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Everything posted by yogafire

  1. Hi guys! I just got an email that a workshop / intensive is coming to me locally, so I'm super excited about the opportunity! However, I noticed some of the classes are focused on arm balances. I can hover for about one microsecond in crow, and my wrists get rather achy if I do too many attempts in one class. I have a history of weak wrists that are slowly building up on strength. Has anyone attended these arm balances classes before, and do you think there are enough alternatives or strength building exercises I can do instead if I can't execute the full arm balances? I normally modify for my wrists by doing things on my forearms (e.g. forearm stand against the wall instead of handstand), but I have not figured out any personal modifications for arm balances!
  2. Cool, thanks Larry! That's the kind of info I was looking for
  3. Good luck! I remember reading and enjoying your posts before, glad to see you back! Welcome back! I hope you are re-cultivating how you feel after your practice, and that helps motivate you to keep going! I remind myself that how I feel after class is the most rewarding aspect for me when I don't feel motivated to do yoga.
  4. You may also need to evaluate with a doctor or physical therapist whether the orthotics you were using are providing too much support if you are not getting any better. Anyway, assuming that isn't the case, the concept of "active feet" in Forrest yoga has helped me a lot with strengthening my arches - you lift your toes to activate your arches while pressing down on the corners of your feet in standing poses. I also follow this drill led by one of my other teachers (non-Forrest but same concept) - I cued it at 10 min for the specific exercise so you can preview first: And check out this discussion on flat feet for more ideas!
  5. When I first started yoga 4 years ago, I couldn't bend in a forward fold properly or touch my toes while sitting down. I've gradually increased my flexibility, but for at least the first year, my hamstrings would feel sore the next day almost every time. It felt like DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) to me, so I figured I was building up strength. But I haven't heard anyone else mentioning this, so is it possible the soreness is from overstretching? Anyway, I mention this because due to flu sickness and the holidays, my yoga practice has taken a short break. Recently, I went back to a full 1.5 hour class and went through the primary series. The next day, my hamstrings are sore again, but mildly. At the same time, my shoulders and upper back were also sore, so I knew I did a lot my body isn't used to. So, is this normal? Am I pushing myself too hard?
  6. Yoga is convenient because you can do at home, but I wouldn't call it free until you already have an established yoga practice. A very good and durable mat can be ~$60-90 (lifespan 3+ yrs) and if you are new to yoga and need instruction, then in person classes are $10-$20 each depending on promotion deals and location. You can follow along youtube videos but it's also good to get feedback in person once in awhile so someone can see your alignment and make sure you are being safe. I don't indoor cycle, but I heard it's one of the best low impact cardio activities. So, yoga has benefits but it doesn't really get your heart rate up as high as cycling or running, unless you are doing a very physical ashtanga or vinyasa practice. Why don't you check out a gym free trial and go to both a cycling and a yoga class? That might be the best way to sample both worlds because they really are complementary, not necessarily substitutes. I certainly wouldn't invest an indoor cycle at home until I knew I liked it.
  7. Ahhhh @HGB let me know what you do find because apparently you and my husband have the same apparel shopping needs. Do you have a Uniqlo nearby? They have a dry stretch sweatpants. The dry stretch material is thin and lightweight on the jacket, but it might be a little thicker for the sweatpants, so best to feel it in person. We were waiting for it to go on sale before buying. Recently I got Nike Vintage Gym capris that are super thin sweatpants material, but, I can't find the men's version (might be the legacy one?). I usually buy whatever is on sale online to try at home and then return in store (or has free mail returns).
