January Pose of the Month: Restorative Twist

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January Pose of the Month: Restorative Twist

Happy New Year! I hope your new year is off to a great start.

Our January focus pose is a Restorative Twist.

The perfect pose for good digestion and back health, this restorative twist gives the digestive organs a gentle squeeze and stimulates fresh blood flow in the midsection. It is a great pose to keep the spine healthy and supple.

a restorative twist is a great way to rest and detoxify the body.

a restorative twist is a great way to rest and detoxify the body.

Give it a Try:

  1. Place 2 blocks on your mat, the first block on the first height and the second on its medium height.

  2. Place a bolster over your blocks to create an incline.

  3. Snuggle your hips close to the bolster and lie down with your belly facing the bolster.

  4. Hold each side up to 5 minutes.

Let me know how it goes! Give this pose a try and comment below with your thoughts and questions :)

xoJenny

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30 Minute Vinyasa Practice

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30 Minute Vinyasa Practice

Hi yogis!

Join me for this 30 minute Vinyasa Yoga Flow. This practice is catered towards yogis with a regular practice. However, those working on building strength can enjoy this video by taking breaks when needed. Enjoy and please reach out if you have any questions!

xoJenny

Have you Subscribed to the Urban Om Yoga YouTube channel yet? Stay up to date with free yoga and meditation videos when you subscribe. Check it out 

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Body Gratitude Scan

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Body Gratitude Scan

Body Gratitude Scan Meditation

A body gratitude scan meditation is an excellent way to promote a harmonious mind-body connection. Show your body some much deserved appreciation with the exercise below.

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Find a quiet place for your meditation. Either sit in a comfortable cross legged posture or lie down on your back. Begin by taking a few deep breaths.

Starting at the top of the head, thank each part of your body for its unique offering: Thank your mind for its insight, thank your eyes for vision, thank your ears for hearing and so on. Move down the body, first creating awareness in the body part, then offer thanks.

You will find a script below, outlining the basic meditation. Feel free to get specific and make this meditation your own; Thank your mind for the great idea you had yesterday, your eyes for allowing you to take in the beautiful dance performance last week and your ears for giving you the opportunity to listen to your favorite music. 

You might find that there are areas of the body where you meet a bit of resistance. These are the places where you need body gratitude the most and where this exercise can offer healing. Offering all parts of the body appreciation, rather than criticism, can foster a positive body image and a supportive, healthy mindset.

Consider the script below a starting point. Feel free to get creative, getting specific about how the different areas of your body have supported you. Start by bringing awareness into the specific body part on which you are focusing. Tune into how each body part feels and then offer it thanks.

Body Gratitude Scan

Bringing your attention to your head, Thank:

Your ears for listening

Your eyes for taking in the world

Your mind for its insight, its ability to focus

Moving down to your chest, Thank:

your lungs for breathing in fresh air,

your heart for beating

Bring your attention into your arms and hands, Thank:

Your arms and hands for carrying books, maybe children, any hugs that you have given and/or received today 

Tune into your torso, Thank:

Your belly for digesting nourishing food 

Feel your legs and feet, Thank:

Your legs and Feet for carrying you around all day

Tuning into your whole body, Thank your body for being your vessel in this world, your vehicle for experiencing each day fully.

The post-yoga version of this meditation, listed below, is an example of how you can cater this exercise to thank your body specifically for all it offered you today.

A Post-Yoga Body Gratitude Meditation Scan:

Thank your feet for supporting you in your standing poses, your warrior poses

Thank your legs for taking you to class, for balancing

Thank your belly for all those navasanas

Thank your arms for chaturangas (you probably did lots of them if you took a vinyasa class!)

Thank your heart for backbends

Thank your mind for practicing mindfulness, meditation and focus

Thank your body for being present on your mat

This can also be a great bedtime exercise for children. Offering the body thanks can be a wonderful way to wind down at the end of the day.

For Kiddos:

Lying in bed, feel your body resting. Allow your body to be heavy and relaxed.

Thank your feet for time running around on the playground

Thank your legs for dancing, playing, walking to school

Thank your tummy for taking in yummy food (maybe even some sweets :) )

Thank your heart for loving your family and friends

Thank your head for learning and working so hard in school

Thank your whole body for being wonderful and perfect. Thank your body for allowing you to have lots of fun.

Give these exercises a try and let me know how they go, either in the comments below or via email. Happy Meditating!

To keep in touch and receive more meditations, like the one above, sign up for the Urban Om NYC Newsletter.

xoJenny

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Yoga Corner

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The best part of yoga practice is when you are truly tuned into your time on the mat. Having the best yoga mat and props makes it all that much easier to drop into that place where typical distractions disappear.

