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Do I have to be flexible to practice yoga?

This week, I’m starting a series on common yoga myths. Ask any yoga teacher, and they’ll easily share a handful of questions or excuses they often hear as to why new students think yoga isn’t right for them.

Perhaps the most common one is the belief that you have to be flexible before ever setting foot on a yoga mat.

And I really can’t blame you for thinking this! Take a look at any Instagram account or magazine cover and you’ll see yogis bent into ridiculously perfect poses.

Enough.

Thinking you have to be flexible to try yoga is like saying you have to be in shape to go to the gym or know how to cook to take a cooking class. The truth is, practicing yoga regularly will help you become more flexible over time.

But it’s called practice for a reason. You have to start somewhere!

I simply ask that you give it a try, commit to a regular practice (2-3 times per week to start), and stay patient. Also, take the following pieces of advice to heart.

Tips for building flexibility through yoga

Befriend your props: Props – including straps, blocks, and blankets – are not just for beginners. Smart yogis use them on any given day for a number of reasons. One is to bring the ground closer to you to release strain on your hamstrings. A second is they allow you to rest in restorative poses to tone down the intensity of certain shapes. Make it a habit to grab props before each and every class.

Develop a stretching routine: Everyone has certain body parts that are far tighter than others. Maybe it’s your hamstrings, hips, shoulders, or neck. To avoid common yoga injuries as you build flexibility and strength, identify which body parts are your weaknesses. Then target those daily with a small handful of stretches. Learn to identify the difference between sensation and pain.

Breathe through your muscles: Even and sustained breathing brings oxygen into your muscles. I’ve found that many new yogis notice the loud, even breaths of their neighbors throughout class and wonder “Do I have to do this too?” Yes, absolutely! A strong breath practice not only keeps you energized throughout class but also sends oxygen into the places you need it most.

Feel the heat: While you can certainly practice yoga anywhere, the reason we crank the heat in our studio is that it loosens your muscles, making it easier to build flexibility without causing injury. This means two things. One, don’t push too far in a heated space, as your muscles might be deceiving you. Two, accept the fact that you won’t feel quite as flexible in a colder space as you do in our studio.

Very few yoga students walk into their first class wildly flexible. But that’s okay because flexibility isn’t the main goal of yoga anyway. Yoga helps you practice mindfulness, live in the present, and increase your self-confidence.

Flexibility is certainly a perk of steady yoga practice, but it shouldn’t be a fear that keeps you away from ever stepping onto your mat.

Tips for Creating Your Ideal Meditation Space

Interestingly, one of the main reasons we practice an active form of yoga is to help our bodies become capable of doing the opposite: sitting in stillness and meditation. This time of year, as we enter the busyness of holidays, parties, shopping, and cooking, I always find myself craving a quiet and meditative outlet.

As a small business owner, I know as well as anyone the challenges of finding a time and space to rest. To breathe, to think, to relax, and to unwind. I know that adding time into your daily life for stillness sounds daunting, if not downright impossible.

Yet, spending time in stillness each day provides the opportunity to pay attention to our own, individual experience. This, in turn, lets us bring intentional awareness into our daily activities. Think of your formal meditation sessions, whether in studio or at home, as the training that allow us to be more present in our own lives.

So, today I want to share some of my tips for creating a meditation space that you can call home in both the good days and the bad ones, whether you’re seeking joyful meditation or a place of solace.

Find a place that feels secure.

What I’ve found absolutely critical to successful meditation is finding a place where you feel secure enough to open your mind to this practice. Whether that’s a designated room in your house, the floor of your bathroom, a corner with a folding screen, or your yoga studio, find a place that feels sacred to you.

Add beauty into your space.

Meditation at its core is about removing the barriers and obstacles that keep our minds in a state of frenzy. So, I highly recommend that you keep your area simple and uncluttered, like our peaceful and clean space at Yoga Fever. Choose a few items that bring peace and serenity. Some great options include: a pillow, statue, artwork, mat, throw rug, curtains, or natural light.

