Yin and Restorative Yoga

Posted by on Oct 3, 2019 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

While styles of yoga-like Hatha and Vinyasa have become somewhat ubiquitous in nearly every gym in America, there are other quieter forms that are found primarily in spaces committed to the practice of yoga. These forms, though not as well known, offer the body benefits that ought not to be missed.

Yin Yoga

Yin yoga has a long history of practice in the Chinese Taoist yoga tradition. While the full name for the form is Yin Yang yoga in most studios, the name is generally shortened to simply Yin. Yin in Chinese philosophy represents the feminine and passive energy.

This is a somewhat accurate description of the practice. Unlike Vinyasa and Hatha practices, most of the asanas are held in seated and supine positions. Because of the static nature of the asanas on the surface, Yin may seem like an easy practice. But the practitioner soon realizes that more movement does not mean higher intensity.

The goal of a Yin yoga class is to stretch the connective tissue. This is achieved by maintaining poses for 5-7 minutes. Because the asanas are held in a seemingly static position, it may seem as though the practitioner isn’t doing much. But the practitioner soon realizes that there is a difference between holding and releasing oneself fully. Yin yoga represents the latter.

And around a minute in the asana, most tend to realize that mental and emotional strength required release into discomfort instead of pushing past it., Yin yoga has an added bonus of helping the practitioner to strengthen their character by forcing them to face discomfort head-on. There is no space for denial in a Yin yoga class. You must face the pain by diving deeper into it.

Restorative Yoga

As the name suggests, Restorative Yoga is meant to bring balance back into the body. Much like Yin, the asanas are held for 5-10 minutes. However, in Restorative Yoga, props are used to support the body and poses are adapted to fit the body—not the other way around.

This style of yoga is truly the most tranquil and passive as it involves no active stretching. Instead, the goal is to relax and release into the poses. But, unlike Yin, the intensity of the release is buffered with a plethora of blankets and pillows. The goal of a yoga class is to bring balance back into the body not to try and force it into something that it doesn’t want to do.

That a Restorative Yoga practice challenges. For someone with a type-A personality or a restless mind, they may find the stillness unbearable at first. But the goal of any practice is to gradually improve. Many will find the benefits of having a quieter body and mind will serve as a perfect counterpart to the hectic.

So, the next time you are in the mood for yoga, take a break from the flowing asanas and try a quieter practice. You may find that you’ll have benefited much deeper than you’d imagine.

Read More

Which Style Of Yoga Is For You?

Posted by on Aug 14, 2019 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Many factors impact which style of yoga is best for you. Some questions to ask yourself can include the following:

  • What is my dosha (Vata, Pitta, or Kapha)?
  • What style am I drawn to? 
  • What climate am I living in?
  • How is my body? Is it flexible, stiff, or strong? Is it in need of strengthening?
  • How is my energy level?
  • What time of day is it?

In general, the style of yoga that is best for you is the one that fosters balance and harmony within your body and mind. It means that no one style is going to be best for everyone, and no one style is best for anyone all the time. Let’s take a look at some of the popular styles of yoga.

  • Yin yoga is a style of yoga that is based on the notion of yin and yang, an ideology rooted in Daoism from ancient China and Taiwan. This notion asserts that the body has yin parts–parts that do not easily move (fascia, joints, and deep connective tissues), and yang parts– very mobile parts (muscles, blood, and mucus). Yin focuses on long holds and deep stretching. It is great for people with Vata doshas as they are naturally prone to Vata imbalances. Vata is represented by movement; therefore, a yin practice that focuses on the slower moving parts of the body can help bring harmony into a Vata individual. Yin yoga also helps individuals who are strong yet very stiff and inflexible. 

  • Hatha yoga is based on traditional yoga. It is all-encompassing and can take many forms. A specific example of this style is Sivananda yoga. It is a strengthening practice but is also very energetic. It focuses on strengthening the body, breathing properly (pranayama), and creating balance in each of the seven chakras. If you need more strengthening, you can hold poses longer and attempt more complicated variations. If you have low energy, elements like pranayama can be used to increase energy. Any dosha can benefit from a Hatha class, especially if they are aware of how their doshas can be balanced. For example, Vatas or Pittas may want to slow and cool themselves down with long and gentle holds paired with breathing. Kaphas may want to speed up their practice and invite quicker and hotter movements. 

  • Bikram yoga is a style of hot yoga. Often, individuals who are Pitta doshas or are inflexible are drawn to hot yoga styles because they match their constitution and allow for deeper stretching to occur easily. However, this can create a further imbalance in Pittas and even a risk of injury for those individuals whose bodies do not naturally stretch as far without heat added. Bikram could be great in the winters for a Kapha who is feeling stagnant and cold. Although Vatas are typically cold, they are also quick-moving, and so, the quick pace of this class could create a further imbalance. In Bikram classes, you will often see fewer people in cotton leggings and more athletic shorts for women, running shorts, and yoga shorts. It is a very hot practice!

These are just some styles of yoga. Hatha yoga can even be believed to include all of the yoga that we see in the western world. The most important things for you to consider when choosing your style of yoga is where you are at on that given day and what your natural state of balance is. Spending some time learning about Ayurveda and your specific dosha will help you to understand what your body needs to create harmony and how to know when you are not balanced. Then, you can create your own self-designed class to match your unique needs!

Read More

Power Yoga

Posted by on Jun 4, 2019 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

When it comes to yoga many are astounded to know about the broad spectrum of existing types you can run into. The types of yoga include Hatha, Vinyasa, Bikram, Ashtanga yoga, plus many more. Yet if you are living in the U.S. chances are that you have definitely heard about power yoga.

Power yoga is a relatively new kind of yoga. The practice was founded in 1990 by renowned yoga teacher Beryl Bender Birch, who is also the creator of and also an instructor at the popular Hard & Soft Yoga Institute located in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. Its roots lie in Ashtanga and Vinyasa yoga; and basically, include the physically demanding practice of Ashtanga alongside the particular flow and arrangement of vinyasa yoga. Yet, the poses, as well as their sequence and order, are entirely up to the teacher who is leading the class. 

Standing poses are a priority in power yoga, as they favor getting your heart rate up and the focus of its practice is to provide a cardio workout. In fact, there is so much emphasis on the physical side of yoga (practically forgetting the philosophy of it), that many tend to refer to it as “gym yoga”. Yes, this deviation and spin-off of Ashtanga and Vinyasa yoga have as main objective to make you sweat by triggering a lot of internal heat throughout your body and the reason behind this is that it was created to attract athletes of all ages, abilities, and sports to do yoga. Some studios also alter their power yoga workout room temperatures to make practitioners sweat more, and therefore lose more weight. 

Benefits surrounding power yoga have been highlighted by many. Advantages include weight loss, fitness, the release of toxins due to heavy sweating, an increase in flexibility and in general versatile and entertaining lessons that vary from session to session; though this latter one will highly depend on the teacher at hand.

The main criticism towards this new-age yoga, however, is the intention that lies behind it. You do not have to take a close look at yoga history in order to notice that the aim and drive behind ancient sages and gurus was entirely spiritual. The one aim of genuine yoga was and still is to achieve a state of oneness with the universal self and its practice is far away from being merely physical. The asanas, in fact, form just a piece of a complex and abundant system that happens to be part of a millenary tradition.   

Power yoga accentuated the physical plain of the practice so much that it left the rich reflective historical heritage behind. When first conceived, the intention behind this practice was athleticism, while its aim is good condition and strength. 

Nevertheless, this popular practice, as well as its suitability as a body, mind and spirit connection tool, must not be condemned. In the end, yoga is all about allowing different points of view and freedom of choosing paths and as far as we all know there are as many routes as there are people.

Read More

Namaste in Yoga Practice

Posted by on Apr 9, 2019 in Uncategorized | 0 comments


Namaste is a word from the Hindi language. It’s meaning is derived from ‘Nama’ – meaning to bow; ‘as’ – meaning I; and, ‘te’ means you. Thus, Namaste being ‘I bow to you.’

Meaning of Namaste in the Yoga Practice

Namaste is used to acknowledge and honor the soul that is within you and the person sitting next to you. The gesture of Namaste in Yoga identifies that each of us has a divine spark that is unique and that should equally be respected.

Saying Namaste is an expression that the soul respects and honors the other soul. It is a gesture to honor the light, love, truth, beauty, and peace within us. In a group yoga session, the Namaste gesture means that we are united and same. We act as a whole; we act as one.

Hand Gesture for performing the Namaste position

We join both palms together and place our hands at the center of our hearts – which signifies our soul. We close our eyes and bow our heads down with respect to the person in front of us. The reason for such gesture is because that the heart chakra is where all the divine flows through. It also increases this flow and in a similar way, vibrations of love and peace are passed on to the person we bow down to.

In the West, this gesture is always accompanied by saying the word Namaste. In India, however, this gesture itself is so commonly used, that it automatically signifies that the person is expressing his Namaste, saying the word is not required. It is always significant that the gesture is accompanied by saying the word to avoid any confusion and increase the gap of communication.

When performing the Namaste gesture to someone, it brings unity and connection through the flow of positive energy. Similarly, it releases grudges and any boundaries of ego. Focus on completely surrendering the mind and the heart as this results in a deep flow of gratitude where two souls unite and blossom.

When to include the Namaste gesture in your Yoga practice?

Namaste should be initiated at the beginning and at the end of the yoga class.

In the beginning, it is used to express gratitude to yourself and to others – gratitude that each of you is present on that day. It also initiates the flow of positive energy during the remainder of the practice.

Towards the end, it is again included to express honor and respect among each other’s souls. It acknowledges that with complete surrender, we are united and one. With this thought, the practice comes to an end filling our hearts and mind with joy, peace, and love for ourselves and for each other.

Read More

Meditation Fashion Basics

Posted by on Feb 5, 2019 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

For many yogis, their regular yoga practice and meditation tend to go hand in hand. Meditation can be an important part of setting intentions, practicing mindfulness, and reflecting on the more traditional elements of yogic philosophy. Some individuals even find it helpful to maintain a meditation practice and space that is completely separate from their regular yoga practice.

If you’re considering diving further into the world of meditation, what should you know about the proper attire required? It can be a lot simpler to dress appropriately for meditation than for yoga, where wardrobe malfunctions abound. Here’s what you need to know about selecting the right outfit for meditation.

Choose comfortable pants.

This is perhaps the most important element of dressing for meditation practice. You will spend a long period of time sitting comfortably, so it’s imperative to find a pair of workout pants that allows you to cross at the shins and sit up comfortably. Many individuals prefer the feel of a pair of yoga leggings because they fit snugly against the leg muscles. This prevents bunching behind the knees when crossing at the shins.

You should ensure that your yoga pants don’t hug your midsection uncomfortably and inhibit the flow of the breath. Breathing is an essential part of moving deeper into your meditation and practice and that’s why it should never be restricted by your workout clothing.

Wear a loose top.

If you’re practicing meditation separate from your yoga practice, a loose-fitting top is ideal. You won’t be moving through any sequences that require you to bend or invert your body, which means you don’t have to worry about unwanted exposure. A loose top, whether you choose a long-sleeve variety or a tank top, can help you to sit more comfortably and breathe freely in your meditation space.

You may also opt for a wrap or blanket to cover your shoulder during meditation. Because the body isn’t moving or building heat, some individuals find that they feel chilly throughout their practice. It can be distracting to your overall meditation practice if you’re overly focused on your body temperature instead of your intentions.

Socks are acceptable.

While you are ultimately trying to create a sacred space for your meditation practice, you want to be comfortable also. A good pair of thick socks can certainly help to regulate the body temperature, especially during the chillier months of fall and winter.

Stand out with a jumpsuit.

When many yogis think of meditation, the classic image of a flowing white robe tends to come to mind. Opt for a modern-day version of this traditional garb with a jumpsuit. Not only is it very comfortable and breathable while you sit on your meditation cushion, but it is also a very popular fashion trend. Look for subtle patterns or fun seasonal colors to boost your prana energy or alter your mood during your practice.

With the right style and cut, jumpsuits can transition from your meditation practice into the workday or an afternoon out and about with friends. This comfortable solution to your meditation outfit makes it easy to incorporate this practice into other areas of your life.

Read More

How to Do the Boat Pose to Strengthen Your Core

Posted by on Oct 12, 2018 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

The boat pose is a popular yoga asana that works as an efficient ab strengthener and hip flexor. This is a pose that requires a great body balance because you will have to support your body weight on only your tailbone and sitting bones. Here are the best tips and steps on how to properly perform this pose.

Step #1

Sit down on the floor or on your yoga mat. Keep your legs in front, and try to maintain a straight position. Place both hands on the ground or on the mat just behind your hips, and press your palms slowly against the floor. Your fingers should point toward your feet. Both arms and both feet must remain straight. Keep your spine long and straight while you lean your upper body a little bit backward. Make sure your spine does not form a C shape or get round. 

Step #2

Exhale deeply, slightly bend your knees and lift both feet off the mat. Your thighs must form an approximately 45-degree angle with the floor. Push your tailbone further into the yoga mat until you feel your pubis lifting up toward the navel. The perfect boat pose requires you to keep your legs straight while maintaining them lifted. Still, if you cannot do it, don’t force your body. 

Step #3

Extend both arms alongside your legs, keeping them parallel to the legs. In fact, in this case, “parallel” is the key aspect that you must consider during the entire boat pose. Your legs must be parallel to each other. The same goes for your arms. Open your chest more and widen the space between your shoulder blades. If you cannot keep your arms lifted, you should rest them on the floor alongside your hips. 

Step #4

During the entire pose, you should engage your abdominal muscles as much as possible. Your core area should remain tight and firm without getting too hard or thick. Pull the abs inside toward your spine and keep it flat. To keep your balance, you must press your tailbone as well as your thigh bones into the floor. This will help you anchor the boat asana. Breathe slowly and lift the top part of your sternum. Bend your head slightly in front and place your chin closer to your chest. Do this until the back part of the skull reaches up and away from the neck. 

Step #5

It might seem like an easy pose, but it is quite challenging. Therefore, at first, you should maintain this pose for only 10 or 20 seconds at most. Then, you will gradually increase the period. In time, with practice, you can reach up to 1 minute or even more. To come out of the pose, you must release both legs while you exhale. Then, you can go back to sitting upright during an inhalation. 

Let’s Recap

The boat pose is a well-known abdominal strengthener. One of the most important aspects of maintaining this pose the proper way is to learn how to anchor your tailbone and thigh bones. Starting from there, you will be able to lift your upper body and straighten your spine.

Read More

Keeping it Clean: Important Steps to Keep Your Yoga Mat Clean

Posted by on Apr 24, 2018 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

You practice your yoga regularly, and that is great. However, that means your mat is going to take a fair bit of abuse. The human body can be pretty gross, and when you exercise it can be even worse. Sweat, oils, dead skin, and other assorted microscopic nasty things get rubbed into your yoga mat every time you practice. It also gets put on the floor in numerous places, and when it gets rolled up it transfers everything on the floor to the top of your mat. That really isn’t pleasant to think about while you are sitting in Child’s pose, and your face is on the mat. Thankfully there are a few simple things you can do to keep your mat clean.

Freshen Up Quickly

The most important way to keep your mat clean all the time is to quickly wipe it down after every use. When you do that, your mat gets much less of a chance to build up significant dirt and oil. A spray bottle with diluted vinegar is a suggested cleaning agent for freshening your mat. The vinegar should be mixed with water with a ratio of about 1 to 20 to provide proper cleaning power, while not being overly vinegar smelling. To clean just spray down, let soak, and then wipe down. Do this on both sides, and then let it dry. It shouldn’t take too long to dry. If it takes more than two minutes or so to dry, then you have used too much. A light spray is all you need. In this video, you can find out how to make a homemade yoga mat spray. It is easy!

Deep Clean

In the event that you have gone a little too long without cleaning your mat regularly, you may need to do a deep cleaning. Even if you do gently clean your mat regularly, you still may want to deep clean your mat once every 3 months or so. A good rule of thumb is that your mat should be soaked and hung up to dry every time the seasons change.

To deep clean your mat you will want to fill a bathtub up with warm water, about two or three inches is all that you need. In that water, you want to add about an ounce of dish soap, and then give it a stir. Place your mat in the water, making sure that it is completely submerged, and then let it soak for 5 minutes. The dish soap is going to dissolve the oils that your skin leaves on your mat, and soaking lets the soap get deep into the material. Rinse with warm water to remove the soap residue. Finally, to dry your mat, hang it up. A good place to dry your mat is on a close drying rack or hanging it over your shower curtain. Drying after a deep clean will take a while because the water would have been absorbed. Check out this video to learn how to clean your yoga equipment and save the money!

Yoga mats can get dirty very quickly, and that is gross. However, quick wipe downs and the occasional deep clean can keep it fresh. Remember, you place your face on this mat, and you probably want to make sure it is clean.

Read More