Monday, November 18, 2013

Three Ways To Invigorate Twists

There are many ways to twist.

I often see people perform twists in yoga by turning the chest in the direction they want to go and then getting leverage by by hooking or pressing or bind their arms in an attempt to pull themselves deeper into the posture.

If you twist this way you lose the potential benefit of active spinal movements and even risk hurting your back if you 'pull' yourself further than your spine can naturally go.

I use the principle of active spinal movements to twist.  First, it ensures I only moves as far as my body can go without external forces.  Second, by actively moving in a particular way it brings firmness to my belly without me having to think about tensing it, which helps to protect the spine.

Before performing any yoga pose it is important to lengthen your spine.  Melt the sitting bones down (see my earlier post) and then try the three tips I suggest below.  The video and these tips generally deal with postures that involve spinal twisting as their main component.  Of course, a posture can combine spinal twisting with spinal forward bending, side bending and/or back bending.

Remember, only do what is comfortable.  Practice safely and ask your teacher for guidance.  These posts are intended for my students who come to class and whom I can discuss these movements with.

1.  Turn From The Navel Up 
Move actively from the lower belly first.  Move the navel area of the spine towards the hip that you are trying to twist towards.  You should feel that the side of the belly between the navel and the hip you are turning towards becomes firm.  Some people find it hard to imagine moving this part of their body.  For those people it can sometimes help to imagine just trying to firm the side of the belly that you are trying to turn towards.   If you do this you should find that you have started to twist slightly.

Once the navel has turned, then try to turn the lower ribs as well.  Follow this with the chest and then the shoulders.  The idea is to turn from the bottom of the spine upwards.

Once you have actively moved the spine you should feel firm on the side of the belly that you are turning towards.  But firm in a way that you can still breathe into the belly.

2. Lengthen The Side Ribs/Waist
After performing the active twist you will probably find you need to lengthen the side ribs and waist of the side that you are turning towards.  Active spinal twisting tends to draw the lower ribs towards the hip (on the side you are turning towards).   If you bring your awareness to this area you might be able feel that the waist feels shorter or that you feel squashed on that side.

To resolve this (if it has happened) you can either think of lifting the lower ribs up if you are in an upright position or lengthening them away from the hip if your spine is parallel to the floor.  The idea is to maintain length.

Here I should make a special note that some postures (like parsvakonasana or parivrtta parsvakonasana) involve twisting and side bending.  In those cases one side waist will feel shorter than the other although neither should feel squashed.  The spine should never feel squashed.

3. Move The Hip
Twisting the spine also tends to cause the hips to turn with you.  When you turn to the right, the right hip will tend to also turn to the right so that it moves behind you (or above you if your spine is parallel to the floor).  I tend to allow a small movement of the hips when I am performing the active spinal twist and, when I have completed the spinal movement, I carefully adjust the hips.

In an upright position this means moving the hip of the side you are turning towards forwards.  If your spine is more parallel to the floor it generally means lifting the opposite hip, as I show in the video.

When you add this movement of the hip you will find that the belly on the side you are turning towards naturally becomes firmer.

Active movements are the safest movements for yoga postures.  Try not to lever yourself into twists and only ever bind the arms if the hands come together without strain.  Always lengthen the spine before twisting.  Move from the navel upwards, lengthen the side waists, and adjust the hips.  Feel natural firmness in the belly.  Relax, breathe, and be content!

I learned about active movements and free spines from my teachers Paddy McGrath and Yoga Synergy of Bondi Junction.  Please try to practice with them if you are ever in Sydney or Thailand!

Happy and safe practicing!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Saturday, November 9, 2013

A Way To Decompress The Lower Back

Having a free spine is always something I think of when practicing.  If you walk away from yoga class with a sore back then there is something about your practice that is not right.  It should not hurt to do yoga.

One of the most common actions I perform in my practice is to lengthen the lower back.  I do this by imagining that my sitting bones are melting down the back of my legs.  I like the idea and feeling of melting as it reminds me this is something done without force.  I once told a class to imagine their butt cheeks were like two scoops of ice cream atop a cone (their legs) and that the ice cream was dripping down the one (i.e., their legs).  A child, who happened to be in the class with her mother, whispered loudly, "My bottom is not an ice cream.'  Some visualisations are not for everyone I guess!

