Friday, August 26, 2011

2 Storm Salutations for Hurricane Irene - to send her away!



Danger! Addictive substance!
With Hurricane Irene threatening to take a bite out of the Big Apple this Sunday, everyone's battening down hatches, stocking up on water, candles, batteries and favorite addictions - in my case, Trader Joe's Potato Trio chips (no salt, tons of fat) and a case of Chocolate Fudge Orgain (guilt free chocolate shake). And we're locking our doors, putting cling wrap around the edges and not going OUT. Some are even starting as early as Saturday. So how do you get your yoga fix when the route to your favorite studio is knee deep in water?

Get out your mat, push back the furniture and do a couple of Storm Salutations for Hurricane Irene.

They are basically Sun Salutations, but you stay super low so the eye of the storm somehow misses you.

Storm Salutation A: A smooth tumble from Downdog to Plow. You roll out of storm's danger like a tumbleweed! 

Start cross legged, hands on knees.

Inhale - roll forward onto hands and knees

Exhale - push back into downdog - pedal the feet! Stretch those calves!

Inhale - drop to knees, cross feet over behind you, roll back into cross legged seat (use hands to help!)

Exhale - continue rolling back into easy plow (knees bent). Hang out here.

Inhale - and reverse it:

Exhale - cross feet, roll forward into cross legged seat then immediately uncross feet onto

Inhale - hands and knees

Exhale - push back into down dog

- do this several times, making it one smooth move in both directions. As the lower back limbers up you can move into full plow.


At this point are officially allowed to take a swig or two of Orgain, stuff a Potato Trio or two in your face, and continue ... and no, I don't get a kickback from this mention - do you see an Adword in sight? 

Storm Salutation B: This one is based around the low-lying Child's Pose asana. It's a bit like a body wave. There's a brief Prairie Dog moment to check if the storm's heading in your direction ...

Begin on hands and knees. Inhale ...

Exhale - Down dog.

Inhale - drop knees on the way to ...

Exhale - Child's Pose

Inhale - come forward to plank

Exhale - knees, chest, chin (or Chaturanga)

Inhale - raise chest, baby cobra (rising to Updog to kick it up a notch)

Exhale - lower chest (or entire body)

Inhale - Walk hands and body all the way back to ...

Exhale - Child's pose.

Inhale - up on knees, hands behind hips

Exhale - arch back, head tipped back (kneeling backbend) - Prairie Dog moment! Where's the storm headed? Yikes! Right in my direction! Get down!

Inhale - Come forward onto hands and knees

Exhale - Push back in to Child's Pose

Inhale  - up to hands and knees then back to ...

Exhale - Down dog

Variations: Throw in a couple of 90 degree Child's Poses - from hands and knees, walk arms around 90 degrees to body and settle head, chest, everything down. Exhale. Inhale, rise up, walk hands around to do it on the other side. Exhale.  Nice side stretch!

It's a great way to limber up the back, shoulders, legs, remembering to double the mat over because of the additional pressure on the knees.

Around 20 reps gets people warmed up and slightly breathless! OK, then you can go and crack open the chips and beer and what have you as you watch the windows being expertly washed by Mother Nature.

+++

Still stuck inside?

When you're done with that, clear another space on the wall (difficult in a 450 sq ft Manhattan studio I know) and try this gentle hip opener. You can read a book while doing it. That's multitasking for you!


This was inspired by an article inYoga Journal: I had everyone in my class with feet splayed against the wall to practice some "gravitationally assisted" hip openings. Flex feet, pushing through heels, pressing calves against the wall, then relax. Note hips magically open a leeetle bit wider, heels inch down the wall ...

This should be done at home for 5-10 mins. In my class it became a kind of "active Savasana".

Once at the wall, it made perfect sense to gently bring legs together, bend ze knees, then drop them over to the left, then right (keep shoulders flat on the ground!) using the wall as a comforting "landing pad". SO many people complain of sciatica. Too much slouching in swivel chairs and sofas!

Good luck on H-day!

Gal on yoga

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Under the Crescent Moon ...

Under the Crescent Moon: and the healthy, non-toxic clay walls of YoGanesh!
To relieve pressure on sensitive knees:  1. Fold over the side of the mat 2. Activate all leg muscles, drawing energy up through your torso and out through the top of your head

Yoganesh, the newish studio where I teach a Monday and Friday evening class, just celebrated it's first Anniversary. Here's my post about it on the YoGanesh Blog. And while you're at it, read about the new classes and workshops. See you in class!