• Posted on July 24th, 2014 YogaGlo 1 comment

    THE QUESTION
    I struggle with tight hips and I want to learn Lotus Posture (Padmasana). Can you suggest a sequence that will help open my hips and help me do Lotus Pose?

    Most students make the same mistake when they work on their hips and try to grow a lotus: They focus too much on stretching their outer hips and forget to open the other muscle groups that comprise their hip-joint. Don’t get me wrong—the outer hips usually need plenty of help. But, the key to freedom and balance in your hips is working with all the muscle groups that affect the joint, not just your bum. I can’t promise you a Lotus, but practicing the following sequence will make your hips be happier and healthier—and, if anything is going to help you sit in lotus, this practice will.

    THE ESSENTIAL ANATOMY
    There are a couple of things to understand about your hips in order to approach them skillfully in your practice. First, your hip joint (Coxal Joint) is a ball and socket. This is simple enough, but it has big implications. It means that your hip-joint is 360-degrees and has muscles around the full-circumference that produce motion at the joint. In order to create a balanced hip-opening sequence—and, truly create more freedom and ease in your hips—you need to address all of these muscle groups. It’s true that Lotus Pose relies heavily on motion in your outer-hips, but it also requires fluidity in many of the other groups that line the circumference of the joint. If you want to open your hips and develop lotus, make sure you do postures that target each of the following muscular compartments:

    Hip-Flexors: These muscles cross over the front of your hip-joint and flex the hip.

    Adductors: These muscles that line the inside of your upper-thigh are usually left out hip-opening sequences. Not only do they quality as hip muscles because they start on the pelvis, cross the hip-socket and connect to the inside of the thigh, they may be more important to a comfortable lotus than you think. When these muscles are tight, they pull the knees up while attempting Lotus.

    Hamstrings: The hamstrings are not a significant factor in Lotus and they’re not usually thought of as hip muscles. However, they originate on the bottom of your pelvis, cross the back of the hip-socket, and run down the back of your leg. This means that a balanced hip-opening sequence will include postures that release this group of muscles.

    External Rotators and Gluteus Maximus: Describing the Gluteals and their functions in a few words is tough because this family of three muscles does a lot of different work. Let it suffice to say that this is the region that we tend to think when we think of hip-openers. This is the bitter-sweet, hurts-so-good part of the body that we stretch when we do Pigeon Pose.

    Abductors and IT Band: Targeting this region is another key step in releasing hip tension and developing lotus. These muscles run from the outside of the hip bone, cross the outside of the hip-joint and attach to the outside of the thigh. Since this region is harder to get good leverage on than the External Rotators, it is often short-changed in hip-opening sequences.

    THE SEQUENCE

    Anjeneyasana
    Focus on rooting down through the top of your back foot and lifting up through your hip-points to get the most from this hip-flexor opener.

    Anjeneyasana

    Low Lunge Quad Stretch
    This posture continues the hip-opening that began in Anjeneyasana and digs deeply into the quadriceps.

    Low-Lunge Quad-Stretch

    Prasarita Padottanasana
    This wide-legged standing forward bend stretches your hamstrings and adductors. It also prepares you for the more intense Wide-Legged Squat that follows.

    Prasarita Padottanasana

    Wide-Legged Squat
    This is the most effective standing posture for releasing tension in the adductors. This postures effectiveness by using your forearm to press your thigh away from the midline.

    Wide-Legged Squat

    Reclined Revolved Triangle
    Revolved Triangle Pose is one of the most effective postures for stretching the hamstrings, abductors, and IT band. This posture recreates the same dynamics of Revolved Triangle in a reclined posture. By reclining, you can stay in the posture for much longer and exert greater opening on the targeted muscles and connective tissue.

    Reclined Revolved Triangle

    Piegon Pose with A Twist
    This version of pigeon will help you access part of your adductors and external rotators and lead to more comfort in Lotus. To be effective, lift and turn your torso toward your front leg. Use your hand to pull strongly against your front knee.

