Legs Up the Wall Reduces Stress

19 08 2012

It just takes five minutes in Legs Up the Wall pose to relieve stress. Sometimes I like to end my yoga session with Legs Up the Wall, or midday to rejuvenate my body and mind. This pose is considered an inversion pose and all inversion poses help to clear the mind. Situations, relationships, and we take on a new perspective when we are looking up, rather than down.

Practiced regularly, Legs Up the Wall may help to:

 Calm the mind

 Relieve low back tension

 Aid in relieving minor anxiety and depression

 Ease stress on the adrenal glands

 Reduce swelling and cramping in the legs and feet

 Aid in digestion

 Relieve minor headaches

 May help regulating blood pressure

 Insomnia

 May relieve some symptoms of menopause and PMS

CAUTION: Legs up the wall is generally not recommend for those menstruating, with eye problems, with neck or back problems, after third month of pregnancy, and anyone with heart problems. Check with your yoga teacher first. during this pose, bend your knees, touch your soles together, and slide the outer edges of your feet down the wall, bringing your heels close to your pelvis.

Moving into Legs Up the Wall:

Before beginning, you may want to have a blanket or two handy to use, if needed for support. Remember, comfort is important.

1: Stand next to wall with your left shoulder and left hip against the wall. Sit to the floor with the shoulder and hip remaining against the wall. (Option: place a folded blanket close to the wall and place buttocks on blanket when sitting.)

2: Swing around to bring your bottom up close to the wall and legs reaching up the wall towards the ceiling. Lower back and head to the floor. (Option: If using a blanket, position hips comfortably on blanket to relieve any back or leg discomfort.)

3. Move hips away from the wall if hamstrings are tight or lower back is uncomfortable. (Option: Bring soles of the feet together, bend knees out to the sides, and slide outside edges of feet down the wall towards the pelvis.)

4. Make sure the neck is comfortable. A folded towel under the head or neck may be helpful.

5. Arms are placed out to the sides away from the body with palms up. (Option: Body temperature may drop slightly. A blanket to cover up with may be helpful.)

6. Close the eyes and breathe deeply. Inhale and exhale slowly, filling and expelling the lungs.

7: After 5- 10 minutes, bring knees toward chest and roll to your right side. Remain on the right side and take 2-3 deep breaths before sitting up slowly.

Experiment with the blankets and positioning of the hips and legs.

Need to de-stress before going to bed? Grab a blanket and head for the nearest wall.

Tammy’s Challenges

Mind: Do what is necessary to be able to sleep 8 hours each night.

Body: Trade workout DVDs with a friend or borrow one from the library. Ask a friend to join you!

Soul: Smile at yourself each time you look in the mirror. You must love yourself before anyone else is able to love you.



My Peaks at Enlightenment

22 04 2012

This is my article printed in the Weekly Record Herald on April 15, 2012.

Hi, my name is Tammy Shellhaas. I am a yoga instructor/personal trainer and I would like you to join me on a journey to challenge your mind, body, and soul. Every other week we will explore a new aspect of a healthy lifestyle. My hope is to offer new information, or a new perspective to what you already know, or reintroduce an idea that may have been forgotten. So, let’s get started…

In the Yoga Sutra, Patanjali, a second-century philosopher and yogi, summarizes the guidelines or eight limbs for ashtanga (asha=eight, anga=limb) yoga. The limbs are meant as guidelines on how to live a meaningful life with purpose. The limbs provide  help in relationships, interactions with the world, positive thought and actions, yoga postures, breathing practices, meditation and concentration, and, finally, lead to Samadhi, or enlightment. Wow, I want to practice and achieve all those things, but I really want to jump straight to becoming enlightened and find my True Self. Nice try. There is no short cut to achieving Samadhi. Samadhi cannot be taught or practiced. It is obtained.

So, I will be honest. I have not reached enlightment, but I do see glimpses of my True Self at times. I saw a peak at my True Self with each birth of my two beautiful children. My husband, John, reaches for my hand when taking a walk – another peak. I tear-up when I hear Somewhere Over the Rainbow. (I don’t know why, but I do. I love that song.) Peak. I practiced, practiced, and practiced the Crow yoga pose. (Crow is a balancing pose. Both hands are on the floor, bent knees are positioned on the backs of the upper arms, and toes lift off the floor to balance on the hands.) Then, one day, my body “gracefully” eased into Crow. Peak!

I have reduced the meaning of Samadhi to a very basic level. As you can see, I am in the early stages of my journey. A late bloomer, you might say. The exciting part of this journey is, as I practice all eight limbs of yoga, the glimpses of my True Self are peaking through more often. I am in wonder of how my life has changed since starting this path. Each day brings surprises. I need to share what I learn on this journey with others. I cannot keep it to myself. My hope is that you find a peak at your True Self.

Tammy’s Challenges

Growth does not come from one perspective. To achieve a healthy lifestyle, you must do more than concentrate on exercise alone. Diet changes will enhance your wellbeing, but it alone is not healthy. Let’s not forget the soul or spirit. It needs nurturing as well. So, here are a few mind (diet) – body (exercise) – soul (mental) challenges for you to try.

Mind: Try a new vegetable.

Body: Every stoplight/stop sign, contract your abs and hold, until you start moving again.

Soul: Stop saying, “I wish” and start saying, “I will”.

I would love to hear from you.          Email: Tammy@TammYoga.com

Facebook: TammYoga

Twitter: @TammYoga

Namaste  (The spirit in me respects the spirit in you.)