TIPS ON CHOOSING THE BEST PRACTICE FOR YOU.

BY KAT TUDOR

 

The Sanskrit word for “union,” yoga is both spiritual and physical. Using breathing techniques, meditation, and movement, the practice can energize and de-stress, depending on which type of yoga you choose to embrace.

Rife with hybrids—from Yoga Hop, a blend of yoga and hip hop, to yogalates, which pairs yoga with Pilates, to budokon, a fast-paced martial arts/yoga combo, to sweat-inducing hot or power yoga—the yoga menu is as vast as the imagination.

 

Match Your Yoga with Goals

Choosing the practice or type of yoga that is right for you depends on your goals:

  • Do you want to destress?
  • Are you interested in a spiritual practice?
  • Is vigorous exercise your goal?
  • Do you want to be drenched in sweat?

Yoga can fulfill all of those goals…and more. It isn’t uncommon for yoga students to vary their practice, selecting a destressing, gentle stretching class after work, a spiritual session when they are feeling down and a lively sweat-inducing class when they have energy to burn. Following are a few options:

HATHA

What it is: Slower paced, with a focus on breathing and basic poses. The mother of all yoga practices and the root of all modern styles, Hatha is the physical practice of yoga that uses a combination of body postures (asanas), breathing (pranayama) and meditation (dyana), with the goal of invigorating both mind and body. Perfect for beginners.

AQUA

What is it: A low-impact, flowing practice suitable for everyone. Practicing in the water promotes stability, core strength, joint health and balance. The practice will leave you feeling strong, refreshed and completely relaxed. For all levels.

See also What Women Want in an Exercise Routine.

ASHTANGA

What it is: Structured and challenging, for the athletic and more advanced student. Ashtanga consists of six different sequences that students can do at their own pace. Each sequence has a different focus and characteristics. For example, the first sequence, Yoga Chikitsa’s 75 poses, focuses on stamina, flexibility, strength and detoxification. Best for more advanced or athletic students.

VINYASA

What it is: This style is known for the fluid transitions between poses. Because breathing is extremely important, and movements are synchronized with your breath, students tend to sweat. Recommended for students who want lots of variety and movement.

RESTORATIVE

What it is: This style is about healing the body and mind through a series of simple poses. With the help of bolsters, props and pillows, many of the meditative poses are held for up to 20 minutes. Perfect for anyone in need of deep destressing or gentle healing. 

 

 

Kat Tudor is the founder and co-owner of SunWellness Companies, as well as a yoga instructor and artist. SunWater Spa and SunMountain offers a variety of yoga programs, from restorative and gentle aqua yoga, to Ayurveda and a version of a traditional Hatha practice, Sivananda yoga, a 90-minute class with an alternating focus on movement, breath and conscious relaxation to bring awareness within and encourage calmness. More at sunwellness.net.

To remain healthy, our bodies need a little support between each transition from one season to the next. This is more necessary now than ever. There was a time when the weather was a little more predictable and our lives a bit more geographically bound. This made it easier to move from the heat of summer to the cooler temperatures of fall. Or the colder winter weather to the freshness of spring. With climate changes and international travel, these seasonal transitions can be challenging. However, there are ways we can support our bodies as the shifts of nature occur––or as our geographical location changes.

 

Ayurveda, a natural eastern approach to bringing balance to the mind, body, and spirit, often holds the key to a successful, healthy body during all seasons. Let’s take a look at the transition from warmer climates, when pitta abounds to cooler, dryer one, when vata is likely to be dominant.

 

Nutritional Support

When the weather turns colder and drier (qualities associated with vata) and we move out of the fire of pitta energy in the summer, it’s a good time to reduce our intake of raw foods. It takes more digestive fire (agni) or energy to digest our foods. And when our digestion slows down or becomes impeded by less than ideal food choices, we become sluggish and our bodies become breeding grounds for illness.

 

According to Amadea Morningstar and Urmila Desai, authors of The Ayurvedic Cookbook, the fall is the most important time to attend to diet. This is the time when the attribute of motion is most prevalent. We’re “on the go a lot, mentally, physically, or both.” This requires grounding. Warm, nourishing foods will help us do that. They say to make sure food is “warm, moist, and well-lubricated. Soup, hot drinks, and rice with a little oil” are beneficial for this.

 

Michael Monroe, SunMountain Center chef, suggests increasing the use of spices such as cardamom, cloves, and cinnamon, to name a few,to bring warmth to our dishes and our bodies. Additionally, acorn squash stuffed with walnuts seasoned much like sausage is a good way to support the body and tantalize the taste buds. Warm muffins are also an added culinary treat that do more than just satisfy our sweet tooth. See the Chocolate Chip Recipe below to warm your soul and your body.

 

 

Exercise

SunWater Yoga Instructor Justin Kovich offers the following to support your practice and your body in cooler weather:

 

Apanasana

Begin in a low lunge and then straighten and flex the front leg, by shifting your weight. This circulates the lymph through the legs and cleanses the body of toxins.

 

Organ Massage

 While sitting, place two soft fists on either side of the belly button. Do a forward fold over your fists, and gently massage your stomach for 3-4 breaths. Sit straight, and then repeat the action several times after moving your hands to different locations around the belly. However, do not perform this massage after eating.

 

 

Abhyanga

 Sooth your skin, which may become drier during this season, with a self-massage, using unrefined organic sesame oil. (Avoid using coconut oil as this can have a cooling effect–––the exact opposite of what we want to do at this time.) Apply oil to the feet and hands first. Circle around the joints and gently work the oil into other parts of your body. Apply to your face and then massage your scalp as well.  Leave on as long as possible and then shower to rinse off excess oil and the toxins that have been released in the process.

 

Flowing with the Light

 

Cooler weather associated with vata energy can leave us feeling scattered and fragmented.

Routines are important during this time as well. Consistent times to go to sleep and to awake are important. Eating on a regular schedule is as well.

 

And as the days become shorter, honoring our desire to cozy up next to the fireplacewill create a solid foundation for health.Rather than push to get things done and keep in constant motion, opt for nourishing your self. Self-care often begins with quieting our bodies so that our minds can also be still. This practice rejuvenates us in body, mind, and soul. More on that in our next blog.

 

Chocolate Chip Muffins

 

3 flax eggs

7.5 tbsp water

2 cups pumpkin puree

1 1/2 cups maple syrup

1 1/2 tbsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup coconut oil, melted

3 tbsp flaxseed meal

 

3 cups garbanzo bean or oat flour

1 tsp each of clove, allspice & ginger

1 tsp salt

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

1 1/2 cups Almond meal

1 1/2 cups chocolate chips

 

 

Mix wet ingredients in a small bowl.  Then mix dry ingredients in another. Then blend the two mixtures together. Bake 350 degrees for45-50 minutes in lightly oiled muffin pans.

 

 

When it comes to facilitating a retreat, there are a lot of factors to consider. Planning a retreat requires we think about what we want first. If you’re not happy and content, then it’s likely the participants of your retreat will not be either.

 

 

Location, Location, Location

 

 

Your first consideration should be the location. If you’re drawn to the beach, you might not want to head to the mountains. And if you abhor the city, then a quieter abode for your retreat should be top on your list.

 

Nestled at the base of Pikes Peak in the eclectic mountain town of Manitou Springs, the atmosphere of SunMountain has been intentionally created to be warm and welcoming.

 

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