Monday, December 19, 2011

ONE YOGA Dec. 19, 2011 Synopsis

December 19, 2011 ONE YOGA Class " Me and my Bolster"
Tonight's class focused primarily  on floor work utilizing the bolster to promote lumbar-sacral proper movement and stability!
I reintroduced the "Buddha's Breath", 4-7-8, while we sat in a comfortable seated position.
Then we worked supine, laying with the bolster running from Lumbar 5 through the thoracic vertebra up to the cervical spine. The sacral base was placed on the mat, thus the lumbar sacral junction was supported in its proper kyphotic curve.
Utilizing Rotatory stretches, we opened up the hips, shoulders, and lengthened the spine.  Interspersed with these stretches, we worked the core with spinal flexion - forward bends. 
Taking turns lying on each side, we explored side bending stretches.  Then, we lay on our bellies, pelvis on the mat, chest and abdomen on the bolster; in supported cobra.  Various cobra poses were explored deeply.
Prior to the final relaxation, we moved through a progression of bridge poses. 
The final relaxation explored the use of breath to revitalize the tissues of the body during inhalation and releasing tension, strain patterns, metabolic and inflammatory mediators. Deep repose was experienced by the class and restorative peace was shared throughout the room. 

Happy Holidays 2011. 

The final ONE YOGA Class of 2011 will be next week, Dec. 26, 2011

Monday, December 12, 2011

ONE YOGA Dec 12, 2011

Last week's blog seems to have vanished!
  I will keep it brief tonight, to confirm that it has been posted.  Have you felt like your life is at risk of going topsy turvy with the end of the year holiday activities and responsibilities?  Well to counterbalance that tonight, we went from floor to the wall tonight.  Imagine that the wall was the floor and then we moved through the evening  from that perspective.  Opening up the shoulders, upper extremities, and the neck, we did lots of rotatory stretches tonight, coupled with deep forward folds in a restorative fashion, holding the fold,  breathing and letting go. 
Deep final relaxation going deeper and exploring harmony, balance, and repose.
Best wishes to you and stay healthy!
Yusuf Quddus Erskine DO

Monday, December 5, 2011

Dec 5, 2011 SUPIINE YOGA CLASS -ONE YOGA Greetings! 

Tonight, the first Monday of December, 2011, I focused on presenting a supine class of ONE YOGA. Lying on our backs, we worked progressively through hip and lumbar rotations, limbering our bodies from the tips of our toes to the tips of our fingers.  Building on our previous stretch, we progressively unfolded our bodies, utilizing restorative holdings of the postures as we breath, deeply, and rhythmically.  Interspersed, we incorporated flexion and extension poses as appropriate.

But first, we started with a presentation/ sharing on the "Buddha's Breath", otherwise known as the 4-7-8 breath.  Intended to restore balance to the autonomic nervous system, by dampening the overstimulated sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight response) and promoting the parasympathetic nervous system (the mellow state promoting metabolic health).  
Buddha's Breath Instructions
-Inhale through the nostrils to a count of 4.
-Hold the breath through a count of 7, ideally with the tongue resting on the palate just behind the front teeth. 
-Exhale through your open rounded mouth, through a count of 8. 
- Repeat the sequence for 4 breaths.

You may repeat the sequence initially, up to four times a day. 
Ideal to calm the mind before going to sleep, or if you wake up in the middle of the night.  Also to calm yourself before a stressful activity.

More information on the Buddha's Breath is available in the book, Buddha's Brain: The Practical Neuroscience of Happiness, Love, and Wisdom by Rick Hanson.  

Good Health!

Yusuf Quddus Erskine DO

Monday, November 28, 2011

Nov 28, 2011 final 2011ONE YOGA Series Class 1/5

Great Class this evening!  Tonight's class was mostly a standing pose series.  Yet, not one based on the Sun Salutation! 

After taking a few moments, to explore personally our intentions for this class series, we began on our feet, focusing on grounding our feet and feeling how our bodies adapt to changes; whether we carry ourselves in front of or behind the axis of gravity.  Working with standing stretching poses, we explored elongating our bodies and focusing on Side Bending as a primary mechanism for unwinding and opening our bodies.

Alternating between broad side bending stretches and localized side bending, we peeled away fascial restrictions experiencing progressive releases.  At appropriate intervals, we switched into rotational stretches, before re-approaching the side bending releases.

Deep forward folds and progressive backward bending poses were explored and held ' in a restorative yogic approach', allowing the breath to open us up in concert with gravitational support. 

Then, down to our mats for unwinding cobras and pigeon poses; cat tilt, pelvic tilt and table pose transitions; and backward leg raises!

Deep restorative relaxation time capped the evening!

There are still 4 Monday classes left in 2011. 

Come share with us, as we move forward in our common goals of getting healthier and more flexible.

