Hour Vinyasa Flow.

Yesterday evening, I put on a Vinyasa & Vino yoga class for the community at a local Clubhouse over in North Beach. It was so much fun to see friends and new faces and all that attended were such inspiring yogis. The flow was very smooth and I paired it with the Power Flow Playlist I shared last week on here with a few adjustments for time. The group was able to enjoy some light socializing, snacks, and wine afterward which made for a really delightful Thursday evening.

I wanted to share the class sequence here for you all to try out at home and I’m always welcome to feedback for how you modify the practice for your own style ūüôā Knowing that written out sequence aren’t always the most inspiring and the fact that I’ve received a handful of request for video tutorials of sequences, I’m happy to announce that a few¬†are in the works and I’m so excited to share soon! But for now written directions will be my go-to. So grab a small glass of wine and enjoy. Namaste.

*Note, I do not note the breathe or duration of holds for poses but if this is helpful for you and your practice please let me know and I’d be happy to add.¬†

Vinyasa + Vino Sequence

Savasana

Start to tap into your breathe here by giving each inhale and exhale a 4 count.

Bring right knee to chest and interlace fingers behind kneecap | Draw small circles with the knee starting to open up the hip. (Repeat on left side.)

Roll up to seated | Seated Staff pose (Dandasana) | Arm above your head | Side bend (both sides) | Forward fold reaching for shins, ankles, or feet.

Rise and move into Tabletop | Move through Cat + Cow following the breathe. | Return to neutral spine.

Rise the right arm to the sky | Thread the needle (Repeat on left side.)

Downward dog

Half Sun Salutations x3

Lunging Salutations

1st round : Cactus arms x3 | Simple Twist

2nd round : Runners Lunge | Half Splits | Move through x3

Surya A

Surya B

Warrior II | Reverse Warrior | Side Angle | Warrior II | Vinyasa

Warrior II | Reverse Warrior | Reverse Triangle | Triangle | End with Half Moon if in your practice | Warrior II | Vinyasa

Downward Dog | 3 Leg DWD | Stack the hips | Center the hips | Half Pigeon (Repeat on opp. side)

Seated Twist | Counter Twist (Repeat on opp. side)

Seated Staff pose (Dandasana) | Forward Fold (Paschimottansana) | Rise back up on an inhale.

Lift to Boat | Hold for 30 seconds – 1 minute | Release all the way to your back on an exhale.

Rolling Bridges x5 | End with Wheel if end your practice.

Release to your back | Spinal Twist on both sides

Happy Baby

Savasana

The most angelic yogi from class last night in the back row.

Benefits of Backbends.

Life has been pretty crazy these last couple weeks, as you might have been able to tell from the lack of noise you’ve all received from me on here. Endless to-do lists and tasks normally tend to lead me towards stress and anxiety.

Backbends can be one of the best cures for acute of even chronic anxiety. Which you may not believe me right off the bat when I say that. Do you ever feel anxious, nervous, or worrisome when in a backbend? But the short term feeling right after is relief and calmness. A consistent yoga practice that contains backbends can also reap long term benefits of helping to not only relieve anxiety but also increase the body’s resilience to it. The consistent practice can also potentially eliminate chronic back pain.

We bend forward all day long, as we’re sitting at our desk, driving in our cars, or even walking down the street. Our spines have a complete range of motion, so we should be able to bend forward comfortably but we need to make sure we’re balancing that consistent forward bending with back bending to restore the spines natural flexibly and reduce injury.

Aside from balancing the spine, backbends can also help to improve breathing, open up and stretch the front body, abdominal muscles, and internal organs, build strength and trust, compress and flush the kidneys, and even relieve insomnia and restlessness.

In the above photo, I am practicing Wheel pose but there are multiple other poses that help to incorporate back bending into your practice:

  • Bridge
  • Bow Pose
  • Camel
  • Cow Pose
  • Fish
  • Upward Facing Dog
  • Cobra
  • Reverse Tabletop
  • King Pigeon Pose
  • Dancer
  • Sphinx Pose
  • Wild Thing

Try out a few of these consistently and let me know what benefits you start to experience!

Namaste, loves.

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The Five Klesas.

The other day I shared the Eight Limbs of Yoga that provide a type of guideline to lead us to liberation. But through this journey we can struggle.¬†It’s natural human behavior to obstruct ourselves from happiness, maybe not even intentionally. For the most part, we strive for happiness and to avoid suffering. We’re striving for Samadhi, a state where suffering doesn’t exist and we simply exist with awareness. But our darn natural human behavior can get in the way of that.

Patanjali has described the following five factors as the elements that contribute to suffering:

  1. Avidya: Not seeing things as they are
  2. Raga: Attachment
  3. Dvesa: Aversion
  4. Asmita: The story of I, me, and mine
  5. Abhinivesa: The thirst for further existence

These five factors are referred to as the five Klesas. The term klesa comes from the verbal root klis, which means “to suffer, torment, or distress.”

The five Klesas keep suffering in motion because they create loops in the mind-body that reinforce habitual patterns of perception and reaction. The important question then is how do we work with these obstacles called Klesas, keeping in mind there is no way to avoid completely.

This work can be a more in-depth process since we all need to have a deeper understanding of self to fully understand how we relate and cling to each one of these Klesas.

Asmita can be a strong one for all of us since we all have a tendency to paint a story in our mind of how our lives should unfold. Raga is another obvious one since attachment is a natural occurrence in our society. A way to start exploring your relationship with the different Klesas is through meditation and asana practice. Notice through the practice how each Klesas arises and address how you feel and react in the moment. For example, half moon might be a pose that comes easy to you but on a particular day you are struggling to keep your balance and can’t find the strength to lift your leg off the floor. Asmita might arise with thoughts that you should be able to do this since you’ve¬†held this specific pose many times before and raga might be present because your attached to how practice went the day before.

As we begin to see how Klesas arise in our meditation and asana practice we’ll begin to seep this over into other elements of our lives. In Michael Stone’s book ‘The Inner Tradition of Yoga’, he explains that:

‘The Five Kleasa teach us that by putting a wedge between our feelings and our aversion or attachment to them, we make a seat for ourselves in present experience.’

I would love to hear how you personally relate or struggle with any of the specific Klesas. Share with me in the comment section!

Namaste loves.

The Eight Limbs of Yoga.

Merry Christmas Eve!

I hope you’re spending the next couple of days surrounded by loved ones. As we go into our holiday festivities, I thought it would be a perfect time to share the Eight Limbs of Yoga.

Patanjali’s eight limbs of yoga offer a guideline for a meaningful and purposeful life. The eightfold path is called Ashtanga, which translates to eight limbs. Ashta stands for eight and anga stands for limbs.

These eight steps are a guideline but they are a continuous process that should be viewed as a loop instead of an end goal.

  1. Yama: The first limb focuses on how we conduct ourselves in our daily lives and how we treat others. There are five separate yamas:
    • Ahimsa: nonviolence
    • Satya: truthfulness
    • Asteya: nonstealing
    • Brahmacharya: continence
    • Aparigraha: noncovetousness
  2. Niyama: The second limb is more internal and focuses on self-discipline and spiritual observance.
    • Saucha: cleanliness
    • Samtosa: contentment
    • Tapas: heat, spiritual austerities
    • Svadhyaya: the study of sacred scriptures and of one’s self
    • Isvara pranidhana: surrender to God
  3. Asana: The third limb, and possibly the most well known, is the physical practice.
  4. Pranayama: The fourth limb is the breath work which allows us to connect the breath, mind, and emotions.
  5. Pratyahara: Withdrawal of the senses is the fifth limb.
  6. Dhara: Pratyahara sets us up for the sixth limb, which is concentration. We learn to slow down the thinking mind by concentrating on a single mental object.
  7. Dhyana: The seventh limb is uninterrupted concentration or meditation.
  8. Samadhi: The eight limb is a state of ecstasy which you feel a profound connection with the divine.

This is just a little taste of the eight limbs and I plan to dive into each individual limb in future posts. But as we dive into the next couple of days I encourage you to consider the first two limbs, yama and niyama, to evaluate how are you treating others and how are you treating yourself.

I hope you’re all enjoying yummy treats and surrounded with laughter today & tomorrow!

Namaste loves.

My Ultimate Asana: Child’s Pose

I was listening to a podcast episode this morning from Yogaland, ” The Art of the Yoga Sutras” where Andrea Ferretti was interviewing Melissa Townsend, a long-time yoga student, artist, Sanskrit enthusiast, and psychic.*

Melissa mentions that the asana practice was like her gateway drug. She describes the poses as a coming home for her, that the asana practice strengthens the subtle part of the body that results in groundedness and allows one to connect deeply with other people. With Melissa’s psychic work, this was very important for her. Through the results of the asana practice, she was able to hold the space for others without taking on her client’s life situations herself.

We can all become victims of this, not just psychics. Sometimes we take on more than we should or need to. And all these excess emotions, stresses, and situations we’re taking on can do a number on our mind, body, and soul. My sun sign is in Cancer and I am definitely guilty for carrying around excess emotions and stresses that are not usually necessary.

This leads me to my favorite asana pose; Balasana. Child’s pose.

If you’re in a moment of feeling overwhelmed or scattered with thoughts but don’t have time to jump on your mat for a full asana practice, a few deep breathes in Child’s pose can do wonders.

This pose is normally placed in the beginner’s category or thought of as a resting pose but this pose is SO MUCH more powerful than that. Whenever I am in a moment where I feel emotions are overcoming me this pose is my safe haven. It’s the ultimate reset position that can calm my heart rate, steady my breathing, or ease my mind. It’s truly a therapeutical posture to relieve stress.

On your mat:

  • Hips sink back to your heels and chest rest down toward the ground.
  • Knees can be set wide, allowing your chest to release or knees can be set together, allowing your chest to rest on your thighs.
    • If pregnant, keep knees set wide.
  • Arms expanded out long, fingers are spread wide, and shoulders are relaxed.
  • The forehead is grounded on the mat.
    • To release the neck, you can roll to both sides on your forehead.
  • Take deep, steady, 4-count inhales and exhales.
  • Stay in the pose as long as you would like or needed to come back into your calmness.

I’d love to hear about your ultimate asana pose or one you turn to often. Let me know in the comment section!

Namaste loves.

 

*If you’re interested in the podcast episode I mentioned at the beginning of this post, then I highly encourage you to listen to it! You can access it here or find it on iTunes or Apple Podcast app.¬†