About Me

Yoga changed my Life and it's just too good a thing to keep to myself! I have been practicing yoga since 1995 and am a certified yoga instructor. I teach a combination of classical Hatha, Ashtanga and Vinyasa Flow. My teaching style is safe, compassionate and challenging at the same time. I teach at a number of studios, and also offer private and group lessons!

In addition to my schedule, I post other writings here, about yoga and Life in general. For private or group lessons, contact me at: workofheartyoga@gmail.com .

Thursday, January 3, 2008

A New Year brings New Classes!

Welcome to 2008! Before I get into the New Year's resolutions... some class announcements:

January class Schedule:
I know, I sort of fell off the blog wagon while the holidays were in effect...but I had parents to host, ricotta cookies to bake, and pasta sauce to worry over - can you blame me? The good news is that my dad took every single yoga class of mine while he was here and actually said it helped his low back! The even better news is that with the New Year comes new classes, which might enable my Mon-Fri 9-5 working friends the chance to come yoga with me - so check out my schedule for the month of January:

**THIS SUNDAY, January 6th - 1:30 - 3:30 pm Special Intro to Yoga, GODA Yoga, Culver City - $35 Registration recommended, includes one free class, covers basic poses, simplified yoga philosophy and breathing and meditation techniques.

Monday - 9-10:25am Your Neighborhood Studio (all levels), Culver City
Tuesdays - 5:30-6:55pm GODA Yoga (beginner and prenatal), Culver City
Wednesdays - 6:00- 7:15pm YMCA (level 2-3 class), Santa Monica
Thursdays - 5:30-6:55pm GODA Yoga (beginner), Culver City
Fridays *2 CLASSES!!!!
9-10:25 am Your Neighborhood Studio (all levels), Culver City
4:30-6pm GODA (beginner/prenatal), Culver City

**STARTING Sunday, January 20th:
Sundays - 12:45pm - 2:15pm GODA Yoga
Now, on to the New Year's resolutions:
It's that time of year when many have celebrated or reflected on the past, and then look to the future. Many go so far as to make New Year's resolutions. However, those resolutions can quickly turn into a list of "have to's" or at least it feels that way on January 2nd as you run full speed on the treadmill, wondering if you're going as fast as the guy next to you, getting flogged by your new ipod cord, as punishment for holiday eating or for the last 6 months of falling off the gym wagon...

And although Yoga is not so much in the form of competitiveness, many yogis still compete with themselves come the New Year. While I never want to dissuade anyone from setting goals for themselves, I think it's important to look at resolutions and come at them in a compassionate way. And I think I have a few tips that might help:

110% vs. 90% vs. 50% - They all have their place.

If you've told yourself that you want yoga to be a bigger part of your life, by all means, taking a class is a great motivator. However, just like that first time back at the gym, lifting weights or going for a run - you may be tempted to "go all out," which generally ends up making you feel so sore you can't bare to go back for another week. So before you hurl your body into full Kapotasana, play with finding the difference between going 110% and going 90%. Or, if you're getting over colds or the flu or just the influx of relatives and holiday rush, know when you need to practice more restoratively - going 45%, using props to help you open in a pose for instance.

Home Practice: give yourself 10 minutes and patience.
For various reasons, time, money, work, family, etc., it is often hard for people to get to more than one or two studio classes per week. However, building a home practice is challenging. As a result, many people only squeeze in that one session every week. This doesn't meant that they won't get anything from it, but it can lead to frustration for students who want to "progress" in certain poses, meaning they want to build greater strength or flexibility, or try some advanced poses. It's the same as if you only lifted weights once a week at the gym and went 100%, you'd be sore after each session and probably wouldn't move up to lifting heavier weights for a long time if ever. No, that doesn't mean you should forget it, that it's not worth it. It means that a home practice is important AND it should be something fun.

The beauty of yoga is that you can do it anywhere, anytime, and classes are meant to help give you the tools to build your home practice!

PULEEEEEZE don't start beating yourself up if you don't launch into a full 1.5 hour yoga session at home 4 days a week. This is a LIFESTYLE change and takes patience, compassion and above all, some chutzpah. Unless you are an extremely disciplined person, finding 1.5 hours 5 days a week can be really hard. If you can, more power to you. If you can't, don't berate yourself, or force yourself into a session - associating yoga with that kind of negativity is likely to become a big ugly snowball of dirty snow. I know from experience. It took me 4 years of taking one class a week (if I was lucky) and being frustrated a lot before I started a home practice, and it is still one of the things that challenges me most in yoga. There, I've said it.

Instead of getting worked into a tizzy - try setting aside an extra ten minutes somewhere in your day that you roll out your mat. Maybe you set your alarm 10 minutes earlier, or maybe you shut your door at work for 10 minutes, or maybe you take ten minutes after you run outside, or when you get home to find a quiet spot, and roll out your mat or a towel. And then it's up to you - your mat is your oyster... ok that sounds weird, but you get the idea.

Pick 2-5 poses you want to do. Don't worry about their names, your body remembers them. Don't worry about their order. Or maybe even just sit on your mat. Be proud that you've thought to roll it out. Over time, you'll find that 10 minutes may lead to 20, which may lead to 40. You'll find that throughout your day, your body will crave a stretch or two... so stretch! And even if you NEVER find a full 1.5 hours to do yoga, who cares? It's your Yoga. Do whatever poses you want for however long you want!

If you want an example sequence to get you started on a home practice try this:

Roll out mat, shut door, turn off cell phone
Sit in sukhasana and breathe
Then bring hands forward on the floor, uncross feet behind you into table top
Curl toes under, press back to adho mukha svanasana (down dog)
Lower slowly to plank
Lower until your belly is on the floor and try a lower bujangasana (cobra)
Press back to balasana (child's pose)

Then you can go backwards through the poses or start over. Hold each pose as feels right for you in that moment. Repeat only as many times as you want or you feel time allows. And for cryin' in the night - have some fun!

In the meantime, I hope your New Year is off to a good start, and I wish you all health and happiness for 2008. Hope to see you on the mat!