“Chiro-Yoga”

This is an great video about Yoga and Chiropractic Practices to preserve a healthy spine. Enjoy!

The Importance of Breathing

Hello everyone !

Thank you for taking the time to read my post and learn more about yoga and wellness. I hope you are all doing very well. I would like to start this post talking about our endless mind thoughts. What I observed is that every time I am about to start writing a new post, I think too much about so many different topics! What happens is that instead of having all this ideas working together to help me find a good topic to write about, these thoughts challenge me in a way that is gets difficult to make a choice. It is even funny that, as human beings, we have the tendency to think too much to make a choice, then we get confused and sometimes lost in so much thinking, so we ended up complicating things, which supposed to be simply and easy. Moreover, we ended up making improper choices in life. It is almost like a “survival” reaction due to us living our lives in a autopilot mode. We “think” that we need to be overwhelmed with so much choices to make and so much thinking, to make our lives powerful and meaningful.

This week post is about breathing and the importance of proper breath. This topic goes so well along with my observations above. Why is so hard for much people to sit still and breathe? Why it is so difficult to let go of that unstoppable inner voice and simply observe our feelings and sensations, so we can really listen to what we truly want/need? The mind is constantly playing tricks on us, creating illusions, fears, judgments, assumptions, expectations, which just aren’t part of who we really are, what we want, and what we are capable of. The more we think, the far away we get from our own self.

Yoga teach us how to find a breath that is proper to quiet the mind, and relax the muscles. Ujjai breathing is the breath of yoga, most likely known as the breath of fire, which calms down the nervous system, as well as creates internal heat and gives the amazing sensation of relaxation and peace. The breath on yoga is where the magic happens. Without the proper breath, there is no transformation in the mind, only in the body. The real transformation happens in the mind, not in body, but it happens through the breath soothing the physical body. The breath is not just important in the yoga practice, but also outside the yoga room. Everything we learn on the mat, we can apply to our daily lives. The awareness of the breath that we experience while we are practicing yoga is crucial when we face a stressful situation. It teaches us how to be non-reactive and remain calm on that situation, so we can think properly and make the proper choice to deal/face that situation. When we are reactive, we act based on emotions and/or feelings which are generated from the mind. So we react based on an illusion, which is definitely not who we are.

Without necessary being in a yoga room, start noticing your breath. Just observe how fast your breath, regardless what you are doing. I encourage you to start slowing your breath down, even if is just for a few moments. Close your eyes and take slow deep breaths through the nose, with the lips sealed, in a count of 3 to 5 seconds. Then, notice how you feel. The results are pretty impressive. Your mind has no way out but surrender and relax. This magic happens very quickly. Your body will feel more relaxed, soft, and settle. Remain with your eyes closed, and notice your thoughts. If they arise, just notice, and let them go, deepening the breath. Enjoy the stillness of the mind. Practice this exercise as much as you can throughout your day, or week, specially if you feel overwhelmed, tired or confused.

Practicing this breathing exercise in a yoga posture is even more beneficial. I recommend 3 options:

1. Sukhasana or Seated Pose: seat comfortably with legs crossed, pressing your sit bones down to the ground. Your hands can rest in your thighs, with palms facing up. Sitting against a wall helps to create a tall flat spine. Relax your shoulders down away from your ears, open the chest, and scoop your belly towards your spine. Press the crown of your head towards the sky.

2. Savasana or Corpse pose: lying down on your back. Arms are down to your sides with palms facing up. Legs are open wide, with heels in and toes out. You can also bring the soles of your feet to touch, and the knees open wide like butterfly wings.

3. Balasana or Child’s pose: spread your knees wide with the big toes touching behind you, or you can bring your knees together to touch, and sit over your heels. Relax your forehead and your shoulders to the ground, and extend our arms forward or extend your arms towards the back with palms facing up.

Please let me know how you feel!

Have a lovely week everyone! See you next week.

Much love, light, and blessings!

Namaste,

Carolina (Ina).

“The Illusion of Separateness” by Rodney Yee

Please take the time to watch this short video from yoga instructor Rodney Yee about the connection among all of us and all things.

