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Warning, you might get stuck on this page.  YOGA LAGNIAPPE will unglue your stickiest yoga questions in our Sticky Mat section.  You’ll hear from local teachers and students about the challenges they find on and off their yoga mats.  Plus enjoy great articles on all things yoga and wellness related. If you have a question or suggestion for the Sticky Mat contact us.

Yoga for Runners, Athletes….and Saints Fans!

By Betsy Goldin Becker

I’ve had a love-hate relationship with running for nearly two decades. While I love the opportunity to get fresh air, clear my head and enjoy an efficient, heart-pumping workout, I don’t particularly enjoy the shin-splints, lower-back pain, sore hips and hamstrings that come with the territory. Enter yoga to the rescue. Since adding specific yoga poses to my post-run stretching routine, I have found that my endurance has increased while my aches and pains have decreased.

Key Benefits of Yoga for Runners 

In her book, Yoga for Runners, certified yoga instructor Christine Felstead lists numerous benefits of yoga for all runners, whether casual, avid or competitive. In addition to improving strength, flexibility, body awareness and stress relief, yoga can also provide runners with:

  • Improved breathing and lung capacity
  • Increased range of motion
  • More comfort and endurance due to the lengthening of muscles
  • Healing existing injuries and avoiding future injuries through improved symmetry, alignment and balance
  • Faster post-race recovery
  • More relaxed state in the mind and body while running.

Former Saints Player Turned Yoga Instructor

I’m not the only one who has found the benefits of adding yoga to my fitness routine. An increasing number of runners, athletes and other fit-minded folk are turning to yoga to improve their performance, reduce injury and enhance their focus. One such athlete is former Saints player Keith Mitchell. In this NFL video, Keith shares his story of how yoga helped him recover from a very serious football injury. The healing benefits he received from yoga led him to become a certified yoga teacher.

Exclusive Yoga Sequences for YL Readers

Many runners and other athletes suffer injuries from repetitive use of certain muscles in one plane of movement, according to Emily Kulakowski, a registered Yoga Sports Science Coach at Revolution Fitness. “Athletes often use the same muscles over and over again. The muscles that are used all of the time become tight while the ones that aren’t used become weak, ” says Emily. “Instead, use yoga to work outside of your typical plane of movement. If runners spend just 10-15 minutes doing a tailored post-run yoga sequence, they will see marked improvements.”

As a Yoga Lagniappe exclusive, Emily designed this short yoga sequence geared towards runners. Hold each pose for at least 3 to 5 breaths – feel free to hold longer! Also, think about using your breath to settle into your pose: use inhales to lengthen and exhales to work deeper into the pose. Use your breath not only within your poses, but also for transitions, inhale out of a pose and exhale into the next.

On the days that you only have time for a few poses, try these 3 poses to prevent injury. Happy trails to you!

Saints & Pelicans Fans – Yoga Bonus

Join Yoga Lagniappe and fellow yoga (& Saints) enthusiasts Sunday, September 14th from 10-11am for a unique, all-levels power yoga class on the New Orleans Saints Indoor Practice Field. Participate as an individual or get a group together from your favorite yoga studio. Your package includes entry to the Saints practice field, an awesome power yoga class, plus 2 tickets to a Pelicans home game. Hurry – Early bird pricing ends September 1st, $30! Otherwise $35 per person. Check out our calendar for more details. Use this Form to Register.

 

Alternative Healing Series: What is Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy?

By Nikki Carter

I had my first and only Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy session with Amy Archinal back in 2011, when I was going through an emotionally chaotic and trying time. I was searching for answers about my career path and what to do about a personal relationship. I happened to see a flyer at Balance Yoga, where I was practicing yoga at the time. I had never heard of this type of therapy before and I was intrigued. Having been introduced to Amy through her yoga classes for beginners, I decided to give it a whirl.

