Posts filed under Yoga Flows

Kids Holy Yoga: Class and Resources to teach John 10:11

 The Shepherd looked for his sheep behind the tree! 

The Shepherd looked for his sheep behind the tree! 

This week in Vacation Bible school at the New Life Community Center, we explored the parable of  the Good Shepherd through our bodies. Here is the lesson plan and resources in case you would like to use them yourself! The drawings to tell the story are downloadable at the end of the page!

Warm up

Tell the story one time using the drawings at the bottom of the page. Each link is downloadable.

Now, shall we tell this story through yoga? 

 Shepherd breath: Let's start with some shepherd breath. The shepherd has to stop to count his sheep, doesn’t he? So in shepherd breath we hold our breath for two counts so that we can count our sheep! Breathe in to a count of 3, pause to count your sheep for two, then breathe out for a count of 3, and again pause to count your sheep. We will repeat that a few times.

Son salutations - Who is the son of God? So, to start our class let's warm out bodies by saluting the son of God.

Flow with Poses (text adapted from the Book I am: The good Shepherd)

People of all kinds came [MOUNTAIN CLIMBER]  to hear Jesus teach about God[RUNNER’S LUNGE with the right leg]

People who had always loved God came. [RUNNER’S LUNGE with the left leg].

People who thought they weren’t as good as other people came. [SIDE LUNGE RIGHT]  They were surprised that Jesus sat down to eat with them and paid attention to them.

People who thought they were better that others also came. [SIDE LUNGE LEFT] These people complained that Jesus paid attention to sinners.

So Jesus told them a story about Shepherd who had one hundred sheep. [COME TO STANDING]

The shepherd [WARRIOR II] watched over his sheep carefully everyday [REVERSE WARRIOR] and every night [half moon pose]

To make sure that none of the sheep wandered away [cartwheel your hands] from the rest of the flock, he counted them [take a pushup position].

One sheep [PUSH UP], two sheep [PUSH UP], three sheep [PUSH UP], four sheep [PUSH UP]… all the way to a hundred. [PUSH UP]

But one day when the shepherd counted one [PUSH UP], two [PUSH UP], three [PUSH UPS], he had only ninety-nine.

One sheep was missing. [ STAY AT TOP of PUSH UP]

One sheep had wondered off and could be in trouble. [MOUNTAIN CLIMBER]

The shepherd wanted to find his lost sheep right away [JUMP FEET TO HANDS AND COME TO STANDING], so he left this flock in a safe place in the mountain [MOUNTAIN POSE] and he began to search for the sheep that wondered away.

He searched up hill [SIDE PLANK RIGHT]

He searched down hill [SIDE PLANK LEFT}

He searched under bushes [ TREE POSE RIGHT]

He searched behind tress [ TREE POSE LEFT]

 He searched behind the lotus flower [LOTUS POSE]

He searched down by the bridge [BRIDGE POSE]

He listened carefully… and finally he heard a faint baaaa baaaaaing [come to your knees and place hands by ear like you are listenin]

The sheep was worn out and hungry [TAKE CHILD’s POSE]

The shepherd picked up the lost sheep and put it around his shoulders [CAT COW]

Then he started his journey home [MOUNTAIN CLIMBERS]

When he got back to the flock, he cared for the lost sheep giving him food and water [TAKE CHILD’S POSE TO REST]

Remember God is like that shepherd. He rejoices over those who always at His side, but He celebrates even more when someone lost is found. [STAY IN CHILD’S POSE]

TAKE AWAY OF THE VERSE WITH POSES:

John 10: 11 says:

I AM THE GOOD SHEPHERD [hand to heart then go into warrior II]

THE GOOD SHEPHERD LAYS DOWN HIS LIFE FOR THE SHEEP [warrior I, then cow face pose with prayer hands]

Closing Meditation:

Adapted. from thoughts to make your heart sing p. 97

Imagine you are a little sheep. The world is big. You are defenseless. Afraid. But then you look up and you see your shepherd. He says: I’m your good shepherd. You have everything you need. When you’re hungry, I’ll feed you. When you are thirsty. I’ll give you water to drink. When  you are tired, I’ll bring you to cool shade where you can rest. I will rescue you. Protect you. Love you.

