types of yoga styles|yogi surprise

Which of The Most Popular Types of Yoga Is the Best Fit For You?

There are so many types of yoga, it can feel beyond overwhelming

You gotta love how many interpretations there are and all of the various ways we can enjoy and explore yoga. I was really blown away as a new student when I began to delve into just how many schools, styles, and types of yoga there were to choose from. I took the trial and error approach before landing on Vinyasa as my jam.

Luckily we don't have to choose just one style. But most of us determine a preference and pursue it with fervent ardor. Below is a list of the most popular types of yoga and the pertinent deets you need to know.

 

7 types of yoga commonly loved and practiced

Ashtanga Yoga

Ashtanga technically falls under the umbrella of Vinyasa, but it's a set series of postures broken down into primary series, second series, and four advanced series. A set series means you'll do the sequence in the same order every single time.  Ashtanga centers around the sun salutations and it's a rigorous physical practice.

Ashtanga-lovers are often equated to the Type-A personality as lovers of discipline, hard work, and perfectionism.  The further a practitioner gets into this practice, the more wild and complicated the poses become. If that sounds like your bag, Ashtanga might be the perfect style for you.

Vinyasa Yoga

After my first Vinyasa class, I left feeling such a sense of joy because it was so much FUN. Vinyasa means one pose linked to another by breath. That provides tons of room for creative and dynamic flows that will get your heart rate up and stretch and build every muscle, ligament, and tendon in your body.

Vinyasa tends to appeal to the athletic yogi who appreciates creativity and variety. And there's always killer music playing to help the whole experience feel a bit like a dance party.

Hatha Yoga

Technically, Hatha yoga is the umbrella term for all types of yoga that involve movement. But what you can expect from a Hatha class is a slower pace and holding basic standing and seated postures for at least several breaths if not minutes.

Hatha is great for beginners and for those who are looking to stretch but not sweat. The focus isn't usually on building muscle but more on opening up and finding more space in the body.  If you're looking to keep it simple and leave class feeling refreshed and renewed, Hatha is a wonderful choice.

Bikram Yoga

The most controversial figure in the entire yoga realm is Bikram Choudhury, the founder of Bikram yoga. Yet his 26 set posture series with long holds in a room set at a temperature of 106 degrees has prevailed as a very popular type of yoga practiced all over the world.

If you love building muscle and have the attitude of the hotter the class, the better, Bikram might be a perfect fit for you. And you don't want to have to use your hands to balance your body weight, the classic 26 posture series includes no arm balances. So if you're recovering from an injury to your hand, wrist, elbow, or shoulder, this practice is an option as you heal.

Hot Power Yoga

Of all the types of yoga, hot power yoga feels the most like a workout. Music pumping, room set to between 90 and 100 degrees,  and powerful, challenging movements leaving the practitioners drenched and happy as they leave class satisfied they worked their asses off. It's becoming increasingly more challenging to find non-hot classes as more and more students crave and seek out the heat.

Try hot power yoga if you love to exercise, sweating, and are invested in pushing yourself physically.

Yin Yoga

Gooey. That's the word that always comes to mind when I think of or practice Yin yoga. Yin postures are held for anywhere from 3-7 minutes and the aim is to get into the tight connective tissue called fascia. Postures that gently twist the spine, open the hips, shoulders, and hamstrings with the use of lots of props and a restorative approach are what Yin yoga exists to achieve.

Try Yin yoga if you need to slow things down and find more ease and space in your body and mind. It's a kind practice.

Kundalini Yoga

Kundalini yoga is a very interesting practice. And it's a little hard to describe because it's such a unique experience. There's various types of breath work, chanting, mantras, Ayurvedic practices, and moving subtle body energy to increase balance in the central nervous system and create a sense of well-being within.

Of all the popular types of yoga, this is the practice that is most likely going to stay with you well beyond the physical work. Try Kundalini if you're looking to ignite your spirit and work to empower and invigorate your mind.

The only way to really figure out the types of yoga that will work best for you is to try everything

We might be shying away from a particular practice because it's exactly what we need. Or maybe not, but the only way to know for sure is to give everything a try and not assume you won't enjoy it. The joy is in the delving into the unknown. There's so much out there to explore. Enjoy it.

