4 Poses for the Holidays That Will Keep You Connected

Yoga Meditation OaklandWe often hear our students express their assumption that a longer yoga practice is the most beneficial. We actually think that sometimes it’s the shorter practices that have the most profound and long-lasting effects. To encourage you to stay connected to your practice through this holiday season, we challenge you to invest just a small amount of time each day in your practice. Do you have 10 minutes to spare? Great. Lets get you started in embracing these 4 poses as a way to a more healthy, happy and relaxed you over this holiday season. Think of them as your friendly go-to holiday yoga poses that can help you connect to your body, mind and spirit anytime and anywhere.

1. Bitilasana (Cat/Cow)– A grounding foundational pose for any yoga practice. It gently warms up the spine while opening up the whole back body- thereby releasing stiffness and tension that can accumulate in tight muscles. The more we begin to move in between these two shapes, the more we notice how medicinal they feel as we mindfully open and close the more active front body, and the more receptive back body. Spend 2 minutes here, and notice the appreciation that will inevitably rise up.

2. Vrikshasana (Tree)– Excellent for strengthening the ankles and calves while also toning the abdominal muscles. Try spending 5-10 breaths on each leg while working and definitely using the wall as a steadying prop if you want to feel extra supported. Tree pose is made more accessible when the phrase “root to rise” is applied. As you ground down evenly through the sole of your foot, you’ll also begin to lengthen your torso, lifting up through your heart, melting your shoulders down your back and lifting your gaze. Begin to cultivate one-pointed focus by letting your drishti (gaze point) land on an object in front of your. As you feel into your balance, you’ll notice your thoughts slow down and elevation in your spirits that let your know your securely connected to the earth.

3. Ardha Matsyendrasana (Seated Spinal Twist)– Twists are nourishing for the kidneys which help keep us energized. Twists are also great for digestion and can be therapeutic for low back pain- just make sure you keep your navel engaged. From a comfortable seated position cross your right leg over your left, so that your right foot steps just outside your left thigh. On an inhale, lengthen your right arm up and plant your finger tips near your right hip. Use your left arms to draw your right knee in, and your spine up. Stay for a minute, with eyes half-closed and focusing on lengthening your inhales and exhales. Repeat on the other side.

4. Viparita Karani (Legs Up the Wall)– Here’s a decadent closing to any yoga practice. Legs up the wall is a restorative pose that helps relieves headaches, brings fresh blood to the head & heart, lowers blood pressure, relives low back pain and leaves you feeling refreshed. This is a great pose to try when traveling in airports, before bed or in the afternoon in replacement of a nap. Start by putting a folded blanket a foot away from the wall. Roll onto the blanket- hip first and slowly roll onto your back so that your legs go on the wall. Place a hand on your heart and a hand on your belly to help tune you into the rhythm of your body. Close your eyes and breathe deeply. Your body and mind will thank you for it.

This blog post was written by Grey Marcoux who teaches Hatha Flow on Tuesday, Thursdays and Saturdays.

We’d love to have you come in and practice with Grey and all of our lovely teachers and community this holiday season.
Check out our holiday schedule and sign up for classes now!

The Benefits of Keeping Up a Yoga Practice Over the Holidays

Yoga Meditation OaklandWe all know that the holidays can bring much excitement in to our lives. We probably have also all experienced some of the stress, over indulgence and exhaustion that can come from with this celebratory time of year. Some of this stress or exhaustion might have to do with the lengths in which we go to see loved ones – like traveling long distances or getting stuck in holiday traffic, while other ways of not feeling our best over the holidays have to do with excessive drinking, eating or spending. But what if there was something we could do that would align into equilibrium with ourselves so that our holidays become a time where we can rest, restore, have fun and feel our best in our bodies and minds? Yoga is an ideal practice to help us care for ourselves over the holidays. The benefits of a holiday practice begin by carving out a little personal time each day for the physical asana practice and also some time to devote to meditation. As we begin to move, stretch and strengthen, endorphins get released so we almost immediately begin to experience positive emotions like joy, happiness and gratitude. These positive emotions that can arise during the yoga practice, are in many ways what the holidays boil down to: gratitude, peace and joy. It’s an ideal time to commit to a yoga practice to help cultivate these benefits a little bit more.

