Posts from the ‘Podcast’ category

Episode 53: Reaching, Ribs, and Relaxation

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This is a live class from a summer intensive taught in July of 2016. Class begins with developmental movement warm-ups focused on waking up the side body. This warm up prepares you for the active asanas that are done in the last half of class.

Just under two hours, you may need to carve out some time on a Saturday afternoon for this one. The first hour of this class could be done alone as a gentle restorative class to wake up the torso.

Props needed: 1-2 blankets, 2 blocks

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Episode 52: Yoga for Trauma with Lisa Danylchuk

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This class is a beginning class for anyone interested in using yoga as a part of trauma recovery. Before class, I talk with Lisa Danylchuk. Lisa is a psychotherapist and a Yoga for Trauma specialist. She and I discuss the benefits of yoga for someone recovering from trauma and tips for how to start a practice with this in mind. For more information about Lisa and resources for Yoga for Trauma Recovery visit howwecanheal.com

The class portion of this podcast will be 40 minutes long.

Allow yourself to take rests and make choices for yourself during this class. Ask yourself if the pose you are doing feels good to you. Give yourself the choice to rest, and invite yourself to do something different if it is not agreeing with you at the moment.

If you are coming to this class a second or third time and you would like to skip to the class portion, it begins around 22 minutes.

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Episode 51: Tech Antidote

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It’s been over a year since I have posted a podcast. I’m very happy to share this first Tech-antidote class with you. This class is not just for the imbalances you may be finding in your body, but also the mental fatigue, the brain fog, and the emotional rollercoaster that being connected online for hours can do to the whole self. A contemplative practice is such a crucial part of our work-life-stress balance. Managing your stress is a huge step towards good health. I hope this episode and all the past podcasts help to keep you balanced, healthy, and happy.

Props needed: One Block

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Episode 50: Yoga Nidra for Deep Sleep

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In this 30 minute class, you will be guided through a scan of the body while resting in savasana. This form of yoga relaxation has been found to reduce tension and anxiety, help those who suffer from a scattered mind and restless body, and heal insomnia.  A focus will be placed on specific parts of the body throughout the meditation allowing the mind to concentrate on the sensations that are present.

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Episode 49: Undo your desk job shoulders!


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When something stressful is happening in our lives the shoulders tend to be a common place where we hold tension in the body. Tense muscles, if ignored can lead to injury later on. This tense feeling in the shoulders can even start to creep up towards the ears, give us tension headaches, and keep us from having a healthy and restful night of sleep.

Sitting for hours over a keyboard, which we are all too familiar with, can contribute to tightness in the hips, legs, neck, shoulders, and back. This creates an unhealthy posture that you take with you when you leave your office for the day, in which the back and shoulders hunch down and the neck protrudes the head forward. The spine thus becomes misaligned when the body is in such a stagnate position.

In this short class, we will move through basic poses that target areas of tension which can be an effective antidote to many desk job ailments and general stress build up in the shoulders. This is meant to be a class that you could use if you only have a short amount of time, but need a quick break from sitting at your desk. Or, if you come home from work and you need a little pick me up, this class will energize those stagnate tight areas. As an added bonus, yoga can have powerful effects on the mind and may help address the damaging stress of a high-pressure job by helping to calm the mind and quiet racing thought patterns.

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Episode 48: Symmetry and Support for the Sacroiliac Joints

untitled-59In this 60 minute class we will focus on finding balance in the sacroiliac joints. Class starts with a flowing breath exercise on your back to set a therapeutic tone for your practice. We move on to seated dandasana and a slow modified sun salutation. Utkatasana is our main standing pose and is practiced with kapalabhati pranayama. Headstand (salamba sirsasana) and crow pose (bakasana) are some of the more challenging poses that we lead up to. If you do not have a headstand practice, be sure to consult a live teacher before you invert fully. Class ends with a series of twists. If you have sacroiliac instability, be sure to keep your effort at 80% in the twists without forcing any position. Gary, my cat, really wanted to teach you today as well, you may hear him meowing in the background now and then!

Props needed: One blanket and one block

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Episode 47: Prenatal Yoga Podcast

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This is an active prenatal class for mothers who feel fit and healthy during their pregnancy. This class is suitable for the first and second trimesters and can be practiced into the third trimester, monitoring how you are feeling. With that said, we still move in a slow and graceful pace. Starting with a seated meditation, we then move into seated postures that create space in the side body and the hips. This will include a flowing sequence side to side in parvritta janu sirsasana which you can see photos of below. Our flowing standing poses will take us through tree pose (vrksasana), warrior I and II (virabhadrasana I and II), wide legged forward fold (prasarita padottanasana), goddess pose, and triangle (trikonasana). Squats, sIngle pigeon, and a side savasana will finish the practice.

