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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

flow


The vinyasa style of yoga - in which we dynamically move through sequences of asanas (poses) in sync with the breath - is also commonly referred to as "flow" yoga.  Flow automatically brings to mind water or liquid; go to a vinyasa class and it is easy to see the connection as you move fluidly through postures and cultivate an ocean-like rising and receding of breath and movement even in static poses. But when I looked up "flow" in the dictionary, I found that there are other definitions that help us to understand to what happens in vinyasa yoga:

flow verb \flō\
to circulate; to stream or well forth from a source; to come or go as in a stream; to proceed smoothly and readily; to hang loosely at full length, to abound in something; to rise and advance, as the tide; to deform under stress without cracking or rupturing

The linking of breath and movement in vinyasa yoga helps to circulate blood, oxygen, and energy in the body. We feel, perhaps, that we find an inner source, like a spring, from which streams or wells forth the energy that fuels the work that we are doing with the body. We move through sequences in which poses are always paired with counter-poses that expand and contract, rise and descend, advance and retract, as the ocean tide.  We start to find balance between strength and flexibility, effort and ease that permits us to bend and contort (deform) the shape of the body without cracking the bones or rupturing the joints or muscles. Finally, with all of the tension wrung out of the body, we can let go completely, and often practice inverted poses which help us to hang upside-down (in inversions) and find the full length of the spine. People often report getting taller after just a few months of practicing yoga! And with practice, we also learn to flow like water through not only the poses but perhaps our everyday life, finding balanced strength and flexibility that enables us to advance and abound which smoothly negotiating obstacles in our path without getting stuck.

Flow also appears as a concept in psychology, and describes a state in which there is an optimal equilibrium between a challenge and one's skills to meet the challenge. In the vinyasa style of yoga, we challenge ourselves to find the edge between what is possible and impossible for us physically, and to play or dance at our own personal edge. This is the element that keeps us energized, engaged and healthy, while we also are able to progress and grow. It is also a mental challenge to find a place in difficult poses where the challenge is just enough that we can stay there and breathe for a certain amount of time, to not be too lazy so that it is too easy or work too hard so that we do ourselves harm (ahimsa, non-harming or non-violence, being one of the central principles of yoga!). Once we do manage to find that delicate balance - not too easy, not too hard - we might find ourself entering a kind of meditative state in which all of our thoughts, worries, and preoccupations fade away and we are fully engaged in the here-and-now.

A flowing vinyasa practice is truly meditation in motion.







Wednesday, October 31, 2012

yoga holiday

Vous passez vos vacances de la Toussaint dans les Alpilles cette année? Profitez de votre moment de détente pour découvrir (ou continuer) le vinyasa yoga en séance privé, soit dans votre hôtel ou maison de vacances, soit au centre Le Temps d'un Parenthèse au centre de Saint-Rémy-de-Provence. Je viens jusqu'à Eygalières, Les Baux-de-Provence, Le Paradou, Maussane, Maillane, Eyragues, Fontvielle, Mas-Blanc-des-Alpilles, Saint-Étienne-du-Grès ou Tarascon pour les cours à domicile.



Les cours privés sont aussi possible toute l'année pour les résidents de la région des Alpilles... contactez-moi pour plus d'information!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

annnulations 23 + 25 octobre /// classes cancelled oct 23 + 25

Les cours du 23 et 25 octobre, ainsi que celui du 20 novembre, seront exceptionnellement annulés. Si vous ne voulez pas rater votre pratique cette semaine là, Céline Houdaille donne aussi des cours dans le style vinyasa à St. Rémy. Céline est contactable sur cehoudaille@yahoo.com ou 06 71 05 53 29 pour des renseignements.

Je serai de retour pour le cours du mardi 30 octobre, et le cours du jour de la Toussaint (1er novembre) aura bien lieu!

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Classes will be exceptionally cancelled on October 23rd and 25th, as well as November 20th. If you don't want to break your weekly yoga habit, Céline Houdaille also teaches vinyasa-style classes in St. Rémy. Céline is reachable at cehoudaille@yahoo.com or 06 71 05 53 29 for more information.

