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  • Writer's pictureJill

Yoga with Chrissy (& Jill)!

I've been doing yoga with Chrissy for almost 10 years! And I know that my body thanks me for it! It certainly helps me continue to get into the garden!

When Covid hit, we moved our yoga sessions online, and so I now see Chrissy every Tuesday and Thursday via zoom! It's not exactly the same, but almost! The one big draw back for me of doing yoga online is that I can't see very well (an understatement) without my glasses, and normally I need to take my glasses off for yoga. So I have to rely almost exclusively on Chrissy's audio cues to do the poses correctly. But despite this, there are several advantages to having a "live" teacher online.

I know that there are a lot of pre-recorded yoga series on line, and I've seen few. They can be a good, or helpful -- but they're just not tailored to me. Here's what I mean:

1) Every session before we begin Chrissy asks me "are there any changes in your body?" And, being a hypochondriac, I generally have lots of things to say. My back, my neck, etc. Plus when I have a specific disability or tenderness, Chrissy works around that. When I had skin cancer surgery on my face, we couldn't do any inversion poses, so we substituted others instead.

2) Chrissy always does corrections on the poses I attempt to do. I can be doing the pose almost correctly, but you can hear her in the video say to me things like, "use your stable leg," or "don't let your shoulders fall into a turtle position." I can tell that she watches me carefully so that the pose is working for me, that I get the most benefit from the pose, and that I am not doing anything inadvertently that might cause me to strain myself.

3) The other great thing that Chrissy does is provide affirmations. "Good job, Jill!" "Beautiful!" You can hear this in the video too. And she's always been like this - whether it's been in person or online. She is completely non-judgmental, and simply tries to help me feel good about what I am doing.

Having said that, I've been trying to get Chrissy to record sessions called "Yoga for Grandparents!" Now that I have Baby Abby, and another little grandchild on the way -- I can tell that yoga will become even more important to keep me healthy and well so that I can properly take care of the peanuts!

I always feel better after doing yoga, plus it's like a mini-meditation before I begin my day -- I encourage you to try it! It will help your gardening too!

Here's the description of the poses that Chrissy and I did today, just in case!

#1. Seated Breath - sit forward in a steady chair with both sit bones near the front of the seat and have your feet planted firmly on the ground. Place your right hand over your heart and your left hand on your belly. First, breath down into the body and notice which area your breath moves to. Did you breathe more to the chest or down into the belly? See if you can practice breathing into both areas at the same time so it feels like your torso is inflating like a balloon. Drink the inhale down into the body like you are filling up your torso with water and then allow the exhale to evaporate from your torso gently out through the nose. Repeat ten more rounds and allow the breath to be the tempo of your practice today. #2. Seated Cat/Cow - lift your chest and look up, then look down towards your belly button and round your spine. Inhale lift your heart and gaze upward, and then exhale tuck your chin to your chest and lean back into your shoulder blades. Repeat at the speed of your own breath a few more rounds. #3. Seated Side Stretch - step the feet wider than your chair and turn the feet and knees out (like a seated wide-legged squat). Lean your right forearm on your right thigh and lift your left arm up to the sky. Turn the left arm so that your palm faces your right side and maybe choose to reach the arm overhead toward the right. If you feel discomfort in your low back, allow the left hand to remain on your left hip for more support. To come out of this side stretch, inhale lift the chest to lengthen your spine and slowly lift back up to center. Repeat to the left side. #4. Seated Core Dual Pressure - bring your feet and legs parallel to each other and hip width apart. Lift your right knee and place both hands on top of your right thigh bone. Simultaneously, press the hands down as you strongly lift the thigh bone into the hands. Doing these two actions together will create strength in your core. Repeat 3-10 rounds on the right and then continue to the left side. #5. Seated Thread the Needle - lift your right knee and criss cross your right ankle over your left thigh so that your right leg is turned out. Flex your right ankle to protect the rotation of your knee. Gently lean forward with your hands on your thighs (or on your desk if you have one in front of you.) If that is enough, please stay here. If you’d like more flexion, allow your forearms to move to your thighs (or desk) as you continue to lengthen your chest away from your belly. Leading from your chest to lift up, release the right leg and then repeat on the left side. #6. Seated Hamstring Stretch - extend your right leg straight in front of you and flex your ankle by lifting your toes toward your shin. Sit up tall and hinge forward at your hips. You can place your hands on your thighs (or desk) or move deeper into the stretch by placing your forearms on your upper legs. Lead from your chest to rise out of the pose and repeat on the left side. #7. Seated Upper Back Twist - place your hands behind your head and press your hands forward as you lean your head back into your hands. Give the same amount of energy in both directions to get the most from your mid back. Sit up tall and rotate your torso to the right. Try to keep both of your elbows wide apart. Inhale and rise from your side ribs, exhale and try to turn a little deeper. Slowly unwind and set up for the left side. #8. Seated Shoulder/Neck Stretch - gently reach your arms behind your back and clasp opposite elbows. If your shoulders are tight, feel free to hold one wrist with the opposite hand. Inhale and lift your chest. Very slowly lean your right ear to your right shoulder without lifting the right shoulder. Allow both of your shoulder blades to widen on your upper back. Carefully lift your head back to center and repeat to the left side. Move slowly with your head as faster neck movements can make you nauseous. #9. Seated Savasana - take a moment to be still and relax. The nervous system needs at least 3 minutes to down regulate and you can use a visualization, counting meditation or simply follow your breathing where you allow your exhale to become longer than your inhalation. This is the most important pose for your mind-body connection so please give yourself a few minutes to calm your nervous system and recharge.


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