Using instructional yoga videos is a way to not only develop your yoga practice but fine tune your techniques, perfect your positions, and slow a lesson down so you can see and hear all the important details.
Today’s instructional yoga video is for Cow’s Face Pose, Arms Only, also known as Gomukhasana. This yoga pose stretches the arms and shoulders, biceps and triceps, upper back and chest. It can help relieve stiff shoulders and neck as well as sciatica.
Do you have a list of yoga poses you would like to view in an instructional yoga video format? Please comment to let us know! Or, send an email to Info@SunriseYoga.net.
Our yoga walls and yoga wall classes are more and more in demand! Our students have learned that the yoga wall is one of THE best yoga props available for moving deeper into poses, for a deeper understanding of alignment, and for simply being more playful in the practice of yoga.
Because of the increased demand for additional yoga wall space and yoga wall classes, we have added both! Our newer studio space now has beautiful yoga walls and we have added a new yoga wall class that will begin on Wednesday, January 2nd, 6:00-7:30 pm.
“The principle behind the Yoga Wall has been around for decades, originally designed by BKS Iyengar in the form of ropes attached to wall hooks to assist students in various yoga asana (poses),” notes The Great Yoga Wall. Today’s updated version consists of spring loaded sockets mounted in the wall that can receive adjustable straps that accommodate every height and body type.
At Sunrise Yoga Studio, Iyengar yoga is emphasized. Iyengar yoga places emphasis on alignment and introduces the use of props. Yoga props provide support, confidence, and relaxation and assist students in practicing poses that they might not have been able to do otherwise. When the yoga wall is utilized, it provides support, aids in balance and is appropriate for those brand new to yoga as well as those who are quite experienced with yoga. The support of the yoga wall in training ultimately allows poses away from the yoga wall to be more precise while the work at the yoga wall helps students access and develop deep core muscles.
The Great Yoga Wall notes the following benefits of practicing on the yoga wall where gravity can be appreciated and utilized:
☼ Builds strength in both the large and small muscle groups
☼ Aides in the ability to access various muscle groups in poses they are not yet able to achieve on the mat
☼ Offers many therapeutic benefits helping individuals heal from athletic injuries, arthritis, degenerative disc disease, and Sciatica
☼ Can be used as a work-out tool to aid competitive athletes in cross-training and preparation for competitions
☼ Allows one to do hundreds of poses
☼ Can help students work through fear, build confidence, etc., so that they are able to take what they’ve learned on the Yoga Wall, to their mats and into their daily lives
☼ Uses specific postures and positioning, movement and breath, awareness to open the joints, connective tissue
☼ Allows standing postures, forward and back bends, twists and inversions
☼ Helps us feel great after doing yoga, because it is a balanced physical practice designed to open the spine in every direction
Just as a good yoga teacher can help you develop further in a yoga pose, so too can experiencing yoga in near weightless state by using the yoga wall! And an environment with a great yoga wall instructor (i.e., Sunrise Yoga Studio owner and director, Valerie Kiser) and an expanse of yoga wall together creates phenomenal opportunities for development in your yoga practice!
This class is appropriate for students with at least three months in Level 1 classes and above. The class size is limited.
Register through the Sunrise Yoga app, online, or through the studio. Questions? Email us at Info@SunriseYoga.net.
If you’ve ever experienced dizziness, vertigo, or any other form of imbalance, you know it can be a bit unnerving and disconcerting. As Erica Schukies writes in her article, Importance of Physical Balance, “We don’t notice our sense of balance until it’s not working like it should.”
She goes on to say, “Simply explained, a good sense of balance allows us to recognize our position relative to other objects around us, including the surface on which we are standing, walking, or running. According to Caroline DeGroot, a physical therapist and the vestibular program manager at Athletico Physical Therapy, balance is an important aspect in carrying out both simple and complex movements.”
For the most part, we take physical balance for granted. Muscles, tendons, and ligaments send signals to the brain as we move and the brain then tells the muscles how to react to maintain balance and how to move in a smooth and coordinated fashion. We can become off balance through the effects of things like medications, drugs, and alcohol, but we can also become off balance as we age due to deterioration of the vestibular system in the inner ear.
