All posts filed under: Learn Yoga

Nail Your Handstands & Forearm Balances

My mentor and teacher Kino MacGregor is a yogini extraordinaire. Her handstands are like whoa! Actually, I think all of her asanas (poses) are ah-maaaaa-zing, but those handstands! OMG those handstands! SO fabulous! It came as a huge surprise to me when Kino confessed handstands are her weak point, literally. She’s naturally more flexible than she is strong, and she loses strength easily and has to work hard to build it back up. The fact that Kino has Mere Mortal Syndrome is both a huge relief and also tremendously inspiring. She has perfect inversions, because she trains to have perfect inversions. The take away: you can nail any asana with diligence and consistency. I’m still working on building up strength so that I can easily do my handstands and forearm balances even after doing a million vinyassas during my practice, but I’ve learned a lot after training with Kino both one on one and also in various yoga intensives. I wanted to share some of her knowledge. Another great way to get handstand training is …

How to Have a Dynamic Yoga Practice

Yoga is an investment. Like money, we don’t want our practice to be a proverbial credit card, where we’re charging skills and tricks that our body actually can’t afford for us to do. We also don’t want to needlessly hoard our energy, so we must learn to invest ourselves and our energy wisely. As with most things in life, you’ll get out of yoga whatever you invest in it. This makes me oh so happy! Hooray! A predicted outcome: work hard, enjoy the results! On the other hand, this makes me feel RIDICULOUSLY GRUMPY: wait, what? Sooo…no coasting? Not even a little cheating?! DAMNIT! I guess I’ll have to rely on good old fashioned hard work when it comes to my practice. Oh, joy. But all good things are worth the effort, and yoga is at the top of that list. Because yoga allows for many modifications and no one is shouting at you to run harder, climb higher, pump heavier, the degree of intensity is a highly personal and regulated primarily by the individual. Pros: you …

How to Do: Side Crow into Eka Pada Koundinyasana

Bakasana (or Crow pose) is usually the first pose that most people learn, but I actually like side crow even better. It flows so perfectly with a typical vinyasa practice, and not only do you get the benefits of core strengthening, but you also get the detoxing, cleansing effects of a side twist. What?! #winning! Another added perk is you get to start adding more transitioning poses and start building up your yoga practice. The Koundinyasana pose is optional, and you can add it on just as easily as leave it out. Tips: 1) Warm up with your sun salutations (review here) and crow (review here)  to get in your flow. 2) Have good contact points! Firmly connect those chatarunga arms to your legs. The key points are close to the hip and the side of the knee. 3) Use chatarunga arms as a platform to get into the pose. 4) Make a triangle of your two hands and gaze focused in front of hands. 5) Spread fingers wide! This will really help with balancing. …

How to Do: Sun Salutation B

So you’ve mastered the sun salutation A sequence and you just want to keep going? Of course you do! I actually love this sequence, and I’ll tell you why (you’re welcome in advanced): go through this five times and you’ll feel it in your legs and booty. “I don’t want a good butt!” said no one EVER. So get to it, little yogini 🙂 After you flow through the sun salutation A 5 times, you should start feeling much more flexible and warmed up. Tips: 1. Alignment not only helps you build strength by properly working muscles, it will also protect you limbs and joints. When your yoga instructor tells you make sure your knee is properly aligned, that means it’s not track OVER your toes or leaning to the right or left. It’s in a straight line. 2. Keep shoulders pulled down away from ears in all poses. If you feel them shrugging up into a “turtle neck” pose, gently roll them back down your back. 3. In chair pose, keep weight shifted to …