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#41 Personality Quirks Yoga Chakra and Energy – Straight Talk

[podcast src="https://html5-player.libsyn.com/embed/episode/id/4779630/height/90/width/480/theme/custom/autonext/no/thumbnail/yes/autoplay/no/preload/no/no_addthis/no/direction/forward/render-playlist/no/custom-color/88AA3C/" height="90" width="480"]great-chakra-pic Coach BK records and attempts to recreate a chat with a client about OCD and how many we can look at this a bit different.  Thoughts about how, just maybe, there really isn't anything wrong.  That perhaps the mental aspects of these personality quirks can be more balanced out with a different perspective, different actions. The yoga system of chakras has some interesting things to say about how we act and what to do about it.            

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Yoga for running – stretching tight hamstrings


The yoga pose "forward bend" is an excellent way for athletes to stretch their hamstrings

This is an excellent visual on the goings-on of the standing forward bend.  This pose is awesome for becoming friends with your hamstring.  Most athletes probably HATE this pose.  Those that practice yoga laugh, when we say we "hate" a pose, that's usually the pose that we need to practice more than anything. Doing this pose with some thoughts in mind, listed below, will help you to gain big benefits that will have a great impact on your running, as well as feeling better before and after running.  I'm mean really, who would love to have a back that doesn't hurt? Thanks for the picture, Daily Bandha. [divider style="normal" top="20" bottom="20"]

What Athletes and runners need to know about forward bending:

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  • Hinging at the hips is important.
    What this means for the runners; most likely the runner has either one or two tight hamstrings is that you MUST be patient at this stretch. If you are only bent at the hips a little bit, that's ok. Practicing forward bending with a flat back. This helps you to focus on stretching the hamstrings and not involving the back too much.
  • Understand that the hamstrings are connected to the back.
    You have two hamstrings that are separate and can be different in length. So what are we talking about here? Tight hamstrings can cause the pelvis to tilt backward, which causes the lumbar spine to flatten out. And it really doesn't like to be flattened out. The lumbar spine is designed to be curved (lordosis). To compensate, the back muscles and maybe the psoasis (etc) work (excessively) to correct the imbalance. You get this tug of war with the athlete ending up with a very sore and cranky back. Then add that one hamstring might be more tight than the other, which causes a side lilt in the pelvis as well. This results in the athlete having one side of the back more angry than the other. This imbalance continues up through the back and can cause shoulder and neck issues as well.
  • Do not get aggressive with forward bending.
    The hamstrings need to be treated like babies. They work alot. They probably have been neglected and expected to work a lot for little pay. If you stand a lot, they are constantly engaged. If you sit a lot, they get short and angry. So when you are working with the hamstrings and back in forward bending, always go slower, be more mindful. Ensure that when you are stretching the hamstrings, that you feel the stretch in the belly of the muscle, NOT in the back of the knee or at the sit bones.
  • Use a block.
    If you are working on lengthening the hamstrings and you are doing a standing forward bend, use the block. Some athletes are resistant to using the block because they feel like it's an indication that they can't do it "right". Using the block can be necessary to get a good connection with whats going on in the hamstring and the back. If you do this, you will stretch better. If you stretch better, you will have a greater chance of the hamstrings becoming longer and staying that way. If you do that, you will have a greater chance of getting to not needing a block faster. So...use the block! Also, there is this interesting thing that happens if you use the block: Having your hand on the block, mildly engaging the upper body, feeling a bit of push off from the block helps you to engage the entire back fascia chain. This means that kinetically you get smarter, experience a more whole body response. And that feels AWESOME.

