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My Dancer’s Pose – Original Yoga Poetry

17 Oct
101 Sports Poems - The Poems

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Poetry for baseball, volleyball, bicycling, yoga, dance, and much more.

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my dancer’s pose – original yoga poetry

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if the words endure, they do so because they link the links -

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My Dancer’s Pose

Balanced

between the earth and sky

with

one foot grounded and

one fist’s fingers

extended

up

feet and fingers

feeling

for

my lines’

passages through

my

heart and mind

my thoughts

steadied by my heart’s

beating breathings

my

feelings warmed

by

my mind’s acceptance

of

balance reaching from the

ground

my foot a peaceful planting -

my

dancing pulses playing waltzes -

set

between stars inside our patient earth.

© 2011 adam light creation / adan lerma

***

tied to my post later this week, “balance & yoga – a tidbit post, # 8,”  the poem “my dancer’s pose” is titled to indicate this is definitely “my” experience

i’m pretentious at times ;-) but not to feel my own dance experience equates (beyond enjoyment and idiosyncratic personal meaning) to “the” dancer’s experience

yet, dancer’s pose (natarajasana) is one of my favorite postures

there’s a stillness mixed with movement in dancers pose i don’t feel as acutely with other standing poses, and this is something i explore each time I practice this

dancer’s pose seems to awaken an awareness in more than one level for me, it passes more easily to my other interests, which seems natural enough, but goes beyond merely happening to also like dance or aerobic movement -

or even beyond running and jogging, at least in what i did of that in my younger days ;-)

i’m still working through ideas via my post for later this week

as usual, it’s a process ;-)

namaste´- con dios – god be with you

***

Other Yoga-Adan Links You Might Like

poetry series

poetry ebooks information - all available titles

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did this poem feel like it conveyed an emotion or idea you could relate to?

would you like to see me read this poem on a video on YouTube?

please feel free to leave a comment, thank you ;-)


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Evolution of a Pose – Original Yoga Poetry

10 Oct
Nice Thing 'Bout Getting Old(er) - Articles, Reviews, Creativity

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Fitness and Creativity while aging gracefully.

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evolution of a pose – original yoga poetry

featured in “Nice Thing ‘Bout Getting Old(er)

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if the words endure, they do so because they link the links -

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Evolution of a Pose

As a tiny child

(I am told)

I

liked to lift

my chest

off

the floor

and peek about

and smile at those around me.

*

As a quietly raucous teen

(i’ve been reminded)

i’d lift my chest

from the

hot

beach sands

that are galveston

to peer around

at my peers.

*

As a young man intent

on learning asanas

i’d lift prone from

the mat

to

the third chakra

i knew must be in there

…somewhere.

A

cobra

i was, i was told.

Maybe, with smiling fangs?

i wondered…

*

In the service

i’d lift my chest

with my breath as

i pressed my finger

on the trigger.

I was a

cobra

now

i thought.

*

As a dad

i’d lift

my head

as my children

learned to lift their head

then their chest,

core muscles moving

them

to the crawling mobile stage -

and i recall

(i would tell them)

they’d lift their chest

off

the floor

and peek about

and smile..at all those around them.

*

The cobra pose is but

a stage of skin

between

the playful peeking child

and the grateful mom and dad.

The pose

is the peeking child

within.

Nothing more.  And never nothing less.

© 2011 adam light creations / adan lerma

***

this week i follow my new yoga poem, evolution of a pose, with a review of a lecture sheila and i attended recently, at the university of vermont, titled it’s a stretch: is connective tissue the link to yoga’s benefits? -

this lecture led directly to a merging of my long-standing idea, that some poses with names like “cobra” might be better named closer to their more probable origin, people – with some developmental data presented at that lecture -

from which this poem emerged ;-)

*

longer than most my poems (though not all, like “when it ended” written in ’81) – my goal was to see if i recognized this one pose, from beginning to present, in some form or other, in my daily life

i found the exercise unusually satisfying ;-)

namaste´- con dios – god be with you

***

Other Yoga-Adan Links You Might Like

poetry series

poetry ebooks information - all published titles

***

did this poem feel like it conveyed an emotion or idea you could relate to?

would you like to see me read this poem on a video on YouTube?

please feel free to leave a comment, thank you ;-)


***

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Teaching a Sequence of Yoga Classes as a Series, a review – Teaching Those in Front of You

21 Sep
Nice Thing 'Bout Getting Old(er) - Articles, Reviews, Creativity

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Pictured, “Nice Thing ‘Bout Getting Old(er)”

Articles, reviews, and poetry on aging gracefully, in fitness with creativity.

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“a beginner’s view : the intent of this blog is to incrementally build a body of thought that works toward integrating various topics, yoga, fitness, and the arts – it’s a process…”


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teaching a sequence of yoga classes as a series, a review – teaching those in front of you

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Article Outline
 
Intro
 
Guest Model for Article, Linda Hartwell
 
Three Class Premise, Revisited
  • Review
  • Continuity of Effort
  • Recognition, Teaching Those in Front of Me
What’s Changed
  • Intro
  • Chair Based Classes
  • Zumba’s Sentao in the Wings
  • What About Line Dance?
What’s the Same
  • Breath Work
  • AFAA Fitness Guidelines
  • SilverSneakers MSROM as a Core Class
  • Nancy Adler’s (Flying Yogini) Blog Post – “Between the Lines”
Final Thoughts
 
Late Breaking News Added
 
***

Intro

back a few months ago, i wrote the first article in what i guess is at least a mini-series now ;-)teaching a sequence of yoga classes as a series, a beginner’s view

this is my first look back at that experimental beginning, what changes have occurred, and why - plus, what may lie ahead

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Guest Model for Article, Linda Hartwell

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Guest Model, Linda Hartwell

Guest Model, Linda Hartwell

linda has been a regular in our classes this summer since a friend in class suggested she try us out ;-)

she’s the proprietor of the bed & breakfast here in burlington, the hartwell house -

plus linda also shot the video for the zumba entry sheila and i did together!

sheila and i have much thanks for her cheerful presence in class -

and for letting us use her to “decorate” our article ;-)

hopefully in the future we may have the opportunity of interview linda, and see what impact yoga and fitness have had on her life and daily activities

***

Three Class Premise, Revisited

Review

i wrote, in the beginning section, three class premise, “the challenge has been, to find the format with enough time to leisurely present and have a group of de-conditioned or beginning people, experience the possibility of integrating and seeing the links between yoga, fitness, and other exercises”

and i mentioned that “there’s a series of fitness ideas i like to work into the yoga classes” -

including the use of visualization, breathing, and feeling how a range of motion feels differently, and similarly, in differing modes of movement (yoga, elastic bands, aerobic dance) -

including having a sequence that covers stretching, strength, and cardio work

having the class experience integrating and seeing the links between yoga and fitness and other exercises, wasn’t as difficult a challenge as i’d feared, and most everyone “accepted” that there’s connections, without any kind of difficulty or resistance that either or any kind of particular movement or benefit to our bodies, is “only” possible from one or the other disciplines

the fitness ideas, likewise, were often welcome and beneficial towards the goal of wellness for oneself

*

Continuity of Effort

most welcome of all though, was the ability and experience of having a sequence of related classes, spread evenly throughout the week, with days in-between and the weekend for recovery or cross-training

most of the folk in our current class choose to walk quite a bit, though this will be more of a challenge as the weather steadily moves toward the winter

being house-bound for days may highlight the need even more to develop a home practice

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Recognition, Teaching Those in Front of Me

what i hadn’t expected, was accepting where my class participants were, in terms of ability, where they needed to begin from, and how much and how quickly they could progress toward their particular fullness of wellness

my own accepting of the people in front of us each day, for three times a week, has lead to the decision to go completely chair based, at least for now

***

What’s Changed

Hands to the Heart, Linda Hartwell

Hands to the Heart, Linda Hartwell

Intro

most of all, is my own perception of the folk in front of me

the current class can do some mat work, some standing weight work, and some standing aerobic work

they are willing, they are dogged and will push themselves to their limit

and that’s good, to a point -

the class is so determined, what with constantly being fed fitness info on how bone growth is believed to be being encouraged by the quantity and quality of their movements, in any of the exercises, whether yoga, weights, or even line dance – that they do what we all tend to do at times -

push too hard too soon, without adequate recovery, and get burned out or too sore

in my first article on a sequence of classes as a series, i mentioned “i’ve sometimes thought i’d gotten around recovery, but really only delayed it” with a link to an article i have, on the need for recovery -

these good folk were even trying to get around needing to give themselves time for recovery, they were plowing right through it! ;-)

which re-emphasized to my wife and myself one of the fundamental driving reasons we have gone into learning and teaching about fitness :

all the things about getting & staying fit we never heard nor told enough about!

recovery is just one of those; we like sharing fitness tips in our classes ;-)

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Chair Bases Classes

the answer was provided by the class members themselves -

as the time spent doing exercise increased from our ten-minute starting block, our class initially continued to relish their improvements in their ability to sustain a pose, or weight sequence, or aerobic routine -

but more and more frequently would reach for one of the near-by chairs we always have in class, and clearly exhausted with effort, set themselves down, catch their strength, then continue with the class work while in the chair -

once one person acknowledged to themself they needed to use a chair, within minutes the other class members gave themselves the same permission

there was clearly no sense of pretense or copping out, this was a desired preference -

and it allowed them to express their desire to continue improving their fitness

these folks internal wisdom was telling us what we need to do -

provide more chair time, and we did

the result has been a much more enthusiastic looking-forward-to by the class to each day’s fitness work

*

will we still do some mat or standing work? yes, but on their timetable

the smiles of accomplishment and well being engendered and internalized are too significant to ignore the benefits of their preference

besides, as i’ve mentioned in my review of Stronger Seniors’ yoga dvd, chair routines are no wimpy work, both sheila and i gladly use them as recovery cross-training between our own yoga, jazzercise, or zumba sets ;-)

*

Zumba’s Sentao in the Wings

i’d be remiss if i didn’t also mention the impact knowing zumba is preparing a specialty certification of chair-based zumba, tentatively, i believe, called sentao, which is spanish for seated

it’ll be interesting to learn more about this new program, who it’s targeting, etc

as i learn more info on this, i’ll be sure and let people know

*

What About Line Dance?

it’s interesting that the ladies in our classes want to do line dance, but they say it’s too hard after our friday aerobic chair class, and want to know if they can do some line dance after our chair based yoga class ;-)

why yes! of course!

***

What’s the Same

Swan Dive Forward Bend (enroute), Linda Hartwell

Swan Dive Forward Bend (enroute), Linda Hartwell

Breath Work

some things not only have remained the same, but have even been enhanced

all our classes begin with three yogic breathing exercises, and are strongly looked forward to

we’ve even been able, at the class members’ request, to now advance the third breathing exercise, a modified fire breath sequence sheila and i learned in a silversneakers yoga instructor’s class, to a short full fire breath set

now that’s playing fire with fire! ;-)

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AFAA Fitness Guidelines

afaa, as well as other national fitness certifying bodies like acsm and ace, has always emphasized a continuity of doable effort

a nice article i found via a google search, from “workouts for you“, says :

“Frequency. Consider how much time each week you truly will devote to this workout. Be realistic. There’s no purpose in setting expectations so high that you likely will fail. Remember, the ACSM guidelines are 3-5 times per week, so a good start would be three days.”

being realistic about how much can be done, especially when first beginning or resuming a workout routine, is part of why we like to build our classes with ten minute work out sets

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SilverSneakers MSROM as a Core Class

msrom (muscle strength range of motion, affectionately called miss rom by the silversneaker folk) is the core required course from silversneakers to be able to teach in their sponsored classes at y’s and fitness centers around the country

at our first class, sheila and i had expected that cardio work would be the primary concern for most seniors, but were taught that, due to frailty and loss of muscle mass and inactivity, strengthening was considered the first thing to emphasize

though our own classes first started with yoga stretching and strengthening, we did find the class responded with most need-recognition to the weights chair class before they did the aerobics chair class

silversneakers also taught us that, developing stronger muscles for daily living, not only helped minimize injuries and falls, but also helped the body create more demand for oxygen intake to fuel those muscles, and from that, aerobic cardio work became more doable

interesting huh? ;-)

*

Nancy Adler’s (Flying Yogini) Blog Post – “Between the Lines”

finally, in a post that reminded me of my own post on teaching limitations, but in her usual entertaining and easy to understand manner, nancy at her site, flying yogini, had a nice post entitled, “between the lines” :

“draw a line right where your feet are at this moment. Then take the biggest step you can and draw a line where you arrive..That space you just created is your reach: the amazing vastness within which you move and that which needs to be appreciated…

