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21 Jan

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How to practice Yoga with Kids? My 365 Days of Yoga

January 21, 2015 | By | No Comments

Hi guys, here I show you how to get Kids interested in a yoga class. Sometimes, we begin our classes with a fun yoga song called Namaste. The word Namaste means ” I bow to the Divine in you.” It is sometimes expressed as Namaskar or Namaskaram, a customary greeting when individuals meet or depart in Indian subcontinent. Namaste is spoken with a slight bow and hands pressed together, palms touching and fingers pointing upwards, thumbs close to the chest. This gesture is called Añjali Mudrā or Pranamasana. 

Namaste or namaskar is used as a respectful form of greeting, acknowledging and welcoming a relative, guest or stranger. It is used with goodbyes as well. It is typically spoken and simultaneously performed with palms touching gesture, but it may also be spoken without acting it out or performed wordlessly; all three carry the same meaning. The song that I sing with my students is: 

” Namaste everyone, Namaste everyone, Namaste to you;

Namaste everyone, Namaste everyone, Let your light shine through.”

16 Jan

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Fun Yoga tips for Kids yoga class | My 365 days of Yoga

January 16, 2015 | By | No Comments

Here’s how I practice Paschimottanasana with the kids. Its important to employ fun themes, activities, games, crafts and songs in Kids yoga classes to make them enjoyable for the kids.

12 Jan

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How to teach Yoga to Kids? My 365 Days of Yoga

January 12, 2015 | By | No Comments

I love working with kids and teaching them yoga. They have so much energy and its important for their teachers, guides, caretakers to be able to manage that energy in a positive way. Here’s another great video of how to practice centering before the class with the kids and boost their confidence.

11 Jan

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How to teach yoga to kids? My 365 Days of Yoga

January 11, 2015 | By | No Comments

In this short and sweet video I demonstrate how to teach kids- Bee Breathe. Really simple, fun breath that can be practiced anytime of the day.

10 Jan

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How to create a good music playlist for a yoga class? My 365 days of yoga

January 10, 2015 | By | No Comments

Music for Yoga

Music for Yoga

There is always a debate whether there should be music in a yoga class or not? I personally think it should depend on the type of class and the teacher. Some teachers prefer no music in their classes and others take quite some time to find perfect music to match their sequence.

A few questions that pop up in the mind of every new yoga instructor are:  Do I use music for my class or not? What should I use for music – i-pod, my i-iphone, cd player or something else? Should I make a playlist for my class? Where should I source music from? does it matter what sequence the songs are in?

When I first had this discussion with my other yogi friends, here are few of the responses I got:

- New Earth Records is one of my favourite labels. You can listen to their music on their site and then buy on iTunes or Amazon.

-I’m loving Blackmill and Passion Pit for upbeat stuff. Helios is nice mellow cool-down stuff. The Beastie Boys did an instrumental album called “The In Sound From Way Out” that I like.

- Radioactive by Imagine Dragons is one of my favourite songs to do sun salutations to. It’s simply energizing and invigorating. Another friend said, she liked Old Pine by Ben Howard.

- Some teachers said that they go back and forth between songs and background music. It simply depends on the vibe of the class.

– I like Amiina, Bonobo, Tycho, Helios, and Nick Drake. I also love Brian Eno’s ambient albums, especially his collaborations with Harold Budd. I’ve been working on a Restorative playlist this week, so this is all stuff that is super mellow.

-Many teachers said that they found it took a lot of work to create a playlist that flowed with the theme of the class so background music is definitely an easier solution but it can be a lot of fun to have a custom playlist too. A senior teacher commented that she loved Kerala Dream by Shaman’s Dream. In her opinion the whole album is awesome.

- Another new teacher who taught 10-12 classes a week said that she was no where near mastering the playlists? She often used 8tracks.com for her classes and so do I.

So as per one of my teachers: My friend if you’re looking for kirtan and traditional devotional music, Deva Premal, Snatam Kaur, and Krishna Das are a good place to start. And I’ve just discovered Steven Halpern’s work. He composes albums intended to compliment meditation practices. His work with Tibetan singing bowls is beautiful. His work is more soundscape than music.

As far as more energetic tunes, Radiohead, Pretty Lights (DJ), Of Monsters and Men, the XX and Beats Antique are some of my favourites, but it’s a matter of personal preference. I’m finding it hard to teach over top of vocals unless it’s in a language I don’t know or it’s a song I know so well that I can tune it out.

Some other resources for creating a good music playlist for your yoga class are:

- How to make a yoga playlist?

- How to make a yoga class playlist?

