Yoga

The Holy Grail of Chakras

Crown chakra image

The Crown Chakra is the Holy Grail of Chakras—it’s the pinnacle—the highest level of your subtle energetic Chakra body

The seventh chakra is the connection between you, the world and whatever God you believe in.  And to be honest with you, it is not that attainable for most of us “everyday folk”.  But does that mean you should not try — no way. Enhancing your crown chakra in any shape or form will enhance your life. Raising your level of consciousness will ease “physical and emotional pain and release endorphins which create happy and blissful experiences for us,”  according to Ambika Wauters , who wrote The Book of Chakras. Chakras_map.svgAnd she adds, “Once we start living from and within the Crown Chakra, we start to be thankful for our lives exactly as they are.  … we accept  trials and hardships that have shaped our spirit.” In all of the readings I have done throughout my yoga training, it is the ritual of working toward higher levels of connection that enhance your live, not necessarily the goal of pure bliss or Samadhi as it is called in Sanskrit.  In fact, according to Vedic tradition, no goal can ever be guaranteed in yoga or life, so the daily practice becomes the goal.

In helping my students work the Crown or Sahasrara Chakra, which in Sanskrit means thousand petals, we spend more time in quiet reflection than in our other Chakra practices.  When I offer my students either doTERRA Rosemary  essential oil if they are having too many visions or Frankincense oil if they need assistance in accessing the higher realm, I invariably get few takers for the Rosemary and many for the Frankincense.

“Frankincense, considered a Holy oil, is used for meditative contemplation, for achieving tranquil states of mind, and for attaining spiritual liberation.  The spiritual and psychological benefits of Frankincense have long been recognized by many cultures and spiritual traditions. On a physical level, the oil of Frankincense helps with nervous system conditions. Because of the high levels of sesquiterpenes, a type of molecules that have the ability to cross the blood-brain barrier, Frankincense may help to oxygenate the pineal and pituitary glands, according to www.chakra-anatomy.com .Frankincense is so highly touted in treating a number of physical and emotional diseases and the medical community continues to research more and more of its health benefits.   To top it off, it smells great making it a top seller at doTERRA. Even though it is very expensive, I offer my students to try it topically to help with focus and meditation.frankincense banner

The Crown Chakra Yoga Practice

We do a variety of the hip and hamstring poses to get ready to meditate. See my  Youtube video on sitting comfortably in easy seat.

gentl neck stretch 300 by 225Andrea doing twist 300Tree pose 300dpi

Gentle neck stretches, side to side stretches and twists are done to make sure all blockages leading from the base of the spine to the crown of your head are cleared.  Tree pose is our balance pose to ensure our focus and connection with all living things.

An appropriate relaxation activity for activating the crown chakra is Yoga Nidra.  When I did thisyoga nidra image practice with my students recently, I had several students report some fascinating results.  One student reported being able to visualize the blue pointed star at all 61 points that I mentioned.  Another visualized a colorful Chinese dragon dancing.

I introduce my students to a variety of other ways to quiet their mind and feel connected to their higher self.  Visualizing the color purple,  chanting the OM sound or using either crystal bowls or a 108 bead mala to assist in meditating.  Each of us respond differently to the various approaches of this practice, so I give the students a sampling and encourage them to practice at home.  To find out more about my Chakra balancing series, please fill in this contact form.

 

 

I wish you health and joy in  your day.  Namaste,  Andrea

Happehatchee Yoga Classes Estero Tennis Golf Yoga ClassesPrivate Yoga Classes Lee County

Heaven Lane Yoga

Heaven Lane Creations – Designing custom yoga classes to meet your physical, emotional and health needs. Designing individualized doTERRA oil routines for your health.  Designing custom made jewelry to fit your style.

 

How Yoga Helps the Heart

It goes beyond the Cardiovascular System

Heart chakra banner

When I tell my yoga students we are going to focus on the Heart Chakra (Anahata in Sanscript), there is usually a sigh of relief.  We have worked our way through the physical Chakras of root, sacrum and core. The Heart Chakra, fourth of the 7 energy wheels in our subtle body, lies in the space to the right of the heart along the spine.  This area of our spine is one of the strongest of our skeletal system for good reason.  It is protecting a very important physical organ—the heart.Chakras

We consider both the physical and emotional aspects of the Anahata chakra. Our heart can be very vulnerable depending on our life experiences. What may result is a heart chakra imbalance – respiratory issues, heart issues, depression, fatigue, to name a few of the possible symptoms. When you are unhappy, your thymus, which controls your hormones slows down, which can result in a general lack of thriving.  Emotionally an imbalance in this area can either lead to shutting down or just pretending to be happy.

