Asana of the Week: Virabhadrasana II (Warrior II)

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Birgit Reimer, Iyengar Yoga Instructor demonstrates Virabhadrasana II (Warrior II) at Nandi Yoga.

Benefits of Virabhadrasana II (Warrior II): 

  • Tones the leg muscles
  • Increases flexibility of back and leg
  • Contracts the abdominal organs

 

There are couple of ways to deepen this asana: 1) decreasing the lateral distance between the feet, and 2) widening/ increasing the length of the stride. If you feel any discomfort in sensation, be mindful of your body and take modification in Virabhadrasana II (Warrior II).

 

Modification:

A simple solution is externally rotating the shoulders so the palms face up and decreasing length of the stride in this asana. You will alleviate tension and find access to more muscle strength in the upper body, less strain on the neck, shoulders, and upper back.

A Seed Grows

The most wonderful thing about life is when you love what you do it grows; and so did the Nandi community over the last 4 years. All the students who come to my two classes, workshops and the monthly pranayama classes are fascinated by the outcomes of the study of the self during the asana or pranayama practices. They love as I do the intricacies and minutest movements within and their curiosity to learn is humbling to me.

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(Photo from left to right: Michelle Hyman, Ben Thomas, Birgit Reimer, Wendy Klein)

My mentor, Senior Iyengar yoga teacher Ben Thomas, always encouraged me to plant good seeds into the hearts of the students and, with the Nandi students, I see a beautiful field of flowers blossoming and growing every year.

Birgit Reimer, an Iyengar Yoga Instructor, has been teaching for more than 20 years and travels every other year to the Ramamani Iyengar Institute, to study with the Iyengar family.  www.yoga-is-all.com

 

A Light on Yoga – How Iyengar Illuminated My Yoga Journey

 

I started my yoga journey by guiding myself through the weekly sequences in Iyengar’s Light on Yoga.  In his preface, Mr. Iyengar emphasizes the importance of learning with a teacher but I’d ignored that and brashly pushed forward on my own.  One day in about “Week 12,” I leaned over to pick up a tray and couldn’t straighten my back.  Hobbling to the phone, I called the local Iyengar studio and signed up for my first class.      

During that first class at the Julie Lawrence Yoga Center in Portland Oregon, two things became crystal clear: first, I’d practice yoga for the rest of my life, and second, I wanted to be a teacher.

“Yoga does not just change the way we see things, it transforms the person who sees,” B.K.S. Iyengar, 1918-2014.

Afterwards, as I made the 4.5 mile walk back to the ashram where I was living at the time, I mentally replayed everything that we’d done in the class:  The teacher’s insistent recipe for sitting with an erect spine; the introductory prayers we chanted aloud; the fastidious anatomical cueing of each asana (seat); the logic of the sequence; the thrill of being upside down; and the conscious relaxation.  I practiced what we did everyday until the next class and returned eagerly with questions.  A practice I’d repeat with every teacher I’d come to study with.   That first class was a lens that focused my reason for being on the planet.  For me, Yoga weds passion with career and illuminates a path to and through old-age/death.    

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Now, 20 years later, here I am.  Still practicing, still teaching.  It gets better every day.    

– Louis Jackson, Nandi Yoga Instructor

 

The Precision and Joy of Iyengar Yoga

I was drawn to this practice because of its precision, timing and sequencing, the foundations of Iyengar Yoga, which help guide one towards freedom of mind and a compassionate and spiritual life.  The intricacies and minute teachings always pull the students and me into the energy of this particular way. Whether we practice asanas, pranayama, study the sutras of Patanjali, chant and/or meditate together, the connection to the lineage of teachers is truly present.

“It is through the alignment of the body that I discovered the alignment of my mind, self, and intelligence,”  B.K.S. Iyengar, Light on Life.

The disciplines of continuation, perseverance, repetitions of the practice and the concepts of involution for evolution back to involution, the self-study and just simply the everyday life Practice of the Yoga Sutras on and off the mat absorbs me and keeps me going on this path.

 

Birgit Reimer, an Iyengar Yoga Instructor, has been teaching for more than 20 years and travels every other year to the Ramamani Iyengar Institute, to study with the Iyengar family.  www.yoga-is-all.com

 

Asanas of the Week: Prenatal Yoga

We honor all mothers on this special day, including those who are having their babies this year! Here are two yoga poses that will keep us coming back to the mat throughout pregnancy, and even thereafter.

Photo Credit: Michelle Hyman, Prenatal Yoga Instructor at Nandi Yoga — San Mateo, California

Nandi Yoga Gift Guide: Everything A Yogi Mom Needs This Year

Mother’s Day is the best time of the year to give gratitude to our moms. This year, Nandi staff hand-pick the most popular, high-quality gifts that many yogi moms will cherish on and off the mat. 

We welcome you to visit Nandi Yoga in-studio to check-out our top 10 gifts:

Steadiness and Ease in Motherhood

Being a mother is a lot like practicing yoga.  Both test your strength, flexibility, and lifelong explorations of the body and mind. They can be gentle or challenging from time to time. In both, we start the day with our best intentions to focus, be steady, and be present. Sometimes we push beyond our edge and overstretch. There are even those rare occasions when they can cause pain. Often times, they make us feel pretty good, and we are always glad we came.
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There is a well-known yoga sutra, “stirrha sukha asana,”  that loosely translates to “steadiness and ease in your position.” In my classes, I often talk about finding steadiness and ease even as we move through the most challenging yoga postures. I also think about this sutra a lot in my journey through motherhood. How do I maintain a sense of calm, comfort and steadiness as my almost 5-year old throws a fit over a lost matchbox car precisely at the time when we need to be walking out the door in order to not be late for school? Also, when I pick up the kids late from child care after being stuck in traffic on Highway 101 for more than one-hour? By the time I get the kids, we are all whiny, cranky and hungry. In moments like these, I am definitely not calm and my heart rate is clearly an indicator that I am not at ease. And these are the moments I must learn to take my yoga practice off of the mat. Use my breath to calm the  heart-rate down, close the eyes, and allow myself to simply be in this crazy and wonderful moment of motherhood; with no judgment, wishful thinking or wants — simply acknowledgement and celebration of who I am as a mother.

 Michelle Hyman, Prenatal Yoga Instructor