Endless Summer

Even though the kids are back to school and Halloween decorations are up in stores, don’t be fooled; the fall is when things really start to heat up in Los Angeles!

As a ocean-worshiper I always look forward to September and October in LA as the time when it is finally warm enough to bear playing in the ocean with out a wet-suit. I also look forward to the fall as a time to slow down and take a more fluid and gentle approach to my yoga practice in these hotter months.

Below is a short sequence to help cool and calm you as we transition into fall:

1. Cooling Breath (Sheetali Pranayama)
This one looks funny, but feels great.


Find a quiet calm comfortable place to sit. Close your eyes and take a few deep breaths. Then open your mouth and curl your tongue creating a tube shape. Using your tongue as an air conditioning unit breathe in through your curled tongue and then close your mouth and breathe out through your nose. Practice 15-20 repetitions or continue until your are calmer and cooler.

2. Supta Padangusthasana II&III, (Reclining Hand-to-Big-Toe Pose) – Flowing version.

Lie on your back. Using a yoga strap, strap around the ball of the right foot. Reach your foot up to the sky extending through the heel of the foot until you get a stretch. Then grabbing both tails of the yoga strap in your right hand turn your right leg deep in your hip socket to the right so your foot externally rotates (looking like a duck or ballerina foot ;) . On a long inhale open the leg to the right into version 2 and then as you take a relaxing exhale sweep the leg across the body into version 3. Repeat slowly on the breath (I always conjure the image of seaweed flowing back and forth). When you feel like your right leg has released tension (or it starts to get a little tingly) switch legs and repeat on the right.


3. Viparita Karani (Legs-up-the-Wall Pose)
Finding a wall, couch or bed that you can bring your legs up on, elevate your legs for 5-10 minutes. Relax and breathe deeply.


4. Water Meditation
Paraphrased from the book “The Chakra Energy Plan” by Anna Selby

Prepare a bath for yourself of warm to cool water. Submerge yourself and relax completely breathing deeply. Bring your consciousness to focus on the water around you. Observe how the water washes away stress and brings in a sense of ease and calm. Extend your consciousness to visualize the great bodies of water that cover most of the planet – the lakes rivers and oceans. Visualize yourself floating supported completely by water. Enjoy visualizing and when finished gradually bring yourself back to your body and your breath.

Top 8 Reasons To Practice Yoga

#1 – Connect with others.  Yoga builds a sense of community, co-opportunity and collaboration as you meet and share your journey with others.

#2 – Connect with yourself. A yoga practice allows you to set aside some “you time”. Practice provides an opportunity to regulate your energy, emotions, intuition, and overall state of mind/soul/spirit.

#3 – Maintain a healthy happy state of physical well being.  Hatha yoga builds strength, flexibility, balance and prepares the body for the demands of everyday life. We all know physical exercise is good for us, and a spoon full of Asana makes the medicine go down in the most delightful way!

#4 – Breathe deeply.  Breath practices help to build present moment awareness of the life force within you and the spirit that surrounds you. Plus, breath work helps to strengthen the respiratory system, and regulate the nervous system.

#5 – Practice detachment. Modern life can be so full of unwanted stimuli, it can be difficult to sort out which elements are actually worthy of AshtangaButterflyour attention. Our yoga practice demands present moment attention, and as we practice this attentiveness we learn to let go of the past, weed out distraction, and detach from the future (which doesn’t even exist ;) ).

#6 – Learn to concentrate. Once we become well versed at detachment, it becomes easier to focus on the aspects of life that do matter to us. As we learn to concentrate, our mind sills and we find we have more time for study of self and study of Forces outside ourselves.

#7 – Meditation. The benefits of meditation are well documented. There are many techniques and paths towards meditation. Experiment and find a meditation practice that works for you and reap the benefits in your body, mind, and Spirit.

# 8 – Open to Bliss. Allow yourself to investigate what Pantanjali’s Yoga Sutras describe as freedom through surrender to God. Surrender yourself to a belief, a hope, and investigate the power of faith: faith in the effects of your yoga practice and faith in a Power greater than yourself.