Finding the Balance to Stay Strong and Carry On

 

It may seem that I’m sitting on the rock, but look closer and you will see my body is floating, hovering above it.

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Floating Stick Pose – Utpluti Dandasana

The goal of this exercise is to explore how changing your center of gravity affects how well you can balance. It would be almost impossible for me to support all my body weight, as I am in the photo, if I didn’t find the perfect spot to place my hands to balance evenly front to back.

When I put Floating Stick Pose into one of my yoga fitness classes, it invokes some giggles because at first, my students think it’s impossible to do. But once the foundation of the fulcrum is placed in the right spot, it is possible.

Exploring Balancing Poses

Most of the women I teach like to follow me as I go through my yoga postures, this is fine, but sometimes I need to challenge them to find their own way in balancing postures. Balancing poses cannot be achieve by just watching, you must listen to your own body and discover the way. It is not only how far you stretch into a yoga pose that matters but also how you engage your body’s dynamic energy. 

Benefits

Balancing requires that we tighten our core, and lengthen outward, as a result it tones the whole body.

Working to stabilize a balancing posture burns calories and improves cardio vascular function.

Holding your balance teaches the interplay of concentration and focus.

In learning to balance, you will perfect control and develop an understanding of lines of energy.

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Balancing Stick Pose -Tuladandasana

Other names for this posture include warrior three pose, one-legged pose & balancing staff pose.

“If I am loosing balance in a pose, I stretch higher and God reaches down to steady me. It works every time, and not just in yoga.” – Terri Guillemets

Soul Yoga

Balance is the foundation of all movement and helps to develop coordination and grace that carries over to everything you do. Finding the right balance and the right purpose is one of the secrets to a long fulfilling life and when life’s storms come, you will know how to stand. 

“Women need real moments of solitude and self-reflection to balance out how much of ourselves we give away.” – Barbara De Angeles

Mindfulness, prayer and meditation releases God’s wisdom into our circumstances. If we continue to feel for the vibration of our true essence as daughters of God and align our thoughts to Him, we will find balance and energy.

I reflect on the many blessings God has given me and my family. His blessings are my inheritance. I am here for a purpose. God is within me.

With gratitude ~ Linda

 

“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.” – Matthew 7: 24 – 25

 

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Yoga Befits Children Of All Ages

In our family, we practice yoga for fun as much as for its many health benefits.

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Garland pose with a bind

During family gatherings my grandniece, Riley, will frequently pull me aside and ask me to show her some new yoga poses. Children’s brains and bodies easily take to this form of exercise.

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Squat – opens the hips and groin as it stretches and strengthens the hips and ankles

Children who practice yoga postures, conscious breathing and mindfulness are better able to regulate their emotions, manage stress and calm themselves, according to scientific studies. They may also have better eating habits and engage in more physical activity than children who do not. Yoga addresses the whole child, encouraging academic and emotional competence. “The studies also illustrate that centered, calm and focused children learn more easily, have better social skills and, in general, are much happier kids.” ¹

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Yoga Increases Static Motor Performance.

A sample of children from ages 9 to 13 were divided into two groups. One group received yogic training (physical postures, voluntary regulation of breathing, maintenance of silence, visual focusing exercises, and games to improve attention span and memory) while the other did not. Over a ten-day period, the children in each group were tested to observe their steadiness. The yoga group showed a 17% increase in steadiness while the control group showed no improvement. The study concludes that yogic instruction improves children’s ability to control their minds and bodies. ² 

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My nieces, Jocelyn and Marianna practice their splits together on family vacation.

Children Following Yoga Training Improved Their Visual Perceptual Sensitivity.

