Tag Archives: Yoga

My Top 4 Yoga Tips

I have only been practicing yoga regularly since I started working at NOURISH. Before that it was just MTV yoga dvd’s in the living room and an occasional free class if I could get a hold of a coupon. Since starting to do yoga more intensively at NOURISH, I have realized it is imperative to continue your practice on a regular basis. I feel more flexible, energized, relaxed and overall in better health if I do yoga at least once a week. In addition, keeping up with yoga helps me remember all the tips and adjustments I am supposed to be implementing!

Here are some things that I have learned at NOURISH which I like to keep in the front of my mind while I do yoga:

1. Keep your hands and feet active: Sometimes its easy to forget these extremities when you are concentrating on your back posture and the larger muscle groups involved in a pose. I felt and saw such and improvement in my practice after Victor gave me this little tip. Simply spreading your fingers or flexing your foot can activate more muscles and work them harder than letting your paws slack while you are in the pose. Flexing your foot makes the biggest difference for me in seated poses, where my legs can get lazy. It really helps stretch out my hamstrings and even gets into my back! As for your hands, Kate showed me that when you are in poses like  spreading your fingers wide without raising your wrist too much can help make your arms more active and involved.

2. Make it challenging, not painful: On Sunday, Kate said something very important for yogis of all levels: The difference between sharp pain and a slight challenge for your body. We are constantly trying to push ourselves further in yoga, both physically and spiritually. These changes should be incremental and positive in order to be most effective. If you feel a sharp pain in any pose, you went too far! Try to slowly fall deeper into the pose with each breath or ask for an adjustment from the instructor if you are just plain uncomfortable in a pose. Challenge is imperative for improvement in yoga, but the changes you make must be controlled and smooth in order to be beneficial.

3. Smile with your buttocks: Try it! Literally try to make your booty smile. I like this tip not only because of the physical effects, but also because it never fails to put a grin across my face! It’s hard to explain in a blog, but just try to uplift your butt with your back and core. Kate taught me this one as well, and it really helps to make poses engaging and comfortable. I think this technique is implemented mostly in standing poses, but I just try to do it in class whenever Kate mentions it. Mention it next time you are in class and I am sure she will be stoked to teach how and when it should be done.

4. Enjoy! Victor sometimes says this after students enter a pose and will be there for a while. I think this is one of the most important tips I have learned at NOURISH. If you are not having fun and feeling great, something needs to change! Yoga should be a positive experience that de-stresses you and brightens your day. Sometimes in the grind of things, people forget that they are at yoga and are supposed to be letting go. Don’t think about what you did that day or what you will do tomorrow, think about how you feel in the pose and just relax! Leave your stress at the door and enjoy some physical and spiritual release, that is what NOURISH is all about!

Keep in mind that I am not a yoga instructor, so these tips should be used with caution! These are just some things I like to remember when I do yoga that have helped me over the course of my practice. So….as Victor says: Enjoy!

Poppy Waiting for a Harvest Surprise

First of all, thank you so much for such a warm welcome. I feel blessed to be a part of the Nourish community and connected to all you wonderful people through this gem of a wellness center. Santa Cruz is living up to my every hope, and then some.

Teaching here for the first few weeks has been a sweet journey towards reconnecting to the part of me that exists out in the world, rather than home with the girls. Needless to say, I had been feeling a little restless. It’s nice to be reminded that the solitary nature of the practice is overshadowed by the opportunity so many of us are taking these days to be in dialogue with others about our process. To be out in the world, practicing together, sharing breath and space in the yoga room has been so much a part of the practice for me over the years. Coming to Nourish, I am reminded I am here, with others, seeking answers. And that though we are turning to look in, we are still connected, looking in together. I have missed this in the year I took off to birth my second baby.

I commented in Savasana one day something to the effect of our practice being an opportunity to let go of our expectations, because all we really have is what is happening right now and that ultimately we don’t know what will happen in the next moment. As yogis we sacrifice our musings about the future and the past for what is here before us, seeking truth in the present. A student came up after class to ask about the possibility of choosing our reality by working with our energies, and our beliefs as a way of manifesting what we believe possible and want to bring into our lives. If we visualize ourselves in abundance, wealth, or love (indeed whatever we are seeking) then we will have it.

Certainly we have to have an idea first, believe it can exist, and then bring it forward into reality. That’s how we say…get dinner on the table. And I do believe we must see more esoteric things into the realm of possibility too. Like love or abundance, or the fulfillment of a dream. But I was wondering if Maya, the illusion, is nothing less than the world of our wildest dreaming, our greatest wishes manifesting all over the place, and every other possibility too. And if that’s true, then it’s not the energy around us that we have to influence, but how we receive. Because we may or may not have control of the energies rushing us in the coming moments, but we do get to decide whether we perceive them as obstacles or opportunities. And what an opportunity it is to get to practice with you all. Finding my way into your beautiful space did not happen for me without effort, fear, or uncertainty. Yet here I am, grateful and full of delight.

