December is for Strength

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As we reach the last month of the year it only makes sense that we leave the year on a strong note, and the SATTVA strength sequence is just that! 

If you're familiar with the SATTVA Yoga practice, then you know that we cycle through sequences every month that bring your awareness and attention to different aspects of the body. We begin the year with the Front Body sequence and then move through Side Body, Back Body, and Strength. Once this 4-month cycle is complete, we repeat the process all while adding some new postures to each sequence.

The aspect of the body that we will be focusing on for the month of December is strength. 

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In the SATTVA practice, we bring our attention to unique lines of awareness, and this Strength sequence of postures ask us to find the centermost, innermost central axis in the body. This line begins on each foot at a point of origin directly in front of the heels, up through the very center of the legs converging at the pelvic floor, directly through the center of the torso, all the way up to the crown of the head. At the chest, the strength line splits to follow along each arm and connects to another point of origin located at the center of each palm.

Moving through all yoga postures with specific awareness and integration of these body lines is of utmost importance for a safe, effective and sustainable practice!

To follow along with this sequence, check out our schedule to find a class time or visit to practice through our online studio from the comfort of your own home.

SATTVA Yogis Off the Mat and into the cOMmunity

SATTVA Yogis Off the Mat and into the cOMmunity

Sitting at a picnic table with a fresh latte, I got to chat with this month's featured SATTVA yogis, Byron Hradoway and Jen Darling about their new and blooming kombucha company, Boocha which officially launched on the May long weekend.

Committing to your Temple: 2 Recipes for the SATTVA Fall Cleanse

Committing to your Temple: 2 Recipes for the SATTVA Fall Cleanse

Summer is dreamy late nights—the sky rimmed in light, cold sips on sun-drenched patios, trips to the mountains, and the sweet release in our bodies as we embrace against warm winds. When fall arrives, we’re never ready. We want more of the action, the revelry, the charcuterie, the sun, free skin, the smell of blooms. ...

Ustrasana: Posture of the Month

As we move into the month of September, the SATTVA School of Yoga will shift the attention from the perspective of Strength (the innermost central line of the body) and move towards more anterior lines that stem from the Front Body.


Mistakes Yoga Beginners Make

As we get a little deeper into 2017 at SATTVA, many new faces will join us on the hardwood for the first time. What a perfect way to begin the new year, with some mind-body transformation! That being said, new beginnings often involve a learning curve and yoga is no exception. Thankfully, since we all tend to make the same mistakes, a little help can mean dodging some basic pitfalls. If you're just starting out, we’re glad you’re here; if you're in the middle, let’s grow a bit further; and if you're a seasoned practitioner, let’s take a quick self-check (and remember of where you started). 

1. Starting at Someone Else’s Pace

Don't worry about where your friends are at, it is YOUR body that you need to make decisions for. If you have some experience and understanding of yoga, the All Levels class might be your jam; however, if you've never stepped into a studio before or don't understand the basic mechanics of postures, a Beginners Class might be more your speed. If you have some physical limitations (or are just stiff as a board), fear not, there is something for everyone!

2. Feeling Unqualified (Especially in Beginner Classes)

Students often feel they must reach some mystical standard of flexibility before beginning yoga or transitioning to the All Levels class. If you have been practicing beginners for a while, bite the bullet and move to the next level. In any physical activity, you will improve most efficiently when you work towards a higher goal than your current ability. Listen to your body and take the leap! There will be more to learn wherever you go and it’s actually really exciting and fun to challenge the body and break out of the comfort zone. 

3. Putting a "Yoga Image" First

Advertising and social media market a visual lifestyle of yoga. Those images of people rocking an inner peace face with the "perfect" body, "right" clothes, and collection of parachute pants (insert inspirational quote), are not you. Yoga is your own journey and will impact your life differently than everyone else's. Looking the part is far less important than the mental work you will do in class. Your practice is more than an identity to try on; allow it to flavor your life in a personal way.  

4. Gearing Up (Expensively)

Contrary to popular belief, you can be inflexible in lulu pants. In studio clothing, it is important to have great mobility, breathability (particularly if, like me, you sweat a LOT) and comfort. It's true, some companies specialize in doing this well but you needn't break the bank just to look the part. Bargain stores and smaller brands can have great options and, frankly, when we get deep into those lunging postures, no one has the brain space to ponder how "legit" you look. 

5. Forcing It

I cannot stress this enough. What does forcing it look like? It looks like shaking like a leaf as you push into excess amounts of pain, with terrible form. Within each posture, there are multiple variations with different degrees of difficulty. If you don't know how to enter a posture, wave over an instructor! They will be able to adjust your body so you can find the necessary balance of engagement and relaxation to open up your tissues. If you can't breathe properly in a pose, consider modifying. 

6. Thinking You're Alone

You have so many people on your team in a yoga class! Your instructors are waiting to help. USE THEM. If you have an injury or physical limitation, tell them before class and they will help make the postures work for you. The studio is not a space of competition; it is a space of togetherness. The bodies surrounding you have gone through (or will go through) the same struggles and epiphanies as you. That human-pretzel in front of you? They once needed blocks and straps. We may deepen into our own practices but we all know what it's like to start. Rest into that empathy.

7. Ignoring Your Intelligent Body

At SATTVA, there are no mirrors. You need to listen to your body to tell if you are balanced and grounded. You need to feel through the lines of your bones and tissue to find stacking. You are the best defense against improper alignment, so, take your eyes off everyone else, soften your gaze, and feel your way through the postures. In time, your awareness will increase and, as you do things properly, you'll remember what good form feels like. 

8. Setting Unrealistic Goals

Your body will open on its own schedule and, if you don't let it work at its own pace, not only will you become frustrated but you may actually hurt yourself. If this is your personal pitfall, start a yoga journal. Track the date and length of each class, making some general notes on the experience. Then, most importantly, log something in a "little victories" column to help acknowledge the small gains you make. Finally, to put your expectations into perspective, track your number of sessions rather than the weeks you've been practicing.   

9. Being Intimidated (Hero Worship)

When we enter an All Levels class, 95% of us have people in the room who are much deeper into their practice than we are. That person you feel intimidated by was once in your shoes, so don’t allow destructive comparison to sneak in. Instead, toss out feelings of inadequacy and enjoy watching the deeper variations in their postures. If feelings of intimidation persist, talk to them. It’s likely that they will admit to not being made of moonlight, magic, and the essence of Gumby—despite what you expected. 

10. Ignoring the Mental Game

Like it or not, yoga is more than just a physical practice. As you strip away tension in the physical body, tension in the mind becomes apparent. Learning to soften your mind and body into the practice will reveal different aspects of self. Help prepare your mind by arriving early for the session, give yourself time to settle in, and don't ignore your intention— it will be your focal point, guiding you through all the challenges you face in class. 

11. Not Preparing Your Body

Whether you sweat a lot or not, come hydrated and re-hydrate after class. Water aids in muscle recovery and will help prevent delayed onset muscle soreness, common in people just beginning a new fitness routine. Also, nothing feels worse than finding yourself hungry during a workout. Low blood glucose from inadequate food means that you may wind up sluggish and tired, not having the energy to maximize the benefits of your class. Try consuming easily digested carbohydrates (green smoothies anyone?) 30 minutes before class so that you are ready to go from Om to Om. 

12. Overlooking Hygiene

You have just touched your mat with your bare hands and feet, depositing body oils, sweat, and bacteria onto its surface. For the love of everything, wipe it down and deep clean it occasionally or it will start to stink. In addition to cleaning your mat, you may want to rinse the salt off your skin before you go about your day. A quick rinse could save you from dry and irritated skin, especially during cold winters. Finally, ladies, take the time to bring a change of underwear to class as bacteria and yeast thrive in moist environments.  

I sincerely hope you have enjoyed reading about my own mistakes, cleverly disguised as advice. As we move through the year, be encouraged that we are all in this practice together: making discoveries, stretching our limits, and tuning into the wisdom of our bodies. Remember that beginning is hard and an achievement unto itself. See you in class!  

Holly de Moissac

Holly's bio: 

I am a visual artist by vocation, a rock-climber and fledgling yoga practitioner by passion, a faith-chaser by design, and an unfinished wanderer by choice. I began my relationship with yoga hoping to increase flexibility and have since fallen in love with the mental rest provided by the combination of focused physical practice and meditation. I am excited to document the lessons I learn as I deepen in my practice alongside you all.  

I am a visual artist by vocation, a rock-climber and fledgling yoga practitioner by passion, a faith-chaser by design, and an unfinished wanderer by choice. I began my relationship with yoga hoping to increase flexibility and have since fallen in love with the mental rest provided by the combination of focused physical practice and meditation. I am excited to document the lessons I learn as I deepen in my practice alongside you all.