Category Archives: Yoga Life

Yoga In The Mix @ i Light Marina Bay Festival 2016 Singapore

JOIN *Yoga in The Mix* for two consecutive nights of yoga, music and lights in conjunction with this year’s i Light Marina Bay Festival. 16th & 17th March, in Singapore.

Taking place on the waterfront promenade outside MBS – for two nights only – be immersed in a dazzling array of lights and music as YITM take you through a unique yoga experience.

Singapore’s iconic Marina Bay will be transformed into a kaleidoscope display of light and colour for the festival and YITM have secured the best seats in the house for a yoga event to remember.

Partners Deliveroo and GuavaPass will be there to add even more colour to the night’s activities.

EARLY BIRD RATE ENDS 2nd March
Book on @ https://yitmilight.splashthat.com

Slide1 (1)

**THE EVENT**

1. MIND AND BODY FLOW – Wednesday 16th March – 7pm
Flow to a range of deep and nourishing stretches that will unlock your inner zen.
Blending gentle and restorative poses you will flow through a series of postures to relaxing beats – linking your breath with your movement and calming your mind. Focus on bringing awareness to all the sensations in the body,
promote inner peace and unwind.

2. UNLOCK YOUR FIRE – Thursday 17th March ­ 7pm
Be prepared to release your inner fire and let go. Fire is a fluid dance of yoga postures, linked by breath, to build strength, flexibility, balance and most of all create space in the body. Composed of heat-building poses the up-tempo sound will build up your energy and create a dynamic dance between your mind and body.

About Yoga In The Mix
Yoga In The Mix is a yoga, music and feel amazing experience. Blending yoga poses and freestyle movement to a live DJ who spins uplifting tracks. Each session we mix a new distinct collection of atmospheric and balearic beats as well as more up-tempo progressive house and electronic tracks to create a unique yoga experience and sound.

Yoga Snob or Yoga Hobbit?

It has been quite a long time since I’ve blogged.  I’ve written novels in my head but actually having the time to sit down and write it is the problem.  However,  recently I had a student ask me about my own personal practice and in my response I came to the realization that I might be a yoga snob!  Holy crap!  Am I an uppity yogi?   It hit me like a ton of bricks because I’ve always considered myself part of the yoga community.  So the mere thought of myself being a snob is pretty disturbing.  After I got home and was able to really sit with my thoughts I asked myself a few questions to maybe make sense of my new found title.

Was being a snob really all that bad?  What is a snob?  Or maybe I wasn’t a snob at all,  maybe titles are the snobs.  So first things first: What is a snob?

Snob:  A snob is a person who believes a correspondence between status and human worth.  The term also refers to a person who believes that some people are inherently inferior to him or her for any one of a variety of reasons, including real or supposed intellect, wealth,   education, ancestry,  power,  physical strength,  class,  taste,  beauty, nationality, fame, extreme success of a family member or friend, etc.   Often this form of snobbery reflects the snob’s personal attributes.

On no! I am not a snob by the means of Wikipedia for sure.  Not even close to who I am.  So, I’ve cleared that matter, but there is still a problem: I have some issues with the practice of my asanas.  And by no means do I ever what to consider myself better than anyone, so the search continued until I started to ask deeper questions.

The real matter is I’ve become a hobbit in my actual asana practice.  In other words, I’m not going out there anymore and practicing with different teachers in different local studios.  So when students ask about advice on studio practices I’m a bit stuck.

So why have I become a hobbit?  Recently in the last few months my teaching schedule has doubled.  In addition to teaching 10-15 classes a week I’m also recording 2 classes a week on my phone, editing, recording audio and publishing videos for virtual clients.  I’m still being a mom to two busy little girls, a wife to my husband of 10 years and trying to maintain some sort of ‘self’.

I use to love to drop in to local studios and just be a student.  Now I only get that freedom when I’m away traveling or at trainings or on those very rare mornings when I can pull myself away from life to visit my favorite Ashtanga studio here in Durham.

So with all of this in mind,  I’ve put together a few ways to help you not to become a Yoga Hobbit.  For while it’s great to have a home practice (and I’m always preaching to my students about being able to practice at home on your own), it is also important that we do visit studios.  Particularly for the community aspect of it for this is usually where we adults meet friends.  Not only that but it supports local small businesses and it keeps you from becoming a Yoga Hobbit.

