Archive for October, 2013

Desk Stretch Your Way Into Wellness at Work

Feeling tired at work?  Unmotivated?  Stiff? Lacking good posture?  Desk stretches are the perfect mini-breaks to sprinkle through your day.  Try these desk stretches to get you feeling energized, focused and clear.

Desk Stretch #1  

The Neck Stretch: Sit up tall in your chair and slide your right hand, palm down, under your right buttocks.  Let your left ear hang towards your left shoulder and release your left arm towards the ground.  In this desk stretch you can play with the positioning of your chin (in towards your chest, up towards the sky) to get at different parts of your neck.  Explore what’s right for you.  5-10 deep breaths, then switch sides.

 

 

Desk Stretch #2

Desk Cat/Cow:  Push your chair back about a foot from the desk.  Place your hands on the desk and have both feet rooted to the ground.  On the inhale, arch through your spine lifting your chin towards the sky.  Energetically pull on the desk to allow for more length through your spine.  On your exhale, press the hands down on the desk as you round the upper back towards the sky and tuck your chin in to your chest.  During this desk stretch synchronize your movement with your breath.  Inhale, arch and lift your spine.  Exhale, round and tuck.  Repeat 5-10 times with long deep breaths.

 

 

Desk Stretch #3

Wring out the Wrists: Stand up.  Place your fingertips on the edge of the desk and allow your wrists to draw towards the floor (this may mean bending your knees or leaning into the desk). Do this for 3-5 deep breaths.  Next, place the backs of your hands on top of your thighs with the fingers facing up.  Draw your arms closer to your body as you stretch the tops of your wrists. Do this for 3-5 deep breaths.  To finish this desk stretch, shake out your hands vigorously!  Keep shaking, it’s moving useful fluid into your joints! Do this for 30-45 seconds, then release your hands.

 

 

Desk Stretch #4

Forward Fold: Sit up tall in your chair, with the chair 2-3 feet back from the desk, or turned to the side.  Feet plant hip distance apart, arms rest by your side. Reach your chest forward beyond your knees, resting your torso on your thighs (or as close as you get) and releasing your head and neck.  For a more intense version of this desk stretch, widen the legs and release your torso between your legs as far as feels comfortable.  For an even more intense version of this desk stretch, stand up and move to a wall.  With your heels and buttocks as close to the wall as possible, reach the chest forward as you release the head, neck and torso towards the ground in a forward fold. 3-5 deep breaths in whatever version is right for you.

 

 

Desk Stretch #5

Backbend: Sit up as tall as you can in your chair.  This backbend can vary based on height, so notice if it helps to sit up on a pillow or a book (or two!).  Ideally, the bottom of your shoulder blades are at the top of the chair.  Hold on to the sides of the chair, or place hands on hips as you extend the spine long and bend back over the top of the chair. Be mindful to keep your low belly strong during this desk stretch to protect your lower back. Notice if it feels okay to release the neck, or if it feels more supportive to keep the neck engaged.  If this desk stretch doesn’t feel quite right, you can always stand up and find a standing back bend by engaging through the core, and then lifting and lengthening from the upper portion of the spine. 3-5 breaths at a time, repeat 3 times (or more for extra energy).

 

 

Desk Stretch #6

Seated Twist: Sit up tall in your chair, finding as much length in your spine as you can.  Twist to the right first, placing your left hand on the outside of your right knee.  You can bring the right hand to the back of the chair and press gently into both hands to get even deeper in the twist.  Stay for 3-5 breaths, and then switch to the other side.

 

 

 

 

 

Taking just a few minutes to breath and move the body in a desk stretch can reset your workday and reboot your whole system!  Let us know how it goes, and if you have a favorite desk stretch to add to the list!

 

Posted on: October 30th, 2013 No Comments

Where to Practice in Denver: Find the Denver Yoga Studio For You!

As yoga studios are popping up around the city, it can be
challenging to narrow the best Denver yoga studio for you. Here is our list, in no particular order:

 Samadhi Center for Yoga  

This studio is a personal favorite on the Denver yoga studio list
not only because I teach here, but because this studio has a lot to offer.  Samadhi has a schedule packed with a
large variety of yoga classes. If you are new to yoga, the very friendly and
knowledgably staff at the front desk are happy to help you find the best yoga
class for you in their comprehensive schedule.  You will be welcomed by a strong feeling of community (after your free week check out the $8 community class every Saturday at noon for a low cost way to practice!). This Denver yoga studio’s popular yoga teacher training program is highly ranked and gives this studio the feeling of a school. Samadhi does have a strong focus on
spirituality, which is a wonderful way to keep yoga rooted in its tradition,
but can be off-putting for those uncomfortable with a heavy Buddhist and Hindu
presence. Overall, the yoga is fantastic, the teachers are outstanding, and the
community is welcoming.  Oh and
don’t forget to check out the fantastic boutique!