“The fear of giving and receiving love blocks health, joy and goodness from coming into our lives,” according to Ambika Wauters, the author of The Book of Chakras who adds, “The heart’s unique intelligence is to remember love,  It never forget acts of kindness, friendship or love. “

In order to access love, one must be willing to be vulnerable.  At the beginning of class, I offer my students doTERRA geranium essential oil if they need to open up more or melalueca if they need to protect their heart more.  Both sides of this coin leave one feeling vulnerable.  It’s the paradox of the heart chakra, according to  http://nyapatrinos.blogspot.com/2015/08/chakra-series-yin-yoga-heart-chakra.htmlAndrea meditating “through humility, we find our power; through discipline, we find liberation; by cleansing the physical body, we become more mentally clear and attuned.”

We begin our practice in a seated pose to try and still the mind and tap into the heart; easier said, than done.  It takes practice to distinguish what your heart is telling you versus what your mind is chattering at you. One clue is if thought starts with love then it is coming from your heart. According to Yoga Journal’s Stephanie Snyder in a 2015 article, “Over time you will be able to observe both. This inner listening cultivates a discrimination. Discrimination supports skillful choices, which lead you toward your heart’s calling, your purpose. The result is bringing compassion and love into all you do.”

I invite my students to set an intention for the practice, which is often very personal.

It might include forgiving someone who has hurt you, or opening yourself up to love again after a bad relationship.  It could be working on loving yourself or trusting other people, or being less critical of people. Be sure to listen closely to your heart to ensure your intention rings true for you.

We do the following practice.  Feel free to attend one of my classes on balancing the Chakras or try the routine at home. 

In a seated position we begin by loosening our neck and shoulders.  Be sure to sit on a blanket or bolster to protect your spine.  Sitting on a bolster helps lean your pelvic bones toward the front which keeps your back from rounding.  Half way through this neck and shoulder routine, change the cross of your legs to keep them from falling asleep. (2) Preparatory arm stretches will also include cow face arms and eagle arms (shown). Roll over to hands and knees.  A modified cat/cow with a child’s pose focus on shining your heart each time you stretch up and forward helps get problems “off your chest” (3)

Andrea stretching neck 225 tallAndrea doing eagle arms 225 highCat Cow 225 high

 

Rest in Child’s pose.  Then move into Puppy pose also known as Melting the heart.  (4) Draw your shoulders back toward each other, but be careful not to dump your belly. Move into thread the needle or revolved child’s pose. (5) This is an intense stretch for your shoulder.  Metaphorically speaking, your shoulders are the branches from your heart, which if strong can lead to generosity and compassion. Repeat on both sides.

Andrea melting heart poseAndrea threading the needle

Move into downward facing dog (6)—focusing on your shoulders drawing toward your back.  You might need to bend the knees a great deal to feel this in the upper back.  High lunges, Low lunges or Warrior 1 on both sides will be modified to reflect the opening of the shoulders. (7)  Do both sides. Our balancing series will include both Eagle Pose (8) and Dancers pose (9).  Both work the upper body.  Dancer pose opens up the heart while Eagle pose protects the heart. Do both sides.

3 DowndogAndrea doing warrior 1 with open heartAndrea doing eagle 225 tallAndrea doing dancers pose 225 high

 

Add two full sun salutations, focusing each move on a gratitude practice.  For instance when reaching to the sky, express thanks to the sun, the forward fold, thanks to the earth, half way up, thanks to your parents, all the way down, thanks to your children or friends, going through plank, thanks to yourself including your body. Upward dog, thanks to your mind, and coming back up, thanks to the higher being that you believe in. You can even chant these as you go through the sequence. This practice came from Seane Corne. Make sure to open your heart during your back bends.

IMG_9813IMG_9892

Perhaps the most vulnerable heart chakra pose is Camel Ustrasana (10)

The following description of this pose comes from Yoga Journal. “Camel is an upper-spine backbend that comes from narrowing in the belly and widening your hands to your hips and drive the legs and pelvis down as you lift the low belly, ribs, and chest upward.  Finally drop your head back gently as long as it doesn’t cause neck pain. Spend about 3 breaths here and repeat this pose three times. When you finish, sit on your heels, close your eyes, and enjoy the rush of being alive in an open-hearted body.”

Modified Fish Pose is offered as part of this series.  I do not do a full fish pose.   Fish Pose (Matsyasana) 11 is known as the destroyer of all diseases.  It stimulates your thyroid and para thyroid as it strengths the muscles of the upper back and back of neck and stretches your front body muscles.

