anusara yoga online

  • 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

  • 3 Ways to Attract Positive Vibes

     tadasana

    1. Think Positive. What you allow to slosh around in your head truly does influence the way you feel and what you attract. If you want to feel good and attract good things, think good things. Simple, right? Yes. Simple, but not easy. For those prone to negative thoughts, it takes lots of practice to rewire the natural tendencies and patterns we have created. For me, the practice of cultivating positive thoughts began in yoga. As I practiced more yoga, I became increasingly more self-aware. As I observed my thinking mind, I realized that my thoughts were totally tainting my experience. Yoga, among other realms, helped me to release a lot of this self-induced toxicity. The yoga is still working on me, each day allowing me to release a little bit more or, at the very least, showing me what I need to work on and what negative patterns of thought and behavior need some rewiring.
    2. Feel Positive. Thoughts influence how you feel, yet the reversal also holds true: How you feel, influences your thoughts. One sure way to feel better is to get moving. Yoga just makes you feel good. It flushes out stagnation and lethargy and wrings out all of the toxic accumulations. All the positive vibrations you create via the physical practice (be it asana, pranayama, or mantra), translate powerfully to the mental body. You know this to be true. For example, say your favorite song comes on. You start jammin' to it, and your mood quickly shifts. The physical vibrations positively influence your mental body. The same phenomenon occurs in the yoga practice. The physical vibrations created via movement and action positively influence your thoughts and actions. To test it out, here are 3 physical practices specifically designed to generate positive mental and spiritual transformations:
      • Backbending: Harnessing the Power of Intention with Kelly Gardner // Begin by reversing the old adage, "I'll believe it when I see it," to remind yourself that it is also holds 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 Anusara yoga sequence is purposeful. Open up your body via deep backbends to powerfully expand your mind. (60 mins.)
      • Twisting: Balancing the Nadis with Jeanne Heileman // Twisting is not only a great way to cleanse the body, but when done on a deeper level, it becomes a mental and spiritual cleanse. The online yoga class begins with abdominal work and the cleansing techniques of Uddiyana Bandha and Agni Sara to really awaken the center. The breathing pattern of Samana Vayu is introduced to take this even deeper. Using that heat, you will move into twists from many perspectives to wring out the organs as well as to wring out your thought patterns. When you can change the way that you breathe, you can change the patterns in the mind. This can lead to space for new, positive habits. The result of this type of practice is a calmer, more stable energy and more centering in the spine. (75 mins.)
      • Anahata: Finding the Lightness of the Heart with Jeanne Heileman // The quality of the Heart Chakra is Air, yet most of us do not feel as though our hearts could be as light as air. This online yoga class will help transform your perspective to the positive energy and region within the heart. You will be guided through a specific pranayama called Viloma that moves the breath against the grain of what is comfortable, to create expansion and strength in the lungs and heart. Jeanne will then guide you on a journey deep within the heart, using Tantric techniques she has learned from her master teacher, that can help you find a beauty and deep love that dwells at the darkest cave of the heart. This meditation can be a life-changer if done for 30 days in a row. (24 mins.)
    3. Do Positive. Put out positive vibes. Commit to positive actions. Do good things for your friends, family, and fellow yogis. Shine a smile to a stranger. Be helpful. What’s more, wrap all of these positive outputs in love and compassion. Scientifically speaking, the person who gives receives a much higher dopamine (happy chemical) surge than the receiver. Interesting, right? It’s the law of karma in action.

    To attract positive, to realize your dreams and the impossible, you have to think, feel, and do positive. What you put out in this lifetime, you will inevitably receive.

    “Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win.” ~ Sun Tzu

    Be victorious.

    ~Tess

    Photo Credit: www.fitbodyflow.com

  • Yoga for Healthier Posture

    Tadasana

    As a kid, I was above average for my height. In fact, during one visit to the doc, I was told that I was headed for a soaring height of 6 feet. Following this conjecture were my tears. I didn’t want to be that tall!

    I was, until high school, at least a head taller than every boy that crossed my path. This bird’s eye view wasn’t where I wanted to be. To compensate, I unconsciously did lots of hunching over. My Mom was incessantly on my case. Stand up, Tessa. Stop slouching. Stop hunching over. Sometimes I would listen (especially upon the threat of a back brace). Other times, I’d just mock her and, with exaggeration and my flare for drama, hunch over even more.

    Looking back on the youthful version of myself, I wish what I have wished many times – I wish I had listened to my Mom. All of that slouching set the stage for lots of lower back pain and the tendency to hunch over even in adulthood. For example, I’m currently hunching over my computer as I type. Grrr. Thank my lucky stars for yoga.

