sarah starr yoga

  • Keep Yourself in Check: 10 Summer-Balancing Pointers

    Oh sweet, sweet summer. Beaches. Sun-kissed skin. Warmth. Leisure. Bliss.

    side plank Gigi Yogini in Vasisthasana (Side Plank) with Vrksasana (Tree Pose) variation...

    The sweetness of the summer season is intoxicating. The abundance of sunshine inspires lots of activity and time spent outdoors to soak it all in. By all means, soak it all in, but do so sensibly. Take special caution to remain harmonious in the heat with these summer-stabilizing tips:

    1. Practice yoga at home in the early morning when temperatures are cooler. If you can’t work in a morning practice, the next best option is an evening flow.
    2. Choose loose fitting clothes (linen or cotton) to allow your skin to breathe.
    3. Limit your caffeine and alcohol consumption. I know an ice-cold beer and iced coffee are perceived to be very refreshing during this time. In reality, they are very dehydrating! Yes, summer is the opportunity to sip and enjoy these pleasures. So sip and enjoy, but do so in moderation.
    4. Reduce hot, spicy, fermented, salty, oily, and fried foods. All of these foods are heating and don’t jive too well with the soaring temperatures.
    5. Select cooling, hydrating foods, including peaches, nectarines, plums, pears, and other juicy fruits.
    6. Use cooling oils for self-massage, such as coconut oil. Not only is this awesome for skin hydration, but it is also super purifying!
    7. Before you retreat into savasana, treat yourself to a cooling herbal mist to hydrate and protect your skin. Organic rose water is a wonderful selection!
    8. This is an obvious one: Drink LOTS of water. LOTS. In fact, go down a glass right now.
    9. Meditate. Summer is a very stimulating season. Establish a regular meditation practice to renew and find calm amidst the intensity and excitement.
    10. Reserve time to relax and restore – to pacify the go-go-go. Ease up on all of the activity and try some restorative or yin yoga at home.

    To celebrate summer, jump into this one hour online yoga class with Sarah Starr filmed on the beach! Take time to explore what makes you feel alive as you focus on detoxifying twists, core strength, and the joy of hip openers.

    yoga at home

    May your summer be abundant with happy, harmonious vibes!

    ~Tess

    Photo Credit: www.gigiyogini.com

  • Grasshopper Pose with Sarah Starr

    This week’s Strike a Pose yoga video is brought to you by Sarah Starr, the host of the internationally syndicated TV program "Happy Yoga with Sarah Starr." In this free online yoga video, Sarah will sequentially build Grasshopper Pose. She will take you step-by-step and layer-by-layer to move you into your deepest expression of the pose without sacrificing your breath. Note: Before you attempt this very deep pose, be sure to warm up!

    I was finally able to connect to this pose yesterday in class and I must say: It’s one hell of a pose. It’s special (and super awesome!) because it’s a twist, a hip opener, and an arm balance all wrapped into one kick asana three-way. Gotta love that three-layered goodness!

    Here I am twisting, hip opening, and arm-balancing:

    Asana

    Fun stuff, right?

    Try out Grasshopper Pose for yourself in this free online yoga video. Keep in mind that this pose requires a lot of physical adaptation. The hips must be open. You must be able to twist deeply. And your core needs to be solid. So, you may not reach the full expression of the pose today, but you will find a place to work. Maybe it’s in the hip opener. Maybe you tack on the twist. Or maybe…just maybe…you begin to approach the arm balance. Go discover where you are! And work it.

    Grasshopper Pose

    For more Grasshopper Pose play, check out Sarah’s full-length crazy, sweaty Vinyasa flow: Detox with Twists, Tone the Core and Jump Into Grasshopper Pose. In this online yoga class, you will focus on deep, detoxifying twists, core strength and the joy of hip openers. All of this will allow you to intelligently flow your way towards Grasshopper Pose, playing with fun options along the way.

    Grasshopper Pose

    Happy hopping, yogis.

    ~Tess

    To learn more about Sarah Starr and Happy Yoga, please visit www.happyyoga.tv.

  • Weekend Intention: Lengthen the Breath, Increase the Prana

    My teacher started off our practice yesterday with a discussion of prana.

    Prana…what is this? In yoga, prana is the sum total of all energy that is manifest in the universe. There is prana – energy or life force – in everything. Prana is in the concrete, in your cup of coffee, in the air you breath, in the words you read, in everything. All things consist of prana, as do you.

    Breath

    The consequence of living in an urban environment is that the prana concentration is lower. Within concrete jungles, there is less room for the prana to flow freely as compared to more natural, open environments.

    Returning to my home, Yosemite National Park, I can instantly feel the higher prana concentration. Life moves at a gentle, calm pace and my movements and breath follow suit. On the flip side, when I venture to NYC from Philly, I instantly feel the much lower prana concentration. Everything is moving so quickly. Everything is more congested. As a result of less prana, I can feel my breath begin to shorten – to get caught up in the prana surrounding me.

    This is normal. We definitely get caught up in the prana surrounding us. We begin to move with the pace of the prana. If you are an urbanite like myself, you may find that your breath is always short, quick, and strained because you are constantly caught up in the prana of your environment. This is not ideal.

    The length of the breath matters. A longer breath translates to a calmer person. A longer breath in the yoga practice translates to a deeper practice. You can deepen the breath to deepen your journey, deepen the pose, and deepen your experience. A long, conscious breath keeps you rooted and fully alive in the present moment.

    You can consciously choose to lengthen the breath and, thus, increase your prana and the prana in your environment. You can breathe for the people and life around you. All you have to do is breathe longer and fuller. Easy.

    This weekend, take time to really feel your breath. Feel the beginning, the middle, and the end of the breath. Practice a 3-breath count. Inhale, 1, 2, and 3. Really savor the moment at the top of the inhale. At this point, your chest should be fully expanded and completely filled with breath. Feel it. Then, slowly exhale, 1, 2, and 3. At the bottom of the breath, feel it. Draw everything in. The bottom of the exhale is a great opportunity to activate and feel all of your bandhas working.

    On the mat, practice a 3-count breathing technique or alternate nostril breathing (nadi sodhana), keeping up with the 3-breath count. Check out these free online yoga videos demoing these highly accessible forms of pranayama.

    Alternate Nostril Breathing with Sarah Starr

    Alternate Nostril Breathing with Sarah Starr

    3-Part Breathing Technique with Shala Worsley

    Pranayama with Shala Worsley

    Don’t get caught up in the rhythm of urban prana. Use your breath to set your own gentle, relaxed rhythm.

    ~Tess

    Photo Credit: Pranayama via www.mikehoolboom.com

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