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Five Essential Beginner Yoga Books For Women To Buy And Start To Their Yoga Education (Video)

21 Aug

Ladies! Build Your Yoga Education At Home :)

I know when I first got into yoga the FIRST thing I did was to buy a book. I’m a fiend when it comes to books :)

The thing is that there are so many yoga books out there and I had no idea which were the best yoga books to buy, let alone yoga books that were accessible and not too full of yoga jargon with concepts that at that time, I wasn’t ready to digest.

I’ve decided to offer you some of my favorite yoga books for you to buy (or borrow from the Library. I’m a huge Library proponent) in order to enhance your yoga and health know-how! I have to disclose fully that they do have a bit of a female bias, but for my male subscribers, you’ll still find a wealth of information applicable to both men and women.

This whole thing was inspired by the crazy amount of emails that I get asking for advice about this very subject :)

Here’s the latest email from one of you lovely folks:

I am a beginner at yoga and just subscribed to your podcasts. I am interested in reading more about yoga and was wondering if there are any books you would recommend?

You can refer to the video above for a more in depth description of why I chose these books, but I’m linking to all the books that I mention below. All links to these books are using my Amazon Affiliate links, which will give me a little bit of cash to buy even more yoga books ;) Wouldn’t you like to support my yoga reading habits?

yoga for women's health

The Women’s Book of Yoga and Health by Linda Sparrowe and Patricia Walden

This is one of my all time favorites! I use it for reference all the time. This is a MUST for your yoga library.

relaxation and stress relief yoga book

Relax and Renew by Judith Lasater

I was able to build a restorative yoga practice at home following some of her sequences. So much great information.

Anusara Yoga philosophy book

Yoga From The Inside Out: Making Peace With Your Body Through Yoga by Christina Sell

I have more sticky notes in this book than in any other book in my Yoga Library! Sometimes I just open it and use one of Christina’s sentences to inspire an entire class :D

ayurveda for women's health

Ayurveda For Women by Dr. Robert Svoboda

This was the first Ayurveda book that I bought. I now a own a bunch more by Dr. Svoboda and have learned tons about this incredible way of life.

mother and daughter wisdom

Mother-Daughter Wisdom: Creating a Legacy of Physical and Emotional Health by Christiane Northrup

I bought this book when I found out I was pregnant. At first I thought that it was meant to be a book for mother’s of daughters but then I realized that it was a book for daughters. All women are daughters. All women have mothers, living, dead or absent. I guarantee that you will be inspired by what you read in this book and how it can help you be as healthy as you can be.

Do you have any books to add to this list?

Please share them in the comments below! I’m sure I’m not the only one that’s looking to build her yoga library ;)

Beginner Yoga Advice: Benefits For Knee Joint Health and Weight Loss

16 Aug

I got a comment here on my blog and instead of simply writing him back I decided to give a video answer!

The question was all about knee health and whether or not yoga is good for weight loss.

I started a running program 3 weeks ago but only succeeded in aggravating a knee/patella (kneecap).  my running days are over as I’m in extreme pain.
what, if any are the benefits of yoga on knees and joints as well as weight loss?

Knee Health and Yoga

Let’s talk about the knees and joints, here’s what yoga does:

  • Yoga creates the ability for your joints to remain stable
  • Yoga creates the ability for your joints to increase in stability
  • Yoga incorporates the muscles around the joints, increases their strength to create this stability within the joint.
  • Through proper alignment and action, yoga helps maintain optimal blood flow and proper lubrication within joints for more effective movement and overall health.

Due to anatomical/biomechanical issues in our bodies, either due to habitual patterns, injuries or genetics certain joints may become more prone to injury. The knee joint is a highly movable joint that often times gets easily aggravated and misaligned. Through proper alignment and action within yoga postures one is able to create the possibility to strengthen, re-align and perhaps even heal an challenging knee.

Please remember that this is possible when one practices consistently, consciously and with a qualified teacher to guide the student to become more adept at moving into their optimal blueprint. Any kind of knee therapy requires work and diligence.

The majority of public yoga classes are fast moving where focus on alignment is at times glossed over. If you are working with a knee injury, and are new to yoga, I would search to find the best qualified teacher to practice with, attend classes that have a slow pace and incorporate lots of optimal alignment and action within the poses.

Yoga and Weight Loss

As we all know, one needs to ingest less calories that one burns in order to loose weight. This is best achieved by doing aerobic exercise.

Yoga is not an aerobic exercise.

It can certainly get your heart beating fast. It will make you sweat. At times it you may even get out of breath. You certainly will massage and work your internal organs such as your heart and your lungs. You will burn calories. You will tone your muscles.

These are some pretty awesome benefits to the practice. Given those benefits having yoga be a part of your weight loss routine is key toward weight loss maintenance, but in and of itself, I don’t believe asana itself can make you loose weight.

Yoga will give you greater insights of your mind body and heart. Yoga will push you to places that may at times prove to be quite uncomfortable. Yoga will force you to make choices. Yoga will offer you new ways of seeing the world.

All of these things are great assets toward being a healthy human being, from the inside out. When you choose to practice yoga you will inevitable begin to make better and better choices for yourself, and one of those choices can be living within your optimal weight and being the best that you can be!

So there you go, those are my thoughts about knee joint benefits and weight loss from a yogic perspective!

What do you think? Do you have anything to add?

Ep. 82: Stay Open, Learn, Choose the Highest and Share Level 2, 90 Min Yoga Class

10 Aug

YoGeek iPhone mudra, Polaroid, iPhone 4 yoga, iPhone 4 love

An iPhone 4 Yoga Class For Your Enjoyment!

And here I thought that I was going to get some time to be able to publish more episodes to you guys…in JULY.

Not so much, but alas! Here’s a yoga class to start the month off right! This one is close to my heart. It’s focus is all about the way we are swayed and often times misguided by what we see and hear all around us, especially the media. It is a call to take responsibility for our choice making and the way we go about making choices. The inspiration for this class came straight from all the hoopla around the iPhone 4 and its antenna issues.

If you happen to follow me on Twitter or are part of the Facebook Elsie’s Yoga Kula Community, you would know that I have an iPhone 4! Yipeeee! So I speak from my own experience with the device, and I’m totally loving it!

Given that I’m sure you have heard at least something about the whole antenna thing, so I sorta offer my 2 cents about it and wrap it around a yoga class.

What’s interesting about this theme is that it mirrored the hoopla around an article on my beloved teacher John Friend in the NY Times. If you haven’t already, please read the article, John’s response to the article PLUS Elephant Journal’s exclusive interview with John. Interesting how perspectives and opinions shift and change if you simply choose to step deeper into them :) And move from your heart.

This week’s online yoga class

This yoga podcast class is a level 2 class, and if you have a yoga block in the house, please feel free to take it out and play with it during our backbends towards the end of class. I cut a bit of the class in the middle because I did a demo that doesn’t really work if you weren’t there so why put you guys through it :) If you do hear references to it, or to another demo that I had a student do, just dismiss them. Pretend that you went to the bathroom during that part of the class!


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The Yoga Class Sequence

REMEMBER THAT IF YOU OWN THE IPHONE APP THE CLASS SEQUENCE COMES WITH THE EPISODE :)

Downward Facing Dog

Eka Pada Adho Mukha Svanasana Opening Hip

One legged Downward Facing Dog opening the hipOne legged Downward Facing Dog with crazy open hip

High lunge onto straight leg on the front leg

straight legged lungeparsvottanasana variation

Downward Dog

Plank

Bend elbows 3 inches

Crescent pose into Lunge Twist

Uttanasana x ardha uttanasana

uttanasanaardha uttanasana

Hands on hips shoulders up stand

Arms up interlace hands

Tadasana With Arms Interlaced Above the Head

Contrast shoulder loop

Big shoulder stretch

Surya namaskar x 2

tadasanaurdhva hastasanauttanasana ardha uttanasana plank pose chattarunga dandasana cobradownward facing doguttanasana ardha uttanasanaurdhva hastasanatadasana

Wide stance uttanasana with arms interlaced behind the back

Surya namaskar to Downward Facing Dog

Vira 2 into reverse vira

warrior IIreverse warrior

Vinyasa

plank pose chattarunga dandasana cobradownward facing dog

Trikonasana/ ardha chandrasana/ trikonasana

Down dog

Trikonasana sequence

Vinyasa

plank pose chattarunga dandasana cobradownward facing dog

Uttanasana/ardha uttanasana

uttanasanaardha uttanasana

Standing hip stretch

Standing Hip Stretch Front (shrub)Standing Hip Stretch (shrub)

Standing hip stretch into standing baby craddle

LOTS OF TALKING

deep lunge with back leg straight

Deep Lunge with back knee on the floor deep lunge with forearms on the floor

ardha bhekasana

DD with knees bent for lower back adjustment

Pigeon with Thigh stretch

Eka Pada Rajakapotasana with a thigh stretch

Downward Facing Dog

Uttanasana

hands of hips shoulders up stand up

BLOCK GATHERING

setubandha with block in between the thighs

(optional into Urdhva Dhanurasana)

setubandha with block in between your shins

(optional into Urdhva Dhanurasana)

Urdhva Dhanurasana or Bridge pose

easy supine twist

Supta Padangustasana variation with bottom leg bent/straightening the bottom leg

Savasana

Ep 81: Immerse Your Value into The Heart and HOLD! 85 min Level 2 Yoga Class

20 Jun

Elsie Escobar and Hunter Rose Miyan

The them for this class was inspired by this episode of Merlin Mann’s talk at Rutger’s University. Check out the talk. Not about yoga, but very yogic. I think he’s awesome.

Let it Go From Your Head and Drop In Your Heart

I know that if I asked you who or what you hold valuable and dear you could tell me without much thought. I’m sure that you’ve thought about how much your family, your homes, your friends, your culture, etc. means to you. I’m sure that now that I’ve brought your attention to this, you have a clear idea in your head and feel pretty strong about where you place your value.

The thing is, that we think about this too much. I mean that we keep that which we value in our thinking mind. We intellectualize much more than we internalize it, within our hearts. There is a level of detachment that comes with it. Yes, we love our family. Yes, we love our friends. Yes, we value our home. Here’s the question: Do your actions, from day to day, from moment to moment honor and abide by that higher intention? If we could graph our daily activity, and our daily thoughts, what truly takes up the majority of our days? What would it show?

I know that for me, my graph would show huge interaction with my cellphone and my ipod. It would also show me constantly checking my email, FB, Twitter, and stats. (Note the word checking, there is no actual engagement involved.) And these are my physical behaviours behaviors I am also guilty of being with my daughter and having my mind full of everything BUT my daughter. I think more about podcasts, blog posts and creating content on a daily basis than I think about my breath, my body and growing my relationship with those that I have said I hold valuable. There are countless opportunities to deepen relationships. There is enough time. I know that I tend to leak my energy in places, thoughts and actions that in no way deserve it. Unconsciously, through my thoughts and actions I am serving and cultivating less than optimal relationships.

The level of commitment and discipline required to sustain an optimal level of engagement and relationship in our lives is great. It requires that we choose, and choose again, always refining and clarifying moment to moment. We must sustain the focus throughout our days, slowly building a strong internal practice, that lets us be at once soft and steady.

As I became aware of this for myself, I had to share this. I know that I am not alone. My desire is to place what I value in my heart, not in my head. My desire is to engage and hold the sacred where it’s meant to be.

How about you? Do you observe your behaviors and thoughts serving and cultivating less than optimal relationships? In what ways to do abide by the Highest?

Start By Breathing

FYI! There’s a video towards the end of the post to supplement this episode :)

And speaking of the video…Thank you my dear and lovely sponsors Prancing Leopard Organics! The clothes that I’m wearing in the video are from them and I ADORE them :D Listen to the intro to this episode to get your coupon code for 15% off your purchase!

This episode’s online yoga class podcast is a Level 2 class.

This class was recorded at BYS Yoga Studio in Pittsburgh on April 29, 2010


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The Sequence of Yoga Poses for this online yoga class:

Downward Facing Dog Hold

Uttanasana Hold

Downward Facing Dog/Eka Pada Adho Mukha Svanasana/Straight Legged Lunge

downward facing dogone legged downward facing dog with hips squaredstraight legged lunge

Uttanasana

Hands on Hips Shoulders up and Stand up

WIDE STANCE TO THE SIDE

Warrior II

warrior II

Prasarita Padottanasana

prasarita padotanasana

Parsvakonasana

Parsvakonasana

Prasarita Padottanasana with arms interlaced behind the back

prasarita padotanasana

Trikonasana/Ardha Chandrasana

trikonasana ardha chandrasanatrikonasana

Prasarita Padottanasana with option to hold the big toes

prasarita padotanasana

Tree Pose

Uttanasana

Plank

Chattarunga Hold

chattarunga dandasana

Upward Facing Dog

Balasana

Eka Pada Rajakapotasana

Pigeon Prep

Downward Facing Dog

Heel Sit

Supported Back Bend With 2 Blocks

restorative backbend with blocks

VARIATION Supported Supta Virasana With Blocks

Child’s Pose

Supported Supta Baddha Konasana

Supported Baddha Konasana

Savasana

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