Building Your Springtime Routine through Yoga, Nutrition, and Sleeping Patterns

Last week we dove into the basic principles of an Ayurvedic approach to spring. We talked about how the kapha dosha is aggravated by qualities that are heavy, cold, or moist, so we encouraged you to begin inviting in lightness, warmth and dryness through the food, activities, and self-care rituals you choose to engage in.

We determined that the best prescription is to develop a rhythm. In this season, you’re looking to identify a set of routines that help you gradually lighten your body, mind, and emotions.

Today, I dive into what your yoga practice, eating habits, and sleeping patterns might look like when following an Ayurvedic approach to spring.

Your Yoga Practice

Your practice this time of year should be stimulating and invigorating. I’ve seen our Yoga Fever instructors begin to ramp up their classes, filling them with high-energy, powerful flows.

However, I highly recommend an inclusion of both yin and yang classes this time of year. Cultivating both strength and flexibility will bring balance to the kapha dosha. Move rapidly through your sequences this time of year, but linger in the moments between. Use those opportunities to slow down and move mindfully.

When practicing at home, try some of these poses:

Sun Salutations- These sequences pump prana – or breath – through your body, filling you with oxygen. Move rapidly through these sequences, linking breath to movement, to relieve stagnation in your body and mind.

Backbends- Any heart opening asana will energize your body. Bridge pose, wheel, and wild thing all expand your chest, relieving any congestion in your respiratory system.

Dynamic forward folds- Whether seated or standing, forward folds tone your kidneys and bladder, regulating your body’s water content and emotions.

Twists- Wringing your body out through a variety of twists – like triangle pose – really detoxifies your organs and strengthens your metabolic fire. Talk about a thorough spring cleaning!

Nutritional Advice

In the winter months, we naturally gravitate toward sweet, sour, or salty foods to counteract the dry qualities of these bitterly cold months. Now that the temperatures are rising, eat lighter foods, focusing on pungent, bitter, and astringent tastes.

Make sure that lunch is your biggest meal of the day, so you’re not forcing your body to digest a large meal during the times of the day when your kapha dosha is sluggish. Also, aim to eat at regular intervals during the day, at least 3-4 hours between meals.

Best foods to eat this season:

Saute leafy greens – kale, collards, dandelion, spinach, or mustard greens – with ghee to cleanse your body and counterbalance congestion.

Opt for less sweet fruits, like cherries, blueberries, grapefruit, or granny smith apples.

Choose seeds instead of nuts.

Barley, quinoa, and millet should be your staple grains.

Kick up your seasoning game with spices like turmeric, ginger, cayenne, mustard, and black pepper.

Adjusting Your Sleeping Patterns

Before the sun reaches its ultimate summer equinox point, take advantage of the darkness and fight the urge to stay up late. You’ll have plenty of time to milk those hours come June.

To keep your kapha dosha in balance, go to bed by 10:00 p.m. and rise before the sun. Have you ever noticed that it’s actually easier to wake up at 5:30 a.m. than 6:30 a.m.? Providing you went to bed early!

When you do wake up, use those hours before the rest of the world wakes to get outside for a brisk walk or incorporate a vigorous yoga practice. We’d love to see you at our 6:00 a.m. hot yoga classes!

Monthly Feature Yoga Pose: Wild Thing

This month, we’re featuring Camatkarasana. You’ve probably heard of this little beauty by one of its nicknames: Wild Thing, Flipping Your Dog, or Flipped Dog. I’ll refer to this yoga pose as Wild Thing for the sake of consistency throughout this post.

Wild Thing is one of those yoga poses where you get to have a little fun, crack a smile, and truly feel the strength and power of your body, while simultaneously adding an element of dance into your practice. While it’s an intermediate-to-advanced pose, it’s one that most of you will be able to work into with practice.

The Process

Make sure to warm up your chest, shoulders, upper back and spine before attempting Wild Thing. Play around in table pose, doing several rounds of Cat and Cow. I also recommend several Sun Salutations to help warm up your body.

Once you have some heat in your hips and shoulders, take the plunge and flip away!

Option 1:

Begin in Downward-Facing Dog. Lift your right leg high into the air, before opening your hips – reaching your knee high to the sky while trying to touch your butt with your heel.

From here, simply open your hip farther and farther until you’re able to drop your right foot to the ground. Your chest should shine open toward the sky as you lift your right arm up, reaching your fingers toward the top of your mat. Hold for several breaths before returning to Downward-Facing Dog.

Option 2:

Begin in Plank position. Rotate into Side Plank, with your left hand on the ground and your right foot stacked upon the left.

Slowly bend your right leg, setting it on the ground behind you with your legs hip-width apart. Reach your right arm overhead, again stretching your fingers toward the top of your mat.

From here, lift your pelvis and chest upward, letting your head and neck relax. Hold for several rounds of breath before exiting into Downward-Facing Dog.

Requirements

Wild Thing requires you to focus on establishing stability in your shoulder girdle. You must hug the muscular energy of your bottom hip and spine inward, while radiating energy out through your chest and raised arm.

Cautions

If you have ever experienced shoulder injuries, you may want to avoid this pose. Other injuries to watch out for are a hurt rotator cuff or carpal tunnel syndrome. It’s completely acceptable to skip this pose, as it’s always offered as an optional extension from Downward Dog or Side Plank. It’s more important to honor and respect your body’s limitations. While some poses, like Wild Thing, are fun for certain yogis, you need to respect your past injuries and do what’s right for you.

Modifications

As this is an optional pose in yoga practices, there aren’t any true modifications. If it doesn’t feel right for your body, skip it and hang out where you’re at. However, if you’ve simply never tried it, flag your instructor over for guidance while you experiment!

Variations

If you have a rigorous back-bending practice, it’s possible to transition from Wild Thing all the way to a Full Wheel. To do this variation, you’ll need to reach your upper arm all the way to the floor, with your fingers pointed toward your feet. If you can do this, lift the hand that was already on the ground and flip it, too, so your fingers point toward your feet. Once both hands are properly aligned on the ground, you’re there!

If you have healthy shoulders and a strong, supple spine, I challenge each of you to bravely Flip Your Dog this month. When you hear your instructor call the cue, bravely take the plunge, radiating your heart to the sky and soaking in the goodness of your body’s power!

Cooling Yoga Poses for Your Summer Practice

Somehow we’re already in the middle of summer – can you believe that?! While it’s wonderful to be able to spend time at the beach, swimming in the pool, or taking long bike rides, there are times where it feels too hot for words, for life, for ANYTHING. Don’t let the heat slow you down too much. Let us show you a few techniques Ayurveda style to stay cool to beat the heat without losing your glow.

The heat of summer matters in our yoga sphere, as it tends to accelerate and heat our minds and bodies. This doesn’t mean that we should stop our regular yoga practice. In fact, our studio room is cooler than it is outside!!

According to Ayurveda, which is the traditional Hindu system of medicine based on the idea of balance in bodily systems, summer inspires the pitta dosha. The doshas are the bodily humors that create our unique, individual constitution. Fiery pitta energy dominates our environment in the summer (and some regularly all year long), which means we should be especially mindful of balancing this energy with our own cooling energy. The way we eat, the way we feel, and the way we maintain the layers of our being all can change according to seasonality.

Choose Yoga Poses that Release Heat

Try to incorporate the following categories of poses into your summer yoga practice.
Spinal twists: Twisting poses release excess pitta from your mid-abdomen.  Try seated spinal twist.
Gentle backbends: While some backbends build heat, gentle ones apply slight pressure to release tension from your mid-abdomen. Try baby cobra or cat-cow.
Forward folds: These physically cool the body and calm the mind and are essential to counteracting the heating qualities of more intense backbends. Try uttanasana or child’s pose.

Try a Gentler Approach

Certain yoga poses can help release pitta heat, but you don’t need to give up your favorite poses in order to stay balanced.

Keep these three pointers in mind as you practice the rest of this summer:

  1. Pace yourself during practice. Perform the more strenuous poses, such as sun salutations, more slowly and take longer breaths per pose.
  2. Focus on long, cooling breaths, rather than the intensity of your poses. Try for long exhalations, including the occasional open-mouthed lion’s breath to refresh your body.
  3. End on a slow note. Even if you practice more actively at the beginning of your session, be sure to end with a period of slow, cooling poses before finishing in savasana.

Don’t Forget the Cooling Foods

Ayurveda also focuses on balancing your food diet with the changing seasons, which means cooling off during the summer heat.

Always trust your body’s instincts, but I’d recommend focusing on these tips:
Eat vegetables and fruits with a high water content, such as melons, cucumbers, and leafy greens.
Avoid dehydration by drinking electrolyte-enhanced water or coconut water.
Certain herbs – mint, cilantro, cumin, and coriander – can actually reduce the pitta dosha.

Interested in learning more about Ayurveda or maybe what your constitution is (we all have one!!)? We will be offering a workshop in October and it is also incorporated into our teacher training program which starts in September. Contact the studio for more info or apply for teacher training (early bird pricing ends July 31) here: APPLY NOW

7 Days of Self Commitment – Instagram Challenge

I’m excited to announce a fantastic new challenge for all you wonderful yogis: an Instagram challenge! The “7 Days of Self Commitment” challenge encourages each of you to take great strides toward self-care and physical and mental growth.

Why We’re Passionate about Self Commitment

There’s something so satisfactory about serving others, but many of us experience the downside of that – we end up feeling exhausted and burned out, sometimes resentful of the commitments we’ve made. If this sounds familiar, I’m guessing there’s one important person left out of your giving: YOU!

When life gets busy, self-care is often the first thing we sacrifice. Many of us believe that taking time for ourselves in the middle of chaos feels indulgent, but caring for our well-being is actually essential. Enough is enough, friends! It is time to commit to caring for ourselves as intensely and passionately as we care for our friends, family, jobs, and hobbies.

Self-care looks different for everyone. It could mean dancing with friends or retreating to solitude at the lake; eating healthy or eating a special treat; practicing yoga or going for a run. It’s important to look carefully at the ideas other people recommend to determine if they’re the right suggestions for you.

Regardless of what collection works for you, the gap I often see between self-care and self-depletion is commitment. We must fiercely commit to self-care as an essential practice to living a wholehearted life.

Through our 7 Days of Self Commitment challenge, we will all collectively support and encourage each other toward a committed, consistent self-care experience. We’ll show up daily for ourselves, refusing to let neglect interrupt our commitment to the most important person in our lives. We’ll honor our strengths and acknowledge our weaknesses. We’ll push ourselves to try new poses while also allowing our bodies to seek the poses they need each day.

Dates: May 7th – May 14th
Sponsored by Athleta & Yoga Fever

Daily Challenges:

Day 1 – Commitment to Practice: Share your favorite yoga pose. We’d love to hear what you love about it too!
Day 2 – Commitment to Mind: Post a meditative yoga pose.
Day 3 – Commitment to Growth: Let’s hear about a yoga pose that is difficult for you but you want to progress in.
Day 4 – Commitment to Body: What is a yoga pose you have never done before?
Day 5 – Commitment to Strength: What yoga pose makes you feel powerful?
Day 6 – Commitment to Soul: Share any yoga pose you need in your practice today.
Day 7 – Commitment to Self: Conclude the challenge with a yoga pose that celebrates your unique strengths and weaknesses. I’m eager to see the variety!