    Let's be clear. In yoga, "not right" is whatever hurts your body. For the runners, you want your yoga practice to help you race, be strong and stay in the game.
  • Forward bending engages the parasympathetic nervous system.
    This calls you down. Turns off your body's stress response. Most of us, the runners, are very driven and perhaps prone to "running at high speed" all the time. In the gym or at the office. Forward bending can be very nurturing for the body. If you allow yourself to slow down for a bit, and during your yoga practice don't skip the boring and slow stuff, you allow your body to recharge, rest and recovery.
[/tie_list] [divider style="normal" top="20" bottom="20"] Here is a video for hamstrings. Enjoy. [embed width="560" height="315"]http://www.youtube.com/embed/Z-RawDwT_00[/embed]

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Yoga for Athletes – Side Plank

side-plankSide Plank is an excellent way for athletes to build strength

This is an excellent visual on the goings-on of side plank. For those that are interested, the yoga name is Vasisthasana.

I’ve recorded a video for you on the in’s and out’s of this wonderful pose.

[embed width="100%" height="auto"]http://youtu.be/oh9OPSajKYA?list=UUkWjAz3CajW_TF1W2fwMDSQ[/embed] [divider style="normal" top="20" bottom="20"]

Athletes check out the plethora of benefits:

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  • Great for developing/maintaining shoulder strength for the athletes. Or rehabbing an athletes injured shoulder. When done with proper instruction, the athletes can learn to activate and stabilize the shoulder girdle in a very strong and positive way. Working to external rotate as well as internally rotating the forearm which is on the mat, helps to “co-activates” the infraspinatus and teres minor (external rotation) and the subscapularis (internal rotation) muscles of your rotator cuff.
  • Good place to work to develop core strength, and to learn how to put the entire kinetic chain together. Foot to trap. By pressing the edge of your lower foot/side of the foot into the mat, and then gently draw it upwards towards the shin to "evert" the foot activates a series of muscles-including the "lateral subsystem", which connects yours shoulders and legs to your core. When you press the side of your foot into the mat, you activate the peroneus muscles as well as the abductor muscles up at your hip (the TFL and gluteus medius). These muscles have a fascial connection to your abs, specifically the external oblique (which attaches to the rim of the pelvis). The external oblique connects to your shoulders via the serratus anterior muscle. The serratus anterior is a scapular stabilizer that works in concert with the rotator cuff. So the whole operation helps to integrate your feet, legs, pelvis and lumbar--all the way up to the shoulders.
  • Will slim down the athletes waist. :)
  • Can give the wrists a much needed rest if you are an athlete new to yoga.
  • Can help athletes to identify imbalances in the core/shoulders one side to the next. And also provides you with the pose to work on to even things out. This will benefit the athlete in a really big way in the pool especially, but in general as well.
[/tie_list] Thanks for the picture, Daily Bandha.

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Living my faith and training for a marathon

Heart Health Nugget

Your boss has thrown a curve ball at you. It's really hit home, just might impact your time with your family, your todo list, your life rhythm. Perhaps you start worrying about it. Random thoughts clog up your mind. Affect your sleep, day to day concentration, maybe that's all you talk about with your husband. Maybe you can do something about it, maybe you can't, maybe you should take action, maybe you should be patient. Having a clear mind and heart, listening to your internal wisdom is hard to do when we are worrying, obsessing ... not living by faith. Which is a muscle we need to develop and strength. Here is a practice that can help develop that strength, so when you really need it, it works well. Automatically.
When those random (or not so random) thoughts of worry travel thought your thoughts, simple turn your internal gaze to: [tie_list type="checklist"]
  • repeating a short fav scripture. With reverence.
  • focus ALL your attention on three breaths, with each exhale being a bit longer, out your mouth, releasing stress. With reverence.
  • put your hand to your heart and feel your heart beat for 10 seconds. With reverence.
  • gaze at a tree for 10 seconds, seeing the roots that provide a strong foundation. With reverence.
[/tie_list] Practice this with the little things. Build strength of faith. That all will be well, your answers will come as they should. The help you need will be there! LOVE LOVE LOVE

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Where do you work through your crap?

