What is restore yoga and why do we need it? | acacia studios power vinyasa yoga studio in westlands, nairobi

When to listen to your body (maybe more than the instructor)

April 3, 2017

Are you new to yoga? Here’s what to know before your first yoga class…

December 22, 2015

Please, STOP comparing yourself to others in yoga class

Restore yoga provides us with an opportunity to disconnect from our hectic day-to-day lives and go inward, both in body and mind.  The purpose of the practice is to do exactly as it’s name suggests- restore the body- giving it a chance to rest and recover from all that life throws at us.

So what is it?

Although different types of restore yoga offer different physical benefits, like yin which stretches the fascia, or a full restorative yoga, with allows us to surrender to poses by using a variety of props and supports; all forms of restore yoga provide us with a chance to rest and relax and encourage mindfulness. Like other forms of yoga, we also link the breath to the body, thus bringing awareness to our quality of breath. All poses are held for 3 minutes or more and there is are ofter long moments of silent which allows time for introspection. We practice in stillness or gently move from one pose to another

Love quick paced yoga? Think restore yoga is not for you?

 The term yoga means to “yoke” or “unite”. Yoga is about finding balance of strength (sthira) and ease (sukha). Therefore, a restorative or meditative practice is as important as an active practice, as it contributes to balancing out all aspects of our being –physically, mentally and emotionally.

Not yet convinced?  Here are 10 reasons to practice restore yoga:

Slows you down- in the fast paced world (Nairobi!) this practice gives an opportunity to chill out

Calms the nervous system– with all the input we get now with smartphones, computers etc, our nervous system has difficulty calming- practicing in a dark, quiet room soothes our nervous system

Improves sleep – with a quiet nervous system, we learn to let the body relax thus leading us to better quality sleep

Builds Body Awareness- moving slowly from one pose to another helps us to become more aware and accepting of our bodies

Deepens Emotional Awareness– sometimes we hide or ignore our emotions, yet in a restore class, as we move inward, we develop a deeper understanding of, and maybe compassion for, our emotions

Encourages feelings of Safety and Security- as most restore poses are done on the ground, we connect with our root chakra, which is responsible for our feelings of safety and security

Improves alignment –holding poses for a longer amount of time allows us to see what feels right and what feel off, thus improving our alignment  

Builds patience- the slowness of the practice helps us to build patience with ourselves and others

Accessible to all- restore yoga is great for the elderly, injured athletes, pregnant women and those suffering from trauma

It’s like a vacation- the feeling of relaxation, ease, and calmness after a restore class will keep you come back for more! 

Vinyasa Yoga Teacher Training with David Lurey & Mirjam Wagner

Enchanted Mountain in Santa Catarina is a beautiful and complete retreat center with fully equipped yoga studios, comfortable and cozy living arrangements and a full kitchen staff to serve our vegetarian meals.

To get to Garopaba, it is best to fly to FLORIANOPOLIS, BRASIL (airport code – FLN).

We will help arrange ground transportation at an additional cost from the airport to the retreat center.

At Enchanted Mountain Center, you will discover the magic of this unique meeting of mountain, forest, lakes and sea while you reconnect with the inner enchantment of peace and harmony within your being. The Center is located in the heart of the temperate rainforest on a site of over 50 acres with views of lakes, mountains, white sand dunes, and the Southern Atlantic Ocean. The Center has a feeling of peace and tranquility while at the same time, you’re only 20 minutes from the beach and 30 minutes from the village of Garopaba. The center is privately located at the end of a valley and is not walking distance from the village of Garopaba. Students who wish to leave the retreat during the breaks / meal times can hire a taxi to get to town.

The Yoga spaces are open and beautiful with premiere quality recycled hardwood floors which provide the perfect atmosphere for Yoga, meditation, or other activities.

The housing units for two to four people are spacious and comfortable, each with a private bath and decorated with Brazilian handicrafts. Each unit has ocean or mountain views and is surrounded with unique trees and vegetation of the temperate rainforest. The property has a natural pool fed by a spring of crystal water.

Keeping in mind that healthy natural cuisine is a foundation of well-being, Enchanted Mountain offers an excellent variety of vegetarian dishes lovingly prepared in a home-style kitchen. Most of the vegetable and salads are organically grown in our local area and breakfast is highlighted with a buffet of fresh tropical Brazilian fruits. The dining room offers both indoor and open air dining. The food we will enjoy for this month is very different from what you will be used to eating. Be prepared for simple cuisine prepared with love and not a lot of spices or extravagant flavors. The wholesome diet is part of a cleansing that happens these weeks. We are able to accommodate Vegan and Gluten Free diets. In past years, students have chosen to visit the town during free time for ‘other food’ to supplement the vegetarian meals provided.  See the F.A.Q. section for photos of the meals.