Anyway, the idea is to create some space in the lower back.  It is a small action done without strain or force.  If you overdo it, or misunderstand the movement as something more akin to what I call a pelvic tuck, then you might irritate nerves if you have an irritable nerve condition so be mindful and move slowly.  

I try to demonstrate the difference between the lengthening movement (melting) and the tuck in the video.  What you will notice is that no length is created in the lower back with just the tuck (the way I perform it in the video).  Whereas, when I melt the sitting bones down you will see that the space between my vertebrae is lengthened.

I use this melting of the sitting bones to prepare for standing poses, in my forward bends, and in my back bends.  It helps to prevent me from overarching the back or squashing it.  If you combine it with lifting the shoulders and arms overhead it will traction the whole spine.  

These videos are intended mainly for students who attend my classes as an aid to their practice and as a point of discussion.  Please be mindful if you are practicing any videos from any source without the guidance of an experienced teacher.  

Happy and safe practicing!

Friday, November 8, 2013

5 Minute Sequence To Release Neck & Shoulder Tension

I wanted to post a serious video.  A few seconds into recording my 2 year old niece walked in.  I think the video is much better with her in it.  You can watch me or you can watch her running around having fun.  She doesn't need to be told how to release her neck and shoulders as she spends her time running around and playing and we can all learn a lot from such unencumbered movement and joy.

For those of us who have become a bit gnarly with age, see if you can watch and listen to my instructions and move your shoulders and neck in freedom.

Remember, never force, tense less, stretch less, and move slowly.  If it does not feel good then it is not good.  Talk to me in class, by email, or otherwise discuss with your teacher if you need clarification.

Shoulder/Shoulder Blade Movements
This sequence gets us to move our shoulders and shoulder blades in four general directions (there are some other things going on but I won't complicate things).

High Shoulders
I ask us to move the shoulders up high.  To the ears if possible.  Some people are scared of this movement, believing their shoulders are already a bit high.  However, while most of us probably do hold our shoulders a little high and tense this is generally subconsciously.  That is, they are tensed without us realising it.  We rarely bring them up through the full range of movement.

The ability to move the shoulders up high is essential for some other yoga postures where the arms are raised overhead (e.g., warrior 1, handstand).

Being able to bring the shoulders up high also helps to traction (lengthen your spine), especially when combined with softening the sitting bones down.

Taking the shoulders high and holding for a time also gets us to move them through the full range of movement.  If you release the shoulders down after holding them high for a little time you will often find they relax down more.

Armpits down
I also ask us to move the armpits down towards the waist. Moving the armpits towards the waist firms the inner and outer armpit muscles.

It also causes the muscles on top of the shoulders to relax through a spinal reflex known as reciprocal inhibition.  This basically means that when I firm a particular set of muscles, the muscles that cause the opposite movement to occur will relax.  If you hold tension on top of your shoulders then this is a great little trick to do a few times a day.  Just don't overdo it. Do not firm to your full capacity.  Be relaxed and calm.

Shoulder blades forward
Pressing the shoulder blades forward helps strengthen muscles on the front and sides of the chest.  When held for a few breaths this can also cause relaxation of the muscles that squeeze the shoulder blades together.

Moving the shoulder blades forward also naturally causes the upper spine to bend forward.  Over the years I have found that a lot of people spend a good deal of time being too straight--with shoulders pulled back and chest puffed up.  If you ever get pain between the shoulders blades or tired between the shoulder blades after sitting for some time then moving the shoulder blades forward like this can help relieve the fatigue and/or tension.

I find that I need to be particularly mindful of head and neck position when I press my shoulder blades forward or I get a little tense around the throat.

Shoulder blades drawn back
Drawing the shoulder blades back is something most of us are familiar with.  Some people will find this really difficult if they habitually slump or have their shoulders rounded, however.

At a particular point in the sequence I bring my shoulder blades back, then I press my armpits down.  From there I interlace my hands behind my back as this is comfortable for me to do.  It might not be comfortable for you so you do not need to interlace the hands and you can just keep the shoulder blades back and down.  Remember do not force this action.  Do not force any action.

Holding the shoulder blades back together will cause the muscles that draw them forward to relax a little.

