Usually I do asana practice in my yoga shala, but the cold is starting to really get to me, so lately I prefer to practice in my small, warm, cosy living room.
Most asana related injuries I ever had were from practicing or demonstrating asana on the class while not warm enough. It’s usually a pulled hamstring or my SI starts to act up when I go to deep without building enough heat in the body.
Feeling more emotional than usual last few days? Today’s full moon in Cancer might be the reason. Moon, Cancer’s ruling planet, represents emotions and the sacred feminine, so when full Moon meets Cancer, emotions, sensitivities and feminine qualities amplify. It’s a beautiful thing if you’re connected with your inner Self and can sit with whatever comes up and observe without judgement. But, if there’s heaviness on the heart, emotions hard to process, you might feel more unstable or emotional than usual.
This post came up as an (expanded) answer to an email I got from a yoga teacher that follows me on social networks. I am always willing to answer any questions I can and am grateful when students and fellow teachers recognize me as someone they can address this type of questions. The question was about hollow back asanas, are they safe, who can practice them and who should not.
I thought about writing this post for a while, worried about what my peers will think, but then I realized that my service does not lay in protecting fellow teachers, it lies in serving yoga students. And in telling the truth, the way I see it at least.
I love arm balances and Eka Pada Galavasana is definitely one of my favorites. It is also amongst the more challenging arm balances, and it requires some preparation or Kramas to master the pose. I will give you one way to prepare well for this beautiful arm balance, but there are always many paths to reach the same goal:)
This past weekend I have certified another group of yoga teachers. This particular group was easy to teach and a strong group from the start. They were very curious, inquisitive, and eager to learn. They all did really well both on written exam as well as teaching a class as a final exam. Now they are ready to spread the knowledge of yoga my colleagues and I have tried to gift them with this past year.
Some of us live such fast pace lives that we don’t have much time in between events to let it all sink in. I was in London this past weekend only to fly to Istanbul less than 24 hours after I came back, taught a class maybe four hours after I landed… So, I took this morning to reflect on these past days. If I don’t do this I am left feeling like some things never happened. It will not be easy to slow down my life at the moment, but what I can do is take some time to sit down and reflect.
I don't know about your part of the world dear friends, but summer is in full bloom in Croatia! I already took a few dips into our beautiful Adriatic sea this month and have a nice tan that I acquired while working (!) at our yoga retreat in Istria. Yes, I am spoiled now and will only do teacher trainings in bathing suit next to the pool:).
Every ones in a while a photo of a beautiful woman in Eka pada Sirsasana (one leg behind the head) with Pattabhi Jois quote ‘’Body not stiff, mind stiff’’ pops up on my facebook news feed. I am sure you know which one I mean as it seems to be very popular in our global yoga community. I have to admit that I get a bit annoyed every time I see it. Not because it is a bad photo, or a bad quote – I think it is brilliant – but because it seems to be one of the most misinterpreted quotes ever.
One of my favorite asanas, named after a sage Vishvamitra, is one of the more advanced arm balances. Fiery and feisty, just as the sage named after, it takes strength as well as flexibility. A bit of courage, belief and a pinch of not taking it too seriously. Courage because it opens you up; belief because you may fall; and not taking it seriously – so you can laugh when you do fall (usually on your behind;), pick yourself up and try again:).
But, in order to do it gracefully you need good preparation. So, how do we prepare?
Students often ask me about injuries in yoga and how ‘normal’ is it to get injured on a yoga class. For me, yoga and injury should not even be in the same sentence, unless we are talking about yoga therapy for injuries. Yoga is a healing practice, not a competitive sport.
Tadasana is a base asana for all standing asanas. If you learn how to properly stand in Tadasana, and understand the basis of Tadasana alignment, you can use this knowledge to align your whole practice.
So, let’s start from the base up: ...
I am sure many of you are familiar with the whole story of Hindu American Foundation (HAF) and their 2010. ‘’take back yoga’’ campaign. For you that still haven't, the campaign started last year with letters to newspapers like The New York Times and to magazines like Yoga Journal, about how Yoga is a Hindu practice and this fact (in their opinion) seems to be missing from yoga classes, published articles about yoga, yoga books etc. in the western society. They are concerned that the West is disconnecting Yoga from Hinduism and not respecting its roots.
Ones upon a time I got myself involved in an argument with a yoga practitioner of a different lineage (I won’t name names:). I was mostly practicing Ashtanga back than and took it too much to heart when she said that Ashtanga is just a physical practice with no real spiritual value. There was a long pause for a moment as I didn’t know what to say to that. And than I charged – I had to defend Ashtanga’s honour, right? I called her practice boring granny practice and so we went back and forth like the two silly young girls that we were.
Yes, my dears, there will be a few parts of this story. I wish I can fit it in one text like the student etiquette, but I feel it is far more important to be an ethical yoga teacher. So, there’s much more to say..
A few things you should or shouldn’t do in as a yoga teacher.. in my humble opinion..
A few things you should or shouldn’t do in a yoga studio..