Monthly Archives: August 2013

Our Blog Has Relocated!!!

Please check out our new blog and web page and be sure to follow the RSS feed at our new location so you don’t miss out on any of the fresh new content and news we have in store for you!!!  http://www.yinyangyogis.com

ImageOm Shanti

Go Nuts For Almonds!

almondsOur superfood spotlight for the day are those beautifully tear-shaped nutrient packed nuts; almonds! A relative of the peach and apricot, this tree nut is native to the Mediterranean and is known to be one of the earliest cultivated tree nuts in history. Depictions of almonds appear in the artwork and scriptures dating as far back as 3,000 BC – and were even found in King Tut’s tomb! In Ayurveda, the sister science to yoga, almonds are regarded for their nutritional value, their ability to increase longevity for the brain and their Vata-pacifying effects.

Almonds are an excellent source of vitamin E and vitamin B, both, powerful antioxidants and high in fiber and the essential mono- and polyunsaturated fatty acids that are responsible for lowering LDL (bad) cholesterol. Just a handful of these tiny treats may even reduce your risk of heart disease and diabetes – and with a nutritional profile of merely 160 calories per ounce and 6 grams of high-quality protein, it’s a snack anyone can sneak into their lives on a daily basis.

Convinced and can’t wait to get more of these delicious nuts into your diet? Here are a few ways to help get you started:

– Instead of using dairy milk in your morning coffee or smoothie substitute it with almond milk.

IMG_5286– Love baked goods? Almond flour is a fantastic substitute for gluten-free baked goods, and can pump up the nutritional value of everything from cookies to pie crusts.

– Not into or allergic to peanuts but miss that childhood PB&J staple? Then go for an almond butter and jelly sandwich, it’s just tasty and has higher nutritional value.

 

Source: The Chalkboard

Dragon Pose and Variations {Yin Series}

Dragon Pose and Variations

The Dragon poses are the ones in yoga class where everyone moans out loud (almost, but not quite as loud for Frog pose) but you’re all secretly thanking your teacher for placing this in today’s class.  It’s also a pose that I almost have to force myself into during my home practice, but my body usually obliges when it realizes just how much sitting/driving/travelling I’ve done that week.

Dragon pose is very simple to come into and out of but -get this- it has eight different variations.  While some of them have their own individual benefits, they can help improve the health of the hip flexors and to relieve tension from the quadriceps.  Because of the deep stretch on the joint, they may help to improve sciatica.

Baby Dragon

Baby Dragon

You can come into the basic Dragon from either Down Dog or a table-top, hands and knees position, whichever is more comfortable for you.  From whichever position you chose, step the right foot through to the hands and “help” it forward (this may mean physically picking it up and setting it down) until the knee is directly over the ankle.  Now, wiggle the left (back leg) back until it is fully extended.  Place hands on either side of the right food, using blocks or other props to lift the hands if this is too intense.  This is the first variation on “Dragon Pose” and is also known as “Baby Dragon”.

Dragon Flying High

Dragon Flying High

For the next variation, rest the hands on the “standing thigh” and in this case that would be the right one.  Allow your weight to sink into the hips for a deeper stretch.  This is called “Dragon Flying High”.

Dragon Flying Low

Dragon Flying Low

A more intense version of the previous variation is “Dragon Flying Low”.  Rest both arms on the inside of the right (standing) leg.  Walk the arms away and rest on the forearms for the deepest version.

Twisted Dragon

Twisted Dragon

For “Twisted Dragon”, remain in the previous variation but use the right arm to push the right leg away and rotate the chest towards the sky.

Winged Dragon

Winged Dragon

Keeping the forearms on the inside of the right leg, wing the right knee out a few times until you are comfortably resting on the outside edge of that foot. This is “Winged Dragon”.

Overstepping Dragon

Overstepping Dragon

Starting again in Baby Dragon, shift all of your weight into the front knee, so much so that the heel of the “standing” foot is about to lift off of the ground.  This will intensify the sensation in the back hip flexor and also strengthen the front ankle joint.  This is called “Overstepping Dragon”.

Dragon Splits

Dragon Splits

“Dragon Splits” is the most advanced expression of the pose.  Straighten both legs into a splits position.  Supporting the front leg with a bolster or other prop allows the muscles to relax for a better experience in this expression.

Fire-Breathing Dragon

Fire-Breathing Dragon

The final variation, “Fire-Breathing Dragon”, can be done during any of the former variations.  Simply tuck the toes of the back foot and lift the resting knee.

My previously-stated love/hate relationship with Dragon Pose means that I enjoy playing with the different variations (except for the splits…I’m not sure I’ll ever get there!).  A word of caution…always do the same to both sides.  Walking around with one tight hip flexor and one loose is a very strange sensation.  And while you’re at it….enjoy it!

