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Spinal Twists

Headstand Twist

Headstand Twist

By Mark Goldstein

The wettest part of the rainy season is upon us now, and I thought it would be good to focus on cleansing. Even though it can get quite muddy during our rainy season, this time of year does serve a purpose to both cleanse and feed our environment.

Coincidentally, so do Spinal Twists in our yoga practice. Imagine that you are washing a very dirty towel out in the sink. In order to get it really clean you will need to let it soak to loosen things up. Next you might lift it out of the water and wring it out a few times by twisting it. Twisting the towel squeezes out all of the dirty water, and then when you replace it back into the warm soapy water, cleansing water will be absorbed to clean the towel more thoroughly. Perhaps if youʼre not in a rush you will soak it and wring it out a few more times. This very much what we are doing with our spinal twists. Yoga is everywhere, isnʼt it?
Playa Yoga

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Partner Yoga

Thai Massage

Thai Massage

By Mark Goldstein

For many of us, yoga is a deeply personal experience. It is always a great yoga class when we are able to climb deeply into our own bodies and really experience the postures, nothing beats that……except maybe one thing……bringing someone else along.

When we partner up with another person, we can go even deeper into our poses and the entire yoga experience. Our yoga partner can be another student in the class, an instructor, or a Thai Yoga Massage therapist. Whoever it is, when someone else is physically helping to guide you into a pose, you will be able to go deeper and more fully into your postures.

Playa Yoga

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Giving in, not giving up

Uttanasana

Uttanasana

By Mark Goldstein

There’s a huge difference, right? As a yoga instructor, I can’t imagine that I would ever advise a student to give up, on the other hand, I whole heartedly encourage them to give in every once in a while.

This month we will be focusing on forward bends. In yoga, a forward bend can be seen as a pose of submission. Conversely, a pose like Warrior is seen as an aggressive posture. Both concepts are important aspects of life, but I imagine that many of us may have a harder problem with the submission aspect.

I think that I speak for many of us living here in Costa Rica as expats when I say that our expectations of how things can be done, are often met with challenges, that our usual way of going about achieving things here in Coat Rica can be a very different experience from what we have been used to most of our lives.
Playa Yoga

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Cobra and Upward Facing Dog

Cobra

Cobra

By Mark  Goldstein

This month I would like to present two yoga poses to open your heart. Specifically Cobra and Upward Facing Dog.

We will be practicing these postures in each one of my yoga classes this month, and I encourage you to also include them in your own practices at home. A pose of the month gives those new to yoga a chance to try a new posture. For the seasoned yogi, I hope that it will serve as a chance to revisit and fine tune the basics of these postures. If we get to practice together for the entire month, then we can plan to experience a deepening and advancement of the poses as we go.

Both Cobra and Downward Facing Dog are commonly part of a sequence that we practice in Vinyasa Flow yoga that is called a “ Sun Salutation”.
Playa Yoga

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Eka Pada Rajakapotasana or Pigeon Pose

sport-yoga-pigeon-poseBy Mark Goldstein

May’s Pose of the Month is Eka Pada Rajakapotasana, or Pigeon Pose.

This pose is a wonderful hip opener, because of that it can help out many types of lower back pain. As a massage therapist, the most common issue that I hear from clients is regarding back pain. Of course it can feel wonderful to have some great massage strokes done to your back when you are in pain, but, I find that whether we are healing through massage or yoga, that we always need to address the front of the body too in order to really make your back feel better.

As you will see, Pigeon Pose is a great way to do this through yoga.
Playa Yoga

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Breath and Movement

By Mark Goldstein

Many, if not all styles of yoga integrate breath into their practices. I teach the Vinyasa Flow style of yoga, and we link breath to each movement we make. There are quite a few asanas, or yoga poses, that can illustrate the experience of linking breath with movement, and this edition’s pose of the month is really a pair of poses named Cat and Cow.
Playa Yoga

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Inversions

scorpionBy Mark Goldstein

It’s March, and a few days ago the Northern Hemisphere will be experienced it’s spring equinox, when Winter begins to turn to Spring. Many of our visitors are here from the northern latitudes, and have been going through a long cold winter. The arrival of spring launches growth and new beginnings. Many of you reading this are ex-pats from up north, and have experienced huge changes by relocating to Costa Rica. This brings up this month’s subject and pose of the month. Change: how to create it, embrace it and how to use yoga to make it more meaningful.

Playa Yoga

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The Tree Pose

tree poseBy Mark Goldstein

I’d like to present an important concept from yoga, one which I encourage in every pose that we practice. There is not really a name for this concept, rather a description.

It can be summed up as: “In a pose, what parts of my body do I need to use, and which ones can I let go of?”

When practicing yoga, many people seek, and achieve, improvements in their physical bodies: six pack abs, less fat, more muscle, increase in flexibility. All of these are great goals, and can look and feel great as you achieve them. Many of these results come when we use our muscles, and burn calories. That’s fine, however, that’s not really where the “yoga happens”.

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Why Practice Yoga?

By Mark Goldstein

MeditationWhy practice yoga? Because you will feel better.

Practicing the type of yoga that is right for you will improve your life. Some enter a yoga practice in search of physical improvement, and some are searching for a deeper spiritual involvement. Many find their way into some of both. It is truly unimportant what physical shape that you are in, or whether or not you believe or disbelieve in any type of higher power. All that is important to practice yoga is showing up on your mat and letting your practice unfold.

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