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Prep Poses

#1: 

Balances left and right hemispheres of the brain by bringing equilateral movement across the heavier points of the body.

Bring balance to the two girdles of the body, Shoulder girdle and pelvic girdle. 

Hands on belly with elbows resting on the floor.  Bring your knees and bring feet flat on floor

Deep breath into belly so hands receive the movement of the breath, soft rising of the low back on the inhale, as you exhale gently press back of the head into floor and hold contraction. Breath and release the effort.

Awareness back of left shoulder blade and isolate movement into the back shoulder blade press the shoulder blade into the floor and hold that contraction for a full breath. Release.

Left innominate(fusion of the ilium, ischium, and pubis; the hipbone) bone (left side of pelvis) into the floor.  Feel global movement in hip flexor and abdomen

awareness into the tailbone. Increase the pressure between the tailbone and the floor. Gentle rise of abdomen, slight activity of hip flexors…hold contraction, release

Repeat on right side beginning on innominate bone, shoulder blade, back of head into floor.

Do this rotation 3 times in a clockwise manner. Take a moment to stretch your legs out and arms alongside the body. Complete each round of somatic awareness exercises with a moment in Savasana just to allow students to feel any differences from before and after exercise.

 

#2

Support sensations of grounding

knees bent feet on floor, feel weight of body and the imprint it makes into the floor also notice back of head against the floor.  Perhaps one side feels heavier perhaps it feel like a circle or an oval between the back of the head and the floor. Eyes drop in towards the base of your midbrain moving away from the underside of your eyelids

Relax the jaw and tongue soft. Begin to gently rock the head left to right. Be sure to not go to the end range of your movement.  Were not looking to elicit a stretch response what we want to do is feel the weight of the head as it rocks softly across the floor. At this point the eyes are closed and you can do a few movements from right to left or pause in the middle for a little rest.

Now were going to add the movement of the eyes.  We’ve softened the eyes into the base of the brain so we are not looking with a hard sense of vision.  We are softening the vision.

Start to open the eyes and allow the head to rotate a little bit further but make sure that the eyes don’t move faster than the head or the neck. Feel how the weight of the head is rolling across the floor initially and just notice if adding the eyes it creates a different dimension to how you move the head.  Notice the propensity for the eyes to want to move ahead of the head and try to limit that.

head to centre pause. Pot of belly rises and falls as we reset.

Now try to move the eyes opposite to the head. Head moves to the right as eyes move to the left.  takes some focus.  As the head over to the right allow the eyes to track to the left. Wanna go really slowly so that the eyes move at the same speed of head and neck but in the opposite direction.  Does this feel awkward, natural…does it require a little more concentration. Head to centre. Close eyes and deep breath to belly.

Option with students to bring in left and right brain balancing. Turn head to the right with eyes open pause in that end range of movement and take in whatever you can see (prop, another body, wall) and hold that vision in your brain as you turn your head to the left. Then as your head moves to the left you slowly release that image, let it fade, and focus on what you see on the left side of your body. Take in the image and hold that vision as you slowly roll across the back of the head .

Repeat 3 times.  Possible you will see the same thing each time but the range of the image might increase as the rotation of the head increases or the widening of the eyes.

Bringing balance between how hard we are working between the right and left hemispheres of the brain.

Body settles into centre and take a breath into savasana.

 

#3

Involve shoulder girdle and more global movements of the bodyIntention of this work is to pay attention to points of pressure, sensations that arise within the body and not concerning yourself with the end range of movements, so how deep you can move into something.

Stretch arms up to ceiling, tips of thumbs together.  Eventually try to do this with eyes closed.

Spread fingers out nice and wide, extend elbows but keep shoulders grounded onto floor.  Take a gentle breath to belly calming the nerves. 

Inhale reach right arm bone up to ceiling. Notice how that movement affects  shoulder, muscles of belly, side of ribs cage. Draw back through the shoulder blade back to the floor.  and start with the left arm, almost as if someone has you by the wrist and they are just pulling your arm up.  Kinda feels like your being pulled away from the floor but the body is resistant to move.  Draw the arm back down.  Repeat to the right side.

