Yoga Poses

This Ain’t Your Mama’s Yoga Class

Posted on Updated on

20140511-184203.jpg

Okay so maybe it is, it’s everyone’s yoga class, actually. For those of you that know her music, the title is Miranda Lambert inspired. 🙂 This is a post specifically for beginner yogi’s. Would that be you? All country tunes aside, yoga has come a long way and its rapid growth continues. It’s popular mostly for yoga pants but also for its mile long list of benefits and results. Yet, there are so many people out there that haven’t tried it! So my hope is to encourage you to give it a try. You have nothing to lose and so much to gain.

What to expect in your first yoga class?

We will be moving up and down and all around. There’s a chance you will sweat. Depending on the yoga class you attend. Be sure and discuss your questions or concerns with the teacher beforehand and always checkout the class description before attending. Gentle yoga & meditation, no sweat, power Yoga, much sweat! You get the idea.

What to wear when you don’t have yoga pants?

What? No yoga pants! Don’t panic that’s why I’m here. Yoga pants are comfy and they let you move so they are nice, however workout pants, sweatpants, shorts will do the trick. Anything you feel comfortable in and that allows to move.

Advice for a beginner?

Arrive early, introduce yourself to the teacher, ask any questions that you may have. Let them know you are a beginner. If you have injuries, for instance you have had knee surgery, let the teacher know and they will be able to provide modifications throughout the class.

Do we chant and meditate in yoga class?

If were being honest, I’ve never been a big fan of the chanting even in my yoga trainings. I just kind of sit there and observed. Oh, but how a few years and research can change someone. 🙂 I’ve learned to never say never when it comes to pretty much everything, chanting included. While I personally haven’t included it in my classes there are some that do. I have started chanting some in my own meditation practice. It’s very soothing and research has also shown it to be beneficial especially in preventing Alzheimer’s. I will be posting more on that soon. The bottom line is to find a class that resonates with you whether that includes chanting or no chanting. It’s all good for you. It’s kind of like church there’s a yoga class for everyone.

Poses for a Beginner

Here are some poses you will probably see in your first yoga class. I’ve included pictures and a short video.

Forward Fold

20140511-184226.jpg

Place your feet hip-width apart. Raise your arms overhead, bend your knees, and fold forward, leading with your chest. Hinging from the hips. Bend your knees as much as you desire here. If you find that your hands do not reach the floor, place your hands on a block for support.

Downward Facing Dog

20140511-203800.jpg

From all the all fours position, curl your toes and lift the knees up and send the hips up and back. Spread your fingers wide. Lift the heels if necessary but press them toward the mat. Draw the shoulders away from the ears.

Plank

20140511-184437.jpg

Align the shoulders over the wrists. Draw the navel in and lengthen through the spine. Create a nice long line of energy. If you hips sink, drop the knees to the mat.

Chaturanga

20140511-184836.jpg

From plank propel yourself forward slightly so that your elbows align over the wrists as you lower down into a push-up. Elbows hug in towards the ribs. Shoulder blades hug the back. Again if the hips sink, drop the knees. This will keep you from compromising your low back.

Cobra Pose

20140511-184529.jpg

Arms are straight, legs are on the mat. Imagine you have an egg beneath your low abdomen so your lifting up and opening up the chest, drawing the shoulders down.

Upward Facing Dog

20140511-184628.jpg

In this pose your pressing the ground away from you, shoulders still back and down, heart is open and your pressing down through the tops of the feet. The legs are hovering a few inches off the mat. Practice the cobra pose until you feel strong enough to try this one. Listen to your body you will know when your ready to advance.

Vinyasa Flow-Sun Salutation

Follow me on Instagram @outdooryogi and tweet me @bepresent100

http://www.bepresent100.com

Advertisements

Runners & Desk Junkies: 4 Yoga Poses You Need In Your Life

Posted on

20140423-232403.jpg

What do runners and desk junkies have in common? Tight hips! Use these juicy yoga stretches to open your hips and stay injury free. In order to get the most benefit from these hip openers, I suggest using a timer and holding each pose for 90 seconds. This will ensure you stay in the pose long enough to start allowing the tension and tightness to release. Let’s get started.

Bound Angle Pose (Baddha Konasana)

20140423-232327.jpg

Begin seated, bringing the soles of your feet together. Keep the spine long and hinge forward from the hips. Allow your hips to open and your knees to fall closer to the floor without pushing them. Just allowing them the space they need. If it’s only a thought for today, that’s perfectly okay. Work where you are.  Close your eyes and begin to breathe.

Lizard Pose (Utthan Pristhasana)

20140423-232336.jpg

Starting in a kneeling lunge position, (left foot in front) walk both hands to the inside of the knee/foot. Leave the arms extended or bring the forearms to the mat or block. Deepen the pose by lifting the back knee up off of the mat. Allow the knee to open up a little more to the left, lifting up through the arch of the foot to open the hips a little more.

