Spice up your yoga practice

Spice Up Your Yoga Practice

Have you ever felt like skipping right to savasana before yoga class even starts? Do you find your mind wandering during class or that you’re anxious to get to the next pose? You may need a yoga reboot.

Spring is officially here, my yogi brothers and sisters. And that means new life is everywhere. It’s the perfect time to spice up your yoga practice and return to that place where yoga is the highlight of your day. We have a few suggestions on how to breathe new life (literally) into your yoga practice.

Bring a Friend

Finding a yoga buddy is a great way to add some fun to your practice. Whether you already have a friend interested in joining you, or you find someone who tends to go to the same weekly classes as you, your yoga pal can hold you accountable to show up on the mat several times each week and even enhance the bond you have with one another. Afterwards, grab a local brew or smoothie and discuss what you enjoyed, struggled with, or would like to try next time.

Set Goals

An easy way to break the monotony of your yoga practice is to constantly set new goals, whether physically or mentally. If you’re finding yourself dragging, maybe it’s time to experiment with a pose that’s always frightened you. One of the challenges of life is really to conquer our fears so why not bring that aspect to our mat? Take baby steps, but you may be surprised what your body can do once you set your mind to it. We are good at what we do a lot of, so practicing the goal pose once a day will not only begin to build your confidence, but it will enrich your overall yoga practice. Maybe your yoga goals are more breath and mind related. If so, spend time each day practicing breath techniques and meditation using guides, focal points, or just a good ol’ fashion sit and watch – sit in a crossed legged position and watch what thoughts enter your mind.

Move your Mat

It may sound silly, but simply practicing in a new part of the studio can change your practice and your perspective. Most of the population loves routine; we sit in the same desks at school, eat lunch at the same time at work, and drive the same roads to our house. When we place our mat in a new location, we can activate different physical and mental reactions to certain poses or find a new line of sight to our teacher.

“If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change” – Dr. Wayne Dyer

Challenge your Intention

If you’re a yoga veteran, you’re used to the teacher asking students to set an intention before class. Often this is a positive word or phrase that serves as your motivation for the practice. For example, you might set your intention as “determination.” You’ll then try to stretch a little farther in each pose or hold plank just a bit longer. You might also use your breath to focus on the negative things in your life that you can’t control. With each exhale, give yourself the permission to surrender that worry, doubt and fear and let it go. When we let go of things we can’t control, we reserve valuable energy, time and space for new creativity, awareness and life.

If you are seasoned, and are ready to move past a simple intention, you could set  what we in the yoga world call a ‘sankalpa’. A sankalpa is a specific intention written by you, for you and used before, during and after your practice (or really whenever you want to find time to focus on your hearts desires). The idea of repeating a sankalpa is to create the life we are meant to enjoy and embrace. The sankalpa is impressed on the subconscious, planting the seed of manifestation in our soul. It must come from your mind,  your heart, and your hopes and dreams.

Specific intentions and sankalpas give you something to focus on other than what you’re making for dinner or the to-do list you still have to tackle later that day. They’re something you can come back to whenever you find your mind drifting or you want to center yourself.

 

7 common yoga mistakes

7 Common Yoga Mistakes & How to Fix Them

Our goal is to guide you throughout your yoga journey, helping you grow in strength, flexibility, cardio and mindfulness while preventing you from facing injury or discouragement. In this week’s blog we offer tips to help you avoid seven common yoga mistakes. Are you ready to get the most out of your yoga practice?

Mistake #1: Comparing yourself to your neighbor

One of the most effective ways to get injured or discouraged is looking at your neighbor and trying to mirror their pose or stretch. All of us have different body types and skill sets. The person on the mat next to you might be a former ballerina or athlete; they might have years of yoga experience under their belts; or they might be naturally flexible. Yoga is a personal journey, so there’s no reason you should be comparing yourself to anyone else.

Pro-Tip: When you find yourself trying to bend into a pose that your neighbor can do, take a moment to close your eyes, focus on your breathing and center yourself again. Remember, yoga is not about measuring your level of performance. It is about harnessing the energy to tame the mind and shedding our negative behavior and patterns.

Mistake #2: Comparing your body to the way it was 20 years ago, 2 weeks ago, or even yesterday

Remember when you were eight years old? You could practically do a cartwheel and wheel pose in your sleep. Your body moved where you wanted it to without even thinking about it. But that was when you were younger – before you sat in a desk for hours straight, or had a child of your own, experienced an injury or had a life full of stress, bills and interpersonal relationships. We carry stress and trauma deep within the tissues of the body. Limiting our movement and our mind.

Pro-Tip: Take a moment before class to meditate on the phrase: “Here I am. This is where I’m at with my body and strength today.” Always try to meet yourself where you are at – in the now.

Mistake #3: Pushing your body to do too much

Yoga beginners often mistakenly think that it will be a piece of cake. Maybe they’ve been exercising or playing sports for years. Although certain yoga poses seem simple, it’s best to listen carefully to your teacher’s instructions and ease into the practice without looking for an edge. Going slow and moving to the point of sensation as a newbie. It’s easy to fall prey to questions like “Why can’t I touch my toes yet?” or “Why is this not getting any easier?” The beauty of yoga is that it benefits you on many levels. Maybe you can’t touch your toes yet, but instead you’ve learned to modify to a better plank or breathe more effectively.

