Yoga for the Back BODY

Many people are hesitant to try yoga if they have physical challenges, especially if they suffer from any back issues. However, back pain does not have to limit your practice. In fact, there are certain asanas that help the body create safe space in the spine, alleviating discomfort. In every class  with Andhyana Yoga you will encounter the following back friendly poses:

1. Standing Forward Bend (Uttanasana)- Contracting the Mula and Uddiyana Bhandas,  leading with the heart bend at the hip, fold forward while keeping the the spine in a neutral position.  Unable to reach your toes? Use blocks to rest your hands and provide additional support.

2. Sphinx Pose (Salamba Bhujangasana)- This is one of my favorite gentle back bends. The ability to use the earth and your elbows offers a necessary support as you gently extend through your lower back.

3. Head to Knee Pose (Janu Sirshasana)- This asana allows the posterior back and leg muscles to release, alleviating tension on the back body.

Back pain can also be due to a weak core. Each class we focus on releasing the Illiopsoas and toning the anterior and posterior abdominal muscles in order to fully support the spine. Don't let back pain hinder your journey. See you in class this weekend!  

 

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The Ebb and Flow of the Mat

This week has been one of major shifts and transitions which have challenged me physically, mentally, and spiritually.  The past seven days I have worked 10-14 hour days with an average of 4 hours of rest each night. I have had more than 20 hours of training over 4 days. As a result, my body was susceptible to viruses that I can usually fight off quickly with rest and liquids. I also found myself a blubbering mess while trying to speak to anyone. One of the major transitions this week was the finalization of my divorce.  Yup, after 23 years, 14 married, I am now a "miss", again.  Although I felt tired and overwhelmed, I still practiced yoga every day. I even taught class for all but one day.

The morning of court, a photo, taken just a few days ago, was sent to me. As I stared at the image, I felt my entire being erupt with emotion. It was an image of me moving into a one leg plank from Three Legged Downward Facing Dog. I could hardly believe it was me. I immediately remembered the days when I could barely hold by body in Downward Facing Dog for 5 breaths. Yet here I was moving, flowing with the rhythm of my body and breath, in and out of these poses.  It was then I realized how showing up on the mat day after day had strengthened my body and allowed my mind to bend to imagine all the possibilities of my wildest dreams.

Yoga is a beautiful practice of balance of strength and flexibility. If we allow ourselves the space to move and flow, we will see the unimaginable become reality. Some days my yoga practice feels heavy.  The most I can do is Savasana. Then there are other days when I feel like taking flight. I can move and trust my mind , body, and soul to choreograph a sequence that could only come from the divine. Despite, my state of being, I care for myself by coming back to my practice everyday. EVERYTHING has a rhythm that connects us all. The tide, the sun, the moon, our heart all have a rhythm.  When we disrupt this rhythm with our own will, we inadvertently suffer and find ourself in a state of disconnect. We have one job....to show up despite how difficult it feels. The universe is here to handle the rest. Namaste.

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