Category Archives: yoga
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, stressed, burdened, fatigued, dog-tired (hundtræt), over-extended, beat, confused, spent, exhausted, weary, over-committed or just tired and you’re in the Copenhagen-area, come join me for deep rest on 25 February from from 15.00-17.30 for a Restorative Wonderland.
This two and a half hour workshop at Hot Yoga Østerbro is a deep restorative yoga practice with gentle mantra music and a long yoga nidra (guided relaxation) that will help you rest deeply and refuel for your regular life. The passive therapeutic practice of restorative yoga provides deep rest for tired bodies, relaxation for busy minds and rejuvenation for the entire nervous system.
The workshop features gentle mantra music and deep yoga nidra (guided relaxation). It costs 250 kr. and is limited to 8 students.
See the Restorative Wonderland page for more information and registration.
The past month has been all about road-tripping. We’ve been through seven countries and driven more than 5,000km since the middle of September (my husband’s time in the car has been even longer and he’s hit an additional country!). While travelling has been fantastic (and Sofie loves being in a car!), hours in the passenger seat have taken a toll on me; my low back is sore, my hips are tight, and my shoulders are hunching.
I had a couple car-free days earlier this week and I knew yoga would help me feel better, but was feeling really lazy and unmotivated. Thank goodness for the wonder of YouTube!
A quick search for ‘yoga for low back pain’ turned up a short sequence from Yoga With Adriene that looked promising.
15 minutes on the mat relieved a lot of the tension in my low back and prompted me to do another sequence with Adriene. Turns out she has a whole series of free online yoga practices!
I like Adriene’s relaxed, friendly, unscripted style. Her slight rambling and occasional diversions remind me of a good friend and overall Adriene seems approachable and very real. It’s also great to follow someone else’s sequence rather than thinking about what’s coming next!
While Sofie really looks forward to road trips (she’s small enough to stretch fully in a car!), I’m happy to have almost two weeks off before our next car adventure. Plenty of time to try a few more of Adriene’s sequences 🙂
This time next week I’ll be at Sklenářka in the Czech Republic on a week-long retreat. Seven days of yoga, vegetarian meals (eaten in silence!), workshops, and meditation in the middle of nature (meaning an isolated villa 130km east of Prague) with Shakti and Pepe from Prana Yoga College.
Much like tidying up before the cleaning lady arrives, I’ve been practicing more regularly in anticipation of the retreat’s daily yoga classes. My yoga practice has been pretty sporadic since moving to Munich, so this preparatory kick in the pants has been very welcome.
I suspect the retreat will bring some discomfort (whether physical, social, spiritual, or all three!), but hopefully my time on the mat beforehand will ward off the worst of the aches.
Many days, my practice involved a class from the Prana YouTube channel. I spent five weeks with Shakti and Pepe three years ago for my initial yoga teacher training, so these online classes feel a bit like returning to my yoga home.
Shakti’s consistent instructions (lots of reminders to breathe!) and Pepe’s subtle accompaniment are reassuringly familiar. There are no jolting surprises in the flow of poses – I know what asanas to expect and understand the sequencing. The setting is familiar as I spent many hours there during teacher training and in the months afterwards. There’s even a barely-on-screen cameo from Milo, Shakti and Pepe’s little dog who was so much like Sofie!
While I’m a bit anxious about the retreat, I feel certain that the comfort I’ve felt following the online classes will continue in person. I may not know what to expect in terms of the facilities or other students, but I do know Shakti and Pepe! And I know what to expect from their teaching.
I’m hoping that sense of yogic home-coming continues through the retreat with its silent meals, unfamiliar location, and bug-filled wilderness. And that seven days with Shakti and Pepe energizes my yoga practice long after!
Our flat in Munich is a ways out of the city and U-Bahn construction at the closest station means that cycling is the most efficient method for getting around. It’s been a long time since I’ve done any pedalling and my leg muscles are struggling with this newfound exertion.
Thankfully, our flat has a lovely open wall that’s perfect for my favourite restorative yoga pose – legs up the wall. Pair the leg-relaxing posture with a glass of wine and the strain in my lower body disappears!
The pose itself is super-easy (see my how-to in a previous post) – the most difficult part is managing the glass! I’m careful to make sure the wine is safe coming into and out of legs up the wall and set the glass within easy reach for the 10-15 minutes I’m laying on the floor.
Sipping while supine is challenging, but the relaxation is well worth it!
It’s been more than two weeks since I taught my last yoga class at Bound Lotus Meditation & Yoga Centre. I’m already feeling the absence of teaching and I’m missing the students at my Friday evening class.
The last class I taught fell on the last Friday of October, which meant I did a lovely long relaxation. Leading students through yoga nidra (guided relaxation) and then a quiet savasana (corpse pose) is often a transcendent experience; my mind calms and time stands still.
There was such a deep stillness in my last class at Bound Lotus, it was hard for me to bring the students out of their relaxation. I wished the class would never end.
But there was a workshop immediately following the class and I knew that students probably had places to be (and meals to eat!) afterwards. Savasana ended, students woke up, class was over.
I usually close the class with an impromptu blessing of sorts and that last Friday class was no exception. These are my wishes, my hopes for my final class at Bound Lotus.
