marking3

Marking The Mat Workshop

New, fancy, expensive mats have been hitting the yoga market in the past year as yogis realize the importance of alignment in their yoga practice. These mats involve geometric patters with reference points for hands, feet, and even a line right down the center representing the spine. Investing in these mats is one option…taking the time to figure out your own measurements and make markings on your mats specific to your own body’s proportions is a better option if you are serious about making your yoga practice as safe as possible on your body.

Growing up I played various sports involving heavy upper body wear and tear such as softball, competitive cheerleading, gymnastics, swimming, etc. Going to yoga I always just “put up” with the tweak in my right shoulder and labeled it as a result of my sports history. It wasn’t until I went to a “marking the mat” workshop that I realized yoga should be the one practice to help restore my shoulder, not further irritate the muscles and tissues that were already inflamed.

marking2When going through and marking how far apart my hands should be from each other and how far apart they should be from my feet while in Down Dog, I no longer felt a tweak in my shoulder as I lowered into Chaturanga Dandasana. In fact, with my new markings specific to my shoulder and height proportions, I realized a minor misalignment that felt natural to my body as I had gone through years of practice with one hand slightly closer to the top of my mat in Down Dog. No wonder the irritation in my shoulder never healed itself with my 6 years of yoga!

Is there something in your body that is slightly irritated in the simplest of poses? Are you not sure what exactly your body is or should be doing in Down Dog and Chaturanga? Practicing yoga over time should realign and restore your body, not confuse or tweak it with improper hand and feet positioning.In the Marking Your Mat Workshop you will learn where to properly place your hands and feet based on your own unique body’s size and proportions for a more comfortable, efficient practice.

It’s a simple way to correct your alignment to ensure a safe practice specific to your body.

We will start with a midline, then measure, mark, and test out your newly useful mat or towel in a few simple flows. Come enjoy some refreshments and a beautiful day while learning more about your practice and proper alignment! marking1

Mark Your Mat is scheduled for Saturday, June 18th from 2:00-4:00pm. This will be an outdoor workshop with the location to be announced at a later date. Cost is $20 per person and includes food and drinks. You must supply your own mat or towel for marking.

Standard
download

Behind The Yoga Brand Name

Yoga brands are so much more than the tangible materials they manufacture. In fact, most have a powerful message they are trying to reach to yogis and non yogis across the world. I’ll share some insight on the message behind the brand name for companies who’s logos may seem familiar from our studio, and some to look out for while browsing the internet for new yoga attire. Everyone of these brands has already managed to inspired so many people, so we appreciate their efforts (and beautiful clothing lines!)


20150925_112018~2

If you’ve been to the studio in the past few months you may have noticed a huge change. We’ve managed to knock an entire wall down to make space for lounging before class– but mostly for more yoga attire. With in the store are brands such as your usual Lululemon, Manduka, Jade, Beyond Yoga…. and if that weren’t enough… there’s Spiritual Gangster, Onzie, Alo, 5Two3, Funky Yoga, Shakti, Mika. Why so many brands in one location? Because each brand has a message that continues to inspire us yogis with their vibrant prints and unique styles.

Here are a few of the positive messages from the companies that inspire the creation of yoga gear that keeps us practicing everyday:

hero-small

Beyond Yoga states “Beyond Yoga originated from Jodi Guber Brufsky’s commitment to supporting and inspiring women to live passionate, authentic lives, loving who they are inside and out.”

For those who are eco- conscious, Manduka has it covered stating “We are committed to eco-responsibility, and are mindful of every decision we make in the manufacturing process. We support fair labor practices and toxic-free emission facilities. Wherever possible, we use natural, recyclable, sustainable and/or biodegradable materials, and constantly search for new green technologies.”

Lululemon’s claim is

“Creating components for people to live longer, healthier, fun lives.”