“Step back and look at what you just marked: those lines you drew are not boundaries but the arms that hold in the greatness of who you are 99.9% of the time. They gather up the breath, the space, the wonder and the gifts that you offer to others and yourself….”

what she says fits so nicely with what i feel is the essence of accepting how much good a person can do in chair work

while my own article on limitations spoke to finding awareness in accepting and working within one’s limitations, nancy asserts a great way to find those limits of awareness, and then enjoy the heck out of those limitations, celebrate the huge middle core of ourselves

the “edges” will still always be there to “play” with when one is ready and wanting to…

so, whether because of age, injury, illness, or simple inactivity, chair work then, is an opportunity to go at one’s pace within a boundary that allows one to “recover” without having to give up your seat to the big show…a healthier life ;-)

take your seat ahead of time, a front row seat to your own health and enjoyment

and when you’re ready, hey, then stand up (for yourself) ;-)

***

Final Thoughts

Experiment

in my initial article on teaching a sequence of yoga classes as a series, i wrote, “this is an experiment worth working with”

it still holds true -

sheila and i have learned much the past year and a half -

much that explained what we’d been doing, right or incorrectly -

much that we didn’t even realize to begin with that we needed to learn -

and much that we know we’ll only learn as we continue to both practice, and teach…

*

it’s a grand experiment -

maybe as grand as life itself ;-) learning what works, with whom, and when…

***

Late Breaking News Added

our class location business, the fitness center downtown, is located the first level below a two story borders bookstore in downtown burlington

because the borders stores nationwide have closed, the owner of the fitness center where we teach, has notified us that her lease on the fitness location has not been renewed past the end of this month

at this time we are viewing continuing our 3 set sequence in a private setting for our core group

as this firms up next month, we’ll be sure to post an update

namaste – con dios – god be with you


***

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The Fitness Bank – Please Deposit Ten Minutes of Yoga – a Tidbit Post, # 7

16 Aug
101 Sports Poems - The Poems

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Pictured, “101 Sports Poems”

Poetry for baseball, football, volleyball, bicycling, bowling, and more!

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the fitness bank – please deposit ten minutes of yoga -

a tidbit post, # 7

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Intro

Ten Minute Deposit #1

Ten Minute Deposit #1, Original Photography Adan Lerma

my revision history for my blog shows i began an initial draft with an idea for this article back in late may – why so long to get written?

well ;-) i loved the idea, immediately, that 1 ten minute set of activity, could generate health benefits, and 3 or more, might mean fitness benefits

i say “activity” because afaa, in their text, “personal fitness training, theory and practice” has differentiated physical activity and exercise thus -

“The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) differentiates physical activity from exercise and defines physical activity as ‘bodily movement that is produced by the contraction of skeletal muscle and that substantially increases energy expenditure’”

while exercise itself is defined as

“Exercise is defined as “planned, structured, and repetitive bodily movement done to improve or maintain one or more components of physical fitness” (American College of Sports Medicine, 2006)”

activity is closer to being more active in daily living activities (adls) such as walking, gardening, washing a car, carrying groceries

which of course, pre-supposes the person has the stamina and strength for being able to do the things most of do each day, something not always taken into consideration for sedentary individuals, esp those that are either elderly, recovering from illness or injury, or both

but it still seemed too good to be true, just put in 10 minutes a day? for a minimum?

what’s the catch?

deborah dunham, in an excellent article over at blisstree, “it’s time to quit lowering the bar” also took exception, saying,

“Twenty one minutes a day of exercise is not a lot. In fact, I don’t think it’s nearly enough

“I learned making exercise easier and less time-consuming won’t help people become more fit. It does the opposite….”

and she has some darn good points to back her up, including experience…

so what is the catch?

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The Catch

the “catch” is as with movement and exercise, further defining -

ten minutes for whom?

an article linked to by ms dunham above, “some exercise is better than none for lowering heart disease risk,” says,

“people who did less than the recommended 150 minutes per week also had lowered risk of heart disease compared with their sedentary counterparts”

and what these “people” did, as per the article, was exercise

so there is some expectation of an activity beyond that normally done

and that is regular, planned, and meant to improve “one or more components of physical fitness”  [1]

with yoga, an example might be the difference of when i do a ten minute set or more that includes forward bends, vs reaching down for something i drop during the day

or, the process of sitting down to watch dr oz with my wife, vs a set that includes chair pose, utkatasana

now using the remote for the tv, haven’t thought of pose for that yet, though some of the mudras might work ;-)

sheila likes the book, “mudras, yoga in your hands”

***

Ten Minute Deposit #2

Ten Minute Deposit #2, Original Photography Adan Lerma

The Save (Benefit)

that still leaves room for the ubber-beginner or beginning recovering person, to do most any “activity,” or movement, and benefit

afaa, in the same fitness text noted above, recognizing such, adds,

“initial low-to-moderate levels of ‘activity’ may enhance adherence with sedentary individuals”

good news for anyone looking to start feeling better!

further good news, i believe, is over-exertion is not necessary to start being healthier

and yoga, as advertised, is generally not taught in a manner to demand or expect or teach a person to over-exert

part of the attraction of yoga, for me, is the opportunity to develop a more serene more peaceful more harmonious manner of getting and staying fit

***

Substantiation

Google Search

further interesting leads indicating the value of at least ten minutes of exercise can be found via a google search of “benefit of 10 minutes of exercise”

entries from the search include links to the washingtonpost, usatoday, and webmd

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My Own Experience

one of my most convincing, to myself, unintended proofs i have available to myself from my own personal experience, is the fact that, since 2004 or so, after returning to fitness-effort via jazzercise in 2001 (via my wife sheila’s encouragement), i then proceeded to, almost daily, to this day, do one of denise austin’s ten minute dvd segments, her yoga stretch routine packed with poses and stretched with commonsense

i use the sequence to this day, at least several times a week

i didn’t know about ten minute theories then

but it sure has worked ;-)

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Ten Minute Yoga Super Sets via Sadie Nardini

recently, gaiam featured an article by sadie nardini, packed with fitness info and photos, on the value of a ten minute super sets

though these suggested poses are a bit beyond what i normally do ;-) sadie’s suggestion of using a ten minute superset is a great idea

more info on supersets is here

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Ten Minute Deposit #3

Ten Minute Deposit #3, Original Photography Adan Lerma

Ten Minutes – Circumstantial Evidence

seems there’s good reason circumstantial evidence is usually objected to on tv courtroom shows!

so this section should be taken with a dose of non-sodium doubt ;-)

but does make for good food for thought!

*

the number ten, as in the theme of today’s article, ten minutes, seems interwoven into our daily habits, our bodies, and history

with a hat-tip to sheila for some of the ideas ;-) here’s a smattering :

* ten toes and fingers

* ten minute notations on most clocks

* the saying “count to ten!”

* ten commandments

* field marker increments on a football field (ten yard line)

* top ten on david letterman

* countdown from ten for a launch from nasa

* if you’re a “ten” you’re at your best (ala bo derek)

* “just lose ten” from dr oz

* give me ten! – a per a push-up command

and from the world of dance and movement, eric franklin, in his book, “dynamic alignment through imagery” has this bit of research that’s interesting :

“an experiment at the university of california at irvine suggests that listening to 10 minutes of Mozart piano music improves intelligence for a short period thereafter….”

mozart i can kinda understand ;-) but again, why ten minutes?

well, i’m gonna count to ten then finish up my post today!

***

Ten Minute Deposit #4

Ten Minute Deposit #4, Original Photography Adan Lerma

Final Thought

Providing an Environment Where Wellness is a Choice

though i firmly believe that, ultimately, wellness is a choice -

i also believe that helping provide a psychological and physical environment, that allows and encourages a person to both, feel they can do ten minutes of exercise (without injury), and also feel it is worth the effort (has benefits), is a doable accepted proven idea -

for when we’re well, when we’re tired, when we hurt, even for when we thrive ;-)

namaste – con dios – god be with you


***

footnotes

[1]  a google search for the 9 components of fitness gave me many variations, of from 7 to 10 components, but not 9 ;-)

afaa, in their personal fitness training, theory and practice book, with excerpts featured on their online personal trainer prep course, lists 4 (some say five) health related components, then 5 they consider skill related components of physical fitness

the links in the paragraphs above take you to sites that discuss one of each of the type components

current theory and practice, seems to indicate that a ten minute session of activity, will benefit the health related components

the same current state of knowledge indicates that 3 or ten minutes sets, in any order or combination, in a single day, start to benefit fitness or skill related components


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Creativity & Awareness, a Conscious Response to Adaptation in Fitness & Yoga

2 Aug
Everyday Gratitude Vol 1

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Small gratitudes found in the day to day living of daily life.

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“the intent of this blog is to incrementally build a body of thought that works toward integrating various topics, yoga, fitness, and the arts – it’s a process…”


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creativity & awareness, a conscious response to adaptation in fitness & yoga

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Intro

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Awareness & Creativity, A Starting Point

Awareness & Creativity, A Starting Point, Original Digital Art Adan Lerma

*

we all know about creativity, and we’ve all heard about awareness, and a lot of us are learning about fitness adaptation, where the body becomes accustomed to a level of exertion, so what’s the big deal?

well, how ’bout : lineage, continuity, connectivity

mind-body-fitness-yoga : interplay – with “play” being operative!

it’s good to know that creativity isn’t just something fun ;-) or frustrating

that creativity isn’t something that just happens when you make something arty

and awareness isn’t just something that happens when we realize we are aware of something

both awareness and creativity can, at times, be a choice

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Creativity and Awareness, Counters to Adaptation in Fitness

Awareness, Varying the Form of the Moment

it is said, i believe, in science, and in psychology, that an awareness of an event, alters that event, even if only at a micro level

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Awareness & Creativity, Form One

Awareness & Creativity, Form One, Original Digital Art Adan Lerma

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being, or becoming aware, of a portion of ourselves, in a moment in time, forces us to :

either accept and (hopefully) breathe through the pull or stretch or pain or pleasure we feel during a pose -

thus actually extending the boundary of adaptation by our body to the same pose; re-adapting the body to a new endurance level

kinda like road work on the path of our muscle memories - moving the “road ends” signs a little further out the path ;-)

or,

change that pull or stretch or pain or pleasure, in any direction we choose

part of what i like to call, our yoga loophole  ;-)

nicole fleetwood, in her article on magazine of yoga, “work the pose: courage, embodiment and daily life” puts it this way,

“Working the pose brought me into an awareness of my wrestling with time – struggling with past and then anticipating the future..Working the pose was an opportunity not only to observe but also to embody time passing in the present moment.”

essentially, we are time…

and our passage in space, or awareness in it, offers us a creative opportunity to alter, day by day, moment by moment, our body’s adaptation to what has passed before  [1]

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Creativity, From Awareness

though fitness adaptation is invaluable for internalizing specific muscles and movement patterns for a specific purpose, things we want to be able to do correctly efficiently and unobtrusively (walking, running, breathing, etc), specificity enables us to focus on areas needing further developement, or correction (throwing a curve ball, learning a fun dance step, breathing, etc) -

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Awareness & Creativity, Form Two

Awareness & Creativity, Form Two, Original Digital Art Adan Lerma

*

in yoga, my yoga i should say, using held poses and movements between poses, plus movement within poses, is something i tend to see as gestalt endeavor, meant to benefit my mind-body connection, and, possibly (hopefully) give me clues to existence – why am i here? why are we here? and does it matter, beyond that we are here?

personally, i don’t believe adherence to any system, yogic or otherwise, is necessary to sometimes hear whatever wisdom may be within us (though i’m open to picking up whatever i might can learn from “most” anyone) ;-)

that said, in a very real sense, whatever point i may be at, in any moment in time, is a point of adaptation, by my body, my mind-body connection, for me, right now

and if yoga, barring the need for specific restorative stretching or strengthening, is a gestalt game in experience, then most anything i do that varies a routine, held or moving, is a challenge to my level of fitness adaptation at that moment in time

even if the challenge is teeny tiny ;-)

and that said, awareness, as pointed out above, and more strongly so, creativity, as a response to adaptation by my body, is my next level of engagement with myself

awareness, at some level, i believe, engenders creativity

awareness is the ripple, creativity is the wave

probably two parts of one inner flow

subjective, yes, but…

it’s interesting that even within scientific discussion, we can find, from performbetterdotcom, a statement like [ please note, this link will not work for me on my proof check, so the link for performbetterdotcom is to a google search that shows the clickable link as the top entry ]  :

“Any pre-planned PD [ periodization model ] scheme is affected by subjective and objective feedback obtained from the athlete’s current state…”

hmmmmm ;-)

*

Creativity as a Form of Periodization

periodization is a method of training thought to be helpful in combating excess fitness adaptation, and can be used or viewed linearly or non-linearly

the science of periodization” by jason shea, suggests :

“Although the general loading process (with respect to initial training levels) overtime may be considered linear, variations in volume and intensity that occur within a microcycle exhibit a nonlinear pattern…

“What may be meant by non-linear is not the periodization schedule, but when taken from motor learning context, the variability of practice schedule, otherwise known as undulating or concurrent periodization.”

ace fitness provides numerous suggestions how to incorporate periodization into one’s routines, among them :

  • The number of repetitions per set, or the number of sets of each exercise
  • The amount of resistance used
  • The rest period between sets, exercises or training sessions
  • The order of the exercises, or the types of exercises
  • The speed at which you complete each exercise

for me, ace’s (partial) list above is a veritable gold mine for creativity!

just in regard to the third item, “rest period between sets” -

i can take license with myself, and say, “even professional sports athletes have an off-season!

meaning, modulating training (practice) can include slowing down, or even taking a break…whew!

i know, even sounds almost blasphemous to me ;-)

*

Creativity as Experimentation

*

Awareness & Creativity, Form Three, Original Digital Art Adan Lerma

Awareness & Creativity, Form Three, Original Digital Art Adan Lerma

*

i experiment in my art work

my poems are often feeling-searchings

my photography finds things in layers and versions!

my asanas, ahh my asanas ;-) it’d be easier to figure when i’m not experimenting!