I hope you’re all able to drift home and have beautiful sleeps filled with amazing dreams.
I hope you awaken tomorrow feeling refreshed and renewed, ready to take on whatever your day, your week, your month, your year holds.
I hope you feel secure, supported, and comforted; that you are respected and prosperous.
I hope your lives are filled with meaning, with friendship, with adventure… and that you create many amazing memories.
Most of all, I hope you know deep love and powerful joy.
I share those same hopes with everyone who reads this and everyone I’ve ever taught. May you all know deep love and powerful joy.
I’m hoping to continue teaching yoga throughout our travels and would love to have student testimonials to back me up! If you’ve been in a class I’ve taught and have feedback that would be useful for studio owners/managers who might want to hire me, please share it!
There are four easy ways to do so:
- Submit a comment on this blog post below.
- Post something on my Facebook page.
- Write a review on my YogaTrail profile. (YogaTrail is a neat new site that helps connect yoga practitioners all over the world with studios, classes, and teachers that suit them.)
- Email me directly and privately at firstname.lastname@example.org (letting me know if you’re comfortable with me posting quotes from you on my website).
I may include your testimonials on my website in the future, but rest assured, I will never post your full name!
Your feedback will be fantastically useful as I woo German yogis! Help me bring some yin yoga to what seems to be a pretty yang culture! If you have the time and inclination to write me a reference as a teacher, I would really appreciate it 🙂
Without a block or bolster under my seat, ‘easy pose’ becomes ‘incredibly-hard-and-uncomfortable pose’ for me within a couple minutes. Knee injuries, tight hips, and internal femoral rotation come together to make sitting cross-legged a hard pose to hold when I’m not propped. Which means I’m rarely in sukasana without something tucked under my butt – even if it’s only a folded mat or sweater.
Just about everyone who’s taken a yoga class has done easy pose. It’s often where a practice begins and ends and is the most common position for meditating. If you find sukasana decidedly uneasy, try adding height under your seat – props can make a huge difference!
Why it’s good
- Stretches knee and ankle joints – and sometimes the hips as well
- Help strengthen the muscles along your spine (erector spinae) and contributes to good posture
- Helps calm your mind and manage stress when you hold the pose as part of meditation
How to do it
- Sit on your mat or the floor, with your buttocks on the edge of a cushion, block, bolster, or folded blanket
- Sitting on something tilts your pelvis forward and helps your knees come to the floor
- The higher your seat, the easier it is to relax your hips and soften your knees
- Bend your knees so they fall to the outside of your body and place one foot in front of the other
- Avoid crossing your ankles, which puts pressure on the joints
- Add padding under your ankles and/or feet if they are sensitive or if the floor is particularly hard
- If your knees aren’t resting comfortably, support them with folded blankets or blocks
Find the centre of your seat by moving back and forth and from side to side
- You should feel evenly balanced – right and left, front and back
- Straighten your spine, roll your shoulders back and down, and lift through your collar bones
- Rest your hands on your knees or thighs or in your lap; relax your hips and legs
- Feel the crown of your head float up towards the ceiling, connecting you with the sky; feel your sitting bones grow heavy, rooting you into the earth
- Bring balance to the pose by alternating sides
- If you’re holding easy pose for a few minutes, switch your front leg halfway through
- If you’re coming into easy pose multiple times in a practice, change which leg is in front each time
To come out of easy pose:
- Uncross your legs (using your arms and hands to help if you’d like) and slowly unbend your knees
- Gently bring movement back into your legs
- Straighten and bounce your legs
- Rest the soles of your feet on the mat/floor, bend your knees, and drop them side-to-side in windshield wipers
- Carry on with the rest of your practice or the rest of your day
Easy pose externally rotates the hips, so you may wish to counter it with an internally rotated pose like deer (see how to do deer pose on YinYoga.com), although many people feel no need for any counter pose at all.
Last night I had the pleasure of doing one of my favourite poses, savasana, under the guidance of one of my favourite teachers, Brenda at Beautiful Yoga. It was extra meaningful as our lives are heading in very different geographical directions and the class was likely our last together.
Brenda was my very first yin yoga teacher and one of my biggest supporters when I was considering yoga teacher training. She instilled in me a love of slow movement and further developed my appreciation for guided relaxation and a really good rest. She also has an amazing voice – perfect for yoga nidra and magical for singing. Brenda’s voice often resonates in my head for days after a class and I was delighted that we chanted as part of meditation last night.
My singing voice is nowhere near as magical as Brenda’s, but my speaking voice is also pretty perfect for yoga nidra! Happily, I’m doing a lovely long yoga nidra (guided relaxation) as part of the class I’m teaching tonight at Bound Lotus Meditation & Yoga Centre.
When Brenda re-awakens students from savasana (corpse pose), she often instructs us to breathe in coolness, calmness, tranquillity, and serenity. Those words frequently echo in my mind and I’ll draw on them tonight to help students leave the studio feeling blissfully relaxed.
Hope you’re able to join me at 6:30pm tonight for yin yoga with extra-long relaxation! Or at the very least, that you’re able to breathe in coolness, calmness, tranquillity, and serenity wherever you find yourself this evening.