The Little Iron Ball

The little Iron Ball oh how I enjoy your role in my life. A cast iron piece of badassness, you never fail to remind me why you can be such a pain in the ass one moment and an extreme high the next. It seems whenever we are together you always amaze me in some way, shape or form and often I am the one creating the space for you to do so and often without full awareness of what lies ahead. It is these little moments we share that I humbly bow to you and offer thanks for 8 years of unconditional love and commitment.

 
I know we have many more years together as I am committed. And I know there is so much yet to be discovered. So few moves, yet so ruthless they are and truly you never stop giving even in your simplicity. The beautiful thing is in our time together I have been able to share you with thousands of people, many whom grace my presence weekly if not daily to share in your awesomeness and plain kick ass, feel good euphoria. A ball in chain, that I simple clean and rack while gladly carrying you everywhere I go. The great thing is if I leave you behind or miss time together you let me know why I should never do it again and you do so in such a loving and kind manner. You always leave me feeling stronger and better fit to live and attack each day with the vigor, fortitude and attitude necessary to be my best.
 
To you my little Iron Ball, I thank you for 8 beautiful years together. I am so happy you continue to influence the lives of many and it is only growing. I am glad to share you and the amazing lessons and feelings you provide with others because it is wonderful to have such an amazing community of people to share in the joys that come with you as part of our lives.
 
To Kettlebell, I thank you.
 
A special thank you to Rif for introducing and Coaching me, of course Pavel for sharing it with the U.S., and so many others it would take me hundreds of lines to list you all, many of whom are friends on Facebook and I learn from each of you, so thank you. 
 
This picture is from try first RKC in April 2005!
 
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How To Construct Your Yoga Practice

How to Layout Your Yoga Practice

A great practice requires a great layout. As a yoga teacher I tell my students that teaching a yoga class is equivalent to telling a great story. It starts with a introduction then ebbs and flows through the crescendo or peak and comes to a gentle conclusion leaving the student feeling satisfied to the core and eager to “read” the next book or in the case of yoga, come back to the practice. And like any great series, it is progressive and builds upon the last practice session and if we are lucky we never stop reading and learning.

Here is a simple layout option.

Opening seated meditation. Thinking of this as the intro, setting the table grounding yourself by bringing your attention and awareness to your breathe, body, and mat.

Warm-up. Classically done through sun salutations which will take the body through a series of movements that warm up the whole body and bring awareness to connecting breathe and body. My personal favorite is the ashtanga version of Sun A and Sun B, each done 5 times. You can modify accordingly.

Standing Poses. These are crucial, as they build strength while deepening and further elongating and stretching the bodies big muscles, activating all the small muscles and really challenging the student to stay focused on staying calm and breathing with ease. These are bound to raise the heart rate and make the blood pump therefore it is crucial to stay focused on the breathe to keep the heart rate low and staying calm.

Inversions: A beautiful and brilliant piece (best learned from a teacher before entering) they help with circulation, building confidence and nourishing the brain & mind.

Back bends: crucial part and often difficult for those who sit for prolonged periods thus representing the perfect antithesis to the desk job. Great for strengthening the posterior chain, increasing the strength & flexibility of the spine, and building posture & wonderful at lengthening and opening the anterior chain. These will invigorate your body and like standing poses really challenge the breathe. If lying on the belly aka face down be sure to breathe behind the heart and between the shoulder blades. This position is very difficult to breathe into the belly and can really elevate the heart rate and make one feel uncomfortable in what often is an already uncomfortable position. You can exhale from the navel but do not breathe into the belly.

Twist: a great follow up and way to release and the stress and tension built from the prior poses. This will help unwind while also strengthening the body, trimming the waistline and strengthening the spine. These poses help stimulate the organs, waking them up and in turn eliminating the filth that can accumulate. Plus, after all the above, you will be thirsting for the conclusion, Savanasa.

Forward bends: stretch and lengthen. We are closing in on a complete practice. Slow the breathe and begin to grasp all the benefits. Calm the mind and body and feel/observe the peace and flexibility you have created.

Savasana: how’s the time to make your way to your back. You can do a shoulder stand, happy baby, lying twist, hip stretch, legs up the wall, suptabadha konasana and then Savanasa. Here you want truly reap the benefits of the story, letting everything go and restoring to your new state of being. This is your ah ha moment. Take at least 5 minutes to soak it up in a form of savasana.

So now the practice is through, your physical practice. Ideally you carry this forward throughout the day and into your everyday life.

Note: if practicing Pranayama, it is recommended that this take place prior to Savasana. This includes alternate nostril breathing and such.