Wholehearter is moving!

Wholehearter Yoga

Wholehearter Yoga has been a beautiful labor of love over the past 7 years. I began an important part of my yoga journey within this space and maybe you have as well. I think there's something to be said for the intimacy of sharing yoga together within a home and I loved being able to welcome you all into this cozy old house.

But it is time for change. My husband and I have felt drawn toward a quieter, simpler way of life for a long time. We are now ready to pursue our dream of building a log cabin in the woods of the Laurel Highlands and working toward establishing a more retreat-like haven for ourselves and our clients. Within 48 hours of listing our house, it sold!

So now, the fun/crazy part...in the interim, we are selling our belongings and moving to an amazing Airbnb at Summer Smiles Honey Farm in Stoystown! We will live there for around a year while we build. This is an absolutely AMAZING opportunity for us to live on a farm and learn about the lifestyle skills we want to have such as beekeeping, foraging, soap-making, blacksmithing, gardening and keeping farm animals.

 We will be living in the bottom floor of this GORGEOUS old farm house.

We will be living in the bottom floor of this GORGEOUS old farm house.

 Bishop will enjoy roaming free and playing with his new best friend, Sis.

Bishop will enjoy roaming free and playing with his new best friend, Sis.

 

(*If you're interested in glamping, please check out their other adorable Airbnb units on the farm. Come visit for some yoga and farm-to-table meals, then stay the night!)

Lots of things are uncertain right now, but there are a few things I AM sure of:
- I will continue to share yoga within the Ligonier/Greensburg/Irwin area! There are plans in the works for me to teach at Moonglow, The Green Berry, possibly Ligonier as well as in the barn on the farm. If you have a need or a location, please reach out!
- As of now, all in-person private sessions will be switching to paying per session and mid-September will bring this space to a close. If you have any extra sessions to use up, please schedule ASAP.
- Watch for pop-up hikes, group classes and workshops + Skype sessions to stay in touch, no matter where I am!
- Though the route may be a bit circuitous, I am moving toward something even better. I hope you'll join me on this next adventure. :)

Thank you all so much for your continued support.
Much love,
Rosslyn

How Daily Activity Promotes a Positive Body Image

(Guest blog post by Meera Watts)

How Daily Activity Promotes a Positive Body Image (Wholehearter Yoga)

When you work on yourself every day, you pay less attention to the outcome of the workout and more about how it makes you feel. Scientifically, exercise does some incredible things to you at a cellular level that makes you feel great after a work out.  A study in an Israel University found that there are more moments of positive body image thoughts when you exercise. Daily activity is going to help you in many ways and a positive body image is one of them. You become stronger, more confident, and you will probably shed a few pounds. The most important part is how you end up feeling about yourself. Adding a daily exercise regime into your life that includes high impact workouts along with a complimentary yoga program can make a big difference in how you see yourself.

The Brain is an Active Part in How You Feel

You build more muscles and stamina when you work out daily. Climbing stairs gets easier and you also change your mood. When you work out, you release endorphins. The process is quite fascinating, when you work out, the brain sees it as a moment of stress (the fight or flight response). Your heart pressure starts to increase and the brain thinks you’re fighting something or trying to run from it. The body will then release a protein to protect the brain from stress. The protein is called Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BNDF). It not only repairs your memory but also acts as a reset. This explains why you’re so relaxed and blissed out after a workout.

Endorphins fight against stress and your brain releases them when you work out. Endorphins are said to reduce the discomfort of your workout and block the feeling of pain you might be feeling from pushing yourself. These endorphins are why you might end up feeling euphoric even thought you’ve been exerting yourself.

It’s Not Just About the Size or Shape

No matter what size or shape you are, there is another aspect to physical attributes and this includes how fit you are. When you start working out every day, whether it starts with just walking, gentle yoga or a high intensity workout, you look at yourself in a different way. As your body begins to get healthier in every way, you’ll be more at ease in your body.