Here are a few brands with a similar message and we appreciate spreading the idea of what yoga is truly about:

download

Karma Collective has a powerful message to spread based on the founders insights…”Karma Collective is more than just an apparel company, it is a brand that is founded upon giving back. The idea spawned during a 10-day silent meditation retreat in the rain forests of Hawaii. Cordia believes in following your heart, your dreams, and listening to your gut, and not letting fear or taking risks get in your way… or Karma Collective would not exist. Thanks to what she was feeling in her heart, she felt that she had to take action and turn Karma Collective into reality.”

logo

Cocoa Roc explains their inspiration for the brand saying it began “from the supreme pink lotus.  This sacred flower is celebrated and cherished throughout the world symbolizing creation, enlightenment and purity of spirit.” Arynn A. includes a quote to better understand the deeper meaning of her clothing line-

“Just like the lotus, we too have the ability to rise from the mud, bloom out of the darkness and radiate into the world.” -Author Unknown

Lilly Lotus is another under the radar clothing line inspired “by a passion for living colorfully, creatively and comfortably. We have a romance with life and think that everyday can be extraordinary.”

hero_725x405_5

Prana yoga wear strives to create options to make “something that reflects who you are, how you feel, and what you value most. There should be something that you can put on in the morning and confidently wear all day long. Something you can thrown in your bag and know will work for whatever your journey brings.” – a much appreciated approach for us active yogis.

These brands and their message full of good vibes is what keeps us coming to our mat day after day. We appreciate it! Keep pumping out those beautiful prints that make us feel on top of the world.

 

Standard
stock-footage-meditation-yoga-woman-meditating-at-beach-sunset-or-sunrise-relaxing-in-yoga-pose-serene-relaxed

What are you doing in the yoga room?

Before practice, us teachers attempt to present a reasoning behind connecting with the breath. We only have about 5 minutes max to accomplish this heavy loaded task while also fitting in good reasons to be in a hot studio trying to convince the clients they’re not crazy for trying this.. So, I thought i’d take some time and extend the reasoning here.

There are endless reasons to make it to your mat. Every day, the practice is different. Every practice changes from one to another as your body responds to the daily demands placed on it from the outside world. None the less we are able to set aside time to connect the mind to the body through our practice. However, we all reach that point by taking different paths to get there.

Coming to the studio, setting your mat down, and settling into child’s pose we find comfort and peace mentally and physically by connecting with our stillest selves. We can work on something specific to let go in the body here (muscle aches, tension) or something less tangible that is affecting our body (relationships, work). Coming to stillness we are able to practice bringing awareness to the true self in the present moment to let go of these external factors. We come to the present moment- the only place where life is happening- to let go.

The true self means dropping the “ego”. The true self is who we are without the labels. No identification, no associations outside the studio room matter. All that matters when practicing your yoga is the concentration on the mind fluctuations. We are better able to control the fluctuations of the mind by focusing attention on the breath rather than our thoughts.

It is almost impossible think about “nothing” as many yoga instructors may have mistakenly instructed to do. Our brain is active, live, and functioning. Thoughts will come. It is our job while practicing yoga to not identify with the thoughts as they may shift our perspective of the present moment. Become an observer of each thought. Do not attach, do not formulate an opinion on it, do not associate with it.  Instead, work to ease them away by shifting the attention back to the breath every time the mind is found wondering.

When the mind is still, connect with the sensations in the body. Bring awareness to the fingertips, the toes, areas often disregarded, and you will find steadiness of the mind. External factors discipate as you focus on how you physically feel. Spend mental energy in the yoga room on yourself (where no one can call you selfish!)

You bring awareness to the breath, to calm the body in the present moment, then move with that peace from pose to pose with grace, concentration, and acceptance. We begin practice stilling the mind to let go of that ego and practice our asanas (poses) with the true self. That is why yoga asana practice is a “moving meditation”.

Let’s be honest, however. Even though we made it to the studio (the hardest part of the practice) we fight the calmness our body is craving; We don’t want to let go of those to do lists. We want to mentally be stimulated by our environment to feed that ego. We want to be productive human beings.

“I must remember what errands have to get done today!”

“After practice, make sure you call that person back!”

We make it difficult to let go of how we identify ourselves…

“I need to wipe my sweat, fix my hair, and pull up my shorts before this next pose”

“If I lost five more pounds, I’d be better off”

“I deserve that bonus I got last week”

We sometimes judge others…

“I am more flexible than her”

“How dare they put their mat in front of mine…”

“They look better in that pose than I do”

We lose sight of what yoga is all about by allowing the brain to fire randomly- looking around in class, comparing yourself, judging your body or your neighbors practice. Without spending mental energy on the self, the stillness, acceptance, calmness, and non judgement we are teaching the brain to keep firing these unnecessary thoughts towards others and the self.

