by, Charlene Yeh
Teaching Restorative Yoga is one of the most important gifts that we can give our students and ourselves. Slowing down and resting are acultural for our society, so encouraging others to rest and relax requires a deep personal commitment to exploring one’s own quiet practice. How can we hold space and create a safe environment in which others can let go, forget their worries, and rest deeply? Because being active and dynamic are usually deemed more important than quiet and passive states, as restorative yoga teachers, we must have our own inner experiences to share.
Convincing students that they need more rest and not another workout, requires a belief that there is much benefit to be gained through the restorative practice. Through balancing the nervous system, we regulate hormonal levels, decrease cortisol levels, gain better sleep and a clearer mind. The practice also helps to release tense muscles, relieve achy joints, and train the mind in transitioning from stress to calm.
My Cleanse for life story starts before I met Dr. Jodi Larry.
In April of 2014 I began spinning at Spynga as a way to train for the Ride to Conquer Cancer. Spynga gave me a comfortable place to workout. The exercise felt different. The space felt warm and welcoming and I wanted to be there. I spent time on the bike thinking about my intention, I yearned to do yoga, but truly felt I couldn’t. In spin class I was hearing about gratitude and setting intentions, and I was finding that my mind was thinking about these ideas as well as patience both on and off the bike. I was starting to think more about how I could take care of myself, and what I really needed to do for me.
That summer I began following Jodi’s posts. Friends of mine had participated in the Cleanse for Life program and said it was great. I thought that maybe it would help me lose unwanted weight. Like yoga, I was pretty sure I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t give up sugar and crackers and cheese – not even for 10 days. But, somehow I found the courage and I signed up to cleanse.
Me pictured here with cycling Instructor, Joanna Perlmutter
At seven-weeks post baby, I woke up and no body part was screaming pain. Sleep deprived, yes, but I can cope with the fatigue much better if my body is not in any pain. After trying my first yoga class last week, I though I would brave the bike. I have to admit, I was scared to even sit on the saddle, afraid of reliving parts of childbirth and embarrassing myself with the thought of not even getting through the class!
I went to a dear friend and staff member’s class, Joanna, who is a mother of two as well. Comforted by knowing her style of teaching which is commanding, high energy as well as inclusive of all riders, I knew it would be a good class to find my legs again.
I sat next to loyal client who comes to Spynga 3 x a week and is there to work hard. She was my secret inspiration to keep pace with. Truthfully, I was just happy being in the excitement of a cycle class again. Those who are indoor riders seriously love the endorphin rush, music and challenge of it all, not to mention the continued results they see and feel in their body.
So here I am reemerging from the newborn baby bubble at 6 weeks post- pardum where, I think, you can finally semi catch your breath. Recovery from the wild ride of labour and delivery is hopefully becoming a distant nightmare or dream, depending on your experience and your body is healing, at least on the surface. Personally, I am knee deep in sleep deprivation mode where it is natural to feel like you have left your brain on most days and where 2-3 hours of snooze time feels like you drifted off for just a moment. Since my mind has been mostly occupied with feeding, poop, devising inventive ways to settle a fussy infant, and incorporating a toddler into this all – It was sadly foreign albeit natural, to turn my attention inwards.
I took my first breath with a vinyasa level 2 yoga class yesterday and besides reliving moments of childbirth again in certain poses, it was incredibly humbling on the mat for this veteran teacher and student of yoga. I have been stretching periodically since giving birth to Theodora. Mostly a few sun salutations to shake out the legs from sitting and nursing, forward folds with arms following over head to reverse my caved in chest from hovering over baby day in and day out, breathwork to get through the initial pain of breast feeding and meditating any chance I get….or is that sleeping?
So I made it. 40 weeks and no baby yet!
I was 5 days overdue with my first and beginning to think that my babies like to arrive fashionably late. What I did wake up with 2 days ago on my due date was a head cold and fever! An indication of labour or something I caught from my toddler? The latter is my guess. My daughter is a very affectionate 2 year old and is always holding hands or hugging the boogery kids when I go to pick her up from nursery school at the end of the day. Although, I have heard that when labour is eminent, symptoms are similar to that of the flu or a common cold.
So I am just resting and waiting for baby, trying everything I can to cure this cold. I need to have enough energy for the labour, delivery, and the first 2 nights with baby (yes, I did ring for a nurse to ask her what to do with my baby who wouldn’t stop crying all night as my husband, looked upon me, panic stricken as if we were in over our heads!) You need extra pre-labour/delivery sleep if you have the luxury of a little time to yourself.
I want to start off by thanking you for following me + Spynga.
As some of you know, I am one of the co-founders of Spynga the Yoga + Cycling studio as well as a mom of one amazing girl with another on its way by weeks end! As a devotee to vinyasa yoga, indoor cycling, and strength training for over a decade, being committed to practice of these kinds helped me with post-baby #1 recovery but in all honesty, the confidence that becoming mother infused, I never felt stronger in my life. My time on the yoga mat is one that is always sacred to me whether I am simply breathing, sitting still or flowing. My practice always informs me of what is truly in my heart and gives me a greater understanding of who I am daily. Whether my intention is to restore, strengthen, ground, or explore, teachings of self-respect and self-love is what continuously shines through and enhances my connection to those I meet on my path, my higher self and all phenomena. The magic I feel as a student and teacher never dulls and is ever evolving. My affection for indoor cycling, originally inspired by my business partner and dear friend Casey, is the one activity that makes me feel physically and mentally powerful and clear. It is a rush like no other and I love conveying that through my classes. I learned over the years that stability serves as an essential component to a lifelong physical practice and discovered that strength training helps to prevent injuries and gives me the equilibrium to challenge myself. I truly believe in these physical, mental and spiritual modalities in conjunction with fueling your body and heart with love, good food and GREAT people!
by Ya’ara Saks
Kids live in a world with parents who are constantly plugged in, hurrying from work to playdate to homework and stressed out. Funnily enough we don’t realize that as overscheduled as we are – they are too. As adults we come to the mat to destress, let go and find balance – they reap the benefits when we come home calm and clear – why shouldn’t they have the opportunity to model us and have that time too?
Yoga for kids is the perfect antidote to all that we pile on our kids from school to sports and more. Yoga gives them the tools of a balanced healthy outlook and strong positive connection with themselves. Already at a young age and into their teens, children often feel pressure at school academically and socially. With the added pressure if they are involved in competitive organized sports, it’s easy for kids to become overly self-critical, and lose confidence as they grow and develop. Yoga is the chance to find the opposite – a nourishing space where there is no judgment and no need to be the “winner” or place a perfect pose.
Let me introduce myself. My name is Galya and I’ve recently started teaching my first spin class. I couldn’t be more excited because I’m teaching girls between 12-16! I was a pre-teen not 4 years ago. So, it is fresh in my mind. For me it was mostly uncomfortable and frustrating I think.
I wanted to teach this age group because I think it’s important to learn what your body can do and how strong you can be. I’m the type of person who needs to be moving always and spinning provides me with an outlet for me to decompress while staying healthy and active. I have tried going to the gym and running, but there’s something about sharing your ride with a room of people, even a friend, that really clicks for me. After a class I feel great about my body and my skin never looks better then after I’ve sweat for an hour! Most importantly, a good workout can change your day from bad to good! I hope what this class ends up being is 40 mins of good music and hard work. I want to help forget the stresses of the day, or spin them out on the bike, all the while feeling great because we just worked our butts off.