I will be back in action for class on Tuesday, October 30th, and class will take place on November 1st in spite of the holiday!


Friday, October 19, 2012

good morning!

I have a confession to make: I am not a morning person. I was never the type to wake up at sunrise and meditate or practice sun salutations, mornings for me were always more about coffee with yoga being an afternoon or evening thing. Having a baby has changed all that, and I now find myself up bright and early nearly every morning. Recently, I have started taking advantage of that time after getting out of bed and before sipping my first café crème to roll out the mat and awaken with a few yoga poses. Incidentally, I feel less need for coffee afterwards (or at least need a little less coffee), and my day starts with much more ease with all those creaks worked out of my body before 8am.

Inspired by this beautiful video for yoga in New York's Equinox sports clubs (!), I  have even started thinking of keeping my mat right by my bed, so I can roll out from under my blankets and into my practice.


...so maybe the idea of doing all of those arm balances first things in the morning, or ever, seems unlikely for you, but you can still roll out your mat and start your day with yoga through these simple poses:
child's pose/balasana

cat/marjaryasana 
cow/bitilasana
downward-facing dog/adho mukha svanasana
bridge pose/setu bandasana    
reclining twist

You could also work into a few rounds of sun salutations to really get warm and open and get your blood and energy flowing. See this post from the summer for more information on this complete sequence of postures that stretches and strengthens every muscle in your body.

Have a great day!



Wednesday, August 29, 2012

yoga in the great outdoors



During my trip home to Colorado this August, I had the opportunity to take some wonderful classes and be inspired by Aaron King, Ashley Turner, and other great teachers from Aspen. One of the great happenings in Aspen is a multitude of options for practicing yoga outside, at the top of the ski mountain (incidentally at the same spot where I got married) or in the local public parks. What better way to enjoy the summer sun than doing your sun salutations under the big blue sky!


free yoga classes on the top of Aspen Mountain 

I would love to bring the experience of yoga outside to my fellow Provence-dwelling yogis, especially now that things are cooling down but we can still count on sunny days ahead. If you have an idea of a good spot to have an outdoor yoga picnic around St. Remy, feel free to post here or contact me!

community yoga gathering in the park

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

les cours continuent pendant les vacances /// classes continue through the summer

Alors que je m'absente de St. Rémy pendant ce mois d'août les cours de yoga aux espaces de bien-être Le temps d'un Parenthèse continuent avec Céline Houdaille.

Le centre, et le bel espace Zen ou se font nos cours, font sujet d'un article dans le numéro d'été du Journal des Alpilles.

Venez découvrir et profitez d'un mini-break en pleine journée pour vous faire du bien!


Although I am away from St. Rémy this August, classes at the wellness center Le Temps d'un Parenthèse will continue with Céline Houdaille on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

The lovely space in which our classes take place is featured in the summer issue of the Journal des Alpilles... come discover this little oasis from your hot summer days!

Monday, July 9, 2012

fight fire with fire: heat, yoga, and tapas /// mettre le feu: hot yoga



Here we are in the blazing heat of summer, halfway between the fireworks of American Independence Day and Bastille Day, and news of fires burning up my home state of Colorado filtering though to the news in France :(  I've got fire on my mind. 


In my classes, we have been working with the heat-producing standing warrior postures in my basic classes, and challenging arm balances with my advanced class.  Heat is a key element in the asana yoga practice, and especially the vinyasa style, in which we build inner heat by challenging our mind and bodies through standing and balancing postures and continuous breath-guided movement. This intense energy, or tapas, is not the same kind of heat involved in "Bikram" or "hot yoga", in which the room is heated to 105F (40C) in order to indice a sweaty and detoxifying experience.  Tapas is heat from within; BKS Iyengar describes it as "a burning effort which involves purification, self-discipline, and austerity." It is both the the willpower to drag ourselves to a yoga class when it is hot outside and we might rather be napping, and the dedication to stay with those physically challenging postures and sequences when your legs start shaking and you would like to just stop and collapse in a heap.

Simon Park in an arm balance (eka hasta mayurasana)
firing it up to fly

While tapping into tapas will probably make you break out in a sweat, it is also the element that helps you build stamina, develop courage, and become stronger on an off the mat.  Dharma Mittra calls tapas "angry determination"... but reminds us that it is a "positive attitude" that challenges you to go beyond the mind and your own personal resistance and do things that may not necessarily be easy or pleasant.  Though the idea of cultivating such a fierce attitude through a practice often thought to be soft and easy may seem strange to you, the result of cultivating tapas is inner and outer strength and the capacity to deal with challenges gracefully, to flow through life. The yogi becomes, says Swami Satchitananda, "like a surfer who knows how to balance on his board...he welcomes even a big rolling wave because he knows how to enjoy it without getting caught in it."

Ahhhhhhhhhhh.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

surya namaskar: salute the sun /// saluez le soleil

Happy summer solstice! In honor of this day when we see the sun for the longest, I share with you the Sun Salutation, or Surya Namaskar: a flowing series of yoga postures that make up the foundation for the vinyasa style. Sun Salutations are a complete cycle of movements that balance the body and its energies as we move between postures that rise and that descend, that bend forward and backward, and work the left and right sides, all the while coordinating breath with movement. The sequence is a complete mind-body exercise that will stretch and strengthen almost every muscle of the body and leave you feeling both invigorated and relaxed.  There are many wonderful variations of the Sun Salutation, here you will find a classical variation with the lovely Shiva Rea, set to music as a nod to the Fête de la Musique.




Tuesday, June 5, 2012

inside-out, outside-in | body, mind, and the nervous system

When most people think of yoga, they think of techniques that help us to relax and feel less stressed.  While the many forms of yoga practice can leave you feeling relaxed and less stressed, the path toward relaxation sometimes passes through action and hard work. Yoga is much more than "relaxing"; it is a system of exercises - practices - that help us to balance the body, mind and nervous system.  

Think of the human organism as a constant feedback loop between body and mind, with the nervous system as the interface between the two. When the mind is agitated, it manifests in the body - shallow breath, jerky movements, tense muscles. When the body is sluggish, the mind is slow - lack of energy, inertia, fatigue.  What is so elegant about yoga is that we can intervene at either the level of the body or the mind to find balance and well-being



I would venture to say that many people struggle to "relax" or "be less stressed out" just with the power of their minds. The mind can be so... elusive. But the body is right there, it is tangible and we can see and feel what we are doing with it.  The yoga practices of pranayama (breathing) and asana (postures) let us start with the body to impact the mind and overall well-being

Fo example: think of how you breathe when you get really upset. Probably short, shallow, rapid breaths. This breath reflects your inner state. But it is a two way street:  you can also impact your inner state by manipulating your breath. The breath acts kind of like a thermostat for the nervous system - it both reads and regulates the "temperature" or inner state. To calm and balance the nervous system, in the most basic yoga breathing exercises we deepen the breath and match the length of the inhale and the exhale. In effect we trick the mind into believing it is calm by forcing the body to act like it is calm. 

The breath is the thermostat of the nervous system.

In the yoga asanas, we take this one step further as we put the body into challenging ("stressful") positions and then try to learn how to breathe within them. We thus get to practice staying calm or learning to find balance in stressful situations so that we can do it more easily in our everyday life. Certain asanas are especially effective in unlocking stress in the parts of the body that are particularly involved in the stress response, letting us essentially reverse-engineer stress inside by undoing it from the outside. Discover for yourself in one of my classes!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

lighten up | the yoga of laughter /// le yoga du rire

Somewhere in my ongoing yoga-related reading and research over the past few months, I heard an esteemed teacher say that "being able to laugh at yourself is a sign of mental health."  If you have been to my classes, you may have heard me ask you to turn up the corners of your mouth in a challenging pose, or had a laugh with me at my ongoing adventures in translating my English yoga vocab into sometimes clumsy and funny French. Laughing is good for you and a perfect dash of je-ne-sais-quoi to lively up your yoga practice when it gets soooo serious. Because we know it makes us feel good, but really, it's not all that serious! Yoga can be fun!

According to my highly reputable Google search on the subject, the health benefits of laughter are no joke (pun intended. groaning permitted.) Laughing boosts the immune system, relaxes tension, and triggers the release of endorphins.  There is, in fact, a school of yoga based on laughter and pranayama/laughing techniques. Here is a video introduction to "Laughter Yoga" that might have you rolling on the floor:

I am happy, I'm relaxed!

...but seriously. The phenomenon of Laughter Yoga has been covered by CNN, BBC, and the Discovery Channel.




We know that laughing makes us feel good, and yoga makes us feel good... so why not laugh a little about your yoga practice? After all, if you can't laugh at yourself while contorting yourself into poses resembling a dog, a cat, a crow, or the face of a cow (I never did understand that one)... maybe you should try to enter a yoga competition to see if you really are THE SERENEST (see this article from American parody newspaper The Onion for details ;) Ha ha ha!

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Tout récemment, j'ai eu l'occasion d'entendre une enseignante de yoga - mondialement connue - encourager les yogis de ne pas oublier de rire. "La capacité de ne pas se prendre au sérieux est un signe de bien-être émotionnel."  Ainsi, si vous êtes déjà venus participer à l'un de mes cours, vous m'avez peut-être entendu dire de "soulever les coins de la bouche" dans une posture qui demandait beaucoup de force et de concentration. Ou nous avons peut-être rigolé ensemble lorsque je cherchais des traductions parfois drôlement (j'espère) maladroite en français de mon vocabulaire yoga américain. En fin de compte, rire est un bon complément au yoga, qui risque parfois de devenir une activité à mes yeux trop sérieuse avec ses tonalités spirituelles. Rire nous fait du bien : c'est un anti-stress, cela libère les endorphines et renforce le système immunitaire. Pouvoir rigoler lorsque l'on est en train de travailler et se concentrer détend et nous aide à être plus souple d'esprit. 

Ces effets positifs ont été reconnus par les yogis - et les médecins - indiens, qui pratiquent le "Yoga du Rire". Maintenant pratiqué et reconnu dans l'occident, ces exercices vous donneront peut-être envie de rire tellement cela semble bizarre (voir la première vidéo là-dessus... vous allez rire !). Pourtant, les médias internationaux ont pris note et les reportages sur les Yoga du Rire ou Laughter Yoga se trouvent dans les grands JT, tels ici France2 et France5.


Je vous invite ce-mois ci à rire d'avantage, soit dans les cours de yoga - parce-que c'est quand-même drôle de se mettre en posture du chien la tête en bas (adho mukha svanasana), de tête de vache (gomukhasana) ou, ma préférée, "happy baby" (ananda balasana) - soit dans votre vie quotidienne quand vous vous sentez crispé, tendu, ou que vous avez a besoin de vous remonter le moral. Amusez-vous bien!!!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

yoga detox | faire le ménage avec les postures en torsion /// spring cleaning + twisting postures


Le printemps nous invite à faire le ménage. Par instinct, nous avons envie de jeter le vieux et de faire de l’espace pour le neuf quand la saison change et que l’on sent le retour des beaux jours. Une pratique du yoga dynamique vous aidera à faire le ménage intérieur. En travaillant le corps et la respiration et en transpirant on cultive du tapas – pas les petits plats espagnols mais la chaleur* qui brûle ce qui ne nous sert pas et fait de l’espace pour accueillir le nouveau. (*dont le principe du Bikram yoga ou "hot yoga")



Dans mes cours ce mois-ci, je mets l’accent sur les postures en torsion, qui ont un effet détoxifiant. En torsion, on essore le corps comme une éponge autour de l’axe de la colonne vertébrale. On masse et « vide » les tissues corporels ; notamment les organes internes et les disques intervertébraux. Lorsque l’on sort de la posture, les tissus sont rincés de sang fraîchement oxygéné par le travail de respiration profonde. Les torsions aident à la circulation, la digestion. Elle rafraichissent l’organisme et ses processus physiologiques et énergétiques et nous stimulent. Assouplie, la colonne vertébrale nous aide également a retrouver et à maintenir une bonne posture.



Spring cleaning – it’s a natural impulse. When the seasons change we instinctively want to clear out the old and make space for the new. A vinyasa yoga practice that gets the body moving and sweating helps you to clear it out by building tapas, or heat*, that burns stale and stagnant energy, as well as impurities and toxins. (*hence the interest of the heated environment in Bikram yoga or "hot yoga")

This month, in honor of spring, I have been focusing my classes around twisting postures, which are also known for their cleansing potential. These postures, in which we turn the body around the axis of the spine, have an effect of wringing the tissues - like a sponge - and making space for fresh oxygen, blood, and energy to vitalize the entire organism. This compression and release or “squeeze-and-soak” action works on the internal organs (“massaging” and stimulating them) as well as the interspinal discs – contributing to spinal health and helping to reduce back pain and postural imbalances.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

yoga pour les mecs /// yoga for guys



Parmi les idées recues sur le yoga, il y a la suivante : c'est un truc de filles (voire de grand-mères). On imagine sans doute alors des cours de yoga où l'on est couché par terre, en train de respirer et se relaxer, ou à la limite, de se tordre comme un bretzel avec la cheville derrière la tête comme une danseuse classique. Cette image de yoga comme activité douce peut détourner des hommes de la pratique du yoga ; ils l'imaginent trop "zen" et pas assez "physique". Bref, dans un cours de yoga "il ne se passerait rien".

Pourtant, le male courageux qui se trouve dans un cours de yoga termine souvent par se dire, "Je ne savais pas que c'était si physique!" Les yoga asanas (postures) renforce, étirent, et équilibrent les muscles du corps, donnant un bon contre-effet aux activités sportives comme le cyclisme, le footing, ou le weight-training. Ils renforcent aussi les muscles profonds etstabilisateurs du corps, rendant ceux-ci plus résistants aux blessures, tendinites, et torsions. La pratique du yoga tonique et dynamique aide aussi à developer une conscience du corps, renforce le système cardio-vasculaire et la concentration qui peuvent non seulement servir à augmenter la performance sportive, mais aussi le bien-être au quotidien.



Dharma Mittra à 70 ans


Among the many preconceived notions about yoga out there is the idea that yoga is a "girl thing." The image of the navel gazing or hyper-flexible yogi with one leg behind her head or the perceived slow pace of yoga postures and touchy-feely "spiritual" aspect can be intimidating or difficult to relate to for the modern man, who would rather be working out, pushing the limits, "doing something." But inevitably, the dude who wanders into a yoga class often leaves saying "I didn't know it was so physical!"

A dynamic yoga practice is every bit as challenging - physically and mentally - as any sport or workout. Yoga asanas can make the body strong and supple, and can be a great complement - or antidote - to the kinds of activities many dudes do such as lifting weights, biking, running, football... Yoga can stretch tight muscles, balance muscular imbalances, reinforce the deep stabilizing muscles of the body, helping to prevent injury and make the body work more efficiently. Today many professional athletes include yoga as part of their training repertoire for these reasons.


Members of the New York Giants football team in vrksasana - tree pose




Yoga can also help to build focus, concentration, and a better mind-body connection, making men not only more efficient and injury-resistant in their athletic activities, but perhaps lowering levels of stress and tension and increasing well-being in everyday life.

Still have your doubts? Check out this video of super-yogi Phillip Askew.



Wednesday, March 21, 2012

REPRISE DE COURS LE 27 MARS!!!

