Yoga festivals are awesome events for those seeking to add some variety to their yoga practice. They take place all around the world and are a great opportunity to practice yoga in sync with a large group of like-minded yoga practitioners. Festivals give yogis the opportunity to focus on different aspects of yoga; from specific workshops, to talks with renowned instructors.
One popular U.S. festival is the Wanderlust Festival. This festival features music, food, speakers, and of course yoga. It takes place in Copper, Colorado and travels to three other locations in the North America: Brattleboro, VT June 21-24, Colorado July 5-8, Lake Tahoe July 26-29 and Whistler, British Columbia August 23-26.
Unlike many music festivals I've been to where the waste generated is huge, Wanderlust uses very sustainable practices including waste reduction, recycling, composting, the utilization of renewable energy sources and carbon offsetting.
The closest place to DC to go on a yoga 'retreat' is the Yogaville ashram in Buckingham, VA. Yogaville offers internships for those interested in living on an ashram, workshops, training, mediation courses, and 600 acres of wooded landscape.
What do you think about yoga festivals? I would love to attend one! It seems like a healthy and inspiring way to spend a vacation.
With spring right around the corner and it almost being one-fourth of the way through the leap year, we should only move forward to whatever is next. Perhaps we could leap and spring straight into Uttanasana, a forward fold position. Transition into it however you’d like, by making the jump or by walking your feet up the mat, as it does take some practice to master the art of springing forward with one swift leap. But once you’ve shifted in your sun salutation from downward dog to Uttanasana, hold that fold.
Although this post has the Sanskirt prefix for “intense”, it’s hardly intimidating. Uttanasana is a rather rejuvenating and welcoming stretch for beginners as well aslong-time yogis. There’s something satisfying about folding the body in half yet still holding ground with the feet, the crown of the head taking a momentary break as it dangles above the floor, inverted without holding any weighted pressure. The shoulders take relief from supporting the head and the arms sway in free for all, with the choice to meet the toes or to trace circles around the feet. This pose will make your spine feel divine, too!
Just make sure your bend forward from your hip joints, not the waist. Joints are made for movement, so save your waist muscles for yogalates or another pose or practice that focuses on the abdomen! But go ahead and draw the stomach muscles in as your inhale from the beginning in Tadasana, or Mountain Pose. Keep your knees straight and hip distance apart and make sure you can spot your toes. As you bring your torso to meet your legs, feel free to grab your ankles or let your hands dangle.
The hamstrings will really feel this stretch. Tightening up easily throughout the day, they should relax and release with ease just as much as every other muscle in your body. You may be standing for it, but Uttanasana is a resting pose that helps calm the nervous system and can help relieve facial tension, headaches, a myriad of other stress-related problems. So spring forward, hop, leap, or step your way into a forward fold any time you need some relief!
Do you have a handle on your mandible and your maxillary, your masticator? These parts put together are commonly known as the jawbone. Your mandible gives the jaw it’s form and the maxillary holds your teeth in place. Together, they masticate, chew, crush, ground, and grind…but not always on food, which just isn’t good.
It’s quite common to hold unconscious tension in your jawbone. Ever wake up in the middle of the night with clenched teeth or sore gums? Perhaps you suffer from some form of bruxism, the gnashing of teeth. Whether it’s from stress or anxiety, bruxism is a habit that’s hard to kick, since it mainly comes into play without one realizing it. We express our emotions through body language and facial expressions, so when angered, upset, or sad, you might not notice your jaw locking and your face clenching up. Not only can jaw tension create severe dental problems, but it leads to further stress due to headaches, facial pain, and overall uneasiness.
It’s important to take in the advice during yoga of releasing unconscious tension in your jaw and face. Yogic breathing and alignment are helpful methods to begin correcting poor habits of jaw and facial tension. Simply starting with posture exercises will help align the head, back, and shoulders, which will in turn alleviate the face and jaw. Deep meditation and deep breathing will help you ease into a state of relaxation and awareness where you can notice how your muscles are acting and how they ease up when given a chance.
One pose to get your facial muscles loose is Simhasana, Lion Pose. With a straight back, kneel on both your knees, hold the tip of your tongue on the roof of your mouth, take a strong, deep breath in. You can take your hand to your thighs and extend your fingers for this pose. Then let go with a strong exhale, almost hissing with your tongue sticking out. There’s a more step-by-step detail of this pose available at CNY Healing Arts.
Feel free to let out a roar while you’re at it! And remember, don’t over-masticate, appreciate and be aware of the power and proper use of your jaw. Give your platysma, a key muscle in frowning a break, and practice using your zygomaticus by smiling more, too!
The diverse family of DC yoga teachers at Yoga District are dedicated to making yoga accessible to everyone through a huge variety of yoga class types, from vinyasa flow to restorative and beyond. Most Yoga District teachers are graduates of Yoga District’s nationally-attended 200 hour teacher training program. All Yoga District classes focus on coordinating breath with body movement to promote flexibility, strength, and peace of mind. We strongly believe in yoga as therapy, so catch one of our classes whenever you need a healthy dose of self-care.
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The Yoga District 200 and 500 hour teacher training certification programs, registered by the Yoga Alliance are unique in their emphasis on diversity of teaching styles studied, personal attention, and trauma sensitive yoga. It's no coincidence that Yoga District is regularly voted the leading studio in the nation's capital, and that most of its classes are taught by graduates of its training program. As a full time yoga school, small group trainings are led up to eight times a year by a dedicated faculty including Jasmine Chehrazi, contributor to the Harvard Karma Yoga Project teacher training, teacher training faculty at George Washington University, Yoga Alliance Standards Committee Advisory Board Member, Yoga Activist Founder, and Yoga Service Council Advisory Board Member. So take your practice and community involvement to the next level by joining a training. There's a reason why our graduates call the training "transformative."
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