Asana’s for ANXIETY

Practice Legs up the Wall for relaxation and increase circulation.

Today’s letter is near and dear to my heart. As many of you know I deal with anxiety and I’m passionate about bringing awareness to Mental Illness. There is no shame in mental illness and I want the young and old to know that anyone can have a healthy and successful life with mental illness. When I was at my deepest and darkest place I found Yoga and I’m so grateful to God for showing me ways that yoga can help with my anxiety and depression. Hence, I’ve put together a few postures which help with anxiety or simply calming the nervous system.

Childpose: Balasana is a common beginner’s yoga pose. It is often used as a resting position in between more difficult poses during a yoga practice. Childless, bring your Big toes to touch, spread your knees out to the width of your mat, start to walk your hands out long and gently allow your head to kiss the mat.

BENEFITS:

Helps to slow down the breath and heart rate

Calms the mind.

Gives comfort and space for safety

Forward Fold: Uttanasana Vinyasa — an asana which can be enjoyed both standing or sitting. This posture is one that can release tension in your low back and is great for claiming the mind and releasing anxiety when one feels overwhelmed. Hinge at your hips and melt toward the flood gaze toward your knee to protect or release your neck muscles.

BENEFITS:

Stretches the entire body from head to heels

Smoothe the nervous system

Tone and stimulate the internal organs

Legs up the Wall – find yourself scooting to the point where the wall and the floor meet …you are so close only a few more inches until you bottom touches the point where the connection meets. Start to walk your legs up the wall while flexing your toes toward your face. You may find this posture easy to navigate in your bed, the back of a couch, a wall or door…any flat surface will do.

BENEFITS:

Relaxation

Facilitates increased circulation

Soothes swollen or cramped feet and legs

Relieves lower back tension

Corpse Pose : Savasana – Exhale just lay…take up as much space as you need to feel comfortable. Release any special breathing, remove your tough from the roof of your mouth and allow for your jaw to release.

BENEFITS:

Helps reduce blood pressure

Release headaches, insomnia, and ANXIETY

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YOGA for a Cause

Given that the school year is back in full swing I send this message to encourage you to find moments for self-care. The following are three easy and effective on-the-go self-care tips:
1. Remember to Breath – A few deep breaths while in traffic will make the trip much smoother.
2. Oils are Essential – Keep a bottle of Essential Oils in your car, baby bag, or purse dab a little on your temples during the middle of the day or anytime to help with relaxation. My favorite Essential Oil is Lavender…as a REMINDER: We, Curvy Chick Yoga, offers Aromatherapy healing sessions just send me an email and we can arrange for an appointment.
3. Stress Balls – If you haven’t been on my social media yet you haven’t met Mrs. Pencil my new and favorite stress ball for the fall. I love to keep stress balls at home, the car, and in my desk at work.
Ladies, I hope you try one or all of these options. Additionally, Curvy Chick Yoga is proud to announce it’s first “Day of Om” Retreat on October 6th at 11:00am at the Darshan Center626 W. 18th St. in Chicago. Tickets are $30 and will be filled with meditation, intention setting, yoga, a healing circle, Love and HOPE as a portion of the proceeds will go to Day of Hope‘ aNon-for-profit that focuses on providing space for individuals struggling with mental illness.
Morning and Bedtime Yoga

Morning and Bedtime Yoga

Hi Ladies, so I always get the question, “what yoga poses can I do in bed if I’m a busy woman on-the-go?” So there are so many options for energizing your body in the morning and relaxing and releasing at night. Here are a few of my favorite postures for morning and bedtime yoga.

Savasana: Although this posture is usually at the end of most practices in the morning you can use it as an awakening posture. Come laying on your back and allow for your spine to melt into the mattress. Find a few moments of stillness and peace while just breathing and gently keeping your eyes closed. Now start to find small movement in your fingers, wrist, and toes. Start taking deeper inhales and exhales. Take an early morning stretch reaching your hands and toes in opposite directions.

