Color Synergy Meditation

“Why is the world so beautiful?”

My admiration for the colors of this season grows every day.  We have been taking long hikes in the National Forest and I feel like our time spent outdoors is like color therapy. The colors are so synergistic and pleasing to my eye. And as I walk over the fallen leaves of a tree, it’s like walking over a field of color and I’m reminded of my love of Mark Rothko paintings. What artist do you love that seems to captures the magic of color?

I am so thankful for the work of Robin Wall Kimmerer for helping me to more fully understand and appreciate the beauty unfolding around me. In nature we find examples of aligned collaboration that are both beautiful and fruitful. These metaphors can provide inspiration for our yoga practice as we begin to more deeply understand our lived experience of the present moment. In Ayurveda (the sister science of Yoga) everything that we come into contact with has to be “digested”. Every sound, all media, each conversation…everything has to get processes.

As a botanist and member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, Robin asks this very important question. “Why is the world so beautiful?

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From her book Braiding Sweetgrass:

The fields are embroidered with drifts of golden yellow and pools of deepest purple...As it turns out goldenrod and asters appear very similarly to bee eyes and human eyes. We both think they are beautiful...Their striking contrast when they grow together makes them the most attractive target in the whole meadow, a beacon for bees. Growing together, both receive more pollinator  visits than they would if they were growing alone. 

It is a beautiful phenomenon simultaneously material and spiritual...take a few minutes to pause and be with the color. You can practice outside in nature or inside using your imagination.

  • Choose a comfortable spot where you can be undisturbed for a few minutes.

  • Notice a pleasing color around you or bring into your minds eye one of your favorite colors - a particular flower, a gorgeous sunset, etc.

  • Pretend to drink in the color. Draw it inward. Assimilate it. Let it fill your body. Like you were painting the inside of your body with this beautiful color.

  • Notice how you feel. Does the color seem to want to stay in a certain part of you body? Maybe above your brow or in the center of you heart? Or does it move around or want to shift color? Try a different color now or at a later time and observe if it feels similar or different.

Midday Stretches :: yoga stretches for office work

I recently have been doing more computer work than usual and my body is telling me that I need to break up my work with stretches. Do you sit long hours at a computer? Is pain or discomfort in your body telling you that there is something out of alignment?  

It is easy to blame our modern lifestyle, but I like to remember that our orientation to our front body allows us to create more beauty in the world. We can use our hands to write an inspiring book, create a beautiful painting, or develop a program that creates a more just world.  Front body orientation also connects us to our ancestors. Can you imagine your 4th great-grandmother weaving a basket or dandling a baby? Her posture might be pretty similar to you writing a text message on your phone…

 This orientation to the front body isn’t bad…it just needs to be broken up with complimentary actions that create more balance in your body and connect you to the universality of your back body. The alignment principles of Anusara Yoga can help relieve tension in the neck, shoulders and hips.  

Here are a few of my favorite chair stretches that can be incorporated into your day. Just spend a few breathes in each pose and this 3 minute break will leave you feeling refreshed and more at ease in your body.

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SHOULDER OPENER WITH OPTIONAL LUNGE – The perfect antidote to neck and shoulder tension! Bring the back of your right hand to your sacrum (the bony area at the back of your pelvis). Press your hand into your sacrum and mover your right shoulder back. Now straighten your left hand above your head. Palm faces inward and draw the upper arm back towards your ear. Keep on drawing both shoulders together on your back body as you raise your face, heart, and upper lungs towards the sky. Release both arms to pause and feel.  Do the other side.

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 This can also be practiced with a lunge. Sit on the edge of your chair facing to the side. Sit on the left buttock and bend that knee. Stretch the right leg behind you and hug both legs together strongly and follow the above directions for the arms. You might be surprised how challenging this chair pose can be! Hold for a few breaths and then do the other side.


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BACK BODY OPENER – AKA a forward fold. Sit at the edge of your chair and take your feel wide. Press them firmly into the ground as you drape your upper body on your thighs. Let your arms dangle towards the floor. Let your breath find the sensation in your legs, hips, or back.

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SEATED TWIST – This pose is helpful for relieving lower back tension and balancing your nervous system.  Sit at the edge of your chair and firmly connect your feet to the ground. Keeping your hips stable and facing forward as you twist your upper body to one side. Press your hands into your chair to get taller and glide your shoulders back. Breathe.

 

ChairSavasana

FRONT BODY OPENER – AKA a back bend. Lay your body over the back of your chair. Spread your legs out and let your arms drape down. Breathe into the expansiveness of your front body. This can also double as a mini-savasana.

