Yoga blog by CalMWM Yoga Instructor Amy Rogg (Stanford University, Wholsify). For our patients.
There are days where we can feel heady, buzzy, and just beside ourselves. Many of us are constantly multi-tasking and running from one thing to the next. We eat on the go, rush to meetings, and battle traffic on a regular basis. If we don't give ourselves enough time to rest and relax we burn the candle at both ends.
Before beginning a yoga practice, it is always helpful to set an intention. Defining your intention is like creating a purpose for your practice. It could be for overall healing, letting go of specific patterns that don't serve anymore, or attracting something into your life that you so deeply want to experience.
Often, people go to yoga and think, "Man, I'm not very good, so I'll just stay in the back." When people fall or wobble during a pose, they judge and criticize themselves harshly, fueling feelings of embarrassment. I often see people trying to compete or compare, which leads to feelings of supremacy or inadequacy. When we take a deeper look at all these self-conditioned beliefs, we realize how much expectation, perfection, judgement, and criticism we carry. These beliefs are burdening to the soul and we end up getting in the way of our own selves!
Sore throats, runny noses, and fevers, oh my! As the year closes and Winter sets in, people often find a massive shift happening in their bodies. Biologically, we shift with the seasons and the Winter months can be considered a hibernation period. People may find themselves wanting to sleep more, eat more, and retreat into warmth. When the body changes and we do not comply with these changes (i.e. continuing to work long hours and not getting enough sleep) our immune systems can suffer. When the body's internal environment becomes imbalanced, we find ourselves with an onslaught of colds, flus, and even infections.
If you are new to yoga you probably have noticed all the yoga props that studios make available to you. You may have seen styrofoam or cork blocks, straps, bolsters (different sized pillows), and blankets. These items may look very random at first, so here is a good guide as to how these props can improve your yoga practice. Next time you go to a class, you'll know what to grab!
Often times in a yoga practice the first parts of your body to tire quickly are your arms and shoulders. Holding your own body weight is highly dependent on your upper body...you've got to hold up your head and torso, and that can be quite challenging if you're not used to it. Your yoga practice will improve dramatically once you build up your upper body strength--core included! Here are three helpful poses for strengthening your arms and shoulders--be sure to keep a steady practice so you can start feeling the difference!
Have you ever heard the word "bandha" mentioned in a yoga class? In sanskrit, bandha means to lock, tighten, or hold. Energetically, these "locks" or areas of tightening help the body to direct the flow of prana (flow of energy into the body) and apana (flow of energy out of the body). Physically, the locking of the bandhas helps keep proper alignment and protection of the spine during meditation and yoga. When you can master these locks on both the outside (postures) and inside (concentration, breath, clear mind), you can regulate and control all your hormonal, metabolic, digestive, and sexual systems. Let's explore the bandhas.
So you're wanting to continue your yoga practice and realize that you're tired of borrowing smelly mats that have been used over and over. Chances are, this is a good realization. Buying a mat is like buying a car, some could say. There are many brands, materials, and forms of yoga mats and it's often difficult to know where to start. For clarity sake, I have broken it down to my top 5, catering to all levels of yogi's.