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Stretch

The time of the year when we get super active and we want to burn everything from the past months has come! .

Most of us are planning in advance to feel better for summer, I wont call it a summer body because we have the same body the whole year long, but we do start to exercise around this time of the year more often than usual, and that usually makes us feel good about ourselves.

Saying this so, we also tend to get injured more than usual. We expect to run 10 miles out of nowhere and feel the bliss and fire afterward with no side effect, you know, like those Nike commercials, the truth is,t without proper after workout stretches, our muscles and ligaments are going to feel the damage, we might not feel it the first couple of times, but theres going to be a moment when your body wont resist it anymore and you will end up injured.

That’s why I came up with this sequence to stretch and release the tension after any workout. It also applies for those who feel the soreness from a long day at work and need a good stretch before bed. Feel free to use this sequence whenever you feel the need to stretch and release.

 

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  1. Forward fold variation / Uttanasana : with your hands interlacing behind your back, bend the knees and bring the tailbone back and up. Rest the torso over the thighs and slowly start to straighten your legs keeping the back straight. Your head is hanging and your hands are trying to reach forward. Hold for 5 breathes.

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  1. Twisted forward fold: From uttanasana, bend one knee and straighten the other one, twist the torso towards the straight leg and bring the arm from the same side up. Arms are in T, the twist comes from the waist, and the chest and face are facing up, hold and change to the other side.

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  1. High lunge with hands on the floor: Bring one feet in between your hands, your arms are strong like in the top of a push up, the other leg is straight back, the heel is pulling back and the muscles are engaged. The spine is long, belly in, looking forward. The front knee is bent at a 90 degrees and the knee is aligned with the foot. Hold for 5 and change to the other side.

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  1. Low lunge / Anjaneyasana : From high lunge, drop the back knee to the floor, keeping the muscles contracted, lift the torso and interlace the fingers on top of the knee, shoulders away from the ears, chest is up, belly in. Let the hips hang a little bit without loosing control of it. Hold for 5, change to the other side

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  1. Half Split / Ardha Hanumanasana: From low lunge, bring the hips back to the heel, straighten the opposite leg and leave the hands at the side of the front leg, you will feel a deep stretch on your straight hamstring, use blocks or books to take more space if necessary. Hold for 5, change to the other side.

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  1. Big toe Pose / Padangusthasana: With feet hip width distance grab the two big toes with the first two fingers, bend the knees if necessary to keep a straight spine. Start to pull your head towards your feet , bend the elbows to the side and keep the shoulders away from the ears. Hold for 5

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  1. Upside Down Pigeon: Lying on your back, bend one knee and leave the foot grounded, then place the opposite ankle on top of the knee, making a shape 4 with the legs, push the knee away from the torso to feel a deep hip stretch, you can grab the thigh behind and lift the leg, in order to create more tension and a deeper stretch in both legs.

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  1. Twist with eagle legs: with the back laying on the floor, cross one leg over the other one, then bring the knee to the opposite side of the floor while the chest and face turn to the opposite side, this is a deep stretch, be careful if you have any back injury. Hold for 5 and change side.

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  1. Seated Forward bend / Paschimottanasana : Seated with the legs straight in front of you bring the chest forward, grabbing the side of the feet or any part of the legs to find a deeper fold. You can bend the knees in order to keep the back straight. Once you find a good stretch you can rest the head on your legs, only if theres no hunch on the back!.

The ideal is to hold each pose for 5 breathes, feel how each inhale will give you space to lengthen , and each exhale will allow you to go deeper.

I hope you find this helpful, I learned the hard way to stretch after practice and now it has become the most important part of it, enjoy!

Making it easy

When I first heard about meditation the only thing that came into my mind was the idea of being at the top of a mountain wearing a beautiful white organic cotton robe while I was sitting in a perfect lotus with my mind completely in blank, almost levitating. Of course, any of the things I just mentioned ever happened, maybe the white organic cotton robe did happen (as a T-shirt) but the idea of clearing my mind and be in complete quietness is still on the works, and I meditate almost every single day, at least for 5 minutes for the past year.

