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What is Self-Care Yoga?

As a kid I loathed Sunday evenings.

I can still remember the sinking feeling that set in around 4pm on Sundays, after the meal was put away and the whole house got sleepy. The feeling would ease a little at 7pm, when Bob Saget would grace our living room with another episode of America’s Funniest Home Videos. But as soon as the credits started rolling at the end of the show, the dread would set in again, and I’d drag myself upstairs, ready for bedtime to put me out of my Sunday night misery. 

The Sunday night blues continued into adulthood, and became my motivation for starting Self-Care Yoga on Sunday nights. I wanted to provide a yoga class to help people move out of weekend mode and into the work week with a greater sense of restoration, strength, balance, community, and connectedness.

Self-care yoga on Sunday nights is the only class I teach. It is one of the highlights of my week, and I consider it part of my life’s call. 

What is IS

Holistic Practice and Yoga Education - Online

--> It's Body.

Physically, self-care yoga balances strength and flexibility, effort and rest. Each class includes centering and easing in, Sun Salutations and standing postures, balancing poses, a time for winding down, and a final relaxation. The pace is medium, and we usually spend a few breaths in each pose, giving the body a chance to register the sensations.  

Sometimes we work with a focus pose throughout the month (Dancer Pose, for example), and spend some time each week breaking down the elements of the pose and preparing the body in specific ways.

--> It's Brain.

There’s a little bit of intellectual stimulation on Sunday nights. I talk for a few minutes at the beginning of class to recap what we’ve been working on and provide some yogic context for what we’re focusing on this week and why. This might include some yoga philosophy, anatomy exploration, or contemporary psychology connections. Think of it like a mini-lecture that you can listen to while you’re getting situated for class or sipping some tea. 🙂

--> It's Mind.

Not to be confused with the brain piece, mindfulness techniques are woven throughout each class. These may be as simple as bringing the attention to the breath, or as complex as noticing repeat thought patterns throughout practice. 

--> It's Community.

We are whole people who are wired for meaningful relationship and connection. While a yoga practice might seem deeply personal and independent, interconnectedness is at the heart of all yoga traditions. 

I host a check-in time before each class for anyone who wants to connect and engage more . This is completely optional. Some people just come and listen and keep their video off. Others appreciate a time to ask questions or share experiences from their lives and their practice. I provide a conversation prompt, which we may or may not stick to as the conversation progresses. 

This is probably the thing that most sets self-care yoga apart from other classes. I’ve been surprised and moved at how a supportive space CAN be created in the Zoom room. A lot of my students tell me that the check-in time is their favorite part of the evening.

Inclusive and Accessible Online Space

Here’s the deal. IT’S YOUR PRACTICE. My job as a teacher is to help you discover this – whatever your best practice is. 

We welcome all body shapes and sizes, and people of all ages and experiences. I am well-trained in pose options and variations, and I love demonstrating the ways poses might work for different bodies. I encourage the use of props and household objects (blankets, scarves, pillows, coffee tables, chairs, yoga blocks) to access the poses. I also give tons of ideas for how to practice accessibly  without props.

I strive to iterate the purpose of the poses instead of what they “should” look like. I think this is perhaps the hardest part of a physical yoga practice – letting go of our ideas and expectations about what our bodies should look like and be able to do, and embracing the experience of the pose and the creativity that is often required to make the poses and movements our own.

Finally, I provide 1:1 email support to my students. I encourage you to reach out and ask questions, get ideas for pose variations, or simply connect with me and share about your practice.

 

Supportive Space to Learn, Challenge, Rest, and Connect

I provide intelligent instruction, relevant information, and practical tools for you to develop your yoga practice.  Experienced students will be able to find ways to progress and challenge themselves. Newer students will have the support they need to build their personal practice. 

I also challenge myself and my students to get comfortable with stillness and silence. It’s hard, especially over Zoom, to stop and do nothing. It’s hard for ME to resist filling a quiet space with words! Being with the awkwardness of silence and the discomfort of stillness is valuable, especially in our fast-paced modern world. I try to include a few “gaps” in every class for this reason. 

What it ISN'T

Competition, Pressure, "One Right Way"

It’s normal to have postural goals in yoga, to compare yourself to others in class, and to want to do it “right.” None of these things are bad necessarily, but my emphasis in class is on process, rather than product. Goals are valuable, when you also know how to meet yourself where you’re at. Comparison can inspire and motivate, when you also embrace your own path. And “right” isn’t a bad word, as long as you remember there are LOTS of correct ways to do a pose.

Yoga for "X," or a Cure-All

Yoga gets touted as an antidote to all kinds of malaise. We hear about yoga for back pain, weight loss, better sleep, stronger abs, flexible hips, an open heart, stress relief, inner peace, etc. 

Yoga can have all kinds of physical, mental, and emotional benefits. But what you experience and the extent to which you may experience it depends largely on you: your circumstances, your outlook, and what you put into and desire to receive from your practice.

I am not a doctor or a therapist (yet). And I cannot guarantee that you will experience dramatic changes and improvements in your mind and body, though this has been my own experience and is the experience of many others. What I can promise is that if you show up, stay curious and honest, and remain open to the process, yoga has the potential to:

  • provide you with valuable insight into the workings of your own body and mind
  • offer mental and physical stability and comfort as you move through life in our modern world
and
 
  •  invite you into a life with a little less suffering and a little more joy.

Ready to try a class? Join here or rent a video from my on-demand library!

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