Personal growth. Personal Space. (blah blah blah)

10 years ago I was super angry, with a HUGE CHINA sized wall around me. I sure couldn't share my personal space. I'd beat you out of it in a heart beat. Literally. Learning how to teach yoga, especially to men, was a HUGE HUGE (HUGE) challenge. It's really interesting how little life events intersect. To come together like a couple of chords to make a pleasant sound. Or musical instruments, to play together, to practice...leading to a fine piece of music. It's like...time stops and...AHHHHH. That's what happened to me in the swimming pool during 2012. Apparently, despite the fact that I almost drowned (seriously) when I was little, I am HOME in the water. HOME. What does that mean. We are all made up of...different constitutes. Type A. MB. Wood/fire. There are a ton of ways to characterize people. They all come down to the same thing. I'll lean towards the more holistic/yoga definitions. They are cool and interesting. Type A sounds so ANAL and negative. So...my strongest "elements" (Chinese nomenclature) is WATER and WOOD. Wood would be a lot of TYPE A. Water...more artistic. That part of me a lot of you haven't seen. You can check out my art here...ARTIST. What's the point. When I swim...I'm in the environment to really get in touch with myself. Check this out...whether I like to or not. It sort of...does whatever the F it wants. It can be very frustrating. But useful too. Especially if you know whats going on and can work with it. Speeds you along the healing/integration process. Why am I writing about it now. I'm dealing with something super duper (uber) deep. It's just about finished and I'm swimming in the pool more. So...the emotions come up to the surface. In the pool I'm working HARD to correct some of my weaknesses. (maybe that's why it's in the pool...I'm pretty comfortable everywhere else). Lets all chuckle for a moment. The point is...everyone has a different mix of these "constitute flavors". So everyone is going to be different...where they find that space. In the Catholic Church. In a forest. On a park bench. Mountain top. Playing music. With family. Meditating. Doing yoga. Running. Praying. Sex. For me, for right now...it's swimming. swimming-at-andover1All this STUFF got stored in my body, my mind, my spirit ( my _____ ).  Some of this stuff has been locked up for many longs years, now working its way to the surface and doggedly expressing the need for release. So I swim with my goggles filled with tears. Do my best to scale back and relax. Find rhythm. Honor the process, get my body in sync with the water and let the water do its thing. Here's the KEY: know when the moment has passed and move on. Leave it in the water. Get out of the pool a little bit different. With new space. I hope you find where your space it at. That space that rings true for you. Like a beautiful heart stopping chord.

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Toss another LOG on the fire

Struggle is just another word for growth.

I like to think each is another log on the fire. Burn it for fuel. We usually try and avoid struggling.  Or find the quickest route out of it.  And with this we have tiny little fires that don't keep shit warm.

Yoga -- escape valves

In alignment based yoga, when we encourage (strongly sometimes) the body to stay in alignment, it's harder, but we find rewards if we stick. Example: Seat forward fold. And you let your feet rotate like a monkey. This results in missing one of the hamstring muscles. If this is habitual, then you got part of the hamstring that's tighter than the rest. OUCH. Takes a bit of nagging, but learning to keep the four corners of the feet equally pushing out results in happiness.

Sometimes it's ok to turn and avoid the lesson, but not because we don't have the skill to stick.

