hala khouri

  • Practice an Attitude of Gratitude

    If you’re in the States, Thanksgiving is the designated day to express thanks. Almost all cultures have such a day – a day reserved to realize and acknowledge the positive in life, to celebrate supportive and loving families, friends, and communities, and to embrace all the abundance such as yoga, delicious food, a safe home, and, most importantly, health and happiness. We all have something for which to be grateful. In fact, each breath is a gift – a gift to be fully received and celebrated. You are alive!

    Most of us are fortunate to have our most basic and fundamental needs met. Still though, desires and wants always creep in. There is an endless yearning for more. Sometimes, however, less is really more. Sometimes more means more headaches and pulls us further away from what truly matters: happiness, love, peace, and self-realization.

    In our desire for more, we forget to be grateful. That’s why we have a special day to remind us! Really, though, every day should be a day for giving and receiving thanks. Each day, we should express gratitude for the fact that our needs are met. Each day, we should practice contentment for all that we have in life. To quote Sheryl Crow:

    "It’s not having what you want, it’s wanting what you got."

    Want what ya got.

    Today, take a moment to realize all there is to be grateful for in your life. Acknowledge all the blessings you have received– a loving partner, beautiful children, a true friend, supportive parents, loving siblings, and/or a loyal pet. Be grateful for your body and breath. Be grateful that you can create your world - that you have the free will to change your life as you choose.

    To celebrate this day, here are three online yoga videos featuring practices of gratitude:

    Grateful for Good Postural Awareness with Joanie Flavin (80 mins.)

    This class explores improving the health of your shoulders by strengthening the postural muscles. In the backdrop of our physical practice we will emphasize a practice of gratitude as a means to improve our perspective and perception. Please have two blocks and a strap.

    Alchemy of the Heart: A Backbending Class with Pete Guinosso (75 mins.)

    This online yoga class will guide you in exploring the powerful practice of mindful gratitude, and how such a practice can open you to a life of grace. In this class we will utilize deep hip releases to detoxify the mind and body of negative emotions, experience heart opening backbends to learn where joy and gratitude reside in our bodies, and explore inversions to tap into our spirits' sense of playfulness. Please be sure to watch the free videos entitled - Tucking your Tail and Low Cobra, Revealed - before practicing this all levels online yoga class.

    Strong Roots = Strong Tree with Gigi Yogini (67 mins.)

    This is an invigorating online yoga class with the theme of Grounding with Gratitude. This class will activate your inner power through intention setting, core strengthening, balancing, and a fun (but challenging) tree pose flow.

    Have a beautiful day practicing gratitude! Also, (how could I forget!) enjoy a boundless supply of turkey, stuffing, pumpkin pie, and all other delicious Thanksgiving Day delights.

    ~TJ

  • Bring Back that Lovin' Feeling

    In case you’ve lost that lovin’ feeling, today is a good reminder to bring it back. And I’m not strictly referring to that lovin’ feeling that you may have for someone else. Maybe you need to bring it back to yourself.

    Bring it back with some love-inspired yoga online. Practice one of five heart-themed yoga classes to journey inwards, connect to yourself, and open your heart.

    Camel Pose Ustrasana

    • Fluid Heart Opening Flow with Hala Khouri Focus on opening the upper spine, shoulders and heart in this online yoga class filmed at Exhale Spa. Connect to your body, breath and essence with compassion and love. (80 mins.)
    • Blast Your Heart Open with Gigi Yogini Open your heart and let the light of love shine from within in this short online Vinyasa yoga class. Tap into a sense of universal abundance to access your highest potential through sacred breath and movement. (29 mins.)
    • Heart Chakra Healing & Balancing Kundalini Yoga Set with Kiyomi Takahashi This powerful Kundalini yoga set is the perfect practice to uplift your energy. The short meditation at the end of the class will induce a sense of calmness in your heart. This class is designed to remove energetic blockages from your Heart Chakra, so you can connect with yourself with true compassion, and allow yourself to receive the healing, love, and compassion that you deserve. The ending meditation adds clear perception to your relationships with yourself and others. May the increased healing energy from your heart penetrate and dissolve your pain and the pain of others around you. Open and balance your heart to love yourself and all creatures. (49 mins.)
    • Backbends to Access More Love with Jeanne Heileman This online yoga class will thread together a number of seemingly easy backbends that when coupled with mantra and breathing techniques, will open the energy of goodness that lies deep within your heart. If you can do these backbends in this method, your body will be able to handle any type of backbend. (63 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. 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. (24 mins.)

