Teaching teens Restorative Yoga

Two Sundays ago as I was rolling and carrying all of my props into my Restorative Yoga class (I teach Restorative at the fitness center in my community complex and bring my own props) a woman came up to chat with me.

She said her daughter and her Girl Scout friends were learning about breathing and she was wondering if it would be OK for them to come to class the following week.

Of course!

On Sunday I had three girls come to class, one was 14 and the other two were 13.

I told them about conscious breath. We worked on inhaling on a two count and exhaling on a three count. I told them that a longer exhale can help us support the parasympathetic nervous system (rest and digest). (The sympathetic nervous system is the fight, flight or freeze.)

We started our practice in a seated mediation to work on the two count inhale and the three count exhale.

I asked all of my students to start in a comfortable seat where we would stay for a few minutes. They had blocks, bolsters and blankets and could use whatever they wanted to be comfortable.

I was impressed with the … 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:

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

My yoga practice

I write a lot about my yoga practice.

Sometimes my practice is about exercise.

Sometimes it is about connecting deeper with myself.

Sometimes it is about breathing.

Sometimes it is about endurance.

Sometimes it is about remaining calm.

Sometimes it is about getting stronger, physically.

Sometimes it is about taking care of me.

Sometimes it is a combo of these or all of them.

Yesterday in Aviva’s class she talked about focusing on the head, neck and shoulders.

She read us an excerpt, which she will send to me later. Part of it read like this:

Yoga is … wisdom of the mind, will of the heart and skill of the body.

I really like that. And I have really been reflecting on it since she read it yesterday.

 

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.

Just for me

I took an extra long weekend with having Friday and Monday off as well as Saturday and Sunday.

I gave myself an extended weekend for a variety of reasons: I needed to get stuff done I don’t have time for in my spare time; I wanted to do some de-cluttering on our storage unit and wanted to go on a weekday; I wanted to do some extra lounging and relaxing and sleeping in for me.

On Friday I lounged a little in the morning before heading off to the storage unit and did some cleaning and de-cluttering. I also watched a few movies and then headed to yoga.

On Monday I enjoyed my coffee and TV watching in the morning. After that I tackled a few errands. Then some me time with a visit to Tootsies, a shoe store, and then a mani/pedi.

After that I came home and watched a movie and did some more lounging.

And I ended my me time with a yoga class.

And I am sure glad I took care of myself over the past few days. Because today at work was HELL. I am working on a big project and it is taking a … Continue reading

A good night’s sleep

From what I have read and what I I just know 7-9 hours of sleep at night is recommended and ideal.

Because I get up at 5:30 four days a week I try to get in bed between 9:30 and 10. I usually have no problem falling asleep. A lot of time I am crashing on the couch while watching TV. (And even on the weekends it is tough for me to stay up past 10.)

Falling asleep is the easy part for me. Staying asleep is another story. I wake up a lot. It seems to go through cycles. A good night of sleep for me is only waking up a few times and falling right back asleep. A bad night is waking up more than five times and and a few of those times being awake for 30 minutes to an hour.

If I am having a lot of trouble falling back asleep I will usually move to the spare room and try to sack out on the futon.

I do have Ambien. But I take it sparingly. If I have two to three nights of bad sleep … Continue reading

Just breathe …

Yoga class was a treat this morning. Even more than normal.

I took a friend with me.

Our friends Stefanie and Aaron are in town along with their teenage son and 4-year-old son. They are on their way to Disneyland. But stopped in the Bay Area for a couple of days.

Anyway, Stefanie and I went to the 9 a.m. Hatha yoga class with Vickie. Normally I take the 10:45 Vinyasa class with Ashley. But on occasion I take Vickie’s Sunday class.

It was nice to take a friend along with me. And Vickie thought we were related.

Today we focused on breathing, especially in our diaphragm. We focused on opening our sides and breathing through the muscles in our ribs, our intercostal muscles. The breathing exercises we worked on helped us open up our kidneys as well.

I love when I learn something new about my body in yoga class.

Over the years of practicing yoga I have learned many breathing techniques. I learn how to breathe when I am nervous or stressed or scared. And it really helps calm me.

Vickie makes us work hard. But we are always rewarded. She likes to throw in a … Continue reading

Burning thighs … er … sore hips

 

My work schedule has been a little weird this week.

I worked from home yesterday. And today we were allowed to leave work a little early after being treated to an amazing seafood lunch. (See lobster photo to the left.)

Yesterday morning I took a yoga class from the yoga studio, Namaste Yoga Studio in my neighborhood, where I regularly go about 3-4 times a week.

I took Naushon’s Power Vinyasa, which I have taken a few other times. But it is not a regular class for me, as her times don’t normally fit in my schedule. Talk about a sweaty class. I am talking … dripping sweat.

And it is slightly deceiving … we start in Child’s Pose. Well, believe me that doesn’t last long. Her class is very active and did I say sweaty? It’s an amazing practice and workout.

Because I was home about 3 today I was able to attend Sean’s Vinyasa class. He used to teach at my gym. And then I started attending a Sunday class at the studio, which he taught. He no longer teaches on Sundays, but was replaced by Ashley who is pretty awesome. Sean’s class is active and … Continue reading

Just breathe …

One of the many benefits of practicing yoga is learning so many new ways to breathe.

When I am aboard a plane and we are taking off I do what I call my yoga breathing, which makes me feel more relaxed and less nervous.

When I get stressed out or irritated or upset I try to remember to inhale and exhale slowly and calmly.

A co-worker and I attended a webinar today that taught us how to deal with chaos and stress and how to make things more positive and in control.

I was telling my co-worker about my breathing techniques and as soon as I did the training started talking about how breathing can help in stressful situations. (They even mentioned yoga.)

This link explains some of the breathing techniques we use in yoga practice. I probably find the Sukha Pranayama the most relaxing for me when trying to calm myself down.

I have exercise-induced asthma. I am working on making my lungs healthier. I am making them stronger with regular exercise. But my breathing and my breathing techniques are getting better with my regular exercise and breathing techniques I am learning in yoga.

I have recently learned … Continue reading