All posts tagged: asana

Keeping Cool with Yoga

Top Three Ways to Cool Down with Yoga and Meditation You might not think of yoga when you consider ways to cool down.  As a matter of fact, with the proliferation of hot yoga, you may only think of yoga as an activity that is meant to generate heat.  But, yoga and meditation offer a variety of ways to help balance your experience of heat. First, we should explore the concept of “heat” in the context of yoga.  There are many different ways to look at heat and fire in energetic principles, asana/movement, and pranayama/breath.  One approach to heat is to examine the “agni” or digestive fires located in the navel center.  The heat produced during the effort of practicing yoga poses (asana) is designed to clear “energetic” impurities.  An example of an “energetic” impurity might be an emotional block or a mental pattern that is no longer helpful.  This allows energy to move more freely through the subtle body and creates potential where there may have not been any before the block was removed. …

Are you doing yoga “right”?

This is a re-post of one of the most read blog posts I have written in the past 5-years.  This originally appeared in the blog in February 2009.  It’s a great reminder as we start the new year for a healthy and safe way to approach your practice. Both new yoga students and more experienced yoga students, at some point in a class or practice, may wonder if they are doing a particular pose correctly.  Many students wish that instructors would just come over and correct their pose or hope that, in time, they’ll start to get it right.  Most new students are sure they can’t possibly be doing yoga right and many experienced students have developed poor alignment habits that feel right, but are blocking them from deepening their asana practice. This is why we all, regardless of experience level, need to continue to take classes, workshops and find instructors that provide encouragement and assistance in deepening our practice at all levels.  Even the Masters have a guru. A well-trained instructor has studied principles …

December: Affirmation Yoga

Saturdays, December 1, 8, 15 and 22 Extended Practices from 8:00 to 9:30 am Join me for Extended Practice sessions from 8:00-9:30am.  Our focus this month will be on affirmation yoga.  We will do a full, holistic practice that will be physically, intellectually and spiritually challenging. What is affirmation yoga? Each session we will do a sequence of yoga asana (poses) that we will hold for a more extended period of time during which we will repeat to ourselves a specific mantra.  These mantras are in English and will help us feel supported through this season.   While these affirmations are different from the ones that I am planning on incorporating into my practices in December, they definitely give you an idea of how this works.  It is an incredibly powerful practice that strengthens the body while deeply honoring the energy of the asana and encouraging us to truly embody our practices in mind, body and spirit. Sounds Great, But 8:00 am on Saturdays?  Too early! Is your response, “This sounds great, but it is …

Week 2: Day 1: The End

During my “day of rest” in the 8-week series designed by Rodney Yee yesterday I not only took the opportunity to do a home practice that I really wanted to do, I also looked over my blog entries from the first week of the series.  What was painfully obvious is that I don’t want to be doing this practice. A home practice is not about self-punishment, it should feel really good.  It should be about commitment, dedication and making choices that reflect a very personal and intimate evaluation about state of mind, breath and body.  I really enjoy my home practice, but doing the series as designed by Rodney Yee felt a little bit like punishment—–I was really forcing myself, albeit unsucessfully, to do his program even when I didn’t feel like it. This is precisely what makes a home practice different from a group practice.  If I go to a group class and the instructor has us do six tree poses, then I am going to do those six tree poses to the best …

Day One, Week One: Attachment & Weakness

A few weeks ago I threatened to start Rodney Yee’s 8-week Home Yoga Practice program from his book, Moving Towards Balance: 8-Weeks of Yoga with Rodney Yee and blog about my experience.  Today, I’m making good on my threat.  It’s Day One of Week One. Today’s practice involved practicing multiple versions of some standing poses.  Already, I’m kind of frustrated.  After twenty-years of practice, I like doing these poses the way I like doing these poses.  So, today, I met the beast of attachment head on and I did the poses the way Rodney wanted me to.  I’m still going to keep doing the poses my way, but once I got over my attachment issues, I did find that doing the poses in the variety of ways that the practice suggested, I was able to find different sensation in the poses.  It was really an invitation to feel the poses in a variety of different ways and this brought me into deeper awareness of sensation in my body and the alignment and use of my …

Cardio Yoga

I am absolutely delighted to announce that Aleta Howard will be joining the Yoga Community and offering her unique YBB (Yoga Booty Ballet) classes starting February 2nd and through the spring.  What is YBB?  On the schedule, we are calling it Cardio Yoga.  If you think that “yoga” means traditional asana, then you might feel that YBB is more of an exercise class and wonder what it is doing on a yoga studio schedule. Well, first of all, YBB combines some elements of Hatha yoga that will be recognizable to yogis who do have experience with more traditional yoga classes that are based on asana.  Second, YBB includes yoga kriya from the Kundalini tradition and the creation and support of a personal intention is an important part of each and every class.  Third, what is yoga?  While this is a deeper issue that would require both a lifetime of examination and certainly a much more respectful examination than I can offer here, I would like to suggest that expressing the body with joy, opening and …

What is Restorative Yoga?

