Gentle Yoga Home Practice + Pictures

Check out this Gentle Home Practice that I have been loving lately in the Yin style! Yin Yoga is a slow-paced approach practice where poses are held for a longer period of time in a relaxed manner, up to 5 minutes or more. This practice evolves into 3 main different levels of understanding, relating to the 3 main aspects of human existence:

On the Physical level Yin Yoga targets bones, joints and connective tissues. There is no aesthetic ideal to reach which makes the Yin Yoga approach very liberating, instead there is an emphasis on a functional approach.

On the Energetic level the practice reconnects with its roots of Taoist yoga, and uses the ancient map and modern theory of the meridians. The long holds in Yin restore harmony in the subtle body by targeting the channels that run through the connective tissues.

On the Emotional/Mental level the Yin approach prepares the practitioner for meditation as one of the central intention of the yin practice is the cultivation of inner stillness and a keen sense of introspection, like Paul Grilley describes it : Yin Yoga is a Quiet Practice.

 
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Begin in Sukhasana (Easy Pose), cross the legs and keep the chest lifted upwards. Let the body settle, grounding down through your Sitting Bones. Softly drop into your practice.

Take a few rounds of breath resting the eyes closed. Let the flow of breath be normal and easy. Now, take a deep inhalation feeling the coolness at the tips of the nostrils and down to the back of the throat, pause for a few seconds. Inhale again going deeper as the lungs get filled, pause for a few seconds. Inhale again going deeper as the lungs get filled more, pause for a few seconds.

Take this moment to become fully present into this moment. Fill now completely into both the lungs and the abdomen, pause and hold the inhaled air- Antara Kumbhaka (Internal Retention). Exhale out completely, in a controlled relaxing way. Pause means- to hold the breath, the inhaled breath is neither let out nor is more air taken in. The whole process is stopped or interrupted.

After complete exhalation, relax. Repeat this as many times as needed. 2 to 5 minutes is a good range!

 
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Transition into Shoelace. Sit on the floor legs extended and spine straight.

Bring the right leg over the left and then bend the knees pulling the feet inwards to extend the Spine. You should feel a stretch to the Thighs and Outer Hips. Make sure both knees are one above the other or if possible interlocked deeper trying to balance the body.

Feet and toes are relaxed along with shoulders. Targeting the Gluteal group of muscles. As we lean forward decompression of the spine is taking place. If you have pain in the hips or knees, just extend bottom leg forward. Add forward fold for a deeper hip opener. Rest the arms if you fold, palms face up as a gesture of receiving. If there is too much tension in the back, keeping the back in an upright position is perfectly fine.

Stay here for at least 2 minutes then switch sides!

 
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Bringing the body to relax in Corpse pose, stay for a few breaths to reset. Then slowly come into Saddle by bringing both ankles outside of the hips, toes into ground.

Targets the quadriceps and maybe a mild stimulation of the Rectus Abdominis especially with the arms above the head. Compression of the Lumbar depending on the feet placement. Knees can be together or separated but not too much space between. Relax the Glutes on ground. Use a bolster or pillow length wise along the spine if stretch is too much. Ankle discomfort can be relieved by placing a rolled blanket underneath the ankles so you can rest the joint on it.

Remember to breath and relax. This pose can either challenge you mentally by increasing mental activity or soothe your mind. It will fluctuate between those two aspects. Stay her for 3 to 5 minutes!

Slowly and mindfully extend both legs. Feet fall open to release the Hips and Pelvis. Find your final resting posture. Rest eyes closed and as you relax deeper, let go of any tension left. Deep breath in and deep breath out! Stay for at least 5 minutes to reset the mind and body.

 

Hope you enjoyed this home practice. From my heart to yous, Namaste!

CorePower Yoga Redondo Beach Shoot

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Let's go back to summer of 2017 when I had the absolute pleasure of photographing 11 of the CorePower Yoga Instructors at the Redondo Beach studio. This was surely a year of building self-confidence in my work! I really pushed myself to shoot more often, exploring more styles and ideas. I am so very thankful for each and every person who came to participate in this shoot. Thank you for being truly inspiring human beings and giving back to your community.

We had snacks for those who got hungry while we stretched out and warmed up. Outfits and poses were coordinated ahead of time to ensure complete efficiency. I’m a firm believer in planning most of the details beforehand making the process of shooting quicker and much more efficient. Each Yogini (short for Yoga Instructor) had a 15-minute time slot. There were two time slots for group photos. Both studio managers and the Hot Power Fusion Instructors. We lucked out with having a large 10-foot open window full of natural light. I filled in the rest of the light with my Octobox for softer even light.

Everyone was recording Instagram stories while we shot with each Yogini. Fun playful music played in the background making the experience smooth but relaxed. Above are a few of the behind the scenes stories from that day.

