The Beer Yoga Craze Has Gone International

If you think yogis only drink green smoothies and coconut water, think again! Beer yoga is the new craze that combines two ancient arts—yoga and brewing beer—for one spectacular night out.
 
And now, after originating in the United States as a way to introduce beer lovers to yoga, this trend is making its way across the globe.

Craft Beer and Yoga

Credit: Island Packet / AP

Credit: Island Packet / AP

Not long ago, we wrote about the amazing ‘Hops and Hatha’ classes held at Quest Brewing Company in Greenville, South Carolina. ‘Hops and Hatha’ pairs a beginner-friendly yoga class with a craft beer-tasting session to appeal to beer lovers who might not otherwise be interested in yoga.

These classes give practitioners a new appreciation for both beer and yoga—but you have to wait until after the asanas have ended to have your first sip.

But why wait until post-Savasana to sample a delicious brew? Berlin’s studio BierYoga takes the beer/yoga combo one step further by incorporating the drink directly into the asanas. Now, you can practice yoga with a bottle in your hand—or balanced on the top of your head in Tree pose.

A post shared by BierYoga (@bieryoga) on Aug 4, 2016 at 1:10am PDT

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BierYoga’s founders say they first encountered this practice at Burning Man, an annual arts festival in the Nevada desert. But it’s no surprise that the trend really caught on in Germany, a place known for its world-class beer and serious appreciation for the brew.

A beer yoga class is sure to be full of fun and laughter—especially after the first drink—but the aim is not a frivolous one. Yoga is all about making a mind-body connection, and taste is just another way to stay present during the practice. As one of BierYoga’s founders, Jhula, explained, pairing the art of yoga with the pleasure of a delicious brew might just help you reach a higher level of consciousness.

Credit: BierYoga

Credit: BierYoga

With their smash-hit studio, BierYoga founders Emily and Jhula have taken beer yoga mainstream, and now it’s showing up in places as far away as Sydney, Australia. Beer-loving yogis across the globe are in luck, because this seems to be just the beginning for this unique trend.

Have you ever tried beer yoga? If not, will this be the next adventure in your yoga journey? Share your thoughts with us in the comments!

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3 Easy Ways To Care For Your Inner Child and Feel Happier

Pure joy. Having my hand licked by a goat. I never thought I’d ever write those words together, but there you go, this world continues to astonish me.
 
The picture below was taken one cold Sunday morning in December. Looking back, it struck me just how happy I look. The whole morning, I giggled like a child and it was the most fun I’d had in a long time.
 
will and the goat
 
You see, life has been very ‘adult’ the last few weeks—tax returns, email marketing, paying bills, etc. This picture served as a reminder to me. A reminder that inside of this bearded life coach, and of course, inside of you, and everyone, lives an inner child who craves and lives for the good stuff: Love, Connection, Adventure, Fun, Creativity.
 
So today, I want to share 3 easy ways to care for your inner child and make yourself happier.

1. Speak Kindly of Yourself.

“I’m such an idiot.” “Why can’t I seem to do anything right?!” You’re not perfect, there are times you’re going to get things wrong and you know what? It’s cool. What isn’t cool is responding critically and saying out loud how you are an idiot.

There were times as a child you’ve been criticized despite your best efforts, perhaps by a parent or a teacher. That hurt. By verbally bashing yourself, you’re reliving these painful times and inviting the feelings back. So please, forgive yourself quickly and completely. Smile, let go, life will go on.

2. Never Deny an Opportunity for Some Human Connection.

I used to holiday a lot in the South of France when I was growing up. One hot summer evening, when I was about 11-year old, an interesting thought hit me following an observation—why is it all the children, despite the language barriers, are integrating and becoming friends, whilst all the adults stick to themselves?

I concluded that children “get it.” They listen to this part of them that longs for love and connection, knowing they can get this by making friends, plucking up the courage to approach a stranger, and asking to join their game.

This longing still exists inside of you.

Sit next to someone on a train journey, spark up a conversation over the book they are reading. Become curious. Say good morning to those you pass in the street. Denying ourselves the pleasure of human connection hurts.

3. Give Yourself Experiences Your Inner Child Would Love.

Following yesterday morning at the animal park, I’ve asked myself the question, “What other experiences would my inner-child love?” I always wanted to go-kart as a child, so I’ll be making sure this happens in 2017.

