BodyFlow® Release 67 Review

“Slow, quiet…it asks you to select exactly in your practice what your body needs for today.” Excerpt from the introduction of the release. Here’s my thoughts of the release. Remember: these are purely my thoughts and do not reflect Les Mills International.

Track 1. Tai Chi – Stay High
It starts right away, moving into hips and shoulders. Easing the breath in. I like the lifting of the heart space as we pull our hands back. I have to admit that if you don’t find that exact “in between” of effortlessness and strength, your shoulders will get tired.

Track 2. Sun salutations – Help me lose my Mind
Simple, but if you allow yourself to experience the movement instead of thinking of this as Surya Namaskar C variation, it’s beautiful. Feel it with the music as you do it. Lift your heart as you clasp your hands behind you.

Track 3. Standing Strength – Free/XO
Talk about strength! Super strong track with lots of warrior variations! We start off in lunges to joyous warriors to unsupported warriors demanding more core and leg strength. Then we open hips and shoulders even more with humble warrior at the end with extended side angle to complete this track.

Track 4. Balance – Stay with me – Sam Smith
Nice short track. This one is also about experiencing the postures to what your body has to offer today.

Track 5. Hips – Mirrors Justin Timberlake
This is amazing!!! This is one of the longest hip tracks in BodyFlow. From low lunges to adjusting the lunge to get more in the hip flexor. Then holding more seated hip openers and ending with swan!

Track 6. Core – Abdominals – Like you can – Sam Smith
Ouch! For a short two and a half minute track, it’s effective! I honestly love the burn and the simplicity of learning the choreography! Thank you Jackie and Diana!

Track 7. Core – Back – Mine
Let me start off by saying that the sequencing or prelude prior to this track is so on target. Our hips are open. Our shoulders are strong and chest is open. Our core is on. All elements needed for a good wheel pose.
It starts with reverse tabletop. I love reverse tabletop because it’s so good for strengthening the upper back! Then we hold camel to where our bodies want to go. More tricep and core work next and we land supine for bridge. The option is to go into full backbend or wheel pose. It feels magnificent when everything is open and ready to go!

Track 8. Twists – Not over you
After we are exhilarated in our back track, we venture to twists release the spine. Still get some warmth here, especially in our lunge twist.

Track 9. Forward Folds –
Who else loves “A case of loving you?” By James Blake? This one is a keeper, I just melt into the seated side bends and the fold in straddle. I like 9a but let’s just go to 9b and press repeat twice.

Thanks again the the Les Mills team for their work in putting these releases together. This one is like a slow crescendo and reaches it’s peak and there is a sweet lullaby at the end. Get lost inside the experience. The magic. The magic it brings outside of yourself. There’s a feeling of potential without so much expectation. It feels good. Period.

What do you think of the new release? If you haven’t tried it, here’s a trailer:

Unfold, Unravel Yin Sequence

This sequence was inspired by the poetry of Hafiz:

All the Hemispheres, by Hafiz

Leave the familiar for a while.
Let your senses and bodies stretch out
Like a welcomed season
Onto the meadow and shores and hills.
Open up to the Roof.
Make a new watermark on your excitement
And love.
Like a blooming night flower,
Bestow your vital fragrance of happiness
And giving
Upon our intimate assembly.
Change rooms in your mind for a day.
All the hemispheres in existence
Lie beside an equator
In your heart.
Greet Yourself
In your thousand other forms
As you mount the hidden tide and travel
Back home.
All the hemispheres in heaven
Are sitting around a fire
Chatting
While stitching themselves together
Into the Great Circle inside of
You

Welcome the sensations of unfolding. Soften your inner dialogue. There’s no rush. Play and surf your edges. Greet yourself like a welcomed season. Remember time is the magic ingredient to the yin practice.

Opening Mediation

Happy Baby Pose

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Thread the needle (both sides)

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Melting Heart Pose

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Half Shoelace Pose (both sides)

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Winged Dragon Pose (cycle one minute Baby Dragon, one minute Dragon Flying Low and last minute Winged)

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Tadpole or Frog pose (shown below is Frog Pose) option to increase intensity with a prone butterfly pose

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Eye of the Needle Twist

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Savasana

Remember that it’s nature to do we we like instead of what we need. Listen to your body and unfold with it. Back off when you need to. It’s not how the pose should look, feel it…is it serving you? If not, come out. As always, consult your doctor before starting any type of exercise. Om
shanti!

Yin Yoga Pose of the Month (November)

Feature: Eye of the Needle

Sometimes we need to tap into the beauty of the wood element (growth, energy, spring) during this time to reignite creativity and vision. Eye of the Needle pose is said to get into the gall bladder meridian (paired with liver). In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the gall bladder is wood yang and liver is wood yin.

