Radha-Krishna are collectively known within Hinduism as the combined forms of feminine as well as the masculine realities of God. Some believe that Krishna enchants the world, but Radha enchants even him. Therefore, she is the supreme goddess of all and together they are called as Radha-Krishna.
In this composition, Matthew Carter hopes to awaken a feeling of love within the listener, inspired by the great love that Radha and Krishna shared.
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Welcome to a Yoga Focus on Warrior 2. In this blog post you will find some tips for this posture. Warrior 2 can be a bit tricky for some folks, particularly in the hip area. One thing that can really help is getting to know your own personal biomechanical structure. It’s beneficial to look at the way our hips have developed over our lifetime because it allows you to start to see YOUR Warrior 2. Let’s make this pose work for your unique body, rather than have your unique body try to move into a shape that you have some pre-conceived idea of.
Where will I often encounter Warrior 2?
You are likely to encounter this Pokémon while wandering in tall grass, it is weak to…. wait… wrong blog post…😏 — You are likely to encounter this POSE alongside lots of Vinyasa Flow Yoga classes, Hatha Yoga classes, and even Chair Yoga classes. Warrior 2 (see image above) is often prefaced by Warrior 1 and followed by Bent Leg Triangle (see the image below) since these poses transition quite easily into one another.
Use That Front Legs Hammy!
In Warrior 2 or Bent Leg Triangle we can find great benefit in pressing down and pulling slightly back using our front leg. This is going to activate the hamstring muscle, helping to strengthen your mental connection to that area but also the muscle itself.
Now Get your Back Leg involved!
Because we want to evenly distribute our efforts in this posture, we also are going to want to engage our back leg in a more dynamic way. One way of doing this is to try pressing down with your back legs heel while simultaneously pulling slightly forwards with the front pad/toes of that same foot. It almost feels like corkscrewing the back foot/leg into the ground.
Try It Right Now!
Stand at the top of your yoga mat. Mountain Pose.
Step backwith yourright foot, then allow that foot to wiggle back a bit further to elongate your stance.
Lunge into the left leg until your knee is roughly overtop of your left heel. If this isn’t possible, allow some variance in your lunging depth!
Reach your arms apart, the right one reaches back and the left one reaches forward.
Now try some variation in the positioning of your back foot. Try turning the toes slightly forward instead of pointing them sideways. Try allowing your right hip to move a bit more forward as well. (this will end up looking similar to the individual pictured on the top most image on the left) Does this allow for more controlled opening in your hips? does it create less tension in your front knee? These might be amazing changes for your Warrior 2!
When you’ve arrived at your most natural expression of this posture, stay in it for 10 breaths.
We will move on to Bent Leg Triangle next.
While staying in the same leg and hip position, move your left arm down so that your forearm connects to your left inner thigh. (2nd image in the article). As you do this lean your torso slightly forward to match the angle of your back leg.
Press your inner thigh into the back of your forearm to create some core/groin activation.
Breathe here for 10 cycles of breath.
Move back into Warrior 2 with your upper body.
Lower your hands onto your hips.
Heel/toe your right foot closer to the front of your yoga mat.
Step forwards into a standing position. Mountain Pose.
MORE FROM MATTHEW CARTER
Thanks for tuning in for this Yoga Focus on Warrior 2, hopefully you find it helpful during your future classes. If you would like to know more about Matthew Carter’s yoga offerings visit the links below:
Welcome to a Yoga Focus on Upward Facing Dog. This is a fairly challenging pose that is often contained in our Vinyasa Flow or “power yoga” classes. Ohhhhh yoga class names, they crack me up sometimes! The main focus of this article is to help people discover a more stable Upward Facing Dog. This is because we all deserve to understand more about our bodies!
Where will I often find Upward dog?
Upward Facing Dog often comes after we move from a High Plank position to a Low Plank position, which is similar to the lowering down portion of a push-up. After arriving in this low push up position we need to flip our feet over so that we are now on the tops of our feet, then press down into the ground and lift our upper body all the way up, similar to the position you see in the photograph above.
