Rainbow Juice | New Years Eve

Hello friends!

Happy New Years Eve! There is much to celebrate today as we close out another year of life and look ahead to 2017. Truth be told, I planned to juice today because I bought a whole bunch of pretty produce at Whole Foods earlier this week that I didn’t want to go to waste. After getting it all out – beautiful colors of green, red, yellow, and orange were before me.  I thought to myself “this will be an excellent recipe to share on my blog!”. Then I quickly realized that this would also be a perfect recipe for “brown juice” seeing as green messes with the pretty shades of red, yellow and orange. In a moment of brilliance (aka Divine intervention), I stumbled on the idea of making “rainbow juice”. I carefully created each color and then slowly folded them together. It ended up turning into a bit of a meditative experience as (thanks to Noah’s story) rainbows remind me that God keeps his promises. He kept promises in 2016 and he will do the same in 2017. I spent some time thinking on His promises and how he is unchanging – he will not change his mind or go back on His word. It is certain. I hope that if you embark on making this, He will whisper you His promises and that they will nourish your spirit.

Cheers to whatever is ahead in the new year!

 

Rainbow Juice

Here’s what you’ll need: Amounts will totally depend on how much juice you’d like to make. What I have pictured is what I used and it made about 4 12 oz servings.

  • Rainbow chard
  • Kale
  • Cucumbers
  • Celery
  • Golden beets
  • Apples
  • Blood (or regular) oranges
  • Grapefruit
  • Lemon & lime
  • Optional: ginger & turmeric (I didn’t have fresh so I used my powdered versions)
  • You’ll need some kind of juicer to make this happen. OR you can mix it all in the blender and then drain the juice.

Directions:

First, prep your citrus fruits by taking off the skin.

Peel Citrus

Next, prep your vegetables by rinsing them thoroughly and then chop off the ends of larger stems.

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Now, take your beets and rinse them. I scrubbed mine as well. Then peel the outer skin off and discard or (save for a salad!) the leafy stems.

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Once you have all of your items prepped it’s time to start juicing! To make the rainbow effect, juice according to colors. Place each colored juice in a separate cup.

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I added ginger to the yellow juice and turmeric to a separate, more orangey yellow juice. Stir and then bask in the beauty for a moment!

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Then layer juices in one by one eventually making that beautiful brown colored juice (oi!). But don’t worry  – it tastes delish and will be a great way to renew your body and mind for the new year! Cheers!

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Pose Breakdown: Needle

Happy day after Christmas, friends!

I hope that you had some time with the people that you care for over this holiday weekend. I’m thankful to have today to simply rest to sit back and find gratitude in the quiet. I wanted to share a new pose breakdown with you guys – threaded needle pose! Often shortened to “needle” – you will see this posture infused into many different aspects of your practice. It’s a gentle twist and a shoulder/neck release all-in-one. Enjoy! Feel free to reach out with questions. My hope is to start sharing videos with each of these breakdowns in the new year so look for some updated posts in January.

Directions

For the traditional variation of this pose, begin in table top on all fours. Take your left arm and begin to thread it across the mat and over to the right side of the mat. Gently drop down to your shoulder and the left side of your head here. Your right arm can stay supporting you or you can reach it overhead or wrap it around your back. Play around with different sensations and land somewhere that feels nice.

Threaded Needle- Yin Yoga

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Notes

  • DON’T RUSH – The point of the posture is to find resistance and breathe through it. Rushing beyond your sensations is not only physically unsafe but it’s robbing you from the true experience of release.
  • DETAILS – Do your best to completely relax through the hips, spine and face here. Allow the muscles you do not need to completely let go in order to aid in the release of the posture as a whole. Close your eyes and really focus on what’s happening in the spine here. On the inhales, imagine your spine lengthening out more and on the exhales feel your spine gently rotating deeper.

