Here is a re-post of a blog entry I wrote a long while back. A nice follow up to the Hip Opening workshop I taught today at Semperviva Yoga. Special thanks to all the yogis who attended! Thank you for your energy and spirit. Enjoy! J
As a yoga instructor, one of the top requests from my students is for hip openers, and for good reason! The hips are a complex joint comprised of many powerful muscles that either connect to or cross by the hip joint. (Iliopsoas, the gluteal muscles, hamstrings and the adductors or inner thigh, to name a few.) Along with muscles, there are ligaments and tendons, nerves, blood vessels and bursae to contend with. No wonder so many of us crave that release of the hips that yoga brings.
Along with the physical aspects of the hip joint is also the energetic power this joint has. The hips are the emotional center for many of us. They act as the junk drawer of the body; the place where we store any emotions or thoughts we don’t quite know what to do with. As we clear the hip joint with postures such as pigeon pose, we will often feel an energetic shift in the body afterwards. Something has been released; the feeling is undeniable. The feelings may be those of elation and deep relaxation, but you might also experience some strong emotional reactions as well. Not uncommon as we sort through that junk drawer, you never know what you might find in there!
The core is not only our center and our powerhouse, but our source for inspiration and will power. As we strengthen from the inside out, we begin to remove self-doubt and move beyond perceived limitations. Once we access the power of the core, our practice will transform both on and off the mat.
In this workshop we will discuss the anatomical properties of the core as they relate to our yoga practice, while also exploring the energetic properties of this house of the second and third chakras. We will move through an invigorating core-centered practice and challenge you to consider where you can access and nourish this strength not only in your yoga practice, but in your everyday life.
Join me this Saturday from 2-4pm at Semperviva’s Kit’s Beach Location on West 4th Ave. in Vancouver and make the connection.
Hectic schedules, parties and added stress of the holiday season often cause our bodies to feel sluggish in the New Year. This build-up of toxins can cause poor concentration, impaired digestion, and low vitality amongst other ailments.
Jump start your New Year with this Detox workshop, exploring the detoxifying systems of the body such as the liver, kidneys and lymphatic system. We will work through an invigorating yoga practice including elements of pranayama, asana and meditation aimed to clear out and cleanse the body, mind and soul.
Last weekend I attended an inspiring workshop at Semperviva Yoga with Max Strom, teacher, speaker and author. He led us through a breath centered chest-opening yoga practice which left me feeling grounded, open and present. It reminded me that breath is fuel. When we breathe deeply in postures, we become energized and more capable. There is a well of untapped energy within waiting to release.
Max also spoke about forgiveness, which I think we can all stand to practice a little more. One of the take-homes from the weekend: practice gratitude. “Gratitude and anger cannot live in the heart together.”
Thanks Max. I needed that reminder.
Check out his Ted Talk on Happiness for a little weekend inspiration.
As we barrel full speed ahead towards the holiday season, I can feel the stress and frantic energy mounting; not only in myself, but in my students. Too much to do, too little time. Gift buying, holiday parties, baking, card-writing, the list goes on. On top of the stress from the extra activities, the food and drinks we typically indulge in this time of year can also make us feel sluggish, drained and certainly not on top of our game. If this is sounding all-too familiar, then rest assured you are not alone. Also rest assured: there are some simple steps we can take to counteract the stress and make this season the enjoyable holiday it is intended to be.
Here are 5 tools to help you along:
1. Breathe. Hands down, the simplest and most effective thing we can do to calm the nervous system is to breathe deeply with awareness. Sit tall or lie on your back. Close your eyes. Fill your belly with breath on your inhale and release all the air from your lungs on the exhale. Continue for 5-10 minutes resting your awareness solely on your breath and feel the tension melt away…
I had the pleasure of spending this afternoon with some wonderful teachers in training from Semperviva Yoga College. I am extremely grateful for the experience as it helped me investigate my teaching on a deeper level and reminded me of some of the feelings I had experienced as a teacher in training years ago. Whoever thinks teaching yoga is an easy job has got it all wrong! No one sees the hours and hours of practice, study and exploration of the body that happen before one even steps in front of a class to teach. So props to you teacher trainers! You are doing good work in the world.
One of the things we discussed today was the use of music in a yoga class. The choice of music can help to energize, uplift, relax and release, but timing is everything. I spend a lot of time and effort in creating my playlists for classes. To each his own, but here are some tunes that float my boat. (As promised, teacher trainers, this is the playlist we flowed to today!) This playlist was used for a strong hatha/flow class. I hope you enjoy!
“The End”- Llorca
“Whispering Wind” – Moby
“Sure Thing” – St. Germain
“Universal Highness” – Thievery Corporation
“Vivid” – Thievery Corporation
“Universal Traveler” – Air
“Pipes Honour” – Nightmares on Wax
“Sitar-y Thing (Interlude)” – Newton Faulkner
“My Sweet Lord” – Yin Yames
“When The Night Comes: – Dan Auerbach
“Albatross” – Fleetwood Mac
“Shanti (Peace Out)” – MC Yogi
A big thank you to all the fantastic teachers in training from Semperviva Yoga College for your energy and spirit. I had a blast with you all today!