Sunday, October 30, 2016

Exploring the Sacred Meaning of 108

108 is a magic number... and it keeps coming back in yoga - but why?

"Often at yoga events or in the yoga/mindfulness community, there's a special emphasis placed on the number 108.
For charity, to start the new year right, or during equinoxes or solstices, yogis often do 108 sun salutations. Malas contain 108 beads. But why?
Hindu Science
According to Shiva Rea, respected mathematicians of Vedic culture viewed 108 as a number of the wholeness of existence.
It also is the number that connects the sun, moon, and earth. For instance, the  average distance of the sun and the moon to the earth is 108 times their respective diameters.
According to yogic tradition, there are 108 pithas, or sacred sites, throughout India, as well as 108 Upanishads and 108 marma points, or sacred places of the body.
In addition, in the Sanskrit alphabet there are 54 letters; each has masculine and feminine, shiva and shakti. Multiply that by two and you'll get 108.

Other Religious/Cultural Significance
          The number 108 is used in Islam to refer to God.
          One-hundred and eight small Buddhas are carved on a single walnut as good luck charm.
          Chinese astrology says that there are 108 sacred stars.
          The first space flight lasted 108 minutes on April 12, 1961.
          Penelope of Ithaca had 108 suitors after believing that her husband, Odysseus King of Ithaca, was never going to return home.
          Jews often give gifts and charitable donations in multiples of the number 18, associated with the Hebrew word "chai," which means life. One-hundred and eight is a multiple of 18.

          An official baseball has 108 stitches."

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Peddle laughing

I started particing laughter yoga with kids.. But good idea to integrate it within asanas!

We’ll move into a seated position now, so have your kiddo either sit in a chair or on the floor. Talk to them:

  • I want you all to show each other how well you can lean back
  • From here, start to pedal your feet. How fast can you go?
  • Can you laugh while you pedal??
  • Now everybody laugh! Let’s get all of our sillies out by laughing out loud!

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Wheel Pose - Tips for a better alignement

It took me some time to adopt a good wheel pose, which is a bit addictive! Try this pose, after a proper warm up for your spine, shoulders and core.
How kids can do it so easily?

Begin on your back, knees bent and feet hip-distance apart. Place the hands by the ears with the fingers pointing toward the shoulders, and hug the elbows in rather than letting them splay out (think Chaturanga arms). Find a little arch in the low back, let the glutes get heavy, then lengthen the tailbone. Carefully lift yourself to the top of the head. Take a moment here, and move the arm bones back and forth to find the mobility in the shoulders. Draw the shoulder blades in toward the spine and gather the arm bones snugly into their sockets. Check in with the legs to make sure the glutes are still unclenched and that the knees are aren’t drifting outward. Finally, press evenly into the hands and feet and lift up to Urdhva Dhanurasana. Gently pump the chest forward, checking in with both shoulders and spine to make sure you don’t push past a manageable range of motion.

If there’s discomfort in the wrists, try placing a rolled up blanket under the heels of the hands: decreasing the extension demands in the wrists will allow the shoulders and chest to open more freely.

To come out, lower the top of the head down first, followed by the hips, maintaining a slight arch in the lumbar as you release all the way down. Pause here, before gently sweeping the knees from side to side to work out tension in the spine. Take your time carefully hugging the knees into the chest to counterpose.

Take some time to slowdown before the rest of the week begins!


Sunday, October 23, 2016

Why Are There So Many Animal Yoga Poses?

My simple explanation, mainly when teaching kids, is that Yogis got their inspiration from admiring the nature and especially animals.. But there might be so much more behind!

"There are quite a few animal yoga poses. Have you ever wondered how they got their names?

You may have noticed that there are quite a few poses named after our animal friends. Along with the dog, this asana menagerie includes other mammals (Cow, Camel, Cat, Horse, Lion, Monkey, Bull), birds (Eagle, Peacock, Goose or Swan, Crane, Heron, Rooster, Pigeon, Partridge), a fish and a frog, reptiles (Cobra, Crocodile, Tortoise), and arthropods (Locust, Scorpion, Firefly). There’s even a pose named after a mythic sea monster, the makara, the Hindu zodiac’s Capricorn, which is pictured as having the head and forelegs of a deer and the body and tail of a fish.

Of course, the animal most revered by Hindus is the cow. Everything associated with or issuing from the cow is considered holy, even the dust stirred by its passing and the hoofprints left behind. Alas, the dog—despite the contemporary popularity of its eponymous pose—doesn’t fare as well in India, where many folks consider Fido unclean and go to great lengths to avoid the slightest contact. But here and there in the old books we find a dog that someone loved. One famous instance occurs near the end of the Mahabharata, India’s monumental national epic. The god Indra invites the hero-king Yudhishthira (pronounced you-dish-TEER-ah) into heaven, if only he’ll “cast off” his loyal canine companion. The righteous king refuses, saying, “I do not wish for prosperity if I have to abandon a creature who is devoted to me.” As it turns out, the dog is none other than Dharma, the god of virtue; upon hearing these words, he assumes his true form and says to Yudhishthira, “There is no one in heaven equal to you.”"

