Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Nail It 2: Backbends Workshop and a Look Back

I am super excited about the second Nail It: Backbends workshop (Happening January 27 from 4-6pm at Aeriform Arts in North Hollywood - sign up here!). This go-round, we'll be focusing on opening the shoulders to go deeper into backbends without injury.
Our first workshop focused on neutral pelvic alignment to support the root of the pose. This time, we are working on the blossom! Think of the two workshops together as a balance of sthira (stability) and sukha (freedom).

The low back is super bendy while the mid and upper back are tight (For a reason - they're protecting our heart, lungs and other important organs).  By stabilizing the low back (Which isn't actually built to bend deep), allows more freedom in the mid/upper back for a deeper backbend.  

Finding Stability: First stand how you normally do sideways by a mirror. Look in the mirror and notice if your low back is arched so the butt sticks out or curved so the butt is tucked under. Know that this tendency (no matter how slight) is probably where you're starting from as you move into your backbend. To go deeper, you want to start from a neutral pelvis and stabilized low back.

Finding Neutral: Stand with your feet parallel and lift your arches upward. You might feel a lifting of the quads and a toning of the belly, which may even allow for a softening and broadening of the shoulders. 

Play with this and notice how it feels in your pelvis and low back. Once you find that stabilizing position, you can begin to lift the sternum toward your chin as the upper body begins to extend. 

A final note to remember: Backbends require courage!  This T.E.D. Talk by Brene Brown  inspired our first workshop where she defines courage in an original and quite yogic way!  Courage: To tell the story of who you are with your whole vulnerable. 
Hope to see you at our second workshop! 

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

My First Juice Cleanse

As part of my advanced teacher-training credential, I participated in a 3-day juice cleanse. The Pressed Juicery sourced our cleanse with cold-pressed, delicious juices.

I have a pretty clean already: I don't eat meat or dairy, and generally eat only a small amount of processed foods sparingly throughout the levied bread or a treat with cheese in it. Some sushi or cooked salmon sometimes, too. I cut out bleached sugar and sugar alternatives years ago along with glycerin-based foods, soda and candy. I also don't really drink a lot of caffeine..some black tea or a coffee now and again. But I was curious what the cleanse would be like.

I have one more aloe vera/water drink left tonight before the cleanse is over and I am surprised to report that I feel very normal. Some of the other people in my group doing the cleanse have had varied responses...from crankiness and headaches to complete juice-rejection... vomiting, chills, the whole bit. I have to think that I feel so normal because my GI tract didn't have that much stuff to get rid of. Because of this, I'm planning to do a heavy-metals cleanse.

This is what I've gotten from the juice cleanse:
1. Veggie juice cut with ginger and lemon is incredibly energizing and a much better choice for me in the morning than a chai tea.
2. I can consume a lot of liquid and not feel hungry. This makes me think that I mistake hunger for thirst kind of regularly.
3. I don't need as much protein as I thought to have enough cognitive energy and zest to get through my hectic schedule each day.
4. Having healthy food prepared before I start said hectic schedule gives me a real relief during the middle of the day when I become tired or irritable and don't want to think about making myself something or scavenging around LA for real food.
5. Juice cleanses are an awesome break to notice things like: food cravings; habitual cravings sourced from comfort or emotional stuff; how commercialized eating has become; cleanses are more fun in groups.

If some radical shift happens in the next 2-3 days as I start to reintroduce solid foods again, I will post an update! Happy eating everyone :)

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

It's 2013!! We live in the future.

Tis the season for making resolutions of transformation and possibly [most likely] not fulfilling them. Based on my observation and experience as a behavior therapist, analyzing and strategising ways to create efficient and helpful behaviors in people, I've found that we tend to set ourselves up for failure.

How about this year, we set ourselves up for success with specific goals and intentions that spring from a much broader idea of being?

I got this note from the Universe today:

Considering your grandest and most glorious dreams, niki:

When your thoughts and visualizations pertain to the "hows" (how they will come true), or when they include an insistence upon unimportant details (virtually all details are unimportant; think of them, yes, but just don't attach to them), or when they require specific people to behave in specific ways... at the very best, your efforts will only increase the likelihood of your desired dream coming to pass. 

Whereas, when your grandest and most glorious dreams are BIG-picture items, like rocking abundance, total fulfillment, amazing health, vivacious happiness, and the like, the floodgates of success begin to powerfully tremble and your manifestation becomes inevitable. 

Hark... a tremor I do detect... 
    The Universe