Downward Facing Dog

The elusive and often visited posture of Downward Facing Dog.

Sanskrit Name: Adho Mukha Svanasana

This pose is visited in almost all movement oriented yoga practices.  It is an inversion (heart above head) so it is energizing and calming at the same time - isn’t yoga awesome! Here are a few tips to help your next Down Dog feel balanced and relaxed.

  1. Widen your Shoulders: Get your head out of the turtle Shell!  Feel your shoulders reach towards opposite walls. From there you will experience a sweet release of the spine and a little more length.
  2. Soften those “bows”: Slightly bend your elbows to ensure there isn’t any hyperextension or locking in the joint.
  3. Ground down through those hands:  Press the palms into your mat, all 10 knuckles! Even claw the finger pads - why?  This engagement helps to distribute the weight of your body instead of letting it all dump into your wrists.  Ouch!
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Posture Benefits:

  • Calms the brain and helps relieve stress and mild depression.
  • Energizes the body.
  • Stretches the shoulders, hamstrings, calves, arches, and hands.
  • Strengthens the arms and legs.

Want to learn more?  Check out Shri Studios weekly yoga classes in our beautiful LCC studio.  All classes are free with admission or membership to the Longmont Climbing Collective - what a great deal!  

Get the most out of your yoga class

Tips on how to get the most out of your yoga class

Whether you have been to multiple yoga classes or your new to the practice, stepping into a new class can be intimidating. We are striving to feel open, relaxed, energized and connected. We have invested in the class, carved out the time in our busy schedule and arrived on our mat. But what makes one class feel like a path to enlightenment, and another a struggle to get through? Maybe it isn’t so much about the teacher or the studio, but about what we do to get the most out of our yoga class. Here are a few tips that can help you get the most out of your yoga classes.

Leave the baggage and your phone at the door: Give yourself a break from the feeling of always being on-call. Leave your phone behind when you step onto your mat. You might feel a little lighter and more free just by tuning out so you can tune in.

Don’t eat right before yoga: A heavy meal before yoga is discouraged. This might seem like a no brainer, but can be difficult to manage sometimes. Have a light snack 30 min before class to allow time for digestion and avoid the over-full and bloated sensation while on your mat.

Disclose physical limitations and injuries to the teacher: Students can feel shy about disclosing specific issues in front of the whole class. So advocate for yourself and inform the teacher of your limitations or injuries before class begins. We also provide Hands-On Assist chips at Shri which indicate if you’d prefer to have hands on assistance in your postures - that decision can be changed at anytime throughout class.

Arrive free of expectations: What would it be like to just meet yourself as you are the moment your arrive in class? We can accumulate expectations whether it's in our practice, in our relationships or work life. Being truly present will invite this awareness into your practice and then into the rest of your life.

Practice on your own mat ( if possible): We have beautiful, Prana mats at Shri which are always available for you to utilize. There is something to be said for practicing again and again on your own mat. If you are coming to class regularly you may consider making the investment. Objects that we practice on and around accumulate our prana or energy and will help to bring us into our yogic state with more ease.

Set an intention: You have set this time aside in your busy schedule to practice yoga. What is it that brings you back to your practice again and again? If you set an intention for your practice you can deepen your experience of the breath, postures, mindfulness so that it positively affects you and others during your yoga practice and for the rest of your day - and maybe even longer. Let your yoga light shine way beyond the time on your mat!

Come and check out the amazing classes and teachers at Shri Studios in LCC. We offer 16 weekly class plus special events and workshops. Dedicate some time to you this summer with a regular yoga practice.

What to do about your elbows

This Tuesday, June 4th, at 7 PM Dr. Michael Morrison from Red Hammer PT will be coming in for a free talk on the "bows" elbows.  Here's a short yoga tutorial on keeping your elbows safe on the mat.

In a weight bearing position you will want to ensure that your elbows are not locked. Some of us - including me, have some hyperextension in our elbow joints. This allows further than "normal" range of motion in an extended position. This compromises the elbow joint and doesn't encourage the strength and stability that are necessary for more weight bearing positions such as handstand. What's the fix?

  1. Keep your elbow joint soft. Any locking out of the joints can prove to be detrimental over time, but this can be worse if you are putting weight on the joint.
  2. Rotate the center or eyes of your elbows towards one another. This assists in proper alignment of the forearms and shoulders and keeps your "bows" healthy and strong.

