Posts In: Yoga

Lauren and Grace

At a certain point amidst this pandemic something started to nag at me. I wasn’t able to talk to you. I couldn’t find out what is going on with you, ask you questions about your family and how your body is feeling. I was starting to feel a bit lost.
And then, I thought of all of you! You would all come to the studio and talk with each other, catch up, sometimes see classmates you haven’t seen in a while and enjoy the consistency of the people you do see every week. I felt the loss of our community for myself and for all of you.
My fear is that when we are able to return to the studio safely in larger numbers, that we won’t take the time to share how big of an impact this pandemic has been in our lives. That we will go back to business as usual as we breathe and stretch and focus together.

So, I said to myself, OMG we need to process! We need to hold space for each other, we need to just look into the eyes of our friends and loved ones and be seen. We need to know that even though we are in isolation, we haven’t gone through this alone. I began to ask myself, how do we gather? How do we come together, hold space for each other and still stay safe? And then the answer came. We need to walk. Not to march, but to walk. We need to move our body from one place to another to represent the transition of time, of ground covered and we need to do it together and we need to do it in silence. We need to feel the togetherness of each other and stay safe.
On March 16th, 2020 we were ordered by the State of Connecticut to close our businesses until further notice due to the Covid-19 virus and we haven’t been at full capacity since. We discontinued some classes and took the rest online. We kept the teachers that didn’t already have full time jobs. Then, in the Summer, we did outdoor classes, Paddle Board Yoga classes and Yoga with Gongs in The Courtyard. We purchased more Pilates Reformers so when we could have people in the studio again, we could still offer amazing workouts. We’ve gotten ourselves on a little more solid ground, albeit in a different way. But we still miss all of you!


So mark your calendar!
On Saturday March 20th, at 2pm, we will be gather together for a Silent Walk (#silentwalk). We will walk masked for an hour around town to gather in solidarity and solitude to reflect on the events of the past year. The changes, challenges, losses and lessons learned. We will reflect on the people we know that have gone through those events as well. We will reflect on things we never dreamed of having to face. We will see our friends and our community as we walk and we will know we are not alone.
We do not need to speak, as the heart knows another heart, and the breath joins us as one. There will be time for words, time to share, time to catch up. This Silent Walk (#silentwalk) is for your soul, our soul and the soul of the collective who have travelled with us on Earth during this time in space.
I ask you to Invite your friends, family, co-workers we are all one here. You are not alone and we truly are, in this together.

The word yoga means to yoke to bring together.  So it’s fitting to look at bringing yoga and the black community together.  When I talk about yoga to those who don’t practice I always hear the same things.  Oh, I can’t do yoga.  Isn’t it hard?  But I’m not flexible.  Do I have to chant om?  I can’t be in class with those skinny girls.  Is it a religion?  And this is just from “white people”.  So I asked my yoga trainees of color, how can we break down the stereotypes of yoga for communities of color?  How can we make yoga more inviting and less intimidating?  I hear others in the yoga community talk of making yoga more affordable to people of color and I think now that’s stereotypical.  To assume just because of the color of someone’s skin that they don’t have money?  So, if they are Jewish we should charge them more?  Everyone needs a break now and then but it shouldn’t depend on the color of their skin.

I appreciate the #yoga5BLM and all the Caucasians standing up for people of color and yes we DO need to raise our voices.  It HAS gone on too long.  It IS injustice.  But, I have to ask, who among you has a black friend?  Who among you have reached out to your black co-worker to find out “how are you with all this?”  Does your child have black friends?   Maybe their aren’t many people of color in your area but if there are, are you really reaching out where you can?  Are you really there to emotionally support those you know of color?  Have you really been a true neighbor?  Have you asked, do you need anything?  Because, until we are together as friends and neighbors this #yoga4BLM is only a moment. Where those people posting slick Instagram images get to feel powerful for standing up for something, which is great don’t get me wrong, but back it up.  Put some muscle into it.  Don’t let it just be the statement of 2020, the post on your feed, that time period when…  Let your commitment be real.   Take a virtual class from Afro Flow Yoga™, or somewhere else that looks interesting, start making friends and neighbors of color, for now and all the days to come and your life will be much much fuller.

