Yoga District https://www.yogadistrict.com Mindfulness, Yoga & Lifestyle Wellness Thu, 19 Apr 2018 21:34:41 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.5 124397291 The District Sleeps Tonight https://www.yogadistrict.com/sleep-hygiene-district-sleeps-tonight/ Thu, 19 Apr 2018 18:01:37 +0000 http://www.yogadistrict.com/?p=10028 Eyes open, arms stretched out as you gently slide out of bed ready to face the day after a night of peaceful slumber.  A well rested you, is an optimal […]

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Sleep Hygiene

Eyes open, arms stretched out as you gently slide out of bed ready to face the day after a night of peaceful slumber.  A well rested you, is an optimal you because a good night sleep is a form of self-care.  

“There is more to life than simply increasing its speed.”– Mahatma Gandhi

Jennifer, a Yoga District teacher, shares how she went from a restless sleeper to someone who wakes up well rested without an alarm clock. Read on to find out how Sleep Hygiene changed her life and how it could benefit you too.

Feel free to attend her upcoming workshop!

  • Learn to Get Your Zzz’s: Relaxation, Sleep and Yoga @ Bloomingdale
  • Sunday May 6th 2:30 – 4:30 pm
  • Click here to sign up for the the workshop.

How DC Sleeps

The Washington Post notes DC residents lost more sleep than anyone in the country on the night of the 2016 presidential election.  Forbes, list DC as #11 city in the nation for poor sleep with a 35.2% sleep deprivation rate.

Some factors that lead to lack of sleep are out of our control: construction and traffic noise, air quality, light pollution, along with other common city sights and sounds. Those factors and lack of sleep are common for people living in a busy city like D.C. But there are many ways that we can take control of our rest, even in the most stressful of times.

Meditation Before Bed Helps with Relaxation

Mind + Body Connection

As a yoga teacher, I strive to help people take care of their minds, bodies and spirits. I believe that getting a good night’s sleep is a key part of self care.  If we are tired, how can we practice mindfulness, safely move our bodies or bring out the best of our spirits? Mahatma Gandhi said, “There is more to life than simply increasing its speed.” I agree and think that we get even more out of life when we slow it down.

Self-care practices such as yoga, meditation, building healthy relationships, cooking good homemade food and prioritizing work–personal balance have greatly improved my life. Although, quality rest was one thing that I wasn’t getting enough. I woke up repeatedly in the night and was unable to get back to sleep.

My Ayurveda doshas are always tied between Vata and Kapha: Vata is anxious and Kapha is lethargic. It felt like these two sides of me were fighting whenever I tried to catch some zzz’s. Last winter, I asked my doctor how to get a better night sleep and she told me about “sleep hygiene.” It changed my life.

Effects of Sleep Hygiene

Retro Alarm Clock

No Alarm Clock Needed

Think of sleep hygiene as an important self-care routine, like flossing your teeth. Sure, you could just go to bed without implementing sleep hygiene. But that would be like brushing your teeth without flossing: good, but not as effective.

By practicing my doctor’s tips, within two weeks, I was sleeping better. Now, after seven or eight hours of sleep, I generally wake up before my alarm clock even rings. I am also as alert in the morning as I am in the evening, which is an incredible feeling since I am a night person. I can wake up at 7am without my alarm when the old me would have stayed nestled in bed for most of the morning.

Detrimental Effects of Poor Sleep

Research backs my anecdotal experience. Lack of rest has huge personal costs. Data presented by the Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School suggests that people who sleep for five or less hours per night raise their mortality risk by 15%. Not to mention the costs of not being fully present in your life. Psychology Today outlines how lack of sleep affects your relationships with issues like having a shorter temper and escalating conflict.

Flowers brighten mood

Living plants in the bedroom boost mood, reduce stress and promote restful sleep

Benefits of Sleep Hygiene

While the costs of not getting your zzz’s are great, the benefits of a good night’s sleep are enormous. Resources such as the US Department of Health and Human Services list a few—and recommend relaxation and deep breathing to get there:

  • Improve relationships
  • Boost your memory by better processing information in sleep
  • Enhance athletic performance with less fatigue and more stamina
  • Elevate mental health
  • Spark creativity
  • Less stress

Find out more information about benefits here, here and here

 

"Sleep station" next to bed

“Sleep station” next to bed

Sleep Hygiene: Self-Care Routine

So what can you do to get better rest?

Yoga, with countless benefits including reducing stress and regulating emotions is one way to manage your sleep. Try a relaxing class like meditative flow, restorative, yin or meditation in the evening to release tension and prepare the body for slumber. Yoga District offers those classes at evening times exactly for this purpose.

