Tag Archive | yoga

Love your feet and toes!

Interlace

As long as we are healthy, we take it for granted that our body functions as it should do.

When was the last time that you thanked your feet for carrying you to your destination – day after day, year after year?

I used to bush-walk and we often talked about boots, orthotics, dome under the ball of the foot, corns and bunions.  No-one of these topics are sexy but as we age the shape of the feet change and we cannot ignore this.

With the arrival of spring it is the right time to exercise our toes which were in closed in shoes for months!

Let’s start with easiest form of exercise: walking barefoot.

Walk 1

You can do it on the beach or walk on the grass. Both are emotionally grounding activities and allow the small muscles in your feet to stretch and strengthen and joints to move.

Be mindful when you walk barefoot.  Notice how you roll onto the ball of the foot and then you push away from the ground.  Progressively increase the time you walk, do not overdo it as you might end up with sore feet.  The sand will dry your feet so use a moisturiser after walking!

I practice the following to exercises in sitting.

Blanket folded in 3

Use a blanket or big towel and fold it (see above) to sit on it.  Sit towards the rounded edge so your hips roll a bit forward, the spine is upright.  Keep your feet hip width apart.

Toes relaxed

Observe your feet in a relaxed state. Notice the difference between right foot and the left!

Toes stretched

Flex your toes towards you.  Feel that you stretch the back of the legs.  If you are an experienced yogi, pull up your knee caps and quadriceps – just as if you were standing on your feet.  Move your toes away from you.  Repeat this cycle 5 times – 2 or 3 times a day.

Toes spreading

Spread your toes.  Observe if there is an asymmetry between the right and left foot.  If you have a bunion like me the joint stiffens and the gap between the big toe and second toe decreases.

Toes fist

Make a fist with your toes.  Repeat this cycle 5 times – 2 or 3 times a day.

Work the sole of the foof

Bend the legs and bring the soles of the feet together.  Align your heels.  This is the cobblers’ pose (or badhakonasana).  Now move your toes away from each other.

Interlace

Visualise interlacing your fingers.  Now try to interlace your toes, starting with the little toes.  Try the other side.

You can do these poses with your hands too.  They will help with the management of arthritis, will keep to keep the joints more mobile.

Once you finished the sitting poses come up to standing and get a tissue.

crunching.jpg

Place it on the ground with one corner facing one foot (hard surface is better than soft).  The aim is to scrunch the issue until it disappears under your toes!  Try with the other foot with a new tissue!

I believe some yoga can be done anywhere not just in a studio and you do not need the latest leotard!  Yoga is for any shape or size and any age!

Oh – and try a new colour of nail polish – maybe to match or contrast your yoga mat 😊!

Enjoy your yoga!

 

Yoga for Cramps

Tree pose in the woods

Yoga can be practiced anywhere

Do you know the feeling of toes rigidly curling up and would not release or the calf muscle pains and you have to jump out of bed, walk a bit before returning to bed?

My students (just like me) are over the age of 50. In class sometimes students get a cramp, generally in the foot (toes) or legs (calves).

Cramp is a painful, involuntary contracting (shortening) of part or all of a muscle, or several muscles in a group.

Cramps of the extremities, especially the legs and feet, and most particularly the calf, are extremely common. Other common areas for muscle cramps include: back and front of the thigh, hands, arms, abdomen, and rib cage muscles.

The actual cause cramps in the legs and feet is not known, but it may be caused by conditions or activities such as overuse of muscles, dehydration, nerve compression, mineral deficiency and cold weather.

Foot cramps are more common in older adults and sometimes they happen at night. Nerves and muscles can wear out as aging occurs, causing cramping. Stretching, staying active, and eating a nutritious diet can help older adults prevent leg cramps.
People of any age who lead a sedentary lifestyle are also at higher risk for leg and foot cramps.

I would like to share my favourite poses which – if practiced regularly will significantly reduce cramps and will strengthen your ankles as well. These poses (as yoga in general) can be practiced almost anywhere. The photos were taken on a recent trip to the Wollomombi area of North/West New South Wales.

