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Thursday, October 16, 2014

Vinyasa Yoga or Flow Yoga

Namaste Everyone,

I recently took a Flow Yoga class taught by Allison Berlin at the Weber State University in Ogden, Utah. The class was Slow Flow which basically synchronizes movement to the breath. 

This is a type of Yin Yoga, a gentle form of yoga where each pose is held longer. In Allison's Slow Flow yoga class, we probably held for 3 to 5 minutes per pose. The breath is an important component to move from one pose to the next on an inhale or an exhale. In Sanskrit, Vinyasa means "connection" and it is a connection between breath and movement.

Here is what you can do in your home practice. Try not to stop in between poses but continue and flow from one set of movement to the next. Playing slow, meditative music in the background may help with your movements.

1) Cat-Cow 

Begin very slowly at your own pace and eventually go deeper using more powerful breath to feel the connection between your breath and the body.

2) Plank Pose to Downward Dog

Go back and forth with inhalation to Plank Pose and exhalation in Downward Dog.

3) Plank Pose to Cobra back to Plank then to Downward Dog

Now we are introducing one more asana. Be mindful of each movements and each breath. Be sure that you complete one pose, stay at least 6 breaths before moving on.

4) Plank Pose to Cobra, back to Plank to Downward Dog then to High Lunge with right knee forward, back to Downward Dog and then to High Lunge with left knee forward.

These movements are included in sun salutations and you are welcome to do sun salutations as Vinyasa or Flow Yoga. Do each pose slowly hold them at least 6 counts synchronizing with your breath ultimately build up to 3 to 5 minutes per pose. Remember to that you are inhaling and exhaling through your pose. This is a very calm, meditation in motion. There is no set rules or restriction regarding which asana can be done in Vinyasa. Try them out and do them slowly holding each pose longer. You might be able to come up with your own Flow Yoga form.


Improve the strength and flexibility of joints

Helps you be more mindful and relaxed

Increase energy and stamina

Helps with our physical and emotional balance

Relief from everyday stress

Always remember never to overdo. Listen to your body and enjoy.

Sat Nam -- Cathi

Yoga for Neuropathy

Namaste Everyone,

I recently met a couple whose husband was suffering from neuropathy in his feet. She asked if I know of any yoga exercises that could help alleviate pain in his feet. I am writing this article also for others who are suffering from similar conditions. 

Please remember that yoga is not a substitute for medical care. No exercise will cure your condition, however, studies have proven that there are physical, emotional and mental benefits of yoga which may help the patients better cope with their medical condition. Practicing yoga could improve the quality of life of people with neuropathy.

Physical benefits of yoga include improvement of posture strengthens joints, reduce pain, tone muscles, gives more energy and more flexibility. Yoga also helps with relaxation. Emotional benefit include having peace of mind, feeling joy and compassion to oneself and to others.

Mental benefits are relaxation, awareness of one's body, concentration, a balance in life, help one accept one's condition and accept the impermanence of life.

Neuropathy is a disorder of the neurons in the body. 

PART A: The following yoga asanas can help in strengthening the nerves in the body

Do not attempt these unless you have some experience in doing yoga. Be mindful, do not push, don’t over do. Always listen to your body.

1) Ulthita Trikonasana - Extended Triangle Pose - (refer to the Asana section of this blog)

2) Ultrasana - Camel Pose - helps open the chakras and strengthening nerves 

3) Utkatasana - Chair pose - also helps strengthening nerves (refer to the Asana section)

PART B: The following exercises may be done sitting in a chair:

1) Remove your shoes and socks - soak your feet in warm water for 3 minutes

2) Place your dried feet on the ground, feel the soles of your entire feet

3) Flex your feet, spread your toes and stretch, as if you are pushing out and trying to reach an invisible wall 

4) Slowly come up on your tip toes, find your balance - stay for 3 - 6 full breaths 

5) Go on your heels and lift up your toes - stay for 3 - 6 full breaths

6) Go on your outer sides of feet - stay for 3 - 6 full breaths

7) Go on the inner sides of feet - stay for 3 - 6 full breaths

8) Lift your big toe, next toe and move onto the small toes one at a time (you can do this one foot at a time or do both simultaneously)

9) Bring your left foot onto the thigh of your right leg, hold the ankle with your left hand and hold the toes with your right hand and gently rotate forward 6 times and backward 6 times using full breaths

10) Bring your right foot onto the thigh of your left leg, and hold the ankle with your right hand as you hold the toes with your left hand and gently rotate forward 6 times and backward 6 times using full breaths

11) Lie down, raise your feet on a cushion or on a chair seat, close your eyes and relax for 10 minutes

The entire PART B takes anywhere from 10 - 30 minutes. Start slowly and practice regularly to build your strength and endurance.

Sat Nam -- Cathi