What Is Vinyasa Yoga?

What Is Vinyasa Yoga?

As if the practice of yoga is not intriguing enough, you have the different kinds of yogas to choose from – Ashtanga, Iyengar, Bikram, etc.

Vinyasa Yoga simply means movement linked with breath. The postures are strung together either in a short or a longer flow.

The Vinyasa style of yoga is incredibly dynamic. This means that your mind has to remain focused and in the present to be able to keep up with the flow of the practice. Also, when you focus, you avoid drifting away. Thus, you are in tandem with your body, instead of being stuck in your head.

The Vinyasa Yoga 101

What Is Vinyasa Flow?

Vinyasa Yoga, much like the other forms of yoga, stems from Hatha Yoga. Vinyasa refers to the alignment of breath with movement. This turns the otherwise static asanas into a more dynamic flow.

The modern forms of Vinyasa flow, also called the Power Yoga and flow, are commonly described as a freestyle Ashtanga. They don’t stick to the rigid structure of the practice.


The Principles And Philosophies Underlying The Practice


As asserted, Vinyasa is the perfect coordination of breath with movement. Considering that, these are the philosophies and principles this practice follows.

Specific Movements

Vinyasa refers to a very specific series of movements that frequent themselves between each asana in a series. This is at the yoga instructor’s discretion, which is why it is important that you pick an expert carefully.



The length of time you inhale or exhale determines the length of time you spend in transition between the asanas. You must pay attention to your breath and the journey between the asanas, instead of only perfecting the body alignment. You must breathe using a relaxed diaphragmatic style while practicing this style of yoga. It should seem like the sound of the ocean resonating in your throat – Ujjayi style of breathing.

Muscle Contractions

The Vinyasa Yoga also pays heed to the Bandha or muscle locking, which gives you the ability to safely and smoothly transition into and out of each asana. There are three major Bandhas:

  1. The Mula Bandha, which is performed by tightening the muscles in the perineum and pelvic areas.


  1. The Uddiyana Bandha, which is performed by pulling the navel in towards the spine, and then moving slightly up. This helps to contract the muscles in the lower abdomen.
  1. The Jalandhara Bandha, which is performed by gently lowering the chin, while you lift up the sternum and shift your gaze to the tip of your nose.

Benefits Of Vinyasa Yoga

These are some amazing benefits of practicing the Vinyasa Yoga.

1. Instills A Sense Of Calm

There is a steady cycle formed as you inhale and exhale. This helps to calm both your mind and your body.

2. Detoxes The Entire Body

The coordinated movements from one pose to another generate internal heat and act as a cardio workout. This lets you sweat it out, thus helping in the purification of the body.

3. Helps Increase Flexibility And Muscle Strength

Whether your practice is slow-paced or fast-paced, it makes for a great workout for your body.

4. Allows You To Stay In The Present

Yoga helps you to live in the moment, and this is the doorway to truth and happiness.

The Vinyasa Practice Today

If you enroll yourself for a Vinyasa Yoga class, you will find that it is usually quite dynamic. A Vinyasa practice requires you to stay focused and in the present. The practice is comparable to meditation, and is often called a moving meditation.

The pace may vary depending on the instructor, so if the class is too fast or too slow for your liking, you might want to change your instructor.

A usual Vinyasa class starts with Surya Namaskaras. There are a few classes that incorporate meditation before and/or after the class.

What Is Vinyasa Krama?

Vinyasa Krama is a step-by-step progression into a certain goal. This goal could be a complex or advanced asana.

Let us break down this concept further.

Vinyasa is the synchronizing of breath and movement.

Krama is to progress step by step.

So when you undertake Vinyasa Krama yoga, you basically grow into something. In this case, you move from a simple to a more complex asana. You prepare yourself before you get into the advanced or “peak pose”.

Usually, a Vinyasa Krama sequence would be based on an individual theme, for example, a forward bend theme or a back bend theme. But your instructor would also work on making the class a rounded one, concentrating on each part that needs work as you progress into the peak pose.

Most students find that adding a Vinyasa Krama to the Vinyasa Flow makes a lot more sense to the mind and the body. The body seems to be prepared when it comes to the more complicated asanas, and the systematic flow keeps you calm and energized.

As you explore the depths of yoga, be sure to add the Vinyasa Flow/Krama to your practice. It is one of the most effective and systematic methods of yoga. You are sure to love it!


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IT’S NEVER TOO LATE TO LEARN TO FLY – Aerial & Vinyasa Yoga in NYC

I told my daughter, Adair, who’s an aerial performer, about my fingers. “I probably have arthritis.” She said she didn’t think so, that everybody’s fingers kill them for the first few weeks. She advised me to work with squeezy ball and massage in arnica oil. Two days later I was back at class. And again two days after that. By then I was hooked.

Now, I’ve been around yoga some time, having discovered it when I was seventeen. It was so unusual in the West back then that people confused it with yogurt and both were suspect. In those days, yoga was hatha: 88 poses, mostly named for animals, done slowly and held static. We’d never heard of Ashtanga or Vinyasa, Jivamukti or Iyengar, and the concept of baking at Bikram would have seemed very odd indeed. Yoga was yoga. Pure and simple. As different varieties made their way to America, often spawning offshoots of their own, I was pretty judgmental. After all, I did “real” yoga.

That bit of ego had to go in short order when I started aerial classes. Of all the expanded versions of the ancient Indian discipline, doing postures suspended is quite a leap. And yet, it’s still yoga – exquisitely so when you consider that in doing aerial, your concentration, one of yoga’s very limbs, has to be impeccable. Your mind can’t wander or you could fall on your head! I love it when the teachers give us a deliciously yogic concept to contemplate at the beginning of class, and when we chant, even one profoundly perfect Om. And when the instructor says: “Okay, this is a circus trick. It’s not yoga but it’s fun,” I get a surge of childlike glee. I wanna do circus tricks! They make me happy and content and connected. And yoga is about connection, after all.

Victoria Moran http://www.mainstreetvegan.net is the author of twelve books including Creating a Charmed Life, Fit from Within, Main Street Vegan, and The Good Karma Diet. She hosts the Main Street Vegan podcast and directs Main Street Vegan Academy, an in-person program in New York City to train and certify Vegan Lifestyle Coaches and Educators.

When to listen to your body (maybe more than the instructor) | acacia studios power vinyasa yoga studio in westlands, nairobi

For those first starting to practice yoga, the constant reminders about the mind body connection can seem vague and elusive. Yoga teachers often speak of “listening to your body”. Truth is, though, most people go throughout their days without having a clue what their body is telling them. How often do you recognize the action of getting out of a car, or washing a dish? How often do we think of the various muscles used to sit down on the couch? Yoga teaches us to bring mindfulness to everything we do, not just the practice. It takes a while to get to this point, though. Most of us will never be completely mindful when moving about our day to day tasks. Trauma, neglect, and general lack of awareness of our bodies can prevent us from being receptive to what the body is telling us. In our practice, we need to find the delicate balance between stepping outside of our comfort zones and mindfully practicing, with deference and gratitude towards our body. Our bodies sometimes, but don’t usually scream out “Hey, stop that!”. It’s typically a twinge here, the feeling that something is not right in your quadricep the next day. How do we know when to stop? Am I pushing myself beyond my edge? Is this my ego pushing me to go deeper than the person next to me? Teachers are there to cue breath, alignment, and to help you find your edge, mentally and physically. You are the only one who knows where your body is at, though, and when to step back. Here are some examples where it might be a good idea to step back and smell the roses:

1. Breathing: Breath keeps us in the present moment. Teachers cue breaths, and for the most part this is a goal, but you need to breathe when you need to breathe. Don’t worry if you need to take an extra breath, do what you need to do. 

2. Adjustments and Assists: Yoga teachers make adjustments and assists. Adjustments correct alignment and assists can help a student gain deeper access to a pose. You are in control of your body, and if something doesn’t feel right say “No thank you” or let your teacher know. 

3. Inversions and Balancing poses: Sometimes we just have an off day. This is when I say no thanks to the headstand, I’m headed for legs up the wall. It’s fun to try new things when you’re up for it, it’s not so fun to injure yourself when you probably just needed a rest. Child’s pose is always there for you. 

4. Beginning of class and Savasana: This is an excellent opportunity to conduct a body scan. Slowly move from your toes up to the crown of the head, focusing on each individual body part. Check in with each one. “How are you today, knee? Feeling creaky? Let’s be good to you today, then.” 

