A Gentle, Effective Yoga Warm Up

Yoga Warm Up with Devin Morgan

Many people underestimate the importance of properly warming up before beginning their Yoga Asana practice, on their own or in a class setting. Fortunately, most teachers incorporate a warm up routine into their class – a good reason to be on time so you don’t skip it (I’ll talk another time about the importance of not skipping the cool down at the end.) One of the worst cases of skipping the necessary warm up is on many yoga television shows where they jump right into full routines like Sun Salutation, including Cobra and Up-Dog back bends, without one lick of preparation. Be sure to read the post Yogis Beware – Take Care With Who’s Got Your Back! to find out more about why warming up the back muscles is so important. To show you  how to properly prepare for your yoga practice, we are providing you with a special warm up session video taught by yoga master-teacher, Devin Morgan of the Rishi Yoga Institute. Devin’s thorough and effective teaching style will carefully guide you through the warming up process so your body is warm, stretched and flexible before beginning your practice. This warm up routine is gentle enough for most yogis of all ages who are in relatively good health. Listen carefully to Devin’s instructions, following along with care and attention, and you will experience the full benefits of her guidance and wisdom. We hope to be able to share more instructional videos from Devin Morgan in the near future.

Breathe Deep – For Life’s Sake!

Lungs & Diaphragm

Breathing properly and fully is one the most powerful and effective ways to quickly improve your entire health – physical, mental and emotional! Yet, most of us pay no attention to the quality of our breathing. Instead, we sit hunched over at our computers or in our autos, constricting the vital flow of air into our lungs. When we were babies, we breathed naturally and fully, right from the first gasp that filled our lungs at the moment of our birth. Watch a baby breathing and you will see their belly rise and fall with every breath, as their lungs expand fully. But, on the long road of life, we become unconscious and habitual shallow breathers, barely filling even a third of our lungs’ capacity with life-giving air.

Every single cell in our body requires oxygen to function properly. Oxygen is essential to life itself. The main pathway for oxygen to enter our bodies is through our lungs – two large sacks that fill up most of our chest cavity. The lungs are not muscles and are unable to move on their own, but the chest is a closed cavity surrounding them. The size of the chest cavity can be changed by the flexing inward and outward of the flexible rib cage that surrounds it. Also, the chest cavity has a floor to it – a powerful muscle called the diaphragm which separates the chest cavity from the abdomen containing our stomach, liver, intestines and other organs. When the chest expands and the diaphragm pushes downward, Read more »

Dwelling On Past Lives or Living This Life, Here & Now

Past Lives Hypno

I read this funny question in an online forum the other  day. The person asked: “I was wondering how many other people were Cleopatra in a past life?” When people entertain the possibility of reincarnation and past lives, I am always amused by how many claim to have been various famous historic persons in their previous incarnations – sometimes resulting in way too many of them having been the same famous person. I know that there are many folks who poo-poo the notion of reincarnation as idiotic rubbish or dangerous spiritualistic belief, but I have always kept an open mind about it. The quality of spirit in many people I have met seems to be the result of much individual evolution and growth – more than one life can account for. And I am always especially surprised by young people who come into this life with such a strong inner sense of what they want to do and accomplish – as if they are just picking up from where they last left off. It dawns on me that genetics and behavioral conditioning cannot account for these currents that run so deep in their being, unfolding in this life with such unique patterns and well-defined intent.

I had the opportunity quite a few years ago to undergo several past life regressions under hypnosis. I am a perfect subject for hypnosis and undergo the induction process very easily, going quickly and deeply into the hypnotic state. I won’t spend any time telling the details of what I experienced, but I was truly amazed by the lucidness of these past lives I experienced and how connected they were to who I am in this life. Read more »

Yogis Beware – Take Care With Who’s Got Your Back!

The Back

I recently attended a yoga class where the peaceful serenity of doing our inversion poses of choice was suddenly shattered when a woman across the room from me erupted in a loud voice, “Ouch! My back!” The class leader went over to see what had happened. The woman was in deep pain and could not easily move, so she crouched in a slumped-over child’s pose as people tended to her injury. I don’t know what caused the woman’s injury, but in my mind, I heard the words of warning that my favorite yoga teacher, Devin Morgan (a true teacher’s teacher) has been implanting in my brain from the very first lessons I took from her years ago, – “Always be extremely careful with your back. Most back injuries in yoga happen when you are not properly warmed up, so if anyone ever instructs you to do any backward bending pose or advanced inversion pose when it is cold or you are not sufficiently warmed up, don’t do it!” Read more »

Vegetarian Sushi Bowl – Yum!

