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Welcome to the first issue of Rocket City Yoga Week magazine: YOGA WHERE YOU ARE! Many years ago, I stumbled upon photos of a large weeklong yoga event in our nation’s capital and I was immediately intrigued. Thousands of yoga mats and downward dogs colored the lawns under the monuments! Right then and there, an idea took hold that stayed with me day and night: Could I possibly create a yoga week here? Would I be able to find venues to partner with? Would area yoga teachers see the value? Would the community support the events? This would be the biggest gig I’d ever pulled off - could I do it? Our city is not the size of Washington, D.C., and we don’t have monuments, but...


WE HAVE ROCKETS! It would take another 3 years before I would have the courage and bandwidth to bring my idea to fruition. The first Rocket City Yoga Week launched in June 2013 and it was a huge success: 12 teachers came together to offer 25 events, and over 700 attendees joined us on the mat. Travel forward to now and I’ve now organized 4 years of Rocket City Yoga Week!

Each year, up to 30 talented yoga teachers volunteer to offer 70-80 incredible events, and our attendance totals over 2200 for the week! This year, we partnered with Connected Warriors, a 501(c)3 that serves our nation’s veterans, active-duty soldiers, and their families, with trauma-conscious yoga at no charge, and through yoga teacher training programs. We raised thousands of dollars for them! We’ve also expanded yoga week to include this magazine! We’ve filled this issue with ideas, recipes, thoughts, wisdom, healing, and humor. Our hope is you will continue practicing the remaining 51 weeks of the year! Yoga where you are!

~Mitzi Connell, Founder & Editor


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Meet the Writers!


An awesome team!


What is Yoga?

by Chris Irrgang


by Meredith Kasenow

Rocket City Yoga Week Yoga Where You Are 2016


Project Manager Karen Doehrman


Megan Wheeler Meredith Kasenow Michael Streeter Mitzi Connell Nancy Harden Pam Tejes Rebeka Frank Sheila Levenhagen Tammie Brown Vanessa Branning



A Practice Guide




With Gratitude by Mitzi Connell


by Mitzi Connell


DIY Yoga Eyepillows by Angie Brown

by Connected Warriors

May I?

The Yoga of Body Image by Ashley Terral

by Meredith Kasenow

Contributing Writers Angela Parton Rousey Angie Brown Anita Rodriguez Ashley Terral Cathy Lighton Chris Irrgang Jeni Nordstrom Karen Doehrman Kathy Rogers M. Gatlin Meshelle Whitt

Build a Yoga Library

What is Different? by Dr. Nancy Harden

by Rebekah Frank

Founder & Editor Mitzi Connell

Big Happy Yoga Links

Never Compare

A Home Studio by Pam Tejes

Get Social


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The Stink of Sweat

West African Peanut Soup by Pam Tejes


The Wild Rumpus

by Pam Tejes

by Pam Tejes

Yoga for Every Body

Jamaican-MeCrazy Carrot Soup

by Jeni Nordstrom



by Dr. Nancy Harden

Rocket City Yoga Week Photos We Run Huntsville, LLC 327 Photography

Wise Words


by Mitzi Connell

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The Great Tree


by M. Gatlin


Caring for Tennis Elbow

by Sheila Levenhagen


by Pam Tejes


The Little Black Dress


by Mitzi Connell


Blueberry-Lemon Poundcake


Grumpiness Remedy

by Vanessa Branning



Juicer Pulp Teacakes

A successful triathlete passionately serving athletes and veterans through yoga


Make Your Own Mat Spray

by Michael Streeter

by Pam Tejes

Video: Sun Salutations by Meshelle Whitt


by Sheila Levenhagen


Karen Doehrman



What Yoga Means to Me by Cathy Lighton

Exclusive 12-page section: Yoga for Athletes by Karen Doehrman


Self-Care Check-in by Rebekah Frank



On the Cover

by Angela Parton Rousey

Streeter’s Playlist

by Tammie S. Brown

What Happens in Vagus

Glow On!

by Megan Wheeler

by Mitzi Connell

Small Steps

Power Punch

Enough Said.

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Meshelle Whitt

Mitzi Connell

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Karen Doehrman

Pam Tejes

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Rebekah Frank

Dr. Nancy Harden

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Kathy Rogers

Tammie S. Brown

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Anita Rodriguez

Megan Wheeler

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Cathy Lighton

Michael Streeter

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Meredith Kasenow

Angie Brown

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Angela Parton Rousey

M. Gatlin

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Chris Irrgang

Ashley Terral

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Sheila Levenhagen

Vanessa Branning

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Jeni Nordstrom

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Meet Chris Irrgang

“You must purge yourself before finding faults in others. When you see a mistake in somebody else, try to find if you are making the same mistake. This is the way to take judgment and to turn it into improvement. Do not look at others’ bodies with envy or with superiority. All people are born with different constitutions. Never compare with others. Each one’s capacities are a function of his or her internal strength. Know your capacities and continually improve upon them.” BKS Iyengar


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by Meredith Kasenow Yoga is a perpetual inward journey. As we venture inward, we start to understand more about ourselves. We notice our needs, desires, motivations and challenges in a way we never have before. We learn to take care of ourselves. Then, yoga urges us to dive deeper inward, weed through our thoughts, pushing out distractions, uncovering new and deeper layers, until we start to see glimpses of our true souls. Yoga teaches us to clear away the dust and debris to find that one pulsing spark— alive!— but simple, perpetual, unchanging,


real. As we stare deep into that tiny flame, confounded by its perfect simplicity, we start to see the dim flames that surround it; each one sparkles, as in a nod of recognition, as our consciousness passes by it. It is the universe. It’s inside us, around us, flowing through and between us.

that allows us to experience our full potential for joy in the world. Yoga teaches us to sing with our souls and write poetry with our movements. It teaches us to live in connection and oneness with others.

Yoga teaches us to know ourselves, know the universe, and So, we’ve been given this body, know the divine. Most this vehicle for the physical importantly, yoga is the yoke that world. Yoga teaches us to know binds us to the divine, so that we it, to see into it and then beyond can see the divine in ourselves, it. Now yoga will teach us to care see the divine in others, and see for it. Through asana, pranayama, the truth in the universe. and meditation, we can care for this temporary vessel in a way

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by Dr. Nancy Harden, Feldenkrais practitioner Every morning I am up just before sunrise. Summer is parching my plants, and I am trying to salvage those that can be saved. Feed and water (and play a bit) the dogs, fix breakfast and lunch, clean the kitchen, shower, dress for the day, check email and prepare paperwork for the documentation part of my work day, then into the truck, drop my son at school, and off to work, all before 8:00am.

stock of what is touching the floor and what is not. What is different from my usual pattern of contact? How much sand would I need to fill the spaces in such a way that my skeleton feels completely supported? Where does my In my bag, there is always a list of things that need to be breath go? Is it high and fast, or slow and in my belly? Are my done. Go to the bank, pay bills, make phone calls, prepare for ribs moving all the way around or are they moving only in the classes, do laundry, clean house, grocery shopping, home front? repairs that have been languishing, the list goes on and on. Some days, when car repairs or doctor appointments are Beginning by flexing, then releasing, my ankle (moving my added unexpectedly, the press of the everyday list becomes toes toward my head), I feel the muscles in my lower leg overwhelming. working, the stop working. I wait a moment, then again move and release my ankle and feel what happens in my When those moments arise, I remind myself, “You don’t thigh. Each time I wait a moment before moving my ankle have to do it all right now!” Taking a moment to identify again. Successively, I notice the same side ribs, shoulder, what is really important, what can wait, what is easy to do, neck, and muscles around my eye. Then, I stop and check in and what requires a special time set aside to complete, helps to see what the side that has been working feels like take the pressure off. Some days, that is all I need to do. compared to the side that has been resting. How much sand Other days, well, you know those other days...politics and do I need on each side? Is one side softer than the other? rhetoric are heating up, the economy is slowing down, Does the floor feel like it is tilting? Now, I begin flexing and overseas, there are battles being fought and hunger is releasing the other ankle and go through the same process. rampant. Sometimes, just breathing feels like a major effort. Each time my ankle flexes and releases, I notice a different When those occasions come along, I take a news vacation part of my body, moving from my lower leg all the way up to and spend my eye muscles, stopping between each single movement. some extra Finally, I check in again and feel what is different from the time on the “Feldenkrais is not just beginning for my contact with the floor, the spaces, and what floor. pushing muscles has changed with my breathing. around, but changing One of my The whole process takes only a few minutes, even when things in the brain favorite ways performed slowly and thoughtfully, and the results are itself.” to find what is significantly satisfying. overworking is Karl Pribram, M.D. to begin by So , when the world overwhelms me, I prioritize, take a news Distinguished Professor of lying on my break and get on the floor for a little extra R&R. Things Cognitive Sciences, back and taking always look so much more manageable when I get up again! Georgetown University YOGA WHERE YOU ARE

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by Rebekah Frank

Here are two Spotify playlists to accompany your home practice one is more upbeat and ideal for a faster-paced practice, and one is slower and better suited for a slower practice.

Chill Yoga Flow on Spotify playlist/3vbdyTCYsMKC9gkBS8ZEAs

Upbeat Yoga Music on Spotify playlist/4jidOHNzUMEc5cqNYp6oAB

10-Minute Yoga Sequence for All Levels on YouTube This yoga sequence is great for when you are pressed for time, but would still like to make room for yoga in your day. Suitable for all levels (even the absolute beginner!). Note: if you would like padding underneath your knees, I would suggest using a folded blanket underneath them. If no blanket is available, you can always fold your mat underneath your knees for extra cushion!


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by Ashley Terral Everyone has some sort of image of themselves. I have always struggled with my own self-image. Until coming to yoga, I found that I was always searching for the "body I've always wanted" instead of appreciating my body for what it is today. I used to look in the mirror at my body with disgust. After practicing yoga for a few years, I noticed that over time I started to become fascinated at what my body is truly capable of doing. I struggle still, every day. I still look in the mirror. I see what I have always seen. The only difference is, now I look with compassion and love.

quote by Linda Sparrowe that was really a gentle encouraging reminder that I am right where I need to be: "When yoga teachers are ashamed of their aging bodies, they send a pretty powerful message to their students that says being young, thin, and hip are all that matters. Instead, [teachers] need to present themselves fully— wrinkles, gray hair, laugh lines, and all—and step into exactly who they are: wise and beautiful. I do see how difficult that is in a world where youthful beauty trumps all; to do that, we all need courage, strength, and good role models.”

