Thursday, November 30, 2017

Deepen your home practice

What's your hardest yoga pose? If you and your yoga friends were to compare notes, you'd likely come up with a wide variety of answers. But virtually all practitioners will tell you that a greater challenge lies in developing and maintaining a home practice. 

Beginners face the task of remembering poses to practice; more experienced students face the dilemma of deciding what emphasis to choose during any particular session. Even teachers and students with decades on the mat can be daunted by the difficulties of maintaining and renewing a home practice. Illness, family obligations, boredom, travel, and that universal bugaboo, a perceived lack of time: All these obstacles, and more, will inevitably appear.
Even if you've established a strong desire and commitment to practice regularly, knowing which poses to do right now, for today's session, is one of the most concrete challenges of a home practice.
This challenge can be met by choosing a specific sequence of poses that will meet your needs, in this moment, for health and wholeness. Some systems of asana practice, like the Ashtanga Vinyasa of Pattabhi Jois, use set groupings or series of poses, so sequencing is not an issue. But many systems do not designate the order of poses; within limits, choosing the sequence is left to the student. And even students who practice set sequences like the Ashtanga series can benefit by working especially diligently on different poses on different days.
Even with years of regular class attendance under your belt, if you don't have the technical knowledge to create a well-rounded and well-organized home practice, that practice may very well remain spotty. It probably won't sustain itself-and you-over the long haul.
Planning Your Practice Sessions
To create a satisfying practice that you approach with enthusiasm, at least on most days, requires two basic kinds of knowledge. The first kind is gained by answering this next question for yourself: What do you really need from your practice today? If you are very tired from a long airplane trip, for example, you might choose a restorative practice to replenish your energy. At the least, you might start with resting poses and then see where the practice leads you; if you find your energy is increasing, you can always move into more dynamic asanas. On the other hand, if you feel energetic at the beginning of your practice, you might use a more vigorous session to channel that energy. For example, you could choose to emphasize standing poses or arm balances, making challenge and strength your focus.
Regardless of what you actually do, if your practice is an expression of what is alive in you now, that practice will help you stay present during your time on the mat. That experience can serve as a model for practicing presence all day long. It will also satisfy you and thus help give you the impetus to practice again tomorrow. If you force yourself to practice because you think you should, because you didn't yesterday, or for any other more external reason, even the most technically polished poses will not answer your inner need for ease and wholeness.
The second kind of knowledge necessary for creating a home practice is an understanding of the principles behind sequencing yoga poses. Once you know what type of practice you want for today, you need to decide the order in which you'll do those asanas. But before you can understand the effect a pose has in relationship to others, you must first become aware of the effects of the individual poses on your body and mind. Then you will better understand where exactly to place each asana in your sequence.
Another way to observe the effect that a pose has on you is to practice it and then lie quietly for a moment, eyes closed, paying attention to all the sensations that arise in your body. The more clear you are about the effects of a pose, the more understanding you will have about exactly where to include it in your practice, as well as what might beneficially follow it.

The Basic Pose Groups

To begin to create effective asana sequences you enjoy, keep in mind that yoga poses fall into several groups. These groups are analogous to food groups. Most nutritionists will agree that health comes from balancing our intake of protein, carbohydrates, and fats. And any particular person's needs for one of these groups may be different at different times. Pregnant women, for example, have an increased need for protein; other people may do well limiting certain forms of carbohydrates. But to be healthy, we all need some of all these kinds of nutrients.
A similar balance is necessary in asana practice as well. On a certain day you may need more of one particular type of pose, but generally you need some of all of the basic types of poses.
Here are the basic groupings of asanas. The first group is called standing poses and includes many poses, like Trikonasana (Triangle Pose), Parsvakonasana (Side Angle Pose), the various Virabhadrasanas (Warrior Poses), and Vrksasana (Tree Pose), as well as other one-legged balancing poses. I also place Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation) in this group.One way to increase your understanding of a pose's effects is to hold it longer than you usually would-say by counting breaths and gradually, over a period of days, increasing the number of breaths as you hold the pose. If you do this, it may become more clear to you, for example, that backbends tire your arms quickly. Thus, you may decide to focus more on arm strengthening in your practice sessions and remember to follow backbends with poses that do not additionally challenge your already tired arms.
The arm balances are a relatively small group of poses that require both balance and strength. They include such poses as Bakasana (Crane Pose), Tittibhasana (Firefly Pose), and Vasisthasana (Pose Dedicated to the Sage Vasistha). I also include in this group other poses that require arm strength, like Plank Pose and Chaturanga Dandasana (Four-Limbed Staff Pose).
The next group of poses is inversions, which draw on the vertical power associated with standing poses as well as the upper body strength needed for arm balances. Inversions
include Sarvangasana (Shoulderstand), Sirsasana (Headstand), and Halasana (Plow Pose), of course, but also Adho Mukha Vrksasana(Handstand), Pincha Mayurasana (Forearm Balance), and others. Inversions are considered by many yogis to be at the core of asana practice. However as these powerful, satisfying poses can cause injury if performed incorrectly or when you have contraindicative health conditions (including menstruation, pregnancy, high blood pressure, and glaucoma), I strongly advise you to learn them directly from a qualified teacher who is able to guide you personally.

