(All Levels: Asana for pregnant women)
Fatigue during labor is often misinterpreted as Pain. In this practice, I will lead through a series of poses in which the psyche, nervous system and immune system have a chance to rest. Both soothing and regenerating, these poses bring balance to our demanding daily lives, allowing us to release tension at deep levels and experience an increased sense of well- being. These are meditative poses in which the body is at rest because it is supported. Props allow the posture (whether a forward-bend, backbend, twist, or inversion) to be held without strain for extended periods of time. An excellent series for those suffering from depression or anxiety.
In this practice, you will learn: Viparita Karani (Belly as Pond Pose) w/ bolster and blanket w/ and w/out Elevated Spine, Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose) w/ variations using bolsters and/or blocks, Supta Baddha Konasana (Queen’s Pose), Side-Lying Pose.
Naked Yoga School is a weekly online yoga instructional video series where you will be guided through nude asana sequences in the privacy of your own home.
The series was developed with unity in mind and with the aim for each participant to reconnect with themselves and others in an open way. Removing your clothes in your practice is a liberating experience but it can be unnerving at first. The teachers in the videos will guide you through the experience and help you cultivate security, strength, centeredness and wholeness. Nakedness is often viewed with shame and fear. This practice is geared toward removing this shame, fear and other limiting self perceptions and instead bring you closer to pride, respect, honor, openness and acceptance. Our instructors will guide you through the practice to help you gain confidence with your body. We are all born naked. It’s OK to be naked. There should be nothing to hide. Let’s do naked yoga and feel free!
(All Levels: Asana for pregnant women) Pushing through to the end-result = goal-oriented (just like w/ sex) neglects the extraordinary journey, the fullness of lessons we could learn along the way. Giving birth is a creative act, and like all creative acts it cannot be forced to conform to society’s unnatural time constraints. The insistence on pushing in labor is a reflection of our cultural attitude that force and haste are superior to trust and patience. Pushing can be dangerous to both the mother and the baby. When a woman is pushing she is holding her breath. Oxygen therefore, is not going to her uterus which makes contracting more difficult and painful. It is also not going to her baby. This can lead to a drop in the fetal heart rate and possible brain damage. Tearing of the perineum is more common for women who have pushed over a long period of time and studies show that pushing does not necessarily get a baby out faster anyway. Practicing labor positions with your partner ahead of time can help you learn to slow down, absorb the fullness of each pause, and BREATHE.
In this practice, you will learn: Lunge Release on wall; Lunge Release on chair; Standing Hang Release; Forward Bend Sacrum Press on Ball-medial and downward; Hands and Knees Lower Back Release; Chair Back Release; Bonding and Visualization in Upavista Konasana (Extended Straddle); Side-Lying Touch Relaxation Exercise.
(All Levels: Asana for pregnant women) Quickening refers to the moment of awareness when the mother knows she is pregnant. In this practice, we focus on becoming conscious of releasing the quadriceps and external rotators of the hips in order to strengthen them and build our endurance for labor. When we tone, energize, and rest the abdominal and pelvic floor muscles, we can use the quads and hip muscles more efficiently.
In this practice, you will learn: (Cat Cow Pose), (Cat Cow w/ Infinity Circle Hips), Lunges w/blocks, Kapotanasana (Pigeon Pose) w/ bolster and wall, Kapotanasana (Pigeon Pose) w/ bolster and chair, Ustrasana (Camel Pose) at wall, Quad Opener at wall.
(All Levels) Getting into an upside down position can help a breech, an oblique (diagonal lie), or posterior baby reposition themselves into the head-down orientation for birth. During a forward-leaning inversion, the uterus briefly hangs by the cervical ligaments; returning to an up-right position relaxes the ligaments. Babies that are not in a head-down anterior position OR malpositioning of the uterus often put pressure on pelvic nerves, causing pain in the back, groin, and legs. Notice wrist options. These asana also help release lower back and hips which, due to the additional weight of the pregnant belly, often experience discomfort. These asana also help build communication and clarity of intention between partners.
In this practice, you will learn: Sitting Back to Back Breathing, Upavista Konasana w/partner feet at sacrum, Partner Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Dog Pose) with belt-Pull Variation/Push Variation, Partner Pinchamayurasana preparation (Dolphin Pose) with belt-Pull Variation/Push Variation, Standing double squat: one up/one down; Double squat push/pull arms.
(All Levels: Asana for pregnant women)
As the pregnant belly grows bigger, internal organs are radically displaced: there is a lot less room for the stomach, intestines, bladder, lungs, etc. One way to adapt to this enormous internal re-positioning is by lengthening the side-bodies both through deep side stretches and learning how to breathe laterally.
