For every one of us, our yoga practice is unique and personal. How we practice, what we practice, how often we practice and why we practice are specific to each of us. And ever-evolving. This is also true for every yoga teacher. Jo Tastula shares a little insight into how she came to yoga and the role it plays in her life:
Our feet are our foundation, our connection to the earth. They keep us mobile, aligned and balanced, yet they are often one of the most neglected and abused parts of the body. How often do we actually stop and think about our feet and what we put them through EVERY DAY? Probably only when they start aching after standing or wearing uncomfortable shoes all day.
Our body reflects everything we do with our feet. When our feet are tired, our whole body is tired. When our feet hurt, even the simplest of tasks might be hard. Whether we realize it or not, because of the way we treat our feet, most of us have feet and ankles that are no longer in balance. Because of the misalignment of our feet, our body now has to make adjustments in order to keep its balance. This means that our overall posture changes. When our posture changes to compensate for foot problems, our joints become misaligned which in turn, can lead to chronic joint inflammation in addition to other health related problems.
The good news is that practicing yoga helps bring flexibility and strength to our feet, toes and ankles, leading to overall better alignment and health of the body.
Awakening & Integrating the Feet with Mary Taylor: When we wake up the feet, the pelvic floor automatically comes on line. Grounding through the feet and integrating movement from deep in the core in this way is how we learn to move in a graceful and rhythmical movement in and out of postures. In this class we will draw from poses in the Primary and Intermediate Series to embody this important integrating pattern. Props Suggested: A blanket and wall space.
Stable Foundation with Marla Apt: Using the feet to align and enliven. The feet can be the gateway to alignment of the joints, balanced action in the muscles and ease in the asanas. In this practice you will mindfully focus on the actions of the feet as well as balancing the weight on the feet as the foundation of the standing poses to bring evenness to the legs, hips, pelvis and back. Prop Suggested: A block.
Show Your Feet Some Love with Giselle Mari: We spend a lot of our time on our feet and rarely give them the love they so deserve. In this brief session give your tootsies some attention that can increase awareness of your feet while giving them some release and relief. Props Needed: Two Blocks, One Blanket, One Tennis Ball and Wall Space
Healthy Feet and Ankles with Tara Judelle: The key to a healthy back is smart feet. The foundation sets the tone for the entire body from the base up. In this short class we will work to open up the stability and mobility of the feet, ankles and knees for a healthier body. Props needed- a blanket, and a block.
Root Chakra Flow with Jo Tastula: This is a grounding class that focuses on the earth element, creating strong foundations and the 1st Chakra. Anatomically we’ll concentrate on the feet, legs and base of the spine as our pillars of support. We start with seated meditation followed by seated postures and simple sun salutation with crescent moon (anjaneyasana) to warm up. Our flow plays with balancing poses such as Tree, Warrior 3 & dancer (vrksasana, virabhadrasana & Natarajasana) and floaty transitions that help to really find your feet! Lots of forward bending to promote the grounding process. There’s a side plank with variations for good measure. Guided meditation in (reclined cobbler) supta badhakonasa and savasana to finish. Optional Prop: Blanket
On Your Feet All Day? with Felicia Tomasko: Do you stand on your feet all day? Nurses, teachers, doctors, firefighters, restaurant workers, veterinarians, flight attendants, retail salespeople? This is the yin practice for you. Get grounded and rebalance the body with this slow yet powerful yin practice. We begin on the earth, supine, on our backs, with a sequence that works with flexibility and mobility of the feet, legs, and hips. The second part of this practice involves some seated feet stretches, cat stretch variations on our hands and knees and then ends with a pigeon pose to continue to allow ourselves to release the tension stored in the body after standing all day. By the time we get to savasana, we’ll be ready to stand up again.
As many of you know, we’ve developed a comprehensive yoga program for cyclists – from pre and post race classes to off-season conditioning and mental race prep, our Yoga for Cyclists program provides a robust library of classes to help cyclists in every aspect of their training. We have been thrilled to sponsor and work with Boulder Cycle Sport’s Cyclocross team during the past two seasons to fine-tune our offering of yoga classes and better understand how yoga can help riders perform optimally, unwind mindfully and train safely during and after the racing season.
Here’s a little peek at a few of the BCS Cyclocross athletes we work with as they share their love of riding and how yoga has helped shape their experiences on the bike and off:
You may also enjoy our blog series on why yoga is especially useful for cyclists:
Bandhas are energetic locks or psychophysiological contractions in the body that prevent energy from flowing to a particular area of the body. There are three main bandhas: mula (in the pelvic floor) uddiyana (in the abdomen), and jalandhara bandha (in the neck/throat). When the bandha is released, prana can flow freely throughout the body with an increased pressure, allowing us to collect, contain and control that energy.
Take your asana to the next level by learning to combine it with bandhas, the doorway to the energetics of practice. This week’s featured classes will help us apply the bandhas to our practice so we can increase our ability to build creative power and increase the transformative potential of our yoga.
Intro to the Bandhas with Jodi Blumstein: In this class we introduce the bandhas in a short practice designed to create awareness of this subtle and elusive aspect of practice. There will be an exercise at the beginning to really wake up this new awareness and then an opportunity to apply this advanced concept. Props Needed: A block.