De retour de mes vacances au soleil et pleine d'inspiration, c'est avec plaisir que je vous retrouve pour les cours du yoga à partir du MARDI 27 MARS. Venez voir ce que j'ai à partager avec vous!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

child's pose - what my baby has taught me about yoga


In honor of my daughter's first birthday, I wanted to share some of the ways that having a baby has taught me more about yoga.



Child's pose (balasana)

Babies do yoga without even thinking about it: in her wonderful book of yoga for babies, Itsy Bitsy Yoga, Helen Garabedian lists the top five reasons why babies are natural yogis:

1. Like yogis, babies prefer to breathe through the nose
2. Like yogis, babies are only concerned with the present moment.
3. Like yogis, babies love unconditionally.
4. Like yogis, babies practice nonviolence.
5. Like yogis, babies practice yoga postures naturally as part of development.






Cobra (bhujangasana)






Seeing a baby who is just discovering how her body works get into these postures instinctively is a reminder that the yoga asanas help us to move our bodies in the ways they are supposed to move. Watching a baby learn to move and inhabit her body also reminds us of the importance of taking things in stages... in order to walk, you first have to learn to raise your head, sit up, crawl and pull up... there is no jumping to the end point! When we practice yoga, we reconnect to some of the natural movements of childhood and stay young.







Pigeon (kapotasana)






Living with a natural born yogi has given me lots of opportunities to learn and relearn some of the principles of yoga for myself. Here's my list of how living with a baby yogi has made me a better mama yogi:

1. Having a baby has awakened a new awareness of my body. (ok, having a baby has made me much more aware of EVERYTHING - including little things lying around on the floor, mysterious ingredients in packaged foods, the temperature of the air and the bathwater, and the baby-friendliness of anything and everything within 1 meter of the floor)

2. Having a baby has taught me to listen to myself and rest when I need to (and am able to :) )

3. Having a baby has helped me learn to breathe differently. Have you ever noticed that when we sing (a lullaby for example, or when we soothe with a sound of shhhhhh) it is virtually impossible to get worked up or stressed out? Singing naturally slows down and evens out the breath and lengthens our exhales, which has a calming effect.

4. Having a baby has taught me (and continues to teach me, and will continue to for the rest of my life) Patience, Focus, and Commitment, especially in the face of challenging situations. And, on the flip side, having a baby has taught me to laugh and lighten up and to be flexible when things seem REALLY challenging.

5. And finally, having baby has shown me that life really is nothing but change. As I have watched my baby grow from a tiny newborn to a nearly-walking toddler, I am amazed (and slightly nostalgic) by the incredible change that we have lived in the last year. And I am thankful to have and to have had the opportunity to live all of these fleeting moments fully.




Simple lying twist





Happy birthday my sweet little yogini.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Holidays, holidays...


Je suis en vacances du 6 au 21 mars... rendez-vous le 22 pour la reprise des cours chargés d'énergie! /// I will be on vacation from March 6-22... see you back in St. Rémy on March 22 for classes inspired by my travels!



Wednesday, February 22, 2012

yoga at home in five minutes per day /// faire du yoga chez soi en 5m par jour


I was asked recently in one of my classes, "If I had five minutes a day to practice at home, what is the one pose you would recommend?" Good question!!! One of the wonderful things about yoga is that it is totally portable and you can do it anywhere. Coming to a class is a wonderful way to learn the poses and working with an experienced teacher will help you to develop proper alignment and body awareness, but the goal is for you to take that with you so that you can benefit from yoga anytime and anywhere.

Recemment, on m'a demandé si on avait 5 minutes par jour pour faire du yoga chez soi, quelle/s posture/s seraient les plus conseillées? Une très bonne question, qui touche à un point important et utile: le yoga est tout à fait 'portatif', on peut faire n'importe où! Assister au cours avec un prof experimenté permet d'apprendre les postures, l'alignement et la conscience du corps, les techniques de respiration et relaxation; désormais le but est de prendre ce savoir-faire et l'appliquer où et quand cela nous sert.

For bring your yoga practice home in a just few minutes each day, here's my short list /// Pour pratiquer chez soi en quelques minutes par jour, voici mes postures préférées:

5 minutes, anytime, anywhere: meditation and breathing (pranayama). Get comfortable, close your eyes, focus your attention on your breath and begin to follow the inhales and exhales as they come naturally. Try not to judge or change in the beginning. You can use the aid of a "mantra" by silently saying "inhale" and "exhale." After a minute or two, start to even out the breath by counting the time it takes you to inhale and matching the exhale to the same count. You don't even need to close your eyes or find a special place in order to meditate... try it in the car, in line at the post office, or while out for a walk.

5 minutes, n'importe où et n'importe quand : meditation et respiration (pranayama). Pour Méditer, il s'agit de tourner son regard vers l'interieur pour se permettre de se centrer et se relâcher. Comment faire? S'installer confortablement, assis/e ou couché/e, fermer les yeux si possible et observer sa respiration sans changer ou juger. On peut utiliser une appui, comme un mantra ou phrase qui nous aide à rester concentre - on se dit "inspire" et "expire" en faisant, on compte le temps qu'il nous faut pour respirer... Petit à petit, commencer à assortir le temps de l'inspire et le temps de l'expire pour un effet calmant et équilibrant. Pas besoin d'être perchée en haut de la montagne en posture de lotus pour méditer... essayez-le dans la voiture, au supermarché, où dans la queue de la poste!






At work: downward facing dog (adho mukha svanasana). Stretches and strengthens the shoulders, back, and backs of the legs. A great antidote to sitting! If you can't get down on the floor at your workplace, try the pose with the hands against a desk/table or wall.

Au boulot: chien la tête en bas (adho mukha svanasana). Cette posture allonge et renforce les épaules, le dos, et l'arrière des cuisses - le complement parfait d'etre assis/e toute la journée devant son bureau. Si se mettre par terre avec les fesses en l'air pendant la pause café semble peu probable, essayez la meme posture avec les mains contre un mur ou son bureau.





Total body strengthening: plank. Strengthens and balances the whole body, especially the core. Focuses awareness on proper body alignment and challenges us to work on breathing when we are working hard. Aim for one minute!

Renforcement total-corps: la planche. Cette posture solicite tout le corps et nous demande de nous tenir en force et en équilibre. Pour se tenir dans une bonne ligne droite (comme une planche) il faut utiliser et les forces opposées du devant et l'arrière du corps. Peut se faire aussi avec les genoux posés mais le haut du corps toujours engagé. Objectif: tenir une minute!




Before bed: simple inversions. "Inverting" or putting the legs above the level of the heart, has a calming effect on the nervous system and lowers blood pressure. The simplest way of inverting is to lie on the back with the knees bent and the calves up on a chair or bed. To take it one step further, take the legs up the wall (viparita karani) with a firm pillow or a flat stack of blankets or towels under the low back.

Pour mieux dormir: les postures inversées. S'inverser à un effet calmant sur le système nerveux et a été prouvé comme technique pour baisser la tension artérielle. Le façon le plus simple et de se coucher par terre et de poser les jambes sur une surface élevée comme une chaise ou un lit. On peut aussi se coucher par terre avec les jambes montées face au mur et un coussin ferme (ou une pile de serviettes) sous le bas du dos.


Sunday, January 29, 2012

Journée yoga et méditation 5 février /// Meditation and Yoga workshop February 5 *reportée - nouvelle date: 31 mars*

Le 5 février j'ai l'honneur de co-animer une stage découverte sur le yoga et la méditation avec Jean-Christophe Bogart au Mas de Gion, dans la région Alpilles Sud à Moulès.

Pendant notre journée ensemble, on travaillera en alternance les asanas et mouvements corporels, la respiration, la conscience du corps, le lacher-prise... tout en cherchant à relier corps et esprit et canaliser l'energie. En fait, le yoga n'est qu'un outil pour méditer - c'est à dire qu'en travaillant la respiration, le mouvement en pleine conscience, la concentration sur le moment present, et le lacher-prise sur ce qui se passe à l'exterieur de notre corps, on est effectivement en train de méditer... en mouvement.