Simple Rules to Enter | Make the Commitment

  • Follow all hosts and @athleta
  • Post your daily picture or video with the hashtag #iamcommitted #athletaGR #teamfever
  • Follow all hosts on Instagram: @yogafevergr @brittanydeeyogi @claireamin @yogaerina @gbrockmanyoga @yogerina @katmak_yoga
  • Repost the challenge flyer, which will be found both in the studio and on our own Instagram page (@yogafevergr).
  • For 7 Days, team Yoga Fever is making a commitment to focus and celebrate our: yoga practice, mind, body, soul, growth, strength, and self.

Winner will be chosen at random and receives:
$50 Gift Card to Athleta
Reusable shopping bag from Athleta
Yoga Fever Muscle Tank

 

All About AcroYoga

Acroyoga is the newest experience that’s taking Yoga Fever by storm. Simply put, it’s a form of partner yoga that combines yoga, acrobatics, and Thai massage. Among the two-person team, the person doing the lifter is called the base and the person being lifted is the flyer. We like to keep an instructor on hand to act as spotter too.

Why We Love Acroyoga:

This joyful practice is about having fun and challenging your body and mind in a new, fresh way. Often, we get so stuck in our daily rut of work, household chores, and family responsibilities that we fail to bring play and joy into our lives. And, let’s face it, we can take our yoga practice very seriously at times.

But in acroyoga, laughter is a regular, consistent component, brought together by the natural playfulness of bringing two energies together on one mat. The great thing about acroyoga is that it’s a form of building each other up – in the most literal sense.

Acroyoga is for Everyone (No Experience is Required):

One of the first responses we hear when holding an acroyoga class is “I could never do that!” Actually, YES you can. Just like traditional yoga, acro accepts you where you are and guides you through the necessary building blocks at whatever pace you need. Sure, some background with flexibility and strength makes the physicality of acro easier, but it’s definitely not a requirement. Acroyoga is physically demanding, but the communication you have with your partner is equally as important to helping you be successful.

The Best Partner for Acroyoga:

You may think that larger people do the lifting and smaller people do the flying; or that men lift and women fly. Not necessarily the case. You’ll find that technique is much more important than strength.

Honestly, the best partner in acroyoga is someone you can laugh with! I totally understand the intimidation factor that comes with this practice, so having an adventure buddy by your side will help you take that leap into an exciting new world of play and fitness. Whether it’s a stranger turned best friend, a significant other, or a sister – whoever you have the most fun with will be your best acro partner.

The Biggest Challenge in Acroyoga:

Hands down, the biggest challenge students of acroyoga face is trust. Our society is conditioned to tackle our tasks independently, stubbornly refusing to rely on others. Acro flips that norm on its head, creating a fun, safe space to return to the basics of what makes a strong community. You’re forced to have faith in one another, clearly and directly communicate your needs, learn to work together, and then fly – together.

Not only will you learn to trust your own strength and balance, but you’ll learn to extend that faith to another person. You have to give up some control when flying, but surrendering to the balance of your base offers a peace you can’t get anywhere else.

Are You Ready to Fly?

We’re hosting our next Acroyoga 101 for Beginners class on March 2 from 5:30-7:00 p.m (not a heated class). In this partner based offering, we’ll explore basic stretches and partner drills, along with therapeutic flying, simple L basing, and standing poses. Rest assured, you will also learn partner safety and how to spot these poses with others! This 90-minute workshop is all about having fun and allowing yourself to play with new friends and old. Bring your sweetie, friend, or brother and let’s freakin’ fly!

 

5 New Year’s Resolutions for a Happier, Healthier You

Happy New Year, friends! I hope you all enjoyed a relaxing and joyful holiday season and are feeling physically, emotionally, and spiritually refueled. As you enter this new year of possibilities, I hope you take a few moments to thoughtfully consider your goals for 2018.