Variations

  1. Bring the earth to you | The floor is not the goal, sensation is! When you find your stopping point – it might not be the floor, and that is OKAY!  Use a block/blanket to support your forehead and/or shoulder if it will help you relax here.
  2. Get low | If keeping the hips lifted high is difficult or straining in any way, simply drop your hips toward the heels and take a childs pose variation of the pose. You can alternatively do this pose from the side body to lessen intensity and weight on the shoulder that is threaded.
  3. Leg extended | If you want to add an additional stretch onto this pose, you can take one leg out to the side. The most common form is to extend the leg that’s on the side you’re facing, but sometimes it feels nice to do the opposite leg of the side you’re facing.
  4. Incorporate into poses | you might also see this pose incorporated as an arm variation on occasion. The most common occurrence of this that I have experienced is in pigeon pose.

Several of these variations are shown below:

Summer Stretch Yin - Threaded Needle

Leg extended to opposite of gaze

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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From the side body

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Threaded Needle- Yin Yoga

Hips at childs pose

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Threaded Needle variation

Pigeon – Threaded Needle variations

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BENEFITS

  • Wonderful stretch for the outer hips, low back and shoulders (if adding variations).

ENERGETICS

  • Stimulates the urinary, stomach, lung meridians. As well as the lines associated with the liver and kidney when the inner leg is incorporated.
  • Balances the physical and mental bodies. Twists often help to deeply reawaken the body and create a sense of ease. Often incorporated into sequences after a long forward or back bend. Twists also help to flush the body of toxins because of the rotation in the spine and the pressure on the organs as you breathe into these shapes.

USE CAUTION: Contraindications for this posture include…

  • Sciatica/Low back issues. Either leave this pose out (especially if you cannot prevent the back from rounding) or drop the hips to childs pose to ease any pain. Taking the variation from the side body is an excellent option as well as it allows you to solely focus on the shoulder stretch.
  • Knee issues. If you feel any kind of sharp, shooting pains or some kind of abnormal discomfort in the knee and/or ankle joints- be sure to pad your joints with a blanket or release the pressure completely.
  • Pregnancy. If you are pregnant, be very gentle as you twist. I would highly encourage you to support your self and take twists as gently as possible. Elevate to a block/blanket, drop hips back, etc. It is not recommended to do deep twists during any point of your pregnancy. Please speak to your physician about safe movements for you and baby!

HOLD: 3-5 minutes on each side, depending on your own personal needs. Come down very slowly from this posture (as with any yin pose). BE SURE TO DO BOTH SIDES! Give each side equal attention in amount of time and quality of breath and stillness.

COUNTER POSTURES 

  1. Childs Pose. Unravel and drop the hips back to allow the spine to balance. Do this in between sides.
  2. Hero Pose. Allow your back to reset and absorb the space this pose created in a gentle seated or reclined hero pose.

Make your way to childs pose, resting your head to a blanket if you'd like. Roll the head side to side massaging across from temple to temple.

Find a comfortable seat in hero pose. You can sit onto the heels, or onto a block/the floor in between the heels. You can stop here if this is plenty of sensation. If you are okay with moving into a reclined pose, begin to walk the hands back behind you. You can rest on the forearms or perhaps lower all the way to a blanket. Make sure the knees don't lift up as you lower down.

Christmas/Winter Yin Sequence

Hello yinsters & happy holidays!

I wanted to share this sequence since the wintertime/cooler temps tend to draw us into a place of stagnancy in the body. My hope is that this set of poses will help to open up the body in areas that don’t tend to get much TLC during the cooler months of the year. If you find the sensation is intense, breathe deeper. Our lungs also tend to get neglected this time of year, so use this time on your mat as an opportunity to return to the breath as well as a feeling of openness and ease in the body. Cozy up next to the Christmas tree and get ready for some stretchy goodness.

My *holiday* Playlist

Reclined on bolster (5 min) – Begin your practice by lying the full length of the spine back onto a bolster or several blankets. Allow your chest to splay open and your arms and legs to take up space. I chose a reclined butterfly pose for my legs here but you are welcome to do whatever feels best in your body.

