Get on your bikes and RIDE

You’ve heard the news: starting in January 2020, Yoga Fever will be offering THREE studios complete with hot yoga, barre, yoga (not heated), High-Intensity Interval Training, Sculpt, Meditation, and indoor cycling.

I’m BEYOND stoked to integrate each of these courses under one roof, offering the variety you need to train and strengthen your mind, body, and SOUL.

What is indoor cycling?

Indoor cycling is a form of exercise using a stationary bike that focuses on endurance, strength, interval training, and recovery.

Known as an exhilarating, dynamic, and challenging form of exercise, cycling is also quite accommodating for those with joint issues, making it a cardio workout with less pressure on your knees and feet.

Additionally, it works all the major muscle groups, including your core, upper body, back, glutes, quads, hamstrings, and lower legs.

What are the benefits of cycling?

Cycling is a tremendous way to burn calories; on average, students burn 400 – 800 calories per class. It also boosts heart health and lung capacity. However, I recommend attending 3-6 classes per week to gain the full benefits available to you.

Perhaps the greatest benefit, like most group classes, is the great sense of community.

What will Yoga Fever’s cycling classes look like?

There are 2 different types of indoor cycle rides. We will be combining these two styles to make it a one of a kind experience.

The first ride is a BEATS/RHYTHM Ride— picture it, the lights are off, the only light you see is the kick-ass orange and yellow LED’S simulating a disco up above you, in front of you and behind you. The music is bumpin’ but only so loud as you prefer as you will be wearing off the charts, DROP SOUND (glow in the dark) headphones to control your perfect experience and volume. Your instructor is lifted up on a platform at the front of the room motivating you to be your BEST AUTHENTIC SELF on and off the bike. It’s here that you start to break an intense sweat. Your body is pedaling to every beat in the instructor’s playlist and you are OFFICIALLY ONE with the experience.

YEAH. Let’s do THAT.

The second ride is a METRIC RIDE – This is where you challenge yourself along with your fellow riders to climb intense hills, hit high speeds, and track your RPM, heart rate, calories scorchin’ and MORE. Lights off, music UP and the race begins. This is where the sweat starts to bead on your chest, your upper lip and even the back of your neck. You’re in it to win it and you can’t be stopped. Ahead of you is a huge TV screen with your name on it, tracking your every pedal, every heartbeat, every movement. It’s here you go beyond your limits to beat Susie Q and Joe Blow on the bikes next to you and have a healthy competition between friends and community members. The instructor is getting louder as you are peaking to the finish, encouraging you to take it ALL THE WAY. And low and behold, you DO.

YEAH. Let’s do THAT.

So how do we combine these two AMAZING STYLES OF INDOOR CYCLING?? You’ll have to join us on the bikes early 2020 to find out.

Oh and PS: No experience is necessary for these 45-minute classes, but all students should bring a pair of INDOOR tennis shoes or clip-in shoes specific to cycling. We totally want you there on time as we need to get you familiar with adjusting the bike, your headphones, and your space. So we apologize but no late entry on this one.

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WHO’S IN?? LET’S RIDE GR.

Should I Practice Yoga in the Morning or Evening?

Should you practice yoga in the morning or evening? Great question!

As usual, the answer is more complex than you’d think and really comes down to your personal preference. From an Ayurvedic standpoint, it is recommended you wake up in between 4 and 6AM when the world is still asleep, and practice meditation and asana. From a modern world perspective, it’s recommended that you practice yoga either first thing in the morning or in the early evening.

However, many factors are involved in each of our decisions on when to practice. Your work schedule, habits, belief system, and familial responsibilities may make the decision for you.

For example, if your morning involves getting rambunctious kids dressed, fed, and on the bus, a morning practice may be unrealistic. The same is true if you’re committed to evening functions throughout the week.

Your personal constitution may also factor into the decision. Some people are raring to move at 6 AM, while others won’t even speak until they’ve had a few cups of coffee. And even if you do have a quiet morning, it may not be the right time for you if you have seasoned habits you practice in the hour before heading to work. Or if you find yourself yawning by 8 PM, you might want to try practicing earlier in the day.

