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November 2010
- Issue 48

Thank you for visiting us at the Yoga Show in October.  Many of you came by the booth!  Some I haven't seen in a long while.  It was good to connect with you.

We just completed our first Transformational Cleanse Challenge.  What a wonderful group of people who worked together and supported each other on their journey to better health.  Everyone had a great experience and enjoyed good results.

We'll be running another Transformational Cleanse Challenge in November, but this time it will be 14 days rather than 30.  So if you've been considering your health alternatives, and feel more comfortable committing to two weeks rather than a month, please consider joining us this time around.  Simply call me at 604.421.9872.  For more info go to www.intoyoga.ca/cleansechallenge.htm.  You could be the winner of not only better health, but also almost $1,000 in prizes!  Questions?? Email sheri@cleanseyourbody.ca.  Get yourself ready and looking your best before the holidays!  Consider challenging the rest of your office!

Do you know a man who would benefit from Yoga?  Would he like to be lead by a male instructor in a class of his peers with no women for distraction (or competition)?  If so, let him know that in January 2011, we will be offering Yoga for Men in several Vancouver locations.

November, we've got many new classes beginning.  Be sure to visit us at www.intoyoga.ca/classes.htm.

I hope you enjoy this month's Newsletter.




Lolasana - The Swing of Things
Baby Signs
Recipe - White Bean Dip
Yoga/Pilates & Nutritional Cleanse Seminars at Work
We Want Your Feedback 
Promote YOUR Business
Quips and Quotes
Find us on Twitter and Facebook
Past Newsletters
Your Contributions Welcome
Our Privacy Policy
Email A Friend 

Lolasana - The Swing of Things
By Richard Rosen

Be brave! Lift off in Lolasana.

Many beginners avoid Lolasana (Pendant Pose), which seems to demand the arm strength of a superhero. But don't worry. Although Lolasana requires strong arms, a couple of nifty secrets will help transform a wimpy alter ego into a dynamo. Lolasana is well worth trying because it will strengthen your arms, upper back, and abdominals. Plus, you'll feel an exhilarating sense of accomplishment if you actually manage to defy gravity and take flight.

The Pendant, or Swinging, Pose asks you to tuck your torso and bent legs (with the ankles crossed) into a tight ball, then to raise that ball and support its weight with your arms. Once suspended, the ball is rocked between the arms like a swing. The ankles are crossed one way to start, then the pose is repeated with the ankle-cross reversed.

The histories of poses like Padmasana (Lotus Pose) are long forgotten, but we do know something about Lolasana's past. According to yoga researcher N.E. Sjoman, it was once known as jhula ("to swing" in Hindi) and belonged to a system of Indian gymnastics described in the early text "Light on Exercise" (Vyayama Dipika). The Mysore Palace's yoga teacher, T. Krishnamacharya, now recognized as one of the giants of 20th-century yoga, used the classic text and probably rechristened jhula and other exercises, elevating them to asana status and changing the face of traditional yoga forever.

To prepare for Lolasana, you'll need to learn how to round your torso, especially your upper back, and to open what I call the "arm circuit."

Get Round
Start in a tabletop position on your hands and knees, with your torso and head parallel to the floor. Position your knees directly below your hips, set your hands a few inches ahead of your shoulders at shoulder width, spread your palms, and press the bases (or mounds) of your index fingers firmly into the floor.

Focus first on your back torso. On an exhalation, press your tailbone down (toward the floor) and forward (toward your pubic bone), and bow your back up toward the ceiling. Hang your head to stretch the back of your neck, but don't forcefully press your chin to your chest. Lengthen as much as you can between the tip of your tail and the base of your skull.

Spread your shoulder blades (scapulas) as far away from your spine as you can, as if you're wrapping them around the sides of your torso. Resist this outward movement by pressing your outer arms inward, as if you were squeezing your arms together. When combined, these two actions will help to further round your back and strengthen your arms.

Ideally, your back torso forms a graceful arch. I say "ideally" because there's a small patch high in the upper back between the scapulas that frequently sinks into the torso, creating a depression that works against your fully lifted Lolasana. Have your favorite yoga partner locate this area and cover it lightly with her palm.

