Tag Archives: balance

Balance in Your Home Yoga Practice

Easy Pose

Easy Pose

 

Balance In Your Home Yoga Practice
by Trina
 

We tend to do more of what we like and less of what we don’t like. This practice also bleeds over into our home exercise practices, but we must learn to balance even when our instructor isn’t around to remind us or to choreograph our routine. 

Yoga teaches that balance is extremely vital to the practice and our bodies. When we inhale, our exhale should be the length of our inhale. When we work our right side, we must work the left side. Every muscle that we contract, we must lengthen or stretch. In Yoga, each pose has a counter pose to create the necessary balance. 

I want to emphasize the importance of balance in your home routine, specifically when you work your abdominal (abs) muscles. Everyone wants great abs, so people tend to do extensive abdominal exercises, especially at home, where people are enamored with sit ups and crunches. But as you strengthen your abs, you must also stretch out the ab muscle that you worked AND strengthen and loosen your lower back. The abs and the lower back work together to provide strength and stability and to support vital organs and stabilize the skeleton. 

Have you ever seen those body builders whose arms are so huge and thick that their shoulders round over? That is an example of imbalance. We are inclined to develop the muscles and body parts that we can see, the front of our body, often neglecting what we don’t see, the back of our body. 

In your home practice, I encourage you to do more than crunches and sit ups. Try some of the poses listed below that not only work your abs, but they also work your Core. When you work your abs, include poses that loosen, stretch, and strengthen your lower back too. Essentially, you want to make sure that when you work or contract a muscle, you also lengthen and stretch it, for example, after Bridge Pose (contracting the back and stretching the abs) do Plow Pose (stretching the back and contracting the abs). 

Bridge Pose

Bridge Pose

 

       *After Bridge Pose, do Plow Pose 

Plow Pose

Plow Pose

 

Camel Pose prepares the body for more difficult Backbend Poses. It makes the lower back flexible, while limbering the shoulders and opening the chest. Child’s Pose is an excellent counter pose to Camel

Locust Pose

Locust Pose

 

 Locust Pose strengthens the lower back muscles, while opening the chest, and encouraging good breathing. A good counter pose to Locust is to lie on your back and hug your knees to your chest. 

 Bow Pose  induces flexibility in the spine, tones the abdominal muscles, and also helps to relieve backaches. Child’s Pose is a good counter pose. 

Balancing Poses, such as Tree Pose and Chair Pose, also strengthen your abs and your lower back. 

Upward Facing Dog

Upward Facing Dog

 

The Sun Salutations series contracts the abs when you are in forward bends, such as Standing Forward Bend, and it lengthens the abs in back bends, such as Upward Facing Dog

Here are Core Poses that loosen, stretch, and strengthen your Core muscles

Full Boat Pose
The Hundred
Dolphin
Plank
Bridge Pose

Staff Pose
Dolphin Plank Pose
Upward Plank Pose 

Resources:
The Yoga Bible by Christina Brown
The Yoga Journal
About.com
Althea Lawton-Thompson of Aerobics Yoga & More 

*Disclaimer: As with any exercise regimen, consult your doctor or physician before you start. Make sure that you have adequate instructions about how to do these poses before you do them. Leisure Living, it’s contributors, or listed resources are not responsible for any injuries. 

© 2009 KaTrina Love

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Yoga Pose Series: Camel Pose

camelCamel Pose

Camel Pose is a backbend that stretches the chest, abdomen, and quadriceps. It also stimulates your internal organs and improves spinal flexibility. Practicing backbends helps to improve your posture and helps you to stop leaning forward as you sit at your desk or drive. 

Before You Begin: Put extra padding under your knees. If you have bad knees, you probably don’t want to do this pose.

Camel011. *Rise up onto your knees, which should be hip-width apart.

2. Reach your arms towards the ceiling, and open your chest.

3. Reach your hands back one at a time to grasp your heels. If yourModifiedCamel hands cannot reach the heels of your feet yet, put your hands at the small of your back.

Camel024. Bring your hips forward so that they are over your knees.

5. Lift your nose to the ceiling, which opens your throat. But don’t let your head hang, keep control of it.

6. To come out of Camel Pose, lift one hand at a time off of your heel and put it into the small of your back to offer support to your back.

