Supportive Yoga Warm Up Video

Supportive Yoga Warm Up Video

Hi Everyone!  I’m starting to work on filming yoga practice videos for you and I’m really excited to share the first one with you today! Also, I just realized that it’s Wednesday – so I guess this means Sequence Wednesdays are back? Maybe? Ha! Sometimes the hardest part of practicing yoga at home is figuring out how to get started.  So I decided to record my warm up yesterday!  This 12 minute sequence is a great short practice in itself or a nice way to prepare for the rest of your practice (or instagram photoshoot!). Make sure you practice in a way that supports your body today.  Everything is optional and if something doesn’t feel good, don’t do it!  I hope you enjoy it!  If you have any questions, please feel free to ask in the comments or send me an email at annie@supportiveyoga.com!  Happy...
Grounding Practices for the Holidays

Grounding Practices for the Holidays

It’s Thanksgiving week and I feel like the winter holidays are right around the corner! So I thought it might be a good time to talk about how you can use your yoga practice to work on grounding – i.e. finding steadiness and support through your connection to the earth.  This time of year feels anything but grounded to me – whether it’s the changes in weather, the super-long to do list, traveling, lots of social engagements – whatever.  This is a time when many of us feel pulled in 5000 different directions! For me this means that I get overwhelmed very easily. Feelings, good or bad, that might not send me for a loop normally are much more pronounced.  And I’m pretty much feeling all the feelings lately.  It’s been an interesting nine-ish months since I moved back to Brooklyn to try teaching yoga full time and I’m really not sure if I feel like I’ve been particularly successful at riding the roller coaster that this experience has been.  In general, I’m in favor of feeling all of your feelings (not just the positive ones) but it can be a lot! Some things have been so awesome, I can hardly believe they actually happened!  For example, the last week or so was an embarrassment of feel-good riches – working with Amber on developing Yoga Without Exception and teaching my first teacher training workshop for example.  But, I’d also be lying if I told you that I was where I thought I would be nine months in when I started this adventure.  To tell you the truth, I’m fairly frustrated...
Sequence Wednesdays: Lung support

Sequence Wednesdays: Lung support

Ha!  I bet you long time Supportive Readers (hi!  I love you) thought I forgot about Sequence Wednesdays!  Nope! Now that I have lots of time on my hands before I get people to hire me to teach yoga, I thought I’d see if I could bring the series back.  Also, if you’ve been following me on facebook, you know that I have been flattened by the pollen plague.  A horrible cough, sniffles and asthma have been my companions for the past week and I’m getting really sick (ahem) of it.  I’ve been doing a lot of yoga both at home and at studios, and at home, I’ve been concentrating on trying to alleviate my symptoms and to give my poor abused lungs a break. I’m calling this a sequence, but really it’s a bunch of poses that I’ve found can help with lung issues that I’ve tried over the past few days that I wanted to share with you.  You can do all of them at once if you want, in whatever order feels natural but you’ll have to see which ones make you feel better and which ones are sort of meh or that one doesn’t work for me.  There are a couple of guiding principles here though – I wanted to work on opening up the chest and the upper back, the side and back body and to stimulate the lung points (right underneath your trapezius muscles).  I also wanted to make sure that I didn’t constrict my breathing too much in my forward bend and twist. I started and ended this practice the same way.  A...
Supported Bridge and Half Shoulder Stand

Supported Bridge and Half Shoulder Stand

“Inversions on my my my my my mind” – imagine me singing that to “Back in the USSR” and dancing in my desk chair and your probably have a decent idea of how I write these posts!  I’m back with another asana post – the first of the year!  I promise I will eventually write about something other than inversions, though I’ve been thinking about them a lot and they are my favorite pose family.  I even taught my first ever workshop last month and it was about, you guessed it, inversions. I love an active, feel like a kid at gymnastics camp again, inversion practice, but I also know that it isn’t for everyone.  Therefore, I’d like to share a more gentle inversion practice that you can do at home without any possibility of falling on your head.  I’m demonstrating the poses with a bolster but if you don’t have one, no worries!  A few firmer pillows or a pile of blankets works too. First up: Supported Bridge This pose is special in that it is a gentle inversion and a backbend, but your feet are firmly planted on the mat.  This is my go-to pose for anyone who is frightened by the idea of inversions but could use the benefits (reseting the nervous system, reversing blood flow, fluid drainage etc).  The heart is above the head therefore it’s an inversion.  It’s also the supported version of bridge (salamba setubandansana) pose and is great for gently opening up the front of the body without putting a lot of strain on the spine. There’s some slight boob smush happening...
Sequence Wednesdays: Seated Forward Bends

Sequence Wednesdays: Seated Forward Bends

Dear seated forward bends:  I owe you an apology!  I’ve been writing this blog for months and I have neglected you terribly!!  Until now… I don’t want you to think I have ignored seated forward bends because I don’t like them…quite the contrary.  These are some of my favorite poses.  I’m not sure why, exactly, they haven’t been featured.  Maybe because these poses feel really natural to me and so haven’t really presented themselves in my brain for further analysis.  However, when I was putting together my home practice roundup, it occurred to me that I didn’t have any material for one of my favorite parts of the practice.  I usually close with some combination of these forward bends in my classes and in my home practice.   Enjoy! I’m planning to unpack some of these poses in more detail in future posts, but I’m going to try to provide enough info to get you started. Step 1: Badakonasana.  Sit with your knees open out to the sides and your feet together.  You can bring your feet in as close to your body as feels good.  If your knees are off the floor or feel uncomfortable, you can place blocks or blankets underneath them.  To come forward, hinge at the hips and keep your back straight until the very last minute.  When you’ve come down as far as you want to, go ahead and relax your head and neck.  Hold for at least 5 breaths. Step 2: Janu Sirsasana.  I’ve shown two variations in the photos below.  In the first two photos, I’ve slightly twisted my torso over my extended...
Gratitude

Gratitude

Ah Thanksgiving…whether it’s an occasion to spend time with family and friends or just an excuse to eat your weight in stuffing, this holiday is a great opportunity to cultivate gratitude. We should probably be cultivating gratitude all the time, but it doesn’t hurt to have a reminder.  I know I have a lot to be thankful for, and I’m guessing you do too.  As a yoga teacher though, I would like to add one more thing to your list. This Thanksgiving, I invite you to take a moment to be thankful to your body.  Your body as it is today. Not how it was, not how it will be, but your body in its current form.  Whatever feelings you may have toward your body – I’m asking you to put them aside, at least for this one day, and be grateful.   Grateful that you are alive.  That you breathe, that you move, that you love.  Give thanks to your body: a support, a trusted friend – that carries you through life every single day. Your body isn’t perfect – what does that even mean?  Nothing is perfect – and I’m not sure that perfection is even something we should strive for.  I’m not perfect, but my body doesn’t reject me because of it.  How can I, then, reject my body for not meeting some unattainable and likely meaningless measure? Thanksgiving Day Short Meditation and Yoga Practice: Sit in a comfortable position for around 5 minutes (longer if you like).  As you inhale repeat to yourself, “I support my body.” As you exhale, repeat “I am grateful to...