imageDuring the first 6 weeks of the year, yogis practice as many sets of Surya Namaskar as they are able. Beginning with 3-5 rounds per day, working up to 12 rounds per day by the end of week one. Then continue adding rounds as able. 12 rounds daily – every day all year – is a great gift to yourself. There are many variations of Surya Namaskar, and to be honest, I never enjoyed it much until I practiced this version. I’m practicing it daily, in sync with this mantra music . It’s fantastic! It works on all the muscles and joints. I start with 1 minute of twists, which help loosen my low back, (because there are no twists,) and this is the one twist I can do without injuring my back – I start slowly, and only increase my speed gradually as my back loosens up.



Fresh Soy Milk, Rice Milk, Almond Milk

adding the heating/chopping mechanism

adding the heating/chopping mechanism (Photo credit: functoruser)

I drink unsweetened, organic soymilk almost everyday, but along with the plastic carton, the other questionable additives, and processing – I don’t even know when it was actually made.

So, last night I drove to our local Chinatown and purchased a Soy Milk Machine. There were several to choose from. A friend of mine recommended the store. She has the $45. dollar model I’ll mention below, and uses it daily – She brings her freshly made soy milk with ground black sesame seeds or ground walnuts in it, to work everyday and that inspired me in my continued efforts to eliminate plastic and processed foods from my diet. The other soy milk machines were different models of one brand, Joyoung. I had done some online research prior to going, but really made my final decision at the store.

1. The $45. model -I forget the brand, it began with the letter V. My friend says it works great, but the pitcher is plastic, and I am getting away from foods in plastic, and in particular, foods exposed to extreme temperatures in plastic, so I decided against this great price – if you are not familiar with the makings of soy milk, the soybeans are ground and boiled in the machine.

2. Joyoung CTS1048 Easy-Clean Automatic Hot Soy Milk Maker – I wanted to purchase this one, the price was very reasonable, around $70., but I was concerned about the exposed stainless steel pitcher and anyone in the kitchen getting burned.

3. Joyoung CTS1068 Automatic Hot Soy Milk Maker – I didn’t care for the locks on the sides. This model was also less expensive, but esthetically, the locks just did not mix with my ideal morning style.

4. Joyoung Soy Milk & Rice Milk Maker CTS-1088 – This is the one I purchased for $125. It is sleek, not too big, for my tiny kitchen, and I liked the options, although I have to admit, they were written in Chinese, and the gentleman who was answering my questions, was a tad more inspired to sell me the next model below. Once I start using it, I will be able to give some real feedback about the options. For now I am hoping for yummy milks at the least, and possibly a way cheaper version of a Vitamix type blender/cooker.

5. Joyoung Soy Milk Maker CTS-1098 –   The store was a Chinese herbal pharmacy/grocery and the nice gentleman they asked to help me, because I did not speak any Chinese language and he spoke some English, served me 2 cups of ‘Mushroom Tea’, which was tasty, and he said it would clean me out. In case you are wondering, it was not Magic Mushroom Tea.  He repeatedly told me, I would like this soy milk maker better, because it was nicer looking – which may be so, but it was bigger and every cm matters in my kitchen, and it cost $185. a significant increase from the $45. I had been considering spending.

Cheers! Here’s to future soy and black sesame seed milk mornings!

Kunalini Surji Manta

11,000  Repetitions of Kundalini Surjhee Satsangat

jinahu baath nisaal dhraaa jaanee thaeee jeev kaal thae bachaa |
thina thariou samudhra rudhra khin eik mehi jalehar binb jugath jag rachaa |
kunddalanee surajhee sathasangath paramaanandh guroo mukh machaa |
siree guroo saahib sabh oopar man bach kranm saeveeai sachaa |5|

Psoas Stretches – Happier Low Back

Stretch 2

Image by FurLined via Flickr

I’ve been gone for awhile, but …

First of all, I think I need the Angel Sisters’ Art of Yoga Cards – I would definitely have used these with my kids! They are so lovely and fun!

Secondly & Once again – Time for Two of my favorite Psoas Stretches. I recently came across some fabulous video clips on Ardash Williams’ website SmartStretch. I am not familiar with Ardash, but I do like the videos I’ve seen so far – in particular – the Psoas Stretches, the Full Back Series, the Neck Series, and the Rhomboid Stretches.

Check out those four SmartStretch video clips and more here.

Why I love Lunges such as  Ajaneyasana or Cresent Pose:

I find Crescent Pose to be particularly helpful because even though I am unable to achieve a significant backbend or spinal hyperextension needed for other asanas which stretch the psoas, Ajaneyasana increases the flexibility of my psoas muscles, and involves my low-back muscles and thighs too. The way it stretches and strengthens, greatly increases my low back range of motion and  really ranks high on the ‘Must Do’ list, for keeping my Flat Back at bay.

My flat back posture is the result of a surgical intervention which eliminated my natural lordosis, and resulted in the flat back and its issues which I have been working on ever since. Although it took me many years to realize I would not be able to correct my posture, all my yoga efforts helped prevent the progression of the syndrome.