If you have what it takes, you KNOW what the heck your doing, and you decide, to turn back. OK. That's educated. Not blind without courage. Some days you just don't have the energy to stick. You might need to pull back, collect yourself, go at it again later. BUT...you might need to stick. Or learn how to stick. Learn to keep the fire burning hot. Check out this experience. It hammered me so much, I laid on the couch for most of the day. My first open water swim was good. Went smooth, no big deal. So I thought to myself..."CHECK. Another struggle concurred. Fire's burning HOT!". hahahaha. Either I was foolish or I didn't remember to knock on wood. My second open water swim was a much different experience. It was windy. Strange things were going on in my lungs. OMG. Either I drank too much lake water or I had an asthma attack. Either way. It was REALLY hard. And I was pissed. It wasn't like the first swim AT ALL. That pissed me off. I couldn't really get things in check, that pissed me off. Having my "struggle" unchecked, that...you know, pissed me off. first-open-water-swim1I wanted to cry like a baby and quit. THAT pissed me off. It was a REALLY BIG CHALLENGE...to try and go back to it. Face in the water, relax, roll, breathe, stroke, relax, roll...come up sputtering, cough up a lung, sputter sputter...relax, roll, breathe, stroke... I had to shorten the swim, everyone else did 3 laps. I did 2. That...you know, didn't exactly piss me off, I was starting to feel defeated at this point. Made me want to cry, throw a tantrum, throw in the towel, get out of the water. Yank off my stupid shark fin swim cap and go home saying, "fork it", "what the heck do I need to do this crazy stuff for anyway..." My coach kept telling me I did awesome. Part of me was thankful he was there, giving me comfort and warmth, another part of me was saying "whatever, that SUCKED, liar liar liar". Who was louder...I have no idea. I was feeling really bad, like I was folding in on myself. crazy. All I knew was that I was going to get on my bike despite how HORRIBLE I felt. I was going to stick. Push through. Wasn't like I hadn't done this before. Got it done. Got home. Thank goodness. Laid on the couch for HOURS. Resting. Recovering. Licking my wounds? Today I was talking to myself. "You know, Rockstar, that was hard stuff. Probably not the hardest (OMG), but...you made it through it. You STUCK. You learned. You're stronger for it. Fire's burning nice and hot today." So I guess I should apologize to my coach for calling him a liar in my head.  :) Because I AM A ROCKSTAR. Burning nice and hot. And isn't that a lovely picture he took of another team member. Just beautiful. That's what I'll focus on for next time.

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Journey – Shoulder Injury to Yoga Teacher, 500 RYT