Using the Bandhas Effectively with Rod Stryker: According to the yoga tradition, the bandhas are the next step after asana. In this short outline, we look at the three major bandhas, their affect as well as how we practice them. Learning to use bandhas effectively opens the doorway to taking your asana to the next level.
Cultivating the Core Sheath with Tias Little: Access the central channel of the body by directly engaging the “core sheath”. Via the all powerful ilio-psoas muscle, the inside legs, and musculature along the spine, this class is an internal guide to the deepest muscles of the body. We aim to use less force and more fine articulations of the core structures that support the yoga bandhas. Suggested Props: Blanket, 2 blocks, strap
High Flying Flow with Dice lida-Klein: This flow incorporates all the essential elements of a 60 minute flow practice. We use a block and blanket to fire up our bandhas in our Surya Namaskar A and we follow it up with a strong standing sequence. Many handstand options are given through out class for those of you high flyers! Enjoy my fellow yogis.
Pranayama Hit with Amy Ippolit: Ujjayi and Nadi Shodhana (Alternate Nostril) pranayama (breathing). This practice is perfect before you sit for mediation and gives a quick explanation of the bandhas and Ujjayi pranayama followed by Nadi Shodhana pranayama to balance the right (masculine) and left (feminine) sides of the body. Have a blanket or a cushion to sit on.
Yoga for Core Strength & Awareness with Tara Judelle: Strong class to activate the core as the centralizing magnet of movement. Strong focus on the bandhas, using standing poses, working into arm balances, eka pada koundinyasana II (extended leg arm balance dedicated to sage koundinya, parsva bakasana (side crane) eka pada koundiyasana I. Class focus is on utilizing the core as the center of digesting awareness in order to cultivate center in challenging experiences.
In this week’s Overheard in Yoga Class, Sally Kempton reminds us that many of the traditions of meditation contain specific alchemical processes for working with difficult emotions – using the fire of attention, the fire of spaciousness to create a transformation in what may feel like disease or a dysfunction inside our physical or emotional system.
Taylor Harkness is an instructor bent on moving people to play both on and off the mat with skillful action, an open heart, and a healthy dose of gratitude. An avid rock climber, rookie sky diver, hungry learner, psychology nerd, nature lover, and paramedic, Taylor applies his adventurous experiences of life to his teachings and to keeping it real in the classroom. Taylor’s long-term goal is marrying yoga with primary health care and mental wellness, and his passion for the way the body works is infectious. Catch one of his upbeat classes, and you may just find your frown turned upside down.
Oh, Happy Day! - A deep, lunging flow to turn any frown around. This class builds on a heated, feel-good sequence to open the front body and flirt with both a camel and a humble warrior variation. Use this class to kick-start a gloomy day, or simply shift perspectives any time you need some shine. Recommended props: Two blocks and a strap.
Wake-Up Rockstar! – Good morning, sunshine! You have the whole day ahead of you. Start it off right with fluidity and a light heart. This short but warming flow will wake up the whole body, deepen the breath, and create space for goodness to flood in to the rest of your day. Smile at all that lies ahead and stand in your awesomeness, Rockstar. Your glow is showing.
Happy Hips, Hammies & Lower Back - A life behind a desk, the wheel of a car, or even standing all day for work can be rough on the legs and lower back. Wake up the stiff parts of the hips, hamstrings, and lumbar spine with a stretchy, feel-good flow and then release into some yin style stretches. Props Needed: Two blocks and a strap.
A Quickie, But Goodie - In a hurry and want to sweat? Well, let’s get to it! This quick flow will have the whole body feeling revitalized from your head and shoulders to your knees and toes. Think of this flow as your short on time, go to tune-up. Props Suggested: Two blocks and a strap.
Cutie-Pie Crow - Crow pose is strong and elegant. But, this little cutie-pie crow variation is sure to be a fun challenge. A quick flow will prep you for the twisting motion, the balancing aspect, and the cute factor. If all poses were this adorable, puppies would have some major competition.
You Got This! - An hour to move, an hour to groove! A balanced, challenging and playful flow that is laced with positive affirmations will keep you on your toes as we work our way around the mat and into the shoulders, core, hips, and hammies. Lunges and twists will dance their way into the mix, and we’ll finish with a deep hip stretch and a restful savasana. Props Suggested: One or two blocks.
If you Glo in LA or in the surrounding area, come join us this week as Kia Miller and Jodi Blumstein will be in town teaching FREE Kundalini and Ashtanga classes at the YogaGlo studio. You will not want to miss this!
Kia’s Class Schedule:
Friday, October 10th: 10:00-11:30am – Kundalini, Level 1/2
Friday, October 10th 12:00-1:00pm – Kundalini, Level 2/3
Jodi’s Class Schedule:
Saturday, October 11th: 10:00-11:30am – Ashtanga, Level 2/3
Saturday, October 11th: 12:00-1:00pm – Ashtanga, Level 2
Don’t miss this opportunity to take amazing classes with these amazing teachers. Please check out our class schedule for more information and head on down to the Glo!