In this practice, you will learn: Virasana (Hero Pose) w/ arm variations, Diagonal Table Top, Trikonasana (Triangle Pose) w/ blocks, Ardha Chandrasana (Half-Moon Pose), Trikonasana, Parsavakonsana (Side-Angle Extended Stretch), Gomukhasana (Cow Pose).
(All Levels: Asana for pregnant women)
In this practice, the emphasis is on nourishing the parasympathetic nervous system: relaxing the kidneys, adrenal glands, and lower back area. Breath-awareness is a key to help secrete endorphins and let go of adrenaline. Oval breathing helps to lift the front body, relax the back body, and ground the thigh bones – allowing for deeper, more expansive access to your breath. The Law of Sphincters tells us when we relax the jaw, we relax the cervix and uterus; when we release our lips, we release our perineum muscles and pelvic floor. There is a natural expulsive process of the muscles when they are relaxed.
In this practice, you will learn: Facing the Wall Ropes: Baddha Konasana (Cobbler Pose) w/Oval Breathing a) ropes, b) Namaste behind back, Upavista Konasana (Straddle Angle Pose) a) ropes, b) Namaste behind back, Parsva Janu Sirsasana (Side-Flank Stretch Head of the Knee Pose) a) ropes, b) Namaste behind, Parsva Upavista Konasana, (Side-Flank Stretch Upright Angle Pose), a) ropes, b) Namaste behind back, Dandasana (Staff Pose) a) ropes, b) Namaste behind back.
(All Levels: Yoga for pregnant women)
This practice is about choosing when and how to let go and hold on. We cannot separate what we believe about life from what we believe about birth. We can use sex and sensuality awareness as a conscious tool for induction, relaxation, and propulsion. The same body parts and hormones that are involved (oxtytocin, relaxin, prostaglandin) during sex are involved during labor and childbirth. Once we understand that the LOVE HORMONES stimulate the Natural Expulsive Reflex (NER)/ Fetal Ejection Reflex (i.e., uterine contractions) we can learn to build confidence in our bodies innate wisdom. Labor and childbirth can become the lived/embodied concept of the Erotic: the infinite connection with oneself, with the universe. Practicing Contraction/Expansion and finally, how to CHOOSE, can allow us to let go. Often, control leads to unconscious contraction; resistance leads to pain. Instead, even just noticing the contraction can change our habitual reaction to what we think is pain (the unfamiliar).
In this practice, you will learn: Standing Balance Pose Front/Back; Standing Balance Pose Lateral; Child’s Pose Roll; Bridge lift w/ Ball under shoulder blades; Torso Twist (Gate Pose); Hip Release on Back-roll back/forth; Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose) w/Feet on Ball; Legs Elevated.
(All Levels: Yoga for pregnant women) Trusting your intuition becomes an essential part of labor and childbirth – this may involve exploring parts of our body and consciousness that have been socialized out of us. Many women have orgasms during birth, but may interpret them as pain because the sensations are more intense than anything previously experienced and because women (everyone) are conditioned to expect pain. The SAME RECEPTORS IN BRAIN FUNCTION FOR BOTH PLEASURE AND PAIN. A single orgasm is thought to be 22 times as relaxing as the average tranquilizer. Often, it’s exactly what a woman needs in order to relieve the tension that is preventing the birth response from doing its job. Most doctors, however, are either unaware of this fact, or prefer more artificial methods.
In this practice, you will learn: Eyes closed-Hip rotations/Ribs rotations on ball; Half dog w/ catcow and rotations; Squats; Upavista Konasana w/side bend, Parsva Konasana (Side Angle Extended Stretch); Virabhandrasana II (Warrior II); Virabhandrasana I (Warrior I); Airport Hip Opener w/Namaste behind back.
(All Levels: Yoga for pregnant women)
I have been researching the physiology of female orgasm and female ejaculation since the mid-90s. Now that I am pregnant and investigating orgasmic birth, I am including the politics of childbirth into this matrix of hyper-medicalized cultural conditioning which uproots our most basic human functions. Vulnerability as a form of strength is key to reclaiming the wisdom of our bodies. Pregnancy/Labor/ChildBirth mirror the most remarkable contraction: What is the most NORMAL part of our bodies’ capacity is also the most miraculous. For almost 15 years, I have been teaching Iyengar yoga, Body Consciousness Workshops, Yoga and Sexuality Workshops – Prenatal Work is the culmination!!! In this practice, the emphasis is on nourishing the parasympathetic nervous system. Breath-awareness is a key to help secrete endorphins and inhibit the release of adrenaline. The Law of Sphincters tells us when we relax the jaw, we relax the cervix and uterus; when we release our lips, we release our perineum muscles and pelvic floor. There is a natural expulsive process of the muscles when they are relaxed. Pushing may not be needed for childbirth if the mother feels completely relaxed and confident: safety, darkness, warmth, and privacy are essential elements in this process. It is critical to not stimulate her neocortex.
