Podcast Ep 19: Play Possum in Corpse Pose

After seeing lots of posts about opossums on my social media feeds thanks to the wildlife rehabbers who are taking in orphans and trying to raise awareness of the benefits of having opossums around, I thought I’d fill in some blanks with this episode. The Earth card from Alberto Villoldo’s Mystical Shaman Oracle deck set it up and the idea of “playing possum” led into a 30-minute practice to get you deep into yoga’s corpse pose, savasana. When you’re back from playing dead, bookmark the Animal Help Now site – www.ahnow.org – to find a wildlife rehabilitator in your area and help out an opossum, or other animal, in need.

If you would like to chat about this episode or learn more about yoga, Shamanic Reiki, wildlife conservation, or other ways we can bring healing to all of the beings on our beautiful planet Earth, join us in the Shamanic Flow Circle group on Facebook or sign up for the newsletter.

Gratitude to Mark Piper for the background music and skeeze from Pixabay for this episode’s image.

While the yoga and other practices presented are intended to be accessible to most, please be open to practicing in an appropriate and safe way for you. It is recommended that you consult your physician before beginning any new exercise program and that at any time during a practice you feel nausea, dizziness, or pain you stop and seek medical advice. I accept no liability whatsoever for any damages arising from the use of my podcasts and, while I make all reasonable efforts to share accurate instruction, the podcast may contain unintended errors. Before all else, listen to your body and trust your inner knowing.

Yoga for Hikers: Building Strength Between Hikes

The wilderness is healing, a therapy for the soul.
~Nicholas Kristof

Shoulder stretch yoga at the trailheadIf you are new to hiking, getting back into it, or building up to a long hike or backpacking trip, your body will thank you for practicing these yoga poses on days between hikes. This sequence strengthens your hips, low back, shoulders, knees, calves, ankles and feet. Additionally, take fast-paced, aerobic walks, 20 to 45 minutes each, two to three times each week. With adequate conditioning, you can enjoy longer and more difficult hikes, injury-free, for even better summit views.

Warm up with two or three gentle Sun Salutations before moving into these poses.

Downward-Facing Dog

From hands and knees, move your hands forward and lift your hips, straighten your legs and drop your heels toward the ground. Keep your tailbone lifted while stretching up out of your wrists, elbows and shoulders, letting your chest drop toward ground. Relax your neck and gaze at your knees. Hold for two to five breaths as your spine lengthens.

High Runners Lunge

From hands and knees, step your right foot forward between your hands, directly under your bent knee. Curl your left toes under and lift the left knee, straighten your leg and press through the left heel. Lift onto your fingertips and draw your heart forward and up. Look ahead for a breath. Repeat with your left foot forward.

Warrior I

Standing, step your left foot back. Keep your hips squared and angle your left toes forward. Bend your right knee until it lines up with your ankle. Lift your heart and extend your arms overhead. Hold for two to five breaths. Repeat on the other side.

Warrior II yoga pose on the beach

Warrior II

Standing, step your left foot back and turn your hips and torso to open to the left. Turn your left toes toward the left side. Bend your right knee until the knee is directly over your ankle. Lift your arms to shoulder height in the same line as your legs. Gaze over your right fingers and hold for two to five breaths. Repeat on the other side.

Goddess

Stand in a straddle with your toes angled outward. Bend your knees over your toes and, keeping your torso erect, lower your hips until your thighs are parallel to the ground. Reach your arms overhead, then bend your elbows and lower them to shoulder height. Draw your shoulder blades together to open your chest. Hold for two to five breaths.

Horse

Stand in a straddle with your toes angled outward. Bend your knees over your toes and, keeping your torso erect, lower your hips until your thighs are parallel to ground. Press your hands into tops of your thighs, fingers forward. Lift your shoulders toward your ears as your hips sink lower. Hold two to five breaths.

Chair

Stand with your feet under your hips. Lift your arms overhead. Bend your knees, reach your tailbone back and lift your heart. Hold two to five breaths.

Tree

Stand on your right leg. Bend your left knee and open the knee to the left side. Bring the bottom of your left foot to your right calf (or into your right thigh, provided you can get your toes higher than your knee). Lift your arms overhead. Gaze at a focal point and balance for at least two breaths, then repeat on the other side.

