Re-post: "5 ways to forgo the benefits of yoga poses"

Must read article on common alignment mistakes in Yoga Asana! Sometimes when we try to hard to go 'deeper' in the pose we forgo proper alignment and put undue pressure on joints and ligaments that can lead to injury overtime.

"Release valve is an unfavorable pattern of movement that your body adopts to avoid working certain areas. It also means that you will miss out on all the benefits of the pose and reinforce existing movement patterns, even if they are not serving you. Release valves can show up for a number of reasons:

  • Stiffness and limited range of motion that prevents you from doing the full form of the pose
  • Excessive mobility that causes you to “collapse” into the posture
  • Lack of clarity about what the pose is supposed to accomplish
  • Improper training (stemming from the teacher’s misunderstanding or neglect)

Today we will discuss some of the most common release valves and what we can do to correct them."  


Practice What You Preach

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A notorious fault of those in the health services profession is the contradiction of passing out fantastic advice that the teller does not necessarily fully abide by. However honest and genuine the guidance, articulating it as a profession is one gift, yet abiding by it, knowing and having the strength to do it on your own will, is a whole other story. In a love to help others lead a happy healthy life, do we compromise our own authenticity by making claims of health and wellness that are not personally met? More often than not those passing out such fantastic advice struggle on their own to practice what they preach- I openly admit to falling under such circumstances, short of the beliefs and values that I openly share with students and fellow yogis.

I preach yoga. I practice yoga. Yet there are subtle concepts that I find myself reiterating and enforcing in class, as well as in personal settings, that I know myself to falter with.

The first process is awareness… which goes for everything I believe. Thus today’s blog I advise myself and others to put their own air mask on before putting it on the passenger next to them.

Falling

I like yoga to be fun, just like I like life to be; but the practice takes us deeper into understanding ourselves, towards acceptance, towards peace, and there can be a lot of layers of blarney to go through to get there.

So all this is leading up to a fall… Nearing the end of an intense vinyasa class, drenched in sweat, deep in breath, feeling focused and stoic, the instructor had us practice either headstand or handstand. The class was packed and I felt more comfortable with headstand in the middle of the room. Nearing the end of the inversion practice, I was taken by surprise when a hand-stander came crashing into me. I didn’t see it coming but the moment I felt the hit I said ‘Oh shit’ and fell backwards. Immediately I went into child’s pose and gave the concerned instructor a quick thumbs up. I knew I was fine and not hurt, but felt this intense heat come over me. My face felt flushed, ears burning and suddenly hot tears pouring down my face. At that moment I wanted so bad to be out of the class and in the security of my home with boyfriend and cat.

Why was I so upset? I was resisting something, I felt mad and ashamed…

Where’s my breath? Ok let’s start with that, find your breath: inhale-calm exhale-heat…inhale-acceptance exhale-nerves…ok I’m ready to come out of child and follow the class into some heart openers- ahhhh more tears!? ok I’m releasing something, keep breathing lets observe what comes up and try not to tell too many stories…

Tears, sweat, heat, I am soaked, feeling vulnerable, sad, scared, but I am ok, I can stay with my breath move along with the class, nurture myself in some tender forward folds, and watch the intensity fade along with the rest of my world, all the stories, fears, judgments into savasana.

I have a few new perspectives about falling.  Its not all fun and games. I had never fallen before in headstand, nor would I recommend it. It didn’t take me long to realize I wasn’t crying because I fell, it was what the fall meant. I was in a familiar yet risky place, totally confident and balanced in this space since I had been there a million times before, and suddenly life colliding into me unexpectedly and taking me down with it… A perfect parallel for the fears and tragedies that come with life that we must all at some point experience. Life knocking you over when you least expect it… when it happens how do we deal? And then how do we not anticipate and fear the worst when everything seems perfect? How do you love someone fully without clinging onto the fear of losing them?