Learning to watch for subtle changes in your breath, balance, and asana will bring you closer to that mind body connection. Ultimately, two people may look the same in a pose but they will almost never feel the same. 

Always practice ahimsa (non-violence) on yourself, first and foremost. “Take care of your body, it’s the only place you have to live.” Jim Rohn

Month of Love & Compassion – Inner Power Yoga | Northern Virginia Vinyasa Yoga in Sterling

Month of Love & Compassion

February is the month of love and compassion, and two events that happened to me recently made me pause to think about what it means to have true compassion rather than anger and judgement.

The first instance happened during our recent THIRD Anniversary Open House, which many of you joined. Thanks to all of you, we had a wonderful afternoon with great camaraderie and an amazing selection of food and desserts. During this event, a woman with unkept hair and worn clothes, whom we had never seen before, came in and began piling her plate with food, even stuffing the food into her coat pockets. It was apparent that she was not there to learn about yoga, and many of us became uncomfortable as it was clear that she was taking advantage of us. My initial reaction was, “What does this women think she is doing?!”, and I just wanted her to leave the space I love.

But as she was gathering herself to leave, with a full belly and warmed up, I stopped myself. She must have been in a very difficult spot to take the time to find out about our Open House, come into where she knew she did not belong-just to get something to eat. The anger left me as I put myself into her shoes, and I am now thankful that she was able to get something she needed here, even if it was not what I was offering.

The second instance happened a few days later on a stormy night. I was sitting at home by the fire with my family watching TV when the studio phone rang at 10 pm. A distressed young women on the other end of the line told me that she was outside of our building having just finished her class. She explained that she had left her keys in the studio, and was now unable to get back into the building as the main door automatically locks at 9 pm. She sounded frantic, cold and scared. I did not recognize her voice or name, but the reception was bad, and I could hear the rain coming down like crazy. I had a funny suspicion about this whole thing, as our teachers always spend a few extra minutes in the studio locking up, and it was well past the end of class. I did not know what else to do except to go, open the studio, and help her retrieve her keys.

After driving over to the now desolate building in the storm, I met a petite and unfamiliar young women at the front door. I let her in with my key card, and as we were taking the elevator up to the studio, I started a conversation with her. Something just was not right. Now I regretted that I did not take up my husband’s repeated offers to go with me, but it was too late. I opened the studio door, we walked in and she immediately made an excuse to leave. I looked around for the keys which I sensed were never left there, checked our class list for her name and was not surprised to find that it was not there. Right then she came in to tell me that she found her keys in the ladies room. I couldn’t believe it! She got me out of my house, late at night with a fib to open the building, so she could get the keys she left either in the ladies room or in one of the neighboring offices. I felt betrayed and taken advantage of. I just then noticed that she was not wearing yoga clothes and was holding an envelope addressed to one of our neighbors in the building.

As we were leaving the building, she was still telling me about the class (which she never took) and about her friend who brought her to the studio. I was quite close to letting her know how I really felt about her elaborate scheme and conniving attitude, when for the second time in a week, I had to stop and think about it. She was so desperate to get her car keys that she tracked me down, found my number, concocted a story, and convinced me to come and help her out. I had to let my anger go and realize that, despite the circumstances, I was supposed to help her get home that stormy night.

This was hard for me. It is difficult to let go of anger and resentment, and I know I am far from perfect. But in these instances, I chose compassion rather than anger, and in the end I feel that I made the right choice. We know that carrying anger and resentment can be harmful to us. Can you try to choose compassion the next time you are put in a situation that might cause you to react with anger, because someone unjustly took advantage of you. Can we take a deep breath and respond with forgiveness and compassion? Imagine a world in which everyone practiced compassion. Yes, it’s hard, but it starts with you!

The 6 Problems with Vinyasa Yoga and Solutions

Each yoga system or type of yoga has deficits for none is perfect.  The well informed yogin knows what they are and works to reduce them.

Vinyasa Yoga has several problems.

1) Alignment 

In yoga circles alignment refers to how the posture is done.  (This is a huge, complicated subject and deserves its own discussion.)  Alignment helps us to know how to practice yoga postures in a safe and stable way and helps us to prevent injuries.  It lets us know what needs to be strengthened or turned on, and what needs to be opened.

Vinyasa classes tend to leave out a lot of alignment cues because there isn’t enough time.  When you move from pose-to-pose using breath, you can only say so much.

Another big difference is when postures are repeated in alignment based yoga classes, it is an opportunity for the teacher to say more about the posture and add another layer of understanding.  When a posture is repeated in a Vinyasa class it is with the intention to say less, sometimes only “inhale” and “exhale”.

2) Lack of Posture Knowledge

Vinyasa Flow Yoga is great for moving you around but it doesn’t teach you how to do the postures well.  As a result, a lot of students have a general idea of what a posture shape looks like, but don’t know how to practice it safely or refine it.

Solution to 1 & 2:  Shore up your knowledge of the postures.  You can do this through workshops, taking alignment focused classes or better yet, seek out Vinyasa blended classes that emphasize both the form of the posture, as well as the breath and movement.

3) Endless Repetition

I’m ‘Enery the Eighth, I am,
‘Enery the Eighth I am, I am!
I got married to the widow next door,
She’s been married seven times before
And every one was an ‘Enery
She wouldn’t have a Willie nor a Sam
I’m her eighth old man named ‘Enery
‘Enery the Eighth, I am!

Second verse, same as the first. 

Repetition shows up in two ways in Vinyasa Yoga.

First, as Vinyasa shares a kindred spirit with Ashtanga Yoga, it can have the same sort of repetitive sequences.  These can be the commonly practiced Surya Namaskar A & B, (Sun Salutations), or even the direction to “vinyasa” (See here “Vinyasa Multiple Meanings”).  In Ashtanga, all roads lead to chaturanga, meaning you are in for a big dose of them.

Second, Vinyasa Flow teachers often create a sequence of postures, called a flow and then just do the same thing over and over and over again.  I call this, “building a flow and letting it go”.  This adds a repetitive element but not necessarily insight.

Solution:  Look for teachers offering sequences that make sense in your body and are interesting.  It takes a lot of skill to do this.  This brings us to the next point.

4) Teaching Vinyasa Flow Yoga Well, is Difficult

The paradox is it’s very easy to train Vinyasa teachers—and that’s part of the problem.  If Vinyasa can have a lot of the same sequences repeated, why not just give people a basic class script and say teach this?  That’s actually what many programs do because it’s fast and systematizes a class structure.  In essence it’s taking the variation out of a variable practice.

“Without gatekeepers as in the hierarchical systems, anyone can teach Vinyasa Flow yoga.  Amid this freedom there can be misguided instruction, confused or ineffective sequences, even dangerous classes, but with a growing number of recognized teacher trainers who are respected for their depth of knowledge, wisdom, and skill, Vinyasa Flow teachers are increasingly finding rich sources of guidance along their own creative paths.”  Mark Stephens

Having a thoughtfully created sequence can be a great learning tool.  However, you need to go the next step and teach teacher trainees the thought that went into preparing a sequence and why it works.  Beyond that, you have to teach them how to design their own sequences.

And great sequencing begins with an intimate knowledge of the postures.

We’ve come full circle.  Vinyasa teachers learn to teach Vinyasa Yoga because they love Vinyasa.  And Vinyasa doesn’t teach alignment or the postures particularly well.  This means there are a lot of Vinyasa teachers out there who don’t understand the postures—the building blocks of sequences.

Solution:  All hope is not lost.  Look for Vinyasa teachers that have invested in learning alignment and the postures.  Some of the best have done their time in Iyengar type classes or done serious posture study.  This takes time and commitment but the result is a better educated teacher more capable of offering a safe, accessible, challenging class.

5) Safety

If it’s not safe, it’s not fun.

When we do not understand the true work of the posture there is a tendency towards a path of least resistance that can make yoga more unsafe than it should be.  There are many ways, for instance, to “bring your forehead to your knee,” but they are not all equal.

A typical forward bend, in the above example, calls for bending at the hips and engaging the leg muscles—particularly the quadriceps.  That’s not obvious, though, and people new to the practice tend to grab their foot, round their spine and force their way down.  That force gets passed along to the weakest part of the body, such as the lower back, and exposes you to a higher risk of injury than would a healthier, more supportive way.

Solution:  In addition to seeking out skilled yoga teachers, heed the advice to listen to your body.  Something that distinctly “feels wrong” most likely is.  Remember too that each posture has a balance of strength and flexibility.  If you are only feeling a stretch but no muscular action, then proceed gently because something else should be working.

6) Moving Fast

Vinyasa Yoga classes can be quite quick but that doesn’t mean the goal is to go as fast as you can.  Racing through the practice is akin to racing through life—you miss out on what is actually going on.  A mad dash tendency can lean on momentum to get you through instead of building strength, skill, understanding and awareness.  Quickness can predispose you to injury because stability is missing.

Solution:  Start slowly and grow your practice over time.  A slower paced practice will build strength because it’s more difficult to go slow than go fast.

The point of yoga practice, like the point of life, is not to get from one end of life to the other—that’s a guarantee.  Instead, we are here to enjoy and savor the experience of moving through it.

Vinyasa Yoga is a beautiful, dance of movement and breath.  With an awareness of what can go wrong you can move towards what can feel so right.

Cultivating Our Inner Guide – Inner Power Yoga | Northern Virginia Vinyasa Yoga in Sterling

Cultivating Our Inner Guide

In the Yoga Sutras (an ancient and foundational text of Yoga) Patanjali describes the purpose of Yoga, that which is to cultivate stillness in the mind.  In this space of clarity we begin to find our inner guide, that special voice that reminds us of our purpose.  The internal compass that allows us to traverse through the landscape of life with a certain quality of confidence, ease, and resilience.   Finding this space is worthy of our journey but along the path in very simple terms ‘life gets in the way’.  With the intention to share what has worked for me, here are three areas that I’ve found helpful in cultivating my inner guide.

1) Allow for space.  Our inner guide is most essential during times of stress, challenge, and frustration.  But it is during these moments that thoughts and fears most often take over as the mind is tightening up.  When we become aware of this pattern it is helpful to simply give it space.  As opposed to letting the water continue to boil, give yourself permission to “walk away” for some time.  I have found that when we are able to create this gap between the stress and our reaction, we are better able to find creativity and resolve that which has come up.

2) Acceptance.  When we find ourselves going against the current of our life we can spend energy attempting to control and change the situations in our lives.  In the opposite, as we accept and find flow we can tap into a surplus of energy (that which was once used to swim against the current).  As a result our body, mind, and soul are replenished creating a healthier environment for our inner guide to more efficiently rise up.    

3) Practice.  We have to cultivate our inner guide to allow for it to come to life.  We plant the seeds by reminding ourselves of our purpose.  We water and nurture by building awareness of the tendencies of our mind.   We begin to find small changes in our responses and behavior. With this daily practice we begin to see development and growth.  We begin to notice a deep desire to center ourselves.  Our inner guide begins to dive into our life.

It is a remarkable experience when we realize our inner guide is automatically and consistently given us advice.  It is a gift of all gifts, one that we can only give to ourselves.  My wish is that we all take time to focus in this area of our lives.

Elbow Pain and Vinyasa Yoga | Yoga Anatomy for the Perplexed

Regular Ashtanga or Vinyasa yoga practice can cause elbow pain at one or both sides of elbows or clicking sounds as the elbow is straightened, or locking of the joint. Some pain is caused by damage to ligaments or joints but elbow pain can be caused by unbalanced muscle function of the shoulder at the Glenohumeral* and the Scapulothoracic** joints and sometimes improves with corrective exercise that balances the muscles at these joints.

Yoga doesn’t have pulling movements so it’s difficult to balance the relative strengths of the shoulder-girdle muscles of the upper back and the chest. The chest often becomes the stronger of the two, causing internal rotation of the arms and protraction of the scapulae – they draw up and outwards on the upper back. Protraction of the shoulder blades also occurs from poor body-posture, especially if the pelvis tilts forward: the upper back is round.

This is because Chaturanga strengthens Pectoral and Latissimus Dorsi muscles, which are responsible for internal rotation of the upper arm. As the arm is straightened while pushing up with the hands, a twisting force is applied to the elbow, stressing the joint and causing unnatural tension in the forearm muscles which balance rotary forces.

Elbow joint structures can become damaged and inflamed over time if elbow pain isn’t treated. Wrist pain and rotator cuff problems, as well as neck tension and pain are common side effects of an imbalance between internal and external rotation at the shoulder and incorrect positioning of the Scapulae. Elbow pain is felt whether the elbow is turned inwards or outwards and often doesn’t improve with forearm stretching exercises prescribed for inflammation at the elbow.

These kinds of imbalances tend to occur in flow or vinyasa classes if

  • the focus is on Chaturanga – held for long periods – and arm-balances without Sirsasana, Pincha Mayurasana, Tolasana, Lolasana and jumping the legs back or through in Vinyasa to strengthen the shoulders in different ways
  • arm binds and Purvottanasana are not practised regularly to open the chest.
  • abdominal crunching exercise causes rounding of the upper back and incorrect scapular positions.

With Ashtanga yoga sequences the large number of Vinyasa performed can make the chest stronger than the shoulders, especially if

  • Chaturanga is held longer than other asanas in the vinyasa (some teachers use this method)

Elbow pain often improves if the external rotator cuff muscles of the arm are strengthened but it is wiser to consult a physical therapist who can prescribe a range of rehabilitation exercises to rebalance the arm, chest and shoulder girdle muscles. Sometimes pelvic tilt and body posture also need assessment and correction.

Although yoga students are constantly instructed to draw the shoulder blades back and down, this doesn’t counter-balance the active strengthening of the chest by Chaturanga and arm balances, or the shortening of the Biceps and Pectoralis Minor caused by bent elbow positions especially when yogis practising vinyasa are not strong enough to jump back and through and bear their weight on their hands with bent elbows all the time. Tight Biceps muscles cause clicking at the elbows when the arm is straightened. If the shoulders and elbows are not painful, then stretching the Biceps is will stop the joint from clicking or locking up.

Muscle imbalance at the Scapulothoracic joint and Deltoid muscle weakness can also create tension in the Biceps. Deltoids are often weaker than they should be if handstands are not practiced regularly. Makrasana must be practised by people who aren’t strong enough to do inversions but are practicing vinyasa. Vasistasana is an important asana for balancing chest and shoulder muscles and should be practiced regularly.

Painful, inflamed elbows need rest, but arm and shoulder rehabilitation is necessary to avoid damaging the elbow joint and this is a good time to stop and consider whether vinyasa yoga is good for your body in the long term. A vinyasa teacher who creates their own sequences needs to teach a variety of asanas using the upper body in many planes in every class to avoid causing shoulder and elbow pain in students

* the Glenohumeral joint is where the Humerus (upper arm) attaches to the Scapula (shoulder-blade)
** the Scapulothoracic joint is the joint that attaches the scapula to the chest wall. It is not a true bony joint because the shoulder-blade is attached to the chest wall by muscles only and imbalances between the Serratus Anterior, Rhomboid and Trapezius muscles are common
*** the Sternoclavicular joint is at the front of the chest where the Clavicle (collar bone) attaches to the Sternum (breastbone)

Reading Sources:
Kendall, McCreary, Provance, 1993, Muscles, Testing and Function
Ellenbecker, De Carlo, DeRosa, 2009, Effective Functional Progressions in Sport Rehabilitation
Brunnstrom’s Clinical Kinesiology 5th Edition 1996

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Root Chakra Vinyasa Yoga Class: Build Your Lower-Body Foundation – The Journey Junkie

Welcome to your right to be here.

And welcome to a new yoga class experience, a new month, and a new season.

Your new yoga class is a root chakra vinyasa practice that seeks to strengthen your lower-body foundation. Yep, it’s going to be a tad challenging and yes, it includes all the root chakra body parts (glutes, legs, knees, ankles, feet).

The new season is the upcoming Spring Equinox, a seasonal shift that marks the onset of a new experience and one that I particularly love for these qualities – light, warmth, emergence, rise, birth, blossom, expand, and extend. These qualities describe the individual and collective earthly energy we can experience (if we choose to tap into it).

Psst: Inside the BMS Studio, the entire month is dedicated to your root chakra and marrying it with the Spring Equinox. Want in on the experience? Click here to become a studio member.

So, why the root chakra? And what is the root chakra?

The root chakra is the first energetic center within the chakra system, and the chakra system is a collection of inner chambers that exist within the subtle body. The body that you can’t see, but can absolutely feel.

The root chakra is located at the base of the spine, think the area between your genitals and anus (way down there), and it’s been mapped to the coccygeal plexus (a bundle of nerves connected to the tailbone).

Because of it’s positioning, it is the foundation for both your chakra system and your spinal column. In terms of energy, it marks the beginning of the chakra liberation current which travels upwards towards freedom, and it marks the completion of the chakra manifestation current which travels downwards towards individuality.

Your root chakra is the foundation upon which everything rests!

Before we go annyyyy further, let’s discuss some root chakra basics.


