Albany yoga basics workshop

Over the weekend Curt and I were in his hometown.

Curt is from a small Missouri town. So small that they don’t have yoga among other things.

I held a yoga workshop for members of the community.

I love finding ways to bring yoga to anyone who wants to experience the practice.

It was my first workshop, which I called Albany Yoga Basics Workshop.

I taught the ladies basic yoga poses while also focusing on alignment and our breath. I also taught them some basic Restorative Yoga poses.

I was able to work on my language and really focus on teaching true beginners, which I feel is my specialty right now as a yoga teacher.

I really do enjoy teaching.

This was extra fun as all the women were familiar with each other and many are close friends.

They laughed and made jokes and enjoyed themselves.

They all got to take home a copy of the sequence we practiced so they can practice at home or even with each other.

I plan to try to get inventive and continue to bring yoga to a community that enjoys it and wants it. Stay tuned Albany, Mo.!

Empowering girls through yoga

On Saturday I volunteered at the Girl Power Summit at a middle school near where I live. I taught the girls yoga.

The girls were second to seventh graders. The girls were in or will be in programs designed to keep girls active and healthy with mentorship and leadership.

I taught five groups of girls. (There were probably between 40-50 girls per group.)

They participated in all kinds of activities that day: yoga, dodgeball, Zumba, hip hop dance, crafts, gymnastics and an obstacle course.

The idea for Saturday’s event was to motivate and inspire girls in their ability to make healthy lifestyle choices, and create positive change in their lives and others with encouraging positive self-esteem and cultural and community pride.

It was fun, challenging and exhausting working with the girls. I don’t have a lot of experience teaching kids yoga. So this was definitely a learning experience for me.

Before yoga they played dodgeball. That was a wild game. Then I had to calm them down for yoga.

I found that the girls were very receptive to breath work and were quite good at it. And it was a great transition from the ball game to our yoga practice.

There were no … Continue reading

Listen and notice

I feel very fortunate that I was able to take a master yoga class on Wednesday with Rodney Yee and Colleen Saidman at Piedmont Yoga Studio in Oakland.

As expected, the class was packed even though it was 9 on a Wednesday morning.

It was a 2-hour class. But it didn’t feel like two hours.

Rodney started the class by chatting with us for a bit. I love when teachers start class like that. Sometimes they just want to chat. Other times it is a way to introduce the theme of the class.

What I took from the class was to listen and notice …

As we were listening and noticing what our bodies were telling us Rodney also reminded us to check our breath. If the breath wasn’t free and flowing then the pose our body was in was not benefiting our bodies.

We need to listen and notice in yoga but also in life. Listen and notice what is going on in your body. And check your breath.

There are so many styles of yoga and styles of teachers out there. Some of the lineages of yoga are quite long and some are much shorter. The lineage of … Continue reading

Can the breath cure hiccups?

breathing1I recently got the hiccups. I decided to do some research on why we get them. They are such a nuisance, aren’t they?

Curt recommended me doing research on a yoga pose that helps stop hiccups. Why didn’t I think of that?

First, what is  a hiccup?

According to Medical News Today, a hiccup occurs when the diaphragm suddenly contracts involuntarily, while at the same time the larynx (voice box) contracts too and the glottis closes, effective blocking the flow of air.

Why do we get hiccups?

The Science Museum says that there doesn’t seem to be any known function of hiccups in the body. … Hiccups once served a purpose in the animals we evolved from. … One idea is that the hiccup evolved to help our four-legged ancestors to swallow food that got stuck in their throats. Where we have the luxury of gravity helping food down, quadrupeds (animals that walk on all fours) have to shift their food horizontally to get it from their mouths to their stomachs. This means it’s easier for lumps of … Continue reading

Just Breathe

Breathing practice is a refuge.

~Richard (paraphrased) in last night’s yoga teacher training.

In yoga teacher training class last night the first part of class was on back bends (baby back bends) and the second half was on Pranayama.

Breathing.

We focused on Ujjayi Pranayama.

Over my years of practicing yoga I have learned how to breathe … differently.