Raising both heels:

Ankle ~ standing on toes

Start with standing tall in the mountain pose. Keep the spine erect, chin parallel to the ground. Roll the shoulders back, bring the shoulder blades in and left the chest.

If you can keep your ankles together and come up on your toes. Release and bring the heels back to the ground. This is one cycle. Repeat fifteen times. It is recommended to do three sets in a day.  This pose will strengthen the ankles and the muscles in the sole of your feet and in the toes.

Releasing one heel:

Release one heel

Come up on your toes (as in previous pose) and release one heel to the ground. Raise the heel so now both heels are off the ground. Release the other heel then raise it. This is one cycle. Repeat it ten times, several times a day.

Stretching the calves:

Calf stretch~one leg straight

Part one:
Place the toes of one foot against the wall or a solid structure. Have your hands on the wall or a solid structure. Keep the front leg bent, shin vertical. Step back with the other leg to a distance where the ankle is on the ground. Do not bring the foot across our midline, try to keep the foot in line with the hip. Feel the stretch in calf. Keep your back straight (take in your spinal processors), chest open and shoulder are wide. Hold it for say 10 cycles of your breath, i.e. one inhalation and one exhalation are one cycle.

Calf and ankle stretch

Part two:
Keep the front leg as it and step forward with the other leg. This will bend both of your ankle. Stay in the pose for 10 cycles of your breath. This variation will also strengthen your ankles, good for bushwalkers going down the hill.
Repeat on the other side (i.e. have the other foot at front).

I hope regular practice of these poses will help you to manage the cramps.

Mary

Pink Yoga – thanks to all who attended and/or donated

Cancer Council and Pink Yoga

 

Pink yoga in Randwick

Students in the Pink yoga class in Randwick

Breast cancer was the second highest cancer in NSW during the last five year period (prostate cancer is the first but it diagnosed later and patients die with it rather than because of it).

Pink yoga is the yoga community’s initiative for fund raising for research into breast and ovarian cancer together with providing support to woman suffering from these cancers.

As detailed in my last blog I decided to hold a pink yoga class in  Randwick on 2nd of April 2016.  After registering with the Cancer Council I received some promotional material, decoration and started to promote the class to my students.

My regular students from both studios either confirmed their attendance or donated.

Due to delay in advertisement on pink ribbon / cancer council website we did not get any new students.

As per my undertaking I am donating $10 per student and together with their contribution (some students were not able to attend but donated) we raised $241.  Thank you very much to all!

 

Pink yoga class Randwick

Pink yoga class Randwick

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Relax and Renew yoga class on Sat 3rd Oct in Randwick

 

Relax and Renew® yoga class

 

When:               Saturday 3rd October 2015 (long weekend)

                             11.30 am to 12.45 pm (usual class time)

 

Where:              Yoga Light

Level 1, 165 Alison Road, Randwick

                            (close to Belmore Rd corner, enter via the purple door)

 

Cost:                         $25

 

What to bring:         A towel to cover your head, all other equipment provided

  

This yoga class will involve nurturing physical poses, supported by the props, staying each pose for a few minutes. The aim is to let go in a safe environment. You will feel refreshed after the workshop and you will learn poses to practice at home.

 

Please email me to secure your place: tranquability@gmail.com

 

Numbers are limited.

 

Looking forward to seeing  you there.

Mary

 

 

 

 

 

Yoga to cure Hangover

herring-fish-business-suit-drinking-beer-bottle-100216907 ‘Hangover’ is the trifecta in my blogs for the Christmas / New Year 2015 festive season, the previous topics were digestion and jet lag. The last time I had a hangover I was in high school so I needed to do some research into the subject.  Please do not visualise me lying in a gutter (on my favourite pink yoga mat) and slurry AUM’s in the name of research…  I consulted a senior teacher, Tracey as my imagination stopped at the forward bend with the forehead supported.  It appears there is more to this sequence that meets eye. If you do decide to practice yoga do it slowly, be gentle with yourself, learn from the experience and move on. The aim of the practice is to let go of the toxic thoughts, release toxins from the body – by doing twisting poses. The main points:

