Tag Archives: #27

Discover #27 ways yoga improves your life: savasana

                        ~ Day 17 ~
~ Tuesday, December 30th, 2014 ~
 Identify & Destroy Procrastination
Procrastination is the foundation of all disasters.
– Pandora Poikilos

Completed my anchor habit for 15 minutes. Did Standing Poses from Om Yoga. 2 minutes meditation, 10 minutes yoga, 3 minutes savasana meditation. Savasana meditation after yoga has been feeling so good lately.

Do you end your personal yoga or yoga class with a savasana meditation? It’s wonderful. You can practice this pose in bed at night to help you get to sleep too. You simply lie down on your back with your palms facing up, letting your feet fall apart, and you can focus on your breathing, or you can  focus your attention on each part of your body slowly from your feet to your head. It can be very relaxing, but it is also a very challenging pose.

Savasana, or corpse pose, is practice for death. It is very easy for them in to wonder during corpse pose. It may wander to an earlier time in your day and relive a conversation or jump forward to things you need to accomplish. Then come the worry that you might have said something wrong, or your might forget that thing you need to get done. Sitting with that discomfort is where the real magic takes place. After a while you will have a thought that you enjoy, or perhaps dislike, and you won’t want to stop having it for whatever reason. This is were the rubber really meets the road: once you realize your mind has wandered, bring it back to your breathing, or your body, and come back to savasana.

If I gave up my iPad time (except for Wake Up), and limited my chatting and TV time to 30 minutes per day I could save 5 hours per day, which is 35 hours per week, 140 hours per month, and 1680 hours per year. That’s a whole 70 days of my year.

I could really use 70 days to commit to my business, finances, and future. And I bet you could too! Who doesn’t need 70 days? My goal is that by the end of the January 2015 I will limit my TV watching and smoking time to 30 minutes per day, and I will not use the iPad except to do Wake Up and whatever else I choose to do intentionally for 1 hour each day.

What do you spend too much unconscious or conscious time doing each day? What could you use that time for instead? Are you ready to be intentional about how you live your life? Comment below. ❤

Discover #27 ways yoga improves your life: Partner Yoga

                 ~ Day 12 ~
~ Thursday, December 25th, 2014 ~
      Choose and Schedule
       Habits that Help You

Sow a thought, and you reap an act; Sow an act, and you reap a habit; Sow a habit, and you reap character; Sow a characters and you reap a destiny.
– Samuel Smiles

Happy Christmas Day! Completed my anchor habit for 10 minutes today. I’m easing myself back into my commitments firmly but gently. I didn’t do Om Yoga today, and I didn’t meditate, but I did do a flow I made up with my partner who was having a headache, we did some downward dogs, some vinyasas through chaturanga to upward dog, some triangle poses, and ended with a headstand for as long as we could hold it. We also tried some partner poses.

You remember flying like superman on your dads legs when you were a kid?

Yeah. Same thing. It was very playful and fun – not at all about technique or working up a heavy sweat. It was a great way to spend time together… We were laughing, helping each other, and having a great time! We needed that after the drive from my family’s house. I love my family to death, and this was one of the best Christmas’s in my memory, but traveling and staying with family is always stressful and sleeping in another bed is never as restful. When you travel on your vacation, it can definitely feel like you need a vacation after your vacation!

Today’s action: Decide on the most important new habits that will help you become the person you need to be to achieve your goals. Then put their start dates onto your calendar, or another place where you’ll be reminded of them and have a few days’ notice when it’s time to start a new one.


New Habits

  1. Practice yoga every day.     –     Started December 2nd, 2014
  2. Practice sitting meditation every day.    –     Started Monday, December 22nd, 2014

  3. Creativity brainstorming 5 minutes every day
    Start Sunday, December 28th, 2014
  1. Take my temperature/prepare for baby I every day
    Start Thursday, January 1st, 2015
  1. Read, learn, or do something doula related for 10 minutes every day.
    Start Sunday, January 4th, 2015
  1. Daily finance work (weekly finance check-ins)
    Start Sunday, January 11th, 2015
  1. Plan for my business for 10 minutes every day
    Start Sunday, January 18th, 2015
  1. Read 30 minutes (before bed) every day
    Start Sunday, January 25th, 2015

Discover #27 ways yoga improves your life: My Anchor Habit

Today Remy and I official started a 31 day challenge to start a new good habit and set life goals! The book is called:

Wake Up!
31 Days & Actions to Take Charge of Your Life

It’s by author Matt Frazier, the No Meat Athlete. Today was Day 1.

