Naples Yoga News sponsored by : Marchy 2008

In March's Naples Yoga News

:: Invitation to Free Beach Yoga

:: Pose of the Month: Child Pose

:: Three Instant Stress Busters

:: Couple Yoga for Together Time

:: Proper Alignment: Breath, Body, Mind


     " A Flame Loses None of It's Brilliance by Igniting Another Flame"    


Asana of the Month: Child Pose

1. Kneel, on the floor, with the feet together and thighs hip width distance apart. Allow your bottom to touch your heels.

2. Exhale as you bend at the back of the waist and allow your hips to sink down toward the floor. As you inhale, notice your belly expand against your thighs.

3. Bring your hands to your sides, palms facing up. Inhale and lengthen your neck (forehead on the mat or a cushion). Exhale and allow the weight of your shoulders to fall freely toward the floor.

4. As you breathe notice your belly expand against your thighs. As you exhale, imagine your lower back, neck and shoulders letting go of all that no longer serves you. Stay inthis pose for 30 seconds to a few minutes.

For modifications, contraindications and relevant videos please go to


When: Saturday mornings 8:30 to 10:00 am
sometimes I go out of town or personal commitments arise, therefore always check schedule the night before class.

Where: Delnore Wiggins State Park. We will meet on the beach area at the north end of parking lot #3.

Why: Because I enjoy teaching yoga and I want to make it accessible to everyone. If you have a health condition, please ask your doctor's permission before participating in yoga or any other fitness program. .

Bring a yoga mat. For more details go to

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Purchase a copy of my CD,Easy Flow Meditation; Guided Relaxation for Nourishing Sleep and Instant Stress Relief, and I’ll donate a CD to a 501 C3 non-profit of your choice. The only rules are that the organization must be one that focuses on helping those recovering from abuse, physical illness, mental health issues, or addiction (no government agencies or yoga centers).

Well, actually even if you don’t buy a CD I’ll donate one. I’m on a mission to donate one Free Guided Relaxation and Meditation CD a week. Email your request for a free CD to

If you’ve come to my classes and appreciate my work as a yoga teacher, please consider purchasing a Meditation CD. It helps keep me going.

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The next time you feel tense, stressed, tired, sad or worn out, try these exercises.

Tense and Release - Scrunch every muscle in your body (face, fists, arms, legs, toes, bottom), hold for a moment, then release. Do this three times…then take five long, slow deep belly breaths. Notice how much better you feel. Tensing and releasing muscles is a good way to become aware of where you are holding tension in your body. One caution, if you suffer from high blood pressure this exercise may not be appropriate for you, therefore get your doctor’s approval first.

Rice Bag Breathing – Lie on your back with your knees bent and hip width distance apart. Place a 5 lb or 10 lb bag of rice on your belly. As you breathe in through your nose notice your belly expand as the bag of rice rises higher. As you breathe out through your nose notice your belly get smaller as the bag of rice moves back down toward your spine. Once you get a feel for this, start counting your breath – in, two, three, four….out, two, three, four. Do this for five minutes, or as long as is comfortable for you. If you begin to feel light headed discontinue the exercise, remove the rice bag, and return to normal breathing.

Child Pose – Children are masters of self soothing, so why not put their tricks to good use? If you feel stressed out, move into child pose and focus on your breathing. Notice your belly expands against your thighs as you breathe in through your nose. And, as you breathe out through your nose, notice your belly moving away from the thighs as your navel comes in toward your spine. Once you get a feel for this, start counting your breath – in, two, three, four….out, two, three, four. Do this for 30 seconds to a few minutes. If you begin to feel light headed discontinue the exercise, remove the rice bag, and return to normal breathing. Do not do if you are pregnant. See details for this pose at

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YOGA FOR PARTNER: Healthy ‘Together Time'
It’s widely believed that when it comes to ‘together time’ women want to chat, whereas men want to ‘do’. For many couples that means going out to dinner, the theatre or a movie. These are all fine activities, but they are too sedentary and do not offer growth opportunity. So, instead of ‘chomping down 3,000 calories of over priced, restaurant food for ‘date night’, more and more couples are choosing active ‘together time’ doing things like golf, bike riding, and…, of course.

Sound good, but not sure you can get buy-in from your loved one? I created the list below to help you persuade that special somebody to give it a try. Most of this applies not only to romantic couples, but to other relationships, such as parent/child, siblings, and close friends.

7 Reasons to Do Yoga with Your Spouse, Partner or Loved One

1. Accommodate Difference – with weight lifting, running and many other active pursuits it’s difficult for couples to participate together. Can you imagine a 105 pound woman trying to spot her 225 pound husband on the squat rack? I don’t think so! Yoga allows for couples to participate side-by-side without the need to be at the same fitness or skill level.

2. Save Money – Spend a terrific ninety minutes together for less than the cost of movie tickets and popcorn. Heck, take a class for free at Monique’s Free Yoga on the Beach in Naples, then go for a swim afterward.

