laughter is contagious

cheerful, fun, inspirations, laughing yoga, laughter, life, What I'm..., Yoga

Have you heard of Laughter Yoga?  A friend told me about it a couple years ago and I've been intrigued ever since.  I love to laugh (who doesn't really) and I'm plagued with an infectious snort.  What can I say?  It's an endearing trait.


Anyway, I noticed on my school page that the college was offering an hour long introduction to Laughter Yoga.  I'm trying new things so… I went.  

Turns out, it's actually a studied, developed, and practiced… thing.  And it's more complicated than people standing in a circle laughing at each other.  Who knew?  We all know laughter is good for the mind, body, and soul.  Apparently, the body cannot tell the difference between real laughter and fake laughter.  Huh.

The majority of the time is spent fake laughing.  Which, in all honesty, feels really weird.  But once I was able to concentrate on the sound I was supposed to make, as opposed to if I really thought whatever was going on was funny, it became much easier.  

And really, the fake laughter often times became real laughter.  Whether I was laughing at the absurdity of it all, or the person next to me snorted, or the girl across the way was having trouble breathing, I was laughing for realsies.  We spent the hour laughing at gibberish conversations, doing the pinky dance, and imitating sounds in laughter.

And it was so much fun.  I left the class feeling more energized and happy and with more bounce in my already cheery step.  

So I suggest it.  If you see a class in your area give it a try.  You might be surprised.

comfort in rituals

auto-pilot, coffee, comfort in rituals, life, nuance, predetermined, present, routine, schedule, scheduled, shower, spontaneous, work, Yoga

Embrace rituals


I find comfort in rituals.  There are certain things I do a certain way that help to keep me focused and on track.  And before you go thinking I'm OCD, I'll tell you that it's ok if those rituals and routines get jumbled up.  I just might skip something.

You see, that's why I have them.  I find my thoughts so scattered that I can hardly keep track of what step I'm on.  In the morning I hit auto-pilot and check out.  Then I don't have to think about what's next or even what I'm doing.  

Every morning I follow the same routine.  Make a cup of coffee, sit at the computer, blog, read a blog or two, shower, leave for work.  

In the shower it's shampoo, conditioner, wash face, shave, soap, rinse, done.  It's happened many times that I get all jammed up and miss a step.  Like washing my face.  Or conditioner.  It's happened.

Work is set up too.  I know how long it takes to run my morning reports so when I get there it's turn on computer, start reports, email, assemble reports, voicemail, meeting.

I know there are folks out there more willing to fly by the seat of their pants and that works for them.  But I find comfort in my morning rituals.  By not having to think about what's next in the shower, I can think about other things.  Prepare for the day, ponder on a dream from that night, or just not think at all and let the hot water wash everything away.

Sometimes I find I'm very attached to the routine of it all.  It really is comforting to me.  But if I get so attached to the routine of it all, then is there some nuance that I'm missing?  If I'm keeping my head down and trudging along on a predetermined path, then certainly there are things being missed.  The happy medium for me? Where there are routines but also comfort and ability to make room for other things.  

There was a time last year that I was very present in my life.  Enjoying the right now, I noticed all sorts of things and learned many things about me and my personality and how I operate.  What's important to me. What doesn't matter at all.  

The point? While routines are comforting and good, I need to take more time and slow it all down. Stop worrying about the next thing and get back to where I enjoy just where I am at that very moment.


Wednesday Yoga


Hi yogis!  Sorry I'm late.  It's a big double whammy posting today to keep us on schedule with our reguarly scheduled programing.

It's been a few weeks.  Are you all practiced and limber?

Because I'm not.  Nope.  I've totally fallen out of practice and failed you as a fellow yogi.  But, there is no time like the present to start again. 

Which, speaking of starting again, I'm contemplating training for a marathon.  Hmmm. Go big or go home I guess.

But I digress.

Today is all about PIGEON!  Which I L-O-V-E by the way.  It's brutal and emotional and wonderfully awesome all at the same time.  Overload here we come!

Pigeon is easily integrated into any sun salutation.  I will show you a variation of pigeon as well for those of you with knee and back issues.  

Before we get started I just have to say one more time, I LOVE PIGEON!!

*clearing of throat*

Now that I'm back under control, here we go…

Start with a sun salute.  Pigeon can be quite intense so it's important to warm up those legs and back.  Do a couple rounds of a sun salute before you introduce it in.  


Start with a downward facing dog.  Bend your right knee and bring it toward your chest.  Rotate your leg so the ankle is pointing to the left.  Put your knee and ankle on the ground, extend your left leg behind you and lower your hips to the ground.  Your left leg will be extended straight behind you, your right leg will be in front of you, knee bent, and ankle going to the left.