Create a lovely aroma.

Incense, essential oils, or candles not only help you stay focused but also provide beautiful and soothing energy. In the studio, we often will waft an essential oil throughout the room during savasana. Additionally, candles offer the extra perk of providing a meditative flicker of the flame. Try our Wednesday night candlelit yoga class if you don’t yet understand the beauty and peace of this particular idea!

Soothe your soul with music.

While this piece isn’t necessary, and won’t fit everyone’s preference, I love playing soothing music during my time of meditation. Really, any style of music that brings you tranquility and peace will do. Alternatively, you could consider adding a small fountain if you’re practicing at home.

If you think about it, the spaces in our homes are often classified by the activities that we do in each of them. We have spaces for eating, cooking, sleeping, and playing. Some of us have other areas for entertaining, exercising, reading, or painting. But sometimes it’s important to have spaces in our homes that we create simply to be in them.

Perhaps we can think of our meditation space, whether in studio or at home, as simply our being room. It’s a safe, sacred retreat on bad days and a place to center ourselves each morning. I challenge you to identify some space, anywhere, that you can dedicate to meditation. The more time you spend there, the more you’ll want to return.

Building Heat in the Body with the Practice of Yoga

When we’re cold, our circulation decreases, which leads to constriction in the muscles and joints. Though I know how tempting it can be to avoid the snowy roads and stay snuggled up on your cozy couch, winter weather is actually one of the best times to keep up a consistent yoga practice. Through our practice, we develop an internal heat to keep us warm, happy, and healthy.

I suggest focusing on four specific practices this season: develop strong, consistent breath; work those abs until they burn; consume Ayurveda-friendly warm, seasonal foods and get yourself to the nearest hot yoga room.

Strong Breath

Kapalabhati is a cleansing breath technique in which you start in a comfortable seated position with a tall spine. Draw in a long inhale, then exhale forcefully from your lower belly. Continue pushing breath outward in this way without inhaling – the inhale happens naturally, I promise!

Focus on exhaling over and over again, starting with a steady pace before moving faster. After about 20 repetitions, exhale all your air out and draw in another deep breath. Slowly sigh it out. You can repeat this breathing style twice more, allowing for that important rested breath between rounds.

This breathing style removes carbon dioxide from your lungs and brings energy into your body.

Core Strength

Heat is created from your body’s furnace, located in the belly center. In yoga, we call this area the Manipura chakra, which is connected to the element of fire. Any work done in your core area will provide warmth. In the winter, we like to spend time prepping the body before diving into the more difficult core exercises.

We may start with abdominal exercises that keep the spine fully supported by the floor. We’ll move into a couple rounds of Locust pose, while focusing on a very regulated breath. You’ll often find yourself in navasana (boat pose) later in class. Seated forward folds are sometimes used in the cooling portion of class, as we focus on contracting the belly on each exhale.

Nutritional Support

The sister science of yoga, Ayurveda, states that “like attracts like.” This means that the kapha and vata doshas tend to become aggravated during our dark, cold Michigan winters. The climate is simply too similar to their natural qualities. If you’re finding yourself experiencing many colds, poor circulation, joint pains, or negative emotions, try some of these tips.

Definitely eat plenty of soups, stews, cooked vegetables, and grains. Avoid cold salads and sandwiches.

Start your day with a hearty, warm breakfast to feed your digestive fire. Oatmeal is a great option.

Season your foods with warming spices, such as cinnamon, black pepper, cumin, and nutmeg.

Drink warm teas, hot water with lemon, or dry red wine to encourage circulation and stimulate digestion.

If you naturally tend to eat warmer, heartier foods in the winter – like soup, stir fry, casserole, quiches, pasta – you’re on the right track! While our bodies are designed to eat more in the winter, it’s still important to select your food carefully.

The cold, dry, and dark winter months can certainly tempt us away from our practice – and excercise in general. If we fall victim to that temptation, though, we’ll experience a number of negative consequences. I challenge you this winter to use your yoga practice as a means of caring for your entire being. Challenge yourself to practice a certain amount of days each week. For at least 60 minutes, you’ll be incredibly warm and fiery!

If you would like to learn more about building heat in the body using the sister science of yoga, Ayurveda, please visit Laura Burkett at Real Food Wellness.

Hot Yoga Studio

The hot yoga studio creates a sauna like atmosphere that will naturally detoxify the body while warming the external sheath, bones, muscles, ligaments and joints. Hot yoga raises your heart rate and core temperature, which dilates blood vessels and increases circulation in your muscles—a total win when muscles are stiffer in the cold weather months. Essentially, hot yoga helps build the heat from the core to the periphery and the periphery back to the core.

If you’re interested in learning more about our hot yoga studio, please call(616) 805-3603 and speak to Brittany Sanagustin or anyone on the Yoga Fever staff. We can help guide you into a safe, cozy practice designed to keep you warm all year long!

Introducing Kundalini Yoga

Have you heard of Kundalini??

We’re excited to announce an Intro to Kundalini workshop, coming to Yoga Fever on Friday, November 2 from 7:00 – 8:10 p.m.

What is Kundalini Yoga?

“The primary objective of Kundalini is to awaken the full potential of human awareness in each individual; that is, recognize our awareness, refine that awareness, and expand that awareness to our unlimited Self. Clear any inner duality, create the power to deeply listen, cultivate inner stillness, and prosper and deliver excellence in all that we do.” – Kundalini Research Institute

Yoga itself has dozens of variations in philosophy and style. Some are structured as a physical workout while others put a strong emphasis on meditation. Kundalini is a little of both – an uplifting blend of spiritual and physical practices that incorporates movement, dynamic breath, meditation, and chanting of mantras. Its aim is to awaken higher consciousness in its practitioner by activating energy centers throughout the body.

In Sanskrit, the word “Kundalini” means “coiled snake.” Early Eastern religions believed that everyone possesses a divine energy at the base of the spine. It’s something we’re born with, but we each must strive to uncoil it. Through Kundalini, we turn potential energy into kinetic energy, awakening our Higher Self.

3 Practical Reasons to Try Kundalini Yoga:

Often referred to as the “yoga of awareness,” Kundalini focuses on the expansion of your sensory awareness. It is one of the most powerful and complete yoga practices you’ll encounter, as it creates an aligned relationship between the body, mind, and soul.

Building Awareness Will Expand Your Life: Kundalini yoga is designed to strengthen your intuition and willpower. As you unravel the energy within you, you’ll gain awareness and an improved presence in the world, resulting in new opportunities and experiences.

Discover the Magic Outside of Your Comfort Zone: Kundalini combines so many elements, from stretching to breath work to sound meditations. The spontaneous nature of each class will keep you light on your feet and ready for anything.

Find Your Voice and Share with the World: Kundalini yoga helps us find our voice and discover the courage to use it kindly and effectively.

Don’t worry if you’ve never heard of, or practiced, this form of yoga before. As always, Kundalini asks that you honor yourself, move at your own pace, and listen to your body’s needs – asking for adjustments and modifications when necessary.

You don’t want to miss this exciting workshop! Join us on Friday, November 2 from 7:00 – 8:10 p.m. for our Intro to Kundalini class. You’ll engage in a short movement practice with various Kundalini exercises, finishing with a healing sound meditation to relieve stress and anxiety.

What is Ayurveda?

Ayurveda: The Sister Science to Yoga

Ayurveda is India’s ancient system of health and healing. It differs from modern medicine in that every individual is considered unique – and there is no common diet or lifestyle routine that will work for everyone.

Ayurveda is based on the principles of three doshas: Pitta, Vata, and Kapha. Doshas are the energy patterns that make up each individual person. This science teaches that each individual contains specific mental and physical traits that compose our constitution.

Although we’re born with all three of the doshas, they form differently in each of us, creating a unique combination that makes us exactly who we are! Generally, one dosha tends to influence us most heavily.

