Saturday, March 9, 2013

Dynamics of the Diaphragm

The diaphragm is a sheet of muscle separating the chest and stomach cavities.  It contracts and relaxes with breathing.

The diaphragm pulls down when it contracts that lowers the pressure in your chest, causing air from the outside to rush into the lungs (inhalation).  When it relaxes, it increases pressure in the chest, forcing air out (exhalation).

This muscle attaches to ribs, sternum, vertebrae.  The esophagus, aorta, and inferior vena cava travel through the diaphragm.

The diaphragm is also involved in coughling, sneezing, crying, vomiting, and expelling waste.

The diaphragm sometimes contracts involuntarily because when the controlling nerves get irritated (or for some other reason). If air is inhaled at this time, the space between the vocal cords at the back of the throat close suddenly and produce the clicking noise we call hiccups (epiglottis snapping shut).

Healthy Hamstrings

10 Ways to Stretch Your Hammies
Forward Fold
Wide Legged Forward Fold
Down Dog
Standing Splits
Seated Forward Fold
Seated Straddle
Seated Tree
Reclining Big Toe Stretch

Sunday, March 3, 2013

How Yoga Works for Me

About five years ago, a teacher in my school began teaching yoga classes after school.  I didn't have the strength to hold a plank or dolphin, but I really enjoyed trying.  I was intrigued with how this "exercise" was "me, the mat and gravity."  I didn't need a lot of equipment or special shoes and clothes.  It was an honest, no frills experience.  Not being the type to wear a mask, this was the first way yoga worked for me.

I explored yoga at two gyms, with a personal fitness instructor, and workshops/home studies with YogaKids, YogaFit and Global Family Yoga. When I had the opportunity to try yoga with Pink Lotus Yoga Center, I found another way yoga worked for me! Nicole was friendly and welcoming and didn't use flowery language that made me itchy scratchy.  I felt at home in her studio and am thankful  for her tireless efforts to bring yoga to the Lexington community.

I did a lot of praying before enrolling in the Gotta Yoga Teacher Training opportunity.  My goal, beginning with the end in mind, is to bring the strength, balance and calm I feel as a yogi to kiddos.  Students in 2013 have so much stress!  We live with the pedal to the medal and venture infrequently to "rest and digest" mode.  We currently teach children leadership skills, including "Sharpen the Saw--Balance Feels Best."  Kids need to know how to juggle time with friends and time alone, time to read/work and time to move/play.  Development of recognizing when you have done too much of any good thing is essential for health and quality of life.  Yoga works for me as the vehicle to travel down this road with kids.

Most recently, yoga is working as the glue holding my professional life, family, and church responsibilities together.  I have been amazed since beginning the teacher training in January how themes/ideas are popping up in all areas of my life and yoga is the common thread.  The opportunity to begin a meditation practice has been complimentary to the daily devotions I do.  Journaling has always been helpful in my career, personal, and spiritual life, and the opportunities to reflect and fit puzzle pieces together is a much appreciated part of our teacher training program.  Caring communication is what I teach and practice everyday in my job and with my family.

Yoga works for me because yoga reminds me I am perfect just as I am.  To be "steady and comfortable" in the pose, balancing effort and ease, is enough.  "I attempt something difficult, and I appreciate myself for trying."  It's okay to be different.  The light in me honors the light in you.  I can let my little light shine.  It's not a competition.  Ego and pride are checked in at the door!  Yoga provides opportunity for confidence building, telling worry and fear to take a hike, breathing in peace and courage.  Embracing an attitude of gratitude and setting intentions provides that which does not fit the intention a way out and no way to sap precious energy.

My Yoga at Work:  Today I shared a temple talk at church.  I shared about making the world a better place in the way only YOU can do it.  I lead the whole congregation in BREATHING.  I have been invited to assist in a yoga class at our church.  I have permission to offer yoga for our school faculty and staff.  I am able to incorporate stress hardiness techniques with my counseling efforts.  I'll get to try some Partner Yoga and Brain Gym activities with kiddos in the next couple weeks.  I HAVE THE OKAY TO COORDINATE A YOGA CAMP FOR KIDS THIS SUMMER!  I'm hoping to share a Family Yoga Vacation class before the end of the school year.  I have been able to observe a variety of yoga classes this month and even assist in Kids Yoga Class at PLYC.  Global Family Yoga has asked me to be a guest blogger and share how I incorporate books with instruction!  Everything's coming up YOGA, and I feel good.