Therapeutic YogaTherapeutic Yoga Night is held monthly at Luma Yoga.Therapeutic Yoga blends restorative yoga (supported postures), gentle yoga, breath-work, hands-on healing, and guided meditation techniques to create a gentle yet powerful practice designed to bring the body into balance and reduce stress. This nourishing extended practice is designed to support you in activating your innate "relaxation response", freeing you from the chronic "stress response" that so many of us get stuck in day after day and in addition promoting self healing.Therapeutic Yoga releases fascial constrictions resulting from tension, injury and scar tissue, with the potential for very deep release. As we open and release physical blocks, we allow our bodies to function optimally, leading to the following benefits:
- Improved posture
- Fuller expansion of the lungs
- Increased circulation
- Healing throughout the body
Yoga for Swimmers and SurfersAre you in search of a routine to complement and balance your surfing or swimming activities? Yoga for Swimmers and Surfers is a regular class taught by Amanda at several locations around San Francisco. All levels of yoga, surf and swimming ability are welcome. If you like to surf or swim then you probably know yoga is one of the best activities you can do to enhance your ability in the water. This extended class is specifically designed for the needs of ALL swimmers and surfers - rippers, long-boarders, beginners or pros.Whether it's noodle arms, tight shoulders, a sore back, getting out of breath or staying focused that is your challenge, yoga is an all round physical and mental preparation that will help with all these aspects and more!Come along for a good stretch and a great strength and balance building workout. Learn how to stay limber and focused on your board or in the pool. Get tips for pre-session warm ups and post-session muscle releases to prevent injury and correct imbalances, lengthening your sessions and reducing recovery time.No time for yoga? Yoga will give you MORE time to do the things you love, helping you nurture your natural flexibility and strength so you can swim or surf stronger and longer, and for the rest of your life! Excerpt from Interview with Ren Volpe:How can a yoga practice help/affect one's surfing? Being active is just a part of maintaining a healthy body. With a car you need perform routine maintenance to ensure that your engine is running efficiently and any small amount of malfunction is not causing any unnecessary damage to other parts of the car. The body is the vehicle that transports us around all day long. It is important to check back in with the body on a regular basis, ESPECIALLY if you are active and doing a lot of miles! Repetitive movements and heavy usage of particular muscles and muscle groups leads to muscle tension and imbalances in the body. Imbalance leads to injury. Being sensitive to these imbalances at an early stage means you can redress the imbalances simply and quickly before it leads to something more chronic and debilitating, keeping you out of the water for long periods of time. Who wants that! Injured (scar) tissue gets tighter to protect the body, as we get older the same thing happens. Everyone gets old and so everyone will experience individual challenges whether they are aware of them yet or not. Some of those challenges that you may be aware of are: sore back muscles, tight hips and hamstrings (both of which can result in low back pain), shoulder injuries, neck stiffness and soreness (can lead to headaches), getting out of breath, lack of confidence, panicking! Yoga is going to help you with all of this and more. I say why not establish a way of making sure you stay limber and conditioned as you get older - right now. Don't wait any longer. Preserve the flexibility and strength you have now and maybe even improve on that to enhance your ability in the water. By helping you to surf better and pain free, yoga will add to enjoyment of surfing. This joy and happiness has been known in quite a few cases to eventually spread to all areas of your life! Has your surfing affected your yoga practice? My overall core strength and balance has become stronger every day. I feel like I have much more control over the board while riding. Paddling back out after catching a wave and being ready to catch the next wave right away is now also an option! I feel my focus and mental strength in challenging situations has improved immensely. My lung capacity has improved and I hardly ever seem to get out of breath, even after getting stuck on the inside after a big set of close-outs! I can surf longer sessions without getting tired and the next day I am ready to go again. With a daily yoga practice, double and triple sessions are also doable. This is especially useful when on a surf vacation! I love the way yoga helps me surf better. I feel more confident to go out in bigger waves and crowed breaks as I know I have the strength to deal with holding onto my board when a big set breaks outside or to maneuver myself out of the way of a fellow surfer. The other day I had a nice reminder of how my yoga practice has helped my overall fitness and mental strength when my leash broke and I had to swim to shore. I seemed to be filled with a strange sense of ease and calm as my body and breath linked together and got me safely back to the beach to retrieve my board. Slightly unfortunate that I then dropped the board on my foot walking down the beach as my hands were so cold! Yoga helps me really share the joy of surfing with others. My practice helps me find contentment and get out of the water when I have had my share so that I don't overdo it and get injured. Through a continued practice in understanding unity and connectivity, I am learning not to be so "wave hungry" and share waves with others! How is yoga for surfers different from regular yoga? We focus on releasing the muscles used repetitively in the sport of surfing, especially the muscles used for paddling, popping up. These includes chest opening exercises to release the pecs and lats and low back and neck stretches to release tension from constantly being in a back bend and looking up while paddling. Stretching tight shoulders and subsequent strengthening and stabilizing of the shoulder joint is also a big area to focus on. Without strength in the shoulder joint this complex area of soft tissue is left unstable and through repetitive use is left wide open to injury. We work on releasing the hips and hamstrings making it easier to sit up straight on the board and preventing poor posture, which leads not only to back strain but also shallow and inefficient breathing. We work on improving lung capacity for those long underwater hold-downs, balancing poses to help with a centered stance, flexibility to help with fluid motion of the body whilst riding the wave and big wipe-outs and not forgetting mental strength to help with staying calm and focused in challenging situations in order to maintain proper breathing and the ability to make good decisions. These are just some of the ways that a practice can be tailored to meet the needs of a surfer! Do you recommend different asanas for pre-surfing and post-surfing? A few Sun Salutations are a good warm-up before a surf as they are designed to gently move the spine in all directions to get it mobile and limber. The sequence also improves circulation and gets blood to all the major muscles of the body so that you are ready for action. Plough Pose or Downward Facing Dog are excellent for after surfing to release tension in the upper back from paddling. If someone only had 5 minutes on the beach before surfing to stretch, what would you recommend? I would say do some shoulder and triceps stretches like Eagle and Gomukasana followed by a wide-leg forward fold (Prasarita Paddotanasana) to release the hamstrings coupled with a twisting of the spine by taking one hand up to the sky and one hand down to the sand. Focus on lengthening the spine in every stretch especially when folding forward to take the spine out of compression. Always focus on long exhales to release the tension when stretching and never over-stretch. Perform a stretch to the point where you are feeling enough sensation that you are not bored and it captures your attention but not so much that you feel overwhelmed and in pain!Do you practice any stretches/positions ON your surfboard? On the board I like to stretch the triceps, deltoids and release tension in the rhomboids between the shoulder blades. Come to the workshop to learn how to do these! I also like to fold forward and touch my toes to release my back and hamstrings, but this is only really possible on a long-board!What, if any, are the similarities between yoga and surfing/being a surfer and a yoga practitioner? Both yoga and surfing can create a focused and clear mind. A deep level of one-pointed concentration is the key to success in both. Both are a form of meditation, an exercise in letting go of the thinking mind and allowing the body and breath to be in the moment. This elicits the "relaxation response" which then brings the parasympathetic nervous system into play and puts the body into a state of healing. Which is why tend to feel so good after both! When we surf or practice yoga we are connecting to the natural world. We are playing with the cycles of nature in the body and breath and in the ocean's energy arriving at the shore. Just like the sea humbles us when we surf, a yoga practice can also do the same. When it does I think we are putting in the right amount of effort, testing the boundaries, trying new things without fear, but at the same time respecting our edges. Just like surfing, yoga helps you find your edge and expand and grow from that place. I feel expansion and growth is key to living a fulfilling life. I love the way I can constantly work to transform myself into a healthier, happier person from practicing both yoga and surfing. Is doing a little bit of yoga better than none at all? Yoga is therapy, a holistic healing discipline. Asana and Pranayama (breathing practices) were traditionally prescribed in the form of a 5 or 10-minutes a day treatment by a guru/teacher for their student/patient. I am a firm believer that it is better to do 5 or 10 minutes a day of being present with your body and remaining completely focused during that time rather than stressing out over carving out time for a 2-hour class once or twice a week. The body needs yoga on a daily basis. It's like brushing the teeth, a daily ritual that's easy to fit in. As adults, in a constant state of degeneration,I am sorry to say, whether active or spending many hours sitting, driving or working on computers we all need to perform regular spinal hygiene to slow down the aging process and maintain a healthy spine, body and mind. Are teachers offering yoga classes specifically designed for other sports besides surfing? I have read articles on yoga for golfers, climbers, cyclists and rowers. The is keys for athletes is to notice what muscle groups and joints they are using repetitively and work to strengthen the tissue to create stability and release tension built up from over-use in these areas. This is especially important if the movement is unsymmetrical. Balance in the body is key to maintaining good posture and preventing injury, uneven wear and tear of joints, muscles, ligaments and tendons. Anything else you want readers to know about you, yoga, surfing, etc?? Come and practice with me! I would love to share what knowledge I have that might help you surf longer, stronger and for the rest of your life!