Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Let it Flow, Let yourself Go...what the heck is a yoga flow and why am I crying?

2011 brought me back to my yoga mat (yay!) as a practitioner and instructor. I teach in the beautifully quaint downtown center of Winter Garden at Ananda Yoga and Massage. Downtown Winter Garden offers a cluster of family owned business in a nostalgic setting and Ananda fits in perfectly; the vibe in the studio is very welcoming.

2012 launched a bunch of new and exciting things for the Studio and I'm so excited to see the hustle and bustle that will be happening there. We have great teachers throughout the week, several massage therapists and exciting specialty classes like guided meditation, candlelight yoga and even Crystal Singing Bowl meditations!

I started out teaching a yoga basics class on Saturday mornings. It's a class where we focus on technique, form, alignment and phases of different asanas or groups of asanas (think twists or backbends) and it's good for any one from a baby to a seasoned yogi. I love teaching this class because it brings ME back to basics. Sometimes it's just easy to fly right through a sun salutation without even thinking about it...but then later wonder why my neck is out of whack :\

This month I added a Funk and Flow class ...yes I said FUNK :)
It's set to great music, including rock, reggae, hip hop, blues and world beats, and is geared to the student who likes to sweat and be challenged both physically and mentally. A strong emphasis on linking breath to movement creates a steady and consistent flow from pose to pose, encouraging a meditation in motion.

It's amazing how physically and emotionally cleansing a flow class can be. Not only can you be motivated by the music, which usually follows a theme (even if that theme is just to DANCE), the process of the flow actually acts as a physical and emotional scrub brush so it's not unheard of to find yourself in tears as you find your inner warrior or while you rest in savasana.

Why is this?

For starters, we'll discuss the class format.
As I mentioned, the class is set to an eclectic mix of music ...last week included the Beastie Boys, Eurythmics, Sting, Jack Johnson, Steve Ross and Camille ... you're welcome to sing along, tap your toe or just flat out dance, after all's your mat, it's your space.

We start out with a warm up that leads into an invigorating round of Sun Salutations to warm the body. Then we BOUNCE...yes Bounce (more on that later)
Once we're good and warm we move into the work phase. This includes more challenging standing poses incorporated in a vinyasa flow...think "Inhale-move, Exhale-move" and definitely SWEAT.
We take it to the floor for some core work and move into seated poses that are held longer for a deeper stretch to the muscles now that they are good and warm. Class will always end in an inversion and a deeply relaxing savasana to seal in the benefits of the class.

There's no doubt this is a physically challenging class and you should have at least 6 months of prior yoga experience or a teacher recommendation before attending. But what about that emotional scrubber part I mentioned?

Well, this has to do with the lymphatic system and the way we "work it" in this class.
Stop and think of every emotion you had in the past 24 hours
Did you yell?
Did you laugh?
Stub your toe?
Did your heart gush with love?
Were you frustrated?
Were you relaxed?
Each and every one of those feelings...and ones you don't even realize, release hormones into your system. Once you're done "using" those hormones in the moment, they "sit" in your lymphatic system. This system is the only one in the body without it's own pumping system (Respiratory - lungs, Circulatory - heart, etc.) So what happens to all these used up emotes? They sit in your body...sometimes they cause pain...either way they are "toxic" and need your help to let them out.
THIS is why we bounce...we get warm, we bounce (creating an internal pump to release toxins from the lymphatic system), then we sweat out all those toxins. Sometimes, sweat just isn't enough and our eyes leak too. Sometimes you feel that original emotion all over again...this is why we slow down, allow our selves to go deeper into our stretches, cool down the body with inversions and seal in the benefits of our practice through savasana.

Call it Invigorxhausting
Awesome :)
(but I'm biased)

There's lots of other great stuff happening at the studio this year!
We continue to offer Crystal Singing Bowl meditations once a month and monthly guided meditations are back too! New this year is a monthly Candlelight Yoga class and exciting new Sunday workshops are on the  planning boards too!
Stop by and visit. Ananda has a wonderful and caring yoga and massage staff with several teachers and massage therapists; you're sure to find a place to fit right in/

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