Move & Breathe With Us – Gentle Yoga Flow

Hatha Yoga utilizes the technologies of Asana, Pranayama, Mudra, Bandha, and Meditation to harmonize the Moon and Sun energies within the body. A process that ultimately enlivens the dormant potential within know as the Kundalini. With this blog, we gift you a 15-Minute gentle hatha yoga flow!

Hatha Yoga

In the original Hatha Yoga, being an asana practitioner has nothing to do with impressive postures. Those may or may not come with time — a bonus to a dedicated practice. Instead, the practitioner, no matter how experienced, will show up with a beginner’s mind, knowing that there is always something new to learn. A gentle yoga flow has just as many benefits as a more physically demanding practice. The aim of every practice is to reach a place of deep balance and harmony. A truly advanced practitioner is unattached to the outcome of the practice, and always fully present to thoughts, feelings, emotions and sensations. They know that there is no final asana to master. The path of yoga is endless and being a yoga student is to be deeply curious about that endless path.

Mastery of Asana

T. Krishnamacharya, known as the grandfather of modern yoga, defined mastery of asana in these terms:

  • Sthira sukha is present, i.e. the practitioner applies equal amounts of strength and softness
  • The breath is smooth and controlled, and totally encompasses the movement, i.e. the breath initiates and completes each movement
  • The practitioner is attentive to the breath and focused on the process of the asana
  • The physical form of the asana is aligned correctly and feels good to the practitioner
  • These principles apply to every asana, gentle or demanding, classical or modified

Enjoy this gentle flow whenever you need a short break to reset your energy.

Join us for the base level 200hr YTT program or for the advanced 300hr YTT program and learn the principles of yoga practice! You are welcome to join a Yandara program if you plan to become a teacher, or if you simply want to deepen your own practice and understanding of yoga!

Yin Yoga for Inner Peace

The holiday season is devoted to joy and peace…but can also be a challenging time of the year for many. Yin Yoga, the quiet, contemplative sibling of Vinyasa Yoga, is an excellent way to slow down and find peace within. Where Vinyasa is flowing and active, Yin is slow and passive…the two styles complement each other and are great tools to help us find harmony. Our heartfelt gift for you this week is a 15-Minute Yin Yoga Sequence for Inner Peace!

Life in the Balance

Ayurveda teaches that like increases like and opposites balance. This means that the same experience can affect two people in different ways, depending on their current inner state. On the one hand, when life is slow and uninspiring, we need to find ways to lift our energy. On the other hand, when life is hectic, we need to find activities that help us slow down. It is up to us to learn what we need at any given moment.

The natural slowness of the winter season allows for a slowing down of life, making it a perfect time for yin yoga…just as plants go dormant in the wintery north, we too need time to rest. However, if we tip too much in that direction, a warming and uplifting vinyasa practice can be just what we need to find more balance. The holiday season, while nestled into the heart of winter, is a busy time of the year for many, and often calls for a slow, nurturing practice. Incorporate this Yin Yoga Sequence for Inner Peace into your routine, and experience the results!

Feel all the feels

The holiday season can also be an emotional time of the year; it marks the end of a cycle, which often calls for introspection. For some of us it is a reminder of what we have lost, or goals we haven’t yet reached. Yin yoga works on the deeper layers of the body to release tension and circulate energy. It is the perfect practice to invite attention inward and allow feelings and emotions to be processed in a soft and accepting way.

Benefits of Yin Yoga

Some of the benefits of Yin Yoga include:

  • Reduces stress and anxiety
  • Improves sleep quality
  • Increases mindfulness
  • Reduce high blood pressure
  • Increases deep circulation
  • Improves flexibility
  • Improves the flow of Prana or Qi

Yin Yoga Sequence for Inner Peace

Enjoy this lovely Yin Yoga Sequence taught by Yandara Lead Trainer, Allison Eaton. Add it to your routine this winter season!

We teach Yin and Restorative yoga classes in all our teacher training programs at Yandara, and in the 100hr Yin & Restorative Module, Allison and Amber go deep into these invaluable teachings!

With Love!

Nicolina Sandstedt, Yandara Lead Trainer

Three Yoga Home Practices for Autumn

Nicolina Sandstedt, Yandara Lead Trainer

In 2022, the fall equinox arrives on September 22. This marks the start of the colourful, cozy fall in the Northern Hemisphere – a perfect time to practice yoga at home. With this post, I would like to offer three simple and nourishing yoga home practices to incorporate into your routine this fall.

On the equinox, day and night are roughly equal in length. After the equinox, days become shorter as the sun continues to rise later and the night falls earlier. This trajectory ends with the winter solstice, after which days start to grow longer once again. With the change in the amount of daylight, the leaves start to shift from green to yellow, orange and red, creating the vibrant sunset of the seasons.

Ayurveda and seasonal balance

This shift has been of importance throughout the ages. In Mexico, the Mayans built a giant pyramid called Chichen Itza and on the equinoxes, it looks as if a snake made of light slithers down the pyramid’s steps. And in England, Stonehenge was built with the equinoxes and solstices in mind. In India, the traditional medicine Ayurveda is built around living in harmony with nature and the seasons. According to Ayurveda, autumn brings with it a predominance of Vata dosha and the air element. It harbors a certain mix of emptiness and movement that can leave us feeling a little lost, but it is also a time filled with possibility—a time when we can return to the quiet essence of being through nourishing yoga and meditation practice.

