Ich bin stärker als die Angst

In der Therapie lernen Patienten, sich ihren Ängsten auszusetzen. Dabei müssen sie alles Gewohnte hinterfragen: ihre Gefühle, ihre Gedanken, ihr Verhalten. Ein Besuch bei Menschen, die sich das trauen.

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Here’s the AcroYoga Marriage Proposal Everyone’s Talking About (VIDEO)

That moment when someone pops the question to their partner is always awww-inducing, but this yogi just took it to the next level with his acroyoga marriage proposal!
 
Alec Horan and his then-girlfriend-now-fiancee Steph Gardner were in Oahu, Hawaii, just having your usual beach fun and doing some acroyoga moves, when Alec brought out the ring while Steph was in mid-Acro Camel pose.
 
In a DailyMail article, Alec said that the way he proposed was very fitting because in the two years he and Steph have been together, yoga is one of the things they often do together.
 
Watch the video above to see how the proposal went down and why these two are inspiring everyone as their #couplegoals. Enjoy!
 
Video credit: CatersTV

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5 Ways to Spring Clean Your Mind and Body

Ah Spring time! There are flowers in bloom, the weather is starting to warm up, and people emerge from their homes, shedding their winter skin to embrace the freshness of the new season. This is the perfect time of year for new beginnings, taking on new challenges, and leaving behind what no longer serves you.
 
However, to move into a new season of life, it is essential to clean out the body and mind of whatever might have accumulated over these past few months. In the winter, our bodies tend to hold on to more food, emotions, and feelings, and we are less likely to expend the energy to remove these things in the darkness of the season.
 
So, with the light comes an invitation to do said cleaning of the body and mind. Here are my suggestions of ways to spring clean your mind and body to get you started.

1. Try a Gentle Detox

It’s true that your body stockpiles the food you eat in the winter to keep you warm. So, you might notice that you’re holding onto some extra weight this time of year.

According to Ayurveda, it is important to detox the body periodically. This does not mean that you need to do some crazy liquid diet for a week. Instead, think about eliminating one thing that is no longer serving your body. It might be caffeine, sugar, or alcohol.

Rather than framing this as a restriction on your body, make an effort to notice how these things effect your body, and think about healthy alternatives that will actually improve energy and overall health. One easy swap you can make is to start the day with a cup of warm water and lemon to detox and jump start your metabolism.

2. Try a Technology Detox

We all know how addicting technology can be. We like to feel connected and often just turn to social media as a break or distraction during our busy day. While this isn’t inherently wrong, if you’re like me, seeing all these pictures can sometimes make me feel worse about my own life.

I notice feelings of jealousy, resentment, and even a lot of judgement coming up when I scroll through my feed. None of these feelings serve to improve the quality of my life. So, as a part of Spring cleaning, try minimizing the number of times you check your phone throughout the day, or simply remove technology from the bedroom. Instead, use these times to practice mindfulness or read a book.

3. Write It Out

We tend to digest so much more than the food we put in our bodies. We hold on to emotions, fears, experiences, interactions with people, and so much more. All of this tends to accumulate in our bodies, and if we don’t process it, it continues to manifest inside us.

Journaling is a great outlet to literally empty out your mind and clean out the old matter that we need to work through. If setting aside time to journal each day seems overwhelming, start small with just a couple sentences before you go to bed about what you want to release that day. See if you can build from there.

4. Release the Hips

Just as the mind holds on to things, so does the body. All of those things that we digest as discussed in number 4 have a tendency to sit in the hips. It is so powerful to find release in that part of the body to allow those things to shift.

Try out a Restorative or Yin yoga class or just try some hip openers at home like Pigeon, Bound Angle, and Cow Face pose.

5. Get Rid of It

I am a true believer that the more physical things we hold on to, the more space it takes up in our mind. According to Yamas (one of the eight limbs of yoga), we must not give in to our tendency to acquire and hoard things. This is called Aparigraha. Yogis say that this tendency expresses a lack of belief in our own ability to provide for ourselves in the future.

