Sex, Yoga + Being a Rock Star

Say the words yoga and sex together, they might conjure up images of rock stars and tantric sex, but more and more we see the mind body connection seeping into all areas of our physical lives — and the bedroom is no different.

Preliminary research is showing that yoga is a viable alternative to prescription drugs, helping with increased libido, prolonging ejaculation, and enhancing overall sexual performance.

Hell yeah, right?! Try these yoga poses to help increase your rock star status in the sack. 

Spinal Flexion/Extension
Known as cat and cow in yoga classes, these movements draw attention to the hip and pelvis.

Set up on hands and knees. In cat, press through the hands and round the back, paying attention to turn the sitz bones to the back of the thighs. Move into cow, by tilting the pelvis and dropping the belly towards the floor. Repeat 10 times.

Archer + Knee Kicks
Increasing blood flow to the genitals is an important aspect of increasing libido and enhancing performance.

Step the left leg back into a lunge, drawing your right elbow back like an archer with a bow. Your left knee bent to hover over the floor. Push the floor away and step the left knee into the chest as you stand and draw the left elbow back and punch the right arm forward. Repeat 3 sets of 10 on each side.

Supine Leg Stretch
Stretching through the soft tissues of the pelvis and hip can increase mobility and blood flow. And lying on your back and making this a gentle stretch can encourage the relaxation response, allowing the body to ease and release.

On your back, take a strap around your right arch. Extend your left leg and tone your belly. Holding the strap with your right hand, open the right leg to the right side and hold for 10-15 breaths. Bring the leg back up and switch the strap into the left hand. Drop the right leg over to the left, careful to keep the side body long. Hold for 10-15 breaths. Repeat on the other side.

Legs Up the Wall
A notorious restorative gem, legs up the wall help venous return of blood flow back into our body. It will bring the body into the parasympathetic nervous system, which encourages the relaxation response.

Lay on your back with your buttocks towards the wall. Swing your legs up the wall or headboard and relax there. Tight hamstrings? Back away from the wall until you are comfortable. Stay for 2-5 minutes.

Photo: @kcersey
Top + leggings: @kiragrace

Yoga as Medicine?

There is a hefty discussion in the yoga world about yoga as medicine. As accredited teachers through the Yoga Alliance, we are urged to make it clear in our language that yoga is not a prescription, a therapy or a cure. We as teachers are there to facilitate, not to diagnosis or prescribe.

As students, I think we can safely make our own assumptions about what yoga is to us and what it has done for us. And if we are new, we will learn what the practice can do for our body, mind and spirit.

Going forward, our studio is dedicated to bridging the gap with the sciences of medicine, physiology and psychology. We desire to work with health practitioners to create a comprehensive care plan that helps you heal.

As founder and owner of the studio, it is my goal to help you realize the full potential of yoga. Not just as a stretching exercise but as so much more. Our teachers all have hours and hours of study in the science of yoga and we encourage them to keep going.

We will continue to enrich our dedicated staff and arm them with the latest information to help you on your personal journey. We will be working with local health practitioners, building relationships with alternative healers and growing your circle of trust in the local health and wellness community.

Personally, I will be continuing my advanced study with Tiffany Cruikshank and Yoga Medicine, eventually pursuing my 1000 hour training through the program starting in 2017. Though I will keep my Yoga Alliance certification, my goal is to become certified through Yoga Medicine as well. Feel free to take time to read more about this amazing training and it's certifications.

I am dedicated to you, and as teachers, we demonstrate this by advancing our training to be the best that we can be.

With love & gratitude,
Your teacher

New to yoga? Here are some helpful tips for attending your first class…

We have been so fortunate to have so many new yogis join us for class. This is a previously published etiquette list that we thought might those of you who are new and for some who might have forgotten. We'd like to thank Yoga Journal for these do’s and don’ts. We think that it helps foster a stronger community.


