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6:57 pm

Simple yoga exercises for a healthy neck and immune system

Here is a quick yoga break designed to help you release stress and strain from your upper torso and neck.  If you do this yoga sequence as a daily break from your computer, you won't need to see the chiropractor so often.  And I threw in an immune system booster at the end, as a bonus.   It feels good!  Do this sequence daily for optimal health. Sit up tall in a chair.  Come forward so you are seated tall on your sitz bones, and not resting into the chair back. Bring your feet parallel, resting directly in front of you  on the floor.  Alternatively, you may sit cross legged on the floor. Take some long smooth breaths, watching the breath flow in and out of your lungs.   At the end of each exhale gently engage from deep in your pelvis and lower abdomen as if you could squeeze just a little more air from the lungs.  Feel the support and lift of your spine that arises from engaging these muscles.  This is Mula Bandha breath. Take your mind to your lower rib cage and gently engage there as well.  It should feel  as if you knitting your lower ribs closer together to prevent your spine from arching forward with the exercise .  This is Uddiyanda Bandha. Clasp your hands and place them behind your head.  Return to finding the bandhas, the muscular strength of your pelvis, lower abdominals and lower rib cage.  Stay steadfast in the bandhas as you stretch through your arms as if you could touch the walls beside you with your elbows (but keep your hands clasped behind your head, the actual range of motion is quite small). Finally, gently slide your head directly back into your hands, as if you sliding in a cupboard drawer. Again, your range of motion is small.  If the muscles of your lower torso stay engaged and you resist the urge to arch your spine, you will feel the stretch along the length of your sternum and into the front of your neck.  Hold the stretch for 3 to 6 breaths, rest, then repeat a few more times. When you have finished, take the fingertips of one hand and rapidly tap the front of your sternum and under your collarbones.  The thymus gland builds T-cells that fight disease and is located directly under the sternum.  When you tap the sternum you stimulate the thymus for a healthy immune system Do these exercises daily. If you work at a computer, use this sequence as a brief respite once mid-morning and once mid- afternoon.  The sequence will help relieve the neck strain and support a healthy pain-free body. [button color="#297392" size="large" link="https://clients.mindbodyonline.com/ASP/adm/home.asp?studioid=13270"]view schedule[/button]

6:25 pm

Solstice Lessons on Balance

We are falling rapidly toward the Winter Solstice.  Our northern hemisphere has tilted almost as far from the sun as we can.  The days are short and I find myself desiring to crawl into bed early with a good book, struggling to keep myself awake beyond 9pm. We yearn for the sun, we decorate with lights and candles to bring light back into the darkness.  We crave nurturing foods, friends, family, and stories.  The cycle of the seasons and our lives invites inward reflection and rest. It was pointed out to me that balance doesn't occur in any single moment.  Balance is the sum of our actions over time.  The simple act of moving forward, of walking, requires a willingness to fall.  Each footstep is a exercise in trust, we  allow ourselves to fall off balance and then right ourselves again. The earth too falls away from the sun, rights itself and then falls back toward the sun.  We fall off center and return, over and over again in our lives.  When we practice yoga, we manifest this action.   We push ourselves in one direction and then another.  We fall off balance and then find center. As the body finds confidence in the process, it becomes easier to trust the process in the rest of our lives. When the body learns, the mind and spirit follow.  We stop struggling for continuous balance. We learn to fall and recover with grace, our lives cycle through the seasons with ease. On New Year's eve (10am-noon) we'll share a Restorative Yoga practice, turning inward, resting and stretching the body deeply.  Then on New Year's Day we'll greet the returning sun with Sun Salutes.   We find balance between the call to rest and the call to rise.  Life is right here, in willingness to rest and rise again.