Monday, June 21, 2010

Seasonal Vinyasa Summer Practice #1 with Melina Meza

Happy Solstice Everyone,
Today will be the longest gray day of the year! Hopefully you are being productive, enjoying good health, and spirits. In case you need a little inspiration to practice today, here is what's happening in class. You can find this practice in my new book coming out this fall, The Art of Sequencing - Volume Two!!!

1. Virasana - (visualize the sun up above the clouds)
2. Virasana - grab a strap, reach your arms up holding the strap, open your chest
3. Virasana - gomukasana arms
4. Bharadvajasana
5. Get to your hands and knees, drop your chest down by your thumbs, flow into Cobra, Up Dog, and finish in Child's pose with your arms out in front of you. Repeat many times.
6. Down dog into a lunge. Raise arms up by ears, squeeze arms by head, twist hands around one another
7. Down dog to Uttansana
8 Squat (cover eyes)
9. Tadasana
10. Surya Namaskar A with your eyes closed (repeat many times) move intuitively
11. Surya Namaskar B variation: Utkatasana, Uttanasana, High Lunge with arms reaching forward by ears, bend arms to open chest, drop hands...Vasisthasana, Down dog, Uttanasana, Utkatasana, Tadasana (repeat many times)
12. Vrksasana
13. Bound 1/2 lotus forward bend
14. Pada Hastasana
15. Prasarita Padottanasana variations, add handstands if you wish ( :
16. Down dog
17. Child's pose
18. Sirsasana
19. Rabbit or Child's pose
20 Spinx (like cobra but chill)
21. Bhekasana
22. Supta Virasana
23. Down dog
24. Krauncasana
25. Dandasana
26. Sarvangasana or Setu Bandha
27. Prep for Yoga Nidrasana
28. Whatever you like....

If you can't figure this out...come to class or on retreat where we will be going further into detail with these poses.

Light and love,

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Seize the Summer: Ayurvedic tips about keeping cool and staying balanced during the summer months

In the world of Ayurveda, we are now in the summer season (June-August), which means whenever summer arrives in your geographical location, you will have a stronger relationship with the elements fire and water for three months. Ayurveda views the physical body, along with everything in the Universe, as being composed of the five primary elements; earth, water, fire, air, and ether or empty space. These elements are expressed in the physical body as qualities of stability/support (earth), feeling/fluidity (water), heat and metabolism (fire), respiration and circulation (air), and space and lightness (ether).

When the fire and water element are out of balance, it creates a dosha called Pitta. In Sanskrit, dosha means, “that which spoils or causes decay” as they are not only the forces which produce and sustain the body in their normal condition but those which, when out of balance, serve to destroy it. Knowing the strengths and weaknesses of each element can help you make daily choices that reinforce health and wellness for the season. As my teacher Scott Blossom said, “It is important to work in a way that “feels right” but also consciously cultivates complementary traits, such as grounding and stillness for the air type, or coolness and relaxation for the fire type in order to strike a balance.”

To help create balance, consider one of the classic Ayurvedic sutras that says, “like increases like and opposites balance.” This ancient wisdom can be extremely helpful when creating your daily rituals around the seasons.

Asana Advice for the Pitta Season
• Let each asana practice be soft, intuitive, forgiving, creative, and emphasize surrendering in order to prevent overheating.
• Perform all asana or sports in a way that is non-competitive, nurturing, and playful! Practice vigorous sports or asana in the early morning.
• Incorporate counter-balancing postures for poses that create heat such as Sun Salutations, balance poses, strong backbends, etc.
• Practice with your eyes closed.
• Emphasize a cooling breathing pattering during practice where the exhalation is longer than inhalation. Holding the breath out after exhaling has a powerful effect to concentrate the mind, which stabilizes your agni, purified essence of fire.
• Practice shitali or left-nostril breathing after asana.
• Try the Metta, Loving Kindness meditation to release anger.