Andrea doing camel 225 wideIMG_0003

We end the practice in a restorative version  of  Reclined Bound Angel Pose.  Supta Badda Konasana (12) Lie on on your back placing either two blocks or place a bolsters length wise and incline it with a block or two.  Lay back with your spine directly over the bolster. If you are using blocks make sure one block is right across your shoulder blades (for ladies, no lower than the bra line).  Once comfortable open your heart and allow your shoulders to sink towards the floor. Then place your feet together and let you knees fall out to the side.  Roll a blanket into a rope and wrap around your ankles or place blocks under your knees to support you. Visualize the color green, which protects your heart or pink to represent your heart as you relax in this pose. The heart seed mantra is YAM.  Breathe in unconditional love for yourself and others.  Exhale and release old hurts, regrets, anger and grief.

ANdrea doing fish pose 225 highAndrea meditating with hands at heart 225

I wish you health and joy in  your day.  Namaste,  Andrea

Happehatchee Yoga Classes Estero Tennis Golf Yoga ClassesPrivate Yoga Classes Lee County

Heaven Lane Yoga

Heaven Lane Creations – Designing custom yoga classes to meet your physical, emotional and health needs. Designing individualized doTERRA oil routines for your health.  Designing custom made jewelry to fit your style.

 

Staying Healthy in September

Why is September so hard on many of us?

Letting Go Of Summer

 

soup small

Homemade Bone Broth

As we move from summer to fall, you may notice that your energy levels begin to change.  In both Traditional Chinese Medicine and in Indian Medicine known as Ayurveda, there is a good reason for this. Seasonal changes signal changes in our physical and emotional constitutions. “Traditional Chinese Medicine views the environment as an extension of the body. Therefore, living in harmony with the season helps to keep your body healthy,” according to www.eggsfromtheeast.com.  If we do not follow the rhythm of the seasons, it often shows up as dis-ease in the body. There are several ways to ease the transition into fall and possibly prevent your body from shutting down.

1) Go to bed earlier and rise earlier.  The sun is setting earlier and our circadian rhythms shift as well.

2) Eat fewer salads and smoothies and switch to cooked foods and soups. This is especially important if your primarily a Vata dosha (see my blog post  for further explanation).

3) While summer was about going and doing, fall is about reflecting, organizing, clearing out and preparing for winter. Even though we do not really have cold winters, there is still a seasonal clock at work here.

4) Add Yin yoga to your routine.  My yin yang yoga class is now Fridays at 9 am at Happehatchee.

 

While the yoga may poses look familiar, they have different names and  different purposes in Yin

Andrea doing mountain brook on the mat

For instance, Cobblers pose (Baddha Konasana) in the Yang style of yoga is called Butterfly in Yin.  Butterfly is a slightly wider -legged pose, looking more like a diamond and it is often held for three to five minutes.   In this pose you relax all muscles and let your upper body hang without focusing much on alignment.

IMG_3252

Butterfly Pose

 

Yin yoga emerged out of the Taoist traditions of China.  Just as Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and Indian medicine (Aruyveda) come from a common tree, so do Yin and Hatha yoga.  Here in the west, Yin has been catching on, particularly among athletes, martial artists and people who want a more grounding, quieter type of yoga practice.   While Yang yoga often involves flowing sequences with 40 or more Asanas (poses) being held for 3 to 5 breath rounds, a Yin Yoga sequence might include just 10-15 poses each held for three to 10 minutes.

Bernie Clark, who studied under some Yin Masters and authored YinSights, says “Yin targets connective tissues… (ligaments, joints and bones, and is complimentary to the dynamic styles of yoga, which are focused on muscles.”  For many tennis players, runners and other athletes whose sports are so dynamic, having a less dynamic yoga practice can be very balancing.  For anyone suffering from injuries or recovering from illnesses, Yin may be just the right prescription for health.

The three basic rules of Yin according to Mr. Clark, are

1) Come into the pose at an appropriate depth.  One of my teachers described that as just short of your edge.  So come to your edge and ease off just enough so that you can maintain this position for the duration. You should feel sensation, but not pain.

2) Resolve to remain still except for your breathing.  You may not always succeed, especially if you are naturally a fidgety person, but maybe say to yourself when you want to flee, I will stick with it ten more seconds.

IMG_3370 (1)

Cat Pulling Its Tail

3) Hold the pose for a length of time upward of a minute, preferably 3-5 minutes.  This is important for several reasons.  For one thing, it takes at least 45 seconds before your muscles stop contracting.  It is necessary for your muscles to relax in order to go deeper into the connective tissue matrix of your body.

