Balancing - Marvelous Ability to Regain Equilibrium

Balance training is important for every person. Most of us are unaware of the many controls our bodies perform using our sensory organs called proprioceptors (located in our skin, joints, and muscles) which enable us to balance. Fitness enthusiasts, athletes, senior citizens, and everyone in between need balance to be able to change the body's center of gravity to match the movements integral to the activity we are participating in. Whether it is as simple as stepping down from a curb for those over 60 or balancing as a hockey player, we all need to develop this important sensory activity. Read on at the end of the newsletter for more information on balancing (and a happy anniversary wish).

Thursday yoga practice at 9:00 a.m. and 6:40 p.m. is our second in our series this week for core work essential to balancing.
Friday, June 24, 2011
Mommy (or Daddy) and Me Yoga at 9:00 a.m. Parents can practice right along with us for this 45 minute class using storytelling, yoga posture practice, and role playing with a courage theme.
Power Yoga at 5:30 p.m. Modified Astanga Flow

Saturday, June 25, 2011
Sunrise, Sunrise - Energize Your Body at 7:00 a.m.
Power Yoga + Power Pilates - Yoga on the Stability Ball at 9:00 a.m.

Sunday, June 26, 2011
Yoga for Beginners and Intermediates - Pose Specific Practice at 2:30

Monday, June 27, 2011
Rock Your World at 4:00 p.m. with Rock and Roll Yoga for Teens and/or Adults
Power Yoga for Toning and Strengthening the Core, the Legs, the Arms at 5:30 p.m.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011
Lengthen Those Calves, Hamstrings, and Quads at 9:00 a.m.
Lower Body Work at 6:40 p.m.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011
9:00 a.m. Chair Yoga for Seniors
No evening class

Thursday, June 30, 2011
Body and Mind Balance at 9:00 a.m.
Upper Body Work at 6:40 p.m.

Friday, July 1, 2011
Happy Fourth of July Weekend (Yes, we are open even on Independence Day!)
9:00 a.m. Mommy and Me Yoga
5:30 p.m. Power Yoga - Get Your Groove On!

Saturday, July 2, 2011
7:00 a.m. Sunrise Yoga
9:00 a.m. Power Yoga + Power Pilates

Sunday, July 3, 2011
2:30 p.m. Yoga for Beginners and Intermediates

Monday, July 4, 2011
All classes move to Monday morning at 9:00 a.m.
I always remember being frustrated when the gyms were closed on the Fourth of July or other holidays. However, we are open for a Firecracker Yoga Experience at 9:00 a.m.!
Arm Balancing Postures: Bakasana (Crane), Parsva Bakasana (Side Crane), Lolasana (Scales), Vasisthasana (Side Plank), Bhujapidasana (Shoulder Pressure), Phalakasana (Plank and Dolphin Plank), Purvottanasana (Upward Plank), Camatkarasana (Wild Thing)

Seated Balancing Postures: Paripurna Navasana (Boat) and its variations

Standing Balancing Postures: Utkatasana (Chair), Garudasana (Eagle), Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana (Extended Hand to Foot Pose), Natarajasana (Lord of the Dance), Ardha Chandasana (Half Balancing Moon), Eka Pada Uttanasana (Standing Split), Virabhadrasana III (Warrior 3), Vrksasana (Tree), Ardha Baddha Padmottanasana (Half Bound Lotus Tree)

Inversions: Adho Mukha Vrksasana (Handstand), Salamba Sirsasana (Headstand), Pincha Mayurasana (Forearm Stand), Salamba Sarvangasana (Shoulderstand), Halasana (Plow Pose)

All of these balancing postures in yoga provide us with a physical strategy that can help bring about stillness to our mental state along with the benefits to our core, legs, and arms.
By focusing our breath and energy, balancing teaches us to learn to center and cultivate calm in the midst of external struggle. Promoting this balance of harmony and equilibrium, we hone our concentration, focus, and discipline while we "hold" a pose. Use these seven strategies to help you as you practice any of the above balancing yoga postures:
1. Before you move into the pose, slow your breath down to an even inhalation and exhalation (never holding your breath in any posture).
2. Move into the posture with good alignment keeping our rule of safety and challenge in mind. If you need to stand close to a wall, please do!
3. Most importantly find your gazing point or dristi as this will help you maintain the position as you breathe (do not close your eyes unless you are in super advanced category). Sometimes your eyes focus down the tip of your nose; other times, it may be gazing at your thumb or big toe.
4. Observe where your feet or how your hands or sits bones are placed. Yoga starts from the ground up! If you are standing, spread your toes and make sure your foot is placed straight ahead (second toe next to big toe is straight out from center of front of the ankle - no duckfeet or pigeon toes).
5. Let go of your ego!! I know you might say you don't have one, and that is fine, but let go of it anyway!
6. If you feel that you are losing your balance, focus on slowing the breath even more to calm your mind. Remember your locks (mulabandha and uddiyana bandha - core locks) and focus your concentration on one point.
7. When you fall or sway, reposition yourself and try again without self-incrimination (no bad thoughts). Even if you hold the pose for a second, that is SUCCESS. Move towards ten seconds or progress to combining several balancing postures as you develop more steadiness and ease.
We may fall down, but we get back up and try, try again. No one ever balances perfectly every time. Medication, mental/physical stress, busy minds, ... all of these things affect our ability to achieve balancing postures. As I often say in class, "Sometimes you fly like a rock star, and sometimes you fall like a rock." Let it go! Enjoy the journey not just the destination. You are toning, strengthening, and developing better flexibility along the way.

Never, never give up!

P.S. Happy Anniversary to handsome yoga man! He was the one who believed in me years and years ago when I had this dream to teach yoga, and before we were married, he gave me his entire weekly paycheck to pay for my first training workshop. Without you, Brian, none of this would have been possible. You are a gift from God to me every day!


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