Knowing that you’re strong changes something in your brain so you don’t beat yourself up as you might have done before. You’re taking the steps, you’re honoring your body and you are making changes within yourself. The weight will eventually come off but there’s something much deeper that will be taking place where your shape and size won’t matter nearly as much.

Exercise is a Form of Self-Care

When you work out, you are showing yourself that you care about your health. This will be just the beginning of your journey to changing your lifestyle completely. When you’re not happy with your body and you do nothing about it, you may take your anger out on your physical appearance which isn’t all that fair. However, when you get started on a work out regime that you are committed to, you are putting self-care into your every day.

That part of you that once looked in the mirror with distain will start to fall in love with the body you have. As your body may amaze you daily, meeting the physical challenges you give to it, you’ll feel the strength that is in you.

Exercise Reduces Stress

High intensity workouts will ease stress almost immediately and help you prevent stress for the long-term. Stress usually hits all the parts of your life when it hits you so you may feel more upset about your body when you’re stressed. Being totally relaxed allows you to stop sweating the small stuff in life. Exercise makes the brain believe that there’s something to feel stressed about in a life and death kind of way. This allows it to adapt to stressful situations in life so your reaction is much less dramatic.

Feeling terrible about how you look can make you feel low about yourself. It can affect everything in your life. As you begin to regularly exercise, you will like the way you look because your body will change. You become stronger and able to take on things you maybe never have. Then you’ll understand the separation of health and dress size.

Self image problems come from the inside so even if you end up wearing a size 4, there may still need to be some inside work done. This is where a practice like yoga can be helpful in many ways as it’s not competitive and yoga communities accept all people. Part of the philosophy is to never discriminate because we’re all equal. Also, you’ll find that yoga allows you to tap into a deeper part of yourself where you might find some of the answers you’ve been seeking.
 


Bio: Meera Watts is a yoga teacher, entrepreneur and mom. Her writing on yoga and holistic health has appeared in Elephant Journal, CureJoy, FunTimesGuide, OMtimes and others. She’s also the founder and owner of SiddhiYoga.com, a yoga teacher training school based in Singapore. Siddhi Yoga runs intensive, residential trainings in India (Rishikesh, Goa and Dharamshala), Indonesia (Bali)

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How to use nature to combat stress

nature vs. stress : wholehearter

I feel like I blog a lot about stress, stress reduction and stress management. My intention is not to focus on the negative, but to simply call attention to the types of dysfunction that we can alter. Iyengar touches on why spiritual philosophies often tend to harp on the negative (grasping desires, weaknesses, faults, and imbalances). They are trying to find, examine, and eradicate the things that cause us suffering. It's so that we can understand what can go wrong, and why, and how to stop it.

Your body sends healthy or "good" stress signals when you are hungry, when you stub your big toe or when something is amiss in your body. For many people though, we also experience stress when we are in a conversation, waiting for something, or managing our to-do lists.

Stress is meant to be an informative red flag, but for many of us, it tends to be a constant subconscious state of arousal.

I like to think about the way that animals within nature live their lives. We can learn a lot from studying and observing the natural world around us. Here are a few lessons we might take from nature:

1) Animals do not exert any excess effort for survival. If an animal can function at 75% effort, they will not push any extra. As humans, we tend to over-exert and cause extra stress because we like to show off, people-please, or strive for perfection. Ultimately, this ego-driven lifestyle only causes us suffering.

2) Animals do not worry about the future. The gift of our developed mind has plagued us with habits of worrying, anticipating, excitement, and looking ahead. Although we do need to plan for the future, animals live moment to moment in the present, addressing one thing at a time.

3) Animals automatically shut off their stress signals. Observe the way that animals move and exist in their natural environment. When not in immediate danger, animals simply do not remain stressed. Our fight or flight response is meant to be useful, not habitual.

In addition to the lessons we can learn from animals, simply being within nature is therapeutic for many reasons. I was recently reading some of the diaries of Anne Frank and I loved that one of her favorite ways to de-stress was to spend time in nature.