  • Hydration, hydration, hydration (if the headache persists 2 paracetamol is also useful and some rehydration salts).
  • Due to the acid in the alcohol your joints might have tightened.  Loosen up your joints, move your head side to side, stretch and flex your toes and fingers, rotate the ankles and the wrist in both directions, open the hips.
  • Avoid inversions, especially if you if you are experiencing nausea, heartburn or indigestion.
  • Spinal twists will help to release the toxins from the liver.
  • Abdominal pose like Navasana (Boat) will help indigestion and gas).
  • When you do forward bends rest the forehead either on the floor, on a block or even on a chair as I demonstrated in the “jet lag” blog.  Forward bends calm the brain.

Suggested sequence: Lay down in Savasana with the head higher than chest, chest higher than pelvis (i.e. sit in front rolled up blanket or bolster, slowly lay back so your spine is supported, use a folded up blanket or towel under your head.) Turn your neck slowly from side to side, co-ordinate with your breath.

  • Keep your arms resting on the floor, slightly away from your torso, palms facing up.  As you inhale bend the arms, leaving the elbows on the floor.  Start rotating the wrists, then extend the fingers then make a fist.
  • Feet approx. hip width apart, bring the big toes to touch.  Start rotating the ankles away from each other. Do a few cycles and reverse the direction.

Rollover to your right side and come up to standing and do the following standing poses,

  • Parivritta Trikonasana (revolving triangle)
  • Parivritta Parsvakonasana (revolving side angle pose)

Sitting twist, such as Maricyasana, do the open version, one leg bent, elbow to inside of the knee.  Sit on the edge of a folded up blanket, sit up tall, if you need use a block behind your spine. Sit in Badha Konasana (cobbler pose) to release the hips. Forwards bend with the head supported on a chair (Pachimottanasana or Janu sirsana).

IMG_1708

Supported forward bend

Savasana or modified Viparita Karini with calves resting on the seat of the chair.

Savasana

Savasana

IMG_1688

Modified Viparita Karini

The success of all these poses or the need for it will depend on the size of the hangover.  You will probably not feel great while doing the yoga (your joints might hurt) and backbends could make you feel sick if your liver is really put out. A good night’s sleep and an alcohol free day just for good measure will help with your recovery. You might want to experience with essential oils on your eye bag or on Kleenex tissues under your forehead (try lavender or peppermint). Enjoy NY Eve and the rest of 2015! Mary  

Yogies’ survival kit 2: jet lag

 

Australia (or ‘down under’) is sooo far away from everything we need to travel long haul, crossing several time zones in the process.

While my parents were alive I made regular trips to Hungary.  Many years ago the floor at the airport gates were carpeted, nowadays cold tiles.  If you ever saw a woman laying down with legs up the wall or calves on the seat of the chairs … it might have been me.

During my numerous trips to Europe the following list crystalized in my head as guidelines for long haul air travel:

  • Start the journey in the best possible shape, increase your fitness in the weeks leading up to the trip, walk on the beach, de-clutter your mind; prepare your packing list, have copies (two sets) of your important documents;
  • On the plane stay hydrated, drink plenty of water during the flight (alcohol will have the opposite effect) and as you will be burning less calories – you do not have to eat every morsel of food served J;
  • Move your wrists, ankles, neck and shoulders (you might find a chart with recommended exercises in the net in front of you);
  • Stand up and walk on the isle as much as possible;
  • Do some gentle stretches whilst queuing up for the toilet;
  • Try to get some sleep – do not feel that you have to “do” something, the aim is to arrive in the best possible shape for your holiday or business trip;
  • Change your clock to the destination time soon after take-off;
  • Once you arrive try to spend half an hour in sunshine and assume the schedule of the new time zone straight away.

You might experience the following: your feet may swell, your lower back may ache and you may develop sinus problems due to air conditioning and changing air pressure.