All photos courtesy of Amy Archinal

I can best describe Phoenix Rising as a gentle, assisted moving meditation that encourages you to look inward and also includes a non-judgmental dialogue that helps you gain awareness of what is going on inside of you. After the session, I still felt confused but I did feel clearer in my resolve to take action and move forward. Looking back, I can see that the session helped me gain clarity on my thoughts. Of course it did not magically present me with all of the answers; however, it was certainly a valuable tool for me and I would recommend trying it out to see what it can offer you. Among the reported benefits are: relief from physical pain, less stress, and increased emotional awareness. One of the good things about this therapy is that no prior yoga or meditation experience is required.

I was able to connect with Amy recently and learned more about Phoenix Rising in our interview.

Nikki Carter:  Tell us about your background in yoga.

Amy Archinal:  I have had a long-time fascination with the connection between the breath, body, mind, and emotions. I grew up in a small town in Virginia and didn’t know a soul who practiced yoga, but I did find my way to a few good books and played with some postures on my own. I’ve always been an artist, and I suppose painting was really my first introduction to meditation and mindfulness.

I first began studying Taoist Yoga in Richmond, VA almost 30 years ago. I was introduced to Tai Chi, soft martial arts, and a number of moving and standing meditations. When I moved to New Orleans a few years later, I started to practice Hatha and Iyengar yoga. I also had my first big emotional experiences on the mat as my body began to open up. This was quite intense at first, but also fascinating – my body had many memories and stories to tell…

I continued to practice yoga, tasting Kundalini, Power, and Vinyasa styles, and I was so grateful for my practice and the yoga community here after Katrina – yoga made living here then bearable. A major turning point for me was when I received a Phoenix Rising session myself. I was amazed at how such a simple process could bring incredible insights about my body and my life. I knew that I had found a style of yoga and a way of being with other people that deeply resonated with me.

I was certified as a yoga teacher at the Shambhava School of Yoga in Nederland, Colorado in 2007 and as a Phoenix Rising Yoga therapist in 2008. I continued with Phoenix Rising to complete their yoga teacher training, as well as their Group Facilitation process. I have also mentored numerous students through their final stages of Yoga Therapy certification.

I’ve had the opportunity to teach at two wonderful studios here in New Orleans, first at Wild Lotus and more recently at Balance Yoga and Wellness. In the community I have also taught in workplace wellness programs and I teach yoga to veterans and seniors. My partner and I founded Whole Person Therapies last year. We offer clients yoga therapy, psychotherapy, and mindfulness practices.

NC: How would you describe Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy to someone who has never heard of it?

AA:  Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy is a type of somatic therapy – a physical and emotional process that merges touch with talk – the body with the mind – to heal and to enhance life. Our bodies tend to respond to, or mirror, what is happening in our lives, so involving the body in the process of self-inquiry can really open some doorways to self-understanding. Clients receive assisted and supported yoga postures and are encouraged to keep an inward focus and speak about what they are noticing. When the body is at an edge in a stretch, thoughts, beliefs, memories, and emotions that may be related to physical tension may surface so they can be explored and released. At the end of a session, clients are guided through an integration process that helps them draw upon their inner guidance.

NC:  What are the benefits of this practice?

AA:  The benefits can include: deep relaxation, increased awareness and concentration, release of anxiety and stress that has a physical component, clarity in decision making, and increased creativity.

NC:  I know my session with you helped me gain clarity during a difficult time. You were very non-judgmental and did not give me any advice during or after my session. Is it hard for you to stay neutral when people open up to you?

AA:  I am glad it helped you find clarity. I really believe in and trust the basic foundation of Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy – that each individual has the capacity for self-guidance and discernment of his or her own truth. As a Yoga Therapist, it certainly takes practice learning to “get out of the way” and simply be a witness to and mirror for another person in his or her process.

Actually, it’s quite freeing to let go of any agenda for clients and to show up and compassionately “listen with” them.

NC:  I was drawn to doing a session with you because of the time I was going through. Would this be something a person could do even if they’re not searching for a particular answer or feeling unsettled?

