Apr 26, 2012
Arm balances are all about finding that sweet spot. The place between the gentle smile of Fred Rogers and the menacing force of Darth Vader. (Roll with me here – it made total sense when I was planning this.)
Lucky for y’all, Sarah Starr has sent us this fantastic guest post. Even taking a few of her ideas can help you move from flop to fly as you play with arm balancing. Enjoy!
Understanding vs Force in Your Arm Balance
It’s perfectly natural to feel a bit anxious when your yoga practice enters arm balances. For one, it’s just not natural to use your hands to balance, and two, the odds of landing on your face are pretty good. Many times when it looks harder you may also tend to grip or force, which only creates more contraction and inflexibility.
Yes, arm balances do require a certain amount of effort and force, but they also require relaxed attention to detail and a willingness to play. I know for myself, it’s easy for frustration to set in. I’ve also found out the hard way, you don’t get better at these poses by forcing.
The key is to move from a space of ease and understanding rather than force. Arm balances can be a way to see yourself in a new light as you seek to understand the nature of your own being…
- What kind of mental response is your practice evoking? Are you aware of your tendencies to push through or back off, instead of just being with it?
- To navigate through difficult poses masterfully and gracefully, consider activating the part of you that looks forward to life, the eagerness, the “childlike” qualities we all possess.
- As you move through a challenging pose, do you allow your breath to help you maintain presence and clarity?
- Do you rush through difficult poses just to check them off your list of things to do?
- Can you be with the sensations in your body, attuning your awareness to the sensory nature in each moment?
- Are you invested in the outcome of your practice, caught up in striving and achieving? If I choose to respond through the ego in my practice, I will only struggle. I choose to remember that whatever I am experiencing right now I am also being given a chance to create something new.
- What does getting into an arm balance mean to you? Can you let go of any significance and simply enjoy the process?
- What would it feel like to be in total allowance of any emotion that arises?
As you pause, your body has time to understand and feel its relationship to the pose. Many times you also have to be willing to allow the confusion your body may experience.
Same goes in life. Have you ever hit your threshold in a stressful moment and try to power through rather than pause and reassess? When you pause, you can go deeper into and through it, creating a clearer understanding of yourself and how you relate to the world around you. Can you allow more space in your life? Can you allow others to be just as they are without judgement? Can you allow frustration to arise without judging yourself? Are you attached to your expectations of how life “should” be?
When you come to a crossroads, go to the part of you that looks at life with objectivity and clarity. In each moment, you have a choice as to how you respond. As you practice yoga, savor the joy and elation and allow that to simply be as well. Be with it all and let it go. If the yoga practice becomes a proving ground, it often brings more suffering. Cultivate letting go of all judgments – even if it’s incredible joy and excitement – allow it all to come and go. As you practice this deep surrender to all that is, you move into a state of oneness, allowing yourself to see that everything in your human experience will eventually fade away.
Thanks so much, Sarah! To take an online yoga class with Sarah, click here.
Apr 23, 2012
Do you jump up and run out of class before final relaxation? Do you skip it when you’re practicing at home? Do you sort of wonder what the point is, anyway?
YogaVibes partnering instructor Joan Hyman wants you to know – there’s a reason yoga classes include savasana! Read on to find out why. (Really. Do it. Now. I know you and your early leaving ways. I have my eye on you. Three minutes! Just give me three minutes! Come on, sweetness! Thank you.)
The Benefits of Savasana…
I get it. You are a Type A, on-the-go, two-page to-do list super-human kind of student. But give yourself a break and really explore the benefits of your practice; give yourself the gift of savasana. As a yoga teacher in Los Angeles it’s always a challenge to communicate to my students the benefits of savasana. A lot of people consider savasana a dispensable little nap after the physical exertion of their practice. I’ve seen more and more students leaving before savasana and complaining to me that they just don’t have the time. But you can make the time, even if you have to leave early.
Savasana is the completion of our yoga practice. More importantly, during this rest we allow our bodies to replenish while the nervous system moves into a parasympathetic state. This is otherwise known as the relaxation response, wherein your breathing slows, blood pressure lowers, and energy is drawn from the extremities of the body toward the vital organs. It is highly nourishing and regenerative and has a cumulative effect on your entire system, far more replenishing than normal sleep. How do we get there?
