Yoga Progressions & Regressions

Yoga Is For Every Body

How to create All-Levels Yoga Classes that offer an inclusive practice environment, so that the beginner feels safe and the advanced student feels challenged… the secret is mastering Yoga Progressions & Regressions.

In my time as a yoga practitioner and teacher, one thing I’ve noticed is this… that no yoga class is attended by an exclusive type of “Yogi”. There is no such thing as One Practice Fits All, or one body type that comes to practice. Physical ability, knowledge of the practice, and style of training differ person to person– and it’s likely that if you’re teaching today, you’re getting students of all different levels attending your classes.

So, as yoga teachers, how can we make ourselves available to each student that joins us?

In my experience, it’s been learning how to master the progressions and regressions of each pose. In doing so, I’ve been able to meet the needs of “all-level” Vinyasa classes, while maintaining the pace and rhythm of the class-flow.

Everyone gets what they need, and the room becomes an inclusive place for practice.

Seems easy enough… but how do we teach progressions and regressions throughout class, without “disrupting the flow” of practice?

Here are a few key notes that have helped me to do just this:

  • In class, I always demonstrate two to three variations of a posture. It is an effective way to meet the needs of all levels in attendance- beginning students will usually stick with the more simple variation, while advanced students will be instructed to enter more complex poses safely, from the foundation.
  • During pre-class announcements, communicate that because there are various levels in the class, each student should be mindful of one’s own body and to choose a level that fits one’s current physical ability. There is no “right” or “wrong” expression of the pose- only “safe” or “unsafe” for each body. Encourage students to make use of props to support their practice (blocks to provide greater stability in balance poses, straps to extend the reach of arms in forward folds, etc.).
  • Encourage students to find & apply for themselves Sthira Sukham Asanam (Sutra 2:46), or a balance steadiness and comfort in each pose. Pushing past edges is imperative to growth, but we don’t want to do so in a way that damages the body or mind. Move in a way that promotes staying clear, conscious and compassionate about what is happening physically- and on every level of your being.

The following is an example of a safe and effective way to teach the progression of a posture:

Garudasana (Eagle Pose)

Notice that the posture moves from its most simple variation, to most complex. Even if the student chooses to take the most complex variation, have them move progressively through the steps, so that they better understand the basic mechanics and foundation of the pose.

Step One: Stand with feet crossed, side by side. The opposite arm of the “top leg” will cross underneath. If students have tight shoulders, and the forearm bind is not accessible, have them hold around the outer shoulders and draw the elbows away from the heart.

Step Two: Press into the feet firmly so the legs feel a gentle “squeezing” action, lift from the pelvic floor and lengthen the spine. Focus the Gaze toward the thumbs, as you spread across the collar bones and hug in the frontal rib cage.

Step Three: Should you choose to balance on one leg, come to a cross legged “sitting” position. First the foot can act as a kickstand on the opposite side. Perhaps the outer foot can make contact with the base leg’s outer calf. Be mindful of the base knee- it shouldn’t wobble to either side.

Step Four: If you’re able to balance here with ease, and your mobility allows, try the full bind of the foot behind the calf of the base leg. The same actions as in Step Two should still apply!

If anywhere along the line of progression you feel any pain, severe discomfort in body, challenge maintaining breath or balance, simply regress back to a more foundational variation of the pose… and as always, remember to breathe. 

And Remember! Progressions in practice don’t necessarily have to do with how deep you can get into a posture, or whether or not you can stick a handstand, or sit in padmasana (lotus pose). The physical practice of yoga is about challenging our minds and thoughts, so that we may better understand what is going on mentally and spiritually. The body is doorway to our deeper selves, and when we learn to listen to the body, we will make progress naturally. 

With Love,

Stacy McCarthy

@YogaNamaStacy

 

Ageless Yoga in Business?

Does Ageless Yoga have a place in business?

YOGASMOGA teaches us that YES!! It absolutely does.

When YOGASMOGA asked me to be their first featured Smogi, I was absolutely honored! A company is only as good as their practices, and this one really takes the ageless practice of yoga to heart.