These basics provide a framework to understand your root chakra, but how the hell are you supposed to create balance here? What are the secret tricks?

Great question! Let’s talk about it.

When I sat down to create an entire month of supportive root chakra materials, these are the energetic containers that came to me.

Nourishment. Grounding. Physical Health. Environment. Mental & Emotional Healing.

Now within these categories, I’ve mapped out individual aligning practices too. Below are 1-2 examples, but the entire root chakra guide is inside the BMS Studio (if that interests you).


What’s so interesting to me is that even though I grew up in a “white picket fence” scenario with no major family or childhood trauma, I’ve still got a pretty fucked up root chakra. I really, wholeheartedly, truly thought that because I came from an intact family who provided love, support, and the financial means to achieve my dreams, that there couldn’t possibly be a misalignment here.

And after four years of studying the chakra system, I also thought I knew my shit. Hah! I was wrong and how beautiful is that because the first step to create change is always AWARENESS.

Your girl is aware, thank you universe, root chakra stated noted.

You might be wondering, whaddya mean you have a fucked up root chakra? Can you explain?

Here’s what I mean. Through my life experiences, I’ve developed a set of beliefs, and not from indoctrination (my family), but rather from socialization (culture) and self-created thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.


Notice the words in ALL CAPS, these are root chakra properties and practices.

Any of them sounding familiar? Any of them resonating with your subtle body? Any of them brushing up against your belief system?

Uh huh. Uh huh. Uh huh. Uh huh.

Now for me, here’s the antidote to my fucked up root chakra.

A little more nourishment. A little more strength (okay, a lot more). A little more organization. A little more trust in my capabilities. A little more more grounded discipline. A little more right brain, yin time.  A little more coloring outside the lines.

These are the energetic ingredients my root chakra needs? What does yours need?

To answer this question, I have a few suggestions.

First, do today’s yoga class and notice if afterwards you feel more grounded, stable within your lower body, and energetically supported throughout your day. Second, do a deep into your root chakra via books, yoga classes, and some of the practices I mentioned above.


If you’re interested in dedicating an entire month to root chakra alignment, then the BMS Studio doors are wide open, waiting for you to step inside. Below is a quick overview of what you can experience over the next five weeks:


Plus, every yoga class marries the root chakra properties with the upcoming Spring Equinox by using the analogy of a plant to guide our experience.

A plant? What does that even mean? I will explain, in order of the above weekly yoga classes.

A plant requires a solid foundation to begin it’s journey with equal parts soft and strong, permeable and powerful soil. A plant requires a strong root system to extend down, expand out, and rise high. A plant requires nourishment in the form of right nutrients (soil, water, sunlight, air). A plant requires equal parts masculine and feminine energy to blossom and prosper. A plant requires boundaries, protection, and respect if it’s to survive and thrive.

You are THIS PLANT and your root chakra is the key to unlocking your right to be here and your right to have.

Ready to unlock and align your root chakra? Click here to join the BMS Studio!

Psst: You also receive all of the below materials too ⬇️


Now whether you join the studio or not, here’s why your root chakra alignment is SO CRUCIAL.

Because of it’s location in the physical and energetic body, it plays a massive role in your ability to release attachments, fixations, and addictions, as well as bring your dreams from consciousness down to earth plane.

Meaning, you can SPEND YEARS doing all of the prescribed energy work to heal your other chakras, only to end up STUCK AF.

This is where I’m at.

You can meditate every damn day, but if your back is always in pain, are you experiencing peace? You can visualize your dreams every morning, but if you aren’t getting enough sleep in the evening, will your day be joyful and purposeful? You can tap into creativity, but if you don’t trust yourself, will you be able to share your work? You can have a ridiculously open heart, but if you’re not choosing nourishing foods, your heart will close and suffer. You can exercise your power and do-do-do, but if you can’t balance your yin and yang energy, your doing will burn to nothing. You can master the art of FUN, but if you have no boundaries, when will the work get done?

This is what I was missing all these years. I didn’t get how important the root chakra is. It wholeheartedly is the foundation for all that we do. And if you’re like me, wildly curious about how to live your journey and not let it live you, then aligning this chakra is what we need to do.

Ready to align with me? Uh huh. Uh huh. Uh huh.

Awesome. Please unroll your yoga mat and do today’s practice, and if you’re wanting more of where that came from…. step inside the BMS Studio, where the entire month is waiting to support you!

I’ll meet you on the mat, ready to practice.