Downward Facing Dog~Adho Mukha Savanasana (The alignment of the pose)

Hi everyone, let me take you through this beautiful pose today, breaking down the alignment and guide you along the way into downward facing dog. First downward facing dog is the foundational asana for all other arm support asanas and is wonderful to learn the principle of roots and extension. Make your way up onto all fours (hands and knees), spread your fingers wide apart bringing the thumbs five to six inches apart (shoulder distance), the index finger facing forward, press firmly into the span of hands and the lengthen of the fingers, rooting the knuckle of the index finger as a way of balancing pressure in the wrist joint. Next, curl under your toes pressing your hips towards your heels, let your head hang and relax it, next at the same time start to lift your hips and your knees off the mat bringing your heels of your feet as close to your mat as possible, pressing the chest back towards your thighs. Keeping the alignment of the wrists with the shoulders allows proper external rotation of your shoulders, draw the scapulae firmly against the back of your ribs to create more space across the upper back, this allows your neck to relax more easily. Another wards your shoulder blades should be rooted against the back ribs while spreading the shoulder blades out and away from your spine. Press your chest back lifting the tailbone to the sky, this should be your highest point of your body in this pose, at the same time firm the thighs by slightly spiraling the inner thighs back and up, and the tailbone back and slightly down. Feet are hip distance apart, if you spin your right foot in the heel of the right foot will kiss the arch of the left foot. At the beginning of this pose its ok to have a slight bend in your knees, over time very gradually moving into deepening the flexibility of your hamstrings and other hip extensors bringing the legs to straighten. With a regular practice the neck will become stronger and you be able to support your head between the upper arms, with the ears inline with the arms. Anytime you have a wrist injury you can always use fists into the mat instead of flat palms. Remember your goal here is to straighten the legs, pressing your feet into the mat, pressing chest back, keeping the alignment of the pose. Keep in mind if you are very tight, weak or new to yoga you might not be ready to safely practice full downward facing dog. Remember to breathe in the pose and always be very mindful of your own body as everyone is different, the best thing you could ever do for yourself is listen to what your body is telling you. I’m very glad I could help you along on your yoga journey, have a wonderful and peaceful day. Namaste’ Connie yoga pose 5


Chakra Centers/ Touching base on the wheels of energy/ Subtle bodies

Hi everyone, I hope your having a terrific day. Today I want to touch a little on our chakra centers. What is a chakra you may ask yourself?  Chakras are each of the centers of spiritual power in the human body, seven in number and the wheels of energy. They are consciousness centers that transform energy and interface between the physical world of the 5 senses and the subtle worlds of pure consciousness. The lotus petals indicate the frequency, vibration rate, and color of energy fields. As the energy centers of the subtle body, the 7 major chakras allow us all to experience the different levels of the cosmos. The chakras use gems, colors, sounds and the five senses, they are like tops of spinning energy that resonate to the different energy frequencies and then sense and distribute prana life force energy to the physical body as many different emotions, sensations and thoughts. Subtle bodies and their consciousness, we contain the entire universe and all of its levels. These bodies are the difference of consciousness, and the inner being. The physical body is a body in the usual sense,(Waking State) the astral body has the same form but is made of subtle matter (Dream State). The mental body is a body of light (Deep Sleep), and the fourth state corresponds to the inner self (Pure Awareness). Let us touch base on the chakras itself, the first chakra is the lower and the most dense, “The Root” Muladhara, located at the base of the spine, on perineum (below genitals). The root is a bright red in color, (think of foods like beets, pomegranates and apples) it relates to the earth element, governs all elimination, the survival instinct, and the emotion fear. Survival, security, and primal energy. The signs of blockage for physical are constipation and fatigue, the emotional blockage are spacey and unsafe. The mantra for the root charka is LAM.Chakra 2 The second chakra is ” The Sacral”  Swadhisthana , (creativity) located above the genitals. It is orange in color (oranges/carrots), relates to the water element, governs the sex instinct and the emotion desire (relationships, sexuality, intimacy). Signs of blockage for physical are infertility and painful period, signs of blockage for emotional are low sex drive and creative block. The mantra for the sacral is Vam. The third chakra is “Solar Plexus” Manipura, located near the navel. It is yellow in color (corn, yellow peppers), corresponds to the element fire, governs the digestive system, the ego and the emotion anger (city of gems, desire, inner strength, self control). Signs of blockage for physical are poor digestion and low blood sugar, signs of emotional are low self esteem and lack of willpower. The mantra for the solar plexus is Ram. The fourth chakra is “The Heart” Anahata, located in the middle of the chest. It is green in color (kale, broccoli), its the center of unstuck sounds of the subtle body. Air element, the individualized soul, the circulatory system and the emotion of love, (love , forgiveness, compassion, self esteem). Signs of blockage for physical are heart disease and high blood pressure, signs of emotional are lack of empathy and fear of intimacy. The mantra for the heart chakra is Yam. The fifth chakra “Throat Chakra” Vishudda, located in the throat area. It is blue in color (blueberries), its the very pure, relates to others, the respiratory system, intelligence and the power of communication, (creativity, speech, individual needs and will). Signs of blockage for physical are thyroid problem and sore throat, signs of emotional side are cant express feelings and the heart , mind are disconnected. The Mantra for the throat chakra is Ham. The sixth chakra “The Third Eye” Ajma, located between the eyebrows. It is indigo color (blackberries), this chakra is the center of command, relates to the mind, the individual self, inner perception and insight beyond the five senses, (intuition, insight, psychic awareness, esp). The signs of blockage for physical are headaches, depression and hormonal, the blockage signs for emotional side are poor intuition. The mantra for the third eye chakra is Aum/Ohm. The seventh and final chakra is “THE CROWN” Sahasrara, located at the crown. It is violet in color (plums), also sometimes white in color. This chakra is the head center, the thousand petalled lotus and corresponds to the universal self, the devine reality and the power of consciousness (higher consciousness, enlightenment and inspiration). The physical blockage signs are poor sleep habits, the physical blockage side is difficult to meditate and bodily disconnect. The mantra for the crown chakra is ANG/Ng. The goal is to keep the chakras open and balanced with energies that are positive, and to correct the negative energy that can block the flow of life force energy. I hope this information has helped you get more of an idea what the chakras are and how important they are in our everyday life. Some credits go to hellion publishing for great material read. Follow your heart and continue your yoga journey. Namaste’ Connie