- Quiet your body by lying in a comfortable position on your back. If you experience discomfort, roll up a blanket and support the back of your head or place the roll under your knees to support your lower back. If your Type A brain is still ricocheting around the room, an eye pillow is beneficial to help quiet your mind and move inward. I certainly use one.
- Focus on your breath, feel the heaviness of your legs and the back of your body spreading on the floor. Let all that go and relax into a place of peace. You are in a super conscious state, experiencing the oneness of the mind and body.
Don’t beat yourself up if this is hard for you. Practice. Remember, it’s a posture just like any other! Practicing savasana will help you feel more connected to a quieter, more peaceful you!
Thanks so much, Joan! To practice with Joan, check out her online yoga classes on YogaVibes!
Apr 19, 2012
Get your mind out of the gutter. Not that kind of yoga. I mean sleepy time, wind down and relax. Or early morning, wake up and get going. That’s what I’m talkin’ ’bout.
I shall paint you a picture! It’s late at night and you’re lying in your egg-shaped pod bed, waves lapping gently in the background, and yet! You can’t slumber. Your mind, it whirls. Gently cast your thoughts back to the online yoga sequence you watched earlier today. Twist, sigh, stretch, settle. Sleep well, my pet, sleep well.
It’s morning. You wake to birdsong and sunbeams. You’re refreshed, ready to begin your exciting day! But your body runs a little behind your mind. You feel a touch…creaky. Never fear! Whip out your in-bed yoga sequence and rejoice as the physical you catches up to the advanced, awesome mental you! Stretch, twist, smile. It’s time to go get ‘em, tiger!
Okay, so maybe parts of my story don’t quite mesh up to your life. That doesn’t mean this new quick sequence from Sage Rountree doesn’t feel darn good and help you settle down or get going. It’s multipurpose! Yoga victory!
Give it a try! Let me know what you think. I’m pretty sure you’ll love it.
Apr 18, 2012
Has your week included something like this?
Or maybe this?
Perhaps you don’t have those sorts of issues, but you’re still feeling like this?
It’s true, I don’t know your life, but I can bet you need a break!
Allow yourself to surrender to your experience and trust the flow of your breath with Ashley Albrand’s new hip, psoas, and shoulder opening online yoga class. Postures such as baddha parshvakonasana (bound side angle pose) and supta virasana (reclining heroes pose) will open your channels and connect you to your highest. This stress releasing flow leads to hip-opening, arm balancing, and grasshopper pose. Enjoy music provided by Shaman’s Dream.
And, if nothing else, be glad you’re not being attacked by an angry panda.
I’ve got pandas on the brain…
Apr 17, 2012
Good morning, friends!
Have you heard of Teachasana yet? If you’re a yoga teacher, it’s a must-stop place for advice, insight, business tips, and inspiration. But even if you’re not a yoga teacher, you can still find loads of useful information that will deepen your practice (and give you a glimpse into what your teacher has on her mind!).
The brainchild of Anna at Curvy Yoga and Nancy at Flying Yogini, Teachasana is a gathering place for teachers to share their experiences, thoughts, and suggestions with other teachers. Have a question? You can submit it to their Dear Teachasana column and receive excellent advice from experienced teachers. Stuck on which modifications to use? Search through their archives for those things that slipped away after you completed your training. Wondering how to make yoga your full-time business? You’ll find great information to help you make your dream a reality. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg!
I’m thrilled to be posting today on Teachasana about how I’ve used online yoga to improve my teaching. I hope you’ll pop over and give it a read!
You’ll get to see my picture…
Apr 16, 2012
Core Fusion Boot Camp!
Get ready to sweat, tone, and tighten with this amazing new Core Fusion class, filmed at exhale Miami.
What is Core Fusion Boot Camp and how is it different from other Core Fusion classes? I’m glad you asked! (Because I know the answer!)
