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 

Friday, May 23, 2014

may pose: crane

Bakasana
How to do it:

1. Start in a squat with your knees wider than your hips
2. Bring your torso forward as much as you can, squeezing your upper arms against your shins.
3. Place your hands shoulder width apart on the ground, still maintaining the connection with your arms and legs
4. Lift your hips and begin to shift your weight into your hands
5. Keep looking forward to help with your balance. You may start by lifting one foot up at a time, then once you feel stable both feet lift bringing them closer to your sitting bones

Stay for 5-10 breaths, then slowly come down into a squat position

Benefits:

  • Strengthens the arms and wrists
  • Strengthens the abdominal muscles 
  • Stretches the upper back and opens the groins 




Saturday, April 26, 2014

april pose: garland

Malasana
How to do it:

1. Start standing up tall. Separate your feet a bit wider than hip width, and start to bend your knees sitting low in a squat.
2. Root down through your heels. If your heels do not touch the ground, you may roll the back of your mat to rest them there or sit onto a block.
3. Separate your knees wider than your torso, lift the chest and draw your sitting bones down.
4. Bring your hands to your heart, pressing your elbows against your inner thighs working to bring your thumbs towards the centre of your chest
5. Keeping a nice straight spine, reach up through the crown of your head.

Hold for 15-30 breaths. Release, straighten the legs, parallel the feet and fold forward relaxing the head

Benefits:

  • Gentle hip opener
  • Stretches the ankle, groins and legs
  • Calms the mind

Monday, March 24, 2014

march pose: eye of the needle

Sucirandhrasana 
How to do it:
1. Start lying on your back with your knees bent
2. Lift your right foot off the ground and cross your ankle just above your left knee
3. Flex your foot and reach your right hand through your legs and interlace your hands on the back of your left thigh
4. Keep your right foot flexed to protect your knee. As you pull your left thigh closer, draw your right knee away from you, feeling the stretch on the outer right hip
5. Relax your shoulders

Stay for 30sec to a minute, breathe deeply, release and switch sides

Benefits:

  • Stretches the legs and safely open the hips 
  • Increases range of motion in the lower body 
  • Calms your nerves





Friday, February 28, 2014

february pose: wild thing

camatkarasana
How to do it:

1. Starting in downward facing dog, raise your left leg up, bend your knee and open up the hip.
2. Begin to shift your weight onto your right arm and roll onto the outer edge of your right foot.
3. Place your left foot behind you, "flipping your dog", staying on the ball of your left foot and knee bent.
4. Lift the chest, arch your back and reach your left arm up and over.
5. Relax the head back, softening into your throat.

Stay for 5-10 breaths, then come back to downward facing dog. Repeat on the left side.

Benefits:

  • Builds strength in your shoulders and upper back
  • Opens up the chest and lungs
  • Strengthens the legs and back




Friday, January 31, 2014

january pose: locust

Salabhasana
How to do it:

1. Start lying on your belly with your arms along side your body palms facing up and forehead resting on the ground.
2. Bring your legs together, push into the tops of the feet to engage your legs so your knees are off the ground
3. Take a deep breath in, and as you exhale lift your chest, arms and legs away from the floor.
4. Keep your gaze down or slightly forward so your neck is long and in line with your spine.

Hold for 5-10 breaths then slowly lower resting your head to one side. Relax your arms and legs.

Benefits: 

  • Strengthens the back arms and legs
  • Stretches the shoulders, chest, belly and thighs
  • Stimulates abdominal organs
Image Source: http://au.thehype.yahoo.com/galleries/g/-/15690672/detox-yoga-poses/15690681/