Movement Monday! Strong Core & Supple Shoulders in Cobra Pose

Movement Monday! Supple Shoulders & Strong Core with Cobra Pose. Enjoy some lovely variations for your arms and shoulders in cobra pose. If you know me, and if you know Movement Monday, you know I love adding in variations to our familiar yoga poses.

This is a mini class where you'll get to experience delightful ways of moving your shoulders, enhancing your core strength and lengthening your thoracic spine. It will enrich your practice of cobra pose, not to mention feeding your brain some new movement pathways.

Spend 10 minutes with me to move your upper body and feel amazing.

As always, feel free to share and leave a comment below.

The Heart of Yoga

My experience of yoga isn't about poses or shapes. It is the mindful, somatic experience of myself in daily life, within my relationships, within my own head and heart. This type of practice brings insights large and small.

Something I've been noticing lately is that I drift slightly over to my right when standing. It's not dramatic, it's not going unbalance my body or cause stress in my life. Yet it's a small moment of awareness that keeps me rooted into my body, keeps me connected to the quieter parts of myself.

Because here's the real practice: Awareness brings choice, offers us an option to make a change or not. Unconsciousness roots us in habits, where we react not from choice or insight but patterns that may not serve us anymore. Or maybe they do. But until we are aware of the pattern or habit, we miss out on those moments of discernment to know if something needs to be changed or not. For me, this type of practice is what brings yoga to life 💜

Iceland Yoga Retreat

Movement Monday! Shoulder Stretches While Traveling

When we travel, it's pretty common to feel aches and pains or tension in our upper back, neck and shoulders from all that sitting on planes and in cars. The good news is that just a couple minutes of some effective stretches can go a long way to keep you feeling great and energized so that you can keep enjoying your adventures. And the even better news is that you can also do these stretches at home and at work. Anytime, anywhere. Even on a yoga retreat where we are doing yoga everyday, we also make sure to fit in short little movement breaks.

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Movement Monday! 6 Ways to Build Core, Upper Body & Grip Strength with Monkey Bars

Movement Monday! Do you remember how fun it was going across the monkey bars as a kid? Do you have kids that play for hours on the monkey bars and you wish you could still do that? Well you can!

All it takes is some simple progressions to gradually improve your strength and stamina. Even if monkey bars isn't your goal, working on hanging progressions is a super helpful way to increase your strength not only in your upper body and core, but also your grip and your wrists.

Our body does really well when we can provide different loads to the muscles and tissues. Adding an element of hanging, whether it is an overhead hang on a bar, or side hang with your hand on a pole or doorway, it is a fantastic way to give your muscles the diversity of movements they need.

In the video you will learn 6 simple movements and progressions to get you started on building functional strength so that you feel more capable in your everyday life no matter what age or stage you are at. Take your time, start small but stay consistent and you will notice a difference right away.

And most importantly... have fun while you are doing it!!

 

As always, share this post to inspire more awesome movement and leave a comment below. xoxo

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Movement Monday! Bridge Pose Variations for Strong Glutes and Legs

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Movement Monday! 

Strong Glutes! Don't you like the sound of that? Your body sure does. Why? Because your gluteus maximus are the biggest muscle groups in your body. So it only makes sense to keep those glutes working effectively.

Without strong butt muscles, your knees, low back and even down to your feet can be affected. Strong glutes help you walk, run and jump better. Strong glutes are essential for the health of your hip joints, hip flexors and overall posture.

Today's Movement Monday will offer some variations in bridge pose that will help target these muscles in new and familiar ways.

Bridge is a fabulous pose to not only strengthen your glutes but also your whole posterior chain (your backside). Adding in the different variations in this tutorial brings the needed variety and diversity that provides a well-rounded movement experience.

Adding in variety and diversity to your yoga practice and other movements is the missing link to keep wear and tear at bay and is exactly what your mind, nervous system and body need for long-term health and overall awesomeness.

