Did you know it is said that when the body does not know what to do with an emotion it sticks it in the hips?!? It locks it up there until we decide to release it, let it go. The fascia or connective tissue in the hips holds onto past events, regrets, frustrations and guilt. What Yoga poses should we be doing to release and stretch into the hips...??
Bhekasana (Frog Pose variation): This pose provides a strong external rotation and opening of the hips. To come into the pose- Take your knees wide into a splits position. Then walk the feet out wider than the knees. **It is important to turn the toes out away from each! If the toes are pointed in, you will not get the same stretch. Next, support your upper body as you lower down towards the floor resting your forehead either on a forearm or a towel. Once you have lowered the body down to where you are comfortable, shift your bottom slightly back towards your heels to intensify the stretch. Expect it to be uncomfortable. Unless you are experiencing true pain from an old or new injury in the hips, try to stay with it. Breath 10 deep belly breaths (about 1 minute), sending that breath into the hips with awareness, asking for opening. *Be sure to relax any tension at the tops of the shoulders by walking the shoulders away from the ears and softening the tops of the trapezius.
Baddha Konasana (Cobblers Pose): Sitting up nice and tall, bring the soles of the feet together and interlace your fingers around your toes. Relax your shoulders. Inhale to sit up tall, lift through the sternum and exhale to hinge at your hips and bow forward. Drop the chin and close the eyes. Soften the tops of the shoulders. Use your inner, upper groins to energetically press your knees down towards the floor with actually touching the knees. If you need more access to the pose, and a gentler stretch, walk the heels out away from the groins. Breath 10 deep breaths (about 1 minute). These are just two of many, many yoga poses that can be used to open the hips. Consider warming up for hip openers with a seated Cradle Pose in which you hold onto the leg and rock the hip back and forth-one hand on the knee, the other hand on the foot. Other hip openers include: Seated Archer Cow face pose & half cow face pose Pigeon Pose Happy baby pose & half happy baby pose Supta Baddha Konasana (reclining cobblers pose) Wide kneed childs pose Standing goddess pose (straddle stretch variation) Half frog pose, one leg at a time on belly Enjoy!! & Don't forget to breath... ~Andrea Andrea Hutchens, RYT 500 is a registered yoga teacher in Sedona, Arizona that enjoys sharing the benefits of yoga with others through classes, workshops and retreats.
You can't deny the calming effects of meditation. But I've learned from my students, it's not always easy to unplug. Some excuses I hear are; I don't have time! I can't turn my brain off. Or I'm too impatient to sit still. And I tried it, but it didn't work.
Meditation, if done right, only takes ten minutes of your day. I looked at some studies and found that the shortest period of time proven to significantly benefit well-being was 10 minutes. That's all! Make it a part of your morning routine (like brushing your teeth, or taking your vitamins). You'll start the day feeling refreshed and calm, and you'll feel better rather than falling victim to the stress that comes with obligations such as meetings, errands and social outings that arise throughout the day. Instead, you'll feel more grounded and present. Like nothing and no one can bother you. If you have trouble turning your brain off, don't try! That is actually not the goal of meditation. When you begin to meditate just observe your thoughts and acknowledge them. Don't immediately assume that your thoughts will stop and your mind will grow quiet. Expecting too much will cause you to give up or get stuck on trying to stop thinking. They key is don't resist and thoughts or feelings like worry or anxiousness. Resisting only fuels the emotions. Allow your thoughts to come and go naturally like waves. This way, they will wash over you and eventually disappear. If you find yourself too impatient to sit still, impatience arises out of boredom. You may thinking about getting somewhere or achieving something rather than just letting yourself be. Let go of the past and the future! Meditation is about living in the present moment. One of the greatest gifts you can give yourself is just to be present. By bringing the mind to the here and now and simply experiencing life as it happens, moment by moment, you'll find there is no room for impatience. If you tried it, but it didn't work, then you are looking for results. You need to take the time to pause and appreciate the ability to sit and be still. There is a tendency in life to take things for granted. We know we should be more grateful for things, but that is not always our everyday experience. Being Grateful is a daily practice. When you can remove yourself from your day to day worries, a genuine appreciation of things you have in your life-the people, the relationships-you will come to a place of gratitude and true contentment. That is what ultimately leads to peace of mind.