AA:  Just as there are many benefits to getting a massage even on a day when you feel pretty good, I feel this is a process that can always enhance growth and self-understanding. During your session, you’ll be attentively listened to, physically stretched and supported, and offered a chance to focus completely on your own experience. Sometimes important answers rise from within, even to questions that we are only asking in a soft whisper. I think of this as a process that supports living authentically and finding greater self-compassion.

NC:  What other types of classes and workshops do you offer?

AA:  I offer private and couples yoga therapy sessions at my uptown office, Whole Person Therapies. I will be offering an 8-week Mindfulness & Grief group with Myra Hidalgo, LSCW, starting in September. I will also facilitate an 8-week Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy group called Stress to Bliss in November. More details are available at wholepersontherapies.com.

I am facilitating a weeklong yoga retreat in Yelapa, Mexico in November with two other Yoga Therapists, Beth Triano from Vancouver, BC and Jaunie Federowicz from Napa, CA. We will offer yoga, meditation, pranayama, yoga nidra, mindful drawing, and hiking, as well as a lot of free time to explore and enjoy the beach and waterfalls. For more details, e-mail me at amy@neworleansyogatherapy.com.

I teach Hatha and Restorative Yoga classes and a Beginner’s Series at Balance Yoga and Wellness. Many of my students are very new to yoga or require some modifications due to illness, injury, or aging. I also tend to draw more experienced students who are looking for a quieter and more introspective yoga practice for stress relief and emotional balancing.

Thank you for reading! As a special thank you, Amy will offer $20 off the first individual session for readers that mention Yoga Lagniappe. Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter.  To sign up for e-mails from YL click here, enter your information in the box at the top right corner. 

Yoga for Runners, Athletes….and Saints Fans

By Betsy Goldin Becker I’ve had a love-hate relationship with running for nearly two decades. While I love the opportunity to get fresh air, clear my head and enjoy an efficient, heart-pumping workout, I don’t particularly enjoy the shin-splints, lower-back pain, sore hips and hamstrings that come with the territory. Enter yoga to the rescue…. [Continue Reading]

Alternative Healing Series: What is Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy?

Yoga staff and poses for Amy Archinal

By Nikki Carter I had my first and only Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy session with Amy Archinal back in 2011, when I was going through an emotionally chaotic and trying time. I was searching for answers about my career path and what to do about a personal relationship. I happened to see a flyer at… [Continue Reading]

Alternative Healing Series: What is Laughter Yoga?

circlelaughing

By Nikki Carter Laughter yoga is a form of exercise or therapy that involves elements of voluntary laughter and playfulness. Although the concept may seem strange or awkward if you’ve never heard of it before, think about how often you’ve heard the saying, “laughter is contagious!” I know when I am around someone who can’t… [Continue Reading]

Yoga for All Ages and Stages

From Mamas to Babies, Tots & Teens: Yoga for All Ages and Stages By Betsy Goldin Becker Unlike other physical activities, yoga has no limits. People of nearly all ages and abilities – from pregnant moms to tots to teens – can reap the benefits of a yoga practice… with proper instruction, of course. Here… [Continue Reading]

Book Review: 10% Happier by Dan Harris

An alternate title for this book could be "The Skeptic's Guide to Meditation"

  In 2004, Dan Harris experienced a life-changing event that I’m all too acquainted with myself: he had a panic attack. Working in a highly demanding position as a television anchor, Harris was live on-air for Good Morning America at the time and had no idea what had just happened to him. This experience sent… [Continue Reading]

Alternative Healing Series: Ayurveda

Ayurveda is a system of holistic healing that began in India over 5,000 years ago.  There are many components of Ayurveda, but I became interested in having a consultation a couple of years ago because I wanted to know what dietary changes I could make to improve my well-being.  I chose Jessica Blanchard, a New… [Continue Reading]

Alternative Healing Series: What is Acupuncture?

Monica Gilliam administers acupuncture to a patient (photo courtesy of Monica Gilliam)

Acupuncture is a practice in which specific points of the body are stimulated, most often with thin needles. I tried acupuncture