And more importantly, SHOULD they?
I get asked this question a lot, and I guess it's because people are so often pictured doing down dog with their heels down.
So, if it's not to get your heels down, what is the goal of down dog?
Fiona is one of Australia’s leading specialists in Mindful Eating and the NonDiet Approach & supports eating in an individually tailored way that supports every person’s unique needs, in alignment with the HAES (Health At Every Size) (R) paradigm. I have a long working relationship with her business partner from Body Positive Australia, Sarah Harry, and to say I love what these ladies are about is an UNDERSTATEMENT.
But here's the weird thing: Fiona didn't know I'd been working with Sarah when she applied to this training! The world works in strange ways sometimes.
Did you see over on instagram that I tidied my yoga corner? And yes, I do sometimes wonder if I'm the only one with a spine, a skeleton, and Buddha sitting side by side.
Which summarises what I am craving when I go to yoga class: I want to feel embodied in movement but also learn something new. It might be a big ask. Maybe I'm fantasising about it more now than usual because I was in a car accident over the weekend.
Events like this do make you stop and think about life and your priorities.
In this next 'meet the graduate' interview, I talk to Dr. Sarah Jane Perri, chiropractor extraordinaire (I see her for treatments actually) and yoga teacher. Sarah undertook teacher training with us during her last year of chiropractic study which was truly impressive, as if a difficult degree at uni wasn't enough! Here she shares what she found tough but also what she found rewarding about our course.
Like I mentioned last week, it's SO GREAT when I run across people - like Lucy - who believe as I do that yoga is for everybody. It's also great when they can put their belief into practice by modifying the practice for people's needs. It's a skill that comes from knowing how human bodies work, I believe.
Have you experienced a number of teacher trainings? Have you thought about what you’d want in your first one? I'd love to know!
I know that back when I was doing my first teacher training, it was very evident to me how BAD THAT TRAINING WAS, EVEN while I was doing it.
Ever get sore wrists in downward facing dog or plank pose?
Or simply feel like your arm muscles aren't strong enough to hold your weight?
There are some simple trajectories of weight that will help you position your bones so they can do their share of the lifting better.
Winter is coming...
(Okay, maybe it's already here)
And with it the cold and flu season. Ick. But yoga can help give your immune system a little extra ammunition against the dreaded lurgy in the colder months. We made a little infographic to show you how.
Down dog here
Child's pose here
Tadasana (Mountain pose) here
Legs up the wall pose here
We have five copies of the 'Salute the Desk' app for iPhone and iPad to give away.
It's a really cool app - it reminds you to take regular stretch breaks, and you get little goals to work towards (see image below). It's awesome too that the person who finally, finally made a non-sucky yoga app is a local Melbourne lady.
To enter, just leave a comment below, or reply to the newsletter saying 'yes please'.
You have until midnight Sunday 11 May to enter and winners will be announced on Facebook on Tuesday 13 May.
Morning yoga has become a ritual for me.
I roll out of bed and do a few yoga poses on my bedroom floor in my pjs. I do this every day, sometimes just for ten minutes. It doesn't always feel good, but it tunes me in to how I feel, and I am usually calmer afterwards.
This habit has a significant impact on the rhythm* of my day, my productivity in my work, and how stressed I do or do not feel.
Rituals and habits are closely related.
I think of rituals as habits that give us a little space to find meaning, or to remind ourselves of it.
The dictionary definition of ritual is “any practice or pattern of behaviour regularly performed in a set manner”, and there’s plenty written on how rituals can give meaning to events (even a study that showed that performing a short ritual before eating food increased the enjoyment of eating it!), and how the things we do repeatedly are who we become.
What does this have to do with yoga? Well, yoga is a tool both for noticing our habits (in posture, movement, thoughts, emotions) and for changing our them so we spending more time with the ones that help us.
And, of course, yoga itself can be a habit or ritual.
Do you want to build a yoga habit?
I’ve written here before about how a home yoga practice can be an antidote to Busy. It’s also a way of noticing things about ourselves and how we are in the world, and, potentially, to begin to build more helpful habits in other parts of life.
But how to start?
I’m going to give just one piece of advice.
A small change is easier to do regularly, and to form a habit we need regularity. (There's a great post here on the Zen Habits blog about forming habits.)
So perhaps start just by standing for a minute (yes, just a minute) each morning or evening in tadasana with your feet at hip width apart, spine tall, face muscles softening.
Or, you might like to try just a minute each day of any of these simple postures:
Pick a time of day, and do it each day at (or roughly at) that time. Be flexible though. If the time doesn't work, change it until you find a time that does. Then stick to it. And that one little change may lead to bigger ones. After all, from little things big things grow.
*A note: I prefer the word ‘rhythm’ to ‘routine’ because it’s a little more flexible and a little less mechanical (and hey, life isn’t always predictable).