Summer Foods
• Never miss a meal, especially if you are have a Pitta constitution!
• Eat cooling, sweet, bitter and astringent foods (coconut, cucumber, watermelon, all the fresh fruit in season, steamed greens, multicolored salads, watercress, endives, mung beans, basmati rice) and avoid spicy and fried foods.
• Drink cumin, coriander, fennel and rose hot tea. Cilantro, cucumber, and mint are great additions to water for a refreshing beverage that will cool you down.
• Eat few dairy products and meats (unless you are doing intense physical activity)…they are too yang!

If your digestive fire is weak, try this for a week or two until your digestive fire improves: Cook together equal parts of: brown rice, lentils, and sun flower seeds. Eat 1-2 cups daily for 2 weeks. This will also improve body heat.

Daily Routine
• Give yourself a full body massage before showering. Coconut oil is best.
• Enjoy the rose, sandalwood, jasmine or lavender essential oils to relax the senses.
• Wear light colored clothing, loose cotton, linen and silk (ex. White, blue, green) so air can circulate between your clothes and your skin.
• Do inside cooking early morning in the morning before it gets hot.
• Spend time in Nature, swim, retreat, and enjoy the moonlight.

Visit: for summer You Tube videos and upcoming yoga retreats.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Overview of Robert, Scott, & Claudia Workshop at 8 Limbs Yoga Centers

I’ve officially unpacked from an incredible month traveling around CA, TX, and WA, following Dr. Robert Svoboda, Scott Blossom, and Claudia Welch around on Robert’s farewell tour before he retires from public speaking.

For those of you that were unable to attend the workshop at 8 Limbs Yoga Centers in Seattle, here is a brief overview of what was covered:

Dr. Robert Svoboda
• “Wherever your attention goes, your prana follows.”
• “Attention is good, being attentive is a good habit. Thinking is good, but thinking is a bad habit.”
• “Westerners are always trying to change their destinies before finding out what they are…first find out what they are before trying to change them!”
• “Prana provides continuity for the organism, prana is purposeful vs. vata, which is not continuous, not stable.”
• Remain calm and relaxed. Don’t freak out when there is a crisis, freak out at another time where there is no crisis.”

Dr. Scott Blossom:
• “The seat of prana is in your pelvis, it will help keep your legs strong and flexibile.”
• “The main downward force is gravity, the bones are the tissue response to gravity.”
• “Find stability in your asana or else you’ll have to meditate on the pain.”
• “Get your attention working, not your mind. Listen to the signals coming from your bones.”
• “Move as if all parts of the body are connected to the other parts. When you move to the right, keep your attention on the left, etc.
• “Keep the bones as your “drsiti”, emphasize the whole over the parts...don't over emphasize the “do-er” let your prana guide you. “
• “Let your practice be a communion with the force that gives rise to all of nature.”
• “Yoga is telling you, you know how to move, to trust yourself. When the body releases tension in yoga, the analogy to that is when the mind releases “mis-trust.”

Dr. Claudia Welch:
• “Focus doesn’t take active effort, it just takes focus. It’s more about surrender than effort.”
• “As your focus moves down, it creates space for prana to BE.”
• “Annamaya kosha follows whatever the pranamaya kosha is doing which follows whatever the manomaya kosha is doing.”
• “Whenever you release “crud” in the body, release it, don’t try to name it, put it in a box, or conatin it…let it go!”
• “The more we remember something, the less accurate it is. Each time we recall a memory, we build a new protein chain in the brain, which creates a “glump, or clump”. So each time we re-create a memory, the less accurate it is.”
•“Don’t become anything!” The second you become something, you arrange your prana that will get enforced whenever we are in front of more prana. When you become something, you can "un-become it", which is so much more painful than becoming it."

Upcoming Seasonal Vinyasa Retreats:
7/30-8/2 Breitenbush Hot Springs, OR with Melina Meza and Tamara Newmoon
9/19-924 Esalen, CA with Melina Meza, Tamara Newmoon, & Benjamin Fahrer
More details: