All posts filed under: Yoga Practice

Restorative Yoga Series

I’m a firm believer in balancing the hard and the soft in life. While most of my teaching schedule is vinyasa classes, I do offer a couple of classes to help students slow down each week. It’s even evident in how I teach my vinyasa classes. I try to save the entire second half of class to longer, slower stretches and a plump savasana at the end. The slower second half is JUST as important as the strength and stamina portion of the standing, heat-building postures. In my personal practice, I’m probably 75% restorative or slow flow at this point in my life and only 25% vinyasa or bigger energy play – especially while I’m following the My Peak Challenge workouts. I need restorative yoga to keep me sane and rest my body. I need meditation to clear the excess, the negative, the hopelessness, the drama, the anger, the cobwebs and other mental hang-ups that flood my mind. Without these practices, you’d find me buried under my kids’ filth day after day, crying myself to sleep. I …

Planks & elbow creases

Part of the My Peak Challenge workouts, I’ve been doing a LOT of planks – regular planks and side planks. I just started Month 3 of the program and can make it through 4 minutes of forward plank in 3 rounds, so that’s an average of 1:20 per round. I am noticing a big difference in my core and also in my arms, shoulders and back when I practice yoga. There are a few adjustments that I’ve made in my own practice and that I offer to my students to make their planks stronger, which then improves their downward facing dog, chaturanga and arm balances. Let’s first take a look at some common problem spots (with arrows!). Elbows are locked out and the elbow creases are pointing toward each other.  There’s very little upward lift through the arms this way, and as you lose strength and the elbows bend, they end up going side to side (no good for building strength for chaturanga and arm balances). Saggy shoulders. As the elbows lock out, everything dumps down, especially in …

When they don’t sleep

I must’ve blocked the challenging parts of this 2-3 age with the Big Kid because I was so focused on Baby Bear Shark. We weren’t sleeping then anyway, but it’s different with a newborn who can be nursed back to sleep. These days, we’re dealing with negotiation, refusal, ignoring requests, being scared of the dark and working themselves into such a tizzy that they can’t catch their breath. The no sleep thing is amplified when both are fighting it. I have no control over how much sleep I get at night. That was a hard pill to swallow, entering into parenthood. I’ve crashed at 8 along with the kids, but sleep is too choppy to feel functional the next day. I’ve been on this up and down cycle of coffee and melatonin to survive. This can’t be healthy. We’ve moved their bedtime up to get ahead of the meltdown (and daylight savings has helped a little on the front end but not so much with staying asleep or sleeping past… gulp… 5:30), and we’ve gotten more rigid about bedtime …

Raising boys in “wussified” America

I remember when my husband and I first started talking about having kids. We had been married a few years, and the pressure from family and friends was mounting all around us. Whether it was a realization of my age or our succumbing to pressure, we had a “sh*t or get off the pot” conversation before I turned 30. When we did get pregnant with our first, we talked about how we wanted to raise our kid(s) and how we would feel about having a boy or a girl. I knew immediately how I wanted to raise a girl. As a minority woman, I felt like everything was stacked against me. I had to fight so many stereotypes (and still do!),  and I knew how much harder I’d have to work at everything to achieve equality. So of course, I’d want a girl to feel empowered, equal, strong, smart, capable, self-motivated, etc. I would teach her sports and math and science and engineering and building and creating and to feel embodied. I was not going …

There’s so much free yoga. Why pay?

Yoga is everywhere, especially in cities like Austin. Everyone is hosting free yoga – Whole Foods, Toms Coffee, Punch Bowl Social Club, Lululemon, etc. Great for those of us who are cheap (and I fully admit to being one of them) and in need of any amount of yoga. HOWEVER, like many things in life, I’ve found that you get what you pay for. Before this gets taken the wrong way, I want to be clear that I’m not criticizing the teachers AT ALL. These teachers are donating their time and energy AND likely teaching for free as a way to get more visibility. What all of this free yoga really does, though, is water down the experience to the lowest common denominator for both the teacher and the students. From the teacher’s end, he or she cannot plan for and watch all of the bodies that come to a free event, many of whom are beginners because they are trying free yoga as a first step. The teacher also has no idea what injuries …

Class prep: Music Playlists

Creating a yoga sequence is becoming second nature to me. I’m seeing the relationship between poses much more clearly now, and I feel like I’m able to put together a pretty well balanced class (at least my students tell me that!). What I was feeling nervous about when it came to teaching classes was actually the music. My taste in music can sometimes be described as annoying pop. I’m still a fan of Britney Spears, love her or hate her. And damn if those Taylor Swift songs don’t get stuck in my head when they come on the radio. There’s also a side of me that likes “nerd rock,” which is how the band Guster has described itself. Indie rock, anything that can be heard at Austin City Limits and really sad ballads seem to be my jam. While I can shake my booty plenty to hip hop, I’m definitely not well versed in that genre, although the soundtrack to Hamilton is special and dear to my heart. I’m so thankful for doing my teacher training …

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