YEM: Yoga as Energy Medicine Category

Parvati-Forward Bend
The Sanskrit word Uttanasana literally translates to “intense stretch” (ut: intensity, tan: to stretch, extend or lengthen). What does intensity mean in a healthy yoga practice? How do we manage our ego that easily shows up on our mat, seeking more intensity than is required? How do we ensure we are not disassociating from the challenge a pose presents? The answer lies in sukha-sthira, a core principle of yoga, as outlined in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras. In sukha-sthira you learn to be alert and receptive in each moment, finding a balanceRead More
Until recent years, the art of cursive handwriting was taught in most schools in the West. Perhaps you remember learning it. Having mastered printing one letter at a time, we learned gradually to write whole words without ever having to lift our pens, gracefully connecting one letter to the next. The flowing script was the standard for the written word before the advent of typewriters and computers. It came from patient practice, as we learned to build one loop or line onto another. Eventually we found ourselves writing it withRead More
One of the most easily recognized yoga asanas in the West is the Downward Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana) pose. It thoroughly stretches the back of the body, strengthens the arms and legs, lengthens the spine and because it places your head below most of your body, it can also calm the mind and relieve stress. Since the downward dog pose opens your hamstrings, you may find some of the same issues arise as in the previous exercise, Feet to Sky. Your hamstrings connect you from the ground to your rootRead More
As we move through our practices and our days, we need moments to pause and integrate. In humble surrender, we bring our heads below our hearts and lay down our wilful ego so that a deeper, wiser intelligence may move through us. This is one of the many gifts of the Extended Child Pose. Deeply introverted, like being back in the womb, this pose is a necessary resting and rejuvenation pose between more vigorous asanas. When done correctly, it will exquisitely lengthen your spine vertebra by vertebra. It will openRead More
Your body and your breath are in continual relationship. An embodied state is an expression of the dance between spirit and matter. The Sanskrit word Tantra literally means “to weave” or “to expand”. In this way, yoga is about weaving a dance between spirit (breath) and matter (body), while liberating dormant potential energies and infusing the body-being with consciousness. As you focus on the interplay between breath and the sensations in your body, your practice becomes a meditation on the relationship between spirit and matter and amplifies the synergy betweenRead More
Breath awareness offers each of us unique and profound insight into who we are and how we are feeling. It connects our inner, personal world of sensations, thoughts and experience, with the outer world that unfolds around us. One of the more introverted yoga poses, the forward bending Crab pose, is a welcome relief at the end of a busy day of “doing”. It moves your awareness away from the external and helps you develop greater internal wisdom. It is also a wonderful pose to start your day, as itRead More
Each fluttering, colourful butterfly was once a caterpillar. It was not born with the beautiful wings on which it soars. Instead, it had to surrender to a great transformation to see the world in a whole new way and experience newfound freedom. In many ways, our spiritual path is like this. As one of my favorite children’s books, “Hope For The Flowers” by Trina Paulus, reminds us, we can too easily become stuck in basic survival and forget that a butterfly waits to be born within us. For some ofRead More
  With the intake of air that fills your lungs comes the accompanying power of the force of life itself. Your breath ebbs and flows, as do day and night, the sun and the moon, the leaves on the trees, and the waves along the ocean’s body. As you befriend your breath, you learn to feel its rise and fall as an effortless expression not just of your human experience, but as a source of connection to a much greater whole. We can find a sense of presence through ourRead More
When a towel is overloaded, you twist it to wring it out. Twists in a yoga practice are similar to this for our nervous system. They reset the firing signals and impulses that initiate our patterns of thoughts, movement and behaviour. Because of this, twists are like engaging a wellness refresh button for our body/being. The following lying twist exercise is safe for anyone who has a healthy spine. If you are suffering from any form of disc inflammation or herniation, do this with much caution, or not at all.Read More
Next to our shoulders, one of the tightest muscles in our body is often our hamstrings. We spend a lot of our time sitting, causing these long, powerful muscles to atrophy. Some people are born with naturally flexible hamstrings, while the rest of us need to put in a bit of effort to keep the stabilizing gems long and supple. If you have ever taken a yoga or exercise class that included hamstring stretching, you likely know that there is no muscle that can bring up issues of frustration moreRead More