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I took a chance and wrote a piece about why I left my high-powered (and soul-sucking) PR career to teach yoga…and was THRILLED when Marie Claire accepted it!

Then Cosmopolitan picked it up…!!Marie Claire 2

Then Elle picked it up…!!

Then Dr. Oz picked it up…!!!

And then Redbook picked it up!!!

OH HAPPY DAY!!!! I’m so thrilled to share my story with even more seekers, the growing tribe of people that are looking for more than a paycheck. Who want to make a difference, serve the world in their highest way, and find more fulfillment as they do. Keep seeking, seekers! We’re all in this together! <3

Logo Elle

 

 

 

Logo Dr Oz Logo Cosmo Logo Redbook Logo Marie Claire

 

 

 

 

Cup and Journal

Back in my corporate days, I dreaded the annual year-end review with my boss. Who doesn’t? But sitting down with her to go over what I’d accomplished and set goals for the year ahead gave me major anxiety. Of course, this probably had something to do with the fact that my boss was a lunatic known as “Vomiting Vicky” 😉

Now that I’m out from under her corporate dictatorship, I actually love finding some silence and solitude to sit down with a cup of tea and reflect and set goals for the year ahead. Here’s my take on the previously dreaded, now delightful process: I hope it works for you too!

  1. Set aside some solo time: You in a quiet place with a cup of tea (or coffee or wine!), your favorite pen, and a journal.
  2. Take 5 minutes to calm and center with meditation. Set a timer. You can focus on your breath or use a mantra. Centering first is the key to clarity and focus so take the time to do it.
  3. Begin journaling. Think back to a year ago and, without censoring or judging, just write about your year. What did you do over the past 12 months? Highlights? Challenges? How do you feel about your year? What did you accomplish? What did you love? What did you wish you did–or did more of? As you take stock of the year behind, you’ll flow naturally into thinking about the year ahead. Write about what you’d like to do and…
  4. Set concrete goals. How will you know when you’ve achieved a goal unless you make it specific? “Write magazine articles” is a little vague. At the end of next year even if you wrote “more,” it may not be enough to make you happy. Try “Write my first article” or “Write 1 article per month” –it’s more specific. You’ll KNOW when you’ve done it and can celebrate that success! (Remember to celebrate!)
  5. Dream big…and keep it real. I always support dreaming big. Write your book. Launch your business. Travel somewhere exotic. But don’t try to write and publish 3 books, launch a business in a month, and travel to all 7 continents. Antarctica, Asia, and Australia in one year would be pretty darn ambitious, but one of those sounds great! You get the point.

If you’ve taken a workshop with me, you know I custom-blend corporate tools, yoga tools, eastern thinking and western thinking to create what I’ve found to be the most effective (and enjoyable) processes. So…I guess tou can take the girl out of the corporate world, but this girl is taking the best of the corporate world with her. And one of the most effective tools I still use is this year-end review…with a twist. I hope it works for you too. 🙂

Got questions? Comment below or message me on social media! I love to chat about this stuff!

 

Athleta Chi Snap

I’m thrilled to have my first piece featured on the Athleta Chi Blog! Check out my how-to guide on going “OM for the Holidays: 5 Tips to Keep You Zen“–for when your back’s tight from the plane, your belly’s too full, you can’t sleep, or the ever-loving fam is driving you crazy (um…not that MY fam or YOUR fam would ever do that!) 😉

 

Here’s my latest from our National Yoga Month Q&A: Two Quick Ways to Relieve Neck & Shoulder Tension. (Watch the vid here: https://www.facebook.com/SaraDiVelloOM)

1: Release the Upper Back with Eagle Arms
Bring the arms in front of you at a 90-degree angle, elbows at shoulder-height. If this is enough of a stretch for the shoulders/upper back, stay here. If you need more of a stretch, drop the left elbow below the right and twine the forearms, pressing the back of the palms together. The key to releasing the upper back muscles is to keep the elbows lifted–equal height to the shoulders–and the shoulders as relaxed and low as possible. Take five to ten deep breaths and switch sides.

2: Release Tight Neck Muscles with a Gentle Stretch
Drop your right ear toward your right shoulder and hold for 5-10 deep breaths. You can then gently turn the gaze toward the floor and hold there for 5-10 breaths. Don’t forget to do the other side too!

Bonus: Schedule “Breathing Breaks” throughout the day! Set your phone or calendar to remind you several times through the day to take cleansing and calming breaths!

NationalYogaMonth‬ Q&A: Let’s do this!

