Sunday, December 23, 2012

Yoga Practice Tips for the Holidays, Part 3: YouTube Videos

Another idea for practicing yoga during the holidays or at any time is to follow along with these Iyengar Yoga YouTube videos.

There aren't many YouTube videos of Iyengar Yoga sequences that I'd recommend for practicing to, but there are a few that I think are good.

This first video is a simple 30 minute sequence taught by Iyengar Yoga teacher, David McLaughlan. While I don't recommend this for those of you in my Gentle Yoga classes, it will be a nice, basic sequence for the rest of you.

Some of the instructions will be very familiar to those of you who come to my classes, although some are a little different. It's good to see / hear how other people teach (I stand behind my instructions, though!)

Work to your own ability and use props to maintain good alignment in your postures.

Those of you who don't practice Iyengar Yoga -- no, this is not a sequence for getting a good "work out".  These poses are done in a deliberate manner, working toward optimal alignment. 

There are also a number of videos of Senior Iyengar Yoga teacher, John Schumacher, teaching one pose per video. On YouTube, search:
 John Schumacher teaches yoga
(or click on the link) for the selection of videos.

The poses included many of the standing poses you're familiar with (those of you who practice Iyengar Yoga), and also Adho mukha svanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose), and the inversions Sarvangasana and Sirsasana (shoulderstand, head stand). His instructions are excellent and his poses are superb!

I highly encourage you all to view these videos!

 I've also pulled together 7 of these videos on the page Seven Basic Standing Yoga Poses.

For those of you who are more adventurous,  I just discovered a few short videos by a student of Iyengar Yoga teacher, Carrie Owerko.  This student shows a recap of class sequences.  I'm intrigued by these!   Many of these sequences I've never seen before.   If you practice any of them, let me know how it goes!

Iyengar Class Sequence 9/20/12 - Interesting use of the wall for Ardha chandrasana, Virabhadrasana I, and more.
Chair Salabhasana  -- Hands on chair for Salabhasana (I have practiced this, but haven't taught it recently).
Iyengar Yoga Class Sequence 11/24/12 Part 1 -- Adho mukha svanasana, eka pada adho mukha svanasana, and a very unusual variation that I've never tried.
Iyengar Yoga Class Sequence 11/24/12 Part 2 -- Supta padangustasana with some unusual variations (moving into Anantasana, and a prone Padangustasana)
Restorative Class Recap, 11/29/12 -- 13 minutes

Friday, December 21, 2012

Yoga Practice Tips for the Holidays, Part 2: DVDs

 In Yoga Practice Tips for the Holidays, Part 1, I gave you a link for viewing and downloading a series of Iyengar Yoga practice sequences.   These sequences may be all you need for your own home practice. 

Another suggestion for practicing that you might enjoy is to follow along with a yoga DVD.   The benefits from a good yoga DVD is that you'll be given instructions for doing the poses, sometimes with suggestions for modifications and the use of props. 

There aren't many Iyengar Yoga DVDs unfortunately, but you might enjoy trying out DVDs that present different styles of yoga.

Check out your local library for yoga DVDs.   My local library, the Ann Arbor District Library has a number of yoga DVDs to choose from.  

Here is a sampling of DVDs to take a look at (the "More info" takes you to each DVD's Amazon page):

The first one, Yoga for Beginners with Patricia Walden is a nice, slow-paced beginning level Iyengar Yoga DVD.  
Yoga for Inflexible People includes poses taught in the Iyengar Yoga style with suggestions for props for modifications for stiff people. It also includes some flow yoga routines.
The Rodney Yee Power Yoga DVD is for those of you who really want a "work-out". Rodney Yee isn't an Iyengar Yoga teacher, although he started as one.
The last DVD, Yoga for the Rest of Us, is one of a series of Gentle Yoga DVD's by Peggy Cappy.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Yoga Practice Tips for the Holidays, Part 1: Practice Sequence Sheets

What do you do when your yoga class isn't taught for a week or two, such as during the holiday season?   Many of my students come back after the holidays (or after vacation or illness) saying how much they missed their yoga classes, and how stiff they are now, and how glad they are that their yoga class is back in session again.

I'm glad that people miss their yoga classes, and are eager to get back again!   But I also hope that people will take some time to practice on their own in between classes, especially if there's a break of a week or more.   Some of you do practice, but I know that many don't.

Over the next few days, I plan to post a few suggestions for practicing on your own during the holiday season, or for any time you can't attend classes for awhile.   I hope that these ideas will spur you on to practicing at home in between your regular classes as well, and not just during holiday breaks.

Those of you who get the Harmony Yoga of Ann Arbor eNewsletter will have already seen this suggestion:

On the IYNAUS (Iyengar Yoga National Association of the United States) site, there are links to practice sequences that you can print out or save to your computer:

Sequences for Yoga Practice (These are pdf files.)

There are four Level 1 sequences, and four Level 2 sequences.    Use these as guidelines for your own practice.   You may not do all of the poses on a sequence, and you might not be able to do the poses as shown.   If you've been taking classes from me for awhile, you'll probably remember how to modify these poses so they are appropriate for your own practice.  Use props as necessary, as we do in class.  For the Gentle Yoga group, use walls and chairs for support.   Ask me before or after class if you're not sure how to modify these poses.

On the sequences there are suggested timings for holding the poses.  You might hold for much shorter times, or you might decide to hold for longer if you're working on stamina.  Don't hold so long that you feel strain in the poses.