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Apres Holiday Yoga

Greetings Everyone!

We spent a good bit of time in early December filming a new video series called Holiday Yoga, which is a set of self-care practices that were intended to help us all through the busy-ness of the holiday run. Ironically enough, I got too busy during the holidays to actually release these videos. So I guess that makes me some sort of a hypocrite, or maybe just a procrastinator. But while I failed to share these stress-reducing strategies with you, I certainly practiced each of them on my own, and this produced a few key insights worth relaying. First, while I ordinarily like to practice an hour of yoga each day, it was reaffirming to only do 20-minute routines here and there. Reaffirming because one of the core beliefs of MYTG is that quality and frequency matter more than duration. Meaning that yoga is more effective when done more consciously and consistently rather than infrequently and with high intensity. Second, it’s hard to give fully and effectively if one hasn’t first received. Received enough sleep, nourishment, rest, etc. That might sound terribly obvious, but sometimes we overlook obvious truths. So, could we turn that into an easily memorizable MYTG aphorism for future reference? Something like, the ability to share originates with self-care? I’m open to less corny renditions of that sentiment; feel free to write back if you can think of something better. And finally, the last thing that I realized through this whole episode was that Holiday Yoga might actually be better suited to early January because so many of us are feeling like we need a holiday from the holidays!

In any case, I hope that you enjoy these offerings and that they serve you no matter where you happen to be stationed and no matter what type of condition you’re in. Holiday Yoga #1 is a well-rounded practice that will re-energize your body/mind. Holiday Yoga #2 is a centering practice that uses the support of a wall to help refine your alignment. Holiday Yoga #3 is one of my personal favorite heart-opening routines, which was designed to create buoyancy in your chest and lightness to your being. And Holiday Yoga #4 features the ultimate in restoration. It’s literally just one decadent restorative pose that soothes the nervous system and smoothes the breath. String them all together or try them a la carte and you will be reminded of the state of well-being that is always available to us when we come back home to our body and breath.

Take care,

Geoffrey

Ode to Self-Care

Greetings Everyone!

Anyone who has been to one of my public classes in the past few years has no doubt heard me reference the Catholic humanitarian, Dorothy Day. As a young girl growing up in Oakland, she witnessed the city of San Francisco catch fire during the 1906 earthquake and saw boatloads of people fleeing across the bay in search of refuge and medical aid. To her astonishment, all of the adults on the Oakland side knew exactly how to respond to the situation by spontaneously and generously providing food, water, shelter, and care. Out of this experience she asked herself a beautiful and poignant question that shaped the trajectory of her life’s work — ‘If we know innately how to treat each other in times of crisis, why can’t we live this way all the time?’ I have often wondered the same thing myself, and it seems to come up each year around the holiday time. ‘If we know how to treat each other with kindness and generosity during the holidays, we don’t we treat each other like that all the time?’ More recently, I’ve been pondering the question of why we seem to be able to extend tenderness toward animals, children, or people in need, but often times we fail to be able to extend that quality of tenderness toward ourselves. And this last question seems to be how the yoga practice keeps calling us back, not to selfishness but to a type of Self-fullness, Self-relevance, and Self-belonging. We simply must remember to include ourselves on the list of those who deserve care, and though it may not initially be easy to do so, the net result will be a greater capacity to serve all of humanity.

Check out our newest releases, Everyday Yoga #3 and #4. These are beautiful sequences of poses and alignment actions that I try to work on every day to care for my back. Everyday Yoga #3 focuses on the optimal alignment of the sacrum, or “sacred bone,” in a wide variety of poses. While Everyday Yoga #4 explores the relationship between strengthening the backs of the legs in order to lengthen the front of the spine. Both practices are a boon for low-grade, everyday back pain. Both practices will improve your capacity to breathe in the fragrance and fullness of life. Both will lay the foundation for you to navigate the mayhem of the holiday season with inner space and grace. Hope you enjoy!

Yoga for Healthy Hands

Greetings Everyone!