  1. Once a month visit a studio you’ve never been to.

This is by far the easiest way to try something new.  Studios pop up every week, so there shouldn’t be a shortage of places to try.  I find using the Mindbody app is a great way to find studios close to you that maybe you didn’t know they were there. Read reviews or maybe just go blindly into a new space with an open heart and unroll your mat to new experiences.

  1. Practice a style that’s different from your preferred style.

We all get caught up in what we like verses trying something we are not sure of but yoga is about union and growth.  We can’t grow if we stay in the same space.  I practiced Vinyasa Flow for almost 6 years before I ever tried Ashtanga, and I was horrible at it, so bad that I didn’t even think of returning to that style until 3 years later.  Yet after coming back with an open mind and a lot less ego I found it was humbling and quite refreshing to know I could learn more, and my glass needed a refill.

I’ve tried just about every style out there and some I like, some I’d never do again but I tried them and that’s the beauty of the practice.  So go try something new.  There are lots of teachers practicing a whole variety of different styles on Muuyu – so you could start there!

  1. Find a Yoga partner to keep your practice fresh.

It is so hard to find a friend, and even harder to keep that friend.  However if you’re one of the lucky ones who have a friend and they share your passion of unrolling the mat make them your practice partner.  You both will hold each other accountable and bring new ideas to one another.  Having someone next to you allows for energy to bounce and creates a universal pull of magic – and who doesn’t need a little magic in their lives?  So find that partner, and get to sharing the magic.

  1. Change your home practice location.

If you’re one of the lucky ones you have a studio of your own and you can change your space accordingly.  However some of us just have a corner or maybe even just the kitchen floor.  But don’t let that stop you from freshening up that space.  Change the plants in your practice space.  Use new scents and oils with the change of the seasons or your moods.  If you can’t revive your actual space, try a new location all together.  Go outside and practice in your backyard.  Try the park, that fishing pier, the local walking trail,  maybe even the hallway while you wait for your kids dance class to end.  Just don’t be afraid to practice anywhere.

Look, life is a major juggling act and sometimes we get so busy we forget that there is a vast world outside of our own little universe.  I lost myself in my own world and I forgot that I too need to try new things even when I was sure that I didn’t have enough time to do so. We’ve all seen that little hobbit that locks himself in his cave, and could care less about the changes that are happening outside that rock.  However one day that rock is going to crumble and that little lonely hobbit is going to have to change, or become stuck right there. So start the change now.  Try something new so you’re not that Yoga Snob or a Yoga Hobbit.

briana_pranamYoga teacher and practitioner Briana Young Roane has over 350 hours teacher training and workshop experience. She started her teaching career in 2005 and since then has owned and run two different studios.  Born in Inglewood, California, and now living and working on the East Coast, Briana brings her sunny CA disposition to each and every class that she teaches whether private or group.  You can find more information about Briana and the classes she teaches on Muuyu here or continue to follow her on her own yoga blog.

 

If you liked this, you might also enjoy these two posts.  Just click on the pictures to bring you directly to the article

Muuyu Yoga, Yoga, Vinyasa                   Yoga for athletes, Muuyu yoga, yoga for weight loss, asanas

3 Questions to ask when Finding Yourself    Yoga for Athletes

4 Airplane Yoga Poses for Long Haul Travelers this Holiday

Christmas is a wonderful time to spend with family and friends but for many people that means taking long-haul flights back to hometowns or holiday destinations.   While there’s much to look forward to by making such a journey, sitting still for a long time on a plane can be less than fun, especially for your joints and muscles.  Practicing certain yoga poses during the flight can keep your blood flowing and so prevent chances of swelling,  stiffness and in,  rare cases,  developments of blood clots in a deep vein known as deep vein thrombosis.

Calming the mind – especially if you boarded your flight after a largely hectic pre-Christmas workload – and reducing overall anxiety about flying, are two further benefits.

So,  while I’m not suggesting you start with sun salutations in the aisle once the seat-belt sign has blinked off, here are 4 flight-friendly yoga poses that you can practice either while seated or when stretching your legs in the cabin and without drawing too much attention to yourself.

1. Seated Cat Cow

Aim: This is a wonderful exercise if you suffer from a fear of flying as it frees the tension or stressed emotions that you may be holding onto by releasing blockages within your spinal column.

How: On the edge of your seat, align your feet with your hips.  Place your hands lightly on top of your thighs, inhale, and roll your shoulders to arch your chest upwards and outwards.   Look towards the tip of your nose and, as you exhale, roll your spine forward.  Allow your body to follow the flow and length of every breath. Continue for 10-20 breaths.