If you are just starting with your meditation practice, or you haven’t  started but want to give it a chance, hear me out. Its going to be weird, its not easy, and you wont see the difference right away, but once you start to see how your world start to change just because you dedicate some minutes of your day to yourself, you will understand why is so necessary to keep meditation in our daily routine.

Here are 5 things I’ve learned about making meditation approachable for those (like me) who have some trouble to keep their mind under control.

img_0519Find guidance : if it’s your first time, I highly recommend that you do it under the guide of someone, they’ll find the right words for your practice, and you’ll feel that you actually did something more than just be sitting waiting there waiting to be over. I recommend YouTube for those with no time (or money) . There are also great apps that you can keep on your phone and have them at hand when you most need them. Also go to your nearest yoga studios, they might have the most amazing meditation sessions and being in a place like a studio will make the experience very different.

img_0068Keep it simple : Don’t get too fancy buying a meditation cushion, a 12 pound Buddha, hundreds of essential oils and expensive Malas. Meditation is just the practice of being aware of your breathing and a practice of letting things go. So you will basically need a confortable position, maybe a cushion and maybe some background music, just if you are not comfortable with complete silence , which I love.

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Be present : once you sit down and start your practice, try to keep your attention on that exact moment, your mind will wander and you will lose it, the important thing is to get back, be aware of your thoughts, observe them and let them be. Meditation not always have to be seated in complete silence with your eyes closed. Being mindful of any situation is the prefect example of active meditation.

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Expect nothing: people will always expect a certain bliss or feeling after practice (no, we won’t levitate, I promise). There will be some feelings, and an after taste, we are all unique, so don’t compare your progress with anyone else ( that works for life too btw) this is a personal practice where only you will understand with time how everything starts to change.

img_0521Breathe: Basically this is all that matters. There are many different types of meditation practices, the most common one is when you concentrate your attention in your breathing. For me , it has been the one who has sticked on, but anyways in any session remember to breathe, deep and conscious. That’s what we came for so let’s make the most out of it.

Of course they might me many other things I still don’t know about meditation, Im still on my own journey. Every day when I sit and close my eyes, I feel is my first time, sometimes I breathe deeper than others, some other times my mind can’t stop wandering, but I’m still there, in my easy pose, with a tall spine, in the middle of my living room, growing one breathe at a time.

Monday Mantra 02.27.

 

” ONG NAMO GURÚ DEV NAMO”

I bow to the Creative Wisdom, I bow to the Divine Teacher within.

We can use this mantra to “tune in” to the divine flowing within each of us. It bring us to a meditative state which allow the universe to open up to us.

Repeat this mantra 3 times before your practice (or any task that you are about to start) and let your mind work at its own pace.

Have a wonderful week.

namste

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Vinyasa Flow

Esta secuencia de Vinyasa esta diseñada para todos los que están buscando acelerar su ritmo cardiaco con un poco de yoga. Es un flow para todos los niveles, con ciertas poses que con un poco mas de dificultad, pero solo por el hecho de que hasta ahora estas comenzando tus practicas, no significa que no puedas intentarlo.
Las ventajas de practicar en casa es que siempre puedes poner pausa, tomar un respiro y comenzar de nuevo :).
Al final vas a sentir un poco mas de confianza (para eso están los guerreros) tu abdomen y tus piernas van a sentir el esfuerzo y tu vas a sentir esa sensación de poder  que nos dejan nuestras clases de yoga.

Namaste

 

Calm. Sleep. By Moby

Even if my feed is filled with political, depressing news that makes me feel impotent and angry, I also get to find things like this. Moby has decided to share with us 4 hours of music that he uses for yoga and meditation.

The world might not drastically change after this, but at least we have a nice and soothing soundtrack to get some air and find some peace. Just click here 

I hope you enjoy it as much as I do. Thanks Moby!

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Monday Mantra 02·20·17

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I am love.. soy amor…

After a week full of heart shaped thoughts I felt that it was very appropriated to keep this friendly reminder. Of course Valentines is over, and chocolate boxes are 50% off. Some of you might still be feeling the sparkles of the love that this day irradiates, some others might be having a harder time because the expectations weren’t filled. Well, with time I’ve learned that love is an inside job, and if love is not being performed correctly on the inside, most likely the outside will be having its problems.

