YogaVibes

Raise Your Vibration

  • Saddle Pose with Jennifer Beyt Coffin

    This week’s Strike a Pose yoga video is brought to you by Jennifer Beyt Coffin of The Glowing Body yoga studio in Knoxville, TN. In this free online yoga video, Jennifer will walk you through Saddle Pose – a yin yoga posture resembling Supta Virasana (Relining Hero Pose).

    Saddle Pose

    Saddle Pose can be a tricky yin posture because it is a fairly deep backbend. In this pose, you will deliberately apply pressure to the lumbar spine, which, for some, may feel like murder. For folks suffering from lower back pain, SI joint pain, and/or flattening or degeneration of the lumbar spine, the full expression of Saddle Pose may be problematic.

    Fortunately, there are many pose alternatives and options you can explore in Saddle to reap the long-term benefits. In this online yoga video, Jennifer will run-through these variations, which rely on the usage and support of bolsters, blankets, and blocks. So, make sure you have these handy before you begin your exploration.

    When you determine your edge and settle in, this pose can feel oh-so-delicious. As a total front body stretch, this pose is super beneficial to athletes and people who do lots of standing or walking. Connective tissue stimulation is felt in front body. The quads and hip flexors will be stretched. Pressure stimulation around the SI joints will create a deep opening in the lumbar-sacral arch of the spine. Sweet, sweet expansion!

    But remember: If the knees, ankles, SI joints, or lower spine protest, it’s very important to back off and prop up. As Jennifer says, “Don’t deny yourself the prop. Please!” Be okay with where you are at and accept your physical limitations. If you feel any sharp or burning pain, your body is signaling you to take it easy. Don’t create murder on your spine. Just don’t.

    Once you find your appropriate edge - your place of comfort - it is recommended that you hold Saddle for one to five minutes. Iyengar recommends 15 minutes. For most, this long of a hold will be too intense at this stage in the game. Consider it a goal.

    With time and practice, Saddle Pose has the potential to re-establish the natural curvature of the lumbar-sacral arch of the spine if any flattening or degeneration has occurred. It’s also a great pose to maintain the natural curvature of the spine and to simultaneously stretch and work many areas of the body: the tops of the ankles, the knee caps, the hips, quads, hip flexors, lower back, and upper chest (if you bring your arms up).

    Simply lay back, relax, and enjoy the stretch.

    Want a great bolster? Sign up for our annual subscription, and get a hand crafted bolster from Inner Space as your gift! Or you can take a look at all of Jennifer's creations at innerspaceyoga.net

    Saddle Pose

    ~TJ

    Photo Credit: Saddle Pose via www.therawyogini.blogspot.com

  • Create the Ultimate Yoga Class Plan, by Danielle Diamond

    Danielle Diamond Class Plan Blog

     

    This blog post appeared originally on XenStrength.com, it is reposted here with permission.

    Create the Ultimate Yoga Class Plan

    Hey Rockstar Yogi!

    I absolutely love creating new sequences and playlists, and researching dharma topics and new alignment instructions – but when I first started out I had no idea how to do it on my own.

    It takes a ton of time and dedication to truly offer your students an experience instead of the same old yoga class that everyone else is teaching, but it’s not always easy to come up with original ideas for sequences, playlists, dharma talks and more!

    I used to sit there and wish someone would do it for me, like a little yogi in a bottle would pop out with the perfect plan, but it never happened.

    At least I figured out a way to spend the time I had wisely- making sure each class had certain elements in it that would not only create an educational experience but also be a ton of fun.

    And I’m happy to share a few quick tips with you to make your class planning easier, so it doesn’t take you more time to plan it than it does to teach it!

    1-Figure out what type of class you’re going to be known for teaching

    I’ve had some of the same students coming to my classes for the last 15 years because they know exactly what they’re going to get and love the consistency of what I offer: a sweaty, challenging vinyasa flow sequenced around a theme of opening a certain body part or a peak pose, bookended with an inspiring dharma talk and closing meditation- all to a fun soundtrack that can include anything from Krishna Das to Das Efx….. I was a producer at MTV pre-yoga career, so music is a huge part of everything I do.

    Will your class only be focused on the physical? Will you teach pranayama and meditation? Will you talk about the Yamas and Niyamas? Will you play music, and if so what kind?

