Tag Archives: yoga

The benefits of chair yoga

People who don’t practice have two different kind of ideas about yoga:

Those who think that we stay in Padmasana and meditate for hours, and those who think that we spend our days with the feet behind the head standing on one hand. But there are so many options between those two  ideas, and one of those options is practicing yoga sitting on a chair.

In fact, if you think about it, not everyone can practice standing, for many different reasons. The chair becomes a yoga prop, it becomes the yoga mat. This kind of practice is not only (as you could think) for the elder people, it’s also for people with health issues, or people that can’t use their legs for some reasons, but also for people at the office that don’t have the time, neither the space for a more traditional practice. By practicing on a chair they can still relax, release the tensions, and move their body. It’s beneficial for the body and the mind.

1. Benefits on the body

Practicing on a chair allows to modify a lot of traditionnal postures by making them more accessible for any kind of people/bodies. There are many postures you can do seated, a lot of twist that allows you to stretch your back and massage your internal organs, some hip openers, shoulder openers… There is also the possiblity of using the chair as a support for a standing posture, such as triangle pose or tree pose for example. Some people with balance issues might find it very helpful. 

In fact, this practice benefits to every part of the body, it allows a better bloodstream, improves balance in a significative way, detoxifies the body, ameliorates the posture and the flexibility. Moving makes the mucles more active so they get stronger, and we can say the same about the bones too.

But the body is not the only one that benefits from this practice:

2. Benefits on the mind

The simple fact of moving a little,  can give a person whith a disability or a health isuue,  new hopes, and a better self esteem. Simple things like a better balance or a bigger range of movements, even the releasing of tensions, allow inner peace. Someone stressed by a long day at the office can easily make this observation. Like in a more traditionnal yoga practice, the relation between the body and the mind is better, even the spiritual aspect of yoga can be shared. The practitioner learns how to breath in a better way too. All of this increase the well being and can even offer a better health.

Chair yoga is definitely an amazing option that should be more offered.

Stay tuned for other thoughts about my experience as a yoga teacher! Namaste.

 picture courtesy of JLC 

The Dharma Yoga wheel, my favorite yoga prop!

Last year, while I was doing my teacher training, the Dharma yoga wheel started to be everywhere on Instagram. I wanted to buy it bur thought it was a little expensive (almost a 100$ for a piece of PVC). One day one of the teacher I follow posted a discount code and I decided to buy it. 3 weeks later the wheel was there.

The wheel is a very nice prop to open your back. I’m doing a few exercises with it at the end of my practice almost every day. The only thing that upset me, is that you have to pay (again!!) to be able to download from the website a few pictures showing you what you can do with it. It seems that they wanted to make the more money as possible with it and in the yoga world this kind of attitude always disappoints me.

Luckily now you have the choice and many other brands came up with the same idea. Because except for the money aspect of it, this really is a great prop. Even for back pain you can massage yourself by rolling your back on the wheel. I even take it to the beach and use it to rest my back on it while I’m doing dolphin watching!

If you were hesitating, I strongly suggest you google it and find the one that suits you best, because it will take your practice to another level, and if you are a teacher, your students will appreciate the tool!

Stay tuned! Namaste.

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Sweating is good for your health!

As some of you know I’m a yoga teacher in Europe, but I’m doing all my training in the US, and one of the big difference between those two cultures in terms of practicing yoga Β is the perspiration. When I’m in LA every classes I go to are given in a slightly heated room :usually around 28Β° Celsius ( it’s not Bikram or hot yoga), and people sweat. Oh yes they do! Even myself who I thought I wasn’t the sweating type, well, when I’m out of those classes, I look like I’m just stepping out of a shower. At first I didn’t like it, I was struggling a little, but then I realise I was a little bit more flexible, and that after a while my skin was glowing (in a good way). Even my best friend who came with me once told me that my skin was way more radiant when I was in LA than home, and the usual cold I use to have every witer simply disappeared.

Where I live and teach there are a lot of different people from all over Europe and Russia, and I don’t know if it’s because they used to live in the cold, or may be they just think sweating is dirty, or may be they don’t want to mess up their make-up, but they always ask for turning the AC on. I always disagree and explain them why. But when I attend classes as a student and someone open the window in winter or turn the AC on, I realize that my muscles are tighter, and I feel like I could hurt myself easily by going deeper in some asanas, and I don’t enjoy the class as much because it’s harder to let go in those conditions.

So let’s talk about the good effects of sweating:

1. SWEATING IS GOOD FOR YOUR SKIN

When you sweat your pores open and release the dirt that’s inside of them. I don’t make up this, ask your dermatologist! Just wash your face after, and your skin will be cleaner than ever.

2. SWEATING DETOXIFIES THE BODY

It flushes the body of substances of alcohol, cholesterol and salt. A study in 2011 found many toxic elements seems to be excreted throught sweat.