Sushi Bowl Photo by Amy Vig

My eldest daughter, Amy is a beautiful, smart and very talented natural chef and healthy eating advocate. She passionately believes that healthy, natural food that is nutritious and good for you, should also be appealing in flavor and presentation. She is always searching for or creating fantastic recipes using wholesome natural ingredients. She recently posted this recipe for a delicious Quick and Easy Sushi Bowl at her DeliciousByNature.com food blog. I know that a lot of people love the fresh flavor of Japanese sushi and I think that this vegetarian recipe is a delightful way to capture the fresh flavors and appeal of sushi in a quick-to-prepare dish that makes the perfect lunch or fast meal. I hope you will enjoy it and I look forward to many contributions from Amy to Gently Unfolding in the future. Now, I turn it over to Amy:

Quick and Easy Sushi Bowl

Adapted by Amy Vig (from a recipe by Mark Bittman)

Today, I want to share with you a quick and easy sushi bowl that will answer your “I don’t know what to eat today” questions.  It’s super nutritious; full of brown rice, veggies, seaweed, beans, and more.  And once you’ve made the components, it just takes a minute to throw together and Read more »

It Was Simply A Perfect Day

Carpinteria Sunset Photo by Rik Vig

How many times have you ever stopped in the afternoon or early evening, quietly reflected for a moment and given thanks for having been given a simply perfect day? The idea of calling any day “simply perfect” might seem downright weird for some folks. After all, what exactly defines a perfect day anyway? Is it when everything goes our way, just the way we wanted it to? Is it when nothing major goes wrong – is that even enough to qualify as perfect?  For most of us, few days in our life may ever have seemed to have been simply perfect. I know that there are many days in life that are so great that we will never forget them, like when we got our first car, or gained the attention of someone we were infatuated with, or accomplished some great goal, or on our wedding day, or the day when our child was born. Actually, some of those may have had their perfect moments, although the rest of the day may have been filled with busyness, tension and melodrama. But days where most of the day qualifies as simply perfect seem few and far between. Is that just the way life is, or is there something in how we approach each day that opens us up to the possibility of sensing it as simply perfect? In my opinion, perfect days probably come along when we least expect them – as long as we are open enough inside to the possibility that they can even happen. Read more »

Quick Life Changes Usually Pass Quickly

Theatre Marquee Sign illustration by Rik Vig

Looking back at my younger years, I cringe a bit to remember the times when I came upon some new (to me) philosophy or outlook on life – and how I would become instantly obsessed by this newfound truth, forsaking all previous personal world views. I pity those unfortunate souls who I would then evangelize to, outpouring in endless flow my newfound wisdom. It’s funny, but I can sort of remember the giddy sense of elation and euphoria I experienced at those times, but not much about the nature of the so-called enlightenment of the moment that initiated such dramatic change. Usually, all of this seeming consciousness expansion was sparked by a book I read, a lecture I attended, some spiritual teacher I listened to, or some spark of revelation that suddenly burst into my train of consciousness. Now, as I reflect on who I am and have become over the passing years, I begin to see that not all of the old ways of being that I thought I left behind have slipped away from me, nor did the bulk of these new and dramatic changes become any lasting part of who I am in the here and now. From this realization, I began to sense that the things that last must arrive more slowly, in small steps and in more subtle ways. This doesn’t mean that bold and upsetting, new ways of looking at the world can’t jar us from stasis and move us forward – it’s just to say that the most dramatic aspects of those bold moments of change may not be the most important stuff that becomes a real and permanent part of who we are.

I have often thought that this tendency to pursue dramatic self-change is not unlike the big marquee sign that stands in front of theaters. We have all driven by a movie theater and seen Read more »

Water – Essential to Your Health and Your Life


When you are thirsty, what is your first beverage of choice – an ice cold soda, fruit juice, iced tea or coffee – or a frosty mug of beer? What if I told you that not one of these choices will actually quench your thirst – or more importantly, your body’s inner thirst for what it truly needs? It’s true. As refreshing as any of these, or a myriad of other choices might seem at the moment, they all will actually fail to replenish what your cells are crying for most – pure, clean water. There is no debating that anything else quenches thirst as well as simple, pure, clean water.

Water is essential to life itself. Every cell, every tissue, every organ in your body requires water to perform their multitude of functions that keep you alive and healthy. And, yet, most of us walk around in a constant state of dehydration. How can we expect all of the functions necessary for optimum health to take place when we constantly compromise the body’s ability to do what it needs to do by not replenishing the one most common element essential to all life? Read more »

The Tennis Ball Massage Technique – A Cure for What Ails You

Tennis Balls Photo by Rik Vig

What if your doctor told you, “take two tennis balls and call me in the morning.” Well, for body aches and tension, two tennis balls might just be what the naturopathic doctor ordered. About a year ago, my wonderful yoga teacher, Devin Morgan introduced me to do-it-yourself Tennis Ball Massage. One day, everyone in our yoga class was handed two plain tennis balls – and then, much to our surprise, we proceeded to learn how to work out every ache and tense area in our bodies from head to toe. When we finished, my body felt as if it had just received a deep tissue massage. The beauty of this Tennis Ball Massage technique is that the equipment is very inexpensive and you can take it with you wherever you go. And the benefits are tremendous, releasing pockets of tension hidden deep in muscles or joints and improving blood circulation to all muscles and internal organs. So, if you are curious about what Tennis Ball Massage can do for you, go get two tennis balls (not golf balls, baseballs, croquet balls or any other type ball, but Tennis Balls) and let’s get down on the floor. Also, remember to do everything slowly and carefully, ceasing the instant you feel any unreasonable discomfort.

Read more »

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