anusara yoga class

  • The Fast Track to Expanding Awareness

    Guest Post by Tiffany Wood

    As I reviewed the video I made called Expanding Awareness it made me cringe to observe my unaware patterns

    that were revealed to me through the objective lens of the camera. Yes, the contraction I feel around this has also afforded me an opportunity for expansion. I am wise in this way. However, it doesn’t feel good in the moment. Right now, I want to send Yoga Vibes an email and say “Please throw that video out! It’s not worthy and are all my classes that mundane?”

    And so, here I sit. Called to my own expanding awareness moment!

    As I said in my own video, “The things we have the most resistance around are what call us to expand into our awareness the most. Resistance is the container that allows the yogi to really open to the fullness of the moment.“  I was talking about the key actions used in the Anusara Yoga practice known as “hugging in to shine out” or Muscular and Organic Energy in their dynamic interplay within the asana practice. But, as I’ve taught a thousand times, those key actions play out in life off the mat as well. To hold ourselves in our own strong container that is aware of who we are in the moment allows us to access our own sticky parts; to know ourselves more fully. Especially when hugging into ourselves is NOT an easy or loving moment in time, is when the yogi is called to the true purpose of the practices!

    I can hold myself hostage in my own self critical judgments and stay in my limited and harsh view of myself OR

    I can place my awareness on what a gift it is to see myself more clearly so that I expand into the freedom that I already am. Hmm….I love this game!  Yogis know WHY RESISTANCE is VITAL to freedom and we know we have a choice.

    I once again choose to hug into my own resistance; the teachings that have been given to me by my teachers. Oh, yes, this is what I mean when I say to new teachers that the practice of teaching yoga will call you to your growth opportunities faster than most other tracks in life!

    I can find comfort and inspiration by expanding my awareness into what feels most life affirming in this moment in time. I can willingly reach for the high vibrational good feeling of acknowledging that life flows through me and I am forever evolving!

    So, as a wise teacher offered in the Yoga Vibes video called Expanding Awareness…

    “We share the practice in our own unique way and gathering with those interested in cultivating their own expansion is life affirming to our own path. There is really nothing more exciting to us than to know we are on the path to the good things coming. The only way to find that mind-set is to show up for the practice.”

    With that said, I will definitely see you ON the mat! I will meet you with such reverence and gratitude in knowing that I have expanded into my loving heart with an honest and clear view of what it means to walk my talk by holding my mid-line and willingly stretching into my own resistance.

    By Tiffany Wood. For a full list of Tiffany's Online Yoga Classes please visit her teachers page. To read more from Tiffany Wood visit her website at TiffanyWoodYoga.com

  • Backbending Challenge: Recognize Your Limits

    The practice of backbending requires lots of energy, commitment, motivation, discipline and mindfulness; all good things to cultivate in life. True to life, backbending presents obstacles. Sometimes we go too deep. Sometimes we force it. Sometimes temporary damage is done. In order to have an intelligent, safe practice, it’s important to realize your limits.

    Full Wheel Sara Strother, Full Wheel

    To practice consciously, it's important to constantly check in with your breath. As I approach my backbending practice, I especially check in. I use my breath as an indicator to gauge whether or not to stay put, go deeper, or back off. The moment my breath stops, becomes irregular, or feels stressed, I know I’ve pushed beyond my limits. So, I back off a little or I back off all together. Allow your breath to guide you.

    To plunge into this backbending challenge, explore a new sutra style online yoga class with Sara Strother. This alignment-based online yoga class is a steady, mindful progression towards backbends, culminating in Uttana Mayurasana. Thematically, this is a sutra style class, weaving and sewing together a thread of postures and specific alignment cues to bring students into an integrated backbending practice. These threads of alignment ultimately lead to a pinnacle pose – a pose made more accessible due to the intelligent buildup. Postures to look forward to are Baddha Parsvakonasana, Eka Pada Dhanurasana, Viparita Salabasana Prep, Gherandasana I Prep, Chatush Padasana, Eka Pada Uttana Mayurasana and Sarvangasana. (60 mins.)

    Backbending Class

    "Pigeon Droppings" into Kapotasana with Sara Strother – In this free online yoga video, learn how to gracefully drop back into Kapotasana. Learn a sequence of pulsations before you attempt the full expression of the pose. Work to fully engage the legs and build a solid foundation before your head kisses the earth. If you’re not ready to take it all the way to the ground, continue to practice the pulsations.

