Tag Archives: practice
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!
I have a not-so-secret love for Top 40s high-energy music. Kanye, Rihanna, Beyonce, Pitbull… and even J-Lo and Britney get heavy rotation in my playlists. Despite the simplistic (sometimes down right ridiculous) lyrics, over-produced vocals, and lack of originality, these songs with their catchy hooks and repetitive beats get stuck in my head, make me want to dance, and put a smile on my face.
This Top 40s-happiness spilled over into my yoga practice when I wasn’t paying attention and left my iPod on shuffle… on came David Guetta in the middle of a sun salutation. The energy of the song ramped up my energy and I started timing my movements and breathing to the beat.
The next time I did an energetic practice, I intentionally played Nothing But the Beat by David Guetta. Talk about a fun way to practice! Without even trying, the poses flowed into each other and yoga started to feel like dancing. No yawning during that practice 😉
- Eternal Om by Yogi Hari
- Flores by Mirabai Ceiba
- Har Hare Haree by Gurudass
- Ma by Guru Ganesha Singh
- Yoga: 8 Limbs to Bliss by Maggie Diaz Del Castillo
Ma is a wonderfully relaxing song – perfect for savasana – although it may induce yawning!
There’s lots of great mellow music to have on while doing yoga, but sometimes being entirely unmellow is just what a practice needs!
I’ve had the privilege of teaching a few private yoga classes recently and I’m amazed how different it is teaching group and individual yoga sessions. A private yoga session is all about that student and their unique needs, which means I shape my teaching style much more to their preferences.
At first, I had a strong desire to fill the space with words and interact with the solo student all the time… but then it hit me that teaching that way is not going to work for everyone on every day. In fact, I wouldn’t respond well to constant attention from a teacher – I’d start to feel anxious and worried that my every move was being watched and possibly judged. I also sometimes want a really calm, chilled out practice and other times want something more energetic and invigorating.
So I thought about the questions I’d want a yoga teacher to ask me in a one-on-one session:
- What kind of practice are you looking for?
- Do you want to do more poses with shorter holds? Or fewer poses with longer holds?
- Is the purpose to energize you? Or relax you? Or both!
- Are there any particular areas you want to focus on? Or postures that really resonate with you?
- Any areas that are particularly sensitive or need a different kind of attention?
- What level of hands-on are you comfortable with?
- Can I gently adjust you and apply a bit of pressure to settle you in poses? Or is verbal guidance better?
- Are there any joints or areas you’re nurturing that shouldn’t be adjusted?
- How much or how little instruction/guidance do you want?
- Should I be quiet as much as possible? Or do you prefer reminders about breathing, relaxing, etc. and suggestions for deepening the pose or lessening the intensity?
- Do you prefer a guided relaxation or quiet savasana at the end of the practice?
Now I ask private students for input on how they want to be taught. That’s one of the most amazing parts of solo yoga sessions – students can get precisely what they want and need!
If you’re lucky enough to get one-on-one yoga instruction, think about what you want to get out of that practice beforehand and odds are good that the teacher will be able to deliver.
In the immortal words of the Spice Girls, “Tell me what you want; what you really, really, want!”
The beautiful Mul Mantra meditation last night at Bound Lotus in honour of the full moon inspired me to update the song lists on the meditate and listen pages. I’ve added a few new favourites and created a list of music I like to use for savasana.
The full moon can be a time of increased energy and mental activity. It’s also just an amazing time to be out at night – particularly with the current clear weather we’re having!
I’m subbing the 8:15pm Yin Yoga class this evening at Bound Lotus. Come join me for a delightful full moon class and, of course, a beautiful relaxation in savasana afterwards!