My doctor’s sleep hygiene advice also works wonders. The basic elements are changing lifestyle habits and adjusting your environment to get better rest. Listening to soothing sounds before bed, is just one example, like these healing mantras created by a classmate of mine from my yoga teacher training program

Our culture seems to glorify less sleep like it’s a sign of doing more. But since I have slowed down my life, I have increased productivity in my waking hours. Even better than “doing more” is I am “being more” because I am so fully present.

Healthy Sleeping habits can lead to good sleep. If interested in learning more about Sleep Hygiene then attend my  Workshop and check out Yoga District’s first Sleep Hygiene series post.

Sleepy Kitten in BowlSLEEP HYGIENE WORKSHOP: Learn to Get Your Zzz’s: Relaxation, Sleep and Yoga

Sunday May 6th, 2:30 – 4:30 pm

Sign up here

Resting is now one of my favorite self-care activities. I am excited to share what I’ve learned with you at my workshop.  I’ll give detailed tips about sleep hygiene: how to create better lifestyle habits, change your surroundings, use (restorative) yoga and meditation to get a good night’s rest.  

See you there!

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Breath Baby, Breath https://www.yogadistrict.com/breath-baby-breath/ Wed, 28 Mar 2018 18:44:52 +0000 http://www.yogadistrict.com/?p=9982 Prenatal & postnatal yoga has a natural sense of community. In the second post of our Children & Yoga series, Taylor a Doula and Yoga District teacher, shares insights about the […]

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Prenatal YogaPrenatal & postnatal yoga has a natural sense of community.

In the second post of our Children & Yoga series, Taylor a Doula and Yoga District teacher, shares insights about the benefits of teaching and practicing prenatal & postnatal yoga. 

Feel free to attend her class and upcoming workshop!

 

Saturdays 2:45 PM, Prenatal + Postnatal Yoga Class @ Bloomingdale

Yoga and Childbirth for Pregnant Yogis and Partners Workshop @ Bloomingdale

  • Saturday March 31st, 4 – 6 pm

Click here to sign up for the the workshop.

Pregnancy JourneyA main goal of yoga is to tune in to and learn more about our body. Through a regular asana practice we start to become more aware of our body’s needs and limits. This awareness in our yoga practice can extend to everything we do throughout the rest of our day.

Apply the same goal to Prenatal and Postnatal Yoga. Try to tune in and learn more about our body: prepare for pregnancy, the childbirth process, the postpartum period, and early parenthood.

Prenatal + Postnatal Yoga Class

Yoga Practice Designed for the Prenatal Body:Prenatal Class YD 2009

My class builds strength to stabilize parts of your body. During pregnancy your body may become hypermobile in parts due to some of your hormones.

We also practice shapes that are conducive to labor.  Pose you might want to do while giving birth are great to practice throughout your pregnancy. This will enable you to get used to it as your body is changing.

Pranayama (breathing techniques) bring a certain kind of balancing and calming energy, which is essential for labor and once the baby arrives. Calming breath (equal inhales and exhales) and Nadi Shodhana (alternate nostril breathing) are used frequently in class.

To learn more about how to practice either breathing technique check out Yoga District’s Mindful Tips blog post here


Yoga Practice Designed for the Postnatal Body:

My class emphasizes letting the body heal from labor and pregnancy. Providing a nurturing time to get to know your body now that it needs to care for and possibly nourish a child (if breast/chestfeeding).  Also gentle strengthening, stretching, and breathwork that is found in prenatal yoga.

Prenatal & Postnatal Yoga Community

YD 2009 Prenatal Class

There is a natural sense of community with prenatal and postnatal yoga. You are sharing your practice time and space with other people who are in the same very powerful stage of life. You are preparing to welcome a new life into your family.

Sense of community is one of the reasons I love teaching prenatal and postnatal yoga. The saying goes “it takes a village to raise a child”. As a yoga teacher and a Doula, I know it also takes a village (yoga community) to raise up a parent. It can feel incredibly isolating, welcoming that new life, without support of other people we know and care for around us.

Teaching prenatal and postnatal yoga classes, more than anything else have made me much closer with the Yoga District community. Seeing people go through their pregnancy from beginning to end then meeting the baby afterwards is so special. I continually feel honored that people trust me to facilitate their practice at such an important part of life.

Yoga & Childbirth for Pregnant Yogis & Partners Workshop

YD 2009 Prenatal Yoga ClassIn my upcoming workshop, I am going to teach how to use yoga techniques like asana and pranayama in childbirth specifically.

Also offered are comfort techniques for partners to do together in labor to help it go as smoothly as possible. Doula clients’ and yoga students’ partners  mention they don’t know what to expect and also have some fear surrounding pregnancy as well as birth.

This workshop is EXACTLY for: anyone who has questions about pregnancy and birth, as well as how to use yoga practice to facilitate connection to yourself, your partner, and your baby during that time.

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Children are Natural Yogis https://www.yogadistrict.com/children-natural-yogis/ Wed, 21 Mar 2018 19:23:54 +0000 http://www.yogadistrict.com/?p=9964 Welcome to our our Children & Yoga series! Children are natural yogis. In the first post of the series, Rachel, a Yoga District teacher and certified ChildLight Yoga Baby & […]

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Downward Dog Pose baby

Source: Pinterest

Welcome to our our Children & Yoga series!

Children are natural yogis.

In the first post of the series, Rachel, a Yoga District teacher and certified ChildLight Yoga Baby & Toddler teacher, shares insights about the benefits of teaching yoga to babies and toddlers. Feel free to attend one of her classes!

Rachel’s Class Schedule:

  • Fridays 11:15 PM, Baby & Me Yoga @ Bloomingdale
  • Sunday 3:30 PM,  Toddler & Me Yoga @ Columbia Heights

If you’ve spent any time around babies and toddlers you’ve probably noticed something pretty cool—they spontaneously do yoga poses all the time! Child’s pose, downward dog, and happy baby (duh), but also bound angle, bridge, cobra, hero’s pose, and so many others.

It’s like they arrive on earth as natural yogis. This is one of the reasons I love doing yoga with babies, toddlers, and caregivers.

Adult Yoga versus Child Yoga

Despite completing a 200-hour adult yoga teacher training, I was nervous when I decided to pursue teaching children! But then my teacher told me the secret—that there is no official “child yoga” tradition (we’re not talking ashtanga for kids, here).

As a children’s yoga teacher, I delve deep into all my creative resources (and my experiences with my own child) to make classes fun, accessible, and developmentally supportive for all ages in the room.

There are amazing experts on the topic, great resources, trainings, early childhood teachers, plus certification programs for teaching yoga to babies, children and families. A modern “child yoga” tradition has emerged.  It offers best practices and strategies for helping caregivers support children’s physical, social, emotional, and spiritual development.

I fell in love with TAKING baby yoga classes with my own little one, starting around six weeks. It is the reason I got interested in teaching yoga to children.  She just turned two, and we still do yoga together EVERY DAY. In fact, two of her early words were “yoga mat” and “tree pose”!

 Experiencing a Baby & Me Yoga Class

It’s not postpartum or mom-only! Every week we have any combination of moms, dads, grandparents, and nannies. We start sitting in a circle with the little ones aged 6 weeks to pre-crawling.

The atmosphere is RELAXED, it is okay to arrive a few minutes late (we all know who is the boss of your schedule now) and attend to your and your babies’ needs during class. This class is about caring for the baby and YOU.

Over the course of about 45 minutes, we blend movements for baby and simple stretches for grownups. Everyone gets a chance to interact (babies and adults), learn some new songs (a yoga version of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star), and a lot of new ideas for ways to play, move, and bond with the baby. There’s even time for relaxation at the end, and yes, the babies often zonk out during savasana.

Experiencing a Toddler & Me Yoga Class

Toddler & Me Yoga is a whole different ball game, as you can imagine! People say trying to manage a room full of toddlers is like herding cats… but this is where crawlers to early walkers can show off their natural yoga skills.

After just one or two classes, they adapt and learn the songs and routines (toddlers thrive on repetition). When we ring the chime, the room is absolutely silent as we listen for when the sound stops.

They jump right in to the movement, eager to imitate dogs, snakes, fish, dinosaurs, and butterflies. They find moments of calm when we take deep breaths to “smell the flowers,” and climb all over the grownups as they try to keep up.

How do we get through savasana with this group? Parents take a rest and I take out the magic toddler wand … bubbles!

Power of Yoga in Early Childhood

Yoga has power in the early childhood setting.  As a public health researcher, I study the influences of early childhood educators on the well-being of children.  I’ve learned how deeply meaningful their work is and how much joy it brings to kids. It also can be incredibly physically and emotionally stressful.

Bringing yoga into an infant, toddler, or preschool classroom not only benefits the kids, but the adults who care for them. The adults can learn simple self-care techniques and gentle movements to find a little more peace and calm in life.

Suggested Resources:

Itsy Bitsy Yoga for babies

Itsy Bitsy Yoga for toddlers and preschoolers

ChildLight Yoga

Little Flower Yoga

Radiant Child Yoga

 

 

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Sound Sleep & Morning Yoga https://www.yogadistrict.com/sound-sleep-morning-yoga/ Fri, 16 Mar 2018 03:27:53 +0000 http://www.yogadistrict.com/?p=9953   Welcome to our our Sleep Hygiene series! Sleeping well is a form of self-care. Awaken your mind and energize your body for the day ahead with a good night’s […]

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Yoga in Bed

 

Welcome to our our Sleep Hygiene series! Sleeping well is a form of self-care.

Awaken your mind and energize your body for the day ahead with a good night’s rest followed by an early morning yoga routine.

In the first post of the series, Sarah Johnson of Tuck Sleep shares insights about sleep hygiene and the correlational benefits of yoga.

 

Good sleep and a quality yoga practice go hand in hand. Sleeping soundly through the night prepares you for a rejuvenating sun salutation sequence in the morning.

Don’t Skip Sleep

If you are excited to start a new morning workout then don’t skip out on sleep. The body performs important functions while you rest, and you’ll get more out of your workout if you’ve had the full seven to eight hours of sleep recommended by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.  

The muscles go through important cleansing and rejuvenating processes while you sleep. A 2011 study published in Medical Hypotheses demonstrated that sleep debt inhibited protein pathways in mice, leading to a reduction in muscle mass. They concluded that sleep debt hindered muscle recovery. If you find yourself chronically sleep deprived, your body isn’t able to fully recover and get the most benefit from your yoga practice.

Benefits of Early Morning Yoga

The list of early morning yoga benefits is a long one, but we’ve included a few you might have forgotten:

Fewer Schedule Conflicts: When you practice yoga  first thing in the morning, you’re far less likely to have the scheduling conflicts that come later in the day.

Eating more Nutrients: Getting that body moving first thing in the morning could make you hungrier for breakfast, which could lead to healthier eating all day. A study published in Nutrition Research and Practice showed that eating breakfast helped people eat more nutrients throughout the day (as opposed to not eating breakfast).

Sleep Enhancer: Regular exercise increases the quality of sleep for many people, according to a 2010 study published in Sleep Medicine. If you have trouble falling or staying asleep, early morning yoga could help make your body ready to rest at night.

Working in Yoga While Still Getting Your ZZZs

You still need to figure out how to add yoga to your morning routine without losing out on any sleep.

Prep the Night Before

Get your mat, yoga clothes, and anything else you need ready before you go to bed. If you’re going to a morning yoga class, be sure to have your wallet and keys together so you can sleep up to the last minute.

Start Yoga in Bed

Many gentle yoga poses can be performed while you’re still in bed. As soon as your alarm goes off, roll over and take some deep breaths in child’s pose.Depending on the type of mattress you have, you may not get the same deep stretch you do on the floor. However, it’s often easier to get motivated if you don’t have to get out of a warm bed to practice yoga.  

Go to Bed On Time

Make bedtime a priority and shut off the lights on time. If you’ve gotten a full night’s rest, you’re far more likely to be able to get out of bed and start your yoga practice as planned.

Make Time for a Nap

NappingSome days, you might have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep. Don’t skip out on your yoga routine though. It can help wake up your mind and give you the energy you need to make it through the morning.

However, a short 15-30 minute nap can give you the boost you need mid-day. A 2001 study showed that participants who napped avoided a performance deterioration during the middle of the day. short nap can counteract the effects of minor sleep deprivation.  

 

Sarah Johnson

Tuck Sleep is a community devoted to improving sleep hygiene, health and wellness through the creation and dissemination of comprehensive, unbiased, free web-based resources. Tuck has been featured on NPR, Lifehacker, Radiolab and is referenced by many colleges/universities and sleep organizations across the web.

 

 

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Pose of the Month: Downward Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana) https://www.yogadistrict.com/pose-of-the-month-downward-dog-adho-mukha-svanasana/ Mon, 05 Mar 2018 21:35:04 +0000 http://www.yogadistrict.com/?p=9935 Welcome to our new series! Each month we will be highlighting a different yoga pose. See what each pose does for your body, mind and how it could deepen your […]

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downward dog

Welcome to our new series! Each month we will be highlighting a different yoga pose.

See what each pose does for your body, mind and how it could deepen your yoga practice.

This month features a pose you likely experience several times during a yoga class.

Find out about Downward Dogbenefits, cues, modifications, variations, and contraindications!

Downward Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)

Pronunciation: AH-doh MOO-kah shvah-NAHS-anna

  • Adho = Downward
  • Mukha = Face
  • Svana = Dog
Downward Dog Yoga Journal

Yoga Journal

A Pose of Integration + Balance

Downward Dog is a foundational yoga pose—it strengthens and stretches your body from head to toe.

It is often used as a transitional pose or a resting pose.

As your body settles into the first downward dog of class, you are encouraged to peddle out your feet and/or bend your knees. As class progresses, the warmth of your body allows you to deepen into your downward dog position.

Disclaimer: If you have any medical concerns then talk with your doctor before practicing yoga. Practice within your own limits.

Benefits of Downward Dog:

    • Can help relieve back pain
    • Elongates the spine
    • Allows you to tune into your breath
    • Improves digestion
    • Strengthens the legs, arms, and shoulders
    • Calms the nervous system
      • In inversions, the heart is higher than the head. The flow of blood to the brain can calm the nervous system relieving stress.

Cues:

  1. Bring your body into a tabletop position.
  2. Curl your toes under.
  3. Straighten your legs lifting your hips up and back.
  4. Spread your fingers wide and press into the thumbs and the index finger.
  5. Rotate the upper arms outward, so the eyes of the elbows roll slightly forward.
    • Imagine you are trying to open up a pickle jar towards each outside edge of your mat.
  6. Keep the shoulders relaxed and the shoulder blades moving toward the pelvis.
  7. Lengthen through the arms and spine, creating a straight line of energy from the wrists to the pelvis.
  8. Make sure your heel is behind the 2nd and 3rd toes.
  9. Stretch through the legs and walk the heels from side to side to deepen into the stretch moving the heels toward the floor. You can keep your knees bent if you prefer.
Downward Dog against the Wall

Yoga Journal

Modifications:

  • You can slightly bend your knees keeping your heels and tailbone lifted. Ensure your spine remains straight.
  • Stand facing a wall. Bend at the hips maintaining a straight spine and press your hands into the wall.
  • Place a block between your thighs. This helps to develop leg strength and proper alignment in this pose.
  • Place knees down on your mat.
  • Place a block under your head to relieve any stress on the neck.

Variations:

  • Keep one leg raised into the air. Keep the raised foot active.
    • If you wish, you can bend the knee of the raised leg and make circles with the knee in one direction. Reverse the direction about several rotations.
  • Practice with your forearms on the floor. The forearms should be parallel to one another.

Contraindications:

  • You should modify the pose if you have wrist or shoulder pain.
    • If you have wrist pain, practicing with your forearms on the floor may help alleviate the pain.
  • This is considered a mild inversion because your heart is higher than your head in this pose.
    • You should not practice inversions, such as downward dog, if you have:
      • carpal tunnel syndrome
      • late-term pregnancy
      • high blood pressure or related issues
      • an injury to the back, arms, or shoulders
    • If you are unsure on whether or not you should practice this pose, please contact a medical professional.

SOURCES:

Kaminoff, Leslie, and Amy Matthews. Yoga Anatomy, 2nd Edition. Human Kinetics, 2012.
Le Page, Joseph, and Lilian Le Page. Yoga Teachers’ Toolbox, 2nd Edition. Integrative Yoga Therapy, 2005.

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Yoga District Teacher Feature, Meghan R. https://www.yogadistrict.com/yoga-district-teacher-feature-meghan/ Mon, 26 Feb 2018 19:38:40 +0000 http://www.yogadistrict.com/?p=9911   Meet Meghan R., our February Teacher Feature as she shares her yoga journey! “There is little else beyond yoga that allows you to express movement and breath down to […]

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Meghan

 

Meet Meghan R., our February Teacher Feature as she shares her yoga journey!

“There is little else beyond yoga that allows you to express movement and breath down to the tips of your fingers and toes..”

Feel feel to attend one of her classes and read on to learn more about Meghan.

Meghan’s Class Schedule:

  • Mondays 6:30 PM, Meditative Flow (All Levels) @ Glover Park
  • Thursdays 6:35 PM, Meditative Flow @ Dupont
  • Fridays 5:30 PM, Yin & Yoga Nidra @ Dupont
  • Fridays 6:35 PM, All Levels Flow @ Dupont
  • Saturdays 10:15 AM,  Yogalates @ Glover Park

What is your favorite thing to do around town?

Walking through the green parts of town (the Arboretum, Rock Creek Park, and Glover Archbold Park) until I find a spot that feels like a separate world.

Just wander until the noise from the street fades away and all buildings have been hidden by the trees. The only people I see are other nature-lovers seeking the same peaceful sensation.

How did you get hooked on yoga?

I grew up dancing. When I decided not to pursue dance then I knew that my body would miss moving on a daily basis. Nothing I tried left me with a feeling as open, vulnerable and released as dancing. I became hooked on yoga my freshman year in college after my Mom suggested I take a class.

There is little else beyond yoga that allows you to express movement and breath down to the tips of your fingers and toes.

Why Practice Yoga?

Just come and play. There are always many reasons people avoid trying yoga.  If you have an interest then try not to take it too seriously and just play.

Some people worry that they will not be any good at Yoga. I understand the concern but that comment always confuses me. Yoga is not competitive. It is simply something to experience like happy hour, tossing frisbee, or a walk in the park.

Yoga is not a marathon that needs training or a winning attitude. Just play. Wear something you can move in and show up! Trust that at some point in time, everyone in that room has felt just as uncertain and goofy. A yoga studio is a space of non-judgement!

How Students Can Stay Motivated in Practice

Cut yourself some slack. We are always our biggest critic and often our biggest roadblock.