Shoulder Stand~Sarvangasana/Plow~Halasana/Deaf Man’s Pose~Karnapidasana : learn how to accomplish the three poses safely

Hi everyone, I hope you are enjoying your day. Please always be mindful of your body and always listen to what your body is telling you, and always remember to breathe in any yoga posture. The most important thing for these poses are if you have high blood pressure, glaucoma, nerve or disk damage to your neck or back or pregnant, the full expression of these poses are not for you. You can modify instead by placing a block underneath your sacrum (lower back), take your feet up to the sky, let the big toes touch keeping a nature space in between the heels, take your arms along side your body, facing the palms up, close down your eyes and totally relax in this restorative posture. Remember when you go up into full shoulder stand there should be no pressure on the back of the neck, if you do feel the pressure on the neck listen to your body and return to beginning and place a pillow or blanket underneath the shoulders and neck. Over time you will gain openness and strength in the upper back, shoulders, arms and chest and your neck will no longer press into the floor. Once your legs are brought overhead your shoulders should remain on the pillow or blanket, the neck is free, and the back of the head is on the floor. Listen where you need to be not where others are, you will grow into the poses along your yoga journey.ShoulderstandLet us begin, laying on your back take your legs up to the sky, start to hug your elbows into the side of your body using them like kick stands, slowly begin to start walking the hands up your back coming up to the area of a bra line. *DO NOT LOOK SIDE TO SIDE FROM THIS POINT, THIS IS THE NUMBER ONE INJURY IN YOGA* Your shoulders are stacked inline with your hips and toes, close down your eyes and breathe making sure again there is no pressure on your neck. Coming from shoulder stand moving forward into Plow (Halasana), slowly start to lower one leg at a time to your mat. If your feet do not touch your mat 100% do not remove your hands from your back. A great modification is to place a block under your toes. If your toes are firmly pressing into the floor you can remove your hands from your lower back, options here, you can interlace the fingers behind your back and so slightly shrug the shoulders under to bring the weight of your body more onto the shoulders and off the neck. Another option is to face palms down flat onto the floor along side the body. Keeping the feet firmly pressing down into the mat will activate the legs and by pressing the tops of your femurs up will rotate the pelvis anteriorly which will draw more length through the lumbar spine. Moving forward into Deaf Man’s Pose (Karnapidasana), coming from plow pose start to open your knees bending them down towards the ears while pressing the arms down into the mat, bring the feet and shins flat to the mat bringing the big toes to touch, (modification keep toes curled) if your able to you can always take your hands and wrap  them around your feet. It is very important for you to breathe, keeping the breath full being sensitive to undo pressure in the neck. To safely come out of the pose, start to straighten your legs back to plow, take a few breaths don’t be in a hurry, next place your hands on your back slowly bringing one leg at a time back up into shoulder stand, breathe a few breaths. Next, slowly walking your hands slowly down your back start to lower your bottom towards the mat coming back into the restorative posture. The benefits are it improves blood flow to the brain, stimulates the thyroid, promotes calm and serenity. Always remember to keep the breath alive and to use your bandhas to keep the feeling what yoga is all about. I am honored to help you on your yoga journey. Have a wonderful and peaceful day. Namaste’ Connie