Head/Neck Movements
This sequence also has some combined head/neck movements.  Make these movements small.  So small it feels like your head is floating.  Do not move the head as much as it can move.  Be cautious and alert to any disturbing sensations.  Correct practice can help your neck problems (I have them myself--you might notice how asymmetrical my head is atop my shoulders) but incorrect practice can aggravate.

Throat lightly forward, chin lightly up
At certain points in the practice I do what looks like taking my head up or looking up.  However, this is two movements.  The first movement is me pushing my throat lightly forward.  The second movement is me taking my chin lightly up.

When performed correctly it should feel like the front of the neck is lengthening without squashing the back.

Chin to the middle of the throat
I also direct us to bring the chin to the middle of the throat.  That action is also two movements.  Here, the throat moves lightly backward and the chin moves down towards the middle of the throat.

When performed correctly it should feel like the back of the neck is lengthened without squashing the front.

Chin to the shoulder, ear tipped away
At certain times in the practice the head is facing in a different direction to the centre of the chest.  If this is the case, then I tip the chin in towards the shoulder that my head is closest to and I tip my ear away from that shoulder.  I do this in twisting and side bending.

When performed correctly it should feel like both sides of the neck is lengthened.

I pop on a good song and do this type of practice throughout the day, especially if I have been sitting down for a long time.  It helps bring circulation into the shoulders, upper back, and neck area as well as improving overall mobility.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

A Way To A Half Push Up

For those regularly reading this blog you will see that I have become a bit of an advocate for going half way.  The kneeling plank as opposed to the full plank, taking the arms part way up rather than all the way back, suggesting you do other things like forearm stands and down dogs instead of headstands for a while, and, now, the half push up as opposed to a full push up.

The thing about going half way is it is not necessarily easier.  Sometimes being at half way can be harder and than going all the way, just like doing preparatory poses can sometimes be harder than doing the full pose.

Before I launch into a description of this technique, I will start by reminding you that there are many ways to come into yoga postures.  This is the way that I am practicing.  It is always good to know why your teacher might be practicing in a certain way as opposed to another so here is why I practice this way.  If you practice differently then you also might like to ask yourself how and why it is different.

My main aim (physically) in doing this half push up is to build up strength in the upper arms, specifically the triceps.  Muscles crossing my wrists will get stronger doing this, as will muscles around the shoulder joint and the muscles of the abdomen.  You can strengthen those muscles in lots of other poses where the weight is through the arms (like plank, down dog) but this posture will ask a lot more of your triceps (muscles at the back of the upper arms).

The half push up also gets me to the floor for poses I do on my belly.  Performing it this way also lengthens the back of my body while firming the front, pushing blood and toxins from the abdominal organs and bring fresh blood and energy to the back of the body.

Coming into the posture
With these things in mind, to do a half push up you start with the kneeling plank.  Basically, the sitting bones move down and forwards, the ribs move to the back of the body, the arms push down into the floor, the armpits move towards the waist, the knees pull towards the chest, and the hands screw into the floor and claw it slightly.  Go over my previous posts on this posture if you are feeling unsure.

From the kneeling plank the idea is to maintain this structure and feeling in the spine but simply bend the elbows.

The elbows do not go anywhere, although they might feel like they are moving backwards and you can enhance this feeling by attempting to drag the armpits towards the waist.

Instead, what happens here is that the shoulders and chest move forwards.

It is important that the shoulders do not move into the ears so keep hugging the armpits back towards the waist.

It is important that the chest does not sag through the arms so keep pressing the ribs towards the spine.

It is important that the lower back does not sag so keep moving the sitting bones down and forwards.

The elbows stay close to the ribs rather than splaying out.  The hands keep screwing and clawing the floor (see my previous posts on using the hands).

And this is all made easier if you look towards your navel rather than have the head up.  If the head is up, push the throat forward and chin up

As you lower you want to try and keep the hips and shoulders level, or, at least, don't let one or other of the points sag.  They lower at the same rate.  You will see in the video that I don't even bend my elbows to 90 degrees.  That means my chest is still slightly higher than my hips, however, they are lowering at the same rate and there is no sagging.  If I lowered to 90 degrees of elbow flexion the shoulders and hips will be about the same height.

I don't actually lower to 90 degrees in the video.  I am not sure why I didn't demonstrate that to be honest!  However, it is not even necessary to lower that far in order to feel the work in the triceps.

