I teach yoga because I hope to bring others some of the joy, the strength and the ease that it's brought me, both on and off the mat, mentally and physically. My yoga practice has changed my life, and I'm not just talking about stronger arms and longer hamstrings.
Yoga for me was not love at first breath. I took my first yoga class as a college cross country and track runner looking to fulfill a PE requirement to graduate. I learned a lot, but by the end of the semester, I had decided yoga wasn't for me.
It wasn't until I walked into Ally Hamilton's vinyasa flow yoga class in 2006, a little over a week after moving to Los Angeles from New York, that I really began practicing yoga. I was nursing a sore back from the cross country drive and my hamstrings had forgotten what a stretch felt like, but I was hooked. Two days a week turned into three, three into five, five into six. I did my teacher training with Ally at Yogis Anonymous in 2012 and started teaching there the following year.
I have a background as a journalist and believe that our stories are our currency in life -- that the path to compassion starts by sharing and listening to each other's experiences. I also believe that sweating and laughing are two of the better things in life, and if you can do both at the same time, all the better.
Add a twist to your flow. We work to a hip-opening dancing warrior flow with a twist, and then take it deeper into the hips with side angle and some extra hip-opening in a side-plank variation. Between the hips and the twists, you'll feel like you're leaving it alll on the mat. Sweat it out and get it out.
Start with a strong core so you know where your center is, and go from there. Working with the idea of knowing your center (and knowing yourself) and moving around that center with integrity. Early core-strengthening sets us up for a fiery and twisty Crescent flow, followed by some standing balance and twists. Dolphin, Dolphin Plank, Twisting Ardha Chandrasana, Eagle Pose, Hanumanasana and Gomukhasana take us into the shoulders, upper back, hamstrings and hips. Open it up while staying true to your center.
A sweaty flow that also gets into the shoulders and outer hips and lets you wring it out with some twists. Let go of whatever you're holding onto. Humble Warrior, Dolphin, and Eagle pose open up the shoulders and outer hips during our flow, and then we take it deeper on the floor with Anahatasana, Locust, and a variety of backbending options. There's plenty of hip opening with Lizard, a One-Legged Happy Baby, and a Reclined Gomukhasana. There's also time to play with a twisty arm balance with either Twisted Bakasana or Eka Pada Koundinyasana I. Finish class feeling like you got it all out.
Sweat it out with a shoulder-opening, hip-opening flow. A warrior flow with eagle arms builds heat before we move into some deeper hip openers and some play with standing balance in Ardha Chandrasana (half moon pose) and an optional Bird of Paradise. We take hip openers and backbends on the floor before a well-deserved Savasana.
Get into the hips and side waist with this fiery class. A Warrior II/Side Angle Flow builds heat, before we take it into some balancing poses with Ardha Chandrasana and Bakasana. We finish up with bridge (and maybe an Upward Facing Bow) and take some time to go upside down before we let it all go with a good long hold in a hip opener.
Wind it up and sweat it out with a Side Angle/Warrior II Flow that will take you into the hips and side body and get your heart rate up while you do it. An early Lizard pose preps your hips to let go, and a late, deep and long Pigeon should get the rest of it (whatever it is ;)) out. Side Plank and plenty of vinyasas for your shoulders, and of course, some heart opening and a sweet Savasana.
A sweaty flow that takes you through a full range of opening for your hips, with some side waist lengthening to take you deeper. Gate pose and Side Angle variations get you into your waist; we get into the hips with Humble Warrior, and Warrior 1 and 2; and some low and high Crescent variations and Lizard get into the psoas and front hip region. Of course there's plenty of time to sweat and flow, and then to release and open with heart openers and some deep hip opening on the floor.
Get deep into the hips with a flow that includes Warrior 1, Warrior II, and Extended and Bound Side Angle. Explore what you find and take the time to enjoy any wobbles or so-called "imperfections" with poses like Bird of Paradise, Half Moon pose and a Crescent lunge twist. There's plenty of time to let it all go in Lizard, Single Pigeon and Hanumanasana, and of course, some heart opening and core strengthening before Savasana.
Staying strong and letting go: We play with structure and softness as we work to target different places in the hips and shoulders. A strong flow builds heat, and we target both the hips and shoulders with different arm variations in humble warrior, along with some hip-opening side plank variations. We work the core throughout our flow with some Koundinyasana prep work and Dolphin plank, and then (in case you didn't get enough) there's more time for your core once we hit the floor. As usual, there's always time for backbending, and there's plenty of time to let the hips release in Lizard and your choice of Pigeon. Forward folds close it out before a good, long Savasana.
If this one doesn't make you sweat, nothing will. Keep breathing through a non-stop, sweaty, energetic flow that's spiked with some good old-fashioned core strengthening. We build heat as we flow through Humble Warrior, Warrior II, and Extended Side Angle, getting us deep into the hips and shoulders. Then we go deeper into the shoulders with Dolphin Plank, Dolphin, Bound Side Angle, and Side Plank. There's also time for standing balance with Ardha Chandrasana (Half Moon) and some fun with arm balances, including options for Bakasana, Bhujapidasana, and Tittibhasana. A luxurious hold in single pigeon, and of course some time for backbending, should leave you feeling wrung out and like you left it all (sweat included) on the mat.