Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Inspiration part 2

Why teaching others is so amazing...
In some ways I don't think being a Yoga teacher is "my thing". I don't like pushing my "stuff" on other people and acting like its what they should be doing. I am a very "do what you feel" kinda Yoga instructor. I keep things light and easy peasy...which I think makes me an OK yoga teacher and not a GREAT Yoga teacher. But it is what it is. However, teaching is super cool because I like making people feel good. I like knowing that if someone had a stressful day I gave them an hour of relief and maybe they can even take that relief with them. Even better...I like when I can help someone accomplish something they didn't think they could -like Side crow. This is one of my favorite arm balances because its a lot easier than it looks. Recently I taught 2 people how to do it. I simply showed the exact alignment for getting into it and hallelooo! Bam! Side Crow! I love that idea of people having the potential to accomplish certain things and its all about guiding them to the right tools to do so.

If you're interested in learning my alignment and break down for the pose...check out this old post.

Sunday, May 29, 2011


Since the weather has been amazing I have been jogging laps around one of the parks in my neighborhood. I much prefer jogging laps around a park then doing the Westside Highway or Central Park runs since I can always cop out and come back home easily and also so I don't have to lay on sunblock. The sunblock thing is another reason why I run before 8am. Sundays at 6am btw, are the best mornings to run because the city is still quiet and there aren't as many runners out. Once you hit 7am everything becomes distracting and there are a lot of other runners out.

Lately I see a group of 3 older Asian ladies that walk laps around the park and another older Asian woman who power walks laps around the park. As I run my laps I count how many times I pass them. They are always there before me and still going after me. Today they inspired me to run 2 more laps than I planned.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Hot Yoga Vs. Bikram

So I just finished 2 weeks of practicing only Hot Vinyasa. It wasn't so bad. I still find any type of hot practice as something I will want to do once in a blue moon and never as a regular practice. I'm really curious about people who do this as a regular practice and whether or not they also have a regular not hot Yoga practice?

Why I prefer Hot Vinyasa over Bikram
• The room is not as boiling hot, so I don't feel like I'm suffocating or being cooked for dinner.
• The instructors don't bark pose commands at me but are much more gentle.
• The challenge isn't stay in a super hot crowded room with lots of sweaty people for 90 minutes..the challenge is to keep breathing.
• In Bikram you will get the same series over and over again in every class, Hot Yoga is more free flowing and each class will be different.
• Carpeted floors in Bikram, regular wood flooring in Hot Vinayasa (doesn't feel as gross but does call for more slippage)
• I feel the instructors can make an impact on their class more or less since they can change up the sequencing intuitively. Instructors can make an impact in class in Bikram as well but being the same series I feel its not as apparent.

Notes on any type of hot practice:
• Be EXTRA in tune with what your body wants and doesn't want.
• Skip poses when needed
• Drink water before class...even better -coconut water
• Drink water when you need to during class but don't O.D. bc it will affect some asanas like twists, binds and backbends.
• Breathe
• Use towels and be careful of slip and falls on the mat!
• Be careful of sweaty floors when you are walking out of class too!
• Not the type of practice you should push yourself too hard.
• Not recommended in the winter -the hot sauna like temperature will open up your pores and then when you got outside into the cold your body is open to sickness, wind and cold!

In conclusion, I enjoy the hot practice but not as a regular practice. Prana Power is a good studio if you want to try a hot class!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Return of the tight quads in Navasana

Another pose in which my quads sabotage me!

There's a lot going on in Navasana. To hold the v-sit you have hold the weight of your torso and legs. The hip flexors connected to the low back and thighs are all working together here to hold you up and balance. So the abs and back muscles are working together here in sort of an opposition in order to keep a super straight spine. For me this is not happening and I have to bend my knees and kept them parallel to the floor instead of having legs extended. With tight hamstrings such as mine, there will be no straightening of the knees!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Hold back!

Today I sat through a 1 hour talk about Clinical Energetics. I don't know what I was expecting but a friend recommended it to me. It was taught by Gary Strauss and though it was pretty brief it gave me perspective in my Yoga practice as an instructor.

Lately, I have been thinking a lot about what it is to be an instructor or a teacher. Sometimes I think...that's not me. I don't like being the person to tell people what they should be doing because I naturally do not like being told what to do. If its cold out and my mother says bring a warmer jacket or sweater I will automatically NOT listen to her. Its just a plain old bad habit. Mostly this idea of teaching or instructing brings me to a place where I think...I know my body and myself best, because I am me, and its my body. Just like you know yourself and your body best because its yours, you deal with it everyday since the day you were born. Which is why sometimes I feel like its not my place to tell people what to be doing -what do I really know? What do I know more about my yoga students than they do? Though when I think of teaching yoga as a guidance it feels more...ME -I feel more comfortable putting it out there.

So there is this idea that whatever energy you walk into a room with you taint it with. And there is this idea of holding all the energy back in order to allow people who are going through something to have space. This idea of "Holding Space". I loved how this applied so much to my Yoga practice and also what I do wrong as a Yoga teacher. Sometimes I am so worried if the students are enjoying class that the worry is taking up too much of the physical space and that energy is effecting them. There is something to be said about holding all of that back as much as possible while teaching because people's bodies have an innate sense of healing themselves. Its all about giving them the space to do so and giving guidance. Instead of thinking about whether or not the class is going well, or rather thinking about myself, I should be holding it back and thinking that these students know what to do for themselves to make the experience enjoyable. They have their own intuition about how their body is doing at any given moment or in any pose.

Practice yoga outdoors and see how different the energy around you feels when you're not contained and you have infinite space. In the class today Gary Strauss had everyone in the room who complained of back or shoulder pain sit in the front of the room while everyone else in the room made a conscious effort to bring their energy behind them. The others were only told to think "all beings have the capacity to take care of themselves" and "all living things are intelligent" I was sitting in the front of the room with lower back and shoulder pain and after just sitting there I felt the sensations of: lightness and coolness. It was like a weight was lifted. My pain definitely eased but, thought it didn't go away completely or stay away, but there was something there.

So stay positive and don't taint the space with self important junk!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Birds of Paradise.

I took a great yoga class the other day and its been a while since I practiced in a crowded room. We did Bird of Paradise pose in class and what irritates me about it is...well 1. its a balancing pose. Anytime I have to balance on one foot its a problem! Especially my left foot. 2. My quads and my hamstrings prevent me for extending my legs because they are just too tight. In this pose, getting the bind is the easiest part. Balancing on one foot, ugh..ok I can get there sometimes on a good days..then extending that leg out? its not happening! Either way...its such a lovely pose once you can do it in its full expression. 

Here are 2 different ways I like getting into Bird of Paradise.
1. Come into side angle pose with the right hand planted on the inside of the right foot. Open the shoulders a lot and then bind.
2. Walk the left foot in towards the front of the mat about 1 foot, then turn the right foot in to make it parallel to the left. 
3. Now walk the right foot closer to the left so they are about hip's width. 
4. Shift weight to the left leg and slowly lift the right leg
5. If you don't have tight hamstrings and quads...extend the right leg. 

1. Come to a forward fold with feet hip distance apart.
2. Take the right arm under the right leg, left arm behind the back and bind
3. Shift your weight to the left leg and slowly lift the right.
4. Extend the right leg straight/