Mr. Clark describes what is often an initial reaction to practicing Yin. “Your mind starts to play tricks on you,” he says.  You want to fidget or escape.  But by breathing into the pose and paying attention to the sensations without judgment, you learn to stay calm and still in the midst of sensation, which our minds translate into suffering.  This skill, with practice, can translate off the mat in everyday life

I was first introduced to Yin Yoga 10 years ago when one of my favorite Yoga teachers in Charlottesville, Virginia came back from a workshop and spent the next five Sundays exploring Yin with us.   She would talk to us throughout the long held poses to keep us from releasing the pose too soon.  Her commentary and her eclectic style of teaching kept me coming back for more. Little did I know then, that I would follow in her footsteps.  She was also a school teacher, as I am.   In the fall of 2014 during the Yoga teacher training at Joyful Yoga, I was again, introduced to Yin Yoga through two of my teachers.  I was immediately drawn to the grounding nature of this style of yoga and the way my body felt after the practice was finished.

If you are interested in exploring the Yin Yoga Practice, come to  my Friday 9 am Yin/Yang Yoga class at Happehatchee.  The cost is just $10 and you get the added benefits of practicing Yoga in Nature and supporting a beautiful not-for-profit eco spiritual center that is working actively to protect land in Estero . I am also available to do private yoga classes.  Schedule your class today.

Yin at happe for yoga newsletter

 

I wish you health and joy in  your day.  Namaste,  Andrea

Happehatchee Yoga Classes Estero Tennis Golf Yoga ClassesPrivate Yoga Classes Lee County

Heaven Lane Yoga

Heaven Lane Creations – Designing custom yoga classes to meet your physical, emotional and health needs. Designing individualized doTERRA oil routines for your health.  Designing custom made jewelry to fit your style.

Finding Zen in Tennis and in Yoga

Becoming one with nature in mermaid_edited-1sm

As I have watched the plethora of young yoga teachers in person or on line overdoing poses to find the perfect Asana, or even some of my  older yoga students stubbornly trying things that are not right for their bodies , I am reminded again and again about  the follies of ego and youth.

It is not the Asana we want to perfect but the control over our minds and integration of our mind, body and breath. Ask yourself this question, ” Do I have to do an extreme pose to accomplish this?”Dophin attempt at headstand

 

I liken this dilemma to what I have often experienced as a competitive tennis player.  For years, I thought if I hit the ball harder and outran all my opponents, I would win.  As I have aged and faced more and more tennis related injuries from my youth and ego follies, I have grown to realize that my best weapon on the court is control over my mind and body.  It is when I can integrate breath, mind and body and calmly see the greater picture including the ball, my opponents and my partner, that I experience the Zen of Tennis.  I had one of those moments recently.

So how does this relate to yoga.  Focus and awareness of your internal landscape is so much more important than trying to look like everyone else doing the pose. I often tell my students that once they feel safe and understand what the pose looks like,  close their eyes and then feel into the pose.Andrea Preparing for dd pretty picture

I read nearly every article that comes out on yoga safety.  I was recently reading about yoga to ease lower back pain. In the Yoga Journal 2015 article writer Bill Giebler wrote after attending a yoga session for lower pain, where the teacher Tias Little suggested that most of us need to dial back our movements to 80% and mix in micro-movements with  larger movements.  “Some somatic therapists suggest it’s the small movements that really open up the whole arena of the nervous system, because the slow and soft and small movements allow the brain to track what’s happening.” And really the bottom line, according to Little, for all of us who want yoga to be therapeutic, is to learn to track “sensation in each movement and take mental notes”.   In other words, learning to become both the observer/witness and the participant.

If you want to experience my mindful approach to yoga teaching, you can catch me twice a week at Happehatchee (Wednesdays at 11 am and Saturdays at 9 am), once a week at Fyzical on Metro (drop in rate just $7.00) Thursdays at 8:00 am, or if you belong to either Gateway Country Club or Vanderbilt Country Club, see their schedules.  Also I am available for one-on-one private or semi-private sessions at your convenience. Prices are listed on my website.

 

To learn more about my yoga and meditation offerings, please check out my website, my on-line profile through Thumbtack Professionals or my YouTube Videos.

I wish you health and joy in your day and in 2016!

Namaste, Andrea

Tennis Golf Yoga ClassesOn Location Yoga Classes EsteroPrivate Yoga Classes Lee County

Heaven Lane Yoga – Designing custom yoga classes to meet your physical, emotional and health needs.

Connect with me!

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Andrea Trank
Heaven Lane Creations
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Have mat will travel — deciding where you want to do yoga

1-26-16 Tarpon Beach Yoga (8)  600 dpi tallAs yoga’s popularity increases, there are so many opportunities to experience the amazing benefits of this practice.

How do you chose where to take your yoga classes?  Here is one yoga teacher’s mostly objective view on the pros and cons of the different venues.  I have taught in all of these settings.