What a challenge it is allowing yourself to sit and face the fears, experience all the feelings of sadness, anger, whatever comes up without running away. I think maybe the only way to get beyond the debilitating fear is to move right through it, not under it, over it, or around it, but to dive right into its center and breathe into it in order to move past it.

This time falling sucked, it wasn’t fun, but it was also a powerful experience; an opportunity to look into that “brutally honest mirror,” see both the light and the dark, have a chance to learn, grow, and maybe even overcome.

I guess the point of all this is I have an added perspective to falling: Facing your fears of falling can be incredibly freeing but can often be incredibly vulnerable, laughing and crying are equally appropriate.

 

Turning Inward

Each time I come to the mat it is a practice of turning inward and experiencing mySelf. I call this a practice because each time I start, I have to start from the beginning. My thoughts are on the stories of my day or what I have to do, my eyes wander to the people in the room; my mind is curious, distracted, thinking about asking my neighbor where she bought her super colorful yoga pants! Then the first step of the practice takes place, I become aware I am doing this, that I am focused on the external. At first it is a struggle to transition inward. I’m literally telling myself stop looking around, I try closing my eyes every now and then to help, I catch myself not in the breath and have to give myself constant reminders to breath deeply. At some point I don’t have to try so hard. The transition can happen at any point in the practice, sometimes the beginning, maybe once I’ve built up some heat, or sometimes not even until savasana. When the transition takes place I know it because suddenly I don’t have to try so hard, the yoga starts working- I’m in the breath instinctively, I’m paying attention to what I am doing but I don’t really hear what I am being told to do, I just absorb it. The people in the room are there, but I am no longer aware of them, my attention has drawn inward and my face is relaxed. 

At this point the next layer of challenge arises. As I am turning inward, my stories, my past, my future, start to bubble up in my consciousness. I’m taking a break from interacting with the external world, and suddenly my mind is facing mySelf. My mind is having trouble categorizing it, putting it on a list, fitting it into the boxes where my external world exists. Thus I start to tell myself stories, I explain to myself the emotions as if they were tangible; and just as before I become aware of what I am doing.Yet again, awareness initiates the process of letting go. " in order to be who you are, you must be willing to let go of who you think you are." (Michael Singer) 

Effort or effortless at times, it depends on what the situation is, what the practice is like for you personally. I believe that it is the stories we tell ourselves of who we are, of why we feel, of the should’s of the could’s, the attempt to define and judge ourselves, that always leaves us somewhat left astray and lost for the truth. The truth is we are not a story at all, we are more than that. We can leave impressions and be impressed on, but "you don't have a soul, you are a soul, you have a body." (C.S. Lewis) Yoga can be a practice of discovering this. For me it doesn't come naturally I have to practice it everyday. When it comes it comes, in flickers of tiny moments, that I can only recognize retrospectively. On rare occasions I am riding the wave; it is blissful, it is pure honesty and truth, it is what keeps me coming back to the mat.

Loving Your Body For Its Quirks

The very first night of the very first yoga teacher training that I ever attended started with a group of us sitting in a circle and sharing how we had come to yoga, what we loved about it, and why we wanted to take this training. We were a mixed group - some of us older, some very young; some fit and some with physical injuries and impairments, some had practiced for decades, others were relatively new. As we went around the room, it was awesome to hear from everyone about their experience with yoga, how it helped them, and why they wanted to go deeper in their learning.

Our teacher told us his goal for the training: he said that he wanted each of us to love our bodies by the end. I was a little confused by this - part of what I loved about yoga was its non-competitive nature, and I was looking for a real acceptance of bodies of all types. There were (and still are) definitely things I didn’t like about how my body looked. I thought he was talking about the transformation our bodies would undergo in those months of training, and that by the end we would all be fit yoga machines, ready to do any pose and look good in our yoga pants. I didn’t see it happening for me.

Like most people, I’ve struggled with body image.  As an adolescent, I was tall for my age and scrawny.  My knees were wider than my thighs, and I didn’t look right (this was before scrawny was fashionable!)  Even when I was an athlete and pretty fit, I didn’t look the way I thought I should look, and I really only saw the things I wanted to change.