Use those shoulder muscles (gooooo seratus anterior!)
When we lift up like this we want to really press those hands down and lift up out of the shoulder area. A lot of the time, individuals do not really lift up and out of their shoulders, which can create a lot of compression in that area of the body. Because of this compression some people may find this pose uncomfortable on their shoulders.
Next time you try Upward Facing Dog try deeply connecting to the ground with each finger and thumb, corkscrewing the hands down into the ground almost as if you were opening and closing jars with your hands.
Try it right now!
Move your body into Downward Facing Dog. Do this by starting in a high plank (high pushup) position, then lift your hips up into the air.
Press down with your palms. Lengthen through the mid upper spine into the shoulders. Allow your knees to bend if you feel like your lower back is rounding a lot.
Now as you Inhale move forwards into high plank again. Have your heels roughly above your toes, and your shoulders roughly above your palms. This is usually a great starting position for moving down into low plank.
As you Exhale lower your body down into low plank position by bending your elbows. As you do this press back slightly with your heels, as if pressing into a small button. This will help keep strength in your lower body, and help to engage the leg/core connection. This really helps folks who feel that this movement is too challenging on their upper body.
After arriving in low plank flip each foot one at a time so that you’re now on the shoelace side edge of your feet, the tops. You will be here on the tops of your feet in low plank for only a second.
Now PRESS UP with your arms and upper body so that you lift all the way out of your shoulders. Try not to allow the shoulder blades (scapula) compress upward to the ears/neck. Instead press down so that you can feel your shoulder blades slide down the back of your body and slightly together. Your chest will be lifted, and your gaze can go forwards or up to the ceiling. Corkscrew your hands down into the ground.
Now begin to lift your hips back up towards the ceiling, flipping your feet back over one at a time, so that you’re now on the front pads of your feet. Your should now be back in Downward Facing Dog, where we started.
More from Matthew Carter
Thanks for tuning in for this Yoga Focus on Upward Facing Dog, hopefully you find it helpful during your future sessions. If you would like to know more about Matthew Carter’s yoga offerings visit the links below:
For The Left Place I created a drum kit by sampling all the available kick drum, hi-hat and clap sounds within Ableton. I wanted a kick drum sound that wasn’t too noticeably toned, because some electronic kick drum samples really end up sounding like a low bass note or something (which is exactly what a real kick drum sound is, but we don’t take the time to tune our kick drums to the key of the song we are playing before playing it… although I’m sure they would do this in most high levels of music production.. Since all drums have a tone to them, After finally deciding which ones to use I moved onto tracking down some audio clips. I was looking for blips, clicks, and shwoops to add to other channels of my 16 button drum pad.
Now onto the bass, I love the Theremin sound that Ableton comes with, and I use it quite often during electron music creation to make those cool sounding video-gamey style lead riffs. This time I had something different in mind for my favorite sound, to use the Theremin as a bass. I like the sound I eventually got with it, but at times it gets a bit strange sounding. But strange is good, right? I then added more to the track by creating additional synth sounds that swell in the background on the on 2 and 4 during certain sections. Then I created some more melodic sounds like the flute playing on the off beats, the spacey sounding keys in the background, and the guitar style plucks near the ending.
I noticed the track needed a bit more stuff in it so I added that really interesting watery sounding slide that comes back a few times during the track. This just adds a bit of additional colour and feeling to the track.
Do you ever dream about diving deeply into spiritual practice? Dream about making something a regular part of your daily routine? Perhaps you try it out consistently for an entire month, or maybe even longer than that. Waking up in the morning and practicing seated meditation. Journaling with consistency every night before bed. Getting to the yoga mat to practice asana everyday. Taking cold showers for some reason… thanks Wim Hof.
Then all of a sudden, the routine ends and you drift back into the regularity of your life. What happened here? Was the practice of showing up daily too much? Did you burn yourself out somehow? This lifestyle dilemma exists for me too.
I think this idea of a routine being the answer is something the health and wellness industry is trying to sell you. A ruse to get into your pocketbook. This is something that is so heavily sold by the yoga industry and often believed in by the teachers and students with steadfast determination.
