thankful thursday: poses 41/52

IMG_20141010_212307 I'm thankful for Tiffany Cruikshank + Yogaglo for getting me into this crazy pose. A variation of Grasshopper. There are many interpretations of this pose...baby Grasshopper, full Grasshopper, or the odd variation above.

This class on Yogaglo and this class will get you there. If you're not on Yogaglo and you'd like to try this pose, I suggest the following articles and tutorials. It is a massive twist and insane hip opener, but also requires a decent amount of strength. That troubling and puzzling thing in yoga when a pose becomes doubly hard because it takes a ton of flexibility AND strength. Also, it's one of those really rare poses that is actually much harder to get into than be in.

Full Grasshopper 2014-07-01_1404178660

[embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uHAa1zXHFNc[/embed]

Baby Grasshopper

[embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-BaZTJLubrY[/embed]

I'm thankful for the internet and its resources! Without it, crazy poses like this would not be possible!

Poses 38/52: Yoga to sleep better

1530654_704311836312798_787134053_n This week we look at poses that help us sleep better. I'll be honest, I've never had any trouble sleeping. I know it seems like a humble brag, but I sleep hard. Since I was a kid, I've LOVED getting into bed and as soon as my head hits the pillow, I'm OUT. And, I usually don't bat a lash until morning when my alarm goes off. I know....I do not take this for granted and if I ever had a kid, I'm in for a rude awakening...no pun intended.

I was asked by Casper to feature my favorite poses for sleep. About a year ago I started doing 20 to 30 minutes of yin yoga before bed. It has made a huge difference in my practice. Flexibility is something I continually struggle with and stretching before bed has really helped. Here are some of my favorite resources for bedtime yoga:

Night Cap Pratice with Kathryn Budig Unfortunately, you have to be a YogaGlo subscriber to take advantage of this one. It's awesome. I use it ALL the time.

 Viparita Karani, or Legs-up-the-Wall pose

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I love this pose...not much to it, just throw your legs up the wall and get your bum as close to the wall as possible.

Upavishta Konasana -- Restorative style

restorativeforwardfold

This is my favorite thing ever right now. I'm still not fully back into my practice after having the plague...have been doing this one a lot lately. The more props the better.

Supta Baddha Konasana

[embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ptPMGkpr47g[/embed]

Or, try out this curated list of free sequences:

Yoga for Deep Sleep // Livestrong Woman

[embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bk71G6dXemc[/embed]

Bedtime Yoga // Yoga for Adrienne

[embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XOTGz-1vizY[/embed]

Bedtime Yoga // Ekhart Yoga

[embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CgcW_4vssvM[/embed]

This is not a sponsored post, but Andrew and I are in the need of a new mattress...I can't help but be tempted by Casper's products. Learn more here.

Poses 36/52: Janu Sirsasana

3e97ed66a24352664be9a8f740a9f90c Head to Knee Pose. Janu Sirasana. Simple, but not...

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This pose shows up a lot in yoga. Like most poses, I was originally introduced to it in the Primary Series of Ashtanga yoga. It looks so simple, like a simple runners stretch. However, the longer you do yoga you realize how complex it is. The deeper you get into the stretch, the more complicated the sensations. It's a super strong hamstring stretch, big hip opener, stretches your back a ton, strengthens your core, and it is also a nice twist for the spine.

Yep, it's an everything pose....like every. other. single. one.

Poses 35/52: Svarga Dvidasana

c84bac94bdb5b573b0688d0c1bb322ddBird of paradise! I saw the above photo for the first time way back when Pinterest first got going. It's been making the rounds ever since. It's amazing. So amazing I had to get out my paint and turn it into a little project last year

2013-11-24-09-23-23

Bird of paradise is one of those poses that looks insane, but is actually somewhat accessible...it just may never look like that. HA!

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This photo was taken June 2013...haven't snapped a recent one of my BOP in awhile, curious to see my progress. I try to practice it almost every day. But then again, I love to balance on one leg and most don't so, you know. Do what you want!

Again, Ekhart Yoga comes through with a free 10 minute sequence to get you there.

 

[embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jv2BE0UEz5c[/embed]

I also discovered Stacey Welu and her YouTube series, Asana Diagnostics. AMAZING tricks and tips!

[embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qlYFbGK-HNs[/embed]

Poses 32/52: Salabhasana

10616420_567103710066510_2144891624_n I'm not even going to pretend. I hate this pose. Really, I do.

I'm not a huge fan of the "belly-down" backbends. I like bow pose okay, but Salabhasana or Locust?! Boo. Because I hate it so much, I tend to avoid it, which means I'm not very "good" at it. This summer, I made myself practice it regularly and, lo and behold, it got easy and less horrible!!?! Duh. Like everything in yoga, it doesn't get better unless you DO IT.

I do a Google image search on every one of my pose posts and I have to say that this one gave me some of the most varied results...all I can say is, what the what?!

images (1) images posture108 viparita_shalabhasana_by_odie1049-d6ckewb

 

If you need a thorough and more reasonable visual with excellent instruction, check out Yoga Journal's pose guide here.

Or watch Adrienne give you an eight minute tutorial on it here [embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0kxczNm1xF4[/embed]

Happy lifting....it's tough to be happy when doing this pose, but try...it probably makes it easier.

Poses: 31/52: Supta Virasana

2213db5f42f2275cdeef8e5edc7a0c05 Supta Virasana or Sleeping/Reclined Hero Pose. Technically, this pose is considered restorative, but for many people, it is NOT. Super challenging. It used to be a huge struggle for me, but I started practicing it every night before bed and I am now a total convert. I, however, started out more like this:

download

It makes you feel a little silly to have an enormous tower of props behind you, but this pose has so many benefits, it's worth it. For some, having your knees in this position might be a deal breaker. In that case, a different restorative pose might be the best option. But if your knees are okay in this position of deep, deep flexion, try it. Not only does it calm the body + mind, it is wonderful for you feet, legs, hips, and low back. It's therapeutic if you're someone who is on your feet all day and also if you sit all day. It does double duty!

In addition to it's therapeutic applications, supta virasana is the gateway to deeper backbends. Stretching your quadriceps and psoas in this manner is one of the best preps for backbending ever. Here's a tutorial:

[embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=th7rpeD-N8s[/embed]

In case you haven't noticed, we have another restorative pose today. It's been a week let me tell you! All goods things, but oh man, FRIDAY. FRIDAY. FRIDAY. I'm in need of restoration!

Trader Joe's: Favorites

2012-11-09_1352490754 There have been several great "what to buy at Trader Joe's" blog posts. Some good ones:

Why I Love Trader Joes // Shutterbean

My Favorite Trader Joes Pantry Items // Shutterbean

Trader Joes Survival Guide

So, naturally, I want to do my own. I think that it's a really fun thing for some reason. So...here you have it, my favorite items (right now) at Trader Joe's:

Some old standbys-staples...i.e, I buy these every time I go:

Charles Shaw white wine Chardonnay or Pinot Grigio...Sauvignon Blanc sometimes as well. YEEEEEEE

Wild Arugula or the organic arugula Crazy price ($1.99) for a big bag of only arugula. Yum. However, one thing: some bags tend to go bad quicker than others. You gotta keep an eye on it and make pesto the second you see it going!

Frozen Wild Boreal Blueberries These are teeny tiny and so good for smoothies.

Trader Joe's Organic Fair Trade Wake Up blend coffee  Big canister of whole beans. Perfect everyday coffee.

Frozen French Green Beans Throw these frozen into a bowl with olive oil, salt and pepper, and a ton of chopped garlic. Then dump onto cookie sheet and roast according to this recipe. Amazing.

All their canned beans, raw nuts, boxed broths, oils, etc. They are amazing for that kind of thing.

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New favorites. There are some products at TJ's that I'll give a whirl, then become obsessed with and burn myself out. Here are some past and present obsessions:

Speculoos Cookie Butter Of course. It wouldn't be a TJ's round up without it. I went hard on this stuff for awhile and now hardly ever buy it. Thank god.

Chile Spiced Mango I still love this stuff.

Triple Ginger Snaps Actually, this should be probably just be "entire cookie aisle." Andrew and I will latch onto one type of cookie and then switch it up.

Dried Flattened Banana I ate so much for this last year, I can barely look at the package right now.

Currently, I am insane over these Roasted Coconut Chips and these Roasted Plaintain ChipsOMG. Ahhhhhh.

Chocolate Covered Sunflower Seeds. Whoa. They're so tiny, but so delectable.

That's all I got right now...other than a sad collection of TJ's inspired photos from my instagram archive. Ridiculous. I need help.

