Tag Archives: Vinyasa Yoga

Class Highlight: Vinyasa Yoga

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Vinyasa Yoga

Amy Younkman

Leader Amy Younkman

I often see people pop into yoga class when they feel stiff, sore, or side-lined by injury. What I have found is, the real jewels of this ancient healing art truly begin to surface when one maintains a consistent yoga practice. Just like anything we want to “get good at”, we need to regularly put the time into practicing. When we consistently show up on our yoga mat, we deepen not only our ability to perform different postures, but more importantly, we deepen our internal awareness of what is going on in our bodies; right here, right now. Instead of muscling our way through exercise, we slow down to connect breath with movement, and pay attention to what got us stiff, sore or injured in the first place. If we stick with the practice, the answers are revealed to us.

unspecified-21I love sharing my passion for yoga with others because yoga has literally changed my life, and continues to do so. My practice keeps me true to myself and I love that after a decade of teaching, I am still a student dipping my toe into a deep well on knowledge. When I show up on my mat and allow myself to be vulnerable, rather than performance based and trying to “get it right”, I learn how to work through discomfort, frustration, lack of confidence and feeling the need to be in control. I learn to lighten up on myself and go with the flow. When I can deal with these things on the mat, I can deal more effectively with life off the mat.

My Vinyasa Yoga class is tailored to my students’ needs each Friday morning. Choosing a theme for the class, I like to share insights and inspirations to ignite body, mind and
unnamed-11spirit. I try to strike a balance between fun, creative sequencing and simple, safe alignment. I consider our yoga mats like an adult playground where we can explore fun poses like Eagle, Crow, Flamingo and Camel. The focus of my classes is building core stability and strength, breath and body awareness, proper technique, balance and “getting out of your comfort zone”. You will feel nurtured, safe, and taken care of in my Vinyasa yoga class.

Deepak Chopra says, “Life is like a river; you cannot step into it in the same place twice.” Our yoga practice is no different. We are constantly evolving, and I don’t know of a better system of exercise to calm our central nervous system while giving us tools to grow stronger and more flexible in body, mind and spirit.

“Slowing down is the same thing as waking up.” —Judith Lasatar

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A Balanced Approach to Resolutions

iGnite - fireworksHere’s to a New Year with New Beginnings and — Balance!  This year, let’s think about a more simplified approach to resolutions and try to make those resolutions realistic and sustainable. One way to do this is to prioritize your goals as you come up with ‘Less is More’ resolutions.  When we focus on doing less and doing it well, instead of doing more and assuming it’s better, we’re less scattered, more deliberate, less stressed, and more present. Our leaders are sharing their ‘Less is More’ Resolutions to encourage a more balanced lifestyle for 2016. Enjoy and be inspired!

Neissa Springmann

Neissa Springmann

Less Caffeine, More Water

“Rather than use water, wholesome food and proper hydration to boost my energy, when my energy is low I drink MORE caffeine. I absolutely know better, and when I do eliminate or decrease my caffeine conssumption and only drink water, I feel amazing!” – Neissa

Less Thinking and Over-Thinking, More Prayer

“I like to think of myself as a faithful person, but waaaay too often (almost always), I do not turn all of my questions and decisions over to God in prayer. I’m not a worrier or really an over-thinker, but I am an independant minded do-er, so too often I don’t include God in my daily decisions. I want every minute of my day to be directed by God and in order for that to happen, I need to include him in all decisions- big and small.” -Neissa

Less Spending, More Giving

“Having recently moved I purged a lot, however I am still amazed at how much excess I still have and frankly, I don’t need, and will likely never use. There are so many people who are in great need of basic things, all of which I have plenty of. Therefore, in 2016 I am going to make it a priority to spend less on “things” and give more.” – Neissa

Less Judgement, More Love and Compassion-

“Shamefully, I am amazed at how quickly I will judge someone or make an assumption about them when I don’t even know them! To be called to love one another means that we love despite flaws and having a ton myself, I certainly want people to love me and my family despite ours.” -Neissa

Kathleen Parker

Kathleen Parker

Less Cooking & Cleaning, More time on the Lake

Less Collecting Stuff (Clutter), More quality time with friends and family

Less worrying about getting everything done, More time traveling with friends and family

Less focusing on wasteful errands, More time BUILDING RELATIONSHIPS, of course that happens a lot on the lake!

“I am at a phase of life where enjoying every day is a requirement!
Each day is such a gift.  I am not waisting one more in 2016.” – Kathleen

Cary Fyfe

Cary Fyfe

 

Less time worrying, More time in prayer

“This takes that yearly reminder to reboot. And then again throughout the year…friends hold me to this as well.” – Cary

 

Sha Klatt

Sha Klatt

Less time thinking about being active, More time being active.

“I’m trying to do something active everyday.  It usually helps if I get it done first thing, but a 20 minute walk in the evening works too.  It really makes a difference for me to do something active everyday.” -Sha

 

 

Molly Daniels

Molly Daniels

Less time spent on technology, More quality time with my husband

“My husband and I both work from home, so it’s hard to “turn work off”. We are aiming to do our technology turn-off every night for at least one hour so we can spend quality time together.” -Molly

More yoga, Less cross training

“Thanks to Amy Younkman teaching her wonderful Vinyasa Yoga class at Treehouse Yoga, I now have found a wonderful class I really enjoy and get excited to go to once a week. It reminds me to slow down and take time for rest – I don’t always have to be going 90 miles per hour.” – Molly

Amy Younkman

Amy Younkman

Less time using technology, More time using my own thoughts.

