Blog

My First Vinyasa Flow

Have you ever been curious about what goes in to teaching a 60 minute yoga class?

There’s no such thing as winging it as a new Yoga Teacher.
At least not for any that I know!

Like anything else, teaching will come naturally and second nature with time and experience.

But for now… it’s getting on the mat and seeing what works. Writing it down. Editing. Editing some more. Practicing. Completely changing a sequence because it’s just too complicated. Completely changing a sequence because it’s just too simple. Memorizing. Mnemonics.  More editing. Practice. Timing yourself. Nailing it. Having faith in yourself and your hard work. Teaching.

Here’s the 60 minute Vinyasa Flow class that I have written, and will be teaching to my fellow trainees this weekend!

We are not allowed to use notes of any kind!

img_7501

Arrive and Center

– Easy Pose / Sukhasana

Come to find a comfortable seat.
Rest your hands on your lap.
Sit tall.
Allow yourself to arrive here.
This is your time.
Close the eyes or gently focus them to the ground in front of you.
There is no better place to be.
Right now you don’t have to worry
about what happened before you came here,
and you don’t have to worry
about what will happen when you leave.
This is your time to be present.
This is your time to strengthen and honor your body and mind.

Pranayama

– Nadi Shodhana

Warming Poses

– Table
– Inhale Cow
– Exhale Cat
*Repeat with the pace of your own breath*
– Table
– Inhale R arm reaches up towards the sky
open at the chest, look up
– Exhale thread the arm through to lie on your shoulder and ear,
L arm can come behind you
– Inhale rise R arm reaches up to the sky
– Table
*Repeat L side*

– Sit back to Child’s
legs as wide as comfortable
arms out in front
or down by your sides palms facing up

– Inhale rise to sit on your knees*
– Hands to heart center
– Rise to stand on your knees
– R leg out to your side
– Arm reach high overhead palms touch
– Bow to your R
A nice side stretch
– Inhale back to center
– Leg comes in
– Sit back on your knees
*Repeat L side*

– Sit back in Child / Balasana
– Exhale Downward Facing Dog
  lift the hips, strong in the arms with a straight back
soft bend in the knees, peddle out the legs
– Inhale walk your feet to your hands
– Find Rag Doll / Ardha Uttanasana
Heavy from the waist down
Nod the head yes, shake the head no

Sun Salutations

– Inhale rise to Mountain / Tadasana
– Exhale hands at heart center
– Inhale arms over head
– Exhale Forward Fold
– Inhale Half Way Lift
hands up the shins
flat back

– Exhale Chaturanga,
lower half way down
elbows close to your sides

– Inhale Upward Facing Dog
  knees lifts
only your hands and the tops of your feet touch the ground
strong lift through your shoulders

– Exhale Downward
  peddle out the legs
– Inhale Half Way Lift
walk the feet to the top of the mat
– Exhale Forward fold
hang heavy
– Inhale rise arms overhead
– Exhale Mountain

– Inhale Chair / Utkastasana
  sit back strong in the thighs
arms frame the face
– Exhale Forward fold
– Inhale Half Way Lift
– Exhale Chaturanga
– Inhale Upward Facing Dog
– Exhale Downward Facing Dog
– Inhale Warrior I on the R side *
  spin the back heel
root into the floor
square the hips to the front of the mat
arms reaching up
shoulders relaxed and down

– Exhale Chaturanga
– Inhale Upward Facing Dog
– Exhale Downward Facing Dog
*Repeat L side*
– Inhale Halfway Lift
– Exhale Forward Fold
– Inhale Chair
– Exhale Mountain / Tadasana

– Inhale sit back to Chair
– Exhale Forward Fold
– Inhale Halfway Lift
– Exhale Chaturanga
– Inhale Upward Facing Dog
– Exhale Downward Facing Dog
– Inhale Warrior I R side*
– Exhale Warrior II
arms parallel to the floors
hips open
root into the floor

– Exhale Extended Side Angle
R elbow down to your front knee
reach the L arm up and high
spin front the torso
look up, opening the chest

-Hands to the ground
– Exhale Chaturanga
– Inhale Upward Facing Dog
– Exhale Downward Facing Dog
* Repeat L side*
– Inhale Halfway Lift
– Exhale Forward Fold
– Inhale sit back to Chair / Utkatasana
– Exhale Mountain / Tadasana

– Inhale Chair
– Exhale Forward Fold
– Inhale Halfway Lift
– Exhale Chaturanga
– Inhale Upward Facing Dog
– Exhale Downward Facing Dog
– Inhale Warrior I R side*
– Exhale Warrior II
arms parallel to the ground
look out past the middle fingers of your front hand

– Inhale Reverse Warrior
legs stay where they are
L arm reaches behind to rest on the back of your thigh
R arm lifts
look up through the chest

– Exhale Chaturanga
cartwheel the arms to the ground
leg comes back
lowers down

– Inhale Upward Facing Dog
– Exhale Downward Facing Dog
*Repeat L side*
– Inhale Halfway Lift
– Exhale Forward Fold
– Inhale Chair
– Exhale Mountain / Tadasana

– Inhale Chair
– Exhale Forward Fold
– Inhale Halfway Lift
– Exhale Chaturanga
– Inhale Upward Facing Dog
– Exhale Downward Facing Dog
– Inhale Warrior I R side*
– Exhale hands to heart center
Inhale launch the back foot parallel to the ground behind you
land the back foot and find
Warrior I
– Exhale Chaturanga
– Inhale Upward Facing Dog
– Exhale Downward Facing Dog
*Repeat L side*
– Inhale Halfway Lift
– Exhale Forward Fold
– Inhale Chair / Utkatasana

Standing Poses and Arm Balances

– Exhale Forward Fold
– Step the feet back to find Downward Facing Dog
peddle out the legs
– Inhale R up reaches back up and high*
– Sunbird
  bend the knee and open the hip
– Exhale bring the knee back down and through to tap the R elbow
– Inhale bring it back up and high
– Exhale bring the knee to the nose
round the spine
– Inhale leg back and high
– Exhale bring the leg to tap the opposite elbow and hold
– Inhale bring the leg back up and high
– Exhale Low Lunge
  bring the leg between the hands
knees at a 90 degree angle
– Inhale Crescent Lunge
lift in the chest
arms to the sky

– Hands to heart center
– Exhale Prayer Twist to the R
– Open Arm Twist
R arm high, left to the ground on the outside of your knee
– Prayer Twist
hands together
twist at your navel

– Inhale Crescent Lunge
– Exhale Downward Facing Dog
hands to the ground
front leg extends back

*Repeat L side*

From Downward Facing Dog
– Inhale rise Warrior I on the R*
– Exhale Warrior II
– Inhale Extended Side Angle
– Exhale Reverse Warrior
straighten out the legs
arms parallel to the ground

– Triangle
move forward three extra inches
bend at the torso lower the R left down L hand up
strong as if between two walls

– Bring both arms down, leg comes back to find Downward Facing Dog
*Repeat L side*

-walk the feet to the top of your mat
hang heavy
– Inhale lift arms over head
– hands to center
root into your L/R foot *
bring your right foot to rest above your left knee
sit back
chest lift
come to stand keeping the right leg lifted

bring the leg back, find Dancer
bring the R/L arm back to catch the foot
– Mindfully release, shake out the legs
– Exhale Forward Fold
root into your R foot
– Inhale Half Moon
L leg reaches back behind you
L arm toward the ceiling
maybe your hand catches your foot

– Exhale release Forward Fold
– Inhale hands over head and down to heart center
*Repeat other side*
– Malsana
toe heel the hips mat distance apart and into your squat
hips low, chest lifted
you can use your elbows to push your knees open
maybe lift one heel and then the other
maybe lift both at the same time

– Hands to the ground
– Wide Legged Rag Doll

– Step back to Downward Facing Dog
– Drop the knees find Table
– R leg comes up back behind you*
– L arm reaches forward
thumb to the sky
– Exhale knee to elbow
– Inhale extend x 4
– hold
– bend the knee
– sweep the hand back to catch the foot and bow
– mindfully release, find table and take it on the other side*
– *repeat L side*
– Child’s Pose

– Rise and swing your legs in front of you
– lay down to find Reclining Butterfly Legs
  soles of the feet come together to touch and knees fall open
arms can rest below your naval, by your sides palms facing up,
or ever above your head hands to opposite elbows
use the hands to bring the knees together
bring your hands down by your side pass facing down
bring the backs of your heels to almost graze the tops of your fingers

– Inhale tilt the pelvis and engage the core
– Exhale Bridge lift the hips
  press in all four corners of your feet
maybe you roll onto your shoulders
and brings the hands underneath you to interlace the fingers
slow lower down, release the hands and shoulders
hands down by your side lift the legs up and high
– Inhale widen the legs as much as you can
– Exhale bring then back x 4
– Bring the knees and curl into a ball
– Happy Baby
bring the hands to the inner arches of your feet
maybe rock side to side and massage out that lower back

– Hug the knees to the chest
roll out your spine if that feels good today

– come forward and find Plank
strong in the hands
flat black and a long line of energy from the heels of the feet out through the crown of your head

– lower down to a Four Arm Plank
– Hip Dips x 8 each side
– Four Arm Plank
– Keep the chest lifted, lowering everything else to the ground
– Find Cobra
elbows by your ribs to the ground
bend the knees
bring one hand behind you at a time to bow
hands grabbing outside edges of your feet, everything lifts

mindfully release and press back into Child’s

Cool Down

– Exhale Downward Facing Dog
– Reach the R leg up and behind you*
– Round the spine to land in Half Pidgeon
– R knee to R hand
– Square out the hips
– Sit tall with your hands by your side
back leg out straight behind you
maybe you place a blanket under your hip if there’s space between it and the ground

– Lower to the ground and surrender
place your forehead on the back of your hands, on the floor or a block
Rise with hands by your sides and maybe bend the back leg
maybe grab onto the foot
maybe hook the foot into your elbow crease
maybe come into a mermaid if that’s in your practice and clasp the hands overhead
– Mindfully release the back leg and press back into Downward Facing Dog
*repeat on the L side*

– Walk the feet to the top of your mat and take a seat
– Legs out long in front of you, take a forward bend hinging at the hips
– Brings the soles of the feet together and fold
– Lay down and take a long body stretch
– Hug the knees in
– Extend the arms out long, creating a T
– Using the core, let your knees fall to your right, keeping your shoulders grounded
*repeat other side*
– Hug the knees in one last time, making yourself a tiny little ball

– Release into your final savasana
let the legs fall apart
  arms by your side, palms facing up
  relax your face
  relax the space between your eyes
  relax your jaw
  let the tongue fall from the roof of your mouth
  melt into the floor and enjoy the affects of what you’ve just done

Namaste.
 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Got Milk? No, thanks! …check out the life changing benefits I’ve experienced since quitting dairy 50 days ago!

Fifty days ago I decided to take a break by dairy.

dairyfree

No more cheese.
No more yogurt.

I know that might sound like a bad idea to some.
I know it definitely sounds like torture to others.

No more half and half in my coffee.
No more chocolate.

“How are you going to get enough calcium?”
“But you need dairy for healthy gut bacteria!”

No more sour cream.
No more milk.

 

06dc9eaa5458a8520f348641e42b2bd8

 

I get it.
I totally understand where your concerns are coming from.

No more baked goods.
No more cream cheese.

We live in a Got Milk? society.
Dairy is praised and pushed as a recommended part of our daily diet.

No more butter.
No more creamy salad dressings.

 

dairy-free-diet-298x300

 

I understand your hesitation.
I can see the eye roll.

But I promise you I’ve done my homework and I’ve researched this for years.
Dairy isn’t the savior you think it is and if you’re really interested, watch this!

I absolutely loved milk as a kid and into my mid-twenties.
I would take a tall glass of cold milk with every meal over anything else.
Just ask my folks!
We always had 2 gallons in the fridge because we went through it so fast.
I couldn’t get enough cheese, baked good and forget it with the ice cream.