IMG_20140213_153943

2012-06-28_1340898828 2012-09-07_1347017166 2012-09-07_1347046248 2012-10-16_1350421253 2012-10-22_1350936515 2012-10-22_1350942246 2012-11-26_1353973533 2013-03-01_1362177459 2013-05-30_1369955910 2013-12-20_1387571500

IMG_20140204_134233 IMG_20140120_150219 2014-01-12_1389551130 2014-01-12_1389559913 2014-01-15_1389804930

 

Poses 30/52: Savasana

im-just-here-for-the-savasana First week back to school and we're moving to the new house this weekend....classes at the studio are packed...I've been waking up at 4:30ish to get yoga practice in...needless to say, our pose this week is Savasana, or Corpse pose. One of the most important poses for sure. Not sure a tutorial is needed, other than just: RELAX.

screen-shot-2011-12-17-at-11-15-04

21e86ffe7542f2a72504f2d941494508 e3b2e9c4a4cce98675570552294c32d6

Poses: 29/52: Sirasana A

10569975_1388923278021209_149601908_n Yes, that's me...doing half lotus in a HEADSTAND. I know, I know, I can't believe it myself. It was a year next month that I finally started headstanding. So crazy. So happy. I will never ever tell a student that fear is not real....because it IS. It held me back for many years. However, I'm glad it did. Because now that I'm not as scared, I've got all the other pieces of the puzzle. My core strength is there, shoulders, balance, etc. So it's play time....near a wall of course. C'mon, I'm not totally cured yet!

I've never really followed yoga celebrity Tara Stiles. This week I listened to an interview with her that I really enjoyed and I liked her approaches to headstand.

[embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IDoHCGeOO04[/embed]

[embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z6wtHly7ZNQ[/embed]

Headstanding is so rough. Yes, it's considered "the king of all asanas." But man, it's so scary! I have mad respect for anyone who is scared of it...because it is scary. Also, it's not safe for everyone. I think it's important to be very cautious with this pose.

d27838454e4d9296306d362d6c9db6fe tumblr_mewi23fgzj1r48gb2o1_250 headstand-group

 

photo sources: 1, 2, 3

Real quick--in other news, we now have official Yoga on Capitol Avenue studio shirts available!

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These are super soft, American Apparel tanks and tees. Tanks are $15, T-shirts are $20. Even if you've never been to my studio, live out of town, etc... but like the shirt, send me an email at yogaoncapitolavenue@gmail.com and I'll give you all the info!

 

Poses: 28/52 : Chaturanga Dandasana

0fe70b4f75251a4721cfba405fd4d6e4  

 

Ahhhhh yes. Four-Limbed Staff Pose, the old standby, Chaturanga Dandasana. I've shared them before, but I love Ryan Conrad's yoga illustrations. It is the building block for all other strength work in yoga (in my opinion). If you're just starting yoga and want to get stronger, work this pose like crazy. If you practice Ashtanga, that won't be a problem because you'll do at least 60 chaturangas  in the primary series alone (!!).

[embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sgbhYtKtJY0[/embed]

I find this pose to be one that scares off new students. When first instructed to do this, most people laugh and say "yeah right!" However, with a little diligence, it's easier than you think. Shoulder alignment is so important to do this pose safely. Because it is repeated so much in most vinyasa classes, it's important to be mindful of alignment. Here's a good article from Yoga Journal on this.

The other most important thing in order to master this pose? A sense of humor. For example, I really want this tank top

2329atg-w800h800z1-28533-t-rex-loves-chaturanga

 

 

52 Poses: 27/52 : Vasisthasana

5b33c9bbd6ec61bfcfb08503eb78e99b Vasisthasana or Side Plank. I love this pose!

This pose is the gateway to all arm balancing postures.

vasisthasana_rotator_cuff

The most important thing about this pose is also the place where most people commonly go wrong. The wrist in the bottom arm--it should be FORWARD of the shoulder, not right underneath.

vasisthasana_gravity

 

This will make you use muscles like serratus anterior to hold the pose, reduce wrist pain, and provide stability. And then, once you've mastered this simple form, it's time to start adding variations!

4c213a84af7751b5e5f10ae6aa956c01 3798a8980c8ec20c85ab9faa4f15db574b10b20bf64e23adcb94a871fe38da5d

 

One step at a time though! Happy (Side) Planking!

some real words about blogging + some summer items

2014-06-16 13.01.23Before I get to my list of summer items, a few words about blogging.

After chatting with my dear friend Lydia yesterday, I feel inspired to say a few things.

I love blogs...I love reading the super fancy, glossy ones like Cupcakes & Cashmere and Oh Joy! After discovering Jess Lively's blogging podcast and listening to all the back episodes on my last trip to Asheville, I almost let myself feel like I'm losing at this game. After listening to interview after interview of ladies my age talk about how they monetized their blog and are now living it up fancy style, I almost felt a little down.

