Monday, January 19, 2015

Sleepless in Seattle, or somewhere else?

Namaste Friends,

I was challenged by the blogosphere community to post a few of my favorite yoga poses for Sleep. So let's just start with a few basics:

Forward Folds -- my little sister says I bend like the Asian stunt-man in Ocean's Eleven. If you've got tightness in the hamstrings, heel toe your feet a little wider for more release in the low back. Also, if the hands don't touch the floor, use a block or some phone books (if they exist anymore?) for your hands.

Uttanasana - Standing Forward Bend
For Prasarita (below) a block or prop under the head can feel super delightful. 
Prasarita Padottanasana - Wide Leg Standing Forward Bend

Or you could always take it to the floor and enlist the help of a friend to feel a nice release. 

Next up, Paschimottanasana ... or more folding -- basically the same idea as above, but seated. (I'd like to thank the photographer Aly Sharette for photoshopping the bottoms of my feet... I'm pretty sure they had a lot more spray tan than you're currently seeing. 

I like to tell my students to let the bend come from the hips as opposed to a rounding in the spine on this one. Think about pressing the chest and heart forward on this pose... and then let the surrender come when there's no more rotation (or bend) coming from the hips. Rememrb to breathe... long inhales and exhales through the nose. 

Paschimottanasana (Seated Forward Bend)

I've seen this next one where the yogi is twisted so deeply, it appears their back is resting on their knee cap. Take a variation that works for you. 

Janu Sirsanana (Head of the Knee Pose) 

Child's pose is pretty standard fare for a grounding, relaxing and restful pose. This pic was taken a year ago shortly after I had had my nails done and purchased this BOSS mat from Affirmats. It says "Look How Pretty You Are." I love bringing it to the FREE community classes I teach for some unassuming student... they stumble on it and get a delightful surprise.  Take the knees as wide as the mat, sink the hips towards their heels, or bring the knees closer together. You can take the hands back towards the feel for more rounding in the spine and less of a shoulder stretch.
Child's Pose - Balasana

My collection of pictures spans a few years -- the first yoga shoot I ever did, and then a few randoms from Instagram tied in. But I will say my kids are the greatest teachers. Holden knows that just being able to sit in stillness is one of the best remedies for rest. 

And Zoe-bug, with her take on Savasanana. Though I suggest just laying on top of the mat... makes it easier to breathe than being a human burrito.

Om Shanti (Peace), and Namaste. 

***Just a reminder, I teach a Vinyasa 1-2 at We Are Yoga SLC every Wed night from 7pm-8:15. If you've never been to the studio, drop me a message as I'd love to comp you as my guest for your first visit. I also am teaching a FREE community Yoga class a couple of Tuesday nights a week at my church in Holladay for the Salt Lake crowd. Drop me a line if you're interested in attending either class. ***