It's interesting how things come full circle. Many years ago I, for some unknown reason, went to a yoga class at Yoga Central. It was TOTALLY outside of my comfort zone. But it made me feel better and I kept going. At the time I had an 8 to 5 which was more like 60 to 70 hours a week, so I had to tell them that I had "an appointment" and if they wanted more details I'd be happy to provide. I didn't understand it at the time, what this yoga thing was, but I know it made me feel less crazy inside. guy-doing-pushupThings happened, different job, different life. I had for the most part forgotten about the yoga. Until I went to a yoga class with a friend. And boy, that was fun; the fast pace and challenge of it, though looking back, totally fed into my ego and unhealthy physical drive to push through things. I went to this class and that, but only the classes that were hot and fast...long story short, I ended up with a shoulder injury. Didn't know it at the time, but there was a pretty decent imbalance in my shoulder joint. So all the push push push in the yoga class hurt hurt hurt my shoulder. Then other muscles needed to compensate and PRESTO. Injury. Imbalance. I kept going to the classes because I didn't know at the time what in the world was going on. I thought I could push through it. Fix that darn shoulder. Again for some unknown reason, I found myself googling about yoga, meditation, yoga trainings and happened upon the Shambhava School of Yoga Teacher training program. I was looking for something. And boy did I find it. The 200 hour RYT program that I took was STELLAR, ROCKSTAR, OUT-of-this-WORLD. And super lucky for me, the teacher had a TON of experience with shoulder injuries. I was "strongly encouraged" to stop doing chatrunga dandasana or you could say push up. I learned a ton about what was going on and how to work to support the shoulder joint. So through lots of patience on my part, and others too, :), I am the owner of some well balanced shoulders. What  did the trick.  Here it is. Know who to listen to. Who to practice with. Education. Experience. What does that mean in the yoga world? For those that don't know about RYT this and that. Yoga Alliance is an association that has standardized the curriculum of yoga teachers. For the BENEFIT of the student. The idea is that if a teacher is a RYT, registered Yoga Teacher, with Yoga Alliance, they have a specific set of knowledge. So that starts at 200 RYT. 200 hours of training. And that is JUST JUST JUST (x10) the beginning. Then comes 200 eRYT. The "e" means they have 1000 hours of teaching experience. Then comes 500 RYT. 500 hours of training with room to specialize and what not. Then 500 eRYT, with the "e" comes TONS of teaching experience. revolved-side-angle1So...truth time. You don't have to be a registered teacher to teach yoga. You can teach here. You can teacher there. In a shoe, in a canoe. You can teach yoga from your garage...you get the point. With 200 eRYT you can open a Yoga School teaching other 200 hour students. And know this. 500 RYT  IS JUST THE BEGINNING. It's like when you graduate from college. You're just beginning. You have the foundation, and so much in front of you to learn. What am I saying? Please do not interpret this as Place X isn't good. And Place Y is better. I'm saying, be an educated consumer. Be smart. Listen to your body. Are you finding more improvement, more balance, more openness? Why the brash words? Because yoga is different than running, biking, etc. The idea is full range of motion on all joints. Not to mention the other aspects that people just don't know and understand. Like the difference between back bending and forward bending, and the affects that those actions have in the body.  Check out the next blog for this one...Running, cycling and a lot of other exercises just don't touch on this. Cool stuff, energy management within the body, in yoga. Just more than just warmup, work and cool down. Sound foreign to you. Check out the next blog on sequencing. Seriously Cool Stuff. So, when is the last time you exercised all joint in full range of motion on a regular basis. For instance, running. The hips are a ball and socket, lots of range of motion, and running specifically addressed a small portion of what the hip can do.  A lot of exercises do this. If you got something a bit out of whack...you can really hurt yourself with repetitive motion. Thus the need for an experience teacher that knows whats up, or is willing to look, see, think and learn. I was talking with massage therapist extraordinaire, Paula Moore, and was surprised at what she had to say about how many injuries she sees...from yoga. So what's to do. The numbers and letters matter. X00 RYT. The teacher matters. Their training matters. Their heart matters. Their experience matters. And you're own wisdom matters. Get some BODY LOVE. Some what!?!? The recipe for healing of my shoulder was a mix of things...and loving on the body was the center idea. (Not that it all felt great, some of it hurt like sweet jeez). I learned from superstar Sarah Yost, 200 RYT and Life Coach, that my attitude of "fixing that darn shoulder" wasn't helping anything. And introduced me to trigger point massage. Good stuff there. Massage is absolutely necessary. My fav =  Paula Moore. Shoulders and knees heal so slow because they don't have a big blood supply. Massage helps with that, as well as as tons of other things physiologically that I don't know the words for. HUGE HUGE HUGE. Pound for pound best bang for any of the bucks I spent. A.R.T, Active Release Technique, with Dr. Jon Messenger. Holy great mother. This one sort of didn't feel all that great during the treatment. A.R.T is like massage and trigger point and active motion all put together. Hands down...really good stuff. It addresses things quick and fast. Yin Yoga. Don't know what yin yoga is. Check out a class with Mary Jane Keith, 500 eRYT. In a nutshell, you hold certain poses a LONG time, maybe 5 minutes. It gives your body time to really stretch and to get into the connective tissue, to reset. Connective Tissue? Google it. Don't just think "oh my hamstring", it's just not that simple. SunBreeze oil. Warning: wash the hands after application, don't use too much and keep the stuff anyway from anywhere you wouldn't put bengay. seriously. Super great stuff though. Available at Yoga Central. Great Yoga Teachers. Want to be the best. Want to work towards optimal. Got to hang with the best. Look around, look at their training, their experience, listen to what they say, watch them "see their students". Do they have the little cues to change a just "so-so" pose to a "omg, thats awesome" pose? Do they know what is going on with YOU. Do they tailor a pose for YOU, and then your yoga neighbor too? So that list is a bit long. But I wonder how much shoulder surgery costs. Short term and long term. Short Story: My dad has recently had both shoulders pinned, screwed, drilled...might even have some duck tape in there. And when I look to see his limited range of motion that a couple of weeks of physcial therapy got him...oh my heart goes out to him. So that was years and years of imbalance in the shoulder and not happening upon the right person pre-"no way out of surgery" time. So, the journey from engineer to 500 Registered Yoga Teacher was a super cool experience. I was motivated by my own shoulder injury as well as my dad's. To work hard and study to be the best teacher that I can be. To help people feel better. To help them help themselves, to allow their bodies to heal themselves. And the cool thing, there's soooo much more to come. HOOT! So, check out what all the patience, perseverance and time got. And the best part of it all, I can do Mary Jane's level 3 and my shoulders are silent during AND AFTER. And I'm super glad she doesn't read blogs because I'd be in trouble next class!!! Half-forearm-balance-2