    Though I was a dancer and athlete for many years, there was nothing that brought so much awareness to my body and posture as yoga. One of the first yoga classes I experienced was themed around Tadasana (Mountain Pose). The teacher simply instructed how to properly stand and how to bring more awareness to your posture. The message in that class really resonated and I found myself checking in with my posture way more than I had previously. I was so jazzed on the class that I went home to tell my Mom about why it’s so important to stand tall. She smiled and took it all in, but I’m sure she was thinking, “I told you so.”

    Maybe this goes without saying, but it is so important to make an effort to stand tall. Yes, slouching can be a hard habit to break. It’s still a work in progress for me. But a conscious effort to reverse this phenomenon will pay off in more ways that one, warding off long-term pain in the head, shoulders, neck, and back and serious havoc on the joints, discs, and muscles. Plus, standing tall exudes self-confidence and looks a lot more pleasing to the eye than abnormal, C-shaped spinal curvature.

    To quickly learn how to stand tall, tune into a free online yoga video with Chad Moline demoing Mountain Pose (Tadasana).

    In this online yoga video, you will learn the fundamentals of Tadasana and how it shows up in many other yoga poses.

    Tadasana

    For additional Tadasana amusement, try Sarah Faircloth’s alignment-based online yoga class sequenced around this fundamental pose.

    In this online yoga class, you will practice stepping through thresholds. The powerful energy of those in between times when we are at a threshold is the way we will approach this series. Do not worry so much about whether you "get" the pose. Rather, think of each phase of the pose as a threshold. Keep practicing with self reflection and you will progress, and reach another threshold. Tada means mountain. Another name for Tadasana is sama sthitihi (meaning equal or same standing). Keep coming back to Tadasana. The breath is the thread of the practice. String all the poses along the breath while maintaining your Tadasana in each pose. (55 mins.)

    mountain pose

    And for the grand, posture-enhancing finale, try Annie Carpenter’s Improve Your Posture online Vinyasa flow.

    Focus on strengthening your shoulders and upper back and opening your chest to create healthy and beautiful alignment in this online yoga class. (29 mins.)

    online vinyasa yoga class

    The more you practice yoga the less natural it will feel to slouch. So get to your feet and hit the mat to cultivate a healthier, more beautiful stance.

    ~Tess

  • Weekend Intention: Embrace the Journey

    Yoga and Devotion

    I was asked the other day: "What makes yoga so different from other types of exercise.” I paused. I meditated on it for a moment. Then, I muttered some lazy reply about the spiritual component or something along those lines. Truth is, I didn’t really have a solid answer in that moment. Perhaps a part of me didn’t really want to reflect on it. I already know and feel yoga to be different than any other physical practice I have experienced. It's super experiential. Knowing and feeling it is enough for me. Sometimes understanding it all doesn’t really matter.

    But then, it hit me…

    I was, per usual, striking up an asana chat with a fellow yogi. On and on we went about arm balances, hip openers, twists, physical limitations, and asanas we considered (or would soon consider) walks in the park. All very riveting stuff, I know. And then…this escaped my mouth:

    “The thing about yoga is even when you feel you have mastered a pose…there is still room to go deeper or learn something new.”

    I called the poses microcosms of infinite potential.

    Then, I realized (as I have in many different ways at many different stages) that the yoga practice is totally a metaphor for life.

    That’s what makes yoga so different. That’s what makes it stand out from the crowd of physical practices. Yoga is a metaphor for life.

    Then, hours later, the conversation picked up again with the same yogi. We briefly touched on romantic relationships and the potential “tests” that arise in relationships. Me and my idealist of a brain said something along the lines of, “Well, there should be no tests...not with your partner.” Then, this was handed to me:

    “The thing about relationships is even when you feel you have mastered one…there is still room to go deeper or learn something new.”

    Well played, my friend. Well played and so true. You can apply this yoga-inspired lesson to just about anything.

    Because, really, there is no mastery. There is only the journey – a journey of unfolding possibilities and infinite potential. That’s yoga. That’s life. The mat is a powerful place because it continuously teaches us that there is infinitesimal ways to go even deeper and raise our vibration (and the vibration of others around us) even higher. As long as we are living and breathing, there is no stopping point. There is no end goal. There is, instead, constant evolution.

    So, don’t get caught up in this illusion of an end goal in yoga or in life. Your practice teaches you that there is no such thing. Heck, I’m still discovering and rediscovering Warrior I and I started my relationship with it about 10 years ago. That’s a good thing! We want our practices, relationships, and lives to keep us on our toes. We want to keep evolving and elevating. So, if you think you’ve mastered something, think again, yogis. There is still room to go deeper or learn something new.

    Think not?

    Try out these advanced online yoga practices. Then, get back to me.

    Embrace the journey,

    ~Tess

    “It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.” Ernest Hemingway

  • 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

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