One way YOGASMOGA is living their yoga is by practicing Satya – or Truthfulness – in their marketing and management, in the making of their products, and in how they treat their employees. They honestly depict models (no photoshop!) no matter they’re age, body type or color, they use all natural dyes and fairly traded materials in all of their clothing and accessories, their clothing is made 100% in USA, and they give generously to their employees so that they can make an honest living. Not a bad business model… It’s one that many would say isn’t sustainable, but I think they’ve found the opposite. It, indeed, is  sustainable to live your practice-  it’s ageless, too.

With age, certain things come into clear perspective. Like our responsibility to care for this Earth, our duty to protect resources for later generations, and our purpose to preserve the natural beauty that we are so blessed to dwell in and be supported by. Without this planet, there is no us! Making informed decisions about what you wear is one huge way to contribute to the wellbeing of the planet. I’m committed to wearing cruelty-free, organically produced, fairly traded clothing- especially when it comes to what I wear on my mat. What is the point of the practice if I’m not truly incorporating it into my life?

This ageless practice of yoga deserves respect in all areas of our lives. Ageless Yoga is how we show up to our mats, how we choose what goes on our plates, and how we choose what covers our bodies. 

San Diego Yogis of all ages, I hope you join me for an in-store class at YOGASMOGA La Jolla on Saturday, July 8th at 10am! Come to do your practice, to mingle, to shop, and to keep yourself feeling ageless for ages. 

With Love + Namaste,

Stacy

@yoganamastacy

For more YOGASMOGA go to @YOGASMOGA on Instagram!

Don’t Skip Savasana!

Don’t Skip Savasana!! (And other ways you should actively Chill Out)…

When’s the last time you took a deep breath that soothed your entire being? The last time you slowed down on purpose? The last time you remember feeling fully restored?

If lifelong health is something you’re seeking, these are important questions to ask yourself.

Getting proper rest can help you to manage and balance your energy levels, maintain mental clarity, recover after workouts, effectively reduce inflammation, transform your digestive health, and more!!

Resting properly means more than just sleeping 8 hours a night. Rest and recovery is an active process that requires deep listening and mindful attentiveness- it is the process of slowing down enough so that you actually can tune into your breath, your thoughts, and your sensations… It means staying for savasana at the end of a yoga class, taking a 10 minute meditation break during your busy work day, eating mindfully without your cellphone to distract you, and doing a few soothing yoga postures to help your body rest without tension at the end of the day.

If you’ve ever tried to slow down on purpose, you may have found that it’s actually pretty darn challenging. But like all things, with practice comes improvement.

Below you’ll find my favorite ways to Rest and Restore my Body and Mind:

1. Don’t Skip Savasana!

 We often associate working out to our max with gaining health, perfecting our bodies and getting out toxins. But rest and recovery are equally important… Resting not only helps the body and mind to be in peace, but helps both to actively recover and assimilate the benefits of your more intense physical practice… Savasana is the perfect example of active rest. After practice, we honor the work we’ve done and we allow the body to reap the rewards of our effort. It is a way to say “thank you” to the body, a way to give it time to soak in the goodness, and an opportunity to let the mind be quiet. For many, it’s the only time of their day to completely let go. So, next time you’re thinking of skipping out on savasana, don’t do it! It’s well worth the extra 5-10 minutes of your time.

2. Put Your Feet Up

Put your feet up! One of my favorite ways to relax my body after a full day of activity is to gently invert. Our feet carry much tension within them, especially after standing, walking, and even sitting all day. Putting your feet up not only helps to ease the tension of the feet and legs, but helps to regulate blood flow and the flow of lymphatic fluids. It also gives a sense of ease and serenity to the body and mind, literally making that “Ahhhhhh” feeling come alive. So, next time you’re exhausted, sore, fatigued or grumpy, put your feet up 🙂 Try Viparita Karani (legs all the way up the wall), or simply rest your feet above your hips on the couch.

Here is a more enhanced version of Legs Up The Wall Pose, or Viparita Karani. To intensify the sensation and benefit, lift your hips with a bolster and add a little weight on top of the feet. This version offers the additional benefit of lifting the hips above the line of the heart and head, giving a greater boost to your circulation and the flow of lymphatic fluids. Don’t forget the most important part: relax and breathe!