 


yoga music inspiration|yogi surprise

Yoga Music That Will Move You in All the Ways (Song Suggestions Included)

How does one define yoga music?

In my humble opinion, 'one' does not. Yoga music is any music you want to practice to. At home, you have every option. If you love Stevie Wonder, David Bowie, and have even been known to rock it out to Led Zepplin, super duper, crank it up. If it gets you on your mat and helps you harmonize your breath, then it's most def yoga music.

When sequencing music for a yoga class, it's a little more important to consider the tastes of many. I've threatened to teach a class entirely to a Beastie Boys soundtrack, but as of yet, it's just a threat. Choose the music you love that's conducive to movement without being distracting. The music has to arch just as a class does. If you begin your classes with gentle poses and you're moving slowly, the music needs to reflect this, obvi. When you're working towards a more dynamic phase, it's helpful if the music is a bit more upbeat with a faster tempo.

Creating yoga music playlists is an art form enjoyed by many

But that doesn't mean it's simple. I always wind up putting a clunker on the first time around and have to tweak and refine it. It takes time and patience and you don't want to hear the exact same songs in every single class. I've long been a gigantic fan of Thievery Corporation, and they're on almost every single playlist from 2010-17. But it turns out a whole lotta yoga teachers really dig them too. You'll hear them frequently in Vinyasa flow classes. Keep it fresh so it's not a distraction. The idea is to add to the class experience.

If you're looking for some yoga music suggestions, that's terrific news because I have tons. You just might maybe find your latest favorite song to practice and teach with. Music lends itself so hardcore to finding liberation and creativity on your mat. Find your earbuds and get ready to be moved.

  • Horsetown in Vain by Kid Loco. It's eerie, sensual, and will inspire you to discovered uncharted territory on your mat. This is yoga music at it's finest. Put it either at the beginning or end of your playlist if you're using it for a class.
  • You Better by Grenda. This song wasn't a punch in the gut. It wasn't a love tap. It was a wake-up call. The very first note mesmerizes and it doesn't let go. Depending on the type of flow you want, you can put it almost anywhere on a playlist. Maybe it's not a savasana song, but it's a song to rever and it's very yoga-conducive.
  • Nectar Drop by DJ Drez. Such a cool, chill song. But it won't put you to sleep chill. It's definitely a movement song and you'll have a really good time exploring your practice with this one.
  • Ritual Union by Little Dragon. Damn this song is fun. It's catchy and so easy to move to. Put it in the middle when you're really getting into the groove of your practice.
  • Brain by Banks. I love this woman. I love this song. You will feel things, maybe even uncomfortable things. But that's what yoga music does. It gets us out of our comfort zones sometimes too. It can go at the beginning of a playlist if you plan to start with a bit more intensity. But it might be best placed right before you're going to start winding things down.
  • Writing Poems by Ludovico Einaudi. To me, this is one of the most perfect savasana songs in the universe. It's gorgeous, dreamy, and will encourage peaceful feelings. You'll also probably want to play it on repeat for a while.

Enjoy your exploration into the vast world of yoga music. Please add any suggestions you have in the comments too.

 


vinyasa yoga benefits|yogi surprise

Why Vinyasa Yoga is the One for Me

I tried Bikram yoga first. I liked how I felt after, but hated every second of it during the practice. I knew that exploring other styles was an imperative part of my investigation into the overwhelming world of yoga. Next was Ashtanga yoga. I gave it a go, really tried to fall in love. I fell in like, but we were not meant to be life partners. And then, I walked into my first vinyasa yoga class. Oh my.

Vinyasa yoga is my true love

Every single thing about vinyasa yoga spoke seductive, loving truths. I had a seasoned, dynamic, and creative teacher. That really helps, obviously. She wove a technicolor tapestry of flows that seamlessly connected. Feeling that sense of yoga being a dance with intelligent sequencing and enchanting music that made my breath feel as if it were singing along. The excitement I felt floating out of that class was a thrill I still carry to this day. And I know it will never go away.

