Yesterday, one of my high school classmates, Dale, sent me a video, much like the one below (which is an advertisement by respected yoga instructor Lucas Rockwood with whom I am a bit acquainted and seems pretty good) and asked...

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  1. Yoga at Home: Should You Consider a Yoga Trapeze for Your Home?
  2. Yoga at Home: Post Mother's Day - and Refresher on the Child Pose
  3. Yoga at Home: Sixth-Year Anniversary of My Book - Request Your Free PDF Copy by May 9
  4. Self-taught Yoga: Helpful Video to Learn Tree Pose-Another Balance Pose
  5. Teaching Yourself Yoga: Arm and Leg Stretch-Another Balance Pose
  6. More Recent Articles

Yoga at Home: Should You Consider a Yoga Trapeze for Your Home?

Yesterday, one of my high school classmates, Dale, sent me a video, much like the one below (which is an advertisement by respected yoga instructor Lucas Rockwood with whom I am a bit acquainted and seems pretty good) and asked my opinion on the yoga trapeze.

 

Well, to start, I have no experience with yoga trapezes.  And secondly, as I have written in the past, I do not use yoga props or accoutrements of any kind - no blocks, no straps, no belts, no  blankets or balls. No nothin'. 

Just my mat and my body.  I like to keep things simple. My original yoga "teachers" (i.e., two classic books, Yoga, Youth, and Reincarnation and Yoga for Beauty and Health taught yoga poses without any props.  So, I have nil experience with them and have managed to do fine.

That said, one must evolve with the times and so I thought I'd do a little research (professional researcher that I am) on the yoga trapeze because it can be set up at home.  And, I always want to share with you ways to enhance your home yoga practice.

First, I wanted to see how much these yoga trapezes cost.  You can find the one Rockwood uses for $88 on Amazon.com which isn't too bad.  Ones from other websites cost as much as $255 or so.  A much steeper investment.

Based on Rockwood's claims and myriad Amazon reviews, the yoga trapeze offers a way, in the convenience of your home, to do various yoga inversion poses (which I have often blogged about) that benefit the back and spine especially by helping to decompress the veterbrae.

This assumes though that 1) you can set one up - and I am woefully challenged in taking things out of a box and setting them up - especially something that I am going to figure out where I can hang it up and 2) that I can actually use the trapeze without someone helping me. 

Both of these issues present major, major challenges for me! 

However, I must say, the idea is intriguing.  Especially since some of the reviews stated the following:

"This swing was the best thing I ever did for myself. I'm relieving so much tension in my shoulders and body and decompressing my back. I truly think that everyone needs one in their house."

"I tend to use this for back and hip pain as it's wonderful for traction and really stretching out your back while getting some movement in the joints. I used to be at the chiropractors every week and I haven't had to go in months now!"

However, some other reviews identified some problems in installing the trapeze and having to mount a stool to be able to get into it.

So, for the moment, I think I will pass on the yoga trapeze.

However, it's something I may revisit because hanging upside down like a bat could be fun and rejuvenating!  I just don't think I can do it on my own at this time!  I will stick with the shoulder stand and plough pose as my go-to inversion poses that I can do sans props.

However, you may wish to give it a whirl by checking out the video below or looking up other ones on youtube.com.

Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

Laura Venecia Rodriguez, the yoga at home for beginners coach

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Yoga at Home: Post Mother's Day - and Refresher on the Child Pose

Child Pose

The child pose is a wonderful restorative post that I do between other yoga poses.

I had a wonderful Mother's Day, yesterday. We enjoyed spectacular weather here in metropolitan Washington DC - radiant sunshine and warmth after days of unseasonably, chilly temperatures with gray skies and seemingly incessant rain.  I made a point of relaxing (and not cooking!), spoke to my wonderful daughter, and ate a delectable lunch with my mother at her senior living facility and a tasty takeout dinner with my son on our deck.

Motherhood is filled with delight and challenges. As mothers, we focus on nurturing our children as they grow from infancy into adulthood.  It takes much energy and effort to do so. It can be exhausting at times. Therefore, it's important to remember that we must nurture ourselves all along the way. A daily yoga practice is a key way to do that. 

When my children were infants and toddlers, it was tricky squeezing in the time for yoga practice.  But, I made the commitment to do so because I knew it was vital to my well being. It was (and is) a way to nurture myself.  Whether you are a mother or not, a daily yoga practice is a gift you give to yourself, to nurture and soothe yourself.