    Free Online Yoga Video Kapotasana

    I think it’s important to realize that just because you have limits, doesn’t mean that you are limited. In time, and with tons of practice, you will rise above your limitations. You will gradually conquer obstacles on the mat (and beyond). Your practice has infinite potential. To realize greater potential, you have to devote time and conscious effort to it. Forcing it or overdoing it will set you back. The solution: Recognize and appreciate your limits. Then, set out to intelligently and safely prevail over them. 

    ~TJ

    Photo Credit: Sara Strother's Website

  • Weekend Challenge: Be Clear of Your Intentions

    Yesterday, one of my teachers began class with the mantra Om Ritam Namah: My intentions and desires are supported by the universe. My teacher asked the class to set an intention for the practice, per usual. What’s more, she probed us to think of our intentions for the New Year and to also reexamine old intentions. That got me thinking: What are my new intentions? What were some of my former intentions – intentions that were perhaps forgotten or forced aside?

    Prayer Mudra

    The dawning of a New Year inspires lots of intention setting. It’s great to forge ahead with commitments to fresh goals and desires. But what about former goals and desires? Where did all those go? Were they ditched prematurely? Or were they let go of for good reason?

    While the upcoming New Year is a great opportunity to look to the future, I think it also presents an opportunity to look back – to reflect on old intentions and desires. Maybe you'll find that you want to revisit a former intention. Perhaps, you'll realize that you never fully committed yourself to something. Or, maybe you will see that you were meant to let go of something – to detach from a once-held desire. Whatever the outcome, I think it's worth the revisit.

    This weekend, take some time to reflect on your intentions – the old and the new. What are your 2013 intentions? What are some of your former intentions that you'd like to rekindle? Be clear of these intentions. Write them down. Commit yourself to them fully. Then, detach from the outcome.

    In light of all this intention setting, it’s important to practice present moment awareness. It’s natural to reflect on the past and exciting to look ahead to the future. The present moment, however, is where the magic is really happening! So, consider this day or this moment. What is your intention for it? What will your intention be for your practice when you hit the mat today? Stay true to the present.

    For more intention setting exploration, check out these intention-based online yoga videos.

    Intention-Based Slow Flow with Jamie Elmer - Join Jamie for an online yoga class that is an intention-based, breath-focused slow flow through the Sun Salutation series. End with a special pigeon variation to ease and open up your hips. (90 mins.)

    Alignment + Intention = Integrity with Jessica Bellofatto - Enjoy this online yoga class with KamaDeva Yoga founder, Jessica Bellofatto. In honor of the work that Jessica has recently been doing with the Handel Group, this online yoga class takes you through a well-rounded Vinyasa journey, all the while looking at how when we set intentions in yoga, we must then ALIGN ourselves with that intention to remain in integrity with our highest goals, our highest purpose. Thus, we move from asana to asana with awareness, lining ourselves up again and again to fully express our intention. From this, the practice is elevated to a magical state where what we think, feel, and do is actively and rapidly propelling us towards our goals. Join Jessica on this magic carpet ride! (70 mins.)

    Strong Roots = Strong Tree with Gigi Yogini - This is an invigorating online yoga class with a theme of grounding with gratitude. This yoga practice will activate your inner power through intention setting, core strengthening, balancing, and a fun (but challenging) Tree Pose flow. (67 mins.)

    Backbending: Harnessing the Power of Intention with Kelley Gardner - This online yoga class is a backbending practice culminating in Urdhva Dhanurasana (Wheel Pose). Begin by reversing the old adage, "I'll believe it when I see it," to remind yourself that it is also true that, "I'll see it when I believe it." The power of setting a positive intention and working with that intention through breath, body, and mind is transformative. Every pose in this sequence is purposeful to open your body to the invitation to deeper backbends. Enjoy! (60 mins.)

    Set your intentions. Be clear of them. Align with them. Then, drop back into the present moment and trust the outcome – trust that all of your intentions and desires are supported by the universe.

    ~TJ

  • Shoulder Opening Sweetness

    I hear it whined all the time: My shoulders are so tight. Yes, perhaps they are, but the truth is, the muscles and joints of the shoulders allow for a remarkable range of motion. In fact, the joints of the shoulder are the most mobile joints in the human body. I mean, can your knee rotate a full 360 degrees? I think not (unless you are an exceptional, contortionist of a human being). So cut your shoulders some slack. They are actually doing pretty well mobility wise.

    Prayer Yoga  via www.yoga-beautiful.tumblr.com/

    Despite the fact that our shoulders are incredibly mobile relative to the rest of the joints in our bodies, they can absolutely acquire stiffness and tightness, especially due to the nature of our forward folding (more like forward hunching) lifestyles.

