Movement of the Month: Hula Hooping

Hula Hooping is no longer an activity for kids. I fell in love with this sport the last couple years when I spent my time traveling to festivals and dancing in the great outdoor summer son. Since then, I have become a certified Hoopnotica Fit and Flow teacher. The way the hoop flows the body really enhances our natural curves. It is a dance with our consciousness. You can’t help but laugh as you explore new moves with a hoop. Hooping has been helping many lose inches off their waist over the years and build cardiovascular endurance and improving balance.

 Check out this article I commented on in EveryDay Health!

 (Fit2bWell tip: Talk with your doctor about your desire to hoop. Seek out a fun but experienced teacher Make sure that foot, knee, hip and back problems are cleared before attempting any rigorous training event to avoid injuries. Consider doing this as a family activity, outdoors, and listening to a tune that moves you!)

Ten steps to hula hooping:

1.)   Wear comfortable clothing. Recommend no backless sandals or shoeless when you first start

2.)   Put the hula hoop on the ground and choose a hoop that reaches your chest or waist. The larger the hoop, the heavier the hoop (to a certain point) tends to be better for beginners due to its slower spin.

3.)   Step inside the hoop

4.)   Reach down and pick up the hoop with soft knees. Ensure hands are at a comfortable distance apart

5.)   Bring hula hoop to waist level. Step one foot in front of the other (approx 1-2 shoe lengths) with soft knees

6.)   Hold on to hoop but place on side of your body near top of pelvis

7.)   Spin the hoop clockwise or counterclockwise. Many feel comfortable with one side better than the other, so explore

8.)   Start to think about points of contact with the hoop. Those would be your push points. Push your stomach forward as the hoop comes around. Push back with the back as it goes around the other way. Sometimes circular motion with push points on side to side feels better. So see what works for you!

9.)   Keep breathing, keep smiling and keep the hoop spinning

10.) Expect the hoop to fall, and when it does, keep trying and have fun!

AcroPlay & Cirque Yoga

AcroPlay & Cirque Yoga

Rochester yogafestival

Sunday, September 21, 2014, 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM,

St. John Fisher College Varsity Gym

Get your full day pass for $119. Register Now.

At the door the registration fee is $139

“As a doctor and a yoga teacher, I think events like the Rochester Yoga Fest can help build a stronger, more cohesive cohort of health professionals who believe in the powerful, healing energy of yoga therapy.”

For more information on the event Click Here.  

Screen Shot 2014-08-27 at 8.25.41 AM

 

Sweat Power Hour!

Screen Shot 2014-08-26 at 8.28.21 AM

Yoga off the Mat: What is free? Exploring Moksha

Summer is a time of celebration of bounty, of fun in the sun, and a season for exploring what it means to be free.  The July season holiday finds meaning in recognizing the freedom fought by our ancestors. But aside from having the Bill of Rights and the ability to call ourselves Americans, what does living free actually stand for?

Moksha, in Sanskrit, means emancipation, freedom or release. The practice of yoga teaches us to become self aware, and develop knowledge about our bodies and how our energies relate to those that surround us in our community. On the mat, we are able to play with our physical postures as we explore and tonify our breath. In Hindu tradition, Moksha is a central concept, and an aspect of what it means to be blessed with human life. This liberation, is not merely an absence of suffering, but to be at peace and find bliss amidst all storms.

Here are some tips to embody Moksha in your daily life:

a.)   De-clutter your space. Throw away, recycle, donate and just plain organize. It does not take much to physically stuff your energy

b.)   Forgive. Forget. Let go. Let it be. Bad energy can block healing and thriving. Let go what does not serve and allow kindness to forgiveness to unburden your stress.

c.)    The most important things in life are not things. Cherish people and the time that you have together. Live in now, focus on now, love now. It’s very liberating.

d.)   Take a breath in, hug it for a bit longer than usual, relax your face. Close your eyes , visualize yourself in your happy place. What do you see? Exhale all expectations. Really let yourself hear you breathe.  Then inhale the inspiration from that visualization, drop your shoulders, smile, set a focal point, and exhale again into your bliss. Breath is life. Don’t forget to breathe. Rejuvenate, invigorate, ignite your soul.

Back Pain? Maybe it’s in your feet.

Screen Shot 2014-07-03 at 11.50.17 AM Screen Shot 2014-07-03 at 11.50.31 AM

Yoga off the Mat: Find Joy in Living Yoga

 

Mudita, or joy, is such a wonderful feeling. It comes from delighting in other people’s wellbeing rather than begrudging it. It is the opposite of a negative feeling that can weigh us down: envy. In Buddhism, as we increase our ability to connect with the spring of infinite joy, the closer we may find abundant happiness. To celebrate others in the face of tragedy so to foster and encourage a joyous state is not easy. Living yoga can help you feel this liberating state of consciousness.

