Navel to the Spine

More yoga jargon explained. “Navel to the Spine” is another a verbal que used in yoga, as well as Pilates and strength training. When presented with this instruction we want to engage our core, by pulling in our abdominal’s.

Remember just the abdominal’s only! I say that because you want to ensure you don’t create a “C” like shape with your body. You don’t want to slump forward, nor would you slouch your upper torso or tuck your pelvis. You just want to engage the abs by pulling them in with your muscles, not pulling them in by sucking or holding in your breath. Think of how you would pull in your abs if you’re trying to pull on a pair a slacks or jeans that could be a bit tight or ill-fitting, or perhaps you don’t want your tummy to stick out in a tight dress or skirt.

When performed correctly this not only strengthens our abdominal’s, but also creates an integrated core of strength that supports our body. We can become a pillar of strength using our core to support our spines. We create stability with strong abs. We add to our freedom and range of movement, and create fluidity of our muscles throughout our body.

I hope this helps to demystify some of the common jargon we hear out there.



Holding Space

Holding Space is a term often heard in yoga and other spiritual types of work, but it’s highly likely that not all understand the impact, the meaning, and the significance of holding space. Unless you have either been fortunate to be involved in a spiritual or yoga community from the get go, or had someone sit down and explain the term, you might not be able to fully grasp the lovely meaning behind this term. Now I consider myself to not only be open-minded but to have an open heart. While I had a feeling I knew what this term meant, to be honest as a personal rule I never like to assume anything.  So in my quest for enlightenment if you will, I decided to be a seeker of knowledge and truth. To discover what holding space means and share my interpretation of my findings.

There are several uses and meanings for holding space. You can hold space for your self with in your meditation or yoga practice. You can be responsible for your own space. In this space your warm, safe and loved. Whatever your heart may desire, the manifestation is out there waiting for you. If you hold the space, you’ll create the place, to make your dreams come true.

Holding Space

When you hold space for others, say in a yoga class environment, your creating a safe, loving and good atmosphere for the others you are holding the space for. We as the facilitator’s or holders of the space if you will, are offering ourselves up as a container for any overwhelming thoughts or feelings our companions may be encountering on their path. Everyone has and is responsible for their own space. But that doesn’t mean one person can’t hold the space for another until they can make it for themselves. Did you know there are other ways people in our lives have held space for us? Think back to when you were in school, unbeknownst to us our professors held space for us to grasp our unknown potentials. As kids our parents automatically held a safe space full of hope, and love so we can grow up with confidence. We hold space for our friends when they are upset due to one circumstance or another, and we offer them a shoulder to cry on, love, comfort, and a sympathetic ear.

Another way to look at it is that holding space for someone means staying engaged and present with them while they undergo a process of self-inquiry and discovery of truth. When we hold the space for someone we are just present, listening, and validating. We aren’t judging, giving advice or offering a solution. We are just there, in the present moment, holding their pain, their anguish, their joy, their space.

It not difficult to hold space, just remember this easy rule, if you hold the space, you’ll create the place. Intention is the key.

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Shit Yogi’s Say

I found this video amusing and figured I would share. It debuted a few weeks back and is one of the latest installments following in the path of the popular “shit people say” memes. A well-known Canadian based yoga-clothing company, Lululemon’s created this latest campaign / parody of a parody: Shit Yogis Say.

What are your thoughts on this video? Do you like it or find it annoying? Are you tired of the “shit people say memes?

Yoga and Cultivating Compassion

Karuna is a Sanskrit word that roughly translates to the actions taken to diminish the suffering of others. Helping others in their healing process can also help us. Today I woke up with an intense feeling of need to extend and voice my compassion to others out of love. Its part of my own healing process after all.

If I were to take a trip in the way back machine, several years ago I decided to take action since my mental illness [Severe Depression] was consuming me. It’s no lie that I have to work everyday to keep my depression at bay, and will continue to do so for the rest of my life. Yogic practices and the knowledge system behind it have made the process easier. I am able to cope with life, I can deal with stress better, and I can actually laugh at times, smile or think positively. Huge steps.

I wanted to share bits of my own journey. I know from experience, that when information in the past was shared with me, it was hard to accept. Especially when I felt like others did not understand how I was feeling or what I was going through. How could they truly offer or provide me compassion. In other words it was as if they were on a soap box stating all this information that would be helpful, but yet not being ones who suffered themselves the information and compassion only went so far. Sometimes compassion and love is all you need to motivate you. It is this reason that I share my journey with you.

My goal is for other mental illness sufferers to know that while you may feel alone, you aren’t the only one feeling this way. I realize at most times you might feel like your existence is bleak. You have no hope or positive thoughts entering in your mind. It does get better. It won’t happen over night, it won’t be easy, it will take work, but if you want to feel better, which I am sure most of you do, the help and resources are out there for us. They are out there just waiting for us to tap into them. We all have so much potential, and its up to us to realize that. When our life might be out of sorts and we feel off kilter we have to be reminded of such things. We have to be reminded that we are not alone. With depression we are so often caught up in a fog and feel hopeless, that along with all the other symptoms is no way to live. I would not wish depression on my worst enemy, that is if I had one but you get the point. It’s a terrible thing to live with, however it can be turned around.

I feel like it helps define me, not in a bad way mind you. It is one facet that makes me who I am. I can embrace it now, as part of the process of compassion. The spin or positive thoughts I can say about depression is that it has opened up new doors in my life. New avenues to learn and the ability to provide compassion to others who are out there suffering, some of which are possibly even in silence. This blog is my “Karuna”.

Remember that you really are loved and cared for. Your not alone, no matter how alone you may feel. I hope you can feel the warmth of the sun’s healing light today. I hope you can feel relief today, if even brief, and have a smile on your face. Love and light to you.

Hug Your Muscles To The Bone!

The first time I heard the common yoga instruction “hug your muscles to the bone“, I thought to myself  “uh oh, what the heck does that mean? What am I supposed to be doing now”? Often in a class setting we are shy or embarrassed to ask during the middle of the class. In a private setting at home, if you are watching a DVD, you either have to do some research or just continue on and hope the teacher explains it.

This journal tracks my yoga progress along with sharing tidbits that might help others out there.

I eventually figured it out, but I know that in my yoga quest I knew I could not be the only one out there who didn’t know what this meant. Once I figured out what it meant it made so much more sense to me, and I hope this explanation does the same for you. So with our further ado, hugging your muscles to the bone is to engage your muscles, thus creating more stability in your body.

Let me know your thoughts. If this explanation helps make sense of some of that common confusing yoga jargon.

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