“The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quite alone with the heavens, nature and God. Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be and that God wishes to see people happy, amidst the simple beauty of nature. As long as this exists, and it certainly always will, I know that then there will always be comfort for every sorrow, whatever the circumstances may be. And I firmly believe that nature brings solace in all troubles.” ― Anne FrankThe Diary of a Young Girl

Sometimes, reading simple reflections like this really helps me to put my stress in perspective, so that's why I'm sharing it. If Anne Frank can cultivate peace through the beauty of nature, then it can certainly be of help to me.

Have you tried seeking out a quiet spot in nature to clear your head? It doesn't have to be a completely private and silent spot to have an effect, but you can observe any small microcosm. Whether it's sitting inside, looking at your backyard, heading to a park to sit in the woods or practicing yoga outside, natural beauty has a way of showing us it's intricate perfection and making us and our troubles feel smaller by comparison. And spring is a perfect time to try it! :)

Check out my events page for upcoming outdoor hikes and yoga practices!

3 Effective Yoga & Wellness Exercises for a Pain Free Back

Jonathan Finegold is a guest blogger today for Wholehearter Yoga! Check out his personal experience and favorite postures for a pain-free back.


Bio: Jonathan was born into yoga. In 1975, his grandfather founded Radiance Yoga, a studio in San Diego. Unsurprisingly, yoga and meditation have always been central to Jonathan’s and his family’s lives, and it continues to be a vital part of his routine. He was formerly the marketing analyst at Robbins Research International and is now the marketing director at Now Media Group, which hosts a weekly yoga class for all employees.

I suffer from mild kyphosis — my shoulders are rounded and my spine doesn’t curve the way it’s supposed to. I don’t know whether I was born with the condition, whether it was the result of a childhood of bad posture, or whether it’s a little bit of both.

My spine has caused me problems. Or, rather, I’ve caused problems for my spine.

The medically prescribed solution was to take 800 mg ibuprofens four times a day. I don’t know whether a different doctor would recommend a different approach, but it was what was recommended to me at the time.

I knew that consuming four 800 mg ibuprofens per day was not a healthy, sustainable lifestyle.

I needed an alternative. Luckily, yoga lives in my family.

 

My grandfather and aunt operate their own yoga studio, and my dad has used yoga to help relieve his own back pain, and they were able to teach me techniques for dealing with back pain in an alternative way. I want to share with you what my family has taught me because I know I’m not the only one who suffers from back pain. I’m not the only one who’s experienced, and is tired of, “traditional” pain relief.

There are so many factors that can cause back pain. Most people suffer from problems with their nerves or from spinal injuries that they have accrued one way or another. If you fit in this group, the yoga poses I’m about to share will help you too.

I’m no yoga guru, mind you. Believe me, all of these poses are easy to do and perfect for entry level yoga students.

 

Remember, if you suffer from structural spine issues, like a fused disc, it’s important to be careful with all of these poses. If you feel pain during the exercise, then the stretch needs to be modified or you may need to find a more suitable pose. Consult with a yoga instructor, such as Rosslyn, to help find an exercise that’s right for you.

Downward-Facing Dog (Sanskrit: Adho Mukha Svanasana)

 

To complete this pose, start on on your hands and knees. Your knees should be right under your hips and your hands slightly forward of your shoulders. Your toes should be tucked under and spread your palms.

 

Take a breath and lift your knees. Your knees should be slightly bent at first and your heels off the floor.

You want to pull your abdominal muscles toward your spine, straightening out and lengthening your back. Your body should be bending at the hip, so that your butt is sloping down with your legs. If your butt is the uppermost part of your body, it probably means that you need to broaden your chest and pull your stomach toward your back.

Keep your knees bent and focus on the spine, straightening your knees by bringing your thighs back only if you are able to maintain the position of your spine. Remember to keep your hands pointed forward and position your head so that your ears are touching your upper arms.

 

Hold this position for one or two minutes. To release, exhale and gradually come back to your knees.

This pose stretches several of the areas that cause back pain, including the spine, shoulders, and hamstrings. When your hamstrings are tight, this can be the cause of a lot of discomfort in your lower back, and oftentimes just stretching them can do absolute wonders.