A light touch usually helps you find and then round this elusive spot. Round this area for 10 to 15 seconds, then release back to neutral.

Armed for Action
Yogis have mapped out thousands of energy channels in the human body, but they are subtle and often inaccessible to the average practitioner. Fortunately, modern somatic pioneers have mapped a couple of dozen or so of what might be considered modern equivalents of the yogis' channels. (For more information about this interesting development, see The Thinking Body, by Mabel E. Todd, and Human Movement Potential, by Lulu E. Sweigard.) The big difference between the traditional and modern channels is that, for the most part, the latter run along the surface of the body and so are considerably more accessible and applicable to everyday practice. They help us monitor and adjust our alignment and create openness along with stability or strength.

Modern channels usually come in complementary pairs to form a circuit. Take, for example, the two channels that make up the arm circuit, which you'll use in Lolasana: The outer arm channel runs from the shoulder to the pinky (down the arm), while the inner arm channel runs from the base of the index finger back to the shoulder (up the arm).

From a neutral tabletop position, round your back again by spreading your scapulas into the resistance of your outer arms. Imagine a stream of energy running down your outer arms from your shoulders to the floor, its counterpart flowing up your inner arms to your torso. Feel how the outer-arm channel anchors you to the floor (or earth) and the inner-arm channel hoists you toward the ceiling (or sky). Hold this circuit in your imagination for a minute or two, then release back to neutral. Repeat the exercise a few times.

Belly Up
The belly is the final secret. From the tabletop position, round your back but now initiate the movement by decisively pulling your navel toward your spine and closing the space between your pubis and sternum. Counter the lift of your navel by pressing your index finger bases deep into the floor. Hold for 30 seconds, release, take a few breaths, and repeat a few times more. Now you're ready for Lolasana proper. Almost. Freud once said, "Anatomy is destiny." He wasn't talking about Lolasana, but the saying certainly applies. If you have a long torso and short arms, you're destined to use a block under each hand, because otherwise you have little chance of lifting yourself off the floor, let alone swinging. Blocks will come in handy regardless, while you develop the strength to lift into Lolasana with your hands on the floor.
Blocks for Takeoff Time
Kneel with your thighs and torso perpendicular to the floor and the blocks on either side of your hips. Cross your right ankle under your left, set the fleshy base of your pelvis on your left (higher) heel. Yes, it's uncomfortable. Try to find a relatively pleasant seat; if not, simply uncross your ankles and sit on your side-by-side heels. Save crossed ankles for another day.

Press your hands into the blocks. On an inhalation, lengthen your front torso. On an exhalation, ball your torso up, lift your knees away from the floor but keep your feet on the ground. This modified Lolasana, with the feet still on the floor, can substitute for the full version for now. Hold for 15 to 30 seconds with your head in a neutral position. Release your knees to the floor, take a few breaths, recross your ankles, and repeat.

Swing Yourself
If you felt reasonably confident with this modification, then you're ready to tackle the full version. Do what you just did, but this time try to lift the shins away from the floor as you lift your knees on the exhalation. Here's one more secret (assuming the right ankle is crossed below the left): In the ready position, lift your left knee off the floor, then when you exhale into your ball, push that knee downward, using the right ankle as a fulcrum, and squeeze your right shin firmly up. The left leg will act like a lever to lift the ball of your body away from the floor.

This time hold the pose as long as you canódon't be surprised if it's only a few secondsóand don't try to swing unless you feel fairly stable. Then release and repeat as before, reversing the ankle cross. When you're finished, you might want to sit on your heels, press your palms to the floor just behind your feet (fingers pointing to your toes), lean back, and lift your chest. Hold for 30 seconds to a minute, then sit upright on an inhalation, leading with your heart.

Lolasana can be discouraging, but with diligent practice you'll develop what you need to do the pose: arm, wrist, and belly strength. Lolasana is also a valuable preparation for more advanced arm balances like Bakasana (Crane Pose). If at first you don't succeed, remember what Krishna tells Arjuna in the Bhagavad Gita: On this path no effort is wasted, no gain is ever reversed.