Pour ceux qui sont curieux, qui ont envie de découvrir la méditation mais qui ont aussi besoin de bouger le corps, ou qui ont tout simplement envie de prendre un temps pour revenir à la base de soi et recharger leurs batteries... venez!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Can yoga make you healthy and fit?

The growing popularity of yoga worldwide can be attributed to the simple fact that yoga makes people feel good... and as a consequence, often look good too. Testimonials abound of people who have gotten in shape and found new levels of health and fitness that began with starting a yoga practice. One reason: yoga puts you in touch with your body, and once you learn to observe and listen to what is going on in your body, you naturally do more things to make your body feel good, and less to make it feel bad.

But beyond the touchy-feely stuff, science has also proven that yoga works to improve physical and mental well-being. Numerous studies have shown that regular yoga (and meditation) practice can lower blood pressure, decrease stress hormones, and elevate mood at a level comprable to anti-depressant medications. In 2004, the studio in New York City where I did my teacher certification was part of a study to evaluate the exercise benefits of vinyasa yoga. The study, which took place at Adelphi University, showed that a one hour session of flowing vinyasa-style yoga can burn up to 540 calories - as much as one hour of running.


Saturday, January 7, 2012

Bonne Année! Happy New Year! Reprise de cours le 10 janvier!


Le début de l'année nous offre l'occasion de nous remettre en forme physique, d'être plus sain, plus zen... Si vous cherchez un nouveau chemin vers le bien-être en 2012, je vous invite à me rejoindre pour découvrir le Vinyasa Yoga!

Il y a quelques mois, un article est paru dans le revue Elle sur la croissance de cette ancien pratique - devenue moderne - en France. À la une, tiré par le constat "PLUS ZEN - PLUS BELLE: LE YOGA C'EST LE NOUVEAU BOTOX!" on découvre ce qui fait le "buzz" sur le yoga en France aujourd'hui. « Le yoga n’est plus un truc de vieux ou de hippies. Les gens essaient, se sentent bien après, donc ils continuent. » précise Anne Vanderwalle, prof de yoga à Paris. C'est si simple!
Pour découvrir pour vous-même, rendez-vous au Studio Pilates de St. Rémy les mardis et les jeudis, ou sur rendez-vous pour des cours à domicile (individuel ou groupe). Pour les débutants ainsi que les yogis experimentes, les cours niveau 1 (mardi 14h-15h30) focalisent sur les exercices de respiration, les postures et les sequences fondamentales et permettent de travailler au maximum la concentration et l'alignement. Pour les adeptes, les cours niveau 2 (jeudi 14h-15h30) focalisent sur les postures et enchainements plus avancées et suivent un tempo plus rapide. Et comme toujours... votre premier cours est gratuit!

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The beginning of the new year is a perfect time to start new efforts towards our well-being; every year many of us vow to exercise more, eat better, stress less... If you are looking for a path to "bien-être" in 2012, please join me for Vinyasa Yoga classes that will energize your body and relax your mind, leaving you strong, flexible, and open to all that the year ahead has in store.

If you are new to yoga, please join me for LEVEL 1 classes on Tuesdays from 2-3:30pm. These classes will focus on basic postures/asanas and sequences and are suitable for beginners as well as experienced yogis looking to work the basics.

For those seeking more of a challenge, please join me for LEVEL 2 classes on Thursdays from 2-3:30pm, where we will continue to work on more advanced postures/asanas and flows at a pace that will get you sweating. Some yoga experience/knowledge of basic postures requested.

If you are unable to join me for either of these class times, I am available for private or small group instruction at your home! Please contact me if you would like to discuss.

To inspire you, please see these two recents articles that appeared in Elle (France) and the New York Times on yoga's growing popularity in France...