In this practice, you will learn: Supported Baddha Konasana (Cobbler Pose) w/Oval Breathing and Soft Pelvic Floor-Eye exercises, Tongue/Jaw Qi Gong Exercise; Virasana (Hero Pose)- Horse Lips=Cervical Dilation, Exhilarating/Excruciating Toe Pose-Irrelevant Tension Focus, All Fours (orgasmic birthing videos): Diagonal Stretch Reach-wrist alternatives, Lion’s Breath-Pituitary Gland Focus, Gomukhasana (Cow Pose) legs, Alternate Nostril Breathing, Bridge w/Sacrum block.
(Advanced Level) Getting into an upside down position can help a breech, an oblique (diagonal lie), or posterior baby reposition themselves into the head-down orientation for birth. During a forward-leaning inversion, the uterus briefly hangs by the cervical ligaments; returning to an up-right position relaxes the ligaments. Babies that are not in a head-down anterior position OR malpositioning of the uterus often put pressure on pelvic nerves, causing pain in the back, groin, and legs. Notice wrist options. These asanas also help release lower back and hips which, due to the additional weight of the pregnant belly, often experience discomfort.
In this practice, you will learn: Wall Hang w/ blocks, Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Dog Pose) on the ropes, Sling Inversion w/ ropes, Headless Headstand w/ 2 chairs, Sarvangasana (Shoulder Stand) Chair and Wall Variations, Viparita Karani (Belly as Pond Pose) w/ bolster and blanket.
(All Levels) As the pregnant belly grows bigger, internal organs are radically displaced: there is a lot less room for the stomach, intestines, bladder, lungs, etc. One way to adapt to this enormous internal re-positioning is by lengthening the side-bodies both through deep side stretches and learning how to breathe laterally.
In this practice, you will learn: (Active Child’s Pose Lateral Opening), Baddha Konasana (Cobbler Pose) w/ Fingers inter-laced over-head and side bend, (Half Moon Kirpalu Style), Parsva Janu Sirsasana (Side-Flank Stretch Head of the Knee Pose), Parsva Upavista Konasana,
(All Levels) Our feet bear the physical and psychological weight of our daily demands. They connect us to the earth and give us the opportunity for movement. Feet are both very personal, while they lead us to others. Many injuries in the ankles, knees, hips, back and neck originate from unconscious use of the feet. Additionally, because of the interconnectedness of the feet muscles with those of the pelvic floor, incontinence, erectile dysfunction, and bladder problems often stem improper foot use. As a pregnant woman, foot/inner arch consciousness becomes an essential practice to help properly tone the pelvic floor. Toe, Feet, and Ankle exercises can also reduce swelling. Always use a wall or chair if free-balancing feels intimidating or inappropriate.
In this practice, you will learn: Yoga Nidra Ankle Roll, Excruciating/Exhilarating Toe Pose, Tadasana (Mountain Pose), Urdhva Mukha Svanasana (Tree Pose), Nataranjasana, (Dancer Pose).
(All Levels) One of the most significant aspects of a natural childbirth is what follows – the lactation-bonding process. In order to reduce tension in the neck and shoulder area, whether or not one is carrying and/or breasting their child, we can learn to integrate the upper arm bones in the shoulder sockets. Using core strength and not straining the neck or back, this conscious integration helps stabilize the muscles of the torso.
In this practice, you will learn: (Safe Neck Rolls), Virasana (Hero Pose) w/Cactus Arms; Thumbs in Armpits; Oval Breathing, w/ Namaste Behind Back; Garudasana (Eagle Pose) Arms, on Hands and Knees Shoulder Retractions, on Forearms and Knees Shoulder Retractions.
(All Levels: Asana for pregnant women) These asanas (postures) offer courage and clarity to the body and mind – very needed attributes during all stages of pregnancy (especially the third trimester). They require a strong sense of balance, clear use of feet in relation to the floor and your own body, and also help with the critical lesson of what to hold on to and what to let go of.
