What is Pranayama?

Pranayama is formal practice of breath control in or controlled breathing. Pranayama is used throughout various forms of yoga practice. The source of pranayama, “Prana” meaning vital life force, increases the bodies energy level, removes toxins out of the body, and connects the breath with the mind and body.  

The most common style of Pranayama breathing is Ujjayi. Ujjayi begins by directing your attention inside your chest and locating where you feel your breath centered. Taking a few breaths in through you nose and sighing it out through your mouth, engaging in Ujjayi will begin by inhaling through your nose, sealing your lips, and allowing the breath to flow out through your nose. The flow of breath is deep, smooth, and consistent.  The flow creates heat and when incorporated during your yoga flow creates warmth within your body resulting in the body to sweat and release toxins. 

Me and My Mother's Book Club - First Edition

My mom is an avid reader and when I was younger I spent many days at the Public Library. I love everything about the library. Outside of practicing yoga and pilates, the Public Library is my “happy place”. Since I started my business I have found myself at the library at least 3-4 days out the week. My favorite part of the library has always been the self-help and inspiration section, but being a business owner I have found myself visit after visit in the business section.

Two weeks ago I noticed that I was having trouble concentrating and I needed to switch up my reading selection. The last book that was non-self help, inspiration, or business related that I read was, “Gone Girl” by Gillian Flynn. My mom and I decided to read the book before we saw the movie and I really enjoyed Gillian Flynn’s work. My mom went on to read all of Gillian Flynn’s novels, and after I finished “The Grownup” stopped short of finishing her other works.

The first time that I remember seeing. “My Sister The Serial Killer” by Oyinkan Braithwaite was in The Last Bookstore in LA earlier this year. I made note that would be on my “Books to read” list. My Sister The Serial Killer was on display at my local library two weeks ago so I decided to check it out. While traveling I was having dinner with my mom and read the first four pages and was hooked! I handed the book to my mom so she could read the first four pages and she was hooked as well. My Sister The Serial Killer was a great read and it sparked, what I know call, “Me and My Mother’s Book Club”. The next book that we read was, “Little Fires Everywhere” by Celestine Ng. A very good read.

I feel that reading and reviewing the same book as my mother is deepening our bond and keeping us connected since we live so far away. It’s nice to hear her perspective and things that stood out to her in chapter. We have two books for next week on our list. I’m excited to share.

Crow Pose - The humblest of arm balances

Crows are known for their intelligence and adaptability.. Bakasana  (Crow Pose) in the yoga community is known as the arm balance that requires great patience, consistency, and humility (there are a few videos of me falling flat on my face) 🤷🏾‍♀️

In the beginning Bakasana- (Crow Pose) is introduced to new yogis as their first arm balance. Bakasana requires use of your core, back, hips while your hands are planted firmly on your mat and your knees are placed in or near your armpits (ideally). But don’t beat yourself if your form is not ideal in the asana. I will be the first to admit that I’m still a work in progress when it comes to crow, my knees have not reached my armpits (yet). Overall, Bakasana is about balance. Balancing your breath, your mind, and body.

How are you balancing this week, month, or year? If you are like me and happen to fall flat on your face a few times, remember... It’s OKAY to fall flat! Laugh, cry, write, dance, or sing and it out and get back up again!

Mother Ganga - The Ganga River

I found myself reflecting back to my time in India. I spent the majority of my time in the mountains of Rishikesh, and as clique as It sounds, my life has been forever changed. As I look through my pictures I can’t help but to be called back to Mother Ganga (the Ganga River), Momma Ganga, as locals refer the powerful, majestic river that runs through town.

The Mantra, “OM SHUDDHI DAATA GANGA MATA NAMO NAMO” is resonating deeply with me and I found this amazing Youtube video that within the first 15 seconds brought a deep sense of calmness over me.

If possible, root deeply into the ground. Keep your back straight, inhale and exhale through your nose for 6 counts of deep breathing and listening to the words, “OM SHUDDHI DAATA GANGA MATA NAMO NAMO”

Feeling Off Center? Three Grounding Poses to Help

Life happens… Work can be stressful.. and anxiety sets in. In a perfect setting we would have our yoga mat with us to step on for a few Sun Salutations, but if thats not the case, here are three grounding poses to help you get back to center.

  • Tadasana | tah-DAHS-anna (tada= mountain)| - Mountain Pose - Stand with your feet together, arms at your sides, and palms facing toward the front of the room with your fingers spread out wide. Press your weight evenly through the soles of your feet. Keep your tail bone tucked under and shoulders down and back, broadening your collar bone, elongating your spine. Activate the top of your thighs up and back, engaging your quadriceps, rotating your inner thighs toward each other.

  • Samasthiti |(sama = same, equal; sthiti= to stand)| Prayer Pose - Samasthiti (Prayer Pose) will have the same form as Tadasana (Mountain Pose) excpet your feet will be hip distances apart with the heels place under the sitting bones and your palms will be placed together touching at your hearts center (the middle of chest under your collar bone.

  • Sukhasana |suk-HAS-anna - (sukha = comfortable, gentle)| - Easy Pose - Sit on the ground in a comfortable crossed legged position. You can have your ankles cross or bring your feet closer to your body.

If possible, I suggest you go outside and connect with Momma Earth. Breathing Fresh Air, standing or sitting at the base of a tree or trunk, sand in between your toes, the sound of water or going barefoot to place your feet in a stream (fountain if you are a city dweller). These three poses are excellent for Breathwork, meditation, and intention setting.