Friday, May 12, 2017

Yoga Therapy Program for Adrian - Hips, Core, Balance

This is a program I am developing for my friend Adrian.
To me her main issues are core strength, outer hip flexibility and balance


- developping Ujjayi

- Svadisthana Mudra (for balancing 2nd chakra)

- Joint Freeing 1, 2, 3,4,5,6, 7 ( + Bird Dog, strengthens the extensors), 8

- Dragon Variations
- Z Sit with Dolphin Movements  (general hip flexibility)
- Plank
- Side Plank (strengthens the abductors and rotators)
- Downward to Standing

-  Ardha Chandrasana with Movement (single arm at a time)
-  Back Arching Toe Touching
-  Leg Lifting Against the Wall/Hip Extension - Front (strengthening flexors) Side and Back (Extensor strengthening)
- Stork (strengthening the flexors)
- Dancer
- Tree
- Star
- Wide Legged Forward Bend (Hamstrings stretching)
- Goddess/Horse Variations
- Malasana on blocks (generally stretching of the hip muscles)

- Supta Pawanmuktasana with Variations (Head to knee, single leg, double leg, half happy baby, twist)
- Shalambhasana Variations - (Side and Single Leg, extensor strengthening)
- 1/2 Bow to Full Bow - (Stretching the Rectus Femoris)
- 1/2 Butterfly Variations (Ardha Titali Asana, Shroni Chakra
- Butterfly (Poorna Titali Asana
-  Assisted Uttanpadasana working the adductors and gracilis by pressing the knees and feet together (adductors and gracilis), then by pressing the heels together (posterior adductors), finally by pressing the big toes together (anterior adductors)
 - Single Leg Lifts, Double Leg Lifts and Circling - Chakra Padasana -  (strengthens adductors and rotators)

- Legs Up the Wall (hamstrings stretch)
- Dragonfly  against the wall (stretching the gracilis) with pelvic tilts
- Thread the Needle on the Wall
- Spinal Twist
- Jastiasana Variations - with crossing one leg over the other (Stretches the abductors)

- reclined alternate nostril breathing

RELAXATION or YOGA NIDRA with 2nd Chakra Focus



Sunday, April 23, 2017

Kanishtha Interlocked Fingers

My next mudra exploration assignment is Kanishtha Mudra with interlocked fingers.  I know this mudra the first mudra in Amy Weintraub's Life Force Yoga Chakra Clearing Meditation. So we I worked on it I didn't have a blank slate.  I had some ideas that the mudra was for energizing the root chakra.

I worked with it for 5 minutes in seated meditation here were my stream of conscious thoughts

- Downward energy
- Grounding
- Planted
- Rooted
- Wheat

- Sunflowers

- Mid West
- Bugs
- Dirt
- Leaning Forward
- My arms don't feel comfortable
- Aware of my feeet
- I feel a strong 3 part breath

When I did the other variation of the mudra these were my thoughts

- The mudra naturally wanted to be at my solar plexus  
-My left hand trembled a bit as my right hand remained strong
- The mudra wanted space between my body and my hands.  
- My breath was focused in my belly and it was very deep.  
- I felt like my pranamaya, vijnanamaya and anandamaya koshas were activated.  
- I felt warm sunlight on the front of my body and a gentle rain (maybe that was the washing machine going)
- I felt the sun at my solar plexus and of the 5 elements fire was the most activated because I felt the sun. 
On an emotional level I was warm and happy.   
- I felt like I was outside on an early summer day completely comfortable and relaxed with the sun on my face and inside of my body 
- I felt at ease and connected between then  outer sun and my inner sun.

What feels the same between these two experiences in yellow imagery and the sun.  The first time I felt warmth, sunlight and fire.  This time I saw wheat and sunflowers.  So the mudra has a warming effect on me.  But this time I felt more earth element properties like bugs and dirt and being planet. Last time I felt the mudra for at the solar plexus.   I was much less verbal and more visceral with this version of the mudra.

