The Not-So-Scientific 7-Minute Yoga Class

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I love exercise sequence diagrams; I have a whole binder full of them. A favorite, lately, is the Times’ Scientific 7-Minute Workout. Twelve exercises, done for 30 seconds each (with a 10-second rest in between), with a focus on increasing heart rate and working all the main muscle groups. It’s great when you’re traveling and have no equipment.

This morning I wondered what a yoga version of that might look like. So, I kept the diagram in front of me as I practiced this morning. It kept me going for 45 minutes, and felt great!

 

The Not-So-Scientific, Not-7-Minute Yoga Class

inspired by the NYT’s Scientific 7-minute Workout

7-9 breaths in each pose, if possible

 

  1. breathing:
    • standing arm raises w/breathing
    • standing crescent (side, side, back, front)
  2. leg warmup:
    • chair
  3. arm warmup:
    • sun salutation A x5, one breath each
      • step back right, step forward
      • step back left, step forward
      • step back right, jump forward
      • step back left, jump forward
      • jump back and forward
    • sun salutation B variation, x2, one breath each
      • jump back
      • up/down/split dog
      • warrior I, II
      • extended side angle
      • chatarunga
      • up/down dog
      • jump forward
  4. abs sequence, 5x
    • boat
    • half boat
  5. lunge sequence, each side:
    • down dog
    • lunge
    • leaning lunge
    • revolved lunge
    • revolved bound lunge
    • revolved bound half moon
  6. revolved chair
  7. handstand practice, each side:
    • L-shaped / splits at wall
  8. forearm plank
    • dolphin
    • forearm plank and hold
  9. leg lifts, each side
    • standing hand to big toe
    • standing hand to big toe expanded
    • standing hand to big toe, no hand
    • dancer
    • standing half ankle to knee
    • flying crow
  10. hip stretch, each side
    • split prep
    • splits
    • splits forward bend
    • revolved pigeon prep
  11. arm strength, each side:
    • side plank
  12. relaxation
    • foam roller on the IT band
    • meditation (grounding)

East Yoga Returns

East Yoga

Really happy to hear that East Yoga has reopened after last year’s fire, in a new space that’s bigger and brighter than the last.

When flames and smoke destroyed our sanctuary, students and teachers stuck with us. We practiced in hair salons, park lawns and community centers. People organized fundraisers, donated money and generously gave their time and expertise. It was a year of perseverance, but also one of togetherness and love for which we are forever grateful and inspired.

They’re having a reopening party this Saturday, November 2nd, as well as discounts on new monthly passes:

Reopening Party!: On November 2nd, the one year anniversary of Sandy, we invite everyone to our new studio: old and new students, friends and family. The party will feature a free yoga class open to all levels, followed by food, drinks, music and fun.

Discounted Monthly Pass: During all of November, we’re offering one month of unlimited yoga for $111 (normally $180) for both returning and new students

The new space is at 96 Avenue B (btw 6th & 7th), 2nd Floor. eastyoga.com

 

Laughing Lotus Summit

Laughing Lotus

I had a wonderful time at the Laughing Lotus summit this weekend. Valuable lectures, powerful classes, healthy food, and exuberant people. Their press team had invited me to attend, and I was very happy to join the teachers, alumni and community there. Laughing Lotus was my home studio for a couple years after I did my vinyasa training (at Atmananda), and I am a big fan of Dana Flynn. It was a pleasure to return, after a few years of Anusara, and enjoy the non-stop dancing flow once again.

An early start to the day (7am) was a good excuse to take it easy Friday night, and prioritize health for the weekend. Empty sidewalks created a feeling of retreat, right within the city.

The studio was as warm and welcoming as I remembered. Every badge said VIP :) Jamie Lyn started us off with simple chanting, and then a silent meditation. So nice and centering. I always forget how much stronger meditating in a group can be.

From there I went to Sun Celebrations with Mary Dana Abbott and Kate Duyn Cariati. They are both so vibrant and smart, it was a blast. We warmed up with lots of sun salutation variations (and great tunes), and they kept us sweating as they tag-teamed teaching. People were dancing, laughing, singing throughout the class. Annie Mulgrew assisted and the three of them made me feel very well-adjusted :)

Kate also taught the prenatal lecture after that. I’ve not ever had prenatal training, and she gave us great notes on her experience from private clients, group classes, and her own practice through pregnancy. I learned a TON and am looking forward to passing it on to my mama friends!

At the lunch break I chatted with the crew, and then headed to the big room to quiet down for a while. Dana told us a story of the previous tenants’ refusal to vacate the new space, until she showed up with a copy of the lease and a bullhorn! True lotus spirit :)

For my afternoon session, Alison Cramer taught Ayurvedic approaches to Lotus Flow. She gave a clear and entertaining overview of the doshas, and practical tips for adjusting our lifestyles. We closed with an hour or so of cooling asana for Pitta season. (Slower tempo, fewer poses, quieter music and cues, fewer inversions and backbends, more forward bends, hip and heart opening.) I was expecting a typical restorative class but she gave us a full vinyasa experience (to keep those strong pitta brains engaged), with a gentle closing. Delicious.

I was filled up and wiped out (in a great way) by the end of it — asleep before 10pm, and still asleep through my alarm the next morning ;) Very grateful to receive all this wisdom, great big thanks to Lisa Merckle and crew for organizing a wonderful weekend!

(This year’s summit sponsored the Lineage Project, a great initiative to bring yoga to at-risk and incarcerated youth. Consider a donation? http://lineageproject.org/)

Next weekend: Laughing Lotus staycation

I’m really excited to be attending the Laughing Lotus summit/conference/reunion/staycation next weekend (June 14-16). Do other studios do this? It’s a great idea. Bring your community back together for a yearly reunion, and provide continuing education at the same time. There are 2-3 options for each main time slot, so you can personalize your studies. Topics include safety in inversions, Ayurvedic approaches to sequencing, guidelines for prenatal classes, setting up a teaching website, how to teach basics — and of course lots of fun asana. And chanting.

Classes will be taught by  Dana Trixie Flynn, Alison Cramer, Sheri Celentano, Mary Dana Abbott, Lauren Magarelli, Kate Duyn Cariati, Emily Stone and more.

And this year the Summit sponsors the Lineage Project, which provides yoga and meditation to at?risk and incarcerated youth (age 10 to 21) as an alternative to stress, violence and incarcerations. I’m really happy to see efforts to expand the diversity and accessibility of yoga in the US.

I’ll be there Saturday and Sunday, say hello if you’re going!

More info

Yoga Resource Practice Manual eBook

I was recently asked to review a new yoga eBook, and it looked pretty cool. Darren Rhodes successfully kickstartered the Yoga Resource Practice Manual, a 360-pose guidebook that’s totally digital. You can browse everything on the computer, your phone, your Kindle, and more. Here’s the preview:

I’d seen Darren’s awesome poster (From Tadasana to Savasana) in the back of my Anusara studio, but didn’t know much about his style. The poster and the book show his love of B.K.S. Iyengar’s Light on Yoga; each presents a comprehensive index of poses, showing a range of forms the human body can take. (Darren actually created that poster as he learned to do each and every pose in Light on Yoga. Read his piece on Elephant Journal for more details.)

Yoga Resource Practice Manual eBookThe book was nice to browse, I skimmed it as I planned a Saturday morning class with a friend. Each category has some important explanatory text, and a cool diagram of the main alignment cues. You can save poses to your favorites, add notes, or highlight the text. You can quickly find the alignment instructions for any pose, as well as a little piece of inspiration in the “refinement” section. I liked these personal notes a lot, and would actually like to see a book of just these details!

As a student, you can choose new poses by browsing categories and picking a photograph. It would be good for discovering new poses outside of your regular classes, and for getting all their alignment details in one organized place.

I hope that future versions let you create and save actual sequences — I saved a bunch of poses and notes, and they were all mixed together in the sidebar. Beginners might also appreciate some default sequences, or some instructions on how to sequence a home practice.

I also wanted to know why I might choose one pose versus another, so that there are goals beyond the shape. After the category intros, there’s not a lot of details on particular benefits (or contraindications).

Accommodating injuries is (still) my current challenge, so (as a side note) I’d also love to hear more about what Darren learned from his intense approach to asana, his breaks from it, and his current practice. He writes:

“Consider viewing hatha yoga as a sport instead of as a remedy for injury and health issues. In that context, when injury occurs in your practice it simply goes with the territory. The aim of hatha yoga is certainly not to injure you. Nor is that the aim of any sport. However, in both sports and yoga, injury does occur. In my view, that is not necessarily a problem.”

