Today I challenge you to have the courage to find the happiness within YOU, no matter your current outside circumstances. It may be easier said than done, but nothing worth having comes easy, right? So, how do we do this?Read More
Is it just me, or is there a strange, dual energy that sweeps into our lives as the holidays approach? Along with the overwhelming rush of Christmas shopping madness, there’s still the incredible joy and warmth of spending time with friends, family and…FOOD! Let this post serve as a reminder that throughout all the excitement, it’s still important to slow down, recharge and keep ourselves feeling healthy! How can we do that exactly?Read More
Today, I’m reflecting on the changes I made to start turning my life around and successfully inviting more happiness into it. One thing I’ve learned for sure is that when you do things to purposefully cultivate more joy and less stress into your life, you’ll find yourself waking up generally happier and with a better attitude throughout the day. And that’s something we all deserve!Read More
One question I've received countless times since I started teaching yoga- What poses can we do to relieve lower back pain?
I've spent loooots time on my mat exploring postures and flows to release tension in my own lower back and the results have made me excited to share these simple poses with you guys! These are my go-to's for any day I wake up with a cranky back.
Keep in mind that everyBODY is different.. Everyone will experience different sensations in each of these poses, so I encourage you to listen to your body, be gentle and modify up or down as needed.
But first, the Do's and Don'ts of stepping onto your mat with a sore back-
Incorporate gentle movements to wake up the spine
Spend time in poses that will slowly and safely build back muscle
Create space through the vertebrae and side body
Lengthen through the crown of the head
Force yourself into backbends
Over extend forward folds (ouch on the lower back)
Compress the spine (in poses such as head stand)
My Favorite Poses To Relieve Back Pain//
I love beginning my practice in child’s pose to connect to my space & breath, but this pose is always available to come back to throughout your practice, and feels sooo nice to gently stretch and release the lower back. Start in table top pose and send the sit bones back to rest on your heels. If this isn’t comfy for you quite yet, place a blanket under the sit bones to make this pose more accessible and restorative. Keep the finger tips active to really get the most out of this stretch.
The best way to wake up the spine early on in your practice. Start in table top. On an inhale, drop your belly and send the sit bones up for cow pose. On an exhale, press the earth away, rounding through the spine and gaze between your knees for cat pose. Repeat as many times as you wish, and find some yummy organic movement here; maybe adding a side stretch, or moving into some slooow hip circles, bringing the sit bones back towards the heels, to the right, up towards the wrists and back again.
Yogi tip- during hip circles, take a slight pause in upward facing dog and back in child's pose
Baby Cobra Flow & sphinx pose
Finding some gentle movement in baby cobra is another good way to wake up the spine while simultaneously working to build some back muscle. Laying on your belly, plant your palms next to your shoulders, big toes to touch. On an inhale, press the earth away and gently rise (with the gaze forward) for baby cobra, and exhale gently back down to the earth. Move through this flow a couple times, maybe coming up higher on each inhale until you eventually make your way into upward facing dog. Find a place that requires some core effort, but don't over do it!
Sphinx pose is a good way to tone your spine and promotes the natural curvature of our lower backs. When we sit down a lot (like at an office job during the day), the lower back tends to flatten, which causes pain. So after some gentle cobra flowing, align your elbows under your shoulders and send your gaze forward. Imagine pulling your elbows back towards your hips to deepen the stretch.
Forward Fold (With Bent Knees) And Flat Back
This little flow feels sooo good. Stand hips distance apart and gently hinge at the hips to fold. Keep a generous bend in your knees, grab alternate elbows and allow yourself to just hang. Don't force yourself into a deeper fold, rather relax the weight of the head and let gravity take over to release your lower back and release tension in the neck/shoulders.
Use your exhale to let go into your fold and then inhale to lift half way into a flat back. Find length through the crown of the head here and create space through the vertebrae.
Repeat as many times as needed!
I love a good supine twist towards the end of my practice. There are different levels to this, but the simplest form is just laying on your back, planting your feet on the ground (bent knees) and letting the knees drape over to one side. You can have your arms out in a “T” and gaze towards the opposite direction of your knees to ensure a full rotation in the spine. If you're used to this posture, get creative here and find an arm variation that feels good, or modify up to take the twist a little deeper!
Yogi tip- Move through center and allow your spine a second to re-adjust before taking it to the other side.
Knees To Chest
I love poses on the back, they always serve as little reminders that we are supported by our mats and by the Earth. This one in particular is the easiest way to relieve pressure or pain in the lower back, and is my personal favorite thing to do right before sivasana. Lying back, simply pull the knees into the chest and begin to roll around. Draw some circles with the knees- you'll feel a yummy massage from the floor on your lower back and sacrum area. Spend as much time as you'd like here and enjoy!
Yogi tip- Investing in a good mat has done wonders for my lower back pain. My Jade Yoga Harmony mat is my FAVORITE. Locally made from sustainable material, complete no slip grip, super comfy, and so many colors to choose from! Check it out below.
I am Sending you all positive and healing energy, and i hope you find this guide helpful to relieve that grumpy back ache.
Have questions or comments? Leave them below or reach out through email!
The theme for this month has actually been a reoccurring word for me over the last couple months, reminding me that everything works out in due time and that at the end of the day, none of us are ever truly "in control" in the first place. Trust. It’s so important we learn to trust our path, ourselves & the universe!Read More
Whether you are a seasoned yogi or you’re walking into your first class, I wanted to share with you my essentials- the things I am sure to have in my yoga bag at all times!Read More
Yoga is sincerely a personal journey of the mind, body and soul, and since the start of this journey, yoga has had a snowball effect on my life. I've started to pay more attention to the decisions I make regarding not only my diet and physical health, but also mindfulness and emotional well-being. My life has flourished since I started to bring my yoga practice off my mat and into my daily life. I'm here today to share some of these happy habits!Read More
Hello, April! And Happy Easter, lovelies.
Spring is in the air! I love this time of year. What a privilege it is to witness everything around us come back to life after their long winter sleep. The smells, the colors, the warming air- I am so excited to be able to take my yoga practice back outside. But, what I love the most about April is the swirling sense of new inspiration that awakens with the rest of the world.
Theme of the month
That being said, I figured a perfect theme for this month would be "awaken." I hope you all use this motivating and refreshing time of year to awaken to your passions. Let your heart follow it's true path to finding what makes it siiiiing!
There is limitless light, wisdom and excellence inside of each and every one of us. And we're each here to fulfill a unique purpose in this world. When we are in tune with ourselves, when we are awakened to our purpose, we can shine it into the world like beaming sun rays. Your purpose will stem from doing what you truly love, and doing it with intention.
What do you love to do? Do more of that.
Say yes to any new opportunities that present themselves to you this month. You never know where inspiration is hiding or what you'll encounter that awakens those true passions inside of you. Remember, it's never too late to fulfill your heart's desire.
Quote of the month-
“Whatever precious jewel there is in the heavenly worlds, there is nothing comparable to one who is Awakened.” The Buddha
There is nothing comparable to the one who is awakened. There is nothing that could stop you from reaching your goals if you believe in them, and your power, whole-heartedly. Follow your path fiercely and trust it.
Whatever this quote translates as for you personally, keep it in mind throughout your month. Come back to it, re-examine it. Set your intentions around allowing yourself to be awakened.
Mantras of the month
"I am ready to receive"
"My heart remains open to what's meant for me"
"I allow myself to recognize the fear that comes with finding my purpose"
"I am brave"
"I am a field of all possibility"
The common theme here is simply remaining open to what may manifest into your life. And be brave! Trust yourself, trust your journey, open up your heart and mind- good things will come to you.
Don't offer resistance to things that come your way by letting self-doubt and worries block the path- simply acknowledge those feelings, notice that they do not serve you, and let them pass. And then continue along your path to total fulfillment!
Yoga Pose of the month
Any variation of Camel Pose that calls to you. The perfect, heart-opening pose that can really push you to the end of your comfort zone. Find your edge in this pose and then push yourself JUST slightly past it, being mindful not to push too far. Listen to your body and play here! My favorite variation of Camel is adding mermaid arms (I dig the extra stretch anywhere I can get it). Try working this pose into your own flow a couple times.
Tips for Camel Pose-
Keep your alignment in mind- Keep your knees hips distance apart (toes can stay tucked for balance or untucked for more extension), draw your hips directly above your knees and tuck your tailbone in.
Engage your core- pull in your belly to engage, this helps to protect your lower back
Backbending- imagine you are rounding backwards over a giant beach ball- reaching through the crown of the head and keeping your core engaged! Place your hands on your lower back for support to start.
Breathe, breathe, breathe- Use your breath to draw you deeper into the pose.
If you're new to Camel- play with bringing one hand down to your heel at a time and switch. Then maybe try both hands to heels!
Essential Oil of the month
Aspire- Enliven & AWAKEN your senses with this magical blend of lime and cardamom. This oil matches our theme perfectly by creating a sense of mental openness and clarity, but also providing a grounding sensation with Hyssop and Cedarwood oils. Plus it smells SO delightful! I will personally be wearing this as my perfume for the entire month of April.
You can grab your own bottle on my Döterra website!
If you take away just one thing from this post, let it be the belief that what is meant for you will come (in time) through staying true to yourself, your journey, and doing what you love. Intentionally awaken yourself to these things! You can't go wrong when you're coming from a place of love!
Wishing you all a bright & happy Spring!
