I haven’t written about food lately. Make that, I haven’t written about anything lately! (At least not on this site…)
Well, let’s hope this post gets my blog writing right back on schedule.
Today, it’s going to be about food. Later this week, I’ll dive into something yoga-ey!
Last year, my friend and I tried making “True Blood cupcakes.” You know the show–Sookie and Bill–HBO–
vampires? Need I say more? We thought we were hot stuff when we were icing our cupcakes with BLACK frosting. Looking back on that, I’m like, really? who does that?
Horrible Cupcakes: What Not To Do
Filling the cupcakes with “blood,” which was really cherry pie filling.
And the frosting goes on…looking like…well, umm…
Final product. Yes, be disgusted. I didn’t want to eat it either.
This concludes “Horrible Cupcakes: What Not To Do.”
Relaxation during Menstruation
While we might spend most of our days running from one thing to the next, during menstruation (starting at the first onset of your period), it is time to rest.
Scaling back activities, making time for naps and foregoing strenuous exercise are three activities that may allow your period to flow more smoothly.
(Follow the sign: we’ll all be okay when we chose a stress-free day! Promise!)
Adding stress to the body during a time where it already has so much going on can actually increase cramping and bleeding time. By learning to slow the body down and by simply rescheduling demanding events and hard workouts for later in the week, you will start to see a difference in your current period, as well as future ones.
How Yoga Can Help
Some yoga poses:
-Head to knee pose (the folding helps tone internal organs)
-Corpse pose (for relaxation sequences)
-Supported bridge (placing a block under the hips)
Safe and dangerous poses for menstruation, as outlined by Geeta Iyengar, in 2003. This article also discusses why inversions are not recommended during the cycle.
“During menstruation if one does inversions the blood flow will be arrested. Those who tried to do out of enthusiasm or callousness will have noticed that the flow stops abruptly. This is certainly not good for health since it may lead to fibroids, cysts, endometriosis and cancer, damaging the system.”
Photography by soukup via Flickr
HOW YOGA MAY HELP YOU WITH PAIN
There are many yoga and chronic pain studies that have been recently released in the news.
A new study suggests practicing yoga reduces symptoms of chronic pain in women with fibromyalgia. -PsychCentral
Yoga is known to help with both physical and emotional healing. If you find yourself with any type of pain, try sending the breath to the spaces that feel discomfort. A regular yoga practice helps alleviate pain for many conditions and ailments.
But a recent study found that patients who took yoga during radiotherapy felt better than those who did not.- FYILiving
There are many benefits of yoga for cancer patients. Yoga helps with relaxation, guided imagery and also may boost the mood and lower anxiety levels.
Finding a yoga therapy program or class that works well with your body may be just as simple as walking into your local studio.
“Our sorrows and wounds are healed only when we touch them with compassion.” – Buddha
I posted a few weeks ago about how I was finally able to get into modified headstand. I’ve noticed lately there have been some questions about how to actually get into this position.
Headstand, or Salamba Sirsasana
1. Use a wall to help support your balance. This is important. Of course, feel free to safely try it without, but only after you’ve done it at the wall first.
2. Start in dolphin pose. Your fingers should be interlaced. Your elbows should be directly beneath your shoulders. Your head should be on the mat and your hands are touching your head. Be careful not to hurt your neck. Be very gentle with your alignment.
3. Lift up through the sitting bones and walk your feet in toward your head, until you reach your edge. Lift your hips, moving them toward the wall. Occasionally, I will throw up both legs at the same time, because my balance just isn’t there yet, but I don’t recommend that unless you have made a soft cushy spot in which to fall upon.
4. Lift your legs up one at time and allow your feet to rest against the wall.
*Two very important notes about salamba sirsasana*
A. Watch your alignment. Be careful not to “sink” in the spine.
B. This pose is not suggested if you have high blood pressure, a headache or if you have any previous neck injuries. Also, do not practice the pose if you are on your menstrual cycle.
Photos: Lululemon athletica, judepics
Looking for summer abs, made possible by some lovely yoga?
Are you ready to pump up your core strength with an easy workout that can be done in 15 minutes or less? If so, try out these three yoga poses to build “summer abs!” Then prepare to show them off!
First, need some jams to get you going through your workout? Check out this playlist.
Plank Holds. Plank holds not only engage your midsection but also sculpt your arms at the same time. Simply get into a push-up position, with your legs extended behind you, your body in a straight “plank” position (keeping your stomach pulled in). Your arms should be straight under you. Keep your shoulders over your wrists and your arm straight but not locked. Hold here for 1 minute. On the first set, you’ll really feel the burn. Fight through it and allow your body to drop after the minute.