I am quite proud of the outcome of this shoot. I had never shot in a yoga studio before. Checked it off the long list of dream locations I want to photograph. The images were overall pretty sharp in focus even though I could have made the Shutter Speed a little faster. Below are a few of my absolute favorite shots from the day. I hope to photograph at the studio again in the near future.

My favorite part of this shoot was getting to showcase all the Instructors abilities and strengths. It’s always been important to me as a Photographer to capture all the beauty each of my subjects posses. Until next time CorePower, NAMASTE!

How I Came To Yoga + Tips For Beginners l 2018

In June 2012 I started my Yoga practice and wound up becoming a teacher years later. How crazy is that?!

It all started with an interest in trying it out and finding a very beginner level sequence via an app called Workout Trainer. The Lower Body Booster was the first one I ever tried. Since I had no idea what I was doing at the time, I decided to keep doing the same sequence every time I got on the mat. I had just quit smoking cigarettes a few weeks before doing any of this so my body was still recovering. Yoga in many ways forced me to learn my body all over again through a physical and mindful practice. I ended up receiving so much more than that.

After my outdoor runs, I would drink a protein shake and lay out my mat. Insert old photo of me after a run wearing an extra tank top for another layer of warmth ----->

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While my body was still recovering from the lung damage over the years, I kept up with a consistent Yoga practice for a few months. At first I didn’t really stop to observe if I even was enjoying it as an activity. Funny enough I kind of just kept up with the practice as if it was choosing for me to continue. Not knowing what I was doing by any means, I began exploring more sequences in the Workout App. Of course I didn’t know they were called sequences at the time! The Energy Yoga sequence was a definite change up after feeling like a master in Lower Body Booster. Finally I was starting to observe the effects of my practice. I felt calmer, more relaxed. My body felt more open and I also started to see some toning in my muscles.

Transition to college where I continued to practice at least once a week. At the time I felt like this was as much as I could fit into my busy schedule. For me this was still okay but I missed the frequency I had before. Those Downward Facing Dog’s and Warrior Two’s were calling my name by the end of each semester! I told all of my friends about how much I liked it. I even invited them to do a session with me which was way more fun for me than I think it was for them. Little did I know that one day I would become a teacher of this sacred practice.

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Transition to moving to Los Angeles in 2015!

Okay so I totally dropped off of a consistent practice for a few months before I made the big move. No judgement though because I came back full force soon enough. My first job here in Los Angeles was a desk receptionist at a corporate gym down the street from me. They just so happened to have an awesome yoga program to boot! This is where I began a much deeper practice and learned so much more about my body. Within months I knew that I wanted to also share the practice with others.

Below are some great tips for those who have not yet experienced the incredible benefits of yoga. Let’s get you started on a journey closer to yourself!

A Few Tips For Beginners:

  • Deciding why you want to practice yoga can be very helpful. There are so many benefits to practicing so even if you just want to explore the physical aspects, you will better yourself in some way. Even if you are curious to know more about it and just want to try it for the experience.

  • Breathing. Yoga is all about finding a healthier, deeper harmony between our body and mind, and our breathing is central to this. Breathe into your whole body in the poses, and relax. There is a lot to learn about healthy breathing in yoga.

  • Make practice frequent. Little and often is more effective than occasional long sessions of yoga. Even 15 minutes a day of a few well-chosen poses can have a very positive effect on your physical, emotional and mental well-being. A regular discipline will reap more benefits, as that way the body begins to feel comfortable and familiar with the process and gradually becomes more flexible and subtly aware of the sensations, rather than ‘starting from cold’ again once in a while.

  • Modify postures for your body. The perfect pose we may see in a book or see a teacher demonstrate may be a long way from what our own body can currently achieve. A good yoga teacher will show you how to ease your own body carefully towards the ideal posture, perhaps with use of yoga props like extra blocks, bolsters, a belt etc., bringing attention to the principle of the inner stretch or direction of energy that the pose is aiming to evoke in us.

  • Release expectations. Often we equate yoga with tough, limb-twisting poses. However, yoga is not about touching your toes or stretching 98 degrees to the northeast. Yoga is a process of uniting with yourself, and it should be easy and effortless. You are in yoga when your body, mind, and breath align. So, throw away the idea that you should already be flexible, that you’re too old to venture into yoga at the age of 40, or that yoga is the only thing that will save you from your love handles (although love handle disappearance is one common side-effect of a regular practice)!

  • Start with an intention. Before starting the physical aspect of your practice, creating an intention can help to set the tone for your practice and prepare your mind for an introspective experience. Whether your intention is “world peace” or “non judgement”, centering your mind around that thought will help bring you into the present moment before beginning.