“The hand is the cutting edge of the mind” is one of the many classic lines uttered by Jacob Bronowski in his classic work, The Ascent of Man. Over the course of human history, the hands have been the primary instruments that our imaginative minds have used for shaping our environment and for expressing ourselves creatively. The hands are also one of the main ways that we relate to each other, either by ‘giving someone a hand’ through a round of applause or by shaking hands during a greeting. Yet, it feels like our 21st century hands are more adept at relating to phones and keyboards than they are to actual human beings. And when we put ourselves in some of the simplest, most recognizable yoga poses, we quickly realize that our hands are impaired and unconscious in the way that they relate to the ground. Telltale signs of this deficiency? Compression in the wrists, pain in the elbows, instability in the shoulders, and excess tension in the neck. That’s why we created our new series, Yoga for Healthy Hands 1 and 2! Each of these videos details the proper alignment and actions of the hands in key poses where the hands are responsible for bearing at least some of the weight of the rest of the body. Have you secretly never really liked Downward Dog? These videos are for you. Do you spend at least 10 minutes each day on a computer? These videos are for you. Have you suffered from carpal tunnel syndrome? These videos are for you. Do you want to feel free in your wrists and elbows and light in your chest and neck? These videos are for you. Hope you enjoy!

Take care,
Geoffrey

Everyday Yoga

Greetings Everyone!

As a dedicated fan of the New Orleans Saints, I thoroughly enjoyed watching our inimitable quarterback, Drew Brees, break the NFL record for all-time passing yards last Monday night. But I also have to admit that I couldn’t help feeling a little perplexed and depressed by the thousands of fans who were watching the game at the Superdome through their phone. I thought the whole point of watching a live sporting event was to experience it in all of its immediacy, intimacy, and vibrancy. So it just strikes me as really odd that many of the people who were there seemed more interested in the recording of the event than in the actual participation of the event. It felt like the same lunacy as someone eating the menu at a restaurant instead of their meal. We have become a culture that covets symbols and recordings over the realities that they are intended to represent. And this is why yoga is so important for our day and age. We are in desperate need of practices that reconnect us to the present moment so that we can once more experience life directly rather than virtually.

The obvious irony in my writing all of this is that I am advocating instructional yoga videos, accessed through the internet, as a means of healing this neurosis. Yet I firmly believe that our programs are useful tools for bringing you back to yourself, to what we might call embodied presence. To the extent that you lack embodied presence, you will need external validations such as Facebook likes in order to know that you were there. Let’s stop the madness right now by feeling our feet on the ground and noticing our breath… Can you spare a few more minutes? Great! Check out our newest releases, Everyday Yoga #1 and #2. Each of these videos presents simple pose sequences, alignment exercises, and breathing techniques that I try to work on each day. Remember our mantra that frequency and quality mater more than duration. So even though the practices are fairly short, when done consistently and mindfully they are portals into presence. Hope you enjoy!

Take care,

Expand

Greetings Everyone!

Today marks the 13 year anniversary of when Hurricane Katrina ravaged New Orleans, and it was during this same week, only a year ago, that we were all watching the devastation that Hurricane Harvey had just wreaked on the city of Houston. In the aftermath of both of these events, we have heard so many accounts of what people did wrong — from the incompetence of governmental leaders, to the discriminatory actions of police officers, to the negligence of average citizens overlooking the needy in their efforts to flee — that they overshadow all of the stories that demonstrate what people did right. For instance, I feel enheartened and inspired by the members of “the Cajun Navy,” who rushed over from western Louisiana to Houston with their boats in order to help rescue folks who were stranded in their homes. And it seems to me that in our uber-polarized society, we need to acknowledge and highlight instances where people’s actions stem from an instinctive sense of shared humanity. So what’s preventing us from seeing our commonalities on a regular basis? What if we treated each other with dignity, respect, and belonging all the time instead of reserving that behavior to times of crisis?

From the Hatha yoga perspective, the head is the part of the body that divides and categorizes one’s experience of life while the heart region connects and synthesizes it. And so if our intention is to regain vision of our basic human unity, then it is a postural imperative to elevate the heart above the head. This is one of my favorite effects of a yoga practice that emphasizes inverted backbends: the poses make me feel as though my heart is expanding and my head is shrinking, energetically of course. I know that those regions aren’t actually changing in size, but the inner sensation is undeniable. And the attitude that accompanies this sensation is somehow more tender, patient, and kind than my habitual orientation.

If any of that sounds interesting to you, then I’d like to invite you to try a few practices from our extensive vault. Filmed back in 2014, the Full Circumference Chest Opening Series features asana sequences that are designed to expand your heart area in all directions. You will feel lighter and more open on all levels of your being. Hope you enjoy!

Take care,
Geoffrey

Lighten Up

Greetings Everyone!

A few summers ago my wife and I attempted to introduce our children to the joys of hiking in the Rocky Mountains. Despite all of our efforts to point out the beauty of the wildflowers, the fresh smell of the alpine trees, and the lovely murmurs of the streams, the only thing that the kids seemed to be experiencing was the effort of walking uphill. “I’m tired. Are we there yet? My legs hurt. Are we there yet? It’s hard to breathe. Are we there yet?” Fed up with the complaining, I decided to hoist my oldest son onto my shoulders and carry him, but I didn’t last long. It was as though his resistant, negative attitude made him weigh as much as an NFL lineman. So we decided to stop in the shade and eat some peanut M&Ms. Just then a pack of kids came hiking up the trail behind us, and they were singing and laughing. Turns out that each one had cancer, yet you wouldn’t have guessed it judging by the enthusiasm and radiant energy that they exuded. After a brief conversation, and feeling inspired by the impression that these kids had made upon our family, we decided to saddle up and continue our hike. My son and I agreed that I would carry him another hundred yards up a steep stretch before he would resume hiking by himself. But wouldn’t you know it? This time when I went to hoist him on my shoulders, he felt significantly lighter. Despite being 10 peanut M&Ms heavier, he felt like a kid again instead of an NFL lineman. That’s when I realized quite clearly that one’s attitude influences one’s physical state, sometimes to an astonishing degree.

The old time yogis were some of the first people on record to figure out that if attitude affects posture, posture can in turn affect attitude. It goes both ways. Check out this week’s newest release, Recharge #10, and you can experiment with this theory in the laboratory of your own body/mind. After being led through a brief warm up, you will follow a sequence of seated twisting postures that all take place in a chair. Don’t be deterred by the use of a prop! The twists are deep yet accessible, and they will leave your lower back feeling delectably light. Then sit quietly with yourself for a few moments and observe your thought patterns. Do you notice any correlation between the way you feel physically and your current outlook on life?… Hope you enjoy!

Take care,

Geoffrey

Inner Freedom

Greetings Everyone!

It’s no real surprise that this sentiment surfaces every year around the 4th of July, but one of the things for which I am most grateful to yoga is the sublime sense of internal freedom that it bestows. By freedom, I mean fluidity, spaciousness, and authenticity. No matter where I happen to be stationed or what the outer circumstances of my life are presenting, I cherish the opportunity that yoga provides for me to become un-stuck, inwardly expansive, and more closely aligned with what I consider to be the core of my being. Obviously we need a fair amount of external freedoms in order to even be able to turn our attention to the inner landscape, but it seems to me that the inner dimension is a neglected one in our culture, and therefore one that we all have a certain yearning to explore.

Check out our newest releases and you’ll have an embodied taste of what I’m trying to describe. In Kidney Cleanse I’ll teach you a fabulous sequence of poses that will free you from the shackles of poor postural habits that can adversely affect your body’s key filtration system. You will feel both calm and energized in less than 20 minutes. Then in Moving Toward Stillness, Brooke LeBourgeois will show you her favorite recipe for accessing internal silence in a mere 10 minutes. This practice is very beginner-friendly, featuring a series of gentle stretches for the lower back and shoulders and a breathing technique for focusing the mind. Each of these videos is not suggesting “an ideal position” that you should cling to in order to be healthy or “an ideal state of stillness” that you should strive to sustain; rather, each one is inviting you to remember conditions of consonance that are your birthright to revisit as needed. Hope you enjoy!

