Posts In: learn yoga

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.

 

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.

Fall Back to School

August 8, 2018

Sarajean assist.jpgSeptember is back to school month.  That means a lot of changes.  Different schedules have to be put in place, more traffic and cars are on the road and that time we had to play, take a day trip or go to the movies is scheduled with activities, homework and the onset of the holidays.  So how can you keep the easy spirit of summer and carve out time for yourself as your whole life changes tempo?

Well, it’s not just kids that have to go back to school.  Us adults could you use the education as well.   One of the best ways to keep your mental acuities is to keep learning, studying and growing your knowledge in ways that interest you and broaden your horizons.

Where can you find a class or workshop on various subjects that doesn’t cost a mortgage?  The first place to look is actually not you tube or the internet but your town.  Many towns have a park and recreation department that provide various classes ranging from foreign languages, computers, cooking, art and even exercise classes.  As we age it can get harder and harder to meet people and create connections and companions around activities that interest us.  We can get isolated and the internet won’t help break through loneliness.  That’s why when you engage in your community you can meet people who have similar interests and are close by therefore after the course is over you could meet up for lunch or coffee.

Also you may want to branch out to your local community college.  They generally have lots of classes that pertain to personal development that won’t end up in a degree, unless you want that of course.  There are arts annexes and organizations that hold classes in painting, photography, sculpture, writing mixed media etc.  You can check museums or science centers that may be having lectures or workshops in conjunction with specific exhibits.  You can even look at your local yoga studio for classes or workshops in yoga, meditation, essential oils and to make a bigger commitment you can enroll in a 200hr yoga teacher training even if you already know you may not want to teach.

Sure we may have to do additional education for our job to keep up with trends but it is also important to find new things to learn that peak your interests and help you become a well rounded human being and a fountain of information.  Then when the details of what we’ve learned have faded into the background we will still have good friends with similar interests.  And that can last a lifetime.

 

For more information on workshops and teacher trainings with Justine at Fuller Yoga in either Glastonbury  or West Hartford please visit www.fulleryoga.com

If you think a yoga teacher training isn’t for you think again. It’s a life changing experience!

Whether you’ll ever teach or not it’s about doing the work and transforming yourself into a more authentic version of yourself.  You deepen your knowledge of an activity you love and as my teacher Alison West told me. Yoga will change your life. And boy was she right.

So I’ve put together the Top 10 Reasons you would want to take the Fuller Yoga Teacher Training.

  1. Learn more about the yoga practice you love. The history, the philosophy, lifestyle choices in being a “yogi” and why they work.
  2. Learn more about your body and how to keep it safe. Those who dive into a yoga practice without having good knowledge of body mechanics get injured more quickly than those who know how the body should and shouldn’t move.
  3. You get to throw around big fancy words like dosha, citta, samskara and vashistasana and actually know what it means.
  4. You will get an opportunity to understand yourself better. Fuller Yoga teacher training is about diving deeper to understand what makes you tick. As Socrates said, “To know thyself is the beginning of wisdom.”
  5. You will get to do more yoga than you ever thought possible. Our training requires you to practice, practice, practice, and keep a record in order to get credit for all those hours on the mat.
  6. You will know how to teach to everyone. Our program is comprehensive. You won’t graduate only knowing how to teach to one type of yoga student. Whether they are beginners, devote practitioners, injured, or in their advanced years you will know how to teach a class specific to that demographic.
  7. Make new friends. Yoga Teacher Training is about sharing the love of yoga. Bonding over tea and texting each other to ask how you pronounce Utthita Hasta Pandangusthasana. Besides, these friends are embarking on a journey of health and well being which will be a great influence all around.
  8. Gain confidence! Whether you end up teaching or not you will gain more confidence being in front of people, sharing your experience and taking a leadership role.
  9. Giving is getting. There is nothing more satisfying than hearing someone say, “ah, that’s just what I needed, “or “thanks, my back doesn’t hurt anymore.”
  10. Make some money. You probably won’t retire on your yoga earnings but teaching and continuing to practice will keep you out of the old folks home with a little extra change in your pockets.

For more information on the Fuller Yoga Primary Yoga Teacher Training please contact or click here.

Recently this question came across my yoga mat.  I fear I can hurt myself in back bends but I’m curious about your  All Levels Back Bending workshop would this be appropriate for me? What are the benefits of back bending?

Well quite honestly you can hurt yourself stepping off the curb.  Anything you do without awareness can cause injury or pain.  However, with a qualified instructor who guides you into and out of your postures anything is possible.

Back bends are a great way to stimulates the central nervous system, revitalize the organs and counter balance our way too forward bending culture. They bring awareness to your back body, create better posture and help open the heart which can also help with depression and anxiety.

Back bends can be simply lying on your back with your feet on the floor lifting your hips up but they can also be so much more.

Should you take a workshop?  Absolutely.

Yoga workshops are the best way to do something correctly and get the most knowledge out of your instructor.  You will learn how to safely go into and out of back bending sequences as well as understand how “warmed up” the body has to be to properly achieve any back bend. Workshops start slow and it’s a focused effort on one or two postures so everything you do will be toward the end set of back bending postures. Plus, there are usually less people than in a regular group class so you will have the extra time to ask questions and get the help you are looking for. You will also find out what set of muscles are limiting you from a more expansive back bending practice.