3. SWEATING MAKES YOU HAPPIER

Some research has suggested that: “temperature-sensitive neural circuits to specific regions in the brain exist and may play a significant role in controlling mood.”

4. SWEATING PREVENTS COLDS AND OTHER ILLNESS OR INFECTIONS

Some studies suggest that “human perspiration contains a naturally occuring antimicrobial peptide called dermicidin, which has been proven to fight tuberculosis germs and other dangerous pathogens, and viruses, bacteria and funghi.” The natural antibiotic is naturally activated in salty, slightly acidic sweat.

5.SWEATING LOWERS KIDNEY STONE RISK

Some research from the University of Washington found that exercise in the heat makes you sweat out salt and hepls to retain calcium in your bones rather than having them go into the kidneys and urine where stones form. Plus sweating makes you want to drink more which helps in that process too.

6. SWEATING HELPS REDUCE PAIN OFF SORE MUSCLES.

This is because of the production of endorphins that are natural painkillers.

And finally last but not least:

7. PRACTICING IN THE HEAT MAKES YOUR MUSCLES MORE FLEXIBLE WHICH CAN PREVENT INJURIES

Heat warms up the muscles, that makes your body stretch more easily, and can help you prevent injuries such as pulled muscles.

I’m not saying you should practice in a heated room if you don’t want to, what I’m trying to say here, is that practicing yoga in a room not heated is fine, but the benefits of the internal heat created by the yoga practice and the breathing, should not be interrupted by the opening of a window or turning the AC on, IT IS HEALTHY TO WEAT, IT’S NOT DIRTY. Not only it has many many benefits you should consider, but it’s nothing that you can’t get rid off Β with a simple shower.

Namaste detoxified sweaty readers 😜 , stay tuned for new reflexions inspired by my yoga practice!

I’ve tried the new TEEKI yoga mat

If you practice yoga in the west, you have probably heard of Teeki or seen one of their yoga pants.  Teeki is a company who makes cool (and unfortunately pricey) yoga pants made of recycled plastic bottle, with amazing design.When I’m in LA (where the company is from) i can’t walk in a yoga class without seing at least one person wearing a Teeki pant, and it sometimes includes me.

I mean for a yogini who likes wearing cool stuff (I know that we are supposed to be not attached to material things, and I really made a lot of progress on that point, but I’m still a work in progress in the yoga sutras world πŸ˜€), the idea of having nice pants made of recycled plastic bottles, it kind of makes you feel good. 

I heard 6 months ago that they were working on a yoga mat. I have to say that i was not impressed by the idea, there are more and more yoga mats with cool designs, and I thought they were gonna be just one of them. 

As a daily yoga practicionner and yoga teacher I’m a Manduka devotee. I know they are super heavy and it’s a bummer to walk around with them, but on the other hand they are the best.

When I saw the design of the Teeki’s (the one with the buffalo skull) it was love at first sight! When I saw the price I held back!  More expensive than a regular Maduka eeew (110$). But after having a bad day I decided to indulge myself and order it. My alibi was (i always need an alibi lol) that I was traveling to LA for another teacher training with Shiva Rea, and that if i had it delivered there i wouldn’t have to travel with my heavy Manduka!

When I opened the package the first good surprise was that it comes with a little strap to tie it after you roll it and I really appreciate that. It’s a simple thing but it’s so useful!!! When I enrolled it I was in love again. It’s so pretty. The design is amazing. The material made me think of a tyre or something like that. But Teeki is a green brand so their mats are 100% green, made of tree rubber and  shell powder (as a vegetarian I just pray that no animals were killed in that process, I need to investigate that).

I’m using it for 10 days now, every single day, many hours a day (I was doing a training with Shiva Rea and we were practicing sometimes 5/6 hours daily), and I have to say that I can’t wait to be back home and compare with my Manduka because I think it’s almost as good! Or may be better because the Eko Manduka is not as comfy. I use the Pro at home. The only thing is that the Manduka might be a little bit harder (but I need to try them both at the same time to be sure) which helps me for arm balances and inversions.

The + :

Very comfortable, the recycled material, the design, not slippery even the first days you use it except when you step on the design who’s in the middle, the little strap, hard and soft at the same time, not as heavy as a Manduka pro (but not super light either), it’s a wide mat.

The – :

The price, the smell the first days. 

I seriously think that Teeki did an awesome job with their mats and I’m sure they will have many more designs to come! Good job!

Soon I will share with you my experience with my favorite brands of yoga pants! Stay tuned. Namaste

  

The (not so) wonderful yoga world.

When I’ve started yoga, and even before that, I used to think that yoga practicioners were super open minded, generous, honest and happy people who were smiling 24/7 because they were probably enlightened or something like that.

Very quickly I found the smile of one of my teacher a little bit suspicious, too wide, to “teethy” (does that word even exist?), too… fake? Was that even possible? I mean yoginis are supposedly close to nirvana, they must be happy all the time! Well at least that’s what I thought.

