Inspirational Quote and Photo of the Week ~ Dance Upon Injustice

Brock Cahill in handstand“Open up the doors and let the music play
Let the streets resound with singing
Songs that bring Your hope
Songs that bring Your joy
Dancers who dance upon injustice”
-“Did You Feel the Mountains Tremble” by Delirious

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Yoga Video: Kundalini “Breath of Fire” Pranayama For A Flat Stomach and Body Detox

How To Do Kundalini “Breath of Fire” Pranayama For A Flat Stomach and Body Detox

In this short yoga video Los Angeles  based kundalini yoga teacher Aimee’ Donahue teaches you “Breath of Fire”  pranayama (breathing technique). This yoga pranayama helps to sculpt a flat stomach, cleanses the blood, clears the lungs and detoxifies the internal organs of the body.

Breath of Fire Benefits: From this website TheSecretsofYoga.com which is chock-full of wonderful info.

After you master Breath of Fire here you can begin to add it to many of your other yoga poses to reap the abdominal toning and detoxing benefits!

Yoga and Chakras – The Fourth Chakra Anahata “The Heart Chakra”

The 4th Chakra - Heart Chakra AnahataThe Anhata Chakra is the 4th of the 7 yoga chakrasand means “Unstruck Sound”. The 4th Chakra is the Heart Chakra.

The heart chakra the color is green, and sometimes pink, the symbol is a circular flower with twelve green petals. Inside of the circle are two overlapping triangles which represent the union of male and female.

When the heart chakra is balanced we radiate divine love and feel deeply connected to others. The 4th Chakra represents unconditional love for ourselves and others.This chakra connects the bottom three chakras to the upper three taking us from our basic needs and animal nature to our divine and spiritual nature. Those with open heart chakras have a highly developed sense of touch. Their peaceful energy and compassionate touch are very healing to those around them.

Heart Chakra Body Parts:

  • Heart
  • Ribcage
  • Shoulders
  • Arms
  • Wrists
  • Hands
  • Circulatory System
  • Thymus
  • Endocrine System
  • Asthma
  • Breast
  • Heart Attacks

Things That Throw The 4th Chakra Out Of Balance

  • Heartbreak
  • Abandonment (particularly as a child)
  • Envy
  • Despair
  • Fear
  • Anger
  • Feeling Unloved
  • Neglect
  • Abuse
  • Rejection
Open Heart Chakra Traits
  • Balance
  • Harmony
  • Openness
  • Forgiveness
  • Compassion
  • Acceptance
  • Contentment
  • Understanding
  • Oneness with Life
  • Group Consciousness
  • Divine Unconditional Love
  • Peace
  • Devotion
  • Passion
  • Self-Acceptance
Blocked Heart Chakra Traits
  • Fear (Fear of emotional loss)
  • Envy
  • Hatred
  • Jealousy
  • Inability to feel compassion for others

Backbends Are Paticularly Good For The Heart Chakra.

Backbends will be paticullary difficult for those with blocked heart chakras as they feel unsafe. A blocked 4th Chakra manifest as an inability to open up and be vulnerbale in the area of the heart. Obviously, backbends require a total surrender in the area of the heart.
I would like to note that the third chakra supports the 4th chakra here providing the strength to let go in a safe way. People without the support of the third chakra will bend until they break. They often lack personal boundaries. The focus here is on opening the area around the heart. Mobilizing the upper back and opening the front of the chest are crucial.
Special attention should be brought to opening the hip flexors, psoas and thighs (2nd Chakra stuff) as well so as not to hinge in the lower spine in an attempt to backbend.


Hip Opening, Sex and The 2nd Chakra

Sex, Hips and the 2nd chakraYoga Sequence for the Second Chakra. The Sacral Chakra Relates to The Hips, Sex, Sensuality, Relationships,Power, Money, and Creativity.

The 2nd Chakra is often called the body chakra because it is where you connect with the physical body through your senses. Located below the navel the sacral chakra is the chakra of sensuality, pleasure and sexuality. It governs how we choose our relationships and partnerships with others. When unblocked it magnetically draws others towards us. Since the Second chakra also governs our creative abilities when unblocked our creative energy flows effortlessly. The struggle for power and obsession with money are no longer distractions and finances are approached in a respectful and balanced manner.

Sounds pretty good right?

So, how does ones Sacral chakra become blocked?

Life happens!

Guilt and shame associated with sex, sexual abuse, sexual repression, being denied creative self-expression are all examples of how we can develop blockages early on. For all of these circumstances we develop a coping strategy.

Over time our coping patterns become stuck in the tissues of our body and mind.

Anchored deep within the confines of our psyche and body we re-express our pain in ways we are not even consciously aware of. Unfortunately the structures of defense we have built around us meant to protect us from future harm only block us from reaching our true potential.

Like a budding plant being choked out by rocks, at some point we can no longer grow holding up the weight of our own armor. The very thing meant to protect us eventually pushes us under.

Have you ever gotten misty eyed during a deep hip opener?

When you release tension in the hips often a lot of emotion comes pouring out and you may not even realize where it’s coming from.

This phenomenon is nothing new, as our bodies release trauma from the sacral chakra we will on some level re-experience it. Don’t be alarmed or try to suppress it, just let it flow. This too shall pass.

Hip openers will bring to the surface feelings connected to long-buried fears past hurts and disappointments.

You may feel frustrated, sad, hurt and vulnerable all over again.The fact is your body is reprocessing the same way you might try to process things that happened in your past with a therapist. In this case the therapy is happening on a cellular level rather than a mental level.

Are you feeling blocked in your creativity? The second chakra is governs the area of creation and creativity. When blocked we are unable to share our creative gifts with the outside world.