Thursday, April 20, 2017


The yoga class for balancing the vata dosha will be a mindful practice with the emphasis is on alignment, safety and concentration.  The mood of the class will be focused and equanimous.  The morning class will be held in a well lit room that is very clean and clear without visual distractions. My tone of voice will be direct and confident and compassionate.  The students will feel safe and supported in their practice.  There will also be no music to avoid focus being pulled away from the body.  The practice will include slow and graceful movements and the use of props. Poses will generally be held 3 to 5 breaths while some restorative postures will hold much longer. My clothes will be form fitting and close to the body so that the students can understand the muscles and alignment. My key teaching words will be: calm, slow, steady, grounding, strengthening and consistent. I will encourage the students to practice consistently (at least 4 times a week) at the same time.  Eyes will be open throughout the practice with the drishti focusing on specified drishti of the pose.

- Centering and Equanimity

- Adho Merudanda Mudra with affirmation: “With a deeper sense of centering, I experience perfect equanimity.”

- Seated slow rhythmic ujjayi with an even ratio of inhalation and exhalation

WARM UPS (slow and steady with calm deep breathing)
- Garbasnana/Balasana/Child’s Pose
- Side Stretch in Child’s Pose
- Cat Cow
- Tiger
- Bird Dog aka Sun Bird
- Downward Facing Dog with gentle movement
- Downward Facing Dog with 2 blocks under the hands
- Regular Downward Facing Dog
- Plank (modified if necessary) with block under chest
- Regular Plank
- Fore Arm Plank (modified if necessary)
- Dolphin (if available)
- Child’s Pose
- Downward Facing Dog to Standing

- Tadasana
- Slow Sun Salutations – 3 rounds
- Chair Pose with block between the thighs, Chair Pose without Props
- Standing Forward Bend
- Triangle
- Standing Head to Knee
- Stork
- Vrksasana/Tree
- Prasarita Padottanasana/Separate Leg Forward Fold
- Goddess
- Malasana

- Belly Savasana to Crocodile to Sphinx
- ½ Locust
- Navasana
- Lion
- Virasana/Vajrasana with Forward Bend (if available)
- Camel
- Janu Sirshana
- Paschimottanasana
- Supported Bridge
- Viparita Karanni or Legs Up the Wall
- Gentle Matsyasana with attention not to strain the neck
- Tadaka Mudra/Supine Ardha Chandrasana
- Pawanmuktasana to Supine Spinal Twist
- Savasana

- Slow rhythmic ujjayi breathing in Savasana without retention

LONG SAVASANA  (10 to 20 minutes)
- With eye pillow, blankets and bolsters if desired
- Possible Guided imagery of being in a warm, womb-like environment or being supported by the earth.

SO HUM MEDITATION (time permitting)
- Repetition of Adho Merudanda Mudra and “with a deeper sense of centering, I experience perfect equanimity”
- Om Shanti, Shanti, Shanti

- Vatas should finish practice feeling stable, warm and calm with tension released from the lower abdomen. Ideally, their minds and emotions will feel peaceful, steadied and grounded.


The focus of this morning class is to bring awareness to the senses, dynamism and variety.  We will use upbeat inspirational music such as kirtan. percussion and world music.  The class will be active and warming  to stimulate metabolism and circulation. We will sweat.  My instructions will be clear and consistent.  My key teaching words will be:  stimulating, moving, warming, lightening, energizing, releasing. The room will be bright,  warm and welcoming.  My clothing will be athletic suitable for an active vinyasa style practice.


- Seated repeat the Sounds of the Chakras (lam, vam, ram, ham, yam, om, and silence)

- Dharma Chakra Mudra: “Integrating all of  the chakra qualities, my vision is manifest as lived reality.”

WARM UPS (slow and steady with calm deep breathing)
- Agni Sara Kriya
- Breath of Joy
- ½ Sun Salutes
- Surya Namaskara A and B with smooth rhythmic breath

STANDING ASANAS  (incorporate deep breath with emphasis on a gentle retention after the exhalation)
- Ardha Chandrasana with Pada Hastasana (Ghosh Lineage)
- Warrior 1 with Ha Breath
- Warrior 2 with Arm Movements
- Flow: Warrior 2, Side Angle, Exalted Warrior
- Flow: Separate Leg Head to Knee from side to side
- Flow: Eagle to Balancing Stick
- Flow: Stork to Dancer
- Tree with Arm Variations
- Tree with leg in Half Lotus
- Tree to Toe Stand
- Horse to Malasana
- Malasana to Crow

