Sunday, March 28, 2010

Spring: Elimination = Illumination

Starting with the birth of the new season, it’s time to look at what your body will naturally crave in order to thrive in the springtime. How about trying a cleanse? Spring is one of the best times to consider changing your daily routine as kapha (water/earth-based) season releases into pitta (fire/water-based) season. The key for supreme health during the spring transition is the slow, gradual, sustainable release of any or all excess accumulation of kapha in the body in the form of weight, mucous, or phlegm by detoxifying the body and mind with an elimination diet.

Step 1: Elimination Diet
Here is an example of an elimination diet, to help you weed out the typical allergy-creating or addictive foods (keep in mind that each day builds upon the other):

*Begin each day with the Morning Master Cleanse Drink or Liver Flush
Day 1 & 2 No caffeine, sugar, alcohol (fruit in small amounts are okay)
Day 3 & 4 No wheat, dairy and processed foods
Day 5 & 6 No animal products
Day 7 & 8 Organic whole foods diet with vegetables, grains, legumes
Day 9-11 Mono-diet of Kitcheri (mung bean and rice dish)
Day 12 & 13 Organic whole foods diet with vegetables, grains, legumes
Day 14: Practice moderation and eat lots of spicy (radish), bitter (arugula), and astringent (grapefruit) foods while decreasing the heavy, oily foods from winter.

By the end of the two weeks, I hope you feel illuminated by your elimination diet!

Step 2: Asana to Promote Liver and Gallbladder Health
When it comes to your asana practice, the inner and outer legs correlate to the meridian lines that feed into the liver (inner legs) and gallbladder (outer legs). It’s a great time to deepen your relationship to poses such as pigeon, eagle, wide leg forward bends, and cow face, just to name a few of the poses that help you connect to and activate the liver and gallbladder meridians.
Watch my Seasonal Vinyasa Spring Flow, Spring Yin practice for more inspiration.

Master Cleanse Morning Drink
2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon or lime juice
1 or 2 tablespoons 100% pure maple syrup
1/10 teaspoon cayenne pepper
8 ounces spring water

Drink liberally (from 6-12 glasses/day) throughout the day.
Liver Flush
1-2 Lemons
1 tablespoon cold-pressed olive oil
2 cloves of garlic
4 ounces spring water

Squeeze the lemons and add the rest of the ingredients to the juice. Bled 30 seconds and drink.

Stay tuned for more seasonal vinyasa tips on my website:

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Seasonal Vinyasa Yoga - Early Spring with Melina Meza

I know the weather can really be hit or miss these days, but there is enough proof around in nature to confirm that spring is really close, close enough to consider shifting your yoga practice to compliment the season.

Over the winter we have been doing yoga classes that emphasize Sun Salutations to promote circulation, extra twists to strengthen metabolic fire, and dynamic forward and backbends to tonify the kidneys and urinary bladder, which are the organs that regulate water in the body as well as our emotions.

Now that the winter has passed and spring is near, it's time to start sending some T.L.C. to the liver and gallbladder, which may have been working overtime during the winter with diets heavy in fat, protein, caffeine, alcohol or sugar. Interesting that the springtime is about cleansing the liver and gallbladder, which do many helpful things for our health including: filtering toxins from the external environment and food, aiding in the metabolism of carbohydrates, fat, and protein, helping to break down fats in the body, and processing our anger. These are exactly the organs that tend to get overloaded in the winter with extra socializing, large meals, decreased exercise, not enough rest, and other behaviors typically associated with the winter months.

It makes sense that many of us are drawn to the idea of cleansing and purging this time of year—it’s time to lighten our load. Spring is really a time to THRIVE and it’s difficult to thrive if you feel weighted down by your inner or outer world. In order to feel your best, perhaps a little cleanse is in order to get rid of any winter weight, clutter, or material possessions that keep you in the past or limit your freedom in the moment?

