Pottstown’s High Street Yoga; Room to Stretch, Quiet to Reflect

Monday, May 31, 2010

Eagle Pose ~ Garudasana

Eagle Pose; one of my favorites. In class we often practice Eagle Pose, arms only, sometimes while seated and sometimes in Warrior 1. I carry stress in my trapezius muscles, my upper traps and Eagle pose stretches exactly where I need it. I like to focus on the upper body more then the balance. Last week we did the full Eagle Pose, arms and legs. Someone in class asked “Why is this called Eagle? We are so compressed and not soaring like an eagle?” That got me thinking. Why is it called Eagle Pose?
Sanskrit is often compared to Latin because it is a classical, root language for many other languages. The base of Sanskrit, Vedic Sanskrit, emerged around 1,500 B.C.in India. Most yoga poses will end with the Sanskrit suffix "asana," which means pose, or literally, "to be established in a particular position." The word Yoga in Sanskrit means “union" or "yoke." Yoga poses lead a student to a balancing, or union, of the body and mind.

The Sanskrit word Garuda means eagle, hence the name of this posture. According to Hindu mythology Garuda is the king of birds, he transports Lord Vishnu and is said to be eager to help humanity in its fight against demons. In Hindu and Buddhist mythology, Garuda had the wings, talons and beak of an eagle, but he also had the arms and legs of a man. With a wingspan of miles, Vishnu offered his arm to Garuda as a perch and they became fast friends. Garuda served and carried Vishnu and others as he earned the title "King of the Birds."

Eagle Pose improves poise, concentration, coordination and balance. Some say it mimics an eagle, a bird with intense concentration, from far above in the sky. The eagle can focus on any prey moving on the ground, which it swoops and whisks away. The goal of the Eagle pose (Garudasana) is to compress everything together and keep it in one line – shoulders, hips, knees and ankles.
Eagle Pose improves balance, stretches the upper back, shoulders and outer thighs. Eagle Pose opens back of pelvis, creates space between shoulder blades and makes legs, knees and ankles strong.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Yoga for Sciatic Pain

My journey to yoga evolved because of several factors. First, my husband was transferred with his job from Houston to rural Northern NJ. My life transformed overnight. In Houston we lived in the city where I worked full time as a Special Education teacher. Our new home in NJ was rural and I stayed home with my boys. The adjustment to these changes was huge. The second factor leading me to yoga was sciatic pain. Struggling with the move and in tremendous pain I turned to yoga.

I did yoga during the boys nap time and researched yoga for sciatic pain. Eventually this led me to a yoga teacher training program and free of sciatic pain.

Throughout my teacher training my instructor Mike asked me every week, “how is your hip” I’d answer, “it’s the same, my leg is still numb” until one day I realized it was gone. Years later I still love the hip opening poses and incorporated them into classes and my own daily practice

The following four poses helped ease my sciatic pain. In addition to relieving sciatic pain, these poses help with the following:

King Pigeon

Stretches the thighs, groins and psoas, abdomen, chest and shoulders, and neck
Stimulates the abdominal organs
Opens the shoulders and chest

Cow Face Legs Only

Stretches the ankles, hips and thighs, shoulders, armpits and triceps, and chest

Downward Facing Dog

Calms the brain and helps relieve stress and mild depression
Energizes the body
Stretches the shoulders, hamstrings, calves, arches, and hands
Strengthens the arms and legs
Relieves menstrual discomfort when done with head supported
Helps prevent osteoporosis
Improves digestion
Relieves headache, insomnia, back pain, and fatigue
Therapeutic for high blood pressure, asthma, flat feet, sciatica, sinusitis

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Tribal Belly Dancing at High Street Yoga in Pottstown

This is an intro to Tribal Belly Dance! Ann Lee will be focusing on beginning and intermediate moves. Come and refine your moves, or come to learn this wonderful and joyous dance form for the first time!
Cost is $30 if you register before May 31st, $35 afterward
Come enjoy an evening of dance and sisterhood!

Date: Wednesday, June 2, 2010
Time: 6:30pm - 8:30pm
Location: High Street Yoga
Street: 141 E High St
City/Town: Pottstown, PA

Monday, May 17, 2010

Yoga Unites ~ Living beyond Breast Cancer

Yesterday I had the honor and privilege to participate in an event called Yoga Unites, Living beyond Breast Cancer. Over 1,000 Yogis gathered on the steps of the art museum in Philadelphia and practiced yoga in support of one cause. Yoga Unites for Living beyond Breast Cancer is an annual fundraising event that provides a way for individuals and teams to join the community in supporting women affected by breast cancer while experiencing the healing benefits of yoga.

This is the 8th year of the event and my first year. Two friends joined me and bright and early on Sunday morning we drove to Philadelphia. We exited the highway and immediately knew this was going to be a special event. Circling the neighborhoods to park, we spotted yogis with their yoga mats walking to the event. We saw families with small children, women, and men, young, old, groups, individuals, all walking to the event in support of breast cancer.

Energy is hard to explain or define but standing in line to register the energy was palpable. I felt overwhelmed, thinking of my sister in law a breast cancer survivor, thinking of all the women affected by breast cancer and how each person at the event knows at least one woman with breast cancer. Women wore pink; women wore bras on the outside of their shirt decorated with ribbons, feathers and words. We saw teams of people with signs, flags and matching shirts.

Since this was our first time we didn’t know to ‘reserve’ a spot first with our mat. We ended up being at the top near the fountain. We enjoyed the wonderful sound of the water from the fountain, enjoyed the backdrop of the beautiful art museum and we chatted with our fellow neighbors in the back while we waited for the event to begin. The class was led by Jennifer Schelter, founder of Yoga Unites. She led the group of 1,000 yogis through meditation, gentle stretching, sun salutations, partner yoga and a wonderful final relaxation. The class was accompanied by live music by Yvette Pecoraro. Jennifer led us gracefully through the yoga poses while sharing inspiring stories and encouraging words. The sky was blue and the sun was warm. The backdrop of the city was perfect gazing point.

There were times when I wanted to cry. There were times when my heart felt so open. Each of us walked away knowing we experienced something special. I’m already looking forward to next year and our team from Pottstown!

Friday, May 7, 2010

The Neti Pot~ Allergy Relief or Comic Relief?

The Neti Pot is a household name thanks to Oprah and Dr. Oz. A Neti Pot can be found on the shelves of most health food stores, drug stores and even super stores. Most know it as a form of nasal irrigation, but, did you know that it has its roots in the yogic tradition? Historically Neti Pots were used in India to clear the nasal passages. Controlled breathing (pranayama) plays such and important roll in yoga.

A Neti Pot resembles a small tea pot or a gravy boat with a long spout. A saline solution is made of warm water and salt. The user stands over the sink, tips his head and pours the solution in one nostril while it flows out the other. The process is repeated on both sides.

I suffer from seasonal allergies and have used the Neti Pot for about two years. I appreciate the yogic tradition and enjoy some relief with out the use of over the counter medication. My kids are fascinated (and repulsed) by it. Last night my youngest son wanted to try it. He thought it was hilarious to watch himself in the mirror while he poured the water in one nostril and it came out the other! The last thing he said before going to bed was “the Neti Pot is fun”

Fun? That’s a whole new perspective on the Neti Pot. Allergy Relief? Or Comic Relief? In our house it’s both!

Thursday, May 6, 2010