How to get into this pose:

Begin supine. Bend knees with soles of feet on the ground, feet hip width. Extend one leg, flex foot.

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Preparation for Eye of the Needle Pose

 

Options:
#1. Track 1. Cross right ankle on left thigh. This may be enough. If you feel your right outer hip and/or gluteal at a manageable edge then stay here.

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Eye of the Needle Pose, Option 1.

 

#2. Track 2. Use props. You can play with your edge by using a block and gently adding a little pressure on the right thigh.

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Eye of the Needle, Option 2 with a yoga block.

 

#3. This is the fullest expression. Lift both legs and thread your right hand through the center while reaching your left hand around left leg to hold the right hand (you can either lace your hand around the shinbone (as shown) or behind the left hamstring).

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Eye of the Needle Pose

 

Final note:
You can also perform this at the wall (wall yin). Find what works for you. Everyday is different. I typically hold this pose for a minimum of three minutes. As always, listen to your edges. Be sure to flex your foot to keep integrity in your knee. Come out slowly when you are done and enjoy the sensation.

 

Yin Yoga Pose of the Month (October)

Feature: Toe Squat

This month I’m featuring the “Toe Squat,” also referenced as “Broken Toe Pose.” Personally, I prefer to call it “Toe Squat.”
This pose is quite juicy. It’s not for everyone. I find this pose challenging for a lot of my students. There’s options.

How to get into the pose:

First, come to all fours (on hands and knees). Bring your feet together and your toes under and also adjust your pinky toes as well. Make sure you are more on the ball of your feet as opposed to directly on the toes.

Options:
#1. In the first photo (top left), I’ve shown the option of keeping your hands down on the ground. For many folks, this is very juicy and they stay here.

#2. In the second photo (top right) is the full toe squat. Stay calm and connected to your breath. This one is not easy! You can stand up on your knees (photo not shown) if you need to back off. Listen to your body.

#3. In the third photo (bottom left), I’ve shown it with an option of foam blocks (you can use a rolled up blanket or bolster as well) under the knees. I learnt this variation from one of my early morning Yin students (Phil). He found this variation worked his manageable edge.

#4. In the final photo, I’m sitting on blocks. Some students prefer this one. Again, there are many variations and props your students can use.

Final note:
This pose works the toes, ankles and the plantar fascia. Again, find your own edge. I normally sit in this pose for three minutes. If it’s too long or if any pain in the knees or feet, come out. Honor your body. As always, check with your physician before starting any type of exercise.

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Yin Yoga Pose of the Month (September)

Today’s pose is brought to you by your feet! Yes, sometimes your feet need a little TLC. Especially when we stuff them into shoes everyday, we need to re-engage them!
Here’s a pose that I learnt from my Yin Teacher, Bernie Clark. I remember when I first did this pose…I did not like it. Now it’s bliss!
Yin Yoga Pose of the Month
“Butterfly with Zipper Toes”
Interlace your toes. Don’t stress if they all don’t lace up. They will in time, as you continue to add this to your practice. Just lace up what you can. You can place blocks under your knees if they need extra support. This pose activates all six Chinese meridian lines, since they begin and end at your toes. Hold for 3-5 mins and then slowly unzip. Enjoy!
As always, consult with your physician before starting any exercise regimen.

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Vancouver Love Yoga Flow Playlist

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Here is my yoga playlist, created for my love of Vancouver, BC. The song inspired around it is called “Vancouver City.” There are different flavors in song choices, just like the diversity of the city.

Waterfront – Jamie Woon
Our Time – Tyler Hilton acoustic
Heal – Tom Odell
Raindrops – Cillo
Vancouver City – InnerLife Project
Lebanese Blonde – Thievery corporation
Adi Shakti – Mantra Girl
Family – InnerLife Project
Gobinday – Mantra Girl
By Your Side – Sade
Try – Bugge Wesseltoft & Sidsel Endreson
Falling Slowly – Glen Handsard and Marketa Irglova
The Southern Sea – Garth Stevenson
Touched – Joe Bongiorno

Les Mills Bodyflow® 65 Review

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Never judge a book by it’s cover! At first glance, the cover of the album shows a model doing a headstand (sirsasana A). I sat there and asked myself “How will this pose fit in to the flow with many who have never been in a headstand?” Yikes! Relief was ahead when I reviewed the choreography. Disclaimer: This is purely my review, my thoughts on the release.

Track 1. Tai Chi
Song: Dark Horse by Katy Perry Feat. Juicy J.
At first, it’s hard to learn the bird’s tail movement. As the sequence repeats, people start to understand the movement and enjoy it. I would recommend that as we twist, not to go so far in the beginning. It’s a beginning track, so have people ease into it and work within their own range of movement.