Drawings to download and tell the story:

Drawing 1 (Shepherd Counting Sheep)

Drawing 2 (99 sheep)

Drawing 3 (Looking for sheep)

Drawing 4 (Found Sheep)

 

Kids Holy Yoga: Class and Resources to teach John 10

 Kids at VBS Yoga at New Life Church Community Center in Chicago

Kids at VBS Yoga at New Life Church Community Center in Chicago

I have been having so much fun this Summer teaching VBS yoga at the New Life Community Church Center in Humboldt Park. I am happy to share my resources here so that you are able to use them with your own children or classes. This particular class teaches the message in John 10 and the takeaway of the class is that Jesus is the gate, and only through him we can make it to the father. The video, class script, and all resources I used are below.

Warm up:

Class today is surrounds the concept of Sheep! What do you know about Sheep?

  • Sheep wander
  • Sheep are weak
  • They need their master to protect them
  • They only respond to the voice of their master 

Show kids the following video to exemplify the idea that sheep only respond to their masters:

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e45dVgWgV64 

Jesus tells us that we are also his Sheep. Why do you think so?

Breath Exercise: What sound does a sheep make? Now we are going to try to breathe like sheep. Take a deep breath in making your belly grow into a balloon, then breathe out like a sheep as long as you can.

Son salutations

FLOW (Script)

If a person climbs over [mountain climber] or through the fence of a sheep [sheep pose (cat)] pen instead of going through the gate [gate pose], you know he’s up to no good—a sheep rustler!

The shepherd [mountain pose] walks right up to the gate [standing Gate pose -( tree)]. The gatekeeper [warrior II] opens te gate to him and the sheep recognize his voice [Warrior I].

REPEAT WITH THE OTHER SIDE

The shepherd [mountain pose - reach to the sky to your sheperd Jesus] calls his own sheep by name and leads them out [Dancers] When he gets them all out, he leads them and they follow because they are familiar with his voice [warrior III]. They won’t follow a stranger’s voice but will scatter because they aren’t used to the sound of it.”

REPEAT THE OTHER SIDE

I am the gate; [gate pose]  whoever enters through me [super man] will be saved [kneeling lunge] They will come in [child’s pose] and go out [lift up into kneeling], and find pasture [camel pose – open your heart to God].

Now what's the take away of today's class in pose form?

Jesus (reach for the sky - mountain pose)

Loves me (reach for your toes - forward fold)

He died in the cross ( bring both arms out to the sides)

He is the gate (gate pose)

He is the light (gate pose on the other side)

Final Meditation

Now let’s slowly come to a lying down position and imagine that you are melting. Like ice cream in a hot summer day. Just let your body sink into the floor and I want you to close your eyes and imagine in your head what I am about to say.

Meditation Script:

Imagine you are lying down on a beautiful green pasture. The grass is wet, the sun is shining. It is the most beautiful sunny day. You feel the warmth of the sun on your skin. The warmth of the sun relaxes your head and neck…. Your shoulders…. And your arms. Your hands feel heavy and relaxed resting in on the grass. Around you sheep are roaming the grass. They wander, but they walk together. You see a little boy trying to call the sheep and move them. But they don’t move. The sheep don’t pay attention to them. The sheep continue to wander mindlessly. They eat the grass. They admire the day. But then all of a sudden they hear the sound of his master. Their shepherd call and little by little every sheep on the pasture looks at him. He calls again and every sheep follows their master. Anyone can call the sheep, but they will only obey their true master. That is how it should be with us. At the sound of His amazing grace. Our heads must turn. At the sound of His amazing grace. Our eyes should open. Now slowly. Open your eyes.

 

 

 

 

How weight training changed my yoga practice (and free workout from Lung fitness)

 Weight training can be yogi's best friends.

Weight training can be yogi's best friends.

For about two years all I did was ashtanga yoga. I was completely obsessed and would not engage in any activity that would "mess" with my flexibility. I would wake up early, not eat (except for coffee) and practice in an empty stomach like the tradition mandates. This practice completely changed my life. But, at some point I became conflicted. I knew that ashtanga yoga was keeping me flexible, strong, and cardiovascularly healthy (I did the machu pichu trail without a problem), but I wanted to do more.