Props needed: Two blankets (or towels and pillows) and two blocks

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Episode 46: Moving the Mind in the Opposite Direction Meditation

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This is a 35-minute meditation practice that is useful when you are managing physical pain or emotional pain that may be felt in the body. This practice is based on the concept of Pratipaksha Bhavana that can be found in the Yoga Sutras. Sutra 1.33 as translated by Nischala Joy Devi says:

“When presented with disquieting thoughts or feelings, cultivate an opposite, elevated attitude. This is Pratipaksha Bhavana.”

This is a challenging practice – but it is one that has the potential to change physical and mental suffering. We will practice how to interrupt negative mental states and replace them with positive states. This will train your mind for times when you are feeling physical or mental discomfort. One of the important ways meditation creates lasting change is by helping you discover the habits of your mind that are contributing to pain, stress, and suffering. Everyone has chronic, unconscious habits of thinking and feeling. Some patterns, such as chronic worrying, disapproval, self-criticism, anger, or loneliness end up intensifying and reinforcing chronic pain. Other patterns such as acceptance, appreciation, or humor can reduce or prevent pain. With each round of this practice, the mind and body become shaped more in the direction of responding to future experiences with positive thoughts. The practice can be done anywhere at anytime. After listening to the podcast you can use these VERY basic guidelines whenever you need the help of the practice.

  1.  Start by finding a comfortable position
  2. Bring your attention to your breath
  3. Wish for yourself: “May I be free of this pain. May I be free of this suffering”
  4. Begin to focus your attention on feeling/imagining one pair of the following:
  • lightness/heaviness
  • stillness/movement
  • warmth/coolness
  • tension/relaxation

You can also choose to work with an opposite state of mind:

  • calm/stress
  • happiness/sadness
  • acceptance/anger
  • hope/disappointment
  • love/loneliness
  • courage/fear
  • self-confidence/self-criticism

Lastly, you can work with a sensation or feeling that is opposite to a painful sensation you are currently feeling. Ask yourself: What state of mind and body would heal what I am feeling right now? Call this the “Healing Opposite”. The answer may be relief, comfort, warmth, energy, acceptance, forgiveness, courage, etc. Whatever you choose will become the focus of the meditation. You choose this opposite.

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Episode 45: Discovering and Softening Into Boundaries

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In this 90 minute class, I build upon some of the material that I will be exploring during my March retreat. The class will grow from a seated meditation into some longer yin style poses and eventually towards more challenging asanas. Take this class as a way to discover your limits, and soften your mental and physical boundaries. Your hips and lower back will thank you, and you will get a tiny glimpse of what I have planned for the retreat.

You will need a block, a strap, and a wall to place the short end of your mat.

A large part of the art and skill in a yoga practice is the ability to sense how far one can move in a stretch. If there is no challenge in a pose, no intensity or stretch, then there will be little possibility for opening. The opposite approach of going too far in a pose, increases the possibility for pain and injury to occur. Somewhere between these two places is a happy middle ground. It is possible to find a degree of stretch that is in balance. Where there is a challenge without pain. Where there is vigor without strain.

Experiencing this balance or middle ground relies on a high degree of sensitivity. This place in the stretch just before pain, but not pain itself, could be referred to as a your boundary. With heightened sensitivity, the boundary can soften and you will be able to feel more space in your poses. Pain tells you where the limits of your physical conditioning lie. The length of your stay is determined by your endurance limit, while your interest in a pose is a function of your attention.

Take this class as a way to play with all of these boundaries: endurance, strength, stretch, and mental attention. As you “play the edges of the boundaries”, your skill in yoga has little to do with your degree of flexibility. Rather it is a function of how sensitive you play with these limits.

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Episode 44: Steady and Stable Abdominals

This is a very playful 20 minutes to wake up your abdominals and upper body. The exercises during the first half of class are done on a thinly rolled yoga blanket or towel. This will create a less stable ground and a more challenging position for the back of the body to balance on. Your body will need to rely on the abdominals to keep you from tipping over. It should look a little something like this (but with the blanket roll underneath your spine):

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