Sign up and take a back bending workshop, ask a lot of questions and bend over backwards with the pure joy of it!

Yoga is the fountain of youth. You’re only as young as your spine is flexible. ~Bob Harper

For class and workshop information visit www.fulleryoga.com

 

Justine_FullerMat_Photo_Phone

The worst thing you can do is expect the next person to be like the last.  I find it all the time especially in the business of being a small yog studio.  Teachers expect the new studio they begin teaching at to be like their previous or current one.  I find myself reminding them often Fuller Yoga™ Studio is not xyz studio and we do things differently here.

The same is true for your practice.  Each time you come into Crow, Triangle Pose or Half Moon Pose and expect it to be like the time before you will most likely be disappointed that it wasn’t as good as before or shocked that you did it better.  Your expectations can set you up.  You may miss some really great things because you expect it to be bad or you may walk away feeling like crap because you expected it to be so great.

So how can Fuller Yoga™ help you manage your expectations? How can The Fuller Mat™ help you not get stuck assuming your current practice/studio/relationship should or will be the same as the last? It’s easy.  From the very beginning Fuller Yoga™ is designed to put you completely in the moment by focusing on the flow of your breath and your ability to move fluidly.  Unlike practices that tend to repeat the same sequence of postures, Fuller Yoga requires you pay attention to how you move from one pose to the next discover the nuances and shifts that  keep you open for discovery, inquiry and new experiences.

No Fuller Yoga™ practice can ever be the same.  Because it is so connected to breath and approaching the postures from movement rather than adjusting your body to the pose it will always be organic, flowing, and free from expectations.

Join me in discovering the next level to your practice with a week long Fuller Yoga retreat       Feb. 8-14th, 2015 at The Sanctuary at Two Rivers in Costa Rica.

This week we are going to learn how to stretch our neck.  Seems easy enough but there are lots of small movements we can do to make the stretches more effective and long lasting.  Again you can do this seated or standing.  (Hint: I recommend doing this with a friend who can read the instructions to you as you do them.) Start by centering yourself using the Durga Breath we learned last week.  Go ahead I will wait……

Ok to begin, gently lower your chin to your chest.  Make sure you do not let your shoulders slump forward though.  It’s important to keep your spine long and just stretch the neck.  Your head is anywhere from 12 to 14 lbs. and more if you’re stubborn; so let the weight of your head hang forward.  You should feel a gentle pulling on the back of your neck.  Breathe.  Now roll your right ear to your right shoulder NOT your shoulder up to your ear!  Keep your ear in line with the shoulder you should be looking forward not down to the floor or up to the ceiling. Breathe deeply for 5 breaths.  Feel how the left side stretches?  Each time you exhale focus on releasing tight muscles; whatever that means to you.  If you have to imagine a puppy or a happy baby to think light then do so until you understand what it means and feels like to relax.  Now to release roll your chin back to your chest.  There are lots of small muscles in the neck and we do not want to strain them after having taken such a deep stretch.

Lift your head up from center and look straight ahead.  Close your eyes and feel the difference between the right and left sides of your neck.  Pretty cool huh?  Now repeat on the other side.

If you feel tightness in any area of the movement from chin to your chest to ear to your shoulder go ahead and stop where it feels tight, breath and allow your neck to relax.  Be kind to your neck, it has to hold up all that wisdom, intelligence and maybe a little stubbornness. 

Live Simply and Wisely,

Justine

Sure you can throw yourself around in bendy stretchy yoga postures 3-4 times a week but are you structurally sound?  Getting flexible is great and most of us need a lot of yoga but if you aren’t able to differentiate between strong abs and core strength you might as well do 12oz curls and call it a workout.

It wasn’t until I went to a class with Ana Forrest that it dawned on me.  We hardly ever do ab work in yoga.  From our traditional yoga upbringing, classes were gentler and more passive than they are today.  Now we have Power Yoga, Hot Yoga, Aerobic Yoga and Sun Salutations so fast your wondering if the class still aligns with the mindfulness yoga claims.  So of course with all that activity we should definitely do our ab work.  But if you are not understanding HOW to do this work then your missing the whole point, and still headed for injury.

Pilates not only teaches you how to engage your deepest core muscle, the transversus abdominis, but also teaches you how to breathe without loosing strength and stability in the abs.  By using post lateral breathing, some good visuals and proprioceptive props such as small weighted balls, therabands and magic circles pilates will transform your yoga postures into blossoming flowers of bliss.  Learning the difference between an imprint, neutral and an arched back guides me so that every posture has a strength, structure and an easily elongated spine.  Pilates will deepen your mind body connection from the inside out in profound ways as you understand your bones and muscles and how they work or sometimes don’t work together.

How long did it take me to figure this out?  A long time but it was worth the knowledge I now have in my body.  My yoga practice is  now a joyful exploration between movement and stillness, substance and space.   Using my core has helped me find ways to stretch and expand without overdoing it and pulling ligaments.

Pilates will transform your practice and re-shape even the best yoga bodies.  Find a class with a certified trainer preferably at a pilates studio or one in conjunction with a yoga studio or physical therapy office.

And don’t forget to take your powerhouse!

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