When I see the incredible loss of range of motion others suffer from, even to the extent of being bent over frontward at a 90 degree angle, I am grateful beyond words for my yoga practice and all those who have inspired me along this path! The chart below indicates some of the areas I have focused on stretching and strengthening.

The main thing to remember is – Just Keep Up!

Types of posture Alignment Tight/ overactive muscles Inhibited/ weaken muscles Possible musculoskeletal issues
Flat back Forward head postureThoracic kyphosis – decreased

Lumbar lordosis – decreased

Neutral to Posterior (pelvis rotating backward)

Hips – increased extension

Knees – hyperextended

  • Normal or tight rectus abdominis
  • Glutei
  • Psoas
  • Extensors
  • Multifidus
  • Iliacus
Pain or discomfort in prolong sitting, standing, sleeping, bending, drivingCommon complications: Degenerated disc Herniated disc above or below spinal fusion

Yoga Modifications for Harrington Rod


Image by CarynNL via Flickr

Monday, June

Today I did the Ultimate Stretch Workout. The modifications I made were in Ultimate Stretch Series Part Two.

Halasana – Plow pose – while I was able to do plow pose when I was younger; it took some practice to be able to do it and my rod made it difficult to come out of the pose. Currently, I will not attempt it until I am stronger, and have a spotter to help me get out of the pose. I don’t want any injuries.  🙂

In place of plow I am doing lunges. Not a substitute for plow, but I need to incoprporate them into my daily practice.

Here is a great review of Halasana in Yoga Journal, complete with photo, beginners’ tips, modifications, etc.

Urdhva Dhanurasana – The other modification I make for myself in the second series is – I do not do Wheel pose, instead I do the modification in the video.


I did the Sa Re Sa Sa meditation (practicing daily until the June 15 Full Moon), instead of the Guru Ram Das meditation on the DVD.

Kabadshe Full Moon Meditation

Yogin with six chakras, India, Punjab Hills, K...

Image via Wikipedia

The next Full Moon will be on June 15th. Time for a Full Moon Meditation such as Antar Naad Mudra (Also called Kabadshe Meditation) Click on the link above for photos and details of the meditation practice.

This practice is done to the Antar Naad Mantra, also known as Sa Re Sa Sa. Listen to an audio clip here.

Complete Mantra:

Sa Re Sa Sa, Sa Re Sa Sa, Sa Re Sa Sa, Sa Rung
Har Re Har Har, Har Re Har Har, Har Re Har Har, Har Rung


That Infinite Totality is here, everywhere. That creativity of God is here, everywhere.

More Information:

Here is what my master said about this manta, “Saa is the Infinite, the Totality, God. It is the element of ether. It is the origin, the beginning, and it contains all other effects. It is subtle and beyond. Har is the creativity of the Earth. It is the dense element, the power of manifestation, the tangible, the personal.

These sounds are woven together and then projected through the sound of ung or complete Totality. This is the base mantra of all mantras. Adversity melts before this mantra. It gives you the capacity of effective communication so your words contain mastery and impact. This mantra helps you conquer the wisdom of the past, present, and future. It brings you peace and prosperity even if it wasn’t in your destiny.

This mantra takes away negativity from within oneself awakening the Infinite Creative energy to burn away obstacles to achieving higher consciousness.

This cycle of the music and mudra is a key to opening the flow of Kundalini. The new awareness will give you the authority to make the right choices to conquer the ugliness of life. You will be peaceful and secure.”  – YOGI BHAJAN 2003

I’ll be practicing in Antaar Naad Mantra in Buddhi Mudra – daily leading up to the Full Moon, and then using the Full Moon Meditation version of mudras – Prayer Pose, Lotus, and Reverse Prayer Pose – synchronized with the mantra, on June 15th. I enjoy this meditation and moving the awareness thru the chakras. This is one of several practices which are beneficial to those with Flatback Syndrome, such as myself. One of the basics of Yoga Therapy is to do those practices which move the energy thru the region of discomfort or pain. As I continue this blog,  I hope to categorize the Meditations, Yoga sets and Kriyas which have helped me the most with living with a Harrington Rod. I’ll also detail modifications I have had to make in my yoga practice to not injure myself due to the surgical implants in my back.

Speaking of chakras, I found these pretty Chakra Cards at SundariSatNam – a yoga center in Vermont.

A mother plays the guitar while her two daught...
Image via Wikipedia

Memorial Day – I practiced  The Kundalini Yoga Warrior Workout with Elder Daughter. That was fun!

June 1, 2011 – Today I found my old CD of the mantra Aap Sahai Hoa Sachay Daa Sacha Doa, Har Har Har and listened to it while practicing the Meditation For Prosperity which uses that manta. The CD I used is called Aap Sahai Hoa by Singh Kaur. I love Singh Kaur’s music. If you haven’t heard her, take a listen, you’ll be glad you did. If you have heard her, take a listen anyway, she is so Divine! You can listen to her  at the following link,  Spirit Voyage, which happens to be my favorite music and yoga online shopping bliss!