~ Day 1 ~
~ Sunday, December 14th, 2014 ~
Create Your Anchor Habit

Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.
– Jim Ryun

Today’s action: Create your anchor habit, commit to a start date, and set the conditions for success.

Your job today is to give yourself the gift of developing that important, but not urgent, daily habit that would fulfill you the most. Not just because you think it would make someone else happy, but because it’s something you love to do.

Helpful Hints: Be specific about what you’ll do and for how much time each day (remember, start small!). Identify a trigger, post reminders, add some accountability, and do whatever else will destroy the barriers to getting started… Then, tomorrow – or today, if you just can’t wait – start your new habit, and do it each day after that.
– Matt Frazier

Remy and I “started” our 31 day challenge for the first time on Tuesday, December 2nd. I chose yoga as my anchor habit on Day 1. Completed my anchor habit for 10-15 minutes today. Did Inversions sequence from Om Yoga.

Yoga was an easy choice because it’s an opportunity for exercise and it improves my mental clarity, relaxation, focus, and attention. The book Wake Up recommends starting on a Sunday, and we didn’t start on that day, so we opted to follow its recommendation that we simply continue our anchor habit each day until the next Sunday. Even though we started on a Tuesday and I successfully completed my anchor habit each day, by Sunday I forgot to read Day 2, so I missed my opportunity to move on. I simply opted to do my anchor habit each day again, and while I skipped my anchor habit on 2 days that week, I never skipped 2 days in a row. It’s important to me to not miss more than one day before getting back to my new anchor habit!

Today I started over again! I completed my anchor habit this morning. I love this Om Yoga book! Even though it’s Sunday, I decided to do the Saturday workout – inversions. I love it when I find a new pose that I’ve never done before. Today it was the L-shaped handstand I did against the wall. I love strengthening the poses I already know, but let’s be honest, newer is always exciting-er!


Discover #27 ways yoga improves your life: Strength and Focus


According to NPR, an estimated 20 million people practice yoga in the U.S. Featured on NPR’s Fresh Air in 2012 on was William Broad, a New York Times award-winning author and writer of the book, The Science of Yoga. Broad’s book has done a lot to push yoga even further into the American limelight in recent years, as it takes a Western approach to analyzing the risks and rewards of yoga. Some say Broad’s book is controversial for his exaggerated descriptions of various yoga masters, his criticisms of the yoga instructor certification process, his outright discussion of the potential dangers of yoga. Because of this I am debating reading the book, but I might pick it up for another reason: Broad synthesizes and discusses of the scientific benefits of yoga. He says that yoga can improve your focus and strength, stating “the benefits start to accrue… It’s like putting a little bit of money in the bank every day or every month. The payoff comes as these things start to multiply.”

I think he’s right. And so do a lot of other people that have been practicing yoga for over five thousand years. Broad is just another person doing what master yoga teachers like Shiva Rea, Maty Ezrati, Chuck Miller, Particia Walden, John Friend, and Rod Stryker have been doing since the 60s and 70s: trying to make yoga accessible to the masses here in the U.S.

Focus on Strength

Simply practicing for 30-60 minutes a day for one week, I am beginning to feel stronger and more stable in my yoga. Most yoga poses focus on body alignment, and help increase blood flow throughout the body. Poses that focus on balance or abdominal tension can help strengthen not only the core, but the entire body. Not only does yoga increase body strength in a well-rounded way, it increases body awareness as well. And the benefits of increased strength include everything from more energy to decreased risk of arthritis! One study in Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine found that just 75 minutes of yoga up to three times a week can help to significantly decrease the common symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.

Focus on Breathing

Yoga is more than just strength-training though, and because it is slow and controlled, it takes a lot of focus. You have to focus on the things we normally ignore about our bodies: breathing, alignment, balance, and tension. In yoga one of the ultimate goals is to maintain a focused, steady breathing rhythm known as ujjayi breath, but to do it in a natural way, not forced. It takes a lot of concentration and at first there were quite a few poses I couldn’t do without maintaining ujjayi breath. One week later and I can already “breathe through” some poses that caused me trouble a few days ago, but there are still many more that cause me to fall out of my steady breathing. This is the ongoing challenge that is being and doing yoga, and it requires much focus and patience. Even when you master a pose, it can become a challenge again if you attempt to hold it for longer periods. Master yogis are often able to comfortably hold poses for hours at a time!