As a yoga teacher in training, some days I feel like fighting my limiting beliefs about myself is like floating in a boat with a hole in it. I am steady scooping out the water, the beliefs of myself but they are constantly trickling back in. I have learned that this steady practice of the removal of these impure thoughts IS the yoga. My goal is to reach out to people of all shapes and sizes and dis-eases and show them that there is a safe and sacred place that they can learn to love themselves. That place is on their yoga mat. How could I possibly teach this to others without recognizing it all the time myself? Thoughts creep in like, "What right do I have to teach yoga in this body? When I am not physically capable of demonstrating the full extension of these postures?" Hello, the people I am seeking to attract are those who struggle with the same issue. I recently read this

As someone who knows all about a negative attitude in this body, I also understand that it's so easy to fixate on flaws, disease, calorie counts, etc. When we become so wrapped up in these thoughts and allow them to replay in our minds, those thoughts soon turn to physical stress within the body. Stress can manifest itself in many ways, from depression to weight gain, headaches, and so much more. Practicing yoga asana is a stress relieving practice that can help us quiet these thoughts by helping us get out of our own head, giving the mind a break and rest from the self abuse we inflict. It teaches us to let go of our need to be in control. For example, my body


issues and the way I overeat reflect my own need to control things around me. Let's say everything goes terribly wrong today and you immediately go and find a bag of chocolate to comfort you. You eat the whole bag. Does this sound familiar? This behavior occurs in me because I have lost control of the situation and I take control of my feelings by feeding my emotions what they need to feel better. And so the cycle continues. It's almost as if I fear that I will be unable to survive this moment of loneliness, anger, or sadness without finding a distraction: eating. However, when I learned to silence the mind and focus on the breath and body, it began to help me slowly stop the "dangerous habit of perfectionism and to simply appreciate all the good things my body does for me." Continued on the next page

Page 13 The Yoga of Body Image (continued)

image that we have of ourselves and allow the truth to step in, the reality that we are beautiful beings deserving of love and nobody can tell us differently. We are so programmed to believe that we have to look a certain way. That if we have disease we aren't worthy. I believe that there can be contraindications to considering yoga for poor self-image if those experiencing these limiting beliefs are spending lots of time in fitness based yoga or looking online at the way the media displays yoga. This can be very discouraging for someone who is attempting to step out of their comfort zone to try something new. This is why it's important for us to seek teachers who encourage our growth, who are willing to teach modifications as necessary, who help us to know that we are safe and welcome in class, who teach you that YOUR fullest expression of the posture is correct in that moment, and who are willing to show their vulnerability.

The practice of meditation is another way we can learn to quiet these thoughts and just be with ourselves. I spent my entire life with constant obsession over what I was eating and how many calories I've burned and what someone will think of me when I see them out in public. When I started bringing the practice of meditation in with my yoga asana practice, I was able to have sometimes an entire 20 minutes where these thoughts did not creep in. Not even once. This was huge! To me, it felt like healing. Like exposing a deep cut to air long enough for it to begin to scab. I will admit, I do struggle from time to time still. And that's ok. I am human. I am choosing to teach yoga in a body positive light so that I can be in Seva (Sanskrit word meaning of 'service') to those who are struggling with their own body image. "Seva is an expression of compassion, of the desire to uplift and assist people." Teaching with this compassion and desire will help myself and my students confront this YOGA WHERE YOU ARE

When I was less than a year into practicing yoga asana, I had an Iyengar teacher at a gym physically force my very curvy body into a posture that was very painful. I left crying and hurting and angry. It was 3 or more months before I returned to the mat. This was a very negative experience for me and could've kept me from the mat forever. I found that I was taking pictures of myself in postures and then comparing them to those you find online. While those are very realistic and accurate postures, it's not ideal for those who struggle with poor self image to make comparisons. Teaching without compassion and unrealistic expectations of the shapes we are supposed to make because of something we saw in a magazine or on Instagram: These types of things can be detrimental to the new yogi.

In yoga, we combine the breath and manipulation of our body together to still the mind, ease stress, find ourselves, grow confidence, learn how to stay present, and learn how to listen to our bodies. We add meditation to escape from all of the nasty things we tell ourselves, even if for a moment, so that we can begin to heal and see the truth. It isn't something that we can do overnight. It isn't something that we just do and then it's done for good, it's something that we practice, practice, practice. The diligent practice helps to keep the water out of the boat so that we don’t sink into the misery of self-abuse.

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by Meredith Kasenow


The Bhaghavad Gita Essential Hindu scripture. The Bhaghavad Gita is written in the form of a poem-- a conversation between God and man over important ethical dilemmas; namely, moving beyond the self. Without the Bhaghavad Gita, there is no yoga. It’s one of the most impactful and beautiful things I’ve ever read. No wonder it was one of Thoreau’s most cherished possessions. There are a lot of translations available. I recommend either Swami Prabhavananda/Christopher Isherwood’s or Jack Hawley’s.

The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, translation and commentary by Swami Satchidananda “Now, the yoga.” - Yoga Sutra 1.1. It’s required reading, folks. It’s newer than the Bhagavad Gita, but still really old, about 600 CE. The Yoga Sutras offer a clear path to enlightenment through concentration and meditation. This translation maintains the original purity and simplicity of the Sutras. But, do yourself a favor-- take it with a spoonful of sugar by grabbing Nicolai Bachman’s The Path of the Yoga Sutras.

The Heart of Yoga: Developing a Personal Practice by T.K.V. Desikachar Desikachar is the son of Krishnamacharya who essentially invented the physical yoga practice we know today. The Heart of Yoga is a clear and straightforward introduction to what yoga truly is and why we practice it the way we do. It includes a translation of Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. This book has a lot of helpful illustrations and photos and each section includes a Question and Answer portion. It’s as close as we can get to knowing Krishnamacharya’s vision.

The Yamas and the Niyamas by Deborah Adele If you’ve read the Yoga Sutras, you know how important the Yamas and Niyamas are. This contemporary book is a WONDERFUL guide to exploring your life and exercising the yamas and niyamas in a real and practical way. Plus, it’s a very simple read. If you let it, it’ll change your life!

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Asana/Practice Light on Yoga by B.K.S. Iyengar Iyengar was a student of Krishnamacharya’s and one of modern yoga’s “forefathers.” His manual has been around since 1966. It provides detailed, indepth instruction including alignment cues, uses and benefits for each asana, and 600 grayscale photos of Iyengar himself in the poses. It has an appendix sorted by physical ailments (about 100 of them) with recommended asanas for each. This was the first yoga book I ever had. If I could only keep one, this would be it!

Hatha Yoga Illustrated by Martin Kirk and Brooke Boon Visually, it’s just the best. For the most part, it’s a manual of physical asanas but it also includes a great brief history of yoga and yoga philosophy, and includes basics of breath, mudra, and meditation. Filled with large, high-resolution color photographs, each asana is shown in several stages and offers a gentle variation and list of drishti (gaze point), counterposes, physical and mental benefits, and contraindications. Excellent for folks who are just getting interested in the practice.

Yoga Anatomy by Leslie Kaminoff and Amy Matthews Wonderful illustrations that allow you to see what’s happening inside the body during each asana. It’s a great way to learn about the muscles, joints, and functions of the body. A basic understanding of anatomy is paramount to safe yoga practice. Bonus-- sanskrit pronunciations!

The Yoga Bible: The definitive guide to yoga postures by Christina Brown Just an awesome little handbook packed with great images and explanations for 170 postures. It even has a glossary of sanskrit root words and meanings. It’s super compact and cute-- you could carry it in your yoga bag. Be sure to support your local library and look for these books on their shelves!


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by Angie Brown

Materials needed: Fabric: 10" x 10" square of very soft or silky fabric Filling: 1/2 cup dried herbs/flowers or 3-4 drops of essential oils (see chart for suggestions) 1 cup of flax seed, lentils, wheat, or rice Note: You may use a combination of fillings to equal a total of 1 1/2 cups.

Instructions Step 1: Cut out fabric. If using silky fabric, cut with pinking shears to reduce raveling. (see Fig. 1)

Step 1

Step 2: Fold fabric in half length-wise so right sides are together. Pin together. Step 3: Sew 1/2" seam down one short side and pivoting at the corner to continue down the long side. Secure first and last stitches by back stitching (see Fig. 2).




Step 3

Step 4: Turn eye pillow right side out. Measure out 1 1/2 cups of filling. I recommend using a funnel to pour filling into eye pillow to reduce spillage. Turn under the open short end 1/4" and sew with an 1/8" topstitch (see Fig. 3).

Catnip Leaf & Flower

Chamomile Flowers



Calms anxiety Treat insomnia Reduce nervousness Lessen migraine headaches

Calming Uplifting Promotes restful sleep Reduces stress & tension

Aids in decongestion (lungs) Increases brain wave activity Counters physical & mental fatigue

Relaxant Uplifting Stress relief Calms nervous tension, anxiety, and panic Aids restful sleep





Useful for nervous headaches Helps to increase concentration Calmative

Calms nervous tension Sleep aid

Aids in relaxation

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by Connected Warriors

Connected Warriors is the largest community based volunteer non-profit organization in the United States offering trauma-conscious yoga therapy at no cost to Service-members, Veterans and their Families.

This is your Connected Warriors Yoga Self-Practice Guide. Introduction to Yoga

Classical Definition "Yoga is derived from the Sanskrit (ancient Indian language) root yuj meaning to bind, join, attach and yoke, to direct and concentrate one's attention on, to use and apply, also means union or communion. Yoga is a timeless pragmatic science evolved over thousands of years dealing with the physical, moral, mental and spiritual well-being of man as a whole." (B.K.S. Iyengar, Light on Yoga)

Applied Definition Yoga is an ancient system of meditation, breath (pranayama) and physical postures (asana). The practice of vinyasa yoga synchronizes breath (pranayama) with movement in and out of postures (asanas). Yoga breathing techniques and postures build the mind/body connection, cultivating the connection to self. This aids in the ability to observe and stay with inner thoughts and feelings and to remain present. The practice can help you regain a sense of control and ownership over your body and experiences. Practicing yoga is a tool to learn to listen to your body and make choices to take care of yourself – this is mindfulness.


Your Yoga self-practice will help you learn how to handle stressful situations in a more relaxed manner by quieting and focusing your mind, which encourages positive thoughts and self-acceptance. By increasing relaxation and lowering stress, you may feel benefits in the following areas:  Longer and deeper sleep  Increased resiliency to stress  Increased strength, flexibility, balance and focus  Non-pharmaceutical management of pain and anxiety  Improved cardiovascular conditioning, lower blood pressure and weight management  Stronger bones, improved immune functions and increased oxygen supply to the body  Improved mental and physical health; management of PTS and TBI symptoms  Improved self-confidence, self-worth, enhanced ease and equanimity in daily life (continued on next page)

Download our 30-Day Meditation Challenge


Download our Self-Practice for Inner Strength

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by Connected Warriors

Guidelines for Your Self Practice General: Getting ready for your self-practice Connect: Maintain a physical connection to  Review the Connected Warrior’s Inner-Strength the ground, your body, and your mind     

Asana Guide. Wear loose comfortable clothing that allows unrestricted movement. You can complete the practice in 30-75 minutes, depending on the length of time in each posture (asana). Suggested hold is 5 full breaths. Do not eat anything heavy 2 hours prior to practicing. Stay hydrated before and after you practice. Use the blocks and/or strap to support the posture to meet your physical abilities. Listen to your body’s rhythm and adjust your practice accordingly in regards to duration, difficulty, and intensity; consider any injuries, illness and mental stress. Acknowledge the ability to balance the various levels of the body and the mind into an alignment that is effortless. Do not force the body into any “expected” alignment.