  8. I think people admire what they are working on for themselves... so, like Larry said, I appreciate effort. To me, I also think that's what differentiates a "beautiful practice" vs. a "beautiful pose". May we all walk in beauty! (what my Forrest yoga teachers like to say during closing)
  9. Yup - and the reason for the variation is usually due to the bone structure, so there can be a huge disadvantage or something physical getting in the way. I went to a workshop last week, and you know how some people can squat and have their heels touch the ground? The teacher explained most Asians have a divot in the front of the ankle where the shin meets the foot, so then they can bend farther forward while in a squat. Because of that genetic disposition, it's probably why East Asian cultures prefer the squat toilets and to squat down while waiting when there are no chairs. And then the teacher gave another example that her student couldn't straighten his feet out in child's pose, so she propped him with blocs and blankets. She then said he was finally able to lay down and straighten his feet, but it was after 8 years. I completely understand what you mean that it's hard to feel the intangible things - most are pretty subtle, and I don't realize it's been happening until it happens more often and becomes a new pattern in my practice. That's a different kind of thinking that can evolve on its own, and again, on its own timeline. But in the meantime, keep taking progress pics every month or so and evaluate - the distance from your leg to the floor may not have changed, but, are you sitting up straighter and taller than before?
  10. If external environment is prompting some negative thoughts, can you close your eyes in the pose and turn inwards to focus on the feeling? E.g. when you folded over, instead of looking at your stomach, close your eyes and concentrate on pushing your foot down to the ground, bending from your hips, or whatever cues your teacher is saying at the time. One of my teachers cues us to notice whatever "internal dialogue is going on" and exhale it out to let it go. Wandering thoughts always happen - don't judge yourself for it and focus on inhaling for 4 seconds and exhaling for 6 seconds (a little longer). Or focus on an alignment cue - e.g. in warrior 2, is your back foot's outer arch pushing down into the ground? Can you make your stance longer and go deeper, so you have to engage your muscles? In that case, those endurance parts of the practice make me focus and take my mind off whatever else was going on before. Or try a different class to mix it up - sometimes ones that play music might help, or, a hatha style class where the teacher is constantly giving verbal alignment cues can give you a lot to listen to. I go to Hatha classes a lot now, but in the beginning I found music playing classes helped me stop looking at the clock and wanting to leave because I just let myself enjoy the music in the background.
  11. That's great you are reflecting on your practice. I was relieved to read that you acknowledge aspects that you have improved on. Those can be harder to achieve, believe it or not. Candace's confessions on her scorpion progress helped put things in context: Notice her progress pics are over multiple years, not just days or months. I was fixated on improving the asana (poses) part of my yoga practice for a bit. So I did one of Candace's monthly programs, and the main thing she asked us to do was to document how we felt before and after class. After reflecting more, I realized other aspects my yoga practice was giving me - things I could not see in my progress pictures, but things I felt, such as more stability, less shakiness while I got into my balancing pose. So even though I couldn't see any significant visual differences in the flexibility part, the engagement of new muscles is something I felt and could see in video, but not in pictures. And to answer your question, yes, everyone's body type is different. Flexibility comes more easily for me, but strength is hard for me to build. After 6 years of yoga now (2-3 times a week, so I'm probably on the more casual side), I still don't practice arm balances, but, I've accepted it and reframed how I view arm balances. I feel stronger in the upper body than before, so I know there is progress in the prep for my arm balances, even if I don't get up. Instead of focusing on whether your arms touch the floor, how does it feel when you lay back - is it less tight than it used to be, or do you feel more comfortable reaching just a little more than before? Sometimes we can get so fixated on a binary aspect of the pose (does it happen or not), we forget the subtleties of other progress we've made. That's what I think most people mean by the "journey" part of it - all the poses are on a continuum. And agree with Larry - if flexibility is the main goal, try yin or hatha yoga that hold the poses for longer if you haven't already done so.
  12. I found out I was doing pigeon pose unsafely for a few years until a teacher put a rolled up blanket underneath the buttock of my front leg (bent leg). I was sitting flat to the floor with hip and leg before by tilting over on my side, so my hips were not even. The blanket helped give me some height so my hips were level. Now I got more used to this, and I practice it without the blanket, but, still with the same gap from the floor by using my legs to support me upright. I believe the links above using props emphasize the same alignment, so I hope they have helped you!