Now is the time to decrease heavy, oily, cold, fat foods, and increase spicy, bitter, and astringent foods to promote wellness such as arugula, mustard greens, kale, strawberries, blueberries, and sprouts. Sprouts and early dark green vegetables are a great way to increase your vitamin, nutrient and chlorophyll intake. Sprouts are even known to be a natural blood cleanser. In general, eat light, eat local.

When it comes to your asana practice, the inner legs and outer leg lines correlate to the meridian lines that feed into the liver (inner legs) and gallbladder (outer legs). It’s a great time to deepen your relationship to poses such as Eka Pada Rajakapotasana (pigeon), Garudasana (eagle), Prasaritta Padottanasana (wide leg forward bends), Gardasana (cow face), as these poses help you to connect to and activate the liver and gallbladder meridians.

Example of a yin/restorative class for the Spring:
Lying on your back:
Supta Baddha Konasana, Happy Baby Pose, Wide Leg Splits (while supported by the floor), Easy Twist with bent legs, “Thread the Needle”
On the knees or seated:
Wide Leg Child’s Pose, Spinx, Pigeon, Ardha Matysendrasana, Gomukasana, Upavista Konasana, Padmasana

Example of a Spring Vinyasa Yoga class for the Spring:
Supta Baddha Konasana, Happy Baby Pose, Wide Leg Split, Supta Padangusthasana (standard and twist), Abdominal work with Twists, Abdominal work with legs in Garudasana, Lion’s Breath, Fire Hydrant, Spinal Rolls, Uddiyana Bandha, Agni Sara, Sun Salutes with Salabhasana, Squats, Surya Namaskar B, Garudasana, Prasaritta Padottanasana Series, Sirsasana, Bakasana, Eka Pada Rajakapotasana (pigeon), Gomukasana, Double Pigeon, Pursvottanasana, Mayurasana (peacock), Bharadvajasana, Maha Mudra, Janu Sirsasana, Setu Bandha, Halasana with Padmasana…finishing poses.

You can find more inspiration for home practice or sequencing ideas for teaching in my book or DVD located on my website:

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Last Winter Vinyasa Class with Melina

Starting next week I will launch into Spring Vinyasa classes! I hope to see you at 8 Limbs or in Hawaii for the kick off. In the meantime, here is my last winter vinyasa class, I will hopefully make a You Tube video out of this one soon, as it's a great outline to follow for those days where you feel sluggish and need to wake up!

Last Winter Sequence:
Supported Pranayama with a bolster under your back.
Tadaka Mudra (*pg. 43 A.O.S.)
Bridge Flow (reach arms over head with spine on the ground, lift up to bridge on exhale)
Upper belly crunch (pg. 18)
Easy Twist (without letting your legs touch the ground)
Leg Lifts (pg. 31)
Knee to Nose (pg. 20)
Down Dog - Plank (repeat back and forth)
Vajrasana (pg. 49)
Uddiyana Bandha
Straddle/Horse with Kapala Bhati breath (repeat)
Flow 1:
Tadasana, side bend, tippie toe twist(pg. 14), Uttanasana, Plank, Cobra, Down Down (three breaths), Uttanasana, Tadasana (repeat several times)
Flow 2:
Parsva Utkatasana (revolved chair), Caturanga, Up Dog, Down Dog, Warrior One, Caturanga, Down Dog (hold 3 breaths)
Garduasana (eagle) Flow in and out
Warrior 2 (sink in and out 3 times), hold
Reverse Warrior 2 turns to Wide leg twist (pg. 99), side splits - other side!
Down Dog facing top of mat
Dhanurasana - take 10 breaths to complete the pose
Table Top - make circles with hips and shoulders
Ardha Matsyendrasana (twist)
Baddha Konasana
Supta Padangusthasana - lift head to knee variation
Happy Baby Pose
Anything else????
Savasana (:


*Art of Sequencing- Volume One can be purchased on my website: