Posts Tagged ‘studio’
Yoga for Skiers and Snowboarders – with Chris Courtney, E-RYT
Prepare to hit the slopes!
Find out how yoga can enhance your skiing or boarding season!
Never done yoga but love to ski or snowboard? No fear – this workshop is for anyone looking for a way to improve their skiing through yoga. The only requirements are curiosity and an open mind.
Interested in finding core strength, body awareness, and balance that will help take your skiing to another level? Tired of dealing with tight hips or sore lower back muscles after a weekend on the slopes? Want to learn how yoga can help prevent skiing-related injuries?
With this 2 hour workshop, you’ll learn how you can use yoga to improve your strength, flexibility, stamina, balance and breathing to improve your skiing and boarding. Whether you want to prevent injury or take your skiing or boarding to the next level, this workshop can help you on the way to achieve your goals!
This workshop consists of three parts:
- Identifying where you need stability and agility – we’ll highlight the key areas of the body and explore how they relate to increasing performance, improving balance and control over your skis/board, building endurance, and preventing injuries.
- Improving stamina, building strength and increasing flexibility – we’ll move through a sequence for overall conditioning and strengthening which addresses the target areas we identified in part one.
- Learn effective pre- and apres- ski sequences to speed recovery time after a day on the slopes.
Taught by yoga teacher, avid skier (Alpine, and Nordic) and mountaineer Chris Courtney, RYT 500
To book this workshop at your studio or ski resort, please contact Chris at firstname.lastname@example.org
My classes vary but my style is generally a vinyasa-based mix infused with humor and generous helpings of kick-your-asana power flow sequences.
I also offer specialized classes such as yoga for climbers, skiers and runners. Private lessons and workshops are always available!
You can contact me via email at email@example.com
Check the “Classes” link above for specific times and days.
With deepest gratitude to my teacher Doug Swenson and the incredible people I’ve spent the last 2 months with, I’m excited to announce that I’ve just finished the 500 hour yoga teacher training program at Lake Tahoe!
I can’t begin to describe what an amazing experience it has been and can’t wait to pass along all I’ve learned to others.
While I’ve been trained in multiple styles, the main style Doug teaches is Sadhana Yoga Chi – a style which incorporates both the more physically challenging aspects of ashtanga yoga with the gentler forms, all linked to the breath in a vinyasa and incorporating more fluid movements found in Tai Chi. Sadhana Yoga Chi is not just a physical practice on the mat but also a holistic approach to the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual.
Here is Doug’s description of the style which captures it all:
The goal of Sadhana Yoga Chi is to create a holistic balance between learning and teaching, power and softness, intellect and fitness. As both students and teachers, we embrace a true appreciation for nature, simplicity, integrity, happiness and laughter. We are inspired to seek true human potential in all life and throughout time. Last but not least, we aspire for a genuine balance between your own physical, mental, and spiritual self.
A story I tell less often is how I learned to find peace and serenity in meditation while under mortar and rocket barrages in Baghdad a few years ago.
In a past life while working a stint at the US Embassy in Baghdad (long story…), I used to be awakened in the morning by an alarm telling us that rockets and mortars were inbound to our little collection of trailer homes behind the embassy along the Euphrates. This usually meant rolling out of bed and onto the floor to get under my armored vest…basically into balasana (child’s pose) with my arms tucked under the vest - to wait and wonder if some shell would come crashing through the tin roof of my trailer and ruin my day.
Sometimes these alarms would go off while I was in the shower or sitting on the toilet. So, my roommate and I made a deal that if either of us was hit while on the can, we’d pull the other off so we wouldn’t go out like Elvis…but I digress.
It was during those mornings (and often late afternoons) while hearing rockets whizzing overhead and hearing the crash of mortars landing nearby that I learned how to find inner peace. Powerless to do anything but crouch and wait (perhaps even to die), I learned to let go and try not to be attached to the outcome of the situation but rather to tuck inside and be one with my own breath. At first it was a way to overcome the fear of hearing the crashes getting closer and closer to me (before they stopped) but later it became a way to access a much deeper level of meditation and get a better glimpse of my true self.
Why is it that it takes such drastic situations to make us truly focus inward and strip away the things which block us from connecting to our true selves? Why did my mind wander so in quiet rooms back home but find such focus in a war zone of all places?
Ever since those experiences in Baghdad, I’ve been able to check out and meditate anywhere. In the middle of a busy airport? No problem! Sitting next to a crying baby? Piece of cake! In a beautiful mountain meadow? Now you’re talking!
Sure, we’d all like to have that serene place to meditate or practice yoga but in an ever-louder, ever-crowded world such places are far harder to come by. Of course, that place within ourselves is always available, provided we remember to look for it.
This article originally appeared in Elephant Journal on June 28th, 2010.
It was just over a week ago while driving to attend yoga teacher training with Doug Swenson at Lake Tahoe that I decided it was time to overcome a nagging fear I’d had for years. Neither climbing frozen waterfalls in Switzerland nor having a child soldier in Africa point a machine gun at my chest caused as much fear in me as a simple handstand (adho mukha vrksasana).
Five years ago, I’d crashed from a handstand, dropping my head straight onto a tile floor and leaving me with a mild concussion and a sore neck which lasted for months. Ever since that time, I’d been wary to even kick up against a wall, fearing another drop onto my melon and the ensuing months of pain. I always dreaded a yoga teacher announcing that we were going to do the handstand and did my best to muddle at the wall waiting for everyone to finish so we could move to the next asana (pose).
For some reason, I never found a teacher willing to help me try it again and in one case, encountered a rather dismissive one who remarked (as she turned her back and walked away), “oh, I see you have some fear issues.” So, somewhere between Albuquerque and the Eastern Sierras I figured that if I was going to be a yoga teacher, I needed to overcome this fear and get some part of my handstand mojo back. Upon arrival in South Lake Tahoe, I found myself with an incredibly supportive teacher in Doug Swenson, not to mention my fellow students. So, I figured it was time to give it a go. At first I thought it would take the entire month to get past this barrier of fear but on the second day of training, with the help of my roomate Simon Moseley and a few other fellow students providing me a good bit of lift, I got into a (supported) handstand for the first time in five years.
I got up into it a few more times (against a wall) and my fear of the handstand started to fade as our first week of training came to a close. This got me thinking about fear and how vital it is to have support to help us overcome it. It seems the independent Aquarian in me was slow to realize that sometimes we need help to bridge the mental gap between thinking you can’t do something and believing you can. With the help of a supportive community, we can fill that gap.
It also etched into me a lesson I hope to remember as a yoga teacher, to sense when a student is dealing with fear issues and to provide them the support to help them overcome it, just as my classmates have done for me. And perhaps even more importantly, to apply this same lesson in life every day.
This article originally appeared in Elephant Journal on May 16th, 2010
Almost every day, millions of us wander into a crowded pub where just about everyone we know (and some we’ve connected with but haven’t yet met) are all waiting for a chat. Sometimes its invigorating; sometimes its aggravating, and its often overwhelming. Of course I’m talking about Facebook. And its no small thing these days since if it were a country, Facebook (with over 400 million users), would rank third in population behind China and India.
For some yogis and yoginis, who are striving to be open to the universe with peace and compassion, Facebook can be irresistible. Its like having pen pals all over the world without having to wait for a letter in the mail and the chance to share so many thoughts and ideas can be very enriching.
Like so many people, I was ambivalent at first but, as it is with so many yoga enthusiasts, a strong desire to connect drew me in. Before long, I was re-connecting with people I thought I’d never see again, including relatives as well as old colleagues and classmates. Of course thrown into that mix were ex-girlfriends, bullies, and people who previously wouldn’t give me the time of day but suddenly wanted to “friend” me. How to respond?
Of course this wonderful open world of Facebook is not without a darker side. Some people I know use an alias to avoid being tracked down by an old stalker while most people are careful about the details we share on our info page. I’ve seen a Buddhist friend in Texas shouted down by her family for “not following the way of the lord” and seen people “drop” each other over a disagreement in political views. Last fall, I even had a long-running debate over health care with some conservative cousins in North Carolina but we never let it deteriorate into name-calling or negative feelings about each other.
If anything, Facebook puts our relationship with the world under a magnifying glass and one thing is for sure; whatever baggage you already carry – you bring it with you. How much about ourselves do we share? Who do we open up to? How open are we to other ideas? Do we see the world as full of potential friends or creepy people who will do us harm? Which feelings rule our universe; happiness and joy or fear and insecurity?
A few months ago I wrote about living your yoga in the face of fear and anger but how do you live your yoga on Facebook? How do you take it off the mat and onto your laptop?
When you see the pictures of your friend’s recent trip to Maui, do you feel jealous or are you genuinely happy that they got to have that experience?
Take a look at your own recent posts on your own “wall” – are they boastful, positive, negative, mean, kind, or fun?
How do you respond when a lonely friend or acquaintance is reaching out to you? Do you take the time to respond or do you ignore it and get on with your day?
How do you deal with someone you barely know reaching out to connect with you? What about someone who bullied you or ignored you in the past?
These are questions we all seem to grapple with and how we respond can tell us a lot about ourselves.
Let’s say you accept the “friend request” from someone you hardly know or who used to barely acknowledge your existence. Some people will then write on that person’s wall “thanks for the friend request…” as if to tell the world (in a very fifth grade note-passing kind of way), “hey look everyone, she asked to be my friend!” Instead of feeding the ego, how about just a nice “Hi, I’m glad we’re connected now?”
It seems many yoga people like to connect with each other but not everyone does. As Candice Garrett, a yoga teacher and author in Santa Cruz, CA found out: “I used to request more people…other yoga teachers and authors, until I got a few snarky letters demanding to know who I was, or why I wanted to be their friend.”
Sure, some people are mobbed with many friend requests (or have gone to a fan page) but few reactions are quite as unkind as the “do I know you?” response, especially from another yogi or yogini.
