Leo Yoga

Try Leo yoga for broken heart, artist block, wounded inner child and chest/upper back pain. Promotes self-respect, creative expression, generosity and playfulness. Warm and centering.

Leo rules the heart, upper back, spine, spleen and wrists.

Prana vayu prana  //  Ayurvedic dosha pitta

Meditation : svadhyaya (identity inquiry)

Svadhyaya is an ethical principle, or niyama, ruling self-study. Leo governs our sense of self and ego – in other words, the stories we tell the Self about the Self. One way we can begin to break down these stories is to identify them as they arise in meditation. Take a comfortable seat. Breathe deeply and evenly, breath rising from belly to crown. Tune in to the mind’s patterns and any prominent recurring thoughts. Many of our stories are deeply embedded in the psyche and pass under the radar unnoticed more often than not. As you sit and breathe, notice the way the mind returns again and again to statements that seem to say, this is who I am, this is what happened to me. Acknowledge the Self as a constantly evolving entity. Do not fight passionate/defensive responses that may arise from undivided attention to the ego’s well-worn habits.

Lion’s breath

Many of my yoga students get uncomfortable when I suggest this pranayama in class, precisely because it is so effective! This a powerful way to release the ego’s desire to “look” a certain way at all times. Sitting on the shins in virasana (hero’s pose) or with legs in utkata konasana (goddess stance), take a deep inhale through the nose. On the exhale, roar without vocal chords, allowing the breath to escape from the mouth with tongue outstretched – like a lion! If you choose to sit on your shins, you can slap the ground with both palms as you roar forward. Traditionally one also crosses the eyes on the exhale. The idea is that by appearing “ugly” or “silly” we move even further into our practice as egoless yogis. This breath is fun with a group, especially with children.

    1. surya namaskar (sun salutations)
    1. vasisthasana (side plank pose)
    1. camatkarasana (wild thing)
    1. padahastasana (gorilla)
  1. ustrasana (camel)

Yoga for wrist health : Leo rules the wrists and they need love too! For starters, try taking the top of the wrists into the armpits with the backs of the hands extending down the sides. Another similar option requires bringing the base of the pinky finger and base of the thumb together, press all tips of the fingers in toward the wrist and then tuck the entire hand under the armpit with the back of the hand resting in the armpit. This stretches the tops of the hands, which can also be done while on hands and knees by placing the tops of the hands on the ground with fingers pointing back toward the body – if this is painful, do one at a time. Make sure to switch, placing the palms on the mat with fingers still pointing back. Bend elbows back toward the body (rather than out) and/or shift hips back toward the ankles for more intensity. Or try sitting on the shins in virasana (hero’s pose) and extend one hand in front of you with the palm facing away, fingers turned down. Pull back on each finger one by one with your free hand – the other fingers will try to bend and crumple into the palm, keep them actively spreading, palm wide!

Yoga for a healthy spine : We all experience back pain at one time or another. However, with more serious injuries in the discs/vertebrae, it is important to honor the spine’s healing process. If you have sustained an injury in the spine or experience frequent back pain, try staying on the ground for an entire practice, spine to the earth. There are dozens of poses that will help you with both core-strength and flexibility in the legs and arms, all without leaving the ground. If you would like some inspiration, please contact me and I will help you create a sequence.