Crescent Lunge ~ Anjaneyasana /Break Down of The Pose

Hi everyone, hope you are having a fantastic day. I want to pass along the alignment of crescent lunge pose, to help you along your yoga journey. Let us begin with the right foot forward, if you place your right foot underneath your right hand, you will have a wide stance like railroad tracks not a balance beam, (when standing, if you wobble, walk that right foot more to the right side of your mat). Your back heel of the left foot is lifted, staying on the ball of the back foot, you have a bend in the front knee, it is inline with your ankle,(if too much back the knee a little behind the ankle never let the knee go further than the front  ankle) and all your toes are facing forward. Check this over before you even start to lift your hands off your mat. When you have this alignment and a nice wide base, slowly start to lift your chest raising the upper body towards the sky. Stack your shoulders over your hips, squeeze the back thigh muscles and internally rotate the back thigh to keep the hips square, place a micro-bend in the back knee, do not lock it out. Your head is stacked on top of your

tailbone, and your chest is over your hips. Slowly start to lift your arms inline with your ears, shoulder distance apart, palms face each other,spread your fingers,  lift your shoulder’s up and let them relax down your back. Take your gaze, drishti, focal point out in front of you, sink and relax in the pose. Make sure you don’t let that back heel fall out to the side, always keep it inline with the toes. For a modification you can always bring your hands at heart center and also drop the back knee to the mat. Many don’t know this, when you drop the back knee to the mat, benefits here are it relieves lower back pain and sciatica, plus it relieves anxiety and tension. I hope you enjoy this pose, its relaxing if you let everything go! Have a wonderful day and I’m so glad I can be here to help you on your yoga journey. Namaste’ Connie

Ujjayi Breath / Understanding the Yoga Ujjayi breath/ How it’s done

Hi everyone, I want to touch base on the beautiful sound of the ujjayi breath, how it’s done, and the purpose of it. I couldn’t explain it better than research that I have stumbled upon, being said this article credit’s  goes to Andrea Brady for such a wonderful way to word the importance of the ujjayi. The ujjayi breath is a fuel that feeds our internal fire, it creates heat within our bodies which our bodies which we need to gain benefits from our practice and quiet our minds. When done properly, Ujjayi (victorious) breathing should be both energizing and relaxing. In the Yoga Sutra’s, Patanjali suggests that the breath should be both dirge(long) and suksma(smooth). The sound of ujjayi is created by gently constricting the opening of the throat to create some resistance to the passage of air. Gently pulling the breath in on inhalation and gently pushing the breath out on exhalation against the resistance creates a well modulated and soothing sound, breathing in through the nose and out through the nose. Ujjayi is a diaphragmatic breath, which first fills the lower  belly (activating the first and second chakras), rises to the lower rib cage (the third and fourth chakras), and finally moves into the upper chest and throat. The “ocean sound” is created by moving the glottis as air passes in and out. As the throat passage is narrowed so, too is the airway, the passage of air through which creates a “rushing” sound. The length and speed of the breath is controlled by the diaphragm, the strengthening of which is, in part, the purpose of ujjayi. The inhalations and exhalations are equal in duration, breath is power yet not forced, examples are inhaling up to five and then exhaling for five. Having the audible breath many believe, allows the mind to connect to the breath. It should be deep and rhythmic to allow us to follow and focus. It acts almost like an internal mechanism which calms the body, soothes the nervous system, strengthens the diaphragm, calms, oxygenates and creates the internal heat we need for our practice. So as the breath is a guide for our practice, if we apply too much it will become constricted or forced, if we apply too little it may be drowned out with our own thoughts. Awareness of the breath is the key. The mind becomes focused and calm as each pose flows into the next in concert with the breath, it is ultimately the link between body and mind. I hope this helps you understand more how important it is for the ujjayi breath and to keep the breath alive during your practice. Have a peaceful and wonderful day on your yoga journey.  Namaste’ Connie

