Thursday, 28 April 2011
This isn't a "get a six-pack in six weeks" deal. Instead of focusing on the rectus abdominus (the six pack) this sequence will work the deeper layers of the abdominal area, such as the traverse abdominus.
It's important to persevere, but be careful not to work to exhaustion or you will end up using your lower back and hip flexors. Plan on doing just a few repetitions each day and work on finding that crucial balance between effort and release and your body will respond quickly.
To start take a 5 minute supine meditation focusing on releasing the muscles of the hips, pelvis and abdominals, you want to be careful not to work from a place of tension. Finish by taking a few moments rest in Padahastasana (foot to hand pose) to release the wrists after Hand Stand, moving briefly to Balasana (child pose) before resting fully in Savasana (corpse pose) for final relaxation.
1. Happy Baby Pose, variation
Lie on your back, engage your abdominals, and reach your arms up. Lift your legs off the floor, with your knees over your hips and your shins parallel to the floor. Keep just below your navel drawing in as you move your arms and legs back and forth a few inches, like a baby reaching up to play with a mobile. Continue for 30 seconds and then rest. Repeat 3 to 5 times.
2. Toe Taps
With your abs engaged, breathe normally as you slowly tap your right toe to the ground and return to neutral. Do the same with the left foot. Repeat 4 times. A sore lower back or hip flexors means you're relying on them instead of your TA to do the work. Reduce the number of repetitions and try it again tomorrow.
3. Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Bridge Pose)
Bring both feet to the floor. Place a block between your thighs. Reach your tailbone toward your heels and lift your hips into Bridge Pose. This doesn't have to be your highest version of Bridge; focus on keeping the stomach engaged. Stay for 3 to 5 breaths. Repeat 2 to 5 times.
4. Dolphin Pose
Come onto your hands and knees. Place your elbows under your shoulders and press your palms together firmly. Come into Dolphin, feeling the abdominal area hollow out and the perineum lift. Stay for 5 to 10 breaths.
Walk your feet back until your body is parallel to the floor. Keep pressing your hands together and hug your inner legs toward the midline. Hold for at least 3 full breaths, using your core for stability.
6. Salabhasana (Locust Pose)
Lie on your belly and bring your arms to your sides, palms facing up. Draw your lower belly toward your spine and lengthen your tailbone toward your heels to engage your TA. Lift your chest off the floor, drawing your heart forward and spreading your collarbones wide. Now lift your legs off the floor. Keep your neck completely relaxed. Stay for 5 breaths.
7. Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-Facing Dog Pose)
Come into Downward Dog. To feel Mula Bandha and the transversus, roll your sitting bones toward the ceiling. Then draw your tailbone toward your heels and hug your thighs as if you're holding a block between them. Exhale, then draw your lower belly toward your spine. Stay for 5 breaths.
8. Low Lunge
Step your right foot forward between your hands into a low lunge. Bring your hips over your back knee. Press the top of your back foot into the ground and tuck your tailbone. Place your right hand on a block and reach your left arm up. Bend to the right to create a stretch in the left side of the belly. When you're ready, inhale back to center, then step back to Downward Dog. Repeat on the other side.
9. Adho Mukha Vrksasana preparation (Handstand preparation)
Stand in Tadasana with your back to a wall. Place your feet a few inches from the wall and hug a block between your thighs. Take your thighs back then draw your tailbone toward your heels and squeeze the block. Bring the lower ribs toward your spine as you reach your arms up, palms facing the ceiling. Come onto your tiptoes, using the wall for support.
10. Adho Mukha Vrksasana (Handstand)
Parsvottanasana (Intense Side Stretch Pose)
- Calms the brain
- Stretches the spine, shoulders and wrists (in the full pose), hips, and hamstrings
- Strengthens the legs
- Stimulates the abdominal organs
- Improves posture and sense of balance
- Improves digestion
Contraindications and Cautions
If you have a back injury or high blood pressure, avoid the full forward bend; instead do Ardha Parsvottanasana (pronounced are-dah = half). Perform the pose a couple of feet from and facing a wall. With an exhalation lower your torso parallel to the floor and reach your hands out to the wall. Press your palms actively into the wall (preferably with your elbows fully extended), keeping your front torso longer than your back.
Parsvottanasana is also known as Intense Side stretch, because as Mr. Iyengar says, the name “implies a pose in which the side of the chest is stretched intensely.” Now let’s be honest. Most people don’t feel this stretch in the side of their chests, they feel it intensely in the backs of their legs. And the tendency is not to feel solid and balanced in this pose, which would cause a lack of strength and stability. So make sure you set a good foundation for the pose before extending the torso forward.
Wednesday, 27 April 2011
Ron van der Ende is a sculptor living in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. He specializes in wall mounted bas-reliefs constructed from found wood...i love them! See more here http://ronvanderende.nl/
- Ron van der Ende Prairie Church 2010
- Ron van der Ende Mum (Grand Pianola Piece) 2011
- Ron van der Ende Ørnen (De Adelaar / The Eagle) 2007
- Ron van der Ende Flawless 2007
Tuesday, 26 April 2011
A study at a US Buddhist retreat suggests eastern relaxation techniques can protect our chromosomes from degenerating
The Observer, Sunday 24 April 2011
High in the mountains of northern Colorado, a 100-foot tall tower reaches up through the pinetops. Brightly coloured and strung with garlands, its ornate gold leaf glints in the sun. With a shape that symbolises a giant seated Buddha, this lofty stupa is intended to inspire those on the path to enlightenment.
Visitors here to the Shambhala Mountain Centre meditate in silence for up to 10 hours every day, emulating the lifestyle that monks have chosen for centuries in mountain refuges from India to Japan. But is it doing them any good? For two three-month retreats held in 2007, this haven for the eastern spiritual tradition opened its doors to western science. As attendees pondered the "four immeasurables" of love, compassion, joy and equanimity, a laboratory squeezed into the basement bristled with scientific equipment from brain and heart monitors to video cameras and centrifuges. The aim: to find out exactly what happens to people who meditate.
Interesting article in the Observer this weekend...if you wan to read more click here
Monday, 25 April 2011
In Inuit legend, the narwhal's tusk was created when a woman with a harpoon rope tied around her waist was dragged into the ocean after the harpoon had struck a large narwhal. She was transformed into a narwhal herself, and her hair, which she was wearing in a twisted knot, became the characteristic spiral narwhal tusk.
I find it hard to believe narwhals actually exist. Strangely beautiful!