Favorite Five Postures for Journal Discovery

Pick five different postures and focus your energy and breathe towards them.  Challenge yourself to begin and finish your practice differently than your usual practice.  You may need to write down your Favorite Five Postures for reference during your newly found practice and for future practices. 

I recommend a yoga journal for all my clients after a year of study.  It is a wonderful way to develop your own personal practice without pressure.  The journal can begin with writing down one favorite posture.  Then in years to come, the journal can grow into a series of writings and reflections on your own personal practice and favorite quotes and sequences from teachers and mentors.  

It is a great idea to make three different sections in your yoga journal.   Here is a journal format I like to follow:

1.      Meditation/Reflection
2.      Favorite Five Postures for Practice- organize under the following practices. 

a) Restorative Postures

b) Active Hold Postures

c) Active Flow

3.      Choreographed Yoga Sequences- placing postures into a full practice

Organization in the beginning of yoga study can develop a working mind towards creativity and reflection.  Also, taking steps towards organization will leave you feeling less overwhelmed with developing your own personal practice.  Find motivation and comfort in starting simple with the Favorite Five Postures.  This will build personal confidence and keep you moving towards more.   

After reflecting on your Favorite Five Postures place thirty minutes aside to create and hit your mat.   If you choose a Restorative Practice allow your body to fall into breathes for up to one minute or 16-24 long deep breathes.   In an Active Hold Practice you will focus on holding your specific postures for 6-8 breathes.   An Active Flow Practice will allow your body to dance through each given posture after 1-3 breathes. 

 I will offer some suggestions towards each of these given Practices and place focus on my personal Favorite Five Postures.  I welcome you to try these and then challenge yourself to create on your own.  Enjoy and embrace your personal Favorite Five.  You will be welcoming your body and mind into a wonderful world of personal practice and yoga discovery!

 

Physical Practice for Favorite Five Postures

Below you will find three different practices Restorative, Active Hold, Active Flow.  My personal Favorite Five Postures are included in each. 

Restorative – hold for up to 1 minute or 16-24 long deep breathes. 

Child’s Pose

Downward Dog

Seated Forward Fold

Yoga Toe Lock Extension on Mat

Corpse Pose with legs in Open Goddess

Active Hold – hold for 6-8 breathes. 

Forward Fold with Yoga Toe Lock

Tree with Arms in Open 5th position

Warrior III

Headstand

Handstand

Active Flow-hold for 1-3 breathes. Repeat Active flow sequences up 6 xs. 

High Mountain to Forward Fold with Roll up through Spine

Warrior I /Warrior II/Side Angle Stretch/and Reverse Warrior

Upward Dog to Downward Dog with Plank Holds

Seated Forward Fold to Plough

Rock and Roll (3 xs) with Shoulder Stand

 

This blog is written and created by Lindsay Schaefer. For more information on Movement for You, A Way of Life Practice or Artists in Unity please visit the following sites. 

www.movementforyou.com  and www.artistsinunity.com

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Movement-for-You-and-Artists-in-Unity/179731992111934

lindsayschaefer@movementforyou.com

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Ballerinas, this is for You!

We are Graceful Bodies that dare to dream the dream.  

Our Simplicity can carry others into the most powerful place of Awe and Wanting. 

We can Adapt to every movement and sound around us to create a picture or story. 

Maturity was developed early through years of training and dedication. 

Our beautiful Presence can be felt immediately in a room of one to a thousand or more. 

The bodies Mold to embrace the past and present…………

 As we Listen……….

We can hear the tiny footsteps of a Ballerina. 

 

I share this practice from my heart with all my past, present, and future ballerinas.  I thank you for your dedication in the studio environment with me whether it was recently or years before.  Keep training Smart and Hard with each and every practice, technique class, rehearsal, or performance.  Continue to gather knowledge of different dance techniques and alternative movement practices such as yoga, Pilates, and conditioning for your training future. 

Our bodies are our instruments to perform and communicate with to fellow dancers and community.  Cherish your given instrument as if it is your sacred temple.  We will only ever have one body to dance with, move with, and give with.   Bring awareness to all the beautiful traits your body has right now.  Picture your grace in demi plie and love your body and thank your body for this.  If you love your arabesque embrace it every day. Thank yourself for training your body to master this given exercise.   Give to your every movement whether technique, movement phrase, or conditioning practice as if an audience of over a 1000 is watching.  Your body will work better with imagery.  Your body will accept your positive viewpoint more and in return improve.  

If you see only negative in critique this movement practice will give you the pathway to accept critique positively.  Your mentors will be hard on you at times to push you to the next level.  They are your guide to your dreams and all your wants in dance.   They will help you see your pathway more clearly.   Our mentor’s critiques will guide us to all of our dreams whether it is to study dance in higher education, perform with small or large companies, or be a supporter and activist for the arts in future years.  Accept your mentors critique as if it is a wonderful ticket to a fantastic roller coaster ride of dance discovery. 

Now, if you are your hardest critic carry this beautiful phrase with you through your practice-

I embrace my body and love all my movements whether they are perfected or need work. 

You need to retrain your body with this imagery and statement before class, rehearsal, or alternative movement practice.   Your voice is the strongest tool you have to making change in your instrument and your given temple.  Your voice can nurture your temple and guide it to change.  Allow your voice to give your instrument and temple change. 

I give this practice to you to discover all the endless possibilities in dance and the arts.  Keep dreaming every day bigger and bigger.   Keep believing in those tiny little ballerina and dancer footsteps and all the Awe that can be expressed and felt.  Keep doing all that is possible to nurture those beautiful instruments and temples that were given to you.

Your voice

Your body

Your mind

These are the keys to unlocking all your potential in the arts and in life. 

Fly ballerinas Fly!

