This & That: Headaches

… if you suffer from the occasional headache, try seated yoga mudra. This posture will help stretch tight neck and shoulders, which may be causing headaches…

You guys, I like to gently roll my head on the ground for an extra little head massage. It’s not exactly getting your hair washed at the salon, but it’s not bad.

First image from the tumblr of Marianne Marquez. Second image found here by Peace on The Mat.

Yoga Solo?

The other day I was talking to a friend of mine and she mentioned meeting up with friends for yoga class. And I realized I never do this. It’s not that I don’t know other people who do yoga. Or even that I’m not friendly with people I meet in class. But something about it just struck me as unappetizing.

I guess I have always thought of my practice as a solo operation. Just me, my mat, and an encouraging voice or knowledgable assist.

What do you think? Do you fly solo, or do you get down-dog with friends?

Image from this site, which is touting gorgeous-looking writing/yoga retreats in Mexico. Yum.

Living Room Yoga

I just recently moved into a new apartment, and I haven’t quite figured out where my new yoga spot is. So far I’ve been putting my mat down by the front door. But it feels like an afterthought. I think this has to change. A new place by the window, by the light. A dedicated space carved out – special. For me and my soul and body to meet and chat every morning.

Do you have a dedicated spot for your home practice? Or do you throw down wherever the spirit moves you?

Image found here.

Asana Dreaming

The other night I dreamed of locusts. Not really. I did dream of locust pose though. Salabhasana has never been a favorite of mine. All the shoving of the hands under the body and the smooshing of the face into the ground and the lack of elevation that I get. It doesn’t feel good to me.

In my dream I just popped up easefully into the full posture. No efforting, no smooshing. It was amazing. When I woke up and got on the mat I knew I had to include locust in my sequence – even though it might not look quite like that. And, trust me, it didn’t.

This gorgeous locust is from this site, which is not in English, but sure looks pretty.

This & That: Hips (repost)

Hello yogis. I didn’t have time to put together a new post for This & That today. But here’s one you may have missed.

…if you sit in a chair all day long like this, then hit the mat after work and try that hip opening stretch…

As we sit at our desks all day typing away, our hip flexors are getting shorter and tighter. To loosen up, try hip opening poses like goddess squat, pigeon and hero (or fire log) pose.

First image of the offices at Refinery 29 via Design*Sponge. Second image of Sadie Nardini from her site.

Do you wanna go out?

So much of my life is routine, even my practice. And I tend to be a homebody, which sometimes means spending a LOT of time in my studio apartment. One of the things I love about practicing outdoors is simply the shake up of it. It’s like crossing my feet in the non-habitual way. It just FEELS different.

I can’t help but connect with the air around me and the ground under my feet and get out of my own head. There’s just something about a real live breeze and the actual sunshine – GAH! – I just adore it. (Daily Downward Dog agrees.)

You can bring your mat outside anytime. If you’re like me, and appreciate a little structure to keep you going, here are some FREE outdoor classes in and around New York City.

These three are on my list.

Bryant Park
Classes are on the Upper Terrace on Tuesdays at 10 a.m. and on the lawn on Thursdays at 6 p.m. May-September

Gantry Plaza State Park
On Pier 1 August 12 at 10 a.m., September 9 at 5 p.m.

Socrates Sculpture Park
Kripalu yoga on Saturdays at 9:30 and 11 a.m. May
12–September 30

I haven’t tried these yet. Have you?

Chelsea 14th Street Park
Laughing Lotus yoga classes on Saturdays
at 9 a.m. June–August

Target East Harlem Community Garden
Saturdays at 11 a.m. May–September

Prospect Park
Thursday nights at 7 p.m. (near the
Grand Army Plaza entrance). May
24–September 6

This & That: Grounding

…if you work like this, in an office or a coffee shop on a computer, or if your life involves a lot of scheduling and problem solving, you probably spend a lot of time in your head. So make sure to get back into your body with that series of grounding postures…

It’s just the nature of our lives these days, well, at least of mine. Think, think, think, think. Sometimes my regular practice isn’t enough to bring me back into my body. To counter this all-heads activity, grounding postures like warrior one and this variation, humble warrior, can help bring me back to earth.