Over time, I saw that what my teacher was talking about was something so much deeper, and so much more powerful than loving my body for how it looked. He was talking about real love; about loving my body because it’s my home, loving what it can do but more importantly, for what it cannot do.  Loving your body unconditionally is what he meant.  He meant loving your body even when it seems to ‘fail’ you.  Yoga gives me that.

I have struggled with poses, like everyone does. I have tight iliopsoas muscles.  I have a bubble butt, and it gets in the way!  I have worked and worked to do something that others seemed able to do effortlessly. My teacher taught that it is in those exact moments that you can really appreciate how amazing your body is, and it begins to feel like you, rather than just something you happen to be inside of.

A while ago, I injured my ankle pretty severely (not doing yoga, just walking around!)  I couldn’t practice yoga for a while, and when I could there were a lot of things that I couldn’t do.  It felt like a setback.  But what I’ve come to realize, through my practice and through teaching yoga, is that it was a time to get with it.  I needed to stop judging my practice by seeing what I could do - hold a headstand longer, get deeper in a backbend, whatever - and just let myself enjoy the feeling of my body moving, stretching, straining, in whichever way I could that day.

For me, this is the magic of yoga practice.  Those days when everything is stressful and rough, and you just want to skip practice and drink a bottle of wine - but you practice, and even if it still feels rough, and you still drink the wine after class, you’ve reminded yourself.  Your heart is still beating, your muscles are still working to move you around the world, your breath is still there.  Come to class when you feel like you don’t want to.  Come to class when you feel bloated, injured, tired, stiff, and cranky.  Even if you have a cranky yoga practice, it’s still reminding you to love your body. 

How to Flow

As we discussed in Yoga Lingo: Vinyasa, Vinyasa translates to flow, or breath- synchronized movement. In a yoga class it's a blast to flow, letting your breath move you from pose-to-pose. It warms you up, builds your energy, and can be a creative, stimulating, even an empowering experience. It's almost like a dance, linked to the breath, that can put you in a trance. But why do we do it? Yes, it warms the body in order to be prepared for deeper posture. However, we can warm ourselves in other ways: such as holding plank or boat pose, and even cranking the temperature of the room. So what is the deeper significance of Vinyasa?

Vinyasa has everything to do with transitions. It is the space in between that makes the flow happen. To parallel our practice on the mat to our lives, Vinyasa is how we get through our days, the transition from place-to-place, from work-to home-to the yoga studio. It is also the story of our lives and how we got where we are today through transitions, through doing, through movement. When told in a story it may seem seamless but in actuality there are still parts, challenging parts, and places where you took a pause and broke from the flow.

On the mat we practice how to properly transition from pose-to-pose while connected to the breath to prepare us for the flow of our lives. In the Vinyasa flow we do not move with the use of momentum. Doing so makes the movement messy, there is risk of injury, there is loss of breath, and there is loss of presence. When you skip or shorten the challenging parts, alignment is lost, the flow is broken, and there is less appreciation for the countering parts to that intensity. Sometime we must pause the flow to give our bodies rest and to reconnect. What we try to do is allow the breath to create the flow, so that each transition gets one full complete inhale or exhale. No shortcuts. We are attempting to articulate the movement with precision, thoughtfulness, and awareness. This way we can protect our bodies, become stronger, and create a deeper mind/body connection.

Thus, in the transitions we are more present. Rather than commuting to work distracted, (maybe at the same time trying to eat breakfast or dictate emails) we can instead make it a practice of presence. Sit comfortably behind the driver seat, feel your legs grounded, your back supported,  and focus on minting a relaxed breath. Avoid using momentum and flying past the uncomfortable parts. We can be present of the movement and chaos in the world around us while still maintaining connection to our bodies and breath. This helps us to keep calm, cool, and relaxed on the inside, while alert, and interactive to the outside. When we transition this way we create a balance between effort and ease, uninfluenced by stress. Practice Vinayasa properly on the mat so it can influence life off the mat.

