Yoga Mania

The first sequence is here!!!

I hope you all enjoy. I give an explanation at the beginning on things to watch out for and what to do before this sequence to warm ya body up.

Ps: check out those Shakti shorts!!! Is that coverage, or is that coverage? I strongly encourage you to consider getting at least one pair 🙂

 

Namaste & Peel Away ❤

Jocellyn

 

Yoga Mania: Clothing

Here’s the clothing video! Since I didn’t have them when I was shooting, I forgot to mention the infamous pants

I didn’t like. They’re from the GAP, which stunk because I’m normally so in love with that store. Some of the reviewers seemed to have the same issue as me. The pants didn’t sit high enough and I was constantly pulling them up. I’m super sorry to the people in the yoga class I taught who had to stare at my red thong for an hour. And to my teacher Ashley who assisted me in many butt-crack revealing forward bends.

 

 

Some yoga-spiration. My old RA Brooke was doing a photo shoot and asked me to “model” for her. When I was born everyone thought I was going to be six feet. That clearly didn’t happen, but I always jump at the opportunity only afforded to long-legged ladies.

A rather ambitious early morning back-bend. But it felt ohhh so good. Hey, those are the pants! They look quite deceiving, right? Ps: when will they invent deodorant that blends into black skin?

When all else fails do everything but straight up! It’s much easier to balance your body when you have weight on both sides. It also adds some pizzazz.

I’ve moved on from crow to crane, which was only natural because crow encourages you to keep your butt low, and I’ve always been a fan of showing it off 😉 I admit, in the beginning it was sooo painful to press my knees into my arms, but that pain passed. If there is any posture I’ve been working with forever, it has been this one. I’m always finding ways to get stronger. Ohh, you can see the tell-tale gap in my pants; troubled waters be ahead!

 

Peel Away<3

Jocellyn

 

Okay. It’s here: YOGA MANIA!

Hello!

In the last few posts I’ve been hinting at something really big hitting this blog, and today I drop bombs. Please, join me in a round of enthusiastic OMing to announce Yoga Mania! My junior portfolio class is doing a social media contest to see who can drive the most traffic to their blog and get people to stay tuned in. I really wanted to build up the yoga section of this site and thought this would be a perfect push in the right direction. I explain what this whole thing will be in the video above, but basically there will be a yoga video posted Monday-Friday. The video might be of a short sequence (less than 10 minutes!), a tutorial on inversions or arm balances, or a yoga chat ranging from pranayama to yoga clothing.

I’m really excited to see this all come together! Tomorrow and Friday I’ll be posting a video on yoga gear, which will be really helpful for beginners or people wanting to expand their clothing repertoire, and Friday I’ll be doing a post on breathing and ‘locks’ you can do with your body in order to settle your mind during practice.

Please, please, please check in daily and share this information with your friends of all ages, majors, athletic abilities, levels of flexibility, yoga styles, etc, etc.

Namaste & Peel Away ❤

Jocellyn

 

Chasing After Lotus

First published in The Current

Champlain College’s Student Newspaper.

 

The majority of my yoga career has been spent building upper body strength so I can flip my way easily and gracefully into arm balances. Eight-angle pose was no big deal. Forearm stand took a year’s worth of off and on practice, but I finally got the hang of balancing my body. My once bent and wobbly crow grew up and has taken flight to somewhere warm, like Florida. But I have to admit, I’m structurally made for arm balances. I have broad, base building shoulders and arms that bulk up easily. Dabbling in the delightful world of inversions was really swimming around in the comforting, shallow-end of my yoga pool. Recently, I’ve started swimming out to where my toes no longer touch to tread water and tango with on bad ass asana: padmasana.

Known in English as Lotus (or “Indian sitting”, which I’m sure isn’t terribly PC), padmasana is a posture synonymous with yoga. The image of a serene-being seated with their legs folded up like a delicious soft pretzel is what comes to the minds of many a non-yogi. Ironically, Lotus is not that simple. For starters, our sedentary western lives have tightened up our hips to an unimaginable degree. And, unlike our Indian friends, we did not grow up sitting in this fashion. Sometimes our exercise endeavors tighten up our hips as well due to repetitive motion; my teacher is fond of saying, “Yoga is good for your running, but running is not good for your yoga.”

