All posts tagged: yoga poses

Forward Folds and Bending Over Backwards in Nature

The number one thing that adults say when I tell them that I am a yoga teacher is: “Oh, I can’t do yoga!  I’m so inflexible and I can’t even get close to touching my toes.” For about twenty-years now, I have tried every socially acceptable way possible at these moments to try to explain that yoga isn’t about being flexible, that anyone and everyone can benefit, that one may or may not become more flexible through yoga, that flexibility is, truly….besides the point entirely.  As soon as I start talking, I see the recipient’s eyes glaze over.  They are no longer paying attention to me, mostly because they only asked what I did for a living as a social pleasantry in the first place. Now, they are filled with regret for having ever made eye contact in the first place.  I can almost see the thoughts of escape to the cheese platter or, even better, the bar, cross their mind. A couple weeks ago I was on a walk with a friend when t …

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 …

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 …

Holiday Yoga: A Prenatal Practice

Yoga Matrika is going to be offering a limited number of prenatal yoga classes during the holidays.  In case you don’t live in Pittsburgh and have found this practice online, Yoga Matrika offers prenatal yoga classes in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  The good news about this practice is that you can do it anywhere! We all know that even a few stretches and relaxation exercises can make a huge difference in how we feel during pregnancy.  During the holidays, our diets and schedules change and this makes it even more important that we maintain our practice.  Here is a very short practice that is appropriate for pregnant women that you can do at home, if you are traveling or wherever you roam.  For all you Pittsburgh-based Matrika Mammas, I look forward to seeing you again in person for class in the new year! Center & Breathe First step, find a comfortable seat.  You do not have to be sitting on the floor and if you are at all swollen or feel any aches, it may be best …

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 …

Yoga at Home for $2 a Month

There are a LOT of great reasons to practice yoga at home on your own: 1-You have work and/or family responsibilities that make it impossible to consistently get to a yoga class.  This may be especially true for new parents who are juggling jobs, childcare and EVERYTHING! 2-You travel often and wish you had a practice you could take with you on the road 3-It’s a great way to advance your practice and always do the poses and exercises that best support you in how you feel (if you’re calling the shots, then you don’t have to do any handstands if you don’t want to!). 4-If you are not feeling well, are injured or need a modified practice for any reason, you can learn how to do a practice that will help you feel better 5-You want to make yoga a part of everyday—a real part of your life and not just a class or workshop that you take every once in a while. Many of my students ask me how to start a home …

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 …