Restorative Yoga

Restorative yoga balances a fast lifestyle and has this amazing ability to heal physical and mental, stress related  symptoms.

As our lives run in a fast motion, our minds tend to follow at twice the speed.

Restorative yoga balances a fast lifestyle and has an enormous capacity to heal physical and mental symptoms that are stress related

Restorative yoga practice is a phenomenal way to help to anyone who suffers from is chronically illnesses or  is on the road to recovery from some injuries.

Benefits of Restorative yoga

The beauty of Restorative yoga is that there are no muscular contractions involved.

We believe we have to “work” to increase our flexibility (problem), but often we achieve opening in parts of our bodies by slowing down and relaxing (yes,it is possible) than through an active asana practice. During a Restorative yoga sequence, you still stretch, but you relax fully in the stretch so that tension can slowly be released. (Even the sound of that seems relaxing.)

Due to the relaxation of the mind and the body, we also create a space where we can get in touch with our compassion and understanding of ourselves as well as those around us.

 

Restorative yoga benefits

  • Enhances flexibility (This benefit is number 1 on my list)
  • Deeply relaxes the body (Flip, we all need this on the daily)
  • Stills the mind
  • Improves capacity for healing and balancing
  • Balances the nervous system
  • Boosts the immune system (No more being a sick puppy, *cough cough* sick cat)
  • Helps you improve your compassion and understanding of yourself and those around you.
  • Enhances mood states (men, take note)

 

Foam Blocks and restorative Yoga.

Slowing down in Yoga? Is that a thing? Is that even beneficial?

*sigh* Yes, otherwise I wouldn’t be making such a big deal out of this blog post!

After you experience the phenomenal renewing and relaxing feeling of restorative yoga poses with a block, you – and your body – will fall in love with restorative yoga, I mean FALL IN LOVE.

Below I’ve attached a link to an amazing 17-minute restorative yoga sequence to get you comfortable with using a yoga block. It involves stretching, lengthening, breathing and renewing.

And in all of this, lets not forget the true meaning of yoga

The true meaning of Yoga is to experience union. To see through the illusion of being a separate being. To see that we are all pervaded with and made out of the same energy, which is the ground of all being.

I hope that I have motivated you to take the time out to practice Restorative yoga. Especially if you are the type that feels you rather do something active, because you don’t have enough time. You will benefit most …

Restorative Yoga is considered to be one of the most advanced forms of yoga, as it requires a great deal of introspection.

Yours truely

C.

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Meet February’s Yoga Teacher of the Month : Tarryn James

The Yoga Journey all began back in 2013.

Tarryn walked into a Vinyasa class at her local gym with the aim of gaining flexibility, and instead, when she walked out she had gained something else. ( Not weight, keep reading)

She left the studio with much more than a stretch – she left with a sense of discovery, a drive… a curiosity, so she continued to practice yoga through her days at the University of Pretoria, at the gym and following YouTube videos. After years of playing sports such as provincial touch rugby and university hockey, she knew her body needed a change, and Yoga gave her that sense of change.

Tarryn found comfort in the practice of yoga.
It was the only place I could turn to in difficult times, when anxiety struck and when I didn’t quite feel like myself.
It was the place where she could find herself, yet lose herself at the same time.
Tarryn completed her Yoga Teacher Training in 2016 and has not stopped learning since. As a qualified Occupational Therapist, her knowledge of injuries and anatomy has helped her to treat every student as an individual..
One of Tarryn’s many other passions lies in Musical Theatre. As a singer, dancer and actress, she is always fascinated by how yoga has helped her grow; in her physical, mental and emotional self. The holistic approach of mind, body and soul is always the focus.
She has a passion for developing the yoga community and started the initiative Yoga South Africa to build awareness within her country. Yoga South Africa has grown tremendously and she couldn’t be more proud to be involved with this community.
And I think I can speak for us in the community, we are super proud to have YOU in it! I mean damn! ( I think I need to diversify myself a bit, clearly i’m slacking! )
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Lets see what we spoke about?
Trust, you’ll be as blown away as what I was!
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1. Tell us about your practice style and how you chose your Yoga method.

