Wednesday, October 31, 2012

November Pose of the Month - Ardha Halasana

Ardha Halasana - Half Plough Pose

This month I thought I would add an inversion.
Ardha Halasana, meaning half plough for the shape it resembles, is a great pose to start with if you are just beginning inversions.  This variation is for beginners.  The next pose I will add steps to the final stages and then work up into Salamba Sarvangasana (supported shoulder stand).  It is important to learn how to get the lift in the spine and trunk so that the chest can expand correctly.  Don't miss steps to get to the final pose as every step is important.

 Begin by placing the short end of the mat into the wall.  Stack 3-5 blankets neatly near the wall as shown above with the folded edge out.  Come to the floor, bringing the sitting bones near the wall and roll onto the blankets so you are in the centre of the blankets.
Adjust your body so that the top edge of the shoulders are 2-3 inches from the top of the blankets and the back of your head is on the floor. Keep the buttock bones near the wall and bring the soles of the feet into the wall with the knees bent.
This is a beginner variation.  Press into the feet and upper arms and draw the tailbone up.  Lift the spine and tailbone vertically up.  Bring the hands to the back and keep walking hands down the back to keep the spine lifting.  Try to keep the elbows in line with the shoulders, this will help lift and open the chest more.  Stay for 2-3 minutes, working up to 5 minutes.
To come out of the pose, slowly release the arms and lower the hips back to the floor.

Stay with the previous variation until you feel comfortable.
The next stage will be to bring the legs down one at a time and place the toes onto a chair or bench.  Take the chest and hips slightly back to maintain the extension of the body.
Keep the hands moving down the back towards the shoulder blades and press the thoracic spine in, moving the breastbone towards the chin.
Lengthen the side body.  Keep the legs straight by pulling the kneecaps to the thighs and the thigh muscles up to the hips to engage thigh muscles.  Press the thighbones up and away from the face and keep stretching the back of the legs.
Progressing from the previous pose after you feel comfortable and have gained the strength and flexibility in the neck, shoulders, back, legs and arms, one can bring the toes to the floor.  If any discomfort or pain is felt in the neck, bring the feet back to the bench or chair.  If pain still persists try adding more height under the shoulders and separating the feet slightly.

To come out of the pose, bend the knees and slowly roll down the back -vertebra by vertebra and lower hips to the floor.
Rest for a few breaths by sliding the head and body forward, off the height, so only the lower back and hips are on the blankets.
Roll to the right and press the floor to come up.

Helps reduce fatigue, insomnia and anxiety, calms the nerves and relieves breathlessness and helps regulate blood pressure. 
Circulation is increased to the neck and face and reduces aging effects of wrinkles, tension and dehydration and improves the functioning of the thyroid and parathyroid glands.
Restores health to pelvic organs, and can help relieve backache.

Avoid inversions during menstruation.
Avoid if have a neck or shoulder injury or have a headache.

Pamela Nelson

November Book Review - Animal, Vegetable, Miracle - A Year of Food Life

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle - A Year of Food Life, follows a year in the life of one of my favorite authors, Barbara Kingsolver and her family.  This book has been written with the help of her husband, Steven L. Hopp and oldest daughter Camille Kingsolver.

This book is a wealth of information on learning how to eat from sources close to home, become more mindful of where and how the food we eat is not only produced, but how far it must travel to reach our tables.
Barbara Kingsolver writes, "This is the story of a year in which we made every attempt to feed ourselves animals and vegetables whose provenance we really knew..and of how our family was changed by our first year of deliberately eating food produced from the same place where we worked, went to school, loved our neighbors, drank the water, and breathed the air."

Barbara writes most of the book using an easy to read style to read, filled with vivid, interesting and humerous facts on how they began and survived the year. 

Steven Hopp adds to each chapter with short essays that have more in depth information, numbers and facts.  Some examples include, "How to Find a Farmer", "The Price of Life", "Sustaining the Unsustainable" and "Legislating Local".  He gives much thought provoking information and is a call for all of us to listen and start to make some changes to how we eat.

Camille Kingsolver has a wonderful writing style, weaving interesting stories about her family at the end of each chapter and adds interesting information and recipes. 

I have been wanting to read this book for a long time and when I happened to spot it on the shelf at the library I knew the time was now.  My family has tried to tread lightly on the earth, but know we have a long way to go.  We have been trying to make changes to grow or raise more of our own food, and eat more locally and this book has helped to continue to spur that desire and not give up because it becomes a bit hard.  We owe it to ourselves and the future generations to know where our food comes from, and not use valuable resources to obtain items from across the globe at the cost of our environment.

If you are interested in checking out their website, please visit

(As a side note, I also suggest any of Barbara Kingsolver's novels)

Happy and healthy eating!

Pamela Nelson

Friday, October 26, 2012


"There are only two ways to live your life. 
One is as though nothing is a miracle. 
The other is as though everything is a miracle."
-Albert Einstein
This quote made its way into my reading path today, and thought was a good one to post as my family and I had just been discussing the miracle of our chickens laying an egg....everyday!
Pamela Nelson

Friday, October 19, 2012

Ultimate Result of All Ambition

"To be happy at home is the ultimate result of all ambition."
-Samuel Johnson
I read this quote in a great book given to me 15 years ago for Mother's Day, and is still worth meditating on.  Why do we work so hard?  To be happy at home...yet if we are never home, because we are out working so hard, we will ask, why am I working so hard..oh be happy at home.
In that- being happy at home may not just be in our physical houses..but at home in our body, breath and mind, no matter where we are or what we are doing.
Pamela Nelson

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

From the Vedas

The following regarding the Vedas is from Prashant S. Iyengar, in his essay, "Glory of Yoga".

Prashant writes,

"The Vedas hold that the human body is the entire cosmos in micro or atomic form.  It houses the Universal Spirit with all the divinities.  The science of yoga thinks of the world in the same way.  It comprises of the different yogic paths:
-yog (union with reality)
-viyog (eradication of negative attitudes)
-prayog (experimentation)
-viniyog (employment of positive inherent qualities)
-upayog (utilization of supplementary virtues from outside)"

Yoga practice then is much about prayog - experimentation with the qualities of the yamas and niyamas...and also with the asanas, pranayama and all the limbs of yoga.  We should all experiment to find our own truth in yoga.

Prashant also gives a view maybe not always considered...that much of yoga is based on viyog or expulsion.  "We need to expel the tamasic nature, rajasic nature, viciousness and ignorance.  Strangely, yoga sadhana is primarily viyog sadhana." He writes.

From there through viniyog and upayog, one can realize yog, or union with reality.

Prashant Iyengar writes, "Thus, the various yog-sadhana of yog, viyog, prayog, viniyog and upayog are described in a logical and threadbare manner, in the science of yoga.

Pamela Nelson

Thursday, October 11, 2012

PLN Yoga Studio - New Logo and Studio Sign

Thanks to Mark-It Signs ( in Prince Albert for the help creating my new logo and studio sign.

The PLN does stand for my initials - but I also think reads kind of like a license plate - plan PLAN YOGA into your daily life!!


PLN Yoga into your life..

Pamela Nelson

Monday, October 8, 2012

Thanksgiving - Giving Thanks

In the spirit of Thanksgiving - I would like to give thanks for the gift of the breath.

The breath supports and sustains us through all that life throws our way...good, bad, happy and sad...
Breathe well.


Happy Thanksgiving.

Pamela Nelson

Sunday, October 7, 2012

On Yoga

Yoga works from the inside out,
helping us to confront things
we might prefer to avoid.
Like a mirror, the practice offers
a clear reflection if you take
the time to look within.