I have included a few restorative poses for you below which you can modify and practice even in a small hotel room.  Use rolled up blanket(s) or bedspread instead of a bolster and towel to support your head and neck.  If you are not comfortable in the pose come out and adjust.  Stay in each pose for at least three minutes. If you do not have enough time to do all the poses do the legs up the wall and the supported bridge pose.

1. Viparita Karini (legs up the wall)  – this asana will help to reduce the swelling in your feet, heart is resting, it is a pose the remove fatigue from the body.

IMG_1719

 

2.   Backbend to open chest as we tend to collapse the chest / shoulders as we sit.  Roll up a blanket and a towel  and have them close by. Sit in front of the rolled up blanket, bend yours knees and place your elbows on the blanket.  Slowly lower your back over the blanket.  The rolled up towel should support your neck and back of your head. Stay in the this poses up to three minutes.

3.  Repeat the Legs up the wall position but this time elevate your hips (use a blanket or a towel), stay in the pose for five minutes.

4.  Supported bridge – enjoy that you can finally stretch out.  In yoga class we might use two bolsters so the back of the knees and the feet are supported.

IMG_1703

5. Supta badha konasana (supported bound angle pose).  Alow the props to support you and the fatigue will lift.

Supta Badha Konasana

Supta Badha Konasana

6.  Forward bend

IMG_1708

7. As any yoga practice we should finish the sequence with Savasana, try legs elevated.

Savasana

Savasana

Repeat the restorative sequence on the morning after your arrival.

If you are more energetic include a few standing poses:Trikonasana (triangle poses), Parivritta Trikonasana (revolving triangle) is recommended.

Safe travels!

Mary

Yogis’ Christmas Survival kit

I have complied a few poses which will aid digestion, help you to relax.  In a separate blog I will include poses to reduce the effect of jet lag.

Poses to do if you overindulged

I am an expert in this area…

The Ayurvedic guideline is to have 1./3 of your stomach filled with food, 1/3 with liquid and the remaining 1/3 is “space” to allow digestion.  I tend to misjudge the 1/3 food bit…

Generally it is not recommended to practice yoga with full stomach however there is one pose which is “do-able” in “emergency”.

  1. Supta Virasana (laying down hero pose) – two variations
Supta Virasana

Supta Virasana

Easier version of Supta Virasana

Easier version of Supta Virasana

The aim in this pose is to lengthen the trunk.  Whilst you are in this asana you quadracep muscles will be extended too.

Most of us would not be comfortable laying back without support. For support you can use a bolster (or fold up two blankets).

If your ankles, knees or back does not allow you to lay back over a bolster use a folded-up chair against the wall and make sure it won’t slide away.  I suggest to sit on some elevation such as a block or a book as this will ease off the pressure from your knees.  .

Whichever version you do sit up tall before laying back and extend the tailbone away from your waist to lengthen to lower back.  Keep your knees either together or hip widths apart, a strap will assist.  Use a rolled up blanket, towel or a small cushion to support the back of your head and neck.  Once you established that you are comfortable in this pose stay in it for a few minutes.

If you have more time and energy try the following sequence to aid digestion:

There are 5 poses in this series.  The food has to travel approx. 11 meters from entry to exit so the aim is to help the digestion process by pushing the food down.

These poses lengthen the trunk, open the sides, twist, squeeze and massage the organs in the abdominal cavity and finally assist towards elimination.

1.

Urdhva Hastasana - on toes

Urdhva Hastasana – on toes

2.

Side opening

Side opening

3.

Twisting the trunk

Twisting the trunk

4.

Twist -Inspecting the heels

Twist -Inspecting the heels

5.

Squatting twist

Squatting twist

Brief description of the above poses, I assume you have done enough yoga to safely go into the poses and come out of the poses with awareness and control.

1. Stand in Tadasana, inhale and raise the arms in line with your shoulders, interlace the fingers and on the next inhalation raise the arms above your head (or you can hold the left wrist with the right hand) and come up on your toes.  Exhale lower the arms and bring the heels down. repeat a few times (4 to 8).