Yusuf Quddus Erskine DO

Monday, November 21, 2011


Tonight was the last class of the current eight week series, as the end of 2011 rapidly approaches and as we prepare for 2012. The feedback i have received on my blogging to date has been positive, so I shall give a synopsis of tonight's class for your perusal. 

We started with our backs on our mats and our legs up the wall; as we stretched up and acclimated, we brought our seats closer to the wall, with our feet forming a shelf on the wall.  We opened our hips and lumbar-sacral junctions with progressive stretches, following the general principle of alternating sides and enhancing symmetry.

For example, one straight leg toward the floor while the other straight leg remains at the perpendicular.  Holding the pose, breathing, and exploring openness!  Repeating on the other side; stretch, hold breathe and return to center. 
Then, mid-line stretch, bending the knees and bringing the bottom of our feet to the wall surface, breathing, and returning the sacrum slowly to the mat.  Repeating a few times to open up the lumbar-sacral area. 

Building on this series, we then bent the left leg at the knee and placed the left ankle on the right thigh toward the groin.  From this figure four pose, we drew the legs to the left until the left knee reaches the floor and holding the pose we turned the head to look at the right hand stretched out at shoulder distance from the wall.  Breathe, hold the pose and release tension from your bodies!  Next, we took the figure four configuration and shifted everything towards the right side, with the right leg at or near the floor to our right, the left knee toward the wall, and the head looking toward the left arm stretched out at shoulder level from the wall.   This was repeated turning toward the other side.  

Returning again to mid-line, we raised our seats again, this time letting the calves become parallel to the floor, and allowing the mid spine below the scapulae to be rolled on the mat.  SLOWLY, returning to the floor bringing the sacrum to rest, resting and then repeating the lifts again, several times, with attentive listening to our bodies as we promoted spinal flexibility . 

Turning the bottom of our feet towards each other, we began to draw the feet down the wall towards the groin, keeping the knees wide; breathing, releasing, and raising the forehead towards the wall on the exhales and rolling back down to the mat on the inhalations.  

Well, we progressed with side bending stretches with rotations to each side, and alternating the rotation of the knees, via various placements of the feet relative to the wall and the floor.  

We explored the plough, and the bridge and some of us experienced Chakradassana!  (the wheel pose)
I like to share inversions as part of the last class of a series, so keeping in that tradition we progressed into Shoulder stands.  We explored variations of the shoulder stand, with partial plough, and knees to forehead, feet to buttocks, raising and lowering the knees slowly and maintaining our balance.   No matter what level of openness, participants felt freer and more open and relaxed by this point. 

Before the final relaxation, I shared some Kundalini breathing work ( play!) practicing localization of our consciousness within the body and we moved slowly and rhythmically.  Using a metaphor of a elevator rising and lowering within a tall structure, such as the Eiffel Tower, we practiced localization and movement of our center of consciousness within our bodies.   Deepening this experience one step further, we drew our awareness to the spinal column within our spines and continued to work with breath, concentration, and visualization as we explored our individual ' Eiffel Towers'.  

Deliciously followed by a self guided final relaxation sequence- deep, conscious repose!

Join me for the last ONE YOGA series of 2011, starting next Monday evening for 5 weeks!
7:15 pm till 8:45pm, at Devi Yoga Center, Sebastopol, Ca. 

J Yusuf Quddus Erskine DO  

Happy Thanksgiving to each and every one of you!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween Evening 2011 ONE YOGA Class Synopsis

BOO! Happy Halloween to each of you!
We had a ‘scary’ yoga class tonight. Was it my costume, complete with Tutu and Pink wig? Perhaps, but also we explored various ‘scary’ poses/ asanas !
After a thorough warm-up including backward bending and forward folds; and side-bending and rotations....and delicious circling flows; we scared away sundry viruses with ferocious lion poses....(Simhasan).
We explored supported bridge poses, ankle-knee poses, and 5 point star.
For many yoga students, inversion poses bring up fear or scared of falling or injuring oneself. So we worked deeply into Headstand, supported with the wall and individually supported and fine-tuned by yours truly. We especially worked on slowly coming up into the headstand and coming down and out of the pose. The majority experienced personal breakthroughs with the pose!
Exploring the realm of pranayama, breath work and its powerful ability to shift our consciousness, we practiced the Buddha breath tonight...
Then, we closed with corpse pose, often referred to as the final relaxation pose. Unlike zombies, we practiced peaceful clarity and peace.
Hope to see you join us soon, Monday evenings, 7:15 pm.
Namaste, Yusuf Quddus Erskine DO

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Yoga Class 10-17-11


Tonight’s class of the Autumn Series 2011 began with an exploration of standing, stretching warm-ups.  Standing tall, upright, shoulders aligned over our hips, with arms raised toward the ceiling, we explored alternate side lengthening from heel to finger tips. Then, we incorporated cervical side-bending, with the tilting of our ears towards the ipsilateral (same) shoulder. 