    Piegon Pose with A Twist

    Ankle-to-Knee with Sidebend
    To make this posture most effective, be sure to place your top ankle on your bottom knee and flex your foot.

    Ankle to Knee with Sidebend

    Become an authority on yoga anatomy and yoga sequencing by joining Jason Crandell’s online trainings.

    Jason Crandell is a natural teacher and author with more than 15 years of experience. His accessible, grounded classes integrate the best elements of power yoga, anatomical precision and mindfulness teachings.  Considered a “teachers-teacher,” Jason has taught on countless teacher-training faculties, leads trainings globally, and regularly presents teacher-training content at esteemed conferences. Follow Jason on Facebook and Twitter.


  • Posted on June 26th, 2014 Jason Crandell 7 comments

    Yoga Anatomy in Action: Safer, Stronger Arm Balances

    THE QUESTION

    In Vasithasana (Side-Plank) some teachers have told me to stack my bottom arm directly under my shoulder. Other teachers have told me to step my hand in front of my shoulder. What is the safest, most effective alignment for the bottom arm in this posture?

    I used to be a diehard stacker. And, for what it’s worth, I lived to tell about it. So, if you’re a stacker, you shouldn’t lose sleep over my answer to this question—there’s hope for you, too. My position changed when I started working with Paul Roache, MD on our Essential Anatomy program for YogaGlo. Paul is board certified in both Orthopaedic Surgery and Sports Medicine. He’s a shoulder specialist and he took me aside after class one day to talk about this very issue. It took him less than 30 seconds to show me why taking my hand slightly in front of my shoulder was a more dynamic and sustainable choice than stacking my bottom arm.

    THE ESSENTIAL ANATOMY
    In simple terms, the body makes two lines in Side Plank. One line runs from the shoulder to the bottom hand. The second line runs from your feet through your legs, torso and upper body. This second line is not parallel to the floor—it’s sloped at about 20-30 degrees (see photos below). This means that if you stack your bottom arm directly under your shoulder you are creating less than a 90-degree angle in your ball and socket joint since a sloped line and a vertical line don’t form 90-degrees when they intersect. In this situation they form about a 60-70 degree angle and this is a less effective angle for weight bearing in this posture.

    In order to create a 90-degree angle in your ball and socket joint, you need to move your bottom hand slightly forward of your shoulder. If you have one sloped line and you want to create a 90-degree angle, you need an equivalent slope in your other line. This means that the bottom arm should be staggered slightly forward of the shoulder joint, not placed directly underneath it.

    Here’s why stepping your bottom hand forward to create a 90-degree angle in your ball and socket is the most safe and effective choice:

    -The 90-degree angle limits wear and tear by distributing the stress of the posture more evenly throughout the ball and socket (your Glenohumeral joint).

    -The 90 degree angle helps you engage the external rotators of your upper-arm (Infraspinatus, Teres Minor, Supraspinatus) and decreases the likelihood that your Humerus bone will rotate forward and down. This takes tension off the front of your shoulder joint, especially in more advanced versions of the posture. This may help minimize the potential for Rotator Cuff strain in the posture.

    -The 90 degree angle helps you engage your Serratus Anterior, Lattisumus Dorsi and lower-fibers of the Trapezius muscle. When you fire these muscles, you draw your shoulder away from your ear and support the posture from your upper back. This decreases stress on the front of your shoulder.

    -The 90 degree angle requires you to use your core more. In the short term, this may make the posture more challenging, especially if you’re used to sinking your weight down on the arm and loading the front of your shoulder. In the long run, using your core more will strengthen your midsection—especially your Quadratus Lumborum—and take pressure off your bottom shoulder joint.

    THE SEQUENCE

    Warrior II
    Warrior 2 provides you with an opportunity to feel the action of externally rotating your arms without bearing weight on them. Once in Warrior 2, rotate your palms and elbow creases toward the ceiling. Feel your arms externally rotate so that you can reconnect to this sensation when you’re in Side Plank.

    Warrior II

    Triangle Pose
    Triangle pose provides another opportunity to externally rotate your arms while warming up the rest of your body for Side Plank. In the posture, focus on rotating your bottom elbow crease toward the front of your mat and drawing your shoulder blades away from you ears.