Life requires balance. One specific thing is never the answer to all of life’s mysteries. Yoga can’t solve all your problems although it can be a pretty good distraction from them.
Yoga can’t fix you, but it sure can be a great window into yourself. This was so important for me to learn, and it helped me start to take control of my self care journey, instead of thinking that my yoga practice would be everything I needed.
One problem that I see in the yoga industry is the price of the average monthly studio membership. They are so expensive, often upwards of $100.00 monthly, which let’s be honest, not many of us can afford. I recently read an article suggesting that most Canadians cannot even afford their basic cost of living (source: here).
It would seem that the majority of the health and wellness industry has become a place for the privileged. Think about it, those of us who cannot even afford to put food on our tables or pay our rent are probably quite stressed out. These people deserve an option for some sort of self care routine they can afford. Yoga should cost less.
I believe that the high cost of the average yoga membership, combined with the common desire amongst us to develop a daily spiritual practice of some sort, has created an high pressure atmosphere among us yoga practitioners. A lifestyle dilemma emerges and we feel we must achieve this daily practice in order to unlock the fullest potential of our healing journey, or just give up on it entirely.
Since our memberships have often cost us so much we might be left feeling a pressure to show up quite regularly, to make it “worth our money”. If a yoga pass was only $20-$40 per month it would be more accessible to those of us on a lower income. Perhaps this lower price would also lessen the pressure of getting so much out of your experience on the yoga mat. It would give those of us who can just barely afford those $100 yoga passes some breathing room and it would make the yoga practice accessible to a many more individuals. Some people can afford those higher prices, and for them a cheaper yoga pass would give them money to spend on other types of physical fitness they might be curious about. You could buy a new bike with that money you saved! Go rock climbing once a month! Explore!
I realize that some of us will continue to come to yoga mat everyday, and I want to say that’s totally fine. For some it’s actually exactly where they need to be for right now. But I know that some of us could use a new model. I know I needed it after teaching yoga in studios for over 7 years. I needed to not hear the narrative that “I can just leave it all on the mat” or that “yoga will fix me”. Those messages often left me feeling a bit disconnected from my own life and the realities I face. For me it is a welcome time to leave the lifestyle dilemma behind and just live my life.
Remember that you don’t have to practice yoga everyday to find a special connection with yourself, there are so many amazing ways you can forge a healthy relationship with your self care routine. In the same breath, for me yoga is still pretty awesome and I really love coming onto my yoga mat when I can.
Well for me, someone who teaches yoga and love yoga I still am going to show up on my yoga mat fairly regularly. But I won’t beat myself up when things don’t feel that great, or fluid during my yoga practice. I won’t beat myself up if I take a few weeks off of the yoga practice when life gets busy.
I just finished teaching a 30 day yoga challenge last January and during the challenge I encouraged my participants to find a yoga practice that was accessible to their lifestyle. The challenge wasn’t to actually do precisely 30 days of yoga in a row, but rather to normalize the fact that it’s okay if we all have different practice goals. Once a week is a huge accomplishment for some of us, and those accomplishments also deserve a space to be celebrated!
Perhaps you too can ease the pressure on yourself to “do it all” everyday, and as this quote from Soto Zen monk Shunryu Suzuki suggests:
Thanks for taking the time to read my musings. Have a lovely and balanced day.
See you soon on the yoga mat, or out on a hike!
The Yoga Pass
My memberships are a suggested cost of $40.00 per month, but I also offer a “pay what you can” membership. Some of my students pay much less, because that is what they can afford and I am more than happy to open my digital doors to them!
Welcome to my special Yoga Nidra course! This five class series will take you through an overview of each of the five Koshas, or energetic sheaths of the body, with each class focusing on one of the Koshas. The first class contains an intention setting period, in Yoga Nidra this is also known as your Sankalpa or deep inner resolve. This intention is then carried through your remaining classes and it is encouraged to develop as you progress. Each of the five classes in this course will contain some journaling prompts to help you to get to know yourself better, some Yin Yoga to help you get to know your physical body better, and of course Yoga Nidra to help you Get to Know Nidra and bring it all together!