What about your sex life? If your sex life feels out of balance is an indicator of a second chakra that is out of balance as well. Financial issues are also linked to your second chakra so if you are experiencing problems with money balancing this chakra could be of help.

I am not suggesting miracles here. Doing pigeon for 20 minutes a day isn’t going to make Mr. Right materialize on your doorstep with a dozen roses nor will it guarantee you make a million dollars.

This sequence for the second chakra will release pent-up tension in the hips, pelvis and thighs. 

There are no quick fixes. However, try this yoga sequence and see what starts to shift for you. Be ready to deal with whatever may bubble to the surface, you may be surprised at what comes up.

Warm up with 3-5 rounds of Sun Salutation A and Sun Salutation C

Low Lunge

Frog

Baddha Konasana

Half Hero

Hanumanasana

Pigeon

Double Pigeon

Savasana (5-10 minutes)

Happy Hip Opening Yogis!

Yoga Music Playlist No. 17 “Let’s Have Fun”

Yoga Teacher Kristin Olson in Handstand Hanumanasana. Photo by Jim Knowles.
Music Playlist For Vinyasa Yoga!
Here is a music playlist I used for my “Let’s Have Fun” yoga sequence last sunday at Yogis Anonymous!To get the mix on itunes click here for the PING playlist!
  1. Trick Pony  Charlotte Gainsbourg
  2. California Soul  Marlena Shaw & Diplo
  3. Jump On My Shoulders  AWOLNATION
  4. Forgotten  TV On The Radio
  5. Harry’s Last Hurrah  Chikinki
  6. Second Song  TV On The Radio
  7. Midnight City  M83
  8. Sleepy Head  Passion Pit
  9. Wine and Chocolates  Theophilus London
  10. Hold On (feat. Sampha)  SBTRKT
  11. Shush shush Charlotte (Featuring Anthony John In Don’t Cry)  Serge Gainsbourg
  12. Dub Charlotte  Serge Gainsbourg
  13. Shakatakadoodub  Kruder & Dorfmeister
  14. When I Grow Up  Fever Ray
  15. Triangle Walks  Fever Ray
  16. Chocolate Elvis  Tosca
  17. Alive Alone  The Chemical Brothers
  18. Unfinished Sympathy  Massive Attack
  19. Paradise  Coldplay
  20. Lilac  Lia Ices
  21. Hey Ma Durga  Krishna Das & Baird Hersey & Prana
  22. Hare Krishna  Krishna Das & Baird Hersey & Prana

Cough Your Way To A Flat Tummy and Core Strength and Engage Your Transverse Abdominals

 How to Get a flat Tummy by engaging your transverse abdominals How To Train Your Transverse Abdominals and Strengthen Your Core For A Flat Tummy!

Here are some practical tips on how to connect to the ever so challenging lower abdominal muscles.

We will refer to them as your TA …or more specifically, your transverse abdominals!

What is the Transverse Abdominal?

The Transverse abdominals are our deepest abdominal muscles and act as a corset stabilizing our spine and making our lower belly narrow and flat. Yay!

They lie underneath our obliques and connect to our pubic bone by ligaments. This makes training them crucial to pelvic floor engagement and mula bhanda.

They also connect to our diaphragm aiding our lungs and making our breath more powerful.

 Training your Transverse Abdominals is tricky. When they are weak, the feeling of engaging them is sometimes so subtle it gets overlooked. Don’t give up though, it is well worth the effort!

A “Real Life” Example Of What Your Transverse Abdominals Feel Like.

Imagine you have a pair of drawstring pants you are tying on. Your two frontal hip bones should feel as if they are drawing toward one another and your waist should feel as if it is narrowing.

Next, imagine you are trying to zip the fly on some really tight skinny jeans and you have to “suck it all in” so to speak. (Not that you’ve ever had to do that of course….) You should feel that everything from your pubic bone to your navel is sucking in and up.

So What’s The Big Deal?

It is difficult to train the TA alone as it  often gets “bullied” by the other more easily accessed abdominal muscles.

This result is overtraining the other abdominal muscles and a bulky lower belly pooch instead of the sleek lower abs we actually want. Very frustrating indeed!

If you’ve ever seen a bodybuilder with overdeveloped abs that stick out, you know what I’m talking about. A lower belly pooch is often the result of an overtrained rectus abdominal (the most superficial abdominal muscle) and an under-trained transverse abdominal.

A Reminder – Why Is The TA So Vital For Women In Particular?

The TA is particularly important  to cultivate for women who have had children. The Transverse Abdominal muscles are directly connected to the pelvic floor muscles.

Strengthening them not only gives you back your pre-baby body but prevents embarrassing accidents as well. If you have ever laughed so hard a little pee came out you know exactly what I am talking about.   

A Simple Excercise  to Find and Engage the Transverse Abdominals

Place your hands on your hips and gently press your fingers into your abdominals and give a polite “ahem” cough like you are trying to get someones attention. You should feel a deep smooth muscle engage underneath your fingertips. That my friend is your Transverse Abdominals!

Engage Your TA All Day Every Day for Strong Adominals!

So now that you know how to engage your TA, use your “ahem” cough to engage your transverse abdominals whenever and wherever you like. Over time you will be able to engage without the help of your cough. In fact you don’t even need to make a sound as you “cough” it’s more about just bringing your awareness to that area of your body. Over time it will just become automatic.

Every once in a while double-check with your fingers to make sure that you are engaging correctly. You will know you aren’t doing it right if you feel your lower abs bulge out.

I think if the “Most Interesting Man In The World” (The Dos Equis Beer Commercial Guy) were to explain all of this he would say “I don’t always cough, but when I do I make sure to engage my transverse abdominals. Stay strong my friends!”

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