Monday, May 22, 2017

Creating Harmony Through Daily Habits: The Ayurvedic Dinacharya

The Sister Science of Yoga, called Ayurveda, is a system of bringing each individual into balance. This system puts an emphasis on the way that our daily habits impact our state of balance, or imbalance.
By Creating uniformity in our sleep schedule, eating habits, exercise program and relaxation time we can return the body to balance and find relief from disease (dis-ease).

 Here is a video where I talk about the process of starting a Dinacharya and how it impacts your yoga practice:

Yoga & The Ayurvedic Dinacharya

Practice Yoga - Change Your Life
- Laura

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Wall Yoga for Posture- Lengthen and Decompress the Spine 360 Degrees!

360 Degree Wall Yoga Sequence:
 Lengthen and Decompress the Spine

Laura Germanio OTR, RYT, LMT, CLT

To keep your spine healthy and happy you need to move it in all directions. This prevents muscles from becoming tight or imbalanced from our daily movement patterns. This Sequence uses the wall as a prop to increase the DECOMPRESSION quality in each of these positions = make space in the spine so we stay lengthened and remove pressure from disks and nerves of the spine = no back pain & a happy Yogi :)

1. Chair at the Wall:

- During Chair pose there is a balance of settling down in the hips and lengthening up through the crown of the head to create space in the center of the body
- Most importantly engage the lower belly, slightly tuck the tail bone to create length in the lower back
- engage the upper abdominals to draw back the lower ribs- this prevents shortening and over arching the back
- Bring the arms straight out from the shoulders: draw the shoulder blades onto the back
- LIFT the toes and ground through the 4 corners of the feet: let this engage your inner thighs and lift the pelvic floor muscles
- In the Picture I have a block between my thighs increase the activation of my inner thighs/pelvic floor/lower abdominals

* variation*
Inhale and lift the arms overhead- fan the fingers and have the palms facing toward the center line
This will enhance the feeling of lengthening by balancing the settling of the hips with a lifting up through the arms

2. Side Bend:

- Standing about a foot away from the wall, bring the arm closest to the wall to rest the finger tips on the wall, palm facing out
- The outside arm reaches up over head and arches toward the wall: feel the space from the hip up to your armpit
- On your inhale feel the breath expand this side of the body and create space
- ground down through the outer foot for more length

- Repeat this on the other side 

3. Wall Hang: "Sticky Fingers"

 - Start facing the wall and place the finger tips on the wall "tented" so the palm is not touching
- Bend the knees while moving the hips back to lengthen the spine
- Let the finger tips slide down the wall as you lower into the pose, creating a feeling of the finger tips being "sticky" like frog hands to create traction in the spine as the hips lower
- Keep the knees behind the toes
- Draw the lower ribs back and slightly tuck the tailbone to support and lengthen the lower back
- Place a yoga block or a towel roll between the knees to engage the inner thighs

4. Extended Wall Lunge

- From the Wall Hang, remove the prop from between the prop between the thighs and step one leg back to a high lunge
- This creates a long line through the body from the finger tips to the back heel
- With each inhale think about lengthening from the finger tips to the back heel to create space along the spine

- Repeat this on the other side

Laura Germanio OTR, RYT, LMT, CLT

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Wall Yoga: Improve Upper Back Strength & Posture: Plank, Chaturanga, Cobra

Wall Yoga: Building Upper Back & Shoulder Strength / Stability

Laura Germanio OTR, RYT, LMT, CLT

Improving rounded posture has to include stretching the front of the body and strengthening the back of the body. This sequence is the perfect follow up from the last post on Chest Stretching at the Wall = Open the Chest, Strengthen the Back :)

1. Wall Plank

- Place the palms on the wall, make sure you are at a comfortable level for your wrists (at or slightly above shoulder height to prevent over extending the wrists)
- Place the feet slightly behind the hips to put some weight into the arms
- engage the shoulder blades and draw them together slightly
- lengthen the entire body from the heels to the back of the skull
- draw the belly in and make sure there is a straight line from the shoulders down to the hips (dont let the belly sag forward and dont stick the hips back)
- lift the arches of the feet, engage the inner thighs, lift the pelvic floor muscles
- scoop the lower belly back and up to support the lower back

 2. Wall Chaturanga

- Slowly bend the elbows and point the elbows down toward the floor
- move the body as one unit, keeping everything stable except the elbows
- Draw the elbows toward the sides of the body (dont let them wing out to the sides)
- Keep the core strong to maintain proper alignment and back support

** Chaturanga Push Up**

press away from the wall and lower toward it several times very slowly to build strength, stability and connection to the muscles that help you to perform this action. 