Rodney Yee “The Illusion of Separateness” from Omega Institute on Vimeo.

Speaking The Truth

Hello everyone ! Thank you for taking the time to read my post and learn more about yoga and wellness. I hope you are all doing very well. This week I want to talk to you about the eight limbs (paths) of yoga. These eight steps basically act as guidelines on how to live a purposeful and extraordinary life.

The art of living and the foundations of yoga philosophy were described in the Yoga Sutra, compiled and systematized by Patanjali. He claimed that “in order to be still and observe the mind, there are 195 sutras (sutra means thread) which are essentially a ethical blueprint of living a moral life and incorporating the science of yoga into your life.” The Yoga Sutra is considered the fundamental text on the system of yoga. The limbs of yoga make you aware of where you are, where you stand, and how you look at things.

One of the limbs I am focusing on this week is SATYA, which means “to speak the truth, in thought, word, and actions, telling no lies.” The fundamental law of truth is that when you live your truth, you are in basic harmony with the universe and the divine, therefore the universe supports and creates everything you need.

Speaking the truth is not just acting with honesty, but also with integrity. There is a great example from Judith Hanson Lasater  on her book “Living your Yoga” that really describes the difference about being honest and having integrity. You are with a group of people walking, and the person right in front of you drops money on the ground. The person does not notice it, however everyone else does. You collect the money from the ground so you can give it back to that person. They all see your action. This is honesty. Now, the same scenario, however no one sees the money coming out of the person’s pocket. You collect the money anyways and give it back to the owner without anyone else seeing or knowing. This is integrity. Having integrity is honoring your words and being 100% responsible for your words and actions. It is doing the right thing, without other people knowing or having to get approval. YOU knowing is all that matters.

This principle Satya of truthfulness can be applied in each and every area of your life.  It may be easy for a person to believe or justify that they are living with integrity by coming to yoga classes, but it goes much further than the physical practice. A life lived with truth, when no one is watching, creates positive actions, which in return leads to positive karma, which in turn reduces mental and emotional stress. Many times, a lie, even one not meant with malice causes anxiety, as we wonder why we said we would do something when we really had no intention of doing it. Maybe we have exaggerated a skill on a resume and then fear that the interviewer will check on this fact by asking us, causing us to extend the truth or the lie, or that a reference will be called and we worry about what that person will say about the exaggeration on the resume.

Withholding can also be considered an untruth. Someone may withhold information or feelings on what they really want from their partner for fear of rejection, ridicule, or guilt. Once the body has become so open through yoga practice, the chakras in the body also open wider, allowing us to speak with more confidence, clarity and our true intentions. Speaking and acting with Satya can then open a couple to true intimacy through communication, and we all know that communication is key for success in relating not only to our partners, but to everything.

Try a day of saying exactly what you mean, and asking also exactly for what you want. Also practice the art of being who you really are, and doing things you like to do and also doing things you don’t like but doing it anyways with full commitment and integrity. Observe the results. Then repeat. That is how we master ourselves for a extraordinary life, living the truth in each and every moment.

Yet it is not always desirable to speak the truth on all occasions, for it could harm someone unnecessarily. You have to consider what you say, how you say it, and in what way it could affect others.

With practice, you gradually begin to transform and shape your life in the way you show your truth and respect to nature or relating to others. No one can change in a day, but yoga practices on and off the mat help change attitudes over a lifetime.

Much love and respect,

Namaste!

Carolina Moreira

Yoga For A Healthy Spine

Hello everyone!

Hope you are all having a fabulous week! Thank you for investing your time to connect with me through this blog and learn about optimal health through yoga and chiropractic practices. I have been practicing and teaching yoga for the last 2 years. Besides that, I have been visiting a chiropractic office for the last few weeks, and it was one of the best choices I could have ever make to enhance the quality of my life, and to complement my yoga practice. I learned so much about my spine and posture through an chiropractic X-ray and a complete spine evaluation with Dr. Brian Austin on my first visit to the Healing Touch Chiropractic in San Diego. Even including a daily yoga practice in my routine, I still have a big percentage (137% !!) of loss of the natural curvature of my neck. Now I understand how our spine and posture can deteriorate over time where most people tend to lose the natural ‘arc’ in their neck. The cause for structural and functional imbalances in the spine and nervous system could be one of the three stressors: physical (poor posture, auto accidents, sports, and gravity itself); emotional/mental (relationships, financial, career, and health); and chemical (toxicities and deficiencies we develop from the foods we eat).

