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Moon Salutations, Chandra Namaskar

Kneeling warrior

Kneeling warrior

 By Mark Goldstein

Many who practice yoga are familiar with a series of posture we call “Sun Salutations”. This set of postures includes our Warrior poses (see Quepolandia article Warrior Pose November, 2011).

In many cultures the sun is seen as a very male energy, and is linked to things that are more aggressive and forceful. The moon on the other hand is regarded as a female entity and is described having a more gentle and yielding force. Sun salutations are very common in yoga, you will encounter them in almost any class that is practicing a form of Vinyassa Flow, Hatha or any other type of active yoga.

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Cat and Cow: Bringing Fluid and Fluidity to Your Spine

Cat

Cat

By Mark Goldstein 

After sitting in stillness, and setting our breath for our yoga practice, I almost always begin our yoga class with these two postures Cat and Cow. Practicing these poses, which really turn out to be movements, we experience and accomplish many things. 

First, and foremost, they just feel really good. Let’s take a look at how we are doing these poses, and then talk about the wonderful benefits. 

Playa Yoga

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Float Your Boat

Assisted Half Boat Pose

Assisted Half Boat Pose

By Mark Goldstein 

May is here and that means the arrival of our long awaited refreshing rains. Our rivers and waterfalls will be filling up again, and many of us will be heading for the beach as we have some extra time now that our busy season has ended. So, what to do with our yoga practice during this time of abundance of water, and shedding of clothes as we head for the beach?………..yes, it’s Boat Pose! 

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Don’t Do Yoga With Me

Yoga at homeBy Mark Goldstein

Don’t do yoga with me.

Well, please do, I will love to have you join us! My point is to ask you to do some yoga on your own. Having your own yoga practice, away from class, is often the key to forming a lasting and progressive yoga practice. Don’t get me wrong, I prefer to practice with a group, along side others. As well, I love to teach and have a deck full of students.

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Headstands

By Mark Goldstein

headstandThis March, our pose of the month here at PranaVida wellness is the Headstand. If there are two things that we all did far more as children, they had to have been somersaults and headstands. This month I’d like to offer to all of you the opportunity to revisit your childhood headstands. 

As always, in yoga, there are plenty of variations for this pose and with that in mind, anyone can practice one form or another of headstand. Why do headstands? Well, first because anything that we did as kids for fun has to be good for us to embrace as adults again, right? 

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Yoga is a pain in the Butt!

King Pigeon Pose

King Pigeon Pose

By Mark Goldstein

This month we are concentrating on your periformis muscle, your back pocket muscle, your pain in the butt muscle. Why? Because it feels so good to stretch and release this muscle. and opening up this muscle can have a huge effect on your life. 

Have you ever had sciatic pain? That pain that can go down the back of your leg? It can hurt so bad that all you can do is lie down. Some people get sciatica it so bad that lying down hurts almost as much. The muscle that is the cause of this pain is very often the periformis muscle, and coincidently, the cure to this issue is opening up this very same muscle. If you have sciatic pain, then opening up this muscle can help. If you don’t have sciatica, then these poses and stretches can help greatly to keep you out of this crazy amount of pain. 

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Bakasana, the Crow Pose

crow pose

Crow Pose

By Mark Goldstein

I would like us to focus on a pose this month which will be a challenge for us all. The pose of the month is Bakasana, in English known as Crow Pose

Bakasana is an arm balancing pose that all of us can do, that is, as long as you are willing to try, willing to fall, and willing to have fun. If you are are in, then I will love to have you join us as we explore this challenging pose in our classes this month. I find that challenging ourselves can become a very humbling, building and achieving experience, and always worth our efforts. 

Playa Yoga

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Restorative Yoga

Legs up the wallBy Mark Goldstein 

If there is anything close to “winter” here in Costa Rica, it is this time of year. It is our rainiest, muddiest, and least busy time of the year. You can find us making more soups, and baking and roasting more of our foods. This is partially because it is our cooler and stormier season, and also because we have more time on our hands. This is also the time when we can get the things done that we didn’t have time for during our busier season. As well, this is our greenest time of the year, and the plants seem to grow right before our eyes. If we decide to, we can take this time to restore ourselves, bringing back our equilibrium, our balance. 

This article is about restorative yoga. You can see in the photos that restorative yoga poses look very easy to do. Well they are. They are also very powerful when approached correctly. 

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Yoga and your Inner Barbie

Barbie Foot

Barbie Foot

By Mark Goldstein 

Like a long, strong dancer……

I’ve used this description many times while teaching yoga. More exactly, I will say, “More like a strong dancer, and less like a body builder.” Think about it, imagine in your mind a beautiful ballet dancer, man or woman. They are elegant and strong, often peaceful and powerful at the same time, and they are effortless and liquid in their movements. As well, ballet dancers are asked to make themselves as long as possible, therefore, “a pointed toe, is a pretty toe.” Chances are if you look at their faces, their features are smooth and relaxed, and there is intention in their expression; a certain amount of concentration. 

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Creating Space

By Mark Goldstein

When was the last time that you said to yourself “It will feel so good to shrink things down, to compress my body, to squeeze things shut” ? Maybe you have, but I doubt it.

In retrospect, what do we all do after sitting at a desk to long, or after riding in a car or airplane seat for many hours?

Quite often we stand up, put our hands on our hips, push our hips forward and send our shoulders back and then probably make a nice long releasing sigh.

Right? This is good, this is great, this is…..wait for it….this is a backbend!

This is extending the spine, this is opening up the spaces between our vertebrae, this is creating space.

July’s pose of the month is the backbend.

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To Flow or not to flow, that’s the question?

By Mark Goldstein

The answer is; Absolutely, definitely. Yes. Flow!

After all, when you think about it, the opposite of flowing is stopping, or worse yet, stagnating, and we surely would not want that to be a part of our yoga practice. This month’s yoga pose is more of an intention then an actual pose,  it is to flow, big time. All this month in my classes we will focus on finding our flow in our yoga practices in a number of ways. The style of yoga that I offer to my students is named “ Vinyassa Flow Yoga”, and many styles of yoga also make use of this concept. What is this flow you might ask?

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The hardest most important pose in all of yoga

shivasanaBy Mark Goldstein

We were in Shivasana at the end of a yoga class recently, and because it is the dry season, the waterfall next to our yoga deck is running much softer now. With the music off, the sounds of the surrounding jungle settled in, and the slow steady sound of falling water became a mesmerizing force that set us deep into our final pose of the session. Shivasana. 

Shivasana, or corpse pose, is our pose of the month. There is not a lot of technique to discuss for this pose. For the most part you need to lie still and let everything fall away. 

Playa Yoga

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Becoming Lighter

Plank Pose

Plank Pose

By Mark Goldstein

Becoming lighter is something that many people are obsessed with. As long as we are referring to the shedding of extra pounds, then doing what you need to reach your optimum weight can be a very healthy endeavor. However, that’s not what this months article is about, it is, but it isn’t. 

February’s pose of the month is about being lighter in our bodies while practicing yoga. More specifically, it’s about squeezing in to go up. 

What goes up? Light things. How do we go up, or become lighter in yoga poses? We “squeeze” in, in a yoga way.

Playa Yoga

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Something New

Try Something New Every Day

Try Something New Every Day

 By Mark Goldstein

Decide right now that you will try something new today.

O.K., did you do it? Did you commit to yourself that you will try something new? It could be anything, anything at all. If not, try again. Did it? Good.

Maybe you’re reading this on the publishing date, January 1st. 2012. Or maybe you’re reading this as a back issue in June. It doesn’t matter. Try something new today.

Playa Yoga

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Warrior Pose

warrior 1

Warrior 1

By Mark Goldstein

It’s November now, and hopefully the rainy season is behind us. Now is the time for those of us that live here in Manuel Antonio to get ready for our upcoming busy season. There are moldy things to air out, supplies to gather, and people to welcome right around the corner. It’s time to climb out of the mud and charge forward!

This month’s pose of the month: Warrior Pose.

Playa Yoga

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