For this reason I have created a list of my favorite yoga props on Amazon.com. I have been using these products for years and I highly recommend all the products on my list.

You will also find a reading list for your yoga library with some of my favorite books, should you be interested in deepening your yoga practice off the mat.

Check out the link below and please let me know if you have any questions!

xoJenny

 

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Feeling the heat? Keep it Cool with this Pranayama

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Sheetali Pranayama, also known as cooling breath, is a wonderful breathing exercise to practice in order to keep cool during the hot summer months. This pranayama is said to not only remove excess heat from the body, but it also keeps the mind and emotions cool, calm and in check during fiery Pitta season. 

This pranayama is traditionally done with a rolled tongue. If you are not able to roll your tongue, instead gently place the tip of your tongue to the top two teeth.

The how to:

1. Find a comfortable seat. A great option is to sit cross legged on a pillow, blanket or bolster. Close your eyes and take a few deep breaths.

2. Start with a body scan, checking in from the top of the head and moving down the body. Notice how you are feeling physically, mentally & emotionally. Take note of any areas which show signs of excess heat.

3. Once you feel ready to begin the breathing technique, roll your tongue. Breath in through the mouth with your tongue rolled. When you are ready to exhale, close the mouth and breath out through the nose. Continue this for about 8-10 rounds, doing your best to keep the in and out breaths equal in length.

4. Allow the breath to resume a natural rhythm, breathing in and out through the nose. Take a few minutes to sit in meditation and take note of any cooling sensations.

*As with all pranayamas, if at any point you feel lightheaded, come back to a normal breath rhythm and continue again as you feel ready.

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Smoothie Pops: because who doesn't love 2 for 1?!

Berry Good Smoothie & Smoothie Pops

Berry Good Smoothie & Smoothie Pops

It has been hot, hot, hot in NYC making it officially smoothie season. I'm a big fan of my morning smoothie and I am always trying new combinations. Smoothies are a great, quick breakfast, packed with nutrients and protein. Sometimes I make more than I can drink and have found the perfect way to make good use of the extras- Smoothie Pops!

Super easy, healthy and refreshing these popsicles are a wonderful all natural, cooling treat. 

Below are two of my go-to recipes. Give one or both a try but feel free to try your own combinations and get creative!

If you have a smoothie recipe you love, please share in the comments below :)

 

Berry Good Smoothie:

1 1/2 cup frozen berries

2 frozen bananas

2 scoops vegan vanilla protein powder

2 cups almond milk

 

Oh My Greenness

Oh My Greenness Smoothie Pops

Oh My Greenness Smoothie Pops

1 cup frozen mango

1 frozen banana

2 cups almond milk

2 scoops vanilla protein powder

2 tsp. spirulina (this gives the smoothie it's beautiful green color. I promise you can't taste it!)

Combine ingredients of the smoothie of your choice. Blend until smooth. Fill a glass with your smoothie. 

Pour the remainder into popsicle molds and freeze. Freeze for 2-3 hours.

Bon appetit and stay cool, yogis! 

xoJenny
 

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Cold Zoodles with Peanut Sauce

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Super healthy and satisfying, this is the perfect summer dish. It is a great way to take advantage of the abundance of fresh, local vegetables at the farmer’s market. It is especially great for hot summer days when you don’t want to turn on the oven and are craving a cool, delicious dinner.

I used the OXOX Good Grips Spiralizer. However, if you do not own a spiralizer you can often find spiralized veggies at grocery stores, such as Trader Joe’s.

Give the recipe a try and let me know how it goes! 

xoJenny

 

Ingredients: 

2 Tbs dark sesame oil

1/2 cup organic peanut butter (can also use tahini)

1 Tbs agave

3 Tbs soy sauce

1 tsp minced fresh ginger

1 Tbs rice or white wine vinegar

Hot sesame oil or hot sauce to taste

1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper, or more to taste

3 medium zucchini, spiralized

1 medium English cucumber, spiralized

1 medium carrot, peeled & spiralized

1/2 cup chopped scallion

1/4 tsp sesame seeds

Optional Protein: Add edamame and or grilled chicken for extra protein

 

1. Whisk together the sesame oil, peanut butter, agave, soy sauce, ginger, vinegar, hot oil and pepper in a large bowl. Thin the sauce with hot water until it is the consistency of heavy cream (about 1/4-1/2 cup)

2. Combine the spiralized zucchini & cucumber with the sauce. Taste and adjust the seasonings. Garnish with carrot, scallions and sesame seeds and serve :)

Makes 2-3 Servings

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Over Night Oats- Never Skip Breakfast again!