Because the lure of variety beckons, I'll stray from vinyasa yoga, but I always come back

Shiny and new is enticing. Watching an advanced Ashtanga practitioner will take your breath away. When seemingly impossible feats of the body are performed inches away from you, it's intoxicating to believe that perhaps one day you too could attempt and achieve such intricately executed postures. I used to joke that I'd feel like I was 'pretty rad' at yoga once I could nap with my legs behind my head. Yeah, that's not happening ever. And since we are always changing, my goals for asana have changed in what I find to be exciting and offer value. Ashtanga offers a set sequence but also includes degrees of variety once you get past the primary series and move on to second and third series where you might just maybe land with your leg comfortably behind your head.

vinyasa yoga advanced poses|yogi approved

Actually, Ashtanga is a form of vinyasa yoga. Vinyasa yoga simply means one posture linked to another via breath. It's a very loose, general definition that allows for so much interpretation and deviation. Definitely my kinda of yoga.

I've even tried Goat Yoga

I'm simply saying I'm an open-minded kind of woman. I'll give almost anything a go. Goat yoga wasn't baaaad (I'm so sorry). No, novelty is nice and being with baby animals of any kind (possibly even baby alligators) is sweet and will pull at your heartstrings. There wasn't a ton of actual vinyasa yoga going on, but no big, we had fun.

I've also practiced Hatha, Vin Yoga, Kundalini, Barkan Method, Baptist Yoga, Iyengar, and Jivamukti. You'll discover some merits and benefits from any established school of yoga. It all depends on what your priorities are. The biggest reason vinyasa yoga is so special to me is its lack of rigidity and focus on variety and creativity.

The trend has been towards hot vinyasa flow classes, which means the temperature will be anywhere from 80-105 degrees. Typically, the name of the class will indicate if it's a heated vinyasa flow class. If not, most likely you'll be enjoying the class at room temperature.

It really boils down to personality

Before finding vinyasa yoga, I had to focus on the gifts each different practice offers. And I still do even though my daily practice is vinyasa flow. Try every style there is. Hell, you might even make up your own one day. Depending on your needs, goals, vibe, and disposition, more likely than not a specific style will speak louder and more clearly to you than any other. You can't know without trying as many schools as possible. Experiment with as open of a mind and heart as you can bring to the practice and let your style emerge with a gentle but very obvious announcement heralding its arrival as the one for you.

 


yogi surprise tool box|yogi surprise

All The Reasons Yogi Surprise Helps You Achieve the Practice You Really Need

Yogi Surprise exists to propel your practice

It's our singular dharma. All of us here at Yogi Surprise are deeply passionate about assisting you in enjoying the practice you want, need, and crave to discover on a daily basis.

And because our practice does change, we need various things to keep us focused and motivated. We're different every single day. Actually, if we want to get truly real, every single minute we are shifting. So our practice must reflect this and each carefully curated item included in a yogi surprise box is aimed towards not just improving your practice experience but enabling you to understand yourself, your goals, and what motivates you to both achieve and just simply be.

Yogi surprise is your toolbox

We all need one. Do you remember the first time you ever learned about the yamas and niyamas? I recall vividly thinking, "Where have these simple yet so inherently necessary concepts for living been all of my life?" It changed me. Effective and strong tools do that. Does a crystal have that kind of intrinsic power? It does if it provokes and steers you in the direction of positive thinking and growth.

Variety is everything and discovery is thrilling

The joy of stumbling across a previously unacknowledged instrument for provocation and change is unbridled. Before discovering yoga, I never knew how engaged I'd become with essential oils and their potency to make me feel so damn good. I'm never without one and I love sharing them with students, strangers, and loved ones. We underestimate scent. It has the ability to activate such a variety of emotions, thoughts, and ideas. Essential oils are believed to enhance our health. Ayurvedic medicine has used them for centuries to combat everything from nausea, headaches, and the common cold.

One of my very favorite gifts from yogi surprise came a few months ago. A small singing bowl with its own cushion to rest on showed up and changed my whole approach to a home practice. My partner loves it so much that he signed up to advance his knowledge of the singing bowl practice by registering for a sound bath training program to provide this gift to others. I highly doubt it ever would have occurred to him to explore this as a practice if this simple, lovely bowl hadn't shown up literally on our doorstep.

With just one simple suggestion, your whole life can change

Yogi surprise offers imperative and explorative suggestions in the forms of candles, teas, and chakra guides.  I've been researching the quote, "Wherever you go, there you are." Some sources say Confucious said it first. Jon Kabat-Zinn, renowned mindfulness instructor, has a book by that title. Essentially, we each have this opportunity to offer inspiration to others every second of the day. The more we explore and discover, the more we have to offer. I wouldn't be a yoga instructor if my beloved teacher hadn't suggested it to me. Mala beads are a reminder and suggestion to stay diligent with your practice. Wearing them serves us in the form of a beautiful touchstone. They invite others to strike up conversations. Mala beads have become known as 'yoga bling' but they also signal to others the invitation, "Come talk to me. Ask me about my practice. I want to hear about yours too."

 

Sign up today for your very own monthly yogi surprise box brimming with inspiration and beauty curated with love, affection, and commitment to providing you with all the tools you need to practice.

 


restorative yoga benefits|yogi surprise

Why Restorative Yoga is The Practice We All Need the Most

Let's break down what restorative yoga really means

Restoration means "the act of returning something to a former and improved condition".  It's what each of us needs to be in full command of our lives and selves. When our sense of contentment and well-being are feeling off-kilter, it's time to address what we've been ignoring. Restorative yoga is a highly effective way to do this.

In a restorative yoga class, there are lots of bolsters, blankets, eye pillows, sandbags, and other props that help each of us to receive an assist as we approach each posture with ease and a gentle intention. Typically postures are held for several minutes so the practitioner can fully receive the benefits and dive deep into a relaxed state. Postures include hip openers, shoulder and hamstring stretches and gentle releases for the spine and shoulders.

We are a culture that is highly focused on achievement. For many of us being busy brings us a sense of productivity. But y'all, it's a false belief. We absolutely have to slow down. When we ignore all of the obvious signs we need rest, relaxation, and to do basically nothing, we pay the price.

We get ill. We get ill-tempered, for sure. It's far too easy to convince ourselves that we have way too much to do to take a break and attend to ourselves. But the irony is, if we don't, we'll be out of commission for much longer. Even if we don't fall prey to sickness, the icky sense of being off-balance and inauthentic will creep around to eventually confront us and demand we hear it's plea to take better care of ourselves. Restorative yoga is here to help.

Why restorative yoga could be the answer you've been ignoring

The benefits of restorative yoga are vast. Even if you're typical practice is hard-core heat building and you absolutely love it, you might be surprised just how much you'll eventually adore the permission to chill. By not trying to accomplish anything aside from an improvement in our disposition and a gentler feeling in our bodies, we obtain so much. Here are just a few benefits of restorative yoga:

  • Improved flexibility. As mentioned above, many of the postures offered in restorative yoga classes stretch our hamstrings, spines, shoulders, ankles, and hips with support.
  • A calmer nervous system. When we are breathing deeply and effectively, our entire nervous system benefits and finds more balance.
  • An improved mood. Every single time I make the effort to calm down and slow down with rejuvenating yoga versus my typical vinyasa class, I'm amazed at how much better my disposition is when I leave the class. Everyone walks out calmer, smiling, and overarchingly more relaxed.
  • A deeply relaxed body. If you have trouble sleeping, try a restorative yoga class in the evening. The sense of relaxation will carry with you long after class and hopefully into bed with you.
  • More compassion. Taking care of yourself and being gentle and kind to your own body extends to everyone around you.
  • Stillness of the mind. Restorative yoga works a lot like meditation. If you can't get a handle on the various places your brain just will not stop going, trying a more rejuvenating style of yoga might just do the trick to help you focus and direct your thoughts in a positive direction.

Still not convinced?

If you don't fall in love with restorative yoga the first time you try it, do yourself a favor and give it some time. Go easy on yourself if relaxing feels like the least appealing thing in the world. Many of us can relate to this constant state of movement and accomplishment. The benefits are just waiting to embrace you and send you down the road of rejuvenation.


prenatal yoga considerations|yogi surprise

Prenatal Yoga and Continuing Your Regular Practice While Pregnant

Practice prenatal yoga and keep up your regular practice too with modifications

Yoga is incredible for healing and nurturing ourselves.  By practicing, we create the most hospitable body for our breath to move and flourish. Never is there a more important time to prioritize this than during pregnancy. Practicing prenatal yoga can potentially be one of the best things you do during your pregnancy to keep your body supple, healthy, energetic, and prepared to grow a human being.

Prenatal yoga is a specifically designed practice for pregnant women to both facilitate deep breathing and moving in ways conducive to a growing baby. There are plenty of yoga poses that eventually just won't feel good and won't be a real super idea. More on that below.

Whether you've been practicing for years or just starting a practice because you're pregnant and everyone is telling you to do prenatal yoga, gather your facts so you can make informed decisions.

Before starting any type of exercise or movement program, including prenatal yoga, check with your OB to make sure it's okay

If you get the green light, there are a few crucial things to be aware of while continuing your practice or beginning prenatal yoga classes.

Even though studies have shown that women who do yoga during pregnancy, specifically prenatal yoga, have lower stress and anxiety, less discomfort, and lower incidence of prenatal disorders. It all makes sense.

For women who really dislike the slow pace and gentle nature of a prenatal yoga class, you can probably keep going to your regular class, which is awesome. However, your practice will need to change and modifications will be necessary. Most definitely tell your teacher you are pregnant and ask all of the questions about modifications and concerns. It would be ideal to stay with your regular practice with modifications and possibly open your mind to a weekly prenatal class too.

You'll meet other mammas in prenatal yoga classes who are experiencing similar things and can relate to the shocking changes going on in your body. You'll be encouraged to modify, skip poses, and rest as much as you like. Prenatal yoga classes offer a very supportive, nurturing environment and you really, really do need that while pregnant.

3 things to know and practice while pregnant

  1. Pregnant women should avoid practicing yoga in extreme heat. I know, I know, there is quite a bit of disagreement on this topic. But science says don't do it. There's a myriad of issues that can arise due to extreme heat during pregnancy. A pregnant body experiences more heat dissipation.  Sweating is how we release heat and when the room is hot, the body can't cool down. Prenatal yoga classes are typically set at room temperature, around 78 degrees. The average heat in a hot yoga class is over 100 degrees. Add movement and all of the other bodies producing heat and you have a really damn hot room going on. Joint laxity is another issue during pregnancy. And a hot room only increases joint flexibility so the risk of going too far and too deep are greater for pregnant women, increasing the risk of injury. And then there are dehydration concerns. Advocates say as long as you stay really hydrated it's fine. All we can do is arm ourselves with facts and use our best judgment.
  2. Remember twists and inversions will be waiting for you after you've given birth. These types of postures are not offered in prenatal yoga classes. Inversions can actually change the position of the baby inside the womb. And then there's the risk of failing. Again, there are dissenting opinions on inversions during pregnancy. So if you absolutely love them and don't want to stop doing them, consider using a wall and doing them much less frequently. Twists constrict space in the body temporarily. While pregnant, more space is what's needed, not less.
  3. Your center of balance is going to shift. You can still practice balance postures, of course. But being near a wall for support may be the very best way to get the full benefits of the poses while you're with child. Support is the ongoing advice and theme here. You simply need more while pregnant, so let yourself have it!

Everone agrees breathwork is absolutely necessary. Regardless of what you choose, taking the very best care of yourself you can is the most important thing.

 


tantra yoga defined|yogi surprise

Does Tantra Yoga Promote a Healthy Sex Life?

Tantra yoga: does it really have anything to do with sex?

I'd heard of tantric sex before, but never tantra yoga. It confused me because tantric sex has become a relatively known thing. Still knowing very little about it other than apparently the musician Sting digs it, I knew it had some kind of connection to breath work. But I couldn't conceptualize the connection to what kind of yoga practice it is. So I investigated...