Characteristics of Each Dosha

VataThis represents cold, dry, and light. It is the force that controls our movement, regulates our nervous system, and oversees the elimination of waste. People with strong vata dosha are creative, quick to learn and grasp knowledge. They are excitable but tend to tire easily.

However, when this energy is out of balance, they may experience fear, anxiety, and impulses. They generally have dry skin and hair.

Pitta- This represents hot, wet, and combustive. It is the force that controls our digestion and metabolism. People with a predominance of pitta tolerate most foods, but can’t handle missing a meal. They tend to have an average body build, are good speakers, organize well, and are ambitious.

If their pitta gets out of balance, they lean toward irritability, outbursts of anger, and perfectionism. Typical physical problems include rashes, heartburn, insomnia, or dry eyes.

Kapha- This represents cold, wet, and heavy. It is the protective force that governs stability, structure, and moisture in our mind and body. Kapha types are usually affectionate, loving, and nonjudgmental. They tend toward slow speech, which reflects their deliberate thought process. They are calm and strive to maintain harmony in their relationships.

A lack of balance can lead to feelings of envy, insecurity, and depression. Their physical problems can include colds, congestion, and respiratory problems.

What are the Benefits of Ayurveda?

For all doshas, asana practice complements the positive aspect of our dosha while teaching us what we need to do to bring it into balance. For example, daily routine connects Vata types to the earth, boosting strength and stability. For Kapha individuals, it brings light and warmth to increase your energy and reduce lethargy. For strong Pitta types, it offers breath awareness to bring peace to your mind.

Are you ready to learn more? Join us on Saturday, September 22 from 12:00-3:00 p.m. for a fun, life-affirming class on Ayurveda, the sister science to yoga. Together we’ll explore how Ayurveda helps us uncover self-care and nutritional practices that honor our uniqueness. You’ll discover ways to improve your sleep, digestion, weight regulation, and natural detoxification.

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

All About Blocks

Let’s celebrate summer with a block party! No, not the kind with hot dogs and all your neighbors. I’m talking about yoga blocks – those funky little props that are so essential to our yoga practice.

I’ve noticed a lot of new yogis tend to shy away from using blocks, thinking the props will quickly betray them as a beginner, incapable of mastering all of the poses. They feel the whole point of yoga is to become flexible enough to do every pose without using a prop.

Don’t be ashamed if you’ve ever thought this yourself! The truth is, blocks are critical to everyone’s yoga practice, whether brand new or a yoga master. The trick is to let go of your ego-based “How does this make me look?” approach and shift toward the “How does this make my body feel?” mentality.

Why Use Yoga Blocks?

A yoga block is a brick-shaped item made of either cork, wood, or foam. You can achieve three different heights (4, 6, and 9 inches) depending on the way you flip your brick. Blocks (and other yoga props) help you enter postures safely with proper alignment, ensuring you are not only safe but also experience the benefits of the pose – even if your hamstrings are tight.

If you’re new to yoga, they help you train your body to bend, twist, and stretch. If you’re experiencing an injury, they help you modify your practice so you can continue to recover. And even if you’re perfectly healthy and have been practicing for years, there are days your body just needs a little help – and that’s okay!

1. They Bring the Ground to You– Try using blocks under your hands in forward folds to release the strain on your hamstrings as you stretch toward the ground. We’ll often encourage them in the trickier folds, like half moon and standing splits. But, if you’re a beginner, don’t be afraid to grab two to use during standing forward fold too.

2. They Build Strength– Stretching isn’t the only benefit of blocks! They can be used for strength-building exercises just as well. In the studio, we often ask students to put a block between their legs during ab exercises or wheel pose. It introduces an additional element of resistance, ensuring you’re getting the most out of your efforts.

3. They Allow You to Rest in Restorative Poses– Finally, blocks can be used to tone down the intensity of yoga poses. They support you so that you can still experience the positive effects without exerting as much effort. I love using a block for a restorative bridge pose at the beginning or end of class.

