Category: yoga

Tension, Compression and the “Hard Stop”

Tension and compression are concepts in the yoga world, taught and made widely known by Paul Grilley.

Tension is the muscular effort, the muscular edge. In order to build a muscle to strengthen it or lengthening it for flexibility, you have to go beyond to see or feel results. There’s “give” and room to go deeper with consistent practice.

Compression is the way your bones and body are built, causing a hard stop, bone to bone where there’s no more room, its just IS.  The way you are built determines your fullest expressions of any given pose.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BO74ujFALHy/?taken-by=theleighryan

With tension, we can push, go beyond and get out of our comfort zones. This tension can happen on the mat in physical practice and off the mat, if life situations. We can see, feel and experience personal growth or a deeper expression of a pose.

In compression, the hard stop, it can feel damning, almost, to have to accept that your fullest expression won’t ever change.

Sometimes, in life, we feel the hard stop.  More often than not, its the story we are telling ourselves versus the reality of the situation. When you feel bone to bone in a pose, it takes a strong mind to be fully there, at the “end” of the pose. At the end of the pose, using your breath, you can experience all the pose has to offer. It’s said that in the compression (and the absence of pain), that energy and prana are being stimulated even more!!

I’ve been feeling the hard stop lately, a “life” compression.  Where it really feels like a ceiling, a wall, bone meeting bone, no more.  But if I look at the idea from a yogic perspective, there is opportunity by simply being “in it.” There is room to explore whether or not it is actual compression or is it the story I’ve created. There is room to grow if I allow energy to flow here, versus looking at it like a kink in a hose. There is room to flow in the space where it feels like nothing is flowing. Finding my breath in the space where there’s nothing more to do, fix or change.  Can I just BE with everything the pose or situation has to offer?

My next step? Harnessing the energy.  Finding another path to keep going and growing.  If you are in this place right now, I invite you to do the same.  Look at the compression as a place where energy flows, where you can be fully present in the situation as it is; feeling and experiencing it  instead of letting it feel like a reason to stop, either stop practicing the pose or stop chasing a goal.

Have you ever felt tension and compression, on your mat or off? How do you deal with working with the compression?

Click To Tweet

 

 

The Whole30 Challenge – Guest Post!

Have you ever reached a point where you just wanted to push a reset button for your body? Maybe you ate too many sweets during the holidays, maybe you indulged in one too many glasses of wine, or maybe you don’t feel great from eating too much processed food. Whatever your reason, you know that what you put into your body directly affects how you feel. When we don’t eat the right foods, we get sluggish, our brains get foggy, and unfortunately sometimes our pants get a little too tight. By cleaning up the way we eat, we can reverse these effects and feel better from the inside out.

WHOLE30

If you’ve never heard of Whole30 before, it is a 30 day eating plan that helps to reset your body through nutrition. It is designed to help you overcome cravings, repair your digestion, and determine how certain foods affect your body. Sometimes we eat foods that throw our body out of balance, and we don’t even realize it! By eliminating these foods for 30 days, we become more in tune with our bodies. Then, we learn how certain foods really make us feel after we slowly add them back to our diets.

HOW IT WORKS

For 30 days, we will eat only real, clean, whole foods. Meats, vegetables, fruits, healthy fats…all of the GOOD stuff, and none of the junk. We will NOT eat added sugar or sweeteners, alcohol, grains (including oats and corn), legumes (including peanuts and soy products), dairy, white potatoes, carrageenan, MSG, sulfites, or “Paleo junk” like grain-free brownies. We want to reset our bodies, not find ways to give in to cravings!

You can find more detailed info on the Whole 30 website. I also highly recommend the book It Starts With Food, to give you more insight into the program.