My practice is mostly in the style of vinyasa. I like to keep a strong basis on alignment as well as bring a bit of playfulness through arm balances and inversions. I think my style is largely influenced by my first yoga teachers, who presented a strong yet thoughtful flow. I really focus on bringing in creative sequencing that allow my students to become completely mindful when they move through the postures. I have always liked to try different styles and have practiced ashtanga, bikram and yin yoga. I do believe there is an importance in bringing variety into your practice – mixing it up between strength and flexibility, fast and slow etc. Some days I like a very challenging power yoga class and some days I just spend it in longer yin yoga poses. Variety is key and I think it is important to allow your body to experience those different styles of yoga.

2. What is your mind-set when you step onto the mat?

It varies so much. Most of the time when I DON’T feel like stepping onto my mat, is the time I usually do. While teaching yoga and balancing the other demands of life, it becomes tricky to dedicate time to my self practice. There are days when I am super motivated to practice, to learn and to challenge myself. But on other days I need something a bit more restorative, a place to just breathe and relax. Stepping on to my mat is like coming home. I have always said that yoga is a way of finding yourself, yet losing yourself at the same time. Whenever I feel worries, or stressed, or overwhelmed; I practice. When I am happy and excited, I also practice. There is never a non-yoga moment, and that’s what I love about it.

3. What led you to become a Yoga Teacher?

I had been practicing yoga since my varsity years, while I was studying Occupational Therapy at the University of Pretoria. While completing my community service year I had the drive to keep learning, and I knew a natural progression would be to do my teacher training. I was interested in developing my own personal knowledge when it came to yoga, but I also wanted to share my passion with others. At that stage, I was practicing yoga with Eon Swiegers, who I regard to be one of the best teachers in South Africa. When I found out he was offering a teacher training it was as if the universe had just aligned 😉 I signed up immediately and I am so grateful to have done my training with someone that I have the greatest amount of respect for. I look forward to advancing my knowledge and skills and hope to complete my 500hour teacher training one day.

4. What was it like teaching your first class?

When I was completing my teacher training, Eon (my trainer) had suggested we started teaching as soon as possible. I started offering free classes in my house for some of my friends. It was such a wonderful way to learn. The environment was so supportive and welcoming – and fun being with all my friends! To see them grow in their practice was so motivating and that is when I knew that being a yoga teacher is such an honor. After I qualified, I started teaching at studios and that’s when I started becoming nervous! Although intimidated, I was confident that I could offer something new to the students. I always strive to be approachable and welcoming in my practice and have found that that has led to me connecting more to my students. I have only been teaching for 18 months and each day I learn. I still make mistakes in a class but that’s how you grow as a teacher.

5. What insight have you gained whilst teaching yoga?

Wow – so much! Each day I am learning. I consistently try to attend classes in new styles, with new teachers. The best way I learn is from experiencing. Cape Town has some of the most amazing teachers and by simply attending one class, there is so much you can take from it. I also do a lot of YouTube yoga videos with international teachers and it is interesting to note how they teach differently or what they offer. When I am doing self-practice, I try to be more mindful about what my body is doing – and I use that to instruct and cue when in a yoga class. On more than a physical level, I have learned the importance of meditation and mindfulness. As someone who gets easily overwhelmed, I look forward to those moments of stillness where I can just turn inwards. Meditation is something I really only became comfortable with once becoming a yoga teacher. It is a skill I am still working on but it is so rewarding.

6. Has Yoga changed the way that you connect with your body?

Yes. Yoga has taught me a lot of self love. It has taught me to appreciate the space I am in, without any judgement. I am in aware of all the amazing things my body can do, that I try not to waste time on thinking about the negatives. Yoga teaches you to honor your body, your breath and your mind. For many of us that is a challenge. I struggle with it too and that is why it is such a long journey. I am constantly working on self-awareness and acceptance and yoga is a big part of that.