What you do want to watch for is that you don't lower more than 90 degrees if you want a more effective activation and strengthening of the triceps.  As soon as the shoulders start to come below the elbows you will take the effort away.  Obviously, to come to the floor you would have to do that but if you intend to hold the pose then hold it either half way or with the elbows at a slightly obtuse angle.

Common Give Way Points
The most common 'give way' points that you need to watch for are:
1) The tendency for the chest to sag through the arms and a valley to form between the shoulder blades
2) The tendency for the lower back to sag and the butt to stick up
3) The tendency for the hips to come to the ground faster than the chest or, conversely
4) The tendency for the chest to come to the ground faster than the hips so the butt is left up in the air
5) The tendency for the shoulders to creep up around the ears
6) The tendency for the elbows to go out wide.

Basically, the half push up is a variation of the kneeling plank.  I recommend that you get a good kneeling plank going before holding the half push up.  I also recommend that even if you can do a full plank that, if you are not sure of your technique, that you do a push up on your knees rather than with the knees up.  That way you can move more slowly and mindfully and check you are not giving way at any of the points.

Remember, practice safely and if anything hurts then don't do it!

Spinal Bending Vs Bending From The Hip

Learning to differentiate movements of the hip from movements of the spine is one of the things that can lead to better spinal health.

In this post I want to talk about the difference between bending forward from the hips and bending forward from the spine and why you might choose one over the other.  These are things I learned from classes with Simon Borg Olivier I have been taking and you can link to the Yoga Synergy site at yoga

In my current series of classes there are many postures in which I direct students to bend from the navel level of the spine first (then the ribs, then the chest, collarbones, and shoulders).  This is something many people are not used to and so I wanted to demonstrate it here.

The thing about forward bending is you can bend forward from the spine or the hips or, usually, a combination of both.  

Because the hips are more mobile many people tend to bend forward from the hips and only try to move the spine when the pelvis won't move anymore.  This is often because the muscles on the backs of their legs are so stretched the pelvis will not move further, especially if the knees are kept straight.

What can end up happening is the backs of the legs stretch until the pelvis won't move any more and, in an effort to reach the floor or the toes, the spine starts rounding and stretching as well.

I am not one for too many rules in yoga.  I appreciate that I don't know everything, that there are many ways to do yoga, and that there is always the possibility that what I might suggest could work for 90% of people but might not work for the other 10% (our bodies are different after all).  

One of the rules I do stick to is do not stretch the hamstrings and the back of the spine at the same time unless directed to do so by your health professional.  That is, in yoga class, you do one or the other but not both. 

I have noticed over the years that many people are probably going to choose hamstrings in this scenario, perhaps because many of us believe stretching the hamstrings is good for us but have probably not thought about how stretching the spine might be even better for us.  

I am not denying hamstring flexibility is a good thing to have.  But, in the course of your life, spinal flexibility is much more important.  

Learning to mindfully move the vertebrae of the spine through their various possible movements (bending forward, backwards, to the side and twisting) helps improve the mobility of the spinal muscles and structures, the strength of these structures (when practiced actively rather than passively), and also helps to bring space between the vertebrae.

On a physiological level it can also improve the flow of blood, energy, and information through the spine and spinal nerves.

Learning to bend forward from the navel level of the spine  (with the sitting bones moving down and forward) will also firm the abdomen naturally (without you having to pull your belly in and therefore leaving you able to breathe into the belly).  It will compress the organs around the pelvis and abdomen--such as the digestive, reproductive and immune system organs.  This can help squeeze substances through/away from those organs (especially toxins) and, when the posture is released, allows for fresh blood to flow in.  

So, there are lot of benefits to learning to move the spine.  I only discuss forward bending here but there are, of course, benefits of moving the spine in other directions as well.  

The video shows how to bend forward from the spine in standing, a lunge, and in sitting.

Common to all of these postures is the suggestion that you bend your knees slightly.  How much you bend your knees depends on the posture and your own body state.  The act of bending the knees allows the spine to move more freely.  Remember, here I am emphasising that you do not want to feel the back of the spine stretching at the same time as the back of the legs so you will want to bend the knees.

Before moving forward, the spine is lengthened.  This action is really important.  It creates space between the intervertebral discs, which are often compressed and the source of back pain.

