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Get to the Heart and be Centered

Get to the heart and be centered.

The  heart center or the 4th chakra deals with all things love and light. It is a center of calm and intuition. When this chakra is in balanced, you feel serene, you feel empathy for others and are able to forgive quickly. You are tapped into your intuition and are able to follow your heart. When this chakra is out of balance, you may feel closed off from others. Feelings of jealousy, holding grudges, and fear of betrayal also accompany heart chakra imbalance.

Incorporate simple habits on a daily basis to keep the 4th chakra balanced. Make a point to connected with others by smiling at someone when you make eye contact. Pick up the phone and call someone you haven’t spoken to in awhile. Look for opportunities to volunteer in your community.

dianewright 4th chakraActivate the 4th chakra in your yoga practice by incorporating heart opening poses. After a few rounds of sun salutations to warm up, come into a high lunge. Interlace the fingers behind the back, draw the shoulder blades down, and allow the chest to open as you move into a back bend. Repeat on the other side.

Camel, another back bend is a great way to open the heart. Come to stand on your knees, and start by bringing your hands to your low back. Keeping your core engaged, draw the shoulder blades down, the shoulders back, and allow the chest to open. Look up towards the ceiling and begin to move into as much of a back bend as comfortable. To move further, drop your hands back to connect with your heels for a deeper back bend.

Cool it down with a reclining butterfly pose. In a lying position, draw the soles of the feet together and let the knees drop open. Bring the hands to rest on the heart and feel the warmth emanating from the 4th chakra.

Pause…

Anahata Fourth Chakra painting by Diane Wright @sunjourneystudio

Back Care

catspawC2Most of us have experience back discomfort or pain at one time or another and for some of us it is every present.  At times we need to have a strategy for back care.  What does that mean?  Many people experience back pain. Whether it is mild or crippling, yoga can be beneficial for you. By doing certain yoga poses you can help to relieve some of the pain that you are feeling in your back. This blog post will be focusing on three poses you can use to help get rid of your back pain. To learn more about these yoga poses, read on.

Yoga Poses for Back Pain

Downward-Facing Dog

The first yoga pose you can try to help your back pain is downward-facing dog. This is a great stretch that targets your back extensors, which are the large muscles that help form your lower back. Try it out for yourself: first get on your hands and knees, with your hands slightly in front of your shoulders. Pressing back, raise your knees off the floor and lift your tailbone up towards the ceiling.

Child’s Pose

The next yoga pose you can try to help your back pain is the child’s pose. This is a great stretch to elongate the back. To do this stretch, begin by starting on all fours with your hands stretched out in front of you. Then sit back so your glutes come to rest above your heels.

Upward Forward Bend

Lastly, you could also try the upward forward bend for any back pain that you may be having. This stretches the back muscles while providing a release for the shoulders. To do this start by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart, knees loose. As you exhale, hinge at your waist and bend forward, reaching towards the floor.

These are just a couple of ways you can help to relieve pain in your back. If you’d like to learn more ways, please contact us.

Sit on the floor for a different perspective

catspawsitSit on the floor for a different perspective. (a tip, it will help with your tight hips)

Sitting on the floor is often reserved for young kids.  As we get older the only reason to be on the floor is if you are working out or sitting with a young child.  My suggestion – challenge to you, is to just sit on the floor everyday for about 5 minutes. Use a wall or sofa as a support and sit.  You can use a cushion – zafu.  Sit in a simple cross-legged.  Why?asanayoga

You probably been sitting on a chair or in a car, walking, working or maybe biking – something that doesn’t include a lot of hip rotation.  Meaning you are mostly moving forward or in seating at a L shaped position. So coming to the floor and sitting cross-legged will help in a passive way open your hip flexors and you can let gravity work – try to relax;) to take the pressure off your back use a cushion such as a Catspaw Cushion or anything that give you support, a block, blankets, something that doesn’t collapse under you like a pillow would.

You can also sit in clobber, sitting with your feet together on the floor.

Try it everyday for 5 minutes for 2 weeks, let me know what happens.

Pause to sit on the floor.

How do I open my hips?

How do I open my hips? Hip openers – because hips get tight!

I would like to suggest an alternate to the traditional pigeon, Eka Pada Rajakapotasanaand, because not everyone can flow into pigeon. Using the side of the bed to help open the hips is a great option for opening your hips. This blog is really for those of us that tend to have tight hips. As you age,  hips can seem to get tighter if you don’t work at keeping them working.

DcatspawGcatspaw 150px-Posterior_Hip_Muscles_1 150px-Posterior_Hip_Muscles_3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are a lot of variations for pigeon or rotating the hip flexor, any figure four, where you cross your leg just above the knee, which can be done seated, on your back or standing. Or your can simply sit on the floor in a cross-legged position, letting your hip flexors rotate outward.

UnknownFYI – Hips are the home of the the second chakra Svadhisthana and associated with emotions, check out Caroline Myss’ book Anatomy of the SpiritAlso the Latin meaning of pelvis is basin which adds to the interest as an emotion center. There are also deep 6 muscles that are: (the lateral rotator group is a group of six small muscles of the hip which all externally (laterally) rotate the femur in the hip joint. It consists of the following muscles: Piriformis, gemellus superior, obturator internus, gemellus inferior, quadratus femoris and the obturator externes.)

There is a lot going on in the hip area. Pause to help your hips work.

 

Yoga Poses for Pain Relief

catspaw2Yoga poses for pain relief. There are alternative types of treatments for reducing, eliminating  or managing chronic pain. One of the treatments is a variety of  yoga poses.  Yoga is a practice that can help manage the pain, through a series of breathing exercises, physical movements, and meditation.

Practiced for over 5,000 years now, yoga is currently the fifth most commonly used alternative medicine. In May 2004, the National Center for Complementary and Ingrative Medicine conducted a study demonstrating this fact.

Yoga as an alternative pain treatment can be helpful for managing chronic pain, but additionally it a beneficial mind-body intervention that reduces the body’s fight or flight response to overall stress. This will also help you because when your body is in this heightened state, it grows tense, causing you even more pain.

The way in which yoga works is by calming your nervous system and bringing a sense of overall balance to your body, mind, and spirit. Practitioners believe that it also prevents specific diseases by helping your energy meridians (energy channels located throughout your body) remain open.

Although yoga is typically conducted in classes, once you have practiced it for a while you’ll be able to do it on your own. While there are some videos available, they are not as effective since you won’t receive one-on-one instruction as to how to do things properly. This is important if you really want to benefit from doing yoga.

If you’re suffering from chronic pain and would like to look into yoga as an alternative treatment, remember that comfort is important while you’re doing your yoga poses.

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