Winter Yin Yoga Sequence

 

 

 

Twist on block/blanket (3 min each side) – This is what I like to affectionately call the “yogi foam roller twist”. You’ll begin to prop your hips onto the prop as you would for supported bridge. Scoot the hips all the way to the right until the right hip is totally off the block but the left hip is still in contact with it. Lift the right leg and straighten out the left leg. Begin to take the right leg across the body to the left side of the mat. You can prop the foot onto a blanket/block if needed. Open your arms out into a “T” or cactus shape to create more expansion across the chest here. As you breathe, pay special attention to the outer left hip as it pushes into the block. Breathe into that intensity and notice the tension melting away with each exhale.

Winter Yin Yoga SequenceWinter Yin Yoga SequenceWinter Yin Yoga SequenceWinter Yin Yoga Sequence

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*repeat twist on other side*

(Roll to belly)

Sphinx (5 min) – The low back tends to take a lot of grunt in the winter months. We hunch over as we cuddle up on the coach, try to keep warm in the car and as we sit at our desks. This stretch will help to gently stretch and release the vertebrae in the lumbar spine and help to restore natural curvature. On your belly, rise up to your forearms allowing the elbows to land beneath and a little beyond the shoulders. You can elevate to blocks (as I did) or stay nice and low. Just play with what feels right for you today.

If you want to hang the head and feel no pain in the neck as you do so, feel free to drop the chin toward the chest and create small side to side movements.

Winter Yin Yoga SequenceWinter Yin Yoga Sequence

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rest on your belly or take half frog on either side (pictured) for a few moments before moving to the next pose.

Summer Stretch Yin - 1/2 Frog

 

 

 

 

 

Threaded Needle + Option to extend leg (3 min each side) – Come to table top pose and take your left leg out to the side. You can keep the hips lifted or you can drop back to a childs pose variation depending on what feels nice. Take the right arm to the sky and then thread it across and through over to the left. Let the side of your head and shoulder hang heavy here. You can decide what you’d like to do with the left arm (reach it forward or perhaps thread it behind the back). If there’s pain in the extended leg/knee, just pull it in and only worry about the upper body in this posture.

Winter Yin Yoga SequenceWinter Yin Yoga SequenceWinter Yin Yoga Sequence

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*Repeat threaded needle on other side*

Frog (5 min) – Nothing like a juicy hip stretch to wake up those wintry joints! Starting in table top, begin to walk the knees away from one another, keeping the hips situated in between the knees (not shooting forward or back dramatically). You can eventually turn the feet out (to big toe edges) as long as it feels good in your ankles/knees to do so. Stop when the sensation grows and pause and breathe until you can find a place of stillness. You can drop to the forearms, bring the chest to a bolster, or relax the forehead to a block here if you’d like.

If the pose is altogether too much, just push back to a wide legged childs pose instead.

Winter Yin Yoga SequenceWinter Yin Yoga SequenceWinter Yin Yoga SequenceWinter Yin Yoga Sequence

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pause in a knees together childs pose with the arms relaxing back for a few moments to counter before moving on.

Winter Yin Yoga Sequence

 

 

 

 

Toe Stretch + Neck Release (2 min each side) – Come back to sit on the heels with the toes tucked under. Walk your hands back, perhaps resting them in the lap or keeping them in front of you resting onto a block. If there still isn’t enough sensation, you can walk the knees forward an inch or too to increase sensation by creating a slight angle in the feet. Make sure that stubborn pinky toe doesn’t escape!

Winter Yin Yoga Sequence

 

 

 

 

 

Winter Yin Yoga Sequence

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Winter Yin Yoga Sequence

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can keep it simple here with just the toe stretch or add this gentle neck lengthener. Take your right hand behind your back and grab ahold of the right tricep with the left hand in front of your body. Find a gentle tension between pulling the elbow back and drawing it forward with the hand. Take an inhale to lengthen the neck and then on your exhale, drop the left ear to the left shoulder. Take a few breaths here to explore the intensity and then make your way to center and do the other side as well.

