Practicing heart opener

Recently my yoga theme was for the desk jockey, a person who sits at a desk.

One of the poses we practiced in the sequence was the heart opener over the blocks, aka supported fish pose (pictured to the left).

So many of my students love this pose. They love how it makes them feel. I love it as well.

This pose reverses the negative effects of our poor posture when we sit at a desk, pound away on a keyboard, sit in the car or on public transportation during our long commutes, look at our smart phone or tablet, etc.

The heart opener is a baby backbend and puts our body into extension (we are usually in flexion–think hunched over computer back).

We open our chest, spread shoulder blades, open the collarbones and take stress out of the low back. Having the block behind our shoulder blades reminds us where backbends should come from, behind our heart center, not the low back or the neck.

The muscles, ligaments, veins, etc. are tight in the neck, chest, shoulders, upper back because of our sitting culture. This pose helps to stretch these tight/overactive muscles, making them longer and more supple.

Many people have … Continue reading

Using strap for Chatarunga Dhandasana

One of the things I learned while in my yoga teacher training was to learn to “steal good.” And I do this pretty regularly.

As a teacher myself I take things my teachers do and make them my own. It’s a great way to learn to teach and to share awesome things I learn along the way with my students.

Near the end of my teaching stint at Alameda Athletic Club I asked my students and GFG! readers what their favorite and least favorite yoga poses were.

With that information I created a sequence for my second to last week teaching favorite poses and my last week of teaching least favorite poses.

One of my students told me that Chatarunga Dhandasana (Four-Limbed Staff Pose) was one of her least favorite poses.

This is a pose where many people hurt themselves. It’s a difficult pose and many people don’t and can’t do it correctly, myself included.

From an article on the Yoga Journal website,  the writer mentioned being at a meeting with other yoga teachers and “almost all of us had a Chaturanga injury to relate: elbow tendonitis or strained muscles in the upper arm, shoulder, or chest. … Since then, … Continue reading

Getting back to the yoga teaching

For the past week and a half or so I have been making contacts at gyms and yoga studios.

I joined LA Fitness and have chatted it up with a couple of cycle teachers and a yoga teacher. I have been applying at gyms in the area where an application is accessible. I have found smaller gyms and studios near me and contacted them.

Surprisingly I have had a good response.

So I have some possibilities coming up for my teaching. I am just trying to be patient.

At the town house community Curt and I live in there is a fitness center. Three times a week there are free yoga classes for residents.

I went to one of the free classes on Thursday night. It was pretty good.

After class was over I introduced myself to the teacher and asked if she taught all three classes. She told me that she does.

I told her about my trainings. I also told her that if she ever needs a sub I can sub for her.

Sunday nights are Restorative Yoga. I told her I did a separate 20-hour teacher training specifically for Restorative Yoga.

She didn’t teach last night because she … Continue reading

GFG! and her yoga props

My usual yoga props for most yoga classes is a blanket, block and strap.

If a teacher requires something else, such as an extra block, a bolster, sand bag, I am more than happy to grab as well.

Oh, and an eye pillow is great for Restorative yoga and savasana. In a pinch, I use my towel or strap.

Today Ashley asked us to grab a blanket, block and strap. That was perfect for me because I already had all the props I needed.

Someone had grabbed extra blocks and handed one to another student yogi. I over heard that yogi say, I don’t like to use props.

I found that to be rather odd.

Some people think using a prop makes you a beginner or that the pose is made easier. Yoga should not be competitive with others or even yourself. And there are times no matter how advanced you are where props are required.

I like to use the blanket to sit on during meditation at the beginning and end of class. Sometimes I use it for padding under my knees. I also use it for a pillow during … Continue reading