Finding your Yoga Family

FIND YOUR YOGA HOME. FIND YOUR YOGA FAM.

fitRDU fam!

After I finished my YTT (with the outstanding Arrichion Teacher Training program- check them out if you are interested in a YTT program) I went in to what I call a yoga coma. I was exhausted from months of yoga so I took a 2 week hiatus (literally did no yoga) and after that I was ready to jump back in.

About two months went by where I was just doing yoga (from home and outside because of Covid-19) but I started to get eager to teach and continue to grow my practice. I am not one to get nervous but I was nervous about putting myself out there and looking for yoga teaching positions. I feel like yoga can be so different from place to place and I was like who is going to want me to teach? (Block out that self doubt Anna). I also knew I didn’t want to just teach anywhere. I love yoga but its not just about the poses and sun salutations for me. I love yoga for the community aspect, the feeling of working out and finding peace with a group of like minded people. I knew I had to find that in a studio before I ever considered teaching.

Libby enter stage left. In my search for places looking for yoga teachers I found Libby- probably by fate if you believe in that. Libby is a BADASS. She owns a Palates studio in North Raleigh called PBX. During Covid she was searching for a way for people to come together in a safe socially distanced way to work out, find calm (even if for only an hour), and enjoy the outdoors. This is how she and her husband Ethan founded fitRDU in July 2020-  a one stop outdoor fitness solution to keep you balanced with a variety of strength, stretch, and cardio workouts. fitRDU is a community that comes together to support local businesses, and organizations doing cool shi*t to be kind, just, and all around good humans.

The first time Libby and I met and she explained the fitRDU community she was working to build I was like “Oh my god- I want to be a part of such a wonderful community”. She brought me onboard as one of the first instructors and I soon met the other new instructors- who were also such kind & amazing badasses.

Fast forward to September- fitRDU has LAUNCHED and we are teaching HIIT, yoga, core, and yoga sculpt classes at 3 different local parks in Raleigh. The experiences of working with this amazing group of women to launch fitRDU has been incredibly rewarding and empowering. I have so much fun not just sweating with them but working with them and learning with them.

I wrote all this to say. I have found my yoga home in fitRDU and believe that finding your yoga home makes such a difference in yoga practice. Find a place that empowers you, puts a smile on your face, challenges you, lifts you up, and brings peace to your world. Find your yoga fam. ♥

Lots of love, Anna

p.s. If you are local we would LOVE to have you in class 🙂

Keep Breathing

Being conscious of your breath can be incredibly helpful for your yoga practice and can help ease anxiety and stress. Breathing is essential to life (obviously Anna) but I have found that breathing takes much more practice and consciousness than I had previously thought. Pay attention to your breathing for the next few minutes. If you are like most of us your inhales and exhales are shallow. Stress and anxiety can contribute to shallow breathing especially if you aren’t particularly conscious of your breathing habits.

Healthy breathing techniques can send the brain and organs more oxygen improving their functions and aligning your body and mind. If you prefer power yoga, healthy breathing is key to stamina throughout class and getting blood to your muscles. If you’re more into yin and restorative yoga healthy breathing is critical for relaxation of the mind and body.

Two of my favorite breathing exercises are box breathing (Sama Vritti Pranayama) and three part breathing (Dirga Pranayama). I have found that these breathing techniques can center the mind and body whether you are doing yoga or not so don’t hesitate to use them when you are feeling tense, stressed, anxious, or scattered.

Box Breathing (Sama Vritti Pranayama):

Box breathing consists of 4 steps:

1.) Take a deep inhale (count 1…2…3…4…)

2.) Hold your inhale at the top (count 1…2…3…4…)

3.) Exhale slowly (count 1…2…3…4…)

4.) Hold at the bottom (count 1…2…3…4…)

Continue this pattern for 8 rounds. The idea here is to bring consciousness to your breathing. Try to make you inhales and exhales the same length. Fill your lungs all the way, then empty your lungs all the way. Continue this pattern for 8 rounds and check in with your body and mind to see how you feel.

Three Part Breathing (Dirga Pranayama)

Three part breathing consists of taking deep inhales (filling up 3 parts of your body- belly, rib cage, chest) and deep exhales (emptying 3 parts). Three part breathing is great for meditation, bring calmness to the mind and body, and filling your body with oxygen.

1.) Take deep inhales and exhales through your nose filling and emptying your belly each time (on exhales draw your belly button in to your spine to completely empty your stomach). 3-5 breaths here.

2.) Continue this pattern but begin to add in your rib cage. Bring consciousness to filling up your belly and rib cage on your inhales and emptying your belly and rib cage on your exhales. 3 breaths here.

3.) On your next inhale take one more sip of air allowing the chest to fill up with air (think all the way up to your collarbone) allowing your chest to expand and rise.

4.) On your exhale, begin by emptying the chest allowing the chest to sink, then empty the rib cage, and finally the belly.

Continue this pattern as long as you like. Dwell in the calm of your mind and body taking the time to allow yourself to relax and be.

I hope these may be helpful to some of you! I would love for readers to send me notes of different breathing techniques they have found helpful as well!