Breathe: Maintain conscious breath control throughout your asana practice    

Maintain equal inhales and exhales, preferably through the nose, same length and intensity Typically, inhale during upward movements, opening the front of the body Typically, exhale during downward movements, opening the back of the body Link all movements to an inhale or exhale especially while transitioning in and out of postures

Engage: Use bandhas (body locks) to protect the spine and strengthen your inner core  

Mula Bandha—lift and engage your pelvic floor (perineum muscle) Uddiyana Bandha—draw the abdominals below your naval in towards the spine and lift them up underneath the ribcage.


   

Be mindful of the placement of hands and feet Connect and control the direction of the pelvis in relationship to the spine Connect and control the direction and rotation of extremities Maintain a clear and steady focus, keep the mind quiet and at ease regardless of the difficulty of the posture.

Types of Asanas: This informs the relationship of the spine & pelvis         

Standing Forward Bends Inversions Seated Twists Supine Backbends Arm Balances Neutral

Check-in with yourself – Focus on your breath     

Awareness - Acknowledge and observe your body's physical abilities and limitations Intention - Directing mental energy to control physical action Effort – Balance intensity of action with release of strain, no attachment to outcome Mindfulness - Actively observe and control direction of thoughts Concentration - Focus on synchronizing breath and movement

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from our Rocket City Yoga Week attendees


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by Mitzi Connell As I write this, it’s a gorgeous day in May and this wordplay addict is enjoying a green tea latte, thinking about the word “may.” With 3 letters and 1 syllable, the word “may” is a simple, basic, unassuming word that enters our communication stream on a daily basis. Used as a verb, MAY can express:  Possibility ("How may I help you?")  Permission ("May I be excused?")  Contingency ("Be that as it may...")  Prayer ("May the force be with you.") Used as a noun, MAY can mean:  The fifth month of the year  The early part of one's life  The festivities of May Day. As in life, so on our yoga mat. As on the yoga mat, so in our life. On the yoga mat, we have may-like postures: simple, basic, unassuming, yet they affect our practice over and over again.  Tadasana ( Mountain pose )  Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Dog)  Balasana (Child's pose)  Sukhasana (Cross-legged seated pose)  Savasana (Corpse pose) After a few months on the yoga mat, many new yogis get bored. They see these basic postures as dull and mundane. They often ask how to learn intricate postures that can turn their world upside-down and make their Instagram feed look more thrilling. Are these fancy poses fun? Sure! Do they feel exhilarating? Absolutely. However, if I were to choose a word that relates to these high-falutin’ postures, I would immediately think: “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.”

It’s REALLY fun to SAY "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious," but it’s hard to spell, difficult to type, and it leaves you out of breath! As in life, so on our yoga mat. As on the yoga mat, so in our life.  

What if you were to stick to basics? What if you chose to be simple and authentic in your yoga practice, seeking only to create ease in your body and mind? What if you were to do the same in your daily communications?

(Try it. You may be surprised at what reveals itself.)

(Even though the sound of it is something quite atrocious, if you say it loud enough, you'll always sound precocious…but...I digress...) YOGA WHERE YOU ARE

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by Pam Tejes

Home Practice Teacher training helped me to create a home yoga practice. You have to “take it to the mat” for daily developmental work in meditation, pranayama, and asana practices as well as selfstudy [Adhyayan]. Here is an admission: I had never rolled out my mat at home before teacher training. That’s right — if I wanted to work on poses, I did so on the carpet where there was space or worked on inversions (headstand, handstand) in the foyer with the front door as my support. What little meditation or pranayama work I did was most likely done in bed before sleep or upon waking. I knew this had to change.

Virginia Wolff said, “A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction.” Well, I’ve come to think that one must have a mat and a space of one’s own if they are to have a maturing yoga practice.

Physical Setting It is said that yoga can be practiced anywhere and when it comes to home practice, I’ve even seen postings of people who practice in hallways, closets, and even bathrooms! When space is tight, you make do. Maybe it is mental, but I strongly felt that not having a dedicated space that met some basic requirements was holding me back in some way. My research into this area focused on several elements: flooring, walls, temperature, light, sound, aroma, and props. Opinions on these items weren’t radically varied (aroma being the notable exception). I had already made up my mind that I was going to have this space, but where? Not wanting to


create a household disruption nor invest a large sum of money unnecessarily, it hit me in a flash: we have a gorgeous and sizable space that is appropriated as the formal dining room that we simply don’t use. This room contained a few pieces of furniture that could be moved and met my basic requirements: hardwood floor, soothing color on the walls, natural light and privacy controllable with shutters, and airy (tall ceiling). Even better was this was an easy sell with my spouse who is all about utility and felt this would be a better use of the space since we could count on two hands the times we’d used the dining area.

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by Pam Tejes

Transformation Transforming the space was easy and took less than 24 hours. Our dining table is beautiful so it was relocated to the kitchen area and the dinette there removed. This is a wonderful solution because it makes the kitchen so much lovelier and elegant with the dark wood of the set and since the table and stools happen to be counter height – very practical – I think this table will see more use in the next week than all of last year! There were only two other small pieces of furniture that were equally easy to relocate (did I mention that our style is transitional minimalist?). My husband helped me raise the chandelier and all that was left was a thorough cleaning of the space and rounding up all the yoga props. Finally, I decided to relocate our foo dogs to the entryway as protectors of my space.

Organic Evolution The space began simply but has evolved. An unexpected benefit of this particular room is that it is large enough for three mats easily if I want to practice with others. Now the spouse and cat have their own mats too! I also added a cabinet where I can store books and props and the top is great for candles, singing bowl and other things. I know it will continue to change over time, but for now I simply enjoy my sacred space. Do you have a dedicated space for yourself? What makes it sacred to you? If not, what is preventing you from creating your own sacred space?


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by Dr. Nancy Harden

Timeless wisdom from Moshe Feldenkrais

Haiku for Life We hear "Stick to it" We think "I have done enough" Wonder why no change Haiku for Life (v.2) We hear "Stick to it" We think "I have done enough" Wonder why we hurt Haiku for Life (v.3) We hear "Stick to it" We think "I have done enough" Wonder why we fall Haiku for Life (v.4) We hear "Stick to it" We think "I have done enough" Wonder why we fail


“Movement is life. - Life is a process. Improve the quality of the process and you improve the quality of life itself.” “The aim is a body that is organized to move with minimum effort and maximum efficiency, not through muscular strength, but increased consciousness of how it works.” "Each of us speaks, moves, thinks and feels in a different way, each according to the image of themselves that they have built up over the years. In order to change our mode of action, we must change the image of ourselves that we carry within us."

“I am not seeking to develop flexible bodies, but flexible minds... I am interested in the re-establishment of our human dignity.” “We improve our well-being when we learn to fully use ourselves." "Create in yourself the attitude of objectivity about your subjective self….you must be neutral in your self-observing, what you notice about yourself is neither 'bad' nor 'good' but just 'what is' order to change, if you want to change, you must not judge yourself...”

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by Pam Tejes

1 tablespoon olive oil 1 or 2 cloves garlic (minced) 1 onion, diced 1 teaspoon grated ginger cayenne pepper and cumin (to taste) 2 large carrots, peeled and diced 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and diced 4 cups vegetable broth 1 large can whole or crushed tomatoes, including juices 1/2 - 3/4 cup creamy peanut butter 1 cup coconut milk (optional) or add additional broth or water as needed 2 scallions, green part only, thinly sliced or Cilantro 2 tablespoons chopped peanuts Heat the oil in a pot over medium heat. Add the garlic and onions, stirring often, for two minutes. Add the ginger and cayenne pepper / cumin and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute. Pour in the vegetable broth and tomatoes. Add the carrots and sweet potatoes and bring the liquid to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer until the sweet potatoes are fork tender, about 25 to 30 minutes.

“I was in Africa (Ghana) in 1999 and had this soup and it was delicious. For many years I have tried various recipes and this is the one that has come from trying variations, etc.”

Carefully puree the hot mixture using an immersion or stand blender. Add peanut butter and let it "melt". Add coconut milk or additional broth/water as needed for desired consistency.

Rising Sun Martial Arts 7908A Charlotte Dr SW, Huntsville, AL 35802 Phone: (256) 426-0897


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You may have noticed that sweaty workouts can add up to some pretty stinky clothing. Notice that you have a lot of space around you at yoga class? Just kidding! Here are a few tips for making those expensive workout clothes fresh scented and lasting longer. 1) If the clothing is drenched (e.g., you can wring it out) and you won't be laundering it really soon, then rinse it in cold water just like you would wash the chlorine out of a bathing suit before hanging or putting on a drying rack. Always make sure the clothes are dry before they go into a laundry basket.

3) Wash cottons or materials that have a lot of lint (e.g., towels from hot yoga) separately from the workout clothes that are generally nylon, Lycra, etc., but use the same pre-wash treatment. I use the dryer for towels (even yogitoes), but if the weather is nice and you have a clothes line, even better!

2) When washing a load of your athletic clothing, wash it separately using a pre-wash setting with white vinegar for the pre-wash and a mild detergent for the main wash (I personally like SportsSuds). Baking soda is good also, but be careful about using vinegar and soda together as it will fizz up.

4) Don't forget to freshen your yoga mat. I usually spray mine after every [hot yoga] use with mat refresher - I like the ones Manduka sells.. And remember to clean your mat once a week using a mild soap or spray. You could easily make your own version using natural cleaning agents and essential oils. Typical ingredients might DO NOT use fabric softener! I use a heavy soil setting but include water, vinegar, witch hazel, tea tree oil, and low spin cycle. Be mindful of any closures that might fray essential oils for fragrance and aromatherapy benefits. or catch such as bra hooks, zippers, and Velcro. Make sure these things are closed or place these items in a Note: check your mat's care instructions as some mesh laundry bag so they don't catch on other items and essential oils can clog up porous mats. This will not only snag them or make them fuzzy. keep your mat sanitary and smelling good, but also looking nice and lasting longer. I highly recommend hang drying workout clothes to extend their life - I've had my Lulu tops for years using this technique so I can justify their expense :-)

60-minute FLOW

60-minute SLOW FLOW

Colorblind by Counting Crows One by U2 Clocks by Coldplay Bitter Sweet Symphony by The Verve Desert Rose by Sting Cosmic Love by Florence & the Machine Come a Little Closer by Cage the Elephant The World Can Wait by Over the Rhine I’ve Got My Body by Poi Dog Pondering More Than This by Peter Gabriel True Colors by Phil Collins The Memory of Trees by Enya With This Love by Peter Gabriel

The Tao by Wayne Jones Here Comes the Flood by Peter Gabriel Fragile by Sting Croi Croga by Clannad How My Heart Behaves by Feist All I Need is Everything by Over the Rhine A Love Rains Down by Poi Dog Pondering Sunshine by Keane Power of Two by Indigo Girls Orinoco Flow by Enya Al le Luia by Poi Dog Pondering Gerda and Kai by Jukka Linkola and Orchestra


