If you are our local followers of Sunrise Yoga, you know it has been HOT, HOT, HOT the past few days!!!
Sunrise Yoga is not, thankfully, hot yoga. We kind of like our air conditioning. 😉
As spinachandyoga.com says, “Summer is here. The time of year with the longest daylight hours and a bright sun that is heating up everything and everyone. When overheated, we tend to become more competitive, self-critical, and agitated.” The article goes on to say, “In the Summer, yoga practice should be quieting, cooling, and calming. If you noticed a strong desire to spend most of the time in your last class in Child’s pose, your intuition is guiding you in the right direction.”
Every season brings on different elements of which we need to stay aware. “During summer our body tends to heat up, aggravating the ‘pitta’ dosha. According to Ayurveda, human body has three doshas (humours) – vata, pitta and kapha. Pitta is basically driven by solar energy, so we need to cool down our internal heat energy in summer to maintain equilibrium,” says urbanpro.com. Ayurveda is based on the idea of balance in bodily systems (Let us know if you need more information on this and watch for future Ayurveda workshops at Sunrise Yoga!).
According to Christine Gianas Weinheimer on everydayayurveda.org, in addition to making you feel too hot, a few signs of too much Pitta include:
So, how can yoga play a part in bringing back some spring time to the Pitta? Continuing from everydayayurveda.org, “Certain Yoga poses, or asanas, can help release Pitta heat. Specifically, this heat tends to accumulate in the mid-section of the body, cooling and detoxifying the liver, and preventing excess heat from moving upward in the body.”
Suggested poses include:
Matsyasana (Fish Pose)
Ustrasana (Camel Pose)
Shavasana (Corpse Pose)
Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend Pose)
Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose)
Dhanurasana (Bow Pose)
Utthita Parsvakonasana (Extended Side Angle)
Paschimottanasana (Seated Forward Bend)
Pada hastasana (Hands to Feet)
Meru Vakrasana (Simple Spinal Twist)
Ardha Matsyendrasana (Semi Spinal Seated Twist)
Supta Vajrasana (Sleeping Thunderbolt or Diamond Pose)
Sarvangasana (Shoulder Stand)
A key to practicing yoga during the scorching summer heat is to slow down and focus as much internally as you do externally. Body awareness can help you feel cooler and calmer.
If you have questions about the poses, email us at info@SunriseYoga.net. And come to class! Our instructors can assist you in finding your cool spot!
And now, excuse us as we go back into child’s pose!
When you were a beginner yogi (yesterday, a year ago, a decade ago??), what did you know about yoga and yoga poses? Did you have any familiarity with yoga poses, yoga terminology, yoga “etiquette”?
(Be sure to read to the end for a special offer for new yoga students!)
Simply mentioning yoga to someone who has never experienced yoga can send a message of fear and intimidation to someone unfamiliar with yoga. What do you remember about your first yoga experience?
In her article, 10 Things to Know Before Your First Yoga Class, Lizzie Fuhr notes, “Revered in a yoga practice, the idea of a “beginner’s mind” means heading to your mat with no preconceived notions about what you can or can’t accomplish or poses you can or can’t do. Keeping this positive outlook and leaving expectations at the door will result in the best experience possible.”
What do you think? Would you have recommended differently?
• Child’s Pose
• Downward Facing Dog
• Warrior 1
• Warrior 2
• Seated Forward Bend
• Four-Limbed Staff
• Seated Half-Spinal Twist
If you are now practicing yoga, you obviously overcame any difficulties, challenges, or misconceptions about yoga after your first class. How was your first experience different from what you thought it would be?
“Some will tell you that yoga is too slow and boring instead it is an intense and holistic exercise. This ancient form of fitness with roots in India focuses on developing balance, strength and flexibility. Don’t let anyone misguide you as these are all consequences of practicing yoga and not prerequisites. No one expects you to master the poses on the very first day. Yoga is all about pushing past your body’s limits over time,” says Shivangana Vasudeva, NDTV.
Classes are available at Sunrise Yoga for those just beginning their exploration of yoga and for experienced students who wish to broaden and expand their practice. Each class contains yoga poses of the body, breathing practices, meditation, and relaxation. You and your instructor will develop a personalized approach to each pose creating a greater awareness of your body and mind in motion and in stillness. You are encouraged to work at your own pace honoring your limitations and abilities. Our staff is welcoming and highly trained to guide you through your yoga journey.