For my first few years of practicing yoga I noticed a desire to go further into the poses as my body became more used to the sensations and positions of the postures, I think this is natural for most practitioners but for me soon became a constant search for more in my practice.
I began practicing yoga about 8 years ago and I immediately felt a acceptance from the community of students and instructors. Receiving praise from my teacher was something that I loved to hear, but subconsciously created a complicated environment around the practice of yoga. I remember going further into the posture when my teachers walked past me, I remember letting them adjust me in postures to “help me go deeper”, then after class getting that reaffirming comment from the instructor on the way out the door. “Great job going deeper in Camel Pose today Matthew”!
Although positive on the surface, without the simultaneous teaching of a mindfulness practice, this “going deeper” mentality can be damaging. I recall a specific back bending workshop that I took where the leader of the workshop adjusted me in front of the entire class. In that moment I felt pressured to move deeper into the pose than I normally would be comfortable with. I was also being physically manipulated by the teacher to move my body deeper into the back bend, which I felt I must go along with, so as to not embarrass myself or the instructor. When I achieved what the instructor was trying to get me to do the whole room began to applaud. Nothing hurt in that moment, but the damage that was being done was happening on an entirely different level.
At the time, I think the praise of going deeper in a yoga pose felt better than the yoga pose itself, it was so nice to feel like someone was on my team!
For the first year I continued to practice, thinking that going deeper into the postures was just straight up better, and in those years my ego drove my yoga practice. I practiced relentlessly, somehow thinking that by moving into the furthest expressions of the yoga postures I would unlock some sort of secret power. The secret eventually showed up in the form of a torn hip adductor muscle, pectineus to be exact. I got this injury from pushing my hips deeper and deeper in cobblers pose, thinking that my knees have to touch the ground to get maximum benefit from my practice.
Society often tells us that more is better. The message I see from so many ads is to achieve more. Get a partner, a house, some kids. Get that promotion, get a lot of friends, be liked by your peers. Get more money, a bigger house. Get another promotion, get a new car, get a summer home, a winter holiday. Buy more, do more, be more. The message is everywhere, and the world of yoga is not immune to it.
The practice of yoga became a greedy search for more sensations and I thought that if I was going to spend an entire hour of my day doing yoga, it better well be worth it. Applying this expectation to my practice began to take away the very thing that I fell in love with when I started practicing yoga, the community or as they call it in Sanskrit, the sangha, and the sense of being in the moment. Expectations reduced my ability to be in the moment, I was stuck in an attachment mindset.
Luckily I met someone that changed my yoga practice forever and taught me more about my body than I had ever known before. This teacher is such a gem and taught me so much about bio-mechanics in yoga poses. I am so grateful for her teachings because it shifted the way I do yoga, and the way I teach yoga.
The Buddha talks about attachment and aversion being the two main things that take one away from being present in this moment. It shows up in yoga by wanting to create the same results as the last time one was in the pose, attachment. It shows up by being afraid of feeling something in ones body or mind, aversion.
Going further into yoga poses can be amazing, but so can the subtle sensations of relaxation in the poses, the practice of finding that perfect balance between challenge and ease. The balance between using what you know about your body to practice safely, but also exploring the beginners mind and going somewhere unknown. I think of this as moving into kindness. Offering your body something it didn’t have to strive for, something it didn’t have to reach for, something that was there all along in the quiet space of your heart. Something you don’t have to buy, or try on, or prove to anyone. Nowadays I find myself searching for a different meaning in my yoga practice, one that shows me my subtle side but can surprise me with my subtle strengths as well.
Try it for yourself, start your next yoga practice with the intention of doing the postures with no more than about 25% effort and see what shows up for you. When I practice this way I am able to better feel my needs in the posture, and in the end of class I feel myself drop right into a relaxing savasana because my body didn’t become so amped up.
