Category:

Yoga

Tight Shoulders? Best Shoulder Stretch Ever!

https://nykdanu.com/tight-shoulders-best-shoulder-stretch-ever/

I have some crazy tight shoulders. Before I was a Yogini I was a body builder and a hairstylist and both of those activities led to some really tight shoulders. Those tight shoulder muscles in my case also led to wrist issues.

So to say that I have focused a large amount of my Yoga practice time to stretching my shoulders would be an understatement! Thanks to this stretch, my shoulders have become much more flexible and my wrist issues are completely gone.

So if you suffer from tight shoulders or wrist issues, this is for you. In the video below I’ll walk you through step by step my favorite shoulder stretch.

Once you are familiar with this pose you can even practice in “Yin Style” by increasing the length of time you hold this working your way up to five min holds. This will really help you get into the fascia as well.

If someone you care about is suffering with shoulder or wrist issues please share this post with them.

Happy Practicing

ox nyk

Yoga For Your Neck

https://nykdanu.com/yoga-for-your-neck/

If you’re like me and suffer from neck stiffness then you’re  going to want to add this stretch to your daily routine. You can even do it at work at your desk.

Because of the nature of our western lifestyle and all the sitting at desks we do, it’s pretty common to have some neck drama. Taking just a couple min once or twice a day to do this pose will make a big difference to your quality of life and amount of pain you have.

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In the video below, I’ll walk you through one of my go-to neck poses. If you can do this at least once during your workday and once before bed, you’ll notice big changes in your tension and could even improve your sleep.

 

Happy Practicing.

ox nyk

 

What Is Yoga Nidra – By Allison Goundry

https://nykdanu.com/what-is-yoga-nidra-by-allison-goundry/

Yoga Nidra is a guided relaxation/meditation practice where the practitioner is led through a creative exploration of the 5 Koshas (layers of being): physical, energetic, mental/emotional, intuitive and bliss.
We lay down get comfortable, we become still. The brain gears down, the body drops into healing mode, and the mind starts to quieten.  The aim is to stay awake throughout, though falling asleep is common, or to get a sense that you were aware, but not remember the practice entirely. Time and space disappear, leaving you to experience pure consciousness.

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What makes this practice transformational is when the practitioner takes advantage of the slower, more receptive, relaxed brain state to plant (when guided) a single, positive, personal “I AM” statement  (Sankalpa). Here, we can access the wiring of our subconscious mind to release and reprogram beliefs and perceptions that are no longer serving our growth. With dedication to a powerful sankalpa, we can create new, positive pathways within, accessing the inner resources readily needed at this stage of your evolution.

Life Before Nidra
I took my first Yoga Nidra class in 2007 when I flung myself into Yoga to help me recover from a breakup (with the man I am now gratefully and happily married to). I was angry, sad, hurt, resentful, and had become dispassionate and lacking the spark for life that I had previously possessed.  I sought out Yoga as a healthy “hobby” for healing. I had taken asana classes in the past and they made me feel amazing, so I bought an unlimited pass and committed to going to class daily. My weekly Nidra class, however, felt like the missing piece – quiet, deep and introspective, it was quality time focused on my soul and healing my heart.

Falling In Love With Nidra
It only took one Nidra class to fall completely in love. The way I felt afterwards was indescribable. Each Tuesday I would float home, grounded and clear. The first Sankalpa I ever worked with was “I am the embodiment of joy & light.” I lived and breathed that affirmation of who I knew myself to be underneath the heaviness. Day by day, I began to see the light I was beginning to stoke within me being reflected back. I saw beauty even in the darkest moments – a perspective I continue to hold, that life’s hard knocks are actually an opportunity in disguise.

Sharing From The Seat Of The Student
I never intended to teach. I walk into class as a student sharing their imperfect exploration of a limitless, life-long practice. I took a training in Bali in 2011 to deepen my personal practice, and that’s where everything changed. I taught for 7 minutes (it was terrifying!), but what I taught surprised me: Stillness and Peace. I remember thinking, If I were ever to teach anything, it would be Yoga Nidra. I still feel that way.