It can be stressful on the back to sit up straight.  Go ahead and lean forward.  You can support yourself on your elbows, or if you have a thick book, rolled up blanket, or a yoga brick to lean on, that is helpful and ok too.

This pose will create an intense stretch in your bum.  Yep.  It's awesome.  This pictures shows my left leg bent (I thought I had one with the right leg bent.  sorry.)  But you get the idea.  Most likely, your knee is bent significantly, your ankle may be under your hip.  Which is just fine.  

There are a couple options to increase intensity and get a deeper stretch.  Lean forward and put your forehead on your arms or on the floor.  This will let your chest sink to the floor.  Also, move your ankle from under your hip to be more parallel with your knee.  So bring it up on the mat, closer to your shoulder.  Increase the angle of your bent knee.  Make sense?  


To release from this pose, put your hands on the mat and rotate your hips up and head down.  This will take the pressure off of your leg so you can step back to downward facing dog.  Stretch the for a few breaths, let the blood flow back into your leg.  Then repeat on the other side.

TO FINISH: From pigeon return to downward facing dog.  You can 1. continue through with a set of warriors or 2. step or jump both feet between hands and finish up the sun salute with forward bend, inhale to flat back, exhale forward bend, inhale to mountain, exhale to heart center. 

VARIATION:  Reverse Pigeon.

Pigeon can be stressful for those with bad knees and weak backs.  Instead, do reverse pigeon.  This is done by lying on your back, and bending one knee.  Put the ankle of the other leg on the knee.  Thread your arms around and through the leg and interlock fingers behind the bent knee.  Pull your knee to your chest.  This will create the same stretch in the butt and release pressure in your low back. 


 To release, slowly release the hands and let the legs down on an exhale.

TO FINISH: Place both feet on the mat, knees bent, arms at your side.  You can go right into Chivasina from here.


I really enjoy the stretch I get from pigeon.  As you continue your practice and your joints and muscles loosen up the stretch will become more comfortable for you.  

I have heard a few instructors say that if you are not emotional in your practice, keep practicing.  We know that the body stores the suppressed emotion and feelings in the hips, among other places.  When you stretch the hips sometimes those emotions come back up. Pigeon is known for this. (I have actually found myself crying in class. Uncontrollably. Not kidding.)  When this happens, it is important to allow the body to process the information.  If you find yourself crying or weepy like I did, take a deep breath and just relax.  Don't tense up about the experience, but let it happen, relax and breath through it.  If you are at home, count yourself lucky.  If you are in a class, please remember that they are not judging you.  Everyone else is focused on what they are doing and feeling.

Unless you are one of those makes-alot-of-noise cryers.  Then you might want to take it outside.  🙂


As always, please feel free to post any questions or comments.



Yoga Wednesday


Hello yogis!  

Today we are back to one of the basic poses: Chair.  This one can be killer on your quads and hamstrings.  It burns so good.  🙂

The key to this one is to throw your hips back.  Really sit into it.  Your legs will support you and pushing out your hips will actually save your back this time around.  I usually do one or two rounds of sun salutations before I throw in the variations, this one goes in first.

Do a couple rounds of the salutation first.  This post has the whole she-bang if you need a reminder.

Stand, hands at heart center

Inhale arms up to mountain pose

exhale dive forward to forward fold

inhale to flat back

exhale to forward fold 

Reach up and sit back to chair pose

add any variations

exhale back to forward fold

finish sun salute


Starting at the forward fold, you are going to reach your arms straight up along side your ears.  During the movement, keep the tailbone tucked to protect the back, shoulders relaxed.  As your torso comes up, bend the knees and sit into an invisible chair.  Your torso will be leaning forward, reach the hips back, tailbone up, legs supporting the whole pose.  Breath.  You stay in this pose a minute or more. 


Take inventory of your body.  Are your knees leaning in?  Straighten them, knees pointing straight forward.  Are your feet parallel?  Straighten them.  Stick your hips out toward the back of the room.  This will allow you to sit further into the pose.  Core engaged? Tighten those abs. Relax the shoulders.  And your mouth. (because I know that your tongue is sticking out while you concentrate.)

Send your breath to those areas, most likely your legs, that need the support.  If you concentrate on breathing, you won't notice the burn so much.

You can do a couple variations here.  One that is easy to implement is to lift one leg off the ground so you are balancing on the other.  Switch to other foot. 

To finish, exhale and straighten the legs while folding over to touch your toes, back into the forward fold.  Inhale to flat back, exhale back to forward fold. 

You can either inhale to mountain and will have done a varied half salute.  Or you can continue through a full salute.  Up to you.

As always, please comment with questions or concerns.