Tantra yoga doesn't have a direct relationship to sexuality

The definition of tantra means to be woven, entwined, and to feel true freedom. This practice stems from Vedic texts that encompass every aspect of yoga to experience the truest reality of oneness and to create a bridge to unite our feminine and masculine sides. That connection between Shiva and Shakti (the masculine and feminine deities associated with tantra yoga) may be where there is a thread linking sexual connection to the practice of tantra. The physical practice often utilizes partner poses. Regardless of gender, tantra yoga addresses the feminine and masculine sides of each of us and how to strengthen the support and connection they offer one another.

More about Shakti and Shiva

Shiva, both the creator and destroyer, represents our masculine energy. Considered one of the most powerful deities in Hinduism, Shiva's third eye is believed to have the ability to destroy all of the evil that exists in the world. Shakti is our feminine energy and yields strength through the utilization of creativity and nurture. Tantra yoga is the embodiment of all that is grace, power, and interconnected within ourselves. Shiva and Shakti are intrinsically linked and their intense power can provide an internal fire that creates unlimited potential and desire.

How tantra yoga can indirectly improve our sex lives

When we feel whole and more connected to ourselves, we have a much greater ability to fully unite with others and invite that bridge through the strength of vulnerability and a willingness to be open. We crave truth and desire to know ourselves as completely as we can. We embrace the notion it will be a life-long quest because we will continue to change. By practicing tantra yoga, we slow down in our physical movements and share them by going at our own pace and exploring our feminine and masculine sides with equal fervor and by allowing another being into our practice space and allowing it to be a partnership.

If an improved sex life is a priority in your life, this might be the practice you've been needing and not even known it. Ideally, this is something you and your partner can enjoy together. Practicing breathwork and partner yoga poses can lead to a stronger bond. Inviting physical pleasure by supporting the exploration of your body at your own pace and simultaneously holding space for your partner to do the same in the pursuit of what feels exquisite and not some ideal understanding of what a posture should look like will prime you to believe that pleasure is a priority and that you deserve it.

There are so many types of yoga out there. It's so exciting to continue to learn more about the vast world that is yoga. Investigate as much as you can. It will only add to your knowledge bank and help you stay the course of discovering your very best life and self.

 


yoga poses for 2 benefits|yogi surprise

3 Big Benefits of Yoga Poses for 2 and 2 Partner Postures That Don't Require Acrobatics

Yoga poses for 2 could be the strategy you've been missing

If you're already an avid yoga-lover and really wanting and wishing that your partner would get more involved, then practicing yoga poses for two people may just be the very thing that makes it happen.

It's not uncommon for one partner to love yoga and the other to feel resistant. The one who already knows just how powerful the practice is and all of the vast benefits it offers is typically really hopeful they can change the mind of the other. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn't. But if you've never tried the strategy of yoga poses for 2, here are some truly sound arguments in support of practicing together that could nudge your resistant significant other or friend in the direction you've been trying to guide them.

Partner yoga is a terrific way to introduce the practice to someone you love

We have many partners in this world. This is a fun, supportive practice that lightens things up and keeps it interesting. Grab a lover, friend, or yoga buddy to experience some truly impactful benefits that yoga for 2 offers.

3 Benefits of yoga poses for 2:

  • Learning that both giving and taking are equally important. I know so many overly generous people who have such a hard time receiving. In partner yoga, it's all about balance and equality. Sometimes you're the support person and sometimes it's your turn to redeem. For those who really struggle with this, enjoying yoga poses for two people will lovingly force you out of your comfort zone and hopefully help you understand both are incredibly important. Experiencing gratitude for the opportunity to understand the pose from both angles is emotionally very satisfying.
  • It's fun, dammit. We underestimate the intense importance of just having a really good time. You'll laugh, you'll get confused, and you'll do it together. Doing yoga with a partner helps each of us lighten up and enjoy the experience for what it is. Find the silliest person in your life and get together spending time doing yoga poses for 2. You'll have a blast and you'll also move your body in delightful and effective ways.
  • It's a bonding experience. If you've already done partner yoga, you know the shared experience brought you closer to your partner. It increases communication because not only do you need to discuss pressure, the amount of twisting, and what's working and what isn't, but you also can cheer the other person on with kind words and appreciation for their help and nurture.

Try these simple yoga poses for 2

Nothing fancy here folks. There are lots of acro yoga classes and workshops out there that you might dig. But if you're brand new to both yoga and the partner yoga experience, keeping it simple at first to get the hang of working with both your body and someone else's is far less intimidating than holding someone up in the air with just your feet to support their weight.