It might help you to think of these forward bends as back body lengtheners.  The idea is that you will be bending forward while lengthening the back without squashing the front.

To lengthen the back of the spine the sitting bones move down and forward and the top of the pelvis moves slightly back.  This serves to lengthen the lower back and to bring a natural firmness to the abdomen without you needing to tighten it.  This leaves you free to breathe into the abdomen, which will help you relax.   

It is important that you do not tuck or do too much or perform this (or any) action with too much force.  This is a melting feeling like wax dripping down the side of a candle or ice cream melting down the side of a cone.  Feel for softness and space and relaxation.  

To lengthen further, move the ribs back and up--a bit like being lifted by the scruff of your neck.  Free the neck and relax the face.  

With the spine lengthened the forward bend is initiated by pushing the navel and navel level of the spine forward before moving.  

Importantly, this action is performed without moving the top of the pelvis forward.  If the top of the pelvis moves forward then you are bending from your hips and not your spine. 

Once the navel has moved out, it moves forward and down.  Then the ribs move forwards and down.  By now you should feel that the centre of the belly has become firm without you needing to consciously tighten anything.  If you cannot feel the firmness come up and try again, perhaps moving more slowly and making sure you are moving the sitting bones down and forward and not letting the butt stick out and the lower back arch.  

Keep the forward and down movement moving up the spine, moving the chest  forwards and down, then the collarbones forwards and down then the shoulders and, if it feels ok, the head. If you are able, you would move one vertebra at a time.  That is hard and takes practice! 

What you need to watch for here is that the lower back does not move backwards or behind the top of the pelvis.  This will potentially cause discomfort-especially for people with low back pain due to disc problems or who have narrowing of the spaces between the vertebrae in that area.  

This tendency for the back to move backwards is more likely if you do not bend your knees enough, especially if you are on the floor.  It the movement is at all uncomfortable then don't do it.  Remember to move slowly and do no harm.   

These general ideas work whether in standing or sitting.  In sitting the knees probably need to bend more for most people.  Sitting and bending forward can be a dangerous movement for your spine if you cannot sit upright without feeling like you are tipping backwards.  In that case, you might opt to sit on a chair if you are going to practice spinal flexion.

If you are going to bend to the floor from standing you definitely will not reach it just by bending forward from the spine.  The spine does not really bend that much.

So, you will need to bend your hips, and perhaps, for most people, your knees as well.  Just don't lose the postural firmness that you have created as you involve the hips.

After folding forward, you can counter the lengthening of the back body you just performed (active and careful spinal flexion) by lengthening the front of the body (active and careful spinal extension or backbending).  I will write another post on that soon.    

And, not to worry, for those who want to lengthen the hamstrings I will write more on that later as well.

Learning these basic movements will help you cultivate the power you need for good arm balances and inversions like hornstand, handstand and headstand.

Happy and safe practicing to all.  Hope to see you soon!

A Way To Kneeling Plank That Creates Natural Firmness In The Belly So You Can Still Breathe Into It

Down dog, plank, crow and the forearm balance pincha mayurasana are all much the same pose.  The main difference is the angle of the arms relative to the torso and angle of the hips.  From my perspective, and current way of practicing, the spine stays much the same--long and free.  

In these poses, the abdomen is also made firm.  However, it is made firm by the posture not because you are 'sucking in'.  In this way of practicing there is no need to actively pull navel to spine and you can breathe into the belly.  It won't move too much because it has been made firm by the posture (if performed correctly) but the act of breathing into it will help give you power and relaxation.  Please link to Simon Borg Olivier's work on this matter if you are in doubt.  Also, watch Paddy McGrath as she practices (you can google them both).  You will see how long and free her spine is as she moves between postures like this.  

These issues--length and freedom in the spine along with firmness in the abdomen created by the posture--are important things to consider when 'looking' for a feeling in the postures I describe below.  

You will see that kneeling plank, when performed as described, is the foundation for all of the poses. 

You will see also that kneeling plank, when performed as described, is a fairly difficult pose.    

If you can manage a great kneeling plank, as described, then you will create firmness in your abdomen without needing to pull your belly in. The type of firmness that is combined with ease and will enable you to gracefully come into more challenging poses rather than rely on brute force.

You will cultivate strength, stability and openness around the shoulders without needing to lift weights.