  13. Hey there, have you ever heard the coping method to "surf the wave" or "ride the wave" with emotions? The idea is to sit with that emotion you are feeling, but not let it overtake you or give in to your first reaction (e.g. run away, numb oneself with substances). I think anxiety could be exponentially mounting on you because you (like me!) depend on the yoga for mental health. It's easy to overreact negatively if something goes amiss on what we normally depend on for relaxation. Instead, I view yoga as an opportunity to feel. No expectations on feeling better afterwards, just observing the feeling and not running away from it. I think the discussion in the other posts that Larry helpfully linked are more about emotional release but not necessarily triggering an anxiety attack. That sounds more crippling than what has been described as emotional releases. But see if reading those articles linked give some perspective on "feeling". Good luck! I know I would react the same way as you if I felt anxiety coming "out of nowhere". It may actually be out of somewhere, but, don't worry about trying to figure it out - just sort of get to know it well enough so it doesn't build fear in having you practice yoga again. I don't know if this will help you at all, but for me, whenever I put pressure on myself to "get better", it just made my anxiety worse or made me not sleep because I would try to solve or think of ways to solve it.
  14. Some yoga studios don't even play music - maybe you can see if that feels better for you? Then you can still go to the gym for other workouts (cardio classes, weight lifting) and listen to your own music. Yoga is learning about how to concentrate and focus in different ways, so in silence can be a new way. I disliked my first few classes without music in the beginning and realized I had been using music to distract myself from how laborious class felt at the time. Preferences change though - now I'm used to no music but think music can be fun once in awhile. I remember this is why @YogaByCandace doesn't put any music in her online yoga videos! She said you can play your own soundtrack instead.
  15. Is it at the top of the thigh or behind? If at the top, stretch out the quads. Mine used to cramp up when doing that. Like Anahata said, bending the knee and holding at toe is a good modification - you can work on straightening the leg from that point without tensing the quads up as much.
  16. Not sure if this is cheaper, but are there bluetooth earphones or cheap bluetooth headset that can pair with your phone, and keep your phone in a bag or under a jacket? Did you tell the instructors you just prefer your own music but can still hear their voice? They might be concerned you can't hear their guidance in case you are out of alignment. I can't imagine an instructor taking that personally - sort of crazy one instructor just cranked up the music in response?! If the music is too much, maybe try regular earplugs and test if you can still hear the instructor with them. Sort of like doing some poses with your eyes closed, heightens other senses more.
  17. Bending the knees should still make you work still if you focus on extension in your hips (in downward dog) or work on trying to straighten without changing the shape of your back. One of my teachers makes us always start with the "modification" of bent knees so we can fully bend from our hip (not our back), and then slowly try to straighten them. And if the legs can't straighten without rounding the back, then stop - that's enough! You'll still benefit from the pose. Same with forward fold while standing - I can't touch my toes fully, so I bend my knees deeply to the point my belly touches the top of my thighs, and then I can comfortably touch my fingertips to the ground. And from there, maybe, try to straighten the legs. That definitely gives me a quad work out too since I am bending my knees so deeply.
  18. I agree with both of you. As a student, I've noticed that if a pregnant woman comes to class, she just sits in a forward fold or something else when we do abdominals or twists (as suggested by the teacher or done on her own). If anything, I think the pregnant woman looked a little more annoyed that she couldn't do what the rest of the class was doing, but that is probably not due to the class itself. I find it odd that it was announced that the class was changed because of you when you already gave her notification beforehand! I hope talking to the teacher helps. Great job on staying active the whole time!
  19. Could be a strain then? Does it subside if you lower your ribs (make sure they aren't "popping" out)? This tip helped me when I strained my lower back only on one side. This tip helped me realigned my torso so I would avoid restraining the same area. Not sure what else may be going on, but good luck in figuring it out!
  20. Could it be muscle soreness in your transverse abdominals, or somewhere else if you were working on core? My DOMS there can last up to 3 days sometimes! I don't think it's a muscle strain if it goes away after warming up, but make sure not to keep pushing it if it's still there after a week.