It’s natural for various things in life to get in the way of our practice. A shift in schedule, a new job, an injury or simply a lack of internal drive. Take a moment and relax about relaxing!

It is actually a yogic practice to let go of expectations. Try it and you may be surprised at its effects on other parts of your yoga practice.

Most Inspiring Yoga Moment

My most authentic moment of inspiration was a very personal and quiet one. Before an assault, I had practiced yoga for years.  There was so much in my practice that I never noticed. During my slow recovery, I discovered I struggled with far more than just the physical poses. So many nuances in my practice: my breath, my discipline, even the sensation of my mat felt impossibly uncomfortable.

I was so hypervigilant that closing my eyelids, especially in a public class, was impossible. I would have to hold them shut and just observe as my eyes moved rapidly under forcibly closed eyelids.  I could hold my body still, stay present and tell myself to breathe but I was still unable to stop the fight/flight response.

I learned to keep my eyelids open, relax my gaze and hope that it would get better in time. I had days of frustration, days where things went well, and days when I just ignored my practice all together. No matter what, I kept coming back to the mat.

One day, many years later, I was in a typical class and following along mindlessly when we were instructed to find our savasana. It was nearly a minute into savasana before I realized my eyes were closed, my eyelids relaxed, my muscles weren’t tense, and my breath was slowly rhythmic. I could finally take a class like any other student. I just quietly cried tears of relief.

To me that is the practice: small steps, quiet persistence, and letting go to allow life and the practice to do its work.

 

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LivelyHoods Donation Class: Unwind Yoga Flow 1-2 https://www.yogadistrict.com/livelyhoods-donation-class/ Tue, 20 Feb 2018 18:55:29 +0000 http://www.yogadistrict.com/?p=9891 LivelyHoods Unwind Yoga Flow 1-2 Monday, February 26 14th Street Studio 8:05 to 9:20 pm To sign up for the class, visit this link. LivelyHoods aids Kenyan area women and […]

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LivelyHoods

LivelyHoods

LivelyHoods Unwind Yoga Flow 1-2

  • Monday, February 26
  • 14th Street Studio
  • 8:05 to 9:20 pm

To sign up for the class, visit this link.

LivelyHoods aids Kenyan area women and youth.

Read on for why Hanna is dedicated to LivelyHoods and Yoga.

Why Donate to LivelyHoods?

LivelyHoods trains and employs disadvantaged youth and women in urban areas around Kenya to earn a sustainable income. 

It’s highly trained sales agents bring health, economic, and social benefits to low-income householdsThey sell clean energy products (such as clean-burning cookstoves) in their communities. These products save time and money while also preventing toxic emissions that can be fatal especially to young children.

Click here to learn more about LivelyHoods or to donate.

LivelyHoods

LivelyHoods

What LivelyHoods Means to Hanna

Hanna is currently a fellow with San-Francisco based nonprofit Mama Hope. Find out more about Mama Hope here

Her fellowship is based on sustainable development through smaller community based organizations and it pairs each fellow with an organization.

Hanna and LivelyHoods share a vision of a community where women and youth are employed, happy, and healthy.

What Yoga Taught Hanna?

Yoga has been an incredible part of my life. The strengthening aspect of yoga along with patience, vulnerability, and intention on and off the mat.

Vulnerability has really been an aspect of yoga that has been transformational to my life and relationships. Cultivating tenderness and vulnerability is incredibly difficult in our world.  I now lean into the discomfort and recognize it’s not the end of the world.

Why Practice Yoga?

Yoga is a completely different kind of workout for my body.

I am challenged to try new things and find a new sense of stillness. I love the workout that yoga provides, and to share that with other yogis is a wonderful experience.

Why Try Yoga?

Don’t overthink it!  Yoga could be viewed as intense but non-judgement is one of its core principles.

I hope that newcomers know that it’s a very open and caring community. Get on the mat and do what feels right. Don’t worry about what others are doing around you.

I love sharing yoga with new people. It’s incredibe to recognize the power and badassery in yogis.

Chaturanga Yoga Journal

Chaturanga- Yoga Journal

Yoga Pose that Most Represents Hanna’s Life

I would say a chaturanga. A chaturanga has a lot of moving parts: physical movement, the quieting of your mind, and breathing.

Chaturanga helps strengthens your core and find your center, something I am attempting at this point in my life.

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Openness of a Body that Feels Safe https://www.yogadistrict.com/openness-of-a-body-that-feels-safe/ Mon, 19 Feb 2018 23:09:10 +0000 http://www.yogadistrict.com/?p=9884 “The body will open up when it feels safe.” Read on to learn how Mike Giordano, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LICSW), explains when your body feels safe then you […]

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King Pigeon“The body will open up when it feels safe.”