Ms. Schukies continues, “As we age, balance becomes more of an issue as our critical systems begin to weaken. According to Dr. Nathan Wei, director of the Arthritis Treatment Center in Frederick, Md., the aging process is typically associated with visual impairment, inner ear problems, cerebellar (posterior brain) issues, muscle weakness or peripheral neuropathy. And unfortunately for the elderly population, these systems all play a critical role in your body’s ability to stay vertical.”
According to physio-pedia.com, input from the Somatosensory / Proprioceptive System, the Vestibular System, and the Visual System affect the body’s equilibrium and balance, with balance being classified as either Static Balance (fixed posture) or Dynamic Balance (balance during motion). Both types of balance require power from the muscles in the body.
“Yoga does an excellent job of strengthening and stretching muscles essential for balance,” states health.harvard.edu. Yoga poses “challenge static balance, the ability to stand in one spot without swaying, and dynamic balance, the ability to anticipate and react to changes as you move. Successfully managing these tasks requires you to keep your center of gravity poised over a base of support.”
Kiersten Mooney, E-RYT 500, and cofounder of greenmonkey® partnered with the University of Miami to study the muscle utilization patterns of yoga poses. She reported in yogajournal.com, “We learned which muscles are actually being used and how active they are during each pose. For example, in electromyography (EMG) study, which records electrical activity produced by skeletal muscles, the more activated the toes in standing poses, the greater the lower leg muscle activity, therefore targeting the primary balance muscles.”
“Balance training can help build muscular endurance, increase flexibility, and, of course, improve balance,” Terecita “Ti” Blair, the 2017 SilverSneakers Instructor of the Year says (as reported by Brittany Risher on silversneakers.com). “It helps build confidence and quicken reaction time, as well as offers an opportunity to practice mindfulness and body awareness. You learn to breathe through something difficult or challenging, maintaining balance even when your world turns upside down.”
Yoga helps develop a mind body connection in addition to developing muscles. Balance requires the ability to both hold on and let go, something that improves with mind body connection. Let us help you find a series of yoga poses to not only improve your physical balance but improve your overall well-being. Contact us for suggested poses and/or for information on our numerous class opportunities. Our email address is Info@SunriseYoga.net.
We’re especially fond of free food samples and great skin care samples and quirky gadgets (but not so much on the sprays of perfume that waft over you upon entering a department store).
A sampling of something gives us the opportunity to try a product or service to see if it meets our standards, satisfies a need, and allows us to give something a test drive at an affordable (FREE!) rate without any expected commitment.
So, how would you like FREE SAMPLES of yoga and meditation?
If you are looking for a safe (and FREE) environment to try yoga and meditation, then mark your calendar for Saturday, January 5, 2019 . . . Sunrise Yoga Studio’s FREE YOGA DAY!
From 9:00 am – 12:30 pm that day you have the opportunity to try any of our 5 FREE yoga and meditation classes.
We want everyone who has had any inkling to test the yoga and meditation waters, no matter how tiny that inkling may have been, to have the opportunity to give yoga and meditation a try. Yes, we are passionate about yoga and meditation, and, yes, we think yoga and meditation is for every body and that every body is made for yoga and meditation. Yes, we’re unashamedly trying to expose you to our passion.
PLUS, SPECIAL ONE-DAY ONLY DISCOUNTS!
Purchase our New Student Special Intro Offer of 30 days for $30 and be entered in a raffle!
Bring a friend and enjoy free yoga, tea and snacks, and a Trunk Show with Twisted Friends Tie Dyes!
Questions? Email us at info@SunriseYoga.net!
**Inclement weather make-up date is Saturday, 1/12**
We’ll see you on FREE Yoga and Meditation Day, Saturday, January 5th, 2019! What better way to begin the new year?!?
P.S. Remember our Senior Services donation collection at the Studio! Be a Santa for a Senior!
In a study published in 2015 in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, researcher and scientist, Brittany Fair, as quoted in yogaresearchandbeyond.com, states, “. . . subjects with more hours of weekly yoga practice showed greater brain volumes than those subjects that practiced less. In addition, utilizing both yoga postures and meditation during practice contributed to the biggest size differences observed in the hippocampus among other regions.”
Ms. Fair combines her scientific background and her yoga teacher training expertise to lead NeuroFlow yoga workshops where the focus is on the neuroscience of yoga while moving your body and practicing yoga and helps participants understand how yoga and meditation affect the brain.
“The things we think and the things we do have a dynamic impact on our brain, our attitudes, and ultimately our reality,” notes yoga instructor, Zuzu Perkal in her Wanderlust article, How Yoga Changes Your Brain. “Yoga is all about taking what we learn on the mat (all the things we’ve discussed here today: deep breathing, softening muscles, clearing the mind, and enjoying the present moment) and bringing it into our daily lives. These are the techniques that break bad habits, eliminate negativity, and diminish stress.”
Jessica Migala, reporting for NBC news learned, “Additional observational research on mindfulness and meditation (both are large components of yoga) sheds light on how classes may actually influence your brain structure, says Jonathan Greenberg, a postdoctoral research fellow in the department of psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School. (Research on yoga alone is limited, but you can make some inferences by looking at meditation studies, he notes.) Studies looking at how the brain changes before and after meditation found that brain structures involved in awareness, attention and self-related thinking changed in structure and increased in volume, he says. Plus, there’s your memory. ‘After eight weeks of meditation training, research found that the hippocampus, which is involved in learning and memory, developed more gray matter density,’ he notes.”
Why does yoga and meditation change the way the brain works? “Yoga works not because the poses are relaxing, but because they are stressful. It is your attempts to remain calm during this stress that create yoga’s greatest neurobiological benefit,” says Alex Korb, PhD, in Psychology Today.
Sat Bir Singh Khalsa, Ph.D., has been fully engaged in basic and clinical research on the effectiveness of yoga and
meditation practices in improving physical and psychological health for over 10 years. He has also practiced a yoga lifestyle for over 40 years and is a certified Kundalini Yoga instructor. He is the Director of Research for the Kundalini Research Institute, Research Director of the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health and an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. In his book, Your Brain on Yoga, he states, “There are many different systems in our body, and our brain and genes control all of them. Although we cannot change our DNA, certain behaviors will change which genes are turned off and which are turned on. If you smoke cigarettes, for example, you may turn on genes that elevate your cancer risk. By doing yoga and contemplative practices, you will positively impact specific gene activity, which can change your physiological state and help to regulate your stress response.” He goes on to say, ” Certain areas of our brain undergo positive structural changes when we meditate. Because the brain exhibits plasticity, which means it has the ability to change, whatever you experience will be reflected in and have impact on your brain structure.”
Harvard graduate and international yoga teacher, Gina M. Florio, summarizes Dr. Khalsa’s work as well as other studies in her article, 6 Ways Yoga Changes Your Brain:
Our mission at Sunrise Yoga is to promote yoga as a lifelong process by providing opportunities and facilities for experience and development in a culture of community. We believe this process can be entered by anyone at any time, regardless of age or fitness level, and, as our name implies, we encourage each person to daily engage in this process as the relationship with yoga is explored. We want to assist you in building the mind body connection of yoga and mediation.
Is your brain in need of a remodel/upgrade? With all the evidence pointing to the positive impacts of yoga and mediation on your brain, why not give it a try? Unsure where to start? We are here to help.
If you have been practicing yoga and meditation for some time, what changes have you noticed that would support the information noted here?
Do you have trouble letting go?
Want to shift from “go-go-go” to “letting go”? Allow Elaine to lead you through supported yoga postures that will encourage deep relaxation in the Quieting the Mind session, Friday, 12/7, 6:00 pm.
Is this a time of letting go for you? What techniques have you found that help you really, truly, “let go”?
Register for Quieting the Mind with Elaine through the Sunrise Yoga app, online, or through the studio.
On this Thanksgiving Day, it can be challenging to step out from the busyness and the activities and truly remember to be thankful. This day is a reminder to us that we can be in a state of thanksgiving and gratitude every day and to try to be present wherever we are.
Here at Sunrise Yoga Studio, we often get calls asking us, “What is Yoga?” The interesting answer to that question is, “What do you need it to be?”
The reason we answer it this way is because of the individual experience involved. Your experience will be different than someone else’s because your goals are unique, what type of yoga you do varies, and how you approach the techniques and guidance can be different. One of the advantages you have of coming to see us is that we consider what your needs are, such as wellness, fitness, mental clarity, spiritual growth, peace of mind, stress relief, vitality, healing, balance, pain relief, posture, better sleep, and stamina.
We are thankful yoga can provide so many benefits in ways that are as unique as the individuals participating in yoga. And we hope that, through your yoga journey, a deeper sense of gratitude will develop.
Robert A. Emmons, Ph.D., is the world’s leading scientific expert on gratitude. He is a professor of psychology at the University of California, Davis, and the founding editor-in-chief of The Journal of Positive Psychology.
In an article for Greater Good Magazine, he states, “We’ve studied more than one thousand people, from ages eight to 80, and found that people who practice gratitude consistently report a host of benefits:”
• Stronger immune systems
• Less bothered by aches and pains
• Lower blood pressure
• Exercise more and take better care of their health
• Sleep longer and feel more refreshed upon waking
• Higher levels of positive emotions
• More alert, alive, and awake
• More joy and pleasure
• More optimism and happiness
• More helpful, generous, and compassionate
• More forgiving
• More outgoing
• Feel less lonely and isolated.
The benefits of gratitude and the benefits of yoga are not surprisingly similar! How can you incorporate gratitude development in your yoga practice?
“It can be hard to live in a constant state of gratitude, but you can learn to cultivate it by practicing yoga,” says Lena Schmidt of The Chopra Center. She suggests, “Next time you’re on your mat, try these eight yoga poses that inspire gratitude. For the best results, hold each pose for five to 10 breaths.”
Child’s Pose (Balasana) – Find gratitude for your breath—a sign that you are alive and everything is possible.
Seated Forward Fold (Paschimottanasana) – As you breathe calmly, consider one part of your body for which you are especially grateful.
Supported Reclining Heart Opener (Setu Bandhasana Variation) – Consider a friend or mentor who is dear to you and all you’ve learned from him or her. Allow the thought of this person to inspire feelings of love and gratitude in your heart.
Standing Forward Fold (Uttanasana) – Find gratitude for your feet and all the adventures they take you on.
Mountain Pose with Raised Hands (Tadasana + Urdva Hastasana) – Find gratitude for all of your hopes and dreams and the unknown adventure of the future.
Low Lunge (Anjaneyasana) – Find gratitude for an aspect of your life or a talent you hold that you appreciate.
Camel Pose (Ustrasana) – As you open your heart, throat, and shoulders, find gratitude for all the courage you’ve summoned into your life, and how it’s helped you through challenges big and small.
Final Resting Pose (Savasana) – Find compassion and gratitude for your own journey, for all of your strengths and all of your struggles.
What are your thoughts on how yoga can help create a greater sense of gratitude? We’d love to know!
We have really incredible, wonderful, caring yoga instructors at Sunrise Yoga Studio!
If you’ve taken yoga classes at Sunrise Yoga, no doubt you agree that our yoga instructors are top notch. But what makes a yoga instructor top notch?
Researching this question led to quite a few lists of the must have characteristics of a good (better yet, great) yoga instructor. What quality would be at the top of your list?
Of the eight resources reviewed, every one of them noted a good yoga instructor should have the ability to observe the surroundings and situations of the classroom, and, by paying attention to detail and drawing from the instructor’s yoga knowledge base, adjust the pace and difficulty level of the class. Leave out the word “yoga” and you have a description of a good instructor of any subject! Remaining aware of your surroundings means watching students without making them feel uncomfortable and, as they practice each pose, assisting them when necessary. Having the mental flexibility to adjust lets students know the instructor is aware and cares about their students’ wellbeing.
Another frequently mentioned quality is language or voice. The yoga instructor’s voice is a powerful tool used to guide students in and out of poses. The language and the tone of voice help the instructor tell the yoga story. The better the communication from the yoga instructor, the deeper the students can immerse themselves in their yoga practice. A good yoga instructor knows how to use language and voice to calm or energize, support or challenge, reinforce or educate. Adjusting language and voice ties back to the ability to observe the surroundings and demonstrates compassion in both words and actions.
Awareness and adjustments also relate to being present and authentic. While presence may seem a bit vague, a good yoga instructor’s teaching will reflect his or her presence and help the student stay focus and engaged. The yoga instructor’s authenticity will come across in the messages shared and the manner in which they are shared. Personalization will infuse the instructor’s energy level into the class and create the appropriate type space for each yoga class.
It would seem to go without saying that preparation, study, attention to detail, and an emphasis on safety would be evident in all yoga instructors, not just good ones, and yet these attributes were mentioned less frequently than the qualities above. A love and respect for yoga would also be expected and might be manifested in the instructor’s desire to continue learning as well as in the instructor’s own ongoing practice of yoga.
One quality mentioned only once but that would be at or near the top of our list is trust. Yoga classes can be a place of sanctuary, a place to be open to trying without fear of failure or ridicule, a place to let go of the rest of the world for a brief time. If the student doesn’t have a sense of trust in the yoga instructor to create this type space, the student will not have fully experienced quality yoga.
Sunrise Yoga holds our instructors to high standards. Our instructors have all undergone rigorous study and testing to acquire the certification necessary to teach. They must demonstrate their teaching and leadership abilities before joining the Sunrise Yoga staff.
You, however, hold our instructors to even higher standards. You come to Sunrise Yoga expecting good instructors and quality yoga classes. You are looking for an instructor who will share not only knowledge of yoga but who will also be a light and an inspiration for you.
The instructors themselves hold themselves to standards even higher than we do or you do! Some things simply can’t be learned and our instructors have inborn desires to learn, to teach, to lead, to grow, and to inspire. They continuously challenge themselves to bring yoga classes to you that bring yoga into your world and help you see your world through the eyes of an enlightened yogi.
To conclude, we quote from yogapedia.com. “Perhaps most crucially, there is no one perfect yoga teacher and yoga teaching is not an exact science. There is space out there in the sphere of inspirational yoga classes for a huge variety of teaching styles and techniques. The common denominator, though, is that all good yoga teachers care deeply about their yoga and about their students.”
Today is not a “salute your yoga instructor day” or any special day related to yoga instructors. Every day at Sunrise Yoga is a day we are proud of our instructors and honored to have them as part of our staff. We hope you concur.
If you have a quality you look for in a yoga instructor we haven’t mentioned, please comment. If your Sunrise Yoga instructor has a quality you particularly admire, please let us know.
We thank you as students for being a part of who our instructors are and what Sunrise Yoga is. You elevate our good qualities and help direct us to be our best!
Check out all our instructors on our web site.
Is yoga instructor in your future? We offer yoga teacher training! Find out more here!
Commentary about the qualities mentioned above for a good yoga instructor can be found on the following web sites:
If you said “yoga”, you would be at least partially correct! The common denominator is Sunrise Yoga Studio’s founder and owner, Valerie Kiser!
Long before yoga had entered Valerie’s mind, she was a classically trained dancer! But the dancer, a talent usually associated with a more creative nature, started her career after college in information technology as a computer programmer in the very structured world of banking.
So, how did this dancer/programmer find yoga (or perhaps the better question is how did yoga find Valerie?)? If you’ve been around Valerie more than once, you know that behind her calm and friendly demeanor is a brain that is moving at warp speed with an energy level to match! While still working as a programmer, Valerie was also serving as a group fitness coordinator and personal trainer at a local gym.
In between training sessions and aerobic classes, Valerie noticed the gym would soon be offering yoga classes. Sign me up, she thought! I’m flexible! I can do that! Valerie says she, like many, had the misconception that yoga was all about the poses and knew little about the full body, mind, spirit connection that is truly yoga.
After a brief hiccup . . . it’s tough to do yoga while recovering from an appendectomy . . . her yoga journey began. And what a journey it has been! She began teaching yoga in 1999 and is a YACEP (Yoga Alliance Continuing Education Provider) through The Yoga Alliance. She became a yoga therapist in 2006 as a natural progression of teaching yoga and her desire to help students on a more personal level.