So for this week Im going to leave this mantra on the table. Repeat to yourself “I am love” “Yo soy amor” , “Je suis l’amour”, and forget for a second the rest of it, imagine the world is inside you, it doesn’t matter how much affection you are receiving from outside, if you feel a warm heartbeat inside you, and the thrills of your breathing is enough for a smile, you are set for the day.

Im sure a lovely week is coming up.

Namaste

Monday Mantra 2•13•17

 

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Lets be real, we need a plan in life, it’s not like we can float around the universe without any goals, and just be (some times sounds like a great idea but trust me that’s not what your are here for). We all come with a purpose and we just need to work for it, giving everything we have, expecting nothing in return.This week try to liberate yourself from any expectation and be content with what the world has to offer you.

But also remember to give it all, otherwise karma will come back at you and you will regret it.

May your week be nothing like you expected ✌🏼

Stretch your troubles away

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Because of the latest events in life I feel with the obligation of sharing this post, so you can keep it close to you when you need it the most.

Hard times are coming (maybe it have always been hard, but lately it feels like the universe is playing us a very bad joke), and for those moments when you feel like a heavy rock is in your throat and you need to punch something (or someone) before your head explodes, I have a non-violent alternative: just stretch your troubles away.Sometimes what we really need is to put our heartbeat in a lower frequency and let our body digest and let go all the anger and frustration that we love to hold and keep for no reason.

Here are some asanas that will help you let the stress out, they might be also great for digestion and will help you release any tension, especially in your neck and back area , so give them a look, chose your favorite (or all of them) and breathe throughout the pose for 2-5 minutes. You’ll feel a great difference if you keep doing it constantly. Chose a time of your day, maybe as soon as you wake up, lunch break, before bed, any moment is perfect. Remember that yoga is not just the asanas, and the fancy poses, its also breathing, accepting, and living in a slow pace, be aware of your surroundings and don’t forget to meditate :).

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1.Cow/Cat  2.Twisted Puppy  3.Puppy Pose
  1. Cow/Cat: On your hands and knees, start moving your spine, drop the belly look up on the inhale, exhale, tuck the belly in, look in between your legs and release.

  2. Twisted puppy: bring your hands to the front of the mat, like down dog ready, then bring your tailbone to your heels, from there one arm goes under the torso, leaving it in T but making a deep twist with the torso, the head rest on one side on the floor.

  3. Puppy pose: hands at the top of the mat, arms active and extended, belly in, tailbone reaching up and back, knees on the floor hip width distance.

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1. Adho Mukha Savanasana  2. Low Lunge  3. Variation
  1. Adho Mukha Svanasana: Hands shoulder distance, feet hip width distance, belly in, tail bone trying to reach the ceiling, arms pushing the torso away from the floor, shoulders away from the ears.
  2. Low lunge: one feet on the ground, the other leg extended to the back with the knee on the floor, hips looking forward, arms can be parallel or palms together, chest up and forward, belly in, gaze forward.
  3. Variation: to open tour hips joints, place your hand on the bent knee and the other hand on the floor, then slowly start to turn your torso facing the bent knee, while the hand pushes the knee away from the center.

 

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1. Three legged dog  2. Twisted lunge 3. Twisted chair

1. Three legged dog: from down dog, bring one leg high up, like kicking something behind , the heel is pulling away and the tights are contracted. The hips are aligned and the arms are pushing the torso away from the floor.

 

2. Twisted Lunge:  From high lunge, place the hand of the extended leg on the floor, while you twist your torso and try to look up, the other arm is reaching up, the abdomen is tucked in, and both legs are holding the same amount of weight, shoulders away from the ears.

3. Twisted chair: From Utkatasana, place your hands in prayer at heart center, then place the opposite elbow over the opposite knee, start pushing away knee from elbow to create a deep twist, look up and keep the knees aligned.