Maybe it was something about the cold Chicago weather, but my body needed movement and heat. I felt like I needed to feel that runner's high again. Since a year earlier, while practicing with Nancy Gilgoff, she said that we shouldn't run till we were on the second series, as soon as I started to second series I started looking for a trainer. My teacher, the amazing Alexia Bauer, highly recommended her own trainer: Jeffrey Lung from Iron fitness.

We started my workouts with the goal of getting me running again without injuries and without impacting my flexibility. Despite my reluctance, Jeff had me start a complete weight training regimen. He also taught me to stretch after each workout so that I wouldn't lose any of my flexibility. I dedicated myself and started working out religiously - always followed by an exrta ten minute yoga practice at the end to undo any damage that could have been done.

Well it worked. I will confess that some days after workouts I am a bit tighter. But, I quickly regain my flexibility the day after. Even though I started with the goal of running, the weight training regimen made me so much stronger than I used to be. All of a sudden jump backs and jump throughs became a possibility, and I get some hang time in my handstands - right now I am up to ten seconds. My core is working and I feel so strong in my body.

Somedays I will even tell him the exact pose I want to be able to do and he will help work out muscle groups so that I am able to achieve the pose. All of a sudden these impossible poses became quite possible with Jeff. Weight training under his guidance has been truly a blessing to my practice. So without further ado, here is a sample workout created by Jeff Lung from Iron Lung Fitness ( This is where you can find him)

Sample Workout:
 

Interval Section (can also be used as a warm-up)

20 seconds of work with 10-20 seconds of rest in between intervals

Repeat 2-5x depending on fitness level

  • Jumping Jacks
  • High Knees
  • Burpees
  • Squats
  • Single Leg Burpees
  • Squat Jumps
  • Lunge
  • Jump Lunge (jump transition from one lunge to the other)

Strength:

2-4x each set with 8-12 reps of each exercise

  • Push-ups
  • Bent over dumbbell row
  • Single Leg Squats (or Single Leg Sit-to-Stands)
  • Turkish Get-Ups
  • Cable or Band Axe Chops
  • Jane Fondas (aka Lateral Side Leg Raises)
  • Romanian Deadlifts
  • Dumbbell Bicep Curl into Shoulder Press
  • Single Leg Calf Raises
  • Dumbbell Anterior Deltoid Raise
  • Dumbbell Lateral Deltoid Raise
  • Donkey Kicks

Core Work:

  • Planks
  • Side Planks
  • Bicycle Crunches
  • Penguins
  • Crunches
  • Hip Raises
  • Roman Twists
Posted on June 2, 2016 and filed under Yoga Flows.

Yoga in the Sauna: Improve your flexibility part I

I have always considered myself pretty flexible, but now that I have been taught eka pada Sirsasana, I have realized I have super tight hips. As I have been struggling with hip flexibility since supta kurmasana, I decided to employ a plan to hopefully loosen my hips and make all of the leg behind the leg poses achievable. My plan is three-fold: 1) Yoga in the sauna, 2) Diet and supplements, 3) rolling and massage. Today I am going to tell you what the first part of my plan - which includes stretches and yoga in an infrared sauna. 

An infrared sauna is different than a regular sauna in that it uses infrared light to heat your body. Also, rather than heating the air around you, the infrared sauna targets your body directly, which means it will produce heat in your body at lower temperatures. The infrared sauna has a wide range of benefits, but its claims on aiding an increase in flexibility have been backed up by scientific studies. For example, a study from Auburn University compared stretching in a sauna and at room temperature. The group that stretched in the sauna saw significantly greater improvements in flexibility.  The heat of the sauna flushes out lactic acid, which in turn loosens tight muscles. 

Excited by these results, I started stretching in an infrared sauna after my regular yoga practice. I also started stretching after running as this activity could potentially affect my hip flexibility. I am lucky enough to have an infrared sauna in my house, however if you don't, there are places where you can go to spend some time in an infrared sauna. Just take some light clothes and get down to business (But please, wear something! Your neighbor does not need to see your naked bits doing yoga!). Below are the exercises that I have been performing to improve my hip flexibility. Note that I do these exercises after my regular practice... Not before.