1-26-16 Tarpon Beach Yoga (29) 600 wide

Yoga on the beach:  THE UPSIDE –beautiful scenery including sky and ocean, the smell and sounds of the sea, soft sand which is easy on the feet and knees, always available. THE DOWNSIDE: lack of privacy, hard to maintain your balance, weather conditions and bugs can sometimes be a factor and if you do not like the sand in your mat, this may not be your thing.

 

Yoga in an outdoor pavilion:  THE UPSIDE:  sounds of nature, beautiful scenery, yet protected from the elements, casual atmosphere, no mirrors, no make-up, come as you are.  THE DOWNSIDE: the equipfriends with yoga matsment is not pristine because it is out in nature, critters can make there way into the pavilion, harder to get to, limited class   schedule, can be very chilly or very hot and muggy.

 

Yoga in your country club: THE UPSIDE: convenient, friendly, affordable, everybody knows your name.  THE DOWNSIDE: often in a room that doubles as a dining area or has other types of classes so it can smell.  Often noisy as well. Lacking proper equipment and proper flooring sometimes.

 

Yoga in a gym:  THE UPSIDE:  Gyms are everywhere.  Yoga classes usually are included in the cost of your membership.  THE DOWNSIDE: noisy rooms, don’t always have the right equipment and teacher qualifications are not always as strict as other venues.Legsinairinfrontoffire

Yoga in a Yoga Studio: THE UPSIDE: Specially designed spaces with lots of amenities like props and mats, sound proof, good quality teachers.  THE DOWNSIDE: More expensive, often can be intimidating due to the beautiful yogis and the underlying glamour of a studio. Can feel cliquish.  You are either part of the “in” crowd or  you are not.

Private Yoga in Your Home: THE UPSIDE:  the comfort and convenience of your own home, no competition (except from your pets) or if you have small children.  Control of the cleanliness, go at your pace.  THE DOWNSIDE: private instruction is more expensive,  if you like a group for inspiration you might be lonely, and you need to hire someone you trust who has equipment or you will need to purchase your own equipment.

 

There you have it— a quick overview of the many yoga offerings out there.  And they are increasing all the time. My advice –sample the offerings. If you are a beginner and can afford it, take private lessons first so that you can get a firm foundation of  techniques of the poses and the breathing practices.  That way you will be safer when you join a class.  You will also be better able to decide which styles of yoga are for you and which teacher appeals to you.

To learn more about my yoga offerings, please check out my website, my on-line profile through Thumbtack Professionals or my YouTube Videos.

I wish you health and joy in your day and in 2016!

Namaste, Andrea

Tennis Golf Yoga ClassesOn Location Yoga Classes EsteroPrivate Yoga Classes Lee County

Heaven Lane Yoga – Designing custom yoga classes to meet your physical, emotional and health needs.

Connect with me!

facebook twitter etsy youtube instagram pinterest

Heaven Lane Yoga

Andrea Trank
Heaven Lane Creations
HeavenLaneCreations.com

How to Make Your New Year’s Resolutions Last

Andrea close up mountain pose on beach

 

2016 has arrived and with it renewed determination to change our lives for the better.  So why do New Year’s Resolutions especially those involving our health and relationships invariably fail?

According to one of my mentors,   Yoga Teacher and Life Coach Nicole DeAvilla, ” only 8% of the people successfully achieve their resolutions.” She and many Andrea Beautiful pidgeon pose full size_edited-1others who have studied this trend believe it is because a resolution is not easily turned into a new habit. “We ride the wave of enthusiasm then when that subsides, there isn’t the habit, the mindset, or more importantly, the rewired brain patterns that will sustain us one we get caught up in the usual distractions and always present mundane aspects of life” she says.

So how do you rewire your brain.  You may have guessed what I am going to say… a daily practice of yoga and meditation.  Yoga and Meditation Effects on Rewiring the Brain is a hot topic being studied.

  • A UCLA study showed meditators had better preserved brains than non-meditators
  • A Yale University study showed that mindfulness meditation practice quiets the “monkey mind” the part of the brain that is always wandering, ruminating, and worrying about the past and future.
  • A Harvard study showed that 8 weeks of meditating can actually increase the thickness of the hippocampus, the part of the brain that governs learning and memory. At the same time, decreasing the cell volume in another part of the brain, the amygdala responsible for the feelings of fear, stress and anxiety.                                                                (Alice G. Walton, Forbes Magazine on line)

Andrea  sitting up straight and tall on the dock from the sideSo how does this work?  According to the Chopra Center, the “deep state of rest produced by meditation triggers the brain to release neurotransmitters, including dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin and endorphins –naturally occurring brain chemicals linked to different aspects of happiness.” In general when you feel happier, you are more likely to stick with program or plan.

