LES MILLS BODYFLOW® 72: My Review

This release has some really great sequences that flow directly and smoothly into each pose. I feel like this release is about movement and the repetition allows our minds to settle and our body slowly unravels each time. Ann-See Yeoh, Les Mills Presenter, says “can you tease more length?” in one of the tracks in the instructor video. This resonated with me and I feel like this question or statement is true to the whole release.

Tai Chi: Yellow Flicker Beat, by Lorde

Elegant, simple, powerful.
This track starts of slow, allowing participants to ease in and acclimate to a rhythmic, calm and spacious breath. Feet are together for this one, but I always give the option of feet hip width. Personally, I love when my feet are feet width — I feel more stable.
Crescendo hits. Then the tai chi sequence begins and has so much energy. It’s powerful. It’s simple but can be complicated if you overthink it. When you allow yourself to feel the movement, the breath starts to breath you. The repetition is magic, you start to really let the muscle/fascia memory move you. 

Sun Salutations: Two Songs/Two sequences
Omen by Disclosure featuring Sam Smith then Deliver Me by Sarah Brightman
1st Sequence: Traditional Sun Salutation C with lunges, unconventional that we do a total of five instead of four. The four beat count plank to crocodile is genius. Again, simple and each time I feel more warmth in my body. Prana is dancing.
2nd Sequence: This sequence Jackie Mils calls the “Dragon Sequence.” I feel like this may have been inspired by Paul Grilley’s Yang Dragon Dance Sequence. I am biased here, I already love Paul Grilley’s Dragon Dance and this one evokes the feeling of openness, balance and strength. When I cue this, I think of the story of Bhagava Gita and the inner conflict that Arjuna faced.

Standing Strength: Real Life by The Weeknd
A short track, but it does it job to get into the legs. The addition of the heel lift definitely is great for working my arches, ankles and calves. I wasn’t sure about the pointing because I was told as a child never to point because it’s rude (insert sarcastic laugh here) but it works.

Balance Track: Take Me to Church by Hozier
Very challenged by the dynamic movement from standing knee lift to flower pose. I really like that side plank is added here. It would be nice if we had tree pose in the beginning, it would go with the tree side plank. Otherwise, it does sequence together nicely!

Hip Track: Purple, Six60
What a beautiful track. I love the flow from swan to lizard lunge to half lunging camel to seated half lotus. The way we can inch a little further with the lingering music as we side bend is genius to cue “can you give me just a little bit more?”

Abs: Two Songs/Two sequences (supine and prone)
Ain’t Nobody, by Felix Jaehn featuring Jasmine Thompson
Freedom by Pharrell Williams
Honestly have mixed feelings about this track. I love it but man oh man, my core is challenged!!! Phew! Simple, logical sequence for the first song with the crunch and single leg extension and cross-crawl.
The second song features spider planks. I love how the song goes with the hand taps. I love the way my core is challenged.

Back Track: As You Are by The Weeknd
This one is a very hard track. It taps into the strength and flexibility.  I see lots of stuff happening here and you have to be very good at cueing participants in their body to use the posterior muscles. I love this when I feel properly aligned and use proper muscles Always making sure to tell folks that they can rest in child’s pose.

Twists: Alchemy by TALA
No lunges but seated twists. Love the transition from seated hip width twist to the lift of the hips. Striking cobra with neck stretch is amazing here. The detail is simple yet effective.

Forward Folds: Two Songs/Two Sequences
I was made for Loving You by Tori Kely featuring Ed Sheeran
Something Beautiful by Jacon Banks
I’ve taught standing Forward Fold with Eale Arms in my Yin Yoga classes before. However, the entry into this one with the music is just so beautiful. I can feel the vunerability in this track. It’s hard not to get lost into it as I teach it.
The second sequence has all my favorite cool down poses. Squat Pose with twists, supine hamstring stretch and supine twist. Need I say more?

