Yoga Braids on my Magic Carpet Yoga Mat

7U6A9302Raise your hand if you have a yoga mat that you love? ( My hand is raised high. ) I have a beautiful Magic Carpet Yoga Mat that has helped me commit to carving out the time to do a little yoga once a week.

Some times, I do 5 of my favorite poses in 10 minutes and call it good. Other times, I flow through 45 minutes of deep stretching and holding poses as I try and keep my mind from wandering off my beautiful mat, to my nasty carpet that needs cleaning. Meet my mind, the constant monkey. I do what I can as far as trying to calm and soothe it but it is a constant journey.

Why am I telling you this? Because I love my yoga mat so much that I felt inspired to reach out to Sophie, the owner of Magic Carpet Yoga Mats and see how she felt about me featuring a mat in a blog post about yoga and braids. Thanks Sophie for obliging!

Why do I love my yoga mat so much? Because it is so lovely to behold that I feel invited to do yoga every time I look at it. And then, when I hop onto it, I feel supported and strong. And the moments I spend on my mat, though infrequent and hasty, hugely help me function better in life. Taking the time to stretch, breath, and bring awareness back into my physical body is necessary to my wellbeing, I am finding. And practicing things that engage both sides of my brain, as yoga does, brings focus and major mindfulness into my daily life.

Something else that I do to engage both sides is braid hair. Which is another reason why this post came about…….Because hair braiding can be a lovely practice which engages both sides of the brain, and is the perfect opportunity to work a little meditation practice into life.

Read here on the importance of synchronizing both sides of the brain with meditation.

Some feedback that I get very often when teaching people to braid is that it is hard on their body to sit still and keep their arms up, let alone coordinate their fingers behind their own head and stick to the braiding rhythm. That is so many things to do at once!

I tell every person who I teach how to braid this……For best results, think of your body positioning while you are braiding like a yoga posture. Body aligned, breath moving, mind focused, intuition strong. Close your eyes. Feel it in your body. Here. Let me show you what I mean.

Jules is going to demonstrate a braid, using the correct posture and breath that is used in her regular yoga practice. She sits in a grounded pose on the sacred space of her Magic Carpet yoga mat, and what better place to braid your hair than the place that you spend peaceful time integrating your body and mind in a yoga practice?7U6A9321

Begin by sitting cross legged, or on your knees if you prefer. Rest your hands on your abdomen and gently engage your abs, as you tilt your pelvis forwards a bit, rounding out your lower back without forcing it, grounding your tailbone and aligning your back. Feel the gentle strength in your belly. Take a few deep breaths into your abdomen.

Now roll your shoulders backwards, and around in slow circles, working out kinks and loosening them up. Roll them down your back, opening your chest. Let your arms hang loose at your sides. Roll your hands around at the wrist, working out the kinks. Roll your head from side to side, stopping and breathing through the tense areas.

Continue to breath. Bring this feeling of relaxed alignment into your braid practice, breathing into your arms and shoulders, keeping the energy flowing and allowing your hands and brain to speak to each other without the interruption of your tense physical body. NOW you are ready to braid your hair.


Yoga Braids7U6A9333

Begin by making a center part. Bring the hair from both sides of the part in front of your shoulders.7U6A9343

Now make a part that bisects your center part, going straight across the top of your head from one ear to the other. This will create 4 sections of hair.

Take the left front section and make a 3 strand braid with it. Secure the end with a clear elastic.  7U6A9361Repeat on the right front section.

Make a small french braid down one of your back sections. Hold it in place at the base with a hairclip while you do the other side. ( Are you still breathing and keeping your body in alignment? Take a minute to get back in position if you need to)7U6A9420

 

Now pull the front braid from the opposite side across the back of the head and braid it right into your french braid, adding it to one of your 3 braid sections, and braiding all the way to the ends of the hair. Secure with an elastic. 7U6A9428

Repeat on the other side, criss crossing your braids7U6A9436 and integrating your braid into your french braid. Secure the ends, and take a second to appreciate what you just accomplished.