2. Seated Spinal Twist

Aim: Relieves stress and relaxes your back.  Especially great if you’ve fallen into a crumpled sleep over your arm rest or have just finished watching two back-to-back in-flight films without standing up at any stage.

How: Sit on the edge of your seat.  Gently place the back of your right knee on top of the left, place your left hand on your right knee, and your right hand on your right armrest.  Inhale and straighten your spine (feel like the top of your head is reaching to the hand luggage storage).  Keep this length and slowly exhale while turning towards your right side.  Stay here and take 4 deep breathes before repeating on the other side.

3. Thigh Stretch

Aim: Wakens your legs and prevents stiffness in your thigh muscles.

How: If you have an aisle seat, stand next to it and place your left hand on the headrest.  Straighten your back and tuck in your navel. Lift your right foot off the floor and bend your knee (so your lower leg is behind your body). Grab your right ankle with your right hand and gently pull up until your heel is touching or moving toward your butt. Hold for 6 to 8 breaths. Gently release and switch sides.

4. Side Stretch

Aim: Lengthens the muscles between the ribs and pelvis, including the lower back. By opening the sides of the rib cage and expanding the lungs, this makes breathing easier, which is particularly helpful in the small, sometimes stuffy, confines of a plane.

How: Go for a stroll around the cabin to re-energize your body.  Find a little space – usually there’s a little more room outside the bathroom area towards the back of the plane.  Step back with your feet hip width.  Raise your right arm, sideways, toward the sky. When you exhale, keeping your chin tucked in, lean over to left side until you feel a gentle stretch on your right side.  Hold for 5-10 breaths before repeating the other side.

Of course, do be mindful of others and your own safety when practicing these or any other yoga poses on the plane.  Remember to drink plenty of water throughout the flight also to keep yourself hydrated.   Most of all, though, breathe deeply,  stay energized and have a happy and healthy holiday.

Siobhan01

Siobhan is the Head of Communication and Content with Muuyu and a co-founder of the company.  Born in Ireland she has close to 20 years’ experience working in the areas of PR, communication and journalism.  She is also the editor of the Muuyu blog.  Siobhan has been practicing yoga on and off for most of her adult life.  However it was while doing a post-natal yoga class when pregnant that she really began to connect with her practice and she has been a regular practitioner ever since.

Connect with Siobhan here.

If you liked this, you might also enjoy these two posts.  Just click on the pictures to bring you directly to the article.

Yoga; Yoga Asanas; Meditation              Yoga; Yoga Asanas;

How Yoga Slows You Down        What Does Yoga Actually Do?

 

United Nations Declares 21 June as ‘International Day of Yoga’

The United Nations have adopted the India-led resolution to declare 21 June International Day of Yoga.   India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who appointed a Minister for Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy,  Unani,  Siddha and Homoeopathy (AYUSH) last month,  also used his September address to the United General assembly to promote the practice and to create a global day of yoga (we wrote about it on the Muuyu blog here).

Obviously his words created a huge impact for the resolution, which was introduced by India’s ambassador to UN Asoke Mukerji, also had 175 nations joining as co-sponsors,  the highest number ever for any general assembly resolution.

Additionally, what makes the adoption of this proposal even more unique and shows just how influential yoga has become, is the fact that this was the first time such an initiative has been proposed and implemented by any country in the UN body in less than 90 days. Now, that’s pretty impressive!

Siobhan01

Siobhan is the Head of Communication and Content with Muuyu and a co-founder of the company.  Born in Ireland she has close to 20 years’ experience working in the areas of PR, communication and journalism.  She is also the editor of the Muuyu blog.  Siobhan has been practicing yoga on and off for most of her adult life.  However it was while doing a post-natal yoga class when pregnant that she really began to connect with her practice and she has been a regular practitioner ever since.

Connect with Siobhan here.

First Ever British Yoga Festival

The first ever British Yoga Festival, organized by UK’s best-selling YOGA Magazine, runs next weekend (Friday 5th until Sunday 7th December) at the Business Design Centre in Islington, London.

The Festival, which is expecting a turn-out of approximately 15,000 people from London, the UK and around the world, will showcase a host of yoga workshops, classes and demonstrations.  The line-up includes everything from Acro to Ashtanga with some Fierce Grace, Full Moon Flow and Yoga Rave  stirred in for those who like their yoga a little on the weird and wonderful side.

The impressively starry line-up of teachers includes Claire Missingham, Howard Napper, David Sye, Sonia DoubellRachel Okimo, Vena Ramphal, Dirish Shaktidas and Radhanath Swami.

YOGA Magazine and Festival organizers told Muuyu, “”When we launched in 2003 YOGA Magazine was the first dedicated UK monthly magazine to promote the benefits of a yogic lifestyle.  Now, after building up a solid reader base over the last 11 years, we felt that this was the right time to host our first ever British Yoga Festival due to the increasing appeal of yoga, and industry and reader demand for a yoga show to offer something different.”

With that in mind attendees can also look forward to a vast range of stalls and an array of activities including Ayruveda, diet and nutrition, green living and meditation and a full children’s programme.

To mark their first ever festival, YOGA Magazine will also be aiming to set a new world record for the UK’s largest indoor yoga class. This will take place on Saturday 6th December at 1.30pm and organizers are hoping for over 2,000 people to join in.

So if you’re in London next weekend, grab your mat and make your way to Islington.   To keep the industry thriving it’s important to support new and ambitious events such as the British Yoga Festival. And chances are you’ll  have fun, meet other like-minded folk and find a great class or workshop to do that you wouldn’t have had a chance to find otherwise!

For further information look here.

Siobhan01

Siobhan is the Head of Communication and Content with Muuyu and a co-founder of the company.  Born in Ireland she has close to 20 years’ experience working in the areas of PR, communication and journalism.  She is also the editor of the Muuyu blog.  Siobhan has been practicing yoga on and off for most of her adult life.  However it was while doing a post-natal yoga class when pregnant that she really began to connect with her practice and she has been a regular practitioner ever since.

Connect with Siobhan here.

 

India Appoints First Ever Minister of Yoga

India’s recent cabinet reshuffle has resulted in the creation of the first Ministry of Yoga and natural medicines.  India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a devoted yogi and vegetarian, hopes this new Department of Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy (AYUSH) will revive the regular practice of yoga among India’s citizens.  He has appointed former tourism minister Shripad Yesso Naik to take charge of the new department, which was previously under the authority of the Health Ministry.

Determined to spread the benefits of yogic living, Modi even used his September address to the United Nations General Assembly to promote the practice and call on member countries to mark June 21 as International Yoga Day.

In his speech he said, “Yoga should not be just an exercise for us but it should be a means to get connected with the world and with nature.  It should bring a change in our lifestyle and create awareness in us, and it can help fighting against climate change.”

India’s mission to the U.N. has started preparing a draft resolution on the possibility of an International Yoga Day with support already from countries such as the United States, Canada, China, Nepal and Bhutan.

Siobhan01

Siobhan is the Head of Communication and Content with Muuyu and a co-founder of the company.  Born in Ireland she has close to 20 years’ experience working in the areas of PR, communication and journalism.  She is also the editor of the Muuyu blog.  Siobhan has been practicing yoga on and off for most of her adult life.  However it was while doing a post-natal yoga class when pregnant that she really began to connect with her practice and she has been a regular practitioner ever since.

Connect with Siobhan here.

 

My Yoga Journey: Donna Davidge Connecting Life, Yoga & Theodore Roosevelt

Muuyu recently had the privilege of interviewing prolific yogini Donna (Amrita) Davidge about her life, practice and Kundalini yoga.

How long have you been teaching yoga and what types of yoga do you teach?

I have been teaching yoga nearly 3 decades. For the first 14 years I taught exclusively Kundalini.  Then I added Ashtanga, Dharma Yoga and finally Iyengar to my Kundalini teaching and practice.   So I teach all of these and have a regular, weekly Kundalini class on Muuyu.

How did you find your way to yoga?

I found my way to yoga first in a class at University of New Hampshire in the 1970’s where I was a distance runner.  Later, in my early twenties in the late 70’s, after I had earned my masters as a nutritionist, I picked up yoga again via audio cassettes – remember yoga was not mainstream at that time!

However, my real path to yoga came via Kundalini, which I discovered in NY City in 1985 with Ravi Singh.  I had been on an outer journey, adventuring to Europe to model from 1982-1985, which had been challenging in many ways, and the inner journey of Kundalini yoga resonated with me immediately.  What drew me to this style was its inner focus, the work from the chakras and with energy.  I was an athlete so I was not as concerned with physical prowess as with how the energy worked in my body, particularly as I am high energy and tend toward nervous energy. Having this type of energy is a great gift if you learn how to channel it.