Sunrise Yoga has many classes appropriate for those new to yoga. Visit the Sunrise Yoga web site to see all the opportunities to move your yoga practice from an “I should do that!” stance to “I practice yoga!” stance. Our instructors are all trained and certified to help any level student.
Want to know more? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, call the studio at 336-778-1233, or visit us at 6000 Meadowbrook Mall Ct #1, Clemmons, NC 27012.
PLUS . . . We have a special offer for new students!
We recommend all new students buy our low-priced unlimited 30 days of yoga on your first visit to our studio. It’s a great bargain! For less than the price of 2 drop-in classes, you can attend daily practice in all on-going, scheduled classes for 30 consecutive days. This does exclude “series” classes and special events.
Come join us!!!
Are you a prop snob or a prop proponent?
At Sunrise Yoga, we are definitely prop proponents! But there are those who feel using yoga props is a form of “cheating” or a sign of “weakness”. Here’s why we feel yoga props serve an important role in your yoga practice and can turn any “weakness” into a strength.
At Sunrise Yoga, we are dedicated to providing a safe, educational, and fun environment for the practice of yoga. Each class contains yoga poses of the body, breathing practices, meditation, and relaxation. You and your instructor will develop a personalized approach to each pose creating a greater awareness of your body and mind in motion and in stillness. You are encouraged to work at your own pace honoring your limitations and abilities.
Most of our classes and instruction reflect the teaching of B.K.S. Iyenger, considered one of the foremost yoga instructors in the world. According to the site doyogawithme.com, “The trademark of Iyengar is the intense focus on the subtleties of each posture. B.K.S. Iyengar teaches his classes from his home in Pune, India and has become one of the most influential gurus of our time. In a typical Iyengar class, poses are held much longer than in other schools of yoga, in an effort to pay closer attention to the precise musculoskeletal alignment within each asana. Another trademark of Iyengar is the use of props, such as blocks, belts, bolsters, chairs and blankets, which are used to accommodate injuries, tightness or structural imbalances, as well as teach the student how to move into a posture properly.”
Because yoga isn’t a “one size fits all” approach to exercise (and more), we take the approach to customize yoga for each participant and props help us do that. Marla Apt, Senior Intermediate level Iyengar instructor, says in featheredpipe.com, “Like the use of medical instruments, the use of props is an exacting science. The patient’s age, mobility, responsiveness to instruction and pain, psychological state and strength must all be taken into consideration and adapted to each individual. Before a pose can be modified with the use of a prop, its properties and qualities must be understood thoroughly.” Instructors at Sunrise Yoga are thoroughly trained to take this exact approach.
Marla Apt goes on to say in yoganga.com, “In his experiments with his own intensive practice, B.K.S. Iyengar began to use household and found objects to help him improve. He gradually refined and developed props specifically constructed for use in yoga. Today, many of Mr. Iyengar’s innovations with props are commonly seen in the yoga marketplace and their applications are widely used.”
Props aid alignment, balance, relaxation, stretching, and strengthening. Some of the more commonly used props include Blocks, Mats, Straps or Belts, Blankets, Bolsters, Yoga Towels, and Yoga Wheels. At Sunrise Yoga, we also employ chairs and our beautiful yoga wall.
1. Help you learn the skill involved in sustaining alignment.
2. Take unnecessary struggle out so you cultivate more of a relaxed mind.
3. Make a pose more accessible.
4. Prevent injuries and help old injuries to heal.
5. Create space in the spine and joint stability.
6. Achieve a deeper release of tension as you learn to be in a pose for longer with greater comfort.
7. Promote balance by encouraging weak parts to strengthen and less flexible areas to lengthen.
Yoga includes postures for the body, breathing practices and concentration/meditation techniques. “When we take a functional approach to yoga practice, we decide what area we want to target; we decide where we want to apply a stress to the body and the nature of the stress (either a stretching kind of stress, called tension, or a compressive form of stress, called compression.) If we cannot get the level of stress we desire in the targeted area, then we can either choose a different posture or we can employ props. Props can help to increase stress where there is too little or none at all, and props can also assist in decreasing stress if there is too much,” says author and yoga teacher, Bernie Clark, in Elephant Journal.
Need help in finding the props right for your practice? Let our staff help you shop in our boutique, send us an email to email@example.com, or discuss your needs with our instructors.
Do you have a favorite prop or two? Which ones make the most difference in your practice? Please share your prop knowledge with us!!
Do you love and care for your back all the time or only when you have back pain?
A few interesting facts about back pain provided by the American Chiropractic Association:
• Low back pain is the single leading cause of disability worldwide, according to the Global Burden of Disease 2010.
• Back pain is one of the most common reasons for missed work. In fact, back pain is the second most common reason for visits to the doctor’s office, outnumbered only by upper-respiratory infections.
• One-half of all working Americans admit to having back pain symptoms each year.
• Experts estimate that as much as 80% of the population will experience a back problem at some time in their lives.
• Most cases of back pain are mechanical or non-organic—meaning they are not caused by serious conditions, such as inflammatory arthritis, infection, fracture or cancer.
• Americans spend at least $50 billion each year on back pain—and that’s just for the more easily identified costs.
“The back” is a pretty important part of the human body so one would think caring for it should be a high priority. This area of the body is an intricate structure with many components, all of which can be strained, ruptured, or irritated resulting in pain. “The lower back where most back pain occurs includes the five vertebrae (referred to as L1-L5) in the lumbar region, which supports much of the weight of the upper body. The spaces between the vertebrae are maintained by round, rubbery pads called intervertebral discs that act like shock absorbers throughout the spinal column to cushion the bones as the body moves. Bands of tissue known as ligaments hold the vertebrae in place, and tendons attach the muscles to the spinal column. Thirty-one pairs of nerves are rooted to the spinal cord and they control body movements and transmit signals from the body to the brain,” reports the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.
“According to The American Physical Therapy Association Move Forward survey, in which over 2600 respondents shared their experiences and habits regarding back pain, 39% of adults reported that LBP prevents them from fully engaging in daily life tasks. Amongst this, 38% of adults noted it affects their exercise and 37% stating it affects their sleep,” as noted by thegoodbody.com.
And, as the graphic below depicts, again from thegoodbody.com, the number of Americans experiencing lower back pain is on the rise, especially for those 65 years old and older. This data was collected in a 2013 study by the Centers for Disease Control.
Back pain used to apply more to those who were on their feet all day or involved in work that required manual labor. Today, however, many Americans spend most of their days sitting . . . at a desk or watching tv or working on the computer. According to healthprep.com, “Sitting puts, at least, double the stress on the spine as opposed to standing. And if the body slouches when sitting it increases that pressure even more. Movement is vital to incorporate throughout the day as disks in the spine act as shock absorbers in the body and if the body remains still, these disks do not receive the necessary nutrients they need which lead to tightness and pain.”
Movement IS vital and Sunrise Yoga wants you to know how to better care for your back! We offer Back Care yoga classes at least three times each week and these classes are open to all levels of students, including those who have never taken a yoga class. And students of all ages are welcome!
MSN.com noted that, “Last year a major review of medical evidence by the University of Maryland School of Medicine in the US concluded that regular yoga sessions could improve body function and relieve pain associated with chronic lower back pain.”
In our Back Care yoga classes, students learn poses to relieve muscle tension; learn safe poses to increase flexibility in the hips, shoulders and back; practice strengthening poses to give the spine and neck adequate support; experience ways to improve posture and alignment; and learn relaxation techniques to help reduce mental stress often associated with chronic pain. These classes are suitable for all practitioners, but special care is made to assist those with back issues. Overall emphasis is also placed on building a strong and healthy back for everyone, so as to avoid future back-related problems.
Please care for your back and join us at any of the classes below:
We’ve got your back!
If you have been watching the sky, you may have noticed the moon has basically been “disappearing” over the past few days as it moves into waning crescent/new moon phase. BUT, you can be your own moon during this “dark” phase by practicing the half moon pose or Ardha Chandrasana (are-dah chan-DRAHS-anna)!
In Sanskrit, ardha translates as “half” and candra means glittering, shining, having the brilliancy or hue of light and can be translated as “moon“.
“Half Moon Pose (Ardha Chandrasana) invites you to tap into both the calm, balancing energy of the moon and the fiery force of the sun,” according to yogajournal.com. “The moon has a rich symbolic significance in yoga mythology. In hatha yoga, for example, the sun and the moon represent the two polar energies of the human body. In fact, the word hatha itself is often divided into its two constituent syllables, “ha” and “tha”, which are then esoterically interpreted as signifying the solar and lunar energies respectively.”
“Half Moon Pose is a great asana for learning how to balance and grow awareness in what can at first seem a disorienting position.”
Yoga Basics offers the following instructions for achieving the half moon pose:
1. From High Lunge with the left foot forward, inhale and step forward into the left foot, straightening the left leg. Straighten the right leg up parallel to the floor.
2. Staring at a point on the floor, place the left palm directly under the left shoulder and carefully bring the right hand to the right hip. Roll the right hip up and back so the hips face the side wall.
3. Inhale the right fingertips up towards the ceiling. Turn the head to face the side wall. Work on turning the whole torso to face the side wall.
4. Breathe and hold for 3-5 breaths.
5. To release: exhale and slowly bring both hands back to the floor and step the foot back into High Lunge.
6. Repeat on other side.
You can watch a video here on the half moon yoga pose.
Posing tips, offered by Kat Heagberg through Yoga International include:
• Keeping your front knee aligned, press your front foot down into the floor, and resist it to the right, as though you were trying to turn your front foot out, but can’t because it’s stuck to the floor.
• Keep that, and press your back foot against the wall, and resist up, as though someone was trying to push your back thigh down and you were resisting against them (your foot and leg won’t actually move, you’re just resisting).
• Maintaining this dual resistance (pressing down and resisting out with the front foot, and pressing back into the wall and resisting up with the back foot), you might even find that you’re so stable that you can not only extend your top arm up, but you might even be able to lift your bottom hand away from the block!
The pose can ease lower-back problems, relieving sacrum pain, sciatica pain, and lumbar aches, and therapeutic applications include anxiety, osteoporosis, fatigue, constipation, gastritis, indigestion, and menstrual pain.
Would you like to learn more about the half moon pose? Bring your glittering, shining, brilliant self to Sunrise Yoga and let one of our glittering, shining, brilliant instructors assist you! We would be over the moon to work with you!
Check out our class schedule to find a class that works for you. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Sunrise Yoga Studio’s founder and owner, Valerie Kiser, definitely has a passion for learning! She has pursued certifications and education in many aspects of yoga not only to deepen her own understanding and practice but to share that knowledge and experience with others.
And because she wants yoga to be better understood as more than a means to becoming more physically flexible, Valerie makes sure Sunrise Yoga offers a variety of classes for all levels of experience and for all body types. While Valerie personally teaches many of the classes offered at Sunrise Yoga, she particularly enjoys the Select Your Study classes offered weekly on Wednesdays 6:00-7:30 pm.
In the Select Your Study classes, the topics vary week to week and could include things such as specific pose work or pose type, a therapeutic theme, a particular part of the body, or more! These classes are wonderful places to learn something new or dig a little deeper in your yoga practice.
February’s Select Your Study classes included Making Friends with Handstand, Heart Opening Yoga (for Valentine’s Day!), and Flow Yoga. And on Wednesday, February 28th, Valerie will cover Yoga for Golfers! And coming in March, Strength Training for the Yogi (March 7th), Level 4 Handstands & Backbends (March 14th), Chakra Sun Salutations (March 21st), and, since Spring brings some not so nice things, Yoga for Allergies (March 28th).
Valerie welcomes your suggestions for future classes. Is there something you would like to know more about that would help you in your yoga practice? Is there an area in your life where a yoga connection could be explored? Send Valerie an email (email@example.com) with your topic ideas and questions! We like making yoga fun. We like variety. And we want to help you be passionate about learning!
Select YOUR Study and fuel YOUR passion for learning!
We are featuring the Extended Side Angle pose this month, a pose that builds strength through the entire body. We are certain Cupid practices this pose in order to prepare for all the LOVE arrows he will be sending out next week!
The Sanskrit name for this pose is Utthita Parsvakonasana (oo-TEE-tah parsh-vah-cone-AHS-anna), which translates as follows:
utthita = extended
parsva = side, flank
kona = angle
According to http://www.yogaoutlet.com/, the Extended Side Angle pose “relieves stiffness in the shoulders and back. It provides a deep stretch to the groins and hamstrings, and it also improves stamina. This pose strengthens the legs, knees, and ankles, while also stretching and toning the abdominal muscles. It is known to be therapeutic for constipation, infertility, sciatica, menstrual discomfort, and low backache.”
We would love to show you where in your posing sequence to incorporate this pose and the proper steps for executing this pose! We have many classes available for all levels as well as one on one instruction. Book your time online, through our SYS app, at the studio, or by phone!
What pose would you like to see featured here in the future?
This month’s pose is the Utthita Trikonasana (oo-TEE-tah trik-cone-AHS-anna) or Extended Triangle Pose.