And, in thinking about Mother's Day, I recalled how much I enjoy the yoga child pose.  It's a pose I do in between other poses because it is especially soothing and restorative. In light of that, I provide a refresher below on the child pose.  Enjoy!

Child/Embryo Pose – Arms Forward  (Sanskrit name – Balasana) 

Type of yoga pose:  Kneeling forward bend

Body parts targeted:  Upper torso, hips, hamstrings, spine, thigh muscles, and ankles.

How to do the pose:

  1. Kneel on the floor and sit on your knees with them close together.  Inhale and exhale deeply.

Japanese Sitting Pose

  1. Inhale and gently fold yourself forward until your forehead rests on the floor.
  2. Exhale and stretch your arms forward out in front of your head. (refer to photo at the top of this post)
  3. Feel the deep fold in your ankles, knees, and hips.  Inhale and exhale again.
  4. Allow yourself to totally relax.
  5. Rest in this pose for 5-10 seconds.
  6. Bring arms from their forward position back to your sides.
  7. Gently and slowly uncurl your upper back and neck and raise your head moving up one vertebra at a time until you return to an erect and relaxed kneeling position.

Practice time:  Start with 5-10 seconds and increase by a few seconds each week until you can hold the pose for 30 seconds or more depending on your time constraints.

Number of repetitions:  1-2 or 1 between other poses

Key benefits from this pose: 

  1. Reduces fatigue and tension in body.
  2. Relaxes neck and lower back and limbers knee joints.
  3. Releases tightness in and develops flexibility of ankles, knees, and hips.
  4. Reduces tension in upper thigh muscles.
  5. Counteracts strain from backward stretches.
  6. Helps alleviate insomnia and constipation. 

Special hints and my experience with this pose:

This stretch is soothing – especially after completing challenging inverse poses such as the bow or the cobra.  It’s excellent for cooling down and resting between poses and for counterbalancing inverse stretches such as the bow. 

Initially, you may find this pose a bit uncomfortable if you have a lot of accumulated tension and tightness in your upper thighs.  If I have slept in an awkward position, I notice such tightness which the pose helps alleviate.

Be patient and stay in the pose only as long as is comfortable for you. Work your way up to holding the pose for longer periods.

 

Yours for nurturing yourself with yoga,

Laura Venecia Rodriguez, the yoga at home for beginners coach

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Yoga at Home: Sixth-Year Anniversary of My Book - Request Your Free PDF Copy by May 9

  FinalFinalYogaCover1811

My yoga book for beginners came out six years ago - on May 6, 2011.

I cannot believe that six years have passed since I first published my yoga book! Excuse the cliches, but It truly was a four-year part-time labor of love - and, of blood, sweat, and tears.

Most of the content is evergreen.  However, like any other non-fiction book, some sections need updating - especially because of innovations in technology, music, and the wealth of new yoga resources available.

And, as my 86-years of ago mother has been pointing out over the past few weeks, a number of typos need correcting! (I edited the book myself, something I won't re-do in the future.)

To celebrate the book's sixth anniversary, I will email you a free PDF copy if you agree to identify any typos or out-of-date information you come across. Please send your full name and email address and commitment to provide some feedback to:  laura@athomeyoga.info. Of course, I can't force you to do so or have much legal recourse, but, I hope that you will have the integrity to follow through on your commitment  This offer expires on 11:59 pm (EST), Tuesday, May 9.

Have a wonderful, yoga-filled week and always strive for improvement in your practice!

Laura Venecia Rodriguez, the yoga at home for beginner's coach

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Self-taught Yoga: Helpful Video to Learn Tree Pose-Another Balance Pose

Half-Lotus Rodriguez
 As I mentioned a few weeks ago as part of my "yoga spring cleaning," I felt I needed to start learning a few new poses to add to my regime.

Since maintaining balance still challenges me, I felt that I should start incorporating the ygoa "Tree Pose."  I have done it in the past - but not consistently - no reason why - except that maintaining balance is often difficult for me!

I soon found a youtube video on the Tree pose that is pretty good.  Of course, there are many, I did not have time to watch them all.  I like that this video covers the basics in under 3 minutes.  Also, the video presents front and side views and has some arrow graphics to explain the alignment for which you should strive while holding the pose.

What I found lacking is that there's no explanation on exactly how long you should hold the pose or how many repetitions are recommended (although I tend to do most poses only once).  Also, the video is produced by YogaSync TV - no individual instructor is named and from that perspective, it's a bit impersonal. I prefer videos associated with a particular person.