Take care,

Geoffrey

Recharge Encore

Greetings Everyone!

I was discussing the current state of affairs in the yoga world with a fellow studio owner from San Francisco recently, and she was expressing the challenges of keeping her business afloat in an environment where corporate yoga powerhouses are buying up smaller studios to magnify their brand and maximize their profits. Apparently one of the teachers at her studio had told her that this phenomenon was not such a bad thing because at least these monopolists were “keeping yoga relevant.” My friend pondered the logic of this statement and then rebutted, “Actually, it’s stress that is keeping yoga relevant in today’s world.”

Alignment-based yoga is a reliable antidote to stress because of the way it preserves the integrity of the spine and therefore pacifies the central nervous system. Many of us warehouse our stress in the neck and shoulders, and so I am thrilled to announce that our three new releases all address this tendency. In Recharge #7, you will revisit a classic MYTG sequence for re-balancing the shoulder girdle and softening the muscles of the neck, then you will calm and focus your mind through the practice of nadi shodhana, also known as alternate nostril breathing. In Recharge #8, which was originally titled “Head and Shoulders Below the Rest,” you will be guided through the essential actions for safely practicing inverted poses. And finally, in Recharge #9 you will move through a hip-opening/forward-bending sequence that culminates in an admittedly bizarre looking pose that nevertheless relaxes the neck. Of course if you have a lavish whole hour to focus on your wellness, then try practicing all three of these videos in the order presented. Your body-mind will feel calm, alert, centered, and present. Hope you enjoy!

Revitalize

Greetings Everyone!

A couple of years ago in May, I was hiking around Mt. Tamalpais with a dear friend when she told me a simple truth about myself that I had never fully acknowledged. We had just done a two-hour yoga workshop, swam in Alpine Lake, and had strolled through the most majestic grove of redwood trees imaginable when I started saying that the next best move in our day was going to be a meal at this wonderful Puerto Rican restaurant in San Anselmo. At that point my friend tells me, “You know, you’re really good at doing things that feel really good.” Now when I first heard that, I felt a little defensive or embarrassed, like she was suggesting that I’m just a hedonist. But after allowing it to sink in for a moment, I had to admit that I am actually a connoisseur of well-being. And when it comes to yoga practices that make you feel really good, I think that my signature sequences are top shelf.

We’ve gotten such great feedback on our new Recharge Series that we decided to keep filming more. Each one of these new releases is a satisfying and complete practice that you can do in less than 15 minutesRecharge #4 will open your chest, free up your breath, and boost your mood through a delicious sequence of approachable backbends. Recharge #5 is a dynamic forward bending sequence that will make you feel simultaneously calm and energized. And finally, Recharge #6 is one of my favorite hip opening sequences of all time that culminates in the pose featured on this newsletter. Don’t be intimidated by the bizarre shape! Just follow my step-by-step instructions and your pelvis and lower back will feel amazingly light. Of course if you could spend a lavish 45 minutes focusing on your wellness, then try practicing all three of these videos in the order presented. Your whole body-mind will feel awake, refreshed, centered, and present. Hope you enjoy!

Take care,
Geoffrey

Revive

Greetings Everyone!

One of the greatest saboteurs of well-being is the erroneous belief that we don’t have time. Even though we know how good yoga makes us feel, we frequently find it impossible to fit into our busy schedule because there just don’t seem to be enough hours in the day. This dilemma was one of the original motivating forces that led to the creation of MyYogaToGo. And it’s the same force that inspired our new Recharge Series. Each one of our new releases is a satisfying and complete practice that you can do in less than 15 minutes. (I’m highlighting that last phrase so that if you’re reading this right now and feeling pressed for time, you can simply click on the big orange button below and get going 🙂 Recharge #1 will energize you with rhythmic sun salutations and strong standing poses. Recharge #2 will strengthen your core with a dynamic sequence of seated poses and twists. And finally, Recharge #3 will challenge your shoulders, arms, and wrists with a fun sequence of balancing and inverted poses. Of course if you could spend a lavish 45 minutes focusing on your wellness, then try practicing all three of these videos in the order presented. Your whole body-mind will feel awake, refreshed, centered, and present. Hope you enjoy!

