Congrats to the Crane Yoga School Graduates!

The five women in Crane Yoga School reinvigorated my love for teaching. Each week, we met for about 8 hours of hard work, laughter, philosophizing, and camaraderie.  In they end, they taught well curated, humble, nurturing, and healing classes like pro's. I can't wait for them to go into the yoga world and teach. We were lucky enough to have a killer adjunct faculty this year with Nikki Villela, Lauren Haythe, Ali Cramer, Erin Dudley, Margherita Tisato, Hira Lesea, and Lindsay Ashmun. I thank each and every one of them for helping steer the Crane Yoga School ship.  John O'Donohue said, "Though the human body is born complete in one moment, the birth of the human heart is an ongoing process. It is being birthed in every experience of your life. Everything that happens to you has the potential to deepen you. It brings to birth within you new territories of the heart." The experience of leading a training "birthed within" me new territories of my heart. I didn’t know I could love teaching so much. These women were focused, humble, intelligent, radiant. And I was lucky to be able to absorb some of their light as we studied together. 

The five women in Crane Yoga School reinvigorated my love for teaching. Each week, we met for about 8 hours of hard work, laughter, philosophizing, and camaraderie.  In they end, they taught well curated, humble, nurturing, and healing classes like pro's. I can't wait for them to go into the yoga world and teach. We were lucky enough to have a killer adjunct faculty this year with Nikki Villela, Lauren Haythe, Ali Cramer, Erin Dudley, Margherita Tisato, Hira Lesea, and Lindsay Ashmun. I thank each and every one of them for helping steer the Crane Yoga School ship. 

John O'Donohue said, "Though the human body is born complete in one moment, the birth of the human heart is an ongoing process. It is being birthed in every experience of your life. Everything that happens to you has the potential to deepen you. It brings to birth within you new territories of the heart." The experience of leading a training "birthed within" me new territories of my heart. I didn’t know I could love teaching so much. These women were focused, humble, intelligent, radiant. And I was lucky to be able to absorb some of their light as we studied together. 

Broaden the shoulder blades in Adho Mukha Svanasana

After class tonight someone asked me what I meant by broadening the tops of the shoulder blades apart. Here's a vid to illustrate the action and how it frees the neck. If you don't have a stellar adjustment from Chris Roberti to help you, try energetically pulling the hands apart on your mat. Ignore my hyperextended elbows and splayed pinkies, please.

Leg Swings for days

Channeling my college dance days here... Exhale drop knees to the right and swing the left leg and arm across the body inhale pass through center. Exhale drop to the left and so on. Go with gravity. Let go of effort and control of the body and give in to momentum (hidden life lesson!). Think of it as a pendulum swing with the greatest velocity reached at the bottom of the swing. It is a beautiful way to hydrate the hip and shoulder joints and turn off the thinking mind. Typically you would keep the swinging leg's big toe connected to the earth but it doesn't quite work with a non-slippery surface or yoga mat so I broke the rules and did it free floating and it felt good. I could do these for hours and hours. 

Shine light into the ribs...

Exhale as you side bend. Inhale back to center. Keep the legs and pelvis as stable as possible. Imagine the sun is shining directly into the outer seam of your left ribs when you side bend right and vice versa. Do this over and over again. I like to start very slowly then move faster and faster- almost like a kundalini kriya. 

Hyper-mobility Syndrome

Read this article by Bernadette Birny. As a hyper flexible person, I understand wanting to sink into poses - it used to feel oh so good. Now, I have become a hyper conservative on the mat and I rarely do full expressions of poses. My body feels much better, especially my joints. Yoga teachers, let's try to help the hypermobile resist sinking into their joints before injury occurs. Provide boundaries for students.

Please watch this video with the wise and inclusive Maty Ezraty. She's able to navigate the complex world of yoga without shutting anyone out regardless of age, athletic ability, gender, etc. This is a must watch for all yoga teachers regardless of their style. 

Thumb to Hips Twisted Lunge Tips

Another "thumb to hip crease" video for the series. In a high lunge twist, hook the thumb into the hip crease of the leg that is forward. Pull the hip crease back as you draw the chest forward. Keep the back leg straight and hug the thighs towards your midline. Stack your front knee over the front ankle. Twist at the waist not your hips. For those of you jonesing for a dose of Chris Roberti, his beautiful posture is an exciting feature of this clip.‪#‎thumbstohipsseries‬ ‪#‎yoga‬ ‪#‎twist‬

Thumbs to Hips Forward Fold (Uttanasana) Tips

This feels oh so good. Another variation on the "thumb to hip crease" theme. Many people fold forward at the waist which leads to compression & back pain. Instead, on an inhale, place the thumbs in the hip creases and vigorously pull them back. In opposition, reach the lungs forward to elongate the spine. Exhale, fold over your legs from the hip creases. Give another tug of the hip creases up to the ceiling once you're in the fold to help lift the ASIS (fronts of hip points) off the thighs. Flexy people, don't dump the belly towards the floor on your way into the fold. Keep weight evenly distributed in fronts & backs of feet rather than loading the weight in the heels. If you can't fold with out hunching your back, bend your knees. Prioritize length in the spine NOT your hamstrings. Also, try not to be distracted by my gorgeous husband in the background.

Thumb to Hip Crease Pyramid Pose - Tutorial

A student asked me what I meant by "thumb to hip crease" to help draw the front hip back in parsvottonasana (pyramid). Here's a quick tutorial video. it's one of the best feelings in the world. It helps bring traction and length to the spine to free up the lungs. With the left leg forward, inhale draw the left hip back as you elongate the spine by moving the heart and lungs forward. Keep the spine long as you bring right kidney toward the left shin and fold toward your left leg. I hope this video helps more than the sometimes insane "yoga speak" that we teachers assume everyone understands. #donthunchuseblocks #parsvottonasana

Louis C.K. and why we have back pain...

Why do we experience so much back pain? Which emotions are tied to specific back pain? I was randomly watching an episode of Louie, and was stunned (and pleasantly surprised) to see an enlightening scene about our spine. 

In said episode, Louie hurts his back and goes to the doctor who says something like the following: "There's nothing we can do. The spine was designed for horizontal movement but humans made it vertical. However, it's not designed to be vertical and hold all of that weight. So, the discs bulge and slip and swell. It'll take another 20,000 years for it to adapt to being upright. It's an engineering mis-design. We were given a clothesline and we're using it as a flagpole."

Pre- and Post-Exercise Stretching: Pros and Cons

If you're interested in "stretching", read this article by Thomas Myers. I've been thinking a lot about "stretching" lately. There is so much conflicting information out there. While this article does not give any easy answers, he does bring up some interesting points.  "Islands of supreme tension within the ocean of availability" is the best phrase in the piece...

Nepal Benefit Success

I had a beautiful time teaching at Kula Yoga Project to raise funds for the Red Cross' efforts in Nepal. Kula Yoga Project raised almost $2,000 for the Red Cross in just one day.