7. What is the most rewarding aspect of teaching Yoga?

The release. My favorite part about teaching a yoga class is seeing everyone come out of savasana with those look of complete rest on their face. Every now and then you might catch a little smile. That look of complete joy, ease… release. I live for that moment at the end of the class. I also enjoy the little moments of progress in the students. I love watching how each person grows in their progress- whether its achieving a new pose they never thought they would be able to do. Or even just the belief that they start to develop in themselves. People arrive on their mat each time to honor their journey. Whether its something physical, emotional or spiritual – there is always something that they are learning and I am so grateful to be a part of their journey,

8. Has Yoga changed your day to day lifestyle?

Definitely. Since becoming a yoga teacher, I practice a lot more. Sometimes I teach 3 classes a day and will still try to include a self practice. The feeling that I get from spending time on my mat completely changes my attitude for the rest of the day. Some days I get to start the day with a 15 minute meditation, other days I only squeeze in a practice in the afternoon. For those moments in between I try to bring yoga into every day moments; deep breaths, practicing patience, being mindful… I try to live yoga on and off the mat.

9. What advice do you have for students who are intimidated by difficult Yoga poses?

Patience. These days it is so easy to get caught up in the idea of “what yoga is supposed to look like”. We are constantly seeing instagram photos and yoga videos of amazing bodies doing all kinds of weird and wonderful things with their body. It is important to note that that is not all what yoga is about. Yoga is about doing what YOUR body is able to do. It is about challenging yourself within same parameters, in an environment that you feel comfortable in. It is important to find a studio or a teacher  that you really resonate with. By starting off with a beginners class, you will learn the basics and start feeling comfortable with Sanskrit (yoga terminology), your body, as well as a class environment. I started yoga on YouTube and found that was great for me. Some people need more guidance and that is also OK. It is important to highlight that yoga is not a spring, its not even a marathon, it is a way of life. Postures will happen when your body is ready for it. So while you get there, breathe and enjoy it.

10. One piece of advice do you have for aspiring Yoga Teachers?

Self Practice & Give your all. In each class I strive to give my very best to those students. Even when I am tired, or frustrated, those students have taken time out of their day to practice. In respect of them, I try to give them the best teaching I can. Focus on each student as an individual and guide them through. That is why they are coming to your class – to learn, to be guided, to experience your teaching. I try my very best to meet each person on whatever level they are at and work through their journey with them, at their pace. Self practice is so beneficial to you. Once you start understanding your body in yoga and build up your observational skills in a class, then you will be able to incorporate this into your teaching. Self practice facilitates learning, and continuous development and stimulation is important for a teacher.

11. What is your favorite food?

Peanut butter for sure!! Since becoming vegan about 2 years ago I live off of this. Peanut butter on toast, in smoothies, by the tablespoon… everywhere. I cant get enough <3

12. What is your favorite Quote?

“You will get there when you are meant to get there, and not a moment sooner. So trust your path, breathe, and be patient”

“Happy teachers will change the world” – Thicht Nhat Hanh

“Always be a work in progress”

“Everything you need, your courage, your strength , compassion and love, everything you need is already within you.”.

AM I RIGHT OR AM I RIGHT?

This woman is bloody amazing!

Oh and Tarryn has the cutest Doggo ever!

 

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Meet February’s Yogi of the Month : Carmen van Reenen

 

Accountant by day.  Yogi, photographer, wife and cat mom by night.

She loves movement. Yoga, dance and even running.  She loves challenging herself.

Best of all, Yoga and dance have always been a part of her life and her journey will continue on.  Carmen has  completed a 250hour vinyasa teacher training in 2012 to deepen her yoga knowledge.

Besides that she even has a passion for anatomy and is looking to further her studies in this field, as she is fascinated by the human body and its capabilities. Needless to say Carmen has definitely caught our attention!

