Crow pose is a deeply invigorating pose… unless you don’t know how to do it, that is. Then it’s a terrifying journey into the fear of falling face first on the ground with no hands to brace you. Luckily, there is a way to finesse this pose. Once you see the technique you will realize it isn’t a big labor of Hercules and definitely not terrifying. Here goes:
1- Set up phase: (Photo 1)
Start in a squat placing the hands on the floor shoulder width distance apart.
Bend the elbows and place the knees on the back of the upper arms ideally way up near the armpits. A common mistake is to not bend the arms and place the knees on straight arms so they just slip off. It’s like rock-climbing with no toe hold.
Lift the hips higher than the shoulders and make sure your gaze is forward about 10 inches in front of the hands
2- Lift off phase (Photo 2)
Remember this pose is a counterbalance between the weight of the hips and the weight of the upper body. Have fun. Keeping the hips high, start to lean the weight of the shoulders over the hands. Relax, you won’t fall on your face if you use the arms and fingertips. At the point where the hips come forward need to gather the inner elbows in like you had a “Suzanne Somers Thigh Master” between the elbows and use the finger tips.
Notice how the angle of my forearms has changed from photo 1 to 2, in photo one they are about 80 degrees relative to the floor but in photo to the have shifted to 90. This is another big key.
Try lifting one foot up and if you are feeling it, lift both. Channel your inner child and find some “Wahoo!” Oh yeah, don’t forget to breathe.
3- Full pose (Photo 3)
For the full pose, the arms straighten as your head and shoulder shift even further forward
Keep riding the “in and up force” by activating the feet and hands and still squeezing your imaginary Suzanne Somers Thigh Master between your arms and legs. You will feel lighter, develop core stability and it’s impossible to be in a bad mood after a good crow pose. Enjoy!
Posted On: February 21, 2014 | 1 Comment »
Thanks for the epic day yesterday. So great to meet you all and I am super inspired for the next few days.
It was great to explore Relaxation (the Hammock Principle) in class.
In case you wanted to clarify, the Five states of Being in Blissology Yoga are:
1) Quiet Mind 2) Heart Wisdom 3) Thinking Mind 4) Inner Fire 5) Joy Body
You’ll get all of this in a (massive) manual today in our afternoon session.
As for today’s Journal Questions. I am sure you were freezing when I asked it so here it is again.
1) What is Love?
Is it simply a chemical experience like an increase of Oxytocin and Dopamine as modern science tells us or is it really an energy that exists in the universe that we tune into as the mystics tell us?
Most people interpret Love to mean romantic Love but is there something more universal? What is the common thread (if any) between Romantic Love and Universal Love?
2) Question 2 has to do with Relaxation.
What is your definition of relaxation? How do you personally know when you are relaxed?
3) Is there a connection between Relaxation and Love?
To understand this question, maybe ask yourself the inverse: If stress and tension are the antithesis of relaxation, does anything happen to our experience of Love when our minds and bodies are tight and stressed?
Looking forward to discussing this today after Erich Schiffman’s session (10:40 am). I hope everyone has thawed out after our reading on the beach. Of course, the night we go to the beach Happy Birthday again, Veronica! Next one to celebrate is Dylan’s birthday on Monday, although Alissa may take the attention and get the waiters to sing to her Cafe Gratitude style…)
SO STOKED for this great day! Expect a very technical and deep afternoon from 1:45-5:30pm and a nice flow class at 6-7;30 pm – we can head out for a dinner together after that for some of the high prana goodness here in Venice!
Posted On: February 6, 2014 | No Comments »
Q./ What is one mantra that is a remedy for your soul?
I repeat our Blissology Hammock Enlightenment Mantra often. Love feels to me like a force in the universe like gravity or electromagnetism. When we get relaxed and present like when we are alone in the beauty of nature or at the end of savasana our bodies, minds and hearts become an antenna to pick up this signal. This is what inspires my life and my teaching. The Mantra goes:
Blissology Hammock Enlightenment Mantra
“We want to make the world a better place,
By slowing down our frenetic pace,
By doing so we make a space,
To open up to Love and Grace”
Photo: Mike BernardEarth Body Yoga
Here is a little meditation that goes with this Mantra:
Posted On: January 7, 2014 | No Comments »
Most yoga practices have a strong focus on the breath. The breath is a tool that creates heat, releases tension, calms the nervous system and helps provide a meditative focus. But how about using it as a means of practicing santosha? Santosha loosely translates as contentment or gratitude. Taking time everyday to express gratitude will, in my opinion, contribute as much to your overall state of health and happiness as any physical yoga practice.
There are an infinite number of things that we can feel grateful for. Feeling grateful for the breath we breathe is a nice one because it is such a focal point of our practice already, but also because it points to the fact that “all things are connected” which is the heart and soul of the state of mind called yoga. It is also the heart and soul of environmentalism. When David Suzuki writes in his book The Sacred Balance, “Every breath is a sacrament, an essential ritual” it is clear that environmentalists and yogis are on the same path.
Realizing the history of oxygen is a great way to turn every breath one takes into a sacrament. In primordial earth 4.6 billion years ago, there was no oxygen necessary for life as we know it today. Instead earth’s atmosphere was much like Mars’ atmosphere was today, 95-98 per cent carbon dioxide. As the earth cooled geological activity increased and gases were released by volcanoes. These gases known as greenhouse gases behaved like the glass of a greenhouse keeping heat in the earth’s atmosphere.
The theory is that the heat of the earth at one point got as high as 85-110 degrees Celsius. When volcanic activity stopped, the earth cooled and as a result the condensation-rain-evaporation cycle that thankfully continues today was established. Eventually oceans were formed.
2.5 billion years ago primitive microorganisms evolved a process of capturing energy from the sun called we all know as photosynthesis. To crudely describe this process, plants use carbon dioxide, water and light as a form of usable energy. In this remarkable process, six molecules of carbon dioxide are transformed into sugar and six molecules are released as oxygen as a byproduct. And what a byproduct! If it were not for this amazing process of plants converting carbon dioxide into sugar and releasing oxygen, the opportunities for life as we know it would never have been created.
When plants invaded the land the diversity of and numbers of living things blossomed. Herbivores evolved to feed on plants. Carnivores and omnivores fed on them. And the beat of the dance of life increased. So with each breath; each time our lungs capture some of the atmosphere around us and feeds this oxygen to our to our blood cells, let’s feel grateful for the how intimately connected we are to all things around us. The sun, trees and plants, the rain, the water cycle, beings that have lived here before us.
Take a little time every yoga practice and be mindful of how intimately connected we are to all things around us. We just can not spend enough of our day contemplating how lucky we are to be able to play a small part of this divine dance of life. Every Breath truly is a sacrament.
Re-posted in honor of the upcoming release of Earth. Body. Yoga on November 23!!!
Posted On: November 19, 2013 | 2 Comments »
Recently an editor at the Yoga Journal asked me this question.
The most meaningful gift anyone gave me was six hundred dollars worth of $20 bills wrapped in an elastic.
I always ran my classes in Vancouver on the honor system in an old run down church that had been converted into the Kitsilano Neihborhood House. While I was off doing mat valet or talking to people at the front of the room sat a stack of money and class cards people were supposed to punch. All the time I would be asked, “Don’t you know people are ripping you off?”
“I know, but if people aren’t paying for the yoga class they are missing the first two limbs and this is the bigger lesson than any pose I can teach.”
One day after class a student came up to me with that neatly bundled $600 and said, “I’ve been coming for the last few years without paying because I didn’t have a job, but I just got one so here you go.”
We hugged and I felt right there the joy we are capable of when are actions are in line with the trust we aspire to.