- Pinterest Ideas for Yoga playlists

- 5 tips for creating an ultimate Yoga playlist

- How to create a yoga playlist

09 Jan

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What is Kripalu Yoga? My 365 Days of yoga

January 9, 2015 | By | No Comments

Kripalu style Hatha Yoga

 

One of my all time favourite quotes: It is worth remembering that there is only one yoga and can only be one yoga. True, aspirants are of different natures and resort to various doctrines and practices to progress along the path. But one who completes the process of yoga understands its different paths and sees that the systematic practice of various disciplines leads to the same place. In the end, all yogas lead to one great Yoga. —Swami Kripalu (1913–1981)

I’ve experimented and practiced several different styles of Yoga but was particularly drawn towards Kripalu style Hatha yoga. Thanks to my amazing teachers Harshad Jeff David and Sonya Uchita Thomlinson of Tandava Yoga institute, Kelowna who inspired me and encouraged me to chose my path. Finally I took  my formal Yoga Teacher training with them and now practice and teach Kripalu style.

Often I am asked what is Kripalu style Yoga.. Although kind of Hatha Yoga, in Kripalu style we encourage students to be compassionate towards themselves and others. In fact the word Kripalu means merciful and of course Kripalu Yoga is based on teachings of Swami Kripalu. Kripalu Yoga slowly became widespread in North America through hardwork of yogi Amrit Desai, who was a student of Swami Kripalvanandaji (Swami Kripalu). Swami Kripalu was a highly respected kundalini yoga master from the Gujarat province of India who had experienced spontaneous pranic (energetic) movement as a result of prolonged deep meditation. He later discovered that the spontaneous physical movements he experienced were actually classical hatha yoga postures.

What defines Kripalu Yoga is its emphasis: following the flow of prana (life-force energy), practicing compassionate self-acceptance, developing witness consciousness (observing the activity of the mind without judgment), and taking what is learned “off the mat” and into daily life.  Even within Kripalu we see an amalgamation of various traditions and practices. The Kripalu lineage is a merging of the Hatha / Tantric practices of Swami Kripalu interwoven with the westernized practices of Patanjali’s Ashtanga, or 8 fold path. In the contemporary exploration of Kripalu Yoga some of the basic relational and communication tools of western psychology have also helped serve budding spiritual practitioners.

Yogi Amrit Desai spearheaded  development of Kripalu Yoga as an American ashram experiments of the 1960s and more than 40 years later, while the Kripalu ashram and the guru (Swami Kripalu passed away in 1981) no longer exist, Kripalu Yoga continues to thrive as a practical, accessible, and contemporary approach to yoga—with more than 5,000 trained teachers worldwide and nearly 40 affiliated studios.The former ashram is now a nonprofit educational retreat center that welcomes more than 25,000 people a year for workshops, trainings, and retreats at its idyllic setting in western Massachusetts. Oh how I long to visit this lovely sanctuary..one day perhaps.

In Kripalu Yoga I was taught to honour and accept  bodiy’s limitations and working with what is available and is present. In our teacher training their was a big emphasis on neutral alignment , applying BRFWA (Breath, Relax, Feel, Watch and allow), self empowerment, letting go and personal growth. Eventually I realised, that as mental and emotional disturbances are dissolved, tremendous amounts of prana are released to affect healing. A practice of this depth offers far greater possibilities than could be expected from an isolated physical discipline. Practicing Kripalu Yoga initiates a gradual process of physical healing, psychological growth, and spiritual awakening.

I use my developing practice to ‘know myself’. There is nothing really to accomplish or master, but rather using the tools of yoga to know who we are and where we are. In our own unique journey lies our freedom, our healing, our service, our transformation. A transmutation of old layers of energies, in to the blossoming of our true self.

What I love about Kripalu Yoga is that their is so much scope of creativity in creating sequences and modifying poses as per students needs since Kripalu Yoga uses classic asanas (though not a particular set or routine), pranayama (breath work), development of a quiet mind, and the practice of relaxation. My students love what I teach because my classes are designed to adapt to all body types, ages, fitness levels, and interests.

 Kripalu Yoga Teacher Training

When Amrit Desai started the Kripalu ashram in Sumneytown, Pennsylvania, he asked Don Stapleton, an ashram member and professor of art education with a strong interest in the sources of creativity, to develop a Kripalu Yoga teacher training. Under Stapleton’s direction, with input from other ashram members, Kripalu Yoga shifted from an authoritative teaching model and developed as an experiential learning process.

“We developed a teaching model that helps people find a way back to their own knowing and access creativity through personal experience,” says Stapleton, who now serves as Dean of Yoga Education for Kripalu. “And because Kripalu Yoga helps each person get in touch with their own inner knowing, everyone’s yoga is going to look different.” This is why each Kripalu Yoga teacher’s classes are unique; each teacher brings his or her own passion, focus, and interest and may draw from a variety of yoga styles.

“The tools and techniques of Kripalu Yoga, designed to draw the mind inward and awaken energy, can be used with any yoga style or tradition,” says Hartman. “We often say that the Kripalu approach provides a tool bag from which to draw on in classes or for personal practice.”

The Three Stages of Kripalu Yoga
Kripalu Yoga offers a framework of three stages of practice.