Note that the pain relief is more than physical. Because you are mildly inverted, meaning that your heart is higher than your head in the pose, the exercise will help re-energize your body. This reduces fatigue, relieves headaches, and can even help with your confidence. This allows for a more comprehensive, holistic approach to resolving pain.

If you suffer from physical damage to your back, shoulders, or arms, please be careful. Work within your limits, and if you have any concerns speak to a medical professional first.

 

Cow Face (Sanskrit: Gomukhasana)

 

No, you’re a cow face! Just kidding. This is an actual pose, I promise.

It was suggested to me by Dr. Del Kovacevic, a dentist in nearby Greensburg. As it turns out, dentistry is one of the most at-risk professions for back problems because of how they tend to sit and hunch over the patient.

See an instructor before doing this pose if you suffer from serious neck or shoulder injuries.

To do cow face pose, start in staff pose, sitting on the floor with your legs extended straight out in front of you. Then, bend your knees and slide your left foot under your right leg to rest on the floor on the outside of the right hip. Cross your right leg over your left, and, keeping your knees stacked slide your right foot to the outside of your left hip. Ideally, each foot should sit an equal distance from your hips.

Next, you'll add the arm position. Start by stretching your right arm out to the right and rotate your hand so the thumb faces the ground. Next, bend at the elbow and sweep your arm behind your back, resting your forearm against the hollow of your lower back. Roll your right shoulder back and down as you work your right hand up toward your upper back, between your shoulder blades.

Inhale and reach your left arm forward with the palm facing up. Then, reach your arm up toward the sky and bend your elbow. Reach to grasp the fingers or your right hand.

Pro-tip: If your fingers don't meet, which is very typical, you may want to use a strap or belt.

Lift your chest, bring your right elbow toward the floor — remember to keep it tight against your torso —, and keep your left elbow next to your head.

Hold it for a minute, then release your arms, then uncross your legs. Repeat the exercise with your arms and legs reversed.

Just by reading the description I’m sure you can see how it pulls your shoulders back, straightens your spine, and helps stretch the muscles that we often contract and cramp. The benefits are comprehensive because it also helps open your hips, ankles, thighs, armpits, and triceps, and it helps with restoring balance between the left and right halves of the body.

 

Shoulder Stretch and Lat Pull Down

Bad posture can create rounded shoulders. Our shoulders also  tend to round over time, in large part because we don’t sustain our skeletal strength. I'm going to explain an easy exercise you can do to counteract this rounding of the shoulders.

Grab the nearest strap or belt, take a seat with crossed legs, and straighten your back.

Keeping your hands a bit wider than shoulder distance. Extend your arms straight out in front of you, parallel to the floor.

Inhale and bring your arms over your head. On your next exhale, bend your elbows and bring the strap behind your head. Inhale again and raise your arms, then bring them down again as you exhale. The movement is very similar to a lat pulldown at the gym.

You will feel your shoulder blades being pulled down toward your spine. This will help bring them back, stretch, and open them, relieving the stress and tension we build into our bodies.

What I like about this exercise is that it’s easy. Downward Dog and Cow Face are excellent poses and I highly recommend them, but if you’re new to yoga or would like to make sure your form is good, I highly encourage you to visit Rosslyn at the Wholehearter studio. This shoulder stretch exercise is a bit more basic and something you can pick up right away.

 

Bonus Pose: Thread the Needle (Sanskrit: Parsva Balasana)

 

I personally love this pose because, I usually feel very comfortable while holding the position. This can have to do with my own flexibility limitations and injuries. Regardless, it’s a good example of how different poses may appeal because of the unique range of capabilities of your own body.

 

You’ll start on your hands and knees, with your wrists directly under your shoulders and your knees below your hips. Your fingertips should point forward and keep your knees hip-width apart. Keep your head centered and your back flat, looking straight down at the floor.

Walk your left hand out an inch or two and exhale. Release your shoulder to the floor until your right ear and cheek are touching the mat. You should be looking toward your left now.