You will find length and freedom in your spine without over mobilizing weak parts.

Here is how. Before you begin, revise my previous posts on using the hands as I will only highlight the main points.  Remember do not try anything that might make you uncomfortable. Move mindfully and back off if there is any discomfort.  This is a way to come into these poses.  I like them because they make me feel firm but free, strong, but relaxed. There are other ways.  Find what works for you.

***note that the 'ambient' noise in the background is because I didn't figure out how to get rid of the noise of the person boxing in the gym where I filmed this!

Kneeling Plank
Come onto the hands and knees. Middle fingers point straight ahead, hands a little wider than shoulders.  Claw the fingers as though making a fist. Squash the wrists towards one another, roll the underside of your arms towards your face. Elbows straight but not rigidly so.

Knees slightly behind hips. 

Breathe into the belly.  Let it bloat out like a baby's belly.  You will keep breathing into the belly throughout.

Scoop the sitting bones down and forward as though they are moving towards the wrists.  Lift the top of the pelvis towards the ceiling. The lower back should lengthen and now the belly will firm without you needing to think of actively tensing it.  

Breathe into the belly.

Child's Pose (Balasana)
Beware the tendency to just sag back and let the chest and lower back give way to gravity.  The chest still floats up, the sitting bones move towards the wrists.  

Press the armpits in the direction they face--now towards the floor. 

Feel as though you are pulling your knees towards your wrists.  

Push the ribs and chest up towards the ceiling.  The upper back will broaden.  Push the arms down into the floor to enhance this.

Lightly move the armpits in the direction they face--back towards the knees.

Relax the face and neck.

Breathe into the belly.
From kneeling plank you can move to balasana by shifting the whole torso and pelvis backwards towards the heels.  You don't have to sit on the heels.  

Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
Keep the actions you have been cultivating in kneeling plank and then child's pose.  The only thing that changes now is that the heels start to press backwards, as though to the floor.  They might not reach the floor. Who cares? It is not that important.  The legs might not straighten. Who cares? It is not important.

What is important is that the foundation you have set--ribs floating up with lower back long--is maintained.

To ensure you can do this, move slowly.  If you find yourself starting to sag in your spine then pause.  Back off until you are not sagging.  Stay there and be content with where you are. Let's use this pose to free and lengthen the spine rather than worry about straightening the legs.

Many people, if not mindful, will push their ribs through towards the floor. Perhaps because a lot of people are photographed doing it and because it feels more stretchy.  I am not saying it is bad to feel stretchy.  However, the action of pushing the chest through rather than lifting it up will teach you nothing about the more advanced arm balance poses.

Crow (Bakasana)
Bakasana is basically a variation of kneeling plank but with the knees on the arms.  The actions of pushing sitting bones to heels, pushing chest upwards, pulling the knees into the chest, and pressing the armpits in the direction in which they face.  

The main difference is that the knees actually move towards the chest rather then just feeling as though they are. 

Lift up on tiptoes, place the knees on the upper arms, keep trying to pull the knees up higher, push the sitting bones towards the heels, armpits to waist, chest to sky.  

You will feel when. You are ready as you will be able to shift your weight forwards and float up.

Forearm Stand (Pincha Mayurasana)
From down dog, lower to your allows, again without letting the chest or lower back sag. Sitting bones to heels, top of the pelvis back, ribs float towards spine. Head hangs down.  You should be able to see your navel.  If you ribs poke out or drop you will not be able to do this.

This pose is really tough.  Most of us just need to be content to stay here on our elbows for a while, navel gazing.  The most common things that happen here are that the chest sags, elbows splay, and shoulders start to drop into ears. 

If these things start to happen then try to rectify them and, if you cannot, go back to kneeling plank and down dog, every now and then coming back to Pincha Mayurasana to see if you can maintain the position without losing the foundations you have set.

The lower back is lengthened by moving the sitting bones down and forward towards the wrists, top of pelvis up to the sky.  

The middle and upper back are lengthened as the ribs and chest move back towards the spine or ceiling.

The armpits press in the direction they face.  

The posture creates firmness in the belly.  Don't try to pull it in.  Breathe into the belly.

Relax the neck and face.  

Be content.  

Remember, move slowly.  If anything does not feel good, back off or don't do it.  

May your practice be safe, peaceful, and happy.