Track 2. Sun Salutations
Song: Take Care by Drake feat. Rihanna
This song has great beats! This sequence has warmth and simplicity in it, which is welcomed. We start off in wider than normal stance and get deep into the hips. The side bends in the middle are delicious and bonus is another sun salutation with an option to jump to the hands.

Track 3. Standing Strength
Song: Ordinary Love by Peaceful Gate
We move back and forth from reverse warrior to reverse triangle pose. Seamlessly, we end up into triangle pose into extended side angle with an option to bind. Great sequence to the music, I would just add more chest stretch in the beginning before going into the bind.

Track 4. Balance
Song: Strange Birds by Birdy
Great track, love the way this flows. It’s so different from the past releases. We move from a lunge to standing splits to warrior 3. I like the transition from eagle pose to another well-thought sequence of lunge to balancing half moon.

Track 5. Hips
Song: Hold on, We’re going home by Drake feat Majid Jordan
This one is a winner!!! I love the length of this track and how we get to come back to the low lunge twice before heading to swan pose. People melt into swan pose and you can see them relax into it. The song is sweet and smooth, perfect to mellow out in this juicy hip track.

Track 6. Abs/Core
Song: Happy by C2C Feat. Derek Martin
I just wanna dance when I hear this upbeat song! This track is one that people will remember. I love the butterfly feet claps, and so do my students. Halfway through the track they are moaning. Then, round two — they can’t help to repeat because the song is so catchy. I totally feel this one each time I teach it, and by the moans I hear from my students — they do too!

Trackk 7. Back/Core
Song: Counting Starts by One Republic
We start off in bridge pose — a great way to stretch the belly after that hard ab track prior. Then we have to stabilize the hips as we walk the feet. I love the transition to side plank and more core work. I said it here. The transitions are seamless in this track. It makes sense and it will make you stronger!

Track 8. Twists
Song: You by Nathaniel
Simple and sweet. I can’t say more about this. I always look forward to this track.

Track 9. Forward Folds
Song: Falling Slowly/How Long will I love you by Glen Hansard & Markela Irglova/Ellie Goulding
Hold back the tears. Or smile. This track brings so many emotions. I have to say this one is going to the top of my favorite list. We stand up to repeat the Tai Chi movement and there’s a part where the song crescendos and we have nothing left but to let go and come to a wide leg forward fold. That’s where tears sometimes well up in my eyes. I’m totally in love with the first part of the track. As we head into How Long Will I love you track — I feel it’s better just to forget one of the pose so we can have more time to lay in the supine hamstring stretch.

Overall, this a solid release. I’m looking forward to seeing what songs and moves they chose for the next release. What are your thoughts if you’ve tried it? If you haven’t tried a BodyFlow class check out the Les Mills website for a complete listing of class offerings at gym near you.

Cheers!

Yin Sequence for Grief

The life cycle. In every life exists pain, illness, loss and death.
I wrote this sequence for my dear friend Lyda, who recently lost her father. This flow gets into the heart, lungs, stomach, liver and kidney meridians. All emotions that may come up after losing someone include worry, sadness, anger, and fear. The key is the ocean breath as these emotions may start to appear in the poses/sequence below. As always, consult a physician before starting any exercise program.

Opening Meditation (allow time to center)

Child’s Pose – 5 minutes

@lisajyoga
Child’s Pose Balasana @lisajyoga

Cat/Cow – 1 minute
Anahastasana – 5 minutes

Anahastasana Lisa Jang Yoga
Yin Melting Heart Pose Anahastasana @lisajyoga

Sphinx Pose with blanket roll under belly to compress stomach organ – 6 minutes

Yin Sphinx Yoga Pose @lisajangyoga
Yin Sphinx Pose @lisajyoga

Gate pose (block under knee) – 1-2 minutes each side (no picture shown) This is a shorter hold since it is more yang like.
Dragon Low – 4 minutes each side

Yin Yoga Dragon @lisajangyoga
Yin Yoga Dragon Low Lunge @lisajangyoga

Sleeping Swan – 4 minutes each side (no picture shown)
Supine Cowface Arms – 3 minutes each side (this one is from the Spine Elixir workshop I took with Tiffany Cruikshank – thank you for this one)

Yin Yoga Cowface Arms @lisajangyoga
Supine Cowface Arms Yin Yoga @lisajangyoga

Shavasana

We allow some time after each pose to pause. To feel the sensation. This sequence is meant to be 60 minutes.

Vancouver Love

I recently came across this letter written by Clara Roberts-Oss — an amazing yoga teacher whom I admire. This is how I feel about Vancouver. Oh! The love! Enjoy!
http://lilavinyasa.com/?p=815

Intuition

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I took a warm Yin class while
I was in Canada and the teacher themed it “use your intuition.” As a yoga teacher, it sparked my interest–I thought it was clever to theme “Intuition” especially when I knew as I glanced at the general class population many folks in the class had something going on in their bodies.

