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Different Days

By | Yoga Inspiration | No Comments

This side-by-side picture shows real life. Real life on my yoga mat. I have been doing yoga for over 10 years, and the picture on the left is a current picture of my forward fold. What does this mean? This means that every day is different on your mat. Each pose can be different. Each side of your body can be different. And that is ALL OKAY.

Let me explain the difference in the two pictures of what was happening in my life:

Left Picture:

Thursday Morning. I had just spent the last 3 days traveling from Iowa to New Mexico, in a car. That’s right – in a car. I was feeling super rough from traveling and sitting in the car for so long, plus not having my normal yoga practice or teaching schedule. Meaning, not a lot of movement that I am used to. I also was not feeling like being on my mat, but I know I needed some movement, and I really needed to see where I was at that day.

Right Picture:

Saturday Morning. 2 days after the left picture was taken. I had flown home, had some issues with flights, but made it into Chicago, and had a car ride home to the Quad Cities. I had just taught a hot class with my regular Saturday morning crew, who are all AWESOME. They lift me up each Saturday morning. Plus, I was home and felt back to a normal schedule at the studio.

Now. Let’s look at the difference. Can you see it? Take another look and really think about the pose. Look how much deeper the pose on the right is, how close my torso is to my legs. See where the crown of my head is pointing? And how high my hips are?

This just shows that each day is different. Our practice will continue to change based on our dedication and our normal life routines. Things happen. Life happens. And that is ALL OKAY.

I’ll see you on your mat.

Namaste,

Kela Marie

Always Learning…

By | Life Inspiration from a Yogi | No Comments

I’ve found one of the challenges of being a yoga teacher is making sure I still have a consistent practice that is constantly learning/growing outside of what I’m instructing.  My favorite weekly treat to myself happens every Monday night from 6:30-7:30pm with Kela when I practice with my fellow yogis during our Mid-level class!  I can’t say enough good things about how amazing it is to work with people who you can learn from & grow with- and that’s what happens at the studio!

Its not uncommon to see our Backwards teachers geeking out over yoga poses between classes- which is something I didn’t think a lot of until I captured these moments on video.  The Mid-level class on this particular Monday was working on Eight-Angle pose (one of my favorites) and I was videoing after class to try and capture a good screenshot for a social media challenge.  This arm balance is challenging for me & making progress isn’t always possible without other eyes helping you from other angles.  While watching the video back I so naturally could see my dear friends/fellow teachers chiming in to answer all my questions & help me problem-solve what I had been feeling within the pose that was holding me back.  The teamwork of teachers we have is incredible, and I truly believe it provides the best possible learning experience for our students!

Whenever life gets busy & I know my practice hasn’t been as frequent, I can see that directly reflected in my teaching.  That’s around the time I hop on MindBody to get my next class scheduled & see what workshops are coming up on the website.  We’re all still learning & there’s ALWAYS more to know- that’s the beauty (and challenge) of yoga!

Namaste,

Angela

Vinyasa Variations for Back Pain

By | Yoga Sequences | No Comments

One of those more frequent struggles I hear from yogis is how uncomfortable Up-dog pose can be for those of us with back pain.  I wanted to chat today about some different variations that can keep you comfortable during your vinyasa flow.  When it comes to back bending, we want to warm up well & never ask more than your body is willing to give.  Most of us spend the majority of the day over a desk, seated, driving, etc. and don’t always have the best posture.  During class we take ourselves out of that pattern of movement & bend the spine beyond our “normal” range, which can become limited if we don’t have a regular practice.  Up-dog pose is something we do in most every class, but today we’re going to talk about 3 tips that might make the pose more comfortable & assessable for everyone!

 

  1.  Start out with a modification:  No matter how long you’ve been practicing, try beginning each practice with Sphinx or Cobra pose rather than Up-Dog pose.  This will take some of the body weight off of the lower back, making it more comfortable to extend the upper spine.  Cobra & Sphinx poses also allow us varying degrees & smoother transitions than finding only the full extension of the arms pressing into the mat for our Up-dog.
    1. How to achieve Sphinx pose: lay on your belly with elbows on the mat directly under your shoulders.  Forearms & palms will extend out from you and help to support the weight of your body while breathing into the spine for more extension.  Imagine your hips pressing into the mat while your shoulders roll down your back- widening your collar bones & taking your gaze to the sky.
    2. How to achieve Cobra pose: start by laying on your belly & place hands on either side of your chest.  Look up to the sky & peel your upper body off the mat finding a slight backbend.  *only go as far as you’re comfortable & move slowly*
  2. Visualize your Up-dog pose differently: Ready to amplify your modifications into an Up-dog pose?  From your cobra, press into the tops of your feet, activate your legs until your knees are lifted all the way off the mat.  Visualize a string from your heart up to the sky pulling your chest through your shoulders & up towards the sky- try to pull all of your body weight upwards & take any pressure out of your lower back.  Play around with how wide your feet are as well to see if that makes a difference in how your spine feels.  Imagine the collar bones pressing away from each other & activate your whole core.
  3. BREATHE: I feel like we always say this in yoga- but its true!  During your vinyasa flow is a great time to experience the full range of your Up-dog pose as part of a bigger picture.  Follow your breath as you inhale in high plank to press forward on your toes, exhale into your Chaturanga, deeply INHALE to pull your chest up & through to Up-dog, and “ride the wave” of energy as your exhale hips up & back into your Down Dog.

 

Namaste!

Credit: www.backwardsyogaiowa.com