The Yogi Test Lab: Homemade Facewash and Toner

The Yogi Test Lab: Homemade Facewash and Toner

From our labs to yours, here are your yoga teachers’ top natural lifestyle hacks! By Becky Paris, with contributions from Amy Rizzotto When I first took the leap into full-blown hippie lifestyle about 5 years ago, I made the decision to cut out any extraneous harmful chemicals and toxins I was applying to my skin. I switched over to making safe and comforting face and body products from scratch. I’m no Martha Stewart, so when I realized this was as easy as it is, I was hooked. This was great for my desire to limit certain products from entering my body, and it was pretty great for my wallet, too (y’all face products are EXPENSIVE), but I had no idea the overall improvement this switch would make in my life. Since I was young, I’ve had very *very* dry skin. I’ve had doctors tell me I needed medical creams to keep my painful, itchy skin tame. I’m talking the kind of skin that when it gets cold and dry will crack open and bleed. So, when I gave up on all the creams, lotions, and “moisturizing” soaps in favor for an entirely homemade skincare regimen, I was shocked to find that TAH-DAH!!! all of a sudden, my skin was not just absorbing less toxins, it was kinda soft and silky and nice. Teacher and co-owner Amy Rizzotto has combination skin. And her experience, while coming from another angle, wasn’t too different than my own. She struggled with skin issues through her teens and twenties, trying just about everything to keep her face looking clear and bright. In the past,...
Pose of the Month: Ardha Chandrasana – Half Moon

Pose of the Month: Ardha Chandrasana – Half Moon

By Jess Gruber Confession: When I first started practicing yoga, I absolutely hated this posture! I couldn’t balance, I didn’t have enough strength to lift my leg, I kept collapsing. Whenever the teacher cued it, I felt an unsteady sensation in my stomach, my jaw would clench, and my body would stiffen. Over time, I grew stronger in postures like the warriors and lunges, more flexible in wide legged forward fold, and more balanced in tree pose. Now, this is one of my favorite postures – it’s so dynamic, provides the ability to move through a variety of transitions, and no matter how many times I’ve practiced it, it’s still challenging. If you’ve been to my classes, you’ll know that this posture is a staple of my All Levels Classes! We play with transitioning in and out of this posture, consider the lines the body is making, all while elongating the body and allowing the breath to wave through the body with ease. Let’s try it! Grab a block, find an open wall, and take a few breaths or wiggles to open your breath and body in preparation to try something new/challenging! Step 1: Come to the wall and take a forward fold with soft knees and your right side against the wall. Take a few breaths here.   Step 2: Take a halfway lift with a strong core, elongated spine, and strong legs without locking your knees. Place the block in front of your right foot and bring your right hand to the block so that your wrist is underneath your shoulder. Creating strength and stability in your...
Exploring the Eight Limb Path of Yoga: The Yamas, Living Yoga

Exploring the Eight Limb Path of Yoga: The Yamas, Living Yoga

By: Juliana Cole – Living Yogi, Yoga Instructor, Studio Manager at Yoga Heights   Hello Yogis! Thanks for tuning in again as we continue our discovery of the Eight Limb Path of Yoga. In this post, we will look more closely at the first limb: the Yamas. Last month I mentioned that I’d be writing about the Yamas and Niyamas in this post but as I dive into writing these posts and attempt to make them engaging and not overwhelming, I keep pulling back on adding more content. So I have split this post into two: this month you’ll get the Yamas & next month, the Niyamas!   Quick review – the eight limbs or stages of yoga are all about the practical application of yoga. What is the goal? BLISS, self-realization! You know, that glimmer that you have felt when you’re on the mat or out in nature where you get the sensation that you are one with everything. Maybe it appears more as a feeling of peace or a gentle quiet sensation or freedom from the things that otherwise make you feel restrained or conflicted – all of that is yoga and the journey to that oneness is also yoga.   We start here with the Yamas. The Yamas and Niyamas can be considered the ten ethical principles with which we guide our thoughts and actions; how we treat ourselves and the world around us, so to speak. Instead of thinking of these as a list of characteristics that you should emulate, think of these as descriptions of what you already embody that you practice to fine-tune...
Pose of the Month: Sirsasana – Headstand

Pose of the Month: Sirsasana – Headstand

by SADIE LEIGH Hey pals! We’re here today to discuss one of my favorite poses to practice and to teach – sirsasana! Sirsasana is the Sanskrit name for the headstand. In this entry, I’ll go over how to work towards this pose in your practice, but first, let’s go over WHY this pose is so wonderful.   Known as “the king of the poses,” headstand can seem scary, but it’s actually one of the most attainable inversions out there! And it offers so many incredible benefits. Here are just a few of the reasons to incorporate the headstand into your practice. Like any inversion, sirsasana offers a literal change in perspective. Sometimes if I’m stuck in a rut or having trouble coming up with a solution for an issue, it helps to get upside down, and just look at things a little differently. Unlike other inversions, headstand is a cooling posture. At first, getting into this shape might feel quite challenging and effortful, but after practice, you’ll find you can stay in the pose, and actually relax, quiet the mind, and settle. In fact, this pose can become so calming that it can actually help with things like anxiety and insomnia. The pressure on the top of the head stimulates the pituitary gland, which regulates and informs several vital functions in the body, including growth, blood pressure, metabolism, and certain functions of sexual organs (I visited my pal Wikipedia to refresh my memory on this one!) Increased circulation and heart health! When you’re standing or sitting, most of your body is below your heart, meaning that your circulatory system...
Exploring the Eight Limb Path of Yoga: An Introduction

Exploring the Eight Limb Path of Yoga: An Introduction

By: Juliana Cole – Living Yogi, Yoga Instructor, Studio Manager at Yoga Heights   Hello again, Yoga Heights Yogi! First and foremost, thank you for reading! This is the first of a series of five posts that I will be writing exploring the Eight Limb Path of Yoga, so here we go!   Before we get started, it’s important to answer the very basic question: What is Yoga? Yoga means many things and presents itself in many ways. The beauty is that whatever you glean from the word yoga, you are right…and there is more of that! Most of us in the western world think of yoga as a physical practice, the Asana (poses). I think you would agree that in your practice of the Asana, you find a calming of the mind, or at least a reduction of stress. You hear your teacher talk about quieting the mind, focusing the breath and allowing your practice to be a moving meditation. That’s what I focus on when I practice the asana. If you come back to the mat, it is most likely because you have found that sensation of release from the stuff that clouds the mind on a daily basis…and you want more of that. Well, you are figuring out what yoga is all about. In a very basic and simple explanation, Yoga is the study of the mind.   Yoga has such a rich history, much of which was unwritten and only passed on through spoken word, and can be traced back almost 6,000 years. The codification of yoga, so to speak, came out in the Yoga...