Time for a Block Party!
I honestly believe the beauty of yoga is its acceptance of students of all levels of experience, flexibility, and strength. Using blocks and other props is not something to shy away from, and I truly hope you’ll all continue to embrace their ability to help you modify, strengthen, or rest – depending on your need each time you step on your mat!

If you’re ready to learn even more about these yoga essentials, join us for our Summer Block Party! On Sunday, July 29th from 9:30-11:00am, Dean will teach an all-levels workshop exploring unique and creative ways to utilize blocks in a variety of poses. He’ll then lead us in a jam-packed vinyasa putting our props to the test. Sign up today!

Get Your Yoga On – Before You Even Get Out of Bed

We’ve all been there…it’s hard to wake up, it’s hard to get moving and you want to crawl back under the covers to sleep for 5 more minutes! Wouldn’t it be nice to give ourselves a little buffer between sleep and the rest of our day? How do we get our day going, while being kind to our bodies? Yoga – of course!

Try to incorporate the following poses into your morning – before you even get out of bed.

Savasana (Corpse Pose): Before you even start moving around, lay still and aware. Notice your breath moving in and out of your body. Notice your rib cage expanding with each inhale. Notice the rise and fall of your belly with each breath. Take 20 breaths here to just be, and to see how everything is feeling.

Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclining Bound Angle Pose): Let the soles of your feet touch as your knees splay outward, gently opening through the front of your hips. Place your left hand on your heart, and your right hand on your belly. Feel the beating of your heart, and the rise and fall of your chest and belly for 20 steady breaths.

Apanasana (Reclined Knee to Chest Pose): Draw your right knee up and toward your chest. Use your hands (on your knee or shin) to pull the knee in closer to your body. Take 10 steady breaths here. Switch legs and repeat the 10 breaths. Draw both knees into the chest for 10 more breaths.

Jathara Parivartanasana (Master Revolved Abdomen Pose): With the knees raised to your chest, stretch your arms out wide letting both shoulder blades relax on your back. As you exhale, drop the knees toward your right elbow (keeping the shoulder blades flat and knees above hip level). Take 10 breaths. On an inhale, draw the knees back to center, and as you exhale, release the knees toward your left elbow. 10 more breaths. Inhale your knees back to center. Place your hands behind your thighs and gently rock yourself up to a seat (Sukasana – Easy Pose).

Parsva Sukasana (Easy Pose with Side Bend): Inhale both arms overhead, as you exhale bring the right hand down outside your right leg and bend sideways toward your right hand. Left arm stays overhead and reaches toward the right side of your room. Stay and breath 10 full breaths, lengthening your left side body, without crunching up on your right side – think long spine). Inhale, lifting you back to center, both arms overhead. Exhale, bring the left hand down outside the left leg and side bend to the left. 10 strong steady breaths. Next inhale draws you back up tall with arms stretched overhead. Take a few more breaths here stretching up nice and tall.

Now get out of bed! Gently of course.

Use this peaceful transition from sleep to movement, and from sitting to standing, to give your body a more gentle way to wake up and start your day with some self-care and joy!

Namaste.

Brandie Patterson, RYT

Let’s Get Fierce in Chair Pose!

Utkatasana, or chair pose. It’s one of the poses that emits the most exhausted sighs and nervous glances. Not many yogis will claim it as their favorite pose, but putting in consistent work will reap amazing results.

Chair pose looks deceptively easy and straightforward, yet you’ll find it requires great flexibility in the shoulders, stability in the core, and strength in the legs.

Utkatasana truly is a fierce position. When you hold it for several breaths, you’re going to feel your heart rate increase, quickly building heat in the body. But how do we move past the frowns and moans to truly understand the full-body benefits of this sneaky little pose?

Let’s Break This Down

The name ‘utkatasana’ comes from the Sanskrit word ‘utkata,’ which means fierce, superior, or difficult. In English, we call it chair pose because you look like you’re sitting in an invisible chair or throne.

What are the Benefits?