Don't get me wrong, I love the podcast and will continue to listen. I have so much in common with these gals, it's like talking with friends. I've already learned so much from listening to these bloggers talk about how they work. But I am grateful because it made me realize something very important.

I've been blogging for almost three years.

Do I make money from this blog? No.

Do I have a custom website designed and hosted elsewhere? No.

I am still using Wordpress.com with a standard theme with custom design that I barely make work. 

I started blogging because I was inspired to share things I like. Because I admired (and still do) bloggers like Joy the Baker, Shutterbean, and Allie Lehman.

I run a small business in a small town and this is a great way to stay in touch with students near and friends far away. I never intended to make money here. I never intended to get massive sponsorships and present my life as picture perfect. So I'm going to stop feeling bad about myself that I'm not. I wanted a digital scrapbook of my daily life and that's what I have, in addition to the many great friendships I've made and skills I've acquired.

I thank you for reading. Because I still use Wordpress.com and their analytics are not the best, I'm not really sure how many people read. And you know what? I think I like it that way. I still love posting and will continue to do so until I find it's become a chore.

Ok. Rant over. Regarding summer, I share Katie's sentiments exactly (another amazing blogger btw. She's probably one of my favorite people on the internet...truly). This summer has been fantastic so far. No I am not receiving any money or free stuff for saying I love this stuff...it's that simple, I just really like all this. Here ya go!

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Franco Sarto Gia sandal in Chocolate. Crazy comfortable and that perfect combination of casual, but nice looking.

gia Thai Coconut Curry hummus from Roots Asheville, "The Microbrew of Hummus."  This stuff is insanely good. Kinda hard to get outside the Midwest and Southeast. Many stores in California do carry it though. Get it if you can.

IMGP1042 Gilligan & O'Malley lounge pants from Target. Yeah, you might not know this, but I kinda hate Target. (!!!!!!!!!!) Blasphemy I know. Sorry, but I think it's overpriced and not any better in quality than ahem...(cover your ears people)...Wal-Mart. However, every once in a while I go...usually when I need a new pair of sunglasses. I also found these lounge pants on sale.  I don't like wearing shorts inside at night while lounging around...weird? I don't know, I just get chilly with my legs exposed I guess. They're super soft and cool, perfect for summer.

2014-07-04 17.36.57

Prana Women's swimwear. This is the first summer in years I've regularly gone to the pool. I'm still not crazy about it, but the swimsuit I have this year makes it slightly more enjoyable. I actually don't hate this suit I got from Prana.with these bottoms...and that's truly saying something! landingPage_2

I did end up making Pioneer Woman's iced coffee. It's GOOD.

2014-06-06_1402083655 Deep Steep Rosemary Mint lotion. This is the first lotion I've bought in a long time. It smells so good! Like old school Aveda.

Deep Steep  Body Butter - Rosemary Mint

 

 

And then I have my top five songs of summer (so far). Keep in mind these are my favorite "songs of summer," not songs in general...thus, they are a little silly...

Boom Clap // Charlie XCX

[spotify id="spotify:track:63bniwRWWFGoasyhX2eQHJ" width="300" height="380" /]

Am I Wrong // Nico & Vinz

[spotify id="spotify:track:2wqaekenSQZm7hxQOYt8oE" width="300" height="380" /]

Rude // Magic!

[spotify id="spotify:track:3tCwjWLicbjsMCvXhN0WOE" width="300" height="380" /]

Don't // Ed Sheeran

[spotify id="spotify:track:1huvTbEYtgltjQRXzrNKGi" width="300" height="380" /]

She Get Me High // Luke Bryan

[spotify id="spotify:track:08zqxRvGo8zwPuTQZXp42S" width="300" height="380" /]

And there you go. If you've made down this far, I thank you again for reading. Hope you're summer is full of fun!

 

 

 

 

52 Poses: 24, 25 + 26: Surya Namaskara

sun-salutation Yeah so I realize now that I did a post celebrating our halfway point in this challenge and we've only done 23 poses...I'm not great at math, obviously, but I think 26 is half of 52 right? Sigh...

Obviously I meant we were halfway through 2014 (which is crazy). So, I'm going to cheat and get caught up with dedicating this post to the whole of Surya Namaskara A: Sun Salutation A. I'll admit it, I used to be totally bored by sun sals (as I call them...sometimes in class while teaching...ha). However, within the past few months, I've grown very fond of them. Maybe not as fond as this person:

I found that pic on pinterest...while it's kind of crazy, I also kind of LOVE IT. I've always wanted more b&w tattoos...especially in that spot, but whoa.