Sending all love,
”Yoga is the perfect opportunity to be curious about who you are.” - Jason Crandell
When I started yoga, the idea of an at-home practice was far from my mind. I was new to yoga, and the thought of being my own instructor was an overwhelming one. At the time, I was committed to two classes a week at my studio and felt content. However, after a couple months (when the weather got colder and the desire to leave my house got smaller), I started to dabble with home practice youtube videos and getting a feel for moving with no instruction at all. Still, for me, it didn't compare to the atmosphere of my studio. I also found it hard to make my daily routine, tiny apartment and silly dog work with me. Fast forward to when I started my 200 hr. teacher training this past August, and it was no surprise that one of the most important elements was maintaining a home practice. So, I went home and started to mold a practice that would coincide well with my schedule and other aspects of my life. Now, I am so in love with my home practice that I can't go a day without it! I look forward to the time I have dedicated each day towards exploring my own mind, body and soul and I've experienced so much growth in these places. Below are a few tips that helped me along the journey of developing my home yoga practice, and a few that you may find helpful if you're struggling to connect with your own.
Your practice space doesn't have to be huge, and you don't need an entire room dedicated to yoga. However, the space you designate to your practice should be comfortable with good energy. I live in a tiny, one bedroom apartment. I barely have space for my shoes, let alone a yoga mat! This was a challenge for me when I started my home practice- BUT with just a little rearranging, I built myself a "yoga corner." This is just a small corner of my living room, under a window where I leave my mat and meditation pillow. I usually sit here for meditation and then shift my mat out to make space for my asana practice. Do a quick scan of your house and find a place to make your own! Once you have it, decorate the space with a couple things that bring you happiness. In my corner, I have a a plant, my incense burner, and some pictures of my family.
2. Make the conscious effort
Another challenge I faced building my practice at home was fitting it into my schedule each day. I was working full time with another part time job, training my dog, volunteering at my yoga studio, plus did not want to sacrifice the class time I spent there! It seemed impossible to squeeze in one more thing. BUT. Everybody needs some me-time, right?! I'll bet you've had days at work that make you excited to go home, throw on a movie and enjoy a glass of wine (and that's great, too!). But the next time you have this urge, try investing that time into your home yoga practice. And if there's one thing I've learned in my twenties, it's that we are much more inclined to follow through with plans that are pencilled into our calenders. SO, my advice is to take out those planners and pick 2 or 3 days a week that you can commit to your practice. It could be an hour in the morning, a half hour at lunch or even right before bed, as long as you follow through and make it a habit!
3. Invest in props
I think I've made the most progress in yoga generally through my home practice. Purchasing a few blocks, a strap and a bolster was the best decision I could've made for my asana practice, and the beautiful thing about it is that I can spend all the time I want practicing one pose, and taking notice of what helps get me there. For example, my crow pose required two blocks for my forehead to rest on for quite some time. My home practice gave me the flexibility to play with removing one block, and then eventually both blocks at my own pace. Flowing through a guided class, you may feel the pressure to keep up with the instructor instead of hanging out in a place or pose that might need some extra attention, or just feels good. The one downside to practicing alone is that you don't have somebody who's able to come around and adjust your alignment or move you deeper into a pose. So, having a strap handy for forward folds, and a block for triangle pose has been wonderful. It doesn't hurt to fit in a little restorative pose using a bolster, either.
4. Let go of expectations
I felt insecure the first few times I practiced yoga at home, which is silly considering I was the only one there! It's not like I was trying to impress anybody, however it was hard to focus on my breath and remember the flows and poses from class. My mind kept wandering as I overthought ways to transition from tree to down dog, to forward fold, etc. This is important- the purpose of your practice is not to LOOK good and organized, but to FEEL good and nourishing. Once I accepted this fact into my home practice, it became much easier to flow where my body needs to go. Some days you'll arrive on your mat with the intention of working on strength and arm balances, but find that your body needs more of a calm practice. Some days it'll be vice versa. The point of your home practice is not to mimic the moves of your class instructor, it's to find what feels good for you! So let go of those expectations and honor your body. Start your home practice with some experimenting to discover your own style and flow and then keep it true to you!
5. If you fall off the bandwagon, just hop back on!
Practice can be challenging when faced with the distractions of your home life. We can be interrupted by kids, to-do lists, wandering minds, family members, pets, etc. My dog gets so happy and playful when I start flowing around on my mat and I won't lie- sometimes, I give in and my practice becomes more of a wrestling match with a big headed goofball. We're only human! Distractions happen, but the beautiful thing about practicing yoga (and being human) is that we always have the capability to begin again. Helpful tip: let the people you live with know when you'll be practicing so that they can be mindful of your space, maybe even keeping kids and pets occupied. I know how hard it is to hold bridge pose with a dog army crawling through the tunnel.
Bonus- Don't cheat! Your home practice should be kept fun, but take it seriously. Just because you don't have an instructor keeping an eye on you doesn't mean you shouldn't try. Check in with your breath and alignment as opposed to just going through the motions. Impress yourself! If a pose is hard, hang out there for 3 more breaths. Don't get lazy. It can be tempting to cut practice short when someone is cooking pancakes in the kitchen next to you (I've been there). Stay motivated. But above all, remember there's no pressure here, friends. So play! Try an arm balance, because why not? Take 20 breaths in child's pose, cause it feels damn good. Find your niche and help yourself flourish. Grow like a wildflower.
The hardest part is simply arriving on your mat. What are you waiting for?