In fact, variety & diversity are so important, they are one of my 4 pillars of a sustainable yoga practice. You can read more about the 4 pillars here

I hope you enjoy these bridge variations everyone! As always, please share the glute love and leave a comment below. xoxo

If you love Movement Monday, you'll love having it arrive first thing into your inbox each week, along with updates and other inspirations. Sign up here: heartandbonesyoga.com/sign-up

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Movement Monday! Shoulder Mobility in Warrior 2

Happy Monday everyone! This week we are using Warrior 2 as an opportunity to get more movement and range of motion for your shoulders. This a great pose to add more opportunities for your shoulders to get a wide variety of movement in.

The traditional pose requires the arms to stay still and palms facing down. In this tutorial we get out of the box and share 5 different way to get some of that much needed movement to support the health of your shoulders. These are fun ideas and hopefully inspire you to come up with some arm variations of your own. If you have some creative ways to move your arms, please share your ideas in the comments below!

Movement Monday! Side Plank for Strong Shoulders

This week's Movement Monday was inspired by a question I received about shoulder pain when doing side plank. One of the most common things I see both in regular plank and side plank is a collapsing of the shoulder blades together.

This collapsing means that we are missing an opportunity to use the strong muscles in the back and around the chest and shoulders and instead there is a degree of "hanging" into the shoulder joint and surrounding ligaments.

This week's tutorial will teach you how to build more dynamic strength and support around your shoulder joints for both plank and side plank. We deconstruct the movements and teach you how to create sustainable strength and stability. And even helpful for something as simple as tabletop!

Check it out and let me know how it feels for you!

As always, please share and leave a comment below. Have a wonderful week everyone! xoxo

Yoga for Tight Hips- A free online class just for you!

I've been getting requests for yoga classes that you can do online with me. I love offering tips and tutorials, sharing different ways for you to move and feel better so I'm super excited to share with you a 30 minute practice that you can do at home anytime. This one is all about getting some movement into your spine, core and hips. And the best part? You don't even have to stand up at all. Just grab a piece of floor, yoga block or bolster and enjoy this fabulous class with me.

Let me know what you think in the comments below and leave suggestion for future classes! Be sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel to stay connected as I post new videos each week. Any while I haven't been as consistent posting here on the 'ol blog, I'm very consistent sharing my movement tips in my weekly newsletter and on Facebook and Instagram, just click on those little icons below. And Sign up here for your weekly movement tip in your inbox and find me on social media, my friends. Lots of goodness there! 

Movement Monday! Pain-Free Pigeon Pose

Movement Monday! Pain-Free Pigeon Pose

Pigeon pose is one of those yoga poses that some people absolutely love and for others, find it hard on their knees , hips or SI joints. Whether you love the pose or hate it, adding different ways to practice the same pose helps to maintain a healthy and sustainable yoga practice.

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Movement Monday! Psoas Release: Leg Swing

Movement Monday! Psoas Release Leg Swing. For years, this has been my go-to movement after long car rides, long periods of sitting, or anytime my hips and psoas feel a little sticky or tight. It's a quick fix that will get your hips feeling light and free. To do it, all you need is something to stand on such as a yoga block, stair, small stool or whatever else you have nearby. 

An added bonus is that you get to do the Pelvic List while doing the leg swing which was last week's Movement Monday tip. If you missed it, you can find here: 

Key Tips:

- Invite the swinging leg to be heavy as you swing it. 
-Make sure you are swinging from your thigh, not from your knee. 
- Enjoy the movement for a minute or longer. 
- Before switching legs, step down off of the block and once you have both feet on the ground, notice how one side feels compared to the other.

I hope you enjoy this super simple, yet super effective leg swing for hips and psoas! As always, feel free to share and leave a comment below! xoxo


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Movement Monday! Hip mobility like you've never felt before

Improving mobility in your hips doesn't always mean stretching them or doing "hip openers" in yoga. It means you gotta move the legs to mobilize the hips. Often when we stretch the hips, we do it in a passive stretch. A passive stretch is where you use an external force to move your body. Such as using a strap, hand, gravity, your body weight. A passive hip opener in yoga would be Supta Padangustasana or the strap stretch. While it can feel amazing after you've done the strap stretch, you didn't necessarily improve your mobility in your hips and legs. To improve mobility we need to do more active stretching.