Much Love,

Anna

This is not medical advice. This is simply ways I have found breathing practices to be helpful for me. Always consult a medical professional for advice on breathing techniques.

Using a Yoga Strap

Revolved High Lunge with Bind

A yoga strap is a great prop to add into your yoga practice. It can help you increase flexibility and work towards binding in some of your poses.

Using a yoga strap can help take your stretches to another level. Yoga straps give you the ability to “extend” your arms and reach your feet. Straps help you while you work on flexibility and stability in poses. As you increase your flexibility you may notice you are able to pull the strap higher or closer- eventually reaching your hands where the strap is looped. Here are just some example of how you can use a strap- there are a million more out there!

Here are two poses where the strap has helped me go deeper into the stretch and pose.

Top: Bound Side Angle with strap and Bound Side Angle without strap

Bottom: Revolved Side Stretch with strap and Revolved Side Stretch without strap

Manduka Strap

Manduka Strap $16

If you are a big amazon 2-day shipping person here is the amazon link.

Here is another yoga strap that comes in many pretty colors also with 2-day shipping!

Ikigai- your reason for being

IKIGAI
This was something I learned about early on in my Yoga Teacher Training with @arrichion. Whether you are a yoga teacher, yoga student, or neither of those finding your Ikigai is said to bring joy and fulfillment to your everyday life. Ikigai (pronounced Ick-ee-guy) is derived from two Japanese words “Iki” which means to live and “gai” which means reason. Finding your ikigai is finding your sense of purpose or your reason for being (think motivation, inspiration, your true self). Ikagai is a feeling, an expression, and your reason for getting out of bed in the morning.

Finding your ikigai takes some deep digging. I also believe it is ever changing- as you grow, your ikigai may grow and evolve. I am including two versions of ikagai here because after doing some research I have found there is some variance. The original ikigai shown in the first graphic is the intersection of

  • Hobbies and interests
  • Values
  • Roles and relationships
  • Presence

The westernized ikigai shown in the second graphic is the convergence of

  • What you are good at
  • What you love
  • What the world needs
  • What you can be paid for

There are many obvious similarities between the two versions and at the intersection of these elements we find our ikigai.

What I love about this ongoing exercise (especially right now when we are all feeling unsure of the future and often feeling cooped up) is that it is simple to do. Life can get us down, throw us around, and get in the way of us remembering our why. Finding your ikigai may not fix that but it may give your some peace, ground your feet in your why, and remind you of all of the joyful things in your life. All you need is a piece of paper, a pencil, and some quiet time to reflect. There are also some cool online versions you can use. On Creately you can edit and create right on your device and Dandy People has a really in depth printable version!

I hope this exercise speaks to some of you and helps guide you to identifying your ikigai and using it to be joyful and intentional in your daily life.

Follow these 10 rules to find your ikigai

1. Stay active and don’t retire.
2. Take it slow- adopt a slower pace of life.
3. Do not fill your stomach- think 80% full.
4. Surround yourself with positive people & friends.
5. Get in shape through daily exercise (walk, stretch, move, do what feels good for your body).
6. Smile and acknowledge people around you.
7. Reconnect with nature.
8. Give thanks.
9. Live in the moment.
10. Follow your ikigai.

Rules inspired by the best selling book “Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life” by Hector Garcia and Francesc Miralles.

The Run Down on Mats

There are an infinite amount of yoga mat choices on the market. Here is the skinny on mats!

Yoga mats are kind of like pants- one type might be such a great fit for one person while another type may be the best fit for someone else. So my best advice is to think about what type of yoga you do and what you want from your mat. How often do you do yoga? Do you do hot yoga? Or yoga outside? If you are looking for a quality, sustainably sources yoga mat that will fit your individual needs- Manduka is a good place to start!

I have the GRP Hot Yoga Mat 6mm from Manduka and I am ROUGH on my mat. I do yoga outside, in hot studios, and am not super careful with it. It has held up well! The GRP is a no slip mat made specifically for hot yoga. It has a charcoal- infused rubber base and open airflow that filters and evaporates moisture away. It is true- I don’t even use a mat towel when I am DRIPPING sweat in hot yoga! It is a little pricey at $128 but investing in a quality mat that I love was worth it for me. The GRP 6mm mat is a little on the heavy side due to its thickness but there is a lighter/ thinner version of my mat with the same grip and sweat benefits called the GRP Lite Hot Yoga Mat!

What I Love about Manduka:

  • Manduka is committed to product and environmental sustainability efforts. Their products are thoughtfully designed and created with the environment in mind!
  • The GRP line is truly a slip free experience- I drip sweat all over my mat and the mat just takes it! Even better the mat remains pretty odor free thanks to the charcoal base!
  • Manduka has different lines of mats depending on your needs! The GRP line is specifically designed for hot yoga and sweat; the The eKO line is designed to be Eco-friendly and biodegradable (how awesome!); and the PRO series is designed for joint support and protection (think extra cushion-y).
  • These mats LAST. I have had my mat for a year and it is showing no signs of giving out (again I am rough on my mat). Manduka even has a 10 year lifetime guarantee for the Pro series mats!