Monthly Archives: October 2009

A few poses, or, “How do you DO that?”

I thought I would give a quick synopsis of some my favorite poses, some challenging poses for me, and some that I can begin to work towards later. (All photos are provided by

If I had to pick one favorite asana, it would be the cow/cat flow. This flow decreases anxiety and opens up the spine. When I do this flow, I feel instantly relaxed and centered. This is a flow I suggest to people who claim they “can’t do” yoga. Anyone can handle this action and benefit from it.
cat cow

I always feel especially strong in Triangle pose. It took me a long time to reach the ground while keeping my chest open. I really enjoy the feeling of coming into triangle pose – shifting the hips back and reaching forward with the hand.


Tree pose
is perhaps the simplest balancing pose, but it’s my current favorite. It’s also the only upright balancing pose mentioned in YogaFit’s Level 1 training. I knew I was in a a great class last year when my teacher walked us into bringing our feet to our thighs and I was successful for the first time. It was a defining moment in my practice. The trick for me was the breath and creating dynamic tension between the foot and the thigh – two things I’ll always try to relay to my students up front.


The following are poses that I have successfully attained before but continue to challenge me. I want to feature these because I feel like when I master them it will be a turning point of sorts in my practice. They are (right to left) Side plankPlow, Supported shoulderstand (which I can only come into from Plow), and Balancing half-moon (which I am much more successful at coming from Triangle instead of  Pyramid).
side plankplow supportedshoulderstandhalf-moon

And finally, some poses I can hardly look at without falling over. Many of them are arm-balancing poses – I struggle with those the most. I’ll arrange these in order of least intimidating to most intimidating: Revolved Triangle, Wheel, Supported headstand, Handstand, Crane, Firefly, Shoulder-pressing, and Eight-angle.

revolved trianglewheelsupportedheadstandhandstandcranefireflyshoulder-pressingeight-angle



My first post!

Hello blogosphere! Welcome to my brand new blog about yoga, “On the Mat”. I’m inspired to begin this blog because I just attended an excellent Level 1 yoga training through YogaFit. As part of the training, I’m teaching 8 hours of free yoga in my community and I want to chronicle the experience I’ll have with teaching.

I went to my first yoga class about five years ago, and I have been practicing regularly for nearly two years. I like to think that yoga found me, and not the other way around. I experimented with it occasionally but never really fell in love with it, until I reached a point in my life when I was lacking direction and self-esteem. Yoga provided me with both.

The practice of yoga has truly evolved into a way of life for me over the past several months. I find myself incredibly energized, enthusiastic, and inspired by my practice and the impact it has on my daily life. However, none of my closest friends share this passion; so, I’m starting this blog to share with you, the unknown yogi across the state, country or world.

I’d like to stay reasonably focused in this space, so I came up with four main topics this blog will address:

  • my journey of learning to teach: what works, what doesn’t work, feedback I get from students
  • my journey of my own practice: my personal ups and downs, thoughts I have during practice
  • my opinions about ideas that circulate in the yoga community
  • information about my own classes in the area as I work to develop a class base in McLean County, Illinois

If you’re lucky, you’ll also find some entertaining snippets of the rest of my life here. Like I said, it’s hard to untangle what I learn On the Mat from the experiences I have with my job, my family, my husband, and my two sweet dogs. And the more I think about it, the more I find I don’t want to untangle it all!

My goal will be to post twice a week or more. Some topics I’ll start working on right away are: my favorite poses and poses I’d like to work towards, a narrative of my biggest successes since my practice began, and some research and explanation of the different yoga styles.

Please share this blog with other yogis and please comment if you’re reading. I know this will be easier to keep up if I can feel like there’s a real audience out there!