With your hips raised, your left arm will be stretching forward. Roll your left elbow upwards and keep it up. Make sure you are not placing weight on your head. Give your back freedom, broadening your upper back and relaxing your lower back. You should feel the tension in your muscles drain.

I cannot recommend Thread the Needle enough. Ask Rosslyn at Wholehearter to help you with your form next time you come in for your class!

I am grateful for this opportunity to share my experiences with all of you. Rosslyn is a very talented instructor with an amazing website and studio, and to have the chance to contribute is amazing. She truly cares about our world and wants to make it a better, healthier place; she is a rare, and the best, kind of hero.


 

 

 

Balancing Effort & Ease

Balancing Effort & Ease: Wholehearter Yoga

Over the years, my physical yoga practice has developed a much deeper sense of ease. This is not to say that all of the postures I practice are "easy," but that each one is most valuable if it is steady and filled with ease. It has taken me many years to appreciate this ease and create more balance within my life and asana (posture) practice. I've come to understand that yoga asana is a way to help us peel back the layers and fully experience what's going on inside.

 

 


I was surprised to learn that Patanjali describes asana only once in the ancient yoga sutras. He doesn't talk about alignment, loose hamstrings, or achieving headstand. Sutra 2.46 simply says, "Sthira Sukham Asanam."

sthira = strong; steady; stable; effort; motionless
sukham = comfortable; ease-filled; happy; light; relaxed
āsanam = asana; posture; physical practice

To put it simply: yoga asana is a balance between effort and ease. The yoga postures teach us how to make wise choices that will help us to move toward homeostasis. We will often find that balance requires us to move toward the opposite of our usual habits and comfort zones. For many of us, this means learning how to YIELD.

When an asana is done correctly, the body movements are smooth, there is lightness in the body, and freedom in the mind....Performance of the asana should be nourishing and illuminative.
— B.K.S. Iyengar.

When I began yoga practice, I liked to move quickly from one posture to the next because my comfort with exerting effort outweighed my comfort to surrender. If I was in a long-held posture, I would often (subconsciously) compensate my boredom or discomfort by trying harder, unnecessarily and to my detriment. Though I didn't think it at the time, my breath was effortful and strained, my mind always reaching ahead toward the next movement, and my body was often left feeling depleted.

My patterns in life were to push and achieve all things better, faster, more efficiently (macrocosm)....so all of these patterns were present in my asana (microcosm) as well.

It's difficult to admit this to myself, even now. But I practiced with excess effort for SO long that it understandably took me a long time to even realize it. Samskara (ingrained habits) are often subconscious and they run deep throughout every layer of our being. This realization was a huge part of my journey and it's why I'm SO big on teaching and practicing self-care now.

So the question for many of us becomes: how can we incorporate more ease (sukham) into our practice? Both on and off the mat, we're often used to pushing toward success, multitasking, or perfecting. Let's move toward making minute adjustments, refining, and quieting from the inside out. Finding sukham takes LESS effort, but more awareness...so let's pay attention today.

What are the benefits of essential oils?

 
 

If you're not familiar with essential oils or don't yet incorporate them into your lifestyle, it's fascinating to learn the many uses and benefits. I used to think that essential oils were had the same basic use as perfume: to smell good. But aromatherapy is much more than just good smells and it's only one aspect of using essential oils. Understanding how essential oils work with the body and the brain can help you to benefit more from the way you use them.

Three main ways that essential oils interact with the body:

1) Pharmacological: When essential oils enter the bloodstream, chemical changes take place when the oil reacts with enzymes, hormones, minerals...etc. Humans have used plants and herbs as medicine since we’ve existed. All over the world, people have figured out that by applying oils topically, they’re absorbed directly through the skin and into the bloodstream. A very small amount of potent oils can have drastic effects.

Essential oil constituents have the potential to affect every cell of the body within 20 minutes and then be metabolized like any other nutrient.

 At some point, much of our Western culture has forgotten about the pharmacy of nature. Essential oils offer an extra way to use plants as part of diet, reflexology, emotional wellness, massage, and immune-boosting. It can feel overwhelming at first, but with a little education, essential oils can be used to replace every synthetic drug in your medicine cabinet.