Read on to learn how Mike Giordano, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LICSW), explains when your body feels safe then you are mentally, physically and emotional more open.

He explores how what you learn in a yoga class can be carried over into the rest of your life.

YOUR BODY – YOUR PRACTICE

WheelOne of my yoga teachers says this at the beginning of every one of her classes.  It something that really resonates with me.

I always understood it as her way of reminding us to be attuned to our bodies, to trust them, respect their needs and desires.

Maybe that day your body (mind) needs some extra consideration or you desire some exploration. Either way you practice accordingly.

THE BODY WILL OPEN UP WHEN IT FEELS SAFE

King Pigeon

King Pigeon- Jason Crandell

Mike Giordano shares the impact of his yoga teacher explaining the importance of safety when attempting King Pigeon (Eka Pada Raja- kapotasana). It is an advanced pose and deep backbend that requires calmness, flexibility and openness.  

His yoga instructor said, “[t]he body will open up when it feels safe.” To Giordano this powerful statement meant, “ when your body feels a sense of calmness and confidence, it can then attempt new things and new positions. It’s not fighting against itself to stay safe. In the serenity, it can become more flexible, daring, and open.”

Read his blog post here to learn more about how feeling safe and open can affect you inside and outside of the yoga studio.

Check out Yoga Journal’s King Pigeon instructions here

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Something a Bit Sweet https://www.yogadistrict.com/healthy-treats/ Sat, 10 Feb 2018 02:02:59 +0000 https://www.yogadistrict.com/?p=9856 Breath in the scent of chocolate, taste a hint of honey and breath out sheer joy. Being indulgent never felt so good…try these healthy treats! Eating well is a form […]

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Breath in the scent of chocolate, taste a hint of honey and breath out sheer joy. Being indulgent never felt so good…try these healthy treats!

Eating well is a form of self-care. Yet it’s not always easy to meet your sweet cravings and still eat wholesome.

Want something a bit sweet then read on for a few of our favorite healthier recipes!

Why Try These Recipes?

To eat wholesome desserts seems like an oxymoron.  But really it’s a license for creative baking.  A chance to try new flavors and open up your palate to a different type of sweet taste.

We have reaped the delicious benefits from these beloved recipes and we now share them with you!

Be Creative & Make These Recipes Your Own!

Please remember you can always alter any of the recipes we recommend to suit your dietary needs and preferences.

We are under the impression that all of these recipes are Gluten- Free and use no butter or processed sugar.  

To make these recipes Vegan, modify the sweetener from honey to a vegan alternative of your choice like maple syrup or agave. Use only dark chocolate (55- 85% percent cacao) and make sure it’s void of ingredients that are derived from milk, such as whey, casein, milk, milk fat, and milk solids.

Healthy Treats:

Minimalist Baker

COCONUT BUTTER

Coconut butter makes for a great topping over apples, bananas, oatmeal, or as a non-dairy creamer for coffee or tea. Honestly, it’s a versatile condiment enhancing the taste of a lot of food so feel free to experiment.

Remember coconut butter is not the same as coconut oil!

Rather than spend the 10+ dollars coconut butter usually costs at many grocery stores, try making your own for around $3.99 (price of a standard bag of unsweetened shredded coconut).

Minimalist Baker’s Coconut Butter Recipe here

 

Tips:

  • This recipe works best with a high-powered food processor rather than a blender.
  • With a lower-powered food processor, you may need to use a spoon to push the coconut down towards the blade more often (plus it may take more like 20 minutes rather than 8 minutes).
  • Due to the size of your food processor you may need to make this recipe in batches.
  • Mix in any additional add-ins you want. The Minimalist Baker suggests a bit of sea salt or vanilla extract.
  • Store at room temperature and enjoy! It will solidify if kept in a cool environment.

Minimalist Baker

CHOCOLATE COCONUT BUTTER CUPS

Want to elevate the typical peanut butter cup to new heights?

Have more coconut butter than you know what to do with especially after making the recipe above?

Then try this recipe, which only calls for 5 ingredients (or 2 if you decide to not make your own chocolate).

Minimalist Baker’s Dark Chocolate Coconut Butter Cups Recipe here

Tip: If you don’t make your own chocolate, use 1 1/2 cups of finely chopped dark chocolate.

Ambitious Kitchen

OATMEAL BANANA COOKIES

If you are looking for a dairy free, gluten free, nut free, vegan treat AND are a fan of bananas and oatmeal, this may be the recipe for you!

Ambitious Kitchen’s 2- Ingredient Banana Oatmeal Cookies Recipe here

Tips:

  • Mix the bananas and oats with your hands or a spoon.
  • If you want a smoother consistency, you can put the oats into a blender or food processor before combining them with the mashed bananas.
  • Feel free to add in additional mix-ins such as dried cranberries, chocolate chips, coconut flakes, etc. Get creative!