With that in mind, I invite you to go through your closets and start to rid yourself of the things you no longer need. Notice the thoughts that enter your head as you contemplate the value of a piece of clothing. If you’re like me, you might have thoughts of “what if I really need a nice white shirt one day,” when the reality is that this shirt no longer fits and has sat in the closet for years. Carefully assess the validity of your thoughts and fears about letting things go. Then notice how cleansing it actually is to create space in your closet and your mind.

We are all holding on to things that we no longer need. Whether it be an old pair of jeans that no longer fit, or a story about how someone made you feel, these things do not define us. Doing a deep clean of our physical, mental, and emotional space helps us to connect to ourselves on a deeper level, free from all the clutter.

Image credit: AlissaYoga

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The Ultimate Guide to Dancer Pose

More than its beautiful display of grace and poise, Natarajasana or Dancer pose also works wonders for your sense of balance and improving lower body strength. Here’s your ultimate guide to Dancer pose—a collection of all the practice tips, tricks, and pose variations you need to master and safely practice this posture.

How To Do Dancer’s Pose

Dancers-Pose-Shiva-Pose

Dancer’s pose opens the chest and ribcage for your lungs to create more space for your breath. It also stretches shoulders and biceps; and most importantly, this pose improves balance and concentration. Here’s a step-by-step guide to practice this posture. Read more…

5 Alignment Tips for Dancer Pose in Yoga

5 Alignment Tips for Dancer Pose in Yoga

Dancer can be a peak pose, so it is crucial to warm up properly. After a few Sun Salutations to build heat, move into a couple of hip openers. Warm up through the spine and make sure to take a few back bends to prepare. Read more…

How to Build a Sequence Around Dancer’s Pose

sequence around dancer's pose

Poses that are well suited to lead up to Dancer pose stretch or strengthen various aspects of the posture. For example, One-Legged King Pigeon Pose (Eka Pada Rajakapotasana) helps stretch the front of the body as well as stretch the back, while Monkey Pose (Hanumanasana) stretches the groin muscles. Read more…

5 Dancer Pose Variations for Different Practice Levels

5 dancer pose variations for every practice level

Dancer’s Pose can seem daunting in its traditional form alone. With these Dancer Pose variations, we shift the view of the pose to one of play and creativity. Find the variation that feels comfortable to you, or try one each practice to keep it fresh and fun! Read more…

Troubleshooting King Dancer Pose

Troubleshooting King Dancer Pose

It can be tricky to keep your balance, and can be confusing when it comes to alignment, but you can easily troubleshoot King Dancer pose if you break it down, starting from the base and working your way up. Here are ways to troubleshoot King Dancer Pose that will allow you to go deeper into the pose without sacrificing your safety. Read more…

How To Rock Your Dancer Pose

Dancer

Like many standing balance poses, Dancer pose can be a frustrating struggle or it could be a blissful opening. That part is up to the yogi. So to cultivate an experience that is more akin to bliss, here are some quick things to invoke your inner kick ass dancer. Read more…

Dancer Pose / Natarajasana Lesson with Jess Rose

Jess_Rose_Dancer_Pose

If you prefer learning or fine-tuning your yoga poses with an instructor, here’s a great yoga pose video tutorial from DOYOUYOGA All Star teacher, Jess Rose. Just hit play and let Jess guide you into Dancer Pose! Watch the video here…

Image credit: Loren Peta

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Ask A Yogi: Is Locking the Knees in Yoga Poses a Bad Thing?

If you were ever in a choir, did you have a teacher who said, “Don’t lock your knees, you might pass out!”? Well, I never really knew what locked knees felt like until I started practicing yoga seriously, and it turns out our middle-school choir teachers were right.
 
If your knees are completely locked in place in the joint, as in pushed straight as far as they can go, they are ‘locked’. Your knee joint is a lever that can extend to 180 degrees, and when fully extended, the joint develops a particular quality.
 
If you lock your knee joint when standing, the ball and socket of the joint is forced ever so slightly out of place, usually overextended backward. In the long term, this can damage the joint cartilage and lead to aching, creaky, and even arthritic knees.
 
But in the immediate present, like in your yoga practice, there are some pretty compelling additional reasons to avoid locking your knees.

Why We Should Avoid Locking the Knees in Yoga Poses

When our knees are locked, they have no give. Think of your body like a coiled spring—when we’re at rest and relaxed, with none of our joints locked, we can bend every which way, just like a relaxed spring. When our joints are locked, our body becomes a compressed spring—rigid and packed, with much less potential for movement.

Locking the knee joint in particular makes it more difficult to give your body the support it needs, especially during standing poses. The locked knees immobilize your whole leg, and often warp the tilt of your pelvis, making it tilt forward. This can knock your spine out of relaxed, controlled alignment and into a more rigid position as well.

Occasionally, knees can be locked so tightly that the joint obstructs blood in your veins, and they have a hard time carrying blood back to your heart from your lower body—this is why some people may start to feel lightheaded or even faint.

All of these physiological changes mean that your body is not only at much greater risk of injury, but also much less able to do the things we’re aiming to do in yoga poses, like…balance and stretch.

How to Avoid Knee Locks

So how do we avoid these locked-knee pitfalls? Let’s go over some tips:

Breathe

The first, and perhaps most important piece of advice I have is simply to be very aware of every part of your body. We do this with the breath. Let your inhales and exhales guide your focus and attention inward, into your body and how it feels and what it’s doing.

Stay with this breath and let it be the main focus of your practice, especially as you move through poses where the knees are held in a 180-degree position. This will help you remain grounded in your body while also being able to let it move to the background, letting you focus your attention on other details as well.

Start in Mountain Pose

Begin your awareness simply, with an easy Mountain pose, and try to give your knees what I call a ‘micro-bend’. This is not fully bent knees, just relaxed and with a little give—someone should be able to gently push you and you wouldn’t fall over because your knees have a little flex to them.

Engage the Details

One way to help your knees stay flexible is by engaging the body parts that we wouldn’t immediately think of when we think ‘knees’. To focus on this joint, we first have to think about our feet.

Lift up and spread out all your toes, placing them back down on the mat one by one and gripping the mat with purpose. Sink the heels and the ball of the foot down into the mat, rooting down into the ground. At the same time, feel like the arch of your foot is being pulled up.

Thinking about this has a similar effect to rotating your thighs inward, towards one another—both of these actions require you to actively engage the whole leg dynamically, and your knees can’t be locked for that.

Think About Your Core

Pull the belly button back toward the spine and draw the pelvic floor up toward the ceiling. This will help align your spine as you pull the crown of the head up toward the ceiling as well, lengthening and growing tall.

At this point, you should feel almost like you’re about the jump off the floor—the feeling here is like preparing for a jump, but without bending your knees to any extreme degree—it might be barely visible, but that’s the feeling we’re going for in the body. You’re coiled and full of potential, like a relaxed spring.

Try Other Poses

Try to extend this awareness as you move into other standing poses. Try Tree pose. Avoid resting your foot into the opposite knee joint in this pose, going for either the calf or the inner thigh.

Give that standing leg a little bounce—sink down a little bit and then bring it all the way back up to standing but keep the tiniest bit of flexion in the knee.

In Triangle pose, avoid resting your hand on your leg—this can put pressure on it that may force our knee back into a locked position.

Instead, use your core to hover the hand off the floor inside the leg, or try using a block. For even more of these kinds of adjustments, check out ‘How to Avoid Locking the Knees In Standing Poses’.

Some yogis practice with locked knees on purpose—they find that it gives them more flexibility or makes the pose more intense. Some Bikram instructors even encourage it! However, the scientific literature indicates that as a long-term practice, it’s not beneficial for joint health.

As always, do what feels best in your body, and don’t try to push past what your body tells you is good. Our body will usually tell us when something feels the way it should or if we’re taking it a little too far—we just have to stop and listen.

Image credit: Alyona Lezhava

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