Gently walk forward out of the toe stretch and pat the tops of the feet onto the floor behind you to release the toes before moving on.

Supported Bridge (3 min) – Come onto your back and begin to prop your hips onto a block beneath the sacrum (flat space at the base of your spine). Once you feel grounded here, you can take the feet forward and arms overhead if you’d like. Slow your breath and rest steadily here.

Bend the knees and press into the feet to lift the hips. Slide the block forward until it is positioned right beneath your sacrum (flat space at the base of the spine).

Banana (2 min each side) – Begin to walk your hands and feet toward the right side of your mat, keeping the hips grounded in center. You can cross the left ankle over the right and grab the left wrist with the right hand to add a bit more intensity here. Breathe into the left side body.

Winter Yin Yoga Sequence

 

 

Move to the other side of the pose.

Winter Yin Yoga Sequence

 

 

Savasana (7-10 min) – Come to your back (or any comfortable resting position) and relax your entire body. Allow for all the effort that got you through your day and your practice to fade away as you lie back and soak up this new space in the body and mind.

*TIP* Rest a blanket onto your hips to increase a sense of rest and grounding once more. 

Savasana Repeat LUNGE through COWFACE on the other side

Pose Breakdown: Shoelace Pose

 

Chocolate Covered Pretzels by the Merry Thought (CLICK in case you need yourself a little recipe.

Chocolate Covered Pretzels by the Merry Thought (click for recipe!)

A lot of folks picture a “yoga pose” as a pretzel-like contraption that seems impossible to the everyday Joe. If that is you, I have our very special secret to the pretzel poses! It’s not being super flexible or super human – it’s a little dose of patience, a good amount of time and a splash of grace. That’s it! This is one of those poses that eluded me for a while. What is it? How on earth do I tell my body to do that? Thanks to some of my wonderful teachers in my early yoga years, I started to fall in love with this pose. It targets tight outer hip tissue that is tough to locate and release in many poses. So let’s dive in. Don’t forget the above recipe, my little pretzels (and yes, since it’s the holidays – let’s go with CHOCOLATE COVERED pretzels).

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Directions

Start in dandasana (staff pose) with the legs extended out in front of you. Find a tall spine and make sure you can comfortably sit upright. If you feel like you are falling back a bit, sit to the edge of a blanket to tilt the pelvis toward neutral. Begin to bend the right knee and cross the foot over the left leg. Begin to heel toe the right foot over until you feel a good amount of sensation as the knees get closer together. You can prop your knee with a block or blanket if there’s quite a bit of space here. Stay here if this is plenty for today (leaving the left leg extended), OR you can begin to lean slightly to the left and gently draw the left knee to a bent shape as you sweep the foot over to the right outer hip. At this point, shift the hips side to side to make sure you can sit evenly from right to left. Stay upright, or you can choose to fold forward (applies to both full pose and modified with the bottom leg straight).

Shoelace / Cow face pose - Supported

Shoelace/Cow Face Pose - Prepimg_4015Shoelace/Cow Face Pose - Prep
img_4012Shoelace/Cow Face Pose - Prep
Shoelace/Cow Face Pose - PrepShoelace/Cow Face Pose - Prep

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Notes

  • DON’T RUSH – The point of the posture is to find resistance and breathe through it. Rushing beyond your sensations is not only physically unsafe but it’s robbing you from the true experience of release.
  • DETAILS – Continually check to make sure that there’s no sharp or stinging pain in the knees, ankles or low back. If there’s pain of any kind, back off and find a stopping point that feels more supportive to your body’s needs.

