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Yoga for your shoulders

There have been some requests for yoga for your shoulders. Although as yoga guiders we are not able to medically diagnose anyone, and can only offer some suggestions for your practice, we do advise that you see a medical professional if you are having any shoulder pain or discomfort. Always modify your yoga practice if you have an injury, or specific parts of your body are requiring special attention. For general shoulder care and support, these four postures are great to do at your home practice. In my class next week (week of the 20th) we will be focusing on yoga for your shoulders with additional postures and sequences for daily care. 

Enjoy and always let us know if you have any questions! Click on the title to access the link if you want the full link 

 

-Brittany 

 

 

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From Gandhi to Kendrick Lamar: On the cultural defense of yoga and Hip Hop.

“In its inception in South Asia and within Hinduism, yoga, like hip hop, existed as a warrior art. A true yogi, according to the Gita, is not unlike a monk of the martial arts. Accounts of early diplomatic exchange between the yoga saint Patanjali and the monks of Shaolin, for example, align yoga within the martial arts. But in America, yoga has been groomed to be popular, pop for profit. In this quest, yoga, like hip hop, is getting lost in translation in ways that are destructive to it.”

 

Click on title to read more from this awesome article.

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Finding a comfortable seat

supported Sukhasana

“Odds are, you’ve heard the instruction “Find a comfortable seat,” within the first minute of most yoga classes you attend. When you have tight hips, however, finding a comfortable seat, especially at the start of practice, can be nearly impossible. Considering that the original goal of the yoga postures is to prepare the body to find the proper seat for meditation—one that is strong in the core and relaxed in the hips—starting in a seated position that is neither steady nor comfortable can feel like putting the cart before the horse. When sitting is uncomfortable, or even painful, you are violating the principle of ahimsa (nonharming) from the get-go and creating a negative experience from the very start of your practice. Here are some strategies for finding a truly comfortable starting pose.

Prop It Up

You may need to build a tower with props, but finding the right supported alignment can make your sitting position vastly more comfortable. Sit on one or more bolsters, or a stack of one or more blankets, until your knees are lower than your hips. Use blankets to support the thighs as they release down. Ask your teacher for help with this. Being properly propped can make a world of difference in the feeling of the pose, and thus in the tone you set for the entire practice.

Kneel Instead

Depending on the structural orientation of your hip sockets and the tightness of the muscles around the hip, you might find a kneeling position—especially a propped one—far more sustainable than sitting cross-legged. Start with a blanket under the shins, and if your ankles are very tight, let the tops of your feet dangle off the blanket’s edge, decreasing the angle at the top of the ankle. Add a second blanket, or a third, between calves and hamstrings, or prop your sitting bones on a block turned widthwise.

Choose an Alternative

Tell your teacher sitting isn’t comfortable for you, and work together to find a better option. If your practice begins with pranayama, a supported Fish Pose with a small bolster or rolled blanket under the spine will be a good choice. If the intention is to foster pratyahara (turning inward) at the start of class, Child’s Pose fits the bill well. When you’re clear on the intention and direction of the first minutes of practice, you’ll be able to find a starting position that works.”

 

– Yoga journal blog (link in title)

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3 Nutrient- packed breakfast recipes

Food is beautiful because it fuels your body for the life ahead of you. Even more importantly is being able to take the time to actually sit down and enjoy your food. Here are 3 really great recipes that you can tweak to try out for your morning meal. Switch out ingredients as needed, but work towards using less processed foods as possible (aka grab that whole apple instead of those fruit loops).

 

Your body will thank you, and fueling your body with nutrition will make your yoga practice even more enjoyable (as well as everything else in your life )

 

 

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Mason Jar Salad recipe

Mason jars are great ways to prep salad for the week for your lunches or dinners, and you can always change up the recipe! Here is a simple mason jar salad recipe to enjoy . Explore various options and have fun with it! Prep for the week and store in the fridge. Grab and go as needed. For full article / recipe click on title for link :]

 

 

Layering Salad Jars:

1) BOTTOM – dressing/liquid
2) Heavy ingredients that hold up well when submerged in dressing – beans, cucumbers, radishes, onion..
3) Heavy items that you may not want directly touching the dressing when stored.
4) Leafy greens/light ingredients that take up a lot of space – spinach, kale, chard, arugula..
5) A small amount of heavy accent items – nuts, seeds, dried fruit, croutons, accent spices
6) TOP – colorful ingredients to perk up your taste buds when you pop open the jar – fruit, edible flowers, herbs..