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Sweet Stretching

Post yoga session, deepen your forward fold!

Monday, October 17, 2016

Kids Yoga at Seaview

Stretching and Playing every week to keep our little ones flexible in their mind and body!

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Why Yoga Should Be the #1 Tool in Your Parenting Tool Belt

Only 3 tools presented below... But most probably the most powerful one, if they are part of our lifestyle.

"Having a baby nowadays seems like something straight out of a sci-fi movie, to those of us old enough to remember life before the internet anyway. With the click of a button you can find, research and register for thousands of gadgets and tools promised to aid you along the foretold rocky path of parenting. However, many parents soon discover these short-cut pacifiers quickly wear thin on their ability to pacify and after you’ve tried all the top 10 tips from the latest issue of Parenting magazine, the reality is that you need some better tools in your belt.
I’m here to tell you, yoga is that tool. For those of you parents who have a regular yoga practice this will make perfect sense. For those of you that don’t, I hope this short list of reasons will be enough to get you on the mat.

Here are 3 reasons yoga should be the #1 tool in your parenting tool belt:
Pranayama – control of the breath. Breath, as an involuntarily action, becomes fast and laborious when our stress levels rise, as they often do consoling a crying baby who won’t settle or a screaming toddler losing it because the strawberries are all gone (which he ate).
Taking deep, deliberate breaths shuts off those cortisol signals and engages your parasympathetic nervous system. This in turn allows your body to know that even though the baby is screaming as if it’s being attacked by a lion, it’s not, and everything is actually ok.
Teach your kids how to breathe too! As soon as babies are old enough to mimic blowing, start practicing intentional breath. Toddlers have a hard time understanding the difference in significance between ‘I dropped my toy’ and ‘my finger is profusely bleeding.’ Based on the intensity of their screaming, you have no clue if their life is at stake or if they need a nap, and frankly they don’t either. This isn’t to say children aren’t emotionally intelligent beings, they absolutely are. But our job as parents is to guide them through discomfort and pain and give them tools to become emotionally healthy adults. Pranayama works the same way whether you’re 1 or 33, and giving them this tool is something that will help them throughout their lives.
Try this: When my kids were really young and couldn’t understand “take a deep breath,” I would make a circle with my hands and say “blow through the circle.” Not only did they think it was a fun game but it resulted in learning how to take deep breaths and melted the tantrum into giggles and hugs.

Being a parent is a non-stop job of putting someone else’s needs before your own. It doesn’t matter if you’re tired, sick, had a bad day, or your dog died. Your kids need you physically and emotionally all the time. Taking an hour a day for your yoga practice to reconnect with yourself, nurturing your own mind-body connection, is not a luxury — it is absolutely VITAL!
Taking time to nurture yourself is an act of self-love. You are acknowledging your own self-worth and value. It is much easier to give and receive love (especially the kind necessary for raising another human being) when we give that level of care to ourselves. When you are centered, when you practice self-love, you create a welcoming environment for your children to view themselves and others in that same light. Children need to see their parents loving their body and nourishing their mind. Children need to see us doing yoga! Before you know it, you’ll likely catch your 1 year old upside down mimicking a rather impressive downward dog.

Yoga is amazing in it’s ability to bring awareness into your life. Suddenly, if only for that hour, the world releases its hurried frenzy. It doesn’t matter if you have a thousand emails or a sink full of dirty dishes waiting for you. Yoga allows you to just be.
Drawing that awareness into other areas of your life is an immensely helpful tool for dealing with all of life’s not-so-subtle moments. When your baby wakes for the 4th time in 2 hours, or you step on a lego on your way to help your toddler (again), awareness can bring it all into focus (probably after some deep breathing). Awareness allows you to be in this moment, and right now the moment is chaotic and insanely beautiful. Awareness is the laughter that comes when you truly grasp that there won’t always be legos to step on and you’re simultaneously grateful and a little sad.
The awareness that yoga gives us takes the cliche phrase “this too shall pass” and reminds us that what passes isn’t just diapers and tantrums, it’s squishy little fingers and bedtime stories too. It may seem more bitter than sweet, but that’s why awareness might just be the most powerful tool of all.

No doubt about it, yoga is a life changer. These 3 tools, learned on the mat and applied to parenting, will absolutely shed new light on this messy, hilarious, and profoundly inspiring journey. When it comes down to being real, we can all agree that every person is different. No piece of advice is going to be applicable to every kid or situation, but if you can remember to breathe, make time to honor yourself, and approach this season of life with awareness, you’ll find the path to be a little less rocky and have a much better view. Wishing you and your baby happiness and health."