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by M. Gatlin Wild Thing (Camatkarasana) is one in which the heart is open and joy is pronounced. I can’t help but smile when in this pose. Wild Thing is a fun pose that elicits freedom of spirit. It’s light hearted Maurice Sendak, and playful. It’s invigorating, Where the Wild Things Are energizing and aids fatigue. It also helps create an openness in the body, mind and spirit that I like to give my yoga students perhaps wasn’t there before. homework, something to carry On the physical side Wild with them until our next class. Sometimes this homework Thing Pose stretches the chest, comes in the form of an shoulders, and throat. It opens the affirmation to utilize, quote to hips and stretches the hip flexors. ponder, or action to take on. I It helps strengthen the spine and recently taught a class of increases spinal flexibility. Wild dynamic, fun, sassy women who Thing is a more intermediate are realizing that as they’ve pose. It’s not one to jump into at gotten older they may have lost the beginning of a practice when some of their childlike muscles are cold or tight. It’s also playfulness to their adulthood. My not a pose to jump into if you’re homework for them was “act a just beginning yoga practice or fool!” Now, in the south the unfamiliar with backbends. Just phrase act a fool can have a as at times we must ease into our negative connotation, to wit, wild side we too must ease into when the action is completed Wild Thing. Allow your body to one’s mother would snatch one move through a series of up for acting the said fool. Due to postures to prepare it and the for this pose. Sun this I made sure to explain what I spine are remarkable meant. I challenged my students Salutations preparatory poses, as are Side to play, burst out of their shells Plank and Bow Pose. Those with and have fun, to do something unexpected and out of the ordinary. I encouraged them to sing loudly, dance crazy and dance often, to rip and romp and have a big ol’ good time. I encouraged them to find their joy.

“Let the wild rumpus start!” ―

back or spinal injuries or high blood pressure please refrain from this pose. To practice Wild Thing Pose, after warming up, come into Side Plank Pose from Downward Dog by placing the left hand under the head. Bring the feet together and pivot onto the outer left foot to come into Side Plank with right arm extended upward. From Side Plank step the right foot back, and curl the upper back slowly and lift the hips to begin the backbend. Breathing throughout, begin to drop the head back, continuing to lift the hips, as the right arm extends out with the backbend. Feel the openness of the heart space, the extension in the body, and the freedom that comes from letting go in a backbend. Feel the joy bubble up and escape in a smile. This is Wild Thing Pose. Let the wild rumpus start. © M/Gatlianne 2010 M. Gatlin / The BlueRoof Path

Wild Thing Pose ties, quite fittingly, in with joyous living. YOGA WHERE YOU ARE

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YOGA IS FOR EVERY BODY By Jeni Nordstrom Almost ten years ago I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis. I’d just had a baby and had been practicing yoga asana here and there throughout the pregnancy. When the dis­ease first manifested I had a lot of pain, red, swollen, hot joints. I began to lose some mobility in my elbows, then my wrists and soon it moved into my shoulders. I was unable to bathe myself, put on my clothes and worst of all I couldn’t pick up my baby. I sought treatment and soon began to notice the pain subside somewhat. Since that time I have lost even more range of motion and mobility in my arms and still feel a lot of pain. Every day. There is not a single day that goes by that I am not aware of it being there. I used to feel that there was no way I could do yoga because there were so many things I could no longer do without help from others. In the last year, however, many things have changed that have improved my way of life and my mindset, both towards myself and the dis­ease. I got back on my mat. The first days were difficult: just pushing through the pain and discomfort to move my body proved to be the biggest step and probably the best one of all. I began practicing at my level. I didn’t push myself and quickly learned what postures were out for me, by just listening to my body. I took my first teacher training and had already registered for my second. This helped me to connect with myself and my body and took my personal practice to a whole new level. I took my first teacher training and had already registered for my second. This helped me to connect with myself and my body and took my personal practice to a whole new level. I had registered for my second teacher training so I might get a strong foundation of yoga under my belt. Here I learned (and am still learning) about yoga philosophy and how to live The Yoga each and every day. We have journaled using the book The Yamas and Niyamas by Deborah Adele as a guide. Each Yama and Niyama has a chapter to read and then for 4 weeks you journal according to what that week’s “assignment” is. One small piece of that work was Santosha, or Contentment. This particular piece was, and still is, a work in progress. Rheumatoid Arthritis is a crippling dis ­ease and I have joint deformity from the damage caused by the activity of it. In the past I was very caught up in taking and posting those pretty little Instagram photos and sharing them to Facebook. I followed hundreds of other yogis on both social media platforms but none of my images ever looked like theirs. Learning to not only be content with the body I have, but to be grateful for the Rheumatoid Arthritis for what is has offered me has been a challenge, but I’m finally in a place where I can look at my pictures and see a yogi. One who hasn’t let a small setback like dis­ease defeat her. A yogi who has made a choice to keep getting on her mat, day after day, no longer striving for that perfect “shape” in a pose but instead learning about the muscles used and then modifying with similar postures to receive the same benefit in her body. I am now grateful for the pain because it has offered me opportunity to grow as a student;finding modifications for those postures that are just out of my reach (for now at least). I can now take that knowledge into my teaching of other students who may have the same or similar issues. I began my teacher training to help others like myself see that yoga can be done by everyone. The asana (or physical posture practice) is only a very small part of it. No matter your body shape, size, weight, whether your arms will straighten or not, if you can stand on your head or whether your heels touch the floor in Downward Facing Dog… If you get on that mat… if you practice, both on and off that mat, you are a yogi. You are doing The Yoga. ~Namaste, my friends~


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SOUP                

5 tablespoons unsalted butter 2 pounds carrots, thickly sliced 1 large onion, thinly sliced Salt and freshly ground pepper 4 large scallions, thinly sliced 1/4 to 1/2 Scotch bonnet chile, seeded and thinly sliced 1 teaspoon soy sauce 1 teaspoon chopped thyme 1/2 teaspoon minced ginger 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice 1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg 6 cups chicken stock or canned low-sodium broth 1 small red potato, peeled and thickly sliced 1 bay leaf 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

PEAR RELISH     

4 firm, ripe Bartlett pears—peeled, cored and cut into 1/2-inch dice 4 teaspoons fresh lemon juice 1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice 1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg


1 large ripe plantain Vegetable oil, for frying Salt

INSTRUCTIONS Melt the butter in a large, heavy saucepan. Add the carrots and onion and season with salt and pepper. Cook over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are softened and golden, about 30 minutes. Add the scallions, Scotch bonnet, soy sauce, thyme, ginger, cumin, allspice and nutmeg and stir until fragrant, about 4 minutes. Add the stock, potato and bay leaf and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer over low heat until the potato is tender, about 25 minutes. Remove the soup from the heat and let stand for 10 minutes, then remove the bay leaf. Puree the soup in batches in a blender and return it to the saucepan. Season the soup with the lemon juice and salt and pepper. In a medium bowl, toss the pears with the lemon juice. Fold in the parsley, allspice and nutmeg. Chill the relish. Peel the plantain and thinly slice it on the diagonal. In a large skillet, heat 1/4 inch of oil until shimmering. Add half of the plantain slices and fry over moderate heat until golden brown and crisp, about 2 minutes per side. Drain on paper towels while you fry the rest. Season with salt just before serving. Reheat the soup. Ladle into shallow bowls and garnish with the cold pear relish. Serve with plantain chips. The soup can be refrigerated for up to 3 days and the pear relish for 1 day. The plantains can be fried early in the day; reheat them in the oven. soup


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by M. Gatlin In Tree Pose you will find balance, confidence, concentration and stability. Our Root Chakra lies at the base of the spine and is our connection to the earth. In this area, and through our legs and feet, lie our stability, safety and grounding. Here, we also hold fear. When we feel unstable in life our Root Chakra gets out of balance and our connection to the earth shifts. We literally become displaced within ourselves. Tree Pose is a wonderful way to return to our roots and re-stabilize. While in Tree Pose we allow our roots to run deep and the mind to be strong like a sturdy oak. Our legs become our stable roots, our torso a solid trunk and our head and arms our expanding branches growing and reaching, blossoming and stretching, connecting and growing – releasing our fears. To do Tree Pose, begin in Mountain. Stand with feet together and arms at your side with thumbs pointing forward. Soften the face and the space behind the knees, pressing the feet firmly into the floor. When you are grounded in Mountain, shift your weight to your left foot. Slowly lift your right foot from the ground, bend the right knee and place the sole of the right foot on the inner left thigh where it is comfortable for you. (Modifications: Bring bottom of foot to inside of left calf or ankle. Do not press into the knee.) Keep your right foot pressed into your inner left thigh and bring your hands to Prayer or Namaste` position at the center of the chest. Open the hips; contract the abdominals. (Repeat with the left foot.) Tree Pose is a very active body pose. If you put your entire body in alignment you will be able to balance effortlessly. You will be centered within yourself while centered within the pose. This balance can be carried forward in life. At any moment in our lives we can have the stability and trust in ourselves and our surroundings that we have while in Tree Pose. It only takes centering and settling in our own bodies and connecting ourselves to the world. When we are centered within – we are centered with all.


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by M. Gatlin The trunk of the great tree is connected To its branches that are connected to its leaves The trunk connects to the roots Who are embedded in the earth that drinks the rain that has fallen from the clouds Who are highlighted by the sun that warmed the wind That rustles through the leaves attached to the branches which hold the nest that houses the bird who flies down in the warm wind To land on the rain soaked earth To pluck from it a worm that has Been living in its home in the roots Of the great tree The tree is connected to everything around it Like we are connected to everything around us We are shifting Connecting Moving toward a transformation Of self That will lead to a transformation Of all We are open to all there is Reaching out with all we are Like the branches of the great tree And as our connection grows Each branch grows Nurturing new branches from each bow The tree that is Life Expands and Evolves In never ending possibility Our connection spreads Our branches flourish And the branch that is me Touches the branch that is you Your branch touches another And another until our tree is Thick and full Warmed by the light of a world of hearts Nourished by the falling of a world of tears Rooted by the trunk of a world as one And like the Great Tree is Connected Within itself But also connected to the earth and sky As we are connected to Our Inner Self But also to others and Life Š M/Gatlianne 2010 M. Gatlin / The BlueRoof Path


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by Sheila Levenhagen After final relaxation in class I bring my class back into Easy Pose. I often encourage students to keep their eyes closed while “lifting the corners of their mouth”. Eyes still closed, most will smile. I then encourage looking around the room at one another before finally bowing. Did you know a fake smile has the same effect as a spontaneous smile? Facial movement triggers neurotransmitters called endorphins. Endorphins are “chemical messengers” released by our brain. They make us feel happy and less stressed. The brain “reads” the movement of the muscles in our face. The more we smile (fake or real), the more our brain is stimulated to release endorphins. Dolly Parton said, “Smile. It increases your face value.” Smiling also increases our quality of life as well as the lives around us!

