All posts filed under: Yoga Practice

Texas Peaker Gathering

While this is my second year doing My Peak Challenge, I never got too involved in the community aspect. I’m juggling so many online groups and social media accounts that the best I could do to stay involved was lurk from the outskirts. When a group of Peakers gathered in Central Texas last year, I had a FOMO moment and made sure to seek out more opportunities to meet people in person. Yesterday, I drove out to Burnet where the third Texas Peaker Gathering took place. I wanted to meet the ladies and offered to take them through an all-levels yoga practice. I’d only met one of the Peakers there in person before (Hi, Amy!). I nearly met another Peaker (Hey, Pam!), but we missed each other. Pam kindly took the group photo so I could be included, so I photoshopped her in. ūüėČ Everyone else was a picture and name on the internet. It was SO LOVELY to see people face-to-face! We took our practice nice and slow, focusing on breath and grounding. I …

What is vinyasa? Part 2.

Yesterday, I talked about vinyasa classes. So today, let’s chat about the vinyasa as a sequence of poses. When you go to a vinyasa class, and you hear the teacher say, “move through your vinyasa,” she or he is talking about three specific poses together: chaturanga dandasana (low plank), urdhva mukha svanasana (upward-facing dog), and adho mukha svanasana (downward-facing dog). Let me break down transitions into each pose and modifications. Vinyasas generally start from a plank position. I say generally because once you add jumpback/floating into the transition, you actually skip plank and go straight into a chaturanga. But that’s for another post on another day. ūüôā Exhale, chaturanga. From plank, shift forward on your toes so that the shoulders are forward of your wrists. This gives you room to bend your elbows into chaturanga, leaving elbows stacked over wrists. Chest is broad. Elbows stay in next to the ribs. Back is long and straight from your shoulder blades to whatever is touching the ground (toes or knees). The breath is an¬†exhale as you lower …

What is vinyasa? Part 1.

The word¬†vinyasa means connecting breath with movement. Often times, you’ll hear it in two places. 1. Describing the style of the class. 2. A sequence of poses, usually as a transition from one flow to another. Today’s post will break down the first: The Vinyasa class. The Vinyasa class When you see¬†vinyasa on the schedule, you can expect that it will be a flowing, moving practice rather than a static practice or one with lots of starts and stops. Vinyasa classes are designed as a sequence of poses that make sense together. For example, a flow may have 3-5 standing poses that are all forward-facing hips (such as warrior 1 –> warrior 3 –> warrior 1 –> revolved warrior) as those poses smoothly transition from one to the next versus a standing pose, followed by seated, followed by supine. Generally, the breath that connects poses are inhale for upward/forward/opening motions and exhale for downward/backward/closing motions. If you ever lose your breath while practicing, think about the direction of the movement and jump back on the …

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 …

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