A Plank a Day Challenge

I started making planks part of my daily routine. It is a great strength builder – not only physically, but also mentally. When I get in a plank my mind becomes focused and calm, thus cultivating strength and control to my body.  Here are some benefits/reasons why you should do a plank a day 🙂

1. Accessible and Convenient: You can do planks anywhere and anytime.  All you need is yourself and a mat!

2. Strength: Planks are perfect to gain strength in the core, arms, shoulders and back, but did you know planks are also great for the lower body? Including lower back, buttocks, legs and ankles. This is a pose that works out and brings strength to the entire body.

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Build your Foundation through Chaturanga Dandasana

This is one of the toughest poses for me.  It requires a great deal of strength and energy.  I’m talking about Chaturanga Dandasana (Four Limbed Staff Pose), a key foundational pose in yoga.  Practicing Chaturanga will develop the strength needed for intermediate to advance arm balances and inversions.

Getting into Chaturanga Dandasana – Four Limbed Staff Pose

1. Start from plank (Shoulders aligned with wrists, tailbone tucked in and abs engaged).
2. Spread your fingers with equal distance in-between (press into the mat with the inner knuckle mounds of your hands).

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Become Balanced through Half Moon Pose

This week’s pose is Ardha Chandrasana (ard-hah chahn-drahs-anna) – Half Moon Pose.   This is a great pose to work the deep layers of the muscles on your legs, build a strong core and stay balanced.  I love balancing poses; they require a great deal of concentration, truly allowing you to be present.

Getting into Ardha Chandrasana – Half moon pose

1. Stand in Tadasana (firmly rooting your feet into the ground).
2. Take a wide stance with your feet.  (If you extend your arms to the side, your feet should align with your hands).

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What I learned from my very first Meditation

I rolled out my mat, went into my seated position, closed my eyes and began to breathe.  I slowly started to bring my attention to my breath as I quiet the mind. Thoughts flood in and out of my head, but I remind myself to simply observe.  A key thing I learned during my training was not to force these thoughts out nor to dwell on them, but to simply observe as they float around. I paid closer attention to my breath (not giving these thoughts energy was so tough) and allowed myself to look inside.

As this inward process deepened, my mind was becoming calmer, my body stood taller, a tear from my left eye trickled down. At this moment, I was here, this is now and that’s all that mattered. I felt my breath! I mean I really felt it enter my nose, work its way into my lungs, my ribs expanding, filling my diaphragm full of oxygen. I let go of everything and sat there in awe.

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Dear Yoga

Dear Yoga,

Thank you for showing up in my life when I needed you the most. You have taught me valuable lessons and I will not be the same person without you. Maybe I am the same person, but you have taught me to accept myself. That itself was the biggest accomplishment I have yet to make. I can go on and on about how much you have changed my life, but to sum it up into 5 things you have done for me, here it goes…

5. Acceptance:
I have mentioned this already, but you have taught me to just love me for the way I am. My imperfections and my quirks make me unique. We all have our ups and downs, good and bad, but this is what makes us different. It gives us a different point of view, a new perception and yoga has truly taught me to just love that individuality about me and each and every one of you.

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