yoga poses

  • 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 

     

  • How to Build a Safe L Pose by Sigrid Matthews

    yoga poses

    Alignment, alignment, alignment!

    Sometimes, don’t you just wish your teacher would shut up and let you go with the flow, literally? There is nothing like moving on the breath, flowing gracefully from one pose to the next, not staying too long anywhere - almost like dancing to great rock and roll in your bedroom.

    Yes, I’ve been there too and taught many a fun, sweaty, flow yoga class where everyone was grooving to tunes and meditating on their higher self. There is nothing wrong with this, but over the years of repetition and moving your body around unconsciously, you are at a higher risk for injuries, particularly in the shoulders.

    One of the most common complaints and recurring site of injuries in yoga these days is the tearing of the rotator cuff. It’s giving yoga a bad reputation and some are going so far as to say that yoga can wreck your body! Luckily, many of us know how many stories of healing the body are attributed to yoga. However you may want to consider fine tuning your practice to lessen the risk of injury in yoga poses like chaturanga dandasana, plank, vashistasana, handstand, and even, upward facing dog.

    L pose is a fantastic way to get the strengthening benefits of the above poses with a lot less risk.

    One of the main reasons people get hurt flowing from chaturanga to cobra or up dog is that they allow the head of the upper arm bone (humerus) to protract or “drop” forward in the shoulder socket. This protraction can also be accompanied with scapular protraction, but many students simply “pull” their shoulder blades back (retraction) without addressing the real issue of the forward upper arm bone. In fact, the shoulder blades can be somewhat neutral in plank. When you cleanly bend your arms, stopping just before the chest is lower than the elbows and keeping the front of the chest open, the shoulder blades will move towards one another as much as needed (you don’t need to do more). Keep the front of the shoulders open as you transition into upward facing dog.

    Okay, so problem solved. Well, as people do cycle after cycle of vinyasa they tend to get tired and sloppy and that’s when you see the pose beginning to break down. Rather than doing 100s of chaturangas to develop strength and tone, challenge yourself by working L pose for up to a minute at a time.

    ***

    To start working your L pose, tune into Sigrid's Focused Flow yoga video. Build confidence and self-esteem and receive all of the benefits of a full handstand as you practice this safe inversion utilizing the wall. This online yoga class is taught progressively for safety with all of the prep poses creating spinal alignment, posture, and deep core integrity. (15 mins.)

    yoga online

  • How Much Do You Yin Your Yang? by Sigrid Matthews

    yin yoga

    If yoga is supposed to be a balancing or joining of opposites, a good question to pose (pun intended) is: How much of a strong practice do I need? How strong do I need to be? Of course, you can reverse the question: How much of a soft or surrendered practice do I need? How flexible do I need to be? It’s important to evaluate this every once in a while, especially if you’ve been feeling agitated, overwhelmed, stressed, achy, tired, or anxious.

    I recently had a mentoring meeting with a younger teacher who is really starting to take off. We spoke about how building a career (in anything) can lead us into a very masculine/yang place and we can forget the feminine aspect of our work and how we relate to others (this goes for both men and women).

    We get very good at making lists, setting appointments, and writing emails. She wondered why it might be harder to find the feminine and I said, “because it’s elusive, mysterious, and it calls for ‘being’ rather than ‘doing.’” The unconscious feminine aspect was coined by Jung as “anima” and the masculine unconscious as “animus.” Our yoga practice can help us cultivate the “being-ness” physically and we can let that carry over to our emotional and mental states.

    When we get quiet and tune into the feminine side we may get inner promptings, ideas, and encouragement to shift or change or take action. The male unconscious takes direction from the inner female and then executes those inner decisions outwardly in the world. When we only practice vigorous, active, and intense yoga, we can over-stimulate and lose sight and insight of the surrender and softer side of yoga.