I found the first image on Consumerist, credited here. And the second is Sadie Nardini from her site.

This & That: Digestion

Eat a little bit too much of this? (I did. But look at it! Oh my goodness. Delicious.) Help out your digestion by giving that abdomen of yours a little massage.

This is traditionally called wind relieving pose. When I first started doing yoga and my teacher called out this posture, I laughed. But I’m really much more mature now and would never get a giggle fit when a teacher suggests we all encourage group flatulence in class. Never.

Start by pulling your right leg into your chest, massaging the ascending colon. Then the left, massage the descending colon. Pull both legs in and breathe. Oh yea, don’t forget to breathe. Twists and forward folds are great for getting the blood flow moving too. The idea is to squeeze out your organs like a sponge, and then let clean, oxygenated blood come on in.

NOTE: Right after I wrote this post, I found a great tip from Yogaholics Anonymous: “To avoid compression and injury, it’s important that you create length in the spine before and during a twist. Focus on three key actions: elongating the spine, twisting from the inside out, and breathing.” Follow Yogaholics Anonymous on Facebook and read the whole tip on their page.

The first image is from this yummy blog.. And the posture is from Bikram Yoga Bethesda.

The Great, Big Yoga Coverup

I usually practice at home, so I don’t worry about what I’m wearing. I roll right out of bed and onto the mat. But when I do head out to a class, PJs don’t cut it. Anyone who knows me knows that I am not an exhibitionist – at all. But I am sometimes oblivious. It’s happened once or twice that I’ve lifted into down dog and had a too-loose shirt fall up over my head. Or been in cat cow and looked down to see, eek, that I’m not quite as covered up as I thought.

It’s good to be conscious of coverage as a student, but even more important as a teacher. More often than not, I err on the side of my clothes being too boxy and loose. I’m more comfortable, but the students can’t see the shapes my body is making during posture demonstrations.

What about you? Have you ever been mid-class and wished you could cover up?

This non-cleavagey image is from Yoga Prevention. Trust me, I thought about going another way with the imagery for this post. But I just couldn’t do it! Just google yoga and cleavage if you absolutely have to. I did.

This & That: Moon Salutations

…I sometimes feel like retreating from all the stimulus of the world around me. If you ever feel this way, try that balancing and grounding series Chandra Namaskar…

Look, here’s the truth: When it comes to getting my period… (SPOILER ALERT: I’m talking about my period. Did I do that wrong? Ok. I never know the right vocabulary to use. Some yogis talk about their ‘moon cycle,’ but these are also ladies who use the Diva Cup and that’s just not me.) Regardless of what you call it, I suffer. And a lot of us do. Which is why I love Chandra Namaskar. It’s gentle, forgiving and compassionate.

A Lunar Series isn’t just for women or even just to practice when you’re feeling the pull of the moon. Anyone can benefit from reconnecting and rebalancing. Moon salutations tend to be less stimulating and more grounding than Sun Salutations, which can be a good balance in our Yang Yang Yang world.

That said, for me, this series feels delicious when all I want to do is curl up in a ball and hide away from the sights and sounds of the city.

I use the guidance of a podcast when that feels right.

The first image is stock and the second is the cutest thing ever from this site, credited here.

Boy You Turn Me

As soon as I saw this image, I starting singing this song. And, yes, I’m playing it as I type this.

Inside out. And round and round.

Doesn’t life do this? I’m feeling it for sure. This morning I needed a little shift of perspective. Sometimes I sit and try to feel my feelings, some times I try to shake it off and put them away for later. This time, I just wanted to turn it all upside down, and breathe. Handstands were the thing.

Also, I hear they’re good for a hangover. Really!

This image from Tumblr on F*&kyeahyoga.