    If you’re a lone wolf this V-Day, consider your yoga practice your valentine. Reconnect with it. Get intimate with it. Love it. Let it teach you, expand your consciousness, and elevate your vibration. Let it bring back that lovin’ feeling. Because it will. Yoga has been my greatest lover. Added Bonus: I know it's not going anywhere.

    ~TJ

    Photo Credit: Camel Pose via sevenswans.tumblr.com

  • Secrets to Beating Seasonal Sickness

    I've been noticing a rising of sickness – colds, flu-like symptoms, coughs, sneezes, sniffles, and allergies. You name it. What is up? Okay, well, I have an idea.

    via The Green Yogi

    Remember that seasonal shift stuff I was commenting on earlier? Yeah, you do. Well, it’s happened. It’s happening. The seasons are a-changin’ and with that comes an oftentimes disastrous immune response. During these times, we need to take a little extra care not only for ourselves, but also, for the sake/health of others. Yesterday, I set up my mat between Ms. Sniffles and Mr. Incessant Sneezer. I was happy to make it out of there alive. So far, no disastrous immune responses. Hopefully, I’m in the clear. Fingers crossed.

    That being said, if you do get sick, it’s (in my opinion) the perfect time to practice yoga at home. It’s not only out of consideration for the health of others. It’s outta convenience for you, too. You have to admit that it’s pretty uncomfortable blowing your schnozz at full force in the presence of others. Plus, getting up again and again to retrieve more tissues is interrupting to your practice and the practice of others. What’s more, holding back the throat clearings and chocking back coughs in Savasana (the time where these things always seem to inconveniently break loose) is miserable. Keep it at home if you can. That way, you can shoot your schnozz without hesitation and sniffle, cough, and hack to your heart’s content.

    Now, if you do have a case of the seasonal shift sickness, what to do? There are different camps of thought on this. Some yogis like to get down with a hot, sweaty Vinyasa practice to detox and cleanse. Others (present company included) prefer some R&R - to relax and restore.

    When your immune system is compromised and operating on overload, I think your body is urging you to slow down. Here are some relaxing, restorative online yoga videos to get intimate with during a temporary spell of sickness.

    Slow down in this 62-minute restorative flow with Gigi Yogini. Deeply relax and restore with long, supported postures. Activate the parasympathetic nervous system that is responsible for the rest and digest work of the internal organs. Use props, including bolsters, blocks and blankets. You can also use household items like pillows, beach towels and phone books. Get prepared for total Zen.

    Don't have much time? Feel stressed out and tired? Try this short and sweet 20-minute online yoga restorative practice. Rest easy with Joan Hyman’s soothing voice and thorough instruction on how to set up for restoratives. Bring an eye pillow and dim the lights down low to enjoy this online yoga video. Time to go in!

    Practice a more active restorative session with Hala Khouri as she teaches a well-rounded, level 2 online yoga class. You will start with a floor warm-up, work the abdominals, and, then, move into standing poses. The focus in this 67-minute yoga video is on opening up the hips and shoulders, as well as strengthening the core and legs. Get ready to unwind.

    Other words of advice: Be sure to eat warming foods, drink lots of green tea, utilize your neti pot (yeah...I know it’s not sexy), stay warm and comfy, give yourself warm oil massages, gets lots of rest, and do the things that make you feel good. Watch Sex & the City (guilty confession #1) or Grey’s Anatomy (guilty confession #2), take a bath with sea salts and candles lit, read your favorite book(s), and listen to calming music. Be gentle with yourself. Treat yourself with love. As my Mom always says: This too shall pass.

    ~TJ

  • Heal with Hala Khouri

    YogaVibes is just tickled to offer a variety of stellar yoga classes with Hala Khouri. Hala Khouri, a devoted yogi and activist known for her holistic approach on and off the mat, provides a healing and highly accessible yoga experience for all.

    “I love offering my public yoga classes to students online”, says Hala. “YogaVibes offers an amazing platform for both students and teachers to share what we love in a way that is easy and accessible to all!”

    Hala’s online yoga classes feature slow, restorative, and therapeutic Vinyasa flows, nurturing the detoxification of the mind and body. Enjoy Hala's candid style in three cleansing and grounding flows, suitable for all levels.

    Deep Stretch and Flow Practice (80 minutes)

    Enjoy a deep stretch in this Vinyasa sequence. Flow slowly and mindfully, focusing on hip openers, as well as stabilizing the lower back and pelvis.