Variations

  1. Bring the earth to you | The floor is not the goal, sensation is! When you find your stopping point – it might not be the floor, and that is OKAY!  Use a block to support your forehead if you don’t want it just dangling there.
  2. Support your hips | If you find it difficult to sit up tall before folding forward (almost as if you’re headed backwards rather than forwards) see if elevating your hips onto a blanket helps you to roll the pelvis just slightly forward and lengthens the low back. You can easily use a blanket between the knees if it will help. Your body will thank you for it both immediately and later on too!
  3. Arm Variations | If you want to add an additional stretch onto this pose, you can incorporate a wide variety of shoulder stretches. The photos below include a couple of examples.
  4. Reclined | A good way to switch things up in this pose is to take it to your back. To do this, you’ll simply come to your back and draw the knees into the chest. Cross the right leg over the left and you can pause here for a moment just hugging the knees in close. Eventually you can grab for the pinky edge of either foot. Build intensity here by lifting heels away from the hips and then gently pulling feet in toward you. Keep a slight engagement in your feet to protect the knees here.
Supported with props

Supported with props

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eagle Arms

Eagle Arms

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eagle Arms

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cowface Arms

Cowface Arms

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shoelace / Cow face pose

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reclined Shoelace / Cow face pose

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reclined

Reclined

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BENEFITS

  • Wonderful stretch for the outer hips, low back and shoulders (if adding variations).

ENERGETICS

  • Stimulates the urinary, kidney, liver and gallbladder meridians.
  • Calming pose for the body and mind. Any kind of forward fold can be very nourishing for those with a hectic lifestyle or a busy mind. Though it takes time to settle in and get past the “noise” of life, this posture serves as a nice trigger for the parasympathetic nervous system.
  • The stretch into the hips also provides an opportunity for emotional release as well, since many of our feelings are stored as tension in the hips – poses such as these might surface a wide array of emotions. Breathe through them if they arise.

USE CAUTION: Contraindications for this posture include…

  • Sciatica/Low back issues. Either leave this pose out (especially if you cannot prevent the back from rounding) or be sure to elevate the hips if you are currently suffering from this condition. Alternatively, trying this pose on the back might be more supportive for you.
  • Knee issues. If you feel any kind of sharp, shooting pains or some kind of abnormal discomfort in the knee and/or ankle joints- come out and then find a variation that only brings forth a stretching sensation – rather than a pinching one.
  • Pregnancy. If you are pregnant, leave this pose out and come to a wide legged fold instead. Gotta leave plenty of room for baby!

HOLD: 3-5 minutes, depending on your own personal needs. Come down very slowly from this posture (as with any yin pose). BE SURE TO DO BOTH SIDES! Give each side equal attention in amount of time and quality of breath and stillness.

COUNTER POSTURES 

  1. Windshield Wipers. Gently sway the knees side to side allowing the intensity in the hips, legs and back to neutralize.
  2. Corpse Pose. Rest on your back for a few moments stretching everything out long and observe the space you just created.

Windshield wiper the legs side to side several times to balance the body out.

Savasana

Pose Breakdown: Straddle Pose

Hello yinsters!

This week’s yin pose is straddle pose/wide legged fold. This is a nice juicy stretch that releases tight hips, hamstrings and low back. Let’s dive in!

Directions

Open your legs out into a V shape. You can bring the legs out as far as is comfortable, but you should be able to keep the toes pointed toward the ceiling while in this posture. If you find your toes pointing in toward the floor, draw the legs a little closer and lift your chest higher. Start by just breathing some length into the spine. After a few breaths upright, begin to walk your fingers forward. Pause when you feel the first surge of sensation and breathe there. Once the initial intensity has settled a bit – continue to ease your way forward until you find a good stopping point, eventually finding a place where you can simply surrender and be heavy.

Straddle Pose | Wide-Legged FoldStraddle Pose | Wide-Legged FoldStraddle Pose | Wide-Legged Fold

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Notes

  • DON’T RUSH – The point of the posture is to find resistance and breathe through it. Rushing beyond your sensations is not only physically unsafe but it’s robbing you from the true experience of release.
  • DETAILS – Continually check to make sure that there’s no sharp or stinging pain in the knees, ankles or low back. If there’s pain of any kind, back off and find a stopping point that feels more supportive to your body’s needs.