*

creativity is fun!

and for me, learning why, and how to trigger creativity, and use it, doesn’t take away from it ;-)

but how would one, unaccustomed to so-called creative work “get” creative?

experimentation is one of the easiest means for me :

i don’t have to know anything about results

i need expect only the unknown -

and just try something…

wiggle a foot, stretch a shoulder, move fuller into my breath, lift a hand, shift a hip, lift a leg -

and see what happens ;-)

repeat it, chunk it, enhance it, soften it, slow it down, run it smooth, make it jumpy, hold it -

september’s issue of yoga journal is what the editor, kaitlin quistgaard, rightly calls, in her editor’s letter, a “special music issue” -

within it, various musician artists are interviewed

among them, alanis morissette, says :

“the impetus to do yoga comes from the same place where my songs are birthed. when i’m writing songs or doing yoga, i’m curious about what’s really going on: what’s happening in my body? what’s happening in my heart? what’s happening in my life? what’s happening in the larger context of the planet? what’s happening in the evolution of consciousness? what’s happening in my knee? It’s all the same muscle of curiosity

“that’s the most powerful quality i bring to my creative process….”

yes, i agree!

be curious…experiment…explore! ;-)

*

Applied Example

a super article, offering a fun example, is jill miller’s article, on gaiam’s site, “how to get out of that pose rut

suggestions she offers include :

“shuffle around your yoga DVD collection” ; yoga cross training, with links to various styles of yoga, and props

also included is a nice sequence of photos illustrating her thoughts via triangle pose, trikonasana -

it’s amazing to see her variations -

my favorite titled pose is “twisted triangle run over by a truck” ;-)

***

Final Thoughts

Awareness & Creativity, Form Four,

Awareness & Creativity, Form Four, Original Digital Art Adan Lerma

*

Choices

yesterday’s post, on using a pyramiding technique in yoga, mentioned how we can make choices to increase or decrease the load and thus, the effect, a pose may have on us

today, i suggest, that, though awareness “is” and counters adaptation to some extent, to become more fully whole, and i believe, remain close to that state, we have to decide we want to side-step our body’s natural plateauing of our efforts (adaptation) by :

* activating a creative, even if experimental, pose-choice-modification, while performing a pose for ourselves ;-)

* that this is not only, by definition, creative ;-) but healthy for us!

* and that, even when we choose to plateau and enjoy our fruits for awhile, creative experimentation, is the easiest surest most fun way to put a ripple on the smooth surface of that plateau of fitness

and by recognizing that,

* awareness is an opportunity to acknowledge a state of being, and alter our body’s adaptation to the exertion and capability of doing that pose, by :

** either maintaining the pose beyond the current state of adaptation (some might say byond boredom)

or

** creating a nuance of adjustment, of any degree, and challenging that adaptation that way

*

lineage, continuity, connectivity

science, mind, body, spirit

yoga, fitness, self

*

afaa, and dr john w travis, at wellpeople.com, both agree that wellness is a choice -

and, as discussed previously, i believe yoga and wellness are of a family

awareness and creativity, like wellness in general, are choices

choices of enhancement – conscious choices of intent

choices i attempt to make each day, each practice

’cause sometimes i forget ;-)

namaste – con dios – god be with you


***

tidbit series

footnotes

[1]  my initial thoughts, on adaptation and how we can beneficially deal with it, is in my post :

adaptation in yoga fitness and nature, thoughts

*

[2]  a post from yoga journal online, “periodize your practice” , came out today, and spoke directly and clearly about periodization

my comment on their facebook page, which i shared on my own fb pg, says,

“it’s so good to see this type of thinking applied to yoga; my post today on pyramiding in yoga fits right in… 

“really liked sage’s lines, “As you move into more concerted and intense training, your build period or competitive season, you’ll need to pay closer attention to the demands of your yoga practice” -

 “i really liked the way the info for that played out, learned much! thanks!”

***


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Pyramiding in Yoga – a Tidbit Post, # 6

1 Aug
Everyday Gratitude Vol 1

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Pictured, “Everyday Gratitude Vol 1″

Small gratitudes found in the day to day living of daily life.

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pyramiding in yoga – a tidbit post

# 6

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Tidbits

tidbits are, by definition, tiny bits

*

a google search indicates further elaboration -

qualities such as “pleasing” and “choice” are mentioned -

“small” and “bite-sized” also come up…

*

thus, this series of tidbits, of small bite-sized posts, are both my choice, and, hopefully, pleasing ;-)

if this tidbit comes from, or leads to, a much longer, more complex post, a link will be provided -

thank you much

***

Pyramiding

General Definition

Pyramid with Steeple

Pyramiding in Yoga - Photography Adan Lerma

sounds like a noun gone wild ;-)

so what is pyramiding?

well, a google search of “pyramid exercise definition” comes up with, as always, a wealth of possibilities to explore

a simple quick definition, from myfit.ca, appears on the search page itself :

“A pyramid is a load pattern where the load for an exercise starts low then gradually increases with each set”

and a reverse pyramid, as you can guess simply means the opposite, an exercise load starts high then slowly decreases in some pattern

so, what is load, and how is it changing in the pyramid sequence?

*

Load, Within the Pyramid

another google search, for exercise load definition, finds, from knowledge-storage.com :

“Physical exercise key parametres are its intensity, duration and frequency which together define volume of a training load. Each of these parametres plays an independent role in definition of training efficacy, their interrelation and mutual influence however are not less important”

key, to me, is that all three components, intensity duration and frequency, are evidently independent variables, yet “their interrelation and mutual influence however are not less important

typically, most people will think of either increasing, or decreasing, weight amounts, to increase or decrease load

*

Applying Concept of Portability

as per my post last week, “my tree (pose) needs prop(ping) – integrating yoga & fitness” i wrote of the concept of portability, which i had seen on ray long’s daily bandha site

Pyramid with Steeple

Pyramiding in Yoga - Photography, Adan Lerma

i spoke of how i thought i might could apply it across various ideas to help me understand, and use, the way i am able (and unable) to do tree pose, vrksasana

here, my idea is to simply show that the same process might be applied to both a yoga pose, and a sequence of pose movements

this is not new, dancers often apply this idea in developing choreography

what i do think is often missed, is the opportunity to, as in my tree-prop-pose post above, use that bit of knowledge to give ourselves credit for doing good for ourselves

in this case, with yoga, knowingly varying the triad of load factors, intensity duration or frequency, to increase or lessen the load i am experiencing doing a pose, or sequence of that pose, means :

* i can intentionally benefit from :

** needing to decrease my exertion level (for whatever reason)

** increase my exertion level to push my edge

* i can create a repeat sequence of a pose ahead of time

* i can create my forward pyramid or reverse pyramid on the fly (knowing i am adjusting myself, in the moment, in a manner that shifts me gradually into or out of the pose)

* know i benefit from either mode of pyramiding i do, forward or reverse

* can create my pyramid by :

** increasing or decreasing my intensity (degree of grounding, isometric focus, degree of “push” into the pose, or speed of the flow)

** altering the duration (time or number of breaths held)

** or changing frequency (the number of times i do the pose)

* i can create multiple sets, each with a pyramid within them, plus pyramid the set sequence itself

***

Pyramiding Possibilities in Yoga

Pyramid with Steeple

Pyramiding in Yoga - Photography Adan Lerma

Possible Applications

obviously, doing a pose, and holding that pose a varied amount of time, in a sequence of say, three, is one possibility

i could increase or decrease a physical component for downdog, adho mukha svanasana - such as the amount of time or number of breaths i hold downdog

i can also add or subtract :

* visualization in a pose

* a chant or audible during the pose

* props, in general, including the use of elastic bands

*

Actual Example

an example i’ve used, that pyramids visualization, within a pose movement, is in “opening a view of gratitude

the breath count was also extended, pyramided, during/within the pyramided visualization sequence

it was a fun sequence to do, and look forward to trying more of this in the future

***

Final Thoughts

though my example above, regarding opening a view of gratitude, has lots and lots of benefits, the benefit i can add today, as touched on earlier in the article, is knowingly applying the concept of pyramiding in my practice

the more i become aware of how and why i’m doing and benefiting from what i do in yoga or dance or meditation, or most any other activity of being human -

the more human i feel myself to be…

namaste – con dios – god be with you

***

tidbit series


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My Tree (Pose) Needs Prop(ping) – Integrating Yoga & Fitness

26 Jul
Everyday Gratitude Vol 1

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Small gratitudes found in the day to day living of daily life.

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my tree (pose) needs prop(ping) – integrating yoga & fitness

***

Intro

Commonality

writing this article and the subject of the article are sharing something in common, the need for time for the merging of ideas and recognitions to develop

*

The Question, and Short Answer

why, i asked myself, am i able to do tree, for a short time, in either my jazzercise or zumba class, but not so easily, in my yoga routine?

because in the former two, i wear shoes, and in the latter, i don’t!

shoulda been self-obvious beyond the purely descriptive -

but then, that’s part of why, for me, it’s a process ;-)

*

Tree Pose with Multi-Use Tennis Shoes, Modification

Tree Pose with Multi-Use Tennis Shoes, Modification

*

Merging

this article is about the merging of bits of memories and theories, each finding enough fit with each other, to let me know something about my challenge balancing myself in tree pose (vrksasana)

writing this article became about not being able to write it, til i’d merged enough ideas of their lineage, within my own work, and thus, how that is satisfying my need to integrate fitness and yoga in my life

it seems both happen in fits of intuitive ahas! , after i’ve had tasty bits of knowledge and experience

the ground of my mind and heart has to be tilled just right, to grow the ideas and realizations that will sprout in this heated of most heated summers!

and of course, thankfully, some seeds grow easier and in less prepared soil, than others ;-)

***

Memory Bits – The Pieces That Found Each Other

Personal

* running barefoot as a child, like a deer with endless grace and power

* jumping into a ditch with the aim to land on a ball and bounce up and out and onto the road – and twisting my ankle, giving it a memory groove i still cope with

* dashing through tall coastal grasses that used to be common in houston, even in neighborhoods, til i stuck my foot, got an infection, and had to have what appeared to me then as a HUGE needle and tetanus shot ;-)

* reading and hearing stories of american indian children, who could grip any surface, rock or wet or uneven, with feet like fingers

* learning of how putting shoes on people used to being barefoot creates a difficult balance-learning curve

* finding and realizing i needed the right shoes to jog in a straight line

* shocked i couldn’t use the same style shoe in jazzercise

* amazed what split-sole – could even be called split-soul!  - shoes did for spinning turning moves in zumba classes

Tree Pose with Support Sandals, Modification

Tree Pose with Support Sandals, Modification

* finding “guy” style sandals that felt and looked good to me, letting my feet breathe and move almost “as if” barefoot, but with support i’d come to depend on

* surprised how, despite relatively flat feet, how less flat my feet really are vs solid support shoes, ie, watch-out! barefoot yoga poses! i might be swaying my tree, as my mind finds new grooves of proprioception ;-)


*

Fitness

slowly, as i prepared for this article, random bits of fitness info strung itself together :

* “balancing freedom and restraint” – from ray long, on his daily bandha site

“Knowledge of the body shows us where to expand and where to restrict movement. It also allows us to design a practice to fit our individual needs. That’s why working with a modified version of a particular pose is not a compromise—it’s accepting constraints. I don’t abandon a beneficial asana simply because it’s difficult. Rather, I use awareness of my limitations as a guide for determining how to work in the pose…”

“Since we also benefit from preparing the body for a pose, the journey itself becomes the reward….”