    Triangle Pose

    Down Dog
    The arms in Down Dog and Side Plank are in different positions, but they’re creating similar actions. Try this: From Down Dog, bring your shoulders slightly forward toward plank. Rotate your inner elbows slightly forward and feel the engagement of your external rotators, deep inside your shoulders. Maintain this engagement and slowly draw back into Down Dog.

    Down Dog

    Side Plank with Bottom Arm Stacked
    From Plank Pose with your arms stacked, roll to the outside of your right foot. Place your left leg on top of your right leg and reach your top arm toward the ceiling. Take a few breaths before returning to plank.

    Side Plank Variation Stacked Arm

    Side Plank with Bottom Shoulder at 90-Degree Angle
    Start in Down Dog. Bring your shoulders slightly forward toward plank. Step your right hand slightly forward—about 3 to 6 inches. Externally rotate you bottom arm, roll onto the outside of your right foot and stack your top leg on top of your bottom leg. Press the floor away with your bottom arm and draw your bottom shoulder blade down your back. Take a few breaths before returning to Down Dog.

    Side Plank Arm at Angle

    Side Plank Variation with Bottom Arm Stacked
    Repeat the same actions as the earlier version of Side Plank with your bottom arm stacked. Use your top arm to bring your top foot into tree pose. Take a few breaths before returning to Plank.

    Side Plank Variation Stacked

    Side Plank Variation with Bottom Shoulder at 90-Degree Angle
    Repeat the same actions as the earlier version of Side Plank with your bottom shoulder at a 90-degree angle. Use your top arm to bring your top foot into tree pose. Take a few breaths before returning to Down Dog.

    Side Plank Variation Angle

    Become an authority on yoga anatomy and yoga sequencing by joining Jason Crandell’s online trainings.

    Jason Crandell is a natural teacher and author with more than 15 years of experience. His accessible, grounded classes integrate the best elements of power yoga, anatomical precision and mindfulness teachings.  Considered a “teachers-teacher,” Jason has taught on countless teacher-training faculties, leads trainings globally, and regularly presents teacher-training content at esteemed conferences. Follow Jason on Facebook and Twitter.

     


  • Posted on May 27th, 2013 YogaGlo No comments

    It’s not often that we stretch and move the sides of our body. If you think about of it, our every day movements consist of mostly linear, forward-facing movements. This even carries over into our practice where we often push ourselves for a deeper forward bend or back bend while forgetting and/or neglecting our side bends. Because we spend so much time in a forward-facing position, it is extremely important that we take the time to stretch the sides of our body.

    Side bends stretch the muscles (intercostal) between the ribs that often times get short and tight due to sitting and slouching. If your intercostal muscles are weak, it can result in neck and shoulder tension as well as preventing a full range of motion in the ribs which can restrict breathing. The good news is that yoga is a great way to help stretch those sides!

    Yoga for the SIde Body

     You can use our Search Feature to search through all of our Yoga for the Side Body classes on your own. To get you started without searching, we’re highlighting six side body classes in a variety of styles, levels and durations that will be sure to help you to gain more flexibility and awareness in the side-seam of the body.

