5 Reasons to Practice Warriors I & II

symmetry yoga alameda oakland standing poses workshopWarrior I & II have been two of the most challenging standing postures for me, both physically and mentally. Warrior I in particular is hard to get into; seriously, how do I square my hips in this pose? I also find both Warrior I & II difficult to hold without letting my mind wander. However, with enough practice, I’ve found these two warrior poses a key part of my yoga practice for 5 notable reasons:

  1. Warrior poses improve balance and coordination
     The practice of staying grounded increases awareness of the body in space. Ultimately, these standing poses encourage moving with ease and integrity. With better balance and body awareness, Warrior poses help decrease the risk of injury as as result of trips and falls.
  2. Warrior poses promote full-body strength building
    Isometric strengthening is the method of physical training wherein muscles contract without changing joint position. In the context of yoga, standing static holds are an example of isometric engagement. Benefits of isometric exercise includes, increased strength around the joints and increased muscular endurance. In particular, Warriors I & II, are the most beneficial when the lower body, torso and upper body engage against the resistance of gravity and opposing energies (head to toe, finger tip to finger tip as in Warrior II).
  3. Warrior holds are rationale for perpetual change 
    Yoga teaches that change is life’s only constant. Holding standing poses offers a chance to feel the fluctuations of the external world and the mind’s turnings. By grounding through the feet and clearing the mind with steady breath, the opportunity arises to tune in to the micro movements the body makes to steady itself. Ultimately, this connection speaks to the ever-changing physical aspect of living on a planet that rotates within a rhythmic universe.
  4. Warriors promote the mind/body connection
    I notice that when I am asked to hold any standing pose for a while my mind starts to wander. When I catch myself drifting away, that is when the work of the Warrior begins. Bringing attention back to the breath and staying curious with the sensations of the body help the mind quiet. In this quiet stillness, yoga offers an opportunity to connect deeply with the self.
  5. Warrior poses build courage
    Physical strength cultivated by Warrior poses, combined with a loving connection to the self in the midst of constant change is empowering. Acknowledging the self with equanimity and compassion yields an intimate quality that comes from the heart, courage.

This post was written by Mary Smith. Mary is a 200-hr. Vinyasa yoga teacher with over ten years of teaching experience and teaches Yoga and Power Plate classes at Symmetry.

Mary is currently offering our first ever Yoga workshop series: Elements of Yoga, a five-part series for all levels.
The second workshop in the series is: Stand Strong: Warrior Poses and Standing Balances and will take place on Saturday October 13th 1:30-3:30pm.

Sign up here!

Power Plate Open Studio

We’re excited to announce new Open Studio times for our beloved Power Plate members!

power plate symmetry yoga alameda oakland

The Open Studio is a time and space for you to take what you’ve learned from our Power Plate trainers and workout on your own, focusing on exactly what your body needs.

There is no teacher present for this class. Open Studio welcomes all fitness levels as long as you have taken at least 2-3 Power Plate classes at Symmetry Yoga before and have the basic skills to operate the Power Plate machine.

Come to Open Studio to improve your strength, endurance, flexibility, and overall fitness level at your own pace.

Days and Times:

Tuesday – 1:30–3:00pm
Thursday – 1:00-2:30pm
Friday – 1:30-3pm

**This is only available to clients who are on a Power Plate Unlimited Membership.

Sign up here!

 

New at Symmetry – Sunday Evening Flow

Symmetry Yoga Alameda OaklandSundays, 5:15-6:30pm – Sunday Evening Flow with Veda Rammohan

End your weekend on a soulful note through a dynamic, vinyasa-based yoga class that is suitable for students of all levels. We invite you to experience a class with creative sequencing, a focus on alignment, and a reminder to always come back to your breath. The class culminates with dedicated space for grounding and restoration – a sweet Sunday savasana awaits you to help relax and renew – just in time for the Monday grind!

 

About Veda:

Veda was born in India and immigrated to the US with her parents in the early ‘90s. Trips back to her Motherland always used to excite her, as she felt at hOMe in the sounds, sights, colors, and smells. Veda’s parents practiced yoga in India, and introduced her to her ancestral traditions in the U.S. through Ayurveda, pranayama, and some basic asanas throughout her childhood. However, yoga really brought personal profound meaning to Veda during a weekly Monday class held during lunch time at work in 2009. She slowly realized that yoga was not a practice meant solely for physical fitness, but mental fitness as well. Through yoga practice, Veda realized that she had all the tools of managing her anxiety within herself.

The following years of practicing yoga at various studios made her realize that social media often portrays yoga in a very specific manner in which many people simply do not identify or relate to. Students who are new to yoga may not feel that the practice is accessible to them. Veda embarked on and completed her yoga teacher training at Laughing Lotus in San Francisco because she wanted to widely share the practice of yoga in a friendly, accessible manner. She aims to present yoga to her students in a manner that makes them want to come back and deepen their practice.

Sign up here!

New at Symmetry Yoga – Prenatal Yoga!

prenatal yoga class at symmetry yoga alameda oakland We’re so excited to be offering our first ever prenatal yoga class!

Starting Thursday, 9/20 (6:15-7:30pm), we will be offering an on-going weekly class with Daniella Morales.

This class is open to all expectant mothers and postnatal students regardless of previous yoga experience. The class begins with a community check in to see how mamas are feeling. After, we will start with a gentle warm up followed by a flow of standing and floor poses all while connecting movements with breathe. These postures strengthen the areas required for labor and also help soften any tension that often builds during pregnancy. Here, postnatal students will be able to add in gentle twists and stronger transitions. Class ends with a guided meditation and savasana helping to rebalance energies and leave feeling more relaxed.

Daniella has been a birth/ postpartum doula and prenatal yoga teacher since 2012. She has helped mamas delivering babies all over the Bay Area from all walks of life. Daniella is passionate about creating community within pregnant and postnatal people. She feels tribal support is crucial in having a well balanced pregnancy and postnatal life.

Normal class rates apply, sign up here!

Sun Salutations – Foundations of Practice

sun salutations yoga studio alameda oaklandSun Salutations A and B (Surya Namaskar A and B) are foundational starting points for your yoga asana practice.  These sequences are dynamic and serve to warm up and prepare your body for a rigorous practice ahead, they also provide an initial moment for connecting your mind, your body and your breath to take you into a deeply present state.

David Swenson, an Ashtanga yogi and scholar describes the sun salutations, “Surya means the sun and Namaskar is a greeting of honor and respect to the divinity present in each of us” (Ashtanga Yoga: The Practice Manual, 15). These sequences are where your breath and your movements coalesce and you begin to find the rhythm of your practice.

While the movements of the sun salutations may appear simple, they are in fact very challenging. These movements require astute attention to detail in order to avoid injury and enable you to maintain a safe and effective practice.

This post was written by Mary Smith. Mary is a 200-hr. Vinyasa yoga teacher with over ten years of teaching experience and teaches Yoga and Power Plate classes at Symmetry.

Mary will also be offering our first ever Yoga workshop series: Elements of Yoga, a five-part series for all levels! The first workshop in the series is: Breath and Movement: Sun Salutations.

Sign up here!

Elements of Yoga – A series designed to strengthen your practice with Mary Smith

Yoga Alameda

When I started my yoga practice over ten years ago, there was one yoga studio in my town and three class options. Since then, the yoga landscape has changed and finding a comfortable starting point can be intimidating. What studio should I go to? Which class should I choose? What exactly is Vinyasa? If you’ve asked yourself these questions, or others about getting started with yoga, then this workshop series is for you. By parsing out the elements of a well-rounded yoga practice in each workshop, you will build a strong foundation so that you take your next yoga class with more knowledge and confidence.

During my first year of practice I felt great, naturally flexible and a glutton for movement, I felt like I was nailing my practice. After that year, I began studying for two hours every Saturday with one teacher and that is when my practice really started. As a kinetic learner, yoga gave me the opportunity to learn about myself, my habits, my hang-ups and through movement, my life has been forever changed.