* concept of portability

“Another way to validate a theory is with a concept known as portability. In general, something that works in one lab should work in another (or it is suspect). What does this have to do with yoga? Sound biomechanical theories, such asPNF and reciprocal inhibition, can be incorporated into whatever style you practice and transported across muscle groups as well. On a smaller scale, something that expands the chest in one pose should work to enable a deeper breath in another pose.”

* interval / intermittent training

Intermittent Training is appealing because it offers rest as a part of the exercise. You get exercise credit for the resting time too. It is a great way for someone to begin exercise who has been inactive. It is not as intimidating.”

and -

1-10 intensity :

“is a completely personal scale depending on your own fitness levels and the type of interval training…

“For example a seasoned athlete may be training on improving his speed work, the sprint lasts for 15 seconds and his ‘10’ may be a flat-out sprint with the athlete going as fast as he or she can…

“Another example would be someone who has not exercised in a while decides to do intervals while walking; a 1 minute walk at a brisk pace may leave the person completely out of breath. This would be their 10.”

*

Blog Bursts

other’s blogs

it’s always amazing to me how bits of blog posts find themselves fitted into my thinking, it’s very encouraging about how people as a group, humanity, can create a type of synergistic plus!

* “shame-free yoga: yoga for your body” – on curvyyoga.com

obviously there “should” be no shame if one can’t put the sole of one foot all the way up the inside leg of the other leg, shouldn’t be…

Tree Pose with Sandals, Modification

Tree Pose with Sandals, Modification

but it happens; we get embarrassed or feel inadequate, and ashamed, because we can’t do “what’s expected”

i don’t always respond this way, but sometimes…

and this article does a great job of addressing some of those feelings in what i feel is one of the best articles i’ve seen on the subject – from a personal viewpoint, yet informatively clear

* “slow down” – on flyingyogini.org

it’s not much surprise to me, that both the two ladies that each run their own site (curvyyoga and flyingyogini) also run (sponsor?) the teachasana site, there’s a true kindredness that appeals to me from them

what this particular article says that appeals to me for my post today, is, “I am so busy and on the run that I cannot appreciate what the movement is bringing to me.”

kinda like an awareness of moments of unawareness ;-)

my own blog

even from within my own blog, i now find material i’m glad i can reference back to, for me! ;-)

* “i slept like a log, uh, tree (pose)

i must have a propensity for tree pose, cause i discovered i sleep that way (part of the time i assume) too!

if leaning against a wall is considered a common modification as needed, i can personally recommend this too – i guess i could call it, savasana-tree-mod ;-) (ideal for turning and twisting and flexing)

* “teaching yoga limitations is teaching awareness (a beginner’s view)

probably my gestation post leading to this post, where i lay out how needing to do/accept/use limitations (props) generates greater awareness on many levels, and, thus is a smart thing to do

this post today then, is an elaboration and integration from all-points-universe, why limitations can be a smart thing to embrace

* “muscle memory – a tidbit post # 5

muscle memory is also a precursor to this article, in that it also merges fitness, blog, and personal information, into an expanded view of what muscle memory means, in a good way (not merely as a restraint on further fitness enhancement due to physical adaptation)

info about muscle memory, thus now becomes a building block for me to my thoughts about why i do tree better in one type class than another, and how that differential can not only be useful, but good, overall

i wonder if that’s an underlying energy behind many things, like re-cycling ;-) things thought useless find themselves not only useful, but needed!

***

So What Does This Mean? – The Puzzle Picture

Simple Answer

i expected to have the same balance and control barefoot that i have with what i’ve worn daily since i was a small child, shoes -

and that gives rise to all the answer-bits below, that i’ve come to see, so far ;-)

*

Patience – Huh?

these pieces, bits of blogs and essays and memories, had to have time to find how they’d fit, to answer my original question: why can i do tree so much better in one style class, than another?

at least, to find the answer, in the sorta coherent ;-) manner i’ve tried to present here

i knew, instinctively, and in a practical way, that shoes made a difference -

but i wasn’t giving myself leeway, or credit, or compassion, for using two distinctly different, if related, structured tools – my feet “bare”, and my feet “shod” – to do the same task

in this case, my, still rooting, tree pose, vrksasana ;-)  [1]

*

Summary Details

learning is a process – i knew using shoes was easier for me in any dance class i did, that used tree pose as part of a cool-down routine, but i hadn’t tied all the following (from above) together to :

1) know why using or not using shoes was significant -

at least at a level that explained both the difficulty of unlearning old behavior (muscle memory) and learning new behavior (practicing and creating new neural/musculature patterns) -

ie, let the concept of portability apply itself in my own experience

Tree Pose with Multi-Use Tennis Shoes

Tree Pose with Multi-Use Tennis Shoes

2) to use the differences to my advantage

3) to realize i benefit both by

a) practicing bare foot (and teaching my feet to re-feel the earth) and

b) practicing with shoes (and gaining strength and balance from “within” my limitation)

Tree Pose Bare Feet

Tree Pose Bare Feet

4) slow down and enjoy both, my limitations of needing shoes, and my challenge of gaining bare-feet balance

5) to realize my increased exertion-learning level when bare-foot, is at my upper range, and thus good for me

6) and that an intermittent foot up/foot down learning-process for tree pose, is a sort of interval training, not a shameful inability, and thus, is also good for me

7) to accept that my shoe-based steadier tree pose continues to allow me to feel balanced and grounded, the good of which is not diminished by using the props that are my shoes

8) to remember, that new muscle memories are being created when i practice tree pose with bare feet, while also gaining strength and balance and confidence practicing tree pose with my shoes

9) that i can develop my range of adaptability, by embracing being able to do both modes

***

Final Thoughts

“Yoga balances freedom and restraint…” – ray long

“During and after the event, be sure to appreciate the abundance in your life. You have strength, wisdom, and a support structure that allows you to take the time to deepen your practice and further your education. What a blessing!” – via teachasana, by sage roundtree

*

being lucky, how lucky we are to have such benefits from the challenge of our limitations

not saying i want too much of a challenge, or limitations, but…

barefoot to shoes to barefoot to choosing?

i’m willing to handle that ;-)

maybe that way, the little boy that ran like he thought he was a barefoot buck deer in an enchanted woods, and the young man steady in his properly chosen athletic shoes ;-) , can stand side by side, with a wink from one to the other ;-)

namaste – con dios – god be with you


***

footnotes

[1]  yoga journal’s extended information for each pose (click on the “show all” triangle icon) is exceptionally pertinent for me in regard to tree pose

included is,

* helpful info on how to keep your foot from sliding down your leg (when you don’t want it to ;-)  )

* using the wall as a prop

* numerous benefits and cautions

and more – highly recommended!


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Teaching a Sequence of Yoga Classes as a Series, a beginner’s view

19 Jul
Teachers Students & Educational Specialists

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Pictured, “Teachers Students & Education Specialists”

Poetry for teachers of all levels, graduation poems, and more!

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Intro

last week we finally got our projected class schedule up and running in our new home of burlington, vermont – much thanks to the fitness center downtown

envisioned was a sequence of classes available throughout the week, each good as a stand-alone, yet beneficial if taken sequentially

the concept is essentially to more firmly integrate fitness and yoga, especially in a manner that allows a person to enjoy getting fit, encourages a person to want to be and stay fit, and is doable ;-)

***

Three Class Premise

[ 032212 - this is a sample image included in an in-progress ebook of one year of images on yoga-adan ]

Sequence of Florals

Sequence of Florals, Original Photography Adan Lerma

the challenge has been, to find the format with enough time to leisurely present and have a group of de-conditioned or beginning people, experience the possibility of integrating and seeing the links between yoga, fitness, and other exercises

one of my class descriptions in-progress that my wife likes, says,

“The yoga experience is extended by the occasional inclusion of other fitness elements, such as zumba, dance, elastic bands, and weights, for the purpose of helping each person experience the continuity of human movement in various activities. Extended movement work will then be woven back into basic yoga poses”

this also fulfills something seldom spoken of for teachers, that i myself am personally interested in and enjoy all the activities described above

and when making a living is as important as the content of one’s classes, and often is, this isn’t always possible, but i’ll address the issue of finding meaning in seemingly unrelated unappealing movement activities in a future post, ie, i’m gonna have to think about it, but not right now ;-)

*

though not essential, i am fortunate to currently be able to present the three classes in our sequence at the same time at the same location each mid-morning (great time for seniors), m-w-f

thus a day in-between each session, plus a weekend recovery time

can multiple locations be used? absolutely!

can the days be different? of course!

would a workshop work? yes!

*

though there’s a series of fitness ideas i like to work into the yoga classes, and they normally take weeks and even months to present in a way they’re more likely to be internalized and integrated into adl’s (activities of daily living) - a multi-day workshop, with full or 3/4 days, would also work in a more condensed format

it would give a good grounding if done right

*

so for now, we’re taking our single class a week sequence, and seeing how it’ll bloom in this new format

as marjorie, the owner of the fitness center sheila and i will present our classes at says, these are really building block classes, for anyone

***

The Classes

Class One - 

Sequence Segment 1

Sequence Segment 1, Original Photography Adan Lerma

a very basic yoga class, emphasizing breathing and just a few poses per session

our website class description

For anyone with little or no basic yoga experience, or needing to begin their first steps into fitness. Very slowly paced.

Postures, breathing, and basic fitness tips mixed into a true beginner’s learning experience.

No headstands, no pretzels please ;-)

our extended class description for handouts flyers etc

A basic beginner’s class for anyone wanting to slowly start a fitness program.

 Exercise is experienced in ten minute segments, with each class have one or more exercise segments. Time before, between, and after the ten minute segments is used to learn basic fitness and wellness tips. A gentle warmup and cooldown is included.

 Anyone is welcome to participate, and chair modifications are also available. Each person will be encouraged to find their own range of motion, ease of movement, and fullness of breath. Care for easing into fitness at your own pace is emphasized.

 Enjoy learning about yoga, stretching, balance, aerobics, and weights. All in short easy to manage separate ten minute sequences.

 Husband and wife, Adan and Sheila, both in their 60′s, certified by AFAA in group fitness, look forward to meeting you.

*

our wed and fri classes had begun late june, but because of the long weekend for the 4th of july, we began our mon am class only last week

the satisfaction of having the time to tread as slowly as the class required, explaining stopping starting demo’ing doing, all was a distinct pleasure

*

Class Two - 

Sequence Segment 2

Sequence Segment 2, Original Photography Adan Lerma

fully chair based / assisted; great for anyone needing or wanting a low-t0-no impact class, or, being able to show someone else this great alternate way to get started or stay active; combines yoga and functional fitness

our website class description

Chair based aerobic and strength exercise routines, set in two or more ten minute segments, with basic fitness information discussed between sets.

Session is extended with inclusion of basic gentle yoga chair-based poses and breathing.

our extended class description for handouts flyers etc

Gentle functional fitness exercises for an enhanced quality of living are presented in chair and chair assisted format by AFAA Group Fitness certified instructors, husband and wife seniors, Adan and Sheila Lerma.

 Exercise segments are presented segments of ten minutes or more, divided by discussion of basic fitness information and review of the exercises presented.

 Included in class are alternating segments of yoga, aerobics, weights or elastic bands, stretching, and balance work. A warmup and cooldown is included, often woven into the initial and final segments.

 Routines are extended with inclusions of gentle breathing exercises.

 Adan and Sheila welcome anyone of any age to attend and enjoy the class within their own range of motion.

*

an la times article on muscle soreness (doms) recently posted on the fitness center downtown’s facebook pg, does a nice job of pointing out many of things we try to point out in class to our participants, such as hydration, snacks after exercise, warm-up & cool-down, and recovery

and recovery is almost a forgotten variable

i’ve sometimes thought i’d gotten around recovery, but really only delayed it ;-)

one of our ideas, among several, in having our chair based class as the middle class of three, was to provide a respite between the start of the week jump in fitness activity, and the end of the week press before the weekend

i’ve often felt and wrote that chair based work was also good for those more active, as a means of staying tone and active, but also allowing time for recovery

when sheila, or myself, is particularly in need of recovery time, but still feel the urge to do something of a workout, a chair based yoga, aerobic, strength, or balance set is all we need

*

Class Three - 

Sequence Variation

Sequence Variation, Original Photography Adan Lerma

our extended yoga class that lets a person experience more directly, similarities between yoga and dance or elastic bands or weights

our website class description

Standing, sitting, and mat based gentle slow paced and held yoga postures in segments of ten minutes or more. Basic fitness information is discussed through-out the class period.

