Three times lucky

Laura in teacher mode in three imagesThis week I’m teaching three yin yoga classes at Bound Lotus Meditation & Yoga Centre: Wednesday and Thursday from 8:15-9:30pm and Friday from 6:30-7:45pm.

Bound Lotus is in the midst of a 40 Day Transformation Yoga Challenge, so the class on Wednesday will be the last of the Detoxify series and the one on Thursday will be the first of the yin classes to in the Strengthen and Balance series.

The sequence of poses for Wednesday’s class is all about the glandular and nervous systems and features poses that will stimulate your hips and elongate your spine. The set of poses for the Thursday and Friday classes will help you gain a new sense of your body’s strength and balance… and work out tension in your hips through dragon pose!

Hope you’re able to come join me in the trio of classes I’m teaching this week 🙂

Sneaky savasana

Laura lying in savasanaIt’s the last Friday of the month, which usually means I lead an extra-long savasana in my 6:30pm class at Bound Lotus Meditation & Yoga Centre… but we’re in the midst of a 40 Day Transformation Yoga Challenge and have tailored all the class sequences to the Challenge.

It’s day 11 of the Challenge, which marks the start of the start of the clearing out phase – targeting the liver, kidneys, and digestive system. The Bound Lotus yin teachers have worked together to create a lovely yin sequence to relax the abdominal muscles and stimulate the internal organs (urinary bladder, liver, kidneys, and gallbladder)… but it’s a full 75 minute series.

I want to get the best of both worlds by slightly truncating the proscribed yin sequence for the second 10 days of the Challenge and doing a long savasana, rather than the extra-long one I usually do for the last Friday class of the month.

I’m hoping to sneak in a little more savasana than in a standard class, along with a delicious guided relaxation (yoga nidra), while remaining true to the Challenge series of yin postures and getting all the benefits of the clearing out sequence.

A long and slightly sneaky deep relaxation seems like just the thing to wrap up April and might be a bit of a treat for students who are now 1/4 through the Challenge!

If you’re intrigued by the Transformation Yoga Challenge, you can still join in and make it a personal 30 day challenge! It’s never too late to take on a challenge 🙂

Last class standing

Laura in mountain with palms together at heart centreAs I mentioned in January, I’m reducing my teaching commitments to free myself to make the next leap.

While I’m still not certain what that leap is, I know that I’ll only be teaching one class a week. The last class standing is the 6:30pm yin yoga class at Bound Lotus Meditation & Yoga Centre in North Vancouver.

Yin is consistently one of my favourite styles of yoga to practice and teach. There are many reasons why I do yin yoga, mostly I love the stillness and the meditativeness.

Outside of a yin yoga practice, I like finding a moment or two of stillness and a few meditative breaths in mountain pose (or tadasana). Mountain pose is simply standing; well-balanced, connected through the soles of your feet… allowing your lower body to be heavy and grounded, while your upper body stays light and floats upwards.

In a typical yoga practice, I often use mountain as a foundation for other standing postures and as part of sun salutation sequences, but it’s also lovely to do on it’s own. It’s easy to sneak in a little mountain-meditation throughout the day – waiting for lights when walking, queuing in line, doing dishes… any time you’re standing is a good time for a few mountain breaths!

Mountain pose

Why it’s good

  • Helps improve posture, develops balance, and creates body awareness
  • Strengthens and gently tones abdominal and back muscles as you engage your core to keep upright
  • Engages the muscles in your legs and buttocks, creating strong thighs, knees, ankles, and buttocks
  • Connects all the energy centres of the body, helping you feel more aligned and centred
  • Allows you to take a pause in your day and focus on your mental and physical experience