If you find it difficult to think of your new resolutions or are feeling discouraged about your capability to follow through with them, read on. We pulled together a list of five creative resolution categories – and we’re ready and willing to help you stay motivated this year.

Meditate- The practice of meditation truly brings out the best of you. It makes you wiser, sharpens your intellect, and boosts your energy. For us yogis, meditation will always require continual effort, for it takes work to commit to the difficult necessity of this craft. Since meditation is a cornerstone of a healthy life, incorporating it into your daily schedule is a great way to reduce stress this year. And that’s something ALL of us can relate to!

Make Time for Nature- A great first step to this intention would be committing yourself to spend more time outdoors this year. Leave the tech in your house and go for a weekly bike ride or pack a picnic and walk to your nearest park. Even this winter season, embrace your inner kiddo and go sledding or take a snowy walk to your neighborhood cafe. This unhurried time with nature provides bursts of intuition and creates head space for you to focus on your short- and long-term goals. To go even further, make it your goal to leave this earth a safe space to breathe for generations to come by planting a tree or conserving water.

Serve | Seva- Yoga philosophy encourages oneness and service, so consider a resolution based in giving back. Why not gather a group of yogis in your community and volunteer for a service project. It’s as easy as cleaning up your neighborhood, planting a community garden, or taking turns shoveling neighbors’ driveways.

Write More Often- The act of writing is one of the most creative and cathartic abilities we possess. And the great thing is, anyone can do it. Sure, you might not produce poetry or a novel anytime soon, but who’s stopping you from doing some daily journaling? Try writing down three things that bring you joy at the end of each day, or jot down interesting quotes or nuggets of info you hear during the day, followed by a few sentences of the feelings they evoked. As your thoughts pour onto paper, you’ll discover a healthy release of emotions and insecurities, helping you love yourself better and ditch that negative self-talk.

Introduce Yoga to Your Friends- Not all resolutions need to be so self-centered either. I encourage you to include your circle of friends in your plans for a happy and healthy new year. Consider how far you’ve come since you first began practicing yoga, including all the benefits it has had on your physical and mental wellness. Wouldn’t you like to spread the joy yoga brings you with your personal tribe? Take advantage of our affordable community classes to introduce a buddy to yoga or if you’re on a membership, you receive 2 free yoga passes for friends who have never been.

As you consider your resolutions for 2018, remember that they may take time to accomplish or to turn into a habit. Anyone can set a resolution, but committing to them is the real test. I suggest writing down your list of resolutions and placing it somewhere you can see them every day. Good luck yogis!

What are your resolutions this year? Please share in the comments below – we’d love to hear from you!

STILLNESS

Interestingly enough, one of the reasons we practice poses, or ‘asanas,’ in yoga is to help our bodies become supple enough to do the opposite: to sit in stillness and meditation. 

Take a minute to think about the last time you sat in complete stillness, without wondering what you were going to cook for dinner or how you were going to accomplish all your weekend activities. We’ve talked before on the blog about busyness and the way yoga can decrease stress, depression, and anxiety, but today I want to focus on one of the hardest components of yoga: stillness. 

Stillness is a skill. And like any skill, it takes practice. 

WHY IS IT SO DIFFICULT TO BE STILL?

Often, we’re instructed to “relax” and sink into a resting pose. As many of us can attest, “just relaxing” is a complex request. When we stop thinking about our breath, legs, core, and post-yoga plans, all kinds of scary thoughts can creep up to the surface. Mindful stillness is so challenging, you guys – even for the most experienced yogis.  

Over time, our busy lives leave us feeling exhausted, frustrated, and out of control. Yet, being alone with our deeper thoughts can be painful – so we tend to do whatever necessary to avoid moments of stillness. We add in activities and accept additional projects at work; we watch tv or turn on music when we’re home alone. While none of these activities are wrong in themselves, refusing to grant ourselves moments of genuine rest reduces our coping skills, sense of self, and even our relationships. 

HOW CAN WE PRACTICE STILLNESS?

