Supportive Yoga Pose of the Month: November 2014

Supportive Yoga Pose of the Month: November 2014

Uh…so what happened to October?  Anyways, November came in with a bang and cold snap!  Hope you had a great Halloween and you are looking forward to Thanksgiving (gratitude, pie, whatever!).  I’ve got two awesome workshops coming up!  There’s still time to register for my Teaching Yoga to Students with Larger Bodies workshop in DC at Lighthouse Yoga Center on Sunday, November 16th at 2:00pm.  I’m also super excited to be bringing my signature inversions workshop (for everyone, for wimps, for anyone who thinks they can’t do it, or hates the phrase, “just kick up”) to Brooklyn.  I’ll be teaching the workshop at Mala Yoga on Thursday, November 20th at 7:30pm.  Space is limited so please sign up in advance!! For some reason, this month seems like a return to home base a bit for me.  I adore fall in NYC so maybe that’s part of it – I can really celebrate being “home”.  It might be one of the Instagram challenges I’m doing this month (#fallintoalignment) which, at least for now, is focusing on foundational yoga poses.  Who knows?  So when I put out a call for requests on the Supportive Yoga facebook page, and someone suggested tadasana (mountain pose) – hi Terry! – it seemed just right for this month’s pose of the month.  Nothing fancy, but so important. Tadasana certainly looks simple, right?  We’re standing still.  On two feet.  What’s the big deal?  But there is so much going on in Tadasana if you do it “right”.  Let’s start, like my teacher, Tias Little, says, from the ground up.  The first thing I ask students to...
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...
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...
Supportive Yoga Pose of the Month: June 2014

Supportive Yoga Pose of the Month: June 2014

As the weather starts to get warmer (I feel like we’ve changed seasons about ten times in the past few weeks), I start to crave more cooling postures and longer holds.  Forward bends fit both those bills, so I decided that the June Supportive Yoga Pose of the Month is…<drumroll please>… Janu Sirsasana (and Parivrtta Janu Sirsasana)! This pose is a twist in addition to a forward bend so we get the added benefit of twisting, but unlike a lot of closed twists, this one is really accessible because the shape of the pose allows for space for the belly and chest and we can use a yoga strap if our hamstrings are tight or not cooperating on any particular day. Janu Sirsasana Start seated on your mat (you can sit up on a blanket if you like, but I prefer to feel my butt rooting into the mat and floor.)  Bend your knee and place the foot on the inside of the opposite leg.  If your knee is far away from the floor, place a block or blanket underneath it so you are comfortable.  If your foot doesn’t make it to your thigh or wherever on your leg, that’s ok too as long as your knee feels ok. Turn to face your extended leg.  This is where the twist action of this pose comes in.  Once you are facing your extended leg, place your finger tips down on the floor on either side of you to help you grow tall in the torso.  This is a great stretch right here, so if you want to stay at this...
Supportive Yoga Pose of the Month: May 2014

Supportive Yoga Pose of the Month: May 2014

Hi everyone!  Sorry this post is a little late – we’re well into May right now.  Things have started to pick up here and I’m starting to get some teaching gigs, so it’s all good news!  Also, I was so happy to finally get to meet and hang out with Amber Karnes, who is the awesome yogi behind Body Positive Yoga, so it’s been a busy, but super awesome week.  Anyways, without further ado, <drum roll please>, here is the May Supportive Yoga pose of the month! Natarjasana! (dancing Siva pose) I taught my first group class in NYC the other day (intermediate/advanced at Mala Yoga) and this pose was featured in my sequence because 1. it’s fun an 2. I’ve been thinking about Siva lately, particularly about how his role as the destroyer is such an important part of the cycle of creation.  I’ve been in Brooklyn for a little over a month now and am still adjusting to my new life, which, of course, wouldn’t have been possible if I hadn’t totally uprooted the comfortable, good life I had in DC.  Sometimes you have to destroy things to create new things, right?  Ok – onto the pose itself! Natarajasana is a challenging balance pose and a deep asymmetrical back bend so you probably want to be warmed up before you do this one.  Stand in tadasana (mountain pose) and start to shift your weight into one leg.  Try not to lock your knee.  Lift your other leg off the floor and bend your knee like you want to kick your own butt.  Reach back and hold onto your...