Support A Steady Yoga Practice: Expand Your Vessel & Truly Breathe

opening breath

“Your hand opens and closes, opens and closes. If it were always a fist or always stretched open, you would be paralysed. Your deepest presence is in every small contracting and expanding, the two as beautifully balanced and coordinated as birds’ wings.” ― Rumi, The Essential Rumi

As students of yoga, we eventually learn how to connect with our breathing. We come to understand that the simple act of inhalation and exhalation can be enhanced when our posture is aligned. As we physically straighten, we open ourselves up to experience a fuller range of movement in the upper chest/back, ribcage and abdominal areas.

In an attempt to expand our vessels for the breath, here are three key strategies:

#1 Counteract “Techno – Hump” 


Using computers and cell phones can adversely affect our breathing function. The head forward position can lead to a spinal curvature disorder called kyphosis which compresses the movement of air by collapsing the chest.

Here is a short posture sequence for reducing upper back tension and straightening the body:

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YOLY Challenge #41: Clear Way for the New

This is the time of year when we dust off our patios, transition our closets and open up the house to let the spring breezes inside.

April is the month for clearing out and opening up. The word April is derived from the Latin word aperier, which means to open. The word “open” has quite a lot of synonyms. path-2074522__340It can mean unfastened, loose, uncluttered, vulnerable, receptive, honest, stretched out, spread out, open to debate, objective, available, free, clear or a beginning.

I am dedicating this week to opening up to some new ideas. A fresh perspective is always a good plan. So, let’s take on some new tricks for looking at our yoga practice this spring.

Try A New Trick for Your Dog: Decompress your shoulders & wrists. Experience Adho Mukha Svanasana with your hands on blocks slanted against the wall.

Get a Partner: Attempt a couple of poses in a more receptive way with the aid of a friend. Alternate drawing each other into Paschimottanasana (sitting feet to feet and holding hands). Or, take on Back-to-Back Virabhadrasana II (stand back to back and hold arms to guide each other into the full posture).

Diffuse Your Environment with either the calming oil of lavender, the invigorating scent of lemon or the illuminating aroma of frankincense. You can combine the essential oil with water and lightly spray the practice area or use an essential oil diffuser.

Explore the Concept of Mudras: Discover a new way of expression by incorporating hand gestures into your practice. The Chin Mudra is a good place to start. Touch each thumb and index finger together and rest the backs of your hands on your lap at the start or end of your practice. This gesture symbolizes your connection with the universe and is an effective way for opening to the earth’s energies.

Incorporate or Eliminate Music: If you usually use music to guide your practice, stop playing it this week. On the other hand, if you normally practice in silence, try on some gentle meditative sounds. My favorite is the music of Liquid Mind.

Maybe you will fall in love with one of these new methods and incorporate it into your practice. Perhaps the ideas will inspire you to continue on exploring for fresh alternatives. Either way, stay open for April and be receptive to the breezes that blow your way.

Welcome all possibilities…