Why not reconnect with a childhood passion of yours? Perhaps it was drawing, poetry, or swimming. Just because you’re an adult, doesn’t mean you can’t gift yourself the childhood joys of doing what makes your heart sing.

What do you do to care for your inner child? Share your thoughts below!

Image credit: Cetin Cetintas

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4 Essential Yoga Poses for Climbers

Rock climbing is a fun and physically demanding sport that builds strength, confidence, and focus. It’s popular the world over and even when there isn’t a rock face nearby, many cities have indoor climbing gyms with routes that can be as challenging and arduous as their outdoor counterpart.
 
As with most sports, yoga is a great complement to climbing. Continue reading for the yoga poses that can best accompany a climber’s training regimen.

1. Big Toe or Gorilla Pose (Padangusthasana)

gorilla pose

From bouldering to vertical climbing, you’re always using your hands, specifically your fingers, to pull up or across. This strengthens the shoulders, forearms, and the wrists. Padangusthasana requires a pulling action that, while lengthening the lines of the back body, strengthens the forearms and shoulders, and simultaneously helps the fingers understand the action of gripping and pulling.

2. One-Legged King Pigeon Pose (Eka Pada Rajakapotasana)

One-Legged King Pigeon

When stepping a foot upwards whilst climbing, you typically require a fair amount of external rotation in the hip. Eka pada rajakapotasana is great for loosening the hips whilst in an external rotation.

You can also practice Thread the Needle pose as an alternative or in combination with One-Legged King Pigeon as they both work great in loosening the hips. Maintain each side for roughly 1 to 3 minutes each, focus on the exhalation.

3. Warrior II (Virabhadrasana II)

Authentically Aligned Warrior II

Further to the external rotation of the hips needed to bring your foot to the next climbing hold, it is also helpful for the hamstrings and glutes to be strong enough to lift your body from this point.

Virabhadrasana IIHigh Crescent Lunge, and generally any lunge asanas will help with the strengthening of the hamstrings and glutes, particularly when there is attention to actively rooting both feet into the mat, and hugging the heels together towards the mid-line.

4. Half Boat Pose (Ardha Navasana)

Half-Boat-Pose-Ardha-Navasana

Having a strong core is key when you’re climbing. Let’s think of the ‘core’ as the area between the hips and shoulders. When the core is strong, it helps us to leverage strength throughout the whole body.

Ardha navasana or Half Boat pose is an excellent way to strengthen the core giving practitioners a strong trunk. For best results, focus on drawing the tailbone forward between the thighs and drawing the lower ribs towards the navel.

Are you a climber looking to add yoga and asana to your training and workout regimen? Incorporate these four poses to your fitness routine and let me know how it goes!

Image credit: Gordon Ogden

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How I Experienced the Yoga Benefits for PCOS

I was 13 when I was diagnosed with PCOS, or Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. I remember my doctor saying that it could cause infertility as an adult, and to expect a wide range of symptoms as I continued throughout young adulthood.
 
For me, symptoms included excess body hair, infrequent and irregular periods, and weight gain. Other common symptoms include cystic ovaries, insulin resistance, heavy menstruation, depression, acne, hair loss, and infertility. PCOS affects 1 in 10 women in the United States. It is idiopathic, meaning the cause is unknown, but it does result in hormone imbalance and increased androgen levels that are higher than average for a female.

PCOS and Body Image

I carried shame and disappointment in my body for what appeared to be a “punishment” it was acting out within me. I struggled with body image and self-acceptance and began a weight loss journey. After a couple years of healthy eating and daily exercise, I was around eighty pounds lighter.

Although my weight loss journey started with loving intention to become healthier, it also was a byproduct of disliking my body. It developed into disordered eating and compulsive exercise habits which carried me throughout college. I began to do competitive weight lifting and found a high in the challenge and ability to continuously “mold” my body.

The problem was, when I would reach one goal, I would just create another…and I never came into acceptance of how I looked or performed. It became an obsession and gave me a sense of empowerment I was lacking in several areas of my life. It wasn’t until my mid-twenties that I decided it was time to change direction.

Focusing on the Physical Wasn’t Enough

I stopped participating in physical activities that requested I change in appearance or suggested I was “not enough” as I was. I have always been a perfectionist and it was literally hurting me, emotionally and physically.