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Movement Monday! Healthy, Happy Hips & Legs

Movement Monday! A whole lot of hip mobility love... Today I've got a great movement for you that not only makes your hip joints happy and more mobile, but will also wake up a whole bunch of different muscles in your legs.

Your hip joints have the potential for a wide range of motion. And if you hip joints are more mobile, the rest of your legs (and back) will feel the love too.

This exercise is a great opportunity to not only get some delicious mobility into your hip joints but to also observe the relationship of the mobility in your hip joints to mobility down the rest of your legs.

Watch the video to see how it's done, and then try it yourself. You'll notice that placing the block in different spots on your legs requires your legs and muscles to work in a new way. One area with the block might be harder to internally and externally rotate than another area.

You can also observe as you move the block to the different spots that one leg may also move differently than the other. Watch the angle of your feet and how that might change with the block in different spots.

What I love about this exercise is that though you are always internally and externally rotating your legs from your hip joints, depending on where the block is placed, you will have to work a little differently in each variation. Which provides a more diverse experience for your legs and wakes them up in a whole bunch of new ways. So delicious!

 

HOW TO:

- If you have tighter hamstrings and find it difficult to lift your legs into the air, place a bolster, block or pillow under your pelvis to make it a little easier to lift your legs.

- Take a yoga block and place it between your ankles and a little bit down toward your calves.

- Internally and externally rotate your femur bones (thigh bones). Think less about muscular action and more from the bones and hip joints. Make sure you are Initiating the movement from your hip joints and not your ankles or feet. Your ankles and feet will move because of the movement from the hip joint.

- Do the movement with the block at your ankles 5 or more rotations.

- Take the block between your knees. Repeat the internal and external rotation from your hip joints, 5 or more rotations. Observe how this variation may feel different from when the block was at your ankles. Observe the angle of your lower legs and feet now that the block is at the knees.

- Take the block between the middle of your thighs. Repeat the movement 5 or more rotations. Continue to observe how this variation feels compared to the previous two. Notice how the legs from your knees to your feet may have changed angles here.

As always, feel free to share and leave a comment or questions below. Thanks everyone and have a hip happy week! xoxo

The Yoga Existential Crisis (Or how I listened to my heart and became the teacher I wanted to be)

 The Yoga Existential Crisis (Or how I listened to my heart and became the teacher I wanted to be)

Did you know that I once had a Yoga Existential Crisis? Does that sound familiar to any of you? For me, as a long-time teacher and practitioner, there came a point where didn't know where I fit in and where I wanted to take my yoga. I had started practicing yoga in 1999 in community halls and basements. And when I started teaching in 2003, yoga teachers were not celebrities (at least not that many of them) yoga studios were small, and social media was still years away.

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Movement Monday: Cross Body Patterning- Upgrade your plank!

The human body is designed to move in spirals and diagonal patterns. Which means movements that combine all three planes of motion -transverse, saggital & frontal- have huge benefits on many levels.

As we've explored in previous Movement Mondays, many traditional yoga asanas and fitness movements are in the saggital plane, which is where we experience flexion and extension. You are in the saggital plane when you walk, run, bike, sun salutations, and so on.

I'm a big advocate of updating our yoga asana (as well as other common fitness movements) so that we can play around in all three planes. Adding on to that is cross body patterning- where we move opposite arm and opposite leg. Think of crawling, or even walking.

Cross body patterning wakes up your nervous system in a big way and if your nervous system is working well with your body, then you are supporting your health, strength, co-ordination and mental focus in a sustainable way.

Getting down to the ground, on your hands and knees is a playful way to explore cross patterning. There are many ways to play with it and this week we will try it in plank.

Watch the video and you will see I am moving side to side, with my opposite leg and hand at the same time. Then I add onto that with opposite leg and hand crossing over as I move to the side.

