My home practice

In my first Saturday yoga teacher training class we focused on home practice and I, of course, wrote about it.

To be a good and effective yoga teacher I must have a regular home practice. Five times a week for about 45 minutes is what is recommended.

I couldn’t commit to that at first so I have started with 20-25 minutes five times a week.

The first week that I committed to a yoga home practice I practiced five times (Monday through Friday) for 20-25 minutes.

The second week I tried a different variety of poses to practice and did it five times (Monday through Friday) for 20-25 minutes.

On the days I work from home I am able to make my practice a little longer. But on the days I have to go into the office I do a shorter practice as I am now getting up on those days at 5 a.m. (30 minutes early) to get my practice in.

I wanted to share with you the first week of practice I did. As the first week went on I adjusted my practice. I ended up holding each pose for six breaths.

And depending on how much … Continue reading

The amazing psoas muscle

The psoas muscle (pronounced so-az) affects every facet of your life, from your physical well-being to who you feel yourself to be and how you relate to the world. A bridge linking the trunk to the legs, the psoas is critical for balanced alignment, proper joint rotation, and full muscular range of motion, according to Yoga Journal website.

Recently in a yoga class with Baxter we focused on the psoas muscle with various yoga poses.

This Yoga Journal article talks about 10 yoga poses you can practice to release your psoas, such as Eka Pada Rajakapotasana (Pigeon Pose), pictured to the left.

Lunge variations, Vrksasana (Tree Pose), Tadasana (Mountain Pose) are also some poses that can be performed to work the psoas.

Also from the Yoga Journal website, in walking, a healthy psoas moves freely and joins with a released diaphragm to continuously massage the spine as well as the organs, blood vessels and nerves of the trunk.

Wow, one muscle does all of that?

Wikipedia says the psoas major is a long fusiform muscle located on the side of the lumbar region of the vertebral column and brim of the lesser pelvis. It joins the iliacus muscle to form the iliopsoas. In … Continue reading

Learning about home practice

We’re not here to serve the (yoga) poses. These poses are here to serve us.

~Vickie Russell Bell in last night’s yoga teacher training class

Yesterday was my first Saturday class with Piedmont Yoga Studio’s Deep Yoga teacher training program. We have class every Thursday night and one Saturday a month.

Yesterday we got to get to know each other and we discussed home practice.

I loved working with others to brainstorm and giving each other advice and suggestions.

For most of us in the group our biggest obstacle with maintaining a regular home practice, which is ideally at least 45 minutes and five times a week, is time.

We talked about priorities in life and the “sacred hour.” What do we want to accomplish in the hour we set aside for our sacred hour?  Vickie said her four things in the sacred hour are writing, asana (yoga poses), meditation and restorative.

Before deciding how much time to spend on each we should ask ourselves: How do I want to feel? How do I get there?

Earlier in the day we talked about standing poses we liked and didn’t like. On Thursday Baxter assigned each … Continue reading

Using blocks to balance, enhance yoga poses

Tonight in Vickie’s Hatha yoga class we focused on using blocks for many of our poses.

I struggle with balancing poses. Standing on a block made it a little easier to focus my weight and core to keep myself upright or balanced.

We practiced Downward Facing Dog on blocks. First with the blocks under our hands and then with the blocks under our feet.

We also practiced Triangle Pose standing on a block with a transition to Half Moon Pose. (For these poses I can’t seem to find an example of someone also placing a block under their feet. But you get the idea.)

For me, Tree Pose was the most interesting on the block. Sometimes this pose is pretty steady and not so challenging. But most of the time I struggle to keep my balance and not teeter or fall out of the pose. (Sorry, no sample of that pose on the block.)

I love when we do a practice a little different or do the same practice with an adjustment.

Balance between effort and ease

That was the theme today in my yoga class.

I hadn’t worked out since Wednesday, with work being so busy and then being out of town. So today seemed a little tougher than usual.

Sarah, the regular Mon/Wed a.m. yoga instructor, was back today after being out for about five weeks.

I don’t have very good balance. But it has been getting better. I have gotten much better at tree pose. But today I just sucked at it! Usually I get frustrated with myself when I can’t hold a balancing pose. But today I really didn’t.

Another pose we did was the dancer pose. I was much better with that one.

And the last pose I want to mention is crane. I have actually done this pose fully before–like once. You have to have a really strong core for this pose.

Tree Pose

I have been doing yoga on a regular basis for almost two years. I normally practice yoga about three times a week.

I have seriously come a long way. But the thing with yoga is you are always improving and getting better and stronger. I don’t know if you ever master it? Some might disagree. But I feel with yoga there is always room to grow and improve.

Anyway, I suck at the balance poses. I actually dislike when we have a huge focus on balance. I get frustrated because I can’t stay up for very long without falling over.

A lot of that has to do with core strength. And I am understanding better how to use my core strength to keep me up in certain poses.

Yesterday in yoga we did Tree Pose, which I am getting much better at. And I am proud to say I only fell out of the pose once on one side.

Balancing

Eh, not so much. So today in yoga we focused on balance. I kinda hate the balancing poses. I get frustrated and impatient with myself.
We did tree pose. One of my least favorite poses. I can’t even get my leg that high like in the picture.
Balance is really important in a lot of the poses. I am getting better. But it is difficult.

I weighed in today for WW and somehow (I have no idea how!!!) I was down about 6 ounces. I didn’t eat that great over the break. And I didn’t exercise as much as I would have liked. So in celebration of my slight weight loss I got a grilled cheese and fries for lunch. Yea, I know, not a great idea. But whatever!