    Remember Patanjali’s famous sutra 2.46: Sthira Sukam Asanam. Many teachers translate this to mean steady and sweet, steadfast and good space, balance of effort and surrender. And while we aim for this yin and yang dynamic in every pose and every practice, it may be helpful to pull back completely and devote ourselves to a completely soft, surrendered, and restorative practice.

    Above all, yoga philosophy always teaches us to release the victim and become self-reliant and recognize what might cause future suffering and make adjustments now to avoid pain later on. It’s empowering to practice in a soft, quiet way where you can navigate what’s going on in the body, mind, and heart. For example:

    • Learning simple poses that bring overall ease and better functioning of the healing and immune system.
    • Self-massage techniques to aid in detoxification and elimination.
    • Soothing breath work to encourage a meditative state and the rest and digest response of the parasympathetic nervous system.

    All of this helps us to remember that sometimes it’s okay to let go of the game plan and go with the flow, surrendering to what is right now from a place of strength and tranquility. Take some time exploring active/intentional surrender to create quiet confidence of inner knowing, and the radiance of a person who takes care and time for themselves.

    I bow to the light in you! Shanti.

    To tap into your yin-ness, try Sigrid's online yoga class: Focused Flow Yoga for Digestion, Detoxification, and Insomnia. This yin style restorative practice is wonderful after a hard work out or at the end of the day before bedtime. As a shorter, soothing online yoga sequence, this beginner yoga video combines deeper held yoga poses with some key self-acupressure points to balance the gall bladder, kidney, liver, and spleen meridians to restore harmony in the body. (25 mins.)

    yin yoga

    Image courtesy of www.offthebluemat.com

  • Strike A Pose: Headstand with Justin Michael Williams

    Join Justin Michael Williams as he takes you through one of his all-time favorite yoga poses: Headstand!

    Headstand is a very powerful, yet restorative yoga pose, holding many benefits.

    As Justin will mention, Headstand provides a lovely opportunity to shift your perspective. While traveling and seeing unique and beautiful places, it’s nice to strike a Headstand to see things from a different, yet equally beautiful perspective.

    Justin headstand-ing...

    Headstand

    Justin headstand-ing some more...

    headstand

    In this short and free online yoga video, Justin will discuss, de-construct, and demo the first version of headstand (as seen above), Salamba Sirsasana I. He will guide you through three of the most important components to getting into a Headstand in the center of the room. Try it out!

    how to headstand

    For a more in-depth tutorial on the basics of getting into Headstand, make sure you check out Justin's full-length online yoga class!

    We want to see you strike a Headstand!

    Use #StrikeAPose + tag @YogaVibes on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

     

  • Yoga for Travel

    yoga travels

    Are you getting ready to travel?

    Whether it's for business or pleasure, traveling is bound to induce a build-up of stress. When we travel, we feel a disconnect from ourselves as our physical/mental bodies become stagnant and stressed due to long hours of sitting, endless lines, delays, screaming babies, pushy people, etc.

    To maintain your cool and calm amidst the chaos of travel, bring yoga along as your travel companion.

    Instead of hitting up the nearest bar to kick back and chill out, whip out your yoga mat at the airport gate, train station, or car rental lot to break out a series of beneficial yoga poses. Have no shame!

    For guidance, tune into Sarah Ezrin’s online yoga class: Planes, Trains and Asana.

    This online yoga video features a strong set of forward bending postures to help you ground your energy and release areas of tension. This online yoga sequence is designed to release tension in the hamstrings and lower back while allowing you to truly land in your body and at your destination. Before you start, check out Sarah's free online yoga video demoing Three-Legged Dog to really get the most out of your Down Dog splits. (40 mins.)

    vinyasa yoga

    To avoid days and weeks of travel recovery, practice yoga online. YogaVibes frees you to take yoga wherever you are, whenever you want so you can get whatever you need. Stream online yoga at the airport, before hopping into your car, in your car, at the train station, and more!

    Do yoga to unwind, bliss out, and take the stress out of travel!

    Image courtesy of www.embodyingme.blogspot.com

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