Session is extended with occasional use of dance or strength related movements.

All classes begin with a fitness tip and breathing exercise.

our extended class description for handouts flyers etc

Husband and wife seniors, Adan and Sheila Lerma, certified in group fitness by AFAA, welcome anyone interested in gently learning basic yoga poses, mudras, and basic breath work.

 The yoga experience is extended by the inclusion of other fitness elements, such as zumba, dance, elastic bands, and weights, for the purpose of helping each person experience the continuity of human movement in various activities. Extended movement work will then be woven back into basic yoga poses.

 Class exercise is broken down into ten minute or more segments, with discussion and demonstration of basic fitness and wellness tips. Each person is encouraged to progress and enjoy the class within their own range of motion and exertion. Additionally, a gentle warmup and cooldown is included.

 All ages are welcome.

*

playing with, or experimenting with, or just plain developing ideas for classes for people to enjoy and benefit from, seems to be a necessary creative effort for me -

i have to tinker and try things ;-) you can too, really!

teachasana, a really nice teaching blog from the folks from curvyyoga and flying yogini, had an article recently titled, “so you want to teach in a studio?” , and their idea # 3 was “make a creative offer” with the idea that “There really is no end to possibility.”

if it works, great!

if it doesn’t work, well, for me, i’ll definitely learn something from it ;-)

***

What About My Fitness?

if, as mentioned above, a seldom asked question for a teacher is, “what are you interested in?” , then the question, “so what class do you get your fitness in?” , is, i think, asked even less

Adan Lerma

Adan Lerma

both my wife and i are up-front with our classes that we each enjoy other activities, such as jazzercise, zumba, dance, biking, strength work, and walking also

much of what we do, is at home -

self-practice routines, some to dvds (10 min am denise austin yoga stretch), some to our whim (a few minutes doing this or that), some self-created (sheila has her own “wake up sheila” routine she likes some mornings) -

even preparing a class by running through it several times can be a workout!

plus classes with other instructors, which vary according to availability and our time needs

we both intensely enjoy our jazzercise classes here in burlington -

and i’ve recently gotten to do a nice pm yoga class with katie, who also teaches at the fitness center downtown where we do our own classes

*

obviously i don’t feel i can legitimately get my own workout while teaching my own class, though some days i certainly feel the effort put out ;-)

is it possible to get one’s own workout leading a class?

most people say no, and i “generally” agree -

but as with most (but not all) things, there seem to be exceptions -

maybe leading a class too big to monitor? where one is the role model of the moves being done? and has assistants out in the audience?

i don’t know, but anyone knowing, please feel free to chime in via the comments

*

either way, i do believe it’s vitally important that each of us, teacher or not, maintain involvement with those activities we ourselves find interesting and fun ;-)

***

Final Thoughts

Experiment

this is an experiment worth working with

*

Sequence Variation

Sequence Variation, Original Photography Adan Lerma

*

in league city, at the senior center there, activities are so well built-up, there were many seniors coming to various classes from morning til noon (when lunch is served a few days a week)

here, there’s no built-in flow of participants, yet; but space and time is available to see if the 3x a week format the seniors indicated they wanted, will work

with an opportunity for seniors and others to choose individual classes of interest, or do the entire sequence, by learning basic poses, then feeling how they differ in chair mode, and finishing the week by applying it all in a more active multi-movement style class, we think it will -

even if with a tweaking or two ;-)

*

Serendipity

as so often seems to happen when i prepare a post, the ethers of the internet were alive with related material

the one that struck me strongest, is entitled, “shame-free yoga, yoga for your body” – a guest post by marianne on curvyyoga

i wrote, in part, on their site, in their comments,

“what an exceptionally clear compassionate portrayal of the topic of shame in our bodies, thank you

“minor things i liked (relative to the article), were the inclusion of us guys ;-) ‘a truly safe space for men and women to explore yoga’ , and the references to being too hairy

“i remember when i was 14 wrapping a large beach towel around me to hide my early teen hairyness, and ending up looking like i was walking around naked at the local pig stand drive-in ;-)

“the major thing that appealed to me was the careful development of the concept of accepting ourselves, where we are, as we are, ie, as per above in your article, ‘yoga will meet you AND your body exactly where you are, and that nothing about you needs to be fixed or changed’”

“our very basic gentle yoga class this morning, kept returning to that theme, including for myself, noticing my hairy legs against my mat ;-) while still retaining the sense of recognizing what each of us chooses to change….”

we want, i think, a normal specialness and respect

unique as a regular course of events

i know i do ;-)

namaste – con dios – god be with you


***

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Touch Your Yoga Stretch With a Weight – A Tidbit Post # 4

30 Jun
Everyday Gratitude Vol 1

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Pictured, “Everyday Gratitude Vol 1″

Small gratitudes found in the day to day living of daily life.

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touch your yoga stretch with a weight – a tidbit post

# 4

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Tidbits

tidbits are, by definition, tiny bits

*

google search indicates further elaboration -

qualities such as “pleasing” and “choice” are mentioned -

“small” and “bite-sized” also come up…

*

thus, this series of tidbits, of small bite-sized posts, are both my choice, and, hopefully, pleasing ;-)

if this tidbit comes from, or leads to, a much longer, more complex post, a link will be provided, thank you much

***

Intro

Touch a Stretch

Touch a Stretch

during a nice cool-down the end of our jazzercise class this week, one of those synergistic moments i sometimes get i’ve described in my yoga-to-dance aha moments, happened again, but this time, near the end, while we were stretching, thus, a tidbit ;-)

it may just be me, but i seem to be noticing more attention being made tying yoga and fitness

early this week, my wife and i received our hard copies of afaa’s july/august issue of “american fitness” magazine - it’s brimming over with fitness info of course, including an article titled, “teaching yoga in the fitness realm”

then the next day i see a wall post on gaiam’s facebook page for an article by sadie nardini, “10-minute yoga supersets: better than another hour of yoga

now i won’t get into a thing about whether a ten minute set of yoga is or isn’t better than another your of yoga, that’s such an individual-need thing, i can see liking both with no problem, just depending on my needs at the time (sadie herself suggests alternating the longer and shorter sessions)

what i do like, is this very strong tie of yoga into current fitness theory and practice

toss in the concept of the use of a ten minute block, which i use in my own yoga classes, and i really like this ;-)

footnote # 3 in my article regarding teaching limitations (a beginner’s view), references afaa, plus provides a couple of links for further info on the ten minute fitness concept; just scroll or jump down to the bottom of the article

*

A Weighted Stretch, as a Tool for Learning

so what struck me, as a really neat awareness-enhancing tool, during a supine full body stretch, is :

* when settled supine along the length of one’s mat, with arms still along each side, using

Touch a Stretch with Weights

Touch a Stretch with Weights

weights light for you, and with a rich inhale, slowly raise each arm up over-head, then bring them gently down above your head, resting once again on the floor

* let your motion and the earth’s pull gently join, giving you a greater awareness of your arms’ full body stretch

* once i felt the difference of the added weights’ pull, i released them, and used the now created memory to help me feel a fuller stretch

so simple, no wonder i’d never thought of it before ;-)

***

Cautionary Suggestions

if an uncomfortable twing or pain is felt, in the shoulders or chest or anywhere else in the body, i would either reduce the weight, or not try this procedure at all

i also wouldn’t cross either weight across my face, but rather follow a parallel line to my shoulders

as an alternative :

i could raise and lower my arms above my head with a lightly stretched elastic band

Touch a Stretch with an Elastic Band

Touch a Stretch with an Elastic Band

though the pull would be more lateral and away from the center of my body, rather than pulling up and lengthening, the new felt resistance still creates more awareness of my arms and shoulders in my stretch

this awakens my perception of my form more -

and further enhances my sense of connectedness

*

Final Thoughts

the use of weights, or an elastic band, are kinda fun, and mix things up a bit, but i enjoy them most as tools for being able to do more without them later!

it means using props, shouldn’t be something to be afraid to use; and should be enjoyed when needed or desired -

and whatever new sense of stretch i gain, is now mine in memory -

in the present ;-)

namaste – con dios – god be with you

***

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Heart Openers with Elastic Bands – a Tidbit Post, # 2

14 Jun
Everyday Gratitude Vol 1

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Pictured, “Everyday Gratitude Vol 1″

Small gratitudes found in the day to day living of daily life.

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heart openers with elastic bands – a tidbit post

# 2

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Tidbits

tidbits are, by definition, tiny bits

*

google search indicates further elaboration -

qualities such as “pleasing” and “choice” are mentioned -

“small” and “bite-sized” also come up…

*

thus, this series of tidbits, of small bite-sized posts, are both my choice, and, hopefully, pleasing ;-)

if this tidbit comes from, or leads to, a much longer, more complex post, a link will be provided -

thank you much

***

Elastic Bands and Yoga

Wait, What’s Elastic Bands Got to do with Yoga?

good question actually ;-)

*

Connections

it’s about connections

in this case, as in my article on gratitude and visualization during a hand-heart opening movement, using an elastic band expands our awareness of this gesture

whereas the article, “opening a view of gratitude” exercises connecting the hand-arm opening movement to feelings and images of things we enjoy and are glad for, the use of an elastic band aims for a kinetic connection for deeper awareness of the pull and stretch of our muscles during the movement

*

the idea is to provide a stronger and also “visible” resistance, the elastic band, that both mimics our muscular movement when we open our arms to our heart, and provides a colorful outward visual of what’s happening inside our body

though i’ve gotten a few of eric franklin’s books, because of our recent move preps and move, i’ve only gotten a chance to glance through them, yet feel his work is a very developed system of what i’m only sensing right now

further reading and research into his work seems promising and interesting

***

please note, if you are unsure if you should use an elastic band, please consult a medical professional

***

Elastic Band Heart Opener Demo - Closed Starting Position

Elastic Band Heart Opener Demo - Closed Starting Position

sheila took these shots a day or two before our final move

unseen, i hope ;-) are piles of boxes!

it should be obvious how tired we were, but pacing and attentiveness to reaching jittery limits, is part of why yoga’s awareness enhancing is important

my purpose in this picture is to show initiating intent for what i want to do: in this case, do some much need physical heart openers to stretch my pecs, while simultaneously visualizing our upcoming move as the positive for opportunities we have planned for

*

Elastic Band Heart Opener Demo - Extended Arms Preparatory Position

Elastic Band Heart Opener Demo - Extended Arms Preparatory Position

maintaining a soft but purposeful stance, through out my mind and body, i extend my arms firmly, yet not in a clenched way

i want to experience a relaxed strength and resolve, not a forcing or fearfulness

placing my arms before me, is like turning on the switch

*

Elastic Band Heart Opener Demo - Arms Open to Set ROM-Band Position

Elastic Band Heart Opener Demo - Arms Open to Set ROM-Band Position

this is an important step for me

i’ve extended my arms maintaining as much of my initial relaxed resolve as possible, while extending my arms against resistance

the elastic band’s, and my own natural range of motion set point, where the level of exertion reaches a natural stop, is important for me to recognize, and accept

recognition of this natural set point within myself, is easier to feel when joined to that of the elastic band; i’m allowing it to help inform myself of all this

at this point, if i were to feel undue pain, pinching, or sudden disruptive change of breathing, i should stop

if i feel some pain or pinching, and one or more deep full breaths allow me to dissolve that pain, without intentionally deluding myself, or if i feel fine, i then feel free to go to my final step in the actual stretch (beyond that, i can remain outstretched, and breathing into that stretch, if that’s an edge i’d like to play)

*

Elastic Band Heart Opener Demo - Arms Extended Heart Open Position

Elastic Band Heart Opener Demo - Arms Extended Heart Open Position

without intending to, i think my rusty smile shows the stretch has done my mind, my heart, my body, some much needed good ;-)

much thanks to sheila for retaking the picture enough times to get my hands placed where i’d envisioned them, and for not letting me have to look like an old propellor plane banking hard into a ridge of clouds ;-)

*

Kinetic Awareness of Self

Result

the end result for me, and for many in my classes that tried this, was to become more aware of the pectoral stretch and opening when the arms are extended and abducted

the elastic band resistance intensified the set point of awareness each of us experienced

more conscious breath was required

attention had to be paid to how much resistance to create via hand distance placement and still be able to fully open one’s arms without undue stress

*

Awareness Retained and Applied Without a Band

when the heart opener-chest expansions were repeated, without elastic bands, in a new set moments later, the body memory was a blessing of the continuity of awareness

*

Heart Opener Without Bands - Arms Extended Heart Open Position

Heart Opener Without Bands - Arms Extended Heart Open Position

btw, i cheated, and had sheila take this image now almost two weeks into our vermont move; our kitty cat pillows are out, but some canvases are still waiting for more bulldog hangers ;-)

so the dramatic change decor and background isn’t an instant magical transformation due to successfully switching from bands to no-bands…or was it? ;-)

ok, so maybe the magic just took a couple thousand miles and a sense of a new place taking shape ;-)

i did mention this is a process? yes, quite a process!