2) Physiological: This has to do with the way that the essential oil affects various systems in the body. Certain oils will stimulate or sedate various systems or organs within the body. You can also affect the way an oil is used based on which nostril you breathe into or where you apply it in relation to acupuncture (energy meridian) points.

Essential oils have the ability to affect the brain more than drugs.

The blood-brain barrier is a filtering mechanism that prevents substances from reaching the brain tissue and cerebrospinal fluid. 98% of small molecule drugs cannot cross the blood-brain barrier, which would be essential for the treatment of brain diseases and disorders. But certain essential oils can naturally cross the blood-brain barrier and impact neurotransmitter receptors therapeutically. This is why essential oils are so extremely therapeutic for any dysfunction of the brain or nervous system.

3) Psychological: When an oil is inhaled, our body has an individual response to the aroma (aromatherapy).

Our sense of smell is directly connected to the frontal lobe of the brain, so diffusing oils is one simple way to achieve a desired mood.

There are many ways to diffuse scent, without a nebulizing diffuser. You can simply inhale directly from the vial, add to a handkerchief or pillowcase, use as perfume, add in the shower or bath, or place a drop of oil on a cotton ball and add to air vents or attach to a ceiling fan. You might diffuse or inhale invigorating or citrusy oils while you’re working, and switch to soothing, earthy scents when you need to wind down. (TIP: Explore various blends of oils to find or create a combination that resonates with you and your body/brain chemistry. Everyone is different.)

Check out some of the uses of a few popular essential oils and DoTerra blends:


When going the holistic route, it’s important to choose completely pure, therapeutic-grade essential oils. Otherwise, you’re simply adding other foreign substances to your body, putting a burden on your liver and kidneys to filter. Even though they can be pricey, what’s nice about good quality essential oils is that a little goes a LONG way. Essential oils are highly concentrated, so you’re just wasting product if you use more than a few drops. For many applications, essential oils should be diluted in a carrier oil or water.

If you're looking to incorporate oils into your self-care, books are a great place to start! Modern Essentials is one really complete guide that I would recommend. Your local library or bookstore surely has many references and ideas for you...you can also just ask!

I sell DoTerra essential oil products. I chose DoTerra because they preserve purity by sourcing plants from indigenous regions all over the world. I love sharing creative ways to use oils and helping you find ones that will support you on your physical or emotional journey. I place an order on the 15th of each month, so just check in if you have any questions or are thinking about oils you might like to try!

What is Yoga?

What is Yoga?

Whether you've taken a yoga class before or not, you might still find yourself asking at some point: what exactly IS yoga? To answer that big question, we turn to the big, old, yoga texts.

The yoga sutras are one of the main ancient yoga philosophy texts. They provide a wide variety of practical knowledge and suggestions for healing the mind, body and spirit. There is so much to be gained by reading the sutras and they provide a firm foundation for any yoga practice. Without an understanding of the reasons behind yoga, it's easy to fall into a mindless practice.

Today we'll be breaking down and reflecting on just one sutra, Sutra 1.2, which describes exactly what yoga is:

“Yoga is the reflection of the fluctuations of consciousness.”

Swami Satchitanada’s translation says: “Yoga is the restraint of the modifications of the mind-stuff.”

So when we think about 'yoga,' we might think of the western ideal of a traditional yoga asana (posture) class. But nothing is mentioned here about the body, stretching or yoga asana. (In fact, asana is only actually mentioned ONCE in the entire book of the sutras!)  Sutra 1.2 is suggesting that yoga exists within the mind; from there, we have 5 types of yoga to offer us various ways to achieve restraint of the mind. Asana is just one of those paths.

Another thing to take note of about this definition is that we're not trying to 'empty the mind' completely. Rather than trying to force out thoughts, yoga asks us to begin by simply noticing how the mind fluctuates. We can then begin to notice that many of our thoughts are repetitive, negative, past, or future-oriented. You might even find that certain yoga postures result in certain types or qualities of thought. Once we notice the patterns of our consciousness, only then can we begin to develop some restraint.

