You can now enjoy my full list of yoga, meditation, and corporate wellness videos on GaiamTV. The My Yoga Online platform has merged with the GaiamTV team to offer the largest selection of online yoga and wellness videos. Enjoy an extended 30 day FREE TRIAL today.
Connecting Mindfully Through Our Hands
Connecting Mindfully Through Our Feet
Exploring Our Upper Body Imbalances
Our health is greatly determined by how we settle into our daily postural habits. This yoga anatomy workshop held at Naada Yoga (Montreal, QC) will look at common upper body, posture-related issues including Upper Cross Syndrome, Forward Head Syndrome, Thoracic Outlet Syndrome, as well as some kinetic chain effects of poor posture.
We will explore how to address postural imbalances in the neck, shoulders, and shoulder girdle from a restoration perspective and the necessary modifications in our practice to enhance recovery and re-balancing of our musculoskeletal and energetic systems. We will also discuss how traditional yoga practices may not always be suitable and possibly even exacerbate imbalances and postural conditions. Suitable for students and teachers. Space is limited so please register early. Proceeds of this workshop will go to Paper Kite Children’s Foundation (supporting orphanages in Bihar, India).
WHEN: June 7 2-4pm
WHERE: Naada Yoga, 5540 Casgrain Ave, Montreal QC
COST: by donation
*stay tuned for registration updates
Warm thanks to the following sponsors who will be sharing some great giveaways:
I am excited to be working with Manduka with an exclusive giveaway. From November 4, 2014 to November 13, 2014. I will be giving away 3 gorgeous eKO Yoga & Pilates mats. Just as we strive to enhance overall mindfulness in our practice, we can take it a step further by being mindful of the type of mat we use. Read more below on how and where you can enter the giveaway.
Some of the amazing features of the eKO mat:
Manduka’s renowned eKO mat is new and improved, and now offers an unparalleled grip to perform even in the sweatiest of conditions. In addition to its superior grip, the mat provides exceptional comfort and performance. The eKO mat is eco-friendly and made from biodegradable, non-Amazon harvested, and natural tree rubber that cushion and supports your body while protecting the planet.
The new rippled water top surface features an innovative, sealed-cell natural rubber surface that creates a hygienic barrier and excellent loft and recovery. These natural rubber mats use a toxic-free softening process and are completely free of toxic foaming agents and plasticizers found in other mats. The eKO represents a bright future for the eco-friendly yoga mat – it leaves behind no footprint in landfills, but will definitely make a lasting impression in the studio.
7 lbs.; 71” long; 26” wide; 3/16″ thick (5 mm)
- Offers unparalleled wet grip to perform even in the sweatiest of conditions
- Most durable natural rubber yoga mat on the market
- Made from biodegradable, non-Amazon harvested, natural tree rubber
- Developed over 4 years by yoga teachers
- Designed to provide the ultimate combination of cushion and grip
- An eco-yoga mat with no PVC or toxic plasticizers
- 99% latex free, and safe to use for most people with latex sensitivities
- All post-industrial scrap is thoughtfully collected and utilized in the production of other materials creating a zero waste manufacturing process
- Tri Layer Technology for optimal combination of grip, durability and slip-resistance.
Grip & Durability (Top Layer): ‘Rippled water’ surface texture is naturally grippy; the sealed-cell surface keeps out moisture (sweat) from seeping into the mat and breeding bacteria for better durability.
Dual Function Cushion (Bottom Layer): Thicker, bottom layer provides lightweight cushion and excellent loft and recovery for your practice!
Stretch-resistant Scrim (Center): Stretch-resistant scrim binds the unique layers together using a heating process which eliminates the need for toxic glues.
Natural & Earth Loving: Eco-friendly yoga mat is made from biodegradable, non-Amazon harvested, and natural tree rubber with non-toxic foaming agents and non-azo dyes.
Visit Manduka to learn more about the eKO mat and their other products.
Enter the Manduka eKO Yoga Mat Giveaway
3 winners will be selected throughout November 4-13, 2014. Enter as many times as you like as each submission will be considered as an entry.
Entry question: What are your favourite ways to tap into mindful living patterns off the mat?
Winners will be announced throughout the contest period on Facebook – check the Facebook page regularly to see if you won. For more contest details, click here.
The feet are a crucial point of foundation in the majority of our yoga postures. Without discernible awareness to the foundation from our foot connection to the earth, alignment issues can readily cascade through the kinetic chain of joints that interact with our feet. By mindfully engaging our feet, we can awaken this foundation and bring stability, intelligence, and harmony into the rest of our postures. One such muscle that may facilitate this is the abductor hallicus longus.
The abductor hallicus longus arises from the medial process of the tuberosity of the calcaneus, from the laciniate ligament, from the plantar aponeurosis, and from the inter muscular septum between it and the flexor digitorium brevis. The muscle fibres travel along the medial border of the foot to insert on the medial edge of the first phalanx (big toe). Overall, we can visualize this muscle running from the instead edge of the heel to the base of the big toe, and when contracted, it draws the big toe away from the 2nd toe (abduction) and facilitates ‘toe spread’.
When we engage the abductor hallicus longus and work to abduct the big toe, we can feel the muscular contraction create a supportive bridge into our medial longitudinal arch. This arch, along with the lateral and transverse arches, are fundamental structures for absorbing shock forces in standing movement patterns (i.e. walking and running). Sustaining these arches is fundamental also for developing harmonious and purposeful alignment in many of our poses. For example, if the medial arch collapses in Warrior 2, there is a tendency for the forward knee to track inwards placing imbalances and stress on the knee cap.
The overall structure and support of our arches stems from the combination of bones, ligaments and an array of muscles. The abductor hallicus longus alone can not be the primary supportive muscle for the medial arch, but it certainly can enhance the arch’s integrity.
To learn how to engage the abductor hallicus longus, you can simply start in seated or standing position like Mountain Pose. Begin with one foot and work to spread the big toe away from the 2nd toe. Once this is achieved, also lightly flex the big toe away from you. Throughout this muscular engagement, take note of the energetic sensation that travels from the base the big toe all the way the inside edge of the heel. Once this energetic ‘connection’ is comfortably and confidently established, visualize areas where this can be readily integrated:
*Downward Facing Dog – as you settle back into the forward bend, I like to complete the pose with a minute internal rotation of the thighs (to bring more stretch into the inner hamstrings). This internal rotation often carries down into the ankles and feet, thus making some people prone to medial arch collapse. Following the internal thigh rotation, engaging the abductor hallicus longus and toe spread can counter the inner thigh spiral and restore the medial arch.
*Warrior 2 – inward tracking of the forward knee is a common alignment problem. There are a number of engagement and adjustment techniques (from the hips down the feet) to encourage the knee to flow back into balance and in line with the forward foot. Contracting the abductor hallicus longus can be an additional application supporting these other alignment cues to help insure that the medial arch retains support and lift, thus assisting with harmony of the forward knee.
As you start playing with toe spreads and targeting the abductor hallicus longus, consider that this is muscle like any other. Ease into engaging this muscle gradually to allow for conditioning and strength adaptations. Explore all the potential applications in standing poses where medial arch support can be enhanced. Also take advantage of seated poses like Jane Sirsasana (one leg forward bend) and Dandasana (staff pose) where the leg(s) are extended and the feet and toes are in prime placement to be explored and worked.