“In 2016, I plan to tune out the need to constantly be “plugged in” to technology and instead tune into the “Amy app” where I am checking in with my own internal wisdom and guidance.” – Amy

 

 

Jill Watts

Jill Watts

Less time talking, More time listening

Less time complaining, More time being grateful

“I am trying to do these things especially with my kids” – Jill

 

Delaine Teeple

Delaine Teeple

Less eating out, More cooking at home

“It is so easy with the multitude of after-school activities and sports for our kids to just eat out on the way home instead of prioritizing a home-cooked meal and calm evening together.  I know that everyone makes healthier choices at home, and I enjoy cooking for the family.” -Delaine

Less multi-tasking, More being present with my family

“With a little more prioritizing during the school day, I could get more done (or cut things out completely!) which will enable me to be free when the kids and my husband get home to enjoy my time with them and be present in the moment.” – Delaine

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Finding Mindfulness…on the Mat

Finding Mindfulness…on the Mat

iGnite leader Amy Younkman

by Amy Younkman

In the day and age of quick fixes, constant fads and “7 minute workouts,” it can be hard to slow down and ask ourselves, Is this really what’s best for my body?   In our American culture, there seems to be an ongoing obsession with ‘new forms’ of exercise; for example, the latest, greatest form of functional fitness, performed in an efficient, short period of time, giving you the most “bang for your buck,” and relying on external sources to guide and motivate you.

While these forms of exercise are effective and do lead to a fit, strong body, they are only part of the picture if we are truly seeking a healthy lifestyle.  By relying solely on these forms of fitness, we risk creating a vicious cycle of continually striving to be faster, stronger, look younger, be more ripped, track more daily steps…etc.  We never actually “arrive”, because there’s always that next level to strive for.  And that can get exhausting!

iGnite Yogalates on Lady Bird Lake

Yogalates on Lady Bird Lake

It’s important to balance these forms of exercise with what I like to call “mindfulness on the mat” so that we can continue to enjoy a variety of activities and pursuits, and most importantly, so we can prevent injuries and be more mindful of our existing ones.  When we step onto our yoga or Pilates mat, our first priority is tuning into our body and tuning out our goals, expectations, what we did yesterday, and what we need to do tomorrow.  If we pay attention, our body will tell us what it needs.  The ego is not invited onto our mat.  With time, practice, and patience we begin to notice imbalances and places we hold tension and resistance.  We learn to practice compassionate observation and tolerance for ourself so we are in a better place to extend it to others once off the mat.

Yoga and Pilates are two wonderful practices that teach mindfulness on the mat so that we can be more self-aware in our over-stimulated, consumer-driven world.  Yoga is over 5000 years old.  Pilates is nearly 100 years old.  These time-honored practices have much to teach us!

Pilates is a form of strength training with little to no impact.  It emphasizes alignment, core strength, muscular rebalancing and joint strength.  It is a very safe way to stay fit, prevent injury, and rehabilitate from injury, while increasing balance, body awareness, confidence and better posture.  While we use props during class to keep it interesting and fun, the classical Mat Pilates series is a total body workout using your own body as your guide.

Yoga has become so westernized that it’s hard to define what yoga is today.  In its truest form, yoga teaches us about ourselves and our relationship to the world.  It ignites awareness about how we respond to difficulty and ease, to consistency and change, to the way we face our universal human struggles of avoiding difficult situations (hard yoga postures, tough life issues), or the way we cling to the familiar and comfortable (postures that we can do, habits we grow accustomed to).

iGnite Power Pilates at Rollingwood Park

Power Pilates

Besides reducing stress, yoga also teaches us balance between sthira (effort) and sukha (ease) both in our yoga practice and in life.  It teaches us to balance stability with mobility, and strength with flexibility, so that we can balance setting boundaries in our relationships with creating the space we need.  Yoga teaches us to feel the poses rather than force them.  The postures are questions, not answers.  We ask ourselves, “How can I create more ease in this pose?”  which then translates off the mat to “How can I create more ease in my life?”  Yoga is not about doing the poses; it’s about undoing what gets in the way of the poses.

In a Vinyasa Yoga class, we become aware of our breath, the life force that pulsates through our body.  From there we let the breath guide us and connect us with movement.  While we get stronger and more flexible practicing weight-bearing and balancing exercises, twists, backbends, forward folds and inversions, we also become stronger and more flexible in our mind.  We tune into the subtle energy body and discover what we have always heard to be true: that the body and mind cannot act separately from one another.  Yoga is a practice because, rather that striving to accomplish something, we continually return to the bottomless well of wisdom and guidance from within.  As Judith Lasater, veteran yogi, says: “Slowing down is the same thing as waking up.”

So, as you plan your fitness program, be sure and schedule time to consistently practice “mindfulness on the mat”  through Pilates and yoga.  With regular practice, you will not only become more mindful and body-aware, you will find more ease and inner strength in your body and in your life.  Best of all, you will bring your newfound insights into everything you do, which will add to your enjoyment and keep you safe and injury-free!


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