This time with a long right arm bone create a bracket around the right wrist with the index finger and thumb of the left hand. Allow the weight of the right rm to rest into that hand. Use the supporting arm the left arm to traction the right arm up to the ceiling. You’ll receive the same experience that you did when reaching up towards the ceiling with the right arm yet now it is a passive action. When you get enough amount of traction on that right arm bend your left elbow and place it down onto the floor to the left side of your body, the right arm will come across the front of your chest. Softly pull on the arm and allow your head to rotate in the direction of the arms.  And then just release so it is kind of like pulling and releasing.  Each time you go with the movement of your arms let the head and neck relax a little bit more and just see what the pulling of the right arm does to your body. Pay attention to your breathing.  Is there a breath that creates a softer more elegant movement.  No right or wrong just notice. Next time you extend that arm out let the left elbow leave the floor and pull the right arm out over towards the crown of your head.  Take a nice global stretch from here.

Arms back out to three o’clock Bend the elbows come back to centre and stretch the arms up to ceiling.  Repeating opposite side. Bracelet with right arm around left wrist

You can’t do this work wrong it is exploratory.

Bend elbows and give yourself a hug.  Hold the shoulder blades if flexibility allows.  Pull on right fingertips bringing left shoulder blade up. rock to other side.  Your choice to be slow or fast.  Either a broaden the lens on the experience or softly rocking.

Lean your knees in the same direction as your body.  Kinda feel as though your going to roll over to one side as the knees drop over adding more weight to the direction that your moving.  You might feel yourself locomotive up your mat as you rock side to side.  Stop in centre and just let your knees go in the opposite direction of the shoulders. All just little variations you can play with.  Slow or quick is fine.  When you ready bring to a soft stop.  Stretch. Notice the imprint you body make on the floor.

#4
With the focus on coordination

Lay supine on the ground with knees bent and foot soles planted firmly on the floor hip distance apart
Stretch your arms up towards the ceiling and turn the palms to face one another
Interlace the fingers, then release, then interlace again, then release, then interlace and hold (close eyes for a more integrated neural experience)

Now bring the hands behind the head and lift the head up and rest it into interlaced fingers
Take a breath up the length of the spine
Walk the feet together then cross the right knee over the left knee, left foot sole on the ground

Lean the knees gently towards the right and then draw the knees back to center (try not to twist too deep, it should be easeful to bring the knees back to center)
Feel the movement across the back of the sacrum and into the right gluteal muscle, rolling on the right side of the pelvis
Uncross the legs and place both feet on the floor

Release hands and stretch them up towards the ceiling
With eyes closed, re-interlace the fingers but in your non-dominant cross, and repeat as before, release the fingers, then interlace again in your counter interlace, separate the hands, counter interlace, release, counter interlace and hold
Bring the hands behind the head and interlace the fingers in your non-dominant cross, widen the elbows and lift your head off the ground

Take a deep breath up the length of the spine
Walk the feet and legs together to touch then cross the left knee over the right knee, right foot sole standing on the ground
Lean the knees to the left and then draw them back to center

Explore movement on the back of the left side of the pelvis
Identify the bony structure of the sacrum
Perhaps feeling the junction of the SI joint
Noticing any tender points
Pay attention to the breath and notice if there is a breathing rhythm that facilitates that movement
Bring the knees back to center, uncross the legs, release the hands from behind the head and find the position of savasana
Notice how the body responded to that movement

Feel both sides of the back of the pelvis, the weight of both shoulder blades and the back of the head
Take a nice breath into the pot of the belly
 
#5
From savasana stretch the arms up towards the ceiling and interlace the fingers again, and notice if there is a moment of confusion as to which way the fingers want to interlace after the previous work of working with both the dominant and the non-dominant cross, most likely the dominant pattern will take over

Bring the hands behind the head and interlace the fingers on the back of the skull
Bring the inner arches of the feet to touch

Lean both knees to the left and allow the soles of the feet to peel away from the floor
Moving into a little rotation, bring the knees back to center
Lean the knees to the right and as the foot soles peel away from the floor the weight moves onto the outer edge of the right foot

Continue to rock the knees side to side

The shoulder girdle is the stabilizing agent as we allow the free and gentle rotation across the back of the pelvis
This movement allows us to roll across the entire back side of the pelvis and sacrum

