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My Blog

February 2016

Partner Up for Family Yoga

Adult participation is always encouraged in my toddler yoga classes. Yes, it helps to make the little ones more comfortable and open to explore, but it also helps the grownups find their own mind body connection. I often hear the parents say things like "I should be doing more yoga." Or "Man, this feels so good!" So I say, DO MORE! If you have no time to devote to yoga without your kiddos, try a family yoga session. Here are some fun ways to create a family practice that will benefit both you and your little one.



Chair pose/Wall sit
This is an awesome way to strengthen the core and lower body, and if you know how to sit on a chair you can do it! Try out a wide legged chair pose side by side with you child. Imagine you can sit way back in a tiny imaginary chair. For a little more support try chair pose using the wall (a wall sit).Take 5 to 10 deep breaths together.







Tree in the wind
For balance, work on your tree pose together. First the child can strike a tree pose as the adult moves all around them like "the wind." The goal is to stay balanced and strong as the wind whooshes all around you. Then switch roles and allow your child to dance like the wind and knock you down.








Upside-down Dog
Everyone enjoys the thrill of going upside-down.
Children and adults can practice this hand stand modification at the wall.
Create a down dog “L” shape with your body by placing hands on the floor and feet on the wall. For extra excitement bark or howl like a dog!










Sunning on a rock
This is a wonderful restorative pose for child and adult. The adult sits on their heels with bent knees as the child stands behind. Your backs should be touching. Nice and slow the child can lay back as the adult takes a child’s pose (rock). Let your child sun on the rock for 5 to 10 breaths.










Foot rubs
You are never too young (or old) to enjoy a foot rub. End your practice by using some scented lotion to massage your child's feet. And then switch and allow them to rub yours. Not only will it be relaxing for both, but it's a wonder sensory exercise for the kiddos. I love the lavender scented lotion from Jivamukti.




The most important thing is to be creative and playful in your practice.  There are hidden games inside the asanas. If you make your practice flexible and inclusive, the whole family can reap the benefits.



Do You Have a Dumb Ass?


There are major incentives to using your buttocks properly....not just to look good in your favorite jeans. If your glutes are firing properly they can improve posture, increase pelvic floor strength, and protect your joints. We live in a very "seated" society which tends to create "dumb" asses. They just don’t know how to engage because we have not taught them to do so. Sitting for long periods of time can re-position the natural tilt of the pelvis and stretch out already weak gluteus muscles. Compare the tribal poteriors below to a typical western booty. It is easy to tell which one is going unused. I am just being cheeky and overgeneralizing a bit, but keep reading to find out if you have a dumb ass...
















Test Your Ass

While walking normally, place your right hand on your right butt cheek. Ideally your gluteal muscles will be working while you are walking. If you do not feel the muscle engaging as you walk, then your buttocks is probably not firing properly. Most likely you are pulling yourself along with the front leg and putting most of the work in the quadriceps (front of the thigh). Repeat on the other side. You also may notice that one side is much better at engaging than the other.  You can use the same touch test when doing a lunge.The gluteus muscle of the back leg should feel firm and engaged to the touch.

Another thing to note is the position of your pelvis. In our seated society we are often tilting the pelvic bowl backwards and losing the neutral tilt of the pelvic bowl. This not only takes the work out if our glutes, but puts strain on the pelvic floor, the lower back, and the hip joint. The illustrations below show the correct, "neutral" position of the pelvis. If the pelvis is positioned correctly, then your glutes will be properly firing.


Cultivating a Smart Ass

If you feel your ass needs some educating (many people’s do), then you can start by consciously engaging your glutes on a regular basis. When walking or running think about pushing off the back leg instead of pulling yourself along with the front leg.  If you work out or practice yoga, engage the glutes of the back leg whenever you are in any lunging pose (Front/back lunge, warriors, high lunge, low lunge). When doing squats (or simply standing up from a chair) put your weight way back in your heels, don’t over tuck the tail, and imagine your sits bones are pulling away from one another.  You should feel your buttocks engage!

You can also work on finding the neutral curve of your lower back. Make sure you are not super tucking your pelvis on a regular basis.  If you have to sit for long periods of time at work, take breaks to stand and walk around.  Try some cow/cat tilts by extending and flexing your spine.  You can do this movement seated, standing, or on all fours.  If you stand sideways in front of a full length mirror you will be able to observe the tilt of your own pelvis. The goal is to have a slight curve of the lower back. Try not to over tuck or over arch.

With time and patience a dumb ass can be taught! And a smart ass looks good in jeans too… so fire up that booty. 

 
 
 
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