Just a quick share… played with some arm balances the other day and this playlist helped set the mood…
It’s a bit untraditional and I don’t recommend it for a class or if you like to avoid expletives
Perhaps you will give these poses a go, as I did… Eka Pada Koundinyasana I & II
CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO “RAINY DAY PLAYLIST”
New Yoga Pants!
In February, Yoga Six held a 28-day Yoga Challenge. The challenge: take 28 classes in the 28 days of February. I did it! (…plus one!)
After 29 yoga practices, I’ve not only gained some muscle, I’ve also gained some insight.
My practice is variable from day to day.
Both physically and mentally, each time I came to my mat things were different. Some days, I was ready to move, others I wanted to stay in child’s pose for the whole hour. I experienced a similar phenomenon mentally. Peace of mind was easy to find in some instances, and sometimes my mind was all over the place. I learned to be kind and accepting of all qualities that manifested in my practice.
Practicing with others is where it’s at.
I especially enjoyed practicing alongside students who take my classes. It was refreshing to switch sides and be a part of the class. I think my students enjoyed seeing me in a new light, as one of them. We are always supporting each other, whether it’s as student and teacher or cheering one another on through 28 yoga classes.
Yoga is habit-forming.
After the first week, I was craving my yoga practice. It’s a snowball affect, a slippery slope. Once you start, you just can’t stop! Half the battle was getting to class, but I never regretted getting out of the house and heading to the studio.
I’m still growing.
After a month-long yoga binge, I aam feeling great physically and mentally. But, I’m not at the end. I’m just in another portion of my journey. I want to use this momentum to cultivate an at-home practice. This will be crucial for the days when I can’t make it to a class or the offerings are not what my body needs on that given day.
This challenge has set me up for my biggest challenge yet: INDIA!
I hope to share my experiences abroad here! Stay tuned!
If you’ve been practicing yoga for a while, you know your stuff. You know when the teacher is setting you up for bridge pose. You know when savasana is coming. You prepare. You predict. You settle in.
Sometimes, it’s hard to forget what it’s like to be a beginner, to be completely led by the teacher, to learn new things and move outside what you are comfortable with.
I was talking with a student after class the other day about what it’s like to come back to class after a few days (or weeks) off from practice. You can absolutely feel the physical challenge of it, but there’s more to it.
When you’ve stepped back, you’re able to come to the mat with a fresh perspective, you may have unlearned a few things. And, that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
Habits can be great. Habits can also hinder you.
How can you approach your yoga practice as a beginner, as someone who hasn’t picked up the habits of a practice yet?
What will you (re)learn?
You’ve probably heard this quotes before: ”Do one thing every day that scares you.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
I thought about this quote after a vinyasa practice the other day. What am I scared of in my practice? What poses do I shy away from? What are my tendencies in practice?
For me, I cringe at the thought of arm balances. In class, Stacy invited us to practice Parsva Bakasana
(see Mr. Iyengar below).
I HATE arm balances! They scare me. What if I fall on my face? What if I never get up?
But, I tried it, floated for about a fraction of a second, dropped down and then chilled in a twist.
And, it was fine.
What’s the big deal, really?
I’m afraid I won’t succeed…Of course, in hindsight, I know that avoiding things like arm balancing is the only way to ensure failure.
So, here’s to doing what scares you. And, below another thought to inspire your practice.
Practicing asanas can be challenging, and also rewarding.
Our accomplishments and the way we feel after an invigorating practice keep us coming back for more.
Many times, I’ve found myself getting into savasana after a home practice and only staying a brief time. (Class makes it easier to get in a good chunk of time in this restorative pose.)
It can be tempting to skimp on savasana.
That is why I am proposing a restorative practice.
Devote a practice entirely to savasana and similar relaxing poses.
Try it. And, let me know how you feel.
Supported Child’s Pose
Gather some blankets and/or pillows. Kneel and place blankets and pillows (or even a bolster if you have one) between your knees. Gently let your chest rest on top. Relax one side of the face onto the props. Let the hips relax. They do not need to touch the heels. Let the ams relax at your sides. Breathe.