Airplane

Stand on your right leg. Extend your left leg back, as straight as possible, with your left foot flexed. Lower your torso and lift your left leg until both are parallel to the ground. Extend your arms back slightly away from your sides like wings. Gaze at a focal point on the ground slightly ahead of you and balance for at least two breaths. Repeat on the other side.

Plank

From hands and knees, reach your feet back with your toes on the ground and your legs as straight as possible. Keep your shoulders over your hands and reach through your heels. Engage your core muscles to hold your hips in line with your shoulders and heels. Hold at least two breaths.

Cobra

Cobra yoga pose in the grassLay face-down with your chin on the ground, your elbows bent and your hands under your shoulders. Press the tops of your feet into the ground and lift your chin and the top of your chest as high as is comfortable. Relax your shoulders back and reach through the crown of your head. Hold at least two breaths.

Locust

Lay face-down with your chin on the ground, your elbows bent and your hands on either side of your chest. Lift your feet, your chin, and the top of your chest. Keep your gaze at the ground slightly in front of you. Hold at least two breaths.

Boat

Sit with your legs bent and your feet on the ground. Rest your hands on the ground on either side of your hips. Lengthen your spine, lean back slightly, and lift your feet until your calves are parallel to the ground. Lift your hands and reach toward your feet. Hold at least two breaths.

Table Top

Sit with your knees bent and your feet on the ground. Bring your hands to the ground slightly behind your hips, fingers pointing toward the hips. Lift your hips off the ground until your body, you’re your shoulders to your knees, is parallel to the ground. Press your arms straight and drop your head back to gaze up. Press your knees forward to lengthen the front of your body. Hold at least two breaths.

Bicycles

Lay on your back with your knees bent over your hips and the lower legs parallel to the ground. Interlace your fingers behind your head and open your elbows to the sides. Keeping your feet flexed, press your right foot forward and straighten that leg while lifting your head and shoulders and twisting your torso to bring your right elbow to the left knee. Return to the starting position, then extend your left leg and bring your left elbow to the right knee. Repeat as many times as desired.

Always end your yoga practice with a final relaxation.

While practicing on your own is good, yoga is awesome in a group. Find some hiking friends and head to your nearest yoga studio for a class. In the Adirondack High Peaks region, join me or another talented teacher at True North Yoga.

Yoga for Hikers: Poses for Coming Down after Hiking Down

Forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair.
~Kahlil Gibran

Shoulder stretch yoga at the trailheadYou did some asanas at the trailhead to warm up for your hike, you had a great view from the summit, and made your way down. Now pull off your boots and wind down after by gently stretching your hiking muscles. You’ll get the most benefit from these poses if your muscles are still warm, so, if your hike ends at an Adirondack favorite – a table in the Noonmark Diner in Keene Valley, New York – take a walk or do some gentle sun salutations before you start the poses.

Hero with Neck Stretch

Sit on or between your heels withe your knees parted slightly.  Rest your hands on your thighs and extend your spine.  Take two to three deep breaths.  Keeping your spine extended, drop your head forward and lower your chin to your chest.  Draw your shoulder blades down and release your neck muscles.  Take another two to three breaths.

Cat Rolls

Come onto your hands and knees.  Inhale, tip your tailbone up and lift your head.  Move your heart forward and drop your lower back towards the ground.  Exhale and round your back, lifting the middle of your spine while tucking your tailbone under and dropping your head.  Repeat as many times as you desire.

Child Pose with Foot Stretch

From hands and knees, tuck your toes under and press the balls of your feet toward the ground.  Drop your hips onto your heels, resting weight on the heels to stretch the soles of your feet.  Drop your forehead to ground and reach your arms forward.  Hold, breathing, for as long as desired.

Downward-Facing Dog

downward facing dog yoga on rocksFrom hands and knees, move your hands forward and lift your hips. Straighten your legs and drop your heels toward the ground.  Keep your tailbone lifted while you stretch up out of your wrists, elbows and shoulders, and drop your chest towards the ground.  Relax your neck and gaze at your knees.  Hold for two to five breaths as your spine lengthens.

