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There are two kinds of people who should not hold Halasana (plough pose); the beginner and the student who says they’ve had a bad back day. Plough pose is a deep stretch for the long muscles of the spine and when they’ve been locked up for a long time putting them in this deep long stretch will have them reacting and over tighten. It’s usually when students spend too long in plough that they experience a sharp pain in the low back upon returning the feet to the floor. Some say their back seized up.
In order to prevent that, I’ve come up with a way to ease into plough that I call “rocking plough”. Here is what you do.
1. Lie on your back with your legs in the air straight to the ceiling if you can. Hands are under your buttocks to support the low back.
2. Slowly lower your feet to the floor as long as it does not bother your lower back and on an exhale raise them back up lifting your hips off the floor and over your head to attempt to touch your toes to the floor behind you.
3. Bring your hips down slowly and repeat. Rocking your plough at least 5 times to open the deep muscles of the back and coax them into stretching.
From there you can take a supine twist or go into full plough or shoulder stand and be quite comfortable as the back has now had some preparation for the full posture. They say necessity is the mother of invention but sometime pain is too.
Try it. Does it work?
How did it feel?

As I teach Vinyasa Yoga classes I continually see students trying to keep up in the sun salutations.  Now mind you some classes are so fast it makes you wonder if it’s even yoga, but when I teach it’s an easy moderate pace that most people can keep up with.  What becomes frustrating is watching students struggle through the plank to chaturanga dandasana to up dog transition because they are trying to keep up.  Either they lack the strength or the patience to do the proper movements that will build their strength and begin to flow.

My suggestion to those of you who want to keep up?  Go sign up for a workshop, take a beginner class, or take a martial art.  Anything that will remind you how to be a beginner again and say to yourself this is yoga and it’s for me!  The other thing I suggest is to learn how to execute the 8 point pose and practice it in the middle of your sun salutations until you are so bored with it you might die.  Eight point pose will build your strength and your body’s understanding of how to execute this challenging transition.  You will also be able to sustain your practice for years to come without injury or under/over developed musculature. 

Like I always say, if you don’t take the time, time will take you.  Go ahead don’t take the time to learn these key transitions, try to keep up with the yogi’s  and see how much time it takes you to recover from the rotator cuff pain. But don’t say we didn’t worn you.

…and I’m blonde and I lived in San Francisco doesn’t mean I smoke pot, hang out at Wanderlust all summer and live out of my car.  Well, maybe eat out of my car but definitely no sleeping.  As a person who seeks to become more conscious of themselves and less judgmental I find it fascinating that once I say I teach yoga and lived in California I’m automatically a pot smoking hippie who is relaxed all the time.  Maybe it’s a Northeast thing.  If I lived in the West would the reaction be the same or would most people I met be in a similar boat?   I’m sure from a corporate office my lifestyle looks pretty grand.  Making your own schedule, having free time in the middle of the day, and helping people feel better on a daily basis.  The truth is most people probably couldn’t last one day, let alone 14 years, doing what I do.  From the constant driving around (both my colleague and I have 14 year old cars) to teaching from the crack of dawn to well after sunset (up to 5 classes a day with a 30 to 45min. commute between each class) no health insurance, 401k or paid vacation it can be a stressful life.  A yoga teacher and studio owner has to be on key, disciplined and meticulous about schedules, pay rates, payroll, covering your classes when you or your teachers are sick, advertising,creating newsletters, accounting, keeping up with social media, the newest yoga techniques and styles not to mention a personal life which consists of laundry, grocery shopping, and if your lucky going to a movie on a Friday night but not too late because you have an 8:00am class in the morning.

So why am I in this game?  I decided long ago I didn’t want to have to change who I am and what I love to do in exchange for a desk, a 401k plan, health insurance and sick pay.  Sounds like suicide doesn’t it?  And believe me the corporate lifestyle has looked very good at times.  I have to admit I was smiling a bit being able to tell myself, huh see how well the illusion of corporate security went for the Enron employees?

It’s a crazy thing to think I should be able to do what I love and afford health insurance, save for retirement and hey maybe even buy a new car to eat out of but someone has to do it.

How to Find a Hot Chick!

August 6, 2012

Now there are a lot of men across the country and in major cities who have figured this out but in our still new studio in the upper middle class, CrossFit, marathon runner town of Glastonbury, CT, the guys have yet to figure it out.  Yoga and Pilates classes are the best places to meet women.  Why you ask?

  1. Higher Standards:  Women who practice yoga and pilates (regularly and power yoga preferred) tend to be more loving to their body.  They want to look good, eat healthy, feel good about their purchases and most importantly they’re looking to keep it drama free.  How great is that?   But don’t think you can reap all the benefits of her consistent practice while you go to class a few times and then quit.  She will have higher standards for you as well.
  2. Prove Yourself: Unlike a bar, nightclub or networking event people don’t talk in a yoga class.  We’ve eliminated the opportunity to do the chest puffing, toy bragging, and one upping the guy next to you to get a great date.  You however will have to come face to face with all of who you thought you were in order to accept that yoga is humbling.  Consistency, dedication and commitment are very attractive.  (tip:  If she sees you are coming to class regularly and you don’t let the awkwardness, sweat and occasional grunts that rise out of your vocal cords stop you from being consistent she will know you are a man worthy of her attention.)
  3. Power It Up:  Heated, Power, and Vinyasa Yoga practices can really turn up the heat and attract women who like to challenge themselves on all levels.
  4. Show Some Skin:  Women who do yoga become more confident with their bodies and have less and less hang-ups about how they look as they work more and more on what their body is capable of.  As they gain confidence they will want to show more skin and curves, not for your benefit but for theirs.  And isn’t confidence sexy?
  5. Great Sex:  Women who do yoga are more in touch with and comfortable with their bodies and don’t forget flexible.  ‘Nuff said.
  6. Young At Heart:  Yoga whether it’s gentle or power attracts women of all ages who are young minded, vibrant and ready for something new.  I can’t tell you how many women I see in the yoga studio that are mature, emotionally aware of themselves, know what they want and don’t look a day over 45. They’re traveling, trying new things, taking on new careers and looking for a quality guy to have fun with.

So guys use the computer you’re now staring at to find your nearest yoga studios and start taking classes.  Try different styles and teachers.  Once you find a studio you not only like but you’re attracted to the women that go there; stick to it!  Give it 6 months to  a year minimum.  You may start out looking for a great partner or friend with benefits but you just may end up with a great life.