I pride myself in being a bit of a fantasy nerd, I love video games of all kinds, and I am really into a collectible card game known as Magic: The Gathering, I’ll refer to it as Magic for short. The passion for video games started back in my childhood when I shared a Super Nintendo (SNES) with my brother and we played Super Mario Bros. until our hands were sore. Following the SNES was a Nintendo GameBoy (I’m proud to say I played Pokémon Blue on release week), an N64, GameCube, family PC, Wii and an Xbox. I have happily sunken over 1000 hours of my life playing Diablo 2, and Baldur’s Gate 1 & 2 on PC, time I should probably have spent doing homework.
I started playing Magic cards when I moved into a home on Furby St. in Winnipeg. The house had 5 other amazing young adults living there, filling the walls with laughter, parties, cannabis smoke, and the most epic game nights where I was introduced to Magic cards by my roommate, and fellow wizard, Justin. My introductory purchase to the world of Magic: The Gathering was a pre-constructed deck sold in stores called Entangling Webs (each player uses their own pre-made or home constructed 60 or 100 card deck to play the game). I won’t lie, this pre-constructed deck sucked, but it got me thirsty for more. All of that time I spent gaming in my childhood expanded my mind to the possibilities of combos, synergy, strategy, and the overall nerdiness required to sit down at a table of fellow spell slingers.
I worked for CN Rail for a short time and ended up with more money than a 20 year old boy should have, so I spend a lot of it on Magic cards, my collection grew and grew, and then grew some more, eventually topping out at thirty 60 card decks and ten 100 card decks. I really love the deck building aspect of the game, it’s creative, messy yet organizational, full of fantasy and things otherworldly, and best of all it brings people together from all different walks of life, just like yoga does. Nobody cared where you were from, or what clothes you wore, they just wanted to see your creations shine!
Our play group would get together to play every Tuesday, but also on other days to build decks and trade cards with each other. We would encourage each others decks to rise to their fullest potential, helping by suggesting cards and strategies to use to help focus their win condition. Three of the six people eventually moved out of Furby house and found another house nearby in Winnipeg on Lenore St. where the Magic nights grew to an even larger level yet. The basement of our house was perfect for us all to hang out and play cards late into the night, and we did so regularly.
I have incredibly fond memories of those years in Lenore house, the house had an open door, anyone was welcome at basically anytime. Those years were also when I started practicing yoga and playing music in yoga classes (I wrote a whole blog article about my musical past, you can read it here: How Music Brought me to Yoga). I have these warm memories of falling in love with the practice of yoga and then coming home to a full house of my best friends playing my favorite game in the whole world. I am getting teary eyed just thinking about it as I write this, nostalgia can be so powerful.
I recall driving home after hot yoga, perhaps a bit chaotically, just to try and get back to those card games that were happening in my basement, but more than anything just to see my buddies.
These days I have my hands on my Nintendo Switch, my gaming PC and yup, still my Magic cards. My buddies and I play online using our physical cards over a live streamed video. Here are a few photos of my setup, it’s not pretty, but it definitely gets the job done! I use an old cellphone of mine and an app called DroidCam that turns the phone into a wireless webcam and pairs it with your computer, the phone is then held to my microphone stand using good old elastic bands!
The creators of the card game have also developed a really intuitive website called SpellTable in which you can livestream online card games with anyone in the world, and click on their cards on your screen to highlight them to read them easier. It’s quite amazing. So even though I live in BC, and most of my Magic playing friends still live back in Manitoba we can still stay in touch, help each other build new decks, and support one another with our friendship.
Yoga has been a gift throughout all of these nerdy hobbies of mine, most of which involve sitting sedentarily in front of a screen or card table for hours at a time. My body often feels quite crunched up and tight after gaming for long periods, but I wouldn’t have it any other way, I enjoy becoming fully immersed in the experience. Yoga uncrunches, untightens, and brings some strength and balance to my body, plus the poses are named after mythical heroes and gods! Take Warrior 1, 2 & 3 for example, also called Virabhadrasana 1, 2 & 3, named after Shiva’s form Virabhadra, how cool is that!
By the way, if you’re a PC gamer, add me on Steam, I am thewarden2002, see you online!