This is why we infuse our yoga practice with moments of rest. We use child’s pose, sukhasana (an easy seat), mountain pose, and, of course, savasana to coax our bodies into stillness. Yes, it’s great to get active, to warm up the body, and to get nice and sweaty, but it’s equally important to do the opposite: create quiet and peace within the body.

The pause we take during these poses is not about falling asleep, hanging out, or waiting for the next movement. The pause is designed to foster a full awareness of our body and the way things are right now. We witness our breath flowing through our limbs, the way our heart beats, and the changes and evolutions that our bodies and minds go through.

When we do this, we experience an emotional release – from the day, from our stress or anxieties, from difficult relationships, and any multitude of other daily circumstances.

CREATING STILLNESS OFF THE MAT

Though we often are forced into moments of stillness when we step onto our mat, we don’t always allow our bodies and minds to totally obey, still retracting to those pesky thoughts and concerns. Not only do we each have room to improve on the mat, but we also need to put this into practice in our daily lives.

I know, adding time into your daily life for stillness sounds daunting if not downright impossible. Start small, with only five minutes of focused inactivity. Maybe you set your alarm for five minutes earlier each morning and spend some time in meditation or prayer. Or block out a five minute break at work and find an empty room with no distractions. Or commit to staying off your phone in the half hour leading up to bedtime to make stillness at night easier. 

Whatever you attempt, remember that your mind will continually try to rebel – but with practice you can help quiet it. 

 

Find time for rest. You totally deserve it.

 

What is Buti Yoga Anyway?

Do you ever have a sudden urge to throw on your favorite song and dance around the room? Are you tired of putting yourself through grueling workout sessions just to lose weight? Are you ready to experiment with a fierce new combination of yoga, strength, and cardio? 

If this sounds like you, wait until you learn about Buti yoga. It will rock your world!

WHAT IS BUTI YOGA?

Buti yoga is a unique practice, known for it’s cardio-intensive bursts of tribal dance, primal movement, and conditioning. Created by celebrity trainer Bizzie Gold, it’s designed to offer a calorie-scorching, body-sculpting, and dynamic yoga practice. 

I’m not going to lie. When I first heard about Buti yoga, I was intimidated. It sounds intense, right? But once I learned more, and watched a few videos, I discovered I was really intrigued to try this soulful and playful form of exercise. 

The word ‘buti’ is a Marathi Indian term for “the cure to something that’s been hidden away or kept secret.” The movement involved in a Buti class is designed to help everyone develop body confidence. It will help you fall in love with your workout, break through emotional and physical barriers, and transform your body. 

WHAT ARE THE PHYSICAL BENEFITS OF BUTI?

As I mentioned, Buti yoga is a physically-demanding sweat session. Yet, it’s approachable for all-levels. Just as in our regular yoga classes, you’ll begin where you are and grow at your own pace. 

In a Buti class, you can expect explosive movements, a quick pace, killer ab sequences, and lots of upbeat music – there’s nothing dainty about this practice! However, it will allow you to kick all that repetitive weight lifting, sit-ups, and elliptical work to the curb. The infectious group energy, filled with hoots, hollers, and lots of movement, will carry you through the experience. 

HOW IS BUTI UNIQUE?

In Bizzie Gold’s creation, the signature strengthening approach is called Spiral Structure Technique (SST). The major movements you’ll do in Buti are designed to activate all of the abdominal muscle groups. While most crunches and ab exercises only target the front part of the core, the reality is our abdomen is cylindrical. This method will build lean, strong muscles.

WHAT ABOUT THE EMOTIONAL BENEFITS OF BUTI?

The movement involved in Buti yoga focuses on removing obstacles to our first and second chakras. The power that originates in these chakras often gets muted, resulting in tight hips and closed minds. Buti yoga follows the lead of many cultures – such as Native American and African tribes, that have dance rituals using hip and pelvic spiraling. So in Buti, you’ll sweat with intention, seeking both physical and emotional benefits.