- Crow
- Makarasana
- Moving Cobra
- ½ Locust, Full Locust, Side Locust
- Belly Navasana with arm and leg movement
- Boat with Arm and Feet Variations
- Camel
- Rabbit or Head Stand
- Moving Bridge
- Viparita Karani
- Plow
- Matsyasana
- Slow Closing Flow: Pawanmuktasana to Supine Thread the Needle to Eagle Leg Supine Spinal Twist – Both Sides
- Jastiasana with Crawling
- Savasana

- Kapalabhati

SAVASANA  (10 to 20 breaths)


- Repetition of the Sounds of the Chakras and Affirmation in Dharma Chakra Mudra: “Integrating all the chakra qualities, my vision is manifest as lived reality.”
- Final long deep Om in unision

- Ideally, Kaphas should finish asana practice feeling invigorated, warm and light.   Their circulation will be energized and their chest and lungs feel more open.  Their mind will be sharp and clear. And the emotional heaviness often associated with kaphas will be released.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017


The mood of the class is relaxed and meditative. The room is candlelight with the lights dimmed.  The class takes place in the evening after work.  I am wear navy blue flowing loose yoga pants and top. The music is soft and calm.  I have selected a combination of Mantras, New Age, Blues, and Soul. My tone of voice is calm and steady.  My key teaching words are:  Cooling, Relaxing, Surrendering, Forgiving, Gentle, and Diffusive. I encourage the students to practice with eyes closed when possible, internalizing their drishti.  The pace of the class will be steady and slow. As a teacher, I will be aware of the Pitta’s need to turn their practice into a strong workout and let the practice be strong but balanced with cooling asanas and pranayama.

- This class will work on breathing and effortlessness in the poses. We will focus on summoning lunar energy for non-doing, self-reflection, and surrender.

- Seated in Easy Pose holding Ida Mudra
- Affirmation aloud or silently: “Bathing in soft moonlight energy, I flow with the rhythms of life more easily”

- Seated Abdominal Breathing with hands on abdomen to feel the belly rise on the inhale and on the exhale belly fall on the exhale

- Joint Freeing Series as taught by Mukunda Stiles, 1-7, 16-21

- Tadasana with setting of an intention
- Standing Uddiyana Bandha
- Moon Salutations - Satyananda Style – 3 rounds with Mantras
- Ardha Chandrasana  (½ Gentle Moon Pose - One hand by the side as other rises to the side)
- Gentle Standing Back bend hands on back
- Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend grabbing opposite elbows)
- Standing Forward bend Twist (one hand on the ground one hand rises to the sky, opposite knee can bend if necessary)
- Prasarita Padottanasana (Wide legged Forward Bend) - 3 arm variations - hands on Hips, Hands on Floor, Arms overhead
- Parivritta Prasarita Padottansana (Wide Legged Forward Bend Twist)
- Triangle
- Tula Ardha Chandrasana (Balancing ½ Moon with a Block or Against the Wall)
- Parsvottanasana (hands over head or in reverse prayer)
- Vrikshana (Tree Pose)
- Malasana

- Apanasana – Single Leg and Double Leg
- Makarasana
- Bhujangasana  – Gentle Movement and then Holding
- Dhanurusana
- Vajrasana/Virasana – with Joint Freeing Series 9-15
- Ekapada Supta Virasana if available
- Shashangasana or Balasana
- Janushirshasana
- Paschimottasasana
- Setubandhasana
- Shoulder stand or Viparita Karani
- Fish
- Supta Badha Konasana  – Gentle Movement and then Holding
- Ardha Matsyendrasana
- Yoga Mudra
- Savasana

- Shitali/Shitkari

- May I be happy
- May I be safe
- May I be at ease
- (continue exchanging “I” for: Guru/Teacher, Dear Friend, Neutral Person, Difficult Person and All Beings Everywhere)

- Seated in Ida Mudra repetition of affirmation: “Bathing in soft moonlight energy, I flow with the rhythms of life more easily”
- Chanting AUM three times

