Tag Archives: asana

Super Stretchy Spinal Flow

It’s been a lovely, crazy, fulfilling, and this-life altering summer. This poor little blog has been neglected and I can’t promise that will change drastically with the months to come. I thought that in penance I should offer you a little gift so I hopped on my mac today and started to move. No plans but this came out so I hope you enjoy…

30 minutes of juicy, slow, stretchy spinal flow.
Shout Out to your upper back- the container for the other side of your heart.

(full disclaimer, my big fur-baby Olive decided she needed to be part of the show so there are some “hair ball in the throat” sounds and a few guest appearances of a furry black mug. Just go with it πŸ˜‰ Β Also my breathing is much more exaggerated than it usually would be but sound isn’t the greatest in this room so I wanted you to be able to hear the rhythm as much as possible. Typically it’s strong but more subtle and in/out primarily through the nose )

For those of you in the Raleigh-Durham area i’m directing a new and amazing studio in Brier Creek under the name BURN Athletic. We’ll offer Yoga, Circuit Training, Cycling and BURNBlends (fusion/cross-modality classes). We’ll also have a few the Ballet Burn classes on our schedule. I really can’t express how grateful I am for this opportunity to gather an amazing community of instructors and students together in one space. I’ve come to realize even more through this journey that there is more than enough for everyone…and i’ve loved every minute, continuing to support the existing yoga and fitness community while integrating our vision into the mix. Wild Crazy Beautiful ride indeed!

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2011’s greatest hits from Cafe Ganesha

A quick wrap up of this past year’s favorite posts…you know, just in case you missed one πŸ˜‰ Continue reading

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Advanced Backbending at Blue Point

Bonus segment for the holiday Y.A.T (Yoga Around the Triangle) Series 2011

Check out this amazing bonus segment for the Heart Opening for the Holidays (HOHO) flow seen here. Warm up with the HOHO flow and then dive in to these prana building shapes with pure awareness. Please exercise caution and connectivity when doing this sequence. There is a reason the segment is 16 minutes long….in fact slow it down if you like! Β Let the Shakti flow… Continue reading

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Pull your head out of your asana

Today I was demo-ing a fun transition from crow-tripod headstand-crow in my advanced class. This is a transition that makes an appearance fairly regularly in my own practice but not one I’ve demoed in this class before. I was trying to talk, slow down the transition so students could observe the stacking of the bones and low belly lift when *kurplunck* on the way out of sirsasana and back in to bakasana it happened…the dreaded face plant. I have a fairly sore chin to prove it too. Of course I made light and drew attention back to the flow but it definitely made the cheeks turn a rosy shade of “oh no she didn’t.”

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Calling all pretzel people

(of the Triangle)

So today I had a brilliant light-bulb moment. A way to combine these passions:

  1. Building Community
  2. Blogging like I WISH it was my job
  3. Spreading the yoga love

Brilliant I dare say…OK maybe not but at least fun πŸ™‚

A series of photoshoots for some of my yoga sequences to highlight on CafeGanesha (I love the stick figures but let’s be honest… There’s only so much one can do with the 2 dimensions). I’ll shoot a sequence with a local-should-be-celebrity (someone making waves in big or small ways) that just happens to dig the yoga. This way i’ll offer sequences for your home practice, introduce you to some rockin’ peeps you need to know in your own community, and provide Β you with some visual stimulation all at once. Totally Awesome Right??!

So are you in? We all have a story to tell…

Call to action:

Firstsies– know a photographer (new, established, whatevs) that wants to have a fun couple of hours shooting some wicked awesome pics for free publicity on my blog and all my other media outlets??? This stuff spreads like wildfire folks…Email me at jennifer@campbellyoga.com

Second– have a story to tell- yoga related, community oriented, personal…? Want to be featured? Email me at jennifer@campbellyoga.com

Third– videographer…tossing around the idea of a video series as well…maybe in conjunction with the shoot.Β Email me at jennifer@campbellyoga.com

Fourth– venue. Have a venue suggestion? I’d like to highlight local studios, outdoor venues, up and coming establishments with flare. Let me know!Β Email me at jennifer@campbellyoga.com

Fifth-any other inspiring thoughts that are raised whilst reading this post are so obviously welcome! Send em’ my way…you know, at jennifer@campbellyoga.com

By the way…did you get that email? πŸ˜‰

Love to all ya’ll

Jennifer

Zoe and Mr. Turtle anxiously await your reply.

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The littlest yogini…AKA. big things from a very small package

Teacher Spotlight: Leilani Walker

Today I had the privilege of taking this lovely yogini’s first class at Blue Lotus in Raleigh. It was a freedom style yoga based on the teachings of her teacher, Erich Schiffman. When I heard that this tiny little woman was a student of the largest, most teddy bear/santa claus-esque guru I know of I couldn’t stop smiling. Just the physical comparison was enough to draw me to her class. I had to see if someone so tiny could project the larger than life teachings of Mr. S.