How to do it

  • Stand with your feet parallel and roughly hip distance apart
    • Changing foot width varies the balance point; most people find this pose challenges their balance more feet closer together
  • Gently sway your body to connect all parts of your feet to the mat or floor and feel your weight evenly balanced (front & back, left & right) before coming to stillness
  • Roll your shoulders back and down (away from your ears) a few times before allowing your arms to rest alongside your body
    • Many people like to rotate their arms to allow their thumbs to point away from their bodies; listen to what’s best for your body and let your arms rest wherever they feel comfortable
  • Let your collarbones soften and spread, feeling a gentle lift coming from your upper chest
  • Feel the crown of your head floating towards the sky and tuck your chin in slightly to keep your neck in-line with the rest of your spine
    • Lightly engage your core and leg muscles to keep your spine straight
    • Sense the tallness of your body
  • Allow your lower body to feel rooted, grounded, connecting you with the earth while your upper body feels light, weightless, floating upwards and connecting you with the sky
  • Breath deeply and smoothly through your nose for several breaths, letting the still, solidness of a mountain fill you

To come out of mountain:

  • Simply step into your next pose or move on with your day!

 

The yin class I’m teaching tonight at Bound Lotus will certainly involve a little mountain time. Come join me if you can 🙂

East-ahhhh weekend

Laura sitting in a relaxed easy poseAdd a little “Ahhhh” to your long weekend with an extra long savasana during tonight’s yin yoga class at Bound Lotus Meditation & Yoga Centre.

Good Friday happens to be the last Friday of March… and the last Friday of every month I do a 20+ minute yoga nidra (guided relaxation) as part of a blissfully long deep relaxation. It’s a wonderful way to wrap up a month and tonight’s class is a great chance to bring a sense of deep calm into your Easter weekend.

Class starts at 6:30pm and we’ll be doing a short series of to warm up and stretch before getting deliciously comfortable and settling in for deep relaxation. Ahhhh….

Happy Easter!

Ch-ch-ch-changes

Laura turning on a spiral staircaseAfter focusing on teaching yoga for over a year, I’m feeling restless… I’m looking for a change. I’m not sure what direction I’m heading, but I know that I’ll need space to let it unfold.

To give myself time to focus on what’s coming next and to determine what I want that to look like, I’m cutting back on my teaching commitments.

Starting in February, I’ll be teaching just three classes a week at Bound Lotus Yoga & Meditation Centre: Hatha on Mondays from 9:15-1045am, Yin on Fridays from 6:30-7:45pm, and Hatha on Saturdays from 11:15am-12:30pm.

That means that I’ll be teaching my last Tuesday night Yin class at Bound Lotus tonight. If you’re able to, I’d love to have you join me for some of my favourite yin yoga poses (that means dragons, supported fish, and legs up the wall!) and a lovely savasana that will bring you beautifully sweet dreams!

And I promise David Bowie won’t be in the playlist… although his song Changes has certainly been stuck in my head today! It’s time for me to “Turn and face the strange” and find a balance of being challenged and being comfortable.

Savasana-spiration

Animals know how to relax… something that many people have forgotten how to do.

My dog Sofie does savasana (corpse pose)Here’s my dog Sofie totally relaxed.

If her stillness inspires you to find some relaxation of your own, join me at Bound Lotus Meditation & Yoga Centre tonight!

The evening yin yoga class on the last Friday of every month features an extra long savasana (corpse pose), including a long guided relaxation. The guided relaxation (also known as yoga nidra) encourages you to mindfully and deliberately relax your whole body and then sink into that relaxation and stillness for a few minutes.

Class runs from 6:30-7:45pm… and I’ll see if I can convince Sofie to come along and provide savasana-spiration in person!

 

Smile because it happened

Don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happened.Tonight I teach my lass class at Body Harmony. The present studio space is being redeveloped and the owner is taking a hiatus before re-opening in a new location.

While I’ve only been teaching there since spring, I’ve grown really attached to the space, other teachers, and, of course, the students. I’m going to miss teaching there and it’s hard not to feel melancholic about the transition.

Dr Seuss brings a little perspective to the situation. Instead of being sad that I won’t be at Body Harmony in the coming months, I’m focusing on being grateful that I’ve been able to teach and practice there.

Catching the tail end of the space farewell celebration tomorrow evening should help with the smiling part, too 🙂 On Friday evening, Body Harmony teachers and students will be celebrating the space with live music and good food. Nothing like a party to drive away sadness!

And if you’re in the mood for a hatha class this evening, join me from 7:30-8:45pm tonight for the last evening class at this incarnation of Body Harmony!