Variations

  1. Bring the earth to you | The floor is not the goal, sensation is! When you find your stopping point or a pausing point – it might not be the floor, and that is OKAY! Use a block to bring the earth up to you. I tend to spend most of my time in this posture with my head elevated to a block.
  2. Support your hips | If you find it difficult to sit up tall before folding forward (almost as if you’re headed backwards rather than forwards) see if elevating your hips onto a blanket helps you to roll the pelvis just slightly forward and lengthens the low back.
  3. Side Bends | Before or after the fold directly forward, it’s a nice addition to also do a side bend from this position. I like to place my elbow to a block at the inner leg and work my way deeper from there. Try not to make it about how low you can go, but how much length you can create on the side body. I start by gently pressing my hand into the opposite thigh and then eventually extend my arm overhead if adding on sounds nice. 3-5 minutes each side is my personal recommendation. I take about 1 minute between the sides to sit upright and observe space and release in the side body.
Head to a block

Head to a block

Hips elevated

Hips elevated

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Side bend

Side bend

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Head to a block - Deeper variation

Head to a block – Deeper variation

 

 

 

 

 

 

BENEFITS

  • Wonderful stretch for the hips, groin, and hamstrings.

ENERGETICS

  • Stimulates the urinary, kidney, liver and spleen meridians.
  • Calming pose for the body and mind. Any kind of forward fold can be very nourishing for those with a hectic lifestyle or a busy mind. Though it takes time to settle in and get past the “noise” of life, this posture serves as a nice trigger for the parasympathetic nervous system.
  • The release in the hips also provides an opportunity for emotional release as well, since many of our feelings are stored as tension in the hips – poses such as these might surface a wide array of emotions. Breathe through them if they arise.

USE CAUTION: Contraindications for this posture include…

  • Sciatica/Low back issues. Either leave this pose out (especially if you cannot prevent the back from rounding) or be sure to elevate the hips if you are currently suffering from this condition.
  • Knee issues. If you feel any kind of sharp, shooting pains or some kind of abnormal discomfort in the knee and/or ankle joints- come out and then find a variation that only brings forth a stretching sensation – rather than a pinching one.

HOLD: 3-10 minutes, depending on your own personal needs. Come down very slowly from this posture (as with any yin pose).

COUNTER POSTURES 

  1. Windshield Wipers. Gently sway the knees side to side allowing the intensity in the hips, legs and back to neutralize.
  2. Hero pose (seated or reclined). This posture will give the back of the legs a break and creating a nice stretch for the front body.

Windshield wiper the legs side to side several times to balance the body out.

Hero PoseReclined Hero

Pose Breakdown: Dragons Part 2 – The Splits

Good afternoon friends!

It’s a rainy Monday here in Texas. This morning during my class, it was thundering and lovely! I’m so grateful for the rain. This week we continuing our focus on the variety-rich poses in the “dragon” family. This week we delve into the splits variations of the dragon poses. These poses can be rather intense on the hips and hamstrings,  so do be sure to allow yourself plenty of time to ease into the posture. Do your best to breathe through the discomfort, taking on sensation through the inhales and releasing through the exhales. The space created from these poses can lead to all kinds of wonderful benefits, but we have to find some stillness. Do your best!

Directions

To get into the basic posture, make your way to table top or down dog and draw one foot through in between the hands. Place the knee so it’s just above the ankle (rather than jolting beyond the ankle). Walk your back knee toward the back of the mat to settle the hips into the right amount of intensity for you to start with. Starting here in a lunge position allows for you to release the tight muscles on the front body (quad and psoas especially).