I’m excited to share a sequence of yoga poses that will help you hold your chiropractic adjustments and enjoy a healthy spine for life. The yoga poses I have for you today will incorporate movements that will support the natural ‘arc’.  Together with a chiropractic spine analysis, you will know how much (or little) or the ‘arc’ is missing.

Pose 1: CHILD’S POSE (BALASANA)

Spread your knees wild to the edges of your mat or place your knees together; big toes touching behind you; seat over your heels; spread your arms and fingertips forward; relax your forehead to the mat. Enjoy the extension on the neck creating a natural flat spine. Stay in the posture for 3-5 breaths.

Pose 2: CAT & COW STRETCH

Come to your hands and knees for tabletop position, and make sure your shoulders are stacked over your wrists and your hips are stacked over your knees.  For cat on the exhale press your palms down to the mat, rounding your spine, drawing the belly in and tucking the shin to the chest. Move with the breath, 3-5 breaths.

For Cow, on the inxale slightly bend your elbows, gaze up and tailbone high towards the ceiling, contracting the shoulder blades back and down.

Pose 2a: COBRA POSE (Bhujangasana)

From a table top position on your hands and knees, lower all the way down to your belly. Bring your feet together to touch, and squeeze your legs together. Your hands are underneath your shoulders, and press your shoulders blades back and down. Tuck the shin to the mat and gaze down. On the inhale lift your chest off the mat, extending your spine. Take your hands off the mat and lift your chest even higher pressing your hips down to the mat. No wrinkles on the back of the neck. Stay in the posture for 3-5 breaths.

Pose 3: BRIDGE POSE (SETU BANDHASANA)

Lying down on your back. Interlace your fingers behind your lower back, squeeze your shoulders together and on the inhale lift your hips up off the mat. Enjoy the natural arc of your neck and make sure you don’t move the neck in any direction. Relax your gluteus, rotate your thighs inwards and press your heels down to the mat, so you can lift your hips even higher for a deeper backbend. Stay in the posture for 3-5 breaths.

Pose 4: FISH POSE (Padmasana)

You are on your back with your knees bent, feet on the floor. On the inhale, lift your pelvis slightly off the floor, and slide your hands, palms down underneath your sit bones . Then rest your buttocks on the backs of your hands. Tuck your forearms and elbows up close to the sides of your torso. Press your forearms and elbows firmly against the mat and squeeze your shoulders together, lifting your chest up. Release your neck and head all the way back. Depending on how high you arch your back and lift your chest, either the back of your head or its crown will rest on the mat. There should be a minimal amount of weight on your head to avoid crunching your neck. Stay in the posture for 3-5 breaths.

You are on your back with your knees bent, feet on the floor. On the inhale, lift your pelvis slightly off the floor, and slide your hands, palms down underneath your sit bones . Then rest your buttocks on the backs of your hands. Tuck your forearms and elbows up close to the sides of your torso. Press your forearms and elbows firmly against the mat and squeeze your shoulders together, lifting your chest up. Release your neck and head all the way back. Depending on how high you arch your back and lift your chest, either the back of your head or its crown will rest on the mat. There should be a minimal amount of weight on your head to avoid crunching your neck. Stay in the posture for 3-5 breaths.

I find yoga to be a perfect fit to enhance the specific chiropractic corrective adjustments.  I highly recommend that you tap into the power of ‘chiro-yoga’ and include a great chiropractor and yoga instructor as a part of your personal wellness team.  For more information about yoga practice, I invite you to visit my website www.yogafreely.com

Much love, light and blessings to you all!

Namaste!

Carolina Moreira


FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ABOUT YOGA AND CHIROPRACTIC PRACTICES, WATCH THIS VIDEO: