Each Holiday throughout the year, I teach a special class that revolves around plank pose (Kumbhakasana). I love anything that involves core work and plank is just one of the many exercises that I enjoy most and love to teach. So in honor of Thanksgiving, I held my annual Happy Planksgiving Flow. Continue reading Happy Planksgiving!
Whether by car, train, or plane, be prepared to travel this holiday season with a few yoga poses that will help you feeling good and prepare your mind and body to deal with long periods of sitting.
Yoga techniques are a great avenue to remind yourself to move and bring attention to your breath and body. Completing a few poses can help calm the mind and reduce stress and anxiety that we may get from traveling.
- Neck Rolls– Exhale, drop your right ear to your right shoulder, look down toward your chest. Inhale, drop left ear to left shoulder, look up. Repeat
- Shoulder Lift– Inhale, raise your shoulders toward your ears. Exhale, completely let go, drawing your shoulders down your back.
- Seated Side Bend– Interlace your fingers and press your palms towards the ceiling. Inhale, reach up. Exhale, draw your hands to the right. Inhale, come back to center. Exhale, draw your hands to the left.
- Seated Cat-Cow– Place your hands on your thighs. As you inhale, draw your chest forward and your shoulders back; think about spreading your collarbone. Exhale, round your spine and draw your shoulders forward, pull your belly in. Look down toward your navel. Repeat
- Seated Twist– Place your left hand on your right knee or left armrest (if you’re in a plane) . Inhale, lengthen your spine. Exhale, twist to your right, drawing your right shoulder back. Switch sides.
- Seated Figure 4– Bend your right knee and place your right ankle on top of your left thigh. Interlace your fingers under your right thigh. Sit up straight and draw your left knee down towards the ground and gently pull your right knee up. Switch sides.
- Ankle Rolls– Get your blood flowing by rolling your ankles in a circular motion, both to the right and the left several times while stretching the leg out in front of you. You can also point and flex your feet.
- Forward Fold– Separate your feet to hip-width distance, bend your knees, and bring your chest to your thighs. Fold forward, grab opposite elbows or maybe interlace your fingers and drop them overhead.
- Lunges– Begin standing. Step your left foot forward and bend your left knee 90 degrees. Keep your right leg straight and right heel lifted. Arms can rise overhead or keep your hands at your heart center. Then step back with the legs together. Switch sides. Maybe add a twist, placing your palm down on the inside of your forward foot.
- Seated Savasana– Close your eyes and let go of the noise and other distractions. When thoughts come, just listen to your breathe and let them go.
Recently, I attended a workshop that focused on the book The Element written by Sir Ken Robinson. In his book, Sir Ken Robinson talks about self fulfillment and creativity. He helps his readers understand that “The Element” is when natural talent meets personal passion and that when people finally arrive at “The Element” they feel most themselves, most inspired, and achieve at their highest levels.
I believe that all teens can benefit from yoga. When I look at teenagers today, I often see individuals who appear unbalanced, have difficulty focusing, are often in a rush, and some who are depressed, anxious, or nervous and I feel for them. The pressure on youth today is tremendous (i.e. getting good grades, getting into a good school, staying current, fitting in) and as kids begin to hit adolescence, puberty, transition to high school or college, and begin to explore relationships with one another; they need an outlet that can help them stay focused, allow them to gain confidence, and feel good about themselves. I believe yoga can provide just that.
When we think about thinking positively we at times assume that it implies seeing the world through rose-colored glasses and ignoring the negative parts of life; but it’s more than that. While it is good to focus on and appreciate the good things in our lives; positive thinking is also about approaching life’s challenges with a positive outlook. It’s about turning challenges into something positive, i.e. making the most out of a potentially bad situation, trying to see the best in other people, and viewing yourself and your abilities in a positive way.
I am very excited that Keri asked me to share my love for food with all the readers of Yoga Swole. Those of you that know me, know that food is a very important part of my life. When Keri and I moved to New Jersey from Massachusetts, I did some soul searching and knew that I needed to make my obsession with food more healthy; that is how I got into cooking.
I have been slow to come around to full veganism. It has been nearly three years since I stopped eating meat altogether and started calling myself a vegetarian, and within the last year I have been working to cut dairy completely out of my diet (the only thing I eat once in a while now is Greek yogurt). I have also begun to take a closer look at my everyday beauty, cleaning, clothing, and other general products to see if they contain animal products or if they affect the environment in a negative way. Continue reading My Path to Veganism
Yoga postures (asanas) are the physical positions that coordinate breath with movement. These asanas strengthen your muscles, release physical tension and improve your concentration. Yoga systematically works all the muscle groups (i.e. the back, neck, and shoulders, abdominals, hips, and glutes, as well as ankles, feet, wrists and hands) so you can build strength, balance, flexibility and coordination. Continue reading Yoga for Athletes
Recently, I have been working on how I can better quiet my mind. Those of you, who know me well, know that I am always busy, continuously moving and racing from one activity to the next. So I have begun to think about ways to slow myself down, stop more often, and truly live in the moment.
As I reflect on my daily life, I realized that the time I feel most at peace, grounded, and connected is on my mat. While there is no way to truly “turn off” our minds, a yoga class is a great way to reconnect and help the mind come back to the present, restoring clarity and alertness.
So in this week’s blog, I decided to write about how yoga can help you become more grounded and focused. As I continue to practice yoga, I hope to apply what I learn on my mat into your everyday life and you can too! Continue reading Quieting the Mind
Lara Heimann, my yoga mama, is an incredibly smart, compassionate, and talented woman. She has taught me so much over the last several years; and without her knowledge and support I would not be the yoga teacher I am today. Taking her 200 hr. yoga teacher training changed my life for the better, and for that I will be forever grateful. Lara fostered my desire to teach yoga. Her inspired teacher training and strong belief in me, has allowed me to begin to follow my true path, to live my best life, and to be the best version of myself.
I met Lara about 3 years ago when I moved to NJ from Boston, MA. I was in the market for a new yoga studio so I popped into lululemon to learn more about what studios were nearby. That’s when I first heard about Lara and YogaStream. After one class, I was hooked and knew that this strong practice was what was missing from my life. After only three short weeks of taking classes with Lara, I signed up for her teacher training and have never regretted a moment since. Yoga has given me a lot throughout the years and now I feel blessed to have the privilege and opportunity to give back, sharing my knowledge and passion so I can help inspire, support, and teach others.
Being a yoga teacher is an incredible gift. While I love practicing, yoga is an amazing form of therapy for the teacher too. When I’m fully present and in the teaching zone, I find myself losing track of time and my own mental preoccupations. It’s just my students, their mats, and me, as one cohesive unit
“Yoga was my workout, then it became my lifestyle!”
Lessons from Lara:
- Movement is medicine- Lara’s fantastic approach to teaching yoga focused on alignment and body mechanics has brought my practice to a new level. It feels so good to build internal heat and move in a systematic and sequential way. I leave class feeling energized and rejuvenated.
- Getting on your hands- Inversions are fun and playful. After two years of practicing with Lara and never thinking I could actually do a handstand, I have!! It’s a lot of core strength, control, good body alignment and awareness. With a little practice and patience you can handstand too!
- Inspired sequencing- This practice is amazing. In each class we have a theme that helps focus the practice and push our students to the next level, both physically and emotionally, challenging them to be and do their best.
- Teaching with Integrity- Integrity is doing the right thing. As a yoga teacher, if I am not teaching from a place of integrity and authenticity, how am I benefiting others, much less myself?
- Finding balance- Yoga is a great addition to any workout routine. It’s fun and functional. What you learn on your mat can be transferred into the world around you.
- Loving yourself- You are beautiful! If you believe it and love yourself you can share that belief with the world and help others love themselves too; watch as amazing things begin to happen.
- Believing in yourself- Know that you are stronger than you think and stronger than what you give yourself credit for. Lara sees me in ways that I don’t always see myself and has helped me realize my true potential.
- Be stronger, braver, and more badass- You create your own rules. If you don’t like how the story is going, you have the opportunity to change it.
- Live with intention and purpose- Be the person you are destined to be! Believe in you and all that you are. You have one life, so live it up!
- Living a plant based life- Without preaching or imposing her will, Lara educated me about the negative effects of eating and using animal products; i.e. what it does to the animals, the environment, and how it impacts our health. Plant based life for me!!