Balancing the shifting of the seasons with certain lifestyle choices is an Ayurvedic way to support our well-being. Considering the Ayurvedic principle that ‘like increases like and opposites balance’, the airy vata season will be less unsettling if filled with warmth, deep nourishment, time with loved ones, and a sense of stability and routine – such as consistent yoga home practice.

Three Yoga Home Practices

As yoga practitioners, we have many tools to help create stability and balance. Vata is easily aggravated by fast, mobile activities, so let’s consider a gentle, warming, grounding and strengthening yoga home practice to find balance in the fall season. Here follows 3 simple yoga routines to incorporate this season. Warm up slowly, include gentle joint mobility, and aim to keep your breath deep and fluid. *Tip: Draw these routines with stick figures and keep them in your note book.

1. Autumn Sun Salutations

Start with gentle warm up of the spine and joints, such as wrist circles, shoulder rolls, neck rolls, cat/cow, standing pelvic rolls and large, standing arm sweeps with deep breathing.

Consider the soft warm glow of the autumn sun all around you as you transition into practicing sun salutations. Move slower and breathe deeper than you do normally. Ujjayi breath will help create warmth, stability, and rhythm. Practice 6-12 rounds of any sun salutation of your choice (find a sample video of Yandara Teacher, Sarasvati, practicing a Sun Salutation on the Yandara beach here).

End your movement routine with gentle hip openers on the floor, such as ‘eye of the needle’ or ‘bound angle pose’. Finally, take a few minutes of rest in Savasana, inhale a warm glowing light, exhale feel heavier with each breath.

2. Stabilizing Mini-Vinyasa Practice

Start with gentle warm up of wrists, shoulders and neck. Come to all fours for 2 minutes of cat/cow. Then, inhale into ‘cow pose’ and exhale into child’s pose for 2 minutes. Move onto shifting between ‘cow pose’ on the inhalation and ‘downward dog’ on the exhalation, 2 minutes. Then, shift between downward dog (inhale) and plank pose (exhale) for 1 minute, followed by holding plank pose with a stable core for 1 minute. Lay down flat on your belly, hands under the shoulders, press the top of the feet and front of the pelvis into the earth. Inhale into cobra pose by sending the heart forward and up as the shoulders draw back and down, exhale as you lower back down, repeat 10 times. Come to child’s pose. Inhale, stand up on your knees, sweeping the arms to the sky, exhale return to child’s pose, placing the hands onto of the sacrum/back of hips, repeat for 1 minute. Lay on your back, knees bent, feet hip width apart. Inhale, lift the pelvis and sweep the arms over head, exhale lower back down to the floor, 1 minute. Stay in bridge pose with the hands interlaced underneath you, 1 minute. Exhale return to the floor, let the knees fall from side to side for gentle spinal rotations, 1 minute, and then hug the knees to the chest, 2 minutes.

Take a few minutes of rest in Savasana, inhale a warm glowing light, exhale feel the earth beneath you.

3. Grounding Evening Practice

Start with gentle warm up of wrists, ankles, shoulders and neck. Then sit cross legged, one hand on each knee, sit tall, then circle the heart slowly around an imagined golden pillar, clockwise for 1 minute, and then counter-clockwise for 1 minute. Come to lay on your back with the legs up the wall, option to place a cushion or a stack of blankets under the hips, stay for 5 minutes.

Slowly make your way to a comfortable seated position to begin Nadi Shodhana/Alternate Nostril Breathing. Start by taking a few rounds of deep, conscious breaths. Fold the tips of the peace fingers into the palm (Vishnu mudra). Alternately use the right thumb to close the right nostril, and the right ring finger to close the left nostril. Keeping the right nostril closed, inhale through the left nostril, deep into the belly. As you inhale, feel or see the breath traveling upward, filling the left side of the body. Pause briefly at the crown of the head. Exhale through the right nostril, feeling the breath emptying the right side of the body. Pause gently at the bottom of the exhalation, focusing the lower belly. Inhale once again through the right nostril, and exhale through the left. Continue the same pattern, pausing gently between the two parts of the breath, for 5-15 minutes. Nadi shodhana clears and purifies our subtle channels, while bringing balance to the mind-body system as a whole. When you are ready to close your practice, complete the final round of nadi shodhana with an exhalation through the left nostril. Relax the hands in your lap and take several rounds of deep, conscious breaths. Then, allow the breath to return to normal and quietly observe the effects of the practice.

“Nadi Shodhana clears and purifies our subtle channels, while bringing balance to the mind-body system as a whole.”

If you are looking to find confidence in practicing yoga at home, our 200hr YTT programs also focus on the importance of a yoga self-practice. And if you are a teacher and interested in deepening your practice, we have many advanced 300hr-level programs to support you on your path.

What is your favourite practice this season? Please share below.

With Love!

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