Before we get started, take a look at just a few of the benefits of yoga!
reduces tension in body
provides natural energy
improves body image
creates structure & balance in our daily lives
improves physical confidence encouraging us to pursue other physical activities
provides connection to yoga communities worldwide
Why I started & how it helped me...
When I moved to New York City, life got hectic. I was working at a restaurant with long and late hours. I honestly never had a job that was as physically and, in some ways, sometimes mentally demanding as this. I was young so my body was fine after working 12-14 hour shifts more times than I would have liked; however, being that I was in my 20s, other "life things" were involved as well, like heartbreak, disappointments and being 3,000 miles away from family.
I moved to New York City to continue my vocal training with the BEST opera voice teachers. And after years of training, I found myself in a situation where my understanding of classical voice technique was clear, but my body wasn't in the optimal shape it needed to be in order to sustain the breathing demands required of a professional opera singer. It's then when my voice teacher suggested I try yoga. Although I had taken classes before in California, I was going to attempt to make it more of a lifestyle practice for a while and see if it helped my singing.
Long story short, I volunteered to help out at a studio in return for an unlimited membership and slowly explored the different classes at this, mostly restorative, yoga studio including Yin Yoga, Restorative Yoga, Franklin Method, and Craniosacral Therapy. Most importantly, I got to know my body and was able to practice some mind over matter thinking by learning how to relax and breathe in discomfort. For example, up until the age of 18 I used to sometimes faint if I was in a hot environment for too long or having my blood taken, but yoga taught me how to not panic and breathe if I started to feel light-headed in a certain situation.
Although I use the knowledge of good alignment and anatomy for my own physical well being and those of my students, friends and family, it's the mental and loving aspect of yoga that truly saved me from some very hurtful and stressful situations during a couple of those years in NYC, and THAT is what I hold dear and value about yoga, alongside the physical benefits.
Luckily, YOGA and SINGING (both physically and conceptually) go great together so I have been able to incorporate many aspects of yoga in voice lessons. And just like it was for me, I tend to use yoga practice and teaching as a tool or assistant in relieving stress (or pain), exploring the body, enjoying movement, and lowering or increasing energy as needed. The confidence and good spirit it builds are added natural results once we get comfortable with ourselves and find what works and doesn't.
Thanks to quarantine 2020, I was finally able to get certified nine years after I found a practice that would be there whenever I needed.
YIN (Yang) Yoga
This is a wonderful foundation for those looking to start a yoga practice and in need of awakening and rejuvenating muscles that have not moved much lately, muscles that need constant care/stretching due to our natural build or lifestyle, or for those with rigorous fitness routines looking for something to counteract it. This option can include some flow or not depending on the student's wants and needs. Connecting to the breath during deep stretches will be encouraged as well as awareness during transitions. Wonderful option for those wanting to find more "space" in the body for true stress relief, emotional release, and flexibility/mobility. Excellent for getting to know our bodies, postural awareness, and even mental or emotional awareness if using stillness in held postures for meditation or reflection. Unlike usual yin classes, we will incorporate strength training as well to achieve optimal experience and progress.
- Focus on great alignment (if comfortable with student, I offer all adjustments as needed). Props may be used to ensure best alignment and good yoga practice foundation.
- Pace, intensity and strength training amount will vary with each student depending on their current abilities, goals and preferences.
-Props: strap, band, blocks, barre ball, weights, blanket and sliders.
Chair yoga serves a variety of purposes. Naturally, chair yoga is like yoga with a chair serving as one big stabilizing prop. A chair yoga session is great for those not able, or as easily able, to support their body either due to needing more strength or flexibility, or needing the assistance of a wheelchair. Chair yoga is also a great way to learn many yoga asanas (poses) and become familiar with them before delving into a traditional yoga or vinyasa flow class. Wonderful for those who work in an office and can't quite roll around on the floor, but could use a variety of chair yoga stretches to do during breaks. Lastly, chair yoga provides an opportunity for older students prone to injuries, to get a full body stretch and even build strength.
- Chair sessions are fun in groups.
A highly positive class. This class is a space for kids to explore and express themselves in a genuine, respectful, kind and loving way. A portion of the class will include some fitness to release energy or even frustrations, another portion (or short moments) will focus on some stillness, self reflection and awareness exercises, and sometimes, depending on the class attendance, we'll delve into some safe and appropriate acroyoga (partnered yoga) to encourage community building, positive and compassionate communication and friendship-making skills.
- Some gentle breath work may be introduced to encourage self-soothing practices and inner awareness.
- Respect, healthy choices, joy/fun and honesty are the emphasized themes in class.
This option is one that can be added to any music lessons, serving as a physical warm-up before lessons (option to do after lesson, after some "good work!"). Seen as body and mind preparation (if before lesson) or body and mind "winding down"(if after lesson).
- Highly effective in facilitating the absorption of material.
- Enhances muscle memory.
- Good habit-building for singing and music-playing.