*

the implications are numerous

asana learning can be given a deep sudden jump in awareness

folk with little or no memory of that type physical motion, can create an awareness

an awareness of one’s set extension, what our natural stretch point is, vs extension with external resistance, is more easily formed

a clearer sense of the distinctions, for one’s self, of what would constitute a strength vs an aerobic vs a stretch movement, is helped created

variety and options are introduced

and there’s more, but essentially, a continuity of awareness across a wider range of movement, of the same basic movement, seems to be created

it’s something i personally enjoy ;-)

*

Suggestion

combine with visualization

again eric franklin has tweeted ideas, such as:

FranklinMethod Eric Franklin
Imagery has been proven in conjunction with physical practice, to be the fastest avenue to affect change on a cortical level.

as an artist, who’s felt the strength of connections between what i was painting, both the visualized idea and concrete painted canvas, and how i felt, i say: seems to make sense ;-)

namaste – con dios – god be with you

*

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Hand-Wrist Positions with Prop Work – a Tidbit Post, # 1

6 Jun
10 Sports Lessons I Can Smile at Now

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Pictured, “10 Sports Lessons I Can Smile at Now”

Light humorous re-telling of a layman’s love and play at sports.

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hand-wrist positions with prop work – a tidbit post

# 1

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Tidbits

tidbits are, by definition, tiny bits

*

a google search indicates further elaboration -

qualities such as “pleasing” and “choice” are mentioned -

“small” and “bite-sized” also come up…

*

thus, this series of tidbits, of small bite-sized posts, are both my choice, and, hopefully, pleasing ;-)

if this tidbit comes from, or leads to, a much longer, more complex post, a link will be provided -

thank you much

***

Hand – Wrist Using Props

using props is a natural go-to for me

i consider the use of props a natural extension of what i can do, often allowing me to develop my rom (range of motion) in a manner and to a degree i might not have so easily, or as quickly

a recent post, “teaching limitations = teaching awareness” elaborates on this idea

today, i want to present two instances of two ways i can use my hand-wrist position

depending on my needs or goals, i can either strengthen my wrists, or relieve the pressure on them

***

The Idea

the same principle applies in both paired pictured examples, with the chair or the block

basically -

do i want to use my wrist to support my weight?

if you are unsure if you should, please consult a medical professional

whether using a chair for a lateral or fwd bend, i can extend my wrist to support my weight

***

Wrist Extension with Props Examples

*

Wrist Extension Using Chair as Prop

Wrist Extension Using Chair as Prop

*

Wrist Extension Using Block & Pillow

Wrist Extension Using Block & Pillow

*

the above hand-wrist positions, though they can strengthen my wrist, also can put more pressure than usual on them

also note :

1) the standing lateral bend, though minimal in this example, still pressures my wrist

2) likewise, the deeper reach toward the floor (the earth actually), though itself cushioned by both a soft block further softened by a small pillow, also pressures my wrist

there are days this is no problem for me, there are days it is, and i have to adjust my wrist-hand position

***

Wrist – Hand Alignment with Props Examples

*

Wrist-Hand Alignment on Chair

Wrist-Hand Alignment on Chair

*

Hand-Wrist Alignment with Brick

Hand-Wrist Alignment with Brick

*
notice, though i describe these two latter images as showing a hand-wrist alignment, both the hand and wrist are actually also aligned with the forearm

though my wrist is not being taxed, or strengthened as in the first two images, the increased degree of alignment is providing me with a great deal of structural bone support

and aligned bone support or stress seems to promote bone growth

please see yoga journal‘s may issue for the article “good to the bone” by catherine guthrie

an online article on yoga journal’s online site by the same name, but by linda sparrowe, appears to be similar though different enough i think both would be good to read

*

whether a person is getting old(er), needs the use of props, or simply likes how props make you feel when you use them, i’ve found that learning to use props in different ways helps me become more aware of what i am experiencing during yoga

and gradually, it seems, as it’s often expressed in yoga, beyond the mat

namaste – con dios – god be with you

*

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Yoga Breathing – Nose? Mouth? or Both?

6 Apr
Nice Thing 'Bout Getting Old(er) - Articles, Reviews, Creativity

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yoga breathing – nose? mouth? or both?

***


basically, if this was only a question of beliefs, or philosophy, or even spiritual teachings, then my stance would simply be, that’s up to you ;-)

freedom of religion as a belief system, is fundamental to our country -

and constitutionally separate from the “state” -

so, my position, rests on fitness…

*

me me me ;-)

what do i need to be able to do the routines that provide my foundation of health to let me share more than heart felt wishes for the people around me and to myself?

*

Basics

afaa, in their group fitness certification text book, “fitness, theory and practice,” provides some nice pages comparing differences between typical western fitness routines, pilates, and yoga

breathing is one of the comparison / contrasts

*

it appears that not holding one’s breath is agreed by all…

First Breath Connections

First Breath Connections

and, generally speaking -

it appears that the main difference is in regard to the exhalation -

while yoga has traditionally taught nostril breathes for both the inhalations and exhalations  [1] , fitness theory and pilates emphasize exhalations through the mouth

the idea, i believe, is two-fold:

increase the air way for greater air movement

increase the ability to eliminate toxins and waste material

*

yoga, on the other hand, as i’ve heard or seen it taught (early 21st century u.s.a.) -

seems to feel that, if you have to exhale via the mouth, too much exertion or other problems (too much stress, not enough peacefulness, etc) are occurring

that these type exhalations are a signal to stop or change one’s activity

changing one’s activity is usually thought of as slowing down

*

but for me, these are simply variations on intent

for example, if in playing my “edge” (the apparently yogic-correct way of saying being assertive or self-goal-competitive) i determine my edge is receding and i can push further, there may be a short period of further physical conditioning (days? weeks?) where i simply need more air -

or need to expel more co2 -

i would never have reached my “intent” to be able to enjoy the level i enjoyed jogging in my 20′s and 30′s, if i had ceased my efforts when i couldn’t “only” breathe through my nose

*

i’ve thought about this question of the breath since way back -

back to the days when wild turkeys (this is in houston!) would chase me on my bicycle with training wheels and i learned early what ray long is talking about in his chest expansion articles ;-)

back to my junior high sprinting days when i learned a full belly of pizza, and wind sprints didn’t go well together -

back to moments of grief when heaving was the only way to breathe, period…

i’ve been aware of my breath in varying ways and wondered about it for many years, but without anything more than vague wonderings to grasp to…

*

More Recently

…as i re-examined yoga in light of the current fitness information available, that old style yoga adamancy i remembered from the early 70′s, that only one style breathing was appropriate for yoga, came roaring back  [2]

yet lately, it seems like several posts, either brought the subject up explicitly, or that even simple yoga movements kept bringing the subject up to me again for attention

More Breath Connections

More Breath Connections

jill miller’s yoga tune up video (short simple very effective routine & video) -

adding arm movements to bridge pose, co-ordinated with the inhale and exhale -

evoked almost an ache to ask, again, why why why the “how” regarding exhalations and inhalations

core power yoga has a nice article from last dec speaking more directly to my issue, saying “More importantly, the body’s movements…then put your nose to do if you are able to….”

so some people were challenging the notion of one pathway for the breath

*

Pros Regarding Nostril Breathing

undoubtably there are many pluses attached to pure nostril breathing, among them:

filtering the air more adequately than via the mouth

warming the air more completely before it enters the lungs

regulating the oxygen / carbon dioxide flow

calming the mind and heart

serving as a signal when exertion of mind or body creates a need for more pronounced breathing effort

reported astral or subtle energy or spiritual effects  [3]

so what could i quibble with that?

not much really ;-)

it’s the when and why i have trouble with…

*

My Quibble, Individuated Practice

i’ll leave aside i have a deviated septum, since that’s just me ;-)

*

i’ll start with my “why” of why i quibble with nostril-only breathing

let’s say, to begin with, i grew up in houston, worked summers outdoors since i was a young teen, and have known years of months of 100+ days

and no, it wasn’t a dry heat, even in austin ;-)

so “warming” the breath is like putting the ac on in vermont in the winter (my wife’s from vt and i’ll take her word for it ;-))

filtering the nose?

well, gotta admit, with the allergies i have and the pollutants in the air, that’s probably a good idea, but nostril breathing’s not gonna filter out enough pollen or smut to make enough difference for me -

yet, staying aerobically active, in any aerobic activity, does…

third eye activation?

well, for better or for worse, since my more playful experiments in the early 70′s, i’ll leave this effect for those more inclined to pursue this

if there’s truth to this, it’ll come to me in its own best time, and i’ll be waiting for it ;-)

*

Breath Connection

Breath Connection

*

more important for me then, is the “when” of nostril breathing

like, all the time? really?

true, it may be a great discipline builder, and probably was, in its time

and believe me, if taking full deep breaths via my nose does the trick, yah! for me ;-)

but if not, and i need air, or need to expel it, i do…anyway i can

there’s lots of good info supporting this stance in fitness theory – i believe one day, probably in my lifetime (i’m 60) the separation of fitness theory and the promise of yoga, will be seen as having been, just another illusion ;-)

*

Closing Thoughts, uh, Breaths ;-)

my closing thought involves another early memory of the importance of my breath

age 9 or 10, i was having occasional dreams of drowning -

it was no co-incidence i was learning to swim at the neighborhood public pool, and had carefully been avoiding any depth deeper than the height to my nose ;-)

i’d slid my way along the pool’s rounded tiled edge, skirting my fear by pretending not to notice i’d slipped past my safe depth,and  joined my friends already playing push-pretend; once among them, i forgot my fear, all of us playfully pushing and pulling each other along the slick sun shimmered wet of the pool’s busy edge til a push unseen sent me into deeper water than i wanted to be in to be sinking in to be not-breathing in

i remember staring wide eyed at the clearness of the water, i could see kid’s feet dog-peddling, numbered markings on the pool floor, and my arms and legs rising slowly as my back led me lower

i remember thinking – i’m gonna die i went to confession that morning i was clear no hell for me, i relaxed

my feet touched the firm pool floor

and gently

pushed me to air

*

i knew instinctively, that my faith in having no sin, saved me

i also knew, less instinctively, more guiltily, it was my belief that gave my faith its power to save me – it felt like cheating ;-)

all i’d had to do was believe, and i could breathe

would i be so fortunate all my life ;-)

*

yoga, my yoga, is like that

fortunate in my life, allowing me to breathe more fully – when i believe i can, i do

allowing me to breathe between the sea of feelings and worlds of thought

helping me join what feels like art with what i know is science

letting me picture a pose, pristine in my poised mind

connecting concept with ligament and bone

caring that i’m whole

my yoga is integrating the art of living with the tissues of the living

my yoga says i can breathe any way i need, when i need, so…relax, and breathe….

