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Long day? Long week? When there’s no time to hit a yoga class or head to the gym, here are four easy poses to help you unwind and rejuvenate. Try breathing extended-exhale breaths (exhaling longer than your inhale) to amp up the calm vibes in each pose.

You will need: A pillow or bolster, a full-size bath towel folded into a square, two hand towels, and your favorite lavender-scented body oil, butter, lotion, or essential oil.

#1: Seated Calming Pose. Begin seated on the floor, or in a chair. If you have lavender-scented body butter, oil, or lotion, apply it to your palms and rub together to warm up the essential oil and release the calming scent. If not, you can do this without any scent. Cup your hands over your face, especially nose, and breathe deeply, inhaling for a count of three and exhaling for a count of four or five. Repeat three times. Then cup your hands gently over your forehead and eyes, and take three more breaths. Allow the calming pressure of your hands, blocking out the light, and scent of lavender, soothe and calm you.

 

 

 

 

 

#2: Child’s Pose. Begin kneeling in table pose with your wrists under your shoulders and knees under your hips. Bring your toes to touch, knees wider than hips, then sit back on your heels and walk your hands forward. If your forehead rests comfortably on the floor, great. If not, place a yoga block or folded towel under it. Stay for 30-60 seconds minimum (or as long as you like).

 

#3: Legs up the Wall Pose. Sit next to a wall, with a pillow or folded bath towel next to you. Swing your legs up the wall, place the pillow or towel under your hips, and extend your arms out to each side. This should feel delightful. If not, you can move to a chair and try “Legs up the chair” variation, letting your calves rest on the seat cushion. You can stay for 5-7 minutes (or as long as you like).

 

#4: Supta Savasana. Lie on your back and place a pillow or bolster under your knees. Fold a hand towel in thirds (or fourths depending on the thickness of the towel and how much support your neck likes), and then roll it. Place the roll under your neck. Fold the other towel in thirds or fourths and place it over your eyes. Stay, practicing extended exhale breathing, for as long as you like.

When you’re ready, roll gently to one side and press slowly up to seated. Bring your hands over your heart and imprint a sense of calm. Gently open your eyes when you’re ready. Enjoy!

 

 

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??

There has been an influx of new students in my classes recently. Some are new to yoga, others are just new to my class, but the bottom line is the new students have been outnumbering the regulars.This always happens in the beginning of January with “The New Year Resolutioners.” I expect it in January. But it's the middle of July! What gives? (Besides the fact that word of my awesomeness is obviously spreading, natch).

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Anyway, an influx of newbies usually means disaster that it won't be the best class. The newness of students (both new to yoga and new to me) often means they'll struggle in my class: alignment will be crappy, mindfulness noticeably absent, and frustrations (theirs) high. (More on this another day.)

But last night, for some reason (I could delve into my yoga theories on why but I'm feeling merciful today so I'll spare you), this particular class was amazing. Amazing! The kind of mindful, hardworking, beautiful class that makes teaching feel vital and joyful and worthwhile.

Apparently, I wasn't the only one to notice. Two new students came up to me after class, dizzy with their yoga buzz, and gushed about how awesome they felt. I wonder if they'll ever come back. Then two regulars came up, yoga buzzed and somewhat puzzled, and said, “That was an especially awesome class!”

We talked about why there were so many new people (a mystery) and why the class had been so mellow (also mysterious). Then one of them, a super-fit dude (who I'll call Super-Fit Dude) who looks like he'd be more at home busting out a triathalon than triangle pose, hesitated. “I actually had a vision tonight in savasana,” he finally confided, looking a little uncomfortable. He looked like he's usually more comfortable debating the merits of muscle milk vs. protein shakes.

I tried to lift my jaw off the floor. “Really? Uh…I mean that's great.”

“Yeah, it was like my mind went totally blank and I had no thoughts and just peace at the end.” He tried to sound like it was no big thing but his face said, What the heck happened to me??!!

I could barely contain my glee/amazement. “That's awesome!! That's what yoga's all about! That's what everyone's trying to get to!!”

I stared at him. Didn't he know? This what monks and meditators and yogis and Buddhists and Hindus and seekers of all kinds are trying to get to: mental stillness! peace!no more monkey chatter!

Patanjali's Yoga Sutras, which is like the yoga bible, maps out an eight-limb system. Its first lines, in Sanskrit, obv, are: “Atha yoganusasanam. Yogas chitta vritti nerodaha.” Which, as I learned it, translate to: “And now the continuation of yoga (teachings). The goal of yoga is to still the fluctuations of the mind.”

Holy crap. Super-Fit Dude chitta (mind) vritti (restless fluctuations) nerodahah'd (ceased/stilled)? That's amazing!!

“Well, only for like a few minutes,” he demurred modestly.

OK, this bears repeating: Super-Fit Dude chitta vritti nerodahah'd! That's freaking awesome. I'm not sure who was more surprised: Super-Fit Dude or Super Fit-Dude's teacher!

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span style=”font-family: trebuchet ms;”>With summer and the season’s bounty all around us, I thought this breathing meditation by Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh was a nice way to connect with nature.

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Breathing in, I know I am breathing in.
Breathing out, I know I am breathing out.

Breathing in, I see myself as a flower.
Breathing out, I feel fresh.

Breathing in, I see myself as a mountain,
Breathing out, I feel solid.

Breathing in, I see myself as still water.
Breathing out, I reflect things as they are.

Breathing in, I see myself as space.
Breathing out, I feel free.