Valerie’s love of learning, her love of yoga, and her desire to help others through health and well being, kept her going as she spent five years traveling from Clemmons to Arlington/Fairfax, VA, and back, all while still working full time as a computer programmer, to acquire her advanced teacher training and yoga therapeutics certifications.
Valerie has completed a 1200-hour Advanced Teacher Training and Yoga Therapeutics certification from Sun and Moon Yoga Studios in Fairfax/Arlington, VA with JJ Gormley. Valerie is an IAYT-certified yoga therapist (C-IAYT). Valerie is also a Certified Prenatal Yoga instructor, a Relax and Renew Advanced Trainer ® (Restorative Yoga with Judith Lasater), an Ayurvedic Wellness Counselor, an Elise Browning Miller Yoga for Scoliosis Trainer and an iRest Teacher Level II (Yoga Nidra). Valerie teaches Cardiac Yoga ® (Cardiac Yoga is a registered trademark of M. Mala Cunningham, Ph.D. and is used with exclusive permission). Valerie is a 500-hour experienced registered yoga teacher (500 E-RYT) and YACEP (Yoga Alliance Continuing Education Provider) through the Yoga Alliance. Her first teacher training was completed with Cindy Dollar, an Iyengar-certified teacher in Asheville, NC.
Fifteen years ago, Valerie left behind the information technology profession and opened Sunrise Yoga Studio. At that time, Valerie was the entire staff, teaching in a single classroom. Now, not only does Valerie have a wonderful staff of instructors at Sunrise Yoga, and a beautiful, well-designed studio, she is also is also the director of the Sunrise Yoga Teacher Training Programs and offers 200 and 300-hour programs that are registered with Yoga Alliance and continuing education courses.
Additionally, Valerie is also the co-owner of ECYT (East Coast Yoga Therapy – an 815-hour program that certifies yoga therapists), a program designed to educate and empower yoga teachers in the art and science of Yoga Therapy as a means to promoting the health and well-being of yoga students. In June 2018, ECYT was awarded a Certificate of Accreditation through IAYT (The International Association of Yoga Therapists) and is 1 of 32 accredited schools in the world.
One might think it a bit crazy to ask what Valerie does when she isn’t working! If you have read this far, you might wonder when this dynamo sleeps!
Being the well-trained yogi that she is, Valerie follows the growth, balance, peace mindset (That’s even part of the Sunrise Yoga logo!). Valerie lives this out by enjoying being married to her husband, Jonathan (They’ve been married 20 years!), loving on their dogs, Casey and Louie, traveling and being outside. She recently took her first hot air balloon ride while on a trip to Arizona!
Valerie is also fortunate to have her mom nearby and her mom is a Sunrise Yoga student. Taking classes six days a week, Frances is like daughter, like mother!
You can find Valerie at the studio . . . a LOT! Seriously, Valerie teaches all levels of classes from Chair Yoga to Level 4 Yoga, Cardiac Yoga® to Yoga Wall, and special classes like her Wednesday night Select Your Study Sessions. Find Valerie’s classes through the Sunrise Yoga app, online, or through the studio.
You can contact Valerie by emailing info@SunriseYoga.net.
Every office needs some glue . . . meet the glue at Sunrise Yoga!
Amber is our Office Manager who works weekday mornings. Amber completed her college education at Western Carolina University with a degree in Early Childhood Special Education (BK). She taught preschool special education in the North Carolina County Public Schools from 1998 until 2015.
“I love the sand beneath my feet and in between my toes. I am a sea turtle advocate and love my tattoo,” says Amber. She loves the beach and the mountains, spending time with friends and family, writing and taking pictures of landscapes, especially sunrises and sunsets (She took the beautiful beach photo in this post!).
Amber began yoga classes at Sunrise Yoga in March of 2016. Practicing yoga has helped guide her on her journey to live mindfully in the present and with a grateful heart. Yoga is an important part of her overall health and well-being. She is very excited and happy to be a part of the Sunrise Yoga family!
You can tell by Amber’s big smile that she is “young at 💜!”
Send a shout out to Amber to info@SunriseYoga.net!