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).

Have YOU got questions? ASK! Comment below or send me a private message on my contact page, Facebook, or Twitter, and I’ll answer next week for ‪#‎WellnessWednesday‬ with Healthworks Fitness Centers!

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.

 

Friends, grab your camera, bathing suit, camera and even a yoga mat. I am SO excited to announce I’ll be teaching yoga as part of a private tour through beautiful BALI Oct. 3-10.

Join us as we breathe fresh island air, take in lush landscapes, explore rice fields, bike through back roads of charming villages, eat nourishing, healthy meals, partake in an ancient meditation ceremony, hike up Mt. Batur (pictured below), take a Balinese cooking class…and of course optional daily yoga with me 🙂

The amazing Jess K. at My Adventure Travel put together a holistic tour to make sure you leave the island refreshed and inspired. I can’t wait and I hope you’ll join us.

Did I mention it’s really affordable?

Learn more here.

Need more inspiration??

On the mat and off, your primary focus may be on stretching your muscles. But whatever your level of flexibility—you may actually have a fascial “restriction” on top of your muscles, and the muscles themselves may be perfectly flexible. For this reason, I work both muscularly and fascially in the classes I teach, as well as in my personal practice.

You may be wondering what exactly IS this mysterious, enigmatic fascia, which potentially holds the key to unlocking the next level of your practice?

Fascia is a wet, slippery, see-through tissue in your body that pretty much looks like Saran wrap. If you’ve ever cooked raw chicken, you know exactly what I’m talking about. And if you gagged at the thought of raw chicken, make yourself some peppermint tea, and keep reading.

Like raw chicken, humans have that same slippery cling-wrap encasing all our muscles, organs, and other body parts. If you’re not working fascially, you’re missing out on an important component of flexibility and functionality on and off the mat.

Important note: fascia doesn’t stretch. Ever. It can, however, get stuck or “caught” when ideally it should slip and glide. You can release these restrictions three ways: with massage therapy; foam rolling; and/or slow, deep stretching.

Today we’re going to use slow, deep, stretching to help release both hip flexor muscles, and the fascial covering over your hip flexors. I chose to work on hip flexors in this piece, because they can contribute to front-hip pain as well as lower-back pain. The psoas muscle, which is the deepest muscle in your entire body as well as one of your largest muscles, runs up the front of your hip, cuts through your abdominal cavity, and attaches into your lumbar spine. A tight psoas can pull you into lordosis, or being swaybacked, as well as cause lower-back tightness. The psoas is important not only for initiating every single step you take (it’s the largest of the hip flexors—as in, it “flexes” your leg up to take each step), it’s also key to spinal and abdominal health and strength. On the mat, it’s an integral part of many poses—among them, navasana (boat pose), forward folds, and many more.
Let’s get started.

From Low Lunge:

  • Make sure your right knee is directly above your ankle.
  • Draw your back knee down to the mat (as shown above).
  • Rest your palms on blocks at whatever height best supports you, and lets your arms stay relaxed. The elbows should be at ease—be careful not to brace or “lock” them out.
  • Stay for 5-8 cycles of slow breath. Really tune in and focus on the sensations in your hip flexors (the front of your right hip). How tight  are they? Is this side easy for you? Do you feel them stretching?
  • Now let’s move on to the fascial release. Make sure you still feel a stretch in your hip flexors. If you’re really flexible here, you may need to bring your chest a bit more forward and/or down until you get the right amount of stretch for you. If you’re really, really flexible here, you may need to bring the right arm inside the right leg in order to bring your chest down low enough to feel a stretch.WHEN you feel that stretch, let your head hang gently forward (as show above).
  • NOTICE how this brings you deeper into the hip flexor release, if you have fascial restriction in addition to muscular tightness. It can feel really intense or almost “pinchy.” If you don’t have a fascial restriction, you may not feel this stretch intensify but stay with it regardless so that you have a baseline to compare the release on your left side.
  • Stay for 5 more cycles of breath. Gently lift the head up. Tuck under the back toes and come up to a low lunge.
  • Switch sides and repeat.

Remember that everyone’s body is somewhat asymmetrical. You will have a tighter side and an easier side. You may also have a fascial restriction on only one side, or one day/week/month and not the next. Tune in and really notice your body in each pose. Notice how the muscular and fascial releases feel different. Notice which works best for you each time. Your only goal is to serve and support your body so that it can better serve and support you–both on the mat and off.

*This piece also appeared on Sequence Yoga Mats “Serious Sundays.”