I was NOT disappointed my friends. Despite the tiny package, Leilani has an overflowing and endearing personality both on and off the mat. She invites you in with a big genuine grin and a twinkle in her eye and you’re hooked from there!

This is what I was greeted by walking in today πŸ™‚ …

Leilani with the Blue's own love bunny- Nicole

I arrived early to set up my mat as the community strolled in, chit-chatting and energizing the space…

The Sanctuary

And promptly at 9:30 the lovely Leilani sat down to begin her first class with us. She giggled and clasped her hands together with joy and I could tell from that point on, something I already guessed, she is just as beautiful as her name, this one, inside and out.

The class was fantastic. An all levels vinyasa with a self guided edge. As she guided us she continually reminded us to move from an intuitive place. After a few breaths this became natural, and then more natural, and then we let loose for a full song moving full freedom style. No guidance. No instruction. Just open up and let it out, or don’t, your choice. The embodiment of listening to your inner guide, your own best teacher in a safe and sacred space. Ahhhh lovely.

Class ended with a sweet deep stretch and a lovely savasana complete with essential oils and a wonderful head massage (yes please!). We all walked out refreshed and glowing and ready for next week πŸ™‚

I see BIG things in this little yogini’s future…

Come roll out your mat next Tuesday for round two of Freedom Style yoga or Wednesday (Yoga and meditation at 11:30). I hope to be there!

Namaste ya’ll
Jennifer

Like this? Check out other teacher spotlights:

Jen Bluestone

Carrington Jackson

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The ambrosial hour: Practicing in the early morning

The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you. Don’t go back to sleep. You must ask for what you really want. Don’t go back to sleep. People are going back and forth across the doorsill where the two worlds touch. The door is round and open. Don’t go back to sleep.
β€”Rumi

Ambrosial hour…hmmm…does it involve canned fruit and coconut? Whipped cream?

Not quite πŸ˜‰ . The amrit vela, or ambrosial hours just before dawn, are the time recommended by many yogic traditions to wake and practice in order to maximize the potential for spiritual awakening. Morning practice is said to be the time when the veil of the ego is thinnest, offering fewer of the distractions that are present throughout the day. I can attest, it’s pretty awesome.

Challenge:

for 30 days (a mere month) honor these early morning hours by awakening early and getting your sadhana on. Cold shower, clean body, Meditation, Asana and whatever else gets you centered in grace. See how you feel. You may be surprised. And if you don’t, big deal, it’s only 30 days.

Need some direction in your amrit vela practice?

Come practice with me at 6:30 on Wednesday mornings at Evolve Movement in Cameron Village starting September 7, and at 6:00am at Blue Point Yoga on Fridays starting September 16. We’ll enjoy a vigorous flow with a peaceful meditation and juicy savasana. Come early for some additional centering and meditation time.

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Personal follow up…why you NEED a teacher in your life

I often ask my students in class to “lay it all out on the mat.” Whatever is spinning round the physical or energetic body, bring it, let it slide off the skin, flow IN it, and then work towards the release. Pretty good advice eh? *pat on the back*

In all seriousness though i’ve been bringing up more and more of this lately, and yesterday I realized why. Shoooo here we go.

CONFESSION

i’m am neither perfect, nor perfectly balanced. I get overly exuberant, ignore my own physical and energetic bodies requests and needs, and take life a little too gung-ho at times. So when I walked in to assist MY teacher yesterday the look on her face and the gentle pat on the hand said it all. “News flash Jennifer, you’re taking it too fast, and to far… AGAIN. Reign it in sister.” Wisdom’s little smack in the face, or as my teacher so sweetly called it a “love tap.”

Sometimes it takes that love tap to realize when things are getting a little too imbalanced. To much Sthira not enough Sukha…exuberance verging on the edge of himsa. Breathe sister, come back to your 8 limbs, find your damn center.

II:46 STHIRA-SUKHAM ASANAM

In this sutra, Patanjali explains that every yoga posture needs to be balanced with qualities of Sthira (steady, stable, steadfast) and qualities of Sukham(ease, delight, joy).

It is by practicing both of these extremes, between effort and ease that we find balance in the middle. By performing our yoga postures with qualities of Sthira and Sukha, we find ourselves β€˜vibrating’ in the center, in our heart! Β Patanjali says that the combination of Sthira and Sukham creates a state of equilibrium (satva) that is without agitation (rajas) or inertia (tamas).
Think of Tadasana (Mountain Pose). While there is a grounding and strong presence in this posture there is also a sense of lightness and ease that allows us to feel 10 feet tall and open to the possibility of the breath. This is the balance. There are some yogis that practice this pose only for their entire lives in order to reach that inexplicable place of light and dark, soft and steady that opens the body-mind connection to the divine. Take that and chew on it.

