Tune out the city and into your soul in San Francisco's Union Square! Grab your yoga mat and register today for Yoga for Hope, a fundraiser supporting City of Hope s fight against cancer, diabetes and HIV/AIDS.
Date: Saturday, August 7 Time: 9am Registration/loamStart Location: Union Square
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Warm up To build heat and lubricate your joints, do a few rounds of Sun Salutation. For a video presentation of Sun Salutations, visit yogajournal.com/livemag/ sunsalutes.
Release negative emotions and improve your alignment by opening the muscles around your bips.
There are so many reasons to do hip-opening poses: Supple hips can ease back pain, give you a more agile gait, and even improve circulation in your legs. But there's a more subtle benefit to hip openers, too: We hold stress and negative emotions—such as fear, guilt, and sadness—in our pelvis, says San Francisco vinyasa teacher Stephanie Snyder. Forthis reason alone, Snyder believes it's particularly important to do poses that move prana (life force) through that area. "You know your junk drawer at home?" she asks. "The pelvis is like the body's junk drawer. Whenever you don't know what to do with a feeling or experience, you put it there."
Snyder designed the following sequence to move your ball-and-socket hip joint through its full range of motion. When you do it regularly, you may see improvement in the rest of your practice, since the pelvis is the foundation of alignment in many poses. Here are some things to remember as you do the sequence. Take your time with opening your hips, because hip ligaments are strong. "Don't push yourself," Snyder advises. "Be receptive to the breath moving into the pose." If you have a knee injury, modify the seated poses (5 and 6) by straightening your bottom leg, and practice poses 7 and 9 on your back. At the same time, don't avoid difficulty. People often dread hip openers because they are such a challenge. "Don't look away from tight places," Snyder says. "Be present without judgment. You can really make this a delicious practice." DIANE ANDERSON
Release Bring your knees to the floor, sit on your heels, and place your forehead on the floor in Balasana (Child's Pose). Your arms can be by your sides or outstretched. Relax your belly and jaw. Rest here for 5 to 10 breaths, then savor Savasana (Corpse Pose) for at least 5 minutes.
home practice with Stephanie Snyder
1 Anjaneyasana (Low Lunge)
From Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-Facing Dog Pose), step your right foot between your hands and bring your left knee to the floor. Reach your arms overhead, and keep your hips parallel to the front end of your mat. Isometrically draw your left thigh forward and hug both thighs in toward your pelvis. Lift the pit of your belly toward your heart and your heart toward the sky. Let your shoulders slide down your back and keep the front of your throat relaxed as you lengthen your spine. Stay for 5 breaths. Return to Down Dog, and then do Low Lunge with your left foot forward.
From Down Dog, step your right foot between your hands and reach your arms overhead in a high lunge. Keep your hips square and draw your outer right thighbone in toward the pelvis. Spin your inner left thighbone up, and gently tuck your tailbone. Allow your weight to drop into your legs, press your feet down into the earth, and feel the rebound of energy rise all the way up through your fingertips. Stay for 5 breaths, and then step back to Down Dog. Switch sides.
3 Virabhadrasana II (Warrior Pose II)
Take a wide stance with your feet parallel. Turn your right foot out and your left foot In, bend your right knee to 90 degrees so that it's centered over your right heel. Align your right heel with the arch of your left foot. Engage your legs, pull your low belly in, and gaze over the top of your right hand. Simultaneously press both thighbones toward your back body and your sitting bones toward the front body. Feel the pelvis descend as your spine lifts and lengthens upward. Stay for 2 to 5 breaths, and then switch sides.
4 Utthan Pristhasana (Lizard Pose)
From Down Dog, step your right foot between your hands to a lunge position. Bring both forearms to the floor Inside the right leg. Keep your inner left thigh lifting and resisting.
As your left heel reaches back, your heart opens forward to create length in your upper back. You can modify the pose by bringing your back knee down or placing your forearms on a block. Stay for 8 breaths. Switch sides.
5 Ardha Matsyendrasana
(Half Lord of the Fishes Pose)
Sit in Dandasana (Staff Pose), draw your right knee into your chest, and place your right foot on the floor outside your left knee. Draw your left foot in toward your right sitting bone. Bring your right hand behind you in line with the center of your sacrum and wrap your left arm around your right leg. Press your right foot and hand down as you lengthen your spine and twist to the right, initiating the movement from your belly. Hug your right knee into your left shoulder. Feel the stretch in the outer right hip. Stay for 5 breaths. Repeat on the other side.
(Cow Face Pose), variation
From sitting, stack your right knee on top of your left. Your feet should be in about the same place on either side. Keep your feet active. Inhale to lift and lengthen you spine. You can stay here or you can fold forward by reaching your arms in front of you and resting your head near your knees. Keep rooting your sitting bones into the earth as you allow the front of your hips to soften Into the body. Stay for 5 to 8 breaths. Switch sides.
A video of this Home Practice sequence can be found online at yogajournal.com/livemaq.
From Down Dog, bring your right shin forward and down so that your right foot is in front of your left hip and your right shin Is nearly parallel to the front edge of your mat. Flex your right foot. Stretch your left thigh back as you draw your left hip forward. Lengthen your belly as you fold over your right leg. If your right hip does not easily reach the floor, place a folded blanket or block under your right sitting bone. Stay for 10 breaths. Repeat on the other side.
