All Posts from April, 2011

Yoga for Athletes: A Brainstorm by Carey Rockland

April 25th, 2011 | By Shelley Eades in Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

I want to blog about this because I am about to co-teach this workshop with Traci Joy Burleigh (April 30, 1:30-3:30PM at Bernal Yoga).

Why is Yoga for Athletes a good idea?

I have always tended toward athleticism, but yoga has been an incredibly difficult practice to incorporate due to extreme inner resistance. As is often true when such inner resistance is present, yoga has dramatically improved the quality of my life, athletic and otherwise.

How yoga has helped me athletically:

Yoga has brought forward the subtleties of presence that I had effectively ignored.

Yoga has improved my intuitive balance and spatial awareness from a state of calm that I can now take with me into competition or chaos.

Yoga brings up the inner monsters that take me off track in my sport of choice. I get to address them on the yoga mat, where it is quiet (and I beat them).

Yoga has strengthened my body in ways I cannot replicate in the gym or in martial arts. This type of strength has improved my lifts and fighting style. Slow chatturanga has increased the amount of weight I can bench.

How athleticism has helped me with yoga:

Athleticism teaches that improvement comes with practice. There is no yoga standard to reach. Practice effects change.

Athleticism has given me the courage to be more present with myself. Yoga requires presence without an external opponent, which means there are no distractions from self.

Athleticism has given me lessons from loss. I learn more when I lose. Recognizing the lesson at hand leads to growth.

Athleticism requires persistence. The work is always in progress. A great performance is not the end of the story.

Athleticism has toughened my skin. Being slightly less sensitive has given me the courage to go again, then one more time, and then another, and another. Eventually I grow beyond my perceived limits.

Again, why this is a good idea:

The labels of yogi or athlete are not important. Deepening the relationship with self and physical experience makes life better, physically and emotionally. Exploring this relationship from two nicely counterbalanced perspectives enriches the experience. The strengths of the yogi and the strengths of the athlete are strengths for living.

-Carey Rockland
Personal Trainer

I learned something new about Chatarunga

April 7th, 2011 | By Tania Ketenjian in Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

The other evening, Debbie Zambetti (love her name) demonstrated Chatarunga so well in class. I have posted about this pose before because it’s one of those ones that: a. is really important, b. I always have struggled with, c. includes a lot of details, d. once you get the hang of it can be a lot of fun!

So this is what I learned: when you are in plank and about to go down for chatarunga, your wrist has to be essentially at a right angle so where you place your hands is super important. Otherwise, you can really jeopardize your wrist and can cause some damage in the future. So that’s the first thing. Look at your hands, wrist and arm when in plank. Make sure they are at a ninety degree angle. Also, the eyes of your elbows should initially face each other and then they should face their respective thumbs (so a slight angle).

Finally, when you start going down—elbows in, chest open, legs straight, pace slow—you don’t need to go too far down. We often think we almost have to hover. That’s not the case. You just have to go down half way (or about that). Then, keeping that chest nicely open, move through the arms and into upward facing dog. Remember, it’s a sun salutation, and when we’re in the sun, we want to be open to it, feel its warmth and open our hearts. Same with chatarunga.

So next time you’re in chatarunga, think about your wrists, the angle, the amount you go down and how open you keep your chest throughout.


The Power of Pace

April 7th, 2011 | By Tania Ketenjian in Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

We all move at different paces. You can really get a sense of that when you’re hanging out with a close friend. Sometimes you wish they went faster, other times slower because as we all know, our energy and the ways in which we move our bodies varies so much from person to person. This becomes particularly evident in class because the teacher sets a pace. And I love that because it’s great to be moving at the same pace as others, breathing in at the same time, being in downward facing dog at the same time, and doing something collectively. I mean that is a big part of practice, or it has become one since yoga moved further away from one teacher, one student, to one teacher, many students.

At the same time, there are moments in class when we are invited to go through salutations or positions at our own pace and it’s amazing to see how different each person practices. This is important because one of the foundations of class is really being aware of your body, the way it moves, and what it needs. Often in class you’ll hear the invitation to go at your own pace rest when you need to and just listen to the messages your body is giving you. No need to be at the same pace as others, or to even follow exactly what the teacher is saying. Really listening and being aware of your own pace can help you on and off the mat.

Bernal Yoga Music Salon

April 4th, 2011 | By savonn in Uncategorized | 3 Comments »

Bernal Yoga Music Salon

From Ann Lam, Bernal Yoga’s Assistant Studio Manager:

April marks my ninth month as a resident of San Francisco, and already this city feels like home. In July of 2010 my sister and I drove across the country, from New York City to San Francisco. I had left my corporate job in Manhattan in order to focus all my energies on yoga and music, and I felt that the best place to do this would be San Francisco. I didn’t have a concrete plan of action, but through a stroke of fate or perhaps just plain dumb luck, a friend pointed me in the direction of Bernal Yoga. I must admit that the direction from my apartment in the Mission was more uphill than I would have liked, but after stepping foot into the studio, I knew I had stumbled upon a special place. When Shelley decided to take me on as her sidekick in managing Bernal Yoga, I knew I had been given a lucky break, but I didn’t realize then how fortunate I really was.

It was impossible for me to have known how many warmhearted, talented, and creative people I would meet … as they came through the front door of the studio with yoga bags slung over shoulders, wearing smiles that led to personal story sharing over cups of tea across the street at Progressive Grounds. And so the idea of the Bernal Salon was born: an evening of creative expression and sharing among the amazing artists and residents of Bernal Hill. What actually transpired on the evening of our first salon on Saturday, March 26th, exceeded all expectations. A full house showed up to hear Erin O’Briant, local author and Bernal yogi, discuss her journey into the self publishing world and read from her book, Glitter Girl; as well as witness the joyful exuberance of the Sugar Shakers (featuring Bernal yogis Alanna Taylor-Tobin and Jay Doane), ukelele-kazoo virtuosos with a penchant for rousing audience members into song. I was also fortunate to play a short piece on my violin, but mainly I was thankful for the chance to express my gratitude at being a part of this wonderful and generous community of yoga practitioners, who I now consider my Bernal Yoga family. (That evening we raised a substantial amount of money, which was donated to the Red Cross Japan Earthquake and Pacific Tsunami Relief Fund.)

At the end of every yoga class, I try to dedicate a moment to honor the people who I have had the privilege of sharing my practice with. We come to class and we leave class sometimes without saying more than a few words, if any, to our practice neighbor, but there is an unspoken kinship at 461 Cortland Avenue … the kinship of yoga and Bernal Hill. The Bernal Salon provides a chance to tap into that kinship and learn more about the talents and passions of our neighbors and friends in the Bernal community. Chances are you’ll find out you have much in common, much to discuss, much to share. I know I have. Like I said, I have truly found my home on this special hill of San Francisco.

The next Bernal Salon will take place on Saturday, April 23rd. Back by popular demand, the Sugar Shakers perform all-original works, and our very own Megan Windeler discusses her love of music and her blog entitled Words. I hope to see you there.