But for now, when I’m not doing a yoga vinyasa (set sequence/flow of poses), I’ll just focus on maintaining my breathing with correct posture for 5 inhales and exhales. Even if you don’t know any routines, you can hold the yoga poses you know and focus on holding them for at least 5 full ujjayi breaths. For those of you who are not familiar with ujjayi breathing, here are the basics from alannak.com:

  • In any position, breathe through the nose and allow the breath to become calm and even.
  • Gently contract the epiglottis until you hear a soft hissing sound on the inhale and exhale. The action is similar to what you would do to fog a mirror, except the mouth is kept closed. Basically, you’ll sound like Darth Vader as you breathe.
  • Keep neck muscles, mouth and tongue relaxed.

Alanna Kaivalya

Focus on Balance

Drishti is the sanskrit word loosely translated to area of focus, or place to look. Drishti can offer many benefits including its balancing effect. If you’re relatively new to yoga like me, you might have tried to hold tree pose for 30 seconds only to fall out of it every 5. Yoga teaches you that this is okay; you simply and without judgment get back into position, but drishti can offer you more stability to remain in poses longer. Most instructors will tell you to focus your eyes gently downward at a point near the top of the yoga mat, or about 5 feet in front of you because this has a relaxing effect, but you can focus wherever you like really. When I’m doing either a particularly challenging or boring posture I find that my gaze wanders in an unconscious attempt to dissociate or take myself out of my body. According to Ali Washington – author of The Perception Diet:

What you are doing when you start to incorporate drishti into all of your postures, those that are old and familiar as well as those that are new, is training your mind to stay with the present moment. You are teaching yourself how to stick with experiences as they are happening even when they are slightly (or more than slightly) unpleasant. This builds up your ability to do this in life. The gift of focused, present attention in every day life is invaluable in problem solving, communication, and general living. By training your mind to stay with your practice, you will be training your mind to stay with your life. This is direct mindfulness training built straight into asana [asana means yoga poses].

Ali Washington

This ability to stay calm and focused, breathing through difficult postures and keeping my drishti gaze fixed, is very important to someone like me who tends to become overwhelmed by stressful situations. Often when I find myself stressed I will flit around, multitasking inefficiently until I eventually get through it gritting my teeth or break down emotionally. During these times I have been able to draw on my yoga practice for assistance. Even when I don’t have time to do yoga I can still breath, and I can still focus my attention mindfully.

Drishti in yoga means a place of focus for your eyes, but the philosophy of drishti encompasses much more. In our daily life drishti is like our point of view or our vision. Having a clear vision for my life, where I want to go and who I want to be is the first step in creating drishti in my life. This is where I am generally lacking in life, even though I know I am wealthy in many other regards. As you know if you read my “About” Page, my ongoing journey this year has been to discover what I truly want to do with my life, and so this couldn’t apply more. I want to continue working to apply drishti to my everyday life.


Focus on Attention

A Portland-bases Yoga nonprofit organization known as Yoga Calm has been offering opportunities for teachers, counselors, and parents to integrate yoga into their children’s daily routine. Since 2002 they have been offering research-supported yoga-based movement and breathing, social/emotional games, relaxation activities and storytelling for the classroom setting. This especially interests me as a teacher at a school where many of the students have issues with attention and concentration. Many of my students suffer from ADHD, anxiety disorders, and emotional issues, and I think yoga could have a tremendous impact on their ability to learn and take in information. I have already learned that one of my students with ADHD is much more receptive and retains more information when he is engaged in something else simultaneous to our lesson. You wouldn’t think that going for a walk, playing catch, or even playing a computer game WHILE teaching would be beneficial for him, but it is. I can already see the ways yoga could help each and every one of my students, the problem is making time for it!


One of the coolest things is that evidence for yoga in schools is coming from right here in our own backyard. Research conducted in Minneapolis Public Schools says that programs like Yoga Calm that integrate yoga into the regular school day have had the following benefits:

  • Boost in attendance rates
  • Increase time on task – specifically reading time
  • Decrease behavioral referrals and thereby time out of the classroom
  • Improve feelings of community – #1 predictor of High School graduation (Search Institute)
  • Improve auditory comprehension in students
  • Ability to transition between classes more effectively
  • More quickly exhibit on task behavior
  • Improve ability to demonstrate reflection in writing
  • Lower classroom volume by 21db leading to less teacher redirection
  • Improve direction following, imitation, and choice making in early childhood after calming activities
  • 100% awareness in students on how to self-calm in 4th Grade classroom

Action Based Research, MPLS Public Schools, 2007

Here is some other research that has found positive benefits to yoga.

These links were found at http://www.yogacalm.org/research.asp