We all know how to breathe. But do we breathe in the best way? In the most healthy way? Most of us shorten our exhale.

When in a stressful or uncomfortable situation one of the things we can control is our breathing. I call that practicing yoga off the mat.

In class, the mind is constantly wandering. And it is natural for our minds to wander.

A good way to get back to the present and back to your yoga practice is to focus on your breathing.

You must come back to the breath.

I try different things to do that, such as:

Exploring body, emotions with yoga practice

I took Vickie’s Sunday class and tonight’s class. Her classes throughout the week have the same theme and for the most part are the same class.

Sunday’s class was pretty packed and we had to accommodate all the bodies and arms. In order for us to move our arms Vickie had us put our hands near our ears like we were covering our ears, which made me giggle to myself and think of muffin ears, which is what I mistakenly always refer to scenes in Old School where the Vince Vaughn character says “Earmuffs!” and his kid covers his ears and they can say “adult things.”

The things that we really focused on on Sunday were that Vickie reminded us to come back to our intention (which she reminded us tonight as well), our breath and if necessary to “start over.”

In yoga practice one sets an intention at the beginning of class. It can be anything from having a strong practice to practicing patience to sending peace into the world to sending energy to someone in your life needing a little extra love. That’s my favorite intention. If someone I care about is having a hard time I like … Continue reading

To live, to breathe

Breathing is important. In order to live we have to breathe, right?

I love to share things I learn in yoga. I feel like I am always learning something new about yoga, my practice and my body.

Months ago in Vickie’s class we learned about breathing into our intercostal muscles. I wrote about this new discovery back then.

We worked on it tonight as well. What Vickie also had us do as we laid on our sides was to feel our ribs. I didn’t realize how high up the ribs go. Do you know they go up to your armpit?

When in a challenging yoga pose instructors really have the class focus on breathing. They want us to breathe through an uncomfortable situation. Breathe through that burning thigh or crazy twist. Breathing into a pose can also help you get deeper into a pose.

We are reminded that life is uncomfortable and we can’t always straighten our leg or unbind. So we must learn to deal with uncomfortable situations with our breath. It is a pretty amazing practice to learn.

Whether practicing yoga or stretching before or after a workout I notice the more I focus on inhale … Continue reading

Ms. Crabby Pants comes out …

Work has been busy, exhausting, overwhelming, frustrating, etc. lately.

Sometimes I deal with stress well and other times I don’t.

I have been really trying to and focusing on practicing yoga “off the mat” while at work the past few weeks.

Sometimes I am successful and other times not so much.

I wrote about practicing yoga off the mat a couple of weeks ago as well.

I have been focusing on my breathing and to not instantly react or say something but to take a breath or two or choose my words wisely or choose not to say anything at all. Sometimes I am successful and sometimes I am not.

And when I am not successful Ms. Crabby Pants comes out …

But I am working on it and thinking about it almost constantly.

I wonder if the excess caffeine is a good idea or a bad idea? Hmmm.

I have to say that I know my spinning and yoga practice are helping to keep it somewhat at bay. I am able to work out some of my frustrations as well as work on my breathing and practicing calmness.

Aaaaaauuuummmmm

In many yoga classes they have us chant Aum or Om at the beginning and end of class, which we did today. But we also chanted shorter aums as we did some Vinyasa flows in Hatha Yoga class tonight with Baxter.

We focused on the Aums (that link to the left is the sound of Aum) and breathing in the front and back of our lungs as well as the left and right lungs.

Recently in Forrest Yoga Kristin mentioned that only 30% of toxins are released from sweat, urine and stool. The other 70% of toxins are released by our breath.

That makes you really think. I mean, how much do we really focus on our breathing. When you are stressed or upset what are you supposed to do? Stop and breathe. But seriously? Do we all do that. Remembering to breathe in yoga classes is easier as the instructors remind you quite often. In some classes, like Forrest Yoga, it is the base of the class. And in that class we focus on Ujjayi breath.

I found a few sites that talk about Breathwork and the many benefits.