Yoga Backbend Workshop with Hazel

hazelI’ve been coming to the ranch for almost a year now and surprisingly I have never taken one of Hazel’s classes before. Not because I didn’t want to, but we always seem to be here on different days. Anyway, I need to get with be program because she was great!

The class was more of a workshop on yoga backbends, something that I’ve been struggling with (we’ll get to that later), but it surprised me in many different ways. First I’ve always thought of backbends as the wheel pose, but actually there are a lot of many gentle ways to stretch the back.

With the help of the blocks there are options for those of us that may not have flexibility on our side.  For example the “supported fish” where you place one block under your upper back and another under your head and let your arms flow back which is an amazing stretch.  The next was the “supported backbend” with the block under your sacrum (between your tailbone and waist) which felt equally amazing (“like heaven” is what one person said in class). You can build up the intensity by adding another block to add more height.

Lastly, it was time for the wheel pose. I’m not going to lie, I was nervous about it. I’ve attempted doing it before but number one it scares me and number two, I always feel like it hurts the middle of my back. Well, I learned a big lesson from Hazel. If you’re having any sort of pain in your back while you’re doing it, don’t push yourself. Focus on the beginner steps of squeezing your legs together as if there is a block in between them.  You will also need to increase flexibility in your shoulders and upper arms which I think is my problem.  Without the flexibility, it’s really hard for your arms to be able to support your upper body.  So now I know why I’ve always had trouble with backbends!  But my goal is to do it, so I’m currently working on creating more flexibility in my shoulders. I’ll keep you all posted on when I finally get it down!

Yoga for Every B.O.D.Y. with Shayne and River Morgan

River_and_ShayneMore and more, yoga is becoming a part of my life.  I’m realizing that yoga is much more than exercise, it flows into many other areas of my daily existence, and overall, it just makes me feel so good! Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to attend Shane and River’s class last fall when they were at The Ranch, so I jumped at the opportunity when I saw them on the schedule this time.

I had met River the last time she was at The Ranch during another class and she has beautiful energy and is so sweet and inspirational. Together with her mother, Shayne, they create a class that is warm and inviting. The title says it all.  Their class really is yoga for every body type, and people from beginners to experts can benefit from the exercises in this class. I especially appreciated the shoulder stretch we did with the strap. It provided such release and is really good for those of us who tend to get hunched over using a computer.

I loved that the class focused on gentle yoga stretches that are not difficult to do, but you can still feel the result immensely. That’s my favorite kind of yoga! I’m so looking forward to seeing Shayne and River back at The Ranch!

Yoga For Every B.O.D.Y. will be at the Ranch again November 29, 2014. Don’t miss them!

CorePower Yoga with Bryan Sampson

photo (4)I’ve been taking a lot of CorePower Yoga classes up in San Diego recently which I really love.  Although the classes can be difficult, I always feel amazing afterwards.  When I saw that CorePower was on the schedule at the Ranch recently, I was thrilled to join!  I’ve grown to like the heated CorePower classes in San Diego. The classes at the Ranch aren’t heated, but you can also get a thorough work out at room temperature.

Bryan Sampson of CorePower Yoga at the Point Loma location in San Diego taught the class at the Ranch.  Bryan leads the Hot Power Fusion Teacher’s Training at his CorePower location.  After years of sports injuries and a spinal surgery recommendation by his doctor, Bryan turned to hot yoga and eventually fell in love with the classes at CorePower.  He found that after a dedicated yoga practice, his injuries went away, as did the need for surgery.  He’s been teaching at CorePower yoga ever since!

I loved that Bryan made the class really fun.  He has such a warm and inviting personality, so it was a delight to learn from him.  He spent a lot of time talking about the benefits of each pose and had some funny stories in between to boot.  Per a guest’s request, he played Motown 60s and 70s music for the class, instead of the traditional soft yoga music and it actually made the class go by faster!  And of course, Savasana at the end, as always felt like a dream.

The next CorePower Week at the Ranch is May 25!

Yoga Workshop: Ropewall with Maya

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All I could think after taking this class was, why didn’t I do this before?  If you like yoga, but are a beginner like me, the ropewall is a perfect place to start. Why? Because the rope focuses on the stretch rather than strength.  Of course strength is a hugely important part of yoga, but I have never felt a stretch like I did in the Ropewall class. It felt amazing!

Ropewall utilizes ropes to help you get the most stretch out of your pose. By using the ropes you are able to hang and stretch in ways that are difficult in traditional yoga. We did downward dog and warrior poses, but my absolute favorite was the upside down pose. I have to say, I don’t get upside down much. In fact, it’s pretty much safe to say that I rarely do anything like this. I don’t know how to do hand stands or cart wheels so my time spent with my head under my feet is well, next to never. However, it was such a cool experience to be hanging upside down from a rope. It’s hard to explain to how it felt. All my blood rushed to my brain, which felt surprisingly good. Maya, our teacher, explained that our heart works so hard pumping blood to our brain, that this upside down pose gives it a break.

The class was really fun and enlightening. Maya was great at showing us the techniques and helping us with our poses. I can’t wait to take this class again!

Gentle Yoga

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I just had the pleasure of taking Gentle Yoga with Naomi Judith down here at the Ranch and what a delight.  This class is exactly what it sounds like; gentle and relaxing.  It’s a form of yoga that I’m not really used to, but was very happily surprised with it.  Having done mostly power yoga or more strenuous types of yoga, sometimes I just want something that’s a little more meditative and a little less straining.  This was the answer.

Gentle yoga is almost like yoga, self message and stretching put together.  It’s something that I’m sure if I practiced every day, I would be a much more relaxed and content person!  After taking this class, I plan on trying to incorporate bits and pieces of it into my daily exercise routine because I think it would be extremely beneficial.

We started the class by lying on our backs and did about four or five different leg stretches and movements.  And even though it wasn’t strenuous at all, I still felt the benefits of a good stretch.  We then moved on to some sitting poses and then standing poses;  all of them gentle and relaxing, but still serving a purpose.   Actually, I think that was the purpose!

My favorite part of the class was the self message portion at the end.  My neck and shoulders tend to get very tense over time working at a computer day in and day out.  It felt great to just give myself a little head, neck and shoulder massage.  This is definitely something I will be doing daily.

I absolutely enjoyed Naomi’s class.  I felt like I was walking on clouds afterwards!  You can learn more about Naomi Judith on her website,