Although you can listen to a wide varity of Singh Kaur’s music at, I have not been able to find a copy of her version of Aap Sahai Hoa there or elsewhere on-line. I was hoping to find a new copy for my ipod because the CD I have skips after 21 minutes. When I find one, I will post it here.  Today I practiced The Kundalini Yoga Set New Lungs & Circulation (twice); in addition to Pranayam for Emotional Balance and New Perspective – which is inhaling left, exhaling right with long deep breathing. This was a great combo. I enjoyed it, my low back enjoyed it, and my spirit felt exalted.

Extreme Knitting

Julia Hopson of Knit Wits, Penzance, Cornwall ...

Image via Wikipedia

A week or so ago I posted a photo of a woman who knitted with the world’s largest knitting needles (posting again today, just because I love it so much!)

Today I saw a woman knitting with big needles, but not nearly as long as the world’s largest needles! I remember seeing some fantastic things by a gentleman named  Ivano Vitali. Mr. Vitali knits on huge needles, with yarn he makes from paper. I think he is form Firenze (one of my favorite places in the world!), beautiful photos of Ivano and his work here, check out his website and here is a newsclip from Italy

My other big news is today is my sister in law and nephew’s birthday! This morning there was a Crazy Hail Storm. There has not been another storm like this one in ten years – exactly ten years ago today when my nephew was born! Such a special guy, and he has a very special mom, who share’s his birthday! Happy Birthday You Two!!!

Yoga Challenge – Today

Day 23 – Thursday, May 26, 2011 – This morning I completed the Kundalini Yoga Series for the Pituitary Gland. My back definitely is improving. I think I am walking somewhat more ‘straight up’. My energy level is better, less pain, and improved range of motion. I am feeling very grateful. I am curious if the key will be doing two extra hours of yoga, or if one extra hour a day will be enough. The shape of my back certainly is improving.

Movers and Ma Rollers

A grasp of fresh air

Image by Bindaas Madhavi via Flickr

I’ved miss a few days logging my progress in my 100 Day Yoga Challenge, and then I missed a few days of the Challenge all together! So, I am going to forget the more distant-recent past, and start with yesterday.


Tuesday, May 24, 2011 – I completed the entire Kundalini Yoga Ultimate Stretch Workout DVD, and wore a pedometer all day at work.

The institution I work for is hosting a fitness initiative  this month, encouraging folks to increase their walking. We’ve had the opportunity to join groups, by department, have been given pedometers, and are tracking our steps daily for four weeks. The idea is to double the distance you walk during the last two weeks.

I joined my department’s team, “The Movers and Rolllers” (I don’t know what that means!) and I must admit I thought this was an interesting activity – partly becasue I thought it kind of discourages folks from walking too much the first two weeks. This notion was reinforeced by my first day of wearing the pedometer.

By the way – It is a relatively cool digital pedometer which will convert my steps into miles, kilometers, and even calories burned. Yesterday, without doing any extra intentional walking, I walked 5.6 miles while at work. However, today I just walked 2.1 miles, so, I am kind of relieved. I don’t think I will be up all night long those last two weeks pacing the floors!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011 – I walked up 4 flights of stairs and back down again with a couple members of The Movers and Rollers. I did the “Pituitary Gland Series“, along with the Meditation for Perspective & Emotional Balance this morning and again tonight. I love this set. I think it is a perfect combination for helping my flatback.

Another technique I have been using is lying on top of two tennis balls which are tied inside a tube sock; this is similar to using a Ma Roller.

I place the device on a soft surface and lie down with one ball on either side of the spine. Then I place my feet flat on the surface I am on to help control the amount of pressure exerted onto the device. I don’t practice this on the floor because the floor is just too hard and produces too much pressure on my rod. This technique seems helpful with the constant state of spasm my paraspinal musculature is in.

Frank Davis' home-made guitanjo

Image by hellokitty2399 via Flickr

I just finished watching Suits: The Art Guys a “Cool Film”. If you haven’t seen it – click on the link above  and enjoy. You can read The Art Guys final say about the Suit Controversy here.

I haven’t posted an update on how my yoga challenge is going the past few days. I have been working on a template for my Yoga Challenge daily log. However, I will say that the day after the day my back had no pain or stiffness, things digressed. I know it is all part of the reconditioning of my back and I am still excited. Today I did Charan Jap for 3 miles in 43 minutes. Then Frank & I went out for Watermelon Gazpacho, Vegan Breakfast Tacos and Fresh Apple, Celery, Ginger, Mint Juice at Heights Ashbury Coffeehouse.

We were both thrilled to have fresh and tasty food.

Yesterday I walked 2 3/5 miles and did the Ultimate Stretch. On Friday I did the Ultimate Stretch too.

Previous Older Entries

Recent Posts

July 2018
« Feb