Exercises

                                                                                               

 Seated Pigeon in the sauna

Seated Pigeon in the sauna

1) Seated pigeon

I start with this easier stretch. It gets on my hips without being too aggressive. Try keeping your hips square and bringing the foot as close to chest as possible.  Stay 10-15 breaths on each side.

 

 

2) Kurmasana

 Kurmasana

Kurmasana

Bring the soles of your feet together and scoot your butt back - this is not badda konasaa. Then fold forward, tilting your pelvis down and bringing your chest as close to the seat as possible. The pelvic tilt will make this stretch more powerful so work on bringing your bootie up like beyonce and your chest down .  Stay 10-15 breaths.

 

3) Baddha Konasana 

 Badda Konasana

Badda Konasana

In the same position as the pose before bring your feet closet to your pelvis. Before bringing the chest down activate the pelvic tilt forward (beyonce bootie!) and bring your chest to the floor. Again, the pelvic tilt helps your hips stretch even more. So instead of a rounded back try to keep your back as straight as possible.  Stay 10-15 breaths.

 

4) Full pigeon

 Full Pigeon

Full Pigeon

This is probably my favorite pose of all time because it gets deep at the hips. Set up for pigeon pose by bringing your chin as parallel to the wall in front of you as possible. Then slowly bring your chest down trying not to round your back.  Stay 10-15 breaths on each side.

 

 

5) Preparation for leg behind the head

 Leg Behind the head prep I

Leg Behind the head prep I

Now we are getting close to the actual leg behind the head pose. Seated with your left leg straight, keep your hips squared and then bring your foot as close to your face as possible keeping your knee parallel to the front wall. Work on getting your making your back straight as you tilt your pelvis forward. This small movement will guarantee you get deeper into your hips.  Stay 10-15 breaths on each side.

 Leg Behind the head prep II

Leg Behind the head prep II

 

6) Second preparation for leg behind the head

The second prep pose keeps the legs at the same position, but bringing the foot towards the ear.  Again, try to maintain your back as straight as possible by tilting the pelvis forward.  Stay 10-15 breaths on each side.

 

 

7) Leg behind the head

Now from the prep, try to take the leg out and the further back. Reach lower in your back with your foot. try to keep your back straight. Stay 10-15 breaths on each side as you work on straightening your back and moving the pelvis forward.

This is my sauna sequence for tight hips. I have been doing it everyday and hopefully you will see results soon! At first it may seem that your hips become tighter as you are over extending them in the sauna. However, stay faithful in your practice, activate the forward pelvic tilt in each downdog, and you are bound to see great results. This worked for me, but you may want to consult your physician before starting any new health regimen, including this one.

Next week, we will discuss how diet affects your practice and flexibility!

Have a blessed week!

Yoga in a pinch: A practice for those days you just don't have the time

For the past month, I have been in the process of moving. Then came my daughter's birthday party. Then travel, and before I knew it I had no time to do anything - including yoga. Since yoga is such an important part of my day,  I had to adapt my practice to fit the time I had.... Or lack thereof... That meant a short, fifteen minute practice early in the morning before my baby would wake up. 

If that is your case and you are looking for a short sequence that will keep your practice strong in the least amount of time... Then this post for you. Watch the video below and practice with me. 

Good Night yoga for your toddler

When I was at expo west this past weekend, a publisher gave me the book Good Night yoga when he found out I was a kids yoga teacher... I was so excited to try to tell this story to Bella through yoga... The book has beautiful illustrations that take you through a calming flow. It ends with a guided meditation that will lead your child to sleep. I didn't do the guided meditation because Bella is too little, but she loved the Good Night yoga flow...

If you are a parent and yogi, I highly recommend buying this book to share with your child (Link to the right). It allows you to introduce your child to your favorite activity in a friendly and soothing way!

If you would like to see how it went with Bella, the video is below:

Stay Blessed!