 

 

Yoga Lingo: Vinyasa

Another common word you hear used in the physical practice is Vinyasa. Vinyasa roughly translates to flow or breath-synchronized movement. It is the breath that leads and creates the movement, taking our bodies from one pose to the next.

Vinyasa doesn’t simply refer to when we lower into chaturanga (push up pose, which can be modified with knees down) on an exhale, and proceed to lift up into urdhva mukha svanasana (upward facing dog) or bhujangasana (cobra pose) on an inhale. It refers to any time we transition from one posture to the next led by the breath; whether done in sun salutations (a sequence of posture done to warm the body from the inside out and prepare us for deeper poses), or simply the progression of class that systematically and appropriately takes us from one point and safely lands us to the next point.

The benefits of vinyasa are that physically it warms and re-energizes the body; while mentally, the synchronized breathing relaxes the mind.  The idea is that while flowing we find the peak of the pose at the peak of the breath, as well as the bottom of the pose at the bottom of the breath. First we must slow down and control the length of the breath so that within the duration of one inhalation or exhalation we can take our bodies from one pose to the next. Thus we can move with both precision and grace, eliminating strain and force. When vinyasa is done properly it perpetuates that balance between effort and ease that we aim to achieve in a yoga practice.

Challenge pose of the week: Ustrasana- Camel Pose!

Ustrasana is a very beneficial pose because it brings us out of our daily habitual posture of rounding the back and hunching over, and brings us into a posture of opening the front body as well as elongating the spine.

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This uplifting and energizing heart opener may look like a walk in the park, but in fact it is deceptively challenging when done with the proper alignment.

Since we are on our knees it is easy to overarch in the low back, which causes compression in the lower spine. Thus, the legs must be grounded so the extension and expansion is more focused on the mid and upper spine. We are resisting the pull of gravity as we arc backwards so the abdomen, pelvic floor, and hip flexors must be used to control and stabilize the pose in order to create an even and healthy arc in the spine. Meanwhile the muscles along the back are being strengthened to uplift the heart.

Come to class this week to learn more about the dynamics of this pose and try it out for yourself!

Yoga Lingo Cont'd: Asana and Pranayama

A Hatha class basically consists of two elements of yoga-Prana and Asana.

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Asana translates to posture or pose, so in a class when you hear the word bakasana it means crane pose; baka-crane, asana-pose. All Asana, no matter how basic or challenging, are simply designed as an experience for you body to breath in. The point is not to achieve the Asana but to explore it with your breath, while maintaining focus and attention to the body and to the breath. Therefore the depth of any pose is not measured in how far or deep you physically go, but rather your ability to breath freely and fully no matter where you end up.

Prana in yoga is referred to as the breath, and translates to life force (again, think Star Wars). Pranayama is the extension of life force (aka practicing breath). In a Hatha yoga class we practice the style of breath known as Ujjayi, which translates to victorious breath. This is a diaphragmatic breath, done with the lips closed breathing through the nose. Ujjayi breathing is commonly referred to as 'ocean breath'  since when practiced correctly, makes an ocean wave like sound (it has also been referred to as Dark Vader breath, however not as harsh.)  This breath is not to be practiced forcefully but rather with ease adding a light constriction in the back of the throat (glottis), to create and even rhythm. The breath warms the body from the inside, and cools the mind-as its sensation and sound are a focal point to draw your attention towards throughout a yoga practice.

Challenge Asana of the week: Bakasana

Yoga Instructor Kelsi Sando

Yoga Instructor Kelsi Sando

Bakasana, commonly referred to as crow pose actually translates to crane pose: baka-crana; asana-pose. In fact Crow is actually Kak in Sanskrit. So why do we always refer to this powerful asana as crow? A crane is so much more majestic! A crow sounds to me a little dark, even intimidating; a little more Halloween and a little less Grace. So lets call this pose Crane! And embrace its beauty and grace within the posture.