    Cleansing and Heart Opening Flow (84 minutes)

    This restorative Vinyasa class starts with deep breathing techniques and slow stretches, followed by a slow and steady standing sequence. End class with 25 minutes of restoratives, including chest openers and twists. Explore meditation. Take an inner journey into cleansing and heart opening.

    Therapeutic Flow (83 minutes)

    This class starts with hamstring and hip releases and lower back stabilization exercises. You’ll then move into a grounding flow, continuing to create support in the lower back, which is followed by a series of shoulder openers. This is a therapeutic class that is supporting as well as challenging. Enjoy music courtesy of Shaman's Dream, DJ Drez, and Suzanne Sterling.

    Enjoy more creative and cleansing flows with Hala. Get moving. Self-explore. Feel empowered. Heal.

    ~TJ

     

  • Why You Should Cheat on Your Yoga Practice (and Feel Good About It)

    I catch wind of a voluminous amount of yoga blunders. Here’s a sampling.

    Don’t drink coffee. Don’t eat meat. Don’t watch TV. Don’t have a potty mouth. Don’t listen to indecent tunes. Don’t eat ice cream. Don’t eat cheese. Actually, just don’t eat dairy. Don’t eat fried foods. Don’t eat anything processed. Don’t go to bed late. Don’t oversleep. Don’t get caught up in material stuff. Don’t seek pleasure. Don’t strut your stuff in heels. Don’t use make-up, lotion, soap, and any product that is not naturally and/or organically produced. Don’t ever show your teacher the bottoms of your feet (unless you want to make an ass of yourself). Don’t run. Don’t lift weights. Just don’t.

    Don't do that!

    Look, a part of me gets it. A part of me even abides by some of the above. For some, yoga is all about liberating oneself from unwanted baggage, destruction, noise, and routines that bring us down. Some desire a deep cleanse in mind, body, and spirit. And that’s great. For others, yoga is a way to de-stress and relax. For some, it’s just about getting in better shape. For athletes, it’s about complementing their workout. We all have different intentions for our yoga practice. Maybe a part of the process of meeting your personal goals means that you decide that running, meat, or coffee isn’t serving you. Or maybe you realize these things aren’t even issues for you. Maybe they’re even serving you.

    When I first caught wind of the yoga “rules”, I decided to rule out all the "no-nos." Coffee was out. Green, ghastly drinks were in. Meat was out. Raw foods were in (along with digestive malfunctions). Lady Gaga was out. Krishna Das was in. Ice cream was out. Raw milkshakes were in. Cheese was out. Imitation, barely edible cheese was in. Running was out. Just yoga was in. And so forth.

    Honestly, I didn’t feel any better. Quite frankly, I missed my morning cup of joe, the running highs, and Lady Gaga. Clearly, altering my whole lifestyle and giving up things that made me feel good and alive did not serve me. I did, however, learn that I really do love Krishna Das and raw milkshakes.

    So, I went back to my old, naughty ways (with some exceptions). Sometimes, in class, I wondered if the teacher could smell the coffee or bacon sweating out of my pores. Did she know that I was singing Paparazzi in my head? Did she smell the toxic chemicals emanating from my Versace perfumed skin? Did she grasp the image of me strutting my stuff like Carrie Bradshaw, elevated in heels and robed in my brand conscious clothing? Wait a second. Did she even care? Answer: Nope.

    Busted for a Yoga Blunder.

    Honestly, people don’t care what you do (as long as it’s not harming anyone or anything, of course!). People do, however, love to tell you what to do. Why? Well, usually, they’ve realized that what they’re practicing/preaching works brilliantly for them, so obviously, it will work for you and the next person. Maybe it will. Maybe it won’t. My advice (and of course, take this with a grain of salt, because I’m just sayin’ it works for me): Do what works for you. Do what serves you.

    To figure out what serves you requires experimentation. So experiment.

    If your intention for practicing is to detox, test out this new Cleansing and Heart Opening Flow with Hala Khouri. If your purpose is to de-stress and chill, check out the latest online Pranayama and Meditation class with Annie Carpenter. If you’re an athlete seeking additional training, play with Sage Rountree’s Yoga for Athletes. If your intention is to get in tiptop shape, get sweaty with YogaVibes' online Core Fusion classes. Craft your yoga at home experience to meet your intentions.

    If you realize along the way, that hey, something you are doing isn’t serving you, well, cut it out! On the flip side, if you realize you genuinely enjoy partaking in some of the “no-nos”, by all means, partake! If something makes you feel good, and if it serves you and your intentions, “cheat” away. And feel good about it.

    ~TJ

     

     

     

     

     

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