 

My Life, My Nidra
This is the practice I love and prefer to give wherever and whenever I can. I get oddly protective of it because it has given – and has returned to me – some of the most valuable pieces of my heart and soul. It holds some of the most potent medicine I could ask for; its wisdom keeps me coming back, even when I shy away from turning inward and diving into the depths of what I am processing. It has helped to piece together a heart continuously opened by love, loss and change, to find healing and patience in times of illness, injury or uncertainty, to weather storms, and to gather strength when I’m running on empty…
It is a strong tool to access authenticity and truth. It’s impossible not to call my own bullshit now. It has shown me that we are not the naggings of our physical bodies or the steady stream of thoughts running through our heads. We are not as limited as we believe. We have a lot of choice in not only how our life shows up, but how we face what we feel we didn’t choose.
Nidra is perfect for our chronically over-tired, over-stressed culture, but just as the physical practice becomes more than just about the body, Nidra beckons us to become still – that elusive golden key that unlocks big change.
Diving deeper into this practice over the last 4 years, in particular, has been the biggest game changer. I feel both like a different version of myself and a woman who is more of the person that she has always been. I have greater ownership over the parts of myself that help me be truthful to myself, what I need and don’t, and a stronger mirror to my imperfections which serve to help me grow.

 

Fascinated by the power of breath, stillness and intention as a gateway to wholeness and healing, Allison Goundry shares the quiet-yet-transformative practice of Yoga Nidra to willing souls looking to become more deeply acquainted with the inner landscape of who they are. You can learn more about Allison her classes and private sessions on her website www.allisongoundry.com

 

Images of Allison: www.brentcalisphotography.com

Insomnia & Stress Yoga To The Rescue

https://nykdanu.com/insomnia-stress-yoga-to-the-rescue/

Whether you’re naturally a night owl like me or just going through a period of insomnia or high stress, having a wind-down routine will help you get a good nights’ sleep.

If you’re suffering from insomnia due to serious anxiety or stress and none of the tips I share here help, please don’t hesitate to reach out to a counselor or therapist. Yoga is an amazing healing practice but sometimes we just really need support and someone to talk to!

 

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In the video below I’ll give you some tips and tricks to help you wind down and get a good nights’ sleep.

I don’t spend a lot of time in the poses in this video so once you know the poses feel free to spend from three to ten minutes in each one.

Ok, grab your Yoga props and let’s practice.

 

To your good health and a great nights’ sleep ox

nyk

Yin Yoga – Shoelace Pose

https://nykdanu.com/yin-yoga-shoelace-pose/

Shoelace pose is a great way to get into the muscles and fascia in hips, butt and IT band, which can feel cursed in our culture because of all of the sitting in chairs we do.

Because the muscles and  fascia in the hips are so dense they really benefit from the long hold in Yin Yoga. The hips and the butt being chronically tight can be one of the causes of mis-alignments of the spine and can lead to back pain.

Yin Yoga Shoelace pose

If you sit at a desk all day then doing this pose daily would not be to often! Practicing this pose regularly can keep you from becoming a tight ass 😉

In the video below I’ll walk you through the complete ‘how-to’ of shoelace pose including options for those of you with knee issues.

 

Happy Practicing

ox

nyk

Yin Yoga – Caterpillar Pose

https://nykdanu.com/yin-yoga-caterpillar-pose/

Caterpillar Pose is a great pose to open up the tight muscles and fascia of the whole back of your body including the legs and back. So depending on your intended area, you can use props to change up this pose to be more legs, more back or even a bit of both if that’s what is needed.

caterpillar pose

In the video below I’ll walk you through the complete how-to for Caterpillar pose including modifications and how to use props to customize your pose to suit your needs. If you have bulging disks you’ll want to keep your spine long and back flat in this pose instead of rounding your spine.

Happy Practicing!

nyk

Yoga Music- New Earth Records Review

https://nykdanu.com/yoga-music-new-earth-records-review/

One of the questions I get asked a lot by my Yoga students is where do I get my Yoga Music from. It would be impossible to do a blog post about ALL my Yoga music (cause I have a shit ton of it). But I can highlight some of my favorites.

I love New Earth Records and I would say 80% of my Yoga music is from New Earth Records. They have a big variety from up-tempo and a bit dance-y to super atmospheric and spa-like, so whether you are doing a Yang (flow) practice or a Yin practice they likely have something for you to  help you get your ‘Yoga groove on’.

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If  you’re new to buying Yoga music, starting with some of New Earth’s compilations is a great way to sample a few artists all at once.

I have these compilations:

  • Grace
  • Prana Yoga
  • Shambala
  • Spa Lounge
  • Spirit Lounge

 

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The first Yoga CD I ever bought was by Chinmaya Dunster and I have bought several more since then. Chinmaya Dunster’s work is on the more lively side and great for Yang (flow) Yoga.

Chinmaya Dunster Cd’s  I have:

  • Yoga: On Sacred Ground
  • Yoga Lounge
  • Sacred Temples of India
  • Feng Shui
  • Fragrance of the East

That’s what I have so far but really I want all his CD’s.

The second  favorite artist is Deuter. I find some of this music too Flute-based (not my favorite instrument) so I always listen before I buy. I would say his music is better for Yin Yoga as it tends to be more atmospheric.