*

late postscript

one of the better breath articles i’ve come across recently, appealing to me on several levels – knowledge, breathing reference tie-ins to our everyday language, and most importantly for me, it’s balanced reasonable presentation, is judy lasater’s article on yoga journal online, “breathing lessons

*

The Breath Connected

The Breath Connected

*

namaste – con dios – god be with you


***

footnotes

[1]  exceptions in yoga show up in particular breathing exercises

i couldn’t find a nice comprehensive listing of the various exceptions allowing mouth-exhalations, but a search among various google searches, like this one, has them showing up in scattered form

exceptions include, the ohm meditative sound, the victorious breath, deep cleansing breaths, and the golden thread exhalation

[2]  was this the fabled “lion’s breath” ?

not quite, not much tension relief going on there ;-)

[3]  my intent in this article is in regard to fitness yoga and the arts, and i assume each person has beliefs they pursue, so i leave the detailing of what these other effects may be to each person


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Yoga Wakes Me Up (in the middle of the night)

30 Mar
Nice Thing 'Bout Getting Old(er) - Articles, Reviews, Creativity

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yoga wakes me up (in the middle of the night) ;-)

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first, it was waking up to find myself in tree pose [1] , supinely if sublimely so ;-)

now, it’s a supine spinal twist [2] , only not nearly as sublime -

Suspended Knee

Suspended Knee

i woke with a seldom but unwelcomely recurrent pain in my right hip -

re-positioning, the pain eased quickly -

but my yoga studies -

after 10 years of physical home practice in blissful ignorance…

after nearly a year of intense fitness learning from AFAA and SilverSneakers

after a much more recent yoga teacher immersion plus other yoga workshops dvds books and ongoing online offerings…  [3]

yes, my yoga studies!, have begun to teach me in my sleep! ;-)

***

so i woke, looked down at my legs under the covers, though not in pants like this picture, of course ;-) and saw what i wouldn’t have seen, hadn’t seen, and didn’t see, even a few weeks ago!

i sleep like this a lot…feels good to me  [4] , and the hip pain has been sparsely spaced in time – so i must only at times have been doing this :

Unsupported Space

Unsupported Space

balancing my lower leg so neither the medial edge of my foot, nor the medial side of my knee, rested on support -

ahhh…

my leg had been suspended [5] , to wobble to waver, to tired in the night, unable to find its spot of rest -

sorta a supine twisted tree ;-) with a leg-branch see-sawing to sound of zzzzz’s

***

i’d felt the pain immediately when i woke  [6] , recognized the memory of its location, plus the intermittent times i’d have a lingering pain pop up some mornings…my nagging companion for the day

the solution?

simple as a pillow, as per doctor oz ;-)

Support!

Support!

yes, my fitness interests in alignment etc (or rather sheila’s, she’s as regular to doctor oz as i am to my favorite online sites) provided me my pillow-talk solution -

while my yoga “practice” is refining my awareness for alignment, support, and, oh yes, comfort…

***

so, to my favored closing,

namaste – con dios – god be with you

may i add, this one time,

may your leg branch find the forest floor and bring you “sweet sweet dreams” ;-)

*

have you had something similar happen? tell us, leave a comment! ;-)


***

footnotes

[1] aka, vrksasana, like tree-bark-asana – best way so far, for me to remember the sanskrit name ;-)

[2] supta matsyendrasana, like super sitting on the mat, with a twist laying down

[3] ton! like ray long, paul grilley, magazine of yoga, yoga dork, the yoga lunchbox, more more more -

for suggestions with links for yoga fitness and the arts, please go to my links page

[4] doctor oz, in this video link, says this position is good for the spine, so i had that part right ;-)

[5] all three images in this post by my wife sheila and myself

[6] “will doing yoga make me sore?” is a question ann pizer at yoga.about.com asks, providing a short useful answer, plus related links


***

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I Slept like a Log, uh, Tree (Pose)

7 Mar
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i slept like a log, uh, tree (pose)

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waking, has been it’s own kind of dream lately

Dawn, White Flowers in Tree

Dawn, White Flowers in Tree

i’ve contended and firmly believe that most of what we learn, doing asanas, is really more a remembering, or re-connecting to what is already part of us [1]

most frequently, i find a reminder to this re-connecting, during the doing of a fitness routines i like – though, i rarely do one i don’t like anymore   ;-)

chasseing or twisting or breathing, i’m reminded of doing something similar at another time -

things, movements i did before “fitness training” or “workshops” existed -

i’ll remember sitting on a roof, as a young teen, mid july in houston, doing summer construction work and, typically, will smile at remembering how i didn’t even notice the heat – the concept of feeling hot never even crossed my mind – i didn’t even sweat!

now, remembering the same moment, i notice how i’d twist so fluidly, to the right to reach for a new wood shingle with my “left” hand, eyeing the next shingle for placement among the rows, sizing-choosing where it could easily lap the gaps between those shingles already laid down to prevent leakage -

twisting back to my left shingle in hand, and, having chosen it’s best over-lap spot, created a gap between it and the shingle it’d lay next to, to allow for a natural expansion and contraction of wood in houston heat and humidity -

reaching for galvanized nails from a nail box (called a stripper) that hung from my neck with worn leather straps, then twisting again, further left, as i brought my hatchet hammer across my torso with my right with a tap-tap as swift as allowed my left hand to escape being smushed, tap-tapped the nails, heads flush into the wood -

seeing the shingle laid flat secured to the decking below -

and now, now, i realize how easily i breathed with each movement…

not an inhalation exhalation with each micro or mid-range movement, but a slow..steady..breathing in..and..out…

throughout the various motions, the motions joined as one movement within one breath

more frequently, i find this type of memory-joining occurs during aerobic or stretching or strengthening routines

lately, in the morning though, when i first wake to the fact that i’m in my bed, my sleeping wife snuggled near by, the light

beginning to detail the view outside our bedroom window -

my first wakening breaths bringing me wiggles -

in my shoulders..with archings in my lumbar while i squeeze my groin and stretch my neck -

i’ll point my toes and, think, yes, oh, yes, there’s my right foot..toes caressing my left inside thigh -

huh!

i’m in a supine tree pose!

tree pose [2] is not one i “practice” on a daily, or even frequent basis -

yet here it is, my in-my-sleep, go-to wake-up pose ;-)

Morning, White Flowers in Tree

Morning, White Flowers in Tree

from that pose, still supine still sleepy in my bed, i sometimes press my sleep walking foot, gently to the other leg, and in this mild tension, isolate and flex my hips-laterally, with light lifting stretches, pulling my lats like ladders toward my heart..awakening me..slowly

by now, leo [3] would have quickly known i was up, meowing it’s was time to eat!” ;-) and sheila, sensing i was waking, have made an instant decision, to further wake, or slip back to needed sleep…

first few times, i figured my waking tree pose was an “accident” – night time positioning gone wild!

but it’s become more regular, though not yet a habit

this, i believe, is a new level of remembering or re-connecting, to the already-present postures, patiently posing..in my yoga-dna

and as long as i don’t wake up on my head, dream or not [4], that’s ok with me ;-)


***

footnotes

[1] “asanas are inherent and evolved from our very being, our DNA

[2] tree pose – vrksasana; i tend to remember the sanskrit name better when i think of the “vrk” part as similar to the “bark” of a tree; whatever associations work is good i think ;-)

[3] thank you leo

[4] i’ve got some cervical disc issues, so best my waking and dreaming selves align, in more ways than one ;-) and i keep good safe healthy form


***

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DVD Review – “Body by Bethenny”

19 Feb
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DVD Review – “Body by Bethenny” – Bethenny Frankel

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i recently won a free dvd from acacia via a tweeter contest-alert from them

while i wasn’t expecting to, as the dvd cover promises ;-) “unleash [my] your skinnygirl!” – i also wasn’t expecting to enjoy it as much as i did

for what it’s worth, my wife [1] previewed it with me and says she enjoyed it also

also, the review is our own, ie, it hasn’t been previewed by acacia or anyone associated with them, and is our honest first impression as best we can express it

***

things we liked:

* playfulness between bethenny and the instructor, kristin mcgee

* the surprisingly challenging curve of poses that started from very basic ones

* good range of simple to moderate to more challenging poses

* nice array of clear stop & start instructions, yet kept a narrative flow

* that the “student” contributed movements that kristin supportively recognized, with reasons as to why

* yoga workout not too long, not too short (approx 40 min)

* captions for muscle groups being used (only a few very girl-centric)

* good alignment cues

* modifications abounded, especially creative bethenny-co-contributed ones

* short bonus workouts, recipes, bio info

* clear video, clear audio

***

Reviews: Clear Sailing?

Reviews: Clear Sailing?

***

things we would’ve liked:

* sub-titles – this is a common gripe for us older folk ;-)

* captions for muscle groups sometimes not on-air enough time to catch

* emphasis on “skinny girl” as much a distraction, as touting “being-heavy” [2]

closing thoughts:

i felt, since i am studying to be certified as a personal trainer, that it was really useful for myself, even as a guy ;-) to see how a one-to-one session could be handled

the humor, well grounded knowledge, and interactive awareness with the “client” was to my liking, much like i would like to do things beyond a group classroom setting

mild concern if, after a number of viewings, maybe 3-5? , the enjoyable interaction and instructional cues might become tedious; possible solution: optional soundtrack change to simple cueing, similar to yoga journal’s various audio options in their 3 vol set, “step-by-step 3 pack

but to be fair, that same concern has not become an issue in one of my wife and mine’s favorite dvd’s, anne pringle’s stronger seniors chair yoga dvd so, who knows ;-)

all in all, sheila and i liked the dvd ;-)

*

namaste – con dios – god be with you

dvd review series


***

footnotes

[1] sheila, like myself, is AFAA group fitness instructor certified, plus is also licensed for Zumba and Zumba Gold; in addition she’s taken SilverSneaker instructor courses for MSROM (muscle strength, range of motion) and Cardio Ciruit

we’re both scheduled to take silversneakers’ yoga instructor course soon

[2] while recognizing the marketing value, sheila feels the skinnygirl emphasis is distracting, that it may send the message that being skinny is the goal, whereas, good health is the real goal; and she feels the same way about the opposite extreme where being heavy is touted the same way

thus, while accepting ourselves as we are is good and necessary, recognizing how we may improve ourselves for our own benefit, is just as good, and needed


***

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My Yoga-to-Dance aha! Moments! – # 2

19 Feb
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My Yoga-to-Dance aha! Moments! – # 2

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last week, when i posted “My First Yoga-to-Dance aha! Moment!” i should have realized right then, it’d be unlikely i wouldn’t have more of these nifty aha! moments

Layers

Layers

today my wife and i trucked up to clear lake for the morning jazzercise class in a fair amount of coastal fog, knowing from experience it’d be worth the trip

it’s always a brain-smile-pleasure when i’m surprised to learn something i hadn’t expected to, and today, vanessa had choreographed, into the music-mix of fun moves, a plank that moved into a modified warrior 2 – and moved us nicely through both sides! – yes, definitely a pleasant surprise ;-)

considering i had just introduced both warrior 1 & 2 to our beginners yoga class in galveston the night before, the synapse-juxtaposition was sharp indeed

granted, our yoga class had “held” warrior 2 for a few breaths within a sun salutation sequence, and our jazzercise class “paused” there within a larger dance-movement routine -

granted, the former was a yin-orientated, strength and stretch, bone enhancing pleasure hold; and the latter was a yang-orientated, cardio, heart hardy pleasure movement -

but the effect and presence in both fitness environments, was equally welcome

yet, this was not my aha! moment of the morning ;-)

there’s a move i’ve always favored in jazzercise, [1] a step-ball-change-variation stutter-step forward and back

rather than stepping forward with one foot, usually in a diagonal or to one side (though not necessarily), pressing the ball of the other foot, then changing directions - both feet stutter-step forward in a step-ball-change type move, then stutter-step backward, using the same step movement with both feet

the kick usually associated with the one foot at a time sequence, becomes kinda a kick-forward and up of the torso, esp the hips

my hands usually track my forward movement to the music, flicking upward as i softly arch my lumbar spine opening my chest and heart upward -

tracking the music i’ll then stutter-step backward with both feet, curling my core in a mild distinct crunch, my hands flicking downward as my shoulders and upper back arch forward followed by my neck and head

the knees and legs do a little stutter-giggle to the beat, or maybe it’s just me getting old ;-)

but again, last night’s yoga class sprang to mind -

as i enjoyed a series of stutter-step forwards and back, i had a clear sudden impression-memory-joining of upward and downward dog merging with my torso arching then curling rhythmically in the stutter-steps!

aha!

i was feeling a conjoining, a similarity of expansions and contractions the two yoga poses, up and down dog, had offered me in sun salutations, with what i felt, stutter-stepping back and forth to jazzercise’s contemporary music – nice nice nice ;-)

please note, i’m not a jazzercise instructor, and though i’ve enjoyed the dance and aerobic moves jazzercise provides for a long time, for more detailed info on this or other jazzercise moves, please feel free to contact a local instructor

***

now i realize many others before me, and right now, are experiencing the same fitness-yoga connections, and hopefully articulating [2] better ;-) but to again experience this feeling of fusion between two activities i enjoy so much, well…

there does seem to be a surge in seeing the similarities, and differences, between yoga and other fitness activities

afaa (aerobic and fitness association of america) has numerous chapters in its current “fitness: theory and practice” textbook, exploring various types of comparison

ace (american council on exercise), in their march “certifiednews” issue, has an incredibly important article, “are some yoga poses more harmful than helpful?