Read on to explore the many benefits to both morning and evening yoga practice.

Benefits of morning yoga practice

Morning yoga practice helps you clear your mind and set an intention for your day.

Energizing poses, like backbends and sun salutations, wake up your tight body and work out the kinks after a night’s rest.

The morning is usually the coolest part of the day.

Twists and arm balances are easier to perform when you’re not competing with digestion from various meals during the day.

Practicing yoga in the morning avoids any last-minute conflicts that may derail your intentions to step on your mat.

Benefits of evening yoga practice

Evening yoga practice, on the other hand, can prepare your mind and body for sleep.

Incorporate twists and forward folds to help you wind down from a busy day.

Most people have more free time in the evening, helping you feel less rushed in your practice.

Practicing in the evening soothes tension, aches, and pains, providing a deeper, more replenishing sleep.

It can also help you break bad habits like snacking or binge-watching TV.

As you can see, there are benefits to either practice time. If you’re not quite sure what’s best for you, experiment.

Diligently try one full week of early morning practices – either at home or with us at the studio for added accountability. Then spend a second week practicing in the evening, exploring what benefits and challenges you find in each style.

After you find the right fit, stick to a similar time whenever possible to maintain that lovely sense of grounding. Try incorporating daily rituals – like meditation, chanting Om, or doing Sun Salutations – to establish further consistency.

Ultimately, take ownership of your yoga practice and design it so it best suits your body and mind!

5 Signs Your Body and Mind Want You to Practice Yoga

Do you suffer from a tight, rigid body? Do you ever feel like you’ve been breathing shallowly all day? Can you not recall the last time you truly relaxed on a regular, routine day?

If any of these sound familiar, your body and mind are trying to tell you to step onto your yoga mat.

And if the excuse at the tip of your tongue is that you’re too busy, that’s exactly why you should make time for yoga. The practice of yoga connects you to your innermost self – a sacred space where you’re able to move trapped emotions out of your body.

Here are five not-so-silent signs you should get back in the studio.

1. Your body feels extraordinarily tight and rigid.

A tight, inflexible body often comes from sitting too much. If your days are filled with long commutes or motionless hours at a desk, you’ll benefit greatly from the dynamic movements and hip openers found in a yoga class. Check out these tips on how to incorporate yoga into your desk job.

2. You often find that your breathing is short and rapid.

Short breaths are a sign that you may be stressed. The world doesn’t often prepare us with the tools we need to stay centered in stressful situations. If you feel like you’ve been breathing shallowly and unconsciously all day, yoga’s breathing techniques – like Ujjayi – can help. They take us out of our sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight) and move us into our parasympathetic response, which looks a lot more like rest and digest.

3. You feel mentally unbalanced or suffer from a mental illness.

If you’re struggling with anxiety or depression – whether in the short-term or a long-term condition – yoga can be your best friend. By lowering cortisol levels and releasing the tension, yoga calms the mind’s chatter and lowers your blood pressure and heart rate. Read more about how yogic breath eases symptoms of anxiety.

4. You’re not sleeping well.

For those who suffer from insomnia or who simply struggle with a lack of sleep once in a while, yoga provides a better sleep quality for practitioners. Psychology Today demonstrates the truthfulness in this using a study conducted by Harvard Medical School. And here are a couple of poses I recommend weaving into your home practice to help you sleep better.

5. You can’t remember the last time you relaxed on a regular, routine day.

I’m not talking about taking a vacation or going to the spa. When was the last time you made room for relaxing self-care in your regular routine? If this is the case for you, your body and mind are likely begging you to step on the mat, so you can learn to relax your body and clear your chaotic mind.

Whether you’re a regular member or have never stepped onto a yoga mat, chances are your body and mind are not-so-subtly telling you it’s time to practice. Trust me, you’ll see the benefits.

Common Yoga Injuries and How to Prevent Them

Last week we covered seven basic, overarching ways to avoid yoga-related injuries. Now, let’s dive deeper into some of the most common body parts that yogis injure – and learn practical ways to protect yourself.