1. The first stage emphasizes postural alignment and coordination of breath and movement, bringing the mind fully present to the body and to sensations through classical hatha yoga asanas. During this stage, postures are held only for a short time, which stretches and strengthens the body, releases chronic muscle tension, and encourages relaxation. The goal is to allow a strong flow of prana throughout the body and to develop mental concentration.

2. In the second stage, the inner experience is systematically deepened through meditation and the holding of postures for prolonged periods. In addition to strengthening muscles, this prolonged holding helps develop concentration and an ability to recognize and release deep-seated emotional and mental tensions. Over time, unconscious material comes to the surface, where it can be felt, seen, and let go of to restore emotional balance and mental clarity. The heart opens, creating an increased capacity for learning and growth.

3. During the third stage, also known as “meditation in motion,” both the body and the mind are deeply relaxed, and the body is invited to move spontaneously from one posture to another in direct response to the inner urges and prompting of prana.

Only after my teacher training I truly realised that my esteemed teachers led the course, but only in the sense of building the riverbanks that hold the experience and information. I was the water that carried the container of the experience and knowledge. Stage was set, a seed was planted to develop the ‘container’ of a balanced lower self to explore the possibility of setting ourselves free to our higher self.

To stay connected  with me, please like/visit us on facebook: https://www.facebook.com/omandmeyoga

 

08 Jan

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6 reasons to do Warrior 1 (Virabhadrasana 1) – My 365 days of Yoga

January 8, 2015 | By | No Comments

Warrior 1 (Virbhadrasana)

Warrior 1 (Virabhadrasana 1) - Pose of the day

It is one of the foundational yoga postures and some form of warrior 1 is taught in all lineages of Yoga. It is one of the basic yoga posture I learnt in my early yoga practice. I love Warrior 1 for several reasons like it lengthens and strengthens my hamstrings ( of the back leg) and quadriceps of the forward leg support the body in this lunge. Deltoids come into play as they lift the arms overhead and upper traps work hard to keep them there. In full expression of the pose ( if you choose to take the gaze up and go for subtle backbend), Rectus Abdominus gets lengthened once proper backbend is done.

6 reasons to practice this pose on regular basis is:

1. First and foremost Warrior 1 helps to improve circulation of blood through body and promotes better respiration.

2. It strengthens and tones the feet,ankles, knees, hip joints, back, arms and shoulders.

3. It regulates kidney functioning.

4. It helps prevent lower back pain, rheumatism and scoliosis.

5. It tones and strengthens abdominal muscles and brings resilience to the spine.

6. It helps in proper placement of bones and muscles of the hips.

 

07 Jan

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6 reasons to do Tree Pose (Vrikshasana) – My 365 days of Yoga

January 7, 2015 | By | No Comments

Great for bringing balance, peace and calm into your life

Great for bringing balance, peace and calm into your life

Yoga Pose of the day- Tree Pose or Vrikshasana. It is one of my favourite yoga poses for these 6 reasons.

1. It strengthens our thighs, calves, ankles, hip joints and spine.
2. It improves our blood circulation and respiration.
3. Helps promote our sense of balance and allows us to ground down ( when you activate 3 points of your feet) while building the pose.
4. It also stretches our chest and shoulders.
5. Helps relieve sciatica and reduce flat feet
6. Its a great posture for building coordination and concentration.

Things to remember when doing this pose is to keep the Pelvis neutral rather then cat or dog tilt. Also to keep the hips level, parallel to the floor. Having a strong point of focus (drishti) helps us balance and then invite peace and serenity in our lives (not just in our physical practice but in our personal lives as well)

06 Jan

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9 reasons to do Bridge Pose – My 365 Days of Yoga

January 6, 2015 | By | No Comments

Bridge Pose ( Setu Bandasana)

Pose of the day – Bridge Pose (Setu Bandhasana)

I like Bridge Pose and their are several benefits of practicing this pose. 9 most important ones are:

1. It stretches the chest, neck and spine
2. It calms the brain and helps alleviate stress and mild depression
3. The Quadracep muscles and the glutes are strongly working to lift the torso off the floor so it rejuvenates tired legs. The adductor muscles work hard here as well to keep the knees pressing in toward each other.
4. It is therapeutic for Asthma, high blood pressure, osteoporosis and sinusitis
5. It massages abdominal organs and improves digestion.
6. It stimulates lungs and thyroid.
7. It helps relieve the symptoms of menopause.
8. Its a great posture in reducing anxiety,fatigue,backache,headache and insomnia
9. It relieves menstrual discomfort when done supported

05 Jan

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Happy New Year – My 365 Days Of Yoga

January 5, 2015 | By | No Comments

Om and Me Kids Yoga Classes in Calgary

Om and Me Kids Yoga Classes in Calgary

Its a lovely cold Monday morning. Kids are back to school and Hubby is back to work. I am planning my next week’s Kids yoga classes with wonderful gifts that Santa bought me in 2014. I know I am going to have a fun afternoon with my little ones playing some of the games and trying new yoga poses. Hope your day and New Year 2015 is filled with much love, joy and peace too.