THE MEAL PLAN

I’ve eaten Paleo-style foods in the past, and I’ve even started the Whole 30 a couple of times before. I’ve found that is the biggest predictor of my success is how well I plan in advance. If I don’t have a meal plan in place, or don’t have my fridge stocked with “approved” foods, I will fail. If I have junk food easily accessible in my pantry, I will fail. So I know that I need to have a plan that keeps me 100% on track. Here is my meal plan for week 1:

I also will be prepping as many meals in advance as possible. Chopping veggies for snacks, making salad bowls for when I need to grab and go, and throwing crockpot meals into a freezer bag so I can prep dinner as quickly as possible during the week (super important when I have a 4 month old attached to my hip!).

In addition to hitting that reset button on my nutrition, why not also reset my body and mind at the same time — with 30 days of yoga? Check out Leigh’s post on yoga, the Whole30 and mindfulness in our daily life. She will post short yoga practice videos, varying in style, for you to try at home.

Want to join the group? Click here! We would love to have you join us for the next month.

Amanda Seghetti is a fitness professional, social media influencer and mom of 3 based in the Denver area. Go check out her blog, Phoenix Fitness and give her a follow on Instagram.

Yoga Myths AND Upcoming Workshop!

As a yoga teacher, I’ve heard a LOT of “reasons” as to why someone *thinks* they can’t do yoga. Let’s run through a few of them and dispel some yoga myths!

1. “I can’t sit still, I can’t do yoga.”

Great news, not all yoga is “still” or on the floor. Vinyasa yoga is a powerful style – and there’s a style for every body. Some styles, like yin, are still. Some styles are a happy marriage of the two,  Vinyasa, in particular the LifePower Yoga style, can be a physically intense practice!

2. “I’m not flexible.”

Then we have something in common. And I’m a yoga teacher so hopefully the yoga police don’t come to class when I’m practicing!  Think of it like this – if you didn’t lift weights, you wouldn’t become stronger.  Same principle applies!  By avoiding yoga, you certainly won’t become more flexible but like lifting heavier as you get stronger, with a consistent practice, you will find your flexibility improving.

3. “I don’t know poses.”

And like learning anything new, you start by knowing very little. And that’s ok – this is why it’s a practice and any yoga teacher will help you with poses!  Either by consistently showing up to class or by working one on one with a teacher, you’ll learn poses.  That said, poses are actually secondary to the practice; your breath is always the first “pose” to learn.

vinyasa, yoga, lifepower yoga

With an open mind, this practice peels away layers. With strong breath, this practice is rejuvenating, revitalizing and is amazing for your body too.

Prove these yoga myths wrong! Come check out my workshop at Life Time Athletic Mount Laurel on January 18 at 7:30pm.  Learn the basics of connecting breath and movement and some common flow sequences to help you feel more confident when you step on your mat!

Yoga Myths & Upcoming Workshop! #phillyyoga #southjerseyyoga #lifepoweryoga #ltemployee Click To Tweet

You did YTT ….twice?

With a slightly guilty conscious, I’m here, writing and reflecting, about my experience doing a second YTT (yoga teacher training).

Guilty because my kitchen needs to be cleaned, guilty because the clean unfolded laundry pile seems to be getting bigger before my eyes.

But, as this round of YTT wraps up, I need to sort out the feelings, the takeaways, the a-ha moments, not only for myself, but to put in words why one would do the SAME training twice, within months of completing the first. (“Did you fail?” and “Are you crazy?” came up quite a bit and the answer is no. Well, that second is up for discussion, I guess.)

One huge takeaway is that the more I spend time learning and growing, into a better teacher and better human, the less I’m concerned with taking time to clean or fold laundry!  Only half kidding, while I know that those things need to be done, my time spent teaching, practicing, writing and my time with my family are more important than the dishes in the sink. So much more than just time management, its like a lesson in living life fully without stressing or worrying about chores and choosing to fill your cup with your passions and loves instead.  (And if you are reading this while your wet laundry hangs in the washer, namaste, friend. Do some sun salutations after and if there’s time, you can always get to the laundry later.)