A study of 14 children with ages ranging from 12 to 17 years who received 10 days of yoga training and another group who did not receive yoga training were assessed on Day 1 and Day 10 for visual perceptual sensitivity through Critical Flicker Fusion Frequency (CFF) and degree of illusion. Yoga group practiced postures and meditation, along with specific activities to improve memory and attention. Following 10 days of yoga training, the yoga group showed a significant increase in CFF and decrease in degree of illusion while the control group showed no change. The study suggests that children can show better improvement in performance in a relatively short amount of time.³

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Me and Riley working on our Camel Pose

Twenty Benefits of Yoga for Children

The following are just some of the recognized benefits of yoga for children (and adults):

  1. Develops a strong and flexible body
  2. Encourages motor development on both sides of the body
  3. Assists neuromuscular-development
  4. Increases balance, body awareness and coordination
  5. Improves posture and alignment
  6. Reduces injuries and improves performance
  7. Improves digestion, circulation and elimination
  8. Strengthens the immune system
  9. Relaxes the body, promoting better sleep
  10. Calms and clears the mind, bringing us into the present moment
  11. Increases concentration, focus, memory and attention span
  12. Stimulates auditory processing and responsiveness
  13. Expands imagination and creativity
  14. Alleviates tension, stress and anxiety
  15. Balances energy (high or low)
  16. Builds confidence and self-esteem
  17. Develops discipline and self-control
  18. Supports individuality and self-expression
  19. Encourages a fit and healthy lifestyle
  20. Promotes an overall sense of well-being

Yoga helps children feel more comfortable with their bodies and helps them get in touch with who they are inside. “A child who learns yoga, mindfulness and relaxation will be developing essential skills for a lifetime of health and wellness in mind, body and spirit.” 4

Best in health, Linda

“Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come.” – 1 Timothy 4:8 (NLT)

 

For more info, please visit my website!

Footnotes:

  1. http://www.thekidsyogaresource.com/2012/09/research-on-yoga-for-children.html
  2. http://www.healthandyoga.com/html/research_papers/ips/om.aspx
  3. http://www.healthandyoga.com/html/research_papers/ypp.aspx
  4. http://www.yoga4classrooms.com/benefits-of-yoga-in-schools

 

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Celebrating Yoga with the King of Hip Openers

In our fast-paced world, it’s imperative that we make time for ourselves to reboot and refocus. The practice of yoga can do wonders for our peace of mind and physical well-being.

“A peaceful heart leads to a healthy body…” Proverbs 14: 30 (NLT)

Pigeon is King

Pigeon pose is one of my very favorite yoga postures because of it’s therapeutic benefits. This asana has done wonders for me and my clients in healing hip and back pain. I’ll highlight this special yoga position for Yoga Appreciation Month!

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Eka Pada Rajakapotasana (One-Legged King Pigeon Pose) also called Pigeon Pose

Benefits of One-Legged King Pigeon Pose

Doing Pigeon Pose is essential in our chair-bound society. It is an extremely effective hip opener with the front leg in position to externally rotate the hip and the back leg in position to stretch the iliopsoas.

It has been discovered that the iliopsoas muscle group affects our mood and health. Known as the “muscle of the soul,” it is closely linked to our fight or flight response. Problems in these dorsal hip muscles may show up in other parts of the body such as the knees, pelvis, hips, neck/shoulders, sciatic nerve, and low back. ¹

Pigeon Pose stretches the thighs, groins, and abdomen. It can often be felt deeply in specific upper-leg and hip muscles, including the psoas, piriformis, TFL (tensor fascia latae) and gluteus maximus.” ² You can adjust the level of intensity in Pigeon to open these muscles even further.

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Mermaid Pose

King Pigeon can be performed simply or developed into a more intricate posture like Mermaid Pose. It is a complicated position in the respect that there are many nuances to it that can help you get the most out of the pose. For this reason, I am not going to go into a long and detailed explanation on how to do this asana. I highly recommend you enjoy the benefits of this important pose under the care of a professional yoga practitioner.

With a grateful heart, Linda

“Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well.” – 3 John 1: 2 

Footnotes:

  1. http://www.yogafit.com/news/blog/HowYogaMakesYouHappy/
  2. http://www.yogaoutlet.com/guides/how-to-do-one-legged-king-pigeon-pose-in-yoga

Disclaimer: consult your doctor before practicing yoga or starting any exercise program.

© All rights reserved