Archive for June, 2008

Yoga Month is fast approaching, so I have to figure out what kind of classes and options would be helpful for both new and returning students (I’m open to suggestions!). I’m very excited that the gym is participating. A lot of people complain about yoga classes in a gym environment, but for all the negatives there are a lot of positives.

The room may not be as quiet as some would like, or as conducive to meditation, but they are very open and flexible with their scheduling and can afford to offer some of the least expensive yoga classes I’ve ever seen (I think right now it’s $5 a class). It makes yoga more accessible to more people and that’s what keeps me coming back there.

Tonight’s class was fun because I got a lot of questions. I love questions in yoga class, which is not true of all teachers. That same adage you used to hear in elementary school – “If you have a question, someone else probably wants to know the answer too” – is completely true. It also lets me draw attention to things that I might not otherwise be talking about, which means the students can broaden their practice or think about asanas differently.

I also had a student ask about Yoga Toes. I’m sure they’re a great invention and make perfect sense for some people. I prefer the free version: sit indian style on the floor (or sit with your legs crossed on a chair/stool) and interlace the fingers of your hand between your toes (left leg, right hand/ right leg, left hand). It looks similar to weaving your fingers together, but with your toes. It can be difficult depending on how much flexibility you have in your toes, but just work the fingers through to whatever point you can. Then alternate wiggling your toes and fingers in order to help stretch your toes. Do that several minutes a night, every night, and you can save yourself about $45.

Strong, flexible toes lead to better balance as we age. If you *don’t* practice stretching your toes they will invariably narrow together, which creates a weaker base. You can also focus on strengthening your feet/toes in practice by gripping the toes into your mat, lifting the instep of the foot away from the floor, and pressing down with the toes, ball of the foot, and heel while emphasizing weight distribution to the outside edge (pinky side) of the foot.

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We (I) have taken on a house project – painting almost every room on the first floor. All of my free time is spent painting.

Tonight’s class was fun – it felt like it had great balance. I left the room feeling energized, so I hope everyone else did too.

The asanas:

Warm up: 2 rounds of Sun Salutations (A) with Chair Pose at the end of each

Cat and Cow with the core power option (knees two inches off the floor)

Dolphin for about 4 minutes (2 breaks)

Plank/Down Dog sets

Gate pose on each side

Modified Camel (fists on low back)

Low lunge on each side (hands on blocks, chest lifted, squeeze thighs together)

Low lunge on each side (hands inside front leg – hands/elbows on blocks lowering the abdomen toward floor)

Bakasana (crow pose) with a squat break

Seated spinal twist


Gentle spinal twist after Savasana

My goal was to open the chest and hips to prepare for Bakasana and it went precisely as smoothly as I could have hoped. An hour is a short time for a class but I try to intensify my SunSal warmups so we can move on more quickly.

It was a small class with one regular student (very flexible), two beginners, and a practitioner whose experience I’m not completely familiar with. The beginners were quite excited about working up to Bakasana and adjusting to bringing the weight forward, which can often be the second-worst part (actual worst – fear of falling).

One of the best things about this job is getting to see other people get excited about yoga and (hopefully) inspiring them to practice more. Next week – Hip Hop Yoga!

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