Most of you have probably heard about the consequences of sitting for too long, such as obesity and high blood pressure. But this type of “seat” is a different story altogether! Utkatasana is no lounge chair. It’s more like an air squat – a powerful pose that strengthens your thighs and ankles, while toning your glutes and core. It also stretches your shoulders and opens your chest.

How Can I Modify My Chair Pose?

Make It Simpler, Please: Whether you’re new to yoga or simply experiencing some pain or tightness, try squeezing a block between your thighs. We always recommend this modification to anyone who experiences lower back pain while holding chair pose. This trick also helps protect your knees, keeping them moving toward your midline rather than splaying open to the sides.

I’m Ready for a Challenge: To take the pose even deeper, draw your hands down into prayer at your chest. Take a deep inhale, lengthening your spine. Exhaling, twist your torso to the right. Bring your left elbow to the outside of your right thigh and lift your gaze to the sky. Make sure your knees stay aligned as one usually has the tendency to move too far forward.

Are you ready to get fierce with us? Sign up today!

AVOIDING YOGA-INDUCED INJURIES

Doesn’t it always seem that just as you’re getting really comfortable and strong in your yoga practice, an injury comes along that knocks you off your feet and requires you to slow down? Whether it’s a strained muscle or a broken bone, the lesson is simple: time to rest and heal.

Thankfully, yoga is a form of exercise that thrives off of alterations, changes, and meeting you where you are each time you step on your mat. It offers plenty of variations for those needing to ease up, and it actually can help you prevent or recover from injuries.

When You’ve Gone Too Far

As a general rule, you should never feel pain in your joints. If you do feel pinching sensations, it’s an indication to stop and relearn your technical approach.

Muscles are a different story. Muscular soreness is an unavoidable sensation caused by any physical activity: running, biking, weight lifting, dancing. This kind of soreness is natural. But if you start feeling pain in your joints – such as in the vertebrae or shoulder joints – while attempting complex movements, it’s time to modify.

Wave your yoga instructor down and ask for a few pointers. At Yoga Fever, we do our best to help students right during class, but if we can’t answer all your questions, please grab us before or after class!

Conquering the Ego

If you are experiencing an injury, one of the hardest things to face is your own ego. You’ll begin to cringe when you have to back out of a pose or rest in child’s pose rather than following the sequence you used to easily flow through. I’ve got some blunt honesty for you: let the ego bleed itself to death. This is exactly what you’ll need to free yourself from the whiny voice in your head that thinks your value is tied to your success.

Then, you’ll be able to reframe your mind. Injury demands you to ask what your priority in yoga really is. When you can no longer do the “cool” poses, you must identify whether your motivation is finding inner peace or simply mastering advanced poses.

Injury Prevention

1. Sudden or Acute Pain– Do you know the difference between stretching within your limits and pushing beyond them? Often, we slip into the latter and our body gives a shout of pain.

What to Do: Speak up if something doesn’t feel quite right when your instructor makes an adjustment. Give yourself some compassion when you have the desire to force or contort yourself into a posture that’s just not happening today!

2. Connective Tissue Tears– Occasionally, your joint may take on too heavy of a load, such as your knees in Chair Pose or your elbows and wrists in arm balances.

What to Do: Stop what you were doing immediately before making the injury worse. You may want to take a few days off, but when you do return to your mat, remember to focus on stability rather than stretching; this way you’ll stay within your limits.

3. Repetitive Stress Injuries– Dedicated yogis occasionally experience stress injuries – like tendonitis – from repeatedly doing the same movements.

What to Do: Though you may have a favorite style of yoga, mixing things up and trying not only different yoga classes but also other forms of exercise, is a great way to shift the frequency away from overused body parts.

Last piece of advice today: give yin yoga a try. This is a new class to Yoga Fever, being held Sunday evenings from 7:30-8:30pm. From healing injured shoulders to little toes, yin yoga is the answer. It focuses on long, passive holds, stretching and nourishing your connective tissue. This is where the action is and where injuries are healed. Give it a try!