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All posts by Jason Crandell

Essential Sequence: Evening Wind Down

First, a quick, shameless plug: I’ve just announced the dates and location for my 2017 Advanced Teacher Trainings. You can check here for more information and register at LoveStory Yoga. OK, now onto the regularly scheduled program.

I’ve spent many an evening, after a long, hard day doing these poses in our living room while family life happens around me. That might mean that my daughter is jumping on me, or that there’s an occasional sports newscast on in the background. My evening wind down practice isn’t pristine (and yours doesn’t have to be either), but I still find it incredibly helpful to spend a few minutes on self-care in the evening. It provides a buffer zone that helps me relax so that when it’s time for sleep, my mind isn’t buzzing and my body isn’t calling out for more attention.

The evening sequence focuses on stretching the hips, hamstrings, and shoulders – all areas that accumulate tension in daily life. You’ll notice that there are no Sun Salutations at the beginning of the sequence and that’s intentional. The idea is to gently nurture yourself by stretching, breathing, and tuning your awareness to your body and breath. This act of focusing on exactly what you’re doing in your body and breath will help slow down the momentum of your mind so that when it’s time to let go and sleep, it’s easier to do that.

Take 5-10 breaths in each pose and do each side before moving to the next. Rest, savor, and repeat as often this evening-sequence you can!

evening_winddown_sequence_graph

Want to practice this sequence at home? When you sign up for our newsletter, we’ll send you a FREE printer-friendly download for you to keep.

{illustrations by MCKIBILLO}

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Find Your Voice. Refine Your Skills. Become the Teacher You Want to Be.

It’s a mantra I find myself repeating over and over again: If you study with me, I want to help you find your own voice. This takes time, and devotion, and practice. My job in the training room is to provide a safe space for you to explore who you are and to provide valuable, compassionate feedback.

When you commit to training with me, you’re really committing to yourself, to your practice, to your personal growth. I’m thrilled to be able to offer a 300-hour training in London this year that’s split into 100-hour modules. You can come to all three or choose to attend them individually.

Each module will help you shore up areas that need your attention — whether it’s your understanding of anatomy, your verbal communication, your sequencing, or your ability to express yourself effectively.

I put this video together to help capture what it is I hope to offer with these trainings. I hope you enjoy it and hope to see you soon! (For dates and details, take a look at my 300-Hour Teacher Training page.)

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Essential Sequence: Parsva Bakasana (Side Crow)

I love creating sequences for Parsva Bakasana. I always have. Since the posture contains so many components, there are countless ways I can take the class. I can focus on a sequence of upper body and core strengthening postures before tackling Parsva Bakasana. Or, I teach a practice full of deep, detoxifying twists before guiding my students into this peak pose. Other times, like in the sequence below, I’ll create a more balanced approach where each of the posture’s components is equally prepared.

Sequencing for Parsva Bakasana is also deeply satisfying because a sound, logical progression can help students break through and do the posture for the first time. Confusion is one of the biggest hurdles to doing this pose well—-or, at all. Often times students are physically capable to do the pose but struggle because they don’t know the building blocks. A good sequence demystifies the actions and helps you feel your way into the pose.

Since Parsva Bakasana is the foundation for more advanced arm balances such as Dwi Pada Koundinyasana and Eka Pada Koundinyasana I, it’s a nice posture to emphasize in mixed level classes because you can encourage the more seasoned students to work on these variations.

Here are a couple of thoughts about the practice before you begin:

Sequence Focus: Parsva Bakasana requires core strength, upper body strength, hip flexibility, and spinal flexibility. The practice begins with core strengthening postures, then transitions into a progression of twisting standing postures. The standing postures I chose will help open your hips and prepare your spinal muscles for the twisting component of Parsva Bakasana. Finally, the posture hits its’ peak with Bakasana and Parsva Bakasana. If Bakasana is a challenging pose for you, please check out my Bakasana sequence. Take your time, be patient, and enjoy yourself—-even if you struggle a little.

Before You Begin: For a longer, more intense practice, you can begin with Sun Salutations. Feel free to include as many lunge salutations, Surya Namaksar A, and Surya Namaskar B as you’d like. Otherwise, you can dive into the practice below.

After You Finish: This sequence is predominantly twists. Twists prepare the body for forward bends and backbends, so, really, you can go either way after you’ve concluded Parsva Bakasana. If you want to do forward bends, Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose), Upavistha Konasana (Wide Angle Pose), and Paschimottanasana (Seated Forward Bend) are a good bet. If you want to do backbends, I recommend a Low Lunge to open the front of your thigh before transitioning into a few rounds of Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose) and Urdvha Dhanurasana (Upward Bow Pose).

You could take a few minutes in seated meditation before calling it a day and resting in Savasana.

Parsva Bakasana Sequence

Want to practice this sequence at home? When you sign up for our newsletter, we’ll send you FREE print-friendly PDF download for you to keep.

{illustrations by MCKIBILLO}

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Essential Sequence: Immune Booster

It’s holiday season and, for me, it’s “My child is in preschool and constantly has the sniffles season.” Whether you’re in hyper-drive, ticking your way through the holiday to-do list or you’re feeling too depleted to get off the couch and do yoga, the sequence here is invaluable to have in your back pocket during the winter months. It’s not a high-intensity practice – it’s a healing, nurturing, immune boosting yoga practice. The poses encourage relaxation, reduce stress, and facilitate circulation throughout your whole body. These are the three most effective things that yoga asana can do to help support your immune system.

You’ll start off on your back in a Supta Padangusthasana series, which requires very little exertion for those of you feeling fatigued. From there, you’ll gently open your hips, where stress and tension often pool. Then you’ll move into forward bends, which facilitate quiet, inward-drawn attention. You’ll finish with some rejuvenating inversions that reverse blood flow and open the neck and shoulders. (Sometimes they even relieve sinus congestion, although too much inverting can make it worse, so listen to your body.)

As you move through the practice, give yourself permission to slow down and settle in to your body and breath. Try to be as gentle and patient with yourself as possible – especially if you have a cold when frustration and impatience can rear its head. These qualities—going slowly, nurturing yourself, taking your time—are your own natural antidotes to stress, depletion, and fatigue. I hope this sequence helps you tap into them and have a healthy winter season!

Immune Boosting Yoga Sequence

Want to practice this sequence at home? If you sign up for our newsletter, we’ll send you FREE print-friendly PDF download for you to keep.

{illustrations by MCKIBILLO}

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Sharing My Story

Today’s fast-paced, social media-driven world can sometimes make it feel like we have to get our message across in 15 seconds (or 140 characters) or less. But recently, Yogaglo commissioned some videos of its teachers and I had the great fortune of having an amazing, leisurely conversation with the talented videographer Jonathan Pears. The result is this seven minute video, which I feel captures who I am perfectly. Thanks, Jon (his company is called Back to Awake) & Yogaglo! I love being part of your family.

I hope you enjoy watching it as much as we did making it.

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