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Over Night Oats- Never Skip Breakfast again!

today's oat creation: pear, oats, almond milk & organic PB

today's oat creation: pear, oats, almond milk & organic PB

This month at Urban Om we are focusing on making our mornings as beautiful as possible. One way to embrace your inner early bird is to do a bit of planning the evening before so your morning can be as seamless as possible.

One of my favorite preparations for an early morning is over nights oats. These yummy oats take just minutes to prepare and are perfect for a healthy grab and go breakfast. 

My recipe changes depending on what I have in my fridge and what I am craving but check out the basic formula below.

The basic overnight oats recipe:

1/3 cup old fashioned oats

1 cup almond milk

1/4 cup fruit

1 tbs nut butter (optional)

Combine all ingredients in a mason jar the evening before enjoying. Throw a lid on the jar & give it a little shake. Store in the fridge and voila! - you have a yummy, healthy breakfast waiting for you in the morning.

Feel free to get creative! Add cinnamon, agave and/or chia seeds. I love nut butter so I always add a scoop to my oat creations :) Give this recipe a try and comment below with your favorite overnight oat combinations.

Wishing you happy mornings, Yogis!

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a restorative yoga sequence for some seriously sweet dreams

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a restorative yoga sequence for some seriously sweet dreams

Who doesn't wish they could squeeze in a few more zzz's? Sleep is incredibly important for our wellbeing, proper immune function and lowering our stress levels. Although we might be aware of the health benefits of a good night’s sleep, sometimes it can be challenging to transition from the busyness of everyday life into a restful slumber. If you could use a bit of help winding down for bedtime, check out the restorative yoga sequence below. Taking 20 minutes before bed to slow down and unwind could be your ticket to snoozeville. 

For this practice you will need:

2 blocks or firm pillows, some wall space, a blanket (optional), and an eye pillow (also optional)

Short and sweet meditation

Begin in a crossed leg seated position, back facing the wall. You might want to sit on your block or blanket for additional support. You can also use the wall for back support if this is helpful. Close your eyes and draw your attention to your breath. Before you change your breath in any way, notice the natural rhythm of your breath. Take note of where the breath wants to live in the body and the quality of the breath. Be aware, there is no right answer to these questions. This is not about judgement but rather building awareness. Take this time to check in how you are feeling at the beginning of your practice.

After a minute or two gradually begin to deepen your breathing and begin:

3-part breath (dirga swasam pranayama)

Divide the inhale into 3 equal parts, breathing into the belly, the ribs, and the chest. If it is helpful, you can use your hands to guide your inhale as you move the breath up the torso. Allow the breath to be continuous as you initiate your inhale from the low belly, lift the breath into the rib cage/diaphragm, and then the chest. Once you reach the top of your inhale, take a long, continuous exhale, following the same path in reverse. Repeat 5-10 rounds. You may slowly start to lengthen the breath as you feel ready.

*as with all pranayama (breathing exercises), stop if you become dizzy or lightheaded

 
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Legs up the Wall:

Snuggle one hip next to the wall, knees facing up toward the ceiling

Lay on your back as you simultaneously swing both legs up the wall. You can place your hands behind you to help this action.

Cover your eyes with an eye pillow. 

Take long deep breaths into the belly. Enjoy this pose for 5-10 minutes

*If the legs fall asleep, you can either come out of the pose or hug the knees into the chest for a few breaths and re-stretch the legs when you are ready.

*If the hamstrings are tight, the knees can stay a little bent in this pose. 

 
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Supine Twist

Bend the knees into the chest 

Rock the knees over to the left with your feet  gently pressing into the wall

Stretch your arms out on the floor, in line with your shoulders, chin turned towards your right shoulder

Optionally place your left hand on top of your right thigh to gently encourage the leg toward the floor, thus deepening your twist. 

Breath deeply, finding a smoothed out version of that same 3-part-breath with which we started practice. Hold 10 breaths, then switch sides

 

Supta Baddha Konasana

Lie on down on your back with an optional low folded blanket under your head. 

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Bring the soles of your feet to touch, open your knees to the sides, laying the thighs on either your blocks or firm pillows. 

Gently place an eye pillow over your eyes and a blanket over the belly. A blanket placed on the abdomen adds a sense of grounding, which is very helpful as you ease your way towards dreamland.

Enjoy this pose for 10 minutes. 

When you are ready to finish your practice, draw your knees together and rock side to side a few times. Roll to one side to press yourself up to sit.

Take a few breaths in a seated position, take note of how you feel. Then head to bed for some seriously sweet dreams!

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