 

Top 3 Yoga Mats Today

June 7, 2020

So where do you start when it comes to all the Yoga Equipment you will now have to drag to class?  Which mat should I buy?  How long will it hold up? Do I really have to spend $100 on a yoga mat?  What about blocks? Do I need them? Which blankets should I buy and what about that bolster?  Do I have to lug that thing to class too?

It’s a strange new world when it comes to our social activities now.  We have to stay 6 ft apart from each other in yoga, wear a mask to enter the building and bring all our yoga equipment.  So what essentials should you really buy?

First of all, let’s start talk yoga mat.  This is not an exercise mat.  Exercise mats are at least 1/2 an inch and pretty squishy.  Your typical yoga mat is going to be about 1/8-1/4″ in thickness and can be as light as 2.2 lbs or as heavy as 7.5 lbs. and depending on what style of yoga you practice will make a big difference on which one you buy.

See below for some of the best mats on the market now.

My absolute most favorite 5 star yoga mat right now is the B-Mat Strong.  The first time I used one I was like wow this is it!  I loved the grip, the cushion and I didn’t have to do anything to make it more perfect than it is. (Like add water or a yogi toes towel.)  Here’s what they have to say.

  • PERFORMANCE GRIP: The B Mat is ultra grippy and will keep you grounded and supported in any practice, even in sweaty conditions
  • OPEN-CELL TECHNOLOGY: Non-slip Rubber, an open-cell material, means that sweat won’t pool on top of your mat which can create a slippery experience
  • PREMIUM QUALITY: Made of high quality ingredients and constructed to withstand heat, sweat, and the most butt-kicking vinyasa flow of your life
  • B YOGA: Our products are sustainable and responsibly produced for all types of fitness or any floor exercise routines including Yoga or Pilates
  • DIMENSIONS: 71 inches L x 26 inches W x 6. 0mm in thickness

LOVE IT!

Next I’d have to say is the Manduka PRO Yoga Mat.  This was my favorite for a while.  We even carried them in the studio however, I am not a person who sweats much but my students are and they found they were slipping when it was wet.  Maybe due to the closed cell surface as opposed to the open cell with the B-Mat.  A yogi-toes towel is usually recommended with the Manduka Mat and I’m sure if I sweat more I’d love that too.  This mat is great for gentle yoga, all levels yoga, Pilates, Barre, vinyasa yoga with no heat and some methodical and precise Iyengar yoga.  Here is the deets on what you need to know.

  • Imported
  • High-density Closed-cell surface prevents sweat from seeping into the comfortable mat cushion, superior joint protection, and unmatched grip and support, With a Lifetime Warranty offered when sold and shipped by Amazon.com
  • Standard: 7. 5 lbs. ; 71″ x 26″; 6 mm thick, due to the unique craftsmanship, there may be slight variances in weight and length which can range +/-1”
  • Extra long: 9. 5 lbs. ; 85″ x 26″; 6 mm thick, due to the unique craftsmanship, there may be slight variances in weight and length which can range +/-1”
  • The PRO Series is certified STANDARD 100 by OEKO-TEX️ (12.HUS.17706 | Hohenstein HTTI) to keep you and your family safe from harmful substances.
  • To Store: Roll Manduka PRO mats with the top side (fabric-finish) facing outwards. This keeps the corners of the mat flat when practicing.
  • To Break In: The surface texture of Manduka PRO mats improves with use. The best way to break in your mat is practice, practice, practice.
  • To Clean: Keep your mat in the best condition by wiping it down after every practice with Manduka All-Purpose Mat Wash. It’s specially formulated to clean your mat without damaging the surface or causing slippage. DO NOT soak, shower or submerge your mat

Yoga Design Lab Infinity Mat takes it for the heat.  Once you get a little sweaty, BAM! There you go stuck on your mat! I also love the amount of designs (in the name) and colors they have to choose from.  The Mandala print keeps your mind on your practice so you mind practicing. Here’s their claim to fame.