Izabel

Holy Yoga for Toddlers

I have been taking the Kids Holy Yoga course and I am simply loving it! The team is an amazing group of women of faith who also happen to be experienced yoga teachers. The course has given me the opportunity to play with my daughter and find out that she loves yoga!  

Bella is just one and a half, but she loves trying to stretch her little body into the poses. She doesn't do all of the poses, nor are they perfect, but it doesn't matter. I am only interested in sharing the love of Christ with her through movement. If you make it fun and playful I promise your child will also do yoga with you and as a bonus you will get the opportunity of teaching them about God's great love!

Today's video is a holy yoga class for toddlers based on the story of Noah's ark. Feel free to watch it with your toddler or just get some ideas for your next class!

Stay Blessed!

Harnessing the power of your thoughts: Headstand

God spoke the world into being (Hebrews 11:3) and as we are created in His image our thoughts and words are also powerful. We usually think that thinking positively is new age craziness, but throughout the bible we see the power of our thoughts and words. When Jesus asks the blind man if he really thinks he can heal him and he says yes, he tells him: Become what you believe (MSG version). That sentence stuck with me because it is so powerful. We become what we believe. So, what do you believe you are? Are your thoughts kind about yourself? Jesus shows how our beliefs can become truths. The blind man’s faith led him to see. What does your faith and beliefs lead you to?

Meditate: Throughout your yoga practice notice your thoughts regarding your abilities. What happens when you start to struggle in your headstand? What do you tell yourself?  If you start talks of self-loathing, observe those thoughts and instead tell yourself the following affirmations: I am worthy. I am a child of God. I am loved. I am whole.

Finding strength in the Lord: Astavakrasana

Some days are true battles. Everything goes wrong, you are misunderstood, you are attacked without reason, you are put down (sometimes by things you say to yourself)... These are spiritual battles. Sometimes it is hard to fight these invisible battles, because you can't see your enemy... So it is important to practice strength in our lives through our yoga practice. Understanding our reactions when we are not strong enough and training ourselves to go to the Lord instead of victimizing ourselves is paramount to win these battles.

Today in class we will find strength in the Lord through arm balances. By trying to get into different arm balances including astavakrasana (eight angle pose), we will notice how we react during times we need strength. Do you quit?? Do you tell yourself you are not good enough? Do you keep trying? We need to learn to turn to the Lord as we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us (Philipians 4:13). Can you do it? Maybe not today, but through consistency, and faithful obidience we can develop our practice and do anything. This is a lesson for our yoga practice and lives. 

Don't ever quit! We can do anything because our God is the God of the impossible.

Stay blessed and enjoy class!

Bringing down walls in your Yoga practice and life: Marichyasana D and Faith

Marichyasana D was the first wall I encountered in my yoga practice. No matter what I did or how hard I tried, it did not seem to matter. Months passed by and everyday I had a different reason why I couldn't bind in the pose... First, I figured my belly was too big and getting in the way, then I realized my legs were way too fat to be enveloped by my arms, or maybe my arms were way too short to go around my legs, and then I thought my spine could not twist enough... 

I obsessed over the pose for months. I have probably watched every youtube video and read every article ever written on Marichyasana D. Then after months of consistent practice and faith, it just.... happened. It was a bit anticlimactic... My world didn't change, birds did not sing. One day, I just bound and my day went on as usual. 

Yoga practice is often a microcosm of life and it teaches important lessons if you pay close attention. Marichyasana D was for a while my very own promised land, which was kept safely inside a very tall wall I could not get through. No matter what I did, the wall would not come down. It was only through faithful obedience and consistence that the wall fell. 

Does that sound familiar? The people of Israel also encountered a wall around Jericho. Did they need military prowess to get into the city? No, all they needed was God. Just like conquering Marychaisana D, the people of Israel blindly followed God and through faith and obedience they made the wall fall. 

Every challenging pose in the yoga practice is a promised land that is protected by wall. When you hit a wall what should you do? You should, like the people of Israel, stay faithful and consistent with God in your holy yoga practice. In life, staying faithful and strong with God will also bring down many walls. Whenever you hit a wall in life or yoga practice, remember:

"By faith the walls of Jericho fell, after the people had marched around them for seven days."  Hebrews 11:30.

During practice today we will attempt to get into an advanced twist called marichyasana D. This is an intermediary to advanced class and it will take about 45 minutes. During class ask yourself: 

  • How else can you access and apply the power of God in your yoga practice and your life?
  • Are there any areas where you could use more faith and consistence?

It is a new year and a great time to reflect on faith and obedience in Christ! So enjoy the challenge of this intermediary class and remember to stay faithful!

Stay Blessed!

 

Vision Writing Exercise for 2016: Make His vision for your life come alive!

The first day of the new year is a great time to think of the future. Personally, I see this time of the year as one of prayer and reflection, a time to set goals, and sit with the Lord. Today, I invite you to take some time to calm your mind and meditate. The video below is a short pranayama and meditation on Habakkuk 2:2. For those of you who are not familiar with pranayama, it is a breath exercise yogis do. Scientific studies suggest pranayama lowers blood pressure, calms the parasympathetic nervous system, and eases anxiety. By calming down the mind, you are able to better communicate with our creator so that you can hear and understand His goals for you. While you are doing the pranayama, I invite to ask yourself:

  • Has God given you a vision for your life?
  • What is that Vision?

Once you have an idea of God's vision for you life I ask you to meditate on Habakkuk 2:2-3 :

Then the Lord answered me and said: "Write the vision and make it plain on tablets, that he may run who reads it." For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.

Notice that God orders his prophet to write down his vision and then share it with others. He asks for it to be in plain sight. So write down God's vision for you and place it in plain sight for you. You will be reminded everyday of God's vision for your life. You will be motivated to work hard to achieve His Vision. 

I hope this video helps you calm your mind and connect with your Savior. Whatever His vision is for your life, remember: it may take long, but your Father is the God of the impossible. And though things may seem impossible for you, for God everything is possible (Mathew 19:26). 

Stay Blessed!

 


Holy Yoga for New Years

 Kurmasana

Kurmasana

The goal of today's holy yoga class is to rebirth a new self in Christ. As the new year approaches, we will do hip openers as a symbolic exercise of birthing a new self in 2016. The class will work towards a challenging hip opener called kurmasana (or turtle pose). As you take this class, meditate  on Romans 12: 1-2: Think of taking your everyday, ordinary life, your yoga practice, your sleeping, your eating, you everyday work and offering it to God. During practice focus on the following questions:

What will this offering of ordinary things in your life look like for you?

  • What will offering your yoga practice to God look like?
  • What will offering your work to God look like?
  • What will offering your eating to God look like?

What can you improve in your life in the new year so that this offering is even better?

I hope that in the year of 2016 you dedicate your life to Christ. I hope that this is a year of achievements and improvements for you! When we live in Christ and according to His rules, our lives flourish. I hope that the Holy Spirit transforms you this year, and that through Him you are able to find a new self.

Stay Blessed!

Izabel

Holy Yoga for Christmas

ChristmasHolyYoga.jpg

As we approach the celebration of our Savior's birth we should start thinking about our rebirth in Christ. Today's class focuses on 2 Corinthians 5:17: "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things passed away; behold, all things become new".  

I invite you to meditate on this scripture and ask yourself:

Who are you in Christ?

Who is the new you with Christ? 

The bible says, in Galatians 5:22-23 that in the Spirit,

  • You are love
  • You are joy
  • You are peace
  • You are forbearance
  • You are kindness
  • You are goodness
  • You are faithfulness
  • You are gentleness
  • You are self-control

During today's class please bring your thoughts to these questions and to what we become in Christ. Take the time to meditate on areas you may need improvement and thank God for what you have become in the Spirit.

Have a blessed class and Merry Christmas!

Holy Yoga for Advent: Week 2

Today is our second week preparing for Advent. We will work on opening our hearts to the love of Christ so that we can celebrate his birth with the right mindset. We will do that through an intense class focusing on twists and backbending poses. The twists allow us to go deeper into backbends. And the backbends allow us to symbolically and physically open our hearts and make space for our Savior.  Although we seem to only physically open our hearts, make no mistake... Human bodies are symbiotically connected and opening our hearts physically creates a psychological response. Body psychotherapy is a field of Psychology that has studied this body-mind connection for many years. 