- At the end of practice Pittas should feel cool, content and calm with tension released from the mid-abdomen. Ideally, their minds and emotions should will be relaxed , clear and at rest.   The natural Pitta tendency  toward feelings of competitiveness and/or irritation will have eased. Optimally, their awareness will have shifted to contemplative and meditative states

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Angustha Mudra Experiential - Gesture of the Thumb

My stream of conscious thoughts while  holding Angustha Mudra

Mudra wants to be at the solar plexus or the navel but I like it best at the solar plexus

Jersey Shore

Old Italian Man who used to sit on Newport Avenue and tell me stories about the diving show

I have tears in my eyes

My grandmother's gray hair

The boardwalk 

Why am I so sad

Him in the bathroom

Stain on the sheets


Southern Tip of Africa

Tall tall sails

Long Beach-Naples Canals at Christmas


Daki Miao's hair

Walking streets of Paris with Benedikt

Lying on the bed sick in Greece

So many lies

Insight LA on Sunday morning

My right shoulder is hurting

My brother

My brother playing monopoly and throwing up the board

Answer to IYT  Questions about my experience in the Mudra

- The breath is at the chest
- Breath is going into the heart chakra
- What physical systems - respiratory, circulatory, emotional - sadness,
- Elements - air, space, water
- I felt so sad holding this mudra
- I don't know why this man who used to sit on his beach chair on my grandmother's street has effected me so much.  I am still thinking about him 40 years later.  This old italian man who used to tell me about being in the diving shows on the Atlantic City Pier.  Why is that one of the things that has stuck with my most in life?
-  There are so many symbols and images (see above)

How does my experience in the mudra compare to what is written about the mudra in the IYT manual

Core Quality is Listening:

That is very interesting because I had that memory of the man who would tell me stories about the Boardwalk Diving Shows.

Especially Helpful for

a) Receiving Inner Guidance and Expressing it clearly in the world

- This Jersey man is like my rosebud.  What am I trying to unravel.  What am I missing that he is reminding me of.  What is the guidance?  To take a dive?  To enjoy life?  To marry an Italian-American (I did that).

b) Releasing tension from the shoulders, throat and neck
- I experienced pain in the right shoulder during the meditation

c) Aligning Cervical Spine
- I don't know

d) Supporting the health of the thyroid
- I don't know

e) Enhancing Speaking and Singing
- I don't know

Tarjani Mudra

This is what a felt and saw during my meditation using Tarjani Mudra

Index Fingers together
Body feels like leaning forward
Index fingers are moving toward the heart 
They leave the solar plexus

Feel breathing in upper abdomen and chest
Feel some gentle raindrops
Feel the heart beat
Shoulders aren't feeling good today

Feel the color green
Feel green grass
Feel sun and wind
Feel Easter Eggs, bunnies

Feel the earth like an egg
See the cross and the fish

When I wing the elbows out my left hand tremor is activated more
Took them in - oh now it's still going

Still leaning into the future
Awareness of the back of the neck

A many pointed star

Barbell at the shoulder blades

A salty wind at the ocean

A black muscle with a beard

Footprints in the sand

deer, antelope and gazelle

Plains of Africa

A locket

Pushkar in India

The tube that was mailed to me with the art work inside

Figure drawing


This is what the mudra is supposed to do according to Mudras for Healing and Transformation

Tarjani Mudra is for opening the heart.  Tarjani means index finger.  I felt that very strongly.  Most of my imagery is related to the heart chakra.

It is especially helpful for

a) Opening the subtle heart

I felt that with feelings of my old love and Easter (Jesus' resurrection).

b) Releasing constriction in the chest

I felt the constriction in my shoulders. I don't think it was released

c) expanding breath capacity

I noticed that

d) Enhancing enthusiasm which may be helpful with depression

I am unsure

I  noticed the air element as the most dominant but also water in the beginning with the gentle rain.

The mudra activates the circulatory and respiratory systems and I was aware of the breath and my heart beat.

I felt nostalgia in the meditation for the past. A little sadness.  Some disappointment.  But also hope.
I think Easter and all it symbols was the beginning of a spiritual experience.