3. The Pose of A Child

 Balasana, the Pose of A Child. One of my all time favorites! This posture not only calms the nervous system and relaxes major points of tension in the hips and spine, but regulates the heart rate circulation, gently massages the internal organs and promotes full, luscious breathing. This supported version adds in relief to the neck and shoulders, and also allows those with less hip flexibility to rest in the pose with ease. Try it for 5 minutes before bed, or before your workout to begin feeling the flow of oxygen through your body. Notice how you feel before, during, and after the pose.

4. Take A Walk 

Every night, my favorite way to decompress is to take my dogi Yogi for a walk. Not only does it get his wiggles out, it soothes me completely. Being in nature satisfies our human need to connect to the Earth, and to ourselves. It offers me time to let my thoughts go as I focus on the simple things- the color of the flowers, the light shining through the trees, the crispness of the fresh sea breeze. Studies have proven that being outdoors provides a slew of health benefits, like: grounding (to receive the negative ions from the Earth- go barefoot!), improved sleep, better eyesight, and enhanced physiological and psychological wellbeing. Even just a 20 minute walk a day will do!

5. Go Within

Taking the time to go within is, I think, the most important thing one can do for herself. Over the year, it is what has kept me self aware and less affected by challenges and toxins. It is in the process of meditation  that my mind and body relax so that I can observe the habitual feelings and thoughts that arise, follow the flow of my breath in and out of my body, notice if I body wants to fidget or if I can relax completely in the process…There really is so much to observe, that it may not actually feel very relaxing at first! But over time, with patience, with ease and with respect for Self, there is a beautiful quietude that arises, almost spontaneously. It is here where the greatest rest and restoration takes place within.

With Love + Namaste,

Happy Resting, Yogis!

Stacy

DIY Home Retreat Pt. 1 – Body

Namaste yogis,
Here is Part One of my DIY Home Yoga Retreat Series!
Whether you follow the program exactly, or just use this information as a guide to create your own path to successful health, I hope you find these newsletters both useful and inspiring.
Week One will focus on maintaining a healthy body by mastering How You Move and How You Eat.
Because each of our needs are a little different, the following schedule will be structured around the phases of your day, rather than by an exact time-table. Do your best to wake up early and take the entire day to nurture yourself- as if you were at a secluded resort with nowhere else to be. If any of the following recommendations do not suit you, then kindly skip over them, and do what you need. Remember this is YOUR time to relax, rejuvenate, revitalize and heal your body.
Are you ready?!
A few tips to help get you started:
+ Remember Sthira Sukham Asanam. This yoga sutra tells us that every posture should be done with a balance of effort and ease. Don’t push yourself beyond your limits, but challenge yourself so that you grow.
Results take time. Don’t worry about perfecting your practice today. Just take the time to get started, and have the patience to stay committed. Do your practice, all is coming…
You have a community of support behind you! Staying focused and motivated at home can be a challenge. Know that you are being supported and cheered for; and that your effort is inspiring me too!! If it helps to have another to keep you on track, then invite a friend to participate in the retreat with you.
I look forward to hearing about your DIY Retreat experience. Send me an email at stacy@yoganamastacy.com or post on your social media account and tag @yoganamastacy. When you share, you are helping to create and promote a community centered around health and wellbeing.
Happy Retreating!!
Stacy