Photo credit: http://www.yinyoga.com

Stepping Into Love

lovejump“Love is the voice under all silences, the hope which has no opposite in fear; the strength so strong mere force is feebleness: the truth more first than sun, more last than star”

– E.E. Cummings

Love. Of all the words in the English language “love” probably has the most meaning, or maybe the most elusive meaning. S0 basic to the soul of each one of us, love becomes the precious essence governing each of our lives. We ask ourselves; how do we find love? How do we share it? Can we maintain it with another person? And at the core of these questions we continue to wrap our thoughts around “what is love”? Constantly trying to answer this question and perhaps hitting a wall more often than not when it comes to finding the answer we ultimately end up taking pleasure and apathy in it’s elusiveness. But what if we change our thought process and perception around this word’s elusiveness and embrace it for what it is – the underlying root and foundational energy of all beings and things around us. Accept love and have faith in it!

Stepping into love we can begin to strip away the typical fears associated with it such as; am I good enough for it? Do I have enough love? Do I give enough of it? Instead of trying to find balance in love and answers to these questions work on stripping these questions from your psyche as if you were taking an eraser to a chalkboard. Start by reminding yourself that love is around you at all times supporting your every step through life. Once we decide to change our perception and choose to step into this faith, love will easily flow to and from every aspect of your life.

Source: Anodea Judith, Wheels of Life

Meatless Monday’s Summer Salad

grapefruitavocadoIn these hot humid days of August, nothing feels better than a light refreshing summer salad.  We love this simple salad and the myriad of variations possible.  Our favorite way with this citrus combo is over a bed of Boston or bib lettuce.  The delicate texture and flavor do not overwhelm and anti up the hydration factor.  Enjoy!

Y3 Summer Salad

2 red grapefruit
2 avocados
1 large fennel
1/2 cup (1 dl) mint leaves
1 tablespoon lime juice
1/2 cup (1 dl) nut oil or neutral-tasting oil
1 teaspoon crushed coriander
Salt and pepper

Cut the grapefruit into segments. Cut the avocado into slices and julienne the fennel. Mix all the ingredients in a bowl (leaving a few mint leaves for garnishing) and serve on a plate.

variations:
Serve on a bed of greens
Serve on top of grilled fish, chicken, or pork
add nuts or seeds
Swap grapefruit for strawberries
Add feta

Greens For The Heart

Dark-Leafy-Greens-Are-Good-Sources-of-Calcium-1024x711For today’s superfood post we’re talking and eating green! As most of you know this month we’re highlighting the 4th chakra, our heart center and there’s no better way to activate and stimulate the heart space than with a bowl of greens. That’s right it’s no lie when someone says that the best way to someone’s heart is through their stomach! The color of our heart center is green so let’s toast the summer season of bountiful greens and eat for rejuvenation, heart health and of course love!

Eating greens boosts your overall energy, reduces stress, neutralizes the body’s pH level, and can also relieve energy blocks to the heart center. Leafy greens come in many varieties such as spinach, kale, collards, swiss chard, and dandelion to name a few and can easily be incorporated into any meal. Have it alone as a salad, throw a handful in your morning smoothie, juice it, saute it, even bake it. Whatever form you choose to devour these leafy greens you’ll instantly feel their live enzymes, oxygen and chlorophyll melt away stress and blockages leaving you to feel lighter and ready for love!

Camel Pose {Yin Series}

Camel Pose

So, last week’s pose, was a little on the complex side, right? Let’s go back to something a bit easier this week.   This simple pose is great for hunched shoulders and drooping backs, a habit that we can all identify with from time to time.  In addition, this pose also opens up the tops of the thighs and hip flexors.  It also puts some minor (good) stress on the ankles, which is one of the areas we tend to neglect  Those who are elderly or may have spinal injuries are capable of doing this pose, but should consult with a medical professional first (or avoid it altogether, a nice alternative would be Sphinx Pose).

asana_camel

The simplest way to come into this pose is to begin on the knees and sitting on the ankles.  Place your hands on the floor behind you and lift the hips forward.  This motion will create an arch in your back. If you have neck issues or are feeling any tension in the neck keep the chin tucked.  Otherwise, allow the neck to relax and the head to drop back .  Bring the hands to rest on top of the heels.

asana_camel_easyFor a more gentle version and less of an arched back, leave the hands on the floor behind you and keep the chin closer to the chest.  Whichever version you have chosen, remain here for 2-4 minutes.  When you’re ready, slowly lift the chest forward keeping the head back until the shoulders are once again over the hips. Bring the head forward and sit back into Child’s Pose

Photo credit: http://www.yinyoga.com