And what about those annoying “I just sent you a Teddy Bear” posts that seem to show up like bad wallpaper? I’m sorry but however well-intentioned, these just don’t seem like a genuine attempt to connect but look more like spam. You can always block these applications and if it gets really bad, you can consider setting up your page so that only you can post to your wall (but others can always respond to what you post).
A big question for many people is, after years of having so many walls between family, friends, work colleagues and others is how the dynamic changes when they’re no longer so compartmentalized? Your relationship with each of these people was once quite unique and if they’re all part of your Facebook posse, how well do they mix?
You may be quite open and accepting but what if one of your relatives decides to tear into something a friend wrote on your wall. Of course this puts us in an awkward spot because the last thing we want is to be forced into is a situation where we must choose sides between friends and/or family (no matter who was “right or wrong” in the situation). As some people have found out, its often their own family members who turn on them for the views they post.
Of course these are great opportunities to work on our peacemaking skills and try to bridge the gap. That said, if this happens too often and it can’t be rectified, perhaps the best way to keep the peace is to have separate accounts so your worlds aren’t so intertwined.
Perhaps most importantly, how do we respond to someone in need? We saw many people on Facebook raising money to support Haiti and Chile in their times of need but what about that lonely friend or acquaintance who just needs someone to chat with?
While I’m not the biggest fan of the chat feature, it does seem to be an amazing way to help someone deal with loneliness and depression or (as I spent over an hour on Friday night) someone with a broken heart. To me, this is social media at its best; opening channels between people when a real connection is what someone needs most.
And its not just those who are lonely and depressed who need us but sometimes it’s a friend facing a challenge who needs that little bit of extra wind at their back. It doesn’t matter whether you’re interviewing for a job, having a baby, or teaching your first yoga class; having that Facebook cheering section behind you sure can’t hurt.
And despite all of the wonderful doors that something like Facebook can open, its perhaps good to remember that outside your door is an entire world of people also looking for a connection, in person. Taking it off the mat and onto Facebook is great, but its even better to take it off the mat and into the rest of the world.
This article was originally published in Elephant Journal on March 9th, 2010
For years, I’d thought about attending a yoga festival, but for so many reasons, wasn’t sure if I would fit in. Was a six foot 2 inch, 220 pound guy bendy or enlightened enough to fit in among all of those blissed-out yogis and rock star teachers?
So many yoga festivals seemed so far away; on either coast or on an island, and always in a five star hotel, not to mention the hefty registration fee. Yoga festivals and conferences seemed so inaccessible, I wondered if I’d ever experience one.
So it was late last spring while surfing the internet for an excuse to go back for a visit to northern Arizona that I happened upon an ad for the first annual Flagstaff Yoga Festival. Here was an approachable, grassroots festival with a reasonable price in a town I loved. Best of all, a big chunk of the festival proceeds were going to the Sierra Club and toward building a new Waldorf school in Flagstaff. Something just clicked in me—I had to go.
Just over 10 years ago, I rediscovered yoga while living in Flagstaff. I was looking for a way to improve my climbing and find more balance in life. It didn’t take but a few classes with Ulla Lundgren at The Yoga Experience to give a name to what my mother had taught me as a young boy; yoga. As the years passed and I bounced around from place to place, yoga ended up overtaking climbing as my main passion in life. So, a yoga festival in Flagstaff would be a homecoming of sorts.
Last summer, while driving across from Albuquerque I did get a little nervous, wondering again if I would fit in but, once back home amid the tall pines and clean mountain air, those concerns disappeared. Everything about the Flagstaff Yoga Festival seemed almost purposely designed to say “welcome all!” The event was held in a Waldorf school where you laid your mat down in elementary classrooms amid an atmosphere of early learning and discovery. Any apprehension I felt quickly melted away as the playful and unpretentious vibe of the event, not to mention being around hundreds of like-minded people, made me feel right at home .
Sure, there were no “rock star” instructors but it was like going into one of those Nashville cafes full of amazing musicians you’ve maybe never heard of – but won’t soon forget. Everything from the opening ceremony featuring Revital Carroll’s stunning Odissi dance to Tom Beall’s insightful Yin Yoga to Aubrey Hackman’s joyful Jivamukti classes (to name a few) made me wonder why I’d waited so long to attend such a festival.
And during a Thai Yoga Therapy class I discovered that I was not the only big guy grooving to the yoga vibe when I met (and partnered up with) the 6’7” Dan Gottlieb, a Phoenix/Detroit based yoga teacher better known as Yoga Dan. It was nice to know that if a former Arizona State basketball player can fit in, so can this broken down old climber.
“This was exactly the kind of atmosphere we tried to create, where people can get into their own experience,” said festival organizer Laura Brown in describing her vision for the sold-out event.
So now, having finally attended a yoga festival, I’m filling my calendar with more of them, especially the grassroots events like the Telluride Yoga Festival (July 8th to 11th), the World Peace Yoga Festival (October 21st-24th) and of course the Second Annual Flagstaff Yoga Festival to be held July 30th to August 1st. Sure, someday I hope to attend one of those fantastic big festivals sponsored by a well-known yoga center or magazine, but for now I’ve found my home (and so can you).
Photo: Rob Dutton
This article originally appeared in Elephant Journal