This can be really challenging if you are not already comfortable in a plank. It can be really challenging even if you are comfortable in plank! You'll see right away how much your brain needs the stimulation of a new movement as you try to coordinate your hands and feet.

Take it slow, you can also try it in a down dog type position to take the load a little bit more out of your core and shoulders.

Try upgrading your plank both for movement and cross-body patterning. You will become more strong, your nervous system will communicate better with your body to increase stamina, coordination and overall functional strength. Enjoy!

As always, feel free to share and leave a comment below. Have a great and balanced week everyone!

Movement Monday! Building Functional Strength in Your Arms

Movement Monday! Build functional strength in your arms. Functional strength means we are able to move our body in all sorts of different ways and to do all sorts of different daily activities and chores without pain.

This week's Movement Monday shares a really simple and effective way to keep your arms and shoulders strong not just in your yoga practice, but in your everyday life.

When you practice yoga, do you always place your hands underneath your shoulders when doing poses on your hands and knees, and in poses such as plank or even downward facing dog? Placing your hands underneath your shoulders is a great, safe place to start building strength. But over time as you get strong in that position, I recommend exploring placing your hands a little wider apart, or a little bit in front of the shoulders.

Placing your hands in different positions when you are bearing weight will make you strong in those angles. So if you have been always placing your hands under the shoulders, try different hand placements will build that functional strength that is so important to our whole body health and well being. Watch the video for a great explanation and demonstration.

 

And as always, feel free to share and leave a comment below. Have a fabulous week everyone! xoxo

Movement Monday: Active vs Passive Stretch

Movement Monday! Active vs passive stretches. I love tweaking familiar stretches and yoga poses to make them more of an active stretch. The short explanation of the difference between an active and passive stretch is an active stretch means you are actively working your muscles without the use of assistance- such as using a strap, hands, gravity, etc. Think about lifting up your leg with your hand (passive) or lifting up your leg, with your leg (active).

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2 Minute Tips: Put your Backside into your Backbends!

Ahhh, this might be my favourite tip so far. As a teacher and movement educator, I teach to the people in front of me, which means that I find in virtually all of my group classes, we spend a lot of time working on our butts. No, not sitting and doing stuff on our butts, but exploring a whole bunch of movements that build strength in the glutes (your butt muscles). 

And from my experience, it is really common for people to struggle with waking up their glutes and refining some of their familiar asanas to incorporate more butt and posterior leg muscles into the movements. But when they do, holy moly... those areas wake right up and people love it. 

In fact, all over the interwebs lately, have been articles about Dormant Butt Syndrome. Is it a real syndrome, who knows, but it is real that MANY people suffer from weak and underused glutes. Which can be a big contributor to lower back pain and knee pain.  Some of the reasons our butts are asleep are because we have a cultural habit of sitting in chairs. A lot. And for a long time. 

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Movement Monday! Strong Body, Strong Planet

Movement Monday! Strong Body, Strong Planet

What do you do with your dish water? Your bath and shower water? If you are like most people, it simply goes down the drain. Now imagine if you took that water and used it to feed your flower and plants instead of turning on the hose every time your plants need to be watered. And then imagine how happy your body feels carrying that water from the bathroom to outside. Take that a step further and imagine how your water bill looks by the end of the summer!

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2 Minute Tutorial: Strong & Stable Lunge

2 Minute Tutorials are your quick tips for some of your favourite yoga asanas. Bringing simple and updated cueing, each tip will support the health of your joints, build stronger and more effective muscles and can be integrated into any style of yoga. Feel free to share and if you have any questions or want to share your thoughts and perspectives, leave a comment below. Enjoy!

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Summer Immersion in the Rockies!

This comprehensive immersion will unite the practice of yoga; through movement, asana, meditation and time spent immersed in nature. Our body is our vehicle through which we experience the world, and is our most immediate and tangible place to learn about who we are. The most effective way to learn about the human body is to experience it from within. Hands on, movement-based learning will anchor anatomical knowledge for a lifetime.

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