The stockings were hung by the chimney with care... And a Humble Warrior was practicing a hip-opener!
Try this awesome Christmas themed hip-opener! The holidays are filled with plans, food, and fun! Here at Humble Warrior, we encourage you to explore self-care options during this busy season. Garland pose helps aid in hip mobility by externally rotating and lubricating the hip joints. It also stretches the inner thighs, and can help release tension and lightness in the lower back.
Practice Garland Pose (Malasana)
1. Start standing, with your feet a little wider than hip width apart. Turn the toes out slightly.
2. Bring your palms together at your heart center, and connect the backs of your thumbs to your chest and find your heartbeat. Notice the steady rhythm of your heart. Take a moment to connect, noticing your heartbeat and breath.
3. On an exhale, begin to bend at the knees into your desired depth of a log squat. It is up to you on how far you lower and what feels best on your knees. Feel free to stack two blocks on top of each other and have a seat on them. Sometimes the heels lift, and that's totally cool! Explore placing a blanket or towl beneath your heels.
4. Actively press the knees out and away from the body. If the elbows can connect to the inner portion of the knees, explore gently pushing into the inner knees staying active in your form.
5. Spend 5-7 cycles of breath here.
6. To come out of Garland, place your hands on the floor in front of you. Slowly begin to press up, adjusting the feet to face forward. Roll up with intention, knees stacking above ankles, hips above knees, shoulders above hips, with your head coming up last.
7. Settle into a few breaths of stillness. What do you notice? Was there a shift in your energy level? How does the temperature in the room feel against your skin? How do your hips feel? And if you don't notice anything, no worries., that's completely normal too.
Yoga model: Gabrielle served in the US Army and is currently a Librarian, yoga teacher, and Humble Warrior's Communications Coordinator. She enjoys crafting, gardening, and playing roller derby.
Mother Nature is in full bloom midsummer and we invite you to explore your feminine energy and take up a lot of space in Goddess pose. For an earthy grounding, root your feet in a strong wide-legged stance. Perhaps you step off your yoga mat and onto some grass or beach as an added benefit. Then, take up space with your limbs and bloom! This powerful squat is also known as Fierce Angle Pose or Victory Squat. As you practice this posture you can settle into the joy of being you.
Step to Practice:
Use caution or avoid this pose if you have any ankle, knee, or hip injuries.
Olivia is a registered nurse who lives in both Costa Rica & the US (bi-country), & enjoys spending time alone in nature.
The noise of the world has turned up. It's challenging to turn on the TV, scroll on our phones, or listen to everyday conversations without hearing about suffering or strife. Do you want to turn down the noise? Wellness practices help us to holistically dial down the collective noise. We invite you to turn inward and explore the Hands to Heart Center mudra and combine it with a personalized breath, mantra, or prayer especially for peace, love, and joy in our shared world.
Let's start with a refresher on a mudra and breath prayer. For more information about Mudras, visit our Yoga Pose Directory and find "Mudra." Mudras are hand positions to stimulate the flow or direct energy throughout the body. Hand positions are used in yoga but also commonly used in other areas of our life too. For example, we raise our hand in the classroom to answer a question, place our hand over our heart for reverence, salute with our hand to show respect, and more. Hands to Heart Center, simply brings the hands palm side touching, together at the center of the chest. When we unite our hands together, we help connect the left and right side of our brain.
A breath prayer is a breathing exercise where you say a short phrase as you inhale and another short phrase as you exhale. Our Humble Warrior friend, Amy, shared a breath prayer card that we offer for your use Remember, you can use any phrase, prayer, or mantra, or even make your own to express and focus your intention. You can combine breath prayer with your preferred mudra, or simply find a quiet seat.
Let's explore combining the mudra and breath prayer:
Note: A few words of encouragement from friend Sepi S: Remember that the evil of the world wants us to give in to despair and hopelessness because when we do, we give up the fight for what is right. You're feeling things because it means you care. A heavy heart is a heavy burden, but it means that you are alive and that your heart is beating for those who need you.
For more information about Mudras, we recommend the book: Mudras: Yoga in Your Hands by Gertrud Hirschi
(Sanskrit: Apanasana, meaning upward flowing life force )
Do you have a secret fear of farting in public, or have you passed gas in a yoga class? You are not alone. It happens and it’s normal. Knees to Chest Pose supports the ‘flowing of energy’ and is sometimes laughingly called pawanmuktasana or the “gas release pose or wind-relieving pose.” Feel free to incorporate this pose into your yoga practice, daily stretch, or to head off constipation or gas. So, let’s take a look at this pose.