In yoga you often hear mention of Kundalini energy, but what exactly is that?

Kundalini is the life force energy in the body, often envisioned as a serpent as exhibited in the medical symbol. The idea is that the kundalini is awakened from the base of the spine when the shushumna (central spine channel) is opened through yoga and meditation.

For someone approaching a Kundalini class for the first time how should they expect it to differ from Hatha and Vinyasa?

First of all Kundalini is not a left brain yoga! Though it works the brain and, of course, you need both parts for the practice it is very different than, for example, Iyengar, which I love, but which but is very focused on facts and proper physical alignment.

Let me explain that a bit more- our teacher Yogi Bhajan, with whom I studied for about 15 years before he died in 2004, said that Kundalini Yoga was taught to give the student an experience.  So for someone used to doing Hatha or Vinyasa I would say simply have an open mind. I often say do not expect a trikonasana or headstand here and no flowing sun salutes. Instead leave your expectations at the door.

How did you get your name Amrita and what is the meaning behind it?

Amrita was given to me by Yogi Bhajan in 1987.  Ravi Singh, who had encouraged me to start teaching, said I needed a spiritual name and took me up to Yogi Bhajan on one of his NYC visits.  He bases it on your birthday- mine is the same as Joan of Arc and Martin Luther King. Yogi Bajan wrote my birthday 1-15-55 on a small scrap of paper and said “Princess of the Nectar of God, very special name” and that was it. In Sanskrit it means the elixir of immortality and nurturance.

In yoga we are meant to believe our soul is immortal and as I get older I see myself more as a nurturer to students,  almost like a mother.  I think the yoga retreat I established at Sewall House is a big part of that.  Alongside this I am very big into preserving life, being an animal activist and vegetarian for example.

Can you share with us the origins of and current activities at your yoga retreat, Sewall House?

Sewall House originally belonged to my great grandfather, Bill Sewall. I never met him, but an interesting fact about him was that he had been a very instrumental part in Theodore Roosevelt’s life.  When TR was a sickly college student he visited Sewall House three times, with each visit lasting for three weeks.   Sewall House was, at the time, an informal Inn in this tiny northern Maine town my family had founded. Trekking in the woods, sitting by the lake and rivers, meeting the loggers and climbing Mount Katahdin were all part of TR’s healing and he remained lifelong friends with Bill Sewall.  There is one book in particular, ‘Becoming Teddy Roosevelt’ by Andrew Vietze, that focuses on their journey.

I purchased Sewall House in 1997, really on a wing and a prayer. The house had stood empty for 18 months after my great-aunt died and I wanted to maintain the contents, the history, the tradition and the legacy of healing and bring it back into modern times through yoga.  I broke my back when I was 22 skydiving and was hit by a cab on my bike in NYC when I was 41 so I truly believe in yoga, healthy eating and nature as healers.

This now is the theme at Sewall House.  We have no corporate backers or investors- we are simply run on yogic principles of living in the moment and with as much truth and integrity and fun as we can. We like to think we are as loving and welcoming to our guests as Bill Sewall was to TR and many come back and do become friends.

Since we only have 5-7 bedrooms available at any time (depending on staff and work study) the experience is personalized and much smaller than the many yoga retreats that have come on the scene since I started 18 years ago. We hike, kayak, do yoga and eat together but everyone has private rooms and the area is beautiful and the town is quaint and quiet. We have always offered massage as well.

What is it you hope most to impart to students?

I wish to inspire them to know and accept themselves better, to understand yoga as a lifelong, individualized practice. I like to make people laugh so occasionally in a class I throw in something to make them happy I hope (a story or quote ). I also like to see my students’ progress at their own pace. That way they can make their own breakthroughs without me pushing.  I think in teaching we need to create a space of allowing and see what happens. Of course, sometimes we may see something and need to speak and see if the student trusts our intentions. This is what Yogi Bhajan would call poke, provoke and elevate …with love!

What is the most important gift or lesson yoga has brought to you?

The most valuable gift yoga has given me is the ability to work on myself and hopefully set an example to others even if they have no idea what yoga means totally.

The other day I got to speak briefly at a conservation group in Maine regarding an environmental fight I have led in Maine and lost. The loss is really painful because ridges are being dynamited, pristine previously preserved forests are being clear-cut in huge acreage and animals and birds will die and be gravely injured as a result of this.   A naturalist I had not seen in years but who had studied yoga with me was at the meeting and wrote me afterward that my words moved her to tears and that despite this battle, which has been very challenging, my light showed through.

I think Yoga shows us how to keep going, not just in our progression from one pose to something more advanced, but to a lifestyle where you can turn to yoga instead of things like alcohol and drugs when you have to face challenging feelings about yourself and your situations in life.

Yoga has been such an integral part of your primary life experiences for over 20 years, so what does yoga actually mean to you now?

Yoga is a lifestyle, yoga is my family and yoga is a path and a journey which changes during different phases just like life and our bodies and minds.

 

Yoga, Kundalini, Yoga Retreat, Asanas, Ashtanga, Iyengar Yoga

A former student of Yogi Bhajan, Donna also studied with Pattabhis Jois, the father of Ashtanga yoga, Rod Stryker, Ana Forrest, David Life and Gurmukh.   She has worked consistently for the last 30 years as a yoga teacher to a wide range of clients from A-list celebrities to people with life-threatening illnesses.   Her joy is to help people pave their own path to a consistent yoga practice and over the years she has shared her expertise through appearances on syndicated TV and radio shows across the States and numerous national publications.  Contact Donna at her website or on Muuyu to request a class.

 

Yoga for Athletes: 3 Hamstring Openers for Lower Back Relief

When I trained for my first half-marathon last year, I put together a three-part series of yoga poses that would open tight hamstrings and their supporting muscle groups to do after every run.  Tight hamstrings are the common culprit of lower back pain and frequently contribute to back injuries in yogis, runners and office warriors alike.

Hamstrings are a finicky group of three muscles located on the backs of our thighs.  Two of the muscles (semitendinosus and semimembranosus) stem from the sitz bones and connect along the inner side of the knee. The other one (biceps femoris) also originates at the sitz bones but connects along the outer side of the knee.  When these muscles lose their elasticity they tend to lock the pelvis, removing the normal curve of the lumbar spine and flattening the lower back.  This rigidity makes your back work extra hard to accomplish simple tasks like bending down to pick something up, let alone what I and most fitness fiends ask of our bodies on a daily basis. Without proper attention to caring for tight hamstrings you are bound to end up achy, or worse, injured.

Fret not! With daily stretching you can start to proactively compensate for rigidity, mend your hamstrings and ease lower back pain.

Check out my favorite yoga poses for providing some much-needed TLC to your hamstrings below. All three poses are designed for all people of all abilities and all body types.

#1: Modified Extended Hand-to-Foot Pose

  1. Stand with one leg extended onto a chair, straight but not locked out. Your heel should rest on the chair’s seat.
  2. Take a strap (or belt) and sling it around your lifted foot, holding onto either end with your hands.
  3. Square your hips to the front edge of the chair and bend forward until you feel a gentle stretch, adjusting your strap to the appropriate length.  Hold and breathe into that initial feeling of tightness for 90 seconds to three minutes.  With each inhale try to lengthen through both sides of the body.  With each exhale slowly hinge forward millimeter by millimeter, tightening up on your strap as necessary.  Ground down through your standing leg for stability.
  4. Once you’ve completed your long hold, relax and switch legs.

#2: Supine Hand to Foot Pose

  1. Lying on your back, loop a strap (or belt) around your right foot and extend the sole of your foot toward the ceiling.  If you know you have tight hamstrings you can bend your left knee, planting the left foot firmly on the ground and enabling the right leg to straighten out.
  2. Gradually pull the strap toward you until you feel a gentle stretch, adjusting it to the appropriate length by wrapping the loose ends around your hands.
  3. Hold and breathe into that initial feeling of tightness for 90 seconds to three minutes.  Let comfort be your guide—this should feel good and if it doesn’t you’re likely pulling too hard or too fast. With each inhale try to ground down through your rest leg and length through the heel of your extended leg.  With each exhale slowly pull your leg closer to your torso, little by little, cinching up on your strap as necessary.  Make sure you stabilize both hips on the mat—perhaps even draping a heavy blanket across your belt line—to keep the stretch in your hamstrings.
  4. Once you’ve completed your long hold, relax and switch legs.

#3: Supine Bound Angle Pose

This third pose (also known as Reclining Butterfly) focuses on the supporting cast of tight hamstrings and an achy lower back: the adductor group.  Adductors, or inner thigh muscles, and groin muscles are closely linked to stiff hamstrings.  When big muscles like the hamstrings or quadriceps get overworked as they often do, adductors and abductors are left underdeveloped.  This common imbalance can lead to injury.  The muscles of your inner and outer thighs play a crucial role in stabilization and movement of the legs and pelvis.

One of the key functions of adductors for athletes is that they pull your legs in toward the mid-line so that as you run your weight stays balanced on your planted foot and your gait doesn’t bow outward, which can lead to rolled ankles and stress on outer knee ligaments. Since they help keep you upright as you stride from left to right, they’re also key to getting maximal power out of each and every step. What athlete doesn’t want a little extra oomph wherever they can get it?

  1. Lie down on your back.  Bend your knees bringing the soles of your feet together and allowing the knees to fall open to either side.
  2. Add a pillow under each knee or wrap a strap around your ankles as depicted to enable yourself to remain comfortable and feel supported in this pose as you hold for 90 seconds to three minutes.  Your arms can rest by your side, or atop your hip bones if you’re using a strap. Be sure your elbows relax to the mat and you release any tension in your shoulders, neck and jaw.
  3. When you’re ready to let go of the pose draw your knees into your chest, give them a strong hug and take Happy Baby pose to neutralize the spine and feel some nice compression on your hip-flexors.

An important reminder—the key to safe hamstring stretching is to ease in, listen to your body for signs you might be pushing too far, and hold each pose for at least 90 seconds (and ideally a full three minutes.)  Holding a pose for this amount of time allows your body’s connective tissues to open up and release.  Aim to do these stretches after your run, or any activity that warms the muscles.

Amy_Rizzotto01

Amy Rizzotto, RYT-200, is a food and fitness loving blogger, yoga instructor, nutrition coach  and studio owner based in Washington, DC. Amy’s passion is looking at the space where yoga and nutrition fuse for optimal athletic performance and overall mind/body wellness. MOAR-fit.com serves as her platform for sharing words of motivation, tasty recipes for health and workout tips. You can learn more about what she’s up to by following her on Facebook, Instagram, PInterestTwitter and Muuyu.

If you enjoyed this you might also like these two posts.  Click on the pictures to bring you directly to the articles.

Amy Rizzotto_MOARfit_Yoga for Athletes_2            Beautiful Woman Practicing Yoga Outside In Nature

Balance out Indulgence                 How Your Words Can Prevent Injury

Smart Mat to take Yoga to the Next Level – And Beyond!

There’s been a lot of buzz lately in the yoga world about SmartMat. The world’s first yoga mat with embedded sensor technology it basically simulates the adjustments of a real live yoga teacher to guide you through a series of visual and audio yoga poses based on your own personal positioning on the mat.

Launching on the crowdfunding site Indiegogo in late September, Smart Mat reached its funding goal of $110,000 in less than 24 hours – Proof, if you needed it, that yoga practitioners were not afraid to embrace futuristic technology if it promised a fresh and complementary way to evolve their yoga experience.

With the 31-day Indiegogo campaign due to close tomorrow (31 October) with double their original financial goal raised, Smart Mat have now been able to extend the campaign to run up to December which may allow them to meet further development milestones in addition to the core feature of pre-programmed course work.

These include custom music options and fitness add-ons to help with weight loss, back pain and to support athlete workouts, multi-user support enabling the whole family to use it  and the ability to program whatever class you want from a database of 62 poses.

“The stretch goals (on Indiegogo) are already in the roadmap and we do plan on developing each and every one of them.”  Smart Mat CEO and practicing yogi, Neyma Jahan told Muuyu.  “Getting the funding and reaching the goals simply means that we will be able to implement them sooner than later.”

For Jahan and the team the aim of Smart Mat is not to replace teachers and studio-based classes but to enhance the yoga practice for both beginners and the more advanced yogi.

“While there will never be a replacement for human intuition and instruction,” Jahan says.  “What Smart Mat offers can be considered a complement.  A computerized brain will never be able to accurately read the thousands of elements a trained Yoga teacher can decipher just by looking at the student for a moment.  However at the same time, a human will never be able to read the micro points of balance and equilibrium required to achieve a “Perfect Pose” based on the specific measurements of the practitioners body.”

He adds, “It’s our hope that Smart Mat allows the practitioner to take their practice to the next level with this futuristic technology.”

Finding a balance between the ancient yogic tradition and, this futuristic fitness technology is hugely important to the company and all the additional add-on classes and programs take this into consideration.  Indeed, as Jahan states, “As Yoga practitioners ourselves it is important for us to create coursework that really meets the needs of our community.”

Sounds good to us – but what do you think?

Siobhan01

Siobhan is the Head of Communication and Content with Muuyu and a co-founder of the company.  Born in Ireland she has close to 20 years’ experience working in the areas of PR, communication and journalism.  She is also the editor of the Muuyu blog.  Siobhan has been practicing yoga on and off for most of her adult life.  However it was while doing a post-natal yoga class when pregnant that she really began to connect with her practice and she has been a regular practitioner ever since.

Connect with Siobhan here.

My Yoga Journey: Kathy Scott

People come to yoga (or yoga comes to them) at different times in life.  Regardless of age, circumstances and geography.  With this in mind we wanted to make a space on this blog so that people could share their own yoga journey.  We’re happy that yoga practitioner of many years, Kathy Scott, founder of the Yoga Salon  and a woman who has brought yoga to so many people in  numerous unique and fun ways, is our first invited guest to post her story.

Looking back on my life it feels like I was always somehow chasing the light

I was living a cool, crazy life in London in the late 90’s.  I had started a serious Masters in Cultural Theory & Criticism and was completely immersed in everything from opera to visual art, music, theatre and dance by day.  By night I was immersed in the underground club scene and ripping up various dance floors till dawn.  My mother had recently died and I was determined to escape feeling anything about it.  This hedonistic lifestyle was the perfect solution – I kept running away until I started running on empty.

One morning on my way home from a party I noticed a poster for a Hatha Yoga classes outside a tube station in North London and felt somehow drawn to investigate it further.  The class was in a dance studio at the local gym, which was mostly populated by gangsters and hardcore bodybuilders. I tentatively showed up to check out what it was all about.  I can remember struggling and shaking through that first class.  I came up against contracted and stuck places everywhere – in my body, in my mind and especially in my heart.  I felt totally inadequate as everyone there seemed completely in the yoga zone but somehow I ambled through with a lot of grit and not so much grace.

I can distinctly remember the afterglow now, emerging slowly into the cool night air and feeling properly alive for the first time in my life, ever.  I remember walking home past the hip-hop kids in the park ‘smiling out loud’. It felt like coming home.  I kept showing up and soon began to practice regularly, intensely drawn to the slow, sweet release.

The journey has been like a long passionate love affair with plenty of resistance and tears along the way.  It has lured me all over the world from the beaches of Sydney to the jungles of Goa, remote ashrams in the wilds to huge gatherings in New York and San Francisco.  I am lucky enough to have practiced and studied with some of the most gifted teachers on the planet and become friends for life with fellow yogi nomads.

It’s an intimate journey that goes deeper and deeper – it keeps on giving. The practice has become a path of transformation helping me to climb slowly back into my body and finally connect with my heart.  It has led to amazing opportunities to share some of the learning’s and to set up The Yoga Salon with my best yogi friend Mari Kennedy.  Together we have taught in art museums, theatres, parks, festivals, circus tents and other extraordinary cultural spaces with live music and great company.  We are now gearing up for our first international adventure and taking The Yoga Salon to Portugal.  We have designed the experience to bring people on that journey of transformation through yoga, exploration and creativity.  We are interested in what happens when people come together to connect and play in inspiring surroundings.  If you feel the call to adventure check out www.theyogasalon.net.

Maybe meet you there….

Kat Profile PicYogi, curious cultural connecter & nomad, Kathy Scott has been practicing and teaching yoga for over 10 years. She is deeply influenced by the teachings of Elena Brower, Seane Corn, Sally Kempton, Kia Miller, Tara Brach, James Higgins and many more luminaries on and off the mat. She is behind many creative art projects including The Yoga Salon, The Trailblazery, the ireland : iceland project, and The Wonderlust Stage at Body & Soul. She teaches regular Yoga & Mindfulness classes at The Yoga Room and at The Fringe Lab, Temple Bar in Dublin City Centre. She has hosted yoga classes at Ireland’s national theatre, The Abbey Theatre, Galway Arts Festival, Dartmouth Square and The World Famous Spiegeltent. She also teaches in the corporate sector and private one-on-one classes in Ireland.

If you would like to share your yoga journey on our blog please get in touch here