Sheila's Power Punch This smoothie is filling! It’s also packed with goodness and vital energy! Aside from the nutritional information below, it is packed with other nutrients: A,B,C, Iron, potassium & magnesium – and many others! It is a perfect meal replacement. Two handfuls dark greens One yellow-green banana One Tablespoon Smucker's Natural Peanut Butter (amount to taste) 1 Tablespoon Better Body Foods Organic Chia Seed 3 Tablespoons Nutiva Organic Hemp Protein Powder One cup Simple Truth Unsweetened Almond Milk 1 Tablespoon Nestle Baking Cocoa (Amount to taste) Calories 365, Fat 150, Protein 28g, Carbs 34g


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by Pam Tejes Tennis elbow, lateral epicondylitis, is a painful injury caused by repetitive stress and strain to the tendons that connect the muscles to the bone at the elbow. The pain is due to tiny tears in the tendons that get inflamed.

Symptoms Tenderness and/or pain on the prominent part of the bone on the outside of the elbow Pain when gripping and moving the wrist, especially when extending it Morning stiffness

Anatomy for Pronators and Supinators of the Forearm and Wrist

to face up) Originates from the lateral epicondyle of the humerus, lateral collateral ligament of the elbow, annular ligament of the radio-ulnar joint, and olecranon process of the ulna and inserts onto the back and lateral surfaces of the upper third of the radius

Tennis elbow and Yoga

Yoga is very effective in the long term treatment --- Performing a variety of non-weight-bearing yoga poses and exercises is one way to pronator teres treat tennis elbow. Stretching can Pronates the forearm (turns the palm help ease the pain and reduce the to face down); assists in flexing the stiffness associated with tennis elbow elbow according to yoga master, B.K.S. Two heads: the humeral head extensor pollicis longus Iyengar. Until the tennis elbow heals, originates from the medial Originates from the middle part of it's not uncommon to have some epicondyle of the humerus and the the posterior surface of the ulna and discomfort when performing yoga ulnar head originates from the the interosseous membrane that runs poses. But, if you experience extreme coronoid process of the ulna between the radius and ulna and pain, stop. Both heads combine into one tendon inserts onto the dorsal surface of the that inserts onto the lateral surface of distal phalanx of the thumb Contraindicated Yoga Practices the radius During the acute phase any weight extensor carpi radialis brevis bearing poses to the wrist/elbow pronator quadratus Extends and abducts the wrist should be avoided. Pronates the hand and stabilize the Origin on anterior aspect of lateral wrist epicondyle of humerus and insertion Examples are as follows: Originates from the distal quarter of on the posterior base of 3rd  Dandasana (stick pose), the anterior surface of the ulna and metacarpal  Ustrasana (camel pose), inserts onto the distal quarter of the  Adho Mukha Svanasana anterior radius Treatment and Therapy (downward facing dog), Rest  Surya Namaskar (sun salutation), flexor carpi radialis longus Heat or ice  Bhujangasana (cobra) unless Flexes the wrist and abducts (radially Anti-inflammatory drugs arms are off the floor, deviate) the hand and assists in Cortisone injection  Salamba Sarvangasana pronating the forearm Surgery (supported shoulder stand) Originates from the medial Elbow brace or strap  Marjarasana (cat bow) and epicondyle of the humerus and runs Kinesio-taping diagonally across the forearm to  Chakravakasana (sunbird pose). Exercises to help strengthen insert onto the base of the second Modification are allowed if they do shoulder, elbow, and wrist metacarpal bone of the hand not require weight bearing to elbow or wrist. supinator Supinates the forearm (turn the palm YOGA WHERE YOU ARE

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Tennis Elbow by Pam Tejes (continued)

Tennis Elbow Yoga Sequence Vayu assessment

The Vyana Vayu is related to legs and arms; the skeleton, muscles and joints and thus applicable here. To balance vyana: Standing poses: Warrior poses, Trikonasana, and Utkatasana Pranayama practice of nadi shodhana (alternate nostril breathing)

Ayurvedic assessment

With tendonitis there is both excess pitta and vata. Tendonitis is an inflammatory condition that produces pain. The inflammation is excess pitta and the pain is displaced vata.    

Treatment with natural anti-inflammatories i.e., ginger, garlic, bromelains, or aloe vera Ashwagandha Churna (plant that is an antiinflammatory) and Navajivana Rasa (herbalmineral that balances vata and kapha) Agnikarma (thermal cautery) Upanaha - therapy for reducing pain and inflammation of joints or a body part that includes application of a specially prepared herbal cream on the painful site. This therapy is preceded by Abhyanga (massage with warm oil).

Cakra/Energy perspective

Examine the side affected as related to masculine (right) or feminine (left) - use nadi shodhana pranayama to balance. Arms are often considered extensions of the heart cakra and opening or clearing may be needed.

References     

Inner Body Website (has interactive and 3D anatomy images) image/musc07.html Banda Yoga: Scientific Keys http:// tennis-elbow Journal of Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine PMC3667434/


1. Tadasana (Mountain pose—focus on shoulders & posture) 2. Urdhva Hastasana (Upward hands) 3. Urdhva Baddhanguliyasana (Upward bound fingers) 4. Namaskarasana variation (slowly lower hands from chest until forearms are parallel) 5. Ardha Parshva Hastasana (half sideways hand pose at wall)) 6. Paschima Baddhanguliyasana (Bound hands to back) 7. Paschima Namaskarasana (Back palm salute) 8. Utkatasana (Chair pose) 9. Virabhadrasana II (Warrior 2) 10. Utthita Trikonanasana (Triangle) 11. Bhujangasana variation (Cobra pose with no hands) 12. Adho Mukha Virasana (Downward facing hero)

13. Garudasana (Eagle) - arms only, seated in vajrasana 14. Bharadvajasana I (Post of Sage Bharadvaja) 15. Savasana

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by Angela Parton Rousey

HOW TO GET THAT HEALTHY GLOW As a recent graduate of Esthetics, I hear a lot of women ask this one question; “Will exercise make my skin look younger?� I can now fully answer this question with confidence and knowledge, the answer is Yes, and let me give you the best educated answer I can possibly give; As you exercise you sweat, as you sweat you remove toxins that are trapped in your skin, these toxins can clog your pores and ultimately produce blemishes, blackheads and pimples. Exercise also causes more blood flow and oxygen intake which flows to your skin and guess what? That beautiful glow appears out of nowhere making you look fabulous!!! And yes you will look younger with less appearance of wrinkles, blemishes and pimples. So, get busy and get exercising. I love what I do, and because I love what I do, I love helping people reach goals and dreams YOGA WHERE YOU ARE

they may have given up on. Some of you may think that your ability to lose weight or get in shape, build muscle and just live an allaround healthy lifestyle has come and gone. But I am here to encourage you to never give up, exercise will make you stronger, more flexible and more fit. It will improve your endurance to go just a little further and increase your energy. By exercising you improve your ability to move better, feel younger and have that younger look and achieve that beautiful glow from the inside out. Before I sign off for the moment I want to leave you with a few nice recipes for a natural facial cleanse. I hope you enjoy this combination of beauty from Mother Nature. Stay happy, healthy and full of life. Angela Parton Licensed Esthetician

REFRESHING CUCUMBER AND YOGURT MASK Puree 1/3 of a cucumber and 1 tablespoon of yogurt in a blender. Apply it on a clean face. Leave it on for 10-15 minutes and then wash it off with cold water. Follow up with a moisturizer

HONEY & SALT SCRUB Mix together 1 tablespoon of honey (raw or manuka for best results), 1 teaspoon of sea salt and few drops of coconut or olive oil. Gently massage on your skin and leave on for 10 minutes and then wash off first with warm , then with cold water. You will be amazed how great your skin looks and feels. Follow up with a moisturizer.

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by Mitzi Connell In 1993, I was a feisty 25-year old living in Orlando: single, childless, a whole lot thinner, a thrift store shopper, financially broke (and out dancing/drinkin' wine as often as I could afford it), waiting tables at the #1 restaurant in Orlando at that time: Pebbles Restaurant, and supplementing my income with convention/seminar/event jobs through Kelly Services.

It's attended weddings, blind dates & girl's nights out. No seam has come unraveled - this dress is as flawless as when I bought it. The same cannot be said for me. There have been points in my life where I fell apart at the seams. I have completely unraveled at times. I have physical and emotional patches over my scars. The fabric of my life is like a stunning tapestry...but I am definitely NOT flawless.

While shopping at a local downtown Orlando thrift store, I found a $5.00 black dress. It was originally from The Limited. It was knit, boat-necked, raglan-style long sleeves, almost knee-length. This dress is a teacher. Simple. Basic. Figure-hugging. Versatile. Washable. Cheap. MINE. Fast forward a few dozen years to today. I am now a feisty almost-50-year-old living in Huntsville: divorced for 15 years, grayer, thicker, harder, softer, wiser. My heart now walks the Earth OUTSIDE my body, residing within a really incredible human being who calls me "Mommy." My time at Pebbles ended in November '93. I haven't waited tables since and sadly, Pebbles, is now long gone. My days as a "Kelly Girl" (a common moniker back then) helped me start a 13-year career path in recruiting that began as a Staffing Manager in 1996 and ended as a Global Corporate Recruiter in 2009.

It offers me the chance to speak kindly to myself when I don't like what I see reflected back from the mirror. I view the world through wiser, kinder, softer eyes now. This dress continues to teach me to see myself through wiser, kinder, softer eyes. For more than 20 years, this dress has stayed with me an old friend reminding me that regardless of my age, weight, postal address, marital status, income, or career path, we both are expanding & contracting to what life sends our way and that we both are TIMELESS.

After all these year, one thing still remains: THAT LITTLE BLACK DRESS! I still have it! That black dress has quietly hung around through 1 marriage, 1 miscarriage, 1 birth, 1 divorce, 2 dogs, 4 cats, 3 washers & dryers, 4 cars, 7 career changes, 2 career layoffs, 12 relocations, 5 yoga mats, 1 yoga teacher certification, 1 giant entrepreneurial leap of faith, 4 Rocket City Yoga Weeks, more than a few martinis, even more bottles of wine, and thousands of cups of coffee. I wore that dress the night I met my ex-husband. (He used to fondly remember it being a “WHOLE LOT SHORTER” than it really was.) I've gained weight and worn it. I've lost weight and worn it. YOGA WHERE YOU ARE

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by Megan Wheeler Pulp — the leftover, fibrous, and very edible byproduct of juicing fruits and vegetables — can be used in all sorts of breads as well as casseroles, sauces, and desserts. In order to produce one or two cups of juice, quite a number of fruits and vegetables are necessary.

“Waste” makes taste However, there is no need to feel like you are “wasting” all that is left over from juicing when it can be incorporated into cooked dishes and baked goods with ease. In doing so you are not only saving all that pulp from being thrown away, you are also giving yourself a nutritional boost. Making this sweet and pleasantly spicy carrot-apple-ginger juice will leave you with two to three cups of very usable pulp. Since the ingredients used here are relatively sweet in nature, tea cakes seemed like a good choice for using what was left of the produce after juicing. Please note that it is not necessary to peel, trim, or core fruits and veggies in order for them to juice properly. I do so merely to ensure that all the pulp gathered is edible and ready to use.