As class progressed, I watched with intent. I glanced around, as the inner teacher in me wanted to see folks taking variations that worked best for their bodies. I listened to the teacher with curiosity. Then, I went back to my own practice. My intuition told me to be methodical. It was a yin evening, I didn’t want to go to my edge. I knew exactly what my body needed. Then the inner teacher in me observed again. Good, I thought. As I looked around, I knew others were being mindful in their practice as well. Back to my mat. The practice now went beyond physical. Intuition, I thought…It had me reflect on stages of my life while we were in the postures.

The class went on. The teacher then explained that she was once a famous Radio Personality and gave it up. Her gut told her she was on the wrong path. It was a fabulous job, but she wasn’t happy…

At one point of my life I was flying by the seat of my pants. Taking risks and listening to my intuition. I wanted to move away from home, I knew my mother was opposed to it. It was something I felt I needed to do. Experience the world on my own.
I always said to myself “If it was meant to be, God will guide me there.” Just when I thought that it was not to be, an opportunity came up — should I take it or not?

God must of put it there for me. Should I go? Should I listen to my heart? My heart was longing for certainty in a world that seemed unstable, almost chaotic. There it was. The opportunity of a new stable job. Away from home. In a different country. My Mom didn’t want me to leave. She was my rock in for my whole life. I needed to be my own rock. My gut said yes.

My mind was ignited… Asking
“What if? What if I don’t?
Try it, you might like it…go with your gut”

Many of my readers know I took the opportunity which lead me to today. I didn’t want to ask myself “What if? What if I don’t? Retrace my past… ” Regret not taking the road less travelled. There’s another question that they don’t tell you about.

At the end it was just me being on my mat. Just me. I asked myself the other question…”what if I didn’t move and stayed at home? Would I have been just as happy?” As she played Claire Du Lune tears started streaming down my eyes. It was bittersweet. I knew this question was always going to be there no matter what. However, the present is what I have. It’s true. The present is a gift. I love my hometown but my home is my family….my husband and kids. I love my friends and my “married” family. Through the yin practice I had a sense of clarity. I was exactly where I needed to be. Yes. Bittersweet. The promise I made to myself on my mat: I could visit my hometown more often. Maybe in my lifetime I will move back when there’s an opportunity. I know the path I took in life were guided by a greater being, my intuition and my heart.

Yoga Teacher Training 2015 NOW OPEN!

I’m excited to announce that Kelli Barnett and I will be added to the teacher training schedule for 2015 in addition to the brilliant Gloria Capron and amazing Audrey Allen at The Yoga Company!

I will be teaching the Yin portion of the training – I am thrilled to share my passion for Yin with the new trainees. It’s exciting to understand connective tissue and how to read and accommodate bodies to safely explore the deeper layers of the physical and subtle body. I will help students design and teach Yin class incorporating authentic Yin philosophy learnt from Yin masters Bernie Clark and Paul & Suzee Grilley.

Kelli will guide you in how to tap into the intuitive way of teaching. She will guide you in how to interpret energies while teaching. Through her unique sequencing she will show how to tap into the best in each person and how to build relationships of trust with your students. You will learn patterns and rhythms of vinyasa flow yoga. Kelli understands the body form from her vast knowledge of massage and she understands the subtle body from her extensive hypnotherapy practice. Kelli will teach you how to approach teaching to unfold each class in your own unique way.

If you’re interested in joining the 2015 Yoga Teacher or Advanced Studies Program, contact Audrey at audreyoga@yahoo.com. Payment plans always available.
http://www.theyogacompany.com

Yin Sequence Focus: Back & Side Lines

Supine Meditation

Happy Baby Pose – 5min

Right knee into chest (or half happy baby) – 2 min

Supine hamstring stretch (Strap option Sarah Powers stir/up style ) r leg – 3 min

Eye of the needle left leg crosses thigh
Option to extend right leg in final minute (total 3-4min)

Left knee into chest (or half happy baby) – 2 min

Supine hamstring stretch (Strap option Sarah Powers stir/up style) left leg – 3 min

Eye of the needle right leg crosses thigh
Option to extend right leg in final minute (total 3-4min)

Squat – 3 min
Butterfly – 3 min
1/2 Butterfly – 3 min
Sleeping Swan – 4 min
1/2 Butterfly – 3 min
Sleeping Swan – 4 min

Supported Bridge – 2 minute
Twisted roots both sides (as time permits)
Savasana

Plan to rest a little after each pose to feel the effects. As always, listen to your body. Remember to not push over your edge. (Always consult your physician before beginning any exercise). Om shanti!