My hope is that this class will open your hearts so that you may know the hope to which Jesus has called you - his inheritance - as we are children of God (Ephesians 1:17-18). Your heart is where Christ wishes to dwell. He wants you to experience his love and connect to his full Glory and Grace. 

God Bless you!


Wanna change your life in 2016?

Would you like to completely reshape yourself in 2016? Maybe you want to gain consistency in your yoga practice or you have been toying with the idea of following a plant based diet, but have no idea how. 

If you answered yes to any of the above, I have a new years gift for you! Sign up for my monthly newsletter and win 4 weeks of exclusive content including: 

1) Week by week and step by step transition into a plant-based iet

2) Shopping lists and recipes weekly

3) Weekly nutrition and life hacks to lose weight and feel fabulous

4) Weekly guides to Yoga practice with Yoga fat-burning circuits, pranayama, and asanas to help you shed extra pounds - that is a month of yoga!

Each guide will help you prepare for a week in January. The first guide will be sent out in the last week of December and will have the first steps to transition to a plant-based diet, 6 complete yoga workouts (including breath work, meditation, yoga fat burning circuits and yoga practice you will follow throughout the month - these are exclusive videos not available on my blog), and nutrition tips  and life hacks to lose weight and feel great all year long! 

All you need to do now is sign up and I will send you the first guide in the last week of December so that you can prepare for the new year!

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Holy Yoga for Advent: Week 1

The advent season started yesterday and it is time to prepare our hearts and minds to celebrate the birth of Jesus. Christians should take the month before Christmas to prepare our minds and souls and to make room for His presence. In today's class we dwell in His presence by training our minds to be steady through a challenging yoga flow. We will meditate on the spiritual gifts and talents we have been given and how we may share these gifts with the world. We may be lost amidst a season of Christmas gift shopping, but have you stopped to meditate on the gifts God has given you? What do those gifts tell you about your life's mission? Are you fulfilling it?

God has gifted each of us with unique talents and spiritual gifts. Let us embrace all that beauty and use those to help others and improve our world. First Peter 4: 10 says: "each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God's grace in its various forms". The Bible also says that all things are through him, for him, and to him should be given all glory (Romans 11:36). Therefore, during this class I would like you to meditate on what gifts you have been given, how you are going to use them, and above all how you can glorify God through it.

By the way, if you would like to win some free tea, check out my giveaway of 5 traditional medicinal teas here!

God bless you and enjoy the video!

Holy Yoga Fat Burning Circuit

Did you over indulge yesterday? Well, then this fat burning circuit will come in handy! It uses a high intensity yoga sequence and a treadmill to burn yesterday's thanksgiving excess! Print out the card below and take it with you. Start with the short yoga sequence (do the son sequence five times), then follow the treadmill sequence to burn calories all day. Repeat the entire circuit 5 times - if it is too much for you, then repeat it as many times as you can. This high intensity circuit will not only burn calories during the onset of exercise, it will increase your metabolic rate throughout the day so that I can burn that thanksgiving excess all day!

God Bless you!

Thanksgiving Restorative Holy Yoga

Yoga is the practice of being present. In class you learn to remain present through pain, happiness, and emotional breakthroughs. Being present also teaches us to be appreciative and thankful. There is so much that happens in our lives through the actions of others and we may not necessarily realize it or even be thankful. But by practicing presence, we are more likely to notice small actions. We are also more likely to notice the the grace of God in our lives. 

Everyday, unbeknownst to us, the hand of God protects, delivers, and saves us. We may not realize it. We may not see it. But His overwhelming love and protection are present in our every step. Sometimes the biggest deliverance is in the small coincidences, the missed opportunities, a inopportune delay... But these may also be the times when we don't recognize how our Savior is acting in our lives. So, today as we enter Thanksgiving week, I ask you to stop, take a few moments to Thank God for all He has done for you.

I want you to use the sequence in the video as a vehicle to stop, breathe, meditate and just give thanks to your Savior. The class is a restorative practice - you will need it in this rushed and chaotic holiday week. I hope you enjoy it and I pray that God opens your eyes for all of the coincidences unseen.