  • PERFORMANCE: Premium non-slip yoga mat offers superior wet or dry grip. The beautiful laser cut mandala print helps to align your poses.
  • ECO-FRIENDLY: Ethically sourced natural tree rubber mat base is 5 mm thick for extra cushion
  • EASY TO CLEAN: Wipe down your mat with a soft towel dampened with soap and water. Allow to fully air dry lying flat or hanging. Roll with the colored/designed side on the outside.
  • DISCOUNT YOGA SET OFFER: Buy two or more YDL products and get 10% or more off your order. Scroll down to Promotions section for codes.
  • GIVING BACK: $1 of each purchase goes to support boys and girls youth yoga programs in need 

 

It’s crunch time!  If you haven’t been exercising or keeping up your yoga and barre workouts then you’re late!  They say Summer bodies are made in the Winter but if you are just now rubbing the sleep out of your eyes, I’ve got an awesome arm hack for you.

My arms never saw definition until I started doing yoga on a regular basis.  And mind you I was dancing at least 8 hours a week and picking up heavy trays at the restaurant.  I love the way yoga incorporates one’s own body weight in such a dynamic way that it builds muscle strength, bone density and flexibility.

So here are my best picks for really toning up the arms for your summer dresses and tank tops!

Down Dog

Make sure your hands and feet start from plank pose.  Then rock back into down dog.  If your legs are tight and you find a lot of weight is in your arms then bend your knees so you can push your chest to the thighs.  It’s important to externally rotate the arms in down dog so you can really engage the triceps.

 

Side Plank

Often times students put their hand too far above their shoulder to gain any real strength.  So start in plank pose with your shoulders directly over your hands then turn to one side and stack your feet on top of each other to form one long line.  Use your inner thighs and core to keep your hips up and in line between your shoulders and feet.

 

Chaturanga 

Oh the illustrious chaturanga!  One of the most challenging arm positions in yoga. In this pose you want to keep your elbows in line with your wrists and do not round your upper back and dump your shoulders below your elbows!  As you get stronger you can bring your knees up off the ground!

 

Have fun and practice these for 3x at least 20 seconds each time.  Then we’ll wave to each other with no flapping in the wind!

Starting Yoga

January 31, 2019

Are you new to yoga and not sure where to start?  Or maybe you are a practicing and seasoned yogi looking for a community where you can expand your practice.  No matter what your circumstances, finding the right home to practice yoga can be overwhelming. There are classes at gyms, local community centers, and a ton of studios with 32 flavors of yoga: want a practice full of heads stands and arm balances? Done. How about dance music? Or even yoga ‘boot camp’? Sure thing! There’s a class for every yogi, even if most of those things aren’t necessarily yoga.  But what’s important is that you find a studio with teachers that resonate with your needs; that provides you with an inviting space in which to practice; has virtual classes, and one that specializes in providing attention to students in order to meet their needs; and a studio that welcomes new yogis without making you feel like you don’t know what you’re doing. This is what Fuller Yoga is all about.

At Fuller Yoga, we are focused on the well-being yoga can deliver.  We offer a range of classes to meet the evolving needs of our students, but we also specialize in helping all students achieve physical and mental well-being.  We are staffed with a team of seasoned, highly trained instructors that specialize in proper alignment and working with students who suffer from chronic pain and injuries.  We provide a clean, safe and judgement-free environment so students can learn the basics of a yoga practice, or take their existing practice to the next level, and experience all the benefits that doing yoga regularly can offer.  We love what we do and take pride in being there for every student in our community, ensuring that individual needs are being met.

So, if you’re wondering, or a friend asks you, here are 4 reasons why you should check out Fuller Yoga.

  1. Our goal is to utilize the practices of yoga and Pilates to support each student to achieve their goals of increasing flexibility, getting stronger reducing chronic pain
  2. Our team of experienced teachers focuses on a practice that will support proper alignment for your individual body and mechanics to build strength and stability.
  3. We take pride in creating a clean and judgement-free learning environment where each student can focus on their mind-body connection to reduces stress, anxiety and pain.  
  4. We love what we do!

Check out our new student specials or contact us directly for a private one-on-one yoga session. https://bookwithfulleryoga.as.me/Melissa

How I got out of back pain.