Yoga is not about aesthetics. It is not about flexibility, or how you look in a pose. Yoga is not about how may classes you can fit into your week. Yoga is not about simply loosening the body.

Yoga is about the journey in life you are on. How you approach anything in life is yoga. Yoga is about letting go of tension (physically, mentally, spiritually), and instead opening the mind and heart to everything the outside brings. By practicing yoga, you spend time with the true self and bring awareness of the steadiness of the breath. Let go of the small things by practicing letting go in the studio room with the poses.

Yoga is a way of life, not just a practiced routine.. To accept life with non attachment to material things, to practice non judgement towards the self or others, to drop the ego, and spend time with the breath in the present moment we gain awareness of our ability to create a bliss sensation in any circumstance. Bliss is defined as “a state of perfect happiness, typically so as to be oblivious of everything else, without effort”.

We soak up the peace we work hard to find within ourselves at the studio in our savasanas, and extend that peace to everything we encounter in our daily lives. Those little things seem smaller after realizing how good it feels to connect with your own energy that is relentlessly satisfied.

So we start class “simple and easy in child’s pose”. We start with pranayama breathing to connect the mind to the body, to let go of tension, and gain awareness of our energy in the present moment not attached to or judging a single thing,

We find bliss with in ourselves. We strengthen and lengthen the body and the mind by first, coming to stillness.

 

Standard

Alignment Clinic

So many poses, so little time! During our Sumits classes, we try to maintain a steady flow with our instruction from pose to pose. Sometimes, however, there is just not enough time to align each and every person correctly for every pose. By the time one small adjustment is made, it’s time to move onto the next pose. Here is where our alignment clinics can really benefit your yoga practice.

So what does these clinics entail? The alignment clinics are designed to review pose by pose the proper alignment and benefits of each asana (pose). We will use an instructor for demonstration, then break up into small groups- giving you the opportunity to ask specific questions based on your body by getting everyone in the pose and making the proper adjustments as needed per person. This is the change to get to know your body more specifically in each pose, and ask any questions you’ve ever wondered about the Sumits series.

IMG_20150513_134709-1024x1024

Simply going through the motions in our classes can yield results in bettering how you feel, but getting to know why and how each pose works with the body in the Sumits sequence can add major benefits to your practice. Get to know how to properly do each pose and expand awareness of your body working through poses in the Sumits sequence at our fun alignment clinics! Check this summer’s schedule or call for dates and more registration information!

Standard

Save The Wrist!

Focusing on Hasta (hand) bandhas (locks) can prevent wrist injury stemming from improper weight distribution in asanas such as downward dog, chaturanga, handstand inversions, arm balance inversions, and even table top.

The wrists and hands take on a lot of pressure from our bodies, literally. We spend a lot of time as yoga teachers instructing on feet position when we are standing on our feet. Our hands are no different. If we want to be able to strengthen to lengthen in inversions, we need to have an understanding where to distribute the heavy load our body is putting on our hands and wrists while going upside down.

THE WRISTS. The wrists are responsible for connecting the intricate bone structure of the hands to the forearms. The synovial joint is actually a collection of bones and joints to make up the wide range of motion the wrists are capable of. However, wrist flexibility and ROM is very commonly lost in those who pay little attention to the importance of getting them moving and loosened up before overworking them resulting in tight, aching ligaments in the complex make up of the structure. So, Stretch the wrists! Just like any other joint you want to wake up in the body, the wrist need loosening and warming up before shunting blood flow and pressure to them.

A key to taking pressure off of the wrists in poses is actually a strong core. Keeping the energy in the core of the body relieves stress and a little bit of pressure from the wrist and hands, making it a more manageable sensation to work past when moving your practice to the next level. Use the diagram below to practice where your weight is distributing when using your hands.

Screen-Shot-2015-07-08-at-8.22.21-PM

Circles= Where the most amount of pressure should be applied.

Diamonds= Where the second most amount of pressure should be applied.

Squares= Avoid collapsing weight into, use as breaks if needed.

Triangle: Create a suction cup sensation trying to lift this section of the hand.

 

Happy Handstanding!

Standard