Dear Sweet Community,
How are you?
I wanted to check in and see how your yoga practice is feeling to you?
Over the 15 years I have been teaching yoga, people have shared with me their fears about starting a yoga practice or their longing for guidance in the practice they have. Some don't know how to start one, some feel intimidated to be in the classroom, and some want to practice at home but just don't know where to begin. I wonder if any of you are feeling this way? I care, and believe It is my job as a teacher and human being to make this practice accessible to you.
The tradition of yoga is to cultivate a self-guided practice. Meaning just you and the opportunity to ask "what do I need?" What does my body need today?
But how do I gain the confidence and familiarity with the poses to practice in a studio or at home? Right about now you are thinking....well, that feels really intimidating to me. I get it! I do! its not your forte. Computers are not mine. And whenever someone tells me to "just ___." with computers I feel paralyzed. So I call up the genius bar (I LOVE those people) at the local Mac Store and I get a little individual guidance.
Why don't you try working one on one? A private yoga session is like going to the genius bar. It's an opportunity to gain some individual instruction and tailor a practice that really suits your needs. This is one of the most powerful ways to build a practice. And I love doing them!
*Are an hour. Either in the studio or at your home.
*Address privately any questions you might have about yoga.
*Will discuss your injury and how to accommodate for it.
*Will be inclusive of any anxiety, stress or other emotional stressors that you would like to work with.
*Tailor an individual practice for you including your personal needs; meditation, physical strength, relaxation etc.
*Will feel yummy!!!
Because of my back ground as a somatic psychotherapist, I see these privates as holistic; together we develop a sustainable practice for you. One where you are really taken care of. After all, don't you deserve to be pampered? If you want to schedule a private with me (or simply say hi!) click here or call me at 805-450-4078.
Another way to feel more comfortable with a practice is to know the foundational poses. Please know that doing a few of the foundational poses is a yoga practice. Today I am going to talk about three different foundational poses that we did in my foundations class and highlight how they might develop into a self guided practice.
Alignment Tip of The week:
Think of the poses as having lineages. Once you know the "mother pose" or foundational pose, then, since they build on each other, you can choose where else you want to go in your practice. We will go over some of the alignment of these poses here, but I want to stress that each of our bodies are different. THANK GOODNESS!! So there is no "right" way to do the poses. Again, if you want more detail, join me in class or a private to really explore your pose and comfort in it.
The two mother poses I have chosen are Triangle (Trikonasana) and Warrior II (Virbhadrasana II). Both of these poses can be learned against the wall. You may use a block.
*Stand against the wall and step your feet two feet apart. Place the block between your right foot and the wall. Turn your right foot out so it is parallel to the wall and turn your left foot so it is perpendicular to, and with your heel against, the wall. If this hurts your knees bring your left foot a little away from the wall.
*Stand tall and press your whole torso and hips into the wall.
*Open your arms wide wrists in the same line as shoulders and begin to hinge at the hips towards the right foot.
*Press down through the left foot and micro bend in the right knee so you don't hyper extend in the knee. Lengthen the right ribcage as you come down.
*Rest your right hand on the block or your shin.
*Send the left arm straight to the sky and press it into the wall. Make sure your torso still makes contact with the wall. You should feel an amazing side stretch here. If you feel the stretch too much in the hamstring modify by pressing the torso into the wall and lift through the right quadricep. This is Triangle Pose. Take 5 breaths here breathing into the remarkable space you are creating in the left side seam of your body.
Then come back up to standing with your feet as they are. Again press your arms into the wall, and press your torso and hips into the wall.
*Now bend the right knee until it aligns with the right ankle. One rule of thumb when it comes to the body is that joints are stronger when they are stacked. So, in the mother poses, try practicing aligning the joints so in the more complicated poses, the joints are stacked and supportive. Once your joints are stacked, lift out of them by feeling your inner legs and core move up towards the sky.
But I digress....you are now in Warrior II!
*Make sure your right knee is pressing towards the wall behind it so you are opening this hip. If this creates a twerk in your knee then move your right foot away from the wall a bit (while some teachers will say the right heel should bisect the left foot, I believe it depends on your anatomy. We are after an opening in the hip, not a stress in the knee).
*To give you an example of how you can develop a practice from these mother poses; from your Warrior II, bend your right elbow and bring it to your right quadricep, or bring the hand to the block between the wall and your foot.
*Again, use the alignment tips from Triangle and Warrior II: press your torso, hips, right knee and left arm into the wall, press down through the left foot and energetically lift out of the right set of joints.
*Reach your left arm up and over towards the right with the palm face down, creating space for the shoulder blade. You are now in Parsvokonasana (Side Angle Pose).
By practicing the foundational poses, we start to learn to link poses together as they build on one another. Try incorporating these three poses into your daily life. Remind yourself that this is your practice, it is what you need and want. I am always here to support you in it!
I am SOOOOOOOOO excited! I will be coming to California!!!
THE MINDFUL PRACTICE
With Ariel Howland and Jason Leddington
A 3day/2night retreat: February 3rd-5th, 2017
Mayacamas Ranch, Calistoga, CA
Every year, after the holidays, do you crave some self care?
Simply put, self care and pampering is what this retreat is all about. Set in the extraordinary scenery of Mayacamas Ranch, nestled in the vineyards of Calistoga, join us on an oasis built just for you...
We will practice some yoga. Yoga which is meant to restore, and vinyasa classes to detox. (4 classes in total with Ariel). Each class will be unique; attending to your body, soul, and deepening your connection to the practice.
We will learn to meditate (2 sessions with Jason). Meditation is a tool for getting all blissed out and learning how to stay blissed out. Jason will be sharing with us tools specifically for stress reduction which you can take with you (*see below for Jason's bio).
We will eat REALLY, RIDICULOUSLY good food. We will chat and have a bonfire; we will build community.
You are welcome to enjoy free time; hiking, swimming in the pool or soaking in the hot tub, go local wine tasting or get a massage!! (because this is your oasis).
WE are so excited to bring you to this deeply calming place. We are equally as excited to attend to you and give you the space to to feel nourished.
Price of Admission:
- $850 Single
- $700 Double
- $550 Dorm (Yikes, sign up now these fill fast!)
TO REGISTER CLICK HERE.
(*Jason Leddington is a philosophy professor at Bucknell University where he incorporates mindfulness meditation into his classes. He has been studying and practicing meditation since 2004. He is currently doing his training in the Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction Method. )
The Blissful Practice: Yoga for Stress at Yoga Dear
Saturday, October 15, 2016 from 1:00 - 3:00 p.m.
Stress comes in all shapes and forms and is hard to shake. If you are a person who has stress, and want to find a more easeful way to coexist with it, know that you are not alone- there are many of us out there! This workshop is a place for us to come together and learn tools to move through states of stress and anxiety. We will use breathwork (pranayama), poses designed for concentration and relaxation, and meditation to undo deep patterns of holding in the body, which perpetuate states of stress. Students will be able to walk away from this workshop feeling deeply relaxed and nurtured. Sign me up! Right?
What students will gain:
- Pranayama practices designed for regulating the nervous system
- Mindfulness Meditation
- Somatic grounding techniques
- Visualization techniques used for regulating the nervous system
- Restorative sequences which also encourage regulation in the nervous system.
Students should walk away from the workshop feeling deeply relaxed and grounded in their bodies, and also feel empowered with easy, quick tools they can use when stress comes up in their daily lives.
See you on the mat,