  21. Welcome, Laulu! Did your therapist recommend specific yoga poses? For example, is your chest really tight and pulling your neck forward? Or is it to build more rotation in your neck muscles gradually? My neck has also straightened (MRI confirmed it), after multiple neck strain re-injuries aggravated by years of sleeping on my stomach with my neck turned and also working at the computer during the day. I haven't had as much dizziness as you, but, if I do get up too quickly from a forward fold, I can easily get lightheaded. To counter this, I make sure to sip water during yoga class every so often, and I usually have the dizziness subside after I sip water. There are small things for neck support that you can do while getting up by using the palm of your hand to push your head up from a tilt instead of using your neck muscles. The other supportive cue I learned was when doing Warrior I, clasp your hands together behind the base of your skull so your thumbs run down along your neck. Then you can lean your head back while looking slightly up with support. When laying on the ground, do you try to get up straight, like a sit up, or do you roll over to one side? After rolling over the one side (less strain on neck), I usually use my palm to push my head up after sitting up straight. In terms of specific poses to avoid, I no longer do shoulder stand (a lot of pressure on my neck) and headstand. I do forearm stand against the wall for inversions instead of headstand. When we do abdominals in class and I feel myself working my neck too much, I keep my head on the floor and focus on working my lower abdominal. Good luck with your continued therapy! It's tough to deal with medical issues while trying something new at the same time. Take it easy, perhaps try some poses but back out of them if they make you woozy? Lastly, if you are going to any in studio classes, some teachers that are anatomy'-focused might be able to give you advice on how to address your wooziness / dizziness if you talk to them after class.
  22. I'm sorry to hear you were in so much pain! I didn't realize how much we rely on our feet in yoga until I had my top of foot injury earlier this year. I actually didn't do yoga for a full two months while healing because flexing my toes or activating my arch made the top of my foot ache. I was pretty saddened by this and felt worse because I wasn't exercising... but, after my foot felt better, I was able to regain my balance and strength after a month of returning to my casual practice (3x week). So don't be disheartened if you notice a difference in your practice after you take the tape off. toes are important! I'm glad you don't feel additional pain now, but perhaps consider doing a modified vinyasa (on knees, then cobra instead of upward dog)? That way you can avoid forming strange habits of putting all your weight on just the big toe - we can form new imbalances in our bodies when we try to accommodate an injury. Maybe you can also incorporate more seated sequences, such as seated forward fold or seated side twists that do not rely on the foot to be flexed downward (i.e. toes bent back on the mat).
  23. I'm 5'2" with a small frame, so I look bony in some areas. I do notice my lack of upper body strength when trying to do arm balances in my practice (still can't hold crow). But it's ok, it's good to have challenges. I enjoy doing binds, which is a body type advantage. I think bodyweight exercises are good for building strength for small sizes. At this stage push ups are very effective. I still do modified push ups on my knees, so don't feel like you have to do everything full blown like in videos. You can do them more slowly (harder actually) to make sure your form is good. You can also try filming yourself to check your form after the fact, too. Candace had some HIIT workout videos that might give you some ideas (burpees are fun, but make sure to check out modified versions to start off with in which you just jump to plank). Edit: strength can be unseen to the naked eye, so it may not look like you are getting toned, but yoga on its own will keep building up your core strength and balance. So I am not visually making as much progress in my arm balances as I mentioned, but my studio teachers have commented on how much stronger my forearm stand and handstands are now, which I am doing against the wall with more control than before. It's all relative and can be hard to see externally - enjoy the journey!
  24. There's an archive by calendar month on the right hand side when you look at the blog. The oldest one seems to be Sept 2011: But you can see that Candace edited it later to add the forum link! It explains the original topics in this forum, too
  25. Very cool, I didn't realize there was a kindle edition, too! I was torn, but due to physical space constraints, I got the kindle edition. Even though I miss out on the color diagrams on the reader, I realized I can open the same sample on the kindle cloud reader on the computer and enjoy the original pictures in their glory. Hope this helps anyone on the fence who also has space constraints. If I had been able to make it to Candace's book signing, could she have signed my kindle?