The word "nadi" means river and refers to the 82,000 subtle energy channels that distribute prana, our vital energy, throughout the body. The main central channel is called sushumna nadi is the channel upon which the seven chakras are aligned and flows from the center of the perineum to the crown of the head. As energy moves throughout the system, it flows upwards from our basic needs for survival in the lower chkras towards our most spiritual enlightened connections which are explored in teh upper chakras. This week we will explore asana, pranayama and mudra that balances the flow of energy into sushumna nadi.
Curl the pinkie finger down into the center of the palm. Use the thumb to hold the pinkie finger in place and extend the other fingers straight. Rest the backs of hand son teh lap.
Benefits: Increases concentration and mental clarity
Practice Tips: Use when you are having difficulty accessing your own inner wisdom.
Cow: Begin on the hands and knees, toes pointed. Inhale lift the sternum forward and drop the pubic bone back between the legs to arch the spine.
Cat: Exhale round the back and drop the head and tail bone towards the floor.
Repeat with your breath 10 times.
Therapeutics: Massages the internal organs and warms-up the muscles along the spine.
Balasana to Bhujangasana (Child's Pose to Cobra Pose)
Begin in Balasana with the arms overhead on the floor. Inhale keep hands where they are and move torso through arms to come first into a knee plank position with the shoulders over the wrists, the torso and thighs in a straight line. Then exhale back into Balasana. As you inhale a second time, bring the shoulders over the wrists, lift the heart and come into a gentle backbend with pelvis pressing towards floor. Exhale return to Balasana.
Repeat 5-10 times with the breath.
Therapeutics: Alternately stretches and strengthens front and back of body.
Ustrasana (Camel Pose)
Kneel with toes pointed and blocks placed outside the ankles. Bring hands together at the heart. Inhale lift heart and lean back keeping thighs perpendicular to floor and pressing pubic bone forward. Bring hands onto blocks or onto heels.
Hold 5-10 breaths and release.
Therapeutics: Opens front body and stretches quadriceps, psoas and chest.
Sit in front of a padded chair or couch. Bend the knees and point the feet slightly inwards. Press the hands on the floor beside the hips with the fingers facing forward and draw the shoulders down the back. As you inhale press into the hands and swing the pelvis forward pointing the knees over the feet. Draw the belly up towards the heart and keep the head in alignment with the rest of the spine and rest the head on the seat behind you when you come up. Exhale and release back to the floor. Repeat 5 times with the breath, then hold the position for a few breaths.
Straight Leg Variation: This may also be done with straight legs. As you lift up point the tail bone towards the heels and keep the belly engaged.
Upavista Konasana (Wide-Angle Seated Forward Bend)
Sit with legs apart, no wider than a 90 degree angle. Inhale and sit up tall through front of chest. Can hold onto toes or place hands on floor between legs. Exhale and release forward over legs. Do not round the back.
Hold up to 1 minute, then release.
Therapeutics: Stretches entire back body and the groins
Nadi Shodhana (Alternate Nostril Breath)
Inhale through right nostril, exhale through left nostril, inhale through left nostril, exhale through right nostril, repeat for 10 rounds at a time, monitoring the effects.
Digital Method: With right hand touch index and middle fingers to forehead, close right nostril with thumb and left nostril with ring finger in the sequence above. Do not turn head toward hand but bring hand in front of face. This method has a stronger affect and is best done in a seated position.
Psychic Method: Breathe in and out through alternate nostrils using your imagination. This method has a subtler affect but is easier to do lying down.
Benefits: Balances the sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight) and the parasympathetic nervous system (rest and digest), increases communication between the right and left hemispheres of the brain.
Legs in the Chair
Lie on back with legs in the seat of a chair, or in this case the ottoman. Place arms away from sides and palms up. Rest 15 minutes. This is less of an inversion than Instant Maui but has many of the same benefits.
Therapeutics: Induces relaxation response, reduces swelling of feet and legs, relaxes lower back
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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.