Yoga for the Back

100 plus days into lockdown, quarantine, limited movement, working from home, sitting a lot. Has it started taking a toll, not just emotionally but also physically?

Back pain and back injuries are some of the most common maladies among the entire population. Current conditions may be acerbating these.

Whether you work at a computer all day, do heavy lifting or are an avid athlete, the back is usually victim number 1!

Everyone has a differently shaped spine and everyone has a different back problem. Some might be aggravated by forward folds, some by back bends. And even twisting may be someone’s limitation.

Today I needed some back maintenance and I present to you 40 minutes of general yoga that involved mild forward folds, back bends and some strengthening and twisting.

Alleviating the back does not mean that it is just the back that should be contorted and focused on. Tight hamstrings, tight hip flexors, shoulder irregularities, tight adductors, are just some of the target areas to alleviate back issues.

So you will see such poses as Warrior 2, Parsvakonasa, Prasarita Padottanasana, Cresecent Pose, Warrior 1, Warrior 3, Humble Warrior, Malasana, Bakasana and more. These are mostly standing poses that are very active in nature. And a whole bunch of seated poses such as Baddha Konasana, Janu Sirsasana, Matsyendrasana should give you some relief. And I threw in one Yin pose Dragonfly Side Bend, because it really opens up the QL (Quadratus Lumborum) and feels so good on the side body.

https://youtu.be/AWvG5ArO0tU

Feel Good Friday Yin Yang Yoga

It’s the end of the week. It’s the beginning of July. We are in the middle of a global crisis and we have no idea what stage we are in. So it’s important to take care of ourselves. With that in mind I present a Yin Yang Yoga session that I hope will bring you some joy this weekend. My longest session on YouTube yet, I give you 70 minutes of yoga – a solid warm up, a visit to some of the classic poses including Warriors and some good challenges with a peak pose of Bakasana. I show you how to use props to ease into the pose if you are struggling or are a beginner. And I will leave you with four Yin poses that should perfectly ground you and give you an opportunity to find a somewhat meditative state as you loosen up some very tight areas in the body. I hope you enjoy this routine as much as I did making it. Make any day a Friday by doing Yoga!

😉🙏🏽

Peace and Love Nabeel

Don’t forget to subscribe! 😀

10 Targeted Yoga Poses

I’ve uploaded a half hour session to my YouTube channel “Yogamatique” that targets some of the tightest areas in the body such as the hamstrings, the calves, the hip flexors, the adductors, the quads, the quadratus lumborum, the shoulders and more.

Even though specific poses were chosen to target a certain area, we are also gaining benefits in other areas of the body as well. That’s one of the beauties of yoga – we are able to get a well rounded exercise as we achieve our specific goals. And of course done mindfully, yoga will leave you a little more grounded than when you started.

Here are the 10 main poses and the targeted areas

Padangusthasana – Hamstrings

Adho Mukha Svanasana – Calves

Anjaneyasana – Hip Flexors

Virabhadrasana 2 – Adductors

Parsvakonasana – Quadratus Lumborum

Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana – Hamstrings and Hips

Natarajasana – Quadriceps

Prasarita Padottansana – Legs and Shoulders

Parsvottanasana – Hamstrings and Shoulders

Humble Warrior – Hips and Shoulders

Check out the video below and please subscribe to the YouTube channel “Yogamatique”

Enjoy!

https://youtu.be/NP2zYjxPMEk

Meditate Your Way

What is meditation? How do you meditate? Are there other forms of meditation?

This is a recording of a discussion between Silvana Vryll, a yoga instructor from Buenos Aires, Argentina and myself. We talked candidly about what yoga and meditation mean to us. How cycling, hiking and walking are also forms of meditation.

We also talk about how someone new to yoga and meditation can approach these activities and how yoga is for everyone! There is no right body type or religion or lifestyle for yoga. Anyone can do it and adapt it to their own needs.

We hope you enjoy our talk below!

Nabeel

🙏🏽❤️

Self-Care Yoga

Hamstring Care

New Video Uploaded to YouTube Channel “Yogamatique”

First in a series under the playlist “Self Care Yoga”. Subscribe to get subsequent uploads.

The Hamstrings form a group of muscles that are constantly used whether we are simply walking and sitting, riding our bikes or running. We demand a lot from our hamstrings yet we sometimes don’t give them the care that we need to. This often results in injuries. Hamstring pulls are very common. But tight hamstrings can tug on the low back, creating arching and spine compression. In this 8 minute video I go over 3 classic yoga poses that target the hamstrings: Parsvottanasana, Trikonasana, and Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana. I break the poses down – how to get there safely, how to align and what muscles to activate to maximize benefits. If you are a runner or cyclist this is a must do! If you aren’t you should still do these to keep those hamstrings limber!