That seems like a healthy relationship to injury, but I still haven’t decided if I want to agree!

I’d recommend this book for intermediate students in good health, and for any teacher wanting an inspiring, comprehensive index with clear and efficient alignment instructions. Thanks Darren.

 

 

East Yoga Under Fire

I’m very sorry to hear that East Yoga suffered a fire on November 4th, which destroyed much of the studio. As a small, local, independently-owned business, I’m sure this is extra difficult. They’ve been a fixture in Alphabet City for years, and I hope the community can help them get rolling again!

Ways to help them recover:

Support the Fundraising Campaign
We need to meet our $10,000 goal by December 9th to cover expenses related to the fire. Donate through our partners at Lucky Ant. Any amount helps, and we’re offering free classes to reward your generosity!

Attend Classes
We’re holding classes at various temporary locations, including Alphabet City Sanctuary. Check our schedule for the latest updates.

Donate Skills
We are in particular need of legal services and real estate assistance. If anyone skilled in these areas can offer advice/reduced rates, please contact us at info@eastyoga.com with the subject line “Donating Skills.”

Follow them on Facebook and Twitter for more.

Why Handstands Are Hard

Yesterday I realized: handstands are hard because you can’t see yourself at all. You stare at the floor between your hands, and even if you wanted to turn and look at your alignment, you couldn’t. Even with a mirror, you can get only cursory information. You need a teacher to tell you what you’re actually doing.

They also take full-body strength. You push your feet towards the ceiling as if you’re trying to leave footprints, squeeze your legs together, contract your whole torso towards your navel, anchor the shoulder blades together, straighten the arms strongly, press through the whole hand… it takes a while for all those muscles to be even.

[I started learning at the wall, to get oriented, and then L-shaped handstands, to get used to having my back towards an empty room, and then full handstands in the park, where the landing was softer.]

Like any pose, they will eventually be easy. You get over the fear. You learn how to fall out of them. You learn to “flow up” — kick up towards the ceiling, not up-and-over.

[That last one I learned Monday at Studio Anya with Derek. He can jump into a floating Crow (knees off of arms), then press up into handstand, before you even figure out where the trip wires are located. Budokon!!!]

And there is something psychological about learning to stand on your own two hands. I’m getting my work life together in a way I never have before, and it’s funny that once I started telling myself “I can do this!” in handstand, repeating it until there was no space in my head for any other option, the same was true for running my own business.

Happy handstanding!

Yoga Union opening new studio next Friday

Yoga UnionI’m very excited to hear that Alison West, senior Iyengar teacher and co-founder of Yoga for NY, is expanding her NYC presence. Yoga Union Center for Backcare & Scoliosis will remain open on 28th Street, and the new Yoga Union will open across the street.

Offering both the largest number of rope wall stations in New York City, as well as ceiling slings that allow practitioners to take the discipline to a “higher” level, Yoga Union provides a unique setting for “Cross-Over Yoga,” where students can take both Structural and Flow classes.

They’re having two events next weekend:

Opening Party and Kirtan
Saturday, September 10th
7:00 PM

9/11 Memorial Yoga Flow Class and Meditation with Alison West
Sunday, September 11th
10:00 AM – 12:00 PM

Congratulations Alison!

10% off Prenatal Teacher Training this weekend

Carrie Parker Gastel
Carrie Parker Gastel

There’s a growing (ha) need for prenatal teachers — if you’ve been thinking about getting the certification, there’s a deal this weekend. YogaWorks (Union Square) is offering a prenatal training for “yoga teachers, doulas, labor and delivery nurses, childbirth educators, midwives, and pregnant women interested in deepening their practice.”

Taught by Lamaze certified Childbirth Educator / yoga instructor Carrie Parker Gastel, the training will cover the physiological process of pregnancy and birth, asanas for “optimal fetal positioning” and easier labor and birth, asana modifications and contraindications, pelvic bodywork, kegels, pain coping techniques, vocalization, mantra, and more.

Yogoer readers get 10% off!

Download the flyer

June 4-5, 2011
Saturday, 12:30-8:30pm
Sunday, 12:30-6:00pm

YogaWorks Union Square
138 5th Avenue, 4th floor

To register call Nicole Montes at 646.442.6203

 

yoga for lightness