If you have a story about how yoga has helped you, please share. Give a comment. Yoga can heal. We need to be telling folks that.

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Runners Love Yoga

Running is passion. The freedom of the it. The drive. The zone. I use to run a lot. I played soccer. EVERYDAY. Twice a day. None stop. I was in love. That's where I felt free, where I belonged. And then injury brought it all to a SCREECHING halt. That was a hard one to stomach. And now, looking back, it didn't have to end that way. There were options, though being young and inexperienced without a good mentor, coach, etc... well, water under the bridge...pick your fav cliche...Here I am. I learned a lot. And my passion has shifted a bit. I can't run anymore but I have found this thing called yoga. And just let me say this: It's not just stretching folks. There is a ton more to yoga than stretching. You haven't made it to the right class or teacher if you're bored, if your runner's heart hasn't been challenged. knee-painYoga is about balance. Balanced action. On the physical level, joints that are SUPPORTED and ALIGNED. Strong hips muscles and loose hip muscles. Long hamstrings and strong quads. Strong back and strong abs. Injury comes when something gets out of balance, then a joint experiences too much wear and tear. Yoga is about warming up the body and muscles, then stretching and strengthening, a big key in injury prevention. Warm muscles stretch and work better. Yoga is about consistent activity leading to consistent results. Muscles have memory, so that short hamstring will want to stay short for a while. Consistent and nurturing stretching will encourage the hamstring to remember longer, not feel like it's being abused which can lead to rebellion and injury. bk-triangle-2For example, in your triangle pose you'll learn to respect the limitations of your inner thighs and hamstrings, use your quads to help the hamstrings loosen. You'll find the back stretch and the upper body strength and mobility to align the body in a wonderful expression of strength and freedom. Then when you have that down, you could progress to really deepening your core strength by using your own power to align. What does that mean...barely touch the floor or block with that bottom hand. Lengthen that bottom side. There will always be room to grow. Each yoga pose will have it's challenges. It's a super cool thing to find the openings and the strength which leads to a new level of body and mind awareness. Bonnie-001On other levels, yoga will help with mental focus and breathe awareness. This is where a deeper, more steel like ability comes into play. And wisdom. Remember balance. We learn how to stick with it and when to pull back. We learn more about our bodies, where we are in space and how to be solid in some of those crazy poses. It can get real juicy. It's always a dance, but when you learn to dance well, your performance goes up and your injuries go down. And you feel like a ROCKSTAR! Bottom line. Here's what yoga will do for the runner. With consistent and teachable effort. Injury Prevention, Better Performance, Flexibility/ Range of Motion, Lung capacity, Mental Focus, Longevity, Endurance and Strength It doesn't matter what you know about yoga, how flexible you are, what clothes you wear, how old you are, how young you are, if you are man or woman. Yoga is so flexible in how it's taught. Find yourself a GOOD teacher. And stick with them awhile. You'll learn some really cool things, get stronger. Calmer. More grounded. Might learn things that will totally blow your socks off if you want. It's not just about mastering a certain pose, it's about the fun that you'll have getting there! headstand-balance-1

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