Arrive early

Tardiness to yoga class is disruptive and disrespectful to the teacher and other students. To avoid being late, aim to arrive 15 minutes before class is scheduled to start; this gives you time to relax, breathe, and settle in. If you can’t help being a few minutes late, wait outside the class until any opening meditations have ended—barging in and setting up your mat during these times is noisy and bothersome to your fellow students trying to bliss out. We firmly believe that late people are the usually the ones who need yoga the most -- but there is a point where it becomes disruptive to others. We give our students a window. Doors will lock 10 minutes after class begins... please do not knock if you have missed this window. And if you are habitually late, teachers will have to talk with you about a strategy for arriving on time.

Talk to the teacher

If you have any injuries (past or current), concerns or contraindications, talk to the teacher before class. This way, the teacher can recommend variations on certain poses during practice to allow you to reap the benefits without unnecessary strain. Speak up if something doesn’t feel right, but don’t “hog” the teacher during class; if you have lots of concerns, consider scheduling a private session.

Remove your shoes

The studio stays most hygienic if everyone leaves their shoes (yes, even flip-flops) outside the classroom. And pay attention where you’re walking barefoot—it’s a major no-no to tread on other students’ mats.Relish the quiet. A yoga classroom is like a sanctuary—people come here to relax and find peace. Honor this by observing as much quiet as possible: Try not to make distracting sounds (i.e. overzealous grunts and groans). If you want to chat with your neighbor, do so honoring those around you who may not want to chat.

Turn off your cell

Make a habit of doing this before you step foot into the yoga studio; nothing is more grating then the sound of a ringing cell phone during practice. (And few things are as embarrassing as scrambling to silence your phone in the middle of class!) [At Ebb & Flow, we ask that when possible you leave your phone with your other personal belongings at the cubbies at the front of the studios, or better yet, consider leaving it in your car!]

Consider hygiene

Sweat is good—it’s a sign you’re working hard and a healthy way to cleanse the body of toxins. However, if you’re prone to heavy perspiration, bring a towel to class to mop your brow (so you don’t drip on your neighbor’s mat) and wipe up any excess sweat on or around your mat after class.


Skip the scents

Many people have sensitivities to perfumes and scented body lotions; help us keep our studios fragrance-free by avoiding applying any aromatic products before class. If you’re concerned about stink, shower before class and use unscented deodorant.

Keep your belongings outside class
Floor space in a classroom can be limited, so keep your “footprint” small. Limit the belongings near your mat to the bare essentials, going even more minimal during popular classes. : a water bottle, towel, and maybe an additional layer for the relaxation period at the end of class. Leave your coat, purse, keys, cell phone (turned off, of course) duffel bag and whatever else in the designated area outside the classroom.

Wear appropriate clothing
Select clothing based on what type of yoga you’ll be doing, the temperature of the room, and what will be most comfortable for the duration of class. Avoid clothing that is too baggy and loose (which can get in your way during certain poses) as well as clothing that is too tight or revealing—no one wants to witness a “wardrobe malfunction” during class!

Excuse yourself quietly
If you must use the restroom during class, it’s most polite to wait until a short period of rest like child’s pose or between asanas. Excuse yourself quietly, trying not to obstruct other students’ view of the teacher.

Stay ‘til the end
Savasana is a delicious period of relaxation at the end of each yoga class. If you roll up your mat and dash out the door during this quiet time, you’re not only annoying your fellow students, you’re missing out on what is arguably the most essential part of the practice. Forget about the to-do list that awaits you after class, and allow yourself to really sink in to this incredibly restoring pose. Breathe and remind yourself this is why you’re here. You’ll be glad you did!

Clean-up Your Space
Be sure to put any props away where you found them and if you use one of our yoga mats, we ask that you use the cleaner to wipe it down before you hang it back up.

 

Tuition Funding for Liam

Last year, we started seeking to help people who were medically/physically in need of yoga but couldn't necessarily afford it. We are honored and humbled to provide scholarships for yogis in need. We feel like it is our karma work to give back to the community. We started our monthly meditation classes that raise money for monthly expenses and you have been a huge help.

