Potentiate Yourself

Crack through your carapace and potentiate yourself. Your body is your magical abode. Have a party, clean it up!

Sitting in hero's pose, accomplished pose or lotus, inhale forward towards your pubis as you blossom your arms out to the sides. 

Exhale and rock back, tucking your tail, spooning your hands one on top of the other.  Alternate which hand is on top and make the breath deep and even.

Continue for three minutes to liberate your spine, deepen your breath, and de-stagnate any residual detritus.

Stir Waters

Winter is a time to go deep. Use Techniques to keep those deep waters from stagnating.

Inhale on the left and exhale on the right as you stir yourself clockwise, going with the flow for one minute. Next, be counterculture and spin counterclockwise.

Inhale on the right and exhale on the left.  Integrate breath, movement and imagination as you see yourself stirring up your stock, adding flavor as you manipulate your ancestral waters. 

This recipe massages organs, soothes kidneys, and regulates digestion.

Feed Your Fires

Your body has 3 heat sources: Sex drive (3rd foot), heart (3rd hand), imagination (3rd eye)

Make your hands into fists and bounce them rapidly between your pubis and sternum.  Add a rapid breath of fire and continue 1-3 minutes.  This trick helps you to literally get off your a** and will kickstart even the most sluggish of psychobiological libidinous impulses.


Handle Yourself

Place your hands behind your back, palm to palm. A variation is to interlace the fingers and press the backs of the hands under the shoulder blades with the thumbs fitting against the scapulae.  Begin bhasktrika breath: take a deep breathe in and the force the exhalation out; immediately inhale with the same force.  The inhale and exhale are equal in duration and the breath is rhythmic.  Play with the tempo in order to lubricate the shoulder and stimulate the diaphragm.  

Use this recipe to add champagne to your cocktail, seltzer your matzoh ball and to fluff yourself up when you are feeling smoothed or a bit tight in your circumstances.

Fan the Flame

Once you have ignited the spark, you need tools to keep it feisty, hot and functional!  All forms that are organic deform.  Use technique to give yourself a reformation. 

Put your right hand a few inches in front of your chest and extend your right are out to the side.  As you exhale, switch the arms' position and emphasize the breath out.  The hands are like a big fan, moving air, keeping the fire vital.  This is a practice to empty yourself of heat that's been packed into the heart, and to tend your fires in order to burn bright.  For added benefit, tap on the sternum to stimulate immunity, or tap the "spirit holes" next to the sternum to amplify kidney jing.

Whip It Up

If you were made out of sweet cream, use this technique briskly to become whipped cream!

How to: Make your shoulders into balls and your hands into mitts.  Make a good fit and keep the upper arms parallel to the floor.  Inhale and twist to the left, exhale and twist to the right.  Move equally between both directions and use your eyes to find the wall behind you.  Go for the height, the ecstasy, the experience, catch a glimpse of your vision from the top of the mountain.  Use your elbows as a level tool for your kidneys and twist out stagnant waters.


Yogic Hair Dryer

Sometimes you feel like a damp dishtowel. When you need to kick yourself in to gear and throw the monkey off your back, give this cat/cow on catnip a whirl!

How to:
Get into a table top position with your knees under your hips and your hands under your shoulders so that you make four ninety degree angles. Lift the wrists and palms off of the floor, so that you are balancing on your finger tips. The bottom of the palm is like the brake pedal, the basement, the heaviest part of the hand. Put a high heel on it by elevating on to the fingertips- feel what it's like to play perky, punchy, provocative and a bit precarious. Inhale as you round your spine and exhale as you arch. Start slow and accelerate to speed that lets you feel a bit flushed… from the safety of the mat you can try driving at a faster speed! Repeat one hundred rounds, or if you like, more!

Ventilate and Stimulate!

How to: Wrap your right arm under your left and grab onto your left wrist. Shape your left hand into a fist to make it nice and punchy. Lift the arms to make a ninety degree angle and find the fit of your shoulder into your neck like a ball in a mitt. Make it nice and tight. Take the arms all the way to the right and pump the breathe out in kapalabhati 25 times. Then take your arms over to the left and repeat. Then forward away from your torso and pump 25 breaths. Finally, lift your arms so that your elbow punches up toward the ceiling and your fist toward the wall behind you for 25 breaths. Switch arms a repeat.

 

Why: This eagle wrap is a kind of "mudra" for your thyroid, a magical butterfly shaped gland that participates in regulating mood, metabolism, menstruation, muscle and more. You'll want to nestle in there and cultivate a loving relationship!

Genie in a Bottle

In "Putting Her in Her Place: Women, Dirt and Desire," Ann Carson writes that in ancient Greek, the same word was used for a woman's head covering and a sentry station atop the city walls. When you want to pop up into dimensions more expansive than patriarchy and nationalism, try this!

How To:
Elevate your arms over your head, squeezing your upper arms to your ears. Cross your wrists and place one palm flat against the other, so that they have "face to face" contact, like a kiss of the palms. Twist to the left and inhale, twist to the right and exhale. Continue 100x.

The faster you whip, the more warp speed you experience, and a kind of pratyahara, or sense withdrawal occurs. Surrender your hearing to your breathing and whip it up for an ecstatic elevation that lets you see all the way around your circumstances!

Alternate Nostril Breathing (Nadi Shodhana)

Time to bring some balance to those hemispheres!

1. One at a Time:

Elevate the right arm and keep the elbow up so that the upper arm is parallel to the floor. Seal the right nostril with the thumb and rest the pointer and middle fingers at the eyebrow center. Inhale through the left nostril only, attenuating the breath so that it is long and slow and smooth. When you have completed the inhalation, seal the left nostril with ring finger and exhale slowly through the right nostril only. Practice listening to the breath in the same ear as the nostril you are breathing through, i.e.: if you are breathing actively through the left nostril, hear it in the left ear. Repeat 5-10 rounds.

Switch arms and switch the breath so that you inhale only through the right nostril and exhale only through the left. Repeat 5-10 rounds.

2. Alternate Nostril: 

Begin as before. Elevate the right arm and keep the elbow up so that the upper arm is parallel to the floor. Seal the right nostril with the thumb and rest the pointer and middle fingers at the eyebrow center. Inhale through the left nostril only, attenuating the breath so that it is long, slow, and smooth. When you have completed the inhalation, seal the left nostril with the ring finger and exhale slowly through the right nostril only. Now inhale through the right nostril completely and then seal the right nostril with the thumb as you exhale through the left nostril. Continue in this manner: breathe in the through the first nostril and breathe out through the second. Now inhale through the second and exhale through the first.

As you inhale through the left nostril, cross-reference yourself and image the right kidney becoming animated. As you exhale through the right nostril, release the energy from the right kidney. As you breathe in through the right nostril, image the left kidney becoming potentiated, and then exhale through the left nostril.

3. Alternate Nostril with Retention:

Keep all of the last practice, but now add a suspension of the breath. Pause at the top of the breath, holding the inhalation in its fullness. At the end of the exhalation, pause with the breath held out, taking a moment to be with emptiness.

Cross Legged Cat Cow with Breath

Now is absolutely the time to embrace difficulty, show up for conflict, work with limitation, and embrace the edges of our humanity, starting with ourselves.

How to: get into a table top position and then thread one leg on top of the other. It will give you a narrow base and the obstacle of getting around yourself. Try some cats and cows to start, connecting your hearing to your breathing, and then stir, using your imagination to put a clock face in your pelvis and travel from 12 at the pubis to 3 at the right hip to 6 at the anus to 9 at the left hip. Inhale on the left and exhale on the right. Stir clockwise and then counterclockwise. Knowledge is power. Know where you go and where you don't go. Use techniques to show up for the magnificent spine that always always has your back and the root support that allows you to ambulate, hold ground, and adventure outward. After a few minutes switch to the other side and then inhale on the right and exhale on the left. You can pop up onto the balls of your feet and walk your hands around yourself for a vinyasa transition. extra credit with flipped wrists! more folds = more heat!

Soothe Yourself

How to: raise your arms to 60 degrees with the palms facing up like cups. Connect the thumb to the ring fingers with the lightest possible contact. Also touch the tip of the tongue to the top of the palate. Eyes can be closed. Begin by pumping the breath out through the nose, pulling the navel back toward the spine with every exhalation. This breath is also known as the “skull-shining” breath and the focus is on the exhalation. Imagine that you open windows on all three levels of your house. Tip your pubis forward to crack open the ground floor windows of your basement (pelvis, legs, feet), keep your upper arms in line with you ears to open windows in your living quarters (torso, arms, hands), send an antenna up through the baby soft spot of your head to open up your skylights. This way you circulate a cross breeze through your whole house rather than trying to force anything out. 100 rounds should do it. Set up conditions and catch your breath. Clear out old stagnant stuff, oxygenate your blood and energize yourself!

A Sphere of Influence

Practice Standing Side Split with Nevine Michaan, founder and creator of Katonah Yoga. Move out of linear frameworks and access your larger sphere. See 360 degrees around yourself. Learn how to think, move & be spherical. Learn to make connections, have conversations and leverage contacts with different pieces of yourself. Potential ahead. Memory behind. Grace descending. Effort ascending. You, in the middle mediating it all. This sequence can be practiced entirely on it's own or as Chapter 2 from the longer Katonah Yoga Practice Video: "A Folding, a Flipping, a Fluency Practice." Chapters 1 & 3 soon to follow. Cast (in order of appearance): Nevine Michaan, Danielle Rosati, Ivy Kaminer, Ari Halbert, Liana Venturella & Abbie Galvin. Music: "Trois gymnopedies: No. 1 - Lent et douloureux" composed by Erik Satie, performed and recorded by ISAN "Lineage (Prologue)" by Shigeto "Nebulous Aleatory Series One" by Alex Kane. Video by Phillip Askew. Katonah Yoga is located in Bedford Hills, NY. Learn more about Nevine at katonahyoga.com.

Surya Namaskar in ... New York - meeting Nevine Michaan

Born in Egypt, Nevine Michaan grew up in a household of women, in an era where women where encouraged to stay at home. Arriving in America in 1957, she found a way of working, by teaching yoga, that allowed her the flexibility to balance family life and work.

Practicing technique, she believes the goal of teaching is how the individual learns to use that technique. Using the metaphor of origami, folding makes function, she speaks of asana being origami for bodies, producing shapes that are functional.

"3 Threads" Katonah Yoga Nevine Michaan Phillip Askew

Beyond the polarity of 2 is the weave of 3. By triangulating, one moderates extremes with the third principle. The 3rd Foot is the mediation of Home & the World. The 3rd Hand is the mediation of your Business and your Feelings. And the 3rd Eye is the big overview Vision that can see the whole picture. This video is a preview for the upcoming “A Hemisphere of Vision” & “Gomukasana Cross-Referenced” from The Katonah Yoga Practice Video: “A Folding, a Flipping, a Fluency Practice" with Nevine Michaan featuring Danielle Rosati, Lianna Venturella, Ari Halbert, Ivy Kaminer, Lya Mojica, Abbie Galvin & Gil Walker. Video by Phillip Askew. Special thanks to Steven Michaan, Sajda Abdul-Rahim, Josh Jaeger, Ivy Kaminer, Danielle Rosati, Jessie Haims, Esther Yoon, Miles Borrero, Ted Sun, Alberto Mojica, Bill Gluck, Alexis Savino, Eli Gottlieb & Peter Kunhardt on production. Katonah Yoga Center is located at 39 Main St, Bedford Hills, NY 10507. Check out katonahyoga.com for more information. Music: "Avril 14th" by Aphex Twin

Open the Windows

How to: raise your arms to 60 degrees with the palms facing up like cups. Connect the thumb to the ring fingers with the lightest possible contact. Also touch the tip of the tongue to the top of the palate. Eyes can be closed. Begin by pumping the breath out through the nose, pulling the navel back toward the spine with every exhalation. This breath is also known as the “skull-shining” breath and the focus is on the exhalation. Imagine that you open windows on all three levels of your house. Tip your pubis forward to crack open the ground floor windows of your basement (pelvis, legs, feet), keep your upper arms in line with you ears to open windows in your living quarters (torso, arms, hands), send an antenna up through the baby soft spot of your head to open up your skylights. This way you circulate a cross breeze through your whole house rather than trying to force anything out. 100 rounds should do it. Set up conditions and catch your breath. Clear out old stagnant stuff, oxygenate your blood and energize yourself!