popcandy Asked
QuestionLove to read about your home practice! Right now I don't have money for class, so I only do yoga at home, and I also use a lot of videos, mostly from Do Yoga With Me. I haven't tried any dvds, but maybe I'll try to get one of the Rodney Yee's dvds, the guy seems to be really good. Answer

Thanks for reading my blog! I’ve haven’t posted anything new recently, but I still keep up a regular home practice. Hopefully, I’ll get back to regular posts soon. There are 5 Rodney Yee DVDs I especially like: Power Yoga - Total Body (for a fast paced but comprehensive and long workout), Ultimate Power Yoga (this one has 5 - 15-20 minute workouts - very invaluable for busy days!), Yoga Burn (for a slow but long and rigorous workout), and Power Strength Yoga (the actual asanas are simple, but he kind of teaches you how to make your own asanas as well as build up to things like a headstand). Have fun trying any of these out! Oh, and you also might enjoy Lucas Rockwood’s Gravity Yoga (it’s not strictly speaking yoga - but targeted 4-5 minute stretches to increase flexibility - the whole thing takes about 1.5 hours to get through - but you can also do it 1 - 15 minute segment a day….)

Here is a fun song I wrote and put on Youtube about pop songs! Enjoy and take an exercise break to lift your spirits with music!

Its always good to have a music break! Music can comfort us or give us excitement or companionship! Come have a look at an original ukulele song I wrote and recorded on Youtube about peace!

In rural Japan, I face my usual absence of yoga studios other than my nice Wednesday hatha class, so I continue to fill up my week doing yoga DVDs on my other days along with tai chi.
Last night I tried out a new DVD I ordered by famous Californian yoga teacher Erich Schiffmann titled, “Backbends: Yoga with Erich Schiffmann, Backyard Series.” Like other yoga DVDs I’ve tried of Erich’s he has an extremily calm nurturing voice and a very organic progression - slowly moving in and out of positions and into the next pose.
This 90 minute workout was an entire class on the backbend theme including: opening #4 half salutes, triangle, high lunge, dog, bent knee side stretch, twisting bent knee, low lunge, cobra vinyasa, pigeon cycle, double pigeon, locust, cobra, bow, cobra from cat, cobra from dog, hero pose, reclining hero, camel pose, half dog, bridge pose I, II, III, wheel pose, knee to chest, abdominals, reclining leg stretches, twisting reclining leg stretches, reclining sage twist, and relaxation pose.
Although the class is listed as an intermediate class, Erich’s detailed instructions, and numerous preparation exercises for more complicated poses really makes the class accessible to students of all levels. 
What I found most challenging was developing a basic pose into something more elaborate. For example, pigeon pose is one of those poses that already has me at the extremities of my ability to stretch, but Erich has several ways to “play” with the pose and go futher with it - and because of his insisitence on breath and “waiting for it to happen” somehow I continued through the whole workout with him.
The only thing I couldn’t do was a full the 3 repetitions of the wheel pose at the end. I could only do 1! I also found his bow series particularly tiring on the floor as his bow prep included 3 or 5 reps of lifting the upper body then the legs without any arm assistance for about 20 seconds each! He also really worked the back with very slow transitions into cobra poses where you started with no arm support and used your arms as little as possible!
Overall, his class was definitely a great workout and one that I recommend for people serious about backbends, and anyone else like me who spends too much time sitting at a desk at work! Enjoy!

In rural Japan, I face my usual absence of yoga studios other than my nice Wednesday hatha class, so I continue to fill up my week doing yoga DVDs on my other days along with tai chi.

Last night I tried out a new DVD I ordered by famous Californian yoga teacher Erich Schiffmann titled, “Backbends: Yoga with Erich Schiffmann, Backyard Series.” Like other yoga DVDs I’ve tried of Erich’s he has an extremily calm nurturing voice and a very organic progression - slowly moving in and out of positions and into the next pose.

This 90 minute workout was an entire class on the backbend theme including: opening #4 half salutes, triangle, high lunge, dog, bent knee side stretch, twisting bent knee, low lunge, cobra vinyasa, pigeon cycle, double pigeon, locust, cobra, bow, cobra from cat, cobra from dog, hero pose, reclining hero, camel pose, half dog, bridge pose I, II, III, wheel pose, knee to chest, abdominals, reclining leg stretches, twisting reclining leg stretches, reclining sage twist, and relaxation pose.

Although the class is listed as an intermediate class, Erich’s detailed instructions, and numerous preparation exercises for more complicated poses really makes the class accessible to students of all levels.

What I found most challenging was developing a basic pose into something more elaborate. For example, pigeon pose is one of those poses that already has me at the extremities of my ability to stretch, but Erich has several ways to “play” with the pose and go futher with it - and because of his insisitence on breath and “waiting for it to happen” somehow I continued through the whole workout with him.

The only thing I couldn’t do was a full the 3 repetitions of the wheel pose at the end. I could only do 1! I also found his bow series particularly tiring on the floor as his bow prep included 3 or 5 reps of lifting the upper body then the legs without any arm assistance for about 20 seconds each! He also really worked the back with very slow transitions into cobra poses where you started with no arm support and used your arms as little as possible!

Overall, his class was definitely a great workout and one that I recommend for people serious about backbends, and anyone else like me who spends too much time sitting at a desk at work! Enjoy!

In your 20’s you can climb a mountain in a day, but you can stumble on a pebble. In your 40’s you can climb over every pebble, but a mountain is a journey.

I had a powerful moment in yoga class last night doing the tree pose. Sometimes I catch myself thinking too much about correct alignment and making the balance happen. Last night I was calm and focused in such a way that I simply let myself get into the pose and balance nicely on both the right and left sides. 

In Yoga, overthinking and making your body can be a downside, while letting and allowing your body can yield surprising results.  

I wanted to post another ukulele song from my Youtube. This a feel good song for all of you to break your blues. Enjoy!

It’s time for a ukulele break! This my song for my little neices Ava and Hannah on how to live a healthy life after I saw them in a video my sister-in-law sent me drinking soapy bathtub water! Enjoy!

I took more yoga classes at Yogaworks in Westchester on December 27th and January 4st.

The first class was taught by Patricia Schneider who reminded us that yoga class is practice and that there are positions that even teachers are working on. She told us there were days you could do certain poses properly and days you can’t do them.

Some nice exercises from the class included:

  • Crunches! Yikes! But a good prep for using to blocks to lift body with arms with feet tucked under you or crossed.
  • Setting up 2 blankets and folding mat over these provides super support for a shoulder stand!

On January 4th, I took a class with Carol Silverman. This class was particularly busy, and unfortunately Yogaworks seems to be overtolerant of late-comers to join. But having said that, late-comers came in respectfully quiet.

Here are a couple of nice things we did in the class:

  • After doing a headstand, she had us stretch in child’s pose with legs separated with the head turned to the right and left to stretch out the tension.
  • Long lunge with back leg knee up and back heel off the ground in a modified Warrior 1 - this was difficult for me to hold for a long time!

Overall, my days at Yogaworks were really great ones, and I came back to Japan with many new ideas to use props at home. I also brought back with me a super Manduka yoga mat. I no longer has to worry about my hands and feet slipping around! Just be careful because these mats are not cheap! I should also note that Yogaworks is not cheap. Drop-in classes are $22 compared to my $14 classes in Japan.

I took another class at Yogaworks on December 26th, so naturally the regular teacher was on holiday and Debra Lefkowitz came in as a sub to teach a low level Iyengar class. Being a sub is not easy to do, but the teacher had a bit of a grating voice and referred to her notes too much. However, we did a number of interesting exercises:

  • Walk legs up wall until horizontal while supporting this position with hands into a modified downward dog pose.
  • Use a strap to do a leg stretch while the support leg is straight and pushing against the wall.
  • Modified savasana with pillow under back and legs up and resting against wall.
  • Chair against wall with blanket draped over it. Stand on one leg and put other leg on back of chair with foot against wall. Then turn supporting leg in as you bend the other leg - straighten leg - then readch hands to stretch spine to wall.
  • She said there was no such thing as a cold studio - there are exercises to warm you and cool you…