3. Get Connected – Yoga involves mindful breathing, invigorating movements and centering meditation. Doing these things as a couple is a fantastic way to ‘get connected’ and in-tune with one another. If you want individual attention in a more intimate setting, try private yoga lessons.

4. Liven Up - Daily responsibilities can wear on a relationship. Practicing yoga together you’ll get in touch with your ‘inner child’ I know, what a cliché, but it’s true. Here’s another cliché, ‘couples that play together, stay together’. Speaking of playing, while it’s great to get silly and joke around with one another, be mindful of keeping your jokes positive – no, negative humor allowed during or after yoga class!

5. Get Along – Regular yoga practice helps to rid the body and mind of accumulated stress. Yoga teaches belly breathing, a breathing pattern that is known to elicit the ‘relaxation response’. Yoga also teaches mindfulness and thought discipline, so that we are less likely to ‘freak out’ when things don’t go our way. Once people master these techniques on the mat, they often find it easier to use them off the mat, and in their relationships.

6. Romp in the Bedroom – Increased tone, fitness, and flexibility are all great things for your sex life. Beyond that, participating in a regular yoga practice is bound to improve your body image and body awareness, which leads to freer expression.

7. Get Healthy– a regular fitness program, including yoga and meditation, is widely claimed to benefit emotional health, blood pressure, diabetes, anxiety, depression, stress, insomnia and many other illness. Enjoy a healthy life together.

If you would like to try yoga as a couple you are welcome to try free yoga on the beach in Naples, Florida.

What do you think when you hear the phrase ‘proper alignment’ or ‘good posture’? If you’re like some people, visions of an eager solider standing stiffly at attention may come to mind. Or perhaps,a delicate young lady carefully balancing a book on her head? This is NOT what we mean by proper alignment.

Proper alignment involves more than standing erect or body position. In this article we discuss three components to proper alignment that work together to form a balanced, properly aligned yoga practice.

Breath Alignment
Breathing is the foundation of every hatha yoga practice. It’s important that you align your breath with the movements, or flow, of your yoga practice. While breathing techniques and patterns may vary according to the style and goals of your yoga practice, there area few general guidelines for basic yoga breathing

1. Inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth.

2. When you inhale your belly should expand like a balloon (get bigger, stick out)

3. When you exhale your belly should get smaller, as your navel falls toward your spine.
Ideally your exhale should be as long or longer than your inhale.

4. Inhale as you stretch, lengthen or open the body.

5. Exhale as you relax into a pose or close the body.

Attitude Alignment
There is no room for competition, criticism or self judgment in your yoga practice. When you come to the mat, align your attitude so that you are working with your body, not against it. Give your body permission to move forward, rather than forcing or commanding it to perform. If your attitude starts to stray, here are a few tricks you can use.

Recognize and Relax
If you begin to compare yourself to a classmate or to the teacher, notice and label the behavior, “comparing”. Then give yourself permission to set that thought aside. You can use this same thing with ‘competitive thoughts’, ‘insecurity’, ‘pushing too hard’, etc.

Focus on Your Breath
If your mind just won’t stop, shift your focus to your breath. Count each inhale and exhale. Notice the way your belly expands as you inhale and the way it contracts when you exhale. Notice that the air is dry and cool as it enters your nostrils and warm and moist as it leaves. Notice whether your exhale is longer or shorter than your inhale. Focus on your breath, not on external thoughts.

Listen to Your Body
Ask your body what it needs and abide by that with joy and pride. Notice I said, ‘ask your body’, NOT your ego. Notice whether you are listening to your body or your ego.

Body Alignment
Proper body alignment of the bones, joints and muscles increases stability, while reducing the chances of injury. In Hatha Yoga it is far more important to use proper body alignment than it is to get into a pretzel pose. One of the biggest mistakes that beginners make is to try to do too much and push beyond their capabilities. The result is improper alignment and increased likelihood for injury. What proper body alignment entails depends entirely upon the pose and person involved. That said, here are a few general rules:

When lunging the knee should not extend past the toe.

Shoulders should always be back and down, never sink into your shoulders or scrunch them up by your ears, particularly in weight bearing postures like plank and chataranga.

Seated spinal twists and unsupported forward bends are not advised for those who suffer from Osteoporosis.

In most instances, keep the tailbone tucked.

Always talk to your doctor before beginning a yoga practice or any fitness program to find out if there are any other alignment issues that you need to be aware of. This is particulary important for pregnant women, sedentary individuals, obese people, or those recovering from injury.

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Monique Danielle's Other Sites

Fresh Air Fitness - weekly intentions, free yoga videos, more

Free Yoga Books - download free yoga books. These are FYI and not intended as medical advice or for religious purposes.

Yoga Posures - small, but well done how-to library of yoga postures.

Easy Flow Mediation - you can buy Monique's CD and read recent reviews from well known yogis, as well as from 'regular folks'.

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