Saturday, November 22, 2014

november pose: revolved chair pose

parivrtta utkatasana
How to do it:
1. Start standing with your feet together, toes and heels touching.
2. Bend your knees deeply, until your fingertips touch the floor by your side. Inhale raise your arms up by your ears. This is chair pose.
3. Glance down to make sure you can see your toes. Do not let your knees past your toes.
4. Bring your palms together at your heart. Take a deep breathe in, and as you exhale twist to the right, bringing your left elbow to the outside of your right knee.
5. Press into your palms, lift the chest and gaze over your right shoulder.

As you breathe into your twist, make sure your knees are together and toes are still pointing forward, parallel to the mat. Hold for 5-10 breaths, come back to centre and repeat on the left side.

Benefits:

  • Strengthens the hips and thighs
  • Chest and shoulder opener
  • Stretches your calf muscles 



Thursday, October 30, 2014

october pose: cross-legged seated position (aka easy pose)

Sukhasana
How to do it:
1. Begin by sitting in a comfortable position. You may sit on a blanket or block for support
2. Start to bend your knees, crossing at the ankles or shins.
3. Rest your hands on your thighs or palms together at your heart, and relax the elbows
4. Keep your neck neutral and lengthen the spine up to the crown of the head
5. Have a soft gaze in your eyes

You may stay here sitting in a meditative state for as long as you wish. Even out your inhales and exhales and clear the mind. When you are ready to come out, extend your legs forward and shake it out.

Benefits:

  • Calms the brain
  • Strengthens the back and spine
  • Stretches the knees and ankles 


Tuesday, September 30, 2014

september pose: half lotus toe balance

padangustha padma utkatasana
How to do it:
1. Start standing up and begin to shift your weight onto your left foot.
2. Bend your right knee, and cross your ankle above your left knee.
3. Focus on a point to gaze at and bring your hands together at the heart centre (you may choose to stay here as the first variation)
4. Start to bend your standing leg, lean forward slightly as you begin sitting down into a one-legged squat
5. Lengthen the spine as you come deeper, lifting your left heel off of the ground, balancing on the ball of your foot (you may use your fingertips as a support when you come down)

Listen to your body and know your limitations. Stay for 5-10 breaths and slowly make your way back up into a standing position. Switch sides.

Benefits:

  • strengthens the ankles
  • opens the hips
  • develops balance and clarity of mind


image source: Laura May Photography 

Monday, August 25, 2014

inhale, exhale, goodnight.

As you begin to settle down from your day, ask yourself "Did I take a moment to breathe today?" Yes we all breathe, and that is why we are alive, however most of us do not take the time for ourselves to sit, reflect and catch a breath. I was asked by NYC-based memory foam mattress company Casper to share my favourite bedtime yoga poses, so here are some you can take to the bedroom after a long day. No props required other than your favourite mattress and maybe some pillows ;) Lie down, quiet the mind and wake up feeling refreshed!


1. Legs up the wall

  • Mild inversion, helps to calm the mind and release stress. Relieves tired or cramped legs and feet. 

2. Child's pose

  • Gentle stretches the hips, thighs and ankles. Relieves back and neck pain. 

3. Reclining twist

  • Aids in digestion. Improves breathing and calms the nerves. 

4. Forward bend

  • Stretches the spin, shoulders and hamstrings. Soothes headaches and anxiety. 

5. Sphinx

  • Mild backbend, strengthens the spine. Stimulates abdominal organs. 




6. Corpse

  • Time to be mindful. Calms the brain and eases you into a deep sleep. Relaxes the body. 





Friday, August 22, 2014

august pose: sphinx

Salamba Bhujangasana
How to do it:

1. Start by lying onto your belly and bring your forearms onto the ground.
2. Make sure your elbows are directly underneath your shoulders
3. Root your tailbone down towards your heels and separate your feet a bit wider than hip width apart
4. Press into your palms to lift the chest, roll your shoulder blades down your back
5. Keep your neck neutral and soften your glutes

Stay for 5-10 breaths, then slowly lower down placing your palms one on top of the other, then rest your forehead on your hands

Benefits:

  • Strengthens your low back
  • Stretches chest, lungs, shoulders and abs
  • Helps relieves stress 

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Canada Day pose: one-legged downward facing dog

Eka Pada Adho Mukha Svanasana
How to do it:

1. Start in downward facing dog. The same alignment principles apply.
2. Press down with your hands and begin to raise your right leg up.
3. Keeping your hips levelled, reach out through your heel and maintain the squareness in your shoulders.
4. Stay for 5-10 breaths. If you want to go deeper, bend your knee and start to roll your right hip open

Release your foot back down, drop your knees and rest in child's pose.

Benefits:

  • Strengthens the arms and legs
  • Calms the mind
  • Stretches the hamstrings and hip flexors 

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

thank you Anamaya!

I just returned from paradise..Costa Rica! I can't even begin to express the joy it was to teach such amazing people from all over the world. I will cherish this memory forever in my heart and thank you to the amazing staff at Anamaya for making my stay so incredible. Below is my recap of my experience daily - Pura Vida!


Day 1:
As anxious yogis slowly start to make way into the main house, I am filled with excitement that this day has finally come. Almost two years ago I was here for a yoga retreat and now I am leading the class as the guest teacher...Surreal! And to top it off, I get to share this experience with my mom: my best friend and #1 supporter.
People from all walks of life, and as far as Australia and Austria come together for one common interest: yoga, mindfulness and pure total relaxation. This is the beginning for what lies ahead and I'm happy to guide them for the start of their day.
Goodnight 


Day 2:
I wake up nervous and filled with excitement to teach my first class here! As people start to roll out their mats and make their way to the yoga deck, I am at ease...this is where I belong. I get past my nerves and guide them through a grounding practice of legs and feet to start the week.
After class, breakfast is served, pure organic goodness! We then begin an opening circle by introducing everyone and go over the intention for the week and what to expect. The week has just begun, so get ready for the ride: zip lining, waterfall hike, surfing, beach bonfire, salsa class, cooking class, massages and much more! 


Day 3:
This mornings practice was a HOT one! The first 10mins people were already dripping...it is rainy season so the humidity is at it's finest. Today's focus was the hips - a common area that holds lots of tension as well as emotions. Surf lesson was cancelled due to the downpour this afternoon and I had the best massage EVER! Twice now at Anamaya was the best massages I ever had in my life
Friendships are starting to form and real deep conversations are had. 



Day 4:
We are all feeling the effects of the humidity, and our bodies are sore! I have my daily yoga practice but everyone is taking two classes plus activities on top of that is a lot for the body to take! Today's practice was on backbends and chest openers - finding a space out of love and gratitude I also taught a foundations workshop on proper alignment and breakdown common yoga poses and how to do it safely and effectively. - great learnings for everyone! Today's dinner was by far the best - spinach and black beans balls with baked polenta, mushrooms, zucchini topped with goat cheese and pesto = heaven! And baked banana with espresso cream to top it off! Yum
It's 9:45pm and I'm off to bed...I've been getting a good average of 7-8hrs of sleep every night and on the plus side, my mom has not been snoring...win! 

Day 5: 
Even though we all are so tired and sore from the daily yoga, activities and crazy humidity...today's class was all about core! 

We went into town and it brought back many memories of when I was here the first time - beach, gelato, souvenir shops and locals selling handmade items. 

I laid in the sun for a bit, then it was time to teach my second workshop - partner yoga! Everyone had a great time, shared lots of laughs and took tons of photos.
Once dinner hit, I was ready to go to bed, but we still had salsa lessons:) 


Day 6:
Bodies are sore and bloated! The humidity, activities and yoga is taking a toll on everyone - but in a good way! Today's focus was on shoulders and neck - feel good flow focusing on these common areas where people are tight. Some went to the butterfly garden while I laid by the pool...I def got a sunburn this time around! We went to visit Anamaya's farm, then it was a beach day! We had snacks while people surfed and took photos just before the sunset...everyone practiced their yoga poses on the beach and it turned into an impromptu photoshoot:) 

Back to the main house, we had dinner and a circus performance - fire artist, silk yoga, singing and dancing.
One more day left then it's back to reality! :(
Night night amigos 


Day 7:
Today is the last day:( we focused on bringing together what we worked on throughout the week and connected feet, legs, hips, back, core, chest, shoulders and neck - An all around feel good flow. I ended the practice by placing cold stones on the third eye...to provide a cooling effect but at the same time focusing inwards. It was another hot humid day, the last of the surfers went out while others chilled around the main house. There was also the cooking class and Spanish lessons going on. 


As we all gathered around for closing circle toward the end of the evening, lots of emotions were coming up as everyone shared their experience here. It has truly been an incredible journey for not only me but every single person that attended. I'm thankful for all the wonderful people that I met and will cherish every single moment. Thank you Anamaya for the amazing opportunity and I'm grateful that I got to share this with my best friend - mom

Namaste