A specific part of the yoga practice that can help to profoundly shift our awareness into the gifts of the present is meditation. The meditation practice literally begins to refocus our brains so we become much more aware of what’s arising, and then are able to consciously choose whether or not we want to engage with that emotion/thought. Meditation is a powerful tool that lets us choose our thoughts and how we want to feel- letting us transform negative emotions into ones like joy, wisdom and compassion- beautiful lenses to wear during the season of giving. Another benefit of a keeping up a yoga practice over the holidays is the healthy, happy glow you’ll have from the more active parts of the practice-you’ll sweat, burn calories and work up an appetite to help you enjoy the delectable food you’ll be savoring. You’ll be happier- and since energy is often times contagious- those around you will feel happier too.

Last, but not least, is that yoga is an inspiring way to take care of yourself! Self-care is a radical act of self-love. Self-care helps us to cultivate feelings of love towards ourselves, which can go hand and hand with happiness. When someone is happy, others are more likely to feel happy too- because energy is contagious. One thing for sure, is that there can never be too much happiness and love in this world. Let’s take extra good care of ourselves this holiday season by committing to showing up on our mats, and in doing so, commit to taking good care of others.

This blog post was written by Grey Marcoux who teaches Hatha Flow on Tuesday, Thursdays and Saturdays.

We’d love to have you come in and practice with Grey and all of our lovely teachers and community this holiday season.
Check out our holiday schedule and sign up for classes now!

Hatha Flow Now Offered Three Days a Week with Grey Marcoux!

Yoga AlamedaTuesdays + Thursdays 3:00pm
Saturdays 8:00am

Almost all forms of yoga that are taught in the West can be defined as Hatha Yoga. Hatha is the practice of the physical postures of yoga and can be translated as “sun” (ha) and “moon” (tha)- which is meant to be thought of as balancing the resting and active energies of the body.

In general, Hatha Yoga classes are designed to be slower and more stabilizing to help calm the mind, and ensure the student is learning proper alignment so they can settle into a meditative state. In a typical Vinyasa class, one’s movement is linked with the breath so that the student can “flow” between postures cued by each inhale and exhale.

While Vinyasa Yoga offers the opportunity to link a breath to a movement, and Hatha invites the yogi to stay in the pose for a longer period of time, a Hatha Flow class fuses the two modalities-aiming to strike a balance between flow and stillness. In Grey Marcoux’s Hatha Flow classes, the student will have ample time to settle into a pose so that they can become familiar with the proper safe alignment that is best suited for their body’s unique needs. Once the alignment has been found and embodied for a few rounds of deep breath, the student will then learn to move in a graceful and mindful way to the next posture, all the while being asked to stay present through focusing on breath.

Through coming back to the breath, students are then able to foster more spaciousness in their mind and bodies helping them to find deeper ways to explore the postures which can lead to a more advanced expression of a pose, deeper experiences of peaceful states and somatic healing. Each class will begin with a few minutes of seated meditation and end with a restorative pose to encourage physical and energetic synthesis of the yoga class. SIGN UP HERE!

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Deep Healing with YOGA NIDRA

Yoga Nidra AlamedaSundays 4:00-5:15pm with Radha Rodriguez
Sign Up Here!

Yoga Nidra is usually translated as Yogic Sleep. Typically, the conclusion of a class, it is an opportunity to integrate the previous physical postures, develop body awareness, cultivate mindfulness, and experience deep healing.

Yoga Nidra is an accessible practice that is suitable for all practitioners, regardless of experience or personal history. It brings us into a delicious state of rest, after which you may experience a sense of joy, ease, and wholeness. It is also one of the most advanced practices in our yoga toolbox.

How to Practice
Similar to a guided meditation, Yoga Nidra is a journey inward, progressively leading practitioners to the deep, quiet layers of the Self.

From a comfortable position on the back such as Savasana, we begin with sequentially squeezing and releasing each muscle of the body. In this way, we identify holding patterns in the body and learn to consciously release tension.

Having encouraged ease in the body, we develop our capacity to witness our experience. Again, moving sequentially, we take time to observe body, breath, and mind. This moves us away from identifying with our experience and toward equanimity. Over time and with continuous practice, we bring this ability to observe experience into our daily lives such that our minds remain steady and undisturbed.

After these preparatory steps, we move to the core of Yoga Nidra. Here we are directed to our highest Self, our true Self, where we have the opportunity to rest. Yoga Nidra can allow us a glimpse into the peace and serenity that is the heart of all Yoga practice.

While it is common for practitioners to fall into a brief sleep, the essence of the practice is to maintain conscious awareness or resting wakefulness. In this way, practitioners are able to access their innate capacity for healing.

Make The Practice Yours
Lying on the back doesn’t work for everyone. Some of us are more comfortable sitting in a chair, leaning against a wall, or lying on the side.

Don’t be shy, take advantage of props! Would a pillow make the neck more comfortable? Would some knee support bring ease to the low back? Would the protection of a blanket bring a sense of comfort? What about an eye pillow? Does lying on the back cause you to cough or feel congested? Try laying against a raised bolster. Can’t make it to class? Lead yourself through the process in a chair or lying on your bed!

Why Practice Yoga Nidra?
The benefits of Yoga Nidra are so varied that it can benefit just about anyone. These benefits include

  • Stress reduction
  • Improved quality of sleep
  • Ability to consciously release physical tension
  • Improved mental focus and concentration
  • Increased mind-body connection
  • Develop ease and comfort in body
  • Resolve trauma
  • Reduced anxiety
  • Reduced depression
  • Learn to be present
  • Tool for spiritual inquiry

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Reiki and Restorative Now Offered Tuesday Evenings with Inbal Meron!

Yoga Studio in East BayTuesdays 7:30 and 8:45pm
Sign Up Here!

We’re excited to introduce one of our newest additions to the Symmetry Yoga teaching team! Meet Inbal Meron! Inbal, has been teaching yoga in the Bay Area since 2012 and specializes in Yoga Therapeutics.

In addition to teaching Yoga, Inbal is also a Reiki Master and a Tarot reader and teacher. She loves to travel and study, but these days, she spends most of her time outside in nature with her adorable toddler. You can join her for a Reiki & Restorative class on Tuesdays from 7:30-8:45 p.m.

This class is the perfect opportunity to slow down and take a deep meditative rest. The practice is passive and supported by props. During class you only actually do about 2-3 poses. This gives you the time and space to truly drop in to a deep and restful state. While resting in the poses, Inbal will be coming around and offering Reiki to each student.

Reiki is a vibrational healing modality that is transferred through touch. Reiki is a perfect complement to a restorative practice as it assists in calming and healing while working on the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual bodies simultaneously.  This class is not to be missed!

Sign up here!

Symmetry is Excited to Announce Early Morning Yoga with Mary Mailhot!

Alameda Yoga StudioMondays + Wednesdays 6:00 and 7:15am
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Mary is thrilled to start teaching at Symmetry Yoga. She comes from a long career in dance, music and theater. She brings her creativity, open heart and joy to each class.

In 2008 Mary majored in Dance and Literature at The New School University, Eugene Lang College in NYC. In 2007 while in college, she started her yoga practice in New York and Brooklyn. She immediately noticed how good she felt after yoga. Yoga started to deeply calm and center her mind, body and spirit.

In 2009, she moved to Sydney, Australia where she studied Mysore, Ashtanga yoga. This helped her build a daily practice. She also took up meditation and Qi Gong practices with her teacher and dear spirit sister Emma Jean Bridge. From this point, she decided it was time for her 200-hr training.

In 2011, she received her 200-hr from The Kripalu Yoga School, in the Berkshire MA, where she lived for a month and dove deep into her yoga practice. Her teachers Devarshi Hartman and Jovinna Chan are so dear to her heart. This training taught her so much about Compassion and the foundations of having a rich spiritual practice. She then went on to teach in Brooklyn. Soon thereafter, she decided it was time to move out west. In 2012, she moved to Oakland, CA to pursue her teaching and her art (i.e. dance, and music).

In 2013, she trained with Kimber Simpkins in her Anusara Immersion, where she learned many new mediation techniques, tantric yoga, the universal principles of alignment, and deep love of her body. Mary also is a Reiki Master and trained intensely with her teacher Genevieve Mcclendon. She fell in love with this healing modality and gives Reiki sessions at the health center on request. Inquire within for more details! Also, Mary is avidly pursing her career as a musician/singer, dancer and performing artist. She has her own band called, Honey and The Emperor. She is deeply inspired by this practice and artful and healthful living. Namaste.

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Symmetry Has Your Numbers!

We are excited to announce a new addition to our health and nutrition services: The InBody 570 is one of the very best body composition analysis systems in the world.

Historically, accurate body composition analysis has been challenging and time consuming. Old model bioelectrical impedance meters have an unpredictable margin of error making it hard to track change over time. The dunk tank, which was considered the most accurate way to measure body composition is inconvenient, requiring a truck with the tank and getting into the water. The historic caliper / skin fold measures for body composition are uncomfortable at best, and rely on the tester’s ability to pinch the exact same skin folds every time the testing is done.

The InBody 570 is an advanced bioelectrical impedance meter that out paces other options on the professional market today. Testing entails standing on the machine for 45 seconds while a safe, specially calibrated electrical current runs through the body. Following that, a full page report is generated detailing lean mass, water mass (intra and extracellular), fat mass in total AND by body part. It even shows where there is inflammation, giving  you a better idea of where you may need some extra care. This system accelerates our ability to get you on exactly the right health program for your individual needs. We are able to track your progress extremely accurately and make specific adjustments to your plan based on this analysis.

We look forward to sharing our new technology with you!

Call today for a Free Functional Nutrition and Weight Loss Consultation which includes a free InBody Analysis! 510-769-0125

Symmetry Moves Toward a Scent Free Environment

Dear Symmetry Community,

We want to bring attention to the fact that a significant percent of the population experiences scent sensitivity. Holistic health care is a core value at Symmetry, and we want to make sure everyone feels comfortable in our shared space.

Scent sensitivity is a big issue. Often people with scent sensitivity don’t disclose it because they don’t want to make others uncomfortable. The reality is, if someone is sensitive or allergic to a particular scent in their health care or movement environment it can derail their participation and progress. They miss appointments and training times because they are dealing with allergic illness, or they decide to avoid the space altogether.

Scent, whether it is perfume, cologne, essential oils, long exposure to incense, certain laundry detergents, strong dryer sheets, cigarette smoke, or even air fresheners can debilitate a scent sensitive person for days. They might experience migraines, nausea, inability to breathe, hives and a loss of mental focus.

Please do your part to make this a welcoming and healing environment for everyone!

Before coming in do a quick scent check and ask yourself:

-Am I wearing too much perfume or cologne?

-Can I wait until after my session to apply strongly scented deodorant?

-Can I wait until after my session to apply my essential oils?

-Am I wearing clothes that were exposed to heavy cigarette smoke?

See if there is a quick adjustment you can make to bring your scent level closer to neutral.

Small adjustments make a big impact. We definitely don’t want to come across as extreme. We simply want to make sure everyone feels at ease at Symmetry.

Thank you so much,

The Symmetry Team

 

 

Power Plate® Training For Balance and Fall Prevention

 If you are over 60 years young, did you know that Power Plate® training can have a profound effect on your balance and significantly reduce your risk of falling? Studies have shown that one year of training on the Power Plate® results in two very important adaptations. One, anticipatory postural control increases, meaning that you will be able to stabilize before a fall (and ideally prevent it) by activating your core. Two, the tri-planar vibrations teach you how to proprioceptively navigate uneven surfaces. When an unexpected dip in a sidewalk shows up, you are more likely to have the muscle memory to pick up your feet and stabilize quickly. The plates also increase bone density, which is key in minimizing risk should a fall occur. We all fall sometimes, at any age! We all deserve skills to make these incidents as manageable as possible.

Our coaches are developing a program that will take your skills to the next level by incorporating standard falls prevention, safe martial arts break fall technique as well as stance and gait strategy to make sure you have all the odds in your favor. We know that sensory cues play a big role in understanding where we are physically, and we have developed a component to make sure you optimize every possible system to your best advantage.

We champion you and we are committed to making sure you have every advantage. Thank you for trusting us to be your home base movement strategists. We think the world of you.

Sign Up Here

Source:

Gait & Posture 26 (2007) 309–316

Effects of whole body vibration training on postural control in older individuals: A 1 year randomized controlled trial 

Authors: An Bogaerts a , Sabine Verschueren a, *, Christophe Delecluse b , Albrecht L. Claessens b , Steven Boonen c

Wind Down After Work, But Skip The Hang Over

Fridays 4:00-5:00 p.m.
Consider this fun filled vinyasa class your answer to an out of the office reset. Join us for the perfect way to de-stress after a long week of work, building a healthy new habit into your weekly routine. This is an all levels feel good flow with light hearted energy and playful vinyasa sequencing, set to upbeat music. This class provides stress relief for the over active mind. It will melt away built up tension in the desk bound body by incorporating deep stretches and even deeper breaths. Come let loose with us! Sign Up Here and see our schedule for class times and teacher bios.