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When we discuss how our emotions get trapped in our tissues (our issues are in our tissues;)), the pelvis is one the the biggest receptacles for holding onto our experiences.  Be patient in this practice.  That patience is the key to allowing your hips to...
This is one of the most important alignment principles I teach.  In this practice, we workshop aligning the legs to create space in the low back.  We all need to understand this alignment principle to counter the sitting and misaligned standing that is pervasive...
Outer spiral is the 4th alignment principle of Anusara yoga. Strength and grounding is what this practice is all about.   We build to Pincha Mayurasana/Forearm balance.  This week’s practice is the counterpart to the work from last week.  It is definitely worth doing...
This is the fifth and final class in our alignment principles series.  In this class, we focus on Organic Energy which explains how we stretch and lengthen the muscles in the most effective way.
The physical purpose of this practice is to open the muscles of the shoulders/chest.  The underlying spiritual purpose is practicing the ability stay open in the face of our most intense life challenges.  These lines of Rumi’s poem The Guest House perfectly embody the...
The physical purpose of this practice is to open the muscles of the shoulders/chest. The first 9 minutes of this practice focuses on deep shoulder opening techniques.  The underlying spiritual purpose is practicing the ability stay open in the face of our most intense...
Your spine and its energetic ethereal double called sushumna nadi act like an antenna. This antenna behaves just like old school TV antennae did not so long ago.   The antennae (for those of you who are too young to remember) are rods or wires for radiating or receiving radio waves.  If the TV picture was fuzzy,  we had to adjust the antennae, moving them into the right place to receive the waves.   When we align the curves of the spine and its energetic double (sushumna nadi), your body becomes more effective at moving blood, lymph and breath as well as more effective at opening the energetic channels in the body so prana (aka energy/ life force) flows freely.   In this practice we align the top of the "antenna".  We all have "tech neck" a condition where the skull is anterior to the rest of the spine.  It comes from reaching the head forward to look at our tiny smart phone screens.  This one misalignment can wreak havoc throughout the body.  This alignment principle is called "skull loop".  Skull loop is illustrated in the photo below.
Inspired by advice given in an op-ed written by Ruth Bader Ginsburg, this practice focuses on stabilizing the lower body in twists.  Two of the nuggets of wisdom I gleaned from the article are as follows: be independent, and find a way to manage even when the challenge before you seems insurmountable.  To embody twisting poses in a healthy way, they require a tremendous amount of strength and steadfastness in the part of the body that is staying stable.  If you'd like to read the full article, click here.  Our peak pose is parvritta trikonasana (twisting triangle).  It is ambitious to do this pose in such a short mount of time so please move mindfully.
Agni Stambasana is sometimes known as Double Pigeon pose but actually translates to mean Fire Log pose.  When you are in this pose your two shins look like stacked fire wood.  It is exceptionally cold in Los Angeles right now so this seems like a fitting posture for this week.  A few things to acknowledge about this pose are that it is a VERY deep hip opener, proper alignment is non-negotiable in order to keep the knees safe, and it may take years to feel progress.  Doesn't that inspire you to try this class ;)?   But actually, I think this is a pose where you test your  "real" practice.  Bringing grace, patience, surrender and love to what may be a very challenging posture is the "real" yoga not how close your shins come to touching one another. 
Don’t let the title of this class fool you.  This practice builds to one of the deepest hip openers: full lotus.  But the alignment (focus on the feet) and the challenges of this practice (ahem, lotus) are both meant to bring you into the...
This sequence is designed to stimulate your lymphatic system and therefore boost your immunity.   Lymph can be moved through the body through muscular contractions and gravity.  We will use both these techniques to stimulate the movement of lymph in the body which is...
Meet Cat Aquaviva, the first guest teacher on my site and one of my favorite LA based yoga teachers.  This 30 minute practice encapusulates much of what I love about her classes: intelligent sequencing, clear cueing, and fluid movement.  It is shoulder focused which...
Clear alignment  in the body leads to clarity in the mind and in the heart.  This week’s practice uses the same theme from last week but we apply it to the lower body.   Our focus is on an alignment principle called inner spiral.   This principle alleviates low back pain, opens the hips...
Dharma, a sanskrit word that means duty or purpose, is our theme for this week’s practice.  What is your highest calling?   This is your dharma.  For example, I have many dharmas but being a mother and teacher are two of them.   I know...
This week’s practice is focused on one alignment action that is part of shoulder loop: external rotation.  We all need this practice because we spend most of our days in internal rotation at a desk, in a car or clutching our phones.  Externally rotating...
Create space in your body with this deep side body opening practice.  Allow the physical space you gain to lend you perspective.   In what area of your life do you need to gain more perspective?  Shine the flashlight on those places.  Open the “gate”and...
If even coming close to doing a pose that resembles the "splits" freaks you out, then this practice is for you.  We explore an alignment concept called "inner spiral" and learn some of the techniques for doing this extreme pose in a safe way.  Hanuman is a character from Hindu mythology.  He is half human and half monkey.   In the Ramayana,  Hanuman leaps across the Indian Ocean to help rescue the girlfriend of his best friend, Rama.  So, the leap across the ocean is the stretch we embody when we do the "splits".
Hanumanasana  is a tremendously effective pose for opening and also strengthening the hamstrings.   We work muscular energy and inner spiral in the legs while using shoulder loop to maintain an open heart.   Hanumanasana teaches us to remain open hearted even during challenging times.  He is the symbol of seva which is a sanskrit word that means service.  Fill your heart to the brim with everything for which you are grateful.  Allow your full, grateful heart to turn all your words, thoughts and actions into acts of seva.
This sequence opens the spleen and stomach meridians as laid out by Traditional Chinese Medicine.    Regardless if you want to improve your digestion (btw, its not just digestion of food but also ideas etc.), this practice is a slow exploration of decompressing the pelvis, low back and the side waist.  Worry, remorse, fatigue, and self-doubt are all associated with  the spleen.  According to the Daoist view, our ideas and intentions reside in the spleen.  It is helpful to remember that the practice is working on you on several levels not just the physical.
My god...It is so hard to be vulnerable. This practice asks you to do just that;  to open your heart methodically and strategically so that you can embrace the full spectrum of what your life has to offer.  Our spiritual heart center is called the Hridaya.   It is a powerful gateway into deeper connection with the spirit.   What's interesting is that its in a cage....the ribcage; protected like a medieval castle.  But vulnerability is essential to thriving in this life.  So, we must create opening in this part of the body in order to connect to and  awaken to  the power of the heart.   Expect lots of slow methodical movement and so great tricks for opening the shoulders and the mid back.  
The 45 minute class peaks with the arm balance Eka Pada Galavasana.  Kula is a sanskrit word that means community but with a particular focus on the individual.  Your body is a Kula made up of individual parts that play a crucial role to the functioning of the whole.  Sometimes we decide to neglect certain parts of who we are phsycially and spiritually.   The concept of Kula encourages us to ignite all the aspects of ourselves and bring our full selves to everything we do.  This practice focuses on the pelvis a part of the body that is essential for your Kula  to function optimally.
This practice focuses on organic energy which is the lengthening out from the core to the periphery. In Light on Yoga, Iyengar talks about the concept of mudita which is “a feeling of delight at the good work done by another, even though he may be a rival.  The yogi saves himself from much heartache by not showing anger, jealousy or hatred for another who has reached the desired goal which he himself has failed to achieve.”  Fans embody this wholeheartedly; cheering the accomplishments of players to whom  they have no personal connection, sharing in the delight of their successes.  How often do you selflessly delight or feel joy for someone else’s achievements?    And since this concept isn’t always present in our society, I like to find it wherever I can.  Let's turn the mania of the Super Bowl  into a yogic moment.
In this practice, we explore the power of organic energy (lengthening from the core out through extremities of the body) to lighten the posture Pincha Mayurasana aka forearm balance. This practice was inspired by this quote from Brene Brown's Book Braving The Wilderness, "People are hard to hate close-up.  Move in."   Organic energy is a physical manifestation of this concept: be clear in who you are and don't be afraid to lean in toward people or situations who challenge you. Let's reach for the "scary" yoga pose which symbolizes whatever challenge you are currently facing (i.e. the uncomfortable conversation, the fear and anxiety about the pandemic, the people who have different political beliefs etc.)
There are many reasons why one practices yoga but the long and short of it is remembering one's essence (who you are at your core) and expressing that essence.   But how do you do it?   In Outliers, Malcom Gladwell studies people who our society  deems  to be extraordinary.  The popular story is that they are geniuses untethered by the usual hard work the rest of us must endure.  People like Steve Jobbs and the Bill Gates were  just lucky and smart.   Actually no, they were not only lucky and smart but also had opportunity to practice their skills.  Its the opportunity and practice that are the keys  to succeeding in the ways that outliers do. That's what we do in this practice.  We will take one action, engaging the hamstrings with a bent knee (aka kicking your heel to your butt) to refine our expression of a deep backbend called Natarajasana (Dancer pose).    Yoga isn't an overnight success story.  We must create the opportunity for transformation and then practice a lot. And if all that didn't convince you that this week's practice is worth hitting the mat a few times, then know that this work will lift your butt!
Shri has many meanings a couple of which are boundless beauty and life affirming goodness.  It is the radiant energy in all things manifest. By its nature it is boundless.  For example, it describes the  power that enables grass to break through concrete sidewalks.  It will stop at nothing to be expressed.  The good news is that it is in us and all around us.   If we create openings in our body, mind, and heart then Shri can fully express itself as you embodying your true self.   So, what does that mean for this week's practice?  Lots of shoulder loop and heart opening.   The shoulders carry a lot of tension for most of us and its a great place for us to work this theme. 
In this practice we create space in the spirit of gaining perspective.  Artists often take a step away from their work to grasp the entirety of their work.   Non-artists alike can benefit from taking a proverbial step back and creating space or distance...
If even coming close to doing a pose that resembles the "splits" freaks you out, then this practice is for you.  We explore an alignment concept called "inner spiral" and learn some of the techniques for doing this extreme pose in a safe way.
Balance is the mid point between effort and surrender.  This week, tree pose is the prism though which we explore balance. Inner and outer spiral in the legs are the main principles.   I keep coming back to this class and I find something...
There are many principles we could focus on for this practice which peaks with Parvritta Bakasana (twisting crane pose). But I chose to focus on kidney loop because it forces the exploration of the more subtle mechanics of twists like the breath.  I hate when teachers say things like "breathe into your smallest toe" (insert puke face emoji) because unless you are some jedi breath master that cue makes no sense.  However, in this class you can actually move the breath into the back side of your ribs and waist which aids in creating a deeper twist.  Connecting  to the back of the body also creates a natural bowing action which is the universal posture of gratitude.