You walk into yoga class. The instructor calls out, “Option to grab a yoga block,” and receives smirks from much of the room. Real yogis don’t need blocks, right?
Well, it might be time to readjust your mat and your mindset. Yoga blocks can actually challenge your practice by allowing you to tackle more difficult postures. They can also help with alignment and proper muscle engagement.
So, grab a yoga block and give these eight yoga poses a try:
1. Bridge (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana)
Place a yoga block between your inner thighs to energize them and advance the posture. Or, if you have difficulty lifting your pelvis, place a block under your sacrum for support.
It is important that we change with the seasons just as nature does by adapting our daily habits, yoga practice and food choices. During the winter season, the energy of the Earth and its creatures is drawn inward. We can use this time for restoration and introspection, just as many plants and animals use it for hibernation. In preparation for the spring, it is important to slow down and rejuvenate.
An Ayurvedic approach to winter
There is a rule in Ayurveda that “like attracts like.” That is why the kapha and vata doshas can become provoked and aggravated during the dry, dark, cold months of winter. This is because the climate is alike the qualities of these two doshas. If kapha or vata are triggered, digestive fire plummets, leaving you more susceptible to colds, poor circulation, joint pains and negative emotions. Here are some yoga and lifestyle tips that can help you to balance your doshas this season.
It’s allergy season — that time of year when many of us are plagued by itchy or watery eyes, runny noses, and bouts of sneezing and coughing that threaten to knock pictures off the wall. These common allergy symptoms are the body’s way of defending itself against bacteria and viruses. Luckily, yoga can help!
First, we have to figure out where those annoying symptoms are coming from. Allergies are triggered by allergens. Some of the most common seasonal allergens include pollen, dust, mold, food and insect venom. Irritants such as cigarette smoke, air pollution and some strong odors (such as perfumes) also impinge the respiratory system.
The best way to prevent allergy symptoms is to avoid what triggers them — such as by staying indoors on days when the pollen count is at its highest and keeping your home free of dust. But yoga can also help with both the prevention and management of allergy symptoms.
Newsflash: Yoga teachers are just as damaged, depraved, sordid, angry, insecure and proud as everyone else. Perhaps the only difference is that some yoga teachers are more aware of their flaws than others. But that isn’t a given; plenty are oblivious to them.
People are people. I’m not excusing abhorrant behaviour; I’m merely observing the fact that we are more similar than we might like to think. We have feelings. We get hurt. Exploited. Taken advantage of. Pissed off. Irritated. Fed up. Lost. Angry. Furious, even. Exhausted. Whiny. Grumpy. There’s a whole range of drama going on within all of us in the wrestle of the upward and downward spirals.
What can make all the difference, though, is connecting the inner to the outer and finding balance between them.