Take care,
Geoffrey

On Resolution

Greetings Everyone!

One of the funniest things about living in New Orleans is hearing how everyone contends with their New Year’s resolutions. There seems to be a common pattern of intense commitment followed by guilt for not having followed through, which is followed by relief and a healthy sense of self-irony in knowing that Mardi Gras is right around the corner and that those same resolutions can easily be pushed back until Lent. But I suspect that the same cycle of inner turmoil is destined to repeat itself if we continue to think of the word resolution as being synonymous with will power. If I am relying exclusively on will power to motivate my actions, then I am creating an inward division between an “I” who knows better and a wayward “me” who can never measure up. And this feeling of being split is the source of a tremendous amount of psychological sorrow. However, when I think of resolution as meaning something like clarification or illumination, as in the optical sense, then I feel immediately at ease because the commitment that I am making is essentially to a state of inner listening and wholeness. The beauty of the yoga practice is that it fosters this type of resolution by encouraging you to go inside and feel where and how the body needs to move in order to be balanced. It is a marvelous method for self-care and self-renewal.

Each of our new releases was designed to help get your body’s energy moving more freely. The three newest additions to the Encyclopedia of 50 Essential Poses are all abdominal twists that promote detoxification and relieve stiffness in the lower back. Then in Back to Basics 2 you will learn a detailed, yet highly accessible way of grounding through your feet in order to generate greater stability and lightness throughout the whole rest of your body. We know that it takes a small dose of resolution (in the determination sense) just to show up for yourself on the mat, but hopefully our commitment to delivering high-quality instructional videos has made it easier and more convenient for you to do just that. Hope you enjoy!

Take care,
Geoffrey

Advancing in a Different Direction

Greetings Everyone!

Whenever I lead a yoga retreat, I like to recite the famous quote by General Oliver P. Smith, a venerated Marine Corps commander during World War 2, who said, “Retreat, hell! We’re not retreating, we’re just advancing in a different direction.” I love both the staunch determination and the radical shift in orientation that he expressed, presumably to bolster the morale of his troops. And as diametrically opposed as military tactics might seem to be in relation to the nonviolent underpinnings of yoga, I think that this quote gets right to the heart of why yoga is relevant to our modern way of life. Consumer society glorifies the acquisition of material possessions and places maximal value on outward appearances. Consequently, many of us feel spiritually and inwardly impoverished. When we forget to connect to spirit or soul or whatever you prefer to call it, and when we overlook the abundance of our inner landscape, then we feel in one way or another that life is out of balance and devoid of meaning. Yoga counteracts this tendency because it is constantly inviting the practitioner to listen inwardly to the whispers of spirit and to feel the natural contentment that arises out of proper alignment.

Each one of our new releases is an invitation to back up and slow down, which is essentially advancing in the opposite direction than we are ordinarily used to. In Back to Basics, Adero Lewis and I will show you surefire techniques for creating stability in the pelvis and lower back. It might seem like you’re backing way up in order to absorb these fundamentals, but in actuality you’ll be taking a quantum leap forward in the direction of integration and balance. Then, 20 in 20 #4 presents a delectable forward bending sequence that will not only soothe frazzled nerves but will also lead you to inner stillness and ease. We call them forward bends, but in reality you’ll be moving backward into the center of your being. Hope you enjoy!

Take care,

Geoffrey

Core Restore

Greetings Everyone!