 3. Wall Cobra
- From the wall Chaturanga Position engage your upper back muscles to move into a back bend
- Lengthen the lower part of the back and decompress as you bend back by lengthening up toward the ceiling
- Draw the shoulder blades together on the back
- slightly lift your gaze so the neck follows the natural curve of the spine in this posture

- From wall cobra engage the abdominal muscles to align the body to Wall Chaturanga
- Press the palms into the wall to bring the body back to Wall Plank
- As you gain control with each movement use one breath for each pose focusing on control and stability by engaging your muscles and working with your breath: 

Inhale: plank   1
Exhale: Chaturanga  2
Inhale Cobra  3
Exhale: Chaturanga  2
Inhale: Plank  1

Laura Germanio OTR, RYT, LMT, CLT

Wall Yoga: For Improved Posture & Shoulder Pain Relief

Chest Stretching: At the Wall

Laura Germanio OTR, RYT, LMT, CLT

Poor posture and rounded shoulders causes the chest muscles to become tight (pectoralis major and minor). This makes it difficult to correct poor posture because these muscles constantly pull the shoulder forward and cause weakness in the upper back. Use the following stretches to open the chest and allow the shoulder blades to move back and down more easily. 

1. Lunge with Chest Stretch: Bent Elbow:

- Stand side ways next to the wall and step the outer leg forward
- The arm closest to the wall comes up with the elbow at 90' and level to the shoulder
- Press the palm to the wall
- lean your weight forward and let the wall draw your arm back until you feel a stretch in the front of the shoulder joint and into the chest

 2. Lunge with Chest Stretch: Straight Elbow

- Keep the legs in the same position, but extend the arm along the wall to straighten the elbow
- lean your weight forward until you feel a good stretch in the front of the shoulder and the chest
- engage the lower stomach muscles and slightly tuck the tailbone to prevent putting pressure on the lower back
- keep the lower front ribs pulled down to lengthen the back

** repeat this stretch a few times with the arm in different positions**
a. below the shoulder
b. in line with the shoulder
c. above the shoulder

see what position gives you the best stretch and spend a few extra deep breaths there

Laura Germanio OTR, RYT, LMT, CLT

Yoga at the Wall: Wall Dog for Improved POSTURE & BACK PAIN relief

Wall Yoga: 
For Improved Posture and Back Pain Relief: 

Laura Germanio OTR, RYT, LMT, CLT

Wall Dog

This stretch is like doing Downward Facing Dog Pose with your hands on the wall (or a kitchen counter top)

- Place your hands on the wall and walk your feet back
- keep the knees slightly bend and stick your hips back
 - press the palms into the wall and spread your fingers wide
- balance that out by reaching back through the sitting bones to lengthen the spine
- find a feeling of length in the spine and along both sides of the body to 
- Soften the heart down toward the floor
- engage the lower belly and lift the belly button to the spine
- Press the 4 corners of the feet into the floor
- lift from the arches of the feet, the inner thighs and the pelvic floor

Lengthen the body here for 4-5 breaths

For extra decompression: have a friend hold the sides of your hips and gently traction back as you press your palms into the wall

Wall Dolphin

- Follow the same alignment tips as Wall Dog
- Bend the elbows and place the forearms on the wall
- press the palms and the elbows into the wall
- spread the fingers and press each finger tip to the wall
- Engage the upper back muscles

What to Avoid: 
- dont lock the knees back or straighten the legs completely
- dont round through the lower back or the upper back
- dont let the head drop down past the arms
- dont let the feet collapse into the arches or roll out

Laura Germanio OTR, RYT, LMT, CLT 

Yoga At the Wall: For Posture & Alignment - LauraGyoga

Wall Yoga for POSTURE:

Laura Germanio OTR, RYT, LMT, CLT 

1. Wall Mountain
Standing with your back against the wall: 
- Press your shoulder blades flat to the wall
- draw your shoulders down and back
- expand the chest and broaden the collar bones to the sides
- roll your palms out and press the back of the hands to the wall
- reach your thumbs back to the wall to open the shoulders
- reach down through the fingers and lengthen up through the neck
- engage the lower belly, scooping it back and up
- tuck the tailbone slightly to lengthen the lower back
- pull the bottom ribs back

2. T-Stand at the wall: 
- bring the arms up to shoulder height
- expand out to the sides from the heart out through the finger tips
- draw the shoulder blades together
- tuck the chin and press the back of the skull to the wall

 3. W-Stand at the wall
- bend the elbows and draw them back to the wall
- bend the wrists like you are holding serving trays
- press the thumbs back to the wall
- draw the elbows down and back
- draw the shoulder blades down and back

 4. Cactus
- bring the elbows up to shoulder level
- press the elbows back into the wall
- bring the back of the hands to the wall
- fan the fingers out
- draw the shoulder blades together
- engage the abdominal muscles and the pelvic floor

 5. Extended Mountain at the wall: 
- Reach the arms up overhead
- palms facing toward the center, reach the thumbs to the wall
- let the shoulder blades expand out the the sides as the arms lift
- fan the fingers wide and feel that reach all the way down the sides of the body
- press down through the 4 corners of the feet and let that feeling of grounding be balanced by lifting up through the arms
- draw the bottom ribs back and scoot the lower belly to create support for the lower back by engaging the abdominals

 Laura Germanio OTR, RYT, LMT, CLT