DIY Home Retreat Pt. 2 – Mind

Namaste yogis,
Here’s Part 2 of my DIY Home Yoga Retreat Series, tailored specifically to calm the mind and put you in ease and awareness of your mental functions.
If you put Part 1 to practice, you may notice some similarities in this week’s schedule. While it may seem counterintuitive to help the mind by moving the body and eating well, it was no mystery to the ancient Yogis that our minds and bodies are innately connected. What we do physically will affect our psychology, and vice versa.
This week’s retreat will emphasize HOW we do the things we do- as this shines light on the quality of our mental health.
It is said that the quality of your thoughts will shape the quality of your life.
Today, as you engage with your mind on a more intimate level, be present to observe your thoughts. Notice when you feel challenged and when you flow with ease. Notice when you become distracted. Notice when you’re “in it”. Notice all of these things with the intention of just noticing. Write it down as you go, and take time to reflect afterwards in order to implement the changes you wish to see made. Remember that it’s hard to know how the paint will dry when it’s still wet…
Whether you follow the program exactly, or just use this information as a guide to create your own path to successful health, I hope you find this newsletter both useful and inspiring.
Because each of our needs are a little different, the following schedule will be structured around the phases of your day, rather than by an exact time-table. Do your best to wake up early and take the entire day to nurture yourself- as if you were at a secluded resort with nowhere else to be. If any of the following recommendations do not suit you, then kindly skip over them, and do what you need. Remember this is YOUR time to relax, rejuvenate, revitalize and heal your mind.
Happy Retreating!!
Stacy

DIY Home Retreat Pt. 3 – Soul

Namaste yogis,
Part 3 of my DIY Home Yoga Retreat Series ​​​​​​​is all about getting to the core of it… We’ll be exploring how to soothe your soul with movement, meditation, and purposeful creation.
Before we get started, I’d like to honor that the Soul can mean different things to different people- and that each understanding of this concept should be recognized as valid, as it represents a very personal and intimate relationship to Self. My interpretation of Soul is the Deepest Self. It’s the place within us that is pure, quiet, luminous and innately in touch with Source. Soul is the place in which we dwell when we are peaceful, at ease, and guided by Love. Soul is the glue that holds communities together, and keeps us self aware and anchored in challenging times. Soul is the ultimate You- the perfect original, untarnished by grief, by jealously, by ill-will, by hatred, by greed. Soul is the all-good feeling of being perfectly present.
​​​​​​​Today’s retreat schedule will offer many suggestions for feeding yourself with Soul Food. From positive thoughts, to peaceful practice, this is an opportunity to treat everything you do as nutrition for your deepest self. This DIY Retreat will be somewhat of a combination of Parts 1 and 2- and will take what you’ve learned  to deeper level. If you’ve followed the program up to now, notice your improvements- notice how your intention can guide the same exercises in a different way- notice how you can continually deepen your practice. The beauty of the Yoga practice is that we are never truly done with our work.​​​​​​​ 
Whether you follow the program exactly, or just use this information as a guide to create your own path to successful health, I hope you find this newsletter both useful and inspiring.
Because each of our needs are a little different, the following schedule will be structured around the phases of your day, rather than by an exact time-table. Do your best to wake up early and take the entire day to nurture yourself- as if you were at a secluded resort with nowhere else to be. If any of the following recommendations do not suit you, then kindly skip over them, and do what you need. Remember this is YOUR time to relax, rejuvenate, revitalize and heal your soul.
I look forward to hearing about your DIY Retreat experience. Send me an email at stacy@yoganamastacy.com or post on your social media account and tag @yoganamastacy. When you share, you are helping to create and promote a community centered around health and wellbeing.
Happy Retreating!!
Stacy

Eating for Anti-Inflammation

Every wonder why your skin’s not glowing? Why your joints are achy? Why you can’t recover after a high intensity workout? The reason, more than likely, is that you’re inflamed.

Why Fight Inflammation?

Inflammation is a positive and natural part of a healthy immune system. When you get a bug bite and your skin shows localized redness- that’s inflammation helping to rid of the toxins from the bite.

But, it has its time and place… Researchers have shown us that low-grade, chronic inflammation is a major contributor to a compromised immune system, and a resulting slew of health problems.

Inflammation has been linked to: pre-mature aging, various digestive problems, various cancers, chronic fatigue, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, overall irritability in body and mind, and more. It has even been linked to neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimers!

Eek! So, what can I do about it? 

There’s a lot to be done to live a life that promotes Anti-Inflammation (Contributors to inflammation can include lack of sleep, lack of exercise, diets low on Omega 3 fatty acids and high in Omega 6 fatty acids, chronic stress, poor gut health, lack of time outdoors, low-grade food allergies and sensitivities, and environmental toxins). Health is complex and typically requires addressing habits in all areas of our lives, but we can start in the area we can most control… our diets.

