Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Ultimate of Hatha Yoga: Ability to Control Your Breath



My teacher from New York, Alan Finger, speaks about controlling your breath and how important it is to your nervous system. It is the only automatic function that can be voluntarily controlled. Very interesting...watch and see if you feel the sympathetic exchange!!

Blessings and Namaste,
Anna

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The yoga studios are closed for the holidays!!

What do you do now? You practice at home :) All you need is some space, and your mat. Here's a 20 minute energizing sequence from Yoga Journal:

Let me know how your practice evolves over the holidays and into the New Year!!

Blessings and Namaste,
Anna

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Merry Christmas and a here's to a Brilliant 2009!


I wish and your loved ones a peaceful, joyful and memorable holiday and an abundant 2009! I hope to see more of you on the mat next year (including myself!! :)
Blessings and Namaste,
Anna


Sunday, December 7, 2008

Looking forward to the Dog and the holidays!


It's that time of the year again..the holidays! Christmas cheer, family, giving, laughing, sharing and dogs (not downward-facing dogs but the animal!) Anyway, here's a pic of my nephew and the dog that I grew up with, Parker.

All the best to you as you prepare for the holidays! Don't forget your dogs during the holidays (this time I mean on the mat..downward-facing dogs!!) See you on the mat!

Blessings and Namaste,

Anna


Thursday, December 4, 2008

Meet Your Core: 30 Minute Sequence for YOU!!


Whenever I ask my students what they want to work on this class, they always say: "my core!" So, below is a thirty-minute yoga sequence designed to strengthen your core as well as all dimensions of your torso. You should probably do this three times a week. (This sequence is courtesy of Julie Wilcox of the ISTHA yoga studio in NYC). Enjoy!

Sphinx
Lie on your stomach with your legs straight behind you, toes pointed, and your forearms on the ground. Line your shoulders up over your elbows. Press the tops of your feet into the mat, engage your abdominal wall, and reach your chest forward and up. Breathe 5 deep breaths. Feel your rib cage expanding outward and downward on your inhales and in and upwards on your exhales.

Forearm Plank
From Sphinx, flex your toes into the mat. Press the balls of your feet and forearms down into the ground. Begin to elevate your legs towards the ceiling from your inner thighs as you lift your core off the ground. You should be balancing on the balls of your feet and forearms only at this point. Focus your gaze on the floor and keep the back of your neck long. Hold for 5 to 10 deep breaths. Relax back down onto the floor. Resume Sphinx pose.

Repeat these two postures together a total of 3 times. Then place your forehead on the ground and your palms beside the middle of your torso. Press up onto your hands and knees.

Neutral Cat
Line your shoulders up over your wrists and your hips over your knees. Place your hands shoulder’s distance apart from each other and your knees at hips distance.

1 Legged Upward/Downward Cat 5x
From neutral cat, inhale your right leg behind you until it is straight with your toes facing the floor (flexed). As you do this, reach your chest forward and lift your face and chest slightly. Keep the back of your neck long. Exhale, bend your right leg in towards your chest and engage your abdomen as you round your back to the ceiling and drop the crown of your head to the floor. Repeat this 5 times. Hold the knee in at the chest for five breaths on the last one.
Repeat on left side.

Resume neutral Cat.
From Neutral Cat, Inhale your chest forward, exhale press your palms down as you pull your hips up and back using your lower abs to do so.

Down Dog
Set your hands up shoulder’s distance apart and feet at hips distance. Seal your fingers, knuckles, and palms to the mat. Rotate your outer arms (triceps) in towards your head so that your inner elbow begins to open towards the front of the room. Move your shoulders towards your waist by relaxing them down your back. Lengthen both sides of your torso and waist evenly. Reach your sit bones up and back. Press your thighs into the thighbone. Release your heels towards the floor.

Warrior 1
From Down Dog- Inhale step your right foot forward between your hands. Drop your left heel to the mat. Line your front knee up over your ankle. Reach the outer edge of your back foot to the floor and lift the inner arch of that foot.
Inhale press down through the sole of your front foot as you sweep your arms out to the side turning your palms up as you raise your torso off your front thigh. Stretch your arms to the ceiling either shoulder’s distance apart, palms now facing each other, or join your palms in prayer above and in front of your nose. Draw your navel back into your body and up towards your chest. Hold for 3 breaths.
On your next exhale, hinge at your hip and bend over your front thigh crossing your forearms in front of your leg. Inhale rise back up to Warrior 1 as you did before. Repeat 5 times.
Repeat the same on other side.
Resume Down Dog.

Trikonasana
From Down Dog, Step your right foot forward between your hands drop your left heel down. Cartwheel your arms up to stand with straight legs. Place your hands on your hips. Inhale straighten your arms and lift to shoulder height, exhale shift your hips back and reach your right arm forward. Let your head relax towards your right arm as you reach forward. When you have shifted your hips as much as is comfortable, place your right hand onto your shin, a block, or your ankle and raise your left hand to the ceiling stacking it on top of the right one (palms face away from you towards wall). Make sure your torso is in one plane and that your right bottom shoulder, does not rotate inward. Inhale reach your right finer tips to the ceiling and engage the side torso muscles to come back up to a stand. Exhale back into Trikonasana. Repeat moving in and out of the posture 5 times.
From your last Trikonasana, rotate onto the ball of your back foot as you bend your front knee over your ankle. Place each hand on either side of your right foot. Step back into Down Dog.
From Down Dog, bend your knees look way out beyond your hands and step or jump to prepare pose.

Prepare Pose
With feet hips width apart or together and your knees bent or straight, extend your spine forward lift your chest and reach your sit bones back. Keep your face parallel with the floor to maintain length at the back of your neck.
Exhale fold forward into Uttanasana.

Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend)
Hinge at your hips and fold your torso over your toes. The idea is to bend over with as much length in your spine as is possible so try not to excessively round the upper and lower back.

Utkatasana/Paravritta Utkatasana (Chair Pose)
From Uttanasana, as you inhale, spread your arms out to the side like wings and circle them up beside your ears as you lower your seat down as if you were going to sit on a chair. Stop moving when your thighs are parallel to the floor. Your palms should face each other as your biceps line up beside your ears. Drop your shoulders down your back.
Inhale and exhale forming a prayer with your hands as you twist your torso to the left side wall. Hook your right upper arm across you left thigh. Raise your right elbow to the ceiling as you press your palms together. Open your heart and reach the crown of your head towards the front of the room. Inhale back to the center with your arms beside your ears and exhale repeat the same twist on the other side. Repeat this 5 times.
From your last Utkatasana in the center, exhale, and bend forward into Uttanasana.
Place your palms flat on the floor beside your pinky toes; bend your knees and step back into Down Dog.
Lower to your hands and knees.
Cross your shins behind you and sit back onto your buttocks.
Bring your thighs close to your chest and hug your arms around your shins.
Inhale, lift your toes off the ground keeping your knees bent or straightening them if you can do so without compromising the length of your spine (if you slump and round you should not straighten your legs). Plug your shoulders into their sockets and reach your chest forward and up. Hold for 5 breaths.

Ardha Navasana
On an exhale, extend your whole body towards the floor as if you were going to lie down but hover about 4 inches above the floor.
Inhale, lift back up to Navasana leading with your chest.
Repeat 5 times. Hold Navasana on the 5th breath, join your palms together and move your hands and extended arms side to side. Do 10 of these come back to Navasana and lower to the ground.

Savasana
Lie down on the ground with your arms a few inches away from your hips and your palms facing up. Let your ankles roll out. Relax your forehead and brow. Soften all the muscles of your face including your jaw. Let your bones be heavy and your joints spacious. Then settle down and rest. Focus on the rising and falling of your rib cage as you breathe. Then drift off.

Blessings and Namaste,
Anna

Monday, December 1, 2008

Restorative Workshop on Sunday, Dec. 21st from 4-6pm at www.sunrise.ie

The Restorative Workshops went so well in November that I'm doing another on Sunday, Dec. 21st from 4-6pm at the Sunrise Studio in Dun Laoghaire. Here is more information:

Before the madness of Christmas takes over, give yourself a time out! Relax and renew and learn how to unwind your body and find your centre with this 2 hour Restorative Yoga Workshop. Be prepared to lose track of time, let go of the outside world, breathe deeply and relax!

Restorative yoga is a practice that reduces your stress and improves your health. It is helpful when you feel stressed, weak or overwhelmed by daily activities or major life events. Restorative yoga is especially valuable for those suffering from stress, cancer, menopause, injury, depression or other challenges. Even those who feel perfectly healthy report that restorative yoga has helped them develop more energy and sleep better.

All postures (asanas) will be done in a passive manner with the support of blankets, blocks and other props. You will have an opportunity to linger peacefully in these soothing and well-supported poses with gentle hands-on adjustments, candle-light and lavender oils. The class will end with a ½ hour yoga nidra, a guided meditation that promotes complete physical, mental and emotional relaxation. No previous yoga experience is necessary.

Class size is limited to 12 people, so that you receive the attention and guidance you need. All props are provided.

Booking is advised as places are limited. You can book on line at http://www.sunrise.ie/ or call 01-2844477 or email info@sunrise.ie.

Blessings and Namaste!

Anna

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Life Would Be Boring Without a Little Wine....





















For those of you who are starting your holiday shopping and celebrations already, here is a pose to cure that hangover or just simply destress :) After all, life would be boring without a little wine and a few bad habits. Use this pose to help flush the toxins out of your body this holiday season...

Reclining Big Toe Pose

This pose improves digestion which is a good thing if you are spending too much time in the donut shop.

1. Lie on your back on the floor.
2. Bend the right knee to your chest.
3. Grab the big toe with the first two fingers of your right hand. You can use a strap or bend your knee, if grabbing your toe is unavailable to you!
4. Straighten the right leg vertically.
5. Keep both legs straight and strong. Hold for 30 seconds. Repeat to the other side.

Focus Points: Actively press leg and butt into the floor, don't let them ride up.
Other Benefits: Relieves hip joints. Eases menstrual pain. Tones spine. Eases stiff lower back and back of legs.

(The cute image above is courtesy of http://www.iyogalife.com/ and http://www.rescuegirl.com/)

Blessings and Namaste,

Anna

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

RELAX & RENEW: A 2 hr RESTORATIVE YOGA WORSHOP with me

I'm holding workshops on RESTORATIVE YOGA around Ireland. Check this out:

Relax and renew from these stressful times by learning how to unwind your body and uplift your spirit with this 2 hour Restorative Yoga Workshop. Be prepared to lose track of time, let go of your worries, breathe deeply and relax!

All postures (asanas) will be done in a passive manner with the support of blankets, blocks and other props. You will have an opportunity to linger peacefully in these soothing and well-supported poses with gentle hands-on adjustments, candle-light and lavender oils. The class will end with a ½ hour yoga nidra, a guided meditation that induces complete and deep physical, mental and emotional relaxation.

Restorative yoga is a practice that reduces your stress and improves your health. It is helpful when you feel stressed, week, or fatigued from daily activities or major life events. Restorative yoga is especially valuable for those suffering from stress, cancer, menopause, injury, depression or other challenges. Even those who feel perfectly healthy report that restorative yoga has helped them develop more energy and sleep better.

SUNRISE YOGA STUDIO
48a Patrick St. Dun Laoghaire, Dublin
Friday, November 7th
6pm-8pm, Euro 25
Sign up by email or call: info@sunrise.ie or
01-2844477
http://www.sunrise.ie/

SAMADHI DUBLIN
The Wooden Building Cows Lane, Old City,
Temple Bar, Dublin 8
Sunday, November 23rd
12:30-2:30pm, Euro 25
Sign up by email or call:
087 1353095 or email info@samadhi.ie
http://www.samadhi.ie/dublinindex.htm

DUBLIN YOGA STUDIOS
Ranelagh - Darmouth Place, Dublin 06
Saturday, November 29th
4-6pm, Euro 25
Sign up by email or call:

01 4982284 or email info@yogadublin.com
http://www.yogadublin.com/ranelagh.html

YOGAVILLAGE
4b St Patricks Rd, Dalkey
Sunday, November 30th
11am-1pm, Euro 25
Sign up by email or call:
info@yogavillage.ie or 087 232 2481
http://www.yogavillage.ie/workshops.htm

Hope to see you at the workshops. Please let me know if you have any questions...

Blessings and Namaste,
Anna

Monday, October 27, 2008

All we are: "bags of warm, muddy, bubbling water with attitude?"...

My yoga teacher from the US explains how that's all we are in the video below!!! Yogiraj Alan Finger developed ISHTA YOGA, an acronym for the Integrated Sciences of Hatha, Tantra, and Ayurveda. It is also a beautiful sanskrit word meaning that which resonates with an individual’s spirit. (This is a the yoga that I am trained in :)

Yogiraj Alan Finger brings 47 years of yoga experience to this lecture. His presence is peaceful, jolly and light, his intelligence bright and he resonates with the essence of yoga.



Blessings and Namaste,
Anna

Correct Alignment for Plank Pose (top of the push up position)

The plank pose (or the top of the push up position) is challenging for a lot of people as well, as since I don't have time to correct everyone in class at times, I thought this video would help. Again, your sun salutations will become more fluid and joyful, as you build the arm and core strength for the plank pose. So, hold plank and smile! See you on the mat!



Blessings and Namaste,
Anna

Chatarunga Dandansana!

Going from plank pose (top of the push up position) to chatarunga dandansana requires a lot of arm, core and wrist strength. So, start of with your knees on the floor as you lower down. This video demonstrates how to do chatarunga dandasana corrctly, because I know there's a lot of opportunity for misalignment! So, keep your shoulders by our side and have fun! Watch this video for more tips!! Your sun salutations will become more fluid and joyful when you get this pose down:



Blessings and Namaste,
Anna

Sunday, October 26, 2008

How to do Urdhva Mukha Svanasana (Upward Facing Dog) Properly!

Upward Facing Dog is a challenging pose for most beginners. In fact, you should probably start out with an easier backbend like the low cobra. But once you've built up strength in your arms and wrists, you can progress to upward facing dog.

I struggled with this pose myself when I started. There's just so many potentials for misalignment or hurting yourself. A lot of people just do it incorrectly. I found this video to be very helpful in giving you some good alignment tips to make sure that your do this pose with integrity and ease.

This pose as you know has many benefits such as:

1. Strengthens the arms and wrists
2. Increases the flexibility of the spine
3. Stretches the chest, lungs, shoulders and abdomen
4. Opens the heart and lungs

Watch this video and let me know how it goes:


Blessings and Namaste,

Anna

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

What is the meaning of "Namaste"?

We say "Namaste" at the end of yoga class but what does it mean? Watch this video to find out...

Blessings and Namaste,
Anna

Friday, October 10, 2008

The Global Financial Crisis and Meltdown...how do we deal with it?

Honestly, I'm quite sick of reading and hearing about all the gloom and doom in the past few months. This crisis is more mysterious to me than the path to enlightment! Seriously, how do we really know how much money a bank really has or doesn't have, or if the government actually bailed out a financial institution? Why should we trust the media? All of the bank/government bailout approaches seem mere 'band-aid' solutions to much larger fundamental problems and questions. Do we really need financial markets at all? What is a free market? What does this tell us about human nature? Where are we heading as a society? Both Obama's and McCain's economic policies seem archaic...can't the great minds of the world come up with greater solutions and alternatives? Can't they think "outside the box"? We are slaves of these systems that have been created..the markets, money, etc....we seem to be regressing as a society. Humanity is ready for something more innovative and revolutionary to move forward. I don't know what will happen in the future..only history will tell. I wonder how this period in our history will be viewed in 50 or 100 years: "The Age of Greed and Stupidity"? Something to think about...

But it is difficult to deal with all this uncertainty and chaos around the world as citizens of any country. How do we cope with the stress? Eat more Ben and Jerry's ice cream? That's what I've been doing lately, and that's why I felt compelled to write this post...for my own sanity!

I have to say I didn't make time for yoga this week and turned to unproductive and unhealthy behavior. I think my frustration levels reached at all time high until I got on the mat today and finally resumed my practice. I felt so much better after doing a few sun salutations and just moving on my breath. I felt less stressed and saw things with more clarity and insight. Yoga works. Anyway, so if you're feeling like I was, step onto the mat and move :) Below is a short clip from Dr. Mehmet Oz about how yoga can help us deal with stress in our lives:

http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=1018017975783&ref=share

Blessings and Namaste,


Anna

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

"Maintain a Long Spine..."

I must say this in class about 20 times. It's so important to maintain a long spine in yoga and in every day life to protect your back and posture. The spinal column is the single most important skeletal system to maintain and keep healthy for a long, pain-free life. Here's an overview of your spine (see picture):

There are three main sections of the spine:
Cervical - the seven vertebrae of the neck
Thoracic - twelve chest vertebrae supporting the ribcage
Lumbar - five vertebrae of the lower back
Pelvis and Sacrum – there are also five bones fused together to form the Sacrum, as well as three to five bones that form the coccyx or tailbone.

There are many poses or asanas in yoga that can help you to strengthen the muscles around your back and your core to hold up your skeleton. Just another reason to do yoga!!

Blessings and Namaste,

Anna

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Are you looking for a Yoga Holiday in Italy?

Can I recommend "The Hill that Breathes"? A fabulous place in Italy, by a Renaissance hill-town called Urbino, that offers fabulous yoga programs, yummy food, spectacular views and accommodations, delicious food and a pool! Check out the website and let me know when you're booking your Ryan Air flight:


Blessings and Namaste,

Anna

Monday, September 22, 2008

How to make your own lavender eye pillow for Svavasana!


If you want to make your own eye pillow for svavasana (corpse pose), below are the simplest instructions:


Materials (Yields 1 Pillow)
Organic Flax Seeds (2 cups per pillow should be about right)
A 9-by-9 inch square of a soft fabric (Organic fabric is best, but use whatever you have onhand—fabric remnants work well, too.)
1 Heaping Tablespoon of Dried Organic Lavender Per Pillow
1 Funnel
A Needle, Thread, Sewing Machine (with zigzag stitch), Scissors, Measuring Tape

Step By Step:

1. With the right sides together, fold the fabric in half.
2. Sew a straight edge around the three cut edges, leaving a 5/8-inch seam allowance. IMPORTANT: Leave about an inch at the corner not sewn!
3. Zigzag stitch around the raw edges, to keep your fabric from unraveling. Again, leaving about an inch at the corner not sewn.
4. Turn the fabric inside out through the opening you left at the corner.
5. Insert the funnel into the opening.
6. Using the funnel, fill your pillow approximately half of the way with the flax seeds and dried lavender.
7. Sew together the one-inch opening in the corner with your needle and thread. Make your stitches as close together as possible.


Voila! Share your adventures with the eye pillow below!


Blessings and Namaste,

Anna

Sunday, September 21, 2008

How do we cultivate peace in ourselves and the world?


"Perhaps the key to transforming war is to give so much joy to the world that we all stop needing violence to reduce our frustrations, ignorance and fear."

Today is the International Day of Peace as designated by the United Nations. I thought I could say a few words on behalf of this day to bring some awareness and attention to its meaning. Sometimes I get so down and negative on everything that's going on in the world today. I check http://www.bbc.com/ and it seems that there's a new conflict everyday: "Russia invades Georgia", "devastating floods in India, Cuba and Haiti", "deadly bomb kills diplomat in Pakistan", "US faces worst financial crisis in history", "British soldiers killed in Iraq"...the list goes on. But are these events really that surprising when I see daily events in people's personal lives (on a smaller scale obviously) that mirror these global conflicts? I myself struggle with getting along with some people, I see relationships and marriages fail, friendships end...That's why I do yoga and meditate. I pray for peace and will dedicate my yoga practice today to inner and outer (world) peace. I wish it for you today. I wish it for everyone in this world.

Blessings and Namaste,
Anna

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Caragh's Vinyasa Workshop at Sunrise Studio...

I was lucky to participate in Caragh's three-hour Vinyasa Workshop at her studio today. Caragh was inspired by a workshop she attended with Shiva Rea in California this past summer (see a sample of Shiva's graceful and fluid movement in the video below). I hadn't been to an interesting workshop and challenging class since I moved to Ireland 3.5 months ago, so this was really refreshing!

She started off by explaining the essence of Vinyasa..the flow of breath (prana) linked with movement and asked the participants to share instances of "flow" in our own lives. Some people felt in the flow when cleaning, or spending time with their children...others noted dancing or writing. It was good to share and participate in the conversation. Caragh also asked us to write down how we felt today in a stream of consciousness. We were then asked to create a phrase out of the words and share them out loud with the group. My phrase was something like: "I am a bit sleepy and tired today but eager to learn and to start moving my body..and use my breath to connect with the spirit and energy of others." (Note: It's always good to check in and be aware of how you feel before a class). She then gave us a colorful handout with clear pictures of the asanas and sequencing for our physical practice. After our little discussion, we started to move. The practice began with chanting OM to movement with prana. What was "new" to me was the pulsating movement....I enjoyed the "building" of the asanas to a peak pose of bakasana (crow pose) variations. The progression of the poses and the grace, fluidity and elegance of the movement was also lovely. (I didn't exhibit all these qualities at all times, but I tried!!) We all ended with a very enjoyable and cozy reclining svavasana while Caragh led us through some visualization and relaxation exercises and read some inspiring words about the breath. I loved it! And, I must have picked up something from the workshop, because later on today I taught my regular Sunday afternoon class...and one of my students commented that my class "had a nice flow to it.." :)



Blessings and Namaste,
Anna

Saturday, September 13, 2008

How has yoga changed your life? The benefits...

Aside from making you feel good, what are the benefits of doing yoga? Well, there are many... and well-supported by medical studies and journals. Here's just a few:

1. Regular yoga practice reduces stress.
2. Yoga can ease pain such as back and neck pain..even emotional pain!
3. Yoga teaches you how to breathe and expand your lung capacity!
4. Yoga improves flexibility, mobility and alignment. Your posture will improve!
5. Yoga asana (physical postures help you to build strength!)
6. Yoga can help you to control your weight!
7. Yoga improves your circulation and oxygenates your body!
8. Yoga gives you a workout!
9. Yoga improves your concentration and allows you to focus on the present!
10. Yoga gives you inner peace and more satisfaction about your life!
(Source: www.yogaalliance.org)

So, these are great reasons to do yoga! What do you get out of it personally? How has yoga changed your life? Would love to hear from you and how you've benefited from yoga practice!! Share your comments or questions below!

Blessings and Namaste,
Anna

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

What is meditation?

I have to admit that I didn't start to practice meditation right away...or at least as quickly as I started to get into the physical practice of yoga. I just didn't see the point of sitting in a cross-legged position and doing nothing. Then as my physical practice of yoga evolved, I started to explore meditation. I heard so many good things about it: Neuroscientists have found that people who meditate shift their brain activity to different areas of the cortex - brain waves in the stress-prone right frontal cortex move to the calmer left frontal cortex. This mental shift decreases the negative effects of stress, mild depression and anxiety. There is also less activity in the amygdala, where the brain processes fear (Psychology Today, 2003)

Anyway, this is what I experienced by meditating 18 minutes/day for the past few months: I experienced that by meditating and recognizing or watching my thoughts without grabbing on to them, I began to create space in my mind and from that space insights arose. These insights were different from my normal thought process and enabled me to look at the world, to investigate things, to make connections in a way that freed me from the same old pattern of behavior and thinking.
There are different types of meditation, but the hardest part is to get started. Anyway, here's what I suggest:

1. Start with 10 minutes a day when you can sit quietly with no noise or interruptions. Set a timer (most cellphones have timers built into them, so check out yours to see if it has one!)

2. Sit in a comfortable, cross-legged position with your back against the wall with your spine nice and long. You can place a blanket underneath your sitbones, or sit up on your yoga mat folded several times.

3. Close your eyes and just focus on your breath. Watch your breath and see if you can inhale and exhale through your nose. As you do this regularly, you will notice that your breath will lengthen.

That's it! Try this, and let me know what comes up!! Be patient..you'll start to notice subtle but wonderful things happen as you do this everyday!! I'll write about more advanced techniques in future posts...

Blessings and Namaste,

Anna

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Some Ideas for Your Home Practice...

You'll find that if you practice yoga long enough and consistently, you'll probably need to start your own practice at home (because going once or twice to a class in a studio just won't be enough for you!) I take about 15-30 minutes a day to go through a few sun salutations, and then I follow that with 1 or 2 videos that are posted on the Internet. These are free on the Yoga Journal website and include 20-30 minute videos with excellent teachers on a variety of topics including hip openers and ab/core work. Check it out right here:



http://www.yogajournal.com/video/jason_crandell/?bctid=1648122448

Also, the link below will lead you to a neat tool that allows you to build your own sequence of poses at home and save or print them out! Check it out here:

http://www.yogajournal.com/poses/sequence_builder/?utm_source=homepage&utm_medium=site&utm_campaign=topten

If you do try the videos or build your own sequence at home, let me know how they work for you. They should support you in your own practice by giving you a wonderful visual guide. I'd love to hear from you!

Blessings and Namaste,
Anna

Friday, August 22, 2008

New Book: Yoga As Medicine...

I was thrilled to find out that Dr. Timothy Mccall, a Western trained internist and a yoga practitioner himself, authored a book entitled: Yoga as Medicine: The Yogic Prescription for Health and Healing. A lot of people have recognized yoga as an "alternative medicine" for quite some time now, but the medical community is finally embracing it as a "medicine." Yoga is finally getting the credit it deserves!

The book offers several chapters on how to treat conditions such as arthritis, asthma, back pain, cancer, depression, diabetes, HIV/AIDS, multiple sclerosis, and many others with yoga. I just ordered it myself from Amazon and can't wait to incorporate the knowledge I gain from it in my own classes. If you're interested in purchasing it yourself, you can do so on Amazon at: http://www.amazon.com/Yoga-Medicine-Prescription-Health-Healing/dp/0553384066 Or, just borrow it from me, when I'm done with it!

Blessings and Namaste,
Anna

Thursday, August 21, 2008

The Best Yoga Instructor Ever



You see how flexible and open we are as babies!! What happens to us as we grow older??

Blessings and Namaste,
Anna

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

What kind of junkie are you?

An essential part of yoga is to really get to know ourselves and who we are. This includes what we like and don't like and embrace everything about ourselves...the good and the bad. Speaking of this, I have been spending a lot of time on the Internet...mainly because I think technology is a great tool and has many uses: it provides me with a wealth of information about any given topic, connects me to the world and people and is visually and intellectually stimulating for me. That's why I dabble in Facebook and Youtube and have now started this blog. So, it's all good!! I admit that I'm an Internet/Technology Junkie...I know that a junkie can be associated with a drug user, but in this case I'm using the following definition of junkie:

"One who has an insatiable interest or devotion"

So, aside being an Internet junkie, I'm obviously a Yoga junkie, "my nephew" junkie (you can tell why...his photo is on the right), love junkie, people junkie, coffee junkie, friends and family junkie, travel junkie...I'm a junkie of all sorts!!!!

Feel free to comment below to let me know what kind of Junkie you are :) I'd love to hear from you!

Blessings and Namaste,
Anna

What is yoga?

Most of you have probably heard that yoga means to "yoke" and it is the union of mind, body and spirit. Did you know that yoga has been around for over 5,000 years? OK, that's great. What does it all mean?

The intent of Yoga Practice for many is to reap from its physical benefits, but as people further their practice they often find awareness within. I also benefit from the spiritual sides of Yoga, such as meditation, pranayama (breathing) and even bettering myself in hope to live more harmoniously with myself and others.

The 8 Limbs of Yoga (Yoga Sutras) are considered to be the most organized and complete definition of the discipline, allowing the Yoga Practice to extend beyond the mat and to be carried into daily living. So the physical practice (the postures or asanas) is only 1/8 of yoga. Imagine how much you're missing out on, if you're only doing the physical postures in class!! But that's OK, we're all on our own path..slowly but surely we will all get there!! Here are the 8 limbs of yoga:

1. Asana: Physical postures that you do in class (Warrior I, Trikonasana, etc)
2. Dharana: Unbending concentration of mind (focus).
3. Dhyana: Profound meditation.
4. Yama: Five behavior patterns or relationships between the individual and the outside world:
a. Ahimsa: Harmlessness.
b. Satya: Truthfulness.
c. Asteya: Non-stealing.
d. Brahmacharya:Sense-control
e. Aparigraha: Neutralizing the desire to acquire and hoard
5. Niyama: Five rules for personal observation – attitude we adopt towards ourselves:
a. Sauca: Cleanliness – Externally and internally (clarity of mind)
b. Samtosa: Modesty and being content with what we have.
c. Tapas: Keeping the body fit and healthy. Paying attention to eating habits, good posture, breathing patterns. Not eating unless we feel hungry.
d. Svadhyaya: Get close to ourselves, study ourselves to make ourselves better. Centering ourselves through meditation.
e. Isvarapranidhana: "To lay all your actions at the feet of God." We should accept the fact that we will not always get everything we want. Sometimes we get disappointed. Things do go wrong. We have done our share. We have done the best we could under the circumstances. We can leave the rest to a higher power.
6. Pranayama: Measure and control of breath to relax and balance the body.
7. Pratyahara: Withdrawal of the senses from attachment to external objects.
8. Samadhi: Unconscious state of bliss. When we succeed in becoming so absorbed in something that our mind becomes completely one with it, we are in a state of Samadhi. Samadhi means "to bring together, to merge."
Do share your comments or questions below...

Blessings and Namaste,
Anna

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

My First Blog Post: Gratitude, Blessings and Namaste

Hello to my first ever blog post!! How exciting! I hope everyone is doing super well!! As you may know, I'm teaching yoga now in Ireland at Sunrise Studio in Dun Laoghaire. You are more than welcome to come to my classes..I teach on Saturdays at 11am and Sundays at 4pm. You can find more information by going to http://www.sunrise.ie/

I feel very fortunate to have met many wonderful people in the 2.5 months I've been here, and also feel very lucky to have the opportunity to teach yoga here in Ireland. I hope you find my blog enjoyable, insightful and inspirational....thanks for joining me on this journey as I take my yoga "off the mat" and actually live it!

In Deep Gratitude!
Blessings and Namaste,
Anna