2. Stand in Tadasana, inhale raise the arms in line with your shoulders, interlace your fingers and raise the arms above your head .   On exhalation extend the right side of the body, keep the chest and hips to face the front. Change the interlacing of your fingers and repeat on the other side.  Repeat the cycle a few times.

3. Stand in Tadasana, inhale raise the arms shoulder height and with an exhalation twist to one side.  Allow the whole trunk to turn. Inhale back to the centre and exhale to the other side.  Repeat the cycle a few times.

4. Lay down on your abdomen, either have your elbows on the floor (like I have) or straighten your arms.  Tuck the toes under and on exhalation turn your head to inspect your heels (try to see both of them). Inhale, turn back to the centre and on exhalation do the other side. Repeat the cycle.  This pose will massage your internal organs.

5. Start with squatting.  It is a twisting movement, bring one knee towards the floor and twist away from it.  Repeat on the other side and complete a number of cycles.  This pose will help with elimination and it is the last one in this series.

Poses to relax

If you feel you need to take time off try one or all of the following poses.

Modified Viparita Karini

Modified Viparita Karini

Supta Badha Konasana

Supta Badha Konasana

When the going gets tough the tough go to Savasana

WISHING YOU A SAFE CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY, HEALTHY 2015!

Mary

We are on the move to Randwick Junction – from 10th January 2015

lotus yoga

Yoga for over 50’s will move from Clovelly to Randwick Junction to a bigger, well equipped studio.

 

First  class will be held on Saturday 10th January 2015.

 

Time: 11.30 a.m. to 12.45 p.m.

Cost: $20 per class

See details below:

Address: Level 1, 165 Alison Road Randwick Junction (cnr Belmore Road)

Map Yoga Light Randwick

Map

165 Alison Road~Yoga Light

165 Alison Road, Randwick – entrance is the purple door

Tree pose (Vrksasana)

 

Tree pose

Tree pose

 

 

The Tree pose has a number of benefits and it is a slightly neglected asana.

There is a lot of grace in the pose.

Standing on one leg helps to improve balance, strengthens the ankles, legs and the muscles which stabilize the hips.

Being in this pose gives a good indication of ones mental state on the day. Of course trees move / sway a bit and as there are many types of trees – so we all do a slightly different version of the tree pose.

To avoid injury in Iyengar style yoga we pay a lot of attention to safely going in and out of the poses (and graciously possible).

For beginners I recommend practicing the pose against a wall or preferable in a corner as per the photo below (the photo was taken in the Bungle Bungles National Park hence the shoes).

Tree Pose with wall

Tree Pose with wall

  1. Stand tall in Tadasana (mountain pose), with your back against the wall, big toe bases touching, heels are either together or slightly apart, feel that you have equal weight in both feet, raise your toes, extend the toes and place them back onto the floor;
  2. Quietly transfer the weight to the left leg, without pushing the left hip out ;
  3. Bend the right knee so the right heel lifts off the floor, come up on your toes;
  4.  Turn the right knee out (work from your right hip);
  5. Slowly bring the right foot up (help with your right hand) and allow the right knee to rest on the wall in front of you.  Variations are: if you do not feel stable keep your toes on the floor, if you are more confident bring the right foot either to the inside of your left calf or higher up to the inner thigh.  Be careful – do not push on your left knee, have the foot either below or above the left knee;
  6. Keep the standing leg strong, pull up the knee cap and the quadriceps and work the inner leg. If you do not work your inner leg the right foot will slide off – so we cannot really blame the fabric of our pants!
  7. Keep your chest, hips and face in one direction (i.e forward);
  8. Keep your chin parallel to the floor, throat soft, look with soft gaze in front of you – eye level or slightly above
  9. Bring your hands in together in front of you in Namaste or more experienced yogis bring your hands above your head, resting the heels of the hands on the crown of your head;
  10. Stay in the pose for a minute on so (on each side);
  11. Coming out of the pose: release the arms and slowly release the right leg back to the floor;
  12. Find your balance by standing in Tadasana for to-three cycles of your breath;
  13. Turn around and REPEAT on the other side.

