Pose of the Week: Plank

Plank

Plank (Phalakasana) is a great pose for upper body and core strengthening, helping to improve posture. It also lengthens the spine and helps strengthen the lower back muscles and engages the thighs as well. Plank also strengthens the wrists and hands, strengthens and lengthens the neck muscles and engages the gluteus muscles.

Cautions or contraindications: Carpel tunnel, osteoporosis, shoulders or back injuries.

Modifications: Table Pose (on hands and knees) or sliding the knees slightly farther back and dropping the hips a bit to form a diagonal line from the spine to the tailbone. You can also cup your hands a bit and put weight on finger tips if you have wrist or hand sensitivities, or come onto the forearms. Plank prep

 

  1. Come into table pose to start, hands under shoulders, knees hip-width apart. Spread your fingers out and press through your forearms and hands.
  2. Inhale as you gaze down between your hands, lengthening the neck muscles and tighten your abdominal muscles.
  3. Curl the toes under and while engaging the core, exhale as you lift up the knees, stepping the feet back so that you are in one straight light, shoulders are over the wrists and weight is on all ten toes.
  4. Try to keep the core engaged as you breathe in and out, making sure the hips stay in alignment and do not sink down. Press your heels toward the wall behind you and keep the shoulder blades in toward the spine.
  5. Stay in plank for as long as feels comfortable, continuing to breathe, keeping the core and glutes tight.
  6. To come out, slowly lower the knees back down to the mat and sink back into the heels (knees can be separated a bit) into child’s pose.

Enjoy!

Namaste

~Judi~

 

 

Mid-Week Thought: Mindfulness

mindfulness.jpg

 

Some people are hesitant when they hear the word “meditation.” Sometimes people are intimidated, or they’ve tried it in the past and it just didn’t do much for them. But what most people don’t realize is, there are MANY forms of meditation. And sometimes, just being mindful in every move you make, every breath you take, every little, seemingly mundane action (like walking, standing up, sitting down, typing, writing, eating) can be what we call a “meditation in motion” or “meditation in  movement.”

And what this simple act does, is bring us right to the present moment and brings us home to ourselves, right now, just as we are. In that moment, when we are present, we are accepting ourselves just as we are. We are becoming our own friend, spending time with ourSELVES. Our minds and bodies are coexisting, finally. They’re not in separate rooms anymore (like when you are driving and your mind is on work, or dinner or your to-do list … and it’s not in the car with the rest of your body).

We also tend to be thinking of some future moment of happiness, some goal … “if I get this, then I’ll be happy,” or “when this happens, my life will be complete.” But the reality is, life if never complete, it’s always moving, changing, things are lost, things are found, we transform, we adapt, we change again, we fall down, we get up, we rebuild. And it’s a moment-to-moment experience.

So bring your mind and body into the same place. Create space for both to coexist. BE present in your life.

And don’t ever forget … to breathe ❤

 

 

Pose of the Week: Neck Circles

Neck Circles are a great way to relieve that mid-day, mid-week tension in the neck, shoulders, upper back area. Neck circles/stretches can help alleviate tension headaches as well as knots in the upper back, shoulders and neck. When coupled with the breath, they can be very relaxing, helping bring the mind and body back to a focused, but calm state.

Cautions: The only major caution with this sequence is any neck injuries, cervical spine issues or sensitivities.

Modifications: You an place your hands, one on top of the other, behind the neck, supporting the cervical spine as you do circles to lessen the range of motion and pressure on the vertebrae. Instead of a complete neck circle, where you let the head drop back, you can just do clock circles, as shown above, where you pretend your nose is the hand of a clock and you turn the head to the left, then bring the nose up to 12 o’clock, then to 3 o’clock, then down to 6 o’clock, and then circle in the other direction.

  1. Sit tall or stand in mountain, dropping the shoulders back and down and relaxing the neck.
  2. Take a deep breath in … as you exhale, drop the chin to the chest and hold for a breath or two, just letting everything relax and feeling the stretch in the back of the neck.
  3. When you’re ready, inhale and either drop your left ear to left shoulder, or you can turn your head to the left, continue rolling up with the inhale until your nose is turned up toward the ceiling.
  4. Then exhale as you bring your other ear to shoulder or turn your head and nose to the right.
  5. Continue exhaling as you bring your chin back to chest. You can do this a few times, as feels good, making sure to go with the breath. Then repeat in the other direction.
  6. Once finished, bring your head back to neutral, facing forward and close the eyes and breathe until you’re ready to refocus and move.

Enjoy and be well ❤

~Judi~