Happy Baby or Half Happy Baby Pose: After awakening, all your muscles inhale to prepare and exhale pull your knees into your chest and reach around your legs for the outside of your feet. Plant the soles of your feet on the ceiling and gently pull your knees down towards the mattress. If this posture feels good in your body gently sway back and forth to massage your lower back & remember to take deep inhales and exhales. Bend your elbows, and continue to press your shoulders and head into the mattress to keep your spine protected. If you try Half Happy Baby pull your right knee into your chest first and gently press your left hip into the mattress. Remember to take Half Happy Baby on both sides.

Supine Twist: This has been my favorite yoga posture since starting my practice. Supine twist releases and over time lengthens your spine. Remember to take this on both sides, but start on your right side first. Pull your right knee to your chest and extend your left leg long. Take a nice inhale and guide your right knee across your body stacking your hips on top of one another. Reach your arms out wide while pressing both of your shoulders into your mattress. Gaze to your right side and above all else remember to breathe. On every inhale to lengthen your spine and on your exhale twist a little deeper. Now take this all on the left side by bringing both your knees to your chest and extending your right leg long. Take a nice inhale and guide your left knee across your body stacking your hips on top of one another. Reach your arms out wide while pressing both of your shoulders into your mattress. Gaze to your left side and remember to breathe.

Seated Forward Fold: Draw your knees into your chest, roll up to a seat, extend your legs out in front of you, find a tall seat, and keep a slight bend in your knees. Remove any extra love from under your sit bones as you inhale to prepare and exhale hinge forward at your hips. Reach your hands forward and grab for whatever is assessable (feet or calves). Continue to gaze down allowing this posture to release your spine and neck.

These four postures have just awakened your body for the busy day ahead. Although these postures are great for morning they can also be wonderful for relaxing your muscles in the evening as you prepare for bed. An added alternative could be trying Forward Fold while standing to help release your middle and upward back. Above all else remember to breathe and Namaste.

Comparison-is-the-thief-of-joy

Letters From a Yogi

You may have heard this saying before while reviewing Instagram stories, a Facebook feed, or in a yoga class. This past month was a blur and as it sped to an end I found myself frustrated with the fact that I hadn’t created more time for yoga, meditation, or to simply cook at home. Also, when I did come to my mat I found myself comparing myself, my practice, and my energy level to the people around me. Negative thoughts flooded my mind and then my ego would take over and I was no longer practicing yoga or developing as a whole person I was just moving along in class like a judgmental robot. We have all been in this moment of movement without mindfulness and it takes stillness of the mind and genuine consciousness to find peace and calmness in the mist of reckless thoughts. Yogis today I give you three areas to dig deep into when the wave of comparisons start to flood your mind.

Practice Gratitude: I was recently reminded by a new friend and fellow teacher that whatever you focus your energy on grows deeper and takes root in your mind and soul. Hence, if you are comparing yourself to the yogi on the next mat you can’t find peace, joy, and tranquility in your own journey. Therefore, find time to practice gratitude and solace in the practice you are cultivating or the individual that is developing internally and externally.

Focus on self-love: The world we live in is always tellings us that we need MORE and should be MORE, but I say focus on all the greatness that is within you as an individual. As some of you might know I’m a Librarian and I believe Dr. Seuss had is right when he wrote, “Today you are YOU, that is TRUER than true. There is NO ONE alive who is YOUNGER than YOU!” So basically love what is amazing, beautifully unique, and perfectly imperfect about you. The Dhammapada said, “As we think and act, so our world becomes.”

Breathe Deep: It might seem easy…just breathe! However, so many people don’t breathe and they definitely don’t breathe deeply. In times of stress and frustration if you focus on breath and how you are using your breath then there is no other time to think about comparing. When I practice with new students I remind them to send energy to the tight places in their body, but as yogis both new and old we should all learn to use our breath to calm our minds from racing and be in the moment of gratitude.

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