 

Physical Practice    

Repeat the below five postures together (1-5) 8-12xs  for 3 sets.  

  1. Child’s Pose Stretch with Breath and Focus
  2. Cat/Cow
  3. Spinal Balance Moving
  4. Active Cat with Arabesque Toss and Hold
  5. Upward Dog to Downward Dog

 

Repeat the below standing five postures together (1-5) and with the given breath and repetitions. 

  1. Forward Fold with Yoga Toe Lock- 8 breathes with hold
  2. Mountain/High Mountain/Forward Fold Sequence- 8xs with moving breath and flow
  3. Squat/Jump back to Plank/Move from plank to downward dog/Return to Squat and Standing Mountain- 8xs with moving breath and flow
  4. Eagle- 8 breathes with hold on right and left side
  5. Yoga Toe Lock- 8 breathes with hold on right and left side

 

Repeat the below five postures together (1-5) 12xs for 3 sets.   

  1. Rolling like a Ball
  2. Seal
  3. Boat- 12 counts of breath for 3 sets. 
  4. Tuck to V Extension
  5. Seated Forward Fold to Plough to Standing (Rock and Roll to Stand)

 

This blog is written and created by Lindsay Schaefer. For more information on Movement for You, A Way of Life Practice or Artists in Unity please visit the following sites.  www.movementforyou.com  and www.artistsinunity.com

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Movement-for-You-and-Artists-in-Unity/179731992111934

lindsayschaefer@movementforyou.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

Purity Driven Practice

Here is a quick 15 minute practice to connect you to your own spirit, partner, or friend.   I have shared this practice with loved ones, my husband, friends, and company members to reestablish purity in a given relationship.   This practice will refresh the body with breath and flow and open your heart to listen.  I wish you happiness in renewing your personal spirit towards yourself and others.  Connect to your inner fire and allow that voice to carry you in new directions in your own life and with others through this Purity Driven Practice.    

Please share this Purity Driven Practice with a friend or loved one.  It is a wonderful practice to give to each other.  Set up two mats side by side and breathe together, share together, and let the practice carry you both to a new place.  Enjoy and embrace your beautiful practice!

Physical Practice

Mountain High/Low Stretch

Meet in Mountain at the top of your mats.  Stretch arms to open high fifth and feel as if you can touch the sky.  Be present in this stretch for 4-6 breathes.   Extend up and out of the hips to forward fold.  Stay present in forward fold for 4-6 breathes.  Roll up through each vertebra of the spine to mountain.  Repeat Mountain High /Low Stretch 4-6xs. 

Quiet Sequence

Meet in Squat parallel position with hands alongside the feet and step back to plank posture.  Hold Plank posture for 6-8 breathes.  Gently shift the body weight to downward dog and hold another 6-8 breathes.  Release shins to lay flat on the mat, relax spine, and arms to meet in child’s pose for 6-8 breathes.  Find downward dog and walk feet forward to forward fold and recover to mountain.  Repeat Quiet Sequence 4xs. 

Cat/Cow Mountain

Stand in Mountain with feet hip width apart.  Place hands on the top of your thighs and curl the spine into a mini contraction to allow the spine to curve.  Push further down through your legs with your hands and allow the spine to release into a mini upward dog posture viewing the sky with an open chest.  You will work back and forth through this Cat/Cow Posture up to 12 xs and for 3sets. 

Moving Warrior I

Meet in Mountain at the top of your mat.  Shift your right foot backwards into Warrior I stance as your front left leg bends into lunge.   Your arms will take an open fifth position reaching for the sky.  Move through this posture with a rhythm of 1, 2 back and 1, 2 forward to recover to mountain.  Repeat the Moving Warrior I on the left side and continue the repetitions for up to 2-3 minutes. 

Moving Warrior II

Find your Warrior II posture with hips open in side space.  You will then move through your Warrior II to Reverse Warrior and Side Angle Stretch.  Repeat this series of posture work for up to 16 counts back and forth from Warrior II to Reverse Warrior to Side Angle Stretch.   Repeat on the other side. 

Mat Work Sequence

a)      Pre- Roll Up with hundred pumps- Lay on your mat with your knees bent and hip width apart. Place arms above in open high fifth position and engage your core naval to spine to roll up to a pre-roll up posture.  Repeat the pre-roll up posture 3 xs.  On the 3rd set you will hold the hundred posture and pump the arms for 8 counts.  Repeat the entire posture 4-6xs. 

b)      Half Wheel- Find pelvic tilt and place hands underneath spine in a clasp position.  Rotate the shoulders down the back one at a time to find half wheel posture.  Hold this posture for 4-6 breathes. 

 

 

This blog is written and created by Lindsay Schaefer. For more information on Movement for You, A Way of Life Practice or Artists in Unity please visit the following sites. 

www.movementforyou.com  and www.artistsinunity.com

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Movement-for-You-and-Artists-in-Unity/179731992111934

lindsayschaefer@movementforyou.com

 

Shed the Layers

 Stress builds slowly in our bodies as we all know.  We will start to feel the headache, tension in the neck, irritability under our skin and the physical signs make us stop.  For stubborn and high paced individuals, we can walk through life with burdens such as the ones mentioned and accept and cling to them as if they are normal.  The beauty about regular movement practice is we can learn to Shed the Layers underneath the stress developing through specific postures. 

When we are stressed we can feel as if an extra layer of thick unwanted skin is on our bodies.  In order to Shed the Layers of unwanted emotions, stress, or fears we need to feel and face the uncomfortable.  For the anxious and stressed filled individual they have trouble sitting still.  Their bodies will sometimes lay in sleep and still move.  Restlessness is present not only during nighttime but during the day in various forms.   We are going to work through this hyperactivity feeling through breath and visual focus.  