7. Counter pose Camel pose with Child’s pose to get a good balance. You can also alternate backChilds pose and forth between Camel and Child’s pose.

 CAMEL NOTES: Make sure that you push your hips out in front of you. You should feel a nice contraction in your back and a stretch of your shoulders and arms. Remember to breath…inhale and exhale through your nose. Relax your face, and don’t fight or struggle with the pose. Make sure that you counter pose Camel with Child’s Pose.

*Disclaimer: As with any exercise regimen, consult your doctor or physician before you start. The Leisure Living Blog, its contributors, or listed resources are not responsible for any injuries.

© 2009 KaTrina Love

Writing and Yoga

author03Writing and Yoga

It takes courage, discipline, and perseverance to write. As I write, there is a duplicitous, imaginary critic peering over my shoulder chastising me for using the wrong grammar, not rewriting immediately, and any number of other things. We are encouraged to block out that inner critic, but to no avail. That inner critic hates that I stifle it and summon it whimsically.

Yesterday, I read an article by  Jen Grisanti entitled Writing and Yoga. When I first read this article I was floored because I am a Yoga fanatic. After I thought about it, since I’ve been practicing and teaching Yoga, I haven’t fought with my inner critic. I don’t beat the critic away with a stick to concentrate. That critic is tucked away until I summon it. And I cannot pinpoint the day that I took control over my inner critic instead of my inner critic controlling me, but I know that Yoga was an accomplice.

Tree Pose

Yoga helps me in so many ways that I cannot list them all. Yoga and writing go hand-in-hand. When I practice Yoga, I focus, concentrate, and center. Yoga is a mental exercise in self and body awareness and balance. Through breathing (prayana), the body and mind connect, and this state-of-mind does not go away after my practice is complete. Sun Salutations stimulate and warm the body (among other things) and balancing poses, such as Eagle, Warrior III, and Tree Poses, help you to balance, focus, and be in the moment. Balance is very important in Yoga. For every pose (asana) there is a counter pose. If you do something on the right, you must do it on the left too. Focusing and balancing help me to grab one thought at a time, deal with it, and move on to the next thought. I reach inside of myself and literally pull my creativity out, mentally, as I am meditating after Yoga.

So when I sit down to write, my creativity is stimulated, alive, and vibrant,100_2534 (2) coaxing confidence. I can focus on one thought at a time, I’m peaceful and calm, and my mind is lucid. I accept where I am at the moment and embrace my limitations. I am patient with myself. This focusing, balance, acceptance, and patience blankets me as I sit at my keyboard and escape into my plot, allowing my characters to live and breath through my fingers.

If you are a writer, embracing Yoga can enhance your  creativity and writing as well as your mental, physical, and emotional dexterity. I would love a Yoga/Writer retreat.

Namaste & Happy Writing,
Trina

© 2009 KaTrina Love Abram

Daily Inspiration 09/02/09

Determining Your Day in the Morning Part 2PraisingGod

Yesterday, we talked about how to think positive thoughts, say positive affirmations, and praise God first thing in the morning to start your day right. But how do you keep your day going right with pressures of work, business of chauffering kids around, helping your spouse, walking the dog, running errands, and dealing with others whose day might have started out bad, and they are taking it out on the world?

The answer is Self-control! We cannot allow other people to dictate our state of mind and the direction of our day. You can control your reactions to others, but you cannot control them. You can control how others’ actions and words affect you, but you cannot control what others say or do.

readingbibleIn addition to praising God first thing in the morning, thinking good thoughts, and saying affirmations, I also pray and read encouraging verses in the Bible that I repeat throughout the day. I read the passages that tell me how to deal with others and treat others. If you don’t have time to sit down and actually read, write or type the passages, print them out, and put them up where you can see them. I have passages on the bathroom and bedroom mirrors, on my computer monitor, and on my bulletin board. Every where I turn, God’s word is staring at me, reminding me.