Get upside down. #inversionsmakeyouhot #yogaeverydamnday

A photo posted by Leigh (@theleighryan) on

Another more significant observation is that this second time through, I realized that I’m not comfortable in the “gray area” – not a faculty teacher but to the other YTT students, being a “been here, done this” presence.  Not a leader on paper, but wanting to help lead, not just implicitly.  And as any yoga teacher knows, still always, ALWAYS, a student.  This gray area is a slightly stressful place to be so obviously, it can also be a place of growth, if you allow it.  The internal struggle of being a teacher on the schedule, having high aspirations for my growth and really feeling confident teaching a strong class…then at times, feeling really small and raw during our YTT meeting times. Those extremes kept me humble, “in my place” even if it didn’t always feel good.

humble kanye YTT yoga teacher training
Caught between humility but also not “playing small”…

Finally, the last revelation and certainly most powerful, is becoming fully aware that my heart is so invested in teaching yoga.  That I don’t want to *just* teach classes, that I also want to teach yoga teachers.  Seeing this YTT unfold through a different lens, a lens that maybe was uncomfortable at times, taught me so much and it was so rewarding to watch these student teachers grow, even if my impact was ancillary, at best.

I didn’t sign up for a second YTT to learn Ashtanga again; I signed up to get deeper into my “why” – why I practice, why I feel so passionately about this style, why I want to teach student teachers.  I’m still working on articulating my “why” but I do know this….yoga feels like home.

you did YTT twice?? #ytt #yoga #lifepoweryoga Click To Tweet

My LifePower Yoga Experience – so far.

It is 10:30PM on a Wednesday night.  Four Wednesdays ago, I was typically in bed by 10, at the very latest.  On February 27,  my LifePower Yoga experience, this 200 hour yoga teacher training, started…and almost everything that was normal – albeit, blissfully chaotic – changed entirely.

yoga_logo_header

“YTT” – our LifeTime abbreviation for the program – has all but taken over my life.  And usually, when someone says that, its in a negative way.  This “overtaking” has been a far cry from negative.  I’ve never really lived every day, and seized every moment quite like this….perhaps because I have so little time to waste now.  Perhaps just because I’m yolo’ing the shit out everything that comes my way.

#ootd to meet with the accountant. Haha. #carpediem #taxseason #seizethatshit

A photo posted by Leigh (@theleighryan) on

In the first three weeks of this experience, I’ve learned to teach yoga.

Not a full class, but almost there.  But, with confidence, I can say, I’m a yoga teacher.

In the first three weeks of this experience, I’ve learned to manage my time better.

Not perfectly, because I’ve still forgotten some things, still have to rush a little.  But, with confidence, I can say that this Hot Mess Express has been running smoothly.

In the first three weeks of this experience, I’ve become a stronger group fitness instructor.

Not that I wasn’t a *good* or even great instructor, but with confidence, I can say that my group fit game has gone next level, with some of the tools I’ve learned and the confidence in my instruction, knowledge and motivation.

In the first three weeks of this experience, I’ve become a more patient mom.

Not that I wasn’t a *pretty* patient mom, but with confidence, I can say that now, in the 6 years of being a stay-at-home-kinda-working mom, I appreciate my time with my kids so much more that losing my patience with them isn’t a good use of any of our time together.

In the first three weeks of this experience, I’ve watched my husband really own his “Dad” title.

Not that he didn’t own DAD before, but with confidence, I can say that he’s taking this in stride, supporting me, making our team work with more teamwork.

Study, study, study in the place I live, live, live, live. #poweryoga #ytt #yogaeverydamnday

A photo posted by Leigh (@theleighryan) on

3 weeks down, 9 weeks to go.  So much more to learn.  So many more chances to grow stronger, physically and mentally.  So excited for the rest of this LifePower Yoga experience, this YTT – because if this is the beginning??

Damn, the end will be something amazing.

Like this post? Give some tweet love!LifePower Yoga Teacher Training! #yoga #yolo Click To Tweet