Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Moving to a New Home and Discovering New Yoga Spaces

Hi, yogis :) How are you? 

Recently I moved from the Sacramento area to Eureka, California. What a whirlwind month it's been!

I'm still getting settled and checking out yoga studios in the area and wanted to share a few reflections from the last few classes I've taken.

It's wild how much I've learned being in a new environment with teachers who come from different schools of yoga. In the last week I've experienced my first Forrest and Anusara practices and I've enjoyed picking up on small yet impactful differences in the language, cuing, and pacing of the classes.

Do you ever mix up your yoga routine? Or try classes at local studios when you travel? I highly recommend getting out of your comfort zone and taking a class where you aren't quite sure what to expect... open yourself to learning, and being a beginner again!

Tosha Yoga, Arcata, CA
This is a breathtaking space on the top floor of the building that I'll definitely return to. I love the natural light, the collection of lovely succulent plants around the room, and the calm, uplifting energy of the space. The Forrest yoga class I took here involved some awesome core work, grounding meditation, and new flows and movements that felt nourishing to the body (lots of Eagle arms, which I even felt the next day in my upper back!). 

The teacher Janine was very clear and precise in her teaching, and I appreciated the few hands-on adjustments she offered which helped me relax my neck and take tension out of my shoulders. At one point I could hear the sound of the rain on the rooftop. Very peaceful. I felt spaciousness, grounding, and openness. Even a little glimpse of blissful samadhi during Shavasana.

Om Shala Yoga, Arcata, CA
Om Shala offers a diverse range of yoga classes on their schedule. So far I've tried a basics Anusara class, a Hatha 'align and flow' class, and an all-levels Power Vinyasa class. The teachers here certainly have a wealth of knowledge about alignment and I've picked up some awesome tricks and tips about my practice. I love having reminders to pay closer attention to what my 'bad' habits are in class, or just to notice something new. This week I've been working on:
  • Knitting the low ribs in. Drawing energy into the center of the body really allows me to move from a place of more power! This helps in every pose - in foundational poses like Tadasana and Downdog, and especially in backbends and balancing postures.
  • Waking up the feet. Keeping the feet alive and the toes active brings more prana into the lower half of the body and the legs, giving more stability and grounding. Pada bandha, engaging the arches, is a subtle but very useful technique that makes a pose feel more balanced. I noticed this one in Half Moon. I also realized that metaphorically and energetically for me at this moment in my life it's very important to keep the feet awake so that I can feel more grounded in these new spaces I'm in!
  • Using props and the wall for support. I learned an awesome trick for using three blocks on the wall in Dolphin pose (beautiful, supported way to open the upper back and chest). I also worked on Ardha Chandrasana (Standing Half Moon pose) on the wall-- I was able to see how my hips needed to be more engaged in order to access more opening in the pose. Also started to work on wall walks in Wheel (!!!!) and practiced Forearm stand. So excited to incorporate these new 'tricks' into my home practice!
Sasha's power flow class at Om Shala was my favorite local yoga class so far since I moved. I loved her simple, direct cuing, her upbeat playlist, and the way she reminded us to send our breath into the area where our bodies most needed to heal. I definitely felt challenged and inspired, and was surprised by how many arm balances and sun salutations I was able to fit in!

Redwood Strength, Fortuna, CA
This class was an hour-long hot vinyasa practice in a new gym that's a mix of Crossfit-style workouts and hot yoga. I enjoyed the heat and thought of my friends and colleagues at CorePower Yoga and how I miss that beautiful room and its humidity ;) I enjoyed the teacher's enthusiasm and sense of humor and felt at home listening to the sound of Krishna Das' voice.

HealthSport, Eureka, CA
I took a Hatha class and was easily the youngest yogi in the room. One of my favorite moments was about 15 minutes into class, looking over at the gorgeous gray-haired yogini next to me take on full Hanumanasana with her arms overhead and a smile on her face :) The teacher Francis had a unique way of getting me to try more depth in the poses and I loved the mindful, intentional sequencing. At the end of class my body felt open and my mind clear.

Home practice
My home practice has been really key in the last few weeks, too. Rolling out a mat in the kitchen or in my backyard has given me space to be completely comfortable, to relax, to release stress, to breathe loudly and sigh heavily, and to cry a little. Moving is incredibly draining and exhausting work, and it hasn't been easy.

During the weeks leading up to moving, I felt overwhelmed by to-do lists and I benefited greatly from having a restorative yin practice. Since we arrived here on the coast, I've felt a little down and lonely on some days, so a more vigorous practice with inversions and backbends has helped me stay positive.

I can tell that in the weeks and months to come, as I take a little break from having classes to teach, my home practice will be a great way for me to stay creative, to keep up my self-confidence in my teaching, and to play with new flows and ideas for what I love to teach.

I'm still struggling a little bit to find where my new yoga 'home' is, and I'm certainly grieving the loss of having weekly classes to teach in beautiful communities, but I'm doing my best to keep a positive attitude and stay open to whatever opportunities come my way.

I'm thinking of offering a mom's yoga group or a beach yoga meetup... 

Ooh, and stay tuned for details on my upcoming Alive in the Fire yoga retreat that is now in the works! I'm planning a weekend getaway on the coast featuring yoga, chanting, meditation, journaling and hiking. It's going to be incredible! (And Yani and Kels from the sponsored yogis team will be attending -- wheeeee!)

Hope you are all having a beautiful week. Cheers to finding inspiring yoga classes and please know I'm sending you big hugs! Namaste.

1 comment:

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