I also stretch, do some Yoga, and take some quiet time for myself before the house awakens and needs me. Some of you might have kids and leave your home for work. You can get up an hour earlier than everyone else to take some time for yourself, or as you drive to work, listen to the Bible on CD or tape, listen to a message from the many tapes and CDs that are available to order, and pray as you drive to work. Instead of listening to the news, traffic, or the local radio announcer every morning or all morning during your drive, carve out sometime to spend with God, and you two map out your successful day.

balancedlife02It might seem like you don’t have the time or energy to insert some of these actions into your life, but everything is about balance. Regardless of your responsibilities and tasks, you still have to care for yourself, which includes spending time with God and exercising.

Many Blessings,
Trina

21 Tips to Help You Balance Your Life

Balancing Life

Balancing Life

 

21 Tips to Help You Balance Your Life
by Trina

I’ve worked since I was 13 years old. Hard work was ingrained in me at a very young age. So by the time that I was 19, I had a full-time job, two part-time jobs, and was a full-time student. Not even severe illnesses slowed me down. But as I got older and looked back, I realized that I wasn’t having a good time…that I was doing to please others, worshipping money, and running from something. It took me a year to compile and successfully apply all of these suggestions, but when I did, I felt such a sense of peace and calm that I knew I’d never make that mistake again.

Well I was wrong, 10 years later, I made the same mistake, except this time, I had two full-time contracts, a husband, cooking classes, writing classes, book clubs, a garden, writing fiction, and when I got severely ill this time, I realized that I was running from myself. My self-worth had become wrapped up in what I did. I stayed busy and flustered to avoid me and to be accepted. So, I got these principles back out, added to them, and reapplied them. I not only have peace and calm, but I enjoy myself, accept myself, and love myself enough to take better care of myself. I know that even in a bad day, there was something good. I don’t take life, my health, my job, my family, or friends for granted. I have learned to Live. Love. Laugh! I hope these suggestions help you gain a new perspective on things and add positively to your life.

Begin each day with purpose.
bibleEach morning, reflect on your purpose for the day for at least 15 minutes. Take that time to read some scriptures, talk to God, or write your To Do List. Write down and recite affirmations that uplift you with positive energy. Prioritize. Organize. Your morning demeanor and thoughts determine the course of your day. Start your day off on a positive note with positive, uplifting, and successful thoughts. Use this time to mentally prepare yourself for a great day.

 

Make Yourself a Priority.
Take time to do something that you enjoy daily, whether it is exercising, gardeningtending to your garden, listening to your favorite jazz, reading a magazine, getting a manicure/pedicure, or taking yourself out to dinner. When you spend the majority of your time expending energy to make your boss or your company happy, your husband and your kids comfortable, or any myriad of things that are on your “To Do List” that have nothing to do with you, at some point you develop negative emotions.

 

 
 Write a To Do List & focus on one thing at a time.
To Do ListI write a To Do List for the week and for each day. It keeps me sane. Seeing my tasks written down on paper relegates the importance of each task in my mind. I can eliminate frivolous deeds and concentrate more on priority items. Focus on one task and keep working on it until you finish it. Then cross it off your list. Concentrate on one thing at a time. See that task through, finish it, and mark it off , so that you feel a sense of productivity.

 

Be realistic in your scheduling.
Stop trying to cram so much stuff into your hours and days. Consider your tasks and meetings and realistically anticipate how long you think it’ll take rushingyou to complete the task, drive to your meetings. When you make appointments, space them out enough to allot for traffic, kid emergencies, or a simple rest hour for yourself. Rushing from one deed to another zaps your energy. You also want to be on time…whether you are joining friends at lunch, arriving at work, or participating in a business meeting. When you enlist yourself in time crunches, where you are rushing, you are more apt to forget stuff, be tense and irritable, and stress yourself out…and those around you.

 

Limit television time.
“People who overdose on television tend to be more depressed than those who watch in moderation. So go ahead and TiVo Oprah and 24, but indulge in other pastimes as well.”  Join a book club. Play board games. Plant some flowers.