Relaxation/Mediation: As She Passes, Levi Patel
It’s delicate, it’s a perfect song to a beautiful release.

My students love this release. The WHOLE THING. The songs. The movement. Another thoughtful, potent release. Thank you Jackie & Diana.

Partner Yoga, Anyone?

Phillip Bossant, RYT and I are excited to create another Partner Yoga Workshop at the Yoga Company in San Ramon. Last session we did lots of great partner exercises and experimented with some great stuff, even Acroyoga!

So join us as we explore more partner yoga poses and enjoy another afternoon soaking in an abundance of love, laughter and joy. Because it’s truly about enjoying your partner/friend’s company and seeing what you can build together, right?

Congratulations to TYC’s Yoga Teacher Graduates!

“When you help, educate, heal, or nurture other people, your days become more and more meaningful, and you enrich the quality of your hours.”
― Max Strom, There Is No App for Happiness: How to Avoid a Near-Life Experience

They say if it challenges you, it makes you stronger. Sometimes it’s taking that leap of faith, a little courage to go outside your comfort zone.

Today, I am honored to present the 2016 teacher graduates from The Yoga Company’s 200-Hour Yoga Teacher Training program. Throughout the journey, I’ve seen tremendous growth. Most of all, the courage from these students to step into such an intense program with open hearts, minds…and an eager thirst for knowledge to help, heal and nurture people. With my palms sealed, I bow. Thank you for allowing me to serve you as your teacher.

image——————

saha nāvavatu

saha nau bhunaktu

saha vīryam karavāvahai

tejasvināvadhī tamastu mā vidvisāvahai

om śāntiśśāntiśśāntihi

May the Lord protect us. May he nourish us. May we work together uniting our strength for the good of humanity. May our learning be luminous and purposeful. May we always be civil with each other. May there be peace, peace, and perfect peace.

Upcoming: Yin Yoga, Acupressure & Essential Oils Workshop

Year of the Monkey, right? Well, things are getting really busy around here. Workshops, teacher trainings and travel. I’m getting ready for another workshop at Just Breathe {Yoga} Rivermark in Santa Clara, CA. Registration is now open! Reserve your spot now, wait list will be available after spots fill up.

JBY-YinAcuEOWorkshopMay

Yippee!!! 2016 Yin Yoga Teacher Immersion is Back

I’m super excited to announce that I’ll be facilitating another Yin Yoga Teacher Immersion at The Yoga Company in San Ramon. Two exciting modules will be offered to those who are interested in learning about the Yin Practice. Module 1 will give you a solid base of Yin Philosophy and Foundations. Module 2 will take you to Yin Yoga and Chinese Merdian Theory. Register early to save your spot.

 To find out more, click here.

Yinspired by Inside Lines: Yin Yoga for Kidney Meridian

The Kidney Meridian represents the Yin aspect of the Water Element. The meridian channel has twenty-seven (27) acupoints from the medial aspect of the foot and loops back onto itself before ascending the medial aspect of the leg and anterior aspect of the abdomen and chest to end on the medial aspect of the collar bone. An internal channel leaves Kidney 11 at the groin and supplies the kidney, bladder, lower spine, stomach, diaphragm and mouth with a further internal channel leaving Kidney Point 27 towards the throat. See diagram from Bernie Clark’s Yin Yoga site.

This Yin Yoga flow was created with the intention to tonify the Kidney Meridian. It’s function is to regulate water balance within the body, and keep the fire heart cool, according to the McKinnon Acupressure Manual. In addition, when we exhaust our stores of yin energy, the result is fatigue. When the heart fire is not cool, complaints about anxiety, panic attacks, etc can be traced to an empty kidney meridian. As always, please consult a physician before attempting any exercise. All the poses below should be held for 3-5 minutes unless otherwise indicated. Remember, the Meridian lines are a map that is useful to myself and maybe you. 