The next time the knees fall to the right, pause
Keep the right knee down and lift the left knee up and open so you are in upturned butterfly

Breath into the opening across the front of the groins, the inner thighs, the belly and the chest
Exhale bring the right knee up and over and repeat on the left side
Inhale as the knees open and exhale as you twist

Move at a pace that most accommodates your nervous system

The movements should be light with no effort or strain
Looking for global mobility through the joints of the pelvis as we bring the legs from side to side
Find center both foot soles on the ground
Remove the hands from behind the head and rest in savasana allowing the body to stretch out
Take inventory, feeling the imprint the body makes on the floor, noticing heavy points and light points
Feeling how the breath flows along the front of the spine
 
#6
This movement is borrowed from rolfing movement studies, which is really useful to help coordinate how we move the body ipsilaterally
Lay supine on the back with palms turned upward like in savasana

As you inhale reach through the sole of your right foot, making the leg as long as you can, allow for a little hip hike on the left side and feel the belly, psoas and everything on the right side getting longer

Release and feel the pelvis neutralize

Repeat 2 or 3 more times on the right side and notice which muscles engage to create this very subtle lengthening feeling on the right side, and you may notice that its not just one muscle, quite a bit is happening to accommodate this movement

Repeat the same exercise on the left side and switch the breath rhythm so you are exhaling as you lengthen out and inhaling to relax, notice the change

Can you feel the rotation at the sacrum, and the engagement of the opposite hip?
Stretch the arms up overhead and pick up the head then release it back down to release any crimping in the neck
Reach the right arm back then let it drag back on the recoil

Experiment with different ways of breathing, inhale to extend, then exhale to extend
Notice what part of the body has to hold on to allow the right arm to be the only part that extends

Release, and transfer to the left arm
Reach the left arm back, and then let it recoil
Notice if there is an anchor point to allow for the movement, is there something that has to anchor to allow you to extend the left arm without taking the rest of the body with you
Release
Now do the right arm and right leg simultaneously

If the right side of the body is expanding, then likely the left side of the body is contracting, just feel that, almost like a lung lobe, inhaling and expanding, then exhaling and releasing

Change the direction of the breath exhale to expand, and inhale to release
Find the breath that suits you most, then go over to the left side

You may find that the breath does not tie into your movement and that’s ok too, with these types of exercises ALL ways work really well
Feel the left side of the body, the fingers and toes are moving away from each other, what happens on the right side of the body to allow that to occur
Now release and move into contralateral movement

Try the right arm and left leg, then left arm and right leg, and continue to switch back and forth
Find savasana again and rest, take a nice breath in and notice how that movement pattern affected your sense of being on the floor

If wanting to move more into the pranamaya kosha, from this position after opening both cylinders of the body, you can play with pranayama
Keep the eyes closed and breath into the right lung and try to open the inner channel without manually moving the body but simply using the breath

Go to the left side, breath in through the left nostril, fill the left lung, left side of the chest, left leg
You can change from right to left and continue to alternate, or you can breath into the right 3 or 4 times and then into the left 3 or 4 times, and close with 1 or 2 natural global body breaths

Rest in savasana to re-calibrate before moving on to the next exercise
 
 #7
Laying on your back bring pelvis closer to the front of the mat so that your heels are off the top of the mat.
Bend the right knee and bring your heel onto the floor with the heel on the yoga mat.
Your left leg is straight and off your mat and your right leg is bent with your heel on the mat.
Take your right heel out so that it is slightly lateral to your right hip
Keep the arms easy, either on the floor beside you or bent with your hands on the belly.

Use the downward pushing of your right foot on the floor to life your right hip up toward the ceiling as high as it will go. That will cause you to roll on to the left side of your body.
Do this a few times.
Rest - lift – lower -  release

Now take your right knew and point it forward as you push into your right foot. You are broadening or opening across the front of the pelvis as it lifts from the floor and lowers back down.

Allow the whole body to respond to this movement if it wants to. So, when you push your knee goes forward or slightly to the right. You might notice to the right of your skull. You might notice your head goes in the opposite direction. No right or wrong. You are just going to track the movement to this global joint and fascial connection. Just like rocking a baby.
Bring your pelvis down.

