Yoga provides wonderful benefits to the cardiovascular system. Beginning with the breath, focusing on the inhalation and exhalation generates greater awareness of how we move air in and out of our bodies. Opening and standing poses lengthen and expand our torsos so that we can bring in more oxygen. Twists and inversions effectively circulate the flow of blood and oxygen throughout the body. Therefore, developing a heart healthy yoga vitamin is key to our well-being.
I am defining our Yoga Vitamin as a group of components essential to maintaining your body, mind and spirit. To be the most effective, your yoga vitamin should consist of six essential ingredients: centering & opening positions, standing & focus poses and inversion & relaxation postures.
So, this week I am providing a “prescription” for a healthy heart. This practice sequence centers on bringing more oxygen to the body and getting that oxygen (and the nutrients it carries) circulating smoothly through the body’s systems. Continue reading “Daily Yoga Vitamin for a Healthy Heart”→
I started my journey back to a full yoga practice last week. It was a little difficult getting to my mat each morning before the traditional tea or coffee “kick start” but, as I stated in my last post, putting meditation/breathing as the first order of business is the best way for me to seal the habit.
So, it was wonderful. I spent about 6 minutes doing the prescribed practice before heading into my usual 20-30 minute asana session. I found that the breathing and meditation helped me to delve deeper into my hatha yoga. Overall, my practice felt stronger and more effective.
This week, my plan is to try to drink more water and get more sleep. 6-8 glasses and 6-8 hours should be a good goal.
If you are wanting to take the Daily Yoga challenge with me, here’s this week’s plan:
Exhale while chanting aloud a strong and persistent EEEEEE sound while smiling.
Keep the sound strong, try not to waver and end decisively.
Hold the breath as long as comfortable then rest.
Repeat 2 more times
4.) Be Still (2-3 minutes)
If you’d like a guide, here’s my audio version of the sequence:
Be sure to follow this practice with either a Hatha Yoga class/practice or some other form of exercise that you may be currently doing. Again, this segment doesn’t have to happen every day.
My Tip: If you are having trouble remembering the techniques/sequences, try recording the instructions on your phone (use the Voice Memos App) or computer like I have. Simply use my links to the directions and record the cues that will keep you on track.
It’s my summer’s quest to bring a daily yoga practice back into my life. With teaching, vacations and visitations, my schedule has been erratic to say the least.
For the times when I fall off the wagon, I look to my old Kriya Yoga training program to reset and return to a more disciplined practice. It is a superb resource that has all of the components I need to balance my yoga. I am a firm believer in implementing every branch of yoga into my practice: asana (poses), pranayama (breathing), meditation (and the modalities that preceed and follow meditation) as well as the ethical principles/disciplines associated with a yogic lifestyle. When you incorporate all of these various aspects of yoga into your life, you are practicing your sadhana.
Developing a full daily yoga practice routine or sadhana can be daunting. You really need to simplify each modality to get a practical pattern that you can keep on a daily basis. In order to succeed, I plan to take the month of July to set up a weekly guide that will allow me to gently slide back into the habit of a full yoga practice or sadhana. I would love to share this path with you.
If you have been reading my posts and learning the ways of living more yogically, you will have a better understanding to proceed. In general, this blog will be a good resource for you and I will try to reference back to specific topics as needed.
I hope to dedicate each Sunday to setting up the week’s agenda and providing a short outline for a daily schedule. Again, I will be starting out small in order to succeed.
Begin by establishing a dedicated practice space where you can just roll out your mat and proceed. Keep in mind that it is preferable to face east if you will be practicing in the morning.
You may need a small blanket or cushion to sit comfortably on the floor (you can even prop up against a wall or sit on the edge of a chair). You may also like to have a timer for the final step.
The sequence below should take approximately 5-10 minutes:
Pucker your lips & leave a small opening through which to sip air like a straw.
Inhale as long and slowly as you comfortably can.
Hold the breath without straining.
Open the mouth and forceibly exhale the breath.
Practice this in a round of 5-10 breaths if you feel comfortable.
5.) Remain Still for 2-3 minutes (use timer).
Immediately following the steps above, I will be flowing into my normal routine of hatha yoga practice (20-30 minutes) or brisk walking/hiking (30-60 minutes). You might elect to do a shorter yoga practice, join a class or proceed with any other physical routine you normally do. The duration and number of times per week you practice this section is up to you.
My Tip: I have found that my practice needs to be the first thing that I do in the morning for it to stick as a daily habit. You may choose to follow a different schedule based on your lifestyle or family responsibilities. The critical thing is to schedule your practice like an appointment so that you can honor it each day.
Good luck and let me know how it goes!
*****Update: I have discovered how to record this week’s meditation and breathing sequence on the Voice Memos App. Hopefully, you can click below to follow along: