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My mother always told me, “ Food is the best way to a person’s heart.” There is so much value in this expression. The act of preparing and eating a meal together grows our social and cultural connection. With every bite we are developing our very own healthy relationships with food. This tremendous daily gift plays an essential role in promoting a greater state of overall well-being.

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Coming into Self Acceptance

The fourth limb of yoga, Niyama, brings us into the education of self, Svadhyaya. This internal journey is the yoking mechanism that unifies all as one. It's funny about life how our growth and exposure can build our awareness to be able to honor all gifts in life as they simply be. This growth is cultivated through practice, no doubt. Let us travel into our heart space with a story about the gifts we can harness through posturing our bodies into Wheel.

In the physical asana practice, you’re sure to stumble across a posture or two that you really don’t care to get into. For many months, that was wheel for me. During class, when teachers would cue me into Chakrasana, wheel, I would do so begrudgingly. Thinking to myself, “ Yeh I can do this pose, but I don’t really like it.” At that moment, I couldn’t see how it would eventually deepen my both my asana practice, and my emotional meditative well being.

Learning to Honor Your Process

I don't know where my curiosity with this posture started, but one day while comfortably in wheel, I decided to play. Low and behold, I felt an extreme muscular contraction, need for focus and balance as I sent my first leg off the ground and into gravities freeform. I became instantly aware of the uneven distribution of strength and balance my dominant side body was carrying, especially in my shoulders, and obliques. I saw this as an opportunity to continue cultivating my practice by now encouraging myself to play with this pose to balance myself out. A few months have past between my childlike wonder moment of exploration, and present day depth of understanding more about my practice, and I speak truly into the joys of being able to feel so many harmonious benefits I have cultivated with Chakrasana as my guide.I am thankful that this pose in particular has been able to remind me that curiosity can lead to greater self discovery and internal harmony.

Becoming Vulnerable We Grow

When in this asana, and it's many funky variations, your heart is your energetic center. You begin to humble yourself to the experience of listening to how your body communicates when your hearts higher than your head. It changes your emotional and energetic perspective on how you’ve been processing life changes, and personal daily interactions. Opening and expanding your chest, driving your shoulders back as your spine and intercostal muscles support the ascension of your Anahata, heart chakra, bridges together new found clarity on your intrapersonal relationship with concepts of innocence, love, trust, togetherness, and peace.

Preventative Health From the Heart

Remembering to incorporate our third limb of yoga, Pranayama, into this asana practice has tremendous physical benefits as well. Deep inhalations and even longer exhales here calm the mind and nervous system by activating our pituitary glands. This Conscious Breathing allows us to flush our heart and entire body with higher levels of oxygenated blood which is fantastic for muscular repair. In this posture we are expanding and strengthening our lungs. This in turn strengthens our cardiovascular system, reducing high blood pressure, and the risk factors associated with high cholesterol, high blood sugar, and imbalanced hormone levels. Deeply stretching and breathing into our chest and lungs can be beneficial for asthma treatment, and regulating your heart’s natural rhythm.

The Perks of Airing Out your Armpits

While stretching in Wheel, we build muscle control in our arms, wrists, shoulders, chests, abdomen and thighs. This smooths and tones our muscles, remove fat buildup from our obliques.With our shoulders in an exterior rotation and armpits being lengthened, we stimulate our lymphatic drainage system, and both pituitary and thyroid glands. Giving energy, attention, and breath to these areas enhances the functioning of our nervous system as hormone secretion begins to regulate, helping our bodies restore it's optimal state of health.

The Meat of Chakrasana

Don’t measure your age in numbers, measure it in spin health and mobility! Every time you practice Wheel, you are strengthening and lengthening the vertebrae in your spine. Increasing elasticity builds mobility as you create necessary space for your spine to continue standing tall. Your spinal column thanks you as you works towards rising against gravities compressing nature. Building strength in your back, shoulders and spine, can relieve so many day to day aches and pains. So when you’re at the office, choose a Wheel instead of Chair throughout the day, sending some love back into yourself.
There are countless many benefits to practicing Wheel pose, and they can also be expressed in it's intro posture, Setu Bandha Sarvangasana, or Wheel. Don’t just go bending over backwards because I’m saying how fun it is, and ahh look at these incredible benefits. Start with your foundation first! Even I still spend my fair share warming up before fully expressing Wheel. It has become one of my favorite asanas, and has opened my eyes to exploring other poses in deeper more meaningful modes of expression. From my heart center to yours, allow yourself the opportunity to see what can be from all that life gives to thee.

One Love,

Katrina Munchez

@limb.to.limb

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Hi Zen Den readers! This is Christina here, I've come to join the Zen Den Team and I'd like to introduce myself. My conscious yogic path started 4 years ago, in 2013. I was sitting in the doctors office and my doctor tells me, you need to start doing yoga and meditation if you would like to become a person again. Interesting, I thought to myself. I better try that then. Growing up I was a spiritual kid, without knowing it. I prayed, saw energy, played with energy fields and trusted the universe. I can remember being 11, 12, years old and already then having the urge to do yoga. My mom and I decided to do it together, but it turns out, that was not what our karma was planning for us, so we never did get around to doing it back then. We talked about it now and again, but as you know, talking is one thing and taking action is another. The years passed, and along side school I lost track of my spirituality and got more wrapped up in achieving, proving my self worth and making sure everyone else was doing well.

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temp-post-imageYou’ve heard kale is “super food” good for you…right? If you haven’t heard this and tried it by now, I’ll tell you straight up, it’s true! I had never even experienced it in a salad until recent years when the raw foodies started popularizing it. Mostly I’d eaten it as my mom’s delicious kale and potato soup, which is one fabulous option for another post. However, in recent years, I’ve discovered that kale has many uses and it is eaten in countries across the globe, even as long ago as Greek and Roman times. There’s two types, Tuscan kale (or dinosaur kale) which has more long bluish-green leaves, and the borecole variety has more frilly curly green leaves.

Kale’s a...

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This is a great question for all the yogis thinking by simply taking some yoga classes or starting to meditate that everything will miraculously fall into place. As far as most of us know, a yogi lifestyle gives you access to being pretty spiritual, and this is a good thing. Meditating each day, and twisting our bodies into all kinds of demonstrations of enviable feats of flexibility means that you've achieved this status. That's all partially true. These things certainly influence you in a positive way, however, true growth and balance is not achieved without cultivating some consciousness around your day to day choices.

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Morning Yoga Session with Michael Franti and Spearhead. Gratitude for the gifts that keeps giving. Sending out gratitude to Michael Franti & Spearhead. It was great sharing space with you guys yesterday. Your practice on the mat was just as great as your performance on stage. Om shanti Namaste Love, Yoga, Source.

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From the bottom of the lake at the dirtiest and darkest place comes the light. A lotus must first know the darkness and dirty secrets of the lake in order to bring the beauty and light that thrives in to the top. Dont be afraid to go deep inside to know your self. #zendenyogaschool, #yogaretreat, #sunrisemeditation, #namaste