Pro-Tip: Take the most modified pose you can do correctly, in order to create strength and proper alignment rather than creating negative habits. Engage as many muscles by hugging the muscles to the bone throughout the entire practice. Instead of going deep, go strong.

Mistake #4: Practicing inconsistently

You know that feeling right after you finish a yoga class? You feel open, relaxed and focused – you can’t wait to come back for another one. But all of us lead busy lives and eventually our work, social life and family responsibilities begin to interfere. When you finally do return to class, you’ve lost what you thought you had gained. Don’t worry!! The mat is always there for you to build your strength and flexibility. The key is being ready. When you are ready to get consistent, your body will gradually open up, strengthen and move further into the poses. It just takes time and patience.

Pro-Tip: Commit to practicing yoga twice a week, even if that occasionally means rolling the mat out in your own basement and sitting in a seated position for meditation. Build a relationship with your mat. It can quickly become a good friend, guide and safe zone.

Mistake #5: Holding your breath

We often see students failing to let their breath lead them through the sequences or even holding it completely, especially during the more advanced poses. Forgetting to breathe consistently is a negative habit that causes anxiety and stress, exactly the opposite effect we seek in yoga.

Pro-Tip: Focus on your slow, deep inhales and exhales throughout the whole yoga class.

Mistake #6: Taking classes that are too advanced

If you’re a beginner to yoga, you really should look into trying a few slow or gentle flow classes first. These offer the opportunity to learn the poses, discover yogic breath and become comfortable within the practice. However, even the more advanced students would benefit from remembering the positive effects of slowing it down once in awhile.

Mistake #7: Failing to disclose medical/physical conditions

When you visit many of our classes at Yoga Fever, you’ll hear your teacher ask if there are any injuries or medical conditions he or she should be aware of. Students often feel embarrassed or too shy to speak up here. Your teachers want to know these issues so they can craft a restorative practice that won’t endanger your body.

Pro-Tip: Yoga is therapeutic. An experienced, intelligent teacher will help you overcome these injuries. Speak up.

Private group yoga classes

Personalize Your Experience: Try a Private Group Yoga Class

Maybe you’re new to yoga and worried about embarrassing yourself in a large group class. Or, perhaps you’re looking for an excursion to suit the needs of a particular group, like a bachelorette party or a circle of fitness-minded friends. Maybe you and a few friends desire a little extra attention as you continue on your yoga journey or need specific help rehabilitating an injury.

Sound familiar? If so, consider trying a private group class. Traditional, public classes are fun, energizing and informative. They help to create a strong community of yogis. However, a private group class allows even more of the individualized attention and guidance that we all need at one time or another. Whether you’re new to the practice of yoga, needing rehabilitation from an injury or simply hoping to take your practice deeper, a private group yoga class could be a nice option.

What are the perks of a private group yoga class?

Besides the affordable price tag, private group classes offer a number of other perks, which makes them a valuable addition to your yoga schedule. Historically, yoga was often taught by one teacher directly to one student. These ancient teachers understood the importance of individualizing each yoga experience to meet the needs of the individual student. Private group yoga classes follow this wisdom, allowing each group to work with the teacher to personalize their yoga experience. Groups can choose a gentle, beginner, intermediate, or restorative-style class, depending on their skill level and desire.

Private group yoga classes are perfect for special occasions. If you’ve always wanted to experiment with yoga without being embarrassed, grab a few buddies and schedule a class. If you’re tasked with planning a friend’s bachelorette activities, schedule a yoga class to kick off the celebration or wind down from the festivities. If you and your pals are really into trying new kinds of fitness, mix a private yoga class in with your weekly cardio exercises.

Whatever your reason and whatever your intention, we’re here to help you get the most out of your yoga experience. If you want to learn more about our class offerings, click here. If you’d like to discuss scheduling a private group class, call: (616) 805-3603.

what is the significance of 108 in yoga

What is the Significance of 108 in Yoga?

Why the number 108?

The number 108 is considered a sacred number in Hinduism, Buddhism and yogic tradition. Malas or Japa beads come in a string of 108 and are used for devotional meditation, mantra and prayer. With each bead a mantra or prayer is repeated to meet a total of 108. The Meru bead is the larger bead or tassel on the mala and is not part of the 108. This is the guiding bead and marks the beginning and end of the mala/chant/prayer/mantra.

Yoga Fever will offer 108 Sun Salutations or Surya Namaskar A to celebrate our transition into Spring. Spring is a season of phenomenal renewal. The earth awakens from its slumber and blossoms into new life, new beginnings and new awareness. It is a great time to reflect on health and well being. Together we will flow and breathe to become one body, one heart and one mind.

Here are a few interpretations of the significance of the number 108.