There is disagreement in the yoga world as to whether Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-Facing Dog Pose) is an inversion. I prefer not to include it in this group; even though your head is lower than your heart (one technical definition of inversion) in Downward Dog, the inversion effect is muted by the fact that your legs are semi-vertical and by the fact that you cannot hold the pose very long compared to Headstand and Shoulderstand.
A fourth asana group consists of backbends, like Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose), Salabhasana (Locust Pose), and other basic spinal extension movements; this group also includes Urdhva Mukha Svanasana (Upward-Facing Dog Pose), Urdhva Dhanurasana (Upward-Facing Bow Pose), and more advanced poses like the Kapotasana (Pigeon Pose) variations.
Twists are exactly what the name says. They are usually done sitting, but some can be done lying down as well. Always remember that it is not a good idea to end your practice with a twist, as these poses are so one-sided in their effect on the spine. Instead, after twists practice at least one symmetrical forward bend, like Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend) or Paschimottanasana (Seated Forward Bend), before Savasana (Corpse Pose).
Forward bends along with various miscellaneous seated poses other than twists form the next group. All are done while sitting or reclining on the floor. While there are forward-bending movements done from standing, like Uttanasana and Prasarita Padottanasana (Wide-Legged Standing Forward Bend), I would group these with the standing poses.
I also group the other seated or floor poses in the forward-bending category, even though they are not actually forward bends. Such poses include the various meditation poses, including Padmasana (Lotus Pose); hip and groin openers, like Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose), Hanumanasana (Monkey Pose), and Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose); reclining poses such as Supta Padangusthasana (Reclining Hand-to-Big-Toe Pose) and Supta Virasana (Reclining Hero Pose); and a number of others.
Restorative poses are the final group. These include Savasana, the basic relaxation pose that should be done at the end of every session, as well as other supported relaxing poses like Supta Baddha Konasana(Supported Bound Angle Pose).

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Kids Yoga at Yoga Inc

Why not cycling onto a yoga mat? Good way for the kids to strengthen their whole body and keep their balance at the same time! We had so much fun at the Kids Yoga Class at Yoga Inc yesterday!

#kidsyoga #yogainc #breatheandsmile

Thursday, November 16, 2017

You’ll Never Miss Yoga In The Morning After Reading These Scientific Benefits That…

So True!!!

"Do you wake up groggy? Is It hard to get a move on, and start your to-do list? Then you might benefit from practicing Yoga in the morning. Here’s why an early morning sweat session will greatly benefit your entire day.

Starting your day off with Yoga in the morning will truly set you up for success. Many people wake up groggy, with mental fog and lacking motivation to seize the day. A short session on your mat will snap you into gear. You’ll feel energized, and ready to go.
Morning exercise of all types can increase your energy. There’s an after-glow post Yoga that just can’t be beat. Exercising produces endorphins. Those are feel good chemicals in the body that leave you feeling energized and ready to take down anything. Why get an endorphin boost right before bed? You’re better off starting your day feeling all that sweaty goodness.
Secondly, when you exercise in the morning you eliminate the temptation to skip a session. When our yoga practice becomes a part of our morning routine we are less likely to skip out. Regular practice leads to better results, and more consistent training. As the day goes on we get more tired, and things like meetings, meals, and chores get in the way of our exercise.
Plus, being able to check off one thing from your to-do list motivates you to keep going and get the rest of your tasks done. A “Key stone” habit is something that kickstarts other good behaviors. Basically when you get into a routine the first step towards success catalyzes the rest. Starting each day with Yoga in the morning will motivate you to keep going, and accomplish the rest of your desired tasks.
Set an Intention for the day

Finally, practicing Yoga in the morning allows you to set an intention for the day. We know that Yoga benefits the body physically in a multitude of ways. However, it can also benefit us all mentally. Taking time in the morning to focus on mindfullness will put you in the mindset you want to be in for the rest of the day. 
Do you have a big meeting in the afternoon? Use your yoga practice to get focused and release stress. Will you be with the kids all day? Use your yoga as me-time, fueling you to be present for the rest of your day.
Yoga in the morning can do wonders for productivity, and overall well being. Of course, any exercise is better than no exerice, but getting it done first thing is a great way to make a positive change in your life."