*Remember, if you've ever been in one of my yoga classes you've probably heard me say, "There are no problems in the present moment, there is only the moment". Peace~Andrea
Whenever we encounter a stressful event, our bodies undergo a series of hormonal and biochemical changes that put us in "alarm mode". Our heart rate increases, adrenaline rushes through our blood stream, and our digestive and immune systems temporarily shut down. If the stressors continue and we stay on high alert for a prolonged period of time, we experience exhaustion and burn out. Often times we get sick with something we 'just can't shake'. None of us can avoid stress, but we can return to a state of balance and regulation through a variety of means, including deep breathing, meditation, yoga and regular exercise. These activities provide calming and relaxing sensory input for stress relief and can be selected according to lifestyle and personal preference.
**Don't forget, one of the best ways to let go of stress is to take a vacation!! Above Andrea Hutchens, E-RYT in Eka Pada Rajakapotasana on the beach at Lake Powell.
I am so sorry!! I just looked and was shocked to see that I haven't posted on my Yoga blog since March of last year!! Aacckk! For those that follow, I do apologize for having abandoned you completely.
Now, for the good news! I am still teaching yoga classes in Arizona, and in fact, I am getting ready to take a group of fabulous women on a Goddess Yoga retreat to Sedona. I can't even tell you how excited I am about this!! To plan, arrange, facilitate every aspect of taking a group of women away from the real world and create a unique experience of bonding and having the luxury of 5 yoga classes over the 3 day weekend. Planning delicious menus, special music playlists, naming each bedroom of the estate a different beautiful Sanskrit word. Then having the retreat participants research thier bedroom name over the weekend (in only books of course-no electronics allowed!) and learn as much about the sanskrit word as possible, fun!!
So, if you want information to register for the retreat. I will accept one or two late registrations. The dates are Feb. 24, 25, 26th 2012. The cost is $350.00 and includes accomadations at a 5,000 square foot private estate in Sedona, all meals and snacks, 5 yoga classes over the 3 days. And a departure gift for each participant. We begin on Friday at 3:00pm and end on Sunday at 3:00pm. For info contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org Happy New Year, peace and namaste...Andrea
As I taught my classes this week, I noticed how everyone in class struggled with balance postures. In my 8 years of teaching yoga classes in Arizona, I've noticed this many times before. As soon as students realize we are coming into a balance posture such as knee to chest, or Tree or Warrior 3, they grimace, they sigh, they hem and haw, and most of all, they moan and groan! "Ugg...Not balance, I really hate balance!!"
This week, I really began to examine why. I also began to talk to classes about it. Helping them to understand, beyond the physical reasons. Beyond the fact that it's challenging, out of our control or it feels "uncomfortable", why do we dislike balance so much? Beyond the physical limitations of the body, what about the mental, emotional and spirtual ideals of bringing things into balance. Of just simply trying to keep our life in "balance". On a day to day basis, from the time we wake up in the morning, til the time we go to bed at night, we are struggling and juggling and trying to keep everything in balance. Chances are, if things aren't in balance off the mat, then they probably aren't in balance on the mat either. This is why we struggle with balance postures on the mat. This is why we gringe when the teacher says drop the hand and turn the hip up into Ardha Chandrasana the half moon pose. If we aren't mentally, emotionally and spiritually balanced in our personal lives, we can't possibly expect to get on the mat be grounded, be centered and have physical balance in the one-legged postures in our personal practice. Maybe though, just maybe, if we can find solitude and acceptance and peace in the balance postures on the mat, maybe ~we can take a little bit of that with us off the mat and out into the world. Maybe be ok with how you are doing it, just for today let it be perfect just how you are doing it...on the mat and off. Peace, peace, peace... Namaste~Andrea
So, as the saying goes, all good things must come to an end. This Saturday January 29, 2011 I say goodbye to Calming Body Effects Studio. This has been my yoga home for teaching and working the desk for the last year.
I was blessed to teach at one studio, in one place for the last year. Without anyone telling me what music to play, what to teach and what not to teach. I had absolute freedom as an instructor, without judgment and criticism. What a gift that is!
Having that freedom to develop my yoga classes gave the yoga clients at CBE the freedom to develop a love of yoga and also a love of themselves.
It was my pleasure to teach the beautiful clients at CBE. Thank you for embracing me, sharing your lives with me, and being on my journey the past year. I love you all! You were a joy to have in class, and you will be missed.