Hamstrings: One of the most common body parts that can get injured due to yoga is your hamstrings. Forcing your legs straight into any pose – whether you’re standing, sitting, or lying down – can damage your hamstring muscles. This kind of injury often builds up gradually, turning into hamstring tendonitis.

How to avoid hamstring injuries: Avoid forcing your legs into any stretches and you’ll find these injuries quite easy to avoid. If hamstrings are not your most flexible body part, apply added focus on contracting the front of your body (quads and lower abs) when you fold forward to let your hamstrings feel safe letting go. Don’t use your hands to pull your body deeper into forward folds. Those of you with a lot of mobility in your hamstrings need to be cautious and focus on engaging your outer hips, as it’s possible for you to overstretch and cause injury.

Shoulders: Yoga can cause shoulder injuries as a result of improper overuse. Poses like plank, chaturanga, cobra pose, and upward facing are common culprits. I’ve also seen shoulder injuries arise due to students not listening to their bodies’ signs of fatigue. Don’t push through chaturanga when your body is screaming for a modification or a rest.

How to avoid shoulder injuries: Avoid putting heavy weight on the joint by keeping the shoulders locked into the back on the poses listed above. Be sure to hug the elbows into the side body as you lower down through chaturanga and drop your knees down if this is hard to accomplish. Nail the elbows grazing into the ribs as you lower first – then try to lower down in one line with knees lifted. In your updog and cobra poses be sure to expand into the collar bones and externally rotate the shoulders and pull them down into the back pockets.

Wrists: Much like elbow injuries, wrist pain is a result of repetitive stress. This small joint is often already aggravated by too much computer usage. Those of you with weaker upper arms and forearms are at a higher risk because you won’t be able to press your palm firmly enough into your mat to relieve the weight placed on your wrist.

How to avoid wrist injuries: Supplement your yoga practice with some basic arm exercises designed to tone and strengthen. Use dumbbells or resistance bands when you visit the gym. The stronger your arms are, the less pressure you’ll place on your wrists. Alternatively, I recommend placing your knees on the ground to modify poses, like chaturanga, while you build wrist strength.

Lower back: Among the most frequent yoga injuries, lower back pain is often caused by rounding your spine in forward folds or downward dog. Rounding and overstretching is a recipe for injury and irritation, as it causes your spine to flex the opposite way it is supposed to.

How to avoid lower back injuries: Don’t shy away from bending your knees in forward folds; this allows your back to decompress and relax. Engage your lower belly in most poses – especially chair – as core strength contributes to a strong, healthy back. Keep a small bend in your knees throughout practice and remember to tuck your pelvis under your spine.

Knees: Knee injuries are often related to a lack of flexibility, especially in poses that target your tight hips. Other times, they’re the result of your knees falling out of alignment in poses like Warrior or triangle pose.

How to avoid knee injuries: When bending your knee in a pose like Warrior 2, always check that it is tracking over your middle toe. You never want it to cave inward because it adds unnecessary strain. When your knee is straight, avoid locking your knee joint. Additionally, avoid spending long periods of time in deep hip openers until you build flexibility there.

Neck: Any time you apply pressure to your neck – such as during a headstand – you’re compressing your neck. This can lead to pain in your cervical vertebrae. Your neck is one of the scariest places to harm since it takes so long to heal properly.

How to avoid neck injuries: Never put pressure on your head in any kind of inversion – including when you prepare for full wheel. Don’t force yourself into poses that the rest of your body (shoulders, wrists, abs) isn’t prepared to support you in.

Given all the proven benefits of yoga, but also the many potential risks, what should you yogis do? My biggest advice to avoiding yoga injuries is a combination of gradually easing into each practice, noting when your body feels pain over sensation, and mixing yoga with other exercise forms to strengthen weak areas.

At Yoga Fever, it’s our mission to teach an anatomically-sound yoga practice that keeps your bodies safe and strong! If you ever start noticing pain or discomfort, let your yoga instructor know so we can help adjust you or modify your pose.