the comments for the above article are equally as interesting

my own comment (with paragraph formatting added for easier reading) to the article is :

“a great reference that ties fitness and yoga together is, Ray Long MD FRCSC is a board certified orthopedic surgeon at http://www.dailybandha.com/

“i myself am still learning a lot of all this, and look fwd to continuing that process —

“yoga, for me, is potentially more than fitness, but without the proper foundation in fitness, won’t get you very far to other areas of interest —

“iyengar himself, in an incredible 18 minute dvd “extra” on the dvd “Enlighten Up!” (i rented it from netflix) tells of how, til he was able to stand up in a healthy way in his early 20′s, spiritual concerns weren’t even a consideration –

“is there yogic posture info a lot of fitness professionals don’t know, i think if anyone speaks to a wide range of fitness people, that’s pretty obvious —

“is there fitness posture info a lot of yogic people don’t know, i think that’s equally obvious —

this just does not seem like an either / or question folks

***

one of my expectations for myself, is that i will continue to find and merge these fun fulfilling aha! moments; and one of my sincere hopes is, i’ll be able to share some of those with others

namaste – con dios – god be with you


***

footnotes

[1] my wife sheila had already been jazzercising for a decade, when she finally convinced me to go to class with her; it was her birthday request for valentines day (she’s a valentine baby) for what jazzercise calls “sweat-hearts” day ;-)

february 14th, valentines day, 2011, i attended my first jazzercise class, and have been a member ever since

[2] eric franklin has written a wide range of dance-fitness books, of which i have a few so far, that i’d started reading when sheila and i first started studying fitness with afaa

immediately, i connected with his use of imagery, and ideas of becoming aware of our bodies, and respecting the daily fluctuations of feeling and capacity we all experience daily -

and since becoming group fitness certified plus becoming a yoga certified teacher (via lex gillan’s teacher training}, i have a much deeper appreciation of what eric has to offer, and articulate ;-)

***

related:

My First Yoga-to-Dance aha! Moment! - Feb 12, 2011

“‘Heart Beats’ – Happy Valentine’s Day  ;-) - Feb 14, 2011


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My First Yoga-to-Dance aha! Moment!

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My First Yoga-to-Dance aha! Moment!

***


for awhile now, i’ve been able to have more input into yoga, via my fitness studies with AFAA, SilverSneakers, and Zumba workshops, than from yoga into my other fitness routines, jazzercise dance etc

some of these items included, among much more:

non-stricture regarding breathing only through my nose if needed; optimal times for adding a small snack before, during or after a class or routine for muscle rebuilding; importance of respecting where one is starting from or currently “at” regarding expectations and how hard to “push”; and special precautions when dealing with either special populations or conditions and illnesses

these are fitness tidbits i may eventually do some posts on, but do routinely discuss in my classes

yesterday, after a three week hiatus, due to myriad factors (my yoga teaching immersion, worst weather of the year, and visiting family), i finally got to go to jazzercise with a fabulous teacher, vanessa, in clear lake

my wife sheila’s and mine AFAA studies indicated that enhanced aerobic fitness diminishes in as quickly as 2-3 weeks of inactivity [1] and they had ;-)

granted, i’ve done a “few” things during that time, but, as i point out in class, each fitness activity enhances some one or more aspect of our total self – and frankly, i’ve not found any one exercise type, fun or not ;-) to provide everything to the highest degree that’s possible to me

and it’s obvious to me, that pure concentrated aerobic dance does more for my heart and lungs and increased/enhanced oxygen uptake, than, say, elastic bands (which i also love to us), or yoga (which i’m loving more and more each day)

all that said, whew! ;-) what did i gain during jazzercise from yoga that helped me enjoy and benefit from my jazzercise routine that much more?

well, as some of ya’ll probably know better than me, in holding a pose for an extended time, there’s a lilt and musical movement one sometimes becomes aware of in the steady inhalation exhalation, a lilting lifting releasing living tiny steady movement, natural to being alive and breathing that’s quite comforting…

so, i’m enjoying doing a much broader quicker range of motion (ROM) than i have for several weeks, to some great contemporary music (one of jazzercise’s strong points i enjoy), and, in the middle of a few hip flexing chasses and sachets, my body-memory [2] of my yoga-pose-breathing kicked in and i was breathing in and breathing out in memory and in reality – the two experiences merged in a smile that caught me by surprise ;-)

then, during some fun single-single-and-a double‘s, the merged-memory kicked in again – now those are some fun rewarding aha – yes’s ;-)

next time sheila and i zumba, i’ll see if i have a three-way memory-merge – zumba, jazzercise, and yoga!

namaste – con dios – god be with you

*

yoga to dance aha! series

***

footnotes

[1] luckily, the same studies indicate, recovering one’s fitness level won’t be like when you first started, and will come back quite quickly; even if with non-use-pay-the-price-aches reminding oneself “it’d been awhile” ;-)

[2] i first heard and learned of the term body-memory, around 1980; my children and i were doing an outdoor musical, “the lone star,” on galveston island for the summer, and my son, barely nine, was learning a staged fight scene he and his friend were greatly enjoying ;-)

***


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Asanas (Poses) – do I HAVE to do the pose this way? part 2: no, but…

8 Feb
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Asanas (poses) “do i have to do the pose this way?” part 1: no…

Asanas (poses) “do i have to do the pose this way?” part 2: no, but…

***

Part 2

the opinions and ideas that follow are meant as general suggestions; each person should check or have checked with their medical professional regarding the suitability of their own practice of any posture or asana

part 1 is my attempt to say that each of us are unique, and that general pose guidelines are just that, guidelines

asanas are not a drill team exercise, not a machine, and should not emulate the sensation of mass production

but…

as the old saying goes, we’re all different, yes, but we each can only jump so high in general, can only be so tall or so short within a range, and must breathe and eat within a certain time frame

ie, there are limitations as to how “free” we can be with our bodies

my own perspective for these guidelines, til proven otherwise, is to follow the type of guidelines generally used for safe and effective exercise; for me, those guidelines are informed by my studies with AFAA (Aerobics and Fitness Association of America) and also reinforced by my studies with Zumba, SilverSneakers, and most yoga teachers

i have no doubt studies from other national fitness certifiying organizations, such as ACE or ACSM, are equally valid, but since i haven’t studied through them, i don’t feel qualified to refer to them

AFAA has developed what they call the 5 Questions regarding any exercise; safe and effective are two of the question components

safe and effective are used by almost every fitness program i’ve come across so far

SilverSneakers has frequent referencs to ROM (range of motion) and countless other movement and condition factors, such as how to determine “your” proper resistance for resistance tubing

Zumba‘s instructor workshops likewise, while encouraging “feeling” those suave latin side to side beat moves, reminds that feet and knees should remain aligned on those twist outs

and prominent yoga instructors, like in this interview on the yoga lunchbox, say, “asana is individually adapted to the individual body so that the energy body aligns properly and the prana flows…I help create a condition where a student can experience prana in a safe, open, and exploratory environment.”

***

the question then isn’t if there are useful guidelines a person practicing a pose should consider; it’s what is it that should be considered?

my trusty response comes up with two potential answers a person considering yoga might review

one, as per most fitness theory, barring being hooked up to a wireless heart- and/or other body activity monitor with large flat screen at the ready, or stopping the routine and thus getting a false reading, is the value of RPE (Rate of Perceived Exertion)

RPE is determined, as per this site, “by paying attention to your overall effort, fatigue, and breathing during exercise…” -

sound familiar yoga fans?

there does appear to be a commonality among fitness activities, and a google search of RPE seems to begin to confirm that notion

a disadvantage of RPE is you the practitioner must become actively involved in the monitoring and evaluation of your rate of perceived exertion

an advantage of RPE is you the practitioner must become actively involved in the monitoring and evaluation of your rate of perceived exertion

yes, self awareness cuts both ways  ;-)  like any freedom

continued conscientious effort seems to definitely have made doing my own RPE easier; it’s a mandated cue for instructors in a SilverSneakers class

Meow...Leo doing the "Couch Potato"

Meow...Leo doing the "Couch Potato"

so, for example, i have mild scoliosis -

and while extending my stay in a seated twist pose that feels good to me, i begin lifting straightening rising in spirit and body as i inhale, eyes brightening -

then, twisting lightly firmly gently as i exhale keeping head and neck and spine aligned -

again, releasing lightly and rising lifting on a new inhale -

once again, twisting turning uhk…exhale; time to release some of the tension and sit through a few inhales and exhales, actually as many as i need, and see if i can resume, or slowly unravel…

it’s my responsibility to hone my RPE, it’s my responsibility to practice consistently developing sensitivity strength and confidence in my practice (“a practice” is the in-yoga way of saying “doing something you like consistently and conscientiously” – nice huh?)

it is also my responsibility to say to a teacher if a particularly helpful re-arrangement of my body parts just ain’t workin

two, find a teacher, or companion, you trust, and, who in turn, trusts and respects you

though suggestion # 1 was way longer being made than # 2, it may be the other way around in how it happens, that’s ok

ideally, these two components will merge

bottomline, the question for a yoga fan may eventually be, do i need to go my way?

***

in a comment to a great running thread on the yoga lunchbox, i wrote:

“hopefully, from my pov, once a student has absorbed the discipline and consistency of being in a class, that person will find the ways to blend those competing needs of needing more instruction, needing to explore alone, and needing companionship, without feeling it’s an either/or choice.”

so, maybe the question is, should there by a new RPE for yoga?

like, “Range of Pose Explored, Yoga” or would that be, RPEy ;-)

***

Asanas (poses) “do i have to do the pose this way?” part 1: no…

Asanas (poses) “do i have to do the pose this way?” part 2: no, but…

***


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Asanas (Poses) – do I HAVE to do the pose this way? part 1: no…

7 Feb
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Asanas (poses) “do i have to do the pose this way?” part 1: no…

Asanas (poses) “do i have to do the pose this way?” part 2: no, but…

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Part 1

Pose of Spring First Blooms

i’ve a long-standing opinion regarding asanas, some will agree with it, some people won’t, which kinda proves my point about poses: though generally similar, the same name pose is uniquely different for each individual

my point isn’t regarding alignment, which should be as correct as possible for each person

nor the value of gentle safe pressing of range of motion, with “gentle safe” also defined by each person

my point is actually a pitchfork: two points ;-)

one point is closer to the answer lex gillan

my recent yoga immersion teacher, gave to the question, “how many asanas are there in the world?”  the answer of course is, how many people are there in the world?

lex also pointed out that most of the really eye grabbing circus-gymnast-quality poses we see on magazine covers, are only doable by one in a million people – of which i almost asked “that many?” ;-)

now this is a guy who’s been active with name-brand gurus and self-practice for decades, since the 70′s!  he’s older than me! and incredibly limber and active, so i’ll give his opinion a strong nod

i get an even stronger confirmation when viewing a short 18 minute interview done with Iyengar – it’s a DVD extra on the dvd “Enlighten Up!” i got from netflix

if you haven’t seen this short gem, rent borrow or imagine it, cause it’s good and important!  the abridged interview in the documentary is also good, but not nearly with the impact of the full 18 minute “extra”

my second point is probably easier to say via a recent comment i left on a site i like in new zealand, the yoga lunchbox

“i woke thinking about if i’d really seen your little one doing a natural cobra [on a video posted on her site], and remembering how i’ve felt for a long time now, that all the asanas are resident and ready in our bodies when we are born (as potential) ; that yoga may be 5 or 6 thousand years old, but the imprints in our own bodies, 5-6000 yrs later, pre-date anything ever written and passed down…

“i imagined a non-tv watching no-phone non-guru person in india, sitting, watching a gaggle of playing children, maybe ages 6 mths to 3-4 years, all stretching and running and bent over and crawling, and, laying prone, their hands flat to the floor by their sides, heads lightly raised to peek out at a playmate or parent, smiling, their hearts out to the world ;-)

“someone got it mixed up, this was not originally the ‘cobra’ – shoulda been the “playful child”  ;-)  “

Leo doing the "couch potato"

Meow...Leo doing the "Couch Potato"

bottomline, for me: asanas are inherent and evolved from our very being, our DNA

right above the bottomline: names given to natural postures we get ourselves into, or find ourselves in, are grounded in the times of the observer

will we see wireless-centric names pop up for popular poses?

the nano-half-twist?

though i guess upside down dog is here to stay   ;-)   cat stretch anyone?

to be cont’d:

***

Asanas (poses) “do i have to do the pose this way?” part 1: no…

Asanas (poses) “do i have to do the pose this way?” part 2: no, but…

***

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