The buzzword that we keep being bombarded by this week is resolution. You know, the New Year’s type that lasts for about three weeks and then mutates into guilt, shame, or self-loathing for not having followed through with it. I would like to propose a re-framing of the word resolution to convey its musical connotations. When I simply think of my body as an instrument that occasionally needs re-tuning, then there’s no longer a need for a “higher self” that is somehow in charge of improving the lower, wayward “me.” That mental schism completely disappears. Determination is replaced by observation, and an internal movement from dissonance toward consonance naturally ensues.

Does that sound too abstract? Check out our newest releases and you can turn theory into practice. In Core Restore, I’ll show you one of my favorite 15 minute sequences for re-establishing order and ease to the lower back. By making simple movements with your pelvis propped up on a block, you will learn how to “hear” sharp notes and flat notes in your body so that you can re-discover the joy of perfect pitch. Meanwhile, 20 in 20 #3 is another edition of our 20 poses in 20 minutes series that will help you wring out your abdominal organs to promote detoxification and boost energy. Especially if your lower back has been feeling out of whack from holiday travel or winter lethargy, this efficient sequence will reset you in a super satisfying way. Hope you enjoy! Happy New Year! Cheers to a new kind of resolution!

Take care,

Geoffrey

Holiday Light

Greetings Everyone!

I’m pretty sure that in last year’s December newsletter I was campaigning for everyone to fight the holiday busy-ness by deliberately slowing down and aligning the body with the rhythms of nature. In yoga terms this means turning one’s attention and energy inwardly through forward bends and generally more quieting practices. Well, this year I’m purposefully singing a different tune. Lately I’ve been practicing back bends, which are extroverted poses that have an energizing effect. And somehow this juxtaposition between the dwindling light of the encroaching winter solstice and the expanding of lightness inside of my chest has been making me feel wonderfully balanced. It’s truly amazing to me that I can move through these physical postures and experience a shift toward a more warm-hearted attitude, almost like I want to give my best Tiny Tim rendition all day — “God bless us all, everyone.” I know that sounds horribly Hallmarky, but it’s the way that I feel.

Each of our new releases features sequences of poses that are designed to restore lightness to the center of your chest and improve your breathing. In Mission Impossible 5Shannon Hill guides you through her personal recipe for entering Eka Pada Viparita Dandasana, which is Sanskrit for the pose that’s depicted at the top of this newsletter. Stunning, right?! Level 3 practitioners will certainly want to give that a try. Then 20 in 20 #2 is one of my favorite recipes for approaching Ustrasana, or the Camel’s Pose. This is a fabulous way for level 2 practitioners to create openness in the chest without fear of putting weight on the head. Don’t have time during your holiday errands to squeeze in a 20-minute practice? No problem, check out One Pose Wonder #3 and in a mere 5 minutes you’ll get a good taste of the lightness of being that yoga inimitably provides. Hope you enjoy! Happy Holidays!

Oh, and remember that you can save money in 2018 by purchasing a year-long subscription at the ridiculously low price of $120. That offer ends on Christmas Day, so be sure to jump on it soon. It might make a nice gift for a family member or friend as well. May we all be blessed with the gift of wellness in the New Year.

Take care,

Geoffrey

Stress Relief

Greetings Everyone!

The Irish poet/philosopher, John O’Donohue, once said that stress is a perverted relationship to time. Many of us live with a nagging feeling that we never have enough time and that we have somehow become its victim. This sensation intensifies when we forget that it is possible, even within a tremendously hectic schedule, to make time for being. Yoga provides us that very opportunity: to stop in the name of peace, to be instead of to do. You might even say that yoga teaches us to become connoisseurs of being, and from that vital foundation, “doing” can become a whole lot more skillful and enjoyable.

Now I can already hear my friends and family members who might be reading this email scoffing at my own perverted relationship to time since I’ve been known throughout my life to run late. Fair enough. And it might also be true that I’ve become such a great connoisseur of being that I routinely fail to scratch off every single item on my to-do list. However, if I could give my best impersonation of John Goodman from The Big Lebowski, I would simply say, “Calmer than you are, dude.” This week’s new releases were created to help you release daily stress through enhanced breathing. Front Body Bliss is a quadriceps-stretching, hip flexor-releasing bonanza that will lead you to a place of ease and lightness in the front of your chest. Then Stress Relief 4 is my go-to restorative sequence for calming the nervous system and quieting an agitated mind. Happy breathing! Hope you enjoy!

