heart openers


Click image for video of Shoulder Shrugs

Click image for video of Shoulder Shrugs

Day 3 Pose of  10-Day Warrior Heart Collective Onlin: SHOULDER SHRUGS

By 6pm most everyone can use some release from shoulder/upper & mid-back tension. I'd say that is the most popular area of tension amongst my evening class students. All the better reason to start class with SHOULDER SHRUGS. I'm digging sitting in 1/2 lotus on the edge of a bolster, which elevates my hips above knees and lengthens my posture (esp since I'm short waisted/short torso) and feel into elongating the back of my neck. 

The key is to focus on activating the shoulder blades to squeeze and move the back rather than moving just the arms to activate the back. It can take a while of consistent practicing to really be able to breathe into these specific areas of our body, but it is possible and visible. 

Tonight after we shrugged we did a few authentic YAWNS which was the cherry on top, releasing jaw and neck tension (which tend to be tight if the shoulders are tight). That tip brought to you by from Restorative yogi queen, Kari Jacobse.

When it all comes down to it, it's replacing STRUGGLE with SURRENDER. In reading about Arizona White Oak essence today (in The Alchemy of the Desert  - thanks to Susanna Claudia Delma), I came across this timely quote in regards to SURRENDER:  "It is often indicated when we are at a point of recognizing the amount of struggle in our lives. It helps us to understand that an attitude of struggle inhibits our growth, rather than enhancing it. We begin to see that the extend to which we fight is the extent to which we are resisting life. Likewise when we struggle against ourselves, there is usually something within us that we do not want to accept."
Rather than convincing ourselves can DO IT ALL (hence, struggling), instead activating our will and intention to get things done by balancing it with what the flow of life brings us. 

Check out the fabulous Aviva Levine demonstrating this pose on YouTube.




Day 2 Pose for 10-Day Warrior Heart Collective Online: BRAHMARI BREATH INTO THE HEART

When I'm feeling unsettled/ungrounded/distracted at the beginning of my practice, this pranayama of Bee Buzzing Brahmari plugs me in. I like vibra-hum into all sides of the heart with the hands placed accordingly to FEEL the vibes: front, sides, back, top & bottom. The more you hum into it, the more you can blow off steam or anxious energy.

Best personal Brahmari experiences have been whenever a large group of dedicated Forrest Yogis get together, whether it be for trainings or workshops, especially when Ana Forrest is leading us, the collective buzz connects us like an invisible cord. Like we could all rocket up to space together.

When teaching, if I felt the group energy was turned on in a good way, I'll end class with everyone doing one long Brahmari, much like an Om but Forrest Yoga style. Afterwards, everyone just floats out the door...

See Forrest Yoga teacher Jacqui Ferraiolo's video on Brahmari: https://www.facebook.com/YogawithJacqui/videos/548530982180115/

photo by Steve Adams