GOT ANY TIPS FOR ME?

Wear yoga clothes and prepare to sweat – A LOT (no heat is even necessary!!). Drink water before, during, and after the process. Obey your body when it needs a break; it’s always okay to take a different movement or pose, or to simply rest. Share energy, strength, and a few giggles with your tribe (aka, your classmates). 

Most importantly, you’re gonna have to leave your judgment at the door. Yes, you’ll be doing some movements you’ve never done before. And yes, it’s going to feel weird and scary at first. But if you can commit to celebrating yourself exactly as you are in this moment, you’ll find a community of fellow warriors willing to lift you up. 

At some point, you’ll stop wondering what everyone thinks of your gyrations and simply enjoy the freedom to move in new ways. Though you may not instantly love everything about your body, I have a feeling you’ll feel much more at ease with yourself.

HOW CAN I TRY BUTI?

BUTI is on our schedule every Friday night at YF at 6P. Hosted by Team Fever, Brittany SanAugustin, it will be a great introduction to this fierce, booty-kicking experience. We’ll all experiment together, creating our very own tribe. Sign up today – space is limited!
 

Tips to Help You Stay Healthy this Fall

After some truly bizarre late-October weather, I think it’s safe to say fall is finally here and shoot, winter is seriously sneaking up on us! It’s time to break out the cozy sweaters, go apple picking, and watch some football. However, this time of year can be tough on our health habits. It often becomes harder to stay active and eat healthy, not to mention the looming threats of flu season and holiday overload.

So, how can you maintain your steady exercise, eating, and other health habits during this new season? I have a couple ideas I’ll share that work well for me. What others would you add?

Get Outside– I actually find it easier to exercise in the fall; the cooler weather means less risk of dehydration and sweating profusely. Take advantage of exercising outside before winter arrives! It can be as simple as a bike ride around town or a pick-up game of football. You could also set a step goal, then encourage yourself to hit it. Try taking a walk after dinner or doing laps around the office periodically. 

Be a Smart Sports Fan– For those of you who enjoy watching sports, fall means that on any given day you can pick between football, baseball, hockey, and basketball. Even those who have limited knowledge of the rules still generally get excited for tailgates and Saturday afternoons with friends and some great appetizers. The problem comes when we overindulge in beer, chicken wings, and chili queso. Don’t let the fall sports season ruin your nutritional plans. Opt for making a veggie platter or ground turkey burgers instead of the fattier options. Your friends will be thankful for a healthier alternative too!

Take it Easy on the Pumpkin Spice Latte– Starbucks, and other brands, have been advertising this sweet fall drink for weeks now – did anyone watch that hilarious Facebook Live? In recent years, pumpkin spice has been all the rave and for good reason. What more can you ask of a warm, cozy, sweet, and nostalgic autumn beverage? However, they’re sky-high in fat and sugar, which adds up to hundreds of calories. If you just can’t say no to the occasional PSL, make your drink slightly healthier by selecting low- or non-fat milk, say no to the whipped cream, and ask for less flavor syrup. Otherwise, cinnamon is a great fall spice with its own health benefits that you could use instead of the sweetener.

Embrace Seasonal Superfoods– Just because the summer mecca of fruits and veggies is over, doesn’t mean you have to start eating poorly. Fall is actually a great time to load up on local superfoods. Consider taking a walk (or drive) to the Fulton Street Farmers Market to stock up on fresh produce. Apples are the easiest grab-and-go snack in the world. And pumpkins are good for more than just carving. They’re jam-packed with immune-boosting vitamin A and can be mashed, roasted, turned into soup, or used in baking. Sweet potatoes are chock-full of disease-preventing, cancer-fighting, and immune-boosting benefits. But put down the marshmallows when making them. Instead, bake them for 45 minutes and pile high with turkey and black bean chili, or loaded with kale and white beans! 