One my favorites, Yoga with Adrienne, has a great tutorial:

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kA4OLCHgLAI&w=854&h=510]

While browsing different things for this post, I found another video on Adrienne's channel that I found super helpful and fun:

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e7r2DEq--p8&w=854&h=510]

 

Poses: 23/52: Parsva Bakasana

IMG_4748 Parsva Bakasana or Side Crow or Crane. Yes, technically both hands are on the floor...up above I'm doing what's called "funky Side Crow" w/ a forearm variation. Here's on two hands...I love this picture from Cinthia Torres. She takes some amazing yoga photos. 9941834a2bef8dce791ad53142daa6ed

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4aVVPTXisRY&w=500&h=284]

The key is sending your weight FORWARD. You must tip so far forward that you are pretty much certain that your face is going to smash into the floor. But don't worry, that's what a yoga blanket crash pad is for! Also, do not look down when attempting this pose, but look forward. As shown above. Looking down and inward makes it just that much more challenging. Send your weight forward, look forward.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qK0p9y5hMFY&w=640&h=390]

 

Poses 22/52: Ustrasana

99cb486d807b3e4717cd272b48a61983  

BACKBEND. Yeah, yeah, yeah, this is supposed to be one of the "easiest" backbends....Riiiiiight. In my opinion, there is no other pose that induces more of a "I HATE THIS" feeling.

However, like everything else in yoga and life, if you do this pose on the regular, that feeling goes away. If you do the pose with correct alignment and an attention to strength, there is none of that--it just feels good.

This is also known as Camel Pose 1398fa09262b0a0d82266b92143880d8

For me the trick is using strength. If you really tap into the strength in your quadriceps and core, it becomes much easier to go back. Here's a good video from Kathryn Budig

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i_pQJuOpBiA&w=640&h=390]

Poses: 20/52: Parsvakonasana

da5c5873af499bf02e9b78aa86dae60d Parsvakonasana or Side (Parsva) Angle (Kona) Pose (Asana). I found some really cool infographic/photos of poses over at Yoga by Candace.

fd5093d50370efdb6c770a05f6534704Parsvakonasana is one of those poses that I used to think was just basic and boring. However, the longer I practice, the more I realize the importance of this posture. It is building the foundation for so many more advanced poses and should be treated as such.

Click here for a decent instructional video on how to do this pose from My Yoga Online.

The top photo for Bandha Yoga illustrates the muscles that are contracting...here's example of what's stretching tfl4

One of my favorite parts of this yearly challenge is discovering new yoga pose illustrators. This week we have this amazing little minimalist charcoal sketch from Janet Manalo. She has a ton more...I suggest you check her out!

utthita parsvakonasana lrg

 

 

 

Poses: 19/52: Bakasana

8514514Ahhhhh yes. One of my favorite poses ever! Crow!

Here's a great tutorial via YogaGlo:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TEXcXC8ME9Y&w=640&h=390]

Nothing prepares you for other arm balances like Crow pose...if you have a goal to get on your hands, do this pose again and again and again and again.

It strengthens the core like crazy...and your adductors and your shoulders and your arms 39c17a2350e79ed4c6c3af2cbeddb015

Of course this is also one of those poses that takes a million times of not doing it to eventually do it...don't give up. Keep trying and that moment when you lift up will be so much sweeter!

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Poses: 18/52: Virabhadrasana II

photo 4 Warrior II or Virabhadrasana II. Standard, classic, and can be very challenging if you want it to be!

warrior2_hip_reset

There are so many resources on the warrior poses...they are some of the most commonly seen postures in yoga. You really can't beat Yoga Journal's basic breakdown and how to. 

When I first starting doing yoga, I found virabhadrasana II to be kinda boring and also really hard to do at the same time...weird. In the beginning I struggled to hold my arms up without drawing the shoulders into the ears, my thighs burned, blah, blah, blah. 

Over the years I've come to really like this pose...but that doesn't mean I don't cheat sometimes: 2013-07-07 23.00.19

That thigh could totally be parallel to the floor...I just didn't feel like it ok! When you take a wide enough stance to truly bring the thigh parallel to the floor, it becomes a completely different posture and it is a doozy!

YogaGlo teacher and international wonder Noah Maze is quite a stickler on this. This video is great, showing the pose from all angles:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z_1XZ4RUkGE&w=640&h=390]