Other: grains and pasta are nice add ins. I like to put these on top of the plentiful salad so that it doesn’t get soggy in the dressing but helps to weigh the greens down a bit so I can fit more yummy stuff in each jar.

There are no exact “rules” and that is the fun part. Let creativity take over.”

 

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Homemade Banana soft serve icecream !

I make this all the time and thought I would share. I freeze ripe bananas , and before freezing them I peel them and dice them up and put into a container with a lid. Freeze over night. For one person 2 frozen bananas is plenty, and for more people definitely freeze more. You can get a bunch or ripe bananas and peel/dice up and store in freezer for your weekly desert adventures. Add in fresh cacao (raw chocolate) or coco powder (non raw version of chocolate). Add in some fresh vanilla or almond butter/ sunflower seed butter/ peanut butter or fresh fruit. Its simple, refreshing and a lot healthier! Top it with some coconut shreds or fresh fruit and nuts and enjoy.

 

 
Recipe in link in title

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Yoga : Not just for young skinny white girls

Picture someone who practices yoga, who do you see?

Did you picture a young, beautiful, flexible, thin, Caucasian woman? Do you think she can recite the Bhagvad Gita in Sanskrit while doing a one-handed handstand?

Yes, there is a Yogi stereotype and it makes me cringe. Where do I fit in? Can a size fourteen black woman fit in amongst what the media has created as the ultimate yoga beauty standard?

What about Yoga for the rest of us? What about the non-white, size 14, over 35 year old woman, who can’t fit into anything Lululemon (well maybe the headband)? Just sayin’. Whenever people meet me and I tell them I do yoga they seem shocked and even judgmental about my size. Then I kick up into handstand and I say: take that.

Every Yoga teacher training I take I am awash in all of this.

I instantly feel out of place and uncomfortable in my own skin, my brown skin. It has come to my attention that not many black folk do yoga, let alone train teachers and own a yoga studio. I am certainly in the minority. I like to think of myself as a trail blazer. I have never seen a yogi like myself on the front of Yoga Journal. The images perpetuated by the media seem to set the same ideal we see in fashion magazines. I thought Yoga would help us step aside from all of this.

Come as you are to your mat!

My first yoga experience was practicing at my mother’s side at the age of six. I rediscovered it in my late twenties after years of killing myself in the gym trying to look perfect. Yoga has taught me that I am perfect just the way I am. Yoga has helped me deal with growing up in a dysfunctional and abusive household.

I am not all those horrible things I was called when I was growing up.

Dianne 3

I am a beautiful divine being deserving of love and happiness, even if I feel look like I don’t fit. Yoga has helped me break the cycle of abuse that so many people find themselves in. I am happily married to a wonderful man who cherishes me. We have two beautiful children together.

As I step into the future of yoga, I step away from lots of things, and evolve the practice of my own heart. What I will remember is what I tell my students all the time; stand in your own power. Root down through your feet, firm your legs, lengthen your spine and open your heart to the possibility that you are perfect as you are no matter what the media or society tells you. Sometimes we lose sight of that and we get caught in that idea that yoga is a function of beauty, when yoga is an expression of beauty, discipline, sacrifice and love. Yoga teaches us to feel with our hearts and experience with our bodies.

Remember everyone can do yoga. We breathe, we feel, we stretch, and we connect fully to ourselves, even if we don’t look like a supermodel.

***

Originally posted at Elephantjournal.com – reposted with permission.

Dianne-Head-Shot

Dianne is an E-RYT 500 with Yoga Alliance, the founder of Yogasteya.com, has had extensive yoga therapy training, is a columnist for the Elephant Journal, owns a studio, runs yoga retreats, trains yoga teachers, has a devoted husband, two small boys and not enough sleep. Dianne is big, black, bold and loves all things yoga. Try to keep up with Dianne on FacebookTwitter, and DianneBondyYoga.com or download one of her FREE podcast on iTunes.

– See more at: http://www.decolonizingyoga.com/yoga-not-just-for-young-skinny-white-girls/#sthash.rQ4WwXKJ.dpuf”

Click on link in title to reach original article