Use caution or avoid this pose if you have neck, shoulder, or back injuries. Avoid after the first trimester of pregnancy or if you have a hernia.
Our model is our own Humble Warrior 2021 Mentor Tess O. Tess is a happily married US Navy veteran who enjoys traveling with and training her awesome German Shepherd, Syd.
(Sanskrit name: Viparita Karami; pronounced Vi-uh-ree-tuh-kah-rah-nee; meaning "inverted action")
Are your legs tired, ankles swollen, or dogs barking? If you answered yes, try Legs Up the Wall pose. This pose or posture is beneficial and rejuvenating by bringing ease to your legs, feet, and spine. Ancient yoga teachings add that this pose both strengthens your immune system and calms your nervous system. Healthline.com shares that Legs Up the Wall "helps bring more oxygen to your muscles, which can reduce lactic acid production and rid your muscles of any accumulation of lactic acid."
1. Sit with your right side against a firm, smooth wall.
2. Bend your knees and gently roll on to your lower back, resting on your elbows.
3. Gently pivot your body right toward the wall and raise your legs up and on to the wall.
4. Lower and rest your back and head on the floor. You may have to slide your buttocks closer or farther away from the wall depending on the tightness of your hamstrings and your comfort level.
5. Rest your arms at your sides with palms facing up or explore laying them palms down on your belly.
6. Hold the pose for 5-15 minutes while focusing on your breath. If it's comfortable, soften your gaze or close your eyes.
7. To release the posture, simply press your feet into the wall pushing your body away and then lowering your legs back down to the left side, returning to a seated position.
An inversion pose positions the heart higher than the head - think of a headstand or handstand. Legs Up the Wall is also considered an inversion where the head and heart are level or slightly elevated and recommended for all levels. However, it is not recommended for people who have the following conditions: high blood pressure, glaucoma, detached retina, or neck and shoulder injuries. According to healthline.com Legs Up the Wall is "a safer inversion option for people with high blood pressure... check with your doctor before adding this pose to your routine."
So create a sense of calm after a tough day of work, a challenging workout, or before bed by practicing Legs Up the Wall pose.
Pose model: Rachel demonstrates a slight modification of the posture by sliding her hips farther from the wall and bending her knees . This is recommended for anyone who has tight hamstrings. Rachel loves her cat Oreo, her favorite show is The Office, and she is going to school to be a judge someday.
Let’s explore a pose that strengthens our entire back body! It’s hard to see the back of your body, so we may adopt the mind set “out of sight, out of mind.” In fact, many people may not think much about their back body until their back hurts. Locust pose is a prone supported (meaning on your belly) backbend that strengthens the entire back body. Locust Pose has also been called Grasshopper.. The pose is considered an intermediate backbend and a foundation posture for deeper backbends such as Upward Dog and Wheel Pose. Let’s break it down...
From the prone position, stretch your legs long and your arms straight back with the palms facing down. You may opt to squeeze a yoga block between your thighs or calves. Beginners can rest their forehead on their mat and lift the legs only or conversely, they can rest on the top of their feet and lift their upper body and arms.
Use caution or avoid this pose if you have neck or back pain or injuries.
Imarii P. is a 5 year Navy veteran. She describes herself as a black woman, a daughter, a veteran, and a warrior! Many like to tell us who we are, but she looks to her name for inspiration. Imarii means love...love for self and all that we are. She wants to be a reminder that loving yourself is a warrior thing to do, so just breathe.
Hand postures and gestures have been around since ancient times and are commonly used today in dance, martial arts, various religions, and yoga. You can also find hand gestures in everyday life too. People shake hands, students raise their hands in class, and service men and women salute the flag. In yoga, hand and finger postures are commonly referred to as "mudras," a Sanskrit term meaning gesture, attitude, or seal.
Much like reflexology and massage, certain pressure points are known to activate or release energy or tension. So we encourage you to explore using hand gestures in conjunction with breathing exercises to enhance your yoga and mindfulness practices. Michelle Thielen, from YogaFaith, asks us to remember, "Some people use hand gestures and posture to worship their god(s). How others use what God created isn't' for us to judge." This can give us confidence to try difference mudras for enhanced well-being.
Let's take a look at the Meditation Mudra (Dhyana Mudra)
Rest the back of your right hand in your left palm. Slide your hands apart to align the fingers. Allow the tip of your thumbs to touch. Rest your hands on your lap. This posture may bring you a sense of calm focus. Michelle recommends holding a gesture for 10-15 minutes to gain the full benefits. However, you may want to start out holding a gesture for 5-6 breaths or practice them a few times a day to rest, reset, and refresh.
Yoga model: Cheri, a yoga teacher in training who loves her family and enjoys cooking