Yoga is a Sanskrit word meaning union. It refers to a group of physical, mental, and spiritual practices that bring one to wholeness – to union. I believe it will take a lifetime to study all eight limbs of Patanjali’s yogic path. And that’s fine with me! Yoga is a way of life, not something I do one hour a week.
A teacher once said that she was home whenever she was on her yoga mat. At the time, I didn’t understand or relate to what she was saying. Now, after many years, I feel the same way. When I roll out my mat, no matter where I am, I feel a sense of peace and presence. I am home within my self. Practicing yoga brings me to stillness, to presence and awareness of my breath and body.
Practicing Yoga Can:
- Increase flexibility
- Build strength
- Improve posture
- Keep joints healthy
- Focus the mind
- Reduce stress
- Lower blood pressure
- Bring a sense of happiness and well-being
Yin yoga slows things way down and brings me back to the fundamentals of yoga – each posture is held for several minutes and gives me an opportunity to stay in a deep meditative state while practicing. I concentrate on my inhale and exhale, breathing oxygen to wherever sensation is felt. I often keep my eyes closed the entire time, in order to go within and connect with my senses and my breath as well as give in to the deep stretching in my ligaments and joints. After I practice Yin yoga, I float across the floor. It evokes a blissful state of grace in me.
I love teaching Yin yoga and encouraging others to quiet their mind and relax in to the postures. Each posture has a physical benefit to it as well as a calming effect on the nervous system and glandular system.
In one year of practicing yin yoga, I was able to achieve results with certain postures that had eluded me after 12 years of practicing hatha yoga consistently. The deep stretching I allowed my body to relax into gave way to a more limber me. Instead of firing my muscles in a vinyasa flow, and moving in quick, repetitive ways, my body lengthened and loosened, releasing years of stored tension and muscle memories. A friend of mine, a runner in his late 50’s who had never practiced yoga before, began to practice Yin yoga with me once a week. Several months later, at his annual physical, he discovered he had “grown” three quarters of an inch! His body had become more limber and decompressed as a result of his practice.
Yin yoga can be done by all types of people at all different levels of experience and flexibility because you are relying on your own body’s wisdom to let you know how far to go. Sensation is good, but sharp pain should never be allowed and is a signal to back off of the posture. For every Yin yoga posture, there are several modifications to reference so that all flexibility levels can be accommodated.
Prenatal Yoga is a multifaceted approach to exercise that encourages stretching, mental centering and focused breathing. It has been found to improve sleep, reduce stress and anxiety, as well as increase strength, flexibility and endurance of muscles needed for childbirth.
My prenatal classes are designed to support mothers mentally and physically throughout pregnancy. I encourage students to nourish and celebrate their changing bodies and I teach postures that increase strength, flexibility and peace of mind.
Each class includes focused breathing, meditation and stretching – all great tools to improve sleep, reduce stress and address specific issues that many pregnant women face. Every class includes pelvic floor exercises that can aid in childbirth and postpartum recovery.
Prenatal yoga is a wonderful way to share this special time in your life with other pregnant mamas and create lasting community.
I am so grateful to have practiced prenatal yoga with Roxanna throughout my pregnancy. She always came prepared with a plan, but was responsive and adaptable to whatever my body and mind needed on a given day. She pushed me just the right amount physically and helped me connect more deeply to my baby and my body during each practice. Roxanna has an incredibly calming, joyful, and nurturing presence, and I felt lighter physically, mentally, and emotionally after practicing with her. -Stacy H. Lafayette, CA