Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Delicate Backs Week 3

Molly worked us into semi-reclined, seated, and kneeling postures. We started off with the standard arch and flatten on our backs but worked on this from a deep awareness of the cervical and lumbar spine. The goal was to free our necks, which would in turn free our backs even more.

After a few rounds of arch and flatten and 6-points practice, Molly brought us up to a semi-reclined position: on our backs, resting on our elbows, knees bent. We worked arch and flatten from here, exaggerating it to arch and curl if our necks would allow such movement. Next up, easy seated arch and curl with a slight twist and special head arc. It's too complicated to describe but the over all effect of the class was to bring more ease and more freedom of movement to our spines and necks.

We worked this same pattern from cat-cow and finally brought ourselves to standing to see how our bodies felt. I felt tall, straight and at ease. It was lovely.

Delicate Backs Week 2
Delicate Backs Week 1

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Delicate Backs Week 2

Last week we learned Arch & Flatten and the 6-Points Practice. I tried to do a little bit of both of these at least once a day and sometimes I would do it twice a day, in the morning and before bed. I definitely noticed that my back felt less tense. My R ribs were still acting up (and have been since last Feb) but I felt like something was going right with this new somatics practice.

Last night we added on to our practice, learning to isolate movement in the hips and shoulders. We moved in four directions: up, down, forward and backward. OK sounds simple but have you ever tried to move one hip? Not so easy. Plus, each shoulder is so different. One might move just fine and the other might be frozen.

After isolating these movements while laying on our backs (and practicing them on both the R&L) we were instructed to lay on our sides and repeat the same series of movements. Then we had to really get complicated. We had to move our hips and shoulders at the same time in a rolling fashion, in a complementary pattern. Like this: Laying on your left side move R shoulder forward, R hip back; R shoulder down, R hip up; R shoulder back, R hip forward; R shoulder up, R hip down. Repeat x3-5 then reverse and repeat x3-5 and take the second side. This is called "walking" - although we did not get up. These are the same movements our body makes while we are walking but we generally don't notice.

After class my R ribs were super flared up. Definitely got some stuff moving there. It hurt to breathe. Thankfully, Molly (my teacher) had some time after class to work with me one-on-one. She had me do a couple of very simple movements, engaging and releasing my quadratus lumborum muscle on the R side. Interestingly (to me) Molly told me this muscle has an insertion point in the front, underside of the armpit and runs all the way down to the pelvis girdle. I tend to have trouble with my R neck, shoulder, ribs and SI joint. Wonder if this muscle is a culprit?

This morning I woke up with no rib pain and I could breathe without discomfort too. Yay!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

New Somatics Practice

I signed up for "Delicate Backs" - a new class at Yoga North. It's a 4 week Somatic intensive and we met last night for the first time. We learned the 6-Points Practice from the work of Thomas Hanna. We started out with Arch and Flatten, moved to Arch and Curl, and refined with the 6-Points Practice.

Here's what our homework guide says about the 6-Point Practice: "To do this, get a sense of the right shoulder, right hip, tail bone, left hip, left shoulder, and back of the head. Gently alternate pressing and lifting each of these points in succession while focusing on what is working and what is releasing to move them up and lower them down."

This is a super slow, super intense practice. Not intense as in "worked out big time" but rather, intense as in "mind-body connection." Basically, we just laid on our backs on the floor with our knees bent and practiced moving each point individually and in conjunction with each other. It's hard to describe and better to experience. But my feeling is that this will be really helpful in easing chronic muscle tightness and also in creating stability where there is weakness.

I'm challenging myself to a little bit of this work every day - not just going in for the 4 meetings.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Hatha I Tonight 7 pm

Hi All - I am subbing for Jodi at Yoga North tonight. I'm teaching her Hatha I class from 7-8:15 pm. Hope to see you there.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012


I haven't been very good about relaxing this summer (or doing anything yoga related except teaching my classes). It's been a summer of family get-togethers and house projects. Both wonderful things, but not relaxing in the same way as a good session of Yoga Nidra.

Last night, after staring intently at the computer for many hours (yes, I know it was a holiday and I wasn't supposed to be working), I finally got my behind down to my yoga room and settled in with some Yoga Nidra mp3s. It was so great I couldn't stop. I listened to three Yoga Nidra sessions in a row.

By the time I was done I was so relaxed I could barely open my eyes or wipe the smile off  my face. I took the dog for a walk, grinning like an idiot and barely looking where I was going. I didn't care where I went or how long it took.

It's good to be back in the relaxation zone.

The tracks I listened to were from these albums: