Posts In: Learn Yoga

Yoga How to Start

October 9, 2018

In today’s social media star world it’s easy to get intimidated by the images we see of yoga.  Please be advised you do not have to be flexible to do yoga.  All you have to do is be willing to check your ego at the door.  As we continue to seek the fountain of youth we are realizing that the more we try to be 23 again the more the fountain is drying up.  That is when it is time to turn to exercise that is easier on the joints, increases blood flow and builds strong muscles and bones.  YOGA!!!  With it’s adaptability and use of props anyone truly anyone can do yoga.  However, if your ego keeps telling you you have to be perfect or not to look stupid then you just may miss out on all the wonderful benefits of a regular yoga practice.  Like less stress, sleeping better, eating better and even getting better at yoga.

Google yoga studios in your area.  Find one that does an Introductory or beginner course in yoga.  You will learn the names of postures and various breathing techniques to help increase oxygenation and reduce stress.  You will also be in a group of other beginners.  And you may even make friends with people who are also looking to better their health and feel better in body while getting or staying fit.  Find a friend and do it together and if anyone misses a week they owe the other person a pair of Athleta yoga pants.  And at those prices you’ll be sure you both will show up.

Hesitate no more!  Isn’t it time to grow a little and achieve more and be around for the great grand kids?

Breathe,

How are your hips?  Do you feel stiff in your hips and low back?  Like they just don’t sway like they used to?  If you sit in a desk most of the day or stand on your feet you might be tight in your hips and low back that can cause a lot of pain.  Below you will find a simple stretch that can be done in stationary chair (no wheels please) that will alleviate aches and pains due to inactivity.  So pull up a chair.

Pigeon in chair hip stretch

Sit on the edge of the chair with your feet planted firmly in front of you and sit up tall.  Now cross your left ankle over your right knee, like a man would typically cross his legs.  If you are really tight your knee crossed over will point towards the ceiling and it will feel very awkward.  In that case put books, blankets or a higher chair underneath you so your knee of the foot on the floor is 90º, in this case the right knee.  Lift up through your spine to be as high on your sit bones as possible creating a flat back.  You may feel some stretching in your hip just by being in this position and if so just hang out there for at least 30-60 sec.

If you don’t get much sensation place your hands up a wall as high as you can,  or find something to pull on like a yoga ropes wall or a bar and lean forward keeping the spine straight until you begin to feel a stretch in the hip of the leg that is crossed over.  After 30-60 seconds change to the other side.  Repeat each side at least three times.  After you are done stand up and gently bend at the waist reaching forward towards your toes.  Then come back to a standing position and take a walk.  See if your hips have a little more swing to them.  Now put an alarm clock at your desk or workstation to help remind you to do this again at least two more times throughout the day.

You will find this stretch, when repeated often, will be very helpful in alleviating all sorts of hip and lower back pain.  As always, let me know how it goes.

Live Simply and Wisely,

Justine

Write to Justine at hello@fulleryoga.com or find on Facebook

downdog flowTruly there is nothing like it.  I cannot seem to find a way to replicate the openness and length the body gets with the Ropes Wall.  Originally designed by B.K.S. Iyengar it has unlimited potential for ALL and I mean ALL.  For those just starting out it is good for support and structure.  For people who who have injuries, spinal issues or chronic pain the ropes wall can target areas traditional yoga just can’t no matter what style you practice.  And for the advanced yogi the wall helps the body access and deepen stretches to achieve postures like King Pigeon king pigeonand Wheel.  With all the sitting, driving and texting we do we have to find ways to bring ourselves upright and back into better posture.

The best way the ropes wall does this is by allowing us to be passive and soften into postures so our body can relax and unwind all the tension it’s been holding without forcing or pushing into something new.  Water does not flow the way you force it to but rather it finds the path of least resistance.  Our bodies aren’t much different.  They like to take the path of least resistance.  Just think of the effort it takes to get up and change the channel.  Ergo the remote.

If you think it’s not for you think again.  I’ve had 6’4″ men on it, students with scoliosis on it, 85 year old women on it and others who were terrified find their way to loving the wall and what it does for their body and getting them out of stiffness and pain.  In fact one student felt as though her organs had more space in her body.  This might be true.

There is a stillness when practicing on the wall.  I suppose it’s due to the space that is created in the body the joints and the mind itself for possibility and ease.  Find a class either with us or a studio near you, you won’t regret it.

 

 

 

The Cool Side of Yoga

July 6, 2018

swimming pool yoga 2I’m sure you’ve all heard about Bikram Yoga (yoga practiced in 108°), Hot Yoga, Sweat and Surrender Yoga and now even Hot Pilates and Barre classes so with all this hot yoga craze we may be missing out on the cooler side of stretching, breathing and relaxing.

There are several styles of yoga that are great to balance out summer activities and warmer climates so you can still get all the benefits of yoga.  The first one is restorative yoga. This therapeutic style of yoga is often called “Active Relaxation” which uses props to support the body while keeping it active with minimal movement in a relaxed, meditative state. These poses are used to trigger the parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for balancing the body. The postures are specifically designed for when you are feeling fatigued, weak, stressed from daily life or when you just want to experience stillness. They are equally beneficial to alleviate depression, reduce chronic pain, migraines and the symptoms of insomnia, asthma and to help recover from childbirth.  The second style of yoga I recommend during the hot months is Gentle Yoga.  Gentle Yoga consists of a balance between slow repetitive and sustained stretching.  Standing postures are rare in gentle yoga and if they are performed they are to stretch rather than strengthen.  Gentle yoga can be an excellent way to begin a yoga practice and start gaining flexibility in a way that won’t set you up for failure.  The third practice is Yin Yoga.  Yin (soft) yoga, as opposite of Yang (active, strong) offers a slow paced movement and helps press pause on hyperactive life we are living. Yin and Yang are opposites, yet together they create wholeness while complimenting each other. The yoga postures will be held for short periods of time (2-4 min) with intention to create more elasticity in connective tissue, access deeper muscles, release stress from the body and mind and aid in overall relaxation.

With summer comes lots of activities and exuberant energy that needs to be balanced and grounded.  It is just as important to take care of ourselves when we feel good as it is when we do not.  These three yoga styles (Restorative, Gentle and Yin) are the perfect activity to do just that just look for these names of yoga at your closest yoga studio.

L.Justine Fuller

For workshop and 200 hr Yoga Teacher Training courses please visit;

www.fulleryoga.com

Meet Kristina!

June 5, 2018

YMP_4172 as Smart Object-1

What brought you to yoga? About 7 years ago I began training for and completed a ½ marathon. I was so psyched that I began training for a full marathon almost immediately afterwards. I went for a long run on a cold January day and in an effort to complete the run, I sprinted the last mile. As I ran I felt like something snapped in my left hip area and immediately felt intense pain in my knee and had a hard time walking. I came to find out that I pulled my IT band. I went through PT, but needed something to keep myself stretched and toned. I took my first yoga class and I fell in love with the connection between body and mind. I loved the meditative qualities as well as the mindfulness and focus. The strengthening of my body was also a huge plus!

In what ways has yoga impacted your life? Yoga has helped me to refocus more quickly after life throws curve balls at me. Even if I lose my temper or emotion gets away from me, my training has taught me to always return to the breath.

Why did you decide to enroll in a Yoga Teacher Training? While I was a Police Officer, a friend asked me what I would do if I wasn’t Police Officer. Without even thinking “become a Yoga Teacher” came out of my mouth. I wasn’t even aware I wanted to teach! Well, after the birth of my daughter almost 4 years ago, I decided I wanted to retire and there happened to be a Yoga Teacher Training starting that fall at the studio I was practicing in. I signed up and have not regretted one step of this new journey.

Looking back what advice would you give to yourself the first time you stepped onto a yoga mat? Stop trying to compete with others. Enjoy the moment. Be curious about the practice and where the teacher is trying to lead you. SOFTEN! Oh, and none of the other students are watching you!!

What activities do you enjoy outside of teaching? Spending free time with my Step-sons, husband and daughter doing something fun like hiking or going to the beach, I love to go to the beach with my daughter. I love to garden, going to amusement parks, AND if I can find the time, I love to read.

What advice would you give a beginner? Be kind to yourself and try not to judge. Everyone has a starting point when they begin yoga. Don’t aspire and wish to be in the difficult postures immediately. Those take time, but be present in the moment and be patient with yourself about where you are in your practice. The teacher is there to help you.

What is your favorite pose? My favorite pose constantly changes. Sometimes it’s wheel, sometimes Balancing Half Moon, but I think most consistently it is Warrior II. I love the grounding and strength of the posture. It is a conscious effort to be in such a strong posture, but at the same time to soften the gripping.

What surprise have you found about yourself or others from being a teacher? I found that I do love to teach. I wasn’t sure as I went through training if I truly did want to teach, but once I began to teach, I loved it. When I center my class, I can truly let go of what is happening beyond the studio walls, no matter what went on in life before I walked through the doors. As the class and I begin to breathe in unison and the class begins to move, my tension melts away and I begin to soften. Teaching is a big part of my yoga path.

Join Kristina as she leads you through #108SunSalutations

Sunday June 24th from 3-5pm. Fee $35

Sign up with this link.

 

Meet Melissa!

March 1, 2018
image41. What brought you to yoga?
Years ago I found myself in a rut struggling with anxiety, insomnia and chronic
neck pain ​from a car accident in my teens.  Feeling a little down one day I asked myself “is this as good as it gets?” The universe seemed to respond quickly as I soon found myself in a yoga class breathing, twisting and turning without a clue as to what I was doing.

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Walking out of that first class was like experiencing a whole new lease on life that felt hopeful, healthy and vibrant! I was hooked, and that feeling has been bringing me back to my mat every day!
2. In what ways has yoga impacted your life?
The day after my first yoga class was quickly followed by a second class the next day, and the next day and then followed by three to five times per week. The effects of peace, calm and joy felt on my first day were confirmed again and again as each day I left class feeling fantastic! Anxiety and neck pain disappeared and I was sleeping great!
3. Why did you decide to enroll in a Yoga Teacher Training?
My desire to create beautiful things through art and design carried me naturally into the desire to share the beautiful effects yoga had in my life. Enrolling in training at Kripalu was a natural next step after a year since stepping into my first yoga class.
4. Looking back what advice would you give to yourself the first time you stepped onto a yoga mat?

​ ​Relax and have fun! Our mind and body tend to be at odds with new experiences. Quieting the mind and listening to the body allows one to begin to experience the body leading you into a new and wonderful world of peace. This can be challenging when our mind rules our world, but that is where yoga really shines.
5. What activities do you enjoy outside of teaching?

Traveling, paddleboarding, hiking and spending time with my family and friends.
6. What advice would you give a beginner?
Try it!  Let your body be the judge after a class or two.  Once we get out of our mind and allow our body to twist and turn releasing the tension and stress that we aren’t even aware of, the mind becomes more calm and centered which is a wonderful feeling! So many times people get caught up in thinking their yoga pose needs to be as perfect as the poses on the cover of yoga journal but it doesn’t. Yoga isn’t about perfect poses, yoga’s about connecting to your body and yourself.
7. What is your favorite pose?
I really want to say savasana because that’s my all-time favorite, but only after a full practice!  Dancer pose is my favorite! I love the benefits, it’s a great backbend and quad stretch!
8. What surprise have you found about yourself or others from being a teacher?
I never imagined myself being a teacher. Now my full time job is being a yoga and meditation teacher and a reiki practitioner. Yoga teacher training was such an empowering and confidence building experience that it has literally created a career I never knew was waiting for me.
To find a class with Melissa visit www.fulleryoga.com