Bakasana is an arm-balance pose, where both knees nuzzle high up onto the triceps while the feet lift from the earth and come together behind you. The hands are firmly planted shoulder distance apart and you lean your weight forward with your heart to take flight. This pose involves a lot of core strength, but strength we all have, it is simply a matter of learning how to tap into this strength.

Thus we must come back to the Crane and learn to find that lightness and grace within the strength and energy of the pose. Instead of rounding the shoulders and looking down at the ground, which we are attempting to leave, reach forward with your heart, look forward, lean forward, and let the wings of the shoulder blades pull back. Change the perspective that you are carrying all the weight in your hands, focus instead on pressing the earth away from you, lifting from the pelvic floor and drawing the lower abdomen inwards. Challenge yourself from curling up into a tight protective ball and extend out in order to create that lift, lightness, and flight!

Yoga Lingo: Hatha Yoga

On our yoga level page, we refer to our classes as Hatha Yoga, which essentially means the physical practice of yoga. Hatha literally translates to force; though not force as in forcing your body into poses and movement, but rather force as in the power of physical movement  (or as I like to think of it- 'the force is with you young Skywalker.')  Hatha yoga can range from gentle movement and postures that are restorative in nature, to more energetic movement involving poses that utilize strength and flexibility. One of the earliest documentations is found in the Hatha Yoga Pradipika, composed by Swatmarama in the 15th Century CE, which describes Hatha as a system of preparatory stages of physical purification based on asanas (postures) and pranayama (breathing techniques) performed by the body in order to practice meditation. In a Hatha yoga class today, it is essentially the same, we practice postures and focus on the breath in order to cultivate presence and peace in the mind. 

Yoga Lingo Series: Namaste

Lets begin at the end.  During the closing of practice, you often hear the instructor say “Namaste”, followed by everyone bringing their palms together and bowing their heads. Do you join in? You are more than welcomed to of course, but if you are not comfortable no worries. Namaste derives from Sanskrit and literally translates to ‘bowing to you.’ This word is commonly used as a respectful form of greeting or goodbye (similar to Aloha). It is typically spoken and simultaneously performed with the palms touching gesture, but it may also be spoken without acting it out as well as performed wordlessly; all three carry the same meaning. Namaste does have a deeper spiritual significance, in that it recognizes the belief that the life force, the self, or any divine spirit, is within all of us. Thus we acknowledge this oneness with the meeting of the palms, we honor the light within the person we meet. (Many cultures have their own way of saying a similar thing, such as ‘peace be with you’, or even ‘may the force be with you’).


Bringing Mindfulness to the Office

Great blog post from our friends at Whole9life.com

Bringing Mindfulness to the Office

 

A Whole9 guest post by Mary Beth LaRue, who is a lover of avocados, homemade chai tea, hip hop and her lovable English bulldog, Rosy.

The transition from writing for the local newspaper, slinging drinks and riding my bike absolutely everywhere to sitting behind a desk nine hours a day was a tough one. I’d just graduated college and was headed to Washington DC to work for a prestigious travel magazine. I started to suffer from some major slumpage, pains in my low back and shoulders and definitely some ADD when it came to my internet browsing.

Through the practice of yoga I was able to shift this (for the two years that I lasted at a desk) and I became more aware and more mindful of how I was inhabiting my body and what was taking up my time while I was at work.

Here’s a few tips for you to do the same and bring mindfulness to the office – whether you are freelancing from your living room or at a desk for hours a day.

1) Start Your Day with Intention

Before you enter your office or saddle up to your desk, take a few minutes to create an intention for your day. This could be through a few sun salutations, some time on your meditation cushion or just a few deep breaths in the parking garage. Decide how you are going to show up for yourself and others. Choose to be creative or proactive, rather than reactive.

2)  Fold Forward

I used to close my office door and do a headstand or a downward facing dog for a minute or two several times a day. While I don’t suggest handstands during board meetings, just getting up and moving your body for even a few minutes can shift your entire perspective.

