Handstands Yoga

Core Strength

There is a plethora of images in fitness magazines and on Instagram that display air-brushed models with flat and toned tummies. All of these images suggest that a taught belly is an ideal to strive for. Defined abdominal muscles are a point of vanity and the existence of a six-pack is synonymous with a strong core. A six pack is a physical iteration of a strong core, but they are not mutually exclusive. A strong core is possible in the absence of a six-pack and a six pack is possible in the absence of a strong core.

Core strength in the context of a yoga practice is the union of physical strength and emotional strength. Physical core strength is necessary for steadiness in a yoga practice, good posture and vitality and safety in backbends. Emotional core strength refers to the power to know and follow through on your fundamental beliefs. Your core beliefs are the ethical essence that makes you, you. The physical core strength endows you with the ability to safely do the activities and sports you want to. The emotional core strength provides you with the fortitude to act on your innermost values.

By understanding your core from a multidimensional point of view, you’ll strengthen your back, abs and thighs, but also begin to understand your purpose and eventually tune in to your highest Self.

It is an unfortunate obsession that we have with flat abs:  attaching vanity to the body’s midsection is not helpful for physical or spiritual growth. By viewing the abdomen as something that needs to be whipped into shape and judging it by its appearance, we feel shame when it doesn’t look the way we think it “should.” By attempting to sculpt your abs or flatten your belly for the sake of vanity, you risk suffering when you are unable to attain a certain look.

Yoga is a venue for checking in with your physical and spiritual self. The core is a good place to start. Instead of using a Core Yoga practice to support vanity, embrace the properties of injury prevention and spinal health of the practice. Instead of viewing your core as a six-pack in the making, practice thinking of your core as a multidimensional manifestation of you. True core strength is the embodiment of your purpose. It is about being physically and emotionally strong so that you can follow through on the things and ideas that are important to you.

Taiga Yoga is pleased to introduce a new Core Yoga class!

Tuesdays and Thursdays 10-1045am

Meet you on the Mat. 

Handstands Power Yoga Taiga Yoga Uncategorized Yoga YTT Blog

What is Power Yoga?

What is Power Yoga? The term power yoga can be found on many yoga schedules and there is some confusion on the meaning of the term. Power yoga is designed to make you strong. You will likely sweat during the practice and there will probably be some core-strengthening poses. Some teachers will follow a set series of poses in each class, while other teachers will create different sequences every day.

Power Yoga is aimed at individuals who don’t want a lot of chanting and meditation in their yoga practice. The time on the mat will be focused on strengthening, balancing and sweating. The sequencing will be challenging, but will be adaptable to every student. Baron Baptiste describes his sequencing as a blueprint for an invigorating vinyasa yoga practice and says that his brand of power yoga is adaptable for all body types, ages and fitness levels.

Most power yoga sequences are based on Ashtanga yoga, but will likely flow faster than a traditional Ashtanga practice. Where Ashtanga encourages practioners to hold each pose for five breaths, power yoga sequences will likely hold each pose for far fewer breaths, sometimes moving fluidly throughout the entire practice, cultivating one breath per movement and not pausing in any pose.

What to expect from my Power Classes:

• Flowing sequences. We will start slowly, taking the time integrate breath with movement, but expect to flow between poses. All of my sequences offer a logical progression from the floor to standing and back again.
• Sweaty yogis. Sweating is encouraged. If you tend to perspire a lot, you may find it beneficial to bring a small towel to class. The towel can be used under your hands so you have a firm base in downdog or to dry your arms and legs so you don’t slip out of side crow. Be sure to hydrate before arriving on your mat.

• Some core-strengthening. There will be 100 core-strengthening poses strategically placed throughout the practice. They might be extremely challenging or relatively simple to you, but we’re a team and we’re going to do all 100 of them together.

• Handstands. Try one or try 50. Handstands are a fun inversion and are challenging and will make you laugh. My current goal is to hold a handstand for ten breaths! I’m not there yet, and I’m having a great time building up the strength and confidence to get there. In each class, I will offer tricks to help you practice your handstand.

• Accessible language. I will offer clear instruction on where to place your hands and feet in each pose. That being said, if you’re ever unclear on the alignment in a pose, ask! Shout it out! Someone else in the room probably has the exact same question.

• A friendly vibe. I encourage everyone to join me on the mat for Power Yoga. I don’t care if you’ve never tried yoga before or if you’ve been teaching at an Ashram for the past 20 years: you’re all welcome. In the 60-90 minutes that we practice together, we are a team and we will be learning, progressing and having fun together. A note to the newbies: every single person in the room was new to yoga at some point, and we all know what it feels like to not have a clue what is happening. If you’re new, you will probably fall over a few times and there will definitely be poses that are unavailable to you, but I can assure you that nobody is criticizing or judging you!

Join me on your mat at lunchtime on Mondays and Wednesdays at 7pm and Tuesdays at Noon at Taiga Yoga in Yellowknife. Whatever your reason for wanting to practice yoga, I can’t wait to share my practice with you!