Time to – Just Breathe

There’s a lot happening in the World as we speak. I don’t need to give you a recap. But I will say that I have found myself unable to breathe freely this last week. It’s been intense to say the least. I leaned on Yoga heavily. Just to be able to breathe.

I have uploaded a new 50 minute session to my YouTube Channel “Yogamatique”. In this session, the breath work was primary and the poses complementary. Nothing fancy here. Some of the classic poses to help you breathe and get grounded.

I hope this weekend you can re-calibrate a bit. You can start the weekend off by … just breathing …Just Breathe & Yoga …

I hope it helps you!

Don’t forget to subscribe to “Yogamatique” YouTube channel, to never miss a session!

Peace and Love

Nabeel

Link below

https://youtu.be/SSl-ZP9vKpg

FLOWING TO THE FUTURE

Times are hard. Uncertainty looms ahead. What can we do? We can take one day at a time, be productive, find ways to keep grounded and positive.

With all this in mind, I decided to take my practice outside, find a nice patch of grass and just flow! For 35 minutes I just let things go, let the moment dictate my sensations and my next steps.

So this week’s theme is “Flowing to the Future”.

It’s not just a name. It bears profound resemblance to what we are facing. Moments of difficulty, moments of imbalance. What do we do? We self-correct, we take it down a notch or re-adjust our course.

So as you flow through this totally improvised 35 minute session, expect the unexpected and enjoy! Remember to course correct when you need to – drop knees in Plank Pose, find Child’s Pose as many times as you need to. And just have fun.

This weekend is Memorial Day weekend. I have no idea what lies in store. A long bicycle ride? Staying home a lot? Blogging? But I will let it flow … embrace whatever is in store …

I hope you too will “Flow to the Future” …. 🙏🏽❤️

Link to YouTube video below:

https://youtu.be/RIOfRsl2pAE

Bici Yoga

Two of my favorite activities are bicycling and yoga. So I decided to combine them and take my yoga mat out for a spin!

Crossing the American River

Enjoy this video of my jaunt by the American River in Sacramento. Doing yoga outdoors by the river was amazing.

It was also a reminder that it’s ok to get creative and modify one’s activities to try something different. I truly had a blast and I encourage you to slow down a bit and think of ways to do things differently.

Beautiful Woods by the American River

Especially you cyclists out there keeping an eye on your Strava times! Ditch the app and breath some fresh air on a pause to do yoga! Bici Yoga is my new favorite activity!

Check out a 5 minute clip of my adventure below and be sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel “Yogamatique”.

https://youtu.be/o__uwge_250

Yin Yang Yoga

One Hour Session Uploaded To YouTube

This is a one hour class that is the perfect combination of building heat & strength (Yang) and cooling down mindfully and relieving stress in body and mind (Yin).

I put this together with a lot of thought so that you can all begin the weekend with a great feeling! I hope you enjoy this.

Even if you are a beginner I encourage you to try this routine. I have labeled most of the poses and go through the minute actions required to benefit from the poses and movements so this is a great way to familiarize yourself with some yoga terminology as well. Before you know it, you’ll become a yoga geek like me 😉🙏🏽.

Here is the YouTube link below. Please do subscribe so as to keep getting the uploads and also support my new endeavor “Yogamatique”, the yoga boutique 😀❤️.

https://youtu.be/eElAr4otsVQ

1 Hour Yin Yoga Lesson

Cali Colombia

Part 5

I left Buenos Aires for Cali on August 7th by way of Bogota. I had an entire day in Bogota and being the biking aficionado that I am, I decided to take a tour of the city with Bogota Bike Tours.

Some great graffiti! The National Museum

I had done the tour in 2017, but I never get tired of visiting the sites in this city and having a guide and being on a bicycle is definitely the way to go. I say that in all seriousness – there are parts of the city where you don’t want to be stuck without an escape route. A bicycle and a pair of strong lungs are my ticket to safety … anywhere … Having said that, these sites we visited are quintessential Bogota and a must see.

Bogota with Botero statue in the background

Among them are the graffiti lined streets, the fruit and vegetable market and we even made a mad dash through the red light district – a somber reminder of the often unseen reality.

We also stopped for some amazing coffee at a coffee roaster’s Cafe de la Fonda .

Cafe de la Fonda, Bogota

And last but not least we played Tejo, a Colombian game where you throw huge steel discs on to targets set in mud/earth that explode (yes there’s gunpowder involved). Welcome to Colombia!