Upward-Facing Dog

Lay on the ground face-down. Curl your toes under and place your hands under your shoulders.  With an inhale, straighten your arms and lift your torso and thighs. Round your shoulders back, draw your heart through your arms, and drop your pelvis towards the ground.  Keep your low back long and reach up through the crown of your head and back through your heels.

Half Forward Folds

Sit with your right leg extended and your left knee bent out to side with the left foot against the right thigh.  Lengthen your spine, tilt the upper pelvis forward and reach your belly towards your knee. Holding right leg for support, lower your chest towards your leg by pulling the thigh bone deep into your pelvis.  Hold for two to five breaths, then repeat on other side.

Forward Fold

Sit with both legs extended in front.  Extend your torso up and over your legs, lengthening your spine, and tilt the upper pelvis forward.  Hold your legs or feet for support and stay for two to five breaths.

Happy Baby

Lay on your back, pull your knees up towards your shoulders and hold the inside of your feet.  Keep your feet directly over your knees and pull your feet and knees downward while lengthening your lower spine.

Supine Pigeon

Lay on your back with your knees bent and your feet on the ground.  Lift your right foot and place the right ankle on the left thigh, just below the left kneecap, and open the right knee to right side. Keep your right foot flexed.  Hold the back of your left thigh with both hands and draw the left knee towards your chest. Keep your right knee angled away from your body.  Hold for two to five breaths.  Repeat on the other side.

yoga supine twist on rocks in river

Supine Twist

Lay on your back with your left leg extended, and your right knee bent and drawn into your chest.  Hold the right knee with your left hand and extend your right arm out to the side.  Guide your right knee to your left, and lift your right hip off ground while keeping your right shoulder down.  Look towards your right hand.  Hold for two to five breaths.  Repeat on the other side.

Relax and Reflect

Lie flat on your back with your arm and leg muscles completely released.  Close your eyes and rest as long as you desire, enjoying the energy flowing through your body and the memories of the day.

 

 

Podcast Ep 18: A yoga practice to feel starfish energy

The Wild Unknown Animal Spirit deck by Kim Krans showed me Starfish for this episode. I’ll discuss what Starfish energy might be, then shift into a yoga practice which builds on the physical and energetic shape of Starfish. You will only need your yoga mat for the 30-minute practice.

If you would like to chat about this episode or learn more about yoga, Shamanic Reiki, wildlife conservation, or other ways we can bring healing to all of the beings on our beautiful planet Earth, join us in the Shamanic Flow Circle group on Facebook.

Thanks to Pexels on Pixabay for the image and Mark Piper for the background music.

While the yoga and other practices presented are intended to be accessible to most, please be open to practicing in an appropriate and safe way for you. It is recommended that you consult your physician before beginning any new exercise program and that at any time during a practice you feel nausea, dizziness, or pain you stop and seek medical advice. I accept no liability whatsoever for any damages arising from the use of my podcasts and, while I make all reasonable efforts to share accurate instruction, the podcast may contain unintended errors. Before all else, listen to your body and trust your inner knowing.

Yoga for Hikers: Trailhead yoga to warm up before you hike up

Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.
~John Muir

Shoulder stretch yoga at the trailheadIn New York’s Adirondack mountains, we say we have five seasons. The time between the end of winter weather and actual warm spring is known as “mud season.” During mud season, the snow is melting, it’s still cool, nothing is growing, and the ground is mush. We are discouraged from hiking off the trails and in the higher elevations to avoid trampling the tender sprouting plants and disturbing nesting wildlife.

I haven’t spent much time on the mountains over the past couple of years, but this year my body feels ready to get back to it. Since I’m limited to the flatter trails for now, I’m revisiting the yoga asanas that support my body before, after, and between hikes, and looking forward to the view from a summit in a couple of months.

Trailhead Warm-ups

The sunrise never failed us yet.
~Celia Thaxter

Practicing these energizing poses at the trailhead before hiking will loosen stiff joints, warm your muscles and improve circulation. To begin, stand in mountain pose and take a few deep breaths while you enjoy the sunrise.