In my Movement for You Practice I speak about Circle of Breath.  We will train the body with a speed driven breathing called Puff Breath and flow into Circle of Breath.  We will also bring awareness to Focus Point and gathering internal energy.   The Mental Practice will shock the body into reality and help you to Shed the Layers of stress beneath.  You may feel exhausted from these two Mental Practice exercises at first.   In fact you may even need to try them, process them, and walk away.  Try to return to these exercises with time and be open to retraining the mind with positive behavior instead of negative.  Once you connect to both of these mental practice exercises you will be able to Shed the Layers and stimulate positive senses for your physical practice. 

Mental Practice

Puff Breath into Circle of Breath- Place you hands on your lower abdominal area.  Pucker you lips as if you are going to give someone a kiss and breathe out with two rapid puffs of air.  You want to repeat this series of double puffs with force and speed for up to one minute.  You want to repeat the Puff Breath for up to 3minutes or 3 sets. 

Once you have complete the series of 3 with the Puff Breath carry the breathing into Circle of Breath.  In Circle of Breath you will slow your breathing and bring awareness of the energy going through the nasal passage only.  Carry one inhale through the nasal area and down the front portion of the body for up to 3 counts.  Allow the inhale breath to gain energy in the abdominal core region and then exhale and return the breath up the front portion of the body and out through the nose.  Repeat the Circle of Breath 6-12xs.   

Focus Point Awareness for Internal Energy Imagine your favorite food, person, or color before you.  You want to place this image directly in front of your eyes as if you are staring the object, person, or thing down. As you are present with your favorite food, person, or color tune all other sounds out.   If you have trouble finding a focus point pick something more elementary as your Name.  You can simply say your name over and over for up to 30xs till the focus point awareness kicks in.   Your body will feel calmness from the repetition.  Stay with the repetition of your focus point throughout physical practice whether you whisper it to yourself or say it allowed.  

Physical Practice

Please note this physical practice is a level 2 practice.  Practice with care.  

Yoga Toe Lock with Puff Breath-  4-6 Puff Breathes while you are extending Left and Right Leg in Yoga Toe Lock Posture.  Wrap your second and third finger around your big toe and extend the leg in front of you to create an L position in mid air.  Repeat 2x on left and right side.   

Forward Fold with Toe Lock- 4-6 Breathes in Forward Fold with Toe Lock Posture. Lengthen your spine and extend forward in a folded position.  You want to try and place your chest on the front of your legs.  Wrap the second and third fingers around your big toe to engage in Toe Lock.  Repeat 2 xs.  

Classic Headstand- 4 sets of classic headstand holding 30 seconds to 1 minute each.   

Full Wheel- 4 sets of full wheel holding 30 seconds to 1 minute each.    

Shoulder Stand- 4-6 breathes in shoulder stand.  Repeat 2 xs. 

Half Moon- 4-6 Breathes in Half Moon.  Repeat 2x on left and right side. 

 

Allow yourself to be present with the uncomfortable emotions such as fears, frustration, pain, and all internal emotions.  Then we can Shed the Layers of emotional stress through physical practice.  Our bodies will then have clarity and we will be ready to face others, situations, and ourselves with more openness and acceptance.  Begin to Shed the Layers today in order for life to be more complete and full tomorrow.

This blog is written and created by Lindsay Schaefer. For more information on Movement for You, A Way of Life Practice or Artists in Unity please visit the following sites. 

www.movementforyou.com  and www.artistsinunity.com

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Movement-for-You-and-Artists-in-Unity/179731992111934

lindsayschaefer@movementforyou.com

Negative Build Up

Being aware of our own perceptions, the way the body and mind takes in everything around us will help to block the negative from coming in.  We need to evaluate and reflect on everything in our lives whether it is people such as family and friends, situations, careers, lifestyle habits, and even patterns of constant giving or receiving to determine what is causing Negative Build Up.  

As an artist, creativity is my outlet.  My creativity helps me to flush the negative impulses and judgments that I may hold on myself or others away.  My creativity is most vibrant when pain or emotional conflict is sometimes present.  I reach out to the studio to shed the negative toxins away and to release the Negative Build Up that my body may be storing.   

When I first start on creative projects my emotional connection to the negative is sometimes loud and clear.  In ways it takes me days to get comfortable with where the emotions are going to take me through choreography, teaching, writing, or creating in other disciplines.   There are times when the creativity feeds off the emotional negative and the baggage around me.   However, there are also other moments when the Negative Build Up blocks the creativity process from even happening.  

We all have artistic tendencies in our hearts.  Everyday people should try to reflect on the Negative Build Up in their lives as artists’ do.  You will find wonderful release from seeing the negative eye to eye or face to face.   Confront the Negative Build Up whether it’s through a good cry, screams out loud, writing, or doing a mental or physical practice of meditation.   Take for example, a child falling into a tantrum in a public space.   We have all seen these children rebelling from their parents or caregivers.  In fact, we may have been one of these children years back.   You may find that you judge the parents or caregivers when you see these episodes occurring.   But, if we could take a minute and reflect on the importance of tantrums in a child’s life it may bring perspective onto our own lives and dealing with our own emotions.

 As adults, we need the human body to release its emotions and Negative Build Up just like that child pulling a loud and annoying tantrum at age four.  We need to confront the Negative Build Up more often through tears, screams, confrontations good and bad with others and ourselves.   Our body will then feel a release and be able to identify Negative Build Up in the future days.  Once we reflect and confront our Negative Build Up we will be freeing the body of pain, guilt, barriers, low self esteem, and an unhealthy cycle of living. 

Here is a Mental and Physical Practice that I share from my heart to rid the body of Negative Build Up.  It is a practice I move towards on Negative Build Up days and when I know I need to break down negative in front of me to reach the positive.   I give myself this practice when I find I can’t create or I am questioning my progress as an artists, teacher, or everyday person on our beautiful earth.  The practice is clean, simplistic, and will open your heart to creativity and emotional release such as tears/screams/or journaling.  Allow the emotions to surface and be respectful towards those emotions.  

