Supportive Yoga Pose of the Month: October 2014

Supportive Yoga Pose of the Month: October 2014

Hi everyone!  I hope you are enjoying the beginning of fall!!  I am certainly loving this weather, and, of course, the return of my beloved leg warmers sooner rather than later.  September was a difficult month – much more difficult than I was anticipating.  Much of the teaching I was doing was long term summer subbing gigs.  So when September rolled around, all those teachers came back to town and wanted their classes back (the nerve!) so I went from teaching several classes a week to maybe one or two.  I also was passed over for a job that I really wanted, so I’ve been spending a lot of time sitting with disappointment and wondering if this is one of those times when dreams don’t really come true. But, I am determined to pick myself up and move forward.  I’ve got a lot of really exciting things in the offing including a brand new basics class on Tuesdays at Mala Yoga in Brooklyn starting October 14th.  I’m also starting prenatal yoga teacher training tomorrow and I will be certified (hopefully!) but the middle of December.  In addition, I am embarking on a big project with the wonderful Amber Karnes of Body Positive Yoga (if you haven’t checked her out, you absolutely must!) and I am continuing to play with yoga challenges on instagram after successfully completing the #sizedoesntmatter challenge in September. So given the upheaval of life these days, I decided to pick a quieter pose for the October pose of the month.  So without further ado…the Supportive Yoga Pose of the Month for October 2104 is…supine figure 4...
Supportive Yoga Pose of the Month: September 2014

Supportive Yoga Pose of the Month: September 2014

Happy September everyone!  I can’t believe the summer is slipping away.  The city was so empty in August but it’s pretty clear that everyone is back now!  After an incredibly amazing and busy August (I taught so many classes!!), this month will be a bit different – more quiet and contemplative as I start to make some decisions about what the next 6 months are going to look like.  I’m excited to have more time to concentrate on my own practice and I’m doing my first instagram challenge so make sure you follow me there @supportiveyoga and check out all the beautiful yogis participating in the #sizedoesntmatter challenge! Drumroll please… The Supportive Yoga pose of the month for September 2014 is…extended side angle pose (utthita parsvakonasana). There are several variations of this pose, but the one with the forearm resting on the thigh is the most accessible, in my opinion.  Come through warrior II pose into extended side angle by placing the front forearm onto the front thigh and reaching your other arm up and over your ear so that you are in a straight diagonal line from the outside of your back heel to the tips of your fingers on the extended arm. Use the leverage you create by pressing your forearm into your thigh to open your chest first to the side and then towards the ceiling. Don’t sacrifice the openness in your check to get lower down – that defeats the purpose of the pose, which is an intense side stretch all through the body. If you feel comfortable here, you can try a second variation...
A Tale of Two Arm Balances

A Tale of Two Arm Balances

Hi everyone!  Before we get down to business here I wanted express my profound respect for and gratitude to the late BKS Iyengar, who left his body a few days ago.  Without his insight and wisdom, I literally could not be doing what I am doing.  Among his many contributions to modern yoga, Mr. Iyengar pioneered the use of yoga props, making this practice accessible to so many.  Though I wasn’t able to study with him directly, many of my teachers did, and his teachings have strongly influenced my life and work. So despite my previous post, please don’t think I have broken up with props.  I love props so much – they really are the best.  Recently, I’ve been thinking a lot about how to make arm balances (which tend to make me want to throw yoga props across the room) work for my body since I didn’t think it was fair to just ignore a whole category of poses.  I’ve had some tentative success with crow pose lately, which might be responsible for my new enthusiasm for making arm balances happen, darn it.  Since this is new territory for me, I thought it might be fun to document my attempts at figuring out how to support some arm balances and if you’ve been following me on social media, you’ve seen my efforts thus far with eka pada koundinyasana and viparita salabhasana.  I was expecting to show a couple of snippets of my process, which I did, but it’s been more interesting than I expected because the one that was an intentional project still isn’t anywhere near to done, and the one...
This practice still surprises me

This practice still surprises me

Hi everyone!  Hope you are enjoying your August.  Have you signed up for my newsletter yet?  You get my awesome free ebook if you do!  I should be sending out the newsletter in a couple of days, which will also have a bit of bonus material. I’m sitting here in a cafe in between my two public yoga classes today thinking about how my yoga practice is constantly shifting and changing.  And why that’s a good thing.  For one thing, I suspect that’s at least partially why I’ve been able to stick with yoga for what seems to be forever (but really is about 12 years or so).  Practicing yoga can really be a long term relationship – with ups and downs.  The advantage, of course, is that no matter how much you neglect yoga, it’ll be there for you when you are ready to pick it up again.  That’s not necessarily true in our interpersonal relationships.  Like our interactions with our loved ones, the yoga practice is dynamic.  It never really stays the same from day to day.  Sometimes practicing feels wonderful, effortless and expansive.  Sometimes it feels like crap.  That certainly keeps things interesting.  And it’s usually worth it to stick out the not so awesome days, since the good days are so incredible and the benefits of practice pervade my life so fully. Despite knowing that the practice changes, it’s really easy for me to get into yoga habits (called samskaras in sanskrit).  Not all habits are bad – routines can be very beneficial.  Some yoga lineages are built around doing exactly the same thing day...
Supportive Yoga Pose of the Month: August 2014

Supportive Yoga Pose of the Month: August 2014

Yeah, I skipped a month.  Sorry about that!  It turns out that July is great for substitute yoga teachers since it seems like everyone went out of town.  I got a glimpse of what life will be like with a full schedule and it was awesome, and tiring.  Still working on balance… Lamest segue ever…but the Supportive Yoga pose of the month is all about balance – it’s…tree pose (vrksasana)!!  This is one of the most common standing balance poses (I considered including it in my e-book, “The Supportive Yoga Guide to Finding a Yoga Class that is Right for You and Feeling Confident and Comfortable in Any Yoga Class”, which you should totally grab by signing up for my mailing list by the way, if you haven’t already) and you see it in classes a lot – especially basics classes.  This is also a pose that everyone tries to force – you should really see the looks I get from people trying to hold this balance.  If humans could shoot lasers out of their eyes, I’d have been dead long ago! Here’s the thing about tree pose, and balancing poses in general…the less stressed out you are about them, the easier they are.  And the more you relax and stop gripping and grasping for balance, the more easily it will come.  This idea of relaxing my grip is something I’ve been working with a lot in my own yoga practice – not necessarily in this pose, but in some of the more challenging poses for me (ahem crow ahem).  I notice that the less invested I am in...