"The mind is a busy thing. It is always moving. Even when we sleep, the mind is fluctuating, making up little stories, tossing flashes of color and light around, reenacting or inventing conversations and scenes that feel like reality while we’re experiencing them. Only when we wake up do we realize our dreams were “just dreams,” no matter how real they felt. We’ve all heard of lucid dreaming, right? Some people learn to recognize that they are dreaming while it’s happening, and that changes the dream. Similarly, we become lucid in our waking life when we learn to tell the difference between what is real and what is just mental noise." - MissDirt.net

To practice restraint is an active process. There is much intention behind the practice and it's most useful when we can incorporate it into our daily life. It would behoove us all to slow down, and allow enough time for stillness to listen to our thoughts. The quality of our day-to-day thoughts can often be surprising, but this process is what makes yoga so incredibly life-changing.

Our perception of reality is a direct result of the quality of our thoughts.

And it takes time to change thoughts. Many eager students, (myself included) hope to pop right into a deep state of blissful meditation without having dedicated the time and practice needed to notice and alter thoughts. Noticing 'the fluctuations' has to come before the refining process...so begin there. Begin with just a few breaths of attention. A few moments dedicated to non-judgemental acknowledgement of your thoughts. Practice easing your way into a sense of patience throughout those fluctuations. Before you know it, you're practicing yoga and mindfulness meditation. :)

 

Be well!

 

Yoga for Bookworms

Do you ever feel torn between practicing yoga or reading a great book? Great news! You don't have to choose between yoga asana and books! Enjoy the best of both worlds with some of these postures.

cow faced pose

1.) Stacked Log

Gently stack one leg on top of the other for this lovely hip-opener. Prop your back up against a wall for extra support to hold your book at eye-level.

pigeon pose

2.) Pigeon Pose

Gently tuck one leg under your body with the opposite leg extended. Lay your book between the arms and be sure to keep your neck gently lengthened.

supported pigeon

3.) Pigeon on the wall

For lightweight books, flip your pigeon up against the wall or a couch for some added chill. Draw the base of your skull away from the neck, or add a small pillow for support.

Frog pose

4.) Frog Pose

Stretch the hips and thighs open wide and prop yourself on your arms. Feel free to add support under the hips or torso if you plan on staying here for a while.

child's pose

5.) Child's Pose

Let your hips sink toward your heels and take your knees wide in balasana. Try bending your elbows to support your head in the hands.

supine twist

6.) Supine Twist

This is another one that's ideal for a paperback. Lie down and roll the knees to one side. Feel free to add support under or between the knees and visit both sides.

supported bridge pose

7.) Supported Bridge

Add a block or bolster under the back of the pelvis for this therapeutic inversion. Keep wrists over elbows to support any sized book.

Low lunge

8.) Low Lunge

Relax into a comfortable lunge, using your arms for support. Keep your book slightly in front of your shoulders so that the neck can stay long.

seated wide leg fold

9.) Seated Side Leg Fold

Stretch the legs out wide and hinge forward from the hips to your capacity. Use the arms, blocks or elbows for support and place your book on the floor or elevate it.

legs up the wall

10.) Legs up the Wall

Prop your legs up the wall or on a couch or bench. Allow gravity to do all the work to reap the benefits of this posture!

Try and enjoy some of these postures or come up with your own! If all else fails, there's always audiobooks. :)

 

Irwin Yoga Class Survey

I love sharing group yoga classes, hikes and meditations in Irwin and the surrounding local areas. There are SO many gorgeous parks and trails in our area to utilize and connecting with nature with outdoor yoga is an important part of the way I teach.

That said, as the days become shorter and the sun sets earlier and earlier, outdoor yoga classes during the week are getting a little too dark! As we transition into fall and winter, I would love to know what types of yoga class offerings might be most useful for YOU. 

Please take a moment to answer the quick survey below. If you fill in your name and email address, you will be automatically entered into a random drawing to win a FREE group class!

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