Overall, however, I do find this video to be helpful.  Enjoy.

 

 

Best wishes for a yoga-filled week!

Laura Venecia Rodriguez, the yoga at home for beginner's coach

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Teaching Yourself Yoga: Arm and Leg Stretch-Another Balance Pose


Arm and Leg Stretch Final

The arm and leg stretch is a yoga balance pose I alternate with the Eagle pose.

Greetings fellow at home yogis!

As I said in last week's refresher on the Eagle Pose, improving balance is important. And, I was drawn to this pose because of its promised benefits to increase "balance, poise, and grace."

Back in 1970, when I first began to learn yoga, I found the arm and leg stretch yoga pose in the book, Yoga for Beauty and Health by Eugene Rawls and Eve Diskin. My two copies of this "ancient" tome are falling apart-- the pages are yellowed and frayed. Nevertheless, the teachings in this book are timeless!  Most impressive to me was the authors' assertion that:

"Our lack of normal physical activity results in the diminishing of our sense of balance, and it is this loss of the normal sense of balance that is responsible for the impairment of grace and poise..." 

However, when you improve your balance with the arm and leg stretch and other balance poses, Rawls and Diskin claiim that you regain natural poise and grace, and in turn, increased self-confidence. Moreover, you gain a "lightness" of being and energy throughout your entire being.  I have experienced this myself, even if I have not perfected the pose.

Need any more convincing to try this pose? I would think not!  Instructions follow.  Enjoy! 

 

Yoga Arm and Leg Stretch

Type of yoga pose:  Standing

Body parts targeted:  Upper arms, legs, back, and spine

How to do the pose: 

1.    Stand tall on your mat with your hands at your sides, chest held high, abdomen in and your feet and heels together. Inhale and exhale slowly at least once.

2.    Gradually raise your left arm into the air until it is above your head but not completely perpendicular to it.

Arm and Leg Stretch 1

3.    Place all your weight on your left leg.

4.    Bend your right leg at the knee and slowly raise your right foot up until you can grasp it firmly, yet gently, with your right hand.

  Arm and Leg Stretch 2A

 

5.    In slow motion, inhale deeply and pull your right leg up with your right hand.

 

Arm and Leg Stretch 2

6.    Bend your body backward at your waist.

7.    Move your left arm as far back as is comfortable and without losing your balance.

8.    Let your head drop back gently and slowly until your eyes are looking upward. 

  Arm and Leg Stretch Final

9.    Hold the pose motionless for 5 seconds.

10.To exit this pose, take a few seconds to bring your left arm forward while also releasing your pull on your right leg. Relieve the backward bend of your spine.  Come forward gently with your head.

11.Release your right foot and let your right leg descend to a normal standing position.  Lower your left arm back down to your side in slow motion.

12.Inhale and exhale slowly for a moment or two and repeat the pose on the opposite side.

Practice time:  Start by holding the pose for 5 seconds on each side during the first week and add 5 seconds each week until you can hold the pose for 15-30 seconds.

Number of repetitions:  1-2 on each side

Key benefits from this pose:

1.    Develops your sense of balance.

2.    Gives your spine a gentle, backward stretch that can be energizing.

3.    Relieves and reduces tension in the back and thighs.

4.    Increases your poise and grace as you sit and walk—leading to improved posture.

Special hints and my experience with this pose:

Stand tall and erect when you do this pose. Imagine you have the grace and poise of a swan gliding across a placid lake. Learning to maintain your balance during this pose may take a few weeks or months of practice. I have found that keeping my eyes fixed on a point in the ceiling can help. If you lose your balance, lower your arms and leg gently, pause, regain your composure, and redo. It helps to do this pose next to a wall so you can catch yourself and regain your balance if you start wobbling.

Sometimes you may suffer setbacks. No problem. This pose requires special balance and coordination – no wonder it’s been one of the more difficult ones for me to master. Some days I can keep my balance perfectly.  Other days I am wobbling back and forth like an inexperienced trapeze artist on a tightrope! 

Enjoy the stretch and have fun with it, regardless of how long you can keep your balance. Doing this pose makes you more conscious of your posture and encourages you hold your head high! You’ll feel more energized and confident!

Yours for keeping your balance with the yoga arm and leg stretch,
 

Laura Venecia Rodriguez, the self-taught yoga coach for beginners

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