Warrior II – Virabhadrasana II (fierce mythical warrior)

Hi everyone, today I want to blog on such a beautiful pose known in yoga as Warrior II. I want to give you the alignment of this posture to further your yoga journey.  Let us start on the right side first, come to the back of your mat facing the side, bring both feet together toes facing the side of your mat, keep the left foot parallel with your mat (yoga term 90 degrees), now turn the right foot forward toes facing forward, put the heel in the arch of the left foot, this is heel to arch alignment. Next, walk the right leg forward to the front of your mat, as far as your body allows, next keeping your back leg strong and activated, flexing the knee cap, roll the weight towards the pinky toe of the back foot. At this point start to bend in the front knee bringing the front knee in alignment with the front ankle, if the knee is going more forward than your ankle start to crawl the front foot further forward for a longer stance.

Next start to open the knee towards the right pinky toe, this keeps the knee from collapsing  inwards. Next, square your chest to face the sidewall stacking the chest over the hips,  front sitting bones draws under, pelvis is neutral, start to lift the arms shoulder height palms face down, relax your shoulders down your back, spread the fingers nice and wide, second finger is pointing to the front and the back. Start to draw your head on top of your tailbone, taking your drishti/gaze/focal point past the front fingers, crown of your head reaching for the sky.  Sink in the center, feeling  the energy run up through your spine, run out from your heart center and through the fingertips. To modify in this pose back the front knee from the ankle as shown in second picture above, take a shorter stance, hands at heart center in prayer or palms face up with bent elbows. The benefit of warrior II is the pose helps increase stamina and stimulates organs, it improves flexibility of the torso and elongates the spine, it also strengthens the legs, knees, ankles and feet, it stretches the chest, lungs, shoulders and opens the hip area, and warrior II is also known to relieve backaches. Enjoy this posture as it has a lot of benefits. I am so glad I can help you on your yoga journey. Have a peaceful and loving day! Namaste’  Connie

Dancer’s Pose / King Dancer Pose (Natarajasana)

Hi everyone, today I want to blog on the alignment about the beautiful standing balance pose Dancer’s. Know that there are a few different ways to do this pose, knowing no matter which one you choose you should begin the pose in tadasana. Enjoy the pose, if you fall out of it get right back into it. Standing at the front of your mat in tadasana, ground all four corners of your right foot into the mat, how to do this is pick up toes on right foot, spread the toes wide and slowly one by one placing the toes back to the mat. Starting with the right foot grounded take your right hand up to the sky palm face in towards left side of wall, clip left hip with left hand, set your focal point, gaze, drishi at something that’s not moving, keeping the knees together slowly bend your left knee , heel is behind you, unclip the left hip and reach down for the inside of your left ankle. At the same time knees are together, left foot is flexed, engage your quads in right leg keeping a  micro bend in the standing leg, never lock the knee. Keeping your hips square,dancers pose keeping your drishi, start to slowly hinge slightly forward pressing the left ankle away from you into the back hand reaching the flexed foot to stamp the ceiling, reach the right hand forward, thumb is up, palm is facing left side of the wall (or bring thumb and pointer finger to form a mudra), using dynamic tension, your equally reaching forward and pressing back at the same time. Make sure to keep your left knee equal with your hips, don’t let the hip open to the sidewall. For more advanced pose start to point the left foot clasping onto the top of the foot near the toes,  hand is on the outside of foot, rotating the left elbow in and up while extending the left leg back and up from the hip. More advanced, start to bend the right elbow, and clasp onto the top of the left foot near the toes, hand on inner side, try to keep the pelvis level for the full extension of the spine, pressing the tailbone slightly back and down, press the bottom of the shoulder blades forward and up to expand the chest and open the hearts center. More than this, release the crown of the head towards the arch of the foot and bring the elbows together. This is known as the king dancer pose. Know that you can always use a strap to help yourself advance further in this pose, wrapping the strap on the top of the foot bringing each hand on each end of strap, arms as above. It’s very important that you come out of the pose making sure you bring the knee to knee action, same way as you started. Note that dancer’s pose helps with flexibility in your spine, shoulders, hamstrings, it also strengthens the thighs, ankles, abdomen and the back muscles, it opens the shoulders and chest stretching the entire front of your body. Always remember to breath, inhaling and exhaling out through the nose, finding calmness and serenity of everyday life’s challenges. Balance with peace and enjoy your yoga journey.  Namaste’ Connie