3) Stand tall

Find tadsana (mountain pose) and stand, or sit, tall. Amy Cuddy, a social psychologist at Harvard Business School, and her collaborator Dana Carney of Berkeley, ran an experiment in which people were directed to adopt either high-power or low-power poses for two minutes. Then they were asked if they wanted to gamble. Cuddy and Carney found that 86% of those who posed in the high-power position opted to gamble, while only 60% of the low-power posers felt comfortable taking a roll of the dice.

But even more interesting — there were physiological differences between the two groups, as shown by saliva samples. While high-power posers showed an 8% increase in testosterone, low-power posers had a 10% decrease in the hormone. Meanwhile, the inverse relationship happened with cortisol, the hormone related to stress. While high-power posers experienced a 25% decrease in cortisol levels, low-power posers had a 15% increase in their stress levels. (Source: http://blog.ted.com/2012/10/01/10-examples-of-how-power-posing-can-work-to-boost-your-confidence/)

 4) Get Outside

Park far from the office. Take your lunch break in a park. Go for a quick run or a brisk walk mid-day. Maybe even see if you can move an office meeting outdoors.

Try incorporating these ideas and let us know how it works for you. Even a few minutes of movement every hour throughout your day can make a difference. I’ve found nothing that can shift my mood more than some fresh air, blue skies and moving my body.

Mary Beth LaRue is a yoga teacher, life coach and the co-founder of Rock Your Bliss. She’s a lover of avocados, homemade chai tea and hip hop. She’s an Iowa girl living blissfully in Venice Beach with her husband and their lovable English bulldog, Rosy. Whether it’s through a sweaty yoga practice, a gratitude meditation, or a conversation over coffee about life goals, Mary Beth’s mission is to lead people toward their bliss.

Urdhva Dhanurasana

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Urdhva Dhanurasana is the Sanskrit name for upward facing bow pose.  This deep heart opener is uplifting, energizing, and challenging. But challenging postures are some of the greatest places to work on staying present in the mind and steady in the breath. The challenge isn’t necessarily the full depth of the pose but your ability to really focus and pay attention. Before attempting this posture it is best to set an intention not simply aim for the fullest expression at all costs, but rather to approach it progressively, focusing on breath and creating an even arc in the spine.

Urdhva Dhanurasana strengths muscles in the arms and legs as well as creates mobility in the upper back, all of which help give stability to the spine and improves posture. It is also a deep stretch for the front of your body that opens the chest and shoulders, and lengthens the hip flexors, increasing mobility. If you wish to learn more come take class with us this week! We will show you how to properly warm and prepare the body and the mind for this space, as well as offer modifications to either take it down a notch or even explore greater depths. 

Why Yoga is a Practice

A yoga class is different from any other kind of class, in that it aims for no results; there are no goals, no standards of measurement, no grades. We don’t do it to get anywhere other than here, present in the moment. 

The physical practice of yoga involves movement and holding poses, which incorporate both strength and flexibility. All of this is done while focusing on the breath. The breath is what guides the movement and holds us in each space, both body and mind. The breath is the bridge to mind/ body connection, and that connection is a practice of awareness - of our bodies, or just our surroundings.  That is what we mean by presence.

Presence is not a level we can achieve, but instead is something that must be worked at consistently. The more we practice the more often we will experience presence - awareness - in our lives; thus time we spend doing yoga on the mat is simply a practice.

We often hear claims that yoga can make you stronger or leaner, and in fact yoga can end up being a good work out since anytime we move our bodies and breathe deeply we are exercising. However this is an outcome of cultivating presence, not necessarily the purpose for which we practice. Sometimes the most transformative classes have minimal movement and are restorative in nature.

In a class we are practicing body awareness; when we are in tune with our bodies we tend to treat them better. We also practice focusing our minds on our bodies and our breath, giving our minds a chance to slow down. When our minds are calm, we tend to be less stressed in our bodies. Ultimately we cultivate balance, and when we are balanced we tend to live more intuitively; by doing so, we are making healthier choices.