The Deuter CD’s I have are:

  • East Of The Full Moon
  • Eternity
  • Flowers of Silence
  • Koyasan
  • Tibet: Nada Himalaya 2

I have a few Terry Oldfield and again I try before I buy with him as well because he also tends to be flute-based. Again I would say Terry Oldfield’s work is more Yin than Yang but there are some exceptions.

Terry Oldfield CD’s I have are:

  • Yoga Harmony
  • Journey Into Space
  • Sacred Touch
  • Reiki Flow

I have 2 CD’s by Osho and I would say it is a bit softer but could be used for either Yin or Yang Yoga depending on your preference.

The Osho CD’s I have are:

  • Garden Of The Beloved
  • Ten Thousand Buddha’s

Rasa makes beautiful music. Kim Waters has a beautiful voice. I tend to use if for Yang since I prefer more sound-scape-y type music for my Yin.

Rasa CD’s I have are:

  • Saffron Blue
  • Shelter

So there you have a small peek into my Yoga Music collection.

Visit New Earth Records website to listen to samples and click though to either by Cd’s or MP3’s either through iTunes or Google.

Happy Listening

ox

nyk

Yin Yoga – Butterfly Pose

https://nykdanu.com/yin-yoga-butterfly-pose/

Butterfly pose can be done a couple of ways depending on your intention. The first way is to stretch the tissues of the back (like in a forward bend) and the second way is to target the muscles of the inner thigh.

So depending on your intention, you can customize your Butterfly pose. In this post I’ll include how to do Butterfly pose both ways.

Butterfly pose variation 1:

Yin Yoga Butterfly Pose 1

This variation is great for rounding the back and stretching the back of the body and can be more accessible for those of us in the ‘Tight Hamstring Club’  than some other forward bends.

However if you have bulging disks you should try to keep your back long and flat as you come forward instead of rounding your spine. You could also do this pose lying on your back in the same shape holding your ankles or shins.

How to do Butterfly pose

Butterfly pose variation 2:

Yin Yoga Butterfly Pose 2

This variation is great for stretching the inner thigh. If your knees are up quite high in this version, because of tight hip flexor muscles (you can thank chairs for that), you can put more padding under your bum but don’t lose heart if your pose doesn’t look like mine.

Happy Practicing!

nyk

Yin Yoga – Dragon Pose

https://nykdanu.com/yin-yoga-dragon-pose/

The majority of my students have super tight hip flexors. Most of the time this is because of the hours spent sitting in chairs. Dragon Pose is one of the most effective ways to release these chronically tight muscles. The hip flexors are the muscles that attach the front of your hips to your thighs. If you’re not sure where these muscles are don’t worry you’ll become well aware of them when you come into this pose 😉

Dragon pose is often the ‘least loved’ of all the Yin Yoga poses but if you work at a desk it’s one of the most important for you. Practicing Dragon pose every day would not be too often.

Because this pose is so challenging you need to have some extra mindfulness about keeping your mind focused on the intended area and your breath. Don’t let the monkey mind start jumping all over and judging your experience and telling stories about your experience. Just try to stay with the sensation and breath into it.

In the video below I’ll walk you through the whole buffet of Dragon pose options including the rarely chosen ‘Screaming Dragon’  variation.

How to do Dragon pose


Peace, Love and Happy Hips!

nyk

Yoga For Gardeners

https://nykdanu.com/yoga-for-gardeners/

Spring has sprung. So it won’t be long now before I have students limping into my classes with all kinds of sore spots from weekends of hardcore gardening. Our growing season in most of Canada is pretty short, so those who are avid gardeners dive in head first and barely come up for air.

Gardening is often confused with a super gentle activity that only seniors do but anyone who has gardened knows that is not the case. Gardening is a workout, especially at the start of the season when you are getting ready to plant.

Organic market fruits and vegetables

I consider Gardening a revolutionary act. Growing your own food is one of the best ways to have control over not only what you eat but also how we treat the earth. The most inexpensive way to eat local, organic and GMO-free.

Some of my fondest childhood memories are of time spent gardening with my Grandma who was an organic gardener most of her life. Although I can’t grow my own food at this point (no yard), I salute those change-makers who can and do.

I dream of a world where every lawn is replaced with a garden, where every school and hospital grow their own food. Imagine how much more connected to the earth kids would feel if they actually got to learn about growing food. How much healthier would we be if we trashed the packaged hospital food and replaced it with organic, local veggies and fruit!

So as a tribute to you, the revolutionary hardcore Canadian gardeners, I made this video which includes some pre and post gardening poses to help you rock your gardens this year.

 

Please share this post with friends and family who garden!

Viva La Green Revolution,

nyk