A Year

A Year

This week, one year ago, I started this blog.  I wanted a way to share all cool ideas I had for yoga hacks and sequencing and everything I was learning through teaching (true story – my students are my best teachers!)  When I published my first few posts, all I wanted was one person to read it, feel inspired to try something they might not otherwise try, and to believe that the yoga practice could work for them.   I’m pretty sure I got my wish and I am so grateful for all of you who read and comment on my posts, wade through my wordy explanations, and try my yoga hacks and sequences for yourselves.  Nothing makes me happier than to hear how a pose that seemed impossible might be workable or that I inspired someone to give yoga another chance and head to class or to start a home practice.  I hope I’ve been able to convey my belief that yoga really is for everyone and that my responsibility as a teacher is to make the practice work for you. Now I hope you will indulge me as I share some of my favorite posts from the year.  If you are a new reader, I’m hoping that maybe you’ll read and enjoy the stuff you might have missed. Using every prop I can get my hands on is a standard part of my own practice and my teaching.  I always joke with students that I’m only happy if I’ve managed to pull out every prop in the studio.  Sometimes, I’ll even go beyond the usual blocks, blankets...
Possibilities

Possibilities

Throughout my 10+ years of yoga practice, my body has changed dramatically.  I’ve gone down then up again around 100 pounds and I like to think that I’ve done my best to practice and more importantly to celebrate my body through all of its iterations.  However, I can’t lie to you and say that my practice has been the same throughout – there are certain things that I can do now that I couldn’t do five years ago, and there are a lot of things that I used to be able to do during what I jokingly call my “yoga rock star” days that I can’t do now.  And some poses that I was sure I’d never do again. But “can’t” is a funny word, right?  It’s so decisive, final even, and doesn’t leave a lot of room for change.  When I say to myself, “I can’t”, it’s really loaded with, “I won’t try”, “I won’t risk”, “circumstances won’t ever be different”, “there’s nothing I can do” etc… Yoga is an amazing and fascinating practice for many reasons, but what I find brings me back again and again is that often the lessons are anything but subtle.  Sometimes, breakthroughs come to me softly, in a moment of zen – but a lot more often I find myself getting smacked in the face (not literally – mostly) with an answer or understanding or proof that my own perception is just that – a perception.  A self-imposed limitation that has nothing to do with satya (“truth” in sanskrit). This past weekend I did a workshop on the lymphatic system and yoga...
Why a private or semi-private lesson might be right for you

Why a private or semi-private lesson might be right for you

They’re heeeeeerrreee!!! Take a look at my shiny new Supportive Yoga marketing postcards!  You might recognize the photos and Supportive Yoga logo (hand drawn and painstakingly retouched using Paint software) from the blog. Why yes, that is one of those nifty QR code thingies.  Hopefully it’s shouting, “Please scan me, people!” I’ve been giving these out and placing a few in some local businesses near where I live in order to try to grow my local private and semi-privates session clientele.  After the last *ahem* short-lived studio class experiment ended with no alternatives in sight, I figured I needed to regroup and think about the best way to serve my students.  I know a lot of you are busy, have competing priorities and a certain amount of funds you can spend on yourself.  I also know that a lot of you want to practice yoga but may not think studio classes are a good fit for you. I’ve walked into a lot of yoga studios as a newbie over the years and it can be really intimidating.  There might be a “yoga mafia” – i.e. a club of core students who seem to belong there and who aren’t looking for new members.  You might feel judged by the staff or students because of how you look or what you can and can’t do. Let me assure you that there are studios out there where anyone can feel comfortable, but finding those sanctuaries can be difficult, time consuming and frustrating. You might find a studio that you like, only to take classes where the teacher’s instructions to the room don’t...
Why do we do certain poses?

Why do we do certain poses?

Here is a moment too good not to share… I subbed a yoga core class this morning – lots of challenging core strengthening moves and wonderful, if intense, concentration from my group of yogis.   Everyone was working hard and doing a great job, but I wasn’t seeing much in the way of smiles. We finished our salabhasana (locust pose) sequence and moved on to dhanurasana (bow pose).  After our initial go around with the traditional pose, I asked the students to try it again and then, this time, roll onto their sides into side bow.  As I expected, a little chaos ensued.  There is really no graceful way to get from bow to side bow – you sort of have to give yourself a good heave in the direction you want to go and hope for the best.  It’s definitely a pose transition you can’t overthink too much, or it won’t happen. The mood lightened, and I saw those smiles I was missing and heard laughter from more than one person.  After we were through and everyone had gotten in and out of the pose successfully, one of the students asked, “why do we do that pose? what are the benefits?” I replied, “You’re laughing, aren’t you?” She looked at me, a little perplexed.  “That’s the benefit.” I said. Will side bow lead you to enlightenment? Will it help you discover muscles you never thought you had? Probably not.  But I bet it will make you laugh.  Try...
Yoga for travelers

Yoga for travelers

The happiest of New Year’s to all of you reading out there.  I can’t tell you how much I appreciate you sticking with me over the last few months.  Lots of exciting things in store for 2013, but since I’m still on London time, I’ll start by sharing a quick post on yoga for travelers – specifically poses you (and anyone really) can do to alleviate some of the exhaustion and stiffness from sitting on a plane, train or car for hours on end. I just got back from 11 or so days tromping all over the UK and Paris (hard life, I know).  When we got off our red-eye to London, neither of us had slept at all.  This was going to be a challenge since we had plans that evening and I didn’t want to totally throw off our internal clocks by sleeping all day.  So, the first thing I did when I got to the hotel was legs up the wall pose.  Note my super-stylin’ travel outfit! This gentle inversion can give you energy and also drain any fluid that might have collected in your legs and/or feet from being in one position for too long.  Also – hotels are a great place to do the pose because you can generally lie on the bed instead of the floor!  Bonus – it feels really good. I don’t set out with a specific idea of yoga poses to practice while en route to my destination, but my instincts always tell me to twist!  The gentle twist below can be accomplished on a car, train or airplane seat....
Happenings in the new year

Happenings in the new year

I know, I’ve been fairly blog silent lately.  I don’t really have an excuse other than a general feeling of needing a break.  I think enthusiasm for a practice, much like a long term relationship, ebbs and flows a bit.  I have to keep reminding myself that it’s ok – I’d tell you, if you asked me, that it was was ok to take a break, so I’m trying to practice (heh) what I preach! I’m off on a very exciting trip across the pond in a few days so I won’t be able to update much until after New Year’s, but I wanted to let you know about some exciting stuff happening in January. Starting on January, 6th, I’m back on the schedule at Blue Heron Wellness!  I’ll be teaching the Yoga I class on Sundays at 10:30am.  Though it’s not a plus size/large yogi/supportive yoga class per se, I really want to encourage you to take it if you are in the area.  Yoga I is great level to teach because I can tailor it to who shows up.  I know walking into a class where you might be the only larger person can be a tremendous undertaking, but I’ll be there!  I think it’s so important not only for those of us in larger bodies not only to practice yoga, but to practice yoga visibly.  We belong in yoga classes.  Our money buys us the same mat space as anyone else.  The more of us who attend classes, the better the classes will become for us, as teachers see what yoga looks like in different bodies...