And yes…I’m not exactly in a place of that balance. But I didn’t really face it until the mirror was placed in front of me. Thanks Teach.

So today I started with a grounding practice, slow movement, meditation and deep breath work to sooth the Autonomic Nervous system. Tomorrow we’ll see what Β I need. Heck tonight, in an hour, in 5 breaths i’ll re-evaluate. Constantly cultivating balance, especially when I hate the idea of slowing down.

Namaste Ya’ll

Jennifer

LIke this one? Check these out:

Never Trust a teacher without a teacher

Happiness is the mode of travel not the destination

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Simple Vinyasas to Unlock the Hips and release some emotional baggage

Warrior Transition

Warrior I- scissor thighs, tailbone into body, heart reaches up to sky

transition back and forth to bring awareness to the rotation of the hip joint allowing for the movement to become organic and fluid.

Warrior II- Reach from Heart to fingertips, tailbone to crown.

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Skandasana Vinyasas

High Skandasana to front

goddess squats- goal post arms, toes in line with knees

high skandasana- feet planted, hips half way dropping

Move fluidly between malasana to skandasana or surpass malasana altogether keeping the hips low to the ground. Also an option to take it to LOW skandasana instead keeping the bent knee’s heel flat to the floor. If the ankle restricts this from occurring keep the hips a little higher to avoid compromising alignment.

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Hip Mandala

3 legged dog stacked hips, bent knee reaches up, heel to bum

Exhale knee to chest to complete hip roll

3 Legged Dog- square hips. energy from fingers to heel

Roll knee out towards triceps while maintaining down dog posture and engaged core muscles. Inhale for the extension of the leg to 3 legged dog and exhale to roll and pull the knee to chest.

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“Low Flow” Bliss

Today I was working with an enthusiastic yogi on creating a home practice. We went through the basics of practice structure but I decided to give her a little bit of flair by incorporating a vinyasa that can be both dynamic and revitalizing, as well as a sequence that will start the mind working on how to incorporate new base vinyasas into the time on her mat that aren’t the usual Sun Salutations. This sequence is coined as low dancer flow and is a way to open up the spine, hips, heart, and spirit in preparation either for waves of namaskar or savasana…

Some day i’ll get some real pictures (not just stick figures that my non-artistic fingers fumbled around on photoshop to make) to go along with this, but for now… Use your mind’s eye and go explore on your mats πŸ™‚

(I)= inhale
(E)= exhale

Low Dancer Flow:

from Down Dog…

(I) step between hands for lunge

(E) lower back knee and square hips/scissor thighs towards center

(I) low crescent lunge…arms rise, tailbone down, heart lifts out of belly, shoulders soften down spine

(E) hands meet the floor and back heel lifts

(I) back shin rotates parallel to back of the mat and arms windmill to low warrior II stance. reach through collar bone, engage entire length of the arms to the finger tips, soften tops of shoulders and engage low belly as the pubic bone pulls up towards the belly button, reach equally forward to back to stack spine straight over the hips.

  • slight pulsations with the breath bending deeper into the hip flexors on the (E) and lifting out of the crown of the head on the (I)

next (I) flip front palm and reverse your low warrior by either bringing back hand to the calf or to a raised block by the shin for support. Keep engaging the low belly and lifting the heart as you pull the tailbone in to the body to protect the low back. Move with breath in this posture…inhaling to extend the heart high and the ponytail back and exhaling to deepen the twist/spinning of the belly and heart towards the sky.

(E) through low warrior II to low lunge, with hands framing the front foot, as you spin the back shin to regular low lunge position. Re-square the hips

(I) lift arms for low crescent again and then (E) all air out of the body to twist toward the front thigh…options are as follows:

a: place front palm on knee and back palm on low back for support…using them as traction points to engage spine high and deepen the twist.
b: bring hands to namaste in crescent and hook opposite elbow on the outside of the knee as you twist…working to engage heart towards the thumbs.
c: hand to floor and opposite hand to sky or reaching around to opposite hip crease to maintain level hips.

(I) rise back to low crescent

(E) rock hips back and bring hands to floor or blocks as you work to lengthen the spine in ardha hanumanasana

move with breath a few times between low crescent and ardha hanumanasana to lengthen hamstring and then hold the latter.

(I) plank

(E) down dog

repeat on opposite side

do both sides at least 2-3 times to open the body.

This same sequence can be done standing with additional awareness added to the activation of the leg muscles.

Go get your grounded dance on yogis!

Namaste ya’ll,

Jennifer

This sequence was modified from a sequence I learned from Julee Snyder RYT an amazing yoga and pilates instructor in Raleigh, NC that is a truly elegant and embodied mover. Check her out!

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