Restorative yoga is a practice that brings the energy of the body into balance, releases deeply held tension and calms the nervous system.  In this yoga practice, there are gentle movements, breathing exercises and physical poses that are held for five-minutes or longer with the support of blankets, pillows and other props.  These longer held poses allow the body to release into the pose with support so there is no physical strain or effort.  In this way, the practitioner receives the full benefit of the pose without creating any additional stress in the body or on the nervous system. This type of practice is counter-intuitive to adults who have come to think that more effort, more work, more sweat and more pain means more and better results.  One of the greatest challenges of restorative yoga is accepting the fact that doing less brings the most significant transformation in the body and mind.  This is not a gentle, wimpy or easy practice!  Restorative yoga is a gentle unfolding of the damage we do to our bodies …

Yoga and Hope

In the March 2010 issue of ODE Magazine, there is a thought provoking article, Great Expectations: How hope therapy can help banish mild mood disorders and boost happiness, by Catherine Ryan.  Among the many things that I started to think about was the way that yoga promotes hope. What precisely is hope?  Hope is a subtle sensation and state of being, sometimes an emotion, that provides a vague sense that something other than what “is” can be possible.  It provides the foundation for every change, every decision and every transition that we find ourselves on the other side of.  Without hope, the capacity to love, to move, to grow or to change is stifled and the great shadow of fear and doubt can overwhelm us.  Hope is sometimes confused as faith, but although these both require one another, they are quite different.  In order to act on hope, one must have faith in the potentially positive outcome of one’s actions.  In order to have faith, there must be a song of hope in one’s heart …

Cabin Fever & Yoga in Pittsburgh

There was one very brave student at tonight’s class.  She was new to Yoga Matrika and was curious about what the class title, Mindful Yoga, really meant.  I prattled on about Vajra Yoga and not making a distinction between asana practice and meditation and how we create a moving meditation through our practice……….but during our practice together, I started to question the whole thing entirely.  You see, that’s the problem with having an answer to everything—-you miss opportunities for reaching a greater understanding.  In this case, I was incredibly inspired by the clarity of this student’s practice and she taught me a lot about mindfulness.  So, thank you dear student, and hope you come back soon! What I realised is that what I don’t know about mindfulness is a lot.  While there are so very many things that I hope that my Mindful Flow classes mean, the real mindfulness is in the interpretation.  I asked my student to choose an intention for her practice and to anchor that intention with awareness of the breath or …

Special Topics Series w/Anna Gilbert

Special Topics Series with Anna Gilbert 10/14, 10/28, 11/11, 12/9 Wednesdays from 7:15 pm to 8:15 pm $34 for the series of 4-workshops or $12 to drop-in 10/14 From Kitty Cat to Wagging Dog: Exploring the Spine in Asana 10/28 Is Your Triangle a Rectangle? Explore the Side Body in Asana 11/11 Are you Ready to Rumble? Explore Alignment in Warrior Pose 12/9 Let’s Twist! Explore spirals in seated and standing Asana More information on topics and to register here: http://dharmatribeonline.com/matrika/index.php?tab=event_detail&event_id=1704&class_type=session Posted by Sharon Rudyk, Director of Yoga Matrika in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania https://www.yogamatrika.com/

Make a Poem of your Flesh

“This is what you should do: love the earth and the sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to everyone that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience and indulgence toward the people, take off your hat to nothing known or unknown or to any man or number of men…re-examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book, dismiss what insults your own soul, and your very flesh shall be a great poem.” WALT WHITMAN Whitman suggests here what every yogi knows–the choices we make with our mind are reflected in our bodies.  This is  beauty.  You know when you are in the room with beauty. Thinking back on all the beauties you have been around you know that it isn’t the type of beauty that Cover Girl is selling that sticks with you.  The beauty that you see in others is their poem and the memory of it is a song that vibrates through …