Thanks for reading! I hope these are helpful. Be in touch if you have any questions about the poses! Pictures were taken at the Well-Being Healing Center.

Summer Pause Button for Summer Fatigue

 Image Description : A woman is laying on her back in a restorative yoga pose in the middle of a field. Her legs and head are supported by yoga blankets. 

Image Description : A woman is laying on her back in a restorative yoga pose in the middle of a field. Her legs and head are supported by yoga blankets. 

Recently I’ve had several clients share with me how tired they are.

Here in the Northeast we are enjoying our narrow window of warm weather and we all want to take advantage of every last minute of it.  This often means long days that melt into nights, extra social activities, yard work, blueberry picking, and all that on top of our usual work and family responsibilities.

It’s no wonder we are exhausted! The Japanese have a word for summer fatigue - NATSUBATE which describes the lethargy that may result from too much sun exposer, not enough sleep, and the bodies difficulty in adjust to the fluctuations in temperature as we go in and out of air conditioning.  Summer fatigue is a real thing.

How can we let the fatigue of July give way to the beautiful light of August?! With the impending back to school and fall weather, I am often called this of year to reconnect to presence.  

Try this exercise which I call the YOGA PAUSE BUTTON.

1.) Stand outside. Feel your feet on the ground and the air on your skin.

2.) Listen to the sounds around you.  What do you hear? In front of you and behind you. Listen to the 3 dimensional sound landscape.

3.) Identify the furthest sound away from you that you can hear and then the closest.

4.) Take 3 deep breaths.

5.) REPEAT as needed!

Listening to the sounds of nature is very healing.  On a daily basis we process vast amounts of sensory input, which can lead to SENSORY OVERLOAD.  Tuning into one sense at time, in this case our hearing, gives our nervous system a chance to “catch up”. In combination with our breath we send a signal to our nervous system that we can rest in this moment. Push your YOGA PAUSE BUTTON whenever you feel tired or overwhelmed to bring your body towards a more healing parasympathetic state.

The Hand to Heart Connection...a piece of my story

 Image Description: A cupped hand is filled with white and purple violets. 

Image Description: A cupped hand is filled with white and purple violets. 

Last summer I struggled with a case of Lyme disease that went undiagnosed for over 5 months.  Although I’m back to normal, like many people who get very sick, I was forced to reflect deeply on what I wanted to do with my very limited energy.  Some mornings my practice consisted of me lying on blankets and breathing. At times I barely had enough strength to move my props.  I simply could not do all that I was used to doing, so I looked with-in for answers.

It was at that time that I chose to focus my teachings on Restorative Therapeutic Yoga. Every since I was a little girl I’ve always wanted to be helpful and contribute to creating a world that was just and beautiful and that “felt right”. 

Nineteen years ago, when I stepped into my first yoga class, I did not know how my path would unfold.But through a deepening of my practice, I began to connect more and more with my own heart’s path.
 
There is an energetic connection between our hands and hearts. It is through our hands that we bring in to being the desire of our hearts.here…

In my desire to help those who would benefit from individual attention, I opened my own private practice.
 
I deepened my study of restorative yoga and delved into the studying the chakra system and energy work.
 
And still this quest to serve populations outside of the yoga studio has grown. Recently I began working with people undergoing treatment for cancer and took a training in Trauma Informed Yoga.
 
If you’re reading this, like me you probably believe in yoga’s powerful ability to help people heal. I know that my yoga practice was crucial in my own recovery from Lyme.  And the science is backing us up more and more every day!

On the Wings of Snow Geese

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Have you seen any flocks of snow geese this year!? When these feathers washed ashore it felt like a moment of inter-species connection between me and these strong and elegant creatures.

Always inspired by migratory birds, I too find it crucial to seek out nourishment and inspiration through travel. To deepen my restorative yoga and embodiment practice, I've recently migrated to take a few trainings. I am excited to share this work with you this spring!

  • SPRING RESTORATIVE SERIES - Deepen your relationship to ground and breath for relaxation and healing. 4 Tuesday evenings beginning 4/10 at The Hidden Door in Tburg. More info and registration here
  • MORNING CLASS - This spring (beginning 4/4) I will be focusing on the organs and how they can support us in the embodiment of our asana.  Gentle practice practice for building awareness and connection between the body-mind. Every Wednesday 8:05am at Lakshmi Living Arts. 
  • GENTLE ENERGY WORK - I've been training in the subtle body and am really enjoying the sweet heartfelt energy of Reiki. This gentle healing practice can be woven into any private session with me. 

Happy Vernal Equinox to you!