Pigeon Pose (Eka Pada Rajakapotasana)

20140423-232345.jpg

There are a number of ways to come into pigeon pose. We will begin from the Lizard pose. One hand on each side, placing them underneath the shoulders, but not exact. You may walk your hands out in front as the photo demonstrates.  Beginning with the left foot in front, we walk the foot over as close as we can toward the right hand and the left knee will stay close to the left hand.  The back leg stretches all the way out behind us. Draw the navel in and keep the hips centered by not leaning to either side.  Imagine your tail bone curling slightly forward. You now have the option to fold forward and reach the arms out in front or stay upright. Yogi choice. 🙂

Fire Log Pose (Agnistambhasana)

20140423-232319.jpg

This is an intense hip opener and it may take some time for your hips to release to the full version of this pose. Be patient, do your best and listen to your body. Option 1: Start in a seated position, legs stretched out. Keep the left leg stretched out and bring the right foot in and place it on top of the left leg right above your knee. If this is enough, keep it here, allow yourself to sink into the stretch. Option 2: Deepen this pose further by bringing the left leg in. You will then be stacking your legs like fire logs demonstrated in the photo above. Shin over shin, knee over ankle on one side and ankle over knee on the other. In either option above, you may fold forward from the hips to intensify the stretch.

Hope you enjoyed these 4 hip opening yoga poses. Do them daily for the best results and try to incorporate a short warm-up before stretching which will help deepen your pose. If you have questions, send them to me!

Find more yoga and inspiration at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Be-PresentYoga/336705043142303 and on twitter:@bepresent100 

 

 

Mindful Yoga, Mindful Life: How to Avoid and Prevent Injuries in Your Yoga Practice.

Posted on Updated on

20140422-145930.jpg

As I was demonstrating proper alignment for chaturanga several months ago, I tweaked my shoulder. One wrong move is all it takes to compromise our alignment, even when were careful and even when were teacher’s :). It still frustrates me thinking about it but such is life. So here are the facts, whether you’ve been practicing yoga a week or several years, there aren’t any fool proof ways to guarantee injury will never happen to you. Injuries can happen even while walking down the stairs. Yes, that’s right I fell down the stairs a little over a year ago and broke my elbow. Yes, I’m a little embarrassed to admit that, and yes, I was completely sober. So it doesn’t really matter whether you’re doing yoga or walking there is a risk there apparently for some like me. However, I’m aware of the title of my post and I have some good news! There are ways that we can be more mindful in our practice which will help us to avoid and prevent injuries. (I count every step now) See my tips below for creating more mindfulness in your practice.

1) Stacking Your Joints. This helps to properly align your muscles, joints and bones. For example, stacking your joints while on your hands and knees consists of placing your knees under your hips and your wrists under your shoulders. Now obviously, we are not stacking the joints in every pose, the downward facing dog is a perfect example where we are stretching and lengthening our spine as opposed to stacking.

2) Navel to Spine. Drawing the naval toward the spine helps to keep our low back protected and engages our core muscles, including our abs. So it’s a win/win. It takes some time to develop navel to spine awareness but with practice you are on your way to a safer workout and fantastic abs!

3) Use Props. Props can deepen your pose and your practice. I have been teaching yoga for several years and I use them on a regular basis. They make you stronger and allow you to go deeper. They help strengthen your muscles and help you avoid compromising your alignment and risking injury. You may not need them for every pose but use them when you do.

4) Listen to your Body. This is the key to developing body awareness and learning your own limitations in each and every pose. When we are tired it’s okay to admit this and work with our body instead of against it. This may mean coming to child’s pose more throughout your practice or dropping to your knees in chaturanga. In other words, take it day by day, practice by practice.

5) Private Yoga Sessions. This will allow you to get personal attention and instruction for your body. You can also go over any lingering questions or concerns you have.

6) Ask questions. If you have a question, please ask your teacher.That’s why we are here and why we do what we do. We want to help you stay safe and grow in your yoga practice.

Comments? Questions? Send them to me!

Find more yoga and inspiration at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Be-PresentYoga/336705043142303 and on twitter:@bepresent100 

About Me and My Blog

Posted on Updated on

20140417-111650.jpg

Recently updated my about me page on my blog and wanted to share. Thank you to everyone who has followed me 🙂

Yoga, motivation and inspiration is what I hope to share with you in my posts weekly and sometimes daily. As a full-time assistant and a part-time yoga instructor, I manage to keep myself busy and it seems I’m always juggling a new hobby or adventure. Lately, I’ve been posting daily and I love to write and share my thoughts and ideas. You can expect 2-3 posts a week from me but possibly more.

I hope to inspire, interact and connect with like minded people through my blog. My inspiration comes from reading, life experiences and my random thoughts. Posts consist of yoga, short youtube yoga tutorials, my life stories and lessons and much more. I want share goodness, light and love and put positive energy into the world while still keeping in my mind both the joys and struggles that life brings. And yes, I realize that makes me sound like a bit of a hippie but I am that too, I suppose. 🙂

More randomness about me……I’m not a vegan but I try to eat healthy. With one of my favorite foods being pizza and my love for trying new wines it sometimes proves to be challenging. When I’m not on a yoga mat, you can find me on the lake paddle boarding or maybe out hiking the beautiful mountains of east Tennessee. Tennessee would be perfect, if only we had an ocean!

I read a quote the other day and it is my current motivation and hope. “Be the one who nurtures and builds. Be the one who has an understanding and a forgiving heart. One who looks for the best in people. Leave people better than you found them.” So I hope that’s what I can do for everyone I interact with in life. It’s a good goal and nice start.

If you have questions or thoughts, if you’re curious about yoga and want to know something specific, please reach out or email me at bepresent100@gmail.com.

Love and Be Loved.