Splits: Quad stretch

 

 

 

 

 

After about 1-2 minutes in a lunge position, you can begin to shift your hips back as you straighten out the front leg. Curl the toes slightly in toward the shin to activate the front of the leg. You can stay in this variation or begin to inch your front heel forward and your other leg back until you find a good place to stop and breathe for a bit. See variations below for some suggested ways to SLOWLY make your way all the way down. I would recommend these even if you have flexible hamstrings. Being mindful in the journey down is just as (if not more) powerful as the fullest expression itself.

Splits: Half SplitSplits: Full Pose

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Notes

  • DON’T RUSH – The point of the posture is to find resistance and breathe through it. Rushing beyond your sensations is not only physically unsafe but it’s robbing you from the true experience of release. In addition, the hamstrings are easily pulled and take forever to heal. So please be gentle with your body and only deepen when you truly feel release. It will almost feel as if your body is granting you permission to explore new depths.
  • DETAILS – Feel free to cushion the back knee if the surface you’re practicing on it hard. You can also keep the back toes tucked until you can comfortably untuck them without torquing the knee.

Variations

  1. Elevate your hips | To decrease the intensity of the posture, lift yourself up a bit higher to blocks or keep the arms straight the whole time.
  2. Folded forward | Sometimes folding forward actually takes some of the intensity out of the posture. Feel free to explore how it feels in your body – and force nothing! Relax your shoulders here.
  3. Half Happy Baby | If pressure on the back knee is too much, you can alternatively do your half happy baby pose on your back.
  4. Drop the knee to the side | As long as there’s no pain, you can spin the front foot to a slight angle and drop the knee to the side rolling to the pinky edge of the foot. Do keep some engagement in the foot so the ankle remains protected from possible injury. You can stay or grab the back foot for a twisted monkey variation.
  5. Walk the hands to the side | To encourage a deeper release in the hips as well as the side body, walk your hands in the opposite direction of the feet. You can stay lifted or play with lowering the forearms.
Supported with a rounded block

Rounded block under hamstring

Two blankets or a small bolster

Two blankets or a small bolster under hips

One blanket under the hips

One blanket under the hips

Folded

Folded

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BENEFITS
  • Opens up hips, hamstring and quad/psoas muscles
  • Also a nice way to restore curvature in lumbar spine (if upright in pose). Helps to reverse the roundedness that tends to occur because of cultural habits such as sitting for long hours.
  • Helps restore overall hip mobility where fascia (tough connective tissue) might be causing irritation and “tension”
  • Stretches the hip flexor and thigh muscle of the back leg (especially when you add the twisted monkey variation).

ENERGETICS

  • Primarily stimulates the stomach, spleen, liver, gall bladder and kidney lines.
  • Let your cares go… Poses that dig into the hip joints are known to help with emotional release. As you feel strong or even subtle emotions surface, allow yourself to acknowledge them, feel them and then breathe them out. Your energetic body has it’s own natural cleansing process so honor that as you feel these things arise in postures such as this.

USE CAUTION: Contraindications for this posture include…

  • Pain/Injury in the knee or ankle joints. Be sure to support yourself using props (a blanket can be helpful for cushioning the back leg) so you are careful not to strain these already sensitive parts of the body.
  • Ouch!. If you feel any kind of sharp, shooting pains – come out and then find a variation that only brings forth a stretching sensation – rather than a pinching one.

HOLD: 3-5 minutes, depending on your own personal needs. You can do each variation of this pose for 1-2 minutes each before switching to the other side. Come out of this pose very slowly from this posture (as with any yin pose).

COUNTER POSTURES 

Windshield wipers will also feel nice on the hips. A gentle childs pose will also feel nice on the back and the legs.

Windshield wiper the legs side to side several times to balance the body out. Full Body Release Yin Sequence - Childs pose

Pose Breakdown: Dragons Part 1 – Lunges

Good evening friends!

