How You Sleep Impacts Your Yoga Practice

Sleep_Corpse pose

Yoga for sleep…and sleep for yoga When I started practicing yoga, the first life-altering change I experienced was that I slept better. My body and mind were less cranky so instead of waking up three to four times a night, I was sound a sleep until I heard the ring of my alarm. Thanks to my yoga practice, I still continue to sleep like a baby most nights. Something I’ve discovered more recently though is that the way I sleep also impacts the way I move through my practice. I find that if I sleep on my side, I’m much stiffer in the morning through my neck, shoulders, upper back and hips (okay, all over really). I have a tendency to sleep on my left side with my left leg hiked up, which is a habit I’ve probably had for most of my life. My left side has always had more tension in relation to my practice and it’s possible that this is a contributing factor. Think about how many hours we spend of our lives in the positions that we sleep in, it’s no wonder it affects the way we feel and move while we’re awake. Sleep to increase mobility Over the past several months, I’ve made a more conscious effort to sleep on my back rather than on my side. For whatever reason my left knee still feels the need to hike up and to the side while I’m on my back. I know when I’ve slept the… [Continue Reading]

Yoga and Diet: Inflammatory Foods

turmeric

The number one thing that can affect your yoga practice—besides your state of mind—is inner inflammation. Our bodies give us many signals when it is swollen and out of sorts, including achy joints, nasal congestion and digestive issues. Fortunately, most low-level inflammation can be addressed fairly quickly, and most often by diet simple adjustments. Our guest blogger today is health expert/nutritionist and Adamantine® practitioner Sheree Clark. Foods that fan the flames of inflammation You don’t need training in nutrition to draw the link between food, mood and physical performance. All you need to do is look at your sofa on Thanksgiving afternoon to see the aftermath of too much fat, sugar and…well, probably too much of everything not so good for you! It’s not just the occasional overindulgence we need to be concerned about to live our best life. It’s our day-to-day decisions or “forks in the road,” as I like to call them, that add up to create your current condition. Let’s look at the options we have to make better choices, every moment of everyday. Inflammatory foods Most of us have foods that we simply know don’t agree with us. But there are some common foods—like dairy, baked goods, wine—that are linked to inflammation, which is also called oxidative stress. It may not seem like a big deal, but inflammation can be an early indicator of many chronic conditions like arthritis, cancer, diabetes and more. From a yogic standpoint: inflammation limits mobility. Those stiff joints you feel during… [Continue Reading]

Upgrade Your Asana

Holding Warrior Pose

I’ve been noticing lately that a few of my regular yoga students are missing from Guided Self-Practice on Monday mornings. One recently confessed that she is often too sore from attending other yoga classes around town on the weekends to do her regular daily practice of Adamantine® Yoga come Monday. This made me reflect on my own practice and how much I value the simple fact that I never feel sore. That’s right, never. I don’t believe you’re supposed to feel that way. I don’t think it’s necessary. I believe you should feel better because you have practiced, not worse. But when you import some of the ideas prevalent in more traditional exercise modalities, it’s easy to conclude that if you don’t get sore/feel the burn/breakdown the muscle that you’re not getting the benefits. I disagree. I think there’s a reason why many modern yoga teachers are teaching classes that “kick-your-asana” and leave you feeling sore, and it might surprise you. I also think there is really no precedent for this in traditional yoga itself. Lastly, I don’t think it’s very “yogic”at all. There, I said it. Now to back it up. 1) Why many yoga teachers are out to “kick-your-asana.” Many yoga teachers wrongly equate yoga with working out. They think that you come to class to get your butt kicked, and they don’t understand how yoga really works. This is an industry-wide problem perhaps fueled by the general lack of experience required before becoming a yoga teacher. But that’s no real surprise. I think there’s an… [Continue Reading]

Why do I practice Adamantine® Yoga?

melissaay

I am fully committed to the practice of Adamantine® Yoga. But this wasn’t always the case. Adamantine® and I did battle for several months before I recognized that it was meant for me, and I for it. At first, my attendance was sporadic. I could find every excuse for not going. I was tired from lack of sleep, I had a big day/meeting/event coming up and needed the extra couple of hours to sleep in to be mentally prepared, I didn’t eat well the night before so my body would be stiff and achy, it was cold, it was hot, it was snowing, it was dark, and on and on. What I didn’t know, or rather wouldn’t admit, was that those very excuses were the specific reasons I needed to practice. If I was tired or didn’t get a good night’s rest, Adamantine® would give me energy. If I practiced before a big meeting, Adamantine® would make me more mentally prepared. If my body was stiff from dirty food causing inflammation, Adamantine® would help cleanse out the toxins and open up my achy joints. And, as we all know, they were simply excuses. In addition, I wasn’t very good at it. I’ve been blessed throughout my life to be pretty damn good at every type of physical activity I try, and typically good even when I first start out. I’m naturally athletic, fast, strong, and have great body awareness and coordination. I was a standout basketball, softball and track athlete… [Continue Reading]

Practice Heroically

tao

Last Spring I had the honor of teaching in White Plains, New York, being hosted by the grand matriarch of modern yoga herself, Tao Porchon-Lynch, as part of her annual yoga teacher training program. At 94 years of age this amazing woman is as active and inspiring as ever, whether she is traveling the world and teaching master classes in locations like Moscow and France, or simply driving herself around town in her tiny blue and silver Smart Car. Tao Porchon-Lynch is a living testament to the power of a life-long yoga practice, and she is a personal hero to me. We all need people like Tao. We need people who live their lives heroically, people who defy the odds and somehow thrive in the face of the extraordinary challenges that each and every one of us face just by virtue of being alive. A few years ago I came across a video of another such person that eventually went on to become viral. I’m sure you’ve seen it. It is about a man named Arthur Boorman who, as a wounded war veteran, documented his personal journey of self-healing. Few videos have had such a profound effect on as many people, and watching him go from hobbling about on crutches in the beginning of the video to sprinting full speed by the end is nothing short of breathtaking. Through his heroic efforts to heal himself, he has become an inspiration to countless other people who face enormous challenges in their… [Continue Reading]