Being a photographer , Carmen loves outdoor scenery, the beach and the ocean. And as a photographer, she is fond of capturing the beauty of others and to show them a side of themselves they hadn’t seen.

“The asana of yoga is so beautiful to me as a photographer.”

Given this small amount of information, we were already falling in love with this woman, and were at the edge of our seats to find out more! ( I’m sure you are too! ). So we conducted a interview with Carmen:

 

1.Tell us about your practice style and how you chose your Yoga method.

I started out with straight up Hatha.  That’s going back to my teens.  I eventually found Vinyasa yoga which I was drawn to because of my dance background, I love the flow.  I couple of years ago I stated practicing Ashtanga as well.  I enjoy the “discipline” of this style and I also feel like it helps develop your practice no matter which is your “main style”.

2. What is your mind-set when you step onto the mat?

Honestly just taking a time out for myself.  I have a busy lifestyle and even if I can only get a twenty or thirty minute practice in, I have to have it.  Wanna see me in a bad mood?  Mess with my yoga time!

3.Besides Yoga, what other forms of exercise do you enjoy participating in regularly?

I regularly attend Zumba classes to get my dance on.  It’s nice to just shake it out once a week and maybe even have a laugh at yourself.  I did a lot of running at a stage.  I pulled back from it a lot because of how it tightens your hips and hamstrings (a no no for yoga), but I do want to get back into trail running again just with shorter distances and maybe take it more leisurely.

4.Has Yoga changed the way you connect with your body? If so please elaborate.

Oh definitely!   For one thing I’m definitely more accepting of my body.  If I feel good and strong on my mat then I feel good about my body.

5.How has this practice helped you overcome fear?

 Lol, it’s helped me overcome the fear of face planting!  Some of more advanced stuff you can’t do without falling a few times first.  Or at least I can’t.  So I always say you need to learn to fall first.  We can translate that into everyday day life right?  Every day we learn new things and when we fall, we have pick ourselves back up and try again.  I may have gone a bit off topic J

6.Has Yoga changed your day to day lifestyle?

Most definitely!  I always say yoga is a lifestyle!  You just become so much more aware of everything from what you eat to how you treat your environment.   You also start to gain a better perspective of what’s important in life.

7.How and why did you start Yoga?

Going back again to my dance background, there is a bit of a cross over.  And at the same time my grandparent and mom used to do yoga.  My Gran had this book, a 28 day yoga exercise plan that we all used to do yoga from.

8.Are you self-taught? Or who was your greatest mentor/teacher?

Building on how I started yoga, yes I am self taught.  Back when I started practicing yoga there weren’t yoga teachers around.  At least not in the small dorpie I come from.  I’m going back about 20 odd years ago, so you can just imagine.  I used the books I could get hold of and videos to teach myself, but again my dance background helped as there was already body awareness and a bit of alignment and just a certain way of moving built into me.  I had an amazing Dance Teacher growing up.

9.What advice would you give to a beginner Yogi?

Keep showing up every day.  Get on your yoga mat every day, even if you don’t feel like it.  Do as little as ten minutes.  Chances are ten minutes will quickly turn into twenty or thirty minutes, and if you still aren’t feeling it after ten minutes, that’s OK because you showed up!

10.What time of the day and where do you feel most relaxed?

I think at the end of day.  I mentioned I have a busy schedule so it’s all go, go, go from the moment I wake up, so at the end of day I can relax.  Although I have a regular home practice, my weekly Ashtanga class is also a place to relax and escape from everyday life and technology.

11.What is your favorite food?

Um, pizza J  I love a good wood-fire pizza.

12.What is your favorite Quote?

Something my Ashtanga teacher Jen says in class which originates from her time with Guruji “Slowly, slowly,  all is coming”.  Life is so fast paced nowadays and we live in the age of instant gratification, so it’s so important to have this reminder both on the mat and in daily life.

Oh and did I mention that shes a CAT LOVER?

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