I’ve always loved dairy!
…but I don’t think it’s ever loved me.

4224631-300x218.jpg

I began to educate myself a few years back
when I started to care about my health.
At first I was shocked by what I discovered,
and now I know the truth and I can’t ignore it.
Now that I’ve experienced the benefits of going dairy free for myself,
I can’t go back.

There’s tons of bad stuff out there that we put in our bodies
and expose ourselves to every day.
Why am I starting with dairy?
Well, I have to start somewhere
and I thought this would make a significant difference for me!
Trust me when I say that I have every intention
to continue to eliminate other poisons from my life as time goes on.

Poison?

…Sounds dramatic.
Yes, poison!
Pus. Sugar. Fat. Hormones. Antibiotics. Chemicals.

The information is out there.
You’re either going to look into or you’re not.
That’s your business.
Your choice!

 

cowmilk

So here’s the best part!
Here’s what has happened to me
in the past fifty days
since I quit dairy…..

I’ve lost 12lbs
without doing anything else!
No calorie counting.
No added cardio.
No starving myself.

It’s like a layer of bloat that covered my entire body
is just disappearing,
especially around my stomach
and my face.

My digestion
and all its functional buddies
have greatly improved.

My favorite side effect has been
that I have had ZERO congestion
or pressure in my sinuses.

This time of year my post nasal drip is usually so horrible
that it turns into an obnoxious hacking cough
and then pneumonia.

…But I can breathe through my nose with no problems,
all day and all night.

I haven’t used my once beloved nasal allergy spray
…in almost two months.

My appetite seems to be less.

I feel like I have more energy and less brain fog.

My sense of smell and taste have vastly improved.

and finally, my face is clear
and my skin is softer and smoother.

🙂

 

087111f211014a9c75150a80efe585a8.jpg

My experience of going without dairy has been so beneficial,
that I’ve just kept going.

I feel too good to go back!

Now that’s not to say that I will never have a slice of pizza again!
Please!

I don’t have a severe milk or lactose allergy that I am aware of.
But it seems that I have had an allergy all along,
but I never realized it!

I’m sure I will eat it from time to time throughout my life as a treat,
but dairy is now in the category of junk food as far as I’m concerned.
Something to rarely eat.
Something that I will go weeks or ever months at a time without.
We will see how my body handles it the next time I try it.
My body may react in such a negative way
that the consequence does not make it worth it.

So that’s my little story of going dairy free.
It’s been 50 days and I’m in no hurry to get back to it.

Have I missed it?
A few times, sure!

When we’ve eaten tacos it was a bit strange not to pile on Mexican cheese.
I also missed my regular coffee with cream and sugar for a while.
But I’m more or less past it.
It’s just my new reality.
It’s just my new normal.

I hope I’ve inspired you to look into it for yourself!
I hope I’ve inspired you to try going dairy free
for a couple of weeks to see how you feel!
It might be worth your while!

🙂

Go Dairy Free!

2adb491a23ee7f77a2abef254f4965b0

 

 

How Not to Sign Up for a 200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training

Yoga is trending. It’s fashionable to post yoga selfies on Instagram. Yogis are making brands of their names. Yoga pants are being sold for $100 a pop. People are tattooing the symbol for Om on their foreheads. Everyone’s going for their 200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training or signing up for retreats.

Yoga. It’s a thing. It’s a good thing. But it’s not a new thing.

Yoga is at least a 5,000 year old practice. In fact some researchers are finding significant evidence that supports yoga’s history may go back as far as 10,000.

 

what-is-yoga-page-2

 

I’m in the middle of a 200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training at Buddha Nest Yoga, in Groton, Massachusetts.

Why?

To deepen my practice and to share my love of yoga with the world of course!

You have quite a few options these days if you’re looking to take a Yoga Teacher Training, depending on your location, logistics and financial situation.

In a perfect world, I would have traveled to Costa Rica for a 6 week intensive study by the ocean!

(Right!? Yes, please!)

The snags… oh, I dunno… my relationship, my job, my bills, my home, my responsibilities…  The fact that I still don’t have a passport.…

I can’t just hit PAUSE.

As UN-yogic as it is, I envy anyone who gets the opportunity to walk away from the daily grind for 6 weeks in order to pursue a killer bod, enlightenment, awesome vegan cuisine, sloths, reggae and the Pura Vida lifestyle.  (This is only second to my insane baby envy.)

My reality is slightly different, but the situation I’ve found myself in is still pretty amazing!

For me, the location couldn’t be better. Buddha Nest is only 5 miles from my home.  It doesn’t get more convenient than that.

The studio is located in a historic building in the center of Groton. The building is called Boynton Meadows and was home to the town’s blacksmith back in the day. I dig the history. Buddha Nest shares the building with Bliss Bakery and some residents that live in apartments upstairs.

 

(Buddha Nest Yoga – Groton, MA)

The logistics can’t be beat. We’re meeting one weekend a month, over the course of seven months, from October 2016 to May 2017. Granted these weekends are long and require a full Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Fortunately, I was able to work this out with my job, and my yoga training is very celebrated by my boss and co-workers. 

My Guy is also incredibly supportive of my practice. When your man puts off the Patriots game by 4 hours, because he’s waiting for you to get home from yoga to watch it with you, that’s love.

Finally the financial aspect. Yoga Teacher Training is not cheap. It averages $3,000+. I have my Mother and Father to thank for funding this. They offered. I accepted. They get free yoga for the rest of their lives! I am so very grateful that they are doing this for me. It means the world. Had this not been the case, it would have been several years until I was able to start thinking of pursuing this on my own.

Patience can be a weaker quality of mine. Although it turned into a great situation for me this time around, I would not advise others to choose their teacher training the way I did.

Once my parents offered to foot the bill for my training, I couldn’t start fast enough and began scouring the internet. I’d already waited years and wanted to start as soon as possible.

I more or less blindly signed up to do my training at Buddha Nest.

I contacted Anne, the owner and teacher that would lead the training. She had one spot left. Training started in just a few weeks.

The first time I walked into Buddha Nest and met Anne, was the same morning I signed the contract for the training.

Big NO NO!

You don’t meet the person training you, visit their studio and sign a contract binding you to pay them almost $3,000, all in the same morning.  I hadn’t even taken one of her classes yet!

(At least I looked up reviews and testimonials first!)

The stars aligned.
Everything worked out so spooky good!
All is well!

 

Image result for yoga stars and moon

 

Word to the wiser than me though… don’t do this! Take your time. Shop around. Make sure you’re doing the right thing and you pick the right training. It is worth holding out for.

Thankfully, Anne is incredible and she really knows her stuff! I feel 110% confident that she is providing us with all the tools and then some, to become quality and successful yoga teachers.

Buddha Nest is another home now.

Had I actually done the un-rushed research I should have, I believe I would have still wound up there. Sometimes things just feel like fate in the best possible way and turn out wonderfully. This has been one of those times in my life.

Namaste!

Image result for yoga lotus

The First Time I Tried Yoga

“Wow, you must have really trained last night.
What was different?”
– My Handsome Man asked.

“I tried yoga.”

“You’re that sore from yoga?”

“…I know.”

I tried yoga for the first time on a Tuesday night in August 2009.
I wish I knew the exact date, because I would celebrate the anniversary!

I had recently established somewhat of a routine for myself at the gym. I went on certain days, at certain times. I was running and walking on the treadmill. I dabbled with some weight training machines. I was still getting my feet wet with the whole non-sedentary lifestyle.

Each week I witnessed the same group of people filing in and out of this regular Tuesday night yoga class. The schedule posted outside the group exercise room labeled it simply as, Yoga – All Levels. The description said the class was appropriate for beginners, intermediate and advanced.

I noticed that both men and women attended this class. Different ages. Different shapes. Different weights. Different backgrounds. I noticed the teacher. She was on the shorter side – maybe 5 feet tall. Middle aged. She had wild and curly hair. She had bigger thighs. No makeup, but certainly a glow. I decided this wasn’t an intimidating environment and made up my mind to give it a try. I knew nothing about yoga, but I could tell these people looked forward to being there and none of them were pretzels.