You may need to commit to this practice for 3x a week for at least 2 weeks to find benefits and release in Negative Build Up.  For others they may open and respond to the practice in one session and begin to cleanse the Negative Build Up.   Our bodies are all different. For this reason, we need to respect our bodies and minds and how we react to the given practice emotionally and physically.

I share my heart in this practice to help rid you of Negative Build Up.  Enjoy the release and cleanse of the body.  You are in control of freeing your mind and body of Negative Build Up.  Now, hit your mat and commit to facing the Negative Build Up eye to eye. 

Mental Practice

Sit in half lotus or crossed position on your mat for 3-5 minutes in meditation.   During this meditation phase listen to your circle of breath and heartbeat.   Say out loud 3 negative feelings you may be experiencing or holding on too.   The 3 negative feelings can be about your body and mind; what you are dreading in your day or week ahead; or a general pain emotionally or physically that you are carrying from another person/situation/or place. 

Place intention towards the 3 negative emotions before you.  Each practice you return to in this 2 week period recall the intention if you can.   As I said earlier, you may be able to release the Negative Build Up after one practice.  Your body and mind may not recall the negative intentions that you brought awareness too.   If the body does recall the intention place it towards the practice for up to a 2 week period.  With time and reflection, the body will be naturally rid of Negative Build Up, the negative feelings will be gone, and positive intention will be present.  

Physical Practice

Sun Salutation Work for 4-6 repetitions.  Place focus on expanding and opening your chest to the sky on your first sweeping movements of the arms in Sun Salutation work. After this opening of the chest continue into forward fold, step back to downward dog, and continue into child’s pose and upward dog.  Return back to downward dog and walk forward with your feet to meet your hands in forward fold.  Roll up through the spine and place hands at the heart in pray.  Repeat 4-6 repetitions.    

Cat/Cow Posture in Mountain.   Stand in Mountain with feet hip width apart.  Place hands on the top of your thighs and curl the spine into a mini contraction to allow the spine to curve.  Push further down through your legs with your hands and allow the spine to release into a mini upward dog posture viewing the sky with an open chest.  You will work back and forth through this Cat/Cow Posture up to 12 xs and for 3sets. 

Active Chair with Moving Arms.   Stand in mountain and allow your body to sit back as if you were going to sit in a chair.  You will be in a parallel plie stance with your knees placed over your toes in the open mountain position with feet hip width apart.   Release your hands down by the side of your legs while sitting in Chair Posture.   Then release your hands and arms above you head to open 5th position.  You will swing your arms back and forth from the sides of your legs to high open 5th position for a 3 minute time frame. 

Active lunge work and open heart.  Find a deep parallel lunge stance with right or left leg behind you.   Extend your arms to open high 5th position and allow your front standing leg to release into plie and straightened lunge work.  You can repeat the active lunge for 8xs.  

Hold the lunge and begin the open heart posture.  While you are in an active lunge lean forward to place your fingertips alongside your standing front leg.  Release the arms and fingertips back up to an open high 5th position.  You will work back and forth from the floor to the open high 5th position with arms for 8xs. 

Repeat the entire posture on the other side. 

Upward Dog to Downward Dog for 10 sets.  Find child’s pose on your mat.  Press into your hands and sliver forward leading with the top of your head to Upward Dog.  Your chest will now be extended upright and forward while your hips remain on the mat in modified upward dog.  Press into the metatarsal of your feet to extend the hips off the mat to an advanced upward dog.   You will then lift the pelvis with abdominal and spine awareness into Downward Dog.  Your body will resemble 2 parts of a triangle- hands will be on the front portion of your mat as your heels are pressing into the back portion of your mat.  Repeat upward to downward dog for 10 sets.  Rest in child’s pose as often as you need. 

L Posture at the Wall.  Place your mat long ways from a sturdy wall or door.  You will then place your heels close to the wall as you take downward dog posture.  Start to walk up the wall with your feet as you naturally place energy and weight through your hands.  Your body weight will shift over your hands, your shoulders will stack over your wrists, and hips over your shoulders.  You want to create an upside down L posture from the wall.   Hold this posture for 12 breathes.  Repeat up to 3xs. 

This blog is written and created by Lindsay Schaefer. For more information on Movement for You, A Way of Life Practice or Artists in Unity please visit the following sites. 

www.movementforyou.com  and www.artistsinunity.com

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Movement-for-You-and-Artists-in-Unity/179731992111934

lindsayschaefer@movementforyou.com

 

 

 

Full Bloom

No sleep, mood swings, irritability, hot flashes, anxiety, bloated, heaviness………

The script is in-

You are a Woman!

These are the usual symptoms women feel during their monthly cycle.  At some point in a woman’s life hormones will make you feel as if they are taking over your body. 

I always loved this saying:  “When a woman is experiencing her monthly cycle she is in Full Bloom.”  Lotus Flower hear me roar for Woman hood.  

Women tend to hear this full bloom saying during their monthly cycles or while pregnant.  Two times in a woman’s life when she may not be wanting to hear that she is coming into full bloom.  We already feel vulnerable at this time and insecure.  Our hormones are raging and controlling the mind and body that we once knew as calm.   Appreciating these moments we are given as a woman are yes, very important.  Tuning into how your hormones affect you on a daily basis can help with balancing PMS, ovulation, infertility, and duration and flow pattern of your cycle.  

As a teen, our bodies awake one day as a woman.  We join the crowd of young women who complain about cramps, bleeding, and feeling uncomfortable.   For some of us we are visited by this full bloom cycle only once and then left alone.  Months or even years can pass until the full bloom cycle comes again.  Stress, nutrition, and activity all play a role in a woman’s monthly cycle.  These factors play more of a part in the full bloom cycle of a woman in adulthood. 

