Welcome to Yogi Sticks!

Do you know your Gomukasana from your Adho Mukha Svanasana? Is your Vrksasana all it can be? And how do you feel about Supta Baddha Konasana? Do you know what I'm even talking about?

Sometimes the Sanskrit - however beautiful it sounds - is not very helpful. So, to encourage my students to expand their yoga practice into their home, I sketch the poses we practice during class on a chart and add the Sanskrit and common name. Hopefully, this is a useful tool to help them along in their yogic journey. I also troll the internet, books, and journals to find interesting articles about yoga and the yogic lifestyle.

1-24:Posture (Lordosis) and 1-26: Yoga for the Lymphatic System

I can't be the only one being bombarded with cold/flu/pneumonia germs right now, so I wanted to design a class to help our immune system with the battle. The practice from Wednesday evening used the lymphatic system as it's base. Our lymphatic system is crucial to our health: The lymphatic fluid contains message sending chemical and hormones from various lymph glands throughout your body, via the circulatory system. The lymph fluid is rich in white blood cells and therefore important to the immune system and in toxin removal. Interestingly, the lymphatic system has no pump (like a heart) or peristalsis (like the muscles in our digestive tract). The ONLY way lymphatic fluid is moved is with the contraction and stretching of skeletal muscles - enter yoga!

Yoga provides unique muscle movements that move the lymph fluid throughout the body, and your pranayam practice does, too! Deep breathing activates a lymph node deep in the thoracic cavity - and only full breathing can reach it. Inversions (like dog, forward folds, and bridge) shift the fluids while twists essentially wring out toxins from the spine and force the lymph fluids to the upper and lower quadrants of the body. Additionally, by moving through any of the common postures, you are able to access the areas of great lymph gland density: armpits, neck, groin, and the back of the knees.

Add to this the ancient kriya (cleansing practice) of the neti pot (sinus wash) and you will hopefully be well on your way to health, even in these germ-infested winter months.

Quote for class: "No one can make you feel inferior without your consent." -Eleanor Roosevelt

Last week, we looked at kyphosis (hunchback) posture a bit, so Monday night I worked with the opposite (but often related) problem of lordosis (excess curve in the lumbar-low back). This posture creates a kyphosis (hunchback) to balance. It also tends to hyperextend knees, put more pressure on the balls of the feet, tighten the psoas, and weaken the lower abdominal muscles. This practice, like the one last week, was adapted from the book, "Anatomy for Yoga" by Nicky Jenkins and Leigh Brandon.

Tonight's quote was from Louisa May Alcott: "Love is the only thing that we can carry with us when we go, and it makes the end so easy."

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