Moving downward through our bodies, we opened our shoulders, with side-bending stretches, progressing into rotational stretches, and exploring ‘sunflower’ and ‘ inward spiral’ pinwheel-like motions.  Onwards we moved into Standing Warrior Pose, a variation similar to Cow Head Pose, followed by assorted hugging poses.  Lowering our reference point within our bodies, we explored further rotational turns, holding and breathing in the zone of thorough rotations. Then, folded forward in Padu Hasthasan (forward fold) exploring restorative release possibilities.  

Next, we explored the always - effective Soorya Namaskar or Sun Salutation, working the core 12 steps coordinated with balanced breathing!  I could be inspired to utilize a full hour within the full experience of the alternating unfolding of the forward and backward bends contained within the Sun Salutation. Tonight, we unwound our bodies via the Sun Salutation experiencing greater flexibility and less resistance to deeper stretching. 

Continuing with the general vertical inclination for the class, we then explored standing balance poses, including mountain pose and King’s Dancer Pose.

From vertical to horizontal, we came down closer to the earth, sitting on blocks and performing a core strengthening seated balance pose or two.

A leisurely final relaxation, on a balmy warm night in Sebastopol, wrapped up our third class of this series. 

Hope to see you soon if you missed tonight’s class!  Try making time for 15 minutes of yogic attunement by Friday of this week!

Best Wishes to each of you,

Yusuf Quddus Erskine DO 

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Constellation Workshop

SATURDAY, Nov. 12, 2011 AT 1:OO PM

Systemic Family Constellation Work is a therapeutic process that is based on the understanding that traumatic events from one's family lineage can be transferred into the next generations. Ancestral suffering can emerge in your life and may manifest through illness, addictions, eating disorders and/or destructive relationship patterns.

All members of a family system are deeply connected over many generations. This bond springs from a love that provides strength and a sense of belonging. The bond connects us to a family conscience that wants us to recognize all members of our family, including those who have been outcast, dishonored, or forgotten.

fn the constellation process, the unconscious bonding of a person to lineage-related traumatic events is re-enacted, qnd intentionally redirected.

This workshop explores the theoretical underpinnings of this work which is used extensively throughout Europe in psychotheropeutic ond medical settings. The work was first developed in Germany by Bert Hellinger, a psychoanalyst and family therapist.

Family Constellation Work helps you to:
. Make systemic entanglements conscious.
. Honor your ancestors and give them their rightful place.
. Unburden your current family system and yourself.
. Access the remembered love for healing and integration.

Sponsor: J. Yusuf Q. Erskine DO Family Wellness Medical Center.

Facilitator: Anneke Hogeland has been a psychotherapist since 1990 and a
homeopoth since 1996. fn her practice she combines her knowledge of
psychology, hypnosis, homeopathy, family constellation work, ond various
forms of energy psychology techniques.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Autumn ONE YOGA Series


Tonight, the second class of the Autumn Series, I was inspired by the fact that it was Columbus Day.  I recalled that in the 1980’s there was an effort to redefine the day as Discoverer’s Day, to acknowledge all the brave explorers who reached the shores of North America inclusive of Christopher Columbus.   I decided to focus on the theme of Discovery and exploring internal yoga.  By this I mean, to explore the effects of our yoga on our internal environment, massaging the organs, the lymphatic's,and the circulatory system.  Starting at the top of our bodies, relying on asanas and appropriate stretches, we were promoting clearing of the sinuses, oral pharynx, the lymphatic’s, tonsils.

To help us develop a greater awareness of our interior, we used the Triangle breath, with its three phases, inhalation, hold, exhalation of equal durations. 

Moving downward, we progressed into appreciation of the lungs, heart, diaphragm, working from the midline and using primarily sidebending and rotational stretches and held poses such as Spinal Twists (ARDHA MATSENDRASAN).  Continuing in our descent, we reclined on bolsters to promote the optimal lordotic curve to the lumbar sacral junction and opening our knees wide, we dropped into the pelvis, allowing the breath to invigorate the bladder, uterus/prostate, ovaries/ testes, distal colon and rectum. 

Removing the bolsters, we went into final relaxation- exploring repose!

Join us next week!


Yusuf Quddus Erskine DO 

Fall ONE YOGA Class Series!


Just a brief email invitation to you to join in the Fall ONE YOGA Class Series! 

Monday evenings:  7:15 pm - 8:45 pm at the Devi Yoga Center in Sebastopol. 

We had a great class tonight; the theme was fluidity, inspired by the light rain during the class!  We explored the Water Breath and used it as a template to move through opening stretches, hip and shoulder releases, moved into continuum work around the pigeon pose, and ended with a soothing relaxation ‘dive.’   

Perhaps due to the rain, limited marketing on my part, or whatever, the class size was smaller than optimal.

So I am sending this invitation to assure you’re welcome at the remaining 7 classes in the series. Best outcome comes with series participation but prior students are welcome to drop in! 


Yusuf Quddus Erskine DO