Kurmasana and Supta Kurmasana

kurmasana supta kurmasana Jun 14, 2018
 

Perhaps the hardest pose in Primary Series? I know for me it is. When I was learning this pose I literally thought it was going to pop my collar bones. Fortunately, that didn't happen.

Here are my tips to work safely into kurmasana and supta kurmasana.


Want to go even deeper into opening your hips? Try my 5 video email course here.

Or my online course Be Hippy a master class on hip opening.

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Practicing Yoga through Pregnancy

 

Students frequently ask me about practicing while pregnant. I've had lots of students practice their entire pregnancy and others who weren't quite up to it. I think the key is to do what feels right for you - and continually reevaluate what that is.

However, since I have never been pregnant I thought I should ask the expert. So here is Christina Flemming. Pregnant Ashtangi and Mid-Wife, who knows what she is talking about.

I hope this is helpful.

  • Change the way you approach the practice and let go of idea of moving forward.
  • Embrace going slower, letting go of bandhas, and letting go of postures.
  • Grieve the losses of your pregnancy - not only the postures but other things that are changing.
  • It's typically safe to continue with any practice you had before the pregnancy, be that marathon running or yoga practicing.
  • Don't add any new postures.
  • Continually reevaluate where you are at.

Watch the video for more talk on the subject.

  


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The Value of a Six Day a Week Practice

A student recently told me she was feeling burned out and wondered why we practice 5-6 days a week in the Ashtanga system.

In a nutshell, I think the answer is transformation. But I’ll give you some of the details.

When we practice 6 days a week we get the opportunity to learn faster. By repeating asanas and vinyasas on a daily basis we are able to memorize more quickly — both in our minds and our bodies. When you practice 6 days a week it can help prevent injury because your body becomes more accustomed to the movement and you become more aware of what your body can and cannot tolerate — which of course lends itself to progress in the poses.

Your body will acclimate to the practice more quickly if you practice consistently. Your flexibility and strength increase at a faster rate with a daily practice. Its easier to adopt a daily routine that you can stick to. You’ll find going to bed early and waking up early enough to practice easier when you do it...

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Assisting Guidelines

I had the big honor of assisting Tim in his Mysore room last week last week. Luckily, I've had plenty of time to think about how I believe assistants should serve in the Mysore after working with my own assistants for many years. So, I thought I would share some of my personal guidelines for assisting while it was fresh on my mind. These are some lessons that I’ve taught to my own assistants, as well as what I let guide me while assisting Tim.

First off, I tried to teach like I’ve learned from Tim. He always influences me, of course, but I do think it’s especially important to honor his teachings when I am teaching in his room. So I don’t go into his Mysore room and teach like anyone else. I just do my best to emulate Tim’s style and philosophy while still bringing myself.

I made sure to introduce myself to as many students as I could. I always ask students' names and try my hardest to remember them - I think this is important when working with...

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How to Optimize your Morning (when you aren't an early morning person!)

I know better than anyone how hard it is to have a successful morning. I am a morning person, yes. But I am more of a 7am morning person, not a 5am in the morning person. So teaching Mysore in the wee hours of the morning goes against my natural rhythm.

When you have to be someplace at 6am every minute counts in the morning. Here are my tips for optimizing my morning and maximizing how late I can sleep.

  1. These are the things I do every night before bed so that I have the best possible chance of getting out the door and to the studio on time in the morning. These tips are helpful for anyone, not just if you are going to Mysore.
  2. I prepare my beverages the night before. I like to drink water with lemon in it while I am teaching in the morning. I fill up my water bottle with lemon the night before. I use a hydroflask so that the water will stay cold for 24 hours. And then I put it in my bag the night before so that I don’t have to think about it at all in the morning!
  3. I take my...
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My Worst Case Scenario

For every situation in life we can imagine a worst case scenario - sometimes a conversation goes drastically different than you’d hoped; sometimes workplace drama turns ugly; sometimes you break a bone or a window or a heart (or your own); sometimes you find yourself stuck with all your worldly possessions on the side of the 101 freeway in the rain because your movers showed up a week early with too big a truck to fit down your street.

Or maybe that one’s just me. But, either way, the story of rebooting my life started with what was basically my worst-case scenario. My movers, who had already been somewhat less than professional moving me out of DC, were more than a week ahead of schedule for the delivery to California. So, I changed my flight, packed my bags, and left without the chance to say many goodbyes or to let anyone in Encinitas know that I would be arriving early.

It was 7pm when they called to let me know that they’d sent a bigger truck than...

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Karandavasana: Step by Step

 

Karandavasana is a challenging pose. Don't let yourself feel overwhelmed. Instead break it down into a series of doable steps.

  • The first step is a solid pincha mayurasana. I'm pretty strict about this in my mysore room - if you can't hold pincha, you won't be able to do karandavasana. So be patient here and use it as an opportunity to get strong. Need more help in pincha? Check out my online class Advanced Core for Yogis.

  • In order to do karandavasana you have to be able to do lotus with no hands. This is tricky. You can learn more about lotus in my online class Be Hippy. I do occasionally let students do karandavasana by lowering into a bakasana with the forearms on the mat. So if a student has a knee injury or ankle injury or just can't do lotus then I give them this alternative.

  • Next I typically have students practice lotus with no hands and lowering the lotus from a tripod headstand. It's easier for most people to balance in headstand than it is pincha. If a student doesn't have...
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My Big Step

This is a blog post about change. In Buddhism, change is pretty much at the core of everything - grappling with change and impermanence is crucial to working toward the alleviation of one’s suffering. Well, after many years, the time has come for me to grow in new ways, and I will be making the big change of moving from DC to Encinitas, CA. 

I’ve spent my entire adult life as a yoga teacher. I’ve created and built a Mysore program I am proud of. I’ve invested in studying and spent hours and days and months traveling to study in India, Boulder, and Encinitas. I’ve woken exhausted, practiced alone in the dark, and learned more from my students than I could ever have taught them. I’ve rejoiced in the breakthroughs of others more, I think, than I have in my own. I’ve strategized and deliberated on how to build community and inspire others. And most importantly, I’ve shown up. Again, and again, and again, In my teaching, in my...

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How to Create a Home Yoga Practice

If you’re trying to start a home yoga practice, you might have noticed something - practicing yoga at home is hard. Then again, just like any other disciplined practice, yoga is always hard. But I think, like with so many other of life’s challenges, the biggest strategic change you can make is to your own mindset. 

 Consciously decide that you are going to create an awesome yoga space for yourself, and that you are going to have a transformative home practice, and you will. But if you tell yourself that you can’t practice at home because of any of the million distractions that can keep us from practicing, then guess what? You won’t. Our thoughts create our reality - don’t limit your practice potential with limiting beliefs.

 That said, I know it’s easier said than done, and I know how “out there” this all might sound, so here are my practical tips from seven years of practicing mostly by myself. I’ve had my ups and...

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We Get to Be Selective

With all that is going on in the world right now, and specifically the ashtanga community, it’s hard for me not to feel saddened and frustrated. I suspect anyone who has practiced yoga for any length of time has probably seen on their news feeds a lot of the same things that I have. Trending incidents like the sexual abuse allegations against Guruji and the removal of dedicated teachers from the KPJAYI list are hard to ignore. But truly, these are just the most recent and high profile incidents.

I don’t have direct experience with either of these things, so I can’t address them specifically, but for me it does bring up memories of numerous other incidents in my career as a yoga practitioner and teacher when I have seen or heard things that felt ethically wrong to me. Some of them I addressed, some of them I didn’t, but I now wish I had. 

Incidents like a student dropping in as a visitor in a different program and being started on a new series,...

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