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Monday, August 29, 2016

Tip of the Week: Don't Attach to Difficulty or Pain

In searching for some information on non-attachment and letting of the things that no longer serve us, I came across this blog (below) from Bikram Yoga Manhattan. Just as they describe not attaching to difficulty or pain in postures, we can practice not attaching to things that don't serve us in our daily lives. Life is a mixture of pleasure and pain, of comfort and hardship. We cling to pleasure, hoping it will never leave, and we are overwhelmed by pain, fearing that it will never end. Not being attached to success and failure, or to our highs and lows will help us to achieve a more stable sense of inner peace. The nature of the world cannot be changed, but the nature of ourselves can.

 This hurt? Try letting go.

"Often, Bikram teachers float little pieces of advice into their dialog, during postures or during savasana. Of course, our retention rate is not necessarily the best when sweating out a small lake, but sometimes a nugget of that advice gets through.

One came recently that suddenly struck me as making a lot of sense. The advice was, when something is difficult or something hurts, don’t attach to it. As in, the problem is there but it’s not really part of you. Once you attach to it, you make it a part of you. 

It’s esoteric but I decided to see if it applied. I thought maybe I could use it to get over the final hump of an injury. The pain of a pulled hamstring was stubbornly hanging on and certain postures were going nowhere. It was like running into the same wall every day. And the wall wouldn’t move. So, I tried detaching from it. Before every posture that usually hurt, I tried not to anticipate the pain. I focused on some other detail. I let go of the injury.
It took only a few classes to start seeing progress. It turns out, my brain had been getting in the way. By focusing on what hurt, knowing what was going to hurt all the time, I owned the pain. My mind needed healing more than my hamstring. It was a powerful lesson, one that seems worth trying in getting through lots of issues. Because if it works on a hamstring — the most stubborn character in all of anatomy — it could work on anything. 

In class the other day, one of our teachers, Jeanne, said something along the same lines during Camel posture, that pain and fear lie in our resistance — in other words, in our minds. If we learn to let go of the resistance, the pain and fear recede. When we stop trying to protect ourselves, we grow. It is a huge lesson, applicable across our whole life, but Camel posture seems a good place to start.

Is there some way you are holding yourself back? Is there any way for you to detach from something?" 

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Tip of the Week: Hips in Standing Bow

When doing Standing Bow Pose, try to kick your leg directly straight up behind you. You should start to see your toes and leg come straight up above the top of your head in the mirror. If you see your leg start to come out to the right or left of your head, this means your hips are out of alignment. But instead of focusing on your hips, trying to get them into alignment, if you try to keep your leg directly centered above your head, your hips will automatically come into proper alignment. Squeezing your glutes and inner thighs together really helps to keep the kicking leg straight above your head.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Tip of the Week: Hands to Feet Pose (Padahastasana)

Hands to Feet pose comes immediately after doing Half Moon pose and a backward bend. The combination of these postures opens the spine by moving it in ALL 4 directions. The idea is to elongate the spine outward through the crown of your head as you fold into the pose.

As a beginner, let your knees bend as much as necessary to grasp your heels from behind with your fingers pointing toward the mirrorelbows BEHIND the calf muscles, keeping your feet together. 

If you can't reach your heels, don't be discouraged; you're not alone. Just reach your hands to the back of your calves, or as low on the back of your legs as possible. This is better than putting your hands under your feet from the sides. 

As you lay your body against your legs, bend your knees even further if you have to. If you can’t get your body to touch your legs, then just do your best to touch your forehead to your knees. Unfortunately, nothing will accomplish the ultimate straightening of your legs except day-in, day-out determination and much strength. Try concentrating on lifting the hips rather than on the straightening. At the beginning you will feel pain! But this kind of pain is normal, expected and good  - a step beyond discomfort. 

The goal is to keep upper body and lower body SANDWICHED together through the entire posture. Once your body is able to touch your legs, you want your upper body to be completely flat against your lower body as much as possible. Bring your torso to the front of your thighs FIRST by straightening your back and lifting your hips. THEN try to reach the top of your head towards your toes.

Pulling is the object of the stretching! Pull on your heels as hard as you can and LOCK YOUR KNEE. "Locking the knee" means tightening your quadricep muscle as hard as possible so that the knee naturally lifts. 

See how much further you can get your elbows behind your legs. See if you can make them disappear so they can't be seen from the front.

Stretch your upper body down by lifting your hips high and sucking your stomach in. This will help to straighten your back and legs. Stretch your face to your knees, eventually your smiling relaxed face will go below your knees, and the top of your head will touch the top of your toes.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Tip of the Week: Wind Removing Pose

Wind-removing pose is like Bikram’s “Pepto Bismol.” This pose stimulates the ascending, descending and transverse colon as well as the stomach and small intestines. The order in which the pose is preformed helps to stimulate the bowels, cures constipation and improves nutrient absorption. The posture is called “wind-removing” for a reason, as it helps to relieve flatulence. Finally it helps to balance out hydrochloric acid levels in the stomach helping with indigestion and heartburn

  • Abdominal wall
  • Thighs
  • Hips


  • Hip joints


  • Massages ascending, descending and transverse colon.

  • Regulates and normalizes hydrochloric acid levels in stomach
  • Improves and may cure conditions of constipation, flatulence and hyperacidity
  • Relieves lower back pain
  • Increases peristalsis in the gut 
  • The tendency is to take your time to get into the posture, but students receive greater benefits when getting into this posture quickly and staying in it longer
  • Use your arm strength evenly so you don’t roll to one side. Do your best to get both shoulders on the ground
  • In order to keep the back of your neck on the floor look with your eyes down the center line of your body
 *For even more tips on Wind Removing Pose, click "here".