8 Baddha Konasana
(Bound Angle Pose)
From Dandasana, draw your right knee into your chest, and then drop it out to the right. Bring the left knee into the chest and out to the left. Bring the soles of your feet together and keep the outer edges of your feet grounded. Stay here or fold forward. To modify, place blocks under your outer thighs. Stay for 5 breaths.
From all fours, bring your forearms to the floor. You can put a blanket under each knee for padding. Widen your knees, one at a time, as far apart as possible and bend them so that your thighs and your shins are at 90-degree angles. Flex your feet. Keep your front ribs in, your waist long, and your tailbone down. Take 5 to 10 long, deep breaths through this challenging and effective hip opener.
Make meals that nourish body and soul by combining fresh ingredients with culinary inspiration and loving intentions.
In its purest form, food is sustenance. But a perfectly ripe peach or a salad replete with flavors, textures, and colors elevates that sustenance to a sensual indulgence. And when love and a conscious intention to nourish on a spiritual level are cooked into the meal, food becomes a vehicle for prana (life force), feeding much more than the physical body.
To learn how to nourish ourselves and those we cook for with the sublime flavors and energy of great food, we collected kitchen wisdom from some of the world's best-loved yoga destinations, places known for delicious, healthful food that nurtures and transcends. For the chefs and cooks at these centers, preparing dishes that encourage both physical vitality and internal eguanimity is an opportunity not just to nourish but also to support j the journey of those they cook for. Do the same for your
I family and friends by bringing their practices and deli cious recipes to your own summer cooking.
RANCHO LA PUERTA Seventy years ago, Rancho Tecate, Baja California, Mexico La Puerta took the radical viewpoint that fresh, local food grown without pesticides and other chemicals was the way to a healthy, balanced life. Today the spa Is a leader In innovative, healthful cooking. "We at the ranch have always given a lot of Importance to food because it is an essential part of a joyous life," says founder Deborah Szekely.
"If you take yoga seriously, you have to take the body seri-> ously. Yoga involves conversations and relationships with the body. And when you get into conversations and relationships k with the body, you really can't eat trash."
Featuring hands-on cooking classes with guest chefs, speakers on topics ranging from slow food to sustainable farming, and produce from its six-acre organic farm, Rancho La Puerta immerses its guests in the idea that the joy people take in ^ cooking and eating is an essential part of the way food nourishes them. "We have achieved a depth that comes from years of experience," says Szekely.
Watermelon and Roasted Beet Salad with Fennel and Feta (recipe on page 99)
original slow food
KRIPALU CENTER FOR YOGA & HEALTH
Smoked-Tofu Paella (recipe on page 99)
the cook's connection
KRIPALU CENTER FOR YOGA & HEALTH
"Food is such a powerful transmitter of energy," says Deb Howard, executive chef at the Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health. Howard teaches her staff something they likely didn't learn in cooking school: "Vegetables have prana, and when you cook with them, you're combining that with your own life force, and this amazing transformation happens. You can taste the energy of the cook in the food."
Guests at Kripalu have lots of choices at mealtime, including dahl, rice, and chutneys suitable for balancing the doshas; lightly spiced cooked grains; and steamed vegetables. And for people who might be new to natural foods, there's always a sandwich bar with a panini grill. For Howard, it's a way of staying true to the center's values about the kind and quality of food they serve, while allowing guests to approach a yogic diet from where they are. "People are very appreciative of that," she says. And whether they're preparing a simply spiced dahl or a more spectacular dish like this smoked-tofu paella, "we all work with the awareness that how we're connecting with the food impacts the people who are eating it."
Smoked-Tofu Paella (recipe on page 99)
THE EXPANDING LIGHT RETREAT FOR MEDITATION, YOGA, AND HEALTH AT ANANDA VILLAGE
in the Sierra Nevada foothills of California divine dining
"The first time I visited The Expanding Light, it inspired me so much to make changes In my life," says Jyoti Spearln, kitchen manager at the meditation and yoga retreat center. "When people go on retreat, that's something they take home with them In a very real way." Today, Spearin nurtures that transformative experience in guests at The Expanding Light by preparing food that follows the principles of a yogic diet.
"Sattvic foods, like raw fruits, vegetables, nuts, and herbs, are foods that increase life force and joy and help to promote a peaceful attitude," says Spearin. "But we also need rajasic, or activating, foods in order to fulfill our worldly duties-foods like cooked whole grains and lightly cooked vegetables."
Roasted Eggplant Salad with Balsamic Dressing (recipe on page 101) *
A balance of sattvic and rajasic foods is offered to guests every day-organic vegetables (some grown in the Ananda Village garden), whole grains, and fresh herbs, all prepared with th^ intention to support and uplift. To that end, Spearin says, the cooks pray together before beginning work, keep their conversations uplifting, and sometimes practice mantra as they cook.
In addition, Spearin says, she might choose a divine attribute to work with that day, whether it be peace, Joy, or calmness, and then perform every kitchen task with that guallty in mind. "In yoga, we believe that we all come from the Divine," says Spearin. "When you can bring that awareness into every cooking experience, you see that that's what you're nurturing through the food."
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