Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Pose of the Month!

Halloween is a celebration of things that scare us.  For many yogis, inversions are the scariest part of the asana practice.  An inversion is any pose that turns you upside down and gets your heart over your head.  Pinchamyurasana, known more commonly as “Forearm Stand” is a deep heart opener as well as a core strengthener.  A perfect pose to practice during the colder months, this pose stretches out the shoulders and warms up the core.

-Strengthens the shoulders, back, and abdomen
-Stretches the shoulders, neck, and chest
-Like all inversions, activates the “off-switch” portion of the nervous system, creating a calming effect

How to:
Before attempting this pose, ensure that the hamstrings and the shoulders are sufficiently stretched, and do some core-work as well.  Be aware that it can take years to fully realize this pose in the body, and that’s ok.  Try the steps outlined below, and stay and work where you meet your edge – one day you will push through that boundary and onto the next step. No fear!

1. Bring the skinny edge of the mat to a solid wall. Come to hands and knees and lower down onto the forearms.  See that the elbows are as wide as the shoulders and the hands are 6” to 1’ away from the wall. 

2.  Tuck the toes and lift the hips into Dolphin pose (like Down Dog but on your forearms).  Gaze forward at the thumbs.  If it is difficult to keep the elbows from winging out, use a strap and a block as pictured here:

3.  Walk the feet as close to the wall as they will go.  Keep the gaze forward at the thumbs and lift the right leg up.  Notice if the lower back collapses. If so, then scoop the naval in and up so the tailbone lengthens back.  Keep the right leg very active, and lift way up onto the ball of the left foot. 

4.  Start to put a little more effort into the rocking of the left foot and hop the left foot a few inches off the floor.  Maintain a long lower back and a long right leg.

5.  Begin to increase the size of the kicks, keeping both legs as straight as possible on the ascent.

6.  If both feet can reach the wall, lengthen the tailbone up toward the ceiling and then take the right foot off the wall so it stacks on top of the rest of the body.  Then bend the left knee and come to the left toes against the wall.  Squeeze the knees and thighs together and try straightening both legs.

7.  Repeat steps 3-6 on the opposite side.  Take Child’s Pose.

8.  As comfort increases in the pose, move farther and farther away from the wall until you can skip Step 6 and bring both feet up without stopping at the wall first.

Bye-Bye Fear!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Life is on Your Side

Life is on Your Side is a non-profit organization founded by New York Yoga instructor Joseph Glaser in memory of his sister, Erin Rose Hall, who was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer in 2009.

LIOYS is dedicated to making alternative holistic healthcare financially available to young adults living with cancer.

Joseph will be hosting a donation based yoga class at New York Yoga's York Avenue location on October 19 from 8:15-9:30. 100% of donations will go directly toward paying for the treatment of young adults dealing with cancer diagnoses.

Please join us in the studio on October 19. We hope to see you there!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Fall Candlelight Yoga

New York Yoga is being featured on Course Horse this month! They have recommended our candlelight class as one of their current classes to check out, and we tend to agree with them.

If you haven't done one of our candlelight classes before, treat yourself. Incorporating essential oils and relaxing burning candles, this yoga session will help you learn fluid transitions that allow poses to flow from one to another to develop strength, stamina and flexibility, while also calming the mind. It is at once a physical and relaxing class for the body and the mind.

Our Candlelight classes are offered on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings at 9:05pm at the York studio. We'll see you there soon.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Flipping Your practice on its head!

We were reading this great article that has a video with some helpful tips for getting your inversion practice to where it needs to be. And if looking at a video isn't helpful, if you, like me, are a more hands on practitioner, you have got to check out New York Yoga's own Lauren Harris, who will be hosting a handstand camp in the hot studio on October 13 at 6:30pm.

Getting those inversions will take your practice to the next level, and the benefits of handstand include a better sense of balance, improved circulation, full-body strengthening, and a renewed sense of self confidence.

Sign up for Lauren's workshop here. We look forward to turning your practice upside down.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Yoga for Super Bowl Champs

A recent “Yoga in America” Study found that 27.8% (or a little over 4 million) of the people who are practicing Yoga in America today are male, and that number is on a continuously upward trend. The days of classifying Yoga as a primarily female practice are over, and we have seen some excellent ways that Yoga is reaching out to a broader audience.

Dayna Macy, a spokeswoman for Yoga Journal, suggests age as one factor. “As men get older, yoga becomes much more attractive,” she said.

There has also been a wider admission by professionalathletes that Yoga has helped them in their profession. High profile players like Lebron James, Evan Longoria, and Shaquille O’Neal use their regular Yoga practice to enhance their performance. Says Lebron James, “Yoga isn't just about the body, it's also about the mind, and it's a technique that has really helped me”.

The Super Bowl Champion New YorkGiants have had Gwen Lawrence on staff as a full time Yoga instructor for 11 years, and Yoga practice is mandatory for all team rookies. Lawrence says of her philosophy: “strength plus flexibility equals power on the field. Doing these moves not only keeps players less injury prone – because a tight, rigid body is more likely to crack and break – but they also translate into power. Think of it this way: you have a bow and arrow, and the bow string is strong and unbreakable, but if it’s too tight, you can only pull it back an inch and the arrow flops down on the ground.  But when the string is flexible, you can pull it far back, and the arrow has more power. When joints are open, strong and flexible like this, they can create more power with less effort on the field.  That way, they can stay on the field longer and win the game in the end.”

When asked about Giants star quarterback Eli Manning, Lawrence says that he regularly attends yoga, and that he’s “very flexible”.

Men, there is no reason to be scared of yoga anymore. Now is the time to get back into the studio and enhance your practice with New York Yoga. Because who doesn’t want to be as flexible as a Super Bowl Champ?