Yoga for Back Care – Audio Class

This is the first of a series of audio downloads you can use to practice with me on days when you can’t make it to class.  This practice is approximately 20 minutes and you will want to have a blanket and either a yoga strap or some other sturdy long fabric or belt.  I’ve included plenty of clear instructions, but this audio class as well as future classes will be much easier if you attend my classes regularly and are familiar with the way I teach the poses. Videos and audio recordings should not take the place of in-person classes, but they can be a great supplement when classes aren’t possible.  This practice is not designed to relieve acute back injuries, but rather be a maintenance routine once you are out of pain.  Please make sure you have the permission of your health care provider before beginning any exercise program. Enjoy! Yoga for Back Care – 20 minutes Your browser does not support the audio...
Yoga Question: What’s the best time of day to practice?

Yoga Question: What’s the best time of day to practice?

Q: I’ve heard that it’s best to practice yoga in the morning, is this true?  My mornings are so rushed I can’t imagine adding anything else to them, but I want to make sure that I’m getting the most from the time I do spend on my mat. A: One traditional way to practice yoga is during the Amrit Vela or time of ambrosia, just before dawn.  It is thought to be a powerful time for spiritual practice.  And there is something special about waking up early to do your rituals, whether you consider them to be spiritual practice or self-care.  In addition, when you practice yoga in the morning, then it is done and over with for the day, and you are less likely to get distracted or tired and skip yoga altogether. Doing your yoga practice at the same time every day is a great way to notice subtle differences day to day.  For most people, this also speaks in support of an early morning yoga practice.  Our morning rituals and habits tend to be more regular than any other time of day.  Plus practicing yoga in the morning allows you to start your day on the right foot and reap the benefits all day long. Another factor to take into consideration is that you will feel stiffer in the morning than later in the day.  If you are already flexible, than a morning practice will feel richer and more beneficial.  If you are dealing with chronically stiff muscles and joints, than a later day yoga practice will allow more ease and more enjoyment.  This is helpful because the more you enjoy your yoga...
3 mistakes smart people make when they do yoga

3 mistakes smart people make when they do yoga

Even smart people make mistakes that keep them from getting the most from their time in yoga class. Here are some mistakes that you might not have considered. Pass them on to your (smart) friends who are just starting out. #3. Attend the wrong class. “Well, I know it’s a level 3 Hot Vinyasa, but it fits in with my schedule and I can get my cardio out of the way while I’m at it.” As a recent article in the New York Times pointed out, yoga is not without risk. It’s an incredibly worthwhile practice, but it needs to be approached with respect. Many people take classes based on price, time, and location rather than the level and style of the class. This is understandable since smart people are busy and the names of classes can be confusing and even misleading. However attending the wrong class can sometimes be worse than doing no yoga at all. If you are out of shape and you start out with a class that leaves you feeling out of your league, you may give up entirely thinking that yoga is not for you and even worse you could injure yourself. However if you are an adrenaline junkie, starting out with a gentle beginner class may actually wind up working against you. If you don’t yet know how to slow down then the pace of the class may leave you bored and unmotivated to come back for more. If you have serious physical impairments, then spending time working with a skilled instructor one-on-one can give you the confidence to be able to modify...

Yoga Styles

Iyengar. Ashtanga. Anusara. Flow. Kundalini. Hot. Yin. With all the different kinds of yoga out there and all the esoteric terms, it can be difficult to decide what kind of yoga classes to attend. On this page, I will decode the different styles of yoga, what makes them different from each other and why you might choose one over another. Of course, you may not be so lucky as to have a choice. The options in your town may be limited to general yoga at a gym. Or the one yoga studio in town is strictly Iyengar. Well, there is always travel yoga: visiting a yoga class when you travel to a larger city or going on special yoga retreats and vacations. Lets start with the basics: Hatha Yoga is an umbrella term for the physical form of yoga that originated out of the Hindu spiritual tradition in India. There are a few other kinds of yoga that originated from other traditions, namely: Kundalini Yoga, Tibetan yoga, and Daoist yoga which come from Sikhism, Tibetan Buddhism, and Daoism, respectively. From the Hindu tradition, Hatha is only one of several yogic paths. The other paths include Raja (Royal) Yoga, Jnana (Knowledge), Karma (service), Japa (mantra), and Bhakti (devotional). Types of Hatha yoga commonly practiced in America today: Iyengar Iyengar yoga is probably the most widely practiced form of Hatha yoga in America. Iyengar yoga was developed by B.K.S Iyengar who was a student of T. Krishnamacharya who is known as the grandfather of modern yoga. Iyengar classes are known for their precision in alignment, use of props such as blocks...

The Basics

The Basics. Yoga is a practical, comprehensive system for living a better life. By strengthening and toning the body and calming the mind, we are able to enjoy our lives more completely. Yoga is not a religion. It is simply a set of guidelines. Each student can pick and choose which parts work for them. You do not need to be strong or flexible to practice yoga. Each person’s yoga practice will be different and you never need to be able to twist yourself into a pretzel to practice yoga. The reason that people work on more and more advanced yoga poses is that it is healthy to give yourself a challenge and practice remaining composed when you are outside of your comfort zone. This aspect of the practice is not going to appeal to everyone and may or may not be right for you. Because there is a lot to learn, a teacher can be a helpful guide in deciding which aspects of the practice to learn and use and how to stay safe while doing it. A teacher is simply someone who has knowledge of the practice and whom you respect as trying to live what they teach. This is different from a guru, who is supposed to be someone who has attained enlightenment. Good luck finding one of those! I am passionate about sharing yoga with others because it has changed my life. I am stronger and more flexible than I’ve ever been. Even better, I have become much happier and more accepting of my life and of other people. All of the relationships in my...

Yogic Paths

A quick overview of the traditional yogic paths: Raja The “royal” or “Kingly” path. Balance and control of the mind through ethical practices, concentration and meditation, includes all of the other paths within it. Hatha Focuses on the physical aspects through asanas (postures), pranayama (breath control), meditation, and deep relaxation. Bhakti The path of devotion. Love, thought, and service of the Divine. Bhakti Yoga can be practiced by everyone, all that is needed is faith and constant remembrance of God. Karma The path of action and selfless service. Serving without attachment to the fruits (or results) of the action. Mother Theresa is an example of a karma yogi. Jnana The intellectual approach, the path of wisdom. Through the study of what really exists you may realize oneness with the entire Universe. Japa or Mantra The practice of chanting a mantra – a sound structure of one or more syllables which represents a particular aspect of the Divine...