  1. Seated partner twist (pictured above). It feels so good and it's really easy. Sit back to back, nestle in, and align your spines as best you can depending on your height ration. Reach your right hand back for your partner's left knee and place your own left hand on your right knee. Twist on the exhales and discuss if you want to go deeper or if one of you is happy right where you are. Practice coordinating your breath. Go for five breaths, and switch sides.
  2. Partner Tree Pose. There are a lot of variations for this one, but to keep it simple, stand next to your partner, hips touching and each of you raise your opposite foot to the inseam of your thigh or shin. you can bring the arms nearest to one another together or hold hands and. raise your opposite arms. you can also wrap your arms around one another's backs for added support and touch the arms farthest away from each other together over your heads. Play with it. Fall out of it and try again, this time maybe without your hips touching but an inch or so apart. Try it a different way on the other side.

Partner yoga is all about experimenting, connecting, having fun, and practicing more yoga together. Give it a go


vipassana discoveries|yogi surprise

3 Important Life Epiphanies You'll Have During a Vipassana (Silent Retreat)

Even if you're a quiet person, (which I'm absolutely not) it's no small feat to spend a few days not speaking. The value of unplugging and getting quiet is vast and really difficult to explain until you've gone through it. Vipassana lessons abound and don't all unfold in front of you at once. It's an unraveling effect and it will undoubtedly change you.

Whether it sounds like heaven or an impossibility, there are deep healing reasons each of us should consider taking a silent retreat and possibly doing this on a semi-regular basis.

Meditation first

If meditation eludes you, begin there. Start by meditating daily. It allows you the time to get quiet and go inside. Silence is something many of us have to practice to embrace. Once it doesn't feel so foreign, we can be more open to the gifts and lessons offered.

Vipassana, or "to see things as they truly are" is the Sanskrit term for a 10-day silent retreat. If discovering and unearthing your truths is something you know you want and need to do in this life, it's one of the many silent retreat lessons you'll receive.

There is no talking and no external entertainment allowed (phones are turned over upon arriving, no reading materials or music is permitted). The days are spent practicing seated and walking meditations.

Let's look at some vipassana lessons laying in wait

It's normal to feel intimidated or even scared about embarking on such an experience. But for those who do it, there are gifts that keep giving long after the experience is over.

You'll know yourself better.

Now, this might sound like something we all want. Understanding ourselves can only help us navigate the world around us with a deft and simplicity that isn't available if we really aren't clear on what our dharma is. Unearthing truths we've been hiding from will surface in the quiet. You'll reaffirm your strengths and the areas that need work may become amplified. If you can apply the principle that all truth is good, you may be able to see your way into confronting your truths and the opportunities they offer.

You will have a greater sense of self-discipline and self-control. 

Who couldn't use a little help in these departments? One of the coolest things about taking a vipassana is that you eat only at mealtime. And, you eat what's being served. Not only will you experience and taste your food on a completely different level without the distractions of electronics, books, music, magazines, or conversation, but you'll develop a deeper appreciation for food as sustenance.

Learning to enjoy a portion that's just enough versus all you can manage to consume is powerful. And feeling both physically and mentally strong propel us into believing that we are so much more capable than we may have previously thought. The confidence that comes with hanging in there during a meditation when you've lost count over how many times you were desperate to give up will give you a greater sense of self and appreciation for the present form that is you.

There is no such thing as boredom. 

The concept of boredom is yet another invention of our vast and complex mind. There is no counting the stories in our heads. There are too many and they change constantly. We go from thought to thought and often there is no obvious connection between the thoughts other than that they are mostly fabrications.

During a vipassana, we begin to question of all of our thoughts. If I think the thought, "OMG, I can't meditate for one more nanosecond," then that's my truth right that moment and it will change because it was never true in the first place. And here I am, back to meditating. The only moment that's important is the one that's happening right this second. Does that mean nothing is true? No, of course not. But wading through our muck and distractions and landing on the inherent deep-seeded values that rise up like a lotus over and over is what deserves our attention and nurture.