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1. Forward fold variations.  2.Prasarita Padottanasana  3.Sethu Bandha Sarvangasana
  1. Forward fold variations: bring your torso forward and with engaged legs let your shoulders and head be heavy so the lower back release all the tension, you can either grab opposite elbows and move from side to side, or interlace your fingers behind you and bend over.
  2. Prasarita Padottanasana : With feet open wider than hip width, grab your big toes with first two fingers, start pulling your torso to the floor, keep your back straight at every moment, bend the knees if needed.
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1.Kapotasana  2.Pigeon Variation 3.Matsyendrasana
  1. Kapotasana: Place one calf parallel to the front of the mat, the other leg is straight pointing back, the hips must be aligned touching the floor, you can put some blankets or blocks to find more space.
  2. Variation: bring your torso forward, it will give you a deeper stretch on the bent leg, but also will release some tension on the lower back.
  3. Matsyendrasana: or seated spinal twist, cross one leg over the other one, then start to twist helping yourself with the leg over. You can place the opposite elbow to deepen the twist.

I hope this helps in your daily routine. Sometimes we will need more than just a few stretches to relieve the tension, but you know, one breathe at a time and everything will fall into place… someday :).

Namaste

Gymnopédie Nº1

“Slanting and shadow-cutting a flickering eddy
Trickled in gusts of gold on the shiny flagstone
Where the atoms of amber in the fire mirroring themselves
Mingled their sarabande with the gymnopaedia”

Les Antiques – J. P. Contamine de Latour

Take 5

Its easy to promise that you’ll find a space and a moment to take care of yourself. It usually happens when you are at work, your back hurts and your next vacation break is in more than 6 months, but of course it never happens, maybe you go and grab something to eat and feel better, for like 5 minutes. I’m not trying to achieve eternal illumination (not yet), and I don’t carry all the secrets of how to live a mindful life, but I know that taking 5 minutes of your day, only to yourself, will change the way you feel. Here are some tricks to get some space and time when there are not such.

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The first thing you need is your phone, and not to snapchat yourself with dog faces while driving. There are some great apps to meditate or just have some white noise while doing something else (yes, you can drive and listen the sound of a forest and call it an active meditation session). Some of the ones I have tried are these ones:

screen-shot-2016-12-28-at-8-27-00-amCalm

This company focused on mindfulness and meditation gives you the choices of downloading an app or simply to use their website. They will guide you in a free 7 day immersion where they’ll show just a part of all the programs they have to offer. You can subscribe and have the whole package which includes guided meditation for specific needs, and some longer programs to focus on a goal in a multi-day series. 

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Headspace:

I’ve been using this one for a while (still enjoying the free 10 day trial) and as Calm, its a mindfulness meditation research company who have used the app, not only to benefit over 5 million users since 2010 but also to use it as a way of research and develop a better understanding of the relationship of meditation and its benefits in order to get the most of this training for any kind of person.

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Take a Break! 

 Even if they only offer two meditation podcast, is the best app for those who really don’t have time (They do have time, they only need to organize themselves). You can chose either the 7 minute work break (like when you take the bathroom break just to step out and check your phone) or the 13 minutes stress relief (commuting always will take more than that..why not using it for some relaxation) 

I understand that downloading the app its easy, the problem is to get into it and finally using it. It took me a long time to understand how important is to take a moment to pause. If you know that meditation, as sitting and concentrating on your breathing is not your thing, try to play a game.

This app is my favorite and I use it every single night (Mr Velez still says that is just an excuse for me to play on the phone, but I chose not to think that) Instead of scrolling through social media, which I know is fun, and is the only way to catch up with the rest of the people around you, try to have a simple game on your phone. I use two dots, they do have goals, and medals but the real deal of this game is their composition, its so beautifully done with music so deep and calm, that without noticing it set you in a lighter mood, just ready to go to sleep. 

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I highly recommend that you include some physical activity to your routine, I know it can be hard, and you might not be able to be constant, but things like walking an extra block, and taking the bus maybe a few stops before or after, could make a huge change. If you can walk, do it! find any excuse to move your body, going out on a Friday night to dance until your legs can’t handle it, can count as cardio (avoiding the alcohol part, of course)

These are only some ideas that you could use to give yourself some time, believe me when I tell you to start doing it before is too late and you feel that the world is about to destroy you, have a conversation with your body, even if its on the shower, try to scan yourself everyday and make sure everything is fine. Hard times are going through right now and we need to be strong. So go ahead and take 5, you deserve it :).

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