    All of these answers will contribute to the “experience” you’ll create for your students and if you create one they like, then they’ll keep coming back!

    The most important thing to remember is that you can’t please everyone, and if you try to please everyone you’ll wind up pleasing no one- so remember to do YOU, which brings me to my next tip.

    2-Find your own voice as a teacher.

    I remember when I first started teaching, I pretty much copied everything my mentor did. I used the same type of sequencing, the same music, I read from the same sutra book, and I think I even started using her mannerisms, which I’m sure freaked out students who also took her classes.

    After a month or so I realized that I was totally playing it safe trying to copy her and that I needed to develop my own style and attract my own tribe.

    It’s okay to share something someone reads or borrow a transition here and there, but make sure you find your own voice, your own instruction of the poses, your own style of music and your own translation of the Yamas and the Niyamas. Don’t be a copy-cat.

    3- Look everywhere for Dharma inspiration- everywhere!
    I was once at a John Mayer concert and for the first time wasn’t claustrophobic in a sea full of people on the stadium floor. I realized I was using my pranayama to stay calm and meditating on the idea that I was safe for the first 20 minutes. A few weeks later I brought that into my teaching a class on the great lawn at Bryant Park for Yoga Journal- with 750 yogis mat to

    I could tell people were feeling a bit like sardines so I shared my experience and it made for a great dharma talk about non-attachment. When you let your students see you as a student, always learning and sharing how you live your yoga, it inspires them to do the same.

    4- Know how to design a sequence that can be modified for anyone who comes.
    Unless you’re teaching a specified level, you’ll most likely get anyone from a fellow teacher to someone who has never stepped foot on a mat in the same class at the same time. You need to know how to teach to both of them.

    Creating a sequence with a peak pose that requires all advanced poses to get into is no bueno for an open level class. Make sure that you pick poses that can be modified either by putting a knee down or using a prop, etc. You want to make people feel welcome, and by giving modifications and talking about how you need to start some you’ll make everyone feel comfortable.

    5-Know the basics of sequencing a safe and effective flow.
    Every class should have a centering, warm up, core sequence, and relaxation.

    Centering can be anywhere from 5-10 minutes, depending on how long the class is. You can include a few rounds of chanting OM, a dharma talk, pranayama, a short meditation or a reading from your favorite yoga book or even an inspiring poem.

    The warm-up should do just that- warm them up for whatever you’ve got planned. I like to coordinate the opening in the body during the warm up with what we’ll be focusing on the class, whether it’s hips, shoulders, core, etc. You can do a few rounds of sun salutions or even a yin-style hold in a few poses.

    The core sequence is the bulk of the class and will vary whether you’re teaching Iyengar, Vinyasa or another style that might have a more set sequence. You’ll want to include forward bends, backbends, twists, standing poses, arm balances and inversions.

    The relaxation piece should include a few reclined poses; a spinal twist or reclined bound angle with pranayama are a great way to lower the heart rate, calm the nervous and prep them for savasana. The little things you do to make your students feel special really matter here-a lavendar scented neck massage, offering a bolster for under their legs or a blanket over their shoulders does the trick.

    6- Offer unique alignment and anatomy instruction
    When I’m planning a class I focus a ton of energy on figuring out new ways to teach the same old thing. Warrior 1, warrior 2, reverse warrior DOES get boring after a while, but flowing through them holding a strap makes it a whole new experience.

    Focusing a class on core and explaining that a 6 pack is really an 8 pack and using different tools to teach the engagement and alignment of working the core- ever move through a sun salutation with your feet on a blanket, sliding through the poses to engage your core-it’s an entirely new experience.

    Action Step

    The yoga teaching arena is getting more crowded every 6 months when new trainees roll out of their training. You want to make sure that your classes stand out so that you get hired to teach more, so that students keep coming back to your class, AND so that those students invite their friends to come to their favorite class in town.

    Take a few hours when you have time to sit down and plan a few great “back pocket” classes that you can return to over and over again-especially in those moments that you don’t have time to plan a new class. Find new music, come up with new sequencing, inspiring dharma talks and alignment instruction.

    Trust me, your students will LOVE you for it!!

    XO
    Danielle

    Check out Danielle's classes on YogaVibes.com, and see what else she's got going on at XenStrength.com.

  • Class Review: Heart, Hips + Core Flow with Laura Burkhart

    janu sirsasana

    The deets.