In this practice, you will learn: Tadasana (Mountain Pose), Half Moon Kirpalu Style, Trikonasana (Triangle Pose) Ardha Chandrasana, (Half-Moon Pose), Trikonasana, Parsavakonsana (Side-Angle Extended Stretch), Virabhadrasana II (Warrior Two Pose), Reverse Virabhadrasana.
(All Levels) This series introduces some of the basic fundamentals in activating and stimulating the dormant energy at the base of the spine. This series can generate a lot of heat in the body to help burn up toxins and stimulate healing. We explore breathing techniques and some of the fundamental and universal approaches to stimulating kundalini energy form a multi-disciplatory approach. Techniques tone all the organs and are especially good for opening the hips for meditation and activating the spine.
http://NakedYogaSchool.com (Level: Basic) Office Yoga for your upper torso works with the chest, shoulders and upper back. In addition to relieving tension and pain in the targeted areas, this practice is a great way to start opening your rib cage for a deeper, fuller, easier breath. You can’t live without your breath, and your posture, particularly your seated posture, could be suffocating you, literally. Signs of inadequate breath include sleepiness, inattention, difficulty staying focused, irritability, even panic. This video will teach you gentle methods for relaxing your shoulders, energizing your chest, and making the space to breathe your best — all from the comfort of your chair.
(Intermediate Level) We begin with Upward Mountain Pose into the Chair Pose then over into Passive Forward Bend. This pose strengthens your ab and leg muscles. Moving onto all fours we will come up into Downward Facing Dog Pose that includes an alternate arm/leg raising balance challenge. Next up is the Plank series, a challenging balance series. Now we will come onto our backs for the Boat Pose followed by Both Feet Big Toe Pose which is a challenging balance pose. We will conclude with a Locust Pose Strength Exercise that will lead directly into the Locust Pose. Make sure to breathe when holding these poses rather than holding your breath, breathing will help you hold the poses stronger and longer. Doing these asanas naked really lets you feel your true inner and outer strength.
In this video you will learn the following asanas: Tadasana (Mountain Pose), Utkatasana (Chair Pose), Ardha Uttanasana (Passive Forward Bend), Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Facing Dog), Adho Mukha Vasisthasana / Vasisthasana / Urdhva Mukha Vasisthasana / Vasisthasana (Plank Series = Side Plank left/right / Upward/Downard Facing Plank), Navasana (Boat Pose), Ubhaya-Padangushtasana (Both Feet Big Toe Pose), Salabhasana Strengthening Exercise / Salabhasana (Locust Pose).
(All Levels: Asana for pregnant women) As pregnancy progresses, balancing may often become more challenging. Gaining a broader understanding and connection to how your feet move and stand in relation to the ground below can help create a strong sense of balance – connecting the upper and lower bodies. Always use a wall or chair if free-balancing feels intimidating or inappropriate.
In this practice, you will learn: Tadasana (Mountain Pose), Urdhva Mukha Svanasana (Tree Pose), Urdhva Mukha Svanasana on block, Garudasana (Eagle Pose).
(Level: Intermediate) The yoga tradition defines five organs of action, known as Karmendriyas in Sanskrit. The Anus is the organ of elimination; through it we let go of what is no longer needed. This lesson will focus on the back half of the pelvic floor and the surrounding skeletal landmarks as foundations for your awareness of the physical organ, as well as the aspects of consciousness that underlie action. Starting with self-massage and a physical exploration of the tail bone (coccyx) and sit bones (ischial tuberosities), the practice continues with an application of the pelvic floor in select asana, and concludes with a guided relaxation and an invitation to explore the subtle nature behind this organ of action.
Asana presented in this teacher-and-student video include: Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose), Ardha Uttanasana (Half Standing Forward Bend), and Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend).
One of the most glorious physical feelings I have experienced during my pregnancy is the extension of my belly muscles. While forward bends may feel constricting and possibly contra-indicated during pregnancy (especially the later stages), backbends help to allow for more spacious for you and your growing baby.
In this practice, you will learn: Virasana (Hero Pose), Supta Virasana (Reclining Hero Pose) or Half Supta Virasana, Lunge Variations, Pigeon Variations, Ustrasana (Camel Pose).
(Level: Basic) Office Yoga for your lower torso puts you in touch with your hips, buttocks, belly and lower back. These are the foundations of any seated posture so you don’t want to ignore this vital region of the body, yet many of us do take this area of the body for granted. The results may sound familiar: low back pain, sore hips, and numbness in the buttocks. But perhaps even more detrimental are the digestive and eliminative disorders that can arise when we don’t liberate the lower torso: ulcers, incontinence, diarrhea, constipation, hemorrhoids. If that’s not enough to get your hips swinging and your belly churning (in a good way), then you might be compelled by yet another benefit of this practice: improved sexual vitality.
