Pose a Day Series: Sarvangasana

Wednesday: Sarvangasana (Shoulder Stand)
Sirsasana is the king of the poses, Sarvangasana is known as the queen and, will often follow headstand in a Dharma practice.
This is a core and back strengthener and is also good for the heart.
Shoulder stand is another good pose in which to pause and meditate!

This pose is an offering to the Silver Avenue Family Health Center Community Yoga Class

Make your offering here.

Pose a Day Series: Shashankasana into Sirsasana

Tuesday: Shashankasana (Hare Pose) into Sirsasana (Headstand Pose)

Both hare and headstand strengthen the muscles in the neck and back.

Both poses are good for giving the heart a break as gravity draws the blood down towards the heart. Both poses are good for the brain.

As you progress from hare pose to headstand take it one step at a time, mastering each pose before moving on to the next. Once you are comfortable in a pose take a few breathes, try meditation (or complete focus) before moving on to the next pose. 

These poses are an offering to the Silver Avenue Family Health Center Community Yoga Class

Make your offering here.

Feeling that Yogathon Glow

RISE Yoga for Youth Yogathon 2017 with veteran yogathoners Akin and Jeff at Mission HS

This past Saturday RISE Yoga for Youth hosted their 4th annual Yogathon. Nearly 100 members of the RISE community gathered at the Mission High School gym to offer the benefits of yoga and wellness education to teens throughout the Bay Area.

High School girls from Immaculate Conception Academy greeted guests as they entered the gym and invited them to register, take a look at raffle, and bid on silent auction items.

Mission High School students shared their yoga experiences from the past semester with us and then guided us through warm-ups. Hearing from these students was a testament to teacher Craig who has been leading the Mission HS students for the past two school years.

Adho Mukha Svanasana 

Soon local yoga teachers were leading us through the annual 108 sun salutations. I am so grateful that Martin Scott agreed to lead a section this year. The familiarity of the traditional Surya Namaskar, as taught by Sri Dharma Mittra, flowed through me without effort. These 16 salutations were truly meditative, an easy offering. Even with few breaks and a bottle of coconut water, about an hour and a half later my muscles were getting shaky from the effort and I was noticing where I would be feeling sore the next day. Finally after two hours of movement, Darren Main completed the series with a calming savasana.

Being silly with RISE Yoga for Youth Teachers. 

Aka the Yogi warriors bringing Love to our students every day! 

A year ago I was a member of the RISE community via a single class of my own at June Jordan School for Equity. I have spent the last 11 month growing into the position of Site Director and I have learned a great deal about the administrative and behind the scenes duties that go along with youth yoga. I am even more appreciative of what this organization offers to students as well as teachers. I am humbled to work with such an amazing group of women and men seeking to bring peace, kindness, and love into the lives of everyone they meet.

Thank you to the many kind and generous donors who have helped me to raise over 200% of my original goal. While I have surpassed my personal goal for the year, RISE has a little ways left to go. If you are feeling that yogathon glow and looking for away to keep it going please visit my campaign page here to make a donation. The campaign will remain active through the end of April.

Om Shanti Shanti Shanthi

Teachers and Padmasana photos by Andrew Witmore

The Rocks, the Beach, and of course the Asana…

After viewing a few pictures on MM from the shoot with HFB Photography an Italian gentleman, Fabio Formaggio, asked if we could meet up to create some more pics at the beach for his shutterstock page. Seeing as I am all too happy for a reason to offer poses in the sun I said yes. Here are a few of my favorites…

 

Woman training yoga on the beach at sunset

Vriksasana Variation

 

Woman training yoga on the beach at sunset

Side Stretch

 

Woman training yoga on the beach at sunset

Standing Split Variation

Woman training yoga on the beach at sunset

Padmasana

“It was a 2,000 step process.” Thomas Edison

“After [Edison] invented the lightbulb, this young gentleman came up to him and asked him, ‘How did it feel to fail over 2,000 times?’ Edison said, ‘I never failed once. It was a 2,000 step process.”‘

Happiest of New Years to all!

On January 1st 2016 I set Ganda Bherundasana as my goal for the year. I had been fearing this pose for many years. My fear stemmed from the apparent weight distribution. To me the pose looked and felt like a great risk of breaking the neck! After some discussion with a really wonderful teacher, Melissa, I discovered that the weight was actually primarily in the arms and the chin and chest were just sort of there for balance, barely holding any weight at all. I still had some work to do in terms of finding that balance and gaining the upper body strength but after that moment I was no longer afraid and progress occurred quickly. Before long I was flying into it from Eka Pada Koundinyasana (flying split pose) and then kicking up out of Astangasana (8 point pose)!

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Ganda Bherundasana from Astangasana

This year, 2017, I would like to tackle another pose that I have been working on for years and years, Vrishchikasana, full scorpion pose. I have a pretty strong forearm balance and a good back bend but I have yet to manage to get my toes to touch my head while in the forearm balance. Teachers have been saying, “It’s right there just bring your chest forward and head up a little bit more. You’re right there!” I can see what they mean, from my preliminary attempt on January 1st it looks like it’s just around the corner. I did already notice this week that my first attempt was incredibly crooked. Sometimes it helps to just take a look at a picture of yourself, I never would have known if I hadn’t seen it in the picture!

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The first attempt was pretty lopsided.

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Already improving!

Thank Your for Contributing to the Silver Avenue Family Health Center Campaign!

 

So much gratitude to the amazing contributors helping the Silver Avenue Family Health Center Community Yoga class survive! The class will be running through March 2016 in great thanks to many donors including…

Sally S Stout,

Christina Brown,

Truc Nguyen, 

Donald Hammonds, 

Breanna DiGiammarino, 

Erin Curtis 

If you’re excited about providing yoga to folks in the excelsior community, the campaign is still live and you can continue to contribute here

“Be Yourself; everyone else is already taken.” Oscar Wilde

Last week I got to play around practicing partner yoga with Mackenzie at the Yoga for Teens Teacher Training Course. Thank you Mackenzie and to all of the lovely ladies in the circle for sharing you time and spirit last week!

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“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” Oscar Wilde

If you happen to be in or near NYC, you lucky yogis can join Mack next week at the IYI Institute for the next Yoga for Teens Teacher Training Course.

Yogini at Baker Beach

A couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of working with Helen of HFBPhotography at Baker Beach. This was less than a week after returning from HI and what a fantastic way to reconnect with the Bay! Challenging myself with poses on the rock and grounding down with the mat by the water. I love the way the sand ties the mat to the beach by gently pooling in the images below! If you’re looking for more check out the the rest of our shoot here.

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One End of the Ulna

Last year I was teaching a class for a group of second and third graders; 7, 8, and 9 year olds. One afternoon as I sat on my mat an inquisitive little yogini sat next to me and took notice of my wrist. “What is that?!” She asked, clearly concerned about the protruding bulb sticking out at the end of my forearm. “It’s my bone.” I replied. Her concern turned to curiosity as I tried as best I could to explain about the ulna’s functions in the body.  When I said, “Look you have one too!” curiosity turned into shock at never having noticed this part of her own body before. She was however, clearly comforted by the fact that I have one too and it’s totally normal.