  1. Start off in opening meditation, laying down on your back (supine).
    You may choose to do a supported supine butterfly pose or pentacle pose (laying down on your back with the arms and legs out like a star)
  2. Draw knees into chest (Ardha Apanasana) and rock from side to side, circle knees, do what resonates with you for a few cycles of breath.
  3. Series on Right Leg
    1. Supine Half Happy Baby Pose (Half Butterfly option on other leg)
    2. Supine Modified Half Happy Baby Pose (Half Butterfly option on other leg and feel the difference in positioning of leg, the pose should be felt in the inner groin tissue)  
    3. Supine Hamstring Stretch for a few breaths then move your leg into B position.  (Half Butterfly option on other leg) 
  4. Repeat the series above with the Left Leg
  5. Option, both legs up the strap and pause there for a few cycles of breath.
  6. Squat (Malasana)  
  7. Seated Dragonfly Pose (I’ve shown knees bent variation here)  
  8. Dragon Pose
    1. A minute and a half in Baby Dragon  
    2. A minute and a half in Winged Dragon (photo not shown here, but click on this link to see what it looks like).
  9. Deer Pose  
  10. Frog Pose (Tadpole Option) 
  11. Supine Twist (option Twist Roots)  
  12. Savasana

Remember to pause in between each pose, stay and observe or move a bit. Getting into Yin tissue takes time, patience and immense inner listening. Remember, you should come to the pose where it’s your own threshold. Where the pose is not straining, but interesting enough for you to stay in and observe. 

Photo credit: https://bousbous.com

Upcoming April Yin Yoga Workshop

It’s back! Those of you who missed or couldn’t get into my last workshop – I’m holding one out in the East Bay! Reserve your spot now before we sell out at http://www.theyogacompany.com.  img_7852 

Upcoming March Workshop at JBY! 

REGISTER NOW! ONLY 10 SPOTS available.  

  

Yin Yoga Playlist Hips

For those of you asking for my most recent music playlist — here it is! I gravitated to Max Richter’s Sleep album because of Bernie Clark’s recommendation. It’s beautiful. Enjoy.

1. Prelude by Max Richter
2. Light on the Path by OshO
3. Relaxing on the Mountain by Chinmaya Dunster
4. Presence by Nawang Khechog
5. Wisdom and Compassion by Nawang Khechog
6. Wanting Peace by Nawang Khechog
7. Dream 3 by Max Richter
8. Path 5 (delta) by Max Richter
9. Space 11 (invisible pages over) by Max Richter
10. Dream 13 (minus even) by Max Richter
11. Path 19 (yet frail) by Max Richter
12. Dream 8 (late and soon) by Max Richter

Want to fly? Tittibhasana aka Firefly tips

My BodyFlow students always ask me how to get their legs up and flying in Tittibhasana aka Firefly pose. It took me nearly a year before my feet would even lift off the ground. I would work to open my hips and core weekly. Finally, my feet lifted – an inch! As I practice more, my legs got a little higher. The height really doesn’t matter. The feeling that you can fly does. It’s euphoria! So here’s a video to get you flying. 

As always, make sure your warm before attempting any pose. Do some some salutations, navasanas (boat pose), squats, low lunges and hamstring stretches. Special credit to Lorraine Bradley (@catbradleyyoga) for reminding me of this great tip. Enjoy!

Just Breathe {yoga} Rivermark, Santa Clara, CA – 200 Hour Teacher Training

I’m pleased to announce that I’ve joined the teaching faculty at Just Breathe {yoga} Rivermark in Santa Clara, CA. I’ll also be doing some Yin Yoga and Yin Yoga with Essential Oils workshops there, so keep your eyes peel for more details! Thank you to my guide, teacher, friend and owner of the studio Angie Poon for asking me to be part of your teacher training. I am grateful. I am thankful. Check it out:

The Just Breathe {yoga} (JBY) Teacher Training Program is offered under the direction of Yoga Alliance (YA) credentialed Experienced Registered Yoga Teachers (E-RYT), Angie Poon, and Faculty Members: Michael Athanas RYT; Lisa Jang E-RYT; Erica Johnson RYT; Matece Skow, E-RYT500; and Elika Aird RYT, CD(DONA), and a few other guest teachers.

