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Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Tip of the Week: Learn to Love the Heat with Final Savasana

Great tip from on one way to learn to love the heat in Bikram Yoga: 


Take a long final savasana

Your instincts will tell you to jump up and leave, the moment the teacher leaves the classroom. And if you’re like me, the thought of laying in a hot sweaty heap one more millisecond sounds like torture. Rest assured taking a long savasana after class will help you handle the heat in future classes. When teachers first told me this I filed it away in the “yoga teacher BS” category, but here’s how and why it works:

During class you’re working your ass off. You’re heart rate is up, the heat feels intense and you’re constantly moving. When you have time at the end of the class to relax, all of your body’s systems slowly go back to normal. This process is important for several reasons, but when it comes to the heat, you’re body has time to adjust in a way it can’t during class. When you’re in final savasana the process of adjusting to the heat happens ten fold. Think of it as a period for your body to absorb the muscle memory from the work you did in the postures AND a time for it to recalibrate to the heat.
It’s kind of like your body getting used to a hot bath. After those first few painful moments, your body eventually adjusts to the temperature of the water.

Stay in savasana for at least twenty deep, slow breaths. Your future self will thank you.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Tip of the Week: Yoga Yourself Out of Bed

Happy Monday! Wouldn't you like to start your mornings feeling refreshed instead of sluggish? Here are some yoga techniques from to help you get out of bed in the morning feeling restored.


Set Yourself Up for a Peppy Wake-up 

If you know you have to get up early, or even if you’re just not a morning person, there a few little things you can do at bedtime that will knock a few snoozes off your typical morning routine.


Eat light, not late


It’s wise to pack your heavier, protein and carb-dense meals into breakfast and lunch. Make dinner primarily veggies with a modest portion of whole grains and light, lean protein (like beans or fish). It’s also an excellent idea to avoid eating at least 4 hours before bedtime. Sugar, alcohol and caffeine are also evening enemies, making it difficult to fall asleep and even moreso to sleep well. If you know you need to be functioning at full throttle early in the AM, following these dietary tips will prevent your body from struggling to digest when it should be getting some rest!


Set your alarm earlier


Be honest with yourself — how many times do you normally hit the snooze button? Do the math, and set your alarm that many minutes earlier than you actually need to be out of bed. Utilize your snooze time to wake slowly and still get moving at a time that works best for your schedule.


Sleep in your yoga clothes


If you’re planning to start your day with a yoga practice (Yes, yes, yes! Do it!), swap your PJ’s for yoga pants! You’ll have no excuses in the morning, and yoga clothes are way cozier, anyway! While you’re at it, roll out the mat and set up your props, too. If you practice to a DVD or video, cue everything up so you can just press ‘play’.


Breathe yourself to sleep


If you’re having trouble falling asleep, skip the counting sheep and instead count the length of your breath, increasing the duration of your exhale so that it’s longer than the inhale. Let the breath be soft — not forced — and scan your body from toes to nose, inviting your breath to relax every muscle in between. If you’re still too energized, try the tense and release technique: squeeze and tense every muscle in your body, holding your breath, clenching your fists and drawing into your core for 3-5 seconds, or until you feel fatigued. Then release, and relax into your bed. Repeat 2-3 times until you feel your whole body grow lighter.

Sweet dreams!


Yoga Yourself Awake


When the dreadful alarm clock rings and you just can’t bear to move, hit snooze if you must… but then try this simple routine to get the blood and oxygen flowing so that waking comes naturally.


Fill up to wake up


The easiest way to begin waking the body doesn’t even require you to move! Stay right where you are, but begin breathing deeply. Just as if you’re waking from savasana, fill your chest to the brim, imagining that you’re flooding each and every cell with clean, energizing oxygen. Keep your eyes closed, and as you begin to feel more alert, roll onto your back and place one hand on your heart and the other on your belly. Feel your breath and feel the weight of sleep begin to shed like you’re slipping out of a heavy sleeping bag.


Stretch long and wide


When you feel ready, reach your arms overhead and take another big breath, then an even bigger one as you stretch all the way from the tips of your toes to as far as you can reach behind you. Stay here for a few breaths, letting your muscles grow longer. If you have room in your bed (and won’t kick anyone sleeping next to you…!), spread your legs and arms apart wide and stretch out like a star shining in all directions.


Give yourself a morning hug


Still moving slowly and breathing deeply, step your feet behind your hips, then hug one knee, then the other, into your chest. Wrap your arms around your shins and say “Good Morning!” to your lower back. If it feels nice, rock around gently — side to side, back and forth.


Twist into a new day


Next, take your left hand to your right knee, hug your right arm around your pillow, and drop your knees to the left for a gentle spinal twist. Let your gaze fall to the right and sink your hips into your mattress. Take 5 long, deep breaths before lifting your knees on an inhale and exhaling to the opposite side. Careful not to knee your partner, if you have one!