Standing Forward Bends

stretching arms open to the skyFrom mountain, inhale and raise your arms overhead. Exhale and fold forward, reaching towards the ground. With your knees slightly bent, inhale and lift your torso, leading with your heart, and raise your arms back overhead. Keep arms well apart as you lift to open your chest. Repeat the down and up flow three to ten times.

Standing Head to Knee

Step your right foot forward and lift your arms overhead with an inhale. Exhale and fold your torso over your right leg, bending your right knee slightly if necessary, and drop your hands to ground (or your shin to modify). Take at least two breaths, then inhale and lift, leading with your heart. Repeat with your left foot forward.

Shoulder and Arm Stretches

Interlace your fingers, turn your palms out and lift your arms overhead. Take at least two breaths while you lift your ribs. Exhale and rotate your torso to the right. Inhale back to center. Repeat to left. Exhale and bend your torso to the right, stretching your left side. Inhale to center. Repeat to left side. Drop your arms with an exhale.

Triangle

yoga triangle pose on the beachStep into a straddle and turn your right toes to the right side. Stretch arms out to sides at shoulder height. Bend your torso to the right and reach your right hand to your leg and your left hand overhead, stretching your left side. Hold for at least two breaths, then lift, change your feet, and repeat to the left side.

Straddle Fold with Twist

Standing with your legs in a straddle, toes forward, inhale and reach your arms to the sides, about shoulder height. Exhale and fold forward, leading with your heart, and reach your hands to the ground under your shoulders. Inhale. Exhale and twist your torso to the right, lifting your right arm towards the sky. Inhale your right hand back to the ground. Repeat the twist to the left. Lift your torso with an inhale, leading with your heart.

Flowing Bridge

Lie on your back with your arms by your sides, your knees bent, and your feet approximately hip distance apart and flat on the ground. Inhale and raise your arms up and over your head. At the same time, lift your hips. Lift until your hands touch the ground over your head. As you exhale, lower your hips and bring your arms back down to your sides. Repeat the flow three to ten times.

Is it a cool Adirondack morning? Add some gentle Sun Salutations to your warm-up to build heat in your body before you head up the trail.

Podcast Ep 17: Alternate Nostril Breathing to Balance Spring’s Energy

Does the transition into spring plus the Mercury Neptune conjunction have you feeling out of balance? I was feeling like a flake as I sat down to record this episode, but some alternative nostril breathing got me together enough to share about how you can help wildlife rehabbers (like me!) gear up for baby season, a new gathering I’m hosting for members of The Shamanic Flow Circle on Facebook, and the nadi shodhana – alternate nostril breath – practice. You won’t need anything except a place to sit.

If you would like to chat about this episode or learn more about yoga, Shamanic Reiki, wildlife conservation, or other ways we can bring healing to all of the beings on our beautiful planet Earth, join us in the Shamanic Flow Circle group on Facebook or sign up for the newsletter.

Gratitude to Mark Piper for the background music.

While the yoga and other practices presented are intended to be accessible to most, please be open to practicing in an appropriate and safe way for you. It is recommended that you consult your physician before beginning any new exercise program and that at any time during a practice you feel nausea, dizziness, or pain you stop and seek medical advice. I accept no liability whatsoever for any damages arising from the use of my podcasts and, while I make all reasonable efforts to share accurate instruction, the podcast may contain unintended errors. Before all else, listen to your body and trust your inner knowing.

Podcast Ep 16: Pigeon Salutations for Runners (and Everyone Else)

Since I recently started training for a half marathon after a years-long break from running, I was planning to share a yoga practice for runners to get a good post-run stretch. The card I pulled from Toni Salerno’s Sacred Earth Oracle deck was “Specialization,” which asked me to consider transferring a skillset from one environment to another, so this episode also considers how I bring other aspects of yoga into running as I prepare for an endurance challenge. The flow at the core of the short yoga practice is a pigeon salutation, which opens your running muscles. It’s a great practice for walkers and hikers as well. You’ll only need your mat.

If you would like to chat about this episode or learn more about yoga, Shamanic Reiki, wildlife conservation, or other ways we can bring healing to all of the beings on our beautiful planet Earth, join us in the Shamanic Flow Circle group on Facebook or sign up for the newsletter.

