Fish Pose (Matsyasana): The best posture to relieve athsma and chest congestion

So it's the dead of winter and like so many other people at this time of year, you're sick.  Runny nose, congested lungs, sore throat, and hoarse cough…ugh.  Should you still be practicing yoga?  The answer is ABSOLUTELY.  Should you be practicing yoga at a studio?  Well it depends...

For the sake of everyone at the studio, please stay away if you are contagious!  Keep sipping your hot tea at home with your wad of Kleenex and get better before you come back to class.  If you're not contagious, well, it depends.  If you're sneezy and you've still got a cough, please be mindful of being potentially disruptive to the students and the teacher in the class.  That being said, if you're only a little bit sick and you cough maybe only a few times per hour, than getting out of your house and taking some yoga time in at a studio could be exactly what you need.

Here's a tip: If you've got a bit of a cough still, it's most likely to come up for you when you lie down in Savasana (corpse pose at the end of a yoga class).  Sometimes just sitting upright can prevent this tickly throat cough and your teacher will be grateful you're trying to be quiet!

If you're too sick or you just simply can't make it to the studio, here's a great posture to try at home to help clear up any congestion!

In the advanced version of the posture, bring your palms together in front of your body and lift the legs.

In the advanced version of the posture, bring your palms together in front of your body and lift the legs.

Matsyasana or Fish Pose

Lie on your back and walk your arms underneath your body keeping the arms straight and palms facing down.  The tips of your thumbs should touch.  Now flex your feet, engage your legs, and press into your elbows to lift your chest into the air and roll to the top of your head.  If you have a lot of flexibility in your spine, you can lift your head right off the floor.  Imagine someone has a fishing line attached to your sternum and is pulling you straight up towards the ceiling.  Hold for 5 breaths and use the support of your elbows to slowly lower yourself back down.

Enjoy the freedom of breathing fully into your chest!

Cheers and Namaste,

l.e. martini 

2015 Yoga Retreat Playlists (including Savasana Songs)

Yogis!  Here are more of my class playlists:)  You can also find me and all my current playlists on Spotify as martiniyoga.

Feel Good Flow/Partner Yoga Playlist

  • Sweet Thing by Van Morrison
  • Flowers in Your Hair by The Lumineers
  • (Sittin' On) The Dock of the Bay by Otis Redding
  • Tiny Dancer by Elton John
  • Gold on the Ceiling by The Black Keys
  • Sweet Emotion by Aerosmith
  • Short Change Hero by The Heavy
  • Sweet Caroline by Neil Diamond
  • On Top of the World by Imagine Dragons
  • How You Like me Now by The Heavy
  • Runaways by The Killers
  • Time to Run by Lord Huron
  • Rolling in the Deep by Adele

Indie Flow Yoga Playlist

  • Another Day on the Terrace by Sunlounger
  • Mess Is Mine by Vance Joy
  • One Day by Matisyahu
  • Cheerleader by Omi (Felix Jaehn Remix)
  • Midnight City by M83
  • All Eyes on You by St. Lucia
  • Ohio by Damien Jurado (Filous Remix)
  • Coastal Brake by Tycho
  • Blue Moon by Beck
  • Georgia by Vance Joy

Ambient Savasana Songs

  • Codex by Radiohead
  • An Ending (Ascent) by Brian Eno
  • Sea of Silence by Deep Divers

Rock on and see you on the mat!

l.e. martini

Okanagan Kelowna Yoga Retreats

Just released!  2015's line up of Vino & Vinyasa Yoga Retreats are here!  Please join me this year in a sumptuous Okanagan getaway in the heart of wine country!  Retreats are being held at Predator Ridge in Vernon, and Summerland Waterfront Resort.  Prices range from $649-$679 based on double occupancy, and an additional $200 if you would like single occupancy.  All retreats include 2 nights' accommodation, 5 meals, a chauffeured wine tour, and 3 All Levels yoga classes with Laura Martini.  Please check the gallery to view pictures of past retreats!

If I see one more photo of Kelowna's sunny winter...

I've been in Mexico and Costa Rica for 3 weeks now.  When I left my Canadian hometown of Kelowna, it was cold and there was snow.  Since that time, every moment I've logged on to Facebook I've been inundated with exclamations about how lovely the weather in Kelowna is.  Here's an example:

"OMG!  Another beautiful morning in Kelowna.  So grateful for the sunshine!! :) :)" (Insert photo of blue sky and bright sun here)

I have seriously seen you all post this; don't try to deny it.  Every one of you Kelownians.  You all seem so thrilled.  So happy to live in such a beautiful place while your cousins out east are suffocating in snowdrifts as tall as their tractors.  Here's my beef: Doesn't this weather seem wrong to you?  Isn't there supposed to be snow in February?  Aren't people normally skiing?  IS NOBODY CONCERNED THAT THE TULIPS ARE ALREADY GROWING OUT OF THE EARTH?  

One night two weeks ago while on retreat in Mexico, we had a thunderstorm.  One of the locals told me the next day that it NEVER rains in February and in that month, they had 5 days of rain.  This unusual weather was worrisome because it was threatening to destroy the year's entire crop of beans!  In other news, a few of my Mexican retreaters missed flights back home because the east coast was not prepared to deal with the amount of snow it was receiving as the weather was NOT NORMAL.

Mother Nature (or Pachamama as they call her down here) is angry.  I get that in Kelowna sunshine is a rare commodity in the winter so it is exciting to see it, but, someone please educate me…what is the current state of Global Warming?  Where is Al Gore when you need him?  

This has nothing to do with yoga, but I plead for you to have mindfulness.  Especially with who you vote for.  Canada is not leading the way in environmentalism.  We have the power to change this if we are mindful of who we select to be our leaders.  Something has to change and it has to change soon.  Rant over.  Love you.  Peace out.

l.e. martini     

 

Now is the time to stop seeking.

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We live in a culture of epic quests.  Perpetually unsatisfied with the present, we go on lengthy pilgrimages to discover "who we really are".  We pay hot self-help superstars thousands of dollars, we fly to remote locations, we prescribe to insane and methodical lifestyle regimes, we join new religions, all so that we can crack the code to happiness and discover once and for all the meaning of life.

Many people come to yoga for this reason; they have recognized that they are suffering and need someone/something to fix it.  Yoga will not.  This is a myth.  Nevertheless, yoga has the ability to shed light on the reality of the situation; everything you are seeking already lies within you.  Yoga can not help you avoid grief, or pain, or depression.  In fact, the core lesson of yoga is that we need to stop avoiding what we're feeling; now is the time of allowance.  We must become present to recognize that there is an inherent wisdom within each and every soul on this planet.  Here is how we do it (I credit my Kripalu teachers Harshad and Uchita Thomlinson of Tandava Yoga for this knowledge):

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1. Breathe.

2 Relax

3. Feel

4. Watch

5. Allow 

Now I can't tell you exactly what will happen when you practice these 5 steps (they work most effectively when done in this order), I can promise you that after continual practice, your reaction to stress will change and you will become more aware.  This is key.  You must become more mindful to know who you really are (and who you really are is actually pretty darn cool).

So that's it.  BRFWA.  Memorize that like your life depends on it.  Because it does.  And stop looking for the answers outside of yourself.  Get on your mat and get on your meditation cushion for the sole purpose of getting to know who you really are.  No one (no matter how intuitive) can tell you who you really are but you alone.