Change your legs

Slide your right leg out and step your left foot in. The left heel needs to be on your mat for a little bit of grip.Please remember slightly lateral to the hip.
Push and roll onto the right side a bit.
Now pay attention to the direction of the knee.

As you push the knee should go out to the left slightly so the front of the pelvis broadens as you push.
Notice the breathing. Do you feel you want to inhale, the belly is expanding when you are rolling onto your side.
Just notice if you have a tendency to want to push harder as if harder pushing would give you greater benefit.

The movement of the head, what happens.
Don’t fight it let things flow
Then come back into centre.
Now slide your left leg out.
You can now bring the gluteal fold to the edge of your mat.
Take your legs out straight and wiggle a little bit.

As effortlessly as possible drag the right heel up toward your sitting bone. It is like the psoas is pulling on the femur. As the heel comes toward the sitting bone drop the leg toward the right, like the butterfly exercise we did earlier.
Slide the outer ankle onto the floor away from you. Toes will turn back up to the ceiling now turn your knee off to the left as you drag your heel up.

Now you will draw huge circles and let the leg slide on the floor and just m
These are acetabular rotations or functional circular ranges of movement at the hip.
Nice and light
Jaw relaxes.
Now let the right leg rest.
Does it feel a little longer and or heavier than your left leg. A moment of inventory.
With the right leg straight now take your left heel up toward your sitting bone.
Nice straight line first then drops the knee out to the side, allow the ankle to turn away from you. Then the toes will turn up toward the ceiling as the knee moves in and the heel drags up.
Don’t worry about doing it wrong. You can’t hurt yourself doing this. Let yourself explore movement.
When you are done just let that leg extend onto the floor.
Notice what the body feels with equanimity.

Now draw in your right heel and your left heel up so you are standing on your feet.
Take a moment to gently ground your feet into the floor softly pushing them into the floor.
Notice how when you push your feet into the floor, the thigh muscles, the belly muscles contract and the back body gets more deeply imprinted into the ground.
It is this a deep sense of connection to the surface that we work on.
Now let the whole energy of pushing down to release.

 
#8.
This is very easy and doesn’t need to be made to be hard.
We are using functional lines of tension to create momentum or locomotion.

Take the Koala Bear position. Begin on your back with your warms up and out to your side and your legs bent and softly wide.
Bring yourself onto your left side by dropping your left arm and leg away from you. Don’t move your right arm and leg. Just drop them like the tree is getting bigger. Allow the weight of your left arm and leg to let you roll onto the side of your body.
Now keeping your left arm and leg on the floor. You are going to do the movement on the other side.
Raise your arm and leg toward the ceiling and roll across your back and let the movement of the opposite weighted limbs roll you from side to side.

If you want to make the movement move a little bit quicker all you do is move the limbs a little bit quicker.
Try to resist pushing off the limbs. Simply feel all of the movement through your whole body.
And now we are rolling across the back of the head, the back of the shoulder blades, the back of ribs the back of the sacrum and pelvis. All at the same time.
Don’t work too hard at it.
 
#9.
From #8 roll over onto your right side. Bend your elbow and support your head with the arm.
Take your left arm and rest it on the left side of your body with your knees bent to 90 degrees.
Your fingers are loose on your left hip.
Draw a circle with your left hip bone.

Imagine there is a light at the tip of your hip. And if that light were projecting on to the ceiling you would be drawing a circle of light onto the ceiling.
Make the movement as smooth and gentle as you can.
Now move in the opposite direction.
You might find your hand is gently caressing your backside a little bit. Try not to put to much weight into the hand. Let your hip circle under the hand.
Release that effort.

Hold you hip still and now do the same thing with your shoulder
Shrug your shoulder up, press your shoulder back, push your shoulder down, roll your shoulder forward.
See if you can do this without the help of the elbow. We often want to do this with the help of the elbow and lever off of the hand.

Try to let the shoulder drag the arm around.
Switch directions.
See what it feels like to do the hip and the shoulder at the same time.
Notice if the shoulder is rolling forward as the hip rolls backwards?
Try the opposite direction.
Roll on to the other side and repeat all parts on the other side.
 

 

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