 

Exercise!
You don’t even have to think of it as exercise. Dancing around your house for 10 minutes is a form of exercise. Find some exercises that you can do at businesswomnexercballyour desk. Walking up and down steps is a form of exercise. Instead of taking the elevator, take the stairs. Don’t look for the closest parking spot; instead, park a little ways off and walk…that is a form of exercise. I take Yoga and Pilates, for mental and physical exercise. Go hiking. Take a Belly Dancing class. Take Salsa lessons. Try some different activities that speed your heart rate.  At Aerobics Yoga & More studio, they offer Exotic Dancing and Zumba, which are classes where you do mostly dancing; however, it is also a choreographed cardiac workout with a professional. *As with any exercise, consult your physician first.

 

 Eat small, frequent, healthy meals.
I graze, which means that I eat several small meals per day because my body grocryshopneeds the constant nourishment and metabolizes smaller portions faster than large portions. To make sure that my meals are not oversized, I use a small plate. I always carry healthy snacks with me. Don’t diet, simply decrease the size of your portions. Eat healthy foods, such as fruits, vegetables, grains, whole wheat, fish, and chicken. Cook with olive oil and fresh herbs. Your body and digestive system will thank you.

 

 Have a strong support cast.
Women are notorious for thinking that they can do everything single-Party Girlshandedly. Not so! Your body and psyche will pay for it in the long run. Have friends that you can share and care with…someone you can pray with. Plan bi-weekly or monthly meetings with your girlfriends to talk, laugh, and love. You are not alone. Don’t try to do it all alone. Plan to see a movie, theatre show, concert, or have dinner. My friends and I have monthly cooking dates, where we specify a theme, and cook several dishes, meet, and have a feast.

 

Take your cape off.
SuperwomanOkay all of you Superwomen, you get no extra points for doing everything yourself. Others may not do things as you do, but if they can help, let them. Taking on everything because you think that no one else can do it right is a form of arrogance that can eventually be detrimental.

 

Take time to unwind.
blkwmnwitheyesclosedWhen you get home, take a minute to breathe and relax. Don’t start bustling about in a flurry. You are no good to anyone else or yourself if you are rushed and flustered. Sit down for a minute. Talk to your husband, kids, boyfriend, roommate about their day and share your day too. Read a scripture or two. Have a glass of wine.

 

Address one issue at a time.
A woman’s work is never done, but don’t take on several issues at once. Even address1issueattimeif there are several simultaneous issues, deal with them one at a time, and give yourself a pat on the back each time you resolve an issue. It’s similar to the tasks on your To Do List, where you focus on one item on the list, complete it, and then cross it off. Running a household, coordinating activities, setting up meetings, spearheading projects, running a department, running a business, or running a store are all time consuming and liken to multiple issues occurring simultaneously. Address one thing at a time.

 

Don’t Procrastinate.
Procrastination is a verb that means “to defer action; delay: to procrastinate until an opportunity is lost.” The fact that the word is a verb, meaning action, is lost on some. To procrastinate takes energy and action, so why not put that energy into the actual task. Procrastination can ruin your day. Get the toughest tasks, the ones you dread the most, out of the way first. Don’t let your tasks pile up to where they seem insurmountable and numerous. If you are a chronic procrastinator, ask yourself why you procrastinate, and write the answer down on a piece of paper. Next, ask yourself which tasks are you more likely to put off, and write that answer down on a piece of paper. Last, ask God (and yourself) why you procrastinate with the tasks. Get to the root of the procrastination, pray it away, and move out of the label ‘procrastinator’. 

Welcome imperfection.
The most stressful thing I’ve ever done is to attempt to be perfect. There is confidentladyno such thing. Only Jesus was perfect, and none of us can hold a candle to Him. Allow some things to go undone. My weekly To Do List serves this purpose because if I don’t get a task completed, I can relegate it to the next day (not an excuse for procrastination though). I learned that I don’t have to empty my Inbox or clean all of the dishes out of the sink every night. If I’m tired, I finish the next day. Give yourself a break.

 

Don’t fret over finances.
In this economy, it is difficult not to fret over finances; however, if your asianswithpiggybankbiggest problem is money-related, celebrate because money problems can be fixed. One of the best things that you can do is to save, no matter what the amount. Even if you save 50 cents per week, that money accumulates and adds up. You should also contribute to your 401K, especially if your company matches. Budget, and if that’s not what you really want to do, then at least know exactly how much you have coming in and going out each month. Don’t use credit cards or credit. Pay cash for your purchases, which helps to eliminate emotional and overspending. It’s easy to whip out that debit or credit card because you don’t see the funds leaving your account, but with cash, you can visually see that money dwindling as you spend. Saving , budgeting, and paying cash can offer peace of mind no matter what the economy is. My favorite financial guru is Dave Ramsey. You can visit him at www.daveramsey.com.

