BB: There are many yoga practices. Why do most include down dog?
Ami: Downward Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana in Sanskrit) is a very complete asana for the body and mind. This pose strengthens the arms and legs and stretches the spine, shoulders, hamstrings, calves, arches and hands. It aids digestion, calms the mind, relieves headache, insomnia and back pain. It’s a therapy for sinusitis, sciatica and high blood pressure. I am a big believer in inversions, which this pose is! Anytime your hips are higher than your heart, you are in an inversion. This is an instant facial with increased blood flow to the face. When in doubt, take Downward Facing Dog!
BB: When deep breathing why do we sometimes exhale from our mouth and other times from our nose?
Ami: Breathing out of the mouth relaxes the musculature of the face, neck and jaw. Breathing deeply in and out through the nose creates internal heat (also called “tapas” which means heat) and therefore burns out impurities in the body.
BB: When someone finds themselves in a high stress situation, what is your best advice for keeping your composure?
Ami: Close the eyes, relax the face, neck and jaw as you take a few deep inhales and exhales by the nose. This is incredibly grounding and can be done anywhere, anytime.
BB: As socially distancing proliferates, what do you suggest to balance the day?
Ami: A home yoga practice of a few sun salutations can take 5 minutes or if you have more time, try the standing series of the Ashtanga Primary Series, which takes about 20 minutes. Any movement you can take before filling the stomach with food helps your joints stay mobile and this can affect your mood and metabolism immensely. Some grounding breathwork before the yoga and some quiet minutes meditating can provide ease and balance to the day!
BB: If in isolation, what do you suggest as an everyday practice? What to avoid?
Ami: A few calming breaths, any length of yoga practice to keep your body energy flowing and to keep your immune system fully charged. Any length of quiet meditation simply in silence or using one of the many apps available.
I would avoid group classes right now even though they are at half capacity. There is so much available online for yoga right now. It’s a great time to take advantage of this!
BB: Is there a mantra for positivity? For good health?
Ami: “Aham Aarogyam” which translates to “I am healthy”
“Om Shanti, Shanti, Shanti” recited for peace and positivity
BB: Are there rituals for good luck? Safety? Compassion?
Ami: Burning Palo Santo to clear energy in a space.
Keeping crystals by your bedside to protect against bad energy from phones (which is probably on your nightstand), etc.
BB: What are you doing to boost your immune system?
- Hot lemon water with little Himalayan sea salt first thing in am
- Freshly grated ginger and fresh mint tisane
- A ginger, cayenne pepper lemon juice shot
- Freshly cut turmeric root in my indian dal
- Oregano Oil at the first feelings of any sickness
- My Turmeric Brew (my recipe found here)
- One or two whole cloves in hot water
BB: Any great book recommendations?