For more information on this Denver yoga studio, check out
their website:  www.samadhiyoga.net

Kindness Yoga Studios

Kindness Yoga is another Denver
yoga studio with a great feeling of community and a strong variety of wonderful yoga
events and classes to check out. There are four yoga studio locations in
Denver, so you have access to your yoga package or membership in different areas
of town. The newest location is above a wellness center focused on integrative
health.  The Capitol Hill location is entirely donation-based, so pay what you can (a great way to maintain a practice and relationship with a studio, within your budget). This Denver yoga studios
offer a variety of classes, for a variety of levels and has a convenient
schedule with classes at all times of the day.  There are also a variety of teachers, spanning both the
traditional yogic philosophies and more modern approaches.  At Kindness you can truly find something
for everyone at this wonderful studio, including a free week to see what it’s all about, free community classes to keep it going, and an entirely donation-based studio!  This Denver yoga studio does a great job of making yoga accessible to all.

For more information on this Denver yoga studio, check out
their website: www.kindnesscollective.com

CorePower Yoga Studios

CorePower yoga studios have
a strong following of committed practitioners and for good reasons.  While the studio can be referred to as
the gym of yoga and tends to catch a lot of heat from the traditionalists out
there (no pun intended but these classes are heated to about 90+ degrees), this
studio is top-notch for efficiency and convenience. Class times are nearly
every hour and the studios have nice locker rooms with showers to get you
moving right back into your day. These studios bring yoga to the masses, often
with fun upbeat music and flowing high-paced sequences. With multiple locations
around Denver (and the country for when you travel!), you can always find a
class to fit your schedule. Expect a hot class with mirrors and the evening
classes are usually packed tight. All classes tend to flow off the same type of
sequence, so when you show up you know what to expect and can dive right in. Don’t
forget your towel!

For more information on this Denver yoga studio, check out
their website: http://www.corepoweryoga.com

Harmony Yoga Studio

Harmony is for both the
traditionalist and one seeking a light flow or restorative/therapeutic style of
yoga. Their aim of staying true to the roots of the practice is reflected in
this Denver yoga studio. Coming off an injury, pregnant, or new to yoga and
intimidated about starting, this is the place for you.  The warm and nurturing environment is
inviting to all practitioners, and the teachers do a great job of welcoming all
levels into their classes.

For more information on this Denver yoga studio, check out
their website: www.harmony-yoga.com

Breathe Yoga and Cycling Studio

Looking to get a good sweat on before cooling down with a yoga
class, here is the Denver yoga studio for you. Right on Colfax, Breath Yoga and
Cycling offers spin classes upstairs and yoga classes in their basement. If
your interest is just in yoga, this studio may not be your first pick. But if
you like to cross train and move from high-paced cardio workout, into a more
meditative yogic flow, this is a great studio to invite both workouts. While
the yoga happens in a basement, they have done a wonderful job at making the
basement feel cozy and calming. 
This is a great studio for those who feel a yoga membership alone might
not cover their athletic needs. 
The fabulous teachers have great body awareness particularly regarding
cross-training.

For more information on this Denver yoga studio, check out
their website: http://breatheyogacycle.com

Root Yoga Studio

This Denver yoga studio is located on the happening Platte
Street. Inside you will find beautiful plants, wood floors and an exposed brick
wall. It has an earthy but urban feel to it with a great sense of community. While
this Denver yoga studio has a large presence of Forrest yoga, they also offer a
variety of classes, at a variety of levels (and a free community class on Saturdays!). Classes do vary according to
instructor, so make sure to ask around for suggestions and explore different
instructors during your free week!  

For more information on this Denver yoga studio, check out
their website:  http://www.rootyogacenter.com

The River Power Vinyasa Yoga Studio

This Denver yoga studio, commonly called The River, is new
to the Denver yoga scene but has fast developed a strong sense of community.  Celebrating its one-year anniversary
this weekend, the River has an exquisite space that invites a deep exhale as
soon as you walk through the doors. 
The River primarily offers all-level power vinyasa yoga classes, with a
few beginning level classes, and a newly added restorative class.  The classes are physically challenging,
but maintain the mindfulness of a traditional yoga practice.  Some teachers use music, others
don’t.  You will find both playful
and fun classes, and deeply meditative practices.  Ask around for teacher recommendations if you have a strong
preference, otherwise it can be nice to invite in both styles to your personal
practice.  This Denver yoga studio
offers a nice balance of styles (including some yoga-cross classes with the fitness center in the back), AND offers kids classes through Yoga for Young
Warriors.  So, if you have a little
one (or two), bring them along and they will probably rock a crow pose before
you!