I will offer you a mental practice activity to bring you more awareness of your hormonal fluctuations throughout the month.   Plus, a physical practice involving Pilates, yoga, and dance postures that will ease the body through your Full Bloom cycle. 

Mental Practice

Bring awareness to your monthly mood swings and attitudes.  For a 3 month time frame you can mark down on each day whether or not you carried a positive or negative mood throughout the day.  It is also good to mark the first and last day of your monthly period on the calendar with a star.   You will find your moods will fluctuate up and down over the course of the month.  During ovulation time you may feel very outgoing, in control, on top of your game.  This is around mid cycle or mid month for a woman.  Once the ovulation period ends the body starts to react to the surge of hormones and becomes more isolated, depressed, tired, and less excited.  This emotional awareness is so very important to look at.  It will allow us to see when we need to rest the body from intense exercise or stresses.  Our emotions throughout the month will teach us how to eat better, sleep more, and be more in tune to what we need physically and emotionally as women. 

 

Physical Practice

Pilates

Goddess Stretch

Sit on your mat with your soles of your feet together in a butterfly position /goddess position.  Hold onto your ankles and lift your chest up towards the sky.  You will remain in this open release with the chest for 4-6 breathes.  Slowly curl your chin into your chest and curve the spine over into a rounded back position. Allow your shoulders and spine to hang in this position.  Return back to neutral spine and repeat up to 3xs. 

Seal

Sit at the top of your mat and place your legs in butterfly.   Bring the heels in towards your pelvis and hold onto the outside of your ankles.  Using your abdominal core lift the feet off of your mat.  You will beat together the bottom of your feet 2xs and roll backwards as if doing rolling like a ball through your spine.  Once the feet are overhead beat the soles of the feet together 2 more times and recover.  Repeat Seal posture up to 12 times.  If you need more comfort during this posture place a towel or two on top of your mat. 

 Goddess with tosses

Sit on your mat with your soles of your feet together in a butterfly position /goddess position.  Extend your arms out to the side to a second position with palms facing down.  Lean over to the right side, placing the right palm down on the floor, and extend the left arm overhead to stretch in a side port de bra.  Recover and repeat to the other side.  Once you are comfortable with the stretch, increase the speed of the stretch and toss the body from side to side up to 16xs. 

 

Yoga

Warrior II

Place legs in an open standing straddle position.  Turn your right foot out to face in a forward direction as your left leg slowly turns inward to a 45 degree angle.  The right knee will bend into a lunge position as the back left leg will stay straight.  Hip points will stay open and facing the center of the room.   Hold Warrior II for 4-6 breathes.  Connect the Warrior II/Side Angle/and Reverse Warrior together in a flow pattern. 

Side Angle Stretch

Stand in Warrior II with your right leg leading and lift out of your pelvis and engage your abdominal core.  You will shift you body weight forward into side angle stretch by placing your right forearm down on your right quadriceps or front thigh.   Your left arm can naturally stretch over head and alongside your left ear with palm facing down.  Hold Side Angle Stretch for 4-6 breathes.   Repeat on the other side

Reverse Warrior

Stand in Warrior II with your right leg leading and lift out of your pelvis and engage your abdominal core.  You will shift your body weight towards your back leg. Let your left arm naturally fall towards the back leg as the right arm carries overhead.   Hold Reverse Warrior for 4-6 breathes.  Repeat on the other side.  

Half Moon

Stand in Warrior II and shift your weight forward over the front right leg.  You will drop the right hand to the outside of the right foot on your mat.  You can cup the right hand/place it flat on the mat/or place hand on a block for extra support.  Extend the back left leg up to a 90 degree angle or battement position in the air.  You want to make sure the left leg is not pushing behind you.  If the extended leg is pushing backwards your balance will not be secure and pressure will be placed on the back.  Hold the Half Moon posture up to 12 breathes.  Repeat on the other side. 

 

Dance

Spinal Roll Down in Mountain

Stand in mountain with legs hip width apart.  Extend both arms to the sky in an open 5th position.  Release the arms with a dropping sensation to alongside the body. Curl the chin in towards your chest and allow the head weight to carry the body forward towards your toes.  Focus on dropping the weight and roll down through each vertebra of your spine.  Bend and straighten the knees (demi plie) 3xs and slowly recover to mountain.  Repeat 3xs. 

Upper Body Swings in Mountain

Stand in mountain with legs hip width apart.  Extend both arms to the sky in an open 5th position.  Release you body weight forward into a swing motion towards the toes.   Drop through your legs into a demi plie/soft knees as if you were going to dive into a pool of water.  Rebound and recover from the swing back up to mountain.  Repeat the upper body swings up to 16xs or 2 sets of 8.  

Leg Swings

Stand in first position with your heel points together and toes slightly turned out.   Do not force the turned out position.  Find your strong balance while standing in the first position.   Slowly toss the right leg forward in a small turned out attitude position.  When going forward in leg swings you will lead with your right heel.   Recover and repeat the toss to the back and lead with the small toes.  Try to create a rhythm with the toss of the leg (forward 1 and 2 and backwards 3 and 4).  This rhythm will help you to release in your hips and loosen the pelvis.   Leg Swings can be performed up to 16xs or 2 sets of 8.   Repeat on the other side. 

 

Practice with awareness and care during your Full Bloom cycle.  Rest when you need to rest and indulge in the resting.  Don’t beat yourself up on feeling down or tired on some days.  We need these restful periods and emotional awareness times to become refreshed.  Embrace your Full Bloom cycle and the journey it will take you on through womanhood. 