Take care,

Geoffrey

Unwind

Greetings Everyone!

A basic axiom of yogic philosophy is the indivisibility of body, mind, and spirit. While it is sometimes tempting to compartmentalize those aspects of our whole self, in reality, they are reciprocal. Say, for instance, you have something gnawing at your mind — some thought that keeps repeating itself over and over. You might say that you are “wound up” about the inability of that thought to find some sort of resolution. It troubles you and you suffer. Rarely does it occur to us that this suffering has its correlate in the body. The sense of stuck-ness on the mental level shows up as some form of stuck-ness on the physical level. This might sound gloomy at first, but it’s actually quite helpful. The body is significantly easier to work with than the mind because it is easier to observe. The mind, on the other hand, loves to create elaborate mirages and labyrinths that can be treacherous to navigate. So part of the beauty of the yoga practice is that you can find peace of mind and brightness of spirit by systematically untangling your body.

Each of our newest releases was designed to help you unfold yourself from inside-out. Prop-less Yoga 2 is a well-rounded, energizing sequence of poses that will make you feel freer in your body in less than 30 minutes. As the name suggests, no props are needed. Just a little bit of time and attention will create the conditions for balanced bodily tension. Meanwhile, in Unwind 2 you will be led through an accessible yet challenging sequence of hip and hamstring opening poses that will unravel the stuck stress from your lower back. Learn a couple of neat ways to use a yoga strap and you will experience new levels of freedom and ease in your spine. Hope you enjoy! Happy unwinding!

Take care,

Geoffrey

New Logo, New Programs

Greetings Everyone!

It is with unbridled glee that I would like to announce two new features to our site. First, we decided to update our logo so as to better represent the style of yoga that we offer. Check it out at the top of this newsletter — doesn’t it seem to convey alignment, groundedness, expansiveness, and freedom? And isn’t the play button motif nifty? We thought so too! Second, we have honored the feedback that many of you have given requesting more direction in your practice, and we created a new function called “Programs.” Log in and you’ll see it both as a toolbar tab at the top and to the right of our latest releases. Our first three programs were born out of themes that are quite popular with you, our subscribers: CoreWorkplace Wellness, and Travelers. The Core program introduces key actions for activating core stability, and then it provides detailed instruction on select poses that are essential for developing core strength. The next several videos will progressively challenge you to intensify your focus and to maintain core integrity. The program concludes with two cool down videos that will help you release excess tension in your gut and lower back so that you can relax back into your center. Try working on this program over a two week span, and let us know how it has raised your awareness and enhanced the quality of your life.

Does that sound too intense? No problem. Spend a couple of weeks going through the Workplace Wellness program and you’ll learn tips and techniques for staying balanced throughout your work day. Not interested in weaving yoga into work? No problem. Go through our Travelers program and you’ll have cultivated a new habit of energizing your body while quieting your mind in a mere 20-30 minutes per day. I know that you will savor the fruits of a more sustained practice now that we’ve eliminated some of the directional guesswork for you. Hope you enjoy!

Take care,
Geoffrey

On Common Ground

Greetings Everyone!

With each passing day, with each TV news cycle, radio chatter and Twitter babble, we hear the refrain, “I can’t stand so and so.” It doesn’t matter who the person is or which point of view they represent. They are intolerable simply because they lie on the opposite side of a set of opinions or ideologies with which you have staunchly identified. What yoga makes you realize is that your inability to stand anyone or anything is related to your inefficiency at balancing your body while standing. That might sound absurd, far fetched, or overly simplistic. But if you actually go into it and examine the way you are distributing your body’s weight over the arches of your feet, what you find out is that the more you come to an organized equilibrium, the less identified you become with certain thought patterns and ideas. It’s not that you don’t still have those thoughts or ideas, it’s just that the charge of identification, and the anger that often accompanies it, has evaporated.