Thanks for reading!

Valerie

New Year’s, Early

I love yoga. I really do! But sometimes I can’t muster up the strength to get by booty to class. After work and school, you would think I’d be chomping at the bit to put myself in a relaxing environment. But I just get so tired and lazy, its truly frustrating! Even though I know it will feel so good to get a little work out and center myself, it can be all too much for me at times.

I admire all the students at NOURISH who come to class on a weekly basis. Heck, some even come daily! You all are truly inspiring to me and I love coming to class when you are there. I love practicing yoga with the people I am working for and with. It gives us a bond that is more than just a hello! in passing by the front desk or a reminder call for their next appointment. What we all have going on at NOURISH is truly unique and I am proud and lucky to be a part of it!

Think of this as my New Year’s Resolution: From here on out I want to make a commitment to myself and do the things that make me happy on a weekly basis! This means going to Tuesday night yoga with Victor, hanging out with Emily, Brittni & Kate more often, doing nice things for my boy friend and pursuing a new hobby. I also think it would be nice to do my homework and reading on time….

Thanks for the inspiration and NOURISHment : )

Kate P

yoga anytime


Wish you had more time for yoga? Do a pose right now, right where you are! Doing just one pose can change the way you breathe and feel…for the better! So stand up…yes out of your computer chair….. reach your arms up overhead (Urdhva Hastasana) and strrrretch up towards the sky. If you like fold from your hips and move into forward bend (Uttanasana). Ahhhh…feel better?

You can also improvise and make up a pose like my daughter Lily. Here she is doing a cross between down dog and forward bend. Good job Lil! And smiling while doing yoga is even better, great for you mood!

Roxanne

The King of Yoga

I read a theory once that suggested the main reason for watching sport, be it soccer, the Olympics or surfing on Steamers Lane, was the desire to see humans go beyond what we think is physically possible. The writer argued that the best moments in sport were the days when you saw an athlete go beyond good and move into greatness.

Well, I know that yoga is not a sport and that the majority of us practice the activity for helping and healing oneself… but I read a story the other day about an Indian man who certainly seems to have made the move from good to greatness.

On June 14th 2009, Mr C Poovendran set the world record for longest yoga marathon when he performed yoga for an incredible 28 hours!

While attempting the world record, Mr Poovendran performed 1019 asanas and also sought to entertain the spectators by drinking water and taking off his t-shirt… while performing a headstand… with his eyes closed!

Now admittedly on first read this story seems a little shallow. The breaking of world records is something that tends to take up the last five minutes of local news broadcasts and this seemed no different. However, when I learned a little more about his life, I began to think about it a lot more.

Mr C Poovendran is currently a yoga teacher who works in Hong Kong. He started his yoga training with his father at just five years old. By the time he was 14 he gained his first yoga award – the yogaraj… or King of Yoga. He has also gained the Best Demonstrator Award at the 5th International Yoga festival, the Yoga Rathna award (jewel of yoga) from the Divine Life society of Chennai, India, and the Creative/Innovation Award in 2006 from Pure Yoga International.

So clearly, Mr Poovendran is not someone looking to have his five minutes of fame by breaking a world record. This is his passion. To take something you love and push it to the very limit must have been very hard. I would imagine that practicing yoga for 28 consecutive hours has a fairly negative affect on your physical and emotional state (so don’t worry, we won’t be extending our class times here at NOURISH). I think I would be afraid that the effort alone would scare me off from every wanting to do a tree pose again. But for Mr Poovendran yoga is clearly more than an activity – it is his life’s work and his commitment to it is something I cannot help but be inspired by.

Anthony

Laughing Yoga

I’ve been curious about Laughing Yoga since our Sing Along Yoga Workshop here at NOURISH. It was briefly mentioned before the workshop started and since then I’ve been thinking about what it might be like to participate in a Laughing Yoga class.

After some reading online, it seems that laughing yoga can be very similar to our Sing Along yoga class. Everyone being a little apprehensive at first, not knowing what it’s going to be like, how much they will actually sing aloud, etc. As it turns out, everyone sang their hearts out to every word that they knew and it seems the same is experienced in Laughing Yoga. The participants usually begin tentatively until you just can’t stop yourself from laughing even if you tried. By the end of the class everyone is feeling refreshed, more clear headed and feeling like they just had a really unique yoga experience.