For more information on this Denver yoga studio, check out
their website:  www.weseektheriver.com

The Yoga Mat

The Yoga Mat is a small and personal neighborhood studio in
the upper Larimer district, close to LoDo and Five-Points.  With exposed brick and a door directly
into the studio, this Denver yoga studio is a welcoming spot for those new to
yoga, or just hoping for more personalized instruction.  Classes tend to be small and intimate,
and the teachers are both alignment-based and traditionally mindful, while
sometimes adding in a playful touch.   There are between 2 and 4 classes a day, so check the
schedule to make sure class times will work for you!

For more information on this Denver yoga studio, check out
their website: www.ontheyogamat.com

Enjoy exploring the yoga community in Denver. There are
wonderful studios and great instructors here in the mile high city. Most
studios offer your first week free for Denver residents. Start the week when
you know you will have time to take a good amount of classes and get a feel for
the community, teachers and styles offered. Once you find the right yoga studio
for you, it can very quickly become your home away from home, your support
network and motivational community.  And note, 90% of the work is getting onto your mat!  Enjoy! 

(To find Workplace Evolved teachers at Denver yoga studios, here’s
what you need to know! Sarah Teddy teaches at Samadhi and Root, Dia Draper
teaches at The River and Kindness (and occasionally Samadhi), Kiayan Reuter
teaches at The River, Kindness and The Yoga Mat, and Denelle Numis will be
teaching at the newly opening Yoga Pod—we’ll get you information on this
Boulder studio as soon as it lands here in Denver!)

Please post questions and comments about your favorite Denver
yoga studios below!

 

Posted on: October 18th, 2013 No Comments

How Dreamers Stay Present: 5 Tips to Move Forward & Be Here Now

Do you ever get so distracted by what you don’t have yet that you forget about what you do have?  As humans, there will always be the next thing.  We constantly want to move towards something, and often make our happiness dependent on that something.  We have dreams, hopes and expectations.  And yet, all we ever have is NOW.  Presence doesn’t mean ignoring the future.  And having dreams doesn’t mean ignoring the present.  Here are some tips to stay engaged and excited about moving towards your dreams while still experiencing appreciation for the present moment:

  1. Make Peace With Where You Are NOW.  Sometimes goals can be another way of saying “If I get X, then I will feel Y”  For instance, if I become successful, then I’ll finally be happy.  Find the peace now.  Once you’re goal doesn’t carry the weight of who you could be, it gets to be an adventure!  And adventures are fun!  With twists and turns and unexpected moments that add to the experience rather than take away from it.
  2. Be Flexible With the Direction.  We always want a direct route to exactly what we want.  But break down the essence of what it is you want– want a relationship?  The essence is love.  Allow the direction to flow easily towards the essence, allow surprises to delight you, and allow yourself to zig and zag without feeling lost or off-path.  Turns out, you’re always on the path.
  3. Celebrate Small Successes.  We usually remember to celebrate the big deals.  But what about the “small” deals?  Share successes with friends!  Toast with champagne!   Smile big!  Live in each moment.  Enjoy each step on the path the same way you will enjoy reaching the big goal.
  4. Keep Reminders and Notes of Encouragement Around.  Post-it notes full of love and support.  Outlook reminders to check in with smaller goals.  Inspirational quotations on your bathroom mirror or computer screen.  Keep images of your goal next to your bed, so the first thing you seek when you wake-up and fall asleep is your dream.  Visioning and believing that you will achieve your goal has a powerful impact on success.  Let your dream be an active part of your life now.
  5. Once a Week Sit & Imagine.  This is actually great to do every day, before you start your day.  But at least once a week, sit and imagine what it feels like to be there.  Really feel it.  Live in it, for at least 5 minutes at a time.  Practice being there.  This keeps the dream alive as you move towards it, and keeps you present in this moment with contentment.

Remember that happiness is not a product of anything.  It is inside of you regardless of how chaotic the external circumstances of life seem.  Stay focused on your dreams, but don’t get lost in them.  Dreams don’t come true someday, they can only come true now.  So pay attention!

 

Posted on: October 3rd, 2013 No Comments