The yoga connection has also been written about extensively. According to Jenni Rawlings, a yoga teacher and blog writer, yoga is all about taking what we learn on the mat,  including deep breathing, softening muscles, clearing the mind and being present and bringing it off the mat into our daily lives. “These are the techniques that break bad habits, eliminate negativity, and diminish stress,” she concludes.

So try adding Yoga and Meditation to your 2016 list of resolutions and see how much it helps with all your other resolutions.  Let me help you achieve your 2016 New Year’s resolutions. I offer two public yoga classes at Happehatchee; Wednesdays at 11 am and Saturdays at 9 am. Otherwise, I am available for private and semi private yoga classes or on-line consultations. See the Heaven Lane Yoga page.

Monday Mantra sankalpa

To learn more about my yoga offerings, please check out my website, my on-line profile through Thumbtack Professionals or my YouTube Videos.

I wish you health and joy in your day and in 2016!

Namaste, Andrea

Tennis Golf Yoga ClassesOn Location Yoga Classes EsteroPrivate Yoga Classes Lee County

Heaven Lane Yoga – Designing custom yoga classes to meet your physical, emotional and health needs.

Connect with me!

facebook twitter etsy youtube instagram pinterest

Heaven Lane Yoga

Andrea Trank
Heaven Lane Creations
HeavenLaneCreations.com

Add a little Yin to your Yang Life

Why Yin Yoga has a place in your health routine!

2015-10-08 19.56.36

 

Some of the Yoga poses look very familiar but when practiced in the Yin style of Yoga they have different names and often, different purposes.  For instance, Cobblers pose (Baddha Konasana) in the Yang style of yoga is called Butterfly in Yin.  Butterfly is a slightly wider -legged pose, looking more like a diamond and it is often held for three to five minutes.   In this pose you relax all muscles and let your upper body hang with focusing much on alignment.

IMG_3252

Yin yoga emerged out of the Taoist traditions of China.  Just as Traditional Chinese  Medicine (TCM) and Indian medicine (Aruyveda) come from a common tree, so do Yin  and Hatha yoga.  Here in the west, Yin has been catching on, particularly among athletes,  martial artists and people who want a more grounding, quieter type of yoga practice.    While Yang yoga often involves flowing sequences with 40 or more Asanas (poses) being  held for 3 to 5 breath rounds, a Yin Yoga sequence might include just 10-15 poses each  held for three to 10 minutes.

 

Bernie Clark, who studied under some Yin Masters and authored YinSights, says “Yin targets connective tissues… (ligaments, joints and bones, and is complimentary to the dynamic styles of yoga, which are focused on muscles.”  For many tennis players, runners and other athletes whose sports are so dynamic, having a less dynamic yoga practice can be very balancing.  For anyone suffering from injuries or recovering from illnesses, Yin may be just the right prescription for health.

The three basic rules of Yin according to Mr. Clark, are

1) Come into the pose at an appropriate depth.  One of my teachers described that as just short of your edge.  So come to your edge and ease off just enough so that you can maintain this position for the duration. You should feel sensation, but not pain.

2) Resolve to remain still except for your breathing.  You may not always succeed, especially if you are naturally a fidgety person, but maybe say to yourself when you want to flee, I will stick with it ten more seconds.

3) Hold the pose for a length of time upward of a minute, preferably 3-5 minutes.  This is important for several reasons.  For one thing, it takes at least 45 seconds before your muscles stop contracting.  It is necessary for your muscles to relax in order to go deeper into the connective tissue matrix of your body.

IMG_3370 (1)

Mr. Clark describes what is often an initial reaction to practicing Yin. “Your mind starts to play tricks on you,” he says.  You want to fidget or escape.  But by breathing into the pose and paying attention to the sensations without judgment, you learn to stay calm and still in the midst of sensation, which our minds translate into suffering.  This skill, with practice, can translate off the mat in everyday life

I was first introduced to Yin Yoga 10 years ago when one of my favorite Yoga teachers in Charottesville, Virginia came back from a workshop and spent the next five Sundays exploring Yin with us.   She would talk to us throughout the long held poses to keep us from releasing the pose too soon.  Her commentary and her eclectic style of teaching kept me coming back for more. Little did I know then, that I would follow in her footsteps.  She was also a school teacher, as I am.   In the fall of 2014 during the Yoga teacher training at Joyful Yoga, I was again, introduced to Yin Yoga through two of my teachers.  I was immediately drawn to the grounding nature of this style of yoga and the way my body felt after the practice was finished.