Thanks to skeeze on Pixabay for the image and Mark Piper for the background music.

While the yoga and other practices presented are intended to be accessible to most, please be open to practicing in an appropriate and safe way for you. It is recommended that you consult your physician before beginning any new exercise program and that at any time during a practice you feel nausea, dizziness, or pain you stop and seek medical advice. I accept no liability whatsoever for any damages arising from the use of my podcasts and, while I make all reasonable efforts to share accurate instruction, the podcast may contain unintended errors. Before all else, listen to your body and trust your inner knowing.

Podcast Ep 15: A Breathing Practice to Feel Expansive

I had a request for some breathwork so this episode’s practice is an expansive breathing practice. But first, I’m sharing about finding a vision and a mission for my work as a healer. As you listen, I invite you to consider what your vision and mission are. What is your dream for the world, and how are you going to make it happen? For the breathing practice you will only need a comfortable place to sit or to lay down.

If you would like to chat about this episode or learn more about yoga, Shamanic Reiki, wildlife conservation, or other ways we can bring healing to all of the beings on our beautiful planet Earth, join us in the Shamanic Flow Circle group on Facebook or sign up for the newsletter.

This episode’s image is by Jill Wellington from Pixabay. Thank you Mark Piper for the background music.

While the yoga and other practices presented are intended to be accessible to most, please be open to practicing in an appropriate and safe way for you. It is recommended that you consult your physician before beginning any new exercise program and that at any time during a practice you feel nausea, dizziness, or pain you stop and seek medical advice. I accept no liability whatsoever for any damages arising from the use of my podcasts and, while I make all reasonable efforts to share accurate instruction, the podcast may contain unintended errors. Before all else, listen to your body and trust your inner knowing.

Podcast Ep 14: Feminine Restorative Yoga for International Women’s Day

It’s International Women’s Day and I’m celebrating a friend who is doing amazing work for victims of domestic abuse at www.ebinra.com with the VictimsVoice app, talking about a feminine approach to the business of healing, and leading a restorative yoga practice you can do with one blanket in this episode of My Shamanic Life.

If you would like to chat about this episode or learn more about yoga, Shamanic Reiki, wildlife conservation, or other ways we can bring healing to all of the beings on our beautiful planet Earth, join us in the Shamanic Flow Circle group on Facebook or sign up for our newsletter.

While the yoga and other practices presented are intended to be accessible to most, please be open to practicing in an appropriate and safe way for you. It is recommended that you consult your physician before beginning any new exercise program and that at any time during a practice you feel nausea, dizziness, or pain you stop and seek medical advice. I accept no liability whatsoever for any damages arising from the use of my podcasts and, while I make all reasonable efforts to share accurate instruction, the podcast may contain unintended errors. Before all else, listen to your body and trust your inner knowing.

Image by rawpixel on Pixabay. Thank you Mark Piper for the background music.

Podcast Ep 13: Shamanic Journey to Connect With a Power Animal

I had a last-minute schedule change and could only record a short episode this week. Since I am preparing to lead a Shamanic Reiki Level Two training and I’m sending Reiki to a pregnant giraffe (check out www.aprilthegiraffe.com or visit the Animal Adventure Park’s YouTube channel to watch the webcam with me), it is a great time to talk about how shamanic journeying made distance Reiki accessible for me. I’ll lead you on a short journey to find a power animal, so get comfy seated or laying down.

If you would like to chat about this episode or learn more about yoga, Shamanic Reiki, wildlife conservation, or other ways we can bring healing to all of the beings on our beautiful planet Earth, join us in the Shamanic Flow Circle group on Facebook (you’ll find a link in the footer) or sign up for the newsletter.

While the yoga and other practices presented are intended to be accessible to most, please be open to practicing in an appropriate and safe way for you. It is recommended that you consult your physician before beginning any new exercise program and that at any time during a practice you feel nausea, dizziness, or pain you stop and seek medical advice. I accept no liability whatsoever for any damages arising from the use of my podcasts and, while I make all reasonable efforts to share accurate instruction, the podcast may contain unintended errors. Before all else, listen to your body and trust your inner knowing.