Here are my rudimentary rules to Eating For Anti-Inflammation:

Stick to Water Based Foods!

Eat what Alkalizes!

Get Plenty of Anti-Oxidants!

Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate!

 

 

It’s that simple?! 

Yes! Can you believe it? In print, the path to a body free from excessive inflammation is accessible and simple. But, in practice it can be challenging- not because these foods aren’t delicious or easy to prepare, but because we’re fighting against old habits and cravings…

“Joint pain, bloating and foggy thoughts are not imagined symptoms, They’re the result of improper diet. Make eliminations. Start with wheat, then dairy, then sugar. These are the most inflammatory foods.”  ― Nancy S. Mure

Eliminating these addicting foods is the first step. But instead of going cold-turkey, try reducing the amount you consume and pairing them with seriously hydrating, alkalizing foods at first. Don’t get stuck on “getting rid” of the old, just “add in” supportive, nutrient dense foods and notice the difference you feel. Once you notice how good it feels to fuel your body with what it really wants, it’s hard to go back to your old way of eating.

What should I eat? 

Let’s go back to our list:

Stick to Water Based Foods!

Eat what Alkalizes!

Get Plenty of Anti-Oxidants!

Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate!

Water Based Foods are typically plants, typically green and typically raw. Try eating a big salad every day, juicy fruits (minimally), and vegetables like cucumber, tomato, radishes, lettuce, kale, carrots, spinach, zucchini, broccoli and sprouts. It is ok to eat cooked food, but do your best to cook slowly, on low heat (under 140′) and without excessive oil or butter. It is also ok to eat your favorite proteins, but try limiting the portion- just a small fist size – paired with a giant salad.

Alkalizing Foods are foods that stabilize your pH level and create a vibrant environment in which longterm health thrives. Disease loves an acidic environment- so does inflammation. Try beginning each day with a big cup of warm water with lemon. Even though lemon is on its own acidic, when metabolized it becomes alkaline. Some of the most alkalizing foods are lemon, Himalayan Pink Salt, grasses and greens, kelp, ginger, radish, chia, cucumber, beans, cauliflower, avocado, and coconut oil. Neutral pH foods include oatmeal, and dates.

Anti-Oxidants help to protect your cells from the effects of free radicals in the body. Try including foods in your diet that are rich in anti-oxidants like beets, blueberries, flax seeds, onion, sea weed, garlic and turmeric. Taking a walk next to the ocean or sitting with a purring kitty can also help to manage free radicals by providing the body with negative ions!

Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate! And I’m not kidding! Your body is made up of up to 60% water. Your brain and heart alone are composed of 73% water, and the lungs are about 83% water. When you wake up, make sure water is the first thing that enters your body. And keep your glass full throughout the day. Not only does proper hydration help you to metabolize your food, it will help to keep your bowels functioning optimally, and will help keep your mind happy. Often when you’re feeling “foggy, lethargic, and warn out” you are just dehydrated.

Try waking up with this ANTI-INFLAMMATORY TURMERIC TONIC:

INGREDIENTS:

2 cups coconut water (or filtered water)

2 tbsp grated fresh turmeric (or ½ to 1 tsp dried turmeric powder)

1 tbsp grated fresh ginger

juice from 1 lemon or orange

1 tbsp raw honey or real maple syrup

pinch of black pepper

Optional: a pinch of cayenne or cinnamon

DIRECTIONS: Place all ingredients into high speed blender and blend until smooth. Drink as is or strain before serving.

Don’t forget the pepper!

Turmeric gets its anti-inflammatory properties from its Curcumin, which is an anti-oxidant therefore reducing free radicals, helps to regulate digestion by regulating the gallbladder and bile production, promotes healthy heart function, and may even help to prevent viral and bacterial diseases in the body! But make sure you add in some black pepper. Curcumin doesn’t easily release into the bloodstream until this spice is added.

And next time you’re at Beaming Cafe, try starting your meal with a Vitality Shot. This little shot packs a kick, but it’s worth it! It also kicks inflammation out of the body with a heavy dose of lemon, ginger and turmeric!