Playing Tejo and having Poker

After the bike tour I had a great meal at “La Puerta Falsa” in the Candelaria neighborhood. I had Ajiaco and it was to die for! It’s a regional soup with chicken and you have it with corn and avocado.

Having Ajiaco at La Puerta Falsa

And since I was in the neighborhood and had the afternoon free, I took the teleférico (cable car) up to the Church of Monserrate at a height of over 10,000 ft, giving you an amazing view of Bogota all around. It is indeed named after the Monastery of Montserrat in Catalonia, Spain.

View of Bogota from Cerro Monserrate

The next morning I caught my flight to Cali and thus began round two in this amazing city. I was again staying at the Hostel Pajara Pinta in the neighborhood of San Antonio. I had my own private room. The hostel option is a great option because you have more communal areas such as the kitchen and dining areas, so it’s a great way to meet people and make new friends. That’s how I met Laura and Raul at breakfast one day. We ended up chatting for more than 2 hours. You see Raul Senior, their dad, was an avid cyclist and had started a bike club in Baranquilla where they live. The club’s name Biela Quilla is a play on words base on their home town of Baranquilla. Raul Senior was an upstanding member of society and he encouraged everyone to pick up a bike and ride to stay healthy. He was also a bit crazy, and would ride to far away places like Santa Marta and Cartagena. I can totally relate and my eyes lit up listening to stories about their father.

With Raul and Laura in Cali, Colombia

Sadly Raul Senior had passed away from cancer a few months prior. Laura and Raul were in Cali attending a national bike summit where their father was being honored. I was moved by their story and their devotion to their dad. Laura must have sensed it – she took one of her Dad’s bike jerseys out of a backpack and gave it to me. I was speechless. And honored. I promised her I would ride to the top of Mission Peak in my hometown of Fremont wearing it. A month later, on September 12th, 2019 I kept my promise and rode up to the summit of Mission Peak wearing Raul Senior’s Biela Quilla jersey.

Mission Peak, Fremont

I hope to visit Laura and Raul in Baranquilla one day and go on some rides with this wonderful bike club Biela Quilla.

The next person in the cast of characters is Paula. Paula is a friend of one of my cabin mates (from NY) during my trip to Antarctica eight months prior. So now Paula and I were connected by way of NY and Antarctica. Such is the beauty of traveling, never missing an opportunity and keeping an open mind.

Paula immediately invited me to a birthday bash for one of her friends. I got to hang out with local Caleños, other Colombians and a few foreigners from Greece and Germany. It was a really fun time. And I was immediately accepted into the group.

As luck would have it, this was the start of a week long music festival called “Petronio de Alvarez Music Festival”, fondly referred to as just “Petronio”. It was way more than a music festival – it was a celebration of Afro-Colombian music, food and culture. More than 100,000 people descended on Cali for this festival from all over the world.

With Paula and Soffy at Petronio

I made plans to meet Paula and her friends at the venue for Petronio, the first night I went (and there were many!). I almost didn’t find Paula. The network was so jammed that our messages were delayed by up to 15 minutes! And it didn’t help that we were moving with the crowd … but we eventually found each other and we had a great time listening to the music and dancing it up! I met Soffy, Paula’s friend that night and the three of us had an awesome time. We ended up leaving at a decent hour and getting dinner with some of their friends. I would be easing into the Petronio gently (many more nights to come!). And I had found my tribe in Colombia. I adore Soffy and Paula.

I repeated the festivities in Petronio a few times with my new found friends and one night we ended up going to an after party. I can say with certainty that the after party was even better than Petronio itself.

An entire street in a residential area transforms itself into a street for music, dancing and food. People actually move furniture around, offering their homes as part of this event. I think we left this venue at around 8:00 am. The energy just keeps you going and you cannot help being a part of it.

For the next few days I focused on my yoga practice and La Pajara Pinta had the ideal space for yoga on the second floor terrace. I made a few more friends and some folks joined me for yoga. One of the goals of this trip was to examine the role of yoga here among the locals as well as the travelers. And I was pleasantly surprised. I see Cali as having great potential for being a place to host future yoga retreats!

With Just a few days left of Petronio I went one more time with some fellow travelers from the hostel. It was a blast. I took advantage of the great seafood and I had a crab dish which was to die for! I could get used to Afro-Colombian Pacific influenced dishes!

This was the last night of Petronio and it did not disappoint. We all had a blast, made some local friends and danced the night away!

Right Photo: With Garcia, Alex, Soffy and Andres

Part of my extended Cali Tribe

And yes, we did go to the after party one last time!

Next stop Buenos Aires round two! Zig-zagging across South America! Watch for the next episode!

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