Some people are genetically blessed with the ability to flip into this deceptively elusive pose. I know yoga-envy is the wrong, wrong, wrong, radioactive-greenness that can lead to injury, but I can’t help feeling it when I look around the room of lithe men and women gently settling into the posture and lifting themselves. Don’t even get me started on how, in shoulder stand, you can maneuver your way into Lotus and pull your knees into your chest, creating a little egg shape with your body.  Oh, how I long to tackle forearm stand,  while my legs are in a pretzel so fierce Auntie Anne would just have to add it to her food court menu.

Sadly, my Lotus is stuck in an awkward, pre-pubescent phase. My left hip is incredibly open and my foot can nestle into the crease of my right hip easily. My right hip is stubborn and can barely make it up to the left hip. You can try to finagle your way in, but finagling and Lotus go together like cats and dogs. When your hip has done all the rotating it can your knee will lock up. When that happens you can try to manipulate your ankle and “cheat” yourself a little further, but it is only putting undue stress on the delicate knee. Push too hard and say bye, bye to your meniscus. Who would have thought such an innocent looking pose could cause such stress, envy, and possible injury. The only way to move forward is with patience, like, years worth of patience.

Not only do our hips carry the wear and tear of time, but people (especially ladies) can lug around a huge amount of emotionally baggage in that spot. One of the best things you can do to open the hips is sit in wide angle pose. In a seated position, spread your legs as far as your feel comfortable. Keyword: comfortable. You’ll be hanging out in this posture for quite some time, so no need to pretend you are auditioning for Cirque Du Soleil! Make sure to keep your back straight and start leaning on forward. You might need to keep your hands on the ground to support yourself. It’s important to watch out for two things here. Be wary of earthquake shaking legs.  Major muscle spasmimg is a sign that you’re pushing your body to a point where you have started to release adrenaline (when you are getting a good stretch you’re releasing feel-good endorphins) and approaching a threshold where tears can happen. Bring your legs closer together if this happens and proceed again. The other thing to be aware of is where your knees are at. The kneecaps should be facing up towards the ceiling and not rolling in. If they are, recruit your leg muscles and gentle activate your hips to point them back up. If you are new to this posture start out gently a few nights a week. It’s okay if you can only hold it for a minute.  If you have been practicing yoga for a bit longer, try holding the pose until your body starts whispering “hey, hey now!”  This will allow you to push yourself, and you may feel a little sore the next day, but you won’t injure your body. It’s also a great activity that can be done while reading those long CORE assignments, watching T.V, or Facebook stalking your peers.

Again, this takes time. You might notice significant gains after a month. You might plateau and not see a difference for what feels like ages. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but Lotus may never be something you achieve, and that’s okay too. Your body is slowly, slowly starting to undo the tightness that has accumulated which means it can take years. It’s a lesson in patience, which I can safely say us instant-gratification-seeking Americans could use.

My teachers have always said that our physical yoga practice meets us where we are, and where we are is exactly where we need to be. Sometimes we aren’t ready for a pose, for whatever the reason. Perhaps our muscles aren’t prepared, or our bones aren’t strong enough, or we have a mental block. I can agree. As a first year yoga practitioner I had no business being in forearm stand. I had the brute strength, yes, but not the stability in the shoulders, understanding of gaze, or abdominal control. I would have probably hurt myself. Instead, I paid my dues in upper-body building Chaturanga (low plank) and gritted my way through ab-strengthening  navasana (boat pose). I earned my right to forearm-stand and scratch it off my pain-in-my-asana list! Yes, the outro is cheesy, but I’m hopeful that someday my Lotus will push up through the muck and bloom.

Got Ashtanga?

This post is dedicated to Claudia at cloud9yoga, who popped on over and liked my video. She had a post on bicep growth, and since I cannot leave pics in her comments, I thought this was the next best thing.

Ashtanga has most definitely blown up my biceps, shoulders, and pectorals; I can even make my chest move like guys. Unfortunately, this is a move that the general public will never see, but I swear I can do it! I admit, my lower body doesn’t get much muscle building love, but I admire a lady with fierce arms.