This blog is written and created by Lindsay Schaefer. For more information on Movement for You, A Way of Life Practice or Artists in Unity please visit the following sites. 

www.movementforyou.com  and www.artistsinunity.com

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lindsayschaefer@movementforyou.com

Move Forward

Did you ever have one of those days when all things seem to go wrong? Some may say “when it rains it pours.”  We experience these moments when we least expect them.   Some of us are more prepared then others to handle the differences at hand.  Still, the overall situations leave us all feeling drained and exhausted. 

I will offer you a practice to overcome all the emotional feelings that may rise from the challenges of our days.   This practice will refocus your energy and help you gain insight on the current happenings before you.  Through vigorous movement and fluid breath your body will let go of the negative and start to welcome the positive.   Clarity will be found and you will embrace all the difficulties in front of you instead of running from them.  

Through this practice you may find frustration, tears, pain, and emotions coming to surface at a fast speed.  Think of this practice as a cleaning out of the bodies negative in order to MOVE FORWARD with grace and ease.  If we do not face the negative, the problems, the pain before us, we can’t MOVE FORWARD.   Accept all the emotions that come to surface and realize you are making a positive step towards better health emotionally and physically. 

This Movement for You Practice is a Level II Physical Practice.   Please be advised of the difficulty before jumping into this practice.  I will offer modifications for Level 1’s in the second paragraph under each posture description.     

 Rolling like a Ball

Sit at the bottom of your mat.  Pull your knees into your chest and hold onto the outside of your ankles.  Engage your abdominal core and slowly roll backwards through each vertebra of your spine until you are laying in a tuck position on your mat.  With a deep exhale, activation of your abdominal core, and heel point energy going into your bottom you will return back to the beginning sitting position.  You will roll back and forth through the spine 6-8xs.  Try to balance at the beginning of the rolling posture and at the end.  

Level 1’s can practice this posture by holding onto the back on their legs (hamstrings).  You can also open the legs hip width apart and place heels down into the mat for a starting point.  Roll backwards with ease and return to a non balancing posture of heel points into the mat.  Repeat 6-8xs. 

 

 

Pelvic Tilt with Walking

Lay flat on your mat and place the soles of your feet on the floor.  Activate your hamstrings to lift your pelvis up off the floor to a tilted position.  Once you hit your maximum pelvic tilt position slowly lift one leg up off the floor as if you were going to take a step.  Replace the foot and repeat on the other side.  You want to feel as if you are kicking energy up and out with the legs on each toss of the leg.  Try to find a rhythm with this posture as if you were walking down the street.  Repeat the walking movements in pelvic tilt up to 16xs alternating from right to left leg.  Stop the walking movements and release down out of pelvic tilt. Repeat the entire posture 1x. 

Level 1’s should remain in a Pelvic Tilt for 6-8 breathes and release.  Repeat Pelvic Tilt up to 3xs. 

Rock and Roll-

Sit on the mat and extend your legs in front of you in staff posture.  You will extend your arms towards the sky in a high open fifth position.  Lean forward with a flat back in forward fold to touch your toes.  Recover up to staff and slowly shift your weight back through the pelvis to roll backwards (as if in rolling like a ball) but with straight extended legs.  You will finish with legs behind your head in a plough posture.  Allow the breath to carry the legs back up to the original staff posture and repeat again.  Rock and roll can be performed up to a minute. 

Level 1’s should repeat Rolling like a ball at this time.  Do not perform Rock and Roll. 

Boat-

Sit in the middle on your mat and bend your knees in towards you with the soles of the feet resting on the mat.  Place your hands behind you on the mat with your fingertips looking towards your feet.  Place weight into your hands and slowly shift your legs upwards and out into an extended V position.  When you feel ready allow your hands to release off the mat and reach forward towards your feet.  Your body should resemble a V sit position with arms coming forward in space.  Hold boat up to 6-8 breathes.  Repeat posture up to 3xs. 

Level 1’s should not release their hands off the mat.  Only concentrate on releasing the legs to a V position and replacing them down to the mat.  You can repeat the movement of lifting the legs to a V sit and recover up to 8xs. 

 

Yoga Toe Lock-

Stand in Mountain Posture with your feet hip width apart.  Slowly release your right foot up the side of your left leg and wrap your 2nd and 3rd finger from your right hand around your right big toe.  Try to straighten your spine as you holding your right big toe and extend your right leg forward in a parallel position away from your body.  The ending posture should resemble a T formation with the right leg extended forward away from your naval and the left leg being your standing straight leg.  Hold the yoga toe lock posture for 6-8 breathes.  Repeat on the left side.  Repeat both sides up to 3x each. 

Level 1’s should try this posture with their backs against a wall or holding onto a chair for extra support.  Don’t worry about your standing leg or extended leg being straight.  Try to connect with your balance and the holding of your big toe.  Hold the posture for 6-8 breathes.  Repeat on the left side.  Repeat both sides up to 3x each. 

Feel free to add a sun salutation in between each posture or just a forward fold into downward dog hold.      

MOVE FORWARD with acceptance of all your emotions whether they are tears or frustration.   Store this practice for all those difficult days that may face you and embrace the practice each and every time as if you are picking up a classic book to read.  We will all have those days of wanting to climb back into bed and hide.  But, as positive individuals it is our job to MOVE FORWARD and face it with grace.  To a great Practice and Moving Forward!

This blog is written and created by Lindsay Schaefer. For more information on Movement for You, A Way of Life Practice or Artists in Unity please visit the following sites. 

www.movementforyou.com  and www.artistsinunity.com

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10 Postures for 10 Days!

Take the challenge to dedicate to ten postures for ten days.  Ten minutes a day will rid the body of negative tension and toxins.  Positive energy will be restored.    You will be on your way to connecting to practice with a renewed spirit and sense of self.   The ten postures for ten days challenge will not only motivate your spirit within.  The practice will give you more focus and openness to achieve all your goals for 2012!