Tuesday, November 14, 2017

As the two of us practice together...

Quick & easy practice at home with my baby girl! Soooo slow that I had to speed up x2 when uppoading 😂

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Kids Yoga classes at Yoga Inc.

I'm excited to start a new Kids Yoga class at Yoga Inc - East Coast / Guillemard Road - for a few weeks. Can't wait to see lots of little yogis on their mat again!!!

Wednesdays with So Yoga, 5.00 PM -5.45 PM
22 Nov 
29 Nov 
06 Dec 
13 Dec
Booking upon payment online or at the studio.
Min 3 to start


Sunday, November 5, 2017


It’s a cliché for a reason: A healthy breakfast really can set the tone for your entire day. Starting your day with a better breakfast helps ground and stabilize you as you face the day and whatever crazy lies ahead. As a registered dietitian and health coach, I help busy people find drama-free ways to fit healthy eating into their routine. Food should fuel and energize you and help you feel great—not stress you out or make you feel like you’re struggling to stay on track.
Work-life balance may not be a real thing, but when your blood sugar is balanced and you feel focused and energized, you’re better able to be present in each realm. Don’t get caught in the mindset that you’re too busy to have a good breakfast. Whether you’re a mom juggling your family’s needs, schedules, and preferences with your own, or you’re still in a "building my empire" phase and navigating a lot of work and life stuff for the first time, you deserve to eat well—it improves your performance and relationships in all aspects of your life.
Or maybe you’re hung up on the myth that success means rushing from pre-dawn spin class to shower to desk, chugging an eight-dollar bottle of green juice on the subway or distractedly sipping a protein drink at your desk. You’re way too productive and powerful (or stressed) to even notice hunger! It doesn’t help that many work cultures treat meal-skipping like a badge of honor. Yeah, no. Whether you’re a solo-preneur or part of a big team, when you fuel yourself to show up as your best self, everybody benefits.
Ideally, a well-balanced breakfast will provide protein, complex carbs, and healthy fats. This helps ensure slow, stable breakdown of that morning meal so you can keep going until lunch. Incorporating nutrient-dense foods provides the vitamins and minerals you need, plus powerful phytochemicals, antioxidants, and other important compounds.
Need ideas on how to make a better breakfast? I'm all about working superfoods into your everyday eats. Rather than stress about restructuring your whole morning, build on the good habits they already have in place. Here are the best ideas on how to make a better breakfast.

Optimize your oats.

Oats are a bona fide superfood. Packed with filling fiber and nourishing B-vitamins, they’re super-versatile and pair well with sweet and savory flavors. Add a protein boost by cooking in an egg or egg whites. A tablespoon of chia seeds or ground flax adds fiber and heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Top your bowl with nuts or nut butter for extra protein and healthy fats. For a savory twist, add cooked veggies and garnish with tahini or goat cheese. Play around with your favorite spices. For sweet, try cinnamon, cloves, and ginger. For savory, turmeric, black pepper, and paprika are delicious and nourishing.

Overnight Oats Recipe for 1
If you haven’t tried overnight oats, you’re in for a treat. This make-ahead breakfast is customizable and makes a great portable option. Here’s my go-to basic recipe.
⅓ cup rolled oats
1 tablespoon chia seeds
1 tablespoon ground flax
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
⅔ to 1 cup milk of choice
Optional mix-ins: ½ a banana, ½ cup berries, or ½ cup pumpkin, 1 tablespoon cocoa powder, 1 scoop protein powder (optional but good if you’re using a low-protein milk like almond, rice, or coconut)
Optional toppings: Fruit, nuts, nut butter, shredded coconut, etc

Combine oats, chia seeds, flax, cinnamon, vanilla, and milk. If using fruit, cocoa, or protein powder, add now.
Stir to mix well and cover. Store in the fridge at least 4 hours or overnight.
When you’re ready to eat, remove lid, stir, and top with desired toppings.
Enjoy hot or cold. To heat, uncover and pop in the microwave for a minute or until warm. Give it a good stir and add your favorite toppings.

My absolute favorite way to do overnight oats, though, is to use plain Greek or Icelandic yogurt. You end up with a creamy, rich texture that’s more like cookie dough. A tablespoon of coconut flour lends an extra 4 grams of fiber and a texture that will make you think you’re eating cheesecake for breakfast.