Just finished teaching an ashtanga-inspired flow class.

Thank you Chaturanga Dandasana and Claudia, for reminding me how yoga

has changed the outside.

 

Peel Away ❤

Jocellyn

Sun Salutations + A Video

Yoga is a big part of my life. I hope yoga continues to be a big part of my life. Thus, it wouldn’t be fair for me to not include yoga on this blog. Practicing yoga was what helped me start eating better. Learning difficult yoga postures is what taught me patience.

“Yoga is the cessation of the fluctuation of the mind.”

Yoga, yoga, yoga, yoga.

Disclaimers

One: Ignore the fact that it looks like I’m wearing zero bottoms. Trust me: I am!

Two: Ignore the mess. I’m a poet. The chaotic workplace is what fuels me.

Three: I’m training to be a licensed yoga teacher. This video is a guide, not the word of the almighty. Now, I’m not expecting you to go call your doctor and slap down a $20 co-pay to make sure you’re fit for yoga, but use common sense.

Technical stuff I’ve learned: In making the video, you feel like you’re going so slowly, but when you decided to do a voice over it feels like you’re talking 100 miles per hour (and this is coming from a girl who was constantly told to slow down.)

 

Let’s cut to the chase!!!

Here’s a video of me narrating Sun Salutation A with various modifications for all levels.

 

 

This the breath count for people who are not as familiar.  When you are first starting out it’s common to feel like you’re exhaling when the teacher is telling you to inhale. Don’t worry. The most important part is to just breatheeeeee.  Over time, when you become more comfortable, your breath will start synching up with your teacher’s breath.

Inhale  arms above your head touch at the top. You can look straight ahead or up at your hands. I’m currently working through a neck irritation, so I’m trying not to crane my neck to much.

Exhale  fold.

Inhale straighten your arms and lengthen your back to prepare.

Exhale (a big one)  walk or hop back, go to plank, lower down through Chaturanga dandasana.

Inhale Up dog

Exhale Down Dog.

“Active Break” : Breathe, breathe, breathe, breathe. In Ashtanga we do a 5 count. Do whatever you want.

Inhale move forward.

Exhale fold.

Inhale raiiiiiiiise up. Touch at the top.

And do it all over again.

Peel away and namasteeee, hey, heyyy ❤

Jocellyn

Morning Yoga

I just watched this video this morning, and apparently it has been making rounds in the yoga world.  A lot of yoginis are up in arms about it, saying it objectifies women. There where the obvious arguments that it was using sex to sell. I personally think the person shooting avoided a lot of obvious crotch shots, and the few butt-cheek ones didn’t bother me. The difference between sensuality and sexuality is a fine line.  There were arguments that the disheveled bed with a male in it suggested something lewd. Okay, I’m totally whistle-blowing that one.  In case you haven’t slept with someone, the bed sheets are going to be messed up regardless of frisky business or restless nights. Sheets are not designed in a way that both can be satisfied!; Alas.   Many of the opinions are valid, aside from the sheet one, but in all honesty I like this video  more than the more recent Yoga Body Calendars by Jasper Johal. A little back info: before his yoga shots only featured a few bare breasts. Now practically all are pushed out for view, except for the famous Kathryn Budig’s.  I think the female body is a wonderful thing. I think the male body is a wonderful thing. But, like everyone, I have my opinions of when someone is trying to make an extra buck by selling sex.  When I think of what makes a yoga body powerful I think of muscles. Breasts kind of just hang there. It bothers me a little, but not enough to make me stand up and shout, and frankly not everything has to. Indifference is often touted as laziness, but at times it’s a perfectly fine emotion. What  are your thoughts? PS: I really do love the rest of his work, just not that “stuff.”

For me this came across as a fine example of a super strong and beautiful practice. It did, however, make me envious in a few ways.

1.) Envious that I don’t have a dedicated morning practice– I’m working on that this week!

2. ) Envious that my apartment isn’t that nice– Some day I’ll go J.K Rowling with a book and have a nice New York apartment  😉

3.) Envious bra companies don’t make cute lacy things for big breasted women– Breast reductions are kind of expensive.

Peel away ❤

Jocellyn