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Sunday, October 25, 2015

Tip of the Week: Slow and Steady Standing Bow

Bikram Yoga SLC instructor Mike Schenk

A common mistake in Standing Bow Pulling Pose is rushing to get into the fullest expression of the posture.  If you can do the posture with your best form and alignment; depth will come with time. Bikram says, “Take the time to get yourself firmly grounded and set on your standing leg before you bring your body forward and down. When you begin to move, take your time and stay in control. The most important advice I can give you here is don’t be in a hurry to dive into this position.”

The standing leg is your foundation. Keep the knee locked with a firm contraction of thigh. If you don't feel that you have the balance to go forward yet, stay in this position until you have a firm foundation.

Once you begin kicking against your hand, your knee should go straight back, your hips should stay level. The arcing of the spine, keeping balance, and holding the knee and hips in the right alignment should be your main focus before you begin to lower your upper body. All of this is difficult to do if you aren't concentrating on each element as you move slowly into the posture.

Even advanced students should, from time to time, slow it way down. Make sure that you can stop the posture at any moment and hold it still, move a millimeter more, then more, until the final posture is inevitable.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Tip of the Week: Don't Rotate Hips in Balancing Stick

In Balancing Stick, pay attention to your hip alignment. Strive to keep both hips in one line from the side. Typically the lifted leg will want to pull that side of the hip up. If this happens, adjust & have both hips aligned, parallel to the floor. Make sure one hip does not lift higher than the other. This will guarantee a beautiful hamstring stretch on the standing leg, will keep your spine straight, and will help to keep your balance in the posture. 

 In the above photo, the hip of Sara's lifted leg is rotated upwards making it difficult to maintain her balance. 
 In this photo, Sara's hips are in one line from the side, parallel to the floor. She is now able to maintain her balance while stretching the hamstring of her standing leg.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Tip of the Week: Progress Through Journaling

"Your journal, like your mat, is your refuge, a place where you can let your guard down, discover who you really are, and celebrate that discovery." - Bruce Black

Have you ever thought of journaling to monitor your progress in your yoga practice? Keeping note of how you're feeling in your mind or body can help to deepen your practice both on and off the mat. The following is a journal entry that student Tanja Fraughton shared with us. It's such an endearing reminder to honor who you are and where you are today, and to remember how far you've come. What are you doing today that would make the younger you proud?

Journal entries: Notes from yesterday are my instructions for living today. 


It's fun to witness personal evolution. To be brave enough to release old ways of experiencing life. To dive deep into uncharted territory with full confidence in the ability to come out alive and refined by the experience. Having been so diligent at writing in my journal as a child has allowed me to actually witness where things changed in my outlook. It's also been a gift to see that I've been consistent in some core beliefs and attitudes that are innate in my personality. A resiliency and determination when no one else seemed to notice. I get to share those moments with the me of now! Often times throughout my journal entries I would write notes to my future self asking if I'd accomplished certain goals. Today as I was in yoga class and felt like surrendering in a couple different postures, I found myself pushing through so as to make my young self proud. It was cool! It's like I have access to a time machine to get to know my young self and learn to love her so as to learn how to truly love myself of now. I can see where my younger self started to struggle and develop fear due to unfortunate circumstances; I can comfort her in a way that would not have been possible had I not kept a daily account. I'm very blessed in life. I am grateful for who I've been, who I've become, and who I'll always be. The journals are a treasured gift. The nicest thing I could have ever done for myself.

~Thank you Tanja for giving us a peek into your private journal. You are an inspiration to us all! 

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Tip of the Week: Set Your Intention

Today's Tip of the Week is to "set your intention". We hear this in class all the time, but what exactly does it mean? Setting an intention means to set a clear goal in your mind of what it is you want to accomplish.  What is it specifically that you need to work on in your practice? Is it breathing only through your nose? Then set your intention for the class to keep your mouth closed through the entire class, focusing on consistently breathing in and out through your nose in a calm manner. 

Do you keep falling out of the standing postures? Then set your intention before each posture by telling yourself, "I am not going to fall. I'm locking my knee, I'm going to stay balanced, I can do this." Have a clear mind set that your intention for your practice is to stay focused on your balance.

Throughout class are you dreading the moment your instructor says "Camel Time!"? Then before the class starts, set your intention to give 100% in Camel Pose today. Even if you can't reach your ankles, you are going to reach back as far as you can because this just might be the day it happens.

Know that you can do anything you set your mind to. Do more than just going through the motions in class. By setting an intention and following through with it, you will feel even more of a sense of accomplishment at the end of class, and your practice will become stronger.