVE on Twitch!

Hey everyone!

As I mentioned in my post earlier this week, I have a big surprise for you! Starting February 11th – I will be doing weekly live streams via Twitch.tv! My husband is an avid gamer (aka. NERD) and watches live streams on twitch all the time. Recently, he planted the idea in my head that it might be fun to do a channel that is dedicated to yoga + health + wellness. At first, I wasn’t too into it TBH, but over time I started getting excited. I am most excited to use it as a way of being able to connect in real-time with those of you who follow my blog/sequences but are not local to me or my studio. My hope is that you will be able to join me on a weekly basis for one or several of the offerings. Below you will find the tentative schedule I’ll be starting with. These times are kind of an experiment, so feel free to comment any feedback on times you would prefer!

The first thing you need to do is FOLLOW ME on Twitch!

You will be prompted to create a profile so we can interact when I go LIVE! There is also an app available for your phone if that’s convenient for you. For the first 20 who follow, I will send a FREE E-BOOK of my yin yoga postures handbook. It includes poses, energetics and anatomical notes for the yin postures. Just send me a message via twitch after you follow with your email address so I can send you the download link!

By following, you will be notified whenever I go live so that you can tune in. You can tune in for as long as your schedule allows but each session will range from 1-2 hours.

My first stream: sunday, feb 11 @ 4:30PM

Sundays | Yoga Class + Hang Time | 4:30pm CST

This session each week will be dedicated to doing a full yoga class. I will likely do different styles each week fluctuating between yin, slow flow, and vinyasa. After class, when my schedule allows – my plan is to continue streaming to hang out, do Q&A, play with poses, etc.

Wednesdays | Mid-Week Meditation | 12pm CST

This will be a short guided meditation session. I plan to open it up with a gentle physical warm-up before we find our meditation seat. I will guide various pranayama techniques during these sessions as well.

Fridays | Workshop | 4pm CST

Each week I will break down a pose, transition, or a variety of the two. This session will also start with a warm-up especially if what we are working toward requires deeper movements with active muscles/joints. If we are breaking down a yin posture, we will probably just dive right in since the yin tissues of the body shouldn’t necessarily be “warmed” before stretched. I’ll do a poll each week to see what you all would like to focus on during these sessions. To participate in those polls, follow me on instagram!

My hope is to also stream at unscheduled times to share what I’m up to – maybe messing around with poses in my yoga space, to discuss a book or article, share a recipe, Q&A, etc.

I hope you will join me on this fun new adventure! Let me know if you have suggestions, questions, etc. in the comments below!

xo-

Nancy

Relief for Tight Hip Flexors (Iliopsoas)!

Good afternoon, yin friends!

First of all, THIS WEEK I’ll be posting a very exciting announcement this week on how you can practice with me in form of yoga classes, workshops and meditation from the comfort of your own home fo FREE! So stay tuned for that announcement as I’m excited to connect with those of you who follow my blog in a more personal way.

I’m excited to share a few poses with you today that have been helpful for me personally when it comes to opening up/releasing the hip flexors. The muscles that make up the “hip flexors” are often combined and called the iliopsoas muscle. Individually, these muscles are called Iliacus and psoas and they run across the front of your hips and connect in the low back. The purpose of these muscles might be kind of obvious – but it is hip FLEXION, which allows us to bend over/forward from the hips. I’m attaching a photo below for a visual aid of the location.

These muscles get very tight from all the hip flexion we do – sitting, driving, bending over to pick up kids, etc. SO much relief is available to you through the following poses if you experience tension and pain in these areas and these stretches will help restore balance in the body. It’s also a very important muscle group to have flexibility in for backbends (extension) in your yoga practice.


Supported Bridge – Start here to begin the process of opening these uber tight muscles slowly and gently.  Begin on your back with the knees bent. Slowly press into the feet and place the block under the sacrum. Once you are sure the block is secure (not wobbly), you can play aroundwith extending one leg forward

Hip Flexor Stretches - Bridge Pose

Lizard – This is a common pose in the yoga practice (and in yin – called “Dragon”). It’s a great pose without anything fancy added to it for release in these muscles. You can simply step one foot to the outside of the hands and extend the other leg back until you start to feel a nice stretch dropping the hips down and forward. If you keep your back toes tucked and drop your head, focusing your breath into the front of the hip it’s even deeper.

Hip Flexor Stretches - Lizard lunge

The next level of this pose is to bend the back knee lifting the toes upward. That might be plenty! If you want more sensation grab for the foot and lift your hips up and back until your heel connects with the glute. Maintaining the heel to glute connection – slowly drop the hips back down and forward and you should feel a SUPA nice stretch in the iliopsoas.

Half Hero – Another common pose in the practice (in yin, it’s called “Half Saddle”). I like this half hero variation because of how it allows me to focus on one side of my hips and really experiment with deepening the stretch.

Hip Flexor Stretches - Half Hero or Saddle Pose

Begin in dandasana with the legs extended forward. Lean to the right to bend the left knee and turn the toes toward the space behind you as you come onto the top of the foot. If you feel a pinch in your hips, gently lift them up and scoot the “cushion” forward so you can lengthen out your low back. You can sit onto a block or blanket if the hips cannot sit evenly on the floor. Stay here or begin to lean back onto the hands or forearms. If you are on a prop, do not go any further. If you don’t have a prop underneath you, you are welcome to come all the way back onto your spine. To deepen further, you can bend into the right knee, perhaps even drawing it in toward the chest (I like to use a strap for this when I’m really tight). Make sure you do the other side for an equal amount of time.

Reclined deer – This is a similar variation to the previous pose. Start in deer pose with one shin parallel to the space in front of you and draw the other leg into half hero position. Same rules apply for reclining/props, etc to the previous pose. If you are all the way reclined and craving more sensation, gently shimmy the torso over to the opposite side of the half hero leg to laterally stretch the hip flexors as well.

Hip Flexor Stretches - Reclined Deer

Hero Pose – For the full variation of yin’s “Saddle” pose, begin in table top and slowly nestle your hips back and in between the heels with the toes untucked. Gently roll the calves out if they are tucked closely to the outer hips. You can sit onto a prop here as well and explore reclining to the hands, forearms, or all the way back. This pose will deeply stretch through both sides of the hip flexors and provide a nice release for the low back as well.

Hip Flexor Stretches - Hero Pose

Let me know if you have any questions about these and I’ll be happy to help as I can!

 

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!

{Registration is now closed for Spring 2018 session}

 

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!