Cool It!: A short practice to calm the nervous system & release the lower back and hips

This post and sequence was created by Leena as a follow up to last week’s post on #Selfcare, Restorative Yoga & Community Acupuncture.

The first few weeks of September are this funny in-between time. We’re on the threshold of transitions: the end of vacations, the weather turning (eventually) from summer to fall, back to school, back to routine, etc. Here at the studio we are gearing up for a packed fall schedule of special offerings, including lots of great pre-registered courses and a nearly sold-out Yoga Teacher Training program.

Here’s a quick little practice to help you cool off and calm down in this early September heat wave. It’s a great sequence for helping to soothe an over-reactive nervous system and find more ease in the lower back and hips. It would be nice as a before-bed sequence to help you get a good night of sleep. You can even do the last pose, legs up the wall, against your headboard. Enjoy! Continue reading

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Yoga Tips with QSY – Wrist Safety & Alignment

Many people experience pinching or pain in their outer wrists when they bear weight on the hands in poses like Plank or Downward Facing Dog. In this video we get clear on the width of hand placement, the direction of fingers, and where to press into the hand to prevent pinching or pain. We also offer some yoga “hacks” with props in case you need some extra cushioning or support for your wrists.

Have an alignment question about a particular pose or particular area of the body? Leave a comment and we will try to make a video to answer your question!

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Yoga Tips from QSY – Align Your Shoulders in Downward Dog

Shoulder alignment can be a tricky part of Downward Dog. You might feel like the instructions from your yoga teacher are telling you opposite things. In some ways we might be telling you opposite things, because in a drop-in class we are trying to give alignment information for lots of different types of shoulders (from very mobile to very stable). In this video we get explicit about how to align your shoulders if your shoulders are more stable and have the tendency to “tent” forwards and how to align your shoulders if your shoulders are more mobile or tend to “collapse” downwards.

Have an alignment question about a particular pose or particular are of the body? Leave a comment and we will try to make a video to answer your question!

Tips for Going Upside Down — A Handstand Post from Aimée

I love doing handstands. I love kicking up and feeling my heels tap the wall. I love pressing down through my hands and up through my tailbone and my feet. I love the way the reversal of gravity feels on my spine. I love how free my toes feel. I love that feeling of trying out my (very wobbly) balance and feeling the whole length of my legs balancing from my pelvis. I love that a tiny wiggle of one of my fingers can send me all the way over to one side or another.

I do handstands as often as I can, just for the sheer joy of it.

I used to take gymnastics when I was a kid (I was never any good at it at all, ever, but I LOVED it) and as a result was always doing cartwheels and somersaults and wheel poses and handstands at the wall in my living room during the commercial breaks of TV shows. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t do this. I know I was still doing it in high school–here’s a picture of me doing a headstand against the wall that somehow wound up getting taken and ultimately placed in a family album.

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A Summer Sequence for Strong Shoulders- *FREE* Printable Download

killarneyFor me, a summer in Ontario isn’t complete without at least four or five days of back-country canoe camping in Killarney Provincial Park. Killarney is about five hours north of Kitchener-Waterloo on the north side of the Georgian Bay. It boasts some of the most beautiful lakes, scenic mountains and dramatic rock faces that I’ve had the pleasure of canoeing and hiking along. killarney canoes

If you’ve never been canoeing, let me teach you a new vocabulary word: Portage (noun or verb). I’m glad Canadians are at least bilingual enough that you can pronounce it the more elegant way en francais up here. Honestly, Americans butcher this word. Pronunciation aside, when you hear portage think carrying a huge pack on your back and a canoe on your shoulders for anywhere between a few dozen meters to a kilometer or more! Given that I’m only 5’3” and the canoe is 17’ and about 50lbs, a little extra prep for my shoulders and upper body before heading on a trip is super helpful. Continue reading

Stop Worrying About How Long You Can Pay Attention To Your Breath

This post about meditation is by Dave Wellstood, who is currently in our Yoga Teacher Training Program. In this post he shares a simple but very helpful instruction that turned his meditation practice around.  

IMG_7419I find my meditation practice to be very rewarding.  When I tell people that, they often respond by telling me that they are no good at meditation or that they simply can’t do it.  I remember when I felt just like they do and I want to tell you about the small change I made that turned it around for me.

When I first started to meditate, someone told me I should sit quietly and pay attention to my breath. In hindsight that instruction was where things started to go wrong.  It gave me completely the wrong idea about what I was supposed to do.

I thought that meditating was like doing tree pose.  In tree pose, the goal is to balance on one foot.  Success means standing on one foot for longer and being more stable.  Sometimes you lose your balance and that’s expected but not desirable.  Similarly, I thought that success in meditation meant being able to keep my attention on my breath for longer and longer.

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8-Point Pose (Astavakrasana)

My mentor Christi-an often says, “Let what you can’t yet do inspire you!”

Not too long ago this pose used to baffle me, but with steady practice and careful alignment it’s gradually become one of my favorite arm balancing poses. Both myself and Emma have been introducing it in our classes lately, and it’s been so fun to both watch students take flight, and see the smiles filling the room as we try sometime new, ridiculous, and seemingly impossible. Thankfully the ground isn’t far below! Continue reading