I hope your week is off to a wonderful start. This week we are focusing on the variety-rich poses in the “dragon” family as we’ve deemed them in yin yoga. These are very similar to the lunges you will experience in a flow class, but are held (as in any yin posture) for longer – drawing you deep into the pull of gravity. These poses can be rather intense on the hips, leading the mind toward various distractions and concerns. Do your best to breathe through the discomfort, taking on sensation through the inhales and releasing through the exhales. The space created from these poses can lead to all kinds of wonderful benefits, but we have to find some stillness. Do your best! Next week we will talk more about the hamstring side of the dragon poses.

Directions

To get into the basic posture, make your way to table top or down dog and draw one foot through in between the hands. Place the knee so it’s just above the ankle (rather than jolting beyond the ankle). Walk your back knee toward the back of the mat to settle the hips into the right amount of intensity for you to start with. Start this pose elevated on your hands (or blocks) and then use your breath to guide yourself deeper into other variations. Try not to rush through it, allow yourself time to experience whatever pops up here. Physically…mentally…emotionally. It’s all worth your observation.

High Dragon - hands on either side of feet.

High Dragon – hands on either side of feet.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Notes

  • DON’T RUSH – The point of the posture is to find resistance and breathe through it. Rushing beyond your sensations is not only physically unsafe but it’s robbing you from the true experience of release.
  • DETAILS – Aligning the knee somewhat above the ankle will provide cushion and support for both your front ankle and knee joints. There should be no pain in either area.

Variations

  1. Elevate it! | To decrease the intensity of the posture, lift yourself up a bit higher to blocks or keep the arms straight the whole time.
  2. Hands/Forearms to inner foot | Make sure you walk the foot over a few inches to create more space for the upper body.
  3. Half Happy Baby | If pressure on the back knee is too much, you can alternatively do your half happy baby pose on your back.
  4. Drop the knee to the side | As long as there’s no pain, you can spin the front foot to a slight angle and drop the knee to the side rolling to the pinky edge of the foot. Do keep some engagement in the foot so the ankle remains protected from possible injury. You can stay or grab the back foot for a twisted monkey variation.
  5. Walk the hands to the side | To encourage a deeper release in the hips as well as the side body, walk your hands in the opposite direction of the feet. You can stay lifted or play with lowering the forearms.
Elevated to blocks

Elevated to blocks

Half Happy Baby

Half Happy Baby

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hands to inside of foot

Hands to inside of foot

Monkey Variation

Monkey Variation

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Forearms down + Knee to side

Forearms down + Knee to side

Side Stretch

Side Stretch

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BENEFITS

  • Opens up tight hips and inner groin region.
  • Helps restore overall hip mobility where fascia (tough connective tissue) might be causing irritation and “tension”
  • Stretches the hip flexor and thigh muscle of the back leg (especially when you add the twisted monkey variation).

ENERGETICS

  • Primarily stimulates the stomach, spleen, liver, gall bladder and kidney lines.
  • Let your cares go… Poses that dig into the hip joints are known to help with emotional release. As you feel strong or even subtle emotions surface, allow yourself to acknowledge them, feel them and then breathe them out. Your energetic body has it’s own natural cleansing process so honor that as you feel these things arise in postures such as this.

USE CAUTION: Contraindications for this posture include…

  • Pain/Injury in the knee or ankle joints. Be sure to support yourself using props (a blanket can be helpful for cushioning the back leg) so you are careful not to strain these already sensitive parts of the body.
  • Ouch!. If you feel any kind of sharp, shooting pains – come out and then find a variation that only brings forth a stretching sensation – rather than a pinching one.

HOLD: 3-5 minutes, depending on your own personal needs. You can do each variation of this pose for 1-2 minutes each before switching to the other side. Come out of this pose very slowly from this posture (as with any yin pose).

COUNTER POSTURES 

Forward folds might feel nice as you get to straighten the leg out. Windshield wipers will also feel nice on the hips.

Half Hero Fold

Half Hero Fold

Windshield wiper the legs side to side several times to balance the body out.