If you are interested in exploring the Yin Yoga Practice, come to  my Saturday 9:30 am Yin yoga class at Happehatchee.  The cost is just $10 and you get the added benefits of practicing Yoga in Nature and supporting a beautiful not-for-profit eco spiritual center that is working actively to protect land in Estero .

Yin at happe for yoga newsletter

 

I wish you health and joy in  your day.  Namaste,  Andrea

Happehatchee Yoga Classes Estero Tennis Golf Yoga ClassesPrivate Yoga Classes Lee County

Heaven Lane Yoga

Heaven Lane Yoga – Designing custom yoga classes to meet your physical, emotional and health needs.

Happehatchee Happenings

Open House Happehatchee 2015

Aaron-painting-rain-barrelAwesome Open House at Happehatchee!

We had phenomenal attendance Saturday September 26 at Happehatchee’s Open House and Celebration of National Estuaries Day.  The response from the community far exceeded our “hopes and dreams,” according to board member Holley Rauen.

The weather forecast was foreboding, (it was the last week of September in Southwest Florida, what do you expect) and it had been raining cats and dogs for weeks now.

But the matriarch of Happehatchee, Ellen Peterson, must have been looking down from above giving her blessing to this event…. because young and old, new and familiar, local and foreign people flocked into Happehatchee for a celebration of National Estuaries Day. It was also an Open House to introduce or re-introduce the Center to the Southwest Florida community.

This event was billed as a chance to experience Happehatchee in all of its glory, and it lived up to its billing. Every half hour, the Peace Pavilion filled up with students eager to try out our yoga in nature classes, participate in a drum circle or Kirtan, sing for world peace or learn about cutting edge healing methods like EFT.

FGCU students were stationed everywhere as well as local artist Ehren Gerhard, Happehatchee board member Holley Rauen and regular volunteers such as Terry and Peg. Special thanks to Terry Ganley, Peggy Lindsey, Sheila Hultgren, Stephanie Bravo, Zuliana Salerno, Lexi Siegle, Kathryn Marinace, Nat Kelleher and Lindsey Smith. Two staff members, newly appointed Executive Director Julie Gerhard and me, the Yoga Coordinator tag teamed to make sure all were “happe” with Happehatchee.

The reviews were extremely positive.  “ I can feel the energy here,” said one person who had never been at Happehatchee before.  “I am staying all day,” said another Happe client after the second yoga class.  “I’m in. Sign me up!” said another.

Happe Open House TentNot a drop of rain spilled on the outdoor vendors, the food station where yummy Guatemalan food was served or the environmental education station, where children and adults alike learned what an estuary was and how to protect it.  Zuliana, who volunteered at this station commented, “the kids were like sponges, but what really surprised me was how much the adults learned as well.”

So as Happehatchee enters its 10th year in existence as a not-for-profit eco spiritual center, it looks like an auspicious beginning to health and healing for those who venture onto these sacred grounds.

Happehatchee Center is a sanctuary for peace and healing.

Below check out a gallery of Happehatchee’s Celebration of National Estuaries Day and Open House.

 

I wish you health and joy in  your day.  Namaste,  Andrea

Happehatchee Yoga Classes Estero Tennis Golf Yoga ClassesPrivate Yoga Classes Lee County

Heaven Lane Yoga

Heaven Lane Yoga – Designing custom yoga classes to meet your physical, emotional and health needs.

You can reach me through the website contact form or by emailing me at andrea@heavenlanecreations.com .  By the way I live on Heaven Lane, so my company is aptly called Heaven Lane Creations.

Is your Vata out of balance?

Vata (1)

If your Vata is out of balance, you are not alone.  Now maybe you are asking yourself…”What is Vata?  How do I know if mine is out of balance?”

Vata is a dosha– in fact, one of the three main doshas according to Ayurveda, the sister science to Yoga.

Sleeping yin pose VataThe other two doshas are Pitta and Kapha.

Doshas are both simple and complicated at the same time.  A dosha can be used to describe your primary disposition (personality, body type, likes and dislikes, what illnesses you are prone to).

I am, for instance, according to many  Dosha tests I have taken, a Vata/Pitta. Vata-like  personality qualities include being creative and outgoing.   Vata body types include  having creaky bones, a sensitive digestion system,  and tendency toward anxiety.

Even if you don’t fit the Vata body type, you could still be experiencing a Vata imbalance if you are over 50 or  if you are experiencing the same season that I am… Fall.  Fall is the start of Vata season.

You see, a dosha can also  be used to describe cycles of life, cycles of the year and cycles of each day.  Fall and Winter are Vata times.  Spring is Kapha time and Summer is the hot Pitta time.