In our quest to promote well-being, we thought it a good idea to focus our recent videos on fostering understanding. How, you might ask? Each of our newest releases was designed to reshape the arches of your feet by freeing the ankles and stretching the toes. Each is guaranteed to improve the way you stand. Foot Loose is not really an homage to Kevin Bacon as much as an intelligent sequence of poses that progressively opens the soles of the feet. Then the newest addition to the Encyclopedia of 50 Essential Poses presents one of the all-time greatest ways to remove fatigue from the legs after hours of standing, walking, running, or hiking: Reclined Hero’s Pose. Don’t let either of the cover photos of these videos intimidate you. I assure you that if you go at your own pace and honor your limits, the poses will gradually and naturally unfold you. Hope you enjoy!

Take care,

Geoffrey

Use The Force

Greetings Everyone!

Watching the aftermath images of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma has felt eerily reminiscent of Obi Wan Kenobi’s response to the moment when the Death Star destroyed Planet Alderon in the original Star Wars movie. “I felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of voices just cried out in terror…” Obviously these images have been particularly disturbing to my fellow New Orleanians, many of whom had to endure Hurricane Katrina and the long road to rebuilding the city after the floods. But the interesting thing I’ve noticed recently is that no matter where you happen to be stationed in the country, the visceral feeling of concern that you have had for the people of Texas and Florida has completely eclipsed any superficial differences of opinion that you might have previously held. In other words, what we feel in our body transcends what we think in our mind. The human body is a connecting force because it’s the one thing that we all share in common, irrespective of sports team affiliations or political proclivities. And this is why yoga is so vitally relevant to our modern world — we need to keep cultivating our connection to the body so that we don’t have to wait for a natural disaster to recognize our shared humanity.

Each of our new releases focuses on balancing and directing the flow of forces in the body. Let It Flow is an energizing Level 1 sequence that uses core stability and hip mobility to free up the energetic stagnation of the pelvis. This is a wonderful practice for times in your life when you feel stuck, either in your gut or in the repetitive thought loops of your head. Meanwhile, Use The Force is an uplifting Level 2 sequence that explores the optimal relationship between the thigh bones and the sacrum. Does that sound colossally boring? How about if I said that this video will teach you how to equalize upward forces and downward forces in your body so that not only will you experience the most effortless Warrior 1 you’ve ever done, your lower spine will align and your upper chest will beam open like a light saber? You will use the forces to feel full of the Life Force. Hope you enjoy!

Take care,
Geoffrey

Jump Into Balance

Greetings Everyone!

I have a summertime fetish that simply must be indulged each year: I love jumping off cliffs into alpine lakes. The exhilaration of the ice cold water awakens and refreshes my entire system. The slight fear surrounding the preparation makes my body/mind completely present. And the letting go into gravity somehow restores my faith in the process of life while making me feel more connected to the planet and the whole of existence. In short, jumping off cliffs makes me feel fully alive.

Why am I sharing this and how is it even remotely related to yoga, you wonder? Each of our new releases has to do with re-discovering balance by taking risks. In Beginner’s Basic Balance, you will learn an incremental approach to standing firmly on one leg and organizing yourself around your central axis. The inspiration for this video was the comment that many frustrated students have uttered after falling out of Tree Pose — “I stink at balance; I’ll never be able to do this.” Not true! We’ve made it manageable and accessible for you to practice balance so that you can experience the internal poise and sense of security that are its main fruits. Then, in Arm Balances Just For Fun 2, intermediate students can take the plunge into some of yoga’s more challenging poses that require a healthy blend of coordination, observation, and determination. It would seem at first glance that strength is the main criterion for entering some of these odd positions, but if you follow the cues and stay focused on the process, you will realize quite quickly that was is actually needed is pure presence.

I hope that you’ll take a little leap with me. I guarantee that no matter how many times you fall, you will recover a precious sense of aliveness that is your birthright. Hope you enjoy!

Take care,

Geoffrey