Cat-Cow. Cat-to-cow is a basic warm-up sequence in yoga. To get into cow position, start on your hands and knees with your shoulders over your wrists and your hips over your knees. Spread your fingers out wide and bring your tailbone toward the ceiling and lift your head up looking towards the ceiling (arching your back) while inhaling. Then, flexing in, bring your belly in towards your spine, curving your back and dropping your head so you’re looking at the ground. Exhale as if you’re an “angry cat.” Continue to flow through this series, from Cow pose (inhaling) to Cat pose (exhaling).
Looking to make fitness fun? Look at these 5 ways to spruce up your workout.
Tiger Stretches. Tiger stretches are excellent for building core strength. Start on your hands and knees (as in cat-to-cow) with your shoulders over your wrists, fingers spread apart. Keep spine in neutral position with your back flat. Inhale, lifting the tailbone as you extend one of your legs out behind you (aim to lift your leg up into the air if you can). Lift from the hips, bending your leg as you pull it in towards your chest. Hold for 20 to 40 seconds. Do this sequence several times, repeating on the other side.
Want to see more ways? Check out this article, which was originally published on The Beauty Bean!
Photo: The Beauty Bean (www.thebeautybean.com)
Today (or rather, tonight), we’re going to talk hip openers. Keeping your hips open is important, to reduce pain. Pain in the hips, or pelvic region can be caused by many factors. I want to talk about a special pelvic floor issue that can be treated well with yoga–vulvodynia.
What in the world is vulvodynia?
“Vulvodynia (vul-vo-DIN-ee-uh) is chronic pain in the area around the opening of your vagina (vulva) for which there is no identifiable cause.” There is typically no physical evidence for the discomfort. All tests for diseases and infections return negative. Some of the time, vulvodynia is misdiagnosed as a yeast infection. The pain is identified as burning or itching and makes sitting down or having sex uncomfortable.
How many people have it?
Even though you probably don’t hear the other women at work talking about it around the coffeemaker, vulvodynia is fairly common. It affects over 6 million women in the world. These women are from all different backgrounds.
While asana is just one key to helping with this condition, pranayama (breathwork) may also help symptoms.
BREATHING FOR RELIEF:
Vulvodynia sufferers often feel burning or stinging. When this type of pain is felt, a person can “send the breath,” to the place of pain and receive some relief. In practice, I have found that consciously becoming aware of your body and “sending your breath,” to a place of discomfort to be highly effective. If you have vulvodynia, try this next time you feel stinging or burning. It can be applied to regular aches and pains as well.
Some hip opener suggestions:
malasana (squat/garland pose), pigeon pose and supta baddha konasana
^Supta baddha is MY FAVORITE restorative pose and will really help open the pelvis.^
Additionally, just sitting on a block and elevating your hips can also be comfortable for opening the pelvic muscles. Often, some problems are caused by a tightening in the pelvic floor muscles. Practicing asanas can help correct some of this and alleviate some of the pain you may be feeling from the tense muscles.
Lately, I’ve been looking online for “yoga clothes.” There are so many companies out there that offer yogawear. Some are very expensive, whereas others are affordable. I recently found the Our Love Yoga Company. They have a chakra tank top I’ve been eyeing for awhile. I don’t think anyone needs to wear anything special for yoga, but sometimes it just makes me feel good. (Some mornings when I do yoga, I do it in my pajamas…) Case in point that you don’t need to wear special outfits to practice!
What do you wear for your practice?
Photo: Our Love Yoga Company
Lately, I’ve been thinking about how difficult it must be to be involved with yoga and to be a real person, in the real world. Every person (yes! even yogis!) have off days where things just aren’t going right and they might say, or do something, that isn’t particularly nice, friendly or anything that resembles a yogic lifestyle. But you know what? That’s okay. It really is. And here’s why:
^ These yoga friends have the right idea!
It’s easy to shrug someone off when they are in a bad mood. It’s even easier to label that person afterward. Feelings of hurt are as deep as the ego lets them go. Instead of returning anger with anger, I have found that trying to figure out why the anger is there in the first place has been more effective. When you see someone who upsets you or angers you, take a moment to try to understand where they are coming from and what is going on in their lives. This is no easy task–often I have been the first person to get super angry and blow up! But it’s good food for thought.
Sadie Nardini talks about the “Shadow Side of Yoga.”
Have you ever encountered something not-so-yogic in the “Yoga World” that turned you off? How did you deal with it?
Photo courtesy Synergy by Jasmine
There are so many ways (simple + easy) to be a practicing yogi or yogini. You don’t even need a mat!
1. Try “floating yoga,” from a paddleboard to build strength, balance and flexibility. After all, you can do yoga anywhere (really!)
2. “Yoga on the Farm” brings you the sound of a gong in the middle of an organic farm.
3. Right in your own living room. Put on some music from Pandora, Grooveshark or one of your own CDs (yesterday, I jammed to some Jack Johnson songs when I attended a friend’s yoga class downtown and let me just say, pure magic). Pick the music you want, choose the space you want and completely zen out. When the weather isn’t so blustery, try your patio.