God Bless you!

Holy Yoga Power Flow

Yoga is one of my passions, but there is nothing more important for me than my faith in Jesus Christ. For a long time, I considered my yoga practice to be completely separate from my faith. But after my trip to India it became clear to me that faith was intrinsically connected to yoga. The problem was that it wasn't necessarily my faith. Every Saturday after practice, the teacher guided us through 20 minutes of chanting in Sanskrit. Although I did not understand the lyrics, names like Ganesha, Sita Ram and other Hindu deities were quite clear. I kept silent during those twenty minutes, but it was hard to ignore what was happening around me. To make matters worse, many of the students bowed and kissed the feet of the guru. This particular action was symbolic of my struggles. Though I loved yoga, bowing at someone's feet is something that I would only do to my God, Jesus Christ. Exodus 20: 5 is clear. It says you will not bow down before other Gods. For a while I suffered in silence, and I seriously thought about quitting yoga altogether.

However, as I talked to my loved ones about my struggles, I started thinking about the power of intention. I never had the intention of worshiping other deities. For example, dancers do the splits. The splits are the same movement as the yoga pose Hanumasana. Hanumasana is a pose dedicated to the deity Hanuman (the monkey God). But, no one thinks ballerinas are glorifying the monkey deity. That's because their intention while doing the splits has nothing to do with Hanuman. Furthermore, the Bible says in John 1: 3 that everything was done by and for God. If this is true, yoga was also made by God and therefore must be used for His glory and not for the glory of other deities. Ephesians 1: 7 says that redemption is in his blood. Therefore, through the blood of the lamb, I also believe we have redemption of this ancient practice as long as it is used for His glory.

With that in mind, I started to search the internet, read books, and try to understand how Christianity and yoga fit together. I intuitively started to dedicate my practice to God - praying and worshiping during my time on the mat. I felt a tremendous difference when I dedicated my practice to God. My practice had more fire, more energy. I noticed these practices were very special moments in my mat. By coincidence, I found a teacher's training course for Christian Yoga, called Holy Yoga. I fell completely in love with the practice and I am so proud to have become a certified Holy Yoga instructor on top of my 200hr yoga certification. Today, I will share with you a special holy yoga power flow that I sequenced.  I hope you enjoy and would love to know what you think!

God bless you!

Posted on November 18, 2015 and filed under Yoga Flows.

Yoga for the thyroid gland

If you suffer from hypothyroidism, know that Yoga can be a great ally in the battle against the disease. Because the thyroid regulates various metabolic processes, when it is underactive, like mine, your circulation and your metabolism will also suffer. This means that you will likely feel lethargic, gain water weight, and feel an overwhelming unwillingness to do any physical activity at all. All of these symptoms of thyroid disease are a slippery slope since physical activity is an antidote to those symptoms in the first place as exercise stimulates your metabolism and circulation. However, an activity like yoga that begins slowly - focusing on mental and breathing exercises – may be easier to commit to. I say this from experience. I remember being in the middle of a thyroid crisis thinking, "If I can get myself to yoga class, I know that I can just lay there if I have to." By the time the class starts to get more challenging your body and your mind will already be prepared, so yoga is really the perfect physical practice for those suffering from an underactive thyroid.

The yoga class I prepared today is thyroid-centric and focuses on the bandhas. There are four different bandhas, or locks. This locks are contractions of certain areas of the physical body related to nerve conglomerates, organs and glands in the body. Today we will focus mostly on the Jalandhara bandha, which corresponds to the same physical space of the thyroid gland. The contraction of this bandha helps us regulate all our internal systems including our hormonal and metabolic processes. Engaging this lock can be very beneficial to the thyroid gland.

We will engage the Jalandhara lock by creating pressure on the throat by pressing the chin against the thyroid gland. Throughout practice, I will guide you on how and when you should create this lock. We will start practice with a breathing exercise called victorious breath (Ujjay). This exercise constricts the throat during breathing, making a sound much like Darth Vader. Then I will guide you through an Asana sequence that oxygenates the thyroid and stimulates it through the Jalandhara lock.

I hope you enjoy the class and as always, if you have any questions just ask!

God bless you!