Train your brain to look for the good. It doesn’t mean denial. It means awareness of now and to honor that truth. Focus on how you feel just by moving and breathing with intention. Settle in your in body. Engage the flowing energy of breath. Let go of negatives in your mind. Acknowledge the essence of who you are and the spirit that exists in you. Find out who you are and be at peace with all that makes you unique. Shift out of dwelling in what you cannot control and savor in little blessings everywhere. Experience joy with practice, breaking down walls, connect yourself with others, realize the simplicity in each moment and live it with bliss. Recognize the potential that lies in success of others, express genuine delight, and savor the comfort that you gain from seeing your expectations soar and free. We can all be “better,” but what you are now is pretty darn amazing.

So go on: let yourself be happy by seeing all the good and happiness in the world that surrounds you. Cultivate your joy daily, on and off the mat.

Movement of the Month: Celebrate JOY of summer with Anjaneyasana “Crescent Lunge Pose”

Summer sun is around the corner and I love practicing this heart opening, joyful pose. This picture was taken at my friends’ Will and Jen’s Aerial Arts of Rochester studio.  It tones our chest, abdomen, butt, thighs, calves, feet and ankles. It stretches our hips and groins It brightens your energy and reduces fatigue. Ignite your internal sunshine!

(Fit2bWell tip: Feel free to modify with a low lunge version by placing your back knee and thigh bone down onto a padded blanket. Uncertain about balance? Try with a high back chair in front of you as a guide.  For a challenge, kick it up a notch by doing a variation with aerial yoga like I demonstrate here, with back foot on an aerial hammock.)

1.)   Start in Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-Facing Dog). Exhale and step your right foot forward between your hands, aligning your knee over the heel. Keep your left leg strong and firm. If you are would like to do a low lunge variation, feel free to start kneeling both knees on a padded blanket.  Keep your left knee grounded, as you take your right food forward. Your feet should be approximately hips width distance apart. Similar to above, you should start by aligning your knee over the heel. Keep the ball of the left rooted, similar to the energy of the left knee and top of thigh. Pretend in both versions the back foot is stepping on to the back wall.

2.)   Inhale and raise your torso to upright. At the same time, sweep your arms wide to the sides and raise them overhead, palms facing. Feel free to explore other variations, such as Namaste (prayer position) or cactus variation, where palms face the front, upper arms are parallel to the floor at shoulder height and elbows at 90 deg. These would work your shoulder girdle in various degrees and engage your shoulder blades with various degrees of difficulty.

3.)   Be careful not to overarch the lower back. Lengthen your tailbone toward the floor and tuck your pelvis softly forward. This will bring the shoulder blades deeper into the back and help support your chest and integrate the core into the strength of this pose. Allow your gaze to lift the heart upwards.

4.)   Be sure not to press the front ribs forward. Draw them down and into the torso. Hold for 6-10 breaths.

5.)   Transition back to Down Dog or knee kneeling pose after completion. Hold for a few breaths and repeat with the left foot forward for the same length of time.

Movement of the Month: Open your Heart with Ustrasana “Camel Pose”

  1. Kneel on the floor with your knees hip width and thighs perpendicular to the floor. Rotate your thighs inward slightly, narrow your hip points, and firm but don’t harden your buttocks. Imagine that you’re drawing your sitting bones up, into your torso. Keep your outer hips as soft as possible. Press your shins and the tops of your feet firmly into floor.
  2. Rest your hands on the back of your pelvis, bases of the palms on the tops of the buttocks, fingers pointing down. Use your hands to spread the back pelvis and lengthen it down through your tail bone. Lightly firm the tail forward, toward the pubis. Make sure though that your front groins don’t “puff” forward. To prevent this, press your front thighs back, countering the forward action of your tail. Inhale and lift your heart by pressing the shoulder blades against your back ribs.
  3. Lean back against the firmness of the tail bone and shoulder blades. Keep your head up, chin near the sternum, and your hands on the pelvis. Beginners probably won’t be able to drop straight back into this pose, touching the hands to the feet simultaneously while keeping the thighs perpendicular to the floor. If you need to, tilt the thighs back a little from the perpendicular and minimally twist to one side to get one hand on the same-side foot. Then press your thighs back to perpendicular, turn your torso back to neutral, and touch the second hand to its foot. If you’re not able to touch your feet without compressing your lower back, turn your toes under and elevate your heels
  4. Lift  the lower back ribs away from the pelvis to keep the lower spine as long as possible. Press your palms firmly against your soles (or heels), with the bases of the palms on the heels and the fingers pointing toward the toes. Turn your arms outwardly so the elbow creases face forward, without squeezing the shoulder blades together. You can keep your neck in a relatively neutral position, neither flexed nor extended, or drop your head back. But be careful not to strain your neck and harden your throat.
  5. Stay in this pose anywhere from 30 seconds to a minute. To exit, bring your hands onto the front of your pelvis, at the hip points. Inhale and lift the head and torso up by pushing the hip points down, toward the floor. Smile to finish!

 

AcroYoga Workshop May 3, 2014

The next AcroYoga Workshop is May 3, 2014 at Aerial Arts of Rochester.

10:15am to Noon with an open JAM at 1:15pm until ?

$25.oo for the JAM and workshop!

$20.00 for Workshop alone.