I walked into that first class early. I grabbed a purple mat from the stack and laid it down in the back corner of the room near the exit. As other students took their places, I noticed that some got right on their backs. Some sat cross-legged with their hands in their laps. Others rounded themselves into child’s pose. Everyone seemed comfortable as they settled into their space. I just sat there awkwardly, didn’t know where to look and waited.

The teacher entered calmly, floated through the room, dimmed the lights and sat herself in front on her mat. She seemed relaxed and confident. She had a lovely smile.

“Namaste, Everyone.” 
She greeted us with a bow.
The group responded in unison as I observed.

“Namaste!”

I’d heard it before, but what was Namaste?
Was it a religious thing?
Can I say it too?
OK, I’ll just do what they all do and try to blend in.

…and then there was Om.

That was different. Nice.  We started slow. We rolled our shoulders. We closed our eyes. What was it about closing my eyes in public that made me feel so strange and paranoid? I peeked… just in case everyone else truly had their eyes open and were all staring at the newbie in class.

They weren’t.

We were told to breathe.
Wasn’t I already breathing?
Focus on the breath.
Equal parts in and out.
We came to our hands and knees and stretched our hips.

Piece of cake.
This is probably a waste of my time
but I’m here
so let’s take advantage of the hour to relax.





Pffffffffffffff.

My first “oh sh*t” moment came with a lunge.
Warrior 2 set my quads on fire.

OK, so getting here is ok, I can lunge, but now I’m holding said lunge.
For how long?

Forever, that’s how long.
Now I’m holding my arms out straight, parallel to the floor.
Keep holding.

Too stubborn to use a block. Modifications? Naw! Not me!

I broke a sweat, felt the beads forming on my forehead…
watched them drip onto my mat.
More holding.
Up.
Down.
Right side.
Left side.
Balance.
Stretch.
Twist.

This was actual work.

I started to clock watch.

It was difficult, but it wasn’t painful.
It wasn’t great, but it wasn’t bad.

Focus.
Pockets of relief and bliss.

How on Earth is this woman holding up her entire body with just her hands with such ease?!

Lift my knees up into my armpits?

Faceplant-asana!?

I had misjudged the ability of the teacher by tenfold. There was no way I was leaving in the middle of that class, but it was a challenge to stay. The challenge was completely unexpected. I changed my tune. Thank goodness for modifications! I was soon drenched, even more so than from an hour on the treadmill.

We were welcomed to sigh as we practiced. We were encouraged to inhale deeply through the nose and let out a loud exhale through the mouth. “Aaaahhhh.” I felt me eyebrows arch in surprise with the sound of exaggerated and collective breath.

What the…?

“Alright, let’s have some fun tonight.”
Our teacher said, as if she were about to suggest something naughty.

“Let’s do Lion Pose.”

After seven and a half years of regular practice, I’ve only come across Lion Pose on 3 occasions, this being the first. For some, this could have been a make or break situation and I would have understood if they went running. If you don’t already know what Lion Pose is, I’m not going to explain it. I’m just going to show you…

Yep.

Well, everyone else was doing it! Sometimes it’s good to be a follower. Instead of being weird it was funny.  All the griping I’d been doing in my head from those damn lunges was forgotten and replaced with laughter.

Finally it was time for the cool down.
Slow again.
Sweeping motions.
Back to the floor.

 Savasana.

As the teacher guided us through corpse pose, she asked us to be present in the moment and read a short poem. We eventually wiggled our fingers and toes and made our way back to a seated position. Hands to our hearts. We ended that class the way we began.

Om.

Shanti. Shanti. Shanti.
Peace. Peace. Peace.

Namaste.

As we rolled up our mats and put our shoes on, each person I made eye contact with smiled. I left that class unsure of what happened. That was different.

Did I like that?
I think I loved that.

The next morning I woke up and realized muscles that had never been used, were screaming. I needed more yoga from my yoga, and thus the cycle began. I was more sore from that one class, than I had been at any time in the previous months I’d been regularly going to the gym.

So I went again, and again, and again….