YEM: Yoga as Energy Medicine Category

YEM-Tree Pose-Parvati
Trees have long been revered in cultural traditions around the world, such as in druidry (the oak), Native American spirituality, Hinduism (the tulsi and bilva), Buddhism (the banyan), African tribal life (the baobab), and Chinese culture (the gingko). It is not an exaggeration to say that we owe our lives to trees. Trees take in carbon dioxide (as much as 48 lbs of CO2 per tree per year) and release oxygen. They remove greenhouse gases from the air and give us fresh air to breathe. In addition, they clean, filter,Read More
Parvati-YEM-Tadasana-Mountain Pose
There are two zero points in the physical practice of YEM: one horizontal, and one vertical. They are the foundations upon which other poses are built, points of reference to consider as you move through more complex physical sequences. The vertical zero point happens in standing practice. In this, your upright spine is an active conduit between the nature body and the cosmic intelligence. A yoga practice session might consist of nothing but Tadasana, the mountain pose, as you discover greater evenness and lightness within your body as it relatesRead More
YEM-Yoga-Parvati Devi-Goddess Pose
This month, we look at Goddess Pose, Deviasana, a visually striking position for the body as well as one that calls for rooted strength, stability and openness. Devi in Sanskrit refers to the primordial divine feminine force. This asana is also known as Utkata Konasana or Fierce Angle Pose. But remember that the fierceness of the Goddess arises from the profound surrender into love and non-attachment. It never comes from the constriction of a separate sense of “me” who is doing. If you find yourself egotistic about feeling fierce orRead More
Cat Squat, which we explored in the January issue, is a good warm up and complement to this pose. It helps you loosen your hips and hamstrings in the forward bend before you extend into twist. Beyond the physical stretch, please ensure that you allow yourself time to establish the feeling of two-way moving energy through your body in Prasarita Padottanasana and enjoy a surrendered forward bend, before you extend your energy between the Earth and the sky through your arms. Remember that this pose, and all poses, are notRead More
YEM-Yoga as Energy Medicine-Lengthening Spine-by Parvati
As we explored in my YEM: Yoga as Energy Medicine article, “Follow The Wave In Your Spine”, there is a natural wave-like impulse that flows through our spine. It exists within us all, at any given moment. It is the pulse of life itself. When newborn, our bodies/beings are highly receptive to growth. We breathe with life with greater co-creative fluidity. With age, we tend to become more set in our ways. Due to the effect of gravity and the way we identify with our habits, we hold tension inRead More
YEM Cat Squat-Parvati Devi
Cat squat, or Prasarita Padottanasana in Sanskrit, offers you a fabulous opportunity to reconnect with the ground, while you feel open and receptive to the sky. The visceral sense of two-way-moving energy in your body/being is particularly noticeable and accessible. As such, it is a beautiful asana in which you can experience being the channel of life-force energy that you are. As a wide legged stance, Cat Squat allows your root energy center at the base of your spine to open more easily to the ground. You can feel howRead More
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