Once you mastered the Tree pose against the wall try it free standing, facing the wall.  Stand close enough to wall so your fingertips can touch it. Only take your hands off the wall if your balance is good on the day.

I recommend to practice this pose regularly (daily).

Keeping the balance over 50 is an essential part of ageing gracefully!

yoga mat

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ayurvedic Tip to help you stay gorgeous after 50! – Self-massage

lotus yoga

The first teachings of Ayurveda (the Indian holistic health science where Ayur means “life” and Veda means “knowledge”) were written down sometimes 2,000 to 4,000 BC.

It was suppressed during the Muslim invasion and the British occupation of India.

Since the 1990’s there has been a growing interest in Ayurveda as a holistic healing science where emphasis is on prevention rather than cure. In Ayurveda they distinguish three doshas: Vata (air and space) Pitta (fire and water) and Kapha (water and earth). We are all a unique combination of all three.

The link between Yoga and Ayurveda is Prana (Life force).

Enjoy this Ayurvedic Tip to help you stay gorgeous after 50!

Self Massage

Written by Justin Rintul Yoga Teacher from Triveda Therapies – see her contact details below.

According to Ayurveda, life after 50 years of age is ‘Vata’ time of life. This means of the 5 elements our bodies are made up of (water, earth, fire, space and air), this period is dominated by Air and Space. When these elements dominate there is a drying up effect on the body. Basically we start shrivelling up and drying out! How can we counter this drying effect and at the same time feel nourished and rejuvenated?

How about I give you a tip from the ancient science of Ayurveda to help you remain ‘juicy’ into old age. I really encourage you to try this as not only will it keep you young, it is also a delicious, calming and relaxing experience. It is a simple self-care exercise that you can introduce into your weekly or even daily routine. It is ‘Self Abhyangha’ or ‘Self Warm Oil Massage’ (massaging the body with large amounts of warm oil).

There are numerous benefits to Self Abhyangha including the following:
• Soothes Vata Dosha
• Helps build resilience to stress
• Increases energy and removes fatigue
• Helps to eliminate toxins by stimulating strengthening lymphatic flow
• Strengthens and tones skin and body
• Grounding and nourishing
• Helps with insomnia

Here’s how to do Self Abhyangha:
This massage is best done before your shower, either in the morning or before going to bed.
1. Select your oil – As a general rule of thumb go with Coconut oil in Summer and once the weather becomes cooler and Coconut oil begins to solidify switch to Sesame (Melrose Organic is a good one) or Sunflower oil. For an extra dimension to the experience, you may like to add an essential oil of your choice to your massage oil.
2. Warm the room you are in and warm the bottle of oil in a bowl of hot water.
3. Stand on a towel that you don’t mind getting oily.
4. Pour a small amount of oil into the palm of you hands and begin with a head massage, slowly massage oil into scalp in a similar way you shampoo. (If you don’t like having oily hair you can skip the oil here.) Use your finger tips to rub your scalp even gently tugging at your hair.
5. Take some more oil into the palm of your hands and start to massage your face and then the neck, shoulder and arms, remember circles on the joints and long strokes on the limbs. Massage slowly and adjust the strokes and pressure according to area on body, i.e. more vigorous on soles of feet and limbs, slowly around face and abdomen.
6. Continue over the rest of the body, with clockwise circles on the abdomen (to follow the colon) and upward strokes on chest.
7. Spend extra attention on your feet; massaging the soles of your feet as well as the toes for a soothing experience.
8. When you are finished you can either let the oil soak in and then rinse off in the shower or wipe the oil off with a towel.
9. Sit quietly for 10-15min, drink some water or sip on herbal tea to complete the experience!

Enjoy the benefits this simple practice has on your Mind, Body and Spirit. Abhyanga along with Yoga, Meditation and a healthy diet will help keep you feeling more ‘juicy’, healthy and looking young well into your 90s!

Justine Rintoul
email – justine@triveda.com.au
mobile – 0430532227
website – http://www.triveda.com.au
facebook – facebook.com/TrivedaTherapies

In the next blog I will recommend poses to balance Vata.

yoga mat