So how do you know  if your Vata is out of balance? For one thing, you feel spacey.  You can’t finish a project, you lose your keys, you are not sleeping well.  Maybe you are anxious, but can’t quite put a finger on what is bothering you.  Your digestive system is off, your body aches and you just don’t feel connected.

More importantly, how do you re-balance your Vata?  You can come to one of my Vata balancing Yoga classes.  I am helping my students re-balance their Vatas in the next few weeks. We will be doing a lot of one side stretch poses  like side plank, revolved triangle and pidgeon and grounding poses such as downward dog and child’s pose.

Nadi Shodana, a breathing practice where you alternate inhaling and exhaling with one nostril shut at a time is also helpful.

doterraA few other practices will help you transition from Summer to Fall.

  1. Switch from eating raw vegetables in salads to cooked vegetables in soups.
  2. Re-establish a regular eating and sleep routine
  3. Spend more time walking in nature.
  4. And maybe consider adding essential oils to  your daily ritual.

I have been doTERRA essential  oils which are said to be grounding and earthy.

Frankisense, cypress and helichrysum can be used both topical and and in your diffuser.  I can also help you with that.  Contact me. 

I wish you health and joy in  your day.  Namaste,  Andrea

Happehatchee Yoga Classes Estero Tennis Golf Yoga ClassesPrivate Yoga Classes Lee County

Heaven Lane Yoga

Heaven Lane Yoga – Designing custom yoga classes to meet your physical, emotional and health needs.

You can reach me through the website contact form or by emailing me at andrea@heavenlanecreations.com .  By the way I live on Heaven Lane, so my company is aptly called Heaven Lane Creations.

Meditation is on the Monday Menu

Andreasilhouettecropped

Have you every obsessed about your weight?  I have been obsessing over my weight my whole life.

MomonAtlanticCItyboardwalk

When you have a mother who looked like a movie star and won Ms. Atlantic City Boardwalk because of her slim beautiful body, its ingrained in you. My mother  even looked good just a few month after giving birth to me.  That’s  a hard act to follow.

 

Mom and me when I was 1 1/2

Mom and me when I was 1 1/2

 

See the family picture below to see what I looked like right after Gabe was born.  I weighed 200 lbs and my extended family decided this was the time to do the big family portrait…. in fact, the one and only family portrait.  So I get to remind myself of how easily my body can go up and down  60 lbs ever time I look at this picture.  For years, I obsessed about getting all my nutritional needs. What was I going to eat and when exactly was I going to eat? These kinds of questions occupied a great deal of mental activity. It became background noise in my brain. This may  have been the direct result of a year in my life back in the early 2000’s when my stomach could not even adequately digest my food so I ended up juicing most of my meals.  In 2000, I was diagnosed with an odd disease known as Gastro -paresis.

 Summer 1998

Summer 1998

The medicines that I was put on caused chemical depression.   I lost 40 lbs or so and was told I might have to go on a feeding tube.  I eventually weaned myself off all medicines and re-trained my body to eat and started gaining weight again from a low of 120 lbs. (which is very thin for my frame).  That is the also year I started practicing yoga seriously.  It was my lifeline.  I started to see my sensitive stomach and my sensitive nature in general as a blessing, not just a bane. Awareness of my internal landscape could be a compass to point me in the direction of health and wellness. I could learn to control and understand the nature of the background noise.

Andrea doing squat at Happehatchee

Since that time I have been on a quest to find the right eating plan for me.  It continues to be a work in progress, which is the impetus for doing the weekly Monday Menu.   Meditation has a role in today’s Monday Menu.  During my morning 12 minute meditation, I had an epiphany.   I was going to reverse the order of what I ate! Here is how it goes:  Since I am trying to eat my main meal in the middle of the day, its about figuring out how to get in the rest of nutrition in a way that works with the desire to not eat much in the evening.  So instead of grabbing a breakfast bar (usually a Kind bar) before running out in the morning, why not try gluten free oatmeal with fruit and almond milk. Midday, when possible, will be the big healthy lunch and then the Kind bar with a cup of tea to stave off hunger and a sweet tooth in the evening.

healthyfoodfrom planet freshedited

So here is where meditation comes in! Why do ideas come during meditation you might ask?  “I thought you weren’t supposed to be thinking about anything during meditation.  Clearing your mind… right?”  Well maybe.  However, the “monkey mind” as it is known is hard to clear.  So sitting in meditation waiting for that moment might leave you a bit disappointed and possibly feeling like a failure.  Meditation, as one of  my teachers explained, is a daily practice just like brushing your teeth.  You do it every day because it is good for you… and every once in a while, you may end up with an epiphany.

 

Namaste,  Andrea

 

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