For experienced yogis, this workshop is a great way to gain perspective and awareness of your personal practice. In this series, you will be able to ask questions, explore variations of poses you already know as well as tune into the subtle side of your practice through breath and mindfulness. By taking the time to learn about the anatomy of movements, you will be able to go deeper to receive everything your practice has to offer.

During these workshops you will also learn how to safely modify postures to work with injuries as well as the specific aspects of your body that may need more attention on any given day. Gain a deeper understanding and move with intention to make the most of your practice every time you hit the mat.

You can choose to take all of the workshops in sequence or just pick those workshops that you think will enhance and strengthen your practice.

All workshops take place on Saturdays 1:30-3:30pm
Each workshop costs $45 day of and $40 early bird
Special price for students who wish to pre-register for the whole series: $175 ($35/session) instead of $225.
Exclusively for Symmetry Members: 20% off each session separately or $165 for the whole series.

Breath and Movement: Sun Salutations – 9/8/18
Stand Strong: Warrior Poses and Standing Balances – 10/13/18
Mind/Body Detox: Cleansing Breath and Twists – 11/10/18
Get Upside Down: Arm Balances and Inversions – 12/1/18
Open your Heart: Back bending – 1/5/19

Sign up here!

Fall in Love and Feel Beautiful in Your Body

Yoga AlamedaWhen did you fall in love with your body? How old were you the first time you felt beautiful inside and out? How often do you share your story about your relationship with your body?

It’s important to explore your current relationship with your body. Many of us have suffered through years of hearing the voice an inner critic. This critic criticizes every inch of our body. There is also a beauty and wellness industry that use BILLIONS of dollars in their marketing to make sure that there are plenty of TV, print and digital media advertisements that promo miracle ointments and serums to keep you looking like you never aged after your 16th birthday!

For larger body folks there is even more. Its called #Fatphobia. Large bodies have been vilified for the last few decades. Can you name a plus size actor/actress who was featured as the love interest in a major Hollywood film?When there are large bodies on screen, are they portrayed as angelic or evil? How mind blowing would it be to experience PLEASURE in the PLUS SIZE body?!

Symmetry Yoga will host a special event on Saturday July 14th 1:30 – 3:30pm

Our resident Hatha yoga instructor Misia Denéa and Social Media Star Valerie Sagun of BIG GAL YOGA (@BigGalYoga) will co- host : LET ME FAT IN PEACE: A workshop celebrating plus size bodies!!

Early Birds (register by 7/6/18) will receive a signed copy of BIG GAL YOGA by Valerie Sagun.

We will practice yoga in a way that will:

  • Reclaim Health with a Body Positive and Health At Every Size approach to Yoga and Wellness
  • Explore Self -Care with yoga and meditation
  • Compassionately Build Community to reduce isolation as plus size people who enjoy yoga + wellness

Secure your spot and sign up here!

Advancing Your Yoga Practice

Yoga ClassI recently taught a Yoga Teacher Training class and asked my students: what makes a Yoga practitioner advanced? As expected, the majority of the answers revolved around the ability to do challenging poses. We all have the tendency to fall into this trap, but we all also know that really challenging poses can be unattainable to certain people or in certain circumstances. Yoga is so inclusive, how can the definition of advancement be so narrow and exclusive? The more I think about this question, the more I conclude that an advanced practitioner is one who has a regular practice of their own, regardless of what poses they can or cannot do.

When we attend classes on a regular basis, we feed our practice, keep it alive in our bodies, reap amazing benefits, and feel so good. However, one thing that we might not notice is that we’re actually practicing our teacher’s practice and not our own. Yoga was originally designed that the student studies with a teacher and then goes and practices what they learned on their own. In this way, they can explore the landscape of their being and nourish themselves in a deep, personalized, and intimate way. The relationship with a teacher is an integral part of the practice and not to be dismissed, but that’s not where the education and the practice ends, it’s merely where it begins.

Our modern Yoga practice looks completely different than what it looked like when it was originated. However, the heart of the practice remains the same: Yoga is a practice that is meant to empower you and to provide the means to rediscover the wonder of who you already are and the richness of what you already have.

Practicing Yoga on your own at home is an invitation to simplify your practice while advancing to a whole new level.

This blog post was written by Inbal Meron. If you’re inspired to take your Yoga practice home, join Inbal for her workshop: Develop your Home Practice on June 2nd. Click here to sign up!

Inbal also teaches our signature Sutra Sunday class and our Restorative & Reiki class on Sundays, click here to sign up for class!

Welcoming Misia Denéa, Founder of Hatha Holistic Integrative Wellness!

Misia Denéa

Misia Denéa is a licensed Body Positive Facilitare and has attained over 700-hours of professional Yoga Teacher Training. Over the last 20 years she’s studied Yoga, Dance, Integrative Nutrition, Meditation and Urban Permaculture and founded Hatha Holistic Integrative Wellness.

Since 2008 she has been leading yoga trainings, dance workshops ,speaking engagements and retreats at yoga studios, Universities & Colleges, throughout the US and abroad. Students enjoy Misia’s therapeutic approach to teaching Hatha Yoga and leave class feeling aligned, empowered and rejuvenated.

Starting in April, you can join Misia on Tuesdays 7-8am for Sunrise Hatha Yoga – This class focuses on alignment , breathing and mindfulness and each month has a different asana theme. Please note, it is not a flow styled class, it is suitable for beginners and all body types.

 

We’d like to invite you to help us welcome to Misia into our community by attending her first class for FREE!!

Tuesday April 3rd 7:00-8:00am – Space is limited so please sign up online ahead of time here.

To connect with Misia over social media and learn more:
Instagram: @HathaHolisticWellness
Twitter: @HathaHolistic
Facebook: HathaHolistic

The Yoga of Love: Bhakti Yoga and Kirtan

Alameda Yoga Classes

The Sanskrit word Bhakti comes from the root bhaj, which translates as “to adore or worship the divine.” Of the four paths of yoga, this yogic path is one that focuses on union through pure love and devotion. It is a path of self-realization, that leads to having an experience of oneness with everything, shedding judgement and separation.

Bhakti yoga takes shape in many ways that often lead the yogi to practices off of the mat. Here are a few examples of ways that you could explore and experience this beautiful limb of yoga:

Creating a home altar – Gather images or objects that inspire you and awaken your heart. Set them up with care and devotion and take time each day to connect to the quality and energy they invoke in you.

Seva or acts of selfless service – Find a group that could use your helping heart and hands and selflessly offer your service.

Contemplation – Explore the nature of being or invoke the energy and quality of a particular deity.

Reciting Mantras – Repeat words, sounds, names of the deities or an affirmation. This will aid concentration in meditation and invoke certain qualities. Work with a mantra that resonates with you. You could use a mala or prayer beads to count the repetitions.

Chanting – alone or in a group at a kirtan. This is one of the methods most used by devotees.

What is a Kirtan?

A Kirtan is when a Sangha (spiritual community) gathers and joins their voices to chant the names of the deities and mantras in call and response fashion. Regardless of ones experience with singing this environment lends anyone to join voices in a safe setting where the shared experience and devotion is the focus, rather than the refinement of the music itself. It’s a beautiful outlet for those that might have fear of using their voices to feel strength and comfort through blending with the voices around them.

Regardless of what shape the Bhakti takes for you, the ultimate goal is to see and serve yourself and everyone else as a manifestation of the Divine.

If you are intrigued and interested in exploring Bhakti yoga I recommend checking out our upcoming Kirtan at Symmetry Yoga on March 31st !

As a long time yogi and musician, I find that Bhakti Yoga has been a natural joining of two of the greatest passions of my heart. As I write this blog post, I’m actually getting ready to embark into a Bhakti Yoga immersion in New Orleans! I am grateful for the new learning that I’ll be able to bring back to the Symmetry Yoga Studio and community. I look forward to sharing more goodies with you upon my return!

This blog post was written by Nikki Borodi who teaches Vinyasa Flow on Mondays and our Monthly Friday Night Flow class with live music!
To practice with Nikki sign up for classes now!