    That’s where yoga comes in. Do yoga to release the tension and tightness with some sweet shoulder opening goodness.

    We’ve recently released 3 online yoga videos that explore some yummy shoulder opening asanas and sequences:

    First up, find release in a Power Hour, Shoulder Opening online yoga flow with Ashley Turner. In this online yoga class, shoulder openers lead to the peak pose of Pincha Mayurasana (Forearm Balance). Learn to internally spiral both hemispheres of the body to collect your core power and accurately align the shoulders in preparation for arm balances. Get pumped for a strong, 67-minute online Vinyasa flow class.

    Vinyasa

    Next, open up the shoulders with Full Wheel and Shoulderstand in Class 8 of Sarah Faircloth’s Anusara yoga videos. Life is a continuum of experiences. In this yoga video, merge extremes together for experiencing an opening. In this online yoga class, move your arm bones in one direction and your chest in the opposite. These opposing actions work to create an opening. Main poses explored in these 50 minutes of yoga online: Shoulderstand (Sarvangasana), Plow Pose (Halasana), and Urdhva Dhanurasana (Wheel Pose).

    Anusara

    Lastly, get in more Shoulderstand practice with Joan Hyman in Wind Down with Shoulderstand. Grab a blanket and a strap for this 60-minute online yoga class focused on delicious shoulder openers. End with a long Shoulderstand to help you wind down and deeply relax at the end of your day.

    Vinyasa

    To relish in more juicy shoulder opening delights, explore these free online yoga videos featuring shoulder opening asanas and sequences:

    Award your shoulders a pleasant shoulder opening practice. Say farewell to your days of shoulder stiffness and sorrow.

    ~TJ

  • How to Accept Failure & Move On

    Life is always going to send you setbacks. Relationships fall apart. Rejection is received. Friendships fade. Races are lost. Goals aren’t met. Mistakes are made. Jobs are lost. That’s life. If life handed us everything we wanted when we wanted it, it’d be a rather boring, meaningless world. There would be no drive, no passion, and no fireworks! That’s the thing about failure: It can be a motivator if you let it be.

    You have one of two choices when things go sour. You can either choose to see it as a catastrophe or you can choose to see it as an opportunity – an opportunity for new beginnings, experiences, knowledge, wisdom, and self-discovery. Failure can be your friend.

    Yogi Bhajan quote via www.facebook.com/ynspiration

    As a recovering perfectionist, failure used to make me sick, figuratively and physically. I would obsessively trace back my every move and action to the point of insanity. Instead of moving forward, I remained a slave to the past. This trip down not-so-merry memory lane clouded my perception. Rather than embracing the possibilities of what this perceived failure could do for me, I considered only limitations. I blamed myself. I blamed life’s unfairness. I played the blame game.

    You are allowed to play the blame game to a certain point. It’s a natural response, especially if you did mess up. It’s important to realize a mistake so you don’t make it again. It’s not necessary, however, to blame yourself for that failure over and over again. Let the wound heal. Don’t keep reopening it. You’re human. You will mess up. You will fail. It’s all a part of the game, my friend.

    This game called life may not always be much fun to play, especially if you view failure and struggle so poorly. The only way to get over fails and losses is to change your perspective. Instead of freaking out over disappointment, consider let downs as gifts. Consider failure as the universe’s way of steering you in another, more appropriate direction for your life. Embrace failure as an opening into something new and even better. Be excited! Then, take action.

    You can’t sit back and expect anything to be handed to you. Stay busy. Do yoga! Be involved in things that make you and others better. Be drawn to that which you love. Detach from the past. Detach from outcome. Jump enthusiastically into the unknown and see where “failure” leads you. It could be somewhere really beautiful. It could be the place you’ve always wanted to be in your life.

    On that note, we have a new online yoga class to recommend with Sarah Faircloth: Twists & Turns - Class 7 of her online Anusara yoga series. As we all know, life twists and turns. There are no linear, predestined paths even though we may try to construct them. In that construction, failure is bound to go down. Yet, failure is just evidence that you tried:

    "I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can't accept not trying." ~ Michael Jordan

    "Success is not final, failure is not fatal: It is the courage to continue that counts." ~ Winston Churchill

    In this 65-minute online yoga class, learn to accept failure as an opportunity and use it as a motivator to keep forging ahead. Physically, focus on opening and strengthening the arms/shoulders, hips, hammies, and twists for Headstand 2 (Sirsasana 2) and Astavakrasana.

    Vinyasa Flow with Sarah Faircloth

    Consider failure a blessing. The universe is just looking out for you.

    ~TJ

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