January 14, 2019

You wouldn’t know this by looking at me but I have had low back pain most of my life.  Most of the time it didn’t bother me too much.  Just when I did too much or stood around a lot.  My family went on long car trips which was too much sitting and we visited lots of museums which was too much standing and those floors are hard!

Some days were better than others.  Some days I was ok and others I could hardly get out of bed and I would have to do stretches under the covers just to get my feet on the floor.  There was the constantly fiddle-ling with my hips, pushing them around twisting, shifting, anything to get relief.  When I did too much it hurt more, and when I did too little it hurt more.  But I never really took it too seriously.  I’m an active person and figured it was par for the course. Until the winter of 2015.  I believe when we got a snow storm every Monday and I took that time to sit and do my accounting for the business.  Boy was that a bad idea!

I hardly ever sit. And sitting that long repeatedly resulted in one day not being able to put my arm behind my back and feeling some serious numbness and tingling down my arm into my forefinger.  I went to the doctor, got an MRI saw some things going on to look out for in the future but it wasn’t until I saw the good people at Chiropractic Health Center of Glastonbury until I started to understand what was gong on.

First, I was loosing the cervical curve in my neck so my neck was flattening out; not good. And second, I found out I was born with a lumbosacral fusion and an additional fusion on the transverse process to the sacrum.  This was kind of a big deal and so many things started to make sense.  Now I understood why the left side of my back hurt more than the right.  Why I was constantly manipulating my left hip and why the left leg dominated when I was a young gymnast.

I also adjusted my yoga and Pilates practice a lot.  I started to scale back on stretching my hamstrings too much which was beginning to de-stabilize my pelvis and work at strengthen my glutes and stretching my quads and hip flexors.  And in addition to starting chiropractic care which helped a lot.  I coupled that with massage and using The MELT Method and the Yoga Ropes Wall before before an adjustment.

I’m fortunate that I understand the body and know how to navigate around pain and spinal issues.  In the end my best advice is to tell you it’s a process. And be consider the following:

-Get an x-ray first and have someone knowledgeable explain it to you.. Manipulating the spine without knowing what is going on underneath the hood is not the best use of our time or money.

-Find yoga, Pilates and fitness professionals who truly understand the body and if they have worked through injuries themselves, then even better.

-Get chiropractic care and be pro-active around your appointments.  Stretch before hand or get a massage.  Even still learn The MELT Method.  These small practices can really advance your care as they tell the muscles that have been pulling on your bones to stop what they have been doing and relax so your adjustment can really take hold and get your spine back in alignment.

-Reduce your stress.  Take walks out in nature and remember this is a process.  Breathe In and Breathe Out. And finally…

-Never Give Up!

Now, I can honestly say I am in less pain than I have been in in my whole life.  Sure there are moments that are not so good but they are far and few between.  Plus, when I start going down that slippery slope I know what to do.  Stretch, strengthen, MELT, massage and make an appointment with the chiropractor and do my practice!

To book a private session with one of our certified instructors please email: hello@fulleryoga.com or book at https://BookWithFullerYoga.as.me/Pilates

We look forward to working with you and help facilitate your journey our of pain.

Word for 2019!

December 29, 2018

This year I thought let’s make it simple.  Let’s pick a word that we want to be an overarching theme for 2019.

So instead of resolutions and regimens let’s just sprinkle a little word into our year, our months, our weeks, our days and relationships. Maybe it’s the start to your day.  Wake up, stretch a little and say the word to remind yourself or your intentions and desires.

Afraid you’ll forget it?  Tattoo it on your arm! Although I did see a woman who had inhale tattooed on one wrist and exhale tattooed on the other. (No just kidding) Find a cheap canvas from Michael’s and make it an art project.  Get your kids involved maybe they have a word too.  How about saying it out loud before each meal?  Could you answer the phone with your word?  That might be fun!  Instead of saying hello we say Joy!  This is ______________how can I help you?  Our students have begun to find their words like fabulous, peace and unicorn.  Don’t rush it.  Let it come to you.  Open your mind, relax and see what bubbles up.  Whatever it is make sure the word brings a smile to your face and a lightness in your heart.

Meet me for the big reveal on Facebook  Tuesday Jan. 1st 2019 and tell us…

WHAT’S YOUR WORD?

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.

 

 

 

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