Contributing editor Richard Rosen's most recent book is Pranayama: Beyond the Fundamentals (Shambhala, 2006). He lives and teaches in Northern California.


Baby Signs

Here's a cute little video I found on Youtube for all you parents who are teaching their baby sign language.  Check it out here.


White Bean Dip  

1 can (15 ounces) white (cannellini) beans, rinsed and drained
8 garlic cloves, roasted
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice

In a blender or food processor, add the beans, roasted garlic, olive oil and lemon juice. Blend until smooth. Serve on top of thin slices of toasted French bread or pita triangles. This is also excellent placed on top of red (sweet) bell peppers cut into squares.

Dietitian's tip: To roast garlic, cut off the tops of several heads of garlic exposing the cloves. Spray the garlic generously with cooking spray. Wrap in aluminum foil also sprayed with cooking spray. Heat the oven to 350 F and roast about 30 minutes.

Nutritional Information Per serving: Serving size: 2 tablespoons
Calories 109; Cholesterol 0mg; Protein 5g; Sodium 105mg; Carbohydrate 15g; Fiber 3g; Total Fat 4g; Potassium 314mg; Saturated Fat trace; Calcium 53mg; Monounsaturated Fat 3g  


Yoga/Pilates & Nutritional Cleanse Seminars at Work

We're passionate about bringing Yoga and Pilates into the work place.  For people who feel the demand and stress at work, don't have time to make it to a Yoga studio, or just simply want to take some time for themselves, Into Yoga has the answer for you.

Our certified professional instructors will come on site at lunch, or before or after work and teach classes right at the work place.

Be the coordinator of your office Yoga classes and you'll receive your classes for free if there are at least 10 participants.

Find out more at www.intoyoga.ca/corporate.htm or call 604.421.9872 or email sheri@intoyoga.ca to book classes now.

Why not add one of our FREE Nutritional Cleanse Seminars at work too?  Find out how you can gain and maintain your optimal health through a combination of meal replacement shakes, regular meals and a cleansing drink, to help give your body the healthy look and feel you've been striving for.  It's easy to get started, just email sheri@cleanseyourbody.ca or call me at 604.421.9872.  We'll even bring some samples for you to try.


We Want Your Feedback

Have you experienced classes with us before?  If so, we'd like to hear from you.  The good and the bad.  Tell us what you like.  How have they improved your life?  What keeps you coming back?  Plus, tell us what we could do better (but be kind).  What can we improve and what would you like to see that we're not providing?  Email your comments to info@intoyoga.ca.  We're listening. 

Promote YOUR Business

Are you a woman business owner, professional or entrepreneur interested in creating more referrals for your business

I am an area coordinator for The Heart Link Network, a fun, non-threatening, non-membership networking event showcasing women who are serious about growing their business.

Our events are held in a warm environment with dinner provided. It is a powerful, unique and effective marketing tool specifically designed to link women so they can nurture, support, enrich and resource one another in both personal and professional ways.

Consider joining our Heart Link Networking Group. You can find more details at www.meetup.com/Burnaby-Heart-Link. Or simply register and lock in your business category at www.V5A4B7.TheHeartLinkNetwork.com.  Be added to our news updates and invites by emailing sheri@cleanseyourbody.ca with ADD ME TO HLN in the subject line.


Quips and Quotes

Hope is always for the future, and the reality is always in the present. Hope deprives you of the present, and the present is the only moment you can explore your reality, your beauty, your truth, your divineness.  ~Osho International

Twitter and Facebook

Twitter us @sherisplace.  Become a Facebook friend at www.facebook.com/sheri.kauhausen.

Past Newsletters

You may read past Newsletters on our website by going to www.intoyoga.ca/articles.htm and clicking on the Newsletters link.


Your Contributions Welcome

If you would like to contribute in some way to upcoming newsletters, please contact us at info@intoyoga.ca.  We welcome your views, thoughts, enlightenments, articles, etc.  When contacting us, please be sure to let us know that you'd like to have your contribution inserted into our newsletter.

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