I recently had my best savasana ever, floating over beautiful Lake Tahoe early one weekday morning in July. The rocking motion of the lake under my board, my forearms and hands floating in the water, and the sound of the waves gently slapping just next to my head truly made this savasana one that I will never forget.
It was almost being liked rocked to sleep.
I learned a lot about my yoga practice during my first SUP yoga experience. Mainly, that SUP yoga is harder than it looks!
My normal muscling through a pose didn't work so well here. I had to find a fluid softness to keep myself upright.
I also found that I focused much more intently during each pose here. I always thought that I stayed present during regular classes...but clearly not as much as I had to on the board, trying to stay dry.
My breath and gaze worked together well, in a way I hadn't experienced on land. Here on the board it was possible for everything else to drift away. Leaving just me and my breath.
I can't wait for my next chance for SUP yoga! If you get up to Lake Tahoe, check out LakeTahoeYoga.com. I had a great experience with their instructor, Jenay.
Free Hip Opening Class Saturday 7/19!
Does hearing that a scheduled yoga class will be focused on hips make you happy…or miserable?
I’ve had my share of achy hips. Too much soccer has left my hip flexors aching enough to wake me up at night. So I’ve made an effort to keep a focus on my hips...stretching them out a little bit every night. It’s gone a long way to keep my hips fairly open, and the aching-- for the most part—is a thing of the past.
I’ve read somewhere recently in a medical article, the statement “the state of your hips represent the state of your life.” Reflecting on this, there seems to be a bit of truth in that for me. What about you? Our hips are said to store strong emotions, though I haven’t found any definitive answer on why this is the case.
One theory is that the large, powerful muscles in this region are very active in the flight or fight response. Even though we're no longer running away from predators, these muscles still react to stress of all kinds by tightening and holding chronic tension. So when we release these muscles it can relate to letting go of deep-seated memories of fear, grief and anger.
Another theory is that the hips connect our upper and lower bodies - parts that are greatly disjoined in the computer age, as we spend 8+ hours a day sitting at a desk, commuting, etc. This physical shift is said to be mirrored in the stagnation of emotions. With yoga, when we begin to re-connect the upper and lower bodies, emotions begin to flow.
I don’t know if either of these theories is accurate, but they both make some sense to me. What I do know is that our hips are hard workers. They stabilize us in our daily life. Open hips provide greater range of motion, more fluidity to your movements, and lower your risk of injury. This translates into a more active life—more walking, running, dancing, playing.
When a teacher announces “we are opening our hips today”, I hope you can will approach the mat with a sense of gentleness. Hip openings should not be forced! Let this strong, hard-working part of your body open using softness, acceptance, and breath.
Free class Saturday, July 19 at 4pm at Dragonfly Yoga & Wellness.
P.S. My favorite hip-opener is pigeon. What’s yours?
Why try yoga? Well, tonight, it’s free! Visit Dragonfly Yoga + Wellness for a free level 2 class at 7:30 p.m.
There are lots of great benefits of a regular yoga practice. Here are just a few:
1) Stress relief: Yoga & pranayama (focused breath work) help relieve stress by bringing the sympathetic nervous system (which helps people deal with crisis situations) and parasympathetic nervous system (which helps slow the heart and lower the blood pressure, allowing recovery after a stressful event into balance.
2) Improved Joint functionality: yoga poses incorporate stretching with strengthening, bring greater range of motion and stability to the joints. The movements also aid in joint lubrication.
3) Relief during THAT time of the month: Studies show yoga helps lower the level of hormones in your system than give you menstrual cramps. Try Janu Sirsansa, head to knee pose, and Ustrasana, camel pose, to compress and then stretch the abdominal muscles.
4) Energy: Yoga works on unblocking “stuck” blocks of energy along the spine by bringing “prana”, or energy, into the back and throughout the body with breath and movement. Certain pose combinations, like sun salutations, are designed to make you strong, powerful, and confident, and enhance focus.
5) Better Sleep: Yoga help with sleep issues by lowering stress levels, calming the mind and relieving tension in the body. Certain resting poses like forward bends and inversion poses like supported shoulder stand are often recommended for insomnia.
Hope to see you tonight in Livermore!
Spending time on Pinterest, you come across a multitude of gorgeous images of thin, strong, lean, limber beauties in amazing poses.
But how attainable are some of those poses? Poses like the scorpion variation here can take years of practice and dedication. And it doesn't hurt if you were a dancer or gymnast to start with.
I pose the question, becuase I think having this idea of yoga in your head can be intimidating to those looking to give yoga a try.
Yoga is adaptable and kind to all body types. It does add flexibility and strength. And you can attain amazing things with your body with practice and focus.
However, I can almost guarantee, you won't find this pose being taught in your average yoga class! So don't let this keep you away. The best yoga studios are kind and welcoming to all bodies. So check out a local studio and come try a class today!