But something has been heavy on our minds... meet Liam. He has worked with us off and on for nearly a year. We just adore him and see such a difference when he is able to do yoga. We'd love to be able to develop a comprehensive care plan for Liam including kids yoga, yoga and monthly private lessons.

FullSizeRenderBut we need your help!

Liam, 10, brings joy to all who know him! He was diagnosed with Juvenile Dermatomyositis [JDM] when he was 5. JDM is an autoimmune disease that affects all muscles in body with weakness, stiffness, and a loss in range of motion.

His activities are limited as sun exposure triggers his JDM so he has to find indoor activities that help strengthen him and make him more flexible. His doctors prescribed him several different therapy options but insurance would not cover the full cost of his therapies and the out of pocket expense was outrageous so his family began searching for other options. This search led to yoga and specifically to Ebb & Flow through his grandmother "Maga" Cathy Warr.

"Yoga opened a whole new world for Liam," writes FullSizeRenderKirsten Warr, Liam's mom. "As a boy who can't play sports and do what most other boys cans do, he was missing the physical confidence in knowing that his body is strong and capable to perform. Yoga has given him that -- he has begun to see himself as strong! When he holds a hard pose or finishes an hour adult class he has such pride in himself."

"Yoga has also helped in his flexibility and range of motion issues," adds Kirsten. "His doctors noticed right away the change in his tightness of calves and heels when he started yoga. Yoga has been an all around gift in Liam's life and we only wish we would have thought out of the box and tried yoga therapy sooner."

We are hoping to raise at least $700 to bring Liam and his mom into the studio for classes for the year!

Can you help us meet and exceed our goal? Every little bit will help! Drop your donation in the jar at the front desk. AND, when you see Liam,be sure to introduce yourself!

Blog: Stop Going for Broke.

I CAN DO THE "FULL VERSION" OF [insert challenging pose here] BUT I DON'T ALWAYS. HERE ARE THREE REASONS WHY...

By Amanda Kaeser

I love seeing how a well structured yoga class can open the body and allow it to do extraordinary things. I love how the practice encourages it's students to challenge themselves in a way that is mindful and respectful of the whole person. I love how each pose/posture/asana is a mini-yoga class inside the larger class in the way it builds and subsides like a wave. I love how a yoga sequence can be like artistry in motion. I love those times when the body, breath and mind are so intricately connected that it truly does become a moving meditation or prayer. I love how a good practice opens not just my body but also my heart and my soul and draws me closer to God.

I also love how yoga challenges me in ways I never would have expected. I used to feel like every time I stepped on my mat, I had to give 150% for every second of my practice. I truly thought that if I didn't do this, I was robbing myself of some enlightenment I would receive through the "full expression" of a particular pose. The more I practice, the more I discover that this misconception has robbed me of a true, authentic practice for me. Most of the time, vinyasa (or power yoga) is what calls me. But not always and even on the days when it does, it doesn't necessarily mean I should come into the "full expression" of every pose. Here are three reasons why:

1. I'm honoring my body at that time on that day.

I know this sounds like a broken record but it really cannot be emphasized enough and just because you CAN do something doesn't mean you SHOULD. So many things can affect the body's strength, flexibility and it's willingness to open. Some of these things include, but are not limited to: your mood, the weather, how much sleep you've had, what or if you've eaten, your stress level, amount of time since your last practice, etc. The list goes on and on. As an example, I am genetically predisposed to have pretty open hips. I love hip openers and always include them in my practice. However, it doesn't always serve me to bring my forehead to my shins in forward fold. Some days, I come into the "full expression" of the pose FOR ME by just coming to where I feel it and breathing. Maybe this means my head is 10 inches above my legs. Remember, your practice is for you and you alone. So honor who you are at that present moment.

