We continue our work this week with quiet practices and seated yoga.
Stating Your Intention
During the first yoga session you will create an intention for your yoga practice. Each time before you practice, sit comfortably with the eyes closed and bring to mind this resolve, state it silently three times with your full awareness.
Vowel Spiral A-E-I-O-U-M
Begin in a comfortable seated position (you may sit in a chair if needed).Take a few breaths into the lower belly and exhale naturally through the nose. When you are ready to begin, chant the sounds at a natural speaking pitch. You may also place your hand over the areas of the body where the vibration is strongest.
This 4-part breath, mudra and mantra meditation is especially helpful for fostering emotional well-being. It highlights the four natural parts of the breath cycle with a mudra and mantra to allow the mind to be completely absorbed in the practice and can be used whenever you feel the need to reconnect with the life giving energy that each breath offers and with the trust inherent in our true nature.
Begin in a comfortable seated position (you may also sit in a chair if needed). Turn the palms up touching the pinkie side of the hands together. Press the bent thumbs into base of index finger and keep the other fingers close together. As you inhale, say mentally "I accept" and draw the hands toward the body.
Intended Benefits: Increases ability to receive help from others from others
Cup hands right over left creating a hollow space between the palms. During the pause after the inhale, say mentally "I am grateful".
Intended Benefits: Acknowledges the gifts you carry within
Cup hands with little and ring fingertips together creating a offering bowl shape. As you exhale, say mentally "I give" and move hands away from the body.
Intended Benefits: Encourages compassion, generosity, giving
Clasp fingers together and open the palms toward heart; point thumbs upwards and hold the hands a few inches away from the heart. During the pause after the exhale, say mentally "I trust"
Intended Benefits: Builds confidence, security, and trust
ARM POSITION VARIATIONS
There are a few different arm positions that you may choose from depending on how flexible the chest and shoulders are and depending on whether there is a port, surgery site or other difficult with raising your arms overhead. Please only go as far into each movement as it is comfortable for you to move today.
Arm Positions for One Arm
If instruction is given to bring one arm over the head and it is difficult for you to do so, you may try the following variations:
Arm Positions with Both Arms
If instruction is given to bring both arms over the head and it is difficult for you to do so, you may try the following variations:
This gentle seated yoga series will increase movement and range of motion in the spine and shoulders. This increased movement will assist with increasing breath capacity and moving lymph through the nodes and vessels in the chest and torso. When moving the arms it is important to only stretch to a comfortable degree, especially if there are surgery sites or ports in the chest, alternate arm positions will be given so be sure to choose what is comfortable for your body today. Continue to follow the pace of your breath, it is a barometer of how you are feeling in each pose. If you find yourself holding the breath, try again a bit more gently. If you become light-headed or nauseated, stop and rest in a simple cross- legged position for a few moments before continuing.
Seated Lateral Bend
Begin in a comfortable seated position (you may sit in a chair if needed). Reach the crown of the head up towards the ceiling. As you inhale side bend to the right and bring the left hand to the right shoulder, or bring the left hand to the top of the head, or reach the left arm overhead with the palm facing down. The right hand is on the floor beside the hip with the elbow bent towards the body to keep the right shoulder relaxed. Keep both sit bones grounded into the floor. Exhale return to center. Repeat to both sides with the breath 5 times.
Intended Benefits: Opens side ribs and facilitates breath and lymph movement throughout the torso.
Begin in a comfortable seated position (you may sit in a chair if needed). Reach the crown of the head up towards the ceiling. As you inhale, draw both hands together at the heart, or to the top of the head, or raise both arms straight up overhead to create length in the sides of the torso. Exhale and twist our belly, ribs and chest to the right, bring the left hand to the right knee, the right hand on the floor behind you. Inhale and return to the center with the arms in your chosen position. Exhale and repeat to the left (shown). Repeat to both sides with the breath 5 times.
Intended Benefits: Opens the ribs, massages the organs facilitates breath and lymph movement throughout the torso.
Seated Forward Bend
Begin in a comfortable seated position (you may sit in a chair if needed). Reach the crown of the head up towards the ceiling. As you exhale reach the arms forward and lean the torso forward from the hips. Keep the lower back long as the navel reaches forward. Use the arms to support the body and come forward as far as feels comfortable, to the palms, or even to the forearms. Keep the pelvis grounded and breathe gently into the stretch. Hold for at least 5 breaths.
Intended Benefits: Stretches the thighs, groins, hips and low back.
Lay on the back with legs straight and feet relaxed to sides. Move arms away from sides slightly and turn palms to face the ceiling. You may use support under the knees for low back pain; and a folded blanket under the head if needed. Rest at least 5 minutes.
Intended Benefits: Allows for integration of mind and body after asana practice, promotes restful awareness
I attend Cheryl's class regularly and feel that my practice has improved immensely over the past few years due to her expert coaching. Her teaching style is clear and compassionate and her previous experience in teaching adults is evident in her organized approach and easy to understand instructions. I also appreciate that Cheryl not only teaches us about how to correctly position ourselves, but also touches on many aspects of yoga philosophy, which in turn has deepened my personal practice and heightened my awareness of the connection between mind and body, breath and relaxation.