Whole Life Magazine

August/September 2019

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August/September 2019 13 T he downward dog days of summer are upon us as the blazing sun feeds our souls and SoCal buzzes with activities and events. It is important to balance your inner fire during this time and into the beginning of fall. This is a wonderful season to practice yoga outdoors. Go to the beach or a park. Connecting to nature will deeply restore your body and mind to inner peace during a hot and hectic season. Beach breezes and the nurturing sun will saturate your skin with a soft warmth and give you a glow from the inside out. In reaching your best yogic lifestyle, here are some asanas, a breathing technique, and a mediation to practice. Asanas: Incorporate twisting and balancing asanas into your practice. Please make modifications according to your body and any health limitations. Practice each pose three times. Sitting twisting pose: Half Lord of the Fishes (Ardha Matsyendrasana) Begin seated with your legs extended. Bend both knees. Drop your left knee to the floor. Bring your left foot under your right leg, resting it alongside your right buttock. On an inhalation, raise your left arm. Exhaling, twist to the right and place your left elbow to the outside of your right knee (can also place arm along leg). Reach your right hand and rest it on the floor behind your right buttock. Breathe and lengthen your front and spine. Exhale, twist right, looking over the left (can also stay gazing right). With every inhalation, lift a little more. Twist a little more with every exhalation. Release the pose with an exhalation. Repeat the pose on the opposite side. Standing balancing pose: Tree Pose (Vrksasana) From a standing position, root the left foot into the earth. Bring the right heel to your inner thigh. Pelvis and spine are straight, yet not locked. Inhale, bring the hands together at the heart in prayer position, (may also bring the hands above your head) and exhale. Gaze softly forward. Repeat the pose on the opposite side. These are poses to help tap into feeling the energies of the season and how your body and mind are changing during this time. They energize the spine and balance internal fires. Ask yourself some questions after you do them: What inner strength arises? What part of you feels calmer and more content? The answers may surprise you! Breathing: Breaths will calm the mental, emotional, and physical body. Sheetali Pranayama (cooling breath): Sit in a meditative pose. Bring the tongue out of your mouth a little distance. Curl it comfortably. Breathe in slowly through the curved tongue. At the end of the inhalation, close your mouth. Slowly exhale out of your nose. Repeat 10 times (no more than this if you are a beginner). This breath is unique as you inhale through the mouth and exhale with your nose. These are helpful after a long asana series, when you're emotionally imbalanced, or anytime you're feeling overheated from the balmy summer weather. Meditation: Listen and let go. Especially if you are outside, after your yoga practice, enhance your meditation practice. Sit and listen to the sounds of nature, like the wind or birds. Observe the closest sound, then the furthest sound, and tune in. Then "just be" for 15 or 20 minutes. Keeping it simple is important. This will softly enhance your senses and rejuvenate your spirit. These practical and powerful yogic tools for everyday can lead to greater union with your higher self, creating inner and outer peace. Om Shanti! Tess Anson is a yoga & Vedic lifestyle teacher who lives in Los Angeles. healthy living Practice the Fires of Balance END OF SUMMER YOGA By Tess Anson

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