Here’s to a healthy, beaming YOU!!

With Love + Namaste,

Stacy

What’s Your Story?

Last month at A Day of Namaste, I had my hubby, Tom McCarthy present one of his most popular talks, “The Most Powerful STORY Ever Told” to the sold out crowd. He spoke about the incredible power our stories exert over our lives. At the end of the day, all we really are are the stories we continue to tell ourselves. Our stories can deliver us to our dreams or deprive us of success and happiness.
No matter what happened last year, theoretically every person and everyone starts the year with a clean slate and unlimited potential to create breakthrough results. Unfortunately, for most people, that’s not the way it usually works out. I’m not saying people don’t try hard or that they don’t want to get better. Of course they do! The problem is they go into the new year with a ball and chain around their neck. That ball and chain is their OLD STORY.
 As human beings we are creatures of habit and one of the most powerful habits we have is clinging to our OLD STORY of who we are, what we are good at, what we aren’t very good at and what we are capable of. Your OLD STORY has been phenomenal at getting you to exactly where you are today and it will do an even better job at keeping you there. The problem is, most high achievers don’t want to stay where they are today, they want to become an even better version of themselves. This is where your OLD STORY falls short. It can’t get you to an even better version of yourself. To do that, you need an UPGRADED STORY.
One of the reasons our STORIES are so powerful is because they literally determine what opportunities we see or don’t see. You don’t see with your eyes. You actually see with your brain. A professor in the UK did a great study where he put a 20 pound note on the sidewalk and then asked people who were getting ready to walk down the sidewalk if they considered themselves lucky or not. Inevitably, people who did not consider themselves lucky walked right past the “free money” without even noticing it, while almost all of the people who considered themselves lucky spotted it.
 Another example of how powerful our STORIES can be comes from studying people who want to lose weight. Some people are able to lose weight permanently while others lose weight temporarily while they are on a diet, but then end up gaining it all back. What’s the difference between these two groups. It’s not willpower. It’s their STORIES. The person who loses weight permanently does so not just by dieting, but by creating a NEW STORY that changes the way they think about food. They think differently about what kind of foods they like to eat and how much they like to eat. They don’t have to constantly exert willpower to eat healthy. Eating healthy is who they are!
 Here’s 3 tips for creating your powerful STORY for 2017:
1. Upgrade Your STORY. Look at your old story and determine which parts you want to keep (it’s perfectly fine to keep parts of your OLD STORY) and what needs an upgrade. Be ambitious with your upgrade. Go for it! I’ve helped plenty of organizations go from worst to first. Put your UPGRADED STORY in writing.
2. Condition Your UPGRADED STORY. Your UPGRADED STORY needs momentum to take hold. To create momentum, design rituals that you will do every day to condition your new STORY. Remember, your OLD Story will be calling you every day and asking you to come back. Rituals will lessen your OLD STORY’s ability to pull you back in.
3. Act On Your UPGRADED STORY. Your STORY sets you up for action, but it’s still up to you to act on your story. Gritty action (action that is challenging and tough) is best to help you create the momentum you need to make your STORY come to life.
Tom said the most powerful STORY ever told is whatever STORY you tell yourself of who you are and what you’re capable of. It can be incredibly powerful in a positive way or it can be incredibly powerful in a negative way. Either way, your STORY will condition your brain, determine what opportunities you see and dictate your performance.
You won’t want to miss what Tom talks about at  A Day of Namaste on Saturday, May 20th. Learn more here.