2. I'm creating a greater challenge for myself.

Oftentimes, the prep work for a more challenging pose is more difficult than the pose itself. Some days, I need a little extra challenge and foundation work rather than just taking an easy route and popping into a particular pose. Additionally, coming back to the prep work and some of the basics often teaches us something new about our bodies, our practice and emotional state especially after we've been practicing that pose for a while. As an example, when we come into shoulder stand (sarvangasana) during a class, even when we come through plow pose (halasana), we don't always take the time to stack the bones and stack the muscles properly. Plow pose is tough and often we simply try to gloss over it and move quickly into shoulder stand because we haven't taken the time to tuck the shoulder blades under the body and lift the hips directly above the shoulders. When we practice shoulder stand/shoulder stand prep with blankets up against the wall, we can take the time align the shoulders and hips before we even think about straightening the legs. Maybe we don't even straighten and lift the legs off the wall some days because we are focusing just on the foundation of the pose that day or challenging ourselves by staying in plow for longer than usual.

3. I'm teaching myself patience through delayed gratification

We live in a society and a culture where everything is spoon fed to us. We are accustomed to having vast amounts of information at the tips of our fingers. There are apps and shortcuts for almost everything. Don't want to sit in traffic? There's an app to show you the best route to your destination right now! Don't want to read this book? Visit sparknotes.com. Don't want to watch commercials? DVR. The list goes on and on. There is nothing wrong with any of these things. In fact, they probably save us a lot of time to be used on other activities. However, there are no shortcuts on our yoga mat. We are all on an even playing field when we fist come to the mat and we all must put the work in to grow in our practice. Unless we are coming from a gymnastics background, we probably won't get into arm balances right away. But when we do, sometimes the ego can take over. Some days, I don't go into the "full expression" of the pose because I'm teaching myself to be patient and I'm keeping my ego in check. To be completely honest with all of you, my ego LOVES it when I get compliments on my practice. Which is why, sometimes, I hold myself back. The ego hates it when you delay gratification. This is not to say that I am against yoga selfies or students celebrating when they get a challenging pose. Quite the contrary! I think that means you have spent a lot of time on your mat working on your own stuff and you should feel proud of that. It's a balance. Celebrate the breakthroughs and stifle the ego.

7-Day Devotional: Day 7

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“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.” 2 Corinthians 5:17

I want a new heart.  I long for God to take a chisel and begin the great work of chipping away the crusty layers that have accumulated around my heart.  Some of those walls have become mighty fortresses built for self protection and preservation.  Others were laid brick by brick made up of guilt, shame, fear and doubt. The heaviness of these wall often press into my chest and make it hard for me to breathe.

The boundaries of our hearts may protect us from being hurt but they also keep us from living a life of beautiful abundance.  A hardened heart keeps our relationships at arm's length. It keeps us from from engaging compassionately in a hurting and broken world.  It keeps us comfortable instead of vulnerable. It justifies our turning a blind eye to those in need. Over time, a hard heart leads to us becoming dry, bitter and cynical.  Ultimately it depletes our soul.  Collectively it leads to crime, lust, corruption and greed. You don't have to look any further than the daily news to see the profound impact of hearts that have been hardened in this world.

For years I allowed the walls of my heart to keep me from relationships with other women.  Past hurts, jealousy and distrust kept me from enjoying the friendships that God had called me in to. I had isolated myself to the point that I thought I needed to move to another city in order to connect to people who were more like-minded.  After beginning to fervently pray for authentic community, God showed me that it wasn’t “them” it was me.  He led me to a place of humility and vulnerability that ultimately blessed my life with an abundance of rich relationships that I never would have thought possible.

He took my heart of stone and gave me a heart of flesh.  Yes, my heart aches at times when I am disappointed by the human nature of others.  But the raw beauty of these friendships have been a source of strength and support in my darkest hours and have led me to pursue a deeper passion with my Creator.

Our hearts are God’s masterpiece.  It takes a lifetime for the beautiful sculpture to be revealed in the block of stone.  With the tender and careful precision of the Sculptor’s hand, our hardened hearts are transformed to a new and beautiful creation reflecting the image of Christ.