Carrot Apple Ginger Juice

Makes 2-3 servings. 6 medium carrots, peeled and trimmed 5 crisp apples (such as Granny Smith), peeled, cored, and quartered 1 small knob of ginger, peeled Juice all ingredients and pour into glasses for serving. Tea cake time = Now you are ready and have plenty of pulp to make the tea cakes. These little cakes have a delicious, spicy, ginger flavor and lots of fiber from the carrot and apple pulp. Adding chocolate mini-chips is a good way to distinguish them as a mid-afternoon treat rather than a breakfast, and makes them perfectly sweet. This recipe is a simple “muffin method,” which means that all the dry ingredients are mixed together in one bowl, while the wet ingredients (minus the pulp) are mixed in another, before combining everything together and folding in the pulp and chocolate chips. I like to enjoy one or two of these toasted along with a cup of green or black tea to ward off the afternoon slump.


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Carrot Apple Ginger Tea Cakes 2 cups carrot/apple/ginger pulp 1½ cups flour (all purpose or whole wheat pastry, or a combination) 2 teaspoons baking powder ½ teaspoons cinnamon ¼ cup sugar ½ teaspoon salt 1¼ cups milk or rice/soy milk ¼ cup canola oil 1 teaspoon vanilla extract mini dark chocolate chips (optional)


Preheat the oven to 400°F, and grease a 12-cup muffin tin. Combine the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and sugar in a large bowl and stir with a whisk or a fork. In a smaller bowl, combine oil, milk and vanilla. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and gently combine, being careful not to over mix. Fold in the pulp and chocolate chips, if using. Scoop into muffin tins and bake for 18-22 minutes. Cool in pan for 10 minutes, before removing tea cakes to a cooling rack to cool completely.


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as tweeted by Mitzi Connell (and The Bard)


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as tweeted by Mitzi Connell (and The Bard)


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(paleo, grain-free, gluten-free, dairy-free) by Vanessa Branning

INGREDIENTS 1 cup + 2 tablespoons almond flour 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons coconut flour 1/4 cup agave or raw honey as sweetener 1/4 teaspoon salt 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder 1-1/2 teaspoons lemon extract 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract 3 eggs 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons water 1-1/2 cups blueberries

DIRECTIONS Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Oil the inside of a loaf pan. In a large bowl, combine almond and coconut flour, salt, and baking powder. Whisk to mix well and break up any lumps. In a second bowl, combine lemon extract, vanilla extract, eggs, sweetener, and water. Stir to blend. Add wet ingredients to dry and mix until uniformly moist. Spoon 1/3 of batter into the bottom of the loaf pan. Sprinkle 1/3 of the berries on top. Repeat layers two more times. Bake for 35 minutes. Cool before slicing into slices.


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Page 45

by Michael Streeter

                  

Gauranga Karuna by Rasa Angels Prayer by Ty Burhoe, James Hoskins, Cat McCarthy For What It’s Worth by DJ Drez High Hopes by Pink Floyd Serenity by Godsmack Be the Change by MC Yogi Live Like a Warrior by Matisyahu New Divide (acapella) by Linkin Park Castle of Glass by Linkin Park Desert Rose by Sting The Sound of Sunshine Going Down by Michael Franti & Spearhead Sun Light by MC Yogi What I Have Done by Marie Digsby Titanium by Jasmin Thomspon Forgive by Trevor Hall Diamond in the Sun by Girish My Immortal by Lindsey Stirling Hallelujah by Lindsey Stirling Healing Through Kindness by Nawang Khechog

Read more about Michael: Army Veteran Finds Peace With Alternative Therapy YOGA WHERE YOU ARE

Page 46

by Mitzi Connell During my years as a corporate recruiter, I interviewed a woman who shared with me that she always kept a container of bubbles in her office. She showed me a dollar store necklace that had a miniature container of bubble liquid and a wand. She was never without bubbles.

lifted into silliness. I kept plenty of bubble bottles in my desk and I shared them readily. The news spread. Bubbles began lifting spirits all over the place.

Why? When co-workers or employees would enter her office disgruntled, annoyed, ready to blow their lid, she’d nonchalantly begin blowing bubbles and the tension would dissolve, the mood would shift.

It is impossible to be grumpy when surrounded by bubbles.

I’ve never forgotten her. She gave me a wonderful nugget of wisdom.

Bubbles are unique. No two bubbles are the same. Some bubbles are small, some large. Many keep their individuality to the end. Some are Her rationale? created with tiny offspring attached – like a ready-made family. Other It’s impossible to be unhappy around bubbles start out as separate bubbles. personalities – complete strangers. Then, they lightly bump into each After our interview, I experimented other and connect in mid-air. with her theory. I bought dozens of tiny bubble containers and had them Karma? Fate? Or just a in my office. When co-workers sat random breeze? Who down to vent, I would listen, knows? Better yet, if it sympathize, offer suggestions and cheers us up, who cares? nonchalantly begin blowing bubbles. We humans tend to fear The transformation was change. Yet, we know that instantaneous. bubbles have a limited life span. As you watch the Frustrations became smiles. Anger bubble float along, without gave way to laughter. Depression realizing it, you find that


you’re internally cheering it on – silently rooting for it to keep going – to fly forever. You know it cannot last forever, but does that stop you from creating it? Nah. You smile when one alights on a friend’s hair and doesn’t pop. Perhaps you grab your phone as fast as you can and hope to get a picture. When it inevitably pops, you’re not sad – you grin and laugh, and enthusiastically try again. Bubbles encourage you to bring your awareness to the quality of your breath. They invite you to be here NOW. With one gentle out-breath, we create a one-of-a-kind floating sphere of color and life. In yoga, we study our breath – its width, length & depth. We observe

Page 47

The Grumpiness Remedy (continued) by Mitzi Connell the coolness of our inhalations, the warming qualities of our exhalations. We try to incorporate our breath into our practice, allowing inhales to expand us, exhales to fold us into ourselves. I often tell my students to focus on the exhalation – the inhalation will take care of itself. What if we each wore a bubble necklace beneath our shirts? In times of worry and stress, what if spent a few minutes exhaling these emotions through a bubble wand? What if doing so released fear, angst, frustration and anger from our body? These emotions are heavy - they weigh us down. What if blowing a few bubbles released this weight from our chest and sent something into the world that was airy, light and beautiful?

Homemade Bubble Recipe 6 parts water 2 parts dishwashing liquid 3/4 parts corn syrup Food coloring (optional) Store in covered container. Bubble wand options: Pipe cleaners bent into fun shapes Cookie cutters Anything flat, smooth and sturdy with a hole in it

What if, in our times of joy, we also exhaled these feelings through a bubble wand, filling each bubble with happiness, peace, ease, and trust? Personally, I believe the world could use more of these qualities. What if each bubble existed simply to teach us to be PRESENT? To show us how to be here now - to let go of control, smile, and enjoy THIS moment?


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Page 48

by Vanessa Branning

You’ve just finished a flowy 60-minute session at your favorite studio. There were moments you thought you might not make it through. The sweat was dripping and all you could think about was getting to that sweet, sweet savasana. Finally, you fall heavy onto your mat and let it all drift away… but what exactly are you sinking into on that mat of yours? If you’re like many practitioners, it may have been a while since you cleaned your mat. We finish up and quickly roll the mat to toss it into the trunk or back seat of the car. And if you are in fact like many practitioners, your mat has been to various studios, parks, and probably some other questionable locations when rolled up (bathroom stalls anyone?) So what’s the big deal about skipping the mat wipe down? Well, studios and yoga mats are breeding grounds for fungus like the types that

cause athlete’s foot. Not to mention just general dirty gross stuff from the floors and ground. Put your forehead in that during child’s pose! Many studios offer sanitizing solutions in spray bottles for their members and if nothing else, please use them! But can we really feel comfortable not knowing what chemicals are in the solutions or if they were even filled or mixed properly by the staff? My solution? I made up my own yoga mat cleaner, well I should give some credit to my mom for always giving me books and ideas on how to clean with vinegar. Vinegar with some essential oils is a great combination because of the antimicrobial properties. So here it is. Find a little spray bottle to fill up and keep it in your bag. Just give the mat a good spray down and let it dry. Hello clean, fresh smelling yoga mat!

INGREDIENTS 1 Part White Vinegar (if that smell is too strong, go with witch hazel)

3 Parts Distilled water 20-30 Drops of Tea Tree and Sweet Orange Essential Oils (adjust based on size of bottle) 1 Small Spray bottle


Page 49

by Tammie S. Brown

Hello from the desk of exhaustion and exhilaration! I am so glad to have participated in my first Rocket City Yoga Week. Being the only genre of fitness that was not Yoga, I felt honored and humbled at the same time. I want to say thank you to all that participated in my classes during that exciting and fun week. Restoring Bodies Fitness & Nutrition Services hope you will visit again real soon (maybe after all the classes you tackled that week). I truly believe that “Small Steps Lead to Big Results” we have to remember that Rome was not built in a day and neither were we.... if we were, we would not be human. The reality of the matter is that we all change as life continues on and sometimes we have set backs, disappointments and even out right failures, in life nothing is ever the same. But there is one thing that can remain in the midst of life as we know it from one day to the next, our determination to be the best us we can possibly be. If you are struggling to get back in shape, or become more organized or even become a better parent, wife, father, mother, husband or whatever you are striving to improve, remember to take “Small Steps”. I believe it was Neil Armstrong that said “This is one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind” if you notice the small step came before the giant leap. I encourage you to remain consistent in your quest, whatever they maybe and remember a small step is still a step. It has taken me three years to see some changes in my body, but I was consistent and I took small steps to accomplish one big goal. If you look at the entire goal at once you will get discouraged and frustrated and eventually quit, but if you look at it from one step at a time, when you look behind you, you will be amazed just how far you have come. So, with all this said always remember our Mantra here at Restoring Bodies, “Small Steps Lead to Big Results” and everyone has a day one.


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Page 50

Grow your practipce a little at a time and appreciate the value of small incremental changes.

Vinyasa is a marriage of breath and movement. Be kind to yourself, be gentle, love the positive emerging self that you truly are. by Meshelle Whitt

Let your breath connect you, energize you, heal you and calm you. Challenge yourself to be a force of goodness in the world

Click to watch Meshelle’s Sun Salutations A


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by Sheila Levenhagen Your Personal Pharmacy: Benefits of A Highly Toned Vagus Nerve Don’t you wish there was a remedy that could treat a plethora of health issues and minimize inflammation? Considering this is a RCYW publication, you may believe this is another article extolling the virtues of yoga. Nope. This is about “vagal toning” and your vagus nerve. (Hint: yoga is a part of it!)