Take 5 Deep Breaths

Recently I was at Costco struggling to pull one of the super-sized carts from the other 20 carts crammed together in a row, when I faintly heard, “take five deep breaths”. I thought I was hearing things and yanked the cart out and started walking into the store. “Hey, Stacy McCarthy, I know you heard that…” I turned around and it was a yoga student I hadn’t seen in a very long time, but he remembered my common breath cue stemming from my roots in Ashtanga Yoga. It was a sweet reminder of taking the power of our breath off the mat and out into our day. Breathing is massively practical. It’s meditation for people who think they can’t meditate.
Yogis use a wide variety of breath control techniques called pranayama, to promote concentration and improve vitality. As a way to reach enlightenment, Buddha advocated breath- meditation. Science is just beginning to provide evidence to what yogis have known for centuries, that the benefits of a breathing practice are real. Studies have found, for example, that breathing practices can help reduce symptoms associated with anxiety, insomnia, post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, and attention deficit disorder.
How controlled breathing promotes healing remains a source of scientific study. Dr. Richard Brown, an associate clinical professor of psychiatry at Columbia University wrote the following in his book, ‘ The Healing Power of the Breath’.
“One theory is that controlled breathing can change the response of the body’s autonomic nervous system, which controls unconscious processes such as heart rate and digestion as well as the body’s stress response.”
“Consciously changing the way you breathe appears to send a signal to the brain to adjust the parasympathetic branch of the nervous system, which can slow heart rate and digestion and promote feelings of calm as well as the sympathetic system, which controls the release of stress hormones like cortisol.”
Try it yourself. Take a 4 count breath in, hold four counts, exhale four counts and hold four counts. Repeat five times. This practice is so simple and yet so profound.
Next time you feel yourself anxious or stressed, just like I remind my students, who catch me off my mat and in return remind me, Take Five Deep Breaths.
Namaste ~ Stacy
The main objective of Sirsasana (headstand) and Sarvangasana (shoulder stand) are not merely to arrange for a copious supply of blood to the head and upper body but also to slow down the respiratory rate. When Sirsasana has been sufficiently mastered, the breathing rate which normally is about 15-18 a minute, automatically comes down to four a minute. The aim should be to reduce it to, two per minute. Thus at this rate, 24 rounds of breathing in Sirsasana will take 12 minutes”. Krishnamacharya 

What value do you place on your health?

 

Is it quantifiable on a time table or by a number with a money sign- or is it a feeling inside and the quality of life you receive in exchange for your efforts in keeping up with it?
vjasana-juice
This value can be many things for different people- but chances likely are that you see your health as invaluable.
We often don’t realize how much we do value our health until it’s gone- until we’re too injured to go to class, too si
ck to think clearly, or too frail to take that trip you’ve always dreamed of. But, why wait to begin appreciating, and even increasing, your health and vitality until its too late?
Here are some ways to honor and increase the value of your health NOW:
1. Commit to taking excellent care of your mind and body
   You wouldn’t expect your car to remain spotless on a road trip- nor should you expect your body and mind to never be touched by the challenges of life’s journey. Committing to taking care of yourself means you are committed to the required maintenance regimen it takes to keep your engine running smoothly over bumpy roads. Seasonal tune-ups are a great way to ensure you are continually taking care of yourself and maintaining the value of your health.
2. Think Preventative > Reactionary
    Again- don’t wait until its too late. When assessing your value, look at your current state with honesty, and then come up with a plan that will continually combat your “problem areas”. The more preventative your health routine, the more value saved in the long run.
3. Learn to adapt
    One thing in life is certain- your body, your mind, your health, will all change. You won’t always be able to prepare for the changes, but you can prepare for the process of change. A changing body with different abilities doesn‘t mean you have less or more value- but it does mean you’ll have to adapt. Stay present to the changes, and learn to go with the flow.
4. Honor your rituals
    Going to the gym isn’t just another chore- it’s an opportunity to practice self love and to honor your self worth. Every part of your day can be made into a ritual of this kind, and can add dramatically to the value of your overall wellbeing. When brushing your teeth stops being a bother and begins to be an honor, you are more likely do it with integrity and quality- and in so, you are increasing the value of your efforts and of your health.
5. Practice Gratitude
    Sometimes noticing how valuable your body and mind already are just takes a moment of stepping back and looking… Take a moment each day to reflect upon the gifts you’ve been given- look at how much your body does for you each day, at how blessed you are to be able to choose your thoughts, and at the marvel of how your body and mind work so seamlessly together. Like a rusty silver chain, sometimes the value of your health is hidden until you give it a little shine.
Namaste~
Stacy