    • Side Winder Flow with Jo Tastula: Paying more attention to the side body is like taking the blinders off and moving into more of a panoramic experience of the body. Lateral movements invite the circular which is such a powerful tonic for todays linear world. Sun salutations (surya namaskar), dancing warrior (virabhadrasana 2, viparita virabhadrasana, utthita parsvakonasana) triangle (utthita trikonasana), half moon (ardha chandrasana), standing lateral stretch variations (including lateral tree), revolved head-to-knee (parivrtta janu sirsasana) & side plank variations (vasistasana). Chill time and savasana to end.
    • Side Body Practice with Dice lida-Klein: A short, but sweet side body practice. Sure to strengthen the core: intercostals, obliques, shoulders and back. Variations of side plank (vasisthasana) on the palm and forearm are given. Light floor work to top it all off. Enjoy yogis!
    • Unravel Tension in the Side Seam of Your Body with Jason Crandell: Focus on unraveling tension in your outer-hips, outer-legs, and side-body in this balanced vinyasa practice. This grounding sequence offers creative ways to gain more flexibility and awareness in the side-seam of your body. It begins with slow, deep opening work before proceeding into a vigorous flow and concluding with deep side-bends such as parivritta janu sirsasana.
    • Side Plank Power with Kathryn Budig: Power half hour of Side Plank and all of it’s standing counterparts! Get ready to sweat!
    • Riding the Waves of Bliss with Revolved Side Angle Pose with Noah Maze: Riding the Waves of Bliss: This class builds to the peak pose Revolved Side Angle Pose (Parivritta Parsvakonasana). Beginning with the waves of a strong vinyasa practice, utilizing standing pose flows to imprint certain forms and train muscle energy in the legs and hips. We then move from vinyasa into twisting postures to help you find balance, detox and bliss in a deep series towards this beautiful and challenging pose.
    • Get into Visvamitrasana with Stephanie Snyder:This class focuses on getting into Visvamitrasana. We prepare by thoroughly opening the hips, hamstrings and side body. Then attempt Visvamittrasana in stages. We cool the hamstrings with light backbends (optional Urdvha), twists and forward fold. This class ends with a long restorative twist. Enjoy!


  • Posted on May 20th, 2013 YogaGlo No comments

    Chest openers are some of the most rewarding stretches in yoga practice. They are a great way to open up the muscles in the chest to reverse forward leaning posture and they are great for creating freedom and space around your heart.

    It is important to maintain an open chest especially if you sit at a desk all day or if you are an athlete. If we’re hunched over a computer all day or not sitting in the correct chair, sharp pain between the shoulder blades or chronic feelings of tightness in the back may occur. This can create poor posture. So when we huch over, we are compressing the lungs, making them harder to expand with deep breaths. If you are an athlete, activities like lifting weights or strength training can shorten, tighten and dehydrate these muscles which can cause poor posture, which can in-turn, inhibit breath function.

    Don’t worry though! Some studies show how chest openers can help correct overly rounded shoulders and upper back pain, resulting in better posture, which can lead to better breathing.

    Yoga for the Chest

    You can use our Search Feature to search through all of our Yoga for the Chest classes on your own. To get you started without searching, we’re highlighting six chest classes in a variety of styles, levels and durations that will be sure to help open the chest and upper back to create freedom and space around your heart.

    • Open Upper Chest, Shoulders & Spine with Stephanie Snyder: This sequence is designed for the athlete (or anyone) who has tight upper chest, shoulders, and spine. Activities like swimming, weight lifting, and strength training can shorten, tighten, and dehydrate these muscles. This can cause upper back pain and poor posture that can inhibit breath function which will limit you in all ways. We will move through a vinyasa-based class that will open the shoulders, chest, and upper back to create freedom and space around your heart!
    • Open Your Upper Body with Jason Crandell: A class for all the desk workers, cooks, baby holders, body workers, car commuters–and, we’ll just about everyone else out there! This class is designed to open the chest while strengthening the upper-back, arms and neck. Consider this your “go to” 30 minute practice for balancing your upper-body from the day-to-day challenges of the modern world.
    • Open Up to New Possibilities with Kia Miller: Open your chest and heart with this strong kriya designed to open you up to new possibilities! This is a strong practice. Please go at your pace and modify if you need to.
    • Rhomboid Strength with Tiffany Cruikshank: This class focuses on rhomboid strength to open the chest, cultivating awareness around the back of the heart to expand the chest. For those who struggle with backbends, learn how to use your strength to create the opening needed for the big chest opening postures and for those looking to work deeper into their backbends & chest. Useful for learning how to cultivate the strength needed to open yourself up to life.
    • Camel Poses Tutorial with Kathryn Budig: This chest opening tutorial focuses on Camel Poses and all of its close friends. We begin in a chest opener and get right into business. 2 versions of Camel followed by a Camel drop-back, Pigeon Droppings and two versions of Half Camel. Get ready to open your heart! Prop needed, block.
    • Rhomboid Flow with Jo Tastula: ’Rhomboids’ is the buzz word for this class. The rhomboid’s function is to pull the shoulder blade (and with it, your shoulder/arm) back and inwards toward the midline of your body, and in doing so bringing space and openness to the chest, lungs and heart. We do some very specific exercises to ‘switch on’ and activate these muscles (there are 2 each side) which may be very helpful to those of you with upper back stiffness, tightness and general lethargy. Get into Cow Face pose (gomukhasana) and postures with hands interlaced behind the back and twists to open the shoulders and chest. With this a nice steady flow through sun salutation variations (surya namaskar) to build head and strength.


  • Posted on May 13th, 2013 YogaGlo No comments

    The wrists are among the weakest parts of the body, so it’s very common (especially if you are at a computer all day or you are doing a lot of weight bearing yoga postures) to experience some kind of wrist pain.

    Looking for a way to relieve wrist discomfort or just looking to give your wrists a break? Well, yoga to the rescue! This week’s featured classes will help to build strength and flexibility in the wrists, as well as help to eleviate any tension or discomfort due to overused wrists.

    Yoga for Wrists

    You can use our Search Feature to search through all of our Yoga for the Wrists classes on your own. To get you started without searching, we’re highlighting six wrist classes in a variety of styles, levels and durations that will be sure to help you build strength and flexibility in your wrists.

    • Wrist Love with Amy Ippoliti: Have wrist issues or trouble doing things with or on your hands? This sequence may be used regularly to help build strength and flexibility in your wrists. Opens the shoulders and neck, and includes a restorative with a blanket. Have a block and a strap available if you like.
    • Give Your Wrists a Break with Jason Crandell: Back by popular demand–and, even longer! This 45-minute practice will take you through a strong, satisfying vinyasa practice without bearing any weight on your wrists. If you’ve been wanting a strong practice and you’re giving your wrists a break, this is tailor-made for you.
    • Help for Your Wrists with Tiffany Cruikshank: Ten minutes of help for your wrists. This is a quick series of exercises for your wrists. You can use it every so often preventatively or as needed for tension or discomfort. This practice is helpful if you spend a lot of time at the computer or play sports that use the forearms or wrists a lot. It is also helpful if you are new to inversions or are doing a lot of inversions in your practice.
    • Eleviate Wrist, Hand & Elbow Pain with Elena Brower: If you’re having wrist/hand/elbow pain and would like to explore a practice to alleviate the issue, this 20 minute practice may help. We’ll explore ways to strengthen shoulders, elbows and wrists, using only a couple of carefully instructed weight-bearing postures, and some standing poses without hands/wrists at all.
    • Suffer From Computer Hands? with Felicia Tomasko: Stretch out the forearms, wrists and shoulders: parts of the body that get overused when we’re on the computer all day (or text messaging profusely).
    • Listen to Yourself & Accept Yourself with Christina Sell: This level 1 class is great for those days when you need to rest your arms and take the weight-bearing load out of your wrists and shoulders. With focused work in the legs and plenty of alignment cues, this practice offers encouragement to listen to yourself, to accept yourself, and to practice yoga in a way that is mindful and healing.


  • Posted on May 6th, 2013 YogaGlo 1 comment

    Our feet are our body’s 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 problem.

    The good news is that practicing yoga can help. Several studies show how yoga helps bring flexibility and strength to our feet, toes and ankles, leading to overall better alignment and health of the body.

    Yoga for Feet You can use our Search Feature to search through all of our Yoga for Feet classes on your own. To get you started without searching, we’re highlighting six feet classes in a variety of styles, levels and durations that will be sure to help us learn to navigate mobility and stability through the foundation of the feet.

    • Foot Alignment Tutorial with Tiffany Cruikshank: This class is more of a tutorial on foot alignment and how it applies to our practice of asanas. We’ll look at the foot alignment in standing, seated and supine poses and how it applies to the pelvis and the rest of the body. This is an important practice for beginners and advanced students alike to take with you into your other classes.
    • Happy & Strong Feet with Jo Tastula: Worshiping feet is considered a very selfless act of service in many cultures. Today, we worship our own feet as a form of deep self care! Our modern day foot has been squashed, stifled and weakened by shoes and walking on predictable terrain (i.e. horizontal flat surfaces) so this class focuses on gaining full mobility and range of motion in the feet as well as strengthening and toning exercises. Props: Warm Towel
    • Relearn Your Feet with Tara Judelle: Relearn the feet – Class focusing on standing balancing poses introducing the concept of “heel foot” and “ankle foot”. Using meticulous instruction around the mechanics of the foot we learn to navigate mobility and stability through the foundation of the feet. Includes Garudasana (Eagle pose), Warrior III, Padagustasana (Hand to foot pose), and Sirsasana (headstand).
    • Yoga for Your Calves & Feet with Jason Crandell: It’s easy to forget about your calves and feet—especially with the constant focus on hips, hamstrings, shoulders and spine in yoga class. The feet and calves, however, need some serious TLC since they both become tense quite easily. This practice will open the calves and articulate the feet in essential, satisfying ways. This practice also shows you exactly what it means to “lift your inner-arches” and how to create this vital action in your standing poses. (You will need a belt for this practice).
    • On Your Feet All Day with Felicia Tomasko: Do you stand on your feet all day? Nurses, teachers, doctors, firefighters, restaurant workers, vetrenarians, 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.
    • Healing Feet Practice with Elena Brower: Such a sweet, healing practice to end a long day on your feet. Standing poses and balances, vinyasa flows with variations for your feet, some nice stretches for the tops and soles of your feet, with reminders to keep your foundation – and your face – spacious and soft.


  • Posted on April 22nd, 2013 YogaGlo 1 comment

    Ever feel like you’re carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders? Well that just might be the case. Usually, our emotional energy will manifest itself in the form of pain or injury in a specific part of the physical body. For most of us, our shoulders and neck carry the brunt of our stress and if we are not careful, this stress can lead to shoulder pain, tense muscles and if ignored, can lead to injury.

    Luckily, several studies show how practicing yoga might help to stretch and open the shoulders, relieving pain and tension.

    Yoga for Shoulders

    You can use our Search Feature to search through all of our Yoga for Shoulders classes on your own. To get you started without searching, we’re highlighting six shoulder classes in a variety of styles, levels and durations that will be sure to help release pent-up tension and tightness from the neck and shoulders.

    • Open Your Shoulders with Noah Maze: This short and focused class will open your shoulders and upper back. This is a great class if you store excess tension in these areas. Stand up from your desk and do this routine in the middle of the day, or use it to prep you for backward bending or any other category of poses. Props needed: 2 blocks and a strap.
    • Upper Back & Shoulder Flow with Dice lida-Klein: This flow is all about the upper back and shoulders. Drawing the shoulder blades down the back and pressing the bottom tips of shoulder blades in towards the heart is the general theme of the practice. Using arm variations like garudasana (eagle), gomukhasana (cow face) and hands behind the back, we open the front, side and back of the shoulders. Enjoy yogis!
    • Happy Shoulders with Kathryn Budig: This everyday shoulder sequence is a great way to help flexibility and release build up tension from the day. Put this into your daily routine to keep happy, open shoulders.
    • Toes to Top: Shoulder Girdle with Tara Judelle: The 6th class in the Toes to Top Series – Shoulder Girdle. Working upwards from the heart, this class focuses on the construct of the shoulders in order to help facilitate the upward moving energy from the heart to the brain.
    • Shoulder Saver with Felicia Tomasko: Save your shoulders with this combination of Yin and Restorative that uses two blocks to help release tension in the neck, shoulders, spine, and hips. When we use the practice and the shapes of the poses to soften, we can find a sense of ease in and a positive relationship with our bodies.
    • Strong Practice for Those with Shoulder Injuries with Jodi Blumstein: So you have an injury and you miss your strong practice?? This is an ashtanga practice designed specifically to deal with shoulder injuries.We do NO chaturanga and all of the primary series, with some modifications. The vinyasa we do in this class is designed to strengthen and stabilize the shoulder while eliminating any irritation. This is an important class for anyone working with injuries. You need a strap and a block.


