Thursday, April 28, 2011

Restorative and Yin at the YMCA

I subbed or "guest taught" at the YMCA last night and had a lovely time. It was great to see so many of my former students (and meet new students too). The Y is finally done with their renovations and the new Mind-Body room (yoga room) is very nice. Quiet, meditative, and nice paint colors.

I subbed for Thomas's Yin class but of course my style of Yin is more like Yin-Therapeutic-Restorative so I'm sure it seemed like a very different class for folks who are not used to my teaching style.

I started everyone off in Legs-up-the-Wall,

added in a #4 hip stretch 

and then flowed into Hand-to-big-toe at the wall.

From there we scooted ourselves off the wall 
so we could take in Supported Bridge Pose with a quad stretch.

Some folks did 1/2 Hero's Pose (reclining) instead of Supported Bridge with quad stretch (same effect - just using a block or not).

We rested in Child's Pose but added in Yoga Mudra (hands clasped behind the back, roll onto the crown of the head and let hands reach towards the floor over the head (sorry no image for that one yet).

Our final active pose was a true Yin lunge - 
low, deep and long-held.
This image is from Camp Amnicon Winter Reflection Retreat 2010.
 I let everyone do their own thing for a few minutes and then we finished with final relaxation.

Being the non-traditional teacher that I am, I encouraged everyone to find their own final pose, whether it was Savasana, Reclining Bound Angle, laying on their belly, or whatever. 

It was lovely to see everyone at the Y. The class has really grown.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Wrap up for Restorative Stations

Last night (Thursday, April 21st) was my regularly scheduled, one-time-monthly, Restorative Stations class. I've been experimenting with different class flow plans for a few months now. See this post for reference. This month I tried the "4 station" plan (click image to see larger):

Row 1 was Reclining Bound Angle
Row 2 was Supported Bridge Pose
Row 3 was Side Seated Reclining Twist and
Row 4 was Legs-up-the-Wall Pose

The pose times increased to about 12.5 minutes per pose, including transitions. When I have 5 stations I allot 10 minutes per pose, including transitions (for a 75 minute class).  This means that last night poses were held about 10.5 minutes compared the the usual 8 minutes.

Most folks seemed fine with staying longer and one student told me after class that she really liked the longer time spent per pose. But I also observed a few students during class who seemed a bit distressed in the pose (squirmy, coming out of the pose early, scrunched foreheads, etc.). I encourage people to never "get through" a pose. I want them to come out early and head to Savasana if they are feeling discomfort. So I was glad to see that folks were heeding that advice, but it made me wonder if the pose times were too long for some people.

Well, I think I will keep experimenting and hopefully I will get some feedback from my students on what they like and don't like, and we will keep refining the class.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Join the National Foundation for Cancer Research and Stretch to the Cure


Stretch to the Cure 2011 Just Announced: September 19 - 25!
Some run, some walk, but the bold STRETCH their way to the cure!

The National Foundation for Cancer Research is calling on all yoga and Pilates stretchers to commit their practice to support Research for a Cure for all cancer types, by joining their local studios in the Stretch to the Cure Campaign.

Join us as we Stretch to the Cure! For the week of September 19 - September 25, 2011, yoga and Pilates studios across the country will donate the proceeds of their classes to cancer research. Discovering the root driver of actions and relationships is a critical part of the journey as a stretcher as well as a cancer researcher. Much like the unique voyage of one's body and mind through the practice of yoga and Pilates, the National Foundation for Cancer Research follows the path of distinct molecular variables that can create and prevent cancer. In our respective practices we address the important issues at the source, uniting us to work together on the Stretch to the Cure.

Do you own or operate a yoga or Pilates studio? Visit the Studio Page and review the Stretch to the Cure Proposal to register today.

Any questions about getting involved? Contact the National Foundation for Cancer Research at stretch@nfcr.orgThis e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Birthday Relaxation

My friend Emily shared a tip with me a few years ago: plan your own birthday and you will never be disappointed. Well, duh! Why didn't I think of that? Since hearing her wise words I have been an active participant in my own birthday planning. Last year, I turned 40 and decided that, yes, it was a momentous occasion and it should be marked. Being from Minnesota, I thought it would be fun to have a hotdish potluck.

This year however, my birthday fell on a Monday and 41 isn't that special so I opted for no party. Instead, I scheduled a massage for the morning and a hair cut for the afternoon. In between, Dave took me out to lunch at a local Thai restaurant and in the evening we had popcorn and a movie. Overall, a very relaxing and fun-filled day.

Go ahead, treat yourself well for your birthday.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Wrap up for Deep Relaxation Workshop

The Deep Relaxation workshop went very well on Saturday. I had 15 students which was perfect for the amount of props on hand. We used just about everything from both studios: all the blankets, bolsters, mats and zafus. I think everyone was pretty comfortable.

We started out talking about Sankalpa: what is it, why do you want one, how do figure one out for yourself and what do you use it for. Everyone was game to try even though this requires digging in to your most personal feelings and then verbalizing what you want in a way that says that you already have it or you already are it. It's a super hard exercise. We are taught from a young age to belittle ourselves and developing our sankalpa is a reversal of this years-long process.

After working through the sankalpa development process we practiced a few breath techniques and then everyone got snuggled in with all their props to the most supported Savasana possible. I talked them through a long Yoga Nidra practice - about 45-50 minutes and we ended with a short gratitude meditation.

For folks who are looking for links to more Yoga Nidra, I suggest looking at my 40 Day Practice write ups. I detail quite a few relaxation CDs/ mp3s there. Also, you can visit my resources page for books and relaxing music.

Thanks everyone for making it out to the workshop. Best of luck in your relaxation journey.