 

Unclutter.
“Clutter creates visual noise that distracts us from the task at hand. Freeing up space frees you to focus energy on what is important.” Cluttered space MessyClosetCartooncauses a cluttered mind, and a cluttered mind is spastic. Throw away items that you don’t need. File away items that you need, but don’t need to see. Organize. Create a space for everything, and then put items in their perspective spaces. If you’ve never been very good at organizing, try this simple task. In your closet, put all of the dresses together, all of your pants together, long-sleeved blouses together, short-sleeved tops together, belts in one area. Just put like items together. Pat yourself on the back when you accomplish this, then methodically move on to other areas of your life and organize them likewise.

 

Plan a vacation.
You can plan vacations months to years in advance. Give yourself Vacationsomething to look forward to. Reward yourself. Save to pay for the vacation and so that you’ll have money while you are on vacation. Make sure you vacation with someone likeminded as you. Bad vacations occur when you are with someone whose vision of the vacation and activities differs from yours. Agree to disagree.

 

Get proper sleep.
Lack of sleep not only leaves you fatigued and irritable, but it also Skinadversly affects your skin. While you sleep, your skin repairs and rejuvenates itself, so when you don’t get enough sleep, it shows in your face. It is also best to sleep on your back because it diminishes the affects of gravity on your face. Sleeping on your stomach can cause morning puffiness because all of the days fluids pool in your face. Try to go to sleep at the same time each night.

 

Attract peace, love, and joy each day.
Each morning when you wake up, remind yourself that you will attract DancingInOfficepeace, love, and joy. Give yourself about 10 minutes each morning to reflect on what is peaceful, loving, and joyful. Take those images and words with you all day. Don’t let anyone else’s attitude, words, or demeanor remove your peace, love, and joy. You cannot control people, but you can control your reaction to them. Pray for the difficult people in your life. Everyday you have something to be thankful for, something to celebrate, something that makes you smile, dance, laugh, clap your hands, and giggle.

 

Learn to say NO.
SayNoOne of the most calming, peaceful things that I did was to learn that everyone else’s emergency wasn’t my emergency. If you cannot do it, don’t want to do it, or cannot make time to do it, say NO. Don’t overburdern and over task yourself to please or impress others. Don’t be afraid to say NO.

 

Don’t worry.
Worrying is an empty activity that yields no returns. It takes lots of energy worriedblackladyand lots of time, but there are no benefits at all to worrying. Worrying can age you prematurely and is linked to illnesses, such as high blood pressure. There is nothing that God can’t change. Anything that you loose, that gets reposesed or forclosed on, God can provide 10 times better. Put your energy into something that does yield returns, praying, faithfulness, and joy. In the Bible, God and Jesus tell us a number of times “Do not worry.”

 

Treat Yourself!
Not encouraging you to overspend or to spend what you don’t have, but if blkwmnshoppingyou are financially able right now, take yourself to dinner or buy yourself a nice outfit. Treat yourself to a day at the Spa. Get a facial. Get a massage. Get a manicure and a pedicure. Go to the salon and get a new or updated hair style. Get a makeover. Take a long, warm bath with candles illuminating. Smile at yourself  in the mirror, and appreciate who you are. There is no one else like you.

 

© 2009 KaTrina Love Abram

Daily Inspiration 08/03/09

Here is your inspiration for August 03, 2009

Today, I aim to:

  • Eliminate clutter on my desk and in my mind so that I can focus
  • Prioritize my projects,  responsibilities, & tasks so that I am productive
  • Organize my space and thoughts to foster clarity and calm
  • Open my heart to God for divine vision and guidance
  • Pray for balance, so that I can enjoy every day living

I attract peace, love, and joy. Today, I am not easily distracted or irritated. The Holy Spirit drives my actions and responses to others. Today I am focused, productive, and serene.

Many blessings,

Trina