The balance is not something to be accomplished, it is something to be maintained and practiced every day, and in every moment. This includes the moments when we sit at our desks at work, or deal with our loved ones, or handle traffic on our way to class. When we live our lives in balance, and in tune with our needs, positive results will follow. Yoga is the practice we do to prepare our bodies and our minds for the best outcome and complement our work in life.

When a writer has writer’s block, the way to break the block wouldn’t be to merely write more, or differently, or not at all. Overcoming the block means finding inspiration.  Inspiration comes through experience, experience becomes meaningful when we recognize it (which comes through being present), and presence is a practice.

Katelyn and Casey

Why do we take a nap at the end? Answers to your questions about about yoga etiquette

Why do we take a nap at the end?  Answers to your questions about about yoga etiquette

If you’re new to yoga, or just new to our studio (hey, everyone is new to our studio at the moment!), it can feel a little disconcerting if you don’t know the ropes.  Our goal is to have a place to practice together where everyone can feel comfortable, so here are a few tips that may help you to feel like a seasoned yogi in no time!

Do I have to take off my shoes?

Traditionally, yoga is practiced barefoot.  Practicing barefoot makes it easier for you to spread out your feet and build some strength and balance in the feet and ankles.  Since everyone is barefoot, we try to keep the floor clean, so we ask that you stay on or around the rugs while your shoes are on, and leave your shoes in the cubbies when you walk in to set up your mat to practice.  That being said, if you really feel you need shoes for some reason, talk to your instructor about it and practice in your shoes!

I’m not flexible - can I do yoga?  What do I need to do to prepare?

If you’re not flexible, then you are perfect for yoga!  Yoga practice helps us to build flexibility and strength - all of us are strong in some ways, flexible in some ways.  We’re here to help you increase your flexibility and your strength, so don’t let those imagined weaknesses hold you back.  You don’t need to do anything to prepare for class, although in general it is better not to practice yoga on a full stomach - so it is a good idea not to eat a big meal right before class.

What if I’m late?  What if I have to leave early?

Of course we would love it if everyone could come right on time and stay until the end, but that’s not always how our lives work out.  If you need to come into class late, by all means do!  But since you’ll be walking into a class that is already going, we’d ask that you try to be quiet as you take off shoes, grab your props, and find a place to lay out your mat.  If you know you’ll have to leave early, let your instructor know ahead of time so she or he can let you know when you should finish up your postures and settle down on the mat for Savasana.

About Savasana - why do we take a nap at the end?

The final pose of a yoga practice is called Savasana (Sha-vah-sah-na), which in Sanskrit means “corpse pose.”  It is an important part of the practice (some of us would say it’s the most important part of the asana practice!); it’s a time for your body to be still after all the stretching and breathing.  It’s almost like hitting a ‘reset’ button, and for a lot of us, it’s one of the few times in the day when we are still and quiet without sleeping (so, it’s not really supposed to be a nap!)  For that reason, if you need to leave early, you’ll want to take a couple of minutes to lie still before you leave.  And importantly, we ask that you not leave class once Savasana has begun, so that we can be still and quiet together.  Trust us, after the first couple of practices, Savasana will be your favorite pose!

If you have any questions about your class, or the poses, or just want to know why we do what we do in practice, ask your instructor!  We are all happy to share yoga with you, and are thrilled to answer any questions you have.

Casey and Katelyn

Four Ways Yoga Will Make You Happier

A Whole9 guest post from Mary Beth LaRue,  yoga teacher, life coach, and the co-founder of Rock Your Bliss. The first yoga class I ever attended was in my college town in Iowa. Somehow I happened on something called "classical yoga" where most donned a long white robe and spent the class singing in a language I did not recognize. There were no downward facing dogs for this eager eighteen year old. Needless to say I didn't find "my yoga" that day. I eventually happened upon a studio in …[Read more...]

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