 

1.     Tree

Stand in Mountain Position and carry your right heel point up the side of your standing leg.  Place the traveling heel point on a comfortable part of your inner thigh of the standing leg.  Your hands will be placed above your head in a high open fifth position and reaching for the sky.  Take 6-12 breathes in this posture.  Repeat on the left side. 

2.     Eagle

Stand in Mountain and release your right leg to an extended parallel degage position.  Slowly shift the extended leg forward on a diagonal line towards your left shoulder and cup your right knee into the nook of your left knee as if you were going to cross your legs.  Once the legs are crossed allow the pelvis to release back and down into a small squat as if you were going to sit in a chair.  Hold the posture for 4-6 breathes.  Repeat on the left side. 

3.     Warrior I

Stand in Mountain and slide your right foot behind you in a lunge position.  Slightly turn out the right foot and place the heel point down.  As the left leg remains in a bent lunge position you will sweep your arms over head to high fifth with both hands reaching for the sky.   Hold Warrior I for 4-6 breathes.  Recover and repeat on the left side.  

4.     Warrior II

Place your feet in a wide parallel stance with feet being wider than your hips (parallel 2nd position).  Your right foot will face forward with your right knee bending into a lunge motion.  The back left foot will turn inward to a slight angled position as we did in Warrior I.  Your hips will remain open to the side space as you keep your stance wider than your hip points.   Slowly bend into the front leg and hold this posture for 4-6 breathes.  Recover and return back to parallel 2nd position.  Repeat the posture on the left side. 

5.      Parallel Standing Straddle with Open Chest Expansion

Place your feet in a wide parallel stance with feet being wider than your hips (parallel 2nd position).  Bring your hands behind your back to form a clasp with both hands.  Try to drop the hands down underneath your bottom and bring the palms closer together.  Allow your chin to drop into your chest and roll down through each vertebra of the spine.  You will end up hanging between your legs with the arms naturally coming over your back.  Hold this posture for 4-6 breathes.  Repeat up to 3x. 

6.      Goddess Squat

Place your feet in an open comfortable turned out position (2nd position).   Your heel points can be as wide as your shoulders in this posture. You will allow your pelvis to drop down into a squat position as your knees bend and go over your toes.  Be aware of your knees turning in or out. Try and keep the knees in a neutral position with alignment of the knees going over all the toes.   Hold goddess squat posture for 6-12 breathes.  Repeat 2 xs. 

7.     Forward Fold with Hug

Stand in Mountain and reach your arms overhead to high fifth position.  Reach up and out with the body as you fall forward with energy towards the toes.  Once you are reaching your hands down towards your toes and your chest is falling onto the front of your legs wrap your arms around your legs as if you are giving someone a hug.  Hold this posture for 6-12 breathes.  Repeat 2 xs. 

8.     Chair 

Stand in mountain and place hands at the heart in pray position.  Allow your pelvis to release back and your knees to bend into a demi plie as if you were going to sit in a chair.  Think of the pelvis sitting back on a diagonal and keep abdominals engaged as you take the holding posture of chair.  Hold this posture for 4-6 breathes.   Repeat 2 xs. 

9.      Moving Squat with Releve

Stand in mountain and allow the body to float down into a parallel squat.  You want to imagine as if your back is traveling down and up a wall in this posture.  Take one to two breathes in the squat and then recover to mountain position.  Press your weight forward into the front of your feet and allow the heels to lift off the ground in a releve position.  Hold the releve position for one to two breathes.  Repeat 2 xs. 

10.             Half Lotus with heart hold

Sit on your mat with criss crossed legs (half lotus).  Place your hands over your heart and sit in stillness.   Relax with the up and down motion of your chest and the sound of your own heartbeat.  Hold this posture for 6-12 breathes.  Then slowly bow forward to close your practice and give thanks to your beautiful body. 

 

Wishing you all a Happy and Healthy New Year.  I wish you success and self discovery in the 10 postures for 10 days challenge.  Enjoy and live life to the fullest in 2012!

This blog is written and created by Lindsay Schaefer. For more information on Movement for You, A Way of Life Practice or Artists in Unity please visit the following sites. 

www.movementforyou.com  and www.artistsinunity.com

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Stillness – “A Time Out”

Did you ever notice how the body craves Stillness-“A Time Out” when too much is going on?

Our minds and bodies start to become more anxiety filled.  Tension starts to creep into your shoulders and upper spine.  The mind starts to wander from one event to the next when too much is before us.   Sometimes we may even feel that we cannot accomplish everything in front of us when too much is on our plates.   Stepping back from event filled days whether positive or negative can help us to see the importance of stillness.  When the body experiences overdrive for an extended period of time we create an unbalanced approach to living.

Stillness- “A Time Out” needs to be incorporated into everyone’s life cycle.  I will share with you a sequence of postures from my Movement for You Practice to incorporate into your craze filled days.  These postures will help you to keep stillness present in your life even through the most eventful times.  Try to visit the sequence at least three times a month with regular practice work to experience the full benefits of Stillness and your own Bodies Time Out. 

Physical Practice for Stillness- “A Time Out”

Half Lotus with hands in Pray

We will gather the legs into a half lotus posture. Criss-crossed legs before us and sitting on our bottoms on a pillow or on our mats.  Our hands will be placed in an active pray posture at our hearts with complete energy pressing the palms together.  We will close the eyes and drop our chins inward towards our chest.  Find the circle of breath radiating into our nose and down the back of the throat to the lower abdominal cavity.  Play with the breath flow by challenging the body to change the tempo of the breath from slow adagio breathing to allegro breathing.  Set a timer and sit in the half lotus posture for at least three minutes.  If the timer doesn’t work for you try and count backwards with the breath changes from 300 to zero.  Hearing the tick tock of a timer or the counting of your voice will throw the body into a meditative state.  Start and end your Stillness Practice with this posture. 