Top-notch toast
Swapping out white bread for sprouted-grain or whole-grain bread is an easy way to pack more nutrients into each slice. Looking for a grain-free option? Try sweet potato toast.
Avocado is one of my favorite everyday superfoods that’s perfect on toast in place of butter. The smooth, creamy texture and mild flavor is the perfect complement to so many types of flavors, and the nutrition stats are pretty impressive too. One-third of a medium avocado has about 80 calories and 3 grams of fiber.
Avocado is often mislabeled as a source of protein. While they do have some (about 1 gram per serving), in the context of a meal, you want to have closer to 20 grams, so 1 gram is hardly anything. Avocados get their staying power from the combo of filling fiber and heart-healthy monounsaturated fat, both of which slow digestion.
A dash of Himalayan sea salt adds a delicious boost as well. This pink salt has been touted for its high mineral content—it has 84 trace minerals in total, such as iodine, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, calcium, potassium, and chloride, which lend that rosy hue. While a lot of the claims related to its health benefits have yet to be scientifically proven, it’s a less processed alternative to iodize table salt. Just be mindful that it still contributes a significant amount of sodium, so a little goes a long way.
If you’re totally over avocado toast, try topping your slice with tahini or nut butter and fresh fruit or ricotta cheese with cinnamon and a drizzle of local honey. Don’t underestimate the power of an egg-on-toast breakfast either! Great combo of protein, carbs, and fats right there.

Poached Easy eggs
If you love fresh-cooked eggs but feel like it takes way too long to make them, did you know that you can poach and scramble eggs in the microwave? Here’s how I do it:

1 egg
1 teaspoon white vinegar
2 to 3 ounces water
Crack egg into a ramekin.
Add vinegar and water. Stir vigorously.

Place ramekin in microwave. Microwave on 80-percent power for 30 seconds. Check egg and then microwave an additional 30 seconds on 80 percent.
If egg white is set, remove egg with a spoon. If it needs more time, microwave in 5-second intervals until set.
To make scrambled eggs or egg whites, grease a mug or glass bowl and then add the eggs. I like to cover with a plate and microwave in 30-second intervals until the eggs are set. Pink Himalayan salt in the egg whites is a delicious, nourishing upgrade that doesn’t take any more time than regular table salt.

Smart smoothie hacks
If you need a healthy breakfast in liquid form, a smoothie is a no-brainer. They’re a great way to pack a lot of nutrients in. Smoothies sound like a quick-and-easy breakfast, but sometimes lugging out the blender and all the ingredients you want to throw in there can take freaking forever. Streamline your smoothie routine and stock your freezer with DIY smoothie packs.

In a resealable bag or freezer-safe container, combine ½ cup frozen berries, ½ a frozen banana, and 2 cups of fresh or 1 cup frozen greens. Frozen cauliflower and frozen squash also make great additions. Avocado, believe it or not, also freezes well for use in smoothies. Just be mindful to keep portions realistic (about ⅓ of a medium avocado).

When you’re ready to blend it up, open the smoothie pack and pour the bag’s contents over your liquid base. Using protein-rich plain Greek yogurt or kefir means you can skip the protein powder, but otherwise, water or coconut water and pea protein powder is a great nondairy alternative. Blend in some ice if desired.
Pour your prepared smoothie into a portable cup and sip it on the go or make it into a smoothie bowl and top with a tablespoon of chia seeds and a pinch of coconut flakes. If I have an extra few seconds, I love to melt a teaspoon of coconut oil and drizzle on top—it hardens into a Magic Shell-like topping that’s a fun way to add healthy fat. Just be mindful with portions on those add-ins. It’s easy to get overly enthusiastic and take in more calories than you realize, so pick one or two to prioritize.
Try aloe vera juice for a simple smoothie upgrade.
This member of the succulent plant family has been used for thousands of years to treat many ailments. An aloe plant is great to have in your kitchen, for example, so you can break off a piece of the plant and apply the gel directly on a burn to soothe it.
Aloe vera juice, which has about 40 calories per cup, has been touted for a whole range of health benefits, such as boosting hydration, digestive regularity, heartburn relief, and clearer skin, among other things like supporting liver and kidney health. Many of these claims are related to its high water content.

Make friends with matcha tea
Swap your usual green tea for a cup of matcha or a matcha latte. Because it’s the whole ground-up green tea leaves, matcha green tea packs an even more powerful punch. Compounds called catechins in matcha and other green tea have been studied for their potential to boost brain function, reduce cancer risk, and enhance metabolism.
Add matcha powder to hot or cold water, or try it in a latte. It’s also delicious blended into a smoothie or baked into a healthy whole-grain muffin. If you’ve never tried matcha in your chia pudding, you’re in for a real treat. You’ll love this colorful green body-and-mind booster as an easy upgrade.