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 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 damaging stress of a high pressure job by helping to calm the mind and quiet racing thought patterns.
Rolled up blanket for First Pose
Similar to First Pose: Supported back bend
Dog in Prayer Variation
Belly down backbends. Keep the chin slightly tucked in.
Podcast: Download (Duration: 30:22 — 13.9MB)
In 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
Podcast: Download (Duration: 1:04:00 — 29.3MB)
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, 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 (virbadrasana 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
Beginning – Shake out legs
Parvritta Janu Sirsasana Flow Part 1
Parvritta Janu Sirsansana Flow Part 2
Pigeon pose with blocks to add space for belly
Podcast: Download (Duration: 1:10:38 — 32.3MB)
Breath, Awareness, and Movement with Sarah Baumert
Wednesday August 6th, 6-7:30pm
hosted at the Cambridge Boat Club
Join Sarah Baumert for one of her unique classes blending movement and awareness. Through the traditional practices of hatha yoga blended with Feldenkrais based exercises and pranayama, this class will be a form of movement meditation. By moving S-L-O-W-L-Y, we will break down the information already present in your body, allowing you to deepen your attention and increase your awareness, exploring a variety of ways of knowing and experiencing information.
Suggested donation for class: $20
Space is limited. Please reserve your spot by donating here. Potluck dinner will follow.
The Cambridge Boat Club is located at 2 Gerrys Landing Rd. in Cambridge. It is right off of Memorial Drive. There is a parking lot accessible from southbound Greenough Blvd/Memorial Drive. Parking is also available on Mt. Auburn St. just a short walk away.
Hosted by Sarah Baumert of Sarah B. Yoga, known for her thorough and diverse methods of instruction, her dedication to holding space for individuals’ personal discovery and her investment in building personal relationships with her students. Sarah provides a combination of practical and whimsical elements, resulting in a structured, safe atmosphere where students can play, explore and re-energize. Physically, a class with Sarah extends far beyond yoga poses. She teaches from her own experience and practice of modern dance techniques, Feldenkrais, body mind centering, authentic movement, tuning scores, material for the spine, and her daily practice of living in 2014. Sarah has experience working with bodies suffering from chronic pain, injury, illness and other forms of dis-ease. With hands on adjustments, she delivers insightful results and a greater sense of ease and body awareness in her students.
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.
- Start by finding a comfortable position
- Bring your attention to your breath
- Wish for yourself: “May I be free of this pain. May I be free of this suffering”
- Begin to focus your attention on feeling/imagining one pair of the following:
You can also choose to work with an opposite state of mind:
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.
Podcast: Download (Duration: 37:19 — 17.1MB)
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.
Podcast: Download (Duration: 1:28:16 — 40.4MB)
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):
Podcast: Download (Duration: 22:04 — 10.1MB)
This is a 75 minute live slow flow class. Class begins with a short pranayama to bring attention to the inhale phase of the breath and how the inhale can enhance an opening and lifting of the chest during the asanas.
This balanced practice includes a number of standing poses and twists, ending with purvottanasana, or upward facing plank pose as our backbend. This pose, as well as the more general focus of class will be on how we can find a lift and buoyancy in the chest. We will use the inhale phase of the breath to wake up and open the muscles of the chest and the exhale phase of the breath to connect to the deeper abdominal muscles that hold us up in the poses.
Podcast: Download (Duration: 1:23:16 — 38.1MB)
Take this podcast with you when you travel. Bring it into your hotel room or even do it in the airport. It’s another great class if you have been sitting at your desk all day. Stand up, lie down, twist and move things into a different shape!!!
Traveling, especially by air, can be very hard on the body. It wreaks havoc on our posture and the our mental state. You may feel spacey, anxious, or generally unsettled when you are traveling. This class will ground your energy, helping you to feel awake, rested, open and ready to enjoy the rest of your day and your new destination.
As you do this practice, cultivate a slow, deep and even breath. On slow inhalations focus on bringing space and life back into the body and on long exhalations focus on a sense of grounded steadiness.
Podcast: Download (Duration: 51:14 — 23.4MB)
Today we briefly explore bringing attention to our samskaras during the hatha yoga practice. The concept of samskaras from the Yoga Sutras refers to the imprints that are left on the subconscious mind from our experiences, in other words, our habits. In this 35 minute practice, we touch on how becoming more aware of our samskaras during an asana practice can help us relate to our environment during the rest of our lives.
Thank you for listening,
Connect: Please be in touch with your questions, yoga stories, and suggestions for new podcasts. What would you like to learn? What is your body craving? What are your challenges?
Podcast: Download (Duration: 39:48 — 18.2MB)