I had made progress over the years healing my eating habits—and the deep pain that had enabled it for so many years—through counseling, many moments of taking time to feel, and through a light of self-love that was creeping in more with each year. Now, it was time to take it to another level beyond the physical.

Intuitively, I knew PCOS was a message from my body to dig deeper emotionally and spiritually. What was my body trying to tell me?

For me, PCOS was a message to come into acceptance and peace with my femininity, to love and honor my body, and to heal my sexuality.

As a child, I received unhealthy and irrational messages that instilled shame, guilt, fear, and discomfort residing within my own body. I carried fears and conditioning that it was unsafe, inconvenient, and a disadvantage to be a woman. I struggled to be open to receptivity.

As a result, I felt disempowered in my femininity and experienced many relationship dynamics as an adult where this continued to manifest “teaching moments” on how to take my sense of empowerment back. In addition, the uncertainty and challenge of how to nurture and love myself unconditionally, continued this self-disapproval.

I am still moving through this unraveling of what is not authentic to me, letting go, and opening up to the beauty that has been residing within. I have a ways to go, but I am just grateful to be moving in this direction.

How I Started My Yoga Journey

I began yoga with the an intention to rest and rejuvenate my body after years of intense exercising, but also to heal emotionally. Initially, I was focused on how it could mold my body and change it. I read a couple books about Yoga and it was reinforced that yoga is a “work in,” not a work out.

As a fitness trainer, this is a hard intention to change, but I have carried it throughout my practice as best as I can. I use it as a tool to sit within myself, to enjoy the presence of my body, to come into deeper self-love and acceptance, to soothe anxiety and fears, and to listen.

Some days I leave my mat energized and optimistic and other days a flood gate of deep pain is opened. Either way, I eventually feel lighter and come into inner peace.

I have noticed improvements in my PCOS symptoms since the onset of this transition and I am so grateful. I have been on the oral contraceptive pill since childhood to assist in managing my symptoms, and it has helped significantly. However, I can still notice a shift within my body as a result of my yoga practice. It is a collaborative shift between my emotional, spiritual, and physical.

My intuition tells me that when it is time to conceive, I will have no issue. If I am incorrect, then I at least have developed trust in the intelligence of my body and my journey to guide me to the right outcome for me and at the right time.

Why Yoga is Better Than Intense Exercise

I have found that intense exercise is counter productive to where I want to be emotionally, within myself, at this point in my life. It is also counterproductive to achieving healthy hormone levels and can even fuel the production of excess androgens, which for women with PCOS, is already an issue.

I have researched yoga for healing PCOS and the statistics yield evidence that you can reduce its symptoms of infertility risk, irregular periods, cysts, and help to come into a healthier body weight.

I have found yoga to be a balancing agent in all dimensions of my wellness. I love my body more than I ever have and I understand more deeply each day how physical ailments are always an opportunity to listen. When we listen and tune into ourselves, our bodies are the most amazing messengers.

Moving From Fear to Healing

I truly believe every physical disease and pain carries a powerful opportunity to heal something deeper within ourselves. I am grateful for PCOS for it has taught me how to heal. The scared adolescent who couldn’t understand why her body was “rejecting” her, now realizes she had unintentionally been taught to “reject” herself.

Our culture places unrealistic, unattainable, and false messages about what it means to be beautiful, to be a woman, and to honor our femininity.

I have found Hatha and Yin styles to be of most benefit. They place minimal stress on the body, allow me to connect deeply with my emotional body, and do not influence androgen hormones to increase, like vigorous styles of yoga may. Occasionally, I still miss intensity behind my movement, so I add in Vinyasa a couple of times a week to create a change of pace. But of course, I still listen to my body regarding what is helpful on a given day.

There are still days where the desire to lift weights or go for a run come to me and I honor those too. My intention behind all movement is to be constructive and self-loving, not destructive, and I listen to my body better than I have ever been able to.

I may or may not completely heal PCOS from within my body and that is okay. From the love and courage within myself, I have found self-nurturing ways to appreciate and honor my body more, just as it is and where it is.

I am excited to see where my yoga journey will continue to take me. I know it will be a beautiful dance of coming into myself more deeply with each movement and moment that I find myself in.

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