From www.tummee.com, “Utthita, means extended/spread and Trikona, means triangle. In other words Utthita Trikonasana means , extended triangle pose. Uttihita Trikonasana requires mastery over the upper body, as the hips and the neck need to be turned easily. This Asana comes under the category of Standing and Balancing Asanas. They can also be considered as Hip Opener Poses.”
The benefits and focus of the extended triangle pose include improved balance and flexibility, relief from back pain, sciatica, and osteoporosis, stimulation of abdominal organs, improved digestion, increased energy and focus, stress relief, and relief from menopause symptoms. Physically, the calves, hamstrings, and ankles are strengthened, and the hips, chest, and shoulders are opened.
As Gwen demonstrates in this image, and as www.yogajournal.com points out, “You can see several triangles in the pose: Your hands and back foot are the points of one; your two feet are points of another; and your torso, arm, and front leg form the sides of yet another. The main triangle that you can see in the pose is the one at the bottom, where the floor is the base and your legs are the sides. The feet and floor form the foundation of the structure.”
Step by Step (from https://www.ekhartyoga.com):
* Facing the long edge of your mat, step your feet wide apart, about the length of your leg.
* Turn your right foot 90 degrees so the toes point to the short edge of the mat, and turn the left foot in about 45 degrees towards the right.
* Distribute weight evenly over the four corners of both feet, lift arches and inner ankles up.
* With straight legs, lift your knee caps drawing the top of thighs up and back, roll the right thigh out so the right knee is in line with first two toes.
* Lengthen through both sides of the waist, draw you lower belly in and up. Inhale and lift your arms parallel to the floor, extend through to the fingertips as you exhale.
* Inhale and reach to the right extending your body over your right leg, shift your hips towards the back of the mat and exhale as you bring your right arm down, placing your hand where it reaches, either on the leg, foot, the floor or a block outside the foot.
* Point the left arm straight up to the ceiling, hand in line with your shoulder, palm facing forwards.
* Keep as much length in the left side waist as in the right, rotate your ribs to the ceiling.
* Lengthen through the sides of the neck, keeping your neck in line with spine. Look straight in front of you, or tuck the chin slightly and turn to look up toward your left hand.
* Keep your face relaxed and breath gently as you keep pressing through the feet, extending through fingertips and lengthening through the crown of the head.
* To come out press your feet firmly into the floor, inhale and reach your left arm up to the ceiling as you come back to standing straight.
* Pivot your heels so you reverse the orientation of your feet to the other side and repeat on the left.
Warrior I ~ Virabhadrasana I
Practicing Warrior I strengthens and stretches the legs, opens the hips and chest and stretches the arms. Warrior I helps develop mental focus, balance and being grounded to the Earth. This pose improves circulation and respiration, energizing the body. Have you practiced it today? Follow these steps and give it a try!
1. From Tadasana (Mountain Pose), step your feet 3 1/2 – 4 1/2 feet apart. Turn your right foot to the right keeping your right knee in line with your right foot. Step your left foot at about 45 degrees. Bend the right knee, making sure the right knee is directly over the right ankle.
2. Bring the hands to the hips. Square the shoulders to the front wall. Relax the shoulders down and draw the shoulder blades towards the spine to open the chest.
3. Inhale the arms over the head with the palms facing each other (or you may keep your hands on the knees or the hips). Keep the shoulders relaxed and the chest lifted.
5. Inhale deeply into the belly and chest, exhale press into the feet, fingers and crown, feeling your body expanding out.
6. Keep breathing and hold for 3-6 breaths.
7. To release, exhale and lower the hands down to the floor, straighten the right leg, turn feet forward and step back together in Tadasana. Repeat the pose on the left side of the body.
Jnana Mudra is a powerful mudra (or hand position) that brings about peace, calm, and spiritual progress. It has various health benefits and is one of the most practiced mudras. Jnana Mudra stimulates the root chakra, it eases tension and depression and relates to expansion and knowledge. This mudra is profoundly calming and brings a sense of openness and ease in meditation. It is one of the most recognized and widely practiced mudras. When used with pranayama (breathing practices) and meditation, Jnana Mudra can lessen drowsiness, inspire creativity, and increase mental focus. Jnana Mudra is most often practiced with the hands resting on the thighs. This mudra can be used lying down, sitting or standing whenever you have the time to practice it. Here is the “how to” do the Jnana Mudra: Connect the thumb and the forefinger (tip to tip). The other fingers are straight and relaxed and the pressure between the thumb and forefinger is light. We invite you to try the Jnana Mudra today. May it bring a sense of calm and serenity into your day.