And then I took my teacher training after 4/5 years of regular practice, and I started to hear some stuff about yoga teachers (male mostly but probably female as well) who were kind of using their yoga teacher position to take advantage of cute students, and date them (and that’s a nice version of what some of them are probably doing…), and we had this class about the “does and dont”  for a teacher… I was surprised because, naive as I was I used to think that yoga would make you an ethical person. Well it’s not.

Just make your research and you will be amazed by the stories you’ll hear. Let’s take Bikram example: he was a world known teacher who came up with the idea (a good one) of doing yoga in a room heated at 40Β°c. There are numerous yoga studios in the world who teaches his method. Well the guy has no less than 6 lawsuits for sexual harassment and even rape! It’s safe to say that we are far from Nirvana here….

There is the Osho case as well. A lot of yoga teacher are still quoting him, but he was very controversial, some people used to call him the sex guru, and some members of his community tried to poison at least 750 people in Oregon. The guy was arrested in the USA for violation of immigration laws, he was carrying some jewelry and some weapons.. A very yogic attitude!

Without talking about those extrem cases, when I look around I see war between yoga studios, some would call that competition, but how can you tell your students that there is no such thing as competition in yoga and having a “wall street attitude” towards the other studios, or teachers? It sounds wrong. I see people  who wake up one morning deciding they are going to teach yoga without taking some trainings of any kind, thinking that their “infinite” knowledge is enough. I’ve heard teachers trashing each other…
  And I could go on and on and on….

No the yoga world is definitely not as peaceful as you think it would be. It’s the reflection of our society, and let’s face it our society is far from being a pretty one. But what matters is YOU. You can make a difference in that jungle, when you step off the mat you can carry with you all those beautiful sentences your teacher told you and try to apply them to your life, even though your teacher might not. You could be an ethical yogini, it takes one person to change the world.

Om Shanti

  

Yoga and Art. Yoga is Art.

I know there is a controversy about people taking  yoga pictures everywhere, and I’m happy to say I’m one of those.

First of all I’m glad that other amazing yoga teachers started that trend a few years ago because it inspired me a lot. Suddenly I wanted to go deeper in my practice and experiement the same thing as they were.

then, it might not be obvious since I’m trying to hide this, but I’m super shy, so practicing yoga in the street for example, or on the beach,  in front of other people who are wondering what I’m doing, is somehow a way to overcome my fear of people focusing on me.

Some people migh think I’m bragging, well I’m not. First, on  most of the pictures I take, and sometimes post on social media, my poses are not “perfect”, which is awesome because there is no such thing as perfection in yoga. And,  I even surprise myself sometimes, so I want to share the good surprise with the entire world, just like a little girl. And yes, I have this little girl leaving inside of me and I’m happy to please her.

The other thing is: I love art, and I love even more street art. So when I’m in LA (or any other city that have a lot of amazing street art), I can’t help it, i have to contribute to this. My contribution is small,  I will more likely do a pose and share the pic with the name of the artist if I can find It. But I really think that yoga and art are made for each other, Isn’t yoga an art too in a way?

So please, you, who are posting beautiful artistic yoga photos, plsease go on, i will. The best reward is when sometimes people send me messages saying that I’m inspiring. Isn’t that the nicest thing to say? Let’s try to inspire the world, it needs it.

Stay tuned for more yoga thoughts and stories! Namaste y’all. 


(art by @findac : the Nade Shiko)

   
(artist unknown)

Elemental Vinyasa: an intense teacher training immersion with Shiva Rea

A wise yogini once told me that to be a good teacher you need to be a good student, and I can’t agree more, that’s one of the reason why i’ve  decided to take more teacher trainings than my 200h. So here I am back to Venice beach, California, ready to train with Shiva Rea.

I’ve applied to do my 300h with Shiva Rea and learn her Prana flow method because every time i took her class i felt amazing afterwards, and I really want to be able to share that with my students. 

Shiva is a world famous and respected yoga teacher, and it’s an honor to be able to train with her. Her method is based on the fact that the breath is your guru, and you should flow on its rythm. You don’t really stay static in a posture you can pulse or take a body vinyasa, which is great because I feel like you’re able to create more space in your body by doing so.

Elemental vinyasa is based on the different elements that are: earth, water, fire, air and ether. According to each element you have an appropriate namaskar, some asanas and a more or less flowy practice. 

It would be too long to explain Elemental vinyasa in details and if you’re interested you should definitely read Shiva’s book: tending the sacred fire. (Or feel free to email me with questions) 

Anyway, Shiva’s training are always very intense. You do practice a lot!! And I’ve learned so many things on hands on assist. I was really fascinated. I was tired and could feel every part of my body, but it worth it.

The other thing that is great with Shiva is the community. You meet amazing people that shares the same interests and I’m grateful for that. I know that i will see some of them in other trainings. 

Now I’m half way of my 300 hours, and i can’t wait to come back in November for some Rasa vinyasa.

Stay tuned for more yogini adventures

Namaste