By the time February rolls around, we’re often deep into the trademark “winter hunch,” bracing against the chill. We’re compounded with hunching over our desks at work, laptops at home, and smart phones pretty much everywhere, which makes even the most upright among us start to feel like the Hunchback of Notre Dame.
Here are my 5 Favorite ways to counteract “Winter Hunch” & open your heart for Valentine’s Day, which I’m thrilled to share are featured on Dr. Oz!
“Heart openers” are a popular request in yoga, but many yoga teachers only open the chest muscles. I’m approaching it from a 360-degree perspective. Enjoy!
We got some great questions last week! Here are my answers to 3 of them–ranging from drinking and headstands (NO!) to what to do when your wrists hurt in downward facing dog (here’s my favorite option).
Q: Is it bad to drink beer while doing headstand? –Israel M.
A: Insider tip: The pros go straight for the vodka. KIDDING! In all seriousness, do not drink and yoga. You are more likely to injure yourself. Do yoga and save the cocktails for afterward
Q: What can I do to take some of the pressure (and resulting pain) out of my wrists in downward facing dog? I’ve been trying to figure this out for years. –Ann P.
A: When the wrists are tender, it can take a while to feel better—especially if they’re already sensitive from working at a computer. When this happens, I like to take the wrists out of the equation altogether. I suggest trying downward facing dog on your forearms (sometimes called Egyptian Dog). That way, you still get all the shoulder-strengthening, upper-body challenge (along with all the other benefits of Dog), without ANY strain on the wrists.
Let them rest for awhile. Then, if you want to try traditional dog again, you can integrate hands and forearms slowly. You can also try elevating the heels of your hands with a fold of a blanket and see if that gives you some relief.
Q: What do you love about yoga –Tatiana
A: I love how it serves as a sanctuary from the rest of life—a place to come and release, receive, and rejuvenate. I love how it supports and nourishes us.
Oh yooooohooooo! September is National Yoga Month, and I’m ready to paaaaarty (“Bridesmaids-style”) with a month-long Q&A series! Leading up to each Wednesday in September, you can comment below, tweet or direct message me or @HealthworksFit on FB, Twitter, or Insta with all of your burning questions–yoga, writing, what’s the meaning of life (but please send wine if that’s your question).
You can also pop over to the Healthworks blog and check things out over there!
Remember to use #AskSaraDivello and #WellnessWednesdays so that we don’t miss anything.
If you’re shy, I’ll keep you anonymous. To kick it off, here’s some questions I get asked most often:
How did you get started with yoga and how long have you been practicing?
I started doing yoga after my boyfriend broke up with me and I was laid off at work shortly thereafter. I was at a low. I kept doing yoga because it enriched my life in every possible way—it helped me sleep better, lower my life-long anxiety, and feel overall better—on and off the mat. It also helped me tone up overall—a happy side effect
What kind of yoga do you teach and why?
I teach a super slow-flow vinyasa. Here’s why:
1. Physically: the latest research shows if you’re not holding a stretch for 30 seconds as an adult and 60 seconds as a senior, you’re not getting a true stretch.
2. Mentally: I know my students are leading fast-paced, multi-tasking, overstimulating lives that can burn them out and exhaust them on every level. I know that they’re taking care of everyone and everything, constantly giving out energy at work and at home, going faster and faster to meet ever-increasing demands. I want to provide a place for them to come to slooooooow down, release whatever they need to release (Anxiety? Insomnia? Exhaustion?) and receive whatever they need to receive (Energy? Rejuvenation? A soul-deep place where the only thing they have to think about is themselves).
Have you found that yoga has changed you as a person?
YES—yoga has changed me for sure. It helps me to be a calmer, kinder, more mindful version of myself.
What would you tell someone who is just starting out with yoga and still might not feel comfortable in their practice?
Yoga is not a performance art. Ignore social media and magazines with “perfect” people executing Cirque du Soleil-like poses. That isn’t what yoga is about. Yoga is a journey to bring you inward and home to yourself. Yoga is a place to release and receive, ground and recenter. It’s a place for you to just BE. You should leave feeling far better than when you came in to the class—mentally and physically.
Find a teacher and class where you feel safe and comfortable. This can take awhile—it’s like dating. It has to be the right match. But just like dating, when you find it, you’ll know. And the right class will serve as a deep resource for you and benefit you in ways you may not even be able to imagine yet.
How will you be celebrating National Yoga Month?
Teaching my regular classes, special events like free “Yoga on the Esplanade” through Sept. 9, and getting ready to go to Bali on Oct. 3 where I’ll be teaching on a “Retreat and Renew” trip!
So…that must make it: Time for a #Bestselling #Book #Giveaway! The heeelarious Jenna McCarthy‘s new book “Pretty Much Screwed” is out–Lit Legends Jen Lancaster & Janet Evanovich loved it…and so will 2 lucky winners in our little book and yoga-loving community! Tuck it in your beach bag and get ready to LOL. Warning: Excessive LOL may tone abs, an inadvertent but acceptable side effect.
To Enter: Head over to my Facebook Page and share your favorite beach (or thing about summer if you’re not a beach person). Share the news of this giveaway (let me know you shared in the comments) for additional chances to enter to win.
There will be 2 lucky winners (selected randomly)!! Announced here Tuesday Jul. 14. Jenna’s publisher will ship them out asap. If you’re outside the US, please pay for shipping
My latest piece is up on MindBodyGreen! A Simple Sequence to Open Your Heart. You can do it at home and yes, it’s easy and accessible to all. Check it out here.
I designed this to help you open up to new possibilities and growth, as we transition into summer and everything in nature is growing all around us (you know I’m an urban gardening geek!) nature once again provides guidance and inspiration. Enjoy!
I’m delighted to announce that Athleta, the premiere women’s apparel company and maker of my favorite yoga gear, asked me to be a Brand Ambassador! YAY!!
This is an exciting new initiative for Athleta. They chose 7 locations across the country, and each gets chose ambassadors. Only 7! In the whole United States!! #Whoa
As a Brand Ambassador, I’m partnering with Athleta to offer free, health and wellness events in their Newbury Street store (in Boston) every month, as well as some extra special one-time events, which I’ll announce closer-to the actual date.
In addition to making the cutest, comfiest, highest quality, longest-wearing, most stylish and flattering clothes out there, I also love their commitment to community and women, as well as women at all phases of life. For instance, they have a maternity line. They also have a very inclusive approach, offering a wide variety of sizes and styles that will support and appeal to all women, no matter our age, size, sport, or lifestyle. Their “athleisure” pieces (sweaters, dresses, pants) are some of my favs!
SOOO thrilled to be part of this awesome new initiative and can’t wait to bring all sorts of awesomeness to the community in 2015 and beyond!