Consider yourself in great shape to strike up your usual asanas, hair braided and energy focused and contained within your body. Did you know that some cultures do not engage in ceremony without braids in their hair?

7U6A9638Here is a different Yoga Braid from that same sunny Sunday at the park. After our Yoga+Braids session, Jules played me a tune on her fiddle then we walked and got burritos down the street.

Thanks for reading, and a special thanks to Sophie from Magic Carpet Yoga Mats for sharing her beautiful mats with us.

If you enjoyed this post and are seeking more ways to be more mindful in creating rituals of self-care, I invite you to check out this post on the Ritual of Hairbrushing.

xo HTHG

 

 

Urban Foraging for Winter Hair: Solstice Braids, and a Small Ritual.

7U6A6388Welcoming the Winter Solstice calls for a special hairstyle adorned with winter plants. Today, as a part of our Urban Foraging for Winter Hairstyles series, we present Solstice Braids, adorned with black berries, pink daisies and ferns.

Before we begin the tutorial, here is a…

Small Solstice Ritual7U6A5331

Light a candle. Go outside. Ground yourself by standing on the earth, imagining roots growing from your feet into the ground and towards the earths molten center. Imagine white light and energy flowing from the core of the earth, up through your roots, your body, and out the top of your head.

Take a minute to cast a circle of protection around yourself, initiating your sacred space. Imagine a bubble that envelops the space around your body, where your energy and intention are sacred and contained.

Set an intention for the Winter. Mine is to be present and listen.

Call in the elements of each 4 directions, standing to face them as you welcome their offering. Face North to honor the Air we breath.  East to the Earth which sustains us, South to the Fire which warms and ignites, and West to the Water which soothes and carries us.

Take some breaths of air, as you feel the ground. Watch the flickering flame of your candle, and take a sip of water to encorporate the elements physically into your being.

NOW, do your hair;)

Solstice Braids

PicMonkey CollageFor this hairstyle, begin by sectioning off the top half of your head, and creating 3 braids, side by side. Secure the ends of each braid, and then spend a little time deconstructing them to add some bulk and texture.

Now, take your 2 outside braids, and criss-cross them over the center braid. Pin them into place from underneath, so that the pin is hiding!

Now, loose-ly braid your 3 braids together.

Secure them together with an elastic.

Now split the remaining hair into 3, the ends of your first braids in the center. Braid the braids into another braid. Secure the end.

Now, wind this braid into a nice tight bun at the base of your head. Make it off center if you want to. Tuck the ends underneath and out of site, and pin your bun securely into place.

Decorate your hairstyle with winter plants, and take some time today to welcome the winter and all it brings.

Thanks to My Enthios Ceremonial Arts for the photo and the Inspiration. Check them out to find out more about the earth-based services they offer.

xo, HTHG

 

Tribe de Mama Guestpost: Earth Medicine for your Hair and Skin

witchHello dears. I wanted to take a minute to share a post I wrote for Tribe de Mama, a wonderful conscious mothering magazine that I read and really love.

The post is about a lovely ritual to treat the hair and skin, inspired by the Nomadic Saamii tribes of Northern Europe who used the elements of the earth to heal and treat, combining generational plant wisdom and potent spirituality to craft their rituals.

I am really enjoying researching and learning about different self-care rituals from different cultures. I feel really strongly about the importance of self care, (especially for mamas!)  and creating our own self-care rituals with intention and mindfulness, giving heed to the healing powers of our natural world. I want our daughters to witness my journey and internalize the gift of caring for and honoring themselves.

I hope you enjoy this post:) I sure enjoyed writing it and performing it with my girls.

If you are a mama searching for a place to belong among other conscious mamas, I invite you to follow @tribedemama on Instagram, and subscribe to the mag.

xo, HTHG