The class begins with grounding and centering, then the laughing is introduced as an exercise. For example, try to give the deepest belly laugh you can, or add in a body movement that is in sync with your laughs. Soon enough you’ll be watching as those around you can’t help but join in the laughter. Can you imagine the potential health benefits from all the laugther? This can be a really fun yoga class to try out! (lol)

The Downward Facing Dog

I heard someone in class ask the other day, “Why’s the downward facing dog so special?”

I completely got where they were coming from. Even before I really knew anything about yoga, I had heard the name. It seems like it is one of those yoga words everyone knows. But why?

Victor explained to the curious student that it is a pose that is used regularly and is often one of the very first stretches beginners learn. It’s a transitional pose that is fairly comprehensive in its benefits to the body; having a positive effect on the shoulders, legs, spine, arms and feet. Furthermore, it’s thought to improve digestion, increase the blood flow to the sinuses, build strength throughout the body and even help your immune system.

However, Victor was also quick to point out that despite its fame, it is not considered a superior stretch. There is no technical reason why downward facing dog has become entrenched within the mass public’s notion of what yoga is all about (alongside Sting and herbal teas).

So there must be some other reason. I would be so presumptuous as to suggest it’s good branding. It has dog in the title.

You may laugh, but a large portion of the population love dogs. Sure there are other “cooler sounding” poses (Warrior pose, Cobra pose etc.) but at the end of the day we are all suckers for a cheeky-looking cocker spaniel.

Perhaps on some level we also like the idea of copying the movements of a dog. I know at various points of my life I have watched a lovable mutt go about his day and thought to myself, “a dog’s life… they’ve got it pretty sweet!”

And there’s even a case to suggest it brings us closer to lost friends. I read about one lady who enjoyed the pose because it brought back fond memories of her very first puppy and made her feel closer to him in some way.

Whether any of this hits a chord, or you think I’m barking up the wrong tree, I think it’s fair to say… for a number of reasons… the downward dog is a special pose.

Anthony

Sing Along Yoga


I had the pleasure of listening to the sing along yoga class tonight while working at the Nourish reception desk, and I have to say that it was the MOST FUN class that Nourish has ever offered. I got to sing while I was working! I can’t even imagine how awesome it was for everyone who attended to sing while doing yoga. So for all those who missed the class, but still want the fun of yoga with a karaoke twist, or for all those who attended and can’t wait to do it again, here is the playlist from tonight:

Love’s In Need of Love Today by: Stevie Wonder
This Little Light by: The Montgomery Improvement Association
The Circle Game by: Joni Mitchell
Every Breath You Take by: The Police
Hey Jude by: The Beatles
Three Little Birds by: Bob Marley and the Wailers
Wonderful World by: Sam Cooke
Joy to The World by: Three Dog Night
Into the Mystic by: Van Morrison
Your Song by: Elton John
59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin’ Groovy) by: Simon and Garfunkel
Lean On Me by: Bill Withers
You’ve Got a Friend (featuring special guest star James Taylor) by: Carole King
Bridge Over Troubled Water by: Simon and Garfunkel
Sunshine On My Shoulders by: John Denver
Imagine by: John Lennon

Dana

Yoga and Broccoli

When the idea of yoga, nutrition and wellness was first put forward to me by my beautiful wife, I approached it much like a toddler approaches broccoli… with fear and trepidation. After eventually succumbing to her pleas to take me to a yoga class, I was pleasantly surprised… and embarrassed; most of the class breezed through the poses while I ached from muscles I never knew I had. Still, it gave me a new found respect for everything I had previously dismissed as “for hippies” and sparked my interest.

Arriving at Nourish a year later, I promised myself I would embrace everything with an open mind and try to make some healthy changes. I’ve been here just over a month now and although I’m still a while away away from doing head stands and turning my back on pepperoni pizza, I can honestly say… I feel better. Just spending time in an environment that puts an emphasis on health and wellness has made me make better choices inside and outside of the Nourish studio. They are not big changes, but everyone has to start somewhere. So now, I try to take a yoga class every week, and I stretch every night and a few days ago, when offered the chance of a fried pork sandwich or vegetable pasta, I went for the pasta. Why? Because there was broccoli in it. And these days, I really love broccoli.

Anthony

New Yoga Props and Cuisine

Come check out our new yoga props in the boutique, as well as, our new cuisine in the Nourishment fridge! We now have assortments of 6 different colors of yoga blocks, new yoga wedges (shown above) , yoga balls, yoga bolsters, and yoga straps. We are also now carrying Samabazon Acai drinks and an assortment of wraps (including vegan options) from fundamental foods.

Dana