What is vagal tone? Simply put, it’s your body’s ability to cope with inflammation and stress. High vagal tone can help you to be more resilient after stressful situations and help protect you from disease. High vagal tone can help you move more easily from an excited state to a relaxed state. Whereas, low vagal tone is associated with digestive problems, uneven and less controllable emotions and disease. Education about your vagal tone may seriously change your life! Okay - what the heck is the “vagus nerve”?! It is your body’s largest cranial nerve and is connected to the respiratory, digestive and nervous system(s). One of the most compelling facts about the vagus nerve is that it interprets what is happening in your second brain – the “gut brain”. It is the catalyst for communication between your brain and your stomach. Messages are sent from the gut to the brain and trigger a response to regulate inflammation. This is based on whether or not it detects bad (disease causing) or good (nondiseased) organisms in the gut. “Disease”, in this case, means many things – from simple discomfort to unbearable pain. Serious inflammation or pathogenic bacteria can lead to worse conditions than stomach aches or constipation. Simply put: High vagal tone can greatly improve the function of the gut. There is more… Many of us are so concerned with muscle tone and how we look. We say things like, “I need to work on my flabby stomach.” or “I should work on the back of my arms.”, or even, “I’m gonna work on toning my legs!” (Never mind the fact that the words, “should”, “need” and “gonna” are useless and self-defeating…) Have you ever heard someone say, “I’m so anxious and jittery – I’ve decided to start toning my vagus nerve!” or “My blood pressure is really crazy so I’m working on improving my vagal tone.”? Probably not. The tone of your vagus nerve is so much more important than your idea of the perfect bikini body.


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The Vagus Nerve (continued) by Sheila Levenhagen

High vagal tone can improve heart rate (heart failure and heart flutters), blood pressure issues, certain headaches (cluster and migraine), mood (mood swings, chronic depression), learning and memory (when you are stressed memory is often compromised) and autoimmune conditions and diseases. High vagal tone can also improve fear management and control anxieties. There are innate fears but some fears are learned. Both can cause great emotional stress. You’ve heard of “gut instinct” – that feeling that something isn’t right? When signals travelling via the vagus, from the gut to the brain and the brain to the gut are interrupted, this has a direct effect on fear and anxiety. These signals manage the relationship between our parasympathetic nervous system (PNS) and our sympathetic nervous system (SNS).

Your PNS is commonly known as “rest and digest”. The PNS works to decrease heart rate and facilitate relaxation and increase digestive activity. Your SNS is “fight or flight”. The SNS elevates blood pressure, heart rate and muscular tone (referring to action, tension and spasm). Anxieties also adversely affect sleep quality, which in turn can increase anxiety. Have you ever had anxiety over your anxiety? That can happen at night when you’re lying there…awake…ruminating and filled with tension! We can all benefit from improving our “resting vagal tone”, creating a life filled with inner peace, comfort and ease (Just imagine the positive implications for those suffering from PTSD!) Increasing vagal tone requires regular practice. We are all genetically predisposed to varying degrees of vagal tone. However, you can still change your resting vagal tone. This is definitely worth your time and effort. Practice, practice! What if you didn’t have to rely solely on benzodiazepines, antidepressants and pain meds to “cure” or manage annoying and even debilitating symptoms? Am I saying to drop your meds? Absolutely not. We wisely elect to make gradual changes. We choose other options such as diet adjustments, exercise and health education – to improve quality of life. Toning your vagus nerve is an incredibly crucial practice, one of the proverbial “Best Kept Secrets”! Ways to Improve, Stimulate and Tone Your Vagus Nerve: Cold water splash. In the morning or when you feel anxious splash your face with cold water constantly for 10-20 seconds. There is actually ancient text that refers to this practice as beneficial!


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The Vagus Nerve (continued) by Sheila Levenhagen

Slow, rhythmic, and diaphragmatic breath. Breathing from your diaphragm (deep breathing), rather than the top of the lungs (short, shallow breathing).

Speaking. Similarly, this is beneficial for vagal tone due to the vagus/vocal cord connection.

doing it mechanically. “Ommm – inhale - ommm”. (You can choose a different mantra or even your favorite tune!)

   

Protecting and balancing your “gut brain”. Healthy gut bacteria helps that positive feedback Yoga and Meditation, especially Loving Kindness loop through the nerve and to the brain. Eating Meditation to promote positive feelings and unprocessed foods and taking high quality goodwill toward yourself as well as others. Yoga is probiotics is a great start! magnificent stress reduction in action – use your My article is truly the “vagus nerve in a nutshell”. breath with every move. The vagus nerve is involved in so many bodily functions and actions. There are many more very Humming. The vagus nerve innervates many interesting things to learn about the vagus nerve. organs, among them, the vocal cords. Humming As they say, “What happens in vagus, doesn’t stay mindfully stimulates the nerve. Take a deep breath in vagus!” and hum with a slow exhale. Repeat several times. If your interest is piqued and you would like to Tip: If you aren’t comfortable humming around know more, here are great sources: people, hum in the shower or in the car. Think of


Psychology Today Wikipedia Return to Table of Contents ↑

Page 54

by Cathy Lighton

RELAX Remove your thinking from perfection and shift it toward your personal best. Don’t allow the mind or body to become rigid and stiff, allow for openness and flexibility.

OPENESS Keep your head up and your heart open in order to receive the energies the universe has to offer.


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by Cathy Lighton

STRENGTH True strength isn’t just physical; it’s being strong in mind, body, and spirit which is only gained through practice and dedication.

GRACE Holding yourself to a high standard that you are not willing to compromise.


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by Cathy Lighton

HUMBLENESS In all things be humble and kind, true holiness is only found in humility.

BALANCE Life is truly a balance. For me I believe being both strong and soft is the ultimate balance and something few have mastered.


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by Cathy Lighton

GOALS Set a direction for yourself, you are stronger and more capable than you think. Goals give us something to strive toward and focus on. Goals, when achieved make us feel strong and powerful.

ACCEPTANCE Accept that you are human, be forgiving of yourself. You will stumble from time to time but with all the above practices any and all things are possible. YOGA WHERE YOU ARE

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Page 58

by Karen Doehrman

Add yoga to your cross-training! So you run, bike, swim, golf, climb, play tennis—maybe a little more than some people. Maybe your friends call you fanatic or crazy. Maybe adding yoga to your crosstraining several times a week will improve more than just your flexibility and range of motion. You think? I know it does.

My Toolkit for Athletes 1. Why Do Yoga?

Why Practice Yoga?

2. Essential Poses 3. Resources for Athletes

Injury Prevention

4. Get Outside!

The flexibility you gain stretches tight muscles and improves your range of motion. Tight muscles are prone to acute injuries so let’s loosen them up. Repetitive injuries are caused when we don’t move smoothly. Yoga improves this range of motion so that your body can find its most efficient path to move when you ask it to perform. Stretching elongates muscle fibers. When asked to produce effort, they shorten. An accumulation of lactate acid builds. Long and relaxed muscle fibers can contract more and produce more force. And the stretching helps your body process lactate after exercise and improves muscle oxygenation. Endurance Yoga helps you to grow from the inside out. Why is that important? are creating more room for your respiratory system to function. You can better utilize your oxygen intake: sending that precious fuel to your muscles. People with excellent endurance have a greater capacity to deliver oxygen to the working muscle. We see it time and time again, someone with perhaps more raw talent gets beaten by someone who has better endurance. Continued on next page


5. Mental Strength

Page 59 Yoga for Athletes by Karen Doehrman

We know how tight, brittle muscle impacts our hamstrings. Have you thought how tight, stiff, inflexible muscle impacts your diaphragm, rib cage, and chest? Compare and contrast breathing into a balloon versus a plastic jar. A little extreme but you get the picture. The more your lungs can work effectively (the more space you create inside) you can push it. Lengthening your torso through stretches and deep inhalations and exhalations is growing that internal container. We achieve this through opening the chest and rib cage. Mental Focus Mental awareness and focus come into play on race day in a large way. By being able to focus on your breath, you are better able to concentrate in demanding circumstances. By developing this intense focus, you can avoid being distracted. Tuning out non-essential “noise” on race day can keep the athlete focused on tweaking him/herself to find what he/she needs to do at that moment. This mind/body awareness gives you the ability to observe the patterns of tension in your body and adjust accordingly (again, sound familiar, Method athletes?) Pacing yourself becomes intuitive because you are calm and collected. Running

relaxed is much more effective than running tense and tight. Tight, tense running requires more energy to operate and more opportunity for pain. Being in tune with yourself, you can intuit where you are at that moment, what stores you have, and what you have left to give. Being conscious of your breath teaches you to pay attention to your breathing during periods of exertion. You will learn to manipulate your breathing during these times to focus and push through – to endure- the increase in the stresses you are asking your body to make. Secondly, you will learn to use the breath to relax, preserving energy when you can to use later for other speed bursts. You can actually force your body to relax and lower your heart rate through breathing. I have used this to my advantage before the swim start and beginning the swim leg. I have also used this controlled breath/mind focus during times on the bike when my legs felt like concrete until I get back into that good feeling. By learning to let go of memories of the past or projections into the future, you can focus on the present, be “in the moment”. Staying aware of the present keeps your mind from being overwhelmed and allows you to be calm no matter what the conditions are.

Continued on next page


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Page 60 Yoga for Athletes by Karen Doehrman

Why Practice Yoga? (continued) Yoga can be relaxing and restorative. It can also be very intense. The intense part of yoga trains your mind to “be� in an intense situation and maintain calmness and focus in the face of physical uncomfortableness. This skill of encountering intense discomfort while quieting your mind and becoming only aware of your form and your breath makes the situation manageable.

Recovery Many athletes do not take rest and recovery seriously. It is critical to keep progressing. Use yoga as an outlet to relax. So much of training and competing is so goal oriented. We need to take a mental break from that mentality and allow our minds


to take the pressure off of ourselves. Yoga is a practice; a process that we continuously use to our advantage because it feels good. The more relaxed you are, the better the body will recover from the stresses of training. Constant physical, mental, and emotions stresses take their toll on your body without you being aware of it until it is too late. Overtraining is a serious problem. Yoga engages the parasympathetic nervous system and restores balance to your body so that you sleep better, recover faster, and are able to keep a healthy mental state. ~Karen Doehrman

Page 61 Yoga for Athletes by Karen Doehrman

Why you need it.


Cycling creates a posture that leads to muscle tension and imbalance in the spine. In a constant state of flex, hunched in aero, athletes need counteracting movements to restore this balance: backbends stretch and elongate to correct and counter this posture.

Salabasana (Locust Pose)

Dhanurasana (Bow Pose)

Superman Pose

A long, strong spine allows the chest to open more fully allowing great oxygen intake and flow to muscles.

Setu Bandha Sarvangasana

A strong core supports your body during the swim for better alignment. A stable core is a must for good running posture. Body alignment during the run begins with a strong core. Note: many of the core/abs poses are intense on the lower back. You should always incorporate a “counter” pose – i.e., a pose the moves that body part in the opposite direction to ease the tension. After for example, holding the boat pose, you may want to roll over onto your stomach for a child’s pose. Alternatively, lay flat on your back and allow one knee/leg to cross your body to the opposite side and allow your hip to roll up off the mat, releasing the lower back muscles.