Live Aligned with the Season– Give yourself permission to alter your lifestyle. Whereas summer means never-ending activity, these shorter days and longer nights are a great excuse to work on your self-care. Make time to relax at home, under your favorite blanket. Maybe you start writing the book you always wanted to start, or enjoy extra time reading with your kids. Perhaps you decide to complete a home-improvement project, or just watch a good TV show! Allow autumn to be a chance to nurture yourself – seriously!

Commit to Your Yoga Practice– Whew! No more days of leaving the hot yoga room to an equally hot temperature outside. Honestly, hot yoga can be even more enjoyable when you know you have a warm place to look forward to on these chillier days. This fall, I’m committed to setting (and following) various health goals, such as the ones above. My last challenge to you, dear reader, is to set a goal for your yoga practice. Maybe you want to increase your visits to Yoga Fever: commit to attending 20 times in the next month. Maybe you’re feeling brave and want to experiment with inversions: suggest this goal to your instructor before class or ask for some pointers afterward. Or maybe you want to improve your mind-body relationship: think carefully of one intention that you can meditate on for the month.

Here’s to a happy and healthy season!
 

Coming Soon: Special Class with Girish

Going Deeper with Live Music

I’m a huge believer in the power of music paired with yoga practice – that’s why we play vibrational, yogic inspired music during all of our classes. But today I want to talk about something even more exciting: live music and yoga! 

I’ll highlight four (of many) reasons why merging live music with a yoga class creates such an enlightening experience.

Sets the tone of the practice– Think about the different styles of music you throw on with each kind of workout. Weightlifters might choose rock or rap, something with a strong beat to motivate them to lift rep after rep. Runners may select an uplifting pop song they can sing along to in their head to keep them from becoming bored on a long-distance route. Music plays a significant role in setting our mood. So, a sensitive live musician creates the perfect atmosphere for a yoga class to help us open our heart.

Allows for modifications– When I have a live musician following my guidance, I have the freedom to modify the class whenever I desire. For instance, I might decide to pause a flow to spend extra time teaching my students the proper form of a chaturanga. The musician, following my lead, will likely play softer to accommodate this valuable teaching moment, before picking the volume up to signal the students’ successful achievement. I love how student learning is magnified when my message is clearly expressed.

Pulls you deeper into your practice– I’m sure you’ve all experienced the difference between a live concert and a recorded song. Think back to the best concert or performance you’ve ever been to. Did you get goosebumps when the musician hit a high note? Did you close your eyes and breathe in the beauty of the moment? When it comes to yoga, listening to a live musician increases our sensitivity to our own gifts and strengths. We’re able to move deeper into the poses and reflect more clearly on our intentions. 

Supports musical artists– The more often we’re able to bring live musicians into our yoga studios, the more opportunities there are for local and global musicians to demonstrate their amazing craft. Why not support these hard-working and creative artists by bringing yoga and music together?

Well… I’m about to practice what I preach!  I’m thrilled to announce a special class coming to Yoga Fever this November. The famous yogi and musician, Girish, is coming to Grand Rapids to join us for a one-of-a-kind yoga session.

For as long as he can remember, Girish has been creating rhythm to accompany his life. While playing with jazz bands in college, he recalls: “During improvisational sessions there were these unexplainable moments of synchronicity and intuition that felt like magic.” 

This realization led him down an unexpected road to live as a monk for five years. There he studied Sanskrit, which led him to start combining music with Sanskrit chants. Now he revels in sharing what he has learned to help people of all ages, backgrounds, and traditions transform their bodies, brains, and lives through mantra and music.

Through the combination of yoga practice and beautiful live music, this 90-minute (not heated) vinyasa class is sure to leave you uplifted and renewed. Sign up today for the November 19th class – it is almost SOLD OUT.

 

Reserve your space today here:  www.yogafevergr.com/pricing