When I first introduced the idea of yoga and meditation back in August, the responses varied: “I don’t do yoga”…”I’m not flexible”…”Yoga is boring!”
I made a deal with the group. Everything is optional. All I ask is that you try one new movement per session, and if that movement doesn’t feel good in your body, you can just watch. Fast forward a few months, and here we are!
Below, you’ll see two participants noticing the difference in poor posture VS great posture. In this class we talk a lot about our spine; where it starts and where it ends, and also how good posture eliminates strain placed on our ligaments and muscles.
In these simple seated positions, we also explore areas where we might hold tension without even knowing! An activity around this topic would be to shrug your shoulders up to your ears on an inhale, followed by releasing your shoulders down your back on an exhale. This is a great way for the group to connect their breath to simple movement, while also feeling more in tune with their bodies.
Table Top Pose: This is a great starting point and transition posture for many poses and also helps lengthen and realign the spine. Here, you’ll see the participant’s shoulders are directly stacked over the wrists, and the spine is neutral.
Bound Angle Pose: This pose is completed by bringing the soles of your feet together and letting your knees fall open to either side. Here you’ll see the participant in a fantastic modification (knees slightly raised). Over time, the hips might become more open, allowing the knees to relax a little more. Also a great way to relieve some tension (especially for those that sit at a desk all day!).
Can’t forget about core work! Here, you’ll see the participant is in a similar position to table top pose. By simply lifting the knees off the ground, the core automatically activates! We typically complete this exercise 3-5 times, holding the knees up for 3 seconds each. This exercise also helps to strengthen wrists and the upper back/shoulder area.
Our group plans to explore standing poses in the near future, but before we do, it’s important to notice the foundation! Our feet are our primary means to both balance and mobility. Here are some photos that show the difference of pointed feet VS flexed feet.
Mindfulness is defined as a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique. Mindfulness and Meditation can be used in every part of your day, and the more you practice focusing on the present moment, the easier it becomes. Here’s a photo of a participant using mindfulness and meditation in building a house of cards.
…and now we rest. I’ll leave you with some glorious photos of one of our participants enjoying a more restorative, resting pose. Notice the cushions underneath the back for extra support. These cushions/pillows/etc can be placed anywhere on the body. You’ll also notice one hand is placed on the heart, while the other is placed on the belly. This hand placement helps you notice the rise and fall of the inhalations and exhalations. It’s important to know there’s no right or wrong way to rest, so long as you’re able to fully relax and fully breathe.
I completed my Yoga Teacher Certification April of 2018, and am thrilled to have the opportunity to bring what I’ve learned to our TCS community. Over the past few months, this group has blown me away with their open-mindedness and vulnerability around movements that are new in their bodies. How lucky am I to combine two of my greatest passions?