Monday, January 30, 2012

Yoga Pose of the Week: Half-Pigeon / Pigeon

Four weeks ago, I started participating in a group yoga class for relaxation. The type of yoga I am practicing is based off of Hatha yoga, which is one of the more common branches. The teacher, Sierra, is 22 hours older than me (weird, right?) and is super cool.

Each Sunday from 12:15pm until 1:30pm, the class is guided through a variety of poses for relaxation and stress-release. From sun salutations to balancing poses, to hip-opening poses, it really is an amazing way to end the week.

The pose I'm going to focus on for today is called "Half Pigeon" or just "Pigeon" depending on who you ask or where you look. From here on, I'll call it Pigeon, because that's what we call it in class.

This pose is known as a hip-opener. Most people carry their stress, emotional baggage, anxiety, negativity, and daily frustrations around in their hips. You may notice this when you have a hard time standing up from sitting, or just pushing your hips forward when standing. Opening the hips is an amazing way to let go of that unneeded black cloud, and Pigeon is a great way to do it.

To go into this pose, after you are good and warmed up, go up into the Downward Dog pose.

After a few deep, relaxing breaths, lift one leg up, keeping the hips squared.

Bend the raised knee to around 90 degrees to open the hips. You will notice that your hips will come un-squared. Let them. Hold for a moment.

Next step is to thread your bent leg through, underneath you. Aim to put your raised ankle to the opposite wrist. (So if your left leg is raised, bring your left ankle to your right wrist, or as close to it as is comfortable). Sink your hips down, and make sure that your straight leg is centred on the mat. Sit up straight, lengthen your spine and neck. Really let your hips open and allow the sensations to come and pass.

When you're ready, hinge your upper body at the hips, and bring your chest and head down to the floor. If you can't reach all the way (like me!) then grab a yoga block, pillow, or anything else that works for you and keeps your body feeling good.

Once you're here, hold it as long as is comfortable. At first, you might not be able to hold it for more that a few seconds. It is a very sensational pose, in that it causes a large amount of sensations, both physical and emotional.

This pose, coupled with a relaxing yoga practice, allowed me to release stress and emotional pain I had been holding onto for months. It is a very rejuvenating pose, and I recommend it for anyone.

If, while you're in this pose, you feel the knee of your straight leg hurting, or uncomfortable, flex the foot. It allows relief of the knee without losing depth of the pose.

As with any yoga pose, or any exercise routine, please only go as far as your body is comfortable. Yoga is a way to become more in-tune with your body, and forcing it into positions that don't feel good will only show disrespect towards yourself. Love yourself, relax into poses, and if it doesn't feel right, then try something else.


Monday, January 23, 2012

My Awesome Introduction

My name is Laura, and I love to learn about pretty much everything. My current interests including: Saving the environment, saving money, being peaceful and relaxed, being healthy, and building a loving and compassionate family.

About the Planet

I love all things green and environmental, and have heard about some pretty extreme (to some people) ideas and didn't cringe. There are all types of people and interests, not to mention comfort levels. I do not judge others who have made educated decisions for themselves.

About money

Regarding money and finances, I am always open and honest about where I am in life, and I have no shame about it. Everyone has and uses money, a lot of people are in debt or owing, and everyone deserves the chance to discuss their situation to see if someone else might have some insight. In light of this, I will be completely open and honest regarding all of my money saving / debt repayment endeavours in the hopes that someone will learn something that will make their life a little bit easier.

About peace and relaxation

Stress is one of the number one life-killers out there. Whether it actually causes the end of a life, or just the semblance of it, is completely individual. However, releasing stress and letting go are the easiest ways to feel better about yourself, your life, and what you can do with yourself.

My favourite way to release stress is through deep, healing breathing, as well as the practice of yoga. Personally, I very much enjoy Hatha yoga, but am always willing to expand into new variations and styles. Any type of physical exercise will help relieve the sensation of stress, as long as you enjoy doing it.

About health

Healthy living and practices help provide the energy (both physical and spiritual) to go on with your daily life. Despite the fact that I thoroughly love my bready carbs, I know that there is significantly more importance in fresh fruits and vegetables.

It's also important to note the importance of certain types of "diet" for people with different needs. There are some people who thrive on vegetarian/vegan diets, and others who thrive on paleolithic diets. There are important aspects to each of these main diets, and many others (including the Mediterranean and European diets) that it is important to remember that what your specific dietary needs are will be invariably different from mine, or anyone elses.

About compassionate and peaceful parenting

I have a 7 year old daughter, and a 25 year old wife. I am 25 years old myself. My family is mostly comprised of care and compassion, and occasionally we butt heads. It's important to remember that whether you are speaking to children, or to other adults, we all like to be treated fairly, with respect, and with compassion.

It is impossible to know, without asking, whether my daughter has had a bad day at school/daycare and how it affected her, just as it is impossible to know, without asking, if my wife had some harsh words spewed at her at work. The things we don't know can make a huge difference, and it is important to have a peaceful demeanor and outlook to be able to tackle these daily upsets and make them into positive, or at least learning, moments.

That being said, the above mentioned subjects are just a few of the main topics I will be sharing. I hope that this page is a source of inspiration or positivity in your life, and I believe that open questions from any interested party will help provide with more in-depth discussion on any topic.

Send me a note or an email if you would like to ask anything, or if you have any suggestions, using the Contact Me tab at the top of this page.

Peace and contentment to you all,