  • Sanskrit alphabet has 54 letters. Each letter has a masculine (Shiva) and feminine (Shakti) energy 54 X 2 = 108
  • Desires. There are said to be 108 earthly desires in mortals.
  • Time. It is said we have 108 feelings. 36 related to the past, 36 related to the present, and 36 related to the future.
  • Astrology. There are 12 constellations and 9 arc segments. There are 12 houses and 9 planets. 12 X 9 = 108
  • The diameter of the sun is 108 times the earth.

Please join us in studio to become one. One Mind. One Body. One Spirit. Check back for more offerings of 108 Sun Salutes

yoga for runners

Yoga for Runners

Rolling out a yoga mat may just improve your running skills

Studies show that the strength and flexibility you gain on the mat can help you run more efficiently and stay injury-free. Yoga opens up several muscle groups in the legs such as the quads, IT band,  hip flexors, psoas (core), and hammys.

According to several sources, yoga can be the key to faster running times

The science of cardio exercise and running mechanics are fairly simple. Efficient and fast times are credited to alignment. Building from the ground up, feet to head is key to a successful run. Yoga has the power to change any misalignment in the body… even moving bones over time. Yes, it’s true. Strengthening and lengthening the muscles improves the alignment of the body greatly.

Runners benefit from opening the overworked leg muscles. There is also great benefit to gaining core strength to help towards the middle or end miles of your run.

How does yoga increase your speed?

Apparently, the fastest runners have an amazing 20 – 25% angle at the hip flexor and a 5% arc in the back. Back bends and hip openers provide flexibility which increases speed. If you are a runner, get on your mat and check out the benefits it can provide your body.

what to expect at your first yoga class

What To Expect At Your First Yoga Class

Yoga for Beginners

So you’ve decided to start a new chapter and take your first yoga class. Good for you! We admire steps toward positive change. Jumping on the yoga train can be scary, we know it. We’ve all been there. Not only are you chartering new territory with your first yoga class but also jumping right into a heated class! Whoa, now that is a big deal.  There are several questions that you may be asking yourself regarding your first class. Let’s highlight a few Q & A’s, with some great tips to set your mind at ease.

Can I handle the heat?

We won’t lie, the heat will feel pretty intense your first time around. Be prepared to sweat. The atmosphere is controlled to be a toasty 99 degrees in our hot yoga classes. Know that you can step out of the room at any time if you feel it necessary. The heat helps heal and nourish the muscles, joints and the mind. It is there to help guide you into a smooth practice, not make you suffer. After class, you will notice a sense of peace, energy release and an overall sense of well being. We like to say that you can shed a skin on your mat in a heated class…leaving behind the residue that doesn’t serve you.

Will I be awkward with everyone looking at me?

You may feel slightly awkward as you learn about creating new and creative ways to shape your body and your mind. This is totally normal. Go with the weirdness. No one is judging you. The goal in a yoga space is to check your ego at the door and go inward. You may have other fellow beginners looking around for guidance but nothing to take too seriously. As you progress and grow into other classes, no one is looking around to check you out. This is an internal practice and each experience is personal and unique.

What should I wear?

You don’t need to buy expensive clothing to hit your first warm or hot yoga class. There is no point in investing a lot of money on outfits for your first time in. We believe form-fitting clothing that will not interfere with the movement of the body is best. Keep running shorts and t-shirt for the gym or your morning run. Tight clothing that breathes will help you stay focused on the yoga practice and not your clothes riding up in all the wrong places.

Please check your shoes at the door. Yoga is best performed with bare feet as it will help you maintain grip. Do what feels best for you!

Am I flexible enough to do yoga?

Every hot yoga studio will tell you the phrase they hear most is ‘I’m not flexible enough to do yoga’. There is a common misconception attached to yoga due to images in society that you must have a ballerina type body that can twist into a pretzel or the splits on demand. Not true! Yoga is good for every “body”. We have all shapes, sizes, and age groups in our hot yoga classes.

Long story short… Yes, you are flexible enough to do yoga. In fact, no flexibility is required to take a yoga class. With time, patience, and consistent practice, you will become more flexible in your body and in your mind (which is the true goal of yoga anyway).

What should I bring with me?

Please bring a water bottle with you so you can stay hydrated. We also sell water with to help replenish the body before, during and after your hot yoga class. We may not always cue you to grab a drink, so listen to your body and sip your water anytime you need nourishment and hydration. If you have a yoga mat, bring it with you or rent one of our yoga mats or large mat towels for your first time. Our mats are specific to hot yoga so they will provide more grip and traction on your mat.

What should I do if I feel lost or overwhelmed?

We guide you through a safe and soft practice your first time around and in every beginner class. Know that yoga is very visual as a beginner. Look around, see what everyone else is doing. Your teacher will also guide you through the demonstration. It’s always good to listen to your body if you need a break. Childs pose is what we call a ‘rest pose’. To come into this pose bring the knees down to the mat, bring the great toes together, slide the hips toward the heels and sink the torso in between the inner thighs. The forehead touches down and the arms can be stretched long in front of you or down by your sides. You will see many yogis at ALL levels taking this pose for a break for their body. We recommend using this pose frequently as a newbie to the practice. Here you can come back to your breath and surrender until you are ready to rejoin the class.