(Bridge Pose) 

Purvottanasana (Upward Plank Pose)

Spinal Balance



Navasana (Boat Pose)

Reverse Table

Gate Pose

Planks of all kinds! Return to Table of Contents ↑

Page 62 Yoga for Athletes by Karen Doehrman


Why you need it. Hips are the “core” of movement for the cyclist. If this is weak, the upper body works harder leading to back strain. Creating a greater range of movement in the hips releases tension in the spine. Slow, sustained stretches reduces the stress that repetitive activity places on your joints. Hips, thighs, knees, and ankles should all be pointed in the same direction on the bike. These stretches are designed to restore balance if anything is off track in these muscle groups. Better alignment helps you to economize energy, riding longer more comfortably.


Crescent lunge

Bound angle



Cow Face

Downdog: 3 legged with hip opener

Tension is the runner’s antagonist. Hip misalignment and/or rigidity can strain the knees. Each time you run, if you are unbalanced, the issue (knee, hip, ankle, shin) get exacerbated and rarely heals on its own. Runners experience tight hip flexors without counter stretches to correct the imbalance in repetitive motion. Hip flexors shorten and tighten and cause hyperextension in the lower back (back pain). This constant arched position blocks fluid hamstring muscle too. ~Karen Doehrman



Happy Baby

Warrior Poses

Page 63 Yoga for Athletes by Karen Doehrman

Why you need it. Chest expansion increases lung capacity for all sports. Breath awareness is critical during the swim. The ability to control and manipulate your breathing with deep, full breaths not only increases your cardiovascular capacity, but focuses your mind on stroke and breath coordination. The openness of the chest aids in good stroke range of motion during the swim. Bilateral breathing is easier with good chest looseness.



Bow Pose



Upward facing Dog

Reverse Plank

Yoga Mudra

Chest expansion (with band)


Side Angle

Volcano Return to Table of Contents ↑

Page 64 Yoga for Athletes by Karen Doehrman

Why you need it. Cyclists often have overdeveloped quads which results in shorter, tighter, weaker hamstrings.. Tight hamstrings limit how far the back will bend before forcing the chest to close (restricting your lung capacity) Without restorative, elongating, and loosening the muscles from running, your body will compensate any imbalance and overwork other muscle groups.. Muscles are our natural shock absorbers. Brittle muscles cause the joints to rub and grind, potentially tearing.. ~ Karen Doehrman

YOGA FOR HAMSTRINGS & QUADS Warrior I Downdog Pyramid Forward Fold

Runner’s Stretch YOGA WHERE YOU ARE

Reverse Triangle Reclining leg stretches Seated leg stretches:: nose to knee and shoulder to knee Inner thigh work: bound angle, forward facing frog, or wide-

legged straddle stretch

Page 65 Yoga for Athletes by Karen Doehrman


Prasarita Padottanasana (Wide-Legged Forward Bend)

Malasana (Garland Pose)

Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose)

Upavista Konasana (Wide-Angle Seated Forward Bend)

Lower Legs 

Toe balance

Single-leg standing balance poses

Virabhadrasana III (Warrior III)

Glutes and Outer Hip 

Utkatasana (Chair Pose)

Anjaneyasana (Low Lunge

Any split-legged standing pose based on Virabhadrasana II (Warrior II) legs

Single-legged standing balance poses


Upper legs 

Utkatasana (Chair Pose)

Single-leg standing balance poses Virabhadrasana III (Warrior III)


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Page 66 Yoga for Athletes by Karen Doehrman

Why you need it. These poses strengthen your lower legs and teach you to be aware of your center of gravity as it relates to your body working as one unit.

Creating whole-body functional strength they give you more joint stability, training the muscles and tendons to stabilize the joints. This prevents acute and repetitive type stress injuries. The standing poses will strengthen small stabilizing muscles in your lower leg, feet, and ankles while stretching your hip muscles at the same time.



Warrior I

Warrior II

Warrior III

Standing Knee-to-Chest


Page 67 Yoga for Athletes by Karen Doehrman




More Articles: 

Winning Strategies for Cross-training from Yoga Journal

Yoga for Athletes: Loosen Tight Hips Muscles

“The mental abilities and skills a runner develops can have a big impact on their racing performance and even whether they finish a given race. In the article this month, we will review two of the key mental skills that can be practiced as a complement to your physical training. Your ability to use affirmations and visualization (imagery) will improve with practice as in other mental techniques and you will learn which particular sayings and routines work best for you. Strong mental abilities give you another tool to improve your confidence, monitor body signals, overcome tough patches in races and decrease anxiety prior to a race.”

The program includes meditation and mindful movement, such as yoga, and emphasizes aspects of mindfulness that athletes are especially likely to struggle with, such as developing “selfcompassion” to deal with perfectionism. This approach makes sense,” says Dr. Matt MacDonald, a medical doctor and mental-performance coach who teaches a course on mindfulness for athletes at the Centre for Mindfulness Studies in Toronto. “The main benefit athletes get from studying mindfulness is an increased ability to focus,” MacDonald says.

“The more an athlete can image the entire package, the better it’s going to be,” ~Nicole Detling, a sports psychologist with the United States Olympic team.

~Shawn McDonald


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Page 68 Yoga for Athletes by Karen Doehrman

Invigorate your practice and get out of a routine. Add some adventure and playfulness into your yoga.

“Yoga means ‘union,’ and when it’s practiced outdoors it seems like the union with nature, humanity, and the universe is truly felt,” says Hilary Kimblin, a Hatha yoga teacher and owner of Yoga Under the Trees in Beverley Hills, California. Being outside can intensify the yoga experience in many ways, since nature inspires—focusing awareness, breathing deeply, practicing stillness. .A good point of consideration is to embrace rather than battling the elements. a breeze can deepen your breathing, the warm sun can deepen poses by allowing muscles to stretch, and an ant can invite you to focus on something small and still.

Free your Yoga Spirit! Being outside in open space gives you a freedom that you cannot duplicate indoors. It’s definitely a different feeling outside of a studio. It may even feel uncomfortable at first! But it grows on you. When you can relax and tune into the environment, then you find that nature and yoga are the most natural combination. It’s a sense of harmony and timelessness. Make sure you bring these things! sunscreen, water, towel, allergy medications and sunglasses, and perhaps insect repellent


Page 69 Yoga for Athletes by Karen Doehrman

If you love being outside, consider taking your mat outside! 1.

BEING OUTSIDE. Breathing the air, listening 5. UNEXPECTED BEAUTY. Experiences to the crickets, feeling the breeze, the

happen to enrich your time - fish jump out

warm weather, smell the outdoors and

of the water, an eagle soaring through the

breathe deeply.

sky, or a butterfly landing on your toe.

2. AMAZING VIEWS. When you are lying on your back looking up at a beautiful blue

Embrace these! 6. GROWING YOUR PRACTICE. Practicing

sky or forward folding and looking upside

outdoors is an excellent way to hone your

down at the green of a tree flowing in the

skills of staying mindful and present. on

wind, this is what feeds your soul and

remaining present. Tuning distractions or

quiets your busy mind. Plus, who can deny

just allowing them to “be” and not distract.

the wealth of beautiful places in Huntsville 7. NEW APPRECIATION FOR POSES. Salute to get inspired and be out in nature?

3. CHALLENGE. Practicing with your feet in

the sun! Literally. Being outside connects

you in ways to the poses that you may

the sand or grass is not as easy as being on

have never considered. Mountain. Sun

a flat mat in a studio. This allows us to

Salutations. Moon balance. PLAY.

focus more on balance – it builds the

8. WIND AND VITAMIN D. There is nothing

secondary muscles in your feet, hips,

like a breeze to cool you down and make

knees, and spine. It is harder! The ground

you feel happy to be alive. Feeling the sun

might be uneven, a lady bug might crawl

on your skin is like a tonic for what ails you.

across your mat, a butterfly land on your


big toe, or the sun may be shining in your

inverted brings a whole new dimension to

eyes, but that is what outdoors unique!

what you are hearing and seeing.

Breaking from you normal safe zone is a


good thing! Play with your yoga – take the

Completely give in to what you are feeling.

seriousness out for a bit.

Incredible meditation. Float into the happy

4. MUSIC OF NATURE. Tune in to the

place that you actually are a part of. You

chirping birds, wind in the trees, crickets

are connected to the earth. Nature is a

and cicadas, and the waves lapping up on

powerful metaphor for life.

the beach.


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by Rebekah Frank Before beginning this wellness check-in, please read through the instructions a few times so that you are familiar with the process and can focus on checking in rather than peeking at the instructions ☺ Instructions: Start by finding a comfortable seat, preferably one where you are able to sit tall and have a straight spine. Alternately, you can lie flat on your back.. Close your eyes and pay attention to the sensation of your breath going in and out of your nose. Notice if your breath begins to change naturally once you bring your attention to it. This is merely an observation, so try not to assign any judgments to what you notice. If your attention begins to wander at any point during this exercise, gently guide your attention back to your breath. Starting with your feet, start to give your body a “mental scan”. Are there any areas where you feel tension, soreness, tightness? After you have checked in with your body as a whole, notice the sensations in your body in the following order (again, not passing any judgments – just noticing!): 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12.

Toes Arches of the feet Heels Ankles Shins/calves Knee Upper Thighs Hips Stomach Chest/Ribs Shoulders Upper arms

Take a few breaths and notice what you notice. Any sensations or feelings that you notice should be acknowledged and then allowed to leave your mind – like the currents of a stream. Focus your attention on your breath and try to let your mind be relaxed and still. Ask yourself, “What does my body need in this moment?”

13. 14. 15. 16. 17.

Elbows Forearms Wrists Fingers Move back up the arms, through the shoulders to your neck/throat 18. Jaw muscles 19. Facial muscles – around the eyes and cheek bones 20. Top of the head

Next, ask yourself, “What does my mind need in this moment?” Allow 20 seconds for thoughts to arise. Finally, ask yourself, “What does my heart need in this moment?” Allow 20 seconds for thoughts to arise.

Bring your hands to your heart (either in a prayer position, or directly over your heart with one hand Allow whatever thoughts arise to come to the laid on top of the other) and finish with one more surface and observe them without passing breath – one smooth, even inhale and one smooth, judgment. You may have one very persistent even exhale. Before opening your eyes, give thought or many fleeting thoughts. There is no right yourself a ‘thank you’ for taking the time out of your or wrong answer. Try to notice as many as you can day to check-in with what you need. Allow the for about 20 seconds. corners of your mouth to lift slightly and open your eyes. ☺ YOGA WHERE YOU ARE

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“A photographer gets people to pose for him. A yoga instructor gets people to pose for themselves.� ~Terri Guillemets YOGA WHERE YOU ARE

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Š2016 Mitzi Connell All Rights Reserved This publication may be shared as long as it is not altered in any way, falsely misrepresented, or distributed in any illegal or immoral manner


Profile for Mitzi Connell

Yoga Where You Are  

Rocket City Yoga's collaborative magazine of yoga wisdom, relaxation, mindfulness tips, asana practices, quotes, recipes, and a bit of sass!

Yoga Where You Are  

Rocket City Yoga's collaborative magazine of yoga wisdom, relaxation, mindfulness tips, asana practices, quotes, recipes, and a bit of sass!