Sit up, Sunshine


By now, your alarm may have gone off again. Time to actually start moving out of bed. But, not so fast! Roll onto your right side and help yourself up as you would after a deep, rejuvenating savasana. Then turn yourself to the edge of your bed and let your feet hang off the side. Sit up straight and reach your heels forward, circling your ankles and stretching out your hammies. Delish!


Juicy side stretch


Let your feet come down, then beginning with your right arm, plant the left palm on your bed as you reach your right arm up and overhead for three longs breaths (see photo at the top of the page). Switch to your left, and if you have time, repeat once more on each side.


Stand tall: Ready for the day


Finally, plant your feet and on one giant inhale, stand up into tadasana (mountain pose). Feel your feet on the ground below you. Feel the expansiveness in your lunges and chest. Know that now, you’re ready for anything. Take the first step into your day with confidence and ease.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Tip of the Week: Keep Your Shoulders Away From Your Ears

As part of the Bikram dialogue, we are constantly told to keep our shoulders away from our ears. By bringing awareness to the position of the shoulders and adjusting them for optimal position, you will find comfort that may have previously been difficult to achieve. Many of us hold tension in the shoulders, often without realizing it. Poor posture and stress are common contributors to shoulder tension. The result: chronic tightening of the shoulders and a forward slump. (Check your posture while driving or typing on the computer and you’ll recognize the forward slump.)

Proper shoulder position is often overlooked during our practice due to the focus required to simply get into each posture and then maintain it. But if you take a moment to adjust the shoulders once in each pose, your level of comfort will increase. Keep in mind this one simple adjustment: Broadening the shoulders. Almost every asana can benefit from broadening the shoulders.

To broaden the shoulders, feel them move away from each other in an outward direction, and feel the heart open as the chest lifts slightly. Then, move the shoulders down away from the ears. Important to note, be sure you do not pinch the shoulders back. The movement of the shoulders away from each other is the best way to ensure the shoulders remain broad.

To effectively relax your shoulders, you need to focus on your shoulder blades (scapula) sliding down your back. The muscle that anchors the blades is the bottom part of the trapezius muscle. You also want to feel your collar bone (clavicle) widening and the scapula sliding slightly toward one another. The end effect is an open chest with relaxed shoulders and neck. Nothing should feel pinched or gripped. Imagine the scapula is a slippery bar of soap sliding up and down the back. 

From the very first breathing exercise Pranayama, as your elbows come up, your shoulders should be down. In every single posture from there on out, your shoulders should be down and away from your ears. Introduce this movement to each pose in your practice, and you will find a new sense of ease you didn’t realize you had. Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Tip of the Week: Avoid Foot Cramping

Are you experiencing muscle cramping, particularly in the feet during class? The heat associated with Bikram yoga can quickly drain the body of fluids and electrolytes, which increases cramping. However, there are several steps you can take to reduce cramping.

1. Drink plenty of water before class. Dehydration is a common cause of muscle cramps. An electrolyte drink may  help reduce cramping because it lessens the severity of electrolyte and fluid loss. Rather than a sugary sports drink, click "here" for natural electrolyte replenishment ideas. For a quick way to turn your own water into an electrolyte drink, we have electrolyte add-in drops available for purchase at the studio. It's best to drink electrolyte drinks before, rather than during or after, Bikram yoga. During and after your yoga session, continue to drink plenty of fluids.

2. Keep your toes flat, rather than curled, while standing. This is especially important during one-leg postures, during which people tend to curl their toes to maintain balance. If you find yourself reflexively curling your toes, try spreading your toes instead. This ensures the development of proper muscle strength, and will help you maintain proper form.

3. At home, massage the bottom of your feet with a tennis ball. Put the ball on the arch of your foot and roll it from side to side, front to back, and in circular motions. Anywhere you feel a little discomfort, add a little pressure to work the knots out.

4. For a toe stretch exercise for the bottom of the foot:
  •  Sit in a chair, and extend your leg so that your heel is on the floor.
  • With your hand, reach down and pull your big toe up and away from the floor. 
  • Hold the position for at least 15 to 30 seconds.
  • Repeat 2 to 4 times a session, several times a day.

put the ball on the arch of her foot, roll it around from front to back, side to side, maybe some circular motions, lateral, wherever you feel knots, roll the ball over it. If you feel a little bit of uncomofortableness, stop and add a little pressure. That's going to be key for relieving the knots out of the foot.

Read more :
put the ball on the arch of her foot, roll it around from front to back, side to side, maybe some circular motions, lateral, wherever you feel knots, roll the ball over it. If you feel a little bit of uncomofortableness, stop and add a little pressure. That's going to be key for relieving the knots out of the foot.

Read more :
3. Keep practicing Bikram yoga as often as possible. Foot cramps commonly occur as foot and leg muscles develop the strength necessary to maintain form. By regularly practicing postures, you increase muscle memory and help your body gain the muscle strength it needs to support your weight without cramping.