Whether you are interested in deepening your own practice and understanding of yoga, or you feel the call to teach, the JBY Yoga Teacher Training Program is committed to providing every student with an in depth understanding of all the components necessary to be an effective and successful yoga teacher.

We offer a 200 hour certification program in Hatha Vinyasa Yoga, which will qualify and fulfill requirements for students to register with the Yoga Alliance for RYT. In this intensive 6 month program we will cover:

  • Asana
  • Pranayama
  • Meditation
  • Mantras & Kirtan
  • Yoga Thai Massage Therapy
  • Alignment and injury prevention
  • Yoga Therapeutics and Healing
  • Yin Yoga (Intro to Yin Yoga and Yin Yoga Principles)
  • Anatomy
  • Smart Sequencing
  • Hands on assists
  • Sanskrit terminology
  • Ayurveda
  • The history of yoga and classical yoga philosophy, including the study of several yogic texts

This training will run from January through June 2016 for 13 weekends on Saturdays & Sundays 12:30-5pm. Training weekends are listed below.  Please inquire at angie@justbreatheyogarivermark.com if you have any questions.

Tuition Investment: $2800by November 15th, $3000 by December 15th, $3200 after December 15th (check/cash preferred, additional $90 for credit card charges)

Payment plan options available.  Please inquire.

Training Dates 2016 (weekends only):

  • January: 9/10, 23/24
    February: 6/7, 20/21
    March: 5/6, 19/20
    April: 2/3, 16/17, 30/May 1
    May: 14/15, 28/29
    June: 11/12, 25/26

*We will offer opportunities for “make up” hours, for those who wish to participate, but cannot attend all consecutive weekend sessions due to travel and other extenuating circumstances.

Yin Yoga Sequence: Inner Wisdom

This sequence is inspired by my dear friend Diane, who is a Yinster*.  Diane never fails to attend my class full of energy, aliveness  and positive attitude. While there are obstacles in her physical practice, she listens to her inner teacher. The strength she shows on her yoga mat is beyond physical. Strength, to me, can be defined in so many ways.

As Mahatma Gandhi said “Strength does not come from physical capacity, it comes from an indomitable will.”

With this “will”, “Nothing can dim the light that shines within,” – Maya Angelou

This sequence is a journey to inner inquiry and discovery — stimulating Kidney and UB Meridian lines. Home of Jing, access to self-realization, wisdom and rationality. As always, consult your doctor before attempting any exercise routine.

Opening meditation – Child’s Pose

Child's Pose
Child’s Pose

A. Half Toe Squat Pose – Right foot (access K1 point)

Half Toe Squat

B. Winged Dragon Pose (access inner left thigh)

Dragon Pose – Winged

 

C. Half Butterfly Pose (option to massage foot, inner arch specifically with ulnar)

Half Butterfly Pose, self massage inner arch of foot (roll in to out) with my forearm
Half Butterfly Pose (Fold)

**********Repeat A, B, C on other leg**********

Squat Pose

Squat pose (Malasana) with mat roll option

Dragonfly Pose

Straddle or Dragonfly Pose

Sphinx/Seal

Top: Sphinx Pose Bottom: Seal Pose (Option)

Supine Reclining Twist

Reclining Twist

Savasana

Each pose is sustained for  3 – 5 minutes. Be sure to listen to your inner wisdom on this journey. As always, perform the pose on both sides and allow time for rest in between and at the end.

Side note: Chinese Meridian Theory is a complex and one paradigm to a holistic approach. We are looking to enhance energy flow, to balance the specific meridians. I recommend consulting with a licensed Acupuncturist to discuss your own concerns.

*Definition of Yinster: One who loves the Yin Yoga practice.