(All Levels) During all stages of pregnancy, closed twists may become challenging and anatomically inappropriate. Open twists, on the other hand, give much needed space for the breath and the blood flow, while releasing upper and lower back tension common during pregnancy. They offer physical expansion which can lead to mental expansion.
In this practice, you will learn: Baddha Konasana (Cobbler Pose) w/Oval Breathing; Raised Arms-Side Bends, Active Child’s Pose Rotation, Malasana (Garland Pose) w/Open Twist, Parsva Janu Sirsasana (Side-Flank Stretch Head of the Knee Pose), Parsva Upavista Konasana, (Side-Flank Stretch Upright Angle Pose), Adho Mukha Svanasana (Three-Legged, Open-Hipped Downward Dog Pose).
(All Levels) We tend to disassociate our upper bodies from our lower bodies because of taken-for-granted improper ergonomics and cultural habits, like chairs, cement, wearing shoes, incorrectly carrying weight or reaching for something. When we begin to integrate the proper functioning of the lower body in relation to the upper body, we can move with more efficiency, breath access, and better digestion and circulation. This becomes particularly crucial during pregnancy due to the radical increase of weight and fluids.
In this practice, you will learn: Baddha Konasana (Cobbler Pose) w/Cactus Arms; Thumbs in Armpits; Oval Breathing, Exhilarating Toe Pose w/ Namaste Behind Back; Garudasana (Eagle Pose) Arms; Gomukhasana (Cow Pose) Arms, Counter Toe Pose, Gomukhasana (Cow Pose) Arms and Legs.
Here we explore some very popular postures in vinyasa while emphasizing breathing and awareness from a Qi Gong view. The exploration of subtle energy in its movements between postures is essential. Exploring the expansion and contraction of breath, movement and awareness in Warrior poses and Downward Dog. Both the soft and hard aspect of Qi Gong are explored within this Hatha Yoga model. Students will gain great benefits in the alignment, attitudinal and breathing emphasis of this practice. Journeying with the power of vital energy in the exchange of receiving and releasing.
(Level: Basic) Office Yoga for your upper limbs focuses on the hands, wrists, forearms, elbows and arms. Sitting in an office usually results in using our upper limbs in unbalanced ways, holding part of the limb very still and asking another part of the limb to work tirelessly — thing about writing, typing, mousing. Repetitive stresses, such as carpal tunnel syndrome, are one expression of this imbalanced use of the upper limbs. A regular practice of the sequence provided here will help re-balance the upper limbs and can reduce your risk of repetitive stress injuries.
(Level: Basic) Office Yoga for your lower limbs targets the feet, ankles, shins, knees and thighs. Sitting for long periods of time can be very hard on the circulatory system. Contraction and relaxation of the leg muscles helps to push your blood back up to the heart. Without this assistance, your heart has to work that much harder to keep the blood moving. So in addition to lengthening and strengthening your lower limbs, which tend to get neglected when we sit, this sequence is also good for your heart.
(Level: Basic) This lesson of Office Yoga is on Sitting Well, and it provides the important foundation for all the other Office Yoga classes in this series. You may have unhappy memories of being told to SIT UP and not slouch. Unfortunately, we weren’t told HOW to accomplish this. This video will teach you a step-by-step approach to Sitting Well. And while the work you do in this lesson may seem simple, you may also be surprised or even frustrated by the difficulty of maintaining good posture. To be clear: this is not a quick fix. Yoga is much more than making shapes, and Sitting Well entails more than just SITTING UP.
(All Level) Your yoga practice should be explored and experienced daily. This video presents a quiet daily sequence, suitable for all levels. This gentle practice will smooth your energy level, whether you’re just waking up in the morning or you’re slowing down for the evening.
The sequence focuses on low-to-the-ground poses, including Balasana (Child’s Pose), Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose), Jathra Parivartasana (Supine Twist Pose), Apanasana (Wind-Relieving Pose), as well as perennial favorites like Cat, Cow, and Threading The Needle.
(ALL LEVELS) Here we move into the application of more yang (active) movements, as opposed to more subtle graceful movements. Opening and Closing. Expansion and Contraction. Coming to experience these forces within our own relationship to movement, breath and awareness. The more active stretches are very activating and invigorating to all the systems of the body. Understanding the benefits of both approaches are discussed as well.