Exhale Core Fusion co-creators Elisabeth Halfpapp and Fred DeVito have crafted an entirely new approach to Core Fusion training, enhancing and accelerating the strength and flexibility benefits of traditional Core classes through the addition of multiple power moves. Class participants will recognize moves signature to both Core Fusion and the more recently released Core Fusion Yoga, Core Fusion Cardio, and Core Fusion Sport classes. Boot Camp integrates the use of core balls, weights, and a mat abdominal series with a new, highly-challenging cardio program. Jump-backs are just part of the cardio enhancement – expect your heart rate to be up throughout the hour-long workout as you burn calories at an unprecedented rate! Participants will experience body-shaping results – lean abs, sculpted legs, and high rounded butt – as well as an incredible boost in stamina through repeated class participation. This class is open to all levels and no experience is required. Socks are optional but not required. You will need light weights and a ball. Enjoy the live deejay in this high-energy class with Julie Wiesman.
Prepping this video for you, I could hardly stay in my chair – Julie’s energy is infectious! You’re gonna love this class!
Apr 13, 2012
Psst! She’s not real…
Have you heard the legends? The legends of the yoga butt? (Not to be confused with the legends of the Kung Fu Panda.)
What’s not to love?
I’m here to tell you, attaining yoga butt is not for the faint of heart.
Yet, if you’ve got those eyes-of-the-tiger intentions, we’re here for you with Core Fusion classes. Core Fusion blends the disciplines of core conditioning, Pilates, the Lotte Berk Method, interval cardio training, and yoga to deliver body results you never thought possible. Tuck these intense fusion workouts into your weekly regimen and get ready to see drastic results.
Already addicted to Core Fusion? Let us know! We’re adding new Core Fusion classes to our online videos rapidly, to satiate your need. We’d love to hear what you’re looking for!
Apr 12, 2012
Mamas to be, I must tell you an ugly truth. Some gals love to gestate, all rosy and happy and skipping, and others limp through those 10 (9 months is a lie!) months with gritting teeth, eyes on the prize, all wanna-be-a-mama resolve. But whatever your demeanor, for most of us, there are some…adjustments…to be made as a tiny human reorganizes our internal organs. Even though my baby makin’ days are over (by choice – 3′s a plenty!), I recall the aches and discomfort that accompanied the joyous journey of motherhood.
What helped? Yoga. And chocolate. And cupcakes. But I can’t give you chocolate and cupcakes, so here’s some great yoga for the back pain so often associated with incubating your fetal wonder.
In three minutes, Jenny Neuville’s free yoga sequence will have you sighing with joy, as the kinks of fecundity dissolve. Tuck this sequence into your free time (if this is your first, relish it!) for an immediate boost. Want more? Try Jenny’s full-length online yoga classes! And take heart. If you’re not glowing and bopping and dancing along, it’s worth it. Back ache and all.
Apr 9, 2012
Not that I ever do this, but I’ve heard that sometimes even adults go a little candy crazy around the holidays. And that Easter has the best candy. And that some folks emerged from the weekend feeling rather sluggish and girthier than they’d like.
That’s when it’s time to bring it on with a sweaty, creative, rock your socks off Vinyasa practice, and this class Kathleen Kastner Mortenson delivers! Kathleen guides you through a fun, energized sequence including arm balances, standing balances, and hip openers. You’ll emerge from this 75 minute online yoga class feeling clearer, stronger, leaner, and renewed.
And if you feel like you need a few Cadbury mini eggs to savor afterwards, it’s okay.
Apr 5, 2012
Keepin’ it real ~ Meredith and me practicing with YogaVibes at home
So here’s how it is ~ we had this idea for bringing yoga online and how we would use it if we could. But what we want might not be at all what you want, and therein we find a question. How do you use YogaVibes?
Are you a yoga teacher looking for inspiration?
Are you a student trying to fit in a yoga practice on the road/in off hours/at an affordable price?
Are you an athlete striving to improve your performance with yoga?
Are you a saucy blend with several reasons which bring you to online yoga?
Are you none of those and irritated at being overlooked?
Tell me! I yearn to know you.
If YogaVibes isn’t giving you the kick in the pants you need, we’re not doing our job, and we really want to do our job! Not to get all needy on you, but we’re pleasers, and we hope you like what we’re up to. If we’re not lighting your fire tell us what we can do better. Help us stay out of the corner, sniveling and groveling in a puddle of our own failure. Not to make you feel guilty or anything…
But seriously, we feel passionate about what we do and equally passionate about making it right for you. We really do listen to every comment, critique, accolade, and admonition and take them to heart and into action as we move forward. We hope you’ll make your voice heard so that we can provide you with just what you need.
Muchos besos, mi amor