 

Seated Forward Fold with Stillness and Swings

Sit on your mat or on a pillow and place your legs long in front of you in parallel position.  Extend your arms above your head in a high fifth position.  Reach up and out with your arms and spine to guide your body forward over your legs.  You want to imagine as if your spine is climbing a ladder before it extends forward and your chest releases over your thighs.  You start this posture in an uppercase L position with legs in front of you.   You end this posture in a lowercase l position with chest resting on your thighs. 

Hold the Seated Forward Fold with Stillness for 6-12 circle of breath.  You will then recover and repeat the Seated Forward Fold with moving swings of the upper body.  Start in the same uppercase L posture with arms in high fifth posture and inhale.  As you exhale, release the body and arms forward over the front legs with an increased speed and falling motion (imagery of diving into a forward roll or swimming pool).   You will recover the body by rolling up through each vertebra of the spine to the original uppercase L posture.  Repeat the Seated Forward Fold with upper body swings 6-12 times. 

Repeat the Seated Forward Fold with Stillness and Swings for 3 sets. 

 

 Cat Cow and Child’s Pose Sequence

Place the body on all fours with hands on the mat underneath your shoulders and your shins resting on the mat behind your knees.  You will find a long spine or neutral spine in this position.  By activating the lower abdominal region you will curve the spine into a cat stretch posture with the naval pulling inwards towards the spine.  On the exhale, you will release the back into an elongated stretch or cow stretch by releasing the neck forward and up towards the ceiling (imagery of a small cobra or upward dog).  Repeat this sequence of Cat Cow 3 xs. 

Release the body into an open Child’s Pose posture. Open the knees wider than your shoulders and allow your bottom to fall onto your heels.  Rest your forehead on the mat in front of you and reach your arms underneath your chest and through your legs.  Stay in open Child’s Pose for at least 6 circle of breath.  

Repeat the cat cow and child’s pose sequence for 3 sets. 

 

Finding your Stillness- “A Time Out” will allow your body to feel rejuvenated even during stressful and anxiety driven times.   Continue to incorporate stillness into your mental and physical practice on a daily basis. Be present with the above posture work from Movement for You and welcome Stillness and your Bodies Time Out into your life for balanced living. 

This blog is written and created by Lindsay Schaefer. For more information on Movement for You, A Way of Life Practice or Artists in Unity please visit the following sites. 

www.movementforyou.com  and www.artistsinunity.com

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Detox for You

Detox for the mind and body is wonderful over the holiday season.  I will share with you some daily postures that you can add into practice to rid the body of toxins and negative energy that may be brewing.  I find over the holiday season that clients tend to lose focus of themselves due to spending more time with family and friends and social holiday gatherings.  This is the beauty in the holiday season! But, the new focus can cause negativity and stress to develop within our bodies.

I will lay before you a physical and mental practice to detox the body through the holiday season.  I will not encourage you to eliminate foods from your diet.  Or tell you to focus on diet in this process. I would prefer if you place your mental and physical energy on placing an intention on yourself and the reason behind the detox.  For some the detox may be needed to keep our minds still during the holiday season around people/family/friends/or events.  For some the detox may be needed to keep our bodies and minds focused on giving to ourselves in physical activity or mental meditation.  We will all have different reasons for focusing on detox for our bodies.

 

Mental Practice for Detox- 

Pray Press

This can be performed either sitting or standing.  Place your hands in pray posture at the center of your chest.  Inhale the arms out and away from the body to travel above your head to high fifth position.  Your palms will meet in high fifth position.  You will allow your palms to press together down the front of the body till they meet again in pray position at the center of your chest.

Repeat this posture 6-8 times.  The focus should be placed on the release of the body in the inhale as the arms travel up to the top of the body.  Then the focus should change to the extreme pushing of the hands together in the exhale as the hands carry back down the body in pray press.  You want to imagine as if the hands are pressing through a brick in the pray press on the exhale.  This will release tension and challenge the mind to internally focus.  Please take part in this mental practice in the morning after waking and in the evening before bed.

Physical Practice for Detox-

 

Chest Expansion in Mountain and Forward Fold

Standing with feet in parallel 6th position connect hands in a clasp position behind your back.  Try to feel the palms coming together in the clasp and allow the hands to fall underneath the bottom.  Slowly bend the knees in a demi plie parallel and allow your head to travel down the front portion of your body towards your toes.  The arms will naturally release over your back into a full chest expansion.  Find your circle of breath for 4-6 repetitions.  Release the arms and roll back up through each vertebra of your spine to standing mountain posture.  Repeat the whole posture 4-6 times.

Chair with Pray twist

Standing with feet in parallel 6th position we will bend through the knees to create a demi plie.  Place hands at your heart in pray posture.  Feel the spine lengthen in the demi plie through the legs.  You will begin to twist from the lower spine into an extension forward in the chair posture.  You will focus on bringing your left elbow to the outside of the right knee to create a binded posture in chair.  Your legs will remain in parallel position throughout this posture. While your spine twists your eye focus can remain directly side or look up towards the ceiling.  Find your circle of breath for 4-6 repetitions.  Release out of posture and repeat on the other side.

I hope this detox practice connects you more to your internal spirit and in return allows you to give more to others.  Have a wonderful holiday season and remember to carry the mental and physical practices of Movement for You throughout your daily thoughts and activities.

This blog is written and created by Lindsay Schaefer. For more information on Movement for You, A Way of Life Practice or Artists in Unity please visit the following sites.

www.movementforyou.com  and www.artistsinunity.com

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lindsayschaefer@movementforyou.com