  • Posted on April 15th, 2013 YogaGlo No comments

    The Spinal Column is one of the most vital parts of our body. It’s like the trunk of a tree, supporting the entire body structure and lodging the all-important nervous system. If your spine is unhealthy, it will impair your nervous system function. If your nervous system function is impaired, then your body’s ability to function is impaired. The good news is that several studies show how yoga can help strengthen back muscles and lengthen the ligaments in the back, promoting flexibility and taking stress off of the facet joints, vertebrae and intervertebral discs, reducing the risk of incurring degenerative spinal disorders like sciatica, osteoporosis, herniated disks and scoliosis.

    Yoga for the Spine

    You can use our Search Feature to search through all of our Yoga for the Spine classes on your own. To get you started without searching, we’re highlighting six spine classes in a variety of styles, levels and durations that will be sure to help leave your spine feeling tension-free!

    • Cultivate Extension in the Spine with Tiffany Cruikshank: In our forward oriented world the tendency to slouch puts a lot of pressure on the spine & the internal organs. This class focuses on cultivating extension in the spine in some simple ways and some more precarious positions. Take what you need and find some expansion through the front of the body to take some pressure off the spine and the internal organs in the process. Some arms balancing variations & transitions included.
    • Yin Yoga for the Spine with Felicia Tomasko: Find sanctuary in the spine with this slow and languid Yin practice that focuses on forward folds and twists with a connection to the refuge of the Earth. We begin with a long seated forward fold to fully let go of tension in the neck, shoulders and back and then move into a supine series of twists to continue to wring out the spine and hips. Drop in and soften in into the sanctuary of the layers of the inner self.
    • Strong Legs Healthy Spine Yoga with Elena Brower: Sequence of standing poses, including backbends and twists, to learn how to use our legs optimally to create both stability and receptivity. When we create lower back stability, we are able to receive our gifts, act from our highest potential, and offer ourselves to serve in the world, whatever the context.
    • Open Upper Chest, Shoulders & Spine with Stephanie Snyder: This sequence is designed for the athlete (or anyone) who has tight upper chest, shoulders, and spine. Activities like swimming, weight lifting, and strength training can shorten, tighten, and dehydrate these muscles. This can cause upper back pain and poor posture that can inhibit breath function which will limit you in all ways. We will move through a vinyasa-based class that will open the shoulders, chest, and upper back to create freedom and space around your heart!
    • Anti-Aging Tonic with Kia Miller: Apana Kriya. This simple but powerful series of exercises is a perfect anti-aging tonic. It moves the spine, boosts the digestive system and brings a youthful energetic glow! Practice regularly to gain maximum detoxification benefits. Best practiced on an empty stomach. Awaken your excellence!
    • Release Spine Tension with Jason Crandell: Target those tight, achy spots in your back with a full complement of twists, sidebends and backbends. Learn how subtle-shifts of awareness and action in your practice can leave your spine feeling tension-free. In addition to sun-salutations and standing poses, you will practice several uncommon twists that are sure to become staples in your routine. You will finish this revitalizing practice with several upward-facing bow poses.


  • Posted on April 8th, 2013 YogaGlo No comments

    The nervous system is the network of nerves that control all the organs and illicit responses from the body. It is the nerves that allow the senses to work and the brain to coordinate the mechanisms of the entire body.

    Since they have so many functions, it can be very easy for the nerves to get damaged, which in turn could cease the functioning of vital organs. Today, with so many of us under a lot of stress and leading lifestyles that are constantly on the go, our nerves have to take on a lot of stress and pressure just to keep the body functional.

    The good news is that several studies show that yoga has a direct beneficial effect on the nervous system. Not only does yoga help with relieving stress, it also helps with keeping the mind clear and sharp, delaying the onset of some nervous system disorders/diseases.