Next time you see your elbows pushing out, remember to take care of your joints - keep them slightly relaxed and strengthen around them from that state.

Expanding our Yoga and Fitness Classes

Shauna and Taylor have been busy expanding the Yoga and Training programs for you!
We are now offering 6 Training classes per week such as the Quick Fix, Core & Mobility plus Strength and Conditioning. And, we have doubled our yoga classes, to give you more of what you are asking for. We have more Restorative classes, morning and afternoon classes as well.

Heal Your Spine

Pain in our low back and hips is all too common and very frustrating.  The spine is our mother-board, if it is not healthy and balanced there are many other effects besides a stiff low back. The nerves that run through the spine are connected to our various systems and organs. So by improving your spine health you can improve your overall wellness.   Here is a list of exercises that provide stability as well as mobility specifically into the low back and hips.

The Hula Sequence

I love this series of movements for isolating the flexion and extension of the spine as well as rotation of the hips.  Standing with feet hip distance apart knees softly bent slowly move the hips side to side without moving the shoulders or head.  Pelvic tilt forward and back bringing some movement into your lumbar spine.  Put it all together, move your hips in a circle.  Moving your hips side, back, side and to the front.  You’re doing the Hula!

All 4’s hips side to side

Lean the hips to one side with an exhale breath and then to the other. Move slowly to allow the stretch of the outer hip to progress slowly. This movement brings the external muscles and tissues into balance.

Cat and Cow / Flexion and Extension

On all 4s inhale drop your belly down, open your chest and collar bones. Look up toward the ceiling. Exhale, press into your hands knees and shins. Then draw your belly up and in and bring chin to chest.

Pelvic Tilts to a Bridge

Lay on your back with your knees bent and your feet hip distance apart. Make sure your toes are pointed straight forward and not rotated out. Begin by tilting your pelvis forward and back with your feet on the ground. This feels like pressing your low back flat and then creating more space and arch in your low back. After a few rounds press down into your feet and lift your hips, move slowly like you are peeling your back body off the ground. Roll all the way up until you only have weight in your feet, shoulders and back of your head. Tuck your shoulders under and interlace your hands together underneath your back. As you exhale slowly release and roll back down slowly through the spine.

Practice these short sequences once a day and you will begin to notice more ease, flexibility and strength in your low spine. Then you may begin to realize there is a ripple effect through the rest of your body and mind. More strength and flexibility, clarity in your thoughts and intention in your actions. Our spine is our main control center.  Keep it healthy, flexible and balanced to experience true freedom.

Climbing Tips – How to Get Unstuck

Training to get unstuck

How many times have you found yourself on a climb needing to make that seamless transition to the next move and you’re stuck?  Is it your strength, your flexibility, your metal state or your balance?  All of these obstacles can be conquered through a regular yoga practice. When you dedicate yourself to time on a yoga mat you will find the benefits translating to your time on the wall.

Flexibility

This seems to be the benefit of yoga that’s the most common knowledge. Opening up your hips and hamstrings is always a popular place to start. Did you know that you can benefit your hands and feet through yoga too? Opening the fascia or connective tissue through regular stretching helps your hands and feet to become more receptive to crimps and tiny foot holds.

Stretch feet

Stretch Fingers Forearms

Mind & Breath

These two keys to climbing are a main focus of a yoga practice as well. On the mat you’re encouraged to bring all of your attention to the present, each breath and movement. This trains your mind so you’re able to call on this skill even when you’re not connected to the ground. Slow, controlled breath not only oxygenates your muscles, but also promotes calm and clear decisions.

Proper breathing

Balance & Strength

When you dedicate yourself to a regular yoga practice you will notice how your balance begins to improve. This enables you to make delicate moves while conserving your vital energy for the power moves. You will also gain balanced strength and flexibility. In a yoga practice you will work each main muscle group, even if the focus is on one in particular. Can you say injury prevention?

The LCC yoga program is powered by Shri Studios, a local yoga studio with highly experienced yoga instructors and programs. You can read more about Shri Studios here.  Shri Studios has crafted the LCC yoga program to meet the unique needs of its growing community. All of the weekly yoga classes at LCC are included in your day pass, punch pass or membership. The workshops and series classes are offered to the public and discounted for members.  Check out a calendar of all our classes and workshops here.

Hope to see you on the wall and the yoga mat!

Shauna