You've just experienced the bandhas. True, there's far more practice, finesse and exploration to do, but it would be disappointing if 7,000 years of investigating the human body were completely revealed in a 30 second exercise. This is, of course, just the beginning.
In May's Yinyasative classes, we'll be using three different breathing techniques to connect to, engage and release and explore the usefulness of the bandhas. While pelvic floor connection and engagement does indeed have the benefits showcased on "The View," you now also see some of the more mundane, but at least as practically applicable benefits of exploring this connection.
We'll then take that sense of connection and apply it in a variety of postures to create experience and strength in the "true core."
Join us to be guided through a selection of some of these postures and techniques in every class (we'll get through this and more in the workshop on the 16th, with modifications available for all levels). Check out the small group class schedule and scroll down to register for your first free class!
50 children, 1 room and a yoga teacher. The best way to spend 2 hours I know.
I was honored to be asked to teach at the New Mexico Conference for Adoptive Families this year, during which families come to learn about conditions and techniques that can help them live in union with one another, with attention and care and joy. What better place for yoga?
Yoga helps people of every age learn to regulate their own minds, emotions and bodies and creates bonding like crazy - when you breathe together, everything begins to synch. So for our kids' classes we played with simple and powerful ways to release tension, cultivate focus, free the spine, lift spirits, soothe the mind and connect to ones who love us and whom we love.
Here are the poses we used - if you were part of this amazing event, you can use this to remind yourself and practice on your own. Come to class at OMA sometime! First class is always free, and you're guaranteed to leave feeling better than when you came.
February's YinYasaTive classes could be called "Heart Opening," for Valentine's Day, Heart Month and Candelmas (half way through winter!), but I wanted to focus specifically on the theme of "connection." Connection is the theme of this year's retreats because it is vital to integrity.
When we move from connection - as opposed to isolation - we move with both sensation and awareness of the body as a whole. Often we're moving with such focus on a body part or an idea that other body parts nearly go limp.
We're using the isometric pull back of the arms often used in Sphinx pose to activate many of the less sensed and often missing muscles of the torso this month. You can try it now in a modified Warrior I, or even Mountain.
Remember to always end with your restoration pose when you're practicing on your own! One of the most integrative experiences you can have. Leave a comment here if you use these ideas in your practice this month - you'll encourage others and create even more connection!
YinYasaTive Class Plan December 2014: Putting it all together, Strength and Openness in the Side Body
All physical practice of yoga is some flavor of Hatha yoga. Yin Yoga targets connective tissue and is done "cold" - without warming up, which engages muscles preferentially to connective tissue - so it comes first. In this class, after breath observation and alternate nostril breathing to sense into your body and switch gears from work, traffic and chores, we take two gentle twists slow, long with a cooling breath.
The central portion of practice is formed of linked postures, with or without Sun Salutations depending on the aim and level of the class. Linked postures are often referred to as "Vinyasa," which also means "to place in an intentional way." We focus on transitions between poses, not just being "in" a pose.
We conclude each class with Restorative postures and practices including Savasana, or final resting pose, and seated meditation depending on the aim and level of the class.
We're closing a 6 month cycle during which we've focused on the core catch, deep core, shoulder lines, front and back hips, back bends, forward bends and inversions. Focusing on postures that engage and open the side body - the sides of the rib cage, the arm pits and the soft space between the rib cage and pelvis called the "flank," as well as the often chronically tight IT (illio-tibial) band - requires sensing into, engaging and softening not only in the targeted area, but intense core engagement, heart opening (back bending + shoulder articulation) and hip engagement and awareness. We're putting it all together with this side body focussed class for the end of the year: fire up your inner bonfire and bring all the parts together for one last hurrah before we start the cycle again!
In our ongoing Wednesday "Hip Health: from Hip Pain to Living in Hip Harmony" Series, I thought we'd look at why a home yoga practice can be so healing for individuals with hip pain, injury, healing and recovery.
In Home Yoga Practice (HYP), you are the container for your practice. Which is both a philosophical and a practical advantage. You are the awareness in which your practice is held, so the practice is authentically your own and not a modification of your teacher's practice (which has its place as well). But you also get to choose: Is today a 15 minute Legs Up the Wall day to reduce inflammation and restore your inner cruise? Or is today one on which you want to explore new ways to step forward in Sun Salutations because the standard foot placement isn't working any longer? Is today a day for gentle Crow Walking and Toe Tapping, wrapped up with a Bridge before Savasana? Or do you want to explore range of motion with Figure 8s?
Whether you deal with hip pain, another locus of pain or simply want to explore your practice on your own, HYP offers you options to tailor your practice to your life that aren't possible in classes or even private lessons. As little as 5 minutes a day at first can radically change your quality of life, as well as of your yoga on and off the mat. Give it a try; comment below to share your experience and even request suggestions. See you on the mat!