    Yoga for the Nervous System

    You can use our Search Feature to search through all of our Yoga for the Nervous System classes on your own. To get you started without searching, we’re highlighting six nervous system classes in a variety of styles, levels and durations that will be sure to help balance and calm the nervous system.

    • Rewire Your Nervous System with Tiffany Cruikshank: This is the sequel to the first Get Your Head in the Game class with less information and more steeping yourself in the process. This practice will ebb & flow like the first one to rewire the nervous system and help you get to the core of the practice with brief meditations along the way.
    • Strengthen Your Nervous System with Elena Brower: A sequence of standing poses, twists, hip openers, gentle backbends, restoratives and a bit of Reiki self-treatment that will cleanse, open, strengthen, tone and restore our bodies by addressing both foundation and breathing. This class invites a specific yet simple understanding of how we can tone and calm our nervous system and ease all of our interactions – through our practice. The stage is the Self Shiva Sutras 3.10
    • Resting & Soothing the Brain with Harshada Wagner: A simple meditation to help balance the energies of the brain and allow the nervous system to rest, restore and rejuventate. A great meditation for depression, exhaustion, and overwhelm.
    • Stressful Day? with Jason Crandell: This soothing practice is designed to calm your nervous system and decrease stimulation. It is full of quieting forward bends, gentle twists, and breath awareness. This is the perfect antidote to a long, stressful day. This sequence can also be used to support your body when you are facing stress, fatigue, illness, and travel.
    • Create Internal Equilibrium with Jo Tastula: This class for melting stress and restoring your energy, although it’s not a restorative class per se. There will be flow, however the focus is on flipping the switch and activating the parasympathetic nervous system: the one that is directed at creating internal equilibrium in the body. This is often called the ‘rest & digest’ system as opposed to the other that we are familiar with called the ‘fight or flight’ and is stress inducing. Try some variations in some new postures and feel if perhaps they can relieve some common tension. Warrior 2 (virabhadrasana 2) with the head supported, crescent moon (anjaneyasana) with cactus arms, tree (vrksasana) with finger tips lightly touching above the head. Root lock pose (mulabandhasana) with knowledge seal (jnana mudra) to help bring the mind into a calm and tranquil state. Inversion time at the end and savasana!
    • Release, Cleanse & Heal with Steven Espinosa: Yoga helps release our body from “fight or flight” mode (sympathetic nervous system) to “relaxation response” (parasympathetic system) allowing for physical and emotional cleansing and healing to happen. A slow but steady basic opening warm up including Surya Namaskar (sun salutations). Leading into an energetic Standing Pose series linking Extended Side Angle, Warrior Two, Reverse Warrior and Triangle together. Also includes breakdown of Uttkatasana (chair) to prevent knee discomfort. Continues with Bakasana (crow), hip opener in Pigeon and a series of Seated Poses for grounding and calming the lower body. Concludes with Backbends, Spinal Twist and brief Savasana.


  • Posted on June 25th, 2012 YogaGlo 11 comments

    Teacher Training with Tiffany Cruikskank

    Ever wanted to study with Tiffany Cruikshank but haven’t had the chance? You’re in luck!

    Study with Tiffany at the YogaGlo studio for three weekends at the 500 hour teacher training level. During the weekends listed below Tiffany will teach in-depth trainings on the movement and function of the shoulders, hips and spine and how this relates to our yoga practice. These trainings will contribute to Yoga Alliance 500 hour training or continuing education for those wanting to deepen their understanding of yoga and anatomy.

    • Shoulders June 30th – July 1st: 1-4pm each day, FREE to attend
    • Hips July 14th – 15th: 1-4pm each day, FREE to attend
    • Spine August 11th – 12th: 1-4pm each day, FREE to attend

    Please dress comfortably. The format will be mainly lecture with little to no asana practice. Classes will be filmed and videos will be available for a fee at a later date. Please email info@yogaglo.com if you have any questions. Limited to 25 students.

    YogaGlo Studio location: 1800 Berkeley St.  Santa Monica, CA 90266