You can also place a rolled blanket under the ankles or under the hips for more support.
Stay here 5 minutes. Switching the turn of your head so each has equal time.
What are you favorite ways to unwind?
Lately, I’ve been teaching some classes a bit differently. The class isn’t simply a flow of asanas for an hour. It’s like I’m teaching the postures the way I learned and practiced them during my teacher training.
We move through many poses as a typical class does. And, at some points, we stop and talk about things. I explain what we’re trying to accomplish and feel in a pose that day (as it corresponds with the rest of the class). Then, I let the class explore that pose. I offer instruction to get them to the other side in their own time…free time to play with a pose…
I’m getting positive feedback from these classes! People like the explanations and time to spend on their postures, with themselves.
I think it’s taught me and my students a great lesson: We are each our own best teacher.
When you start pulling upon what you’ve learned on your journey to date and can apply that to your current practice, you’ve made a great progression. You’re becoming a teacher!
I want to approach my teaching as if I’m teaching other teachers. We are, after all, the only teacher we will consistently have over this lifetime, and the only one truly invested in our learning and growth.
Just wanted to share my newly updated class schedule.
I’m excited to be teaching yoga all around St. Louis!
I am pushing myself to make another yoga video next week! I have a few ideas….any requests?
This week, I kept my students in their hip openers a bit longer. We focused on expanding up the spine, lengthening the sides of the body. It was nice to have some quiet in class, time to really take in a pose and spend some time with Self.
I’m thinking next week we’ll have to flow a bit more because it’s getting cold again around here!
It’s taken me a while to figure out what kind of music to play during my yoga classes. Some people love a good beat to practice to, while others prefer silence.
I like to have a little background noise in class because I think it makes people a little more comfortable moving around and making noise as they breath or find their poses. I change it up from more upbeat music with lyrics to slow and instrumental stuff, depending on the class time, theme and crowd.
Here are a few of my favorite compilations at the moment.
InnerVersions is a great mashup of classic yoga tunes with a modern beat. Take a listen HERE.
Yoga Lounge is another mashup-style album. Take a listen HERE.
I’ve had this album the longest (and actually rediscovered it the other day at one of the gyms I teach at…I thought it was lost forever!). It has a more worldly feel to it. Check it out HERE.
How do you feel about music in yoga class? What do you like to listen to? Or, do you prefer quiet?
P.S. Check out an at-home practice and playlist I posted a while back HERE!
P.P.S. Also, try out this gentle practice from the comfort of your own home!
I meant to share this before the New Year, but alas I’m a bit late…
In my classes last week, I tried to stress the idea of not only focusing on adding things to your life in the New Year. We tend to bombard ourselves with to-dos and goals each January, and I encouraged my students to approach this new start in a different way.
Instead of striving to do more, think about what you can leave behind. What can you do less of?
This notion can be applied to a yoga practice or real life.
In life and yoga, I know I can do without the complaining. What do I have to complain about, really?! Nothing…that’s what!
So, what are you going to leave in 2011?
Last Tuesday was a full moon. My friend Lisa and I joined 10 others at Pura Yoga to celebrate with a full moon meditation. The Kundalini meditation was led by Phoenix, a wonderful teacher. We sat in a circle, holding hands and repeated a simple chant, going around the circle taking turns with call and response.
I was nervous at first to sing the chant on my own. After the first round though, it was no biggie. It felt great to just let my voice out and hear everyone else join my in the prayer. The time flew by and I was able to totally withdraw from the external into a place of concentration, centererness (that’s a word…I swear…) and love.
After the meditation, we sat around a bit chatting, enjoying yoga tea (I die for that stuff) and treats! I couldn’t keep the smile off my face as I walked back to my car to head home. There’s just something about sharing an experience like meditation with others that creates such a powerful, lasting energy in me. I love it!
What are your thoughts on chanting? Have you tried it? Are you scared of it?
How do you practice meditation?