Gimme Some Oven

NO BAKE ENERGY BITES

Sometimes using an oven is not an option.  Maybe you don’t have time to wait for something to bake or it’s too hot outside to even fathom turning on the oven.  Either way, we have you covered with these delicious no bake energy bites.

Gimme Some Oven’s No Bake Energy Bites Recipe here

Substitutions:

  • Exchange the peanut butter for another type of nut butter (almond butter, cashew butter, or sunflower seed butter, etc)
  • Use Vegan Chocolate Chips or leave the chocolate out of these bites
  • Agave replaces honey nicely in this recipe  

 

For further recipe exploration check out the food blogs that provided the above recipes:

Minimalist Baker’s food blog with 30 minute or less plant-based recipes that use 1 bowl and 10 ingredients or less

Ambitious Kitchen is healthy living blog with creative recipes that sometimes use unique ingredients

Gimme Some Oven is lovely food blog with a collection of creative and easy recipes that are perfect for sharing with others

Eat indulgently healthy and be creative in the kitchen!

 

 

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A Mindful You https://www.yogadistrict.com/a-mindful-you/ Tue, 30 Jan 2018 02:48:17 +0000 https://www.yogadistrict.com/?p=9837 Sometimes a horrible day is made a bit better with self-care: a little time by yourself to recharge or maybe change your perspective. A good way to start off your […]

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Sometimes a horrible day is made a bit better with self-care: a little time by yourself to recharge or maybe change your perspective.

A good way to start off your week is to be intuned with your thoughts, feelings and how you move throughout the world.

Read on for a few strategies we find helpful to turn a horrid day around.

Please note: Stop any of our mindful suggestions if you become light headed or dizzy.  Make sure to practice within your own range of abilities and limits.  Please consult with a doctor before practicing if you have any medical concerns.

PROGRESSIVE MUSCLE RELAXATION

Progressive muscle relaxation can help alleviate tension because as your body begins to relax then so will your mind.

Find a quite and calm spot to lie down on your back and stretch out comfortably.  Start with the muscles in your feet and then slowly move up through the body tensing and relaxing the intended muscles. Remember you should feel tightness in the muscle but not pain.

  1. For a few minutes take slow deep breaths through your nose
  2. Still breathing deeply begin to focus on your right foot and how it feels then squeeze it tightly for 4 – 10 seconds.  Try to only squeeze your right foot muscles.
  3. Relax your right foot and focus on the tension flowing away
  4. In this relaxed state take a few slow deep breaths
  5. Now shift your attention to your left foot and use an identical sequence on it
  6. Systematically move up through the body tensing and releasing muscle groups

Order for Progressive muscle relaxation

1. Right then Left Foot 2. Right then Left Calf
3. Right then Left Thigh 4. Hips & Buttocks
5. Stomach 6. Chest
7. Back 8. Right then Left Arm & Hand
9. Neck & Shoulders 10. Face

For more detailed list of muscle group and how to specifically tense them then refer to WebMD’s Progressive Muscle Relaxation reference

PRACTICE AHIMSA

Ahimsa is the practice of non-harming in all aspects of life: physical, mental, or emotional.

It not only refers to your actions towards other people and things, but your actions toward your own self.

Think about how you go about your day usually and how you can act with more kindness to others, yourself, and your surroundings.

 

You can practice ahimsa by:

  • trying to be open to another person’s opinions (maybe one that you had shut down in the past)
  • allow yourself latitude to make a mistake
  • riding your bike or walking instead of driving your car

Notice any positive changes in yourself once you start actively practicing ahimsa.

Refer to YD’s previous MLK day blog post for more information about practicing Ahisma and other forms of nonviolent communication.

Reading a Good Book

There is nothing like a few minutes spent without the distraction of any screens to help calm the mind and make you feel a bit better.

If you don’t have time to for yoga but want to deepen your practice in other ways, Heather Honstein, a beloved Yoga District teacher, shares some of her picks for yoga-related books:

  • Light on Pranayama by BKS Iyengar
  • Freud and Yoga: Two Philosophies of Mind Compared by Hellfried Krusche, T.K.V. Desikachar & Marie Hodges
  • Hatha Yoga Pradipika by Yogi Swatmarama and Muktibodhananda  Saraswati
  • The Journey Home: Autobiography of an American Swami by Radhanath Swami
  • Yoga and Psychotherapy: The Evolution of Consciousness by Swami Rama, Swami Ajaya, and Rudolpy Ballentine

You can find Heather’s other book recommendations at YD’s previous Self-Care during the Holidays blog post.

If you are interested in more self-care & relaxation tips then check out our Mindful Tips for Dealing with Thanksgiving Stress blog post.

 

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