    • Style: Vinyasa
    • Intensity: Level 2 = All Levels Online Yoga Video
    • Focus: backbends, Core exercises, hip openers
    • Average Rating: 5/5

    On the teacher.

    Laura's creative and intelligently sequenced online yoga classes are known for being challenging, with a smooth and rhythmic flow. Her extensive studies under Shiva Rea and primary mentor Jason Crandell, have greatly influenced her intuitive, spontaneous and eclectic instruction style. Though her classes can be challenging, her beginner classes are fun for students new to yoga, helping to lay a strong foundation toward a life-long yoga practice.

    On the class.

    Build toward deep backbends, hip openers, and core work in this all-levels, comprehensive online yoga class. Also, touch upon poses that lengthen the hamstrings, open the shoulders, and challenge your balance. Filmed live at Yoga Tree, this online yoga video is designed to deliver a well-rounded opening of the body in just 60 minutes!

    What people are saying.

    • One of my favorite classes, wish there were more from her.
    • Laura - I love your style. This was a beautiful class...it's going into my favorites. :) I'm hoping to see more classes from you!!
    • delightful! perfect pace
    • Laura's class flows smoothly and is easy to follow! I enjoyed it thoroughly! Looking forward to more videos from Laura!

    vinyasa

    For more of Laura’s popular Vinyasa yoga videos, hit up our ever-expanding online yoga studio.

  • Build Up Your Backbend Know-How with Joan Hyman

    Discover the freedom of backbending!

    Join Los Angeles based yogi, Joan Hyman, for an online yoga demo - a Backbend and Dropping Back Tutorial.

    Unlock the secrets of these deep yoga poses by spending some time imprinting the proper leg action in backbending postures.

    In this free online yoga video, Joan will teach Ustrasana (Camel Pose) and Urdhva Dhanurasana (Full Wheel Pose) at the wall with the use of blocks and straps to help stabilize the legs to protect the lower back in these poses. Learn to avoid backbending from the lower back by working the legs and getting into the thoracic spine. Joan will break down the proper action of the shoulders and shoulder blades to encourage the upper arms to plug into the shoulder sockets for a safe and solid backbending practice. After alignment is set, move into dropping back at the wall and then, in the middle of the room.

    This online yoga video is incredibly informative for teachers, yogis in training, and serious students. Definitely add it to your repetoire of asana!

    yoga poses

    As you come into better alignment in your backbends, you’ll feel more grounded, exhilarated, and ready to tackle even crazier backends. In the meantime...

    Be sure to go in easy, be patient, and enjoy the journey!

    Image Credit: Joan Hyman captured by Fluid Frame Photography 

     

  • The Ultimate Spring Cleaning Flow

    spring cleaning yoga

    Ah, spring!

    Tomorrow you arrive, bringing with you more sunshine, warmth, and renewal - all reasons to celebrate!

    Springtime's the prime time to cleanse your body with detoxifying yoga. As Mother Nature’s New Year, ‘tis the season to get rid of any old stuff hanging around to make space for greater health and happiness.

    To shed that heavy winter coat, it's important to get into a rhythm and routine that gradually helps you to lighten up physically, mentally, and emotionally. The best yoga routine includes lots of twisting, pranayama (breathing practices), Sun Salutations, strong standing poses, and backbends, all of which pump prana (vital energy) throughout your system and turn up tapas (inner heat).

    Lucky for you, we feature many routines fitting for spring. To shift into the season smoothly, we especially recommend Kiyomi Takahashi’s freshly added yoga video: Detox and Cleanse for Clarity.

    This online yoga class is specifically designed to cleanse your system and clear out mental cobwebs. Featuring lots of twisting poses and breath work, this Vinyasa flow will help you let go of the old to create space in the body to receive new energy. This practice will also aid your digestion and elimination by wringing out acid, toxins, and mucus that build up in our digestive systems. Walk away from this online yoga experience feeling light, cleansed, refreshed, and clear-headed. Chances are you'll want to make this online yoga video an integral component of your spring cleaning strategy. (48 mins.)

    detox yoga

    For more detoxifying delights, head over to our virtual yoga studio. We’ve plenty of online yoga classes to choose from to get in a good spring detox!

    Image courtesy of www.allisonzimmermanyoga.wordpress.com

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