Yin, Yang and Yoga

There is a perfect balance that exists in all things, yin and yang. This idea refers to any opposition: Light & dark, happiness & sadness, movement & stillness, hot & cold, masculine & feminine.

Not only does this balance exist in all things, but it creates all things. The opposition of light is dark. Without light, there would be no acknowledgment of dark because it would always be dark. We wouldn’t create a label for it because dark would be a state of normalcy. If the opposition of happiness is sadness, then without feeling sadness, there would be no ideal of happiness to reach to at all. If the opposition of movement is stillness, then without the movement of energy, ATP, prana, qi we would have nothing to animate the stillness of the elements that create the human body. We need both the body and the soul to generate our existence.

In our asana practice, this same rule of balanced opposition can be applied. We can consider our heat building practice as the yang. While our longer, deeper holds can be considered the yin. Within the marriage of the two, your practice will be a full balance of optimal physical health. You need balance to find your fullest potential. This is not just a daoist philosophy, this is tangible truth! So lets dig a little deeper here.

In your Yang practice, you are moving, breathing deeply, bringing blood and nutrient to your muscles through engagement. You’re building heat. Heat is simply movement. So as you build internal heat, you are moving an abundance of healing energy through your body.

Now lets look at the Yin aspect of your asanas. When you are able to disengage your muscles & relax into your posture it becomes more of a detoxing action. You’re releasing deep rooted stagnation that exists in your fascia. Imagine squeezing all of the shit out of a wet sponge. The same thing is happening to your piriformis in eka pada rajakopanasana (pigeon pose).

Lets put these two ideas together now. You generate moving healing energy during your yang practice, and you create space in your body through the yin practice. NOW, that healing energy has space to move into and occupy. Without the yin aspect of your yoga practice, good energy would be bouncing around your body like a caged animal with nowhere to go. Without the yang, you would have a whole lot of internal space without a whole lot of energy to fill it. Balance your Yin and Yang practices, and you create this perfect fitting puzzle that will elevate you to your fullest potential in health.

Namaste.

Kelly a Bailey

P.S. be mindful of overdoing the yang aspect of your practice with too much hot yoga! I guide Hot power yoga and yes, I still warn my students of this even if it means I get to see them less during the week! Remember, BALANCED opposition.

Meditation:
This is a moving meditation. To prepare, first, learn the steps to Suryanamaskar A (Sun Salutation A). Then learn the set up for reclined baddha konasana with a heart opener. You can use a simple google search in “images” to see what both of these look like.

To begin this mediation, warm up with your yang practice: 5 – 10 sets of Suryanamaskar A. Be mindful of your breath as you’re linking each movement to each inhale and exhale. Don’t worry though, you will still gain the benefits of this mediation if you do not sync the breaths.

Following your sun salutations, set up your timer for 10 minutes of supported baddha konasana with a heart opener. As you settle into your Yin hold, start by taking 5 full deep breaths building awareness of the subtleties that occur in your body with each inhale and exhale. After the 5th breath, allow the natural rhythm of your inhale and exhale to take over. Release any effort of breathing and surrender to your asana. Feel your hips get heavy. Feel your shoulders and jaw disengage. Just be. An observer of your experience.

Have trust in your yang practice to generate the movement of healing energy. Have trust in your yin practice to create the space for the absorption of new life.

Once your timer rings. Lie flat on your back in savasana rebuilding awareness of your breath for a total of 10 inhales and exhales.

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All About Supta Matsyendrasana aka: Supine Spinal Twist

Alright, light beings, time to talk about our spine! It is basically the root of our existence here on earth, so lets pay it proper respect. From our coccyx to cervical disk #1, we hold the root of our entire being. ALL energy flows through our spine, so lets give it mad respect. Our 7 main chakras align with the spine. Every organ in our body is innervated by nerve cells originating in our spine. In Chinese medicine, the Du channel runs the length of our spine, & contains acupoints that can stimulate every single system in our body. Our kundalini energy? Yeah, it runs up your spine.

We want our spines to be a conducive vessel for energy to flow. That’s why maintaining ideal posture is, well, ideal! We literally build our entire asana practice around lengthening, aligning, strengthening & detoxing the space around our spine in preparation for optimal health!

In supine spinal twist, the act of balanced compression detoxes the space surrounding your vertebrae, ultimately creating space & encouraging the flow of energy through your entire body! What are we detoxing? Emotional stress, negative experiences, stagnant blood cells & synovial fluid, unmoving qi & prana – just to name a few! By twisting your spine, you’re not leaving anyone out of the game, as we are ultimately detoxing our entire chakra, meridian, & nervous systems. The act of detoxing our spine is just as important as strengthening our spine. If you invite fresh energy into your body, but have blockages somewhere along the root, then the energy will not get to its desired destination. Potentially organs could become depleted of vital nutrients & qi, causing pain or disease that has the potential be life threatening.

Ok guys, rule number 1 for spinal twist — or maybe its number 2, since number 1 will forever & always be: lengthen your spine! So, rule number 2: twist to the left first! If you’re twisting to the left first, you’ll likely be compressing the right side of your body first. There is a reason we want to compress the right knee to chest first! If you’re human, most of your energy runs from your base, up & in a clockwise direction. If you don’t believe me, ask your colon. On the right side, exists the beginning of your large intestine, your ascending colon. On the left, exists the very end of your digestive system, your descending colon. From there its pretty much just fecal matter & toilet. If you compress your right side first, then left, you’ll stimulate the movement of your bowels! Don’t constipate yourself by stimulating the descending colon first & reversing the flow of energy. Your body will thank you.

Remember, divine beings, while western medicine is downplaying the efficacy of natural healing modalities, leaders of Big Pharma are going to jail for fraud, bribery & raccateering. Look into it yourself! Unfortunately the mainstream media doesn’t broadcast it in an attempt to not scare the shit out of people & keep some semblance of control, but they definitely confirm it. That’s why this blog exists. I’m not here to scare anyone, just to offer the profound truths in healing that I have observed & studied during my life that everyone has the right to know. Natural medicine (& yes I’m talking about yoga, chinese medicine, chiropractic, nutrition, etc) is proven repeatedly to heal people with minimal side effects, while opiods alone, have caused over 64,000 deaths in 2016. The New York Times calls it “an epidemic killing people at a faster rate than HIV in its peak.” Lets now ask the question, How many deaths have yoga or chinese medicine caused in 2016? If you guessed zero, you’re right! Unfortunately the amount of lives SAVED by these modality are difficult to measure.

Lets end on a positive note, yogis & meditators! We all have the right & ability to take our lives into our hands because, guess what? Your unique DNA, within every one of the 38 trillion cells in your body, hold all of the instructions for healing that you could possibly need. Your DNA is like, the tiniest most comprehensive medical textbook in existence for your unique case! Celebrate THAT! Every time you make an adjustment that benefits your life, you have a new resource to share & potentially help other people benefit their own lives! Somewhere you can start is by detoxing all of the false information & stress out of your spinal system to start fresh with love & health. Start with supine spinal twist.

Peace, love & abundance

Namaste,
Kelly Bailey

Meditation:

Optional props: 3 pillows

Start in fetal position on your left side. Rest your head on your left arm, bend your knees towards your chest. Make sure that your hips are stacked on top of each other. If you want to get some props involved, place a pillow between your thighs. This will help to keep your pelvis form alignment. From here, extend both arms out long in front of you, then reach your right arms towards the ceiling and mindfully bring it to the mat behind you. If your right shoulder doesn’t reach the earth, place a pillow under it and another pillow under your left knee. Make sure your right shoulder and your left knee are rooted to something. If the expression still feels like too much, bend into your right arm and place your hand on the lateral aspect of your chest or wherever it falls comfortably. In addition, if you feel like you want more in this asana, send your left leg long in front of you. So your lef follows the length of your spine. Now, let your gaze fall towards your right arm. If that’s too much on your neck, just rest on your left cheek. Are you cozy? Good. Now focus on taking deep inhales through the nose followed by equally long exhales through the mouth. Set your times for 3 minutes.

When your timer sounds, roll back to fetal position on your left side. Take 7 deep breaths. Roll to your back. Gently draw your knees to your chest & rock side to side, inviting some movement to your spine. Now, rock to fetal position on your right side, and follow the same steps!

Once you’re finished, rest in savasana, corpse pose, for a minimum of 3 minutes while your body absorbs the work you put in.

Cupping Therapy: treating the root of disease

You’ve seen the post cupping aesthetic masterpieces of perfectly circular subcutaneous hematomas, aka. Suction purpura or insert your own hickey slang at the risk of laughing a little. But really guys, think Michael Phelps, Summer Olympics 2016. That was a fun time to be working in a clinic because everyone wanted to know, “What the heck is cupping therapy?” One on my favorite healing modalities to perform and receive, actually! Cupping is not just affecting the body at a surface level as it may look. The kinetic energy from aggressive negative force actually pulls & dislodges stress that exists at some of the deepest levels in your body. We’re made up of 99.9999% space. Um what? Yeah guys, life is wild like that. The negative force from the suction extends through your cells to affect blockages potentially existing at an osseous level. If you’re sensitive enough, you can feel stress being released from fascia that exists around your skeletal system & organs during therapy. I can, and it allows me to have an extremely comprehensive understanding of what is actually going on in there. This can be validated in school and books, but my greatest resource is awareness, so I feel it’s my duty to share!

Everything holds a certain frequency & most things we see with the naked eye contain tangible elements. As we move through life we create certain imbalances & clutter of these frequencies & elements within our own bodies. We internally acquire external vibrations through thought, breath & food. When we engage muscles, experience trauma, or focus attention somewhere, an abundance of these vibrations are sent directly to those places for support. If you overstress an area, it begins to overwhelm tissue, creating stagnation. Blood can overflow outside of vessels collecting in areas that is shouldn’t be. Qi can stop moving through meridians creating excess movement in isolated systems.

These clutters & blockages are the root of disease. Our meridians & vessels carry imperative supplies to every organ in our body. You can picture these vessels & meridians flowing through you as fluid as rivers & streams flow through forests. Just as a river can become burdened & blocked by debris, our vessels & meridians can as well. The act of cupping, quite literally dislodges all of that blocked debris by aggressively pulling it towards the surface. Once dislodged, your body’s lymphatic, circulatory, digestive & pulmonary systems begin to take over removing the waste naturally.

Sure, you can treat the symptoms of dysfunction with pain medication or supplementary drugs, but if you fail to treat the source, then your symptoms will return and eventually form an entirely new set of problems.

So, ultimately, the goal is not to create an aesthetic masterpiece of perfectly circular suction purpura on a patient, no, but to dislodge toxic stress from areas of your body that have blocked the free flow of qi and blood within your organ systems. Once you have new space in your body! What are you going to fill it with? Try filling it with love, gratitude, and mindful nutrition.

You can use the color & composition of your cupping marks as indications to where your body is carrying the most blockages. In most cases, the darker your marks become, the more severe the buildup of stress. It makes obvious sense though, right? If you have more blood that has collected outside of the flow of its vessel, then you’ll have more debris to pull to the surface. As your marks become closer to the color purple, you are usually dealing with older blood that is a result of a very chronic disorder.

Health can be really confusing and difficult to treat if you look at it under a microscope, isolating body functions and disharmonies. All of our body’s systems work together in chorus to create our fuctioning self! If you step back and treat the body as a whole, it becomes much easier to find imbalances & you avoid neglecting imperative systems that work toward rebalancing your health.

So, next time you have a problem, don’t ask your MD about the trendiest pharmeaceutical that big pharma is pushing to mask symptoms for population control. Ask your acupuncture physician or naturopath about ways to get back to organic vibrant health. Just maybe cupping is that technique!

 

Namaste,

Kelly Bailey

 

Meditation.

This is a meditation to strengthen confidence in your body’s ability to heal itself. By building this confidence, we encourage ourselves to not accept symptom maintenance as our first option, but explore alternative forms of health care that actually look for the source of our symptom.

To begin: Sit or lay in a comfortable position, begin to take deep breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth. Repeat this affirmation out loud 8 – 108 times (if you’re feeling extra ambitious!)

“At the root of every human cell in my body, within my own DNA, I hold all of the information & healing power that I need to live with vibrant health.”

All about Savasana

Ill kick the “All about the Asanas” section off with the best pose ever & I really don’t like to play favorites. Savasana. Corpse Pose. The pose of the freaking corpse. Yep. Dead man’s asana. Mwaha. Supine anatomical position, guys. Guess what your job is here? To lay on the ground and let go of all of your shit. Let go of muscle engagement, effort in breath. Just surrender to your parasympathetic nervous system, yogis, thats right.

During the “yin postures” of our yoga practice we stretch & release parts of our body creating space. Then during the “yang postures” of practice, we generate heat to move qi & nutrients. At the end of your practice while your sprawled out comfortably in savasana, after the heat has been generated & the space has been made, by fully disengaging your body, you become a vessel for free flowing energy to move to the space it needs to go for repair.

When we engage a muscle, energy will flow to it. Healing energy, yes, but also freshly released stressful energy. During your yin & yang asana practice, avoid sending freshly released stress to other areas of your body by breathing deeply into your posture. In savasana, by fully letting go, we surrender to our parasympathetic nervous system. In doing so, our circulatory system, chakras, & meridians can begin performing uninhibited work to distribute healing energy to places that IT needs to go for nourishment & freshly released toxic energy to where IT need to go for removal.

That’s why we call the parasympathetic nervous system “rest & digest.” Right? Why cant you go swimming or running immediately after a meal? Because you need to sit down and rest in order for your parasympathetic nervous system to turn on & for digestion to begin. If you don’t chillax after eating then your nutrients will miss the train to their desired destination.

Even on the acupuncture table, lying in stillness is key to activating the instruction manuals that exist within such a small energy point in your body.

Our body is an intelligent functioning machine. Its collective goal is to perform one task, homeostatic health, When we learn to support it & provide the right tools, it knows how to do its job. From the ripe age of -9 months, your DNA begins building your perfect version of a human body. During your entire life, your DNA holds those same blueprints. When we disengage & surrender to our physical body’s natural ability to do its job, we are honoring our dna & the natural process of healing.

Are there meditational aspects of savasana? Oh ya. But for now, lets look at understanding the physical aspects of savasana, to be the focal point of THIS meditation. As savasana is indeed an asana, & the asanas exist as a tool to physically prepare our bodies for enlightenment.

Namaste,

Kelly a Bailey

Practice:

The prep for this practice is pretty simple: Generate energy! Run around your house 10 times, do 5 sun salutation, practice some qi gong, chant, sing, dance, hold pigeon pose for 3 minutes, have sex, eat something healthy, garden, whatev! Make it something that serves you.

Settling into your savasana: first set your timer for 5-15 minutes.

Lay in supine position (our your back) with your legs long in front of you & your arms out naturally beside you. Let your toes naturally fall out wide, & your palms open up. If it is more comfortable, you have the option to place a bolster or pillow under your knees. If you have a blanket, fold it twice so there are 4 layers. Rest your head on the folded blanket so the edge remains free from your shoulders. From here, kind of just squeeze the edges of the blanket closer to your head to create a nest. If the nest makes you feel anything other than relaxed, protected, & loved, then remove it & rest your head on the ground.

Focus on disengaging the muscles in your feet & legs first. Feel the weights of your legs on the ground. Now disengage your trunk. First your lower half (hips, abdomen, lumbar) then your upper (upper back, intercostal muscles, shoulders). Now feel your arms & hands let go. Now your neck & head. Release effort in your breath. Release external thoughts & melt into stillness.

When your timer rings, slowly and mindfully begin observing your space & deepening your breath. Slowly invite some movement into your extremities & neck. Take 5 breaths in fetal position on the right side to begin awakening your yang & your sympathetic nervous systems ability to function. Slowly open your eyes.

PHOTOGRAPHY: Cristina Means Bearden @ The Red Fly Studio

Lumbar Safety & Your Yoga Practice

When we hear someone say “core work” our minds naturally shift to a series of seated crunches involving our “6 pack” muscles. Yogis, let’s not forget about our good friend who we don’t see as often, our low back! As instructors, it’s important to remain aware of guiding a balanced practice. Whether we’re guiding or practicing core, be sure to build posterior as well as anterior core strength. As long as we’re strengthening all sides of our spine evenly, we are engaging in a healing practice.

In the medical setting, low back pain is a common occurrence for patients seeking treatment. I attribute the vast majority of cases to one thing: Sitting on our bums! Even most trauma cases are primarily caused by imbalances in our core muscles from sitting. In our hip flexors, we have a long muscle called the psoas that wraps around the front of our hip flexors from our low back (T12-L5) to the front of our femur. Its action: to flex our hip! That means when we’re seated, our psoas is contracted. When that long muscle becomes shortened and engaged, energy rushes directly to it. When I say “energy” I’m not only referring to your body’s Qi or prana, but also blood cells and emotional responses. Imagine every experience that you have in your work chair or car seat being sent directly to your psoas muscle for storage. It’s no wonder why we see so much tightness and stagnation around our hips!

When you have a muscle tighter than the rest, it will pull your body in the direction of that muscle’s action. In the case of a tight psoas, when someone experiences trauma, their body’s first instinct becomes hip flexion, ultimately compromising the disks in the lumbar spine. If the low back muscles are equally as strong as the psoas, then the lumbar spine becomes supported, drastically reducing the risk for injury. In most cases, safely practicing balanced strength building exercises will even reverse injuries to the low back. Yes light beings, that includes bulging disks and sciatica.

So we’ve established that our goal is to, strengthen all sides of our core evenly and safely. We’ve also established that our psoas needs a little extra love due to the extra stress that it sees. Now lets talk about how to find balance, heal & protect our low backs!

Namaste,

Kelly a Bailey

Practice:

Step 1: Core work.

Try locust pose for those low back muscles. 7 sets, 5 breaths each. So here you will lay in prone position, on your belly with your feel long behind you with your arms at your side, palms down. Basically just rest on your pelvis on the earth and use your low back muscles to lift everything else up toward the sky! Keep your spine long by leaving your gaze down & in front of you then squeezing your thighs together. Continue to roll your shoulders down your back opening through your heart chakra. Oh, & yogis, BREATHE! Between each set, rest or your belly for 5-10 breaths.

For anterior core work, make your way into plank pose. Palms under your shoulders, neck long, tail bone tucked, thoracic spine lifting toward the sky. Without compromising the length of your spine, draw one knee to your nose and hold for 5 breaths. Now switch. Do that 5 times on each side.

Step 2: Yin meditation (the juicy awesomeness).

To release and lengthen the psoas, find supported bridge, Setu Bandha Sarvangasana. First, set your timer somewhere between 3 to 8 minutes. Be gentle at first! Lay in supine position (on your back). Walk your heels to your bum and set your feet on the floor. Lift your hips to place a block or a few pillows under your sacrum. Play with the height of your prop to see what elevation works best for you. From here, turn your palms up, extend your legs out long in front of you & allow your body get heavy. For the next 5 breaths, consciously disengage any muscles that are still holding on. Move into stillness. Once your timer is up, rest in savasana for 3-5 minutes before standing.

PHOTOGRAPHY: Cristina Means Bearden with The Red Fly Studio

Our breath & Mother Earth

The reason breath is stressed so often in yoga is because it really is THAT big of a deal. It is what connects us to this earth and this present life.

With each inhale, Mother Nature is offering up her elements to join our circulatory system and meridians to then be distributed throughout our body. Think O2 & ATP, all the way to the loving vibrations being emitted from the leaves of a plant. Our inhale is literally the grand welcoming party for life and new intention!

With each exhale, we release that which doesn’t serve us. Think CO2, all the way to old emotions that have been stuck in our fascia. We exhale to purge our waste both energetically and physically.

Our inhale is a gift that we receive from mother nature, while our exhale is our gift to give. It is one of our profound symbiotic relationships that we share with mother nature. See, our exhale belongs to the plants. It is their food. In the same way we exhale, plants do too. Except their exhale belongs to us. Our food. They become our breath and our sugar. We become their breath and their soil.

6CO2 + 6H2O <—> C6H12O6 + 6O2

Our profound connection to all things can be seen in every aspect of life. The equation for photosynthesis is just one of them. As we need the plants, they need us, and ultimately we are all one. So understand that each breath we take throughout our day has a purpose and a life to serve. Each inhale that we take is a precious gift that has been given to us by the life that surrounds us.

In addition to recycling the tangible elements in the air, plants can also absorb and transform negative emotional vibrations to positive! Just as we digest food, we digest situational emotions. We take what we need from a situation energetically, then purge what we don’t need. As we release negative emotions from our physical space, we send them into the earth to be recycled and transformed into a new positive vibrations – much like the photosynthetic exchange!

Bottom line, surround yourself with plants guys! They WILL make you happier and healthier. If you are in a work space without plants, buy one for your desk. If you don’t have any in your home, get a few within the walls. Shit, turn your house into a jungle if you want to – that’s what mine is looking like these days. With that being said, lets also practice organization and feng shui in our space! We’ll save that for another post though.

Breathe on and stay present in the abundance that surrounds you.

 

Namaste.

Kelly a Bailey

 

Meditation:

Sit somewhere comfortable with a plant in front of you! If you don’t have one, just begin to envision one. Begin to notice the overall shape of the plant, the colors of the leaves, the texture of the leaves. Notice the stem. Notice where the stem meets the soil. Take a second to make any other observations about the plant. Surrender to this meditation by giving your presence fully to the pant. Now take 7 deep ujaii breaths (through the nose). Filling the belly first on the inhale then the thoracic space. Exhale contracting your lungs, then your belly.

Take a minute of gratitude for this plant and all of mother nature’s abundance; for the fruits they produce to nourish us with precious nutrients. Take a minute of gratitude for your own life and the vibrations that you emit to all that surround you. Take a minute of gratitude for the profound connection that we share with all things.

PHOTOGRAPHY: Cristina Means Bearden with The Red Fly Studio

Introduction

Hello light beings! I’m Kelly.

Within this blog you’ll find random articulations of health, happiness, yoga, and Chinese medicine from yours truly! Please comment and ask any questions that you have. I’ll get back to you! Ultimately, I’m using this blog to share the information that I’ve accumulated through study, experience and observation to anyone who wants that info at their finger tips. Feel free to also share any information in the comments section that would help enlighten me, or other readers. Through knowledge and loving intention is how we’ll make the world greater!

I am not here to sway your decision about a topic or manipulate you into seeing my viewpoint. That’s what the majority of mainstream media is ultimately trying to do. I am here to offer my knowledge, so you can form your own truths as we all move forward on our journey of self-awareness! No, I am not an English or creative writing major. Sorry for the punctuation or sentence structure! I’m a yoga instructor, an acupuncture physician & a lifelong student who is passionate about sharing secrets to health & happiness.

Ultimately I believe that we should take our lives into our own hands by learning as much about our bodies and energy system as we can. Because the mainstream media is controlled by a corrupt medical system, people are provided an unfortunate amount of biased and untrue propaganda about health online. Rather than throwing my hands up out of frustration, I’m here to join my brother and sister bloggers to share my uninhibited truth on our collective quest towards enlightenment!!

Each Post will be set up a little bit like this: I’ll offer you some info on a subject followed by an associated meditation or exercise. You’ll have a chance to not only explore certain ideas through cognition, but also a chance to explore them through practice!

Thanks for your energy and for your commitment to making the world greater! We do that starting with one person – our self!

Peace, Love, and Abundance!

Namaste,

Kelly a Bailey

Meditation:

Set the intention to make your health and happiness a priority. Remain receptive to any information that might serve your life – even if it new or outside of your comfort zone. To grow is to live. As long as we are learning new things and expanding our minds, we’re living!

Set your timer for 5-15 minutes. Lay in savasana. You can place a bolster or pillow underneath your knees if it is more comfortable on your low back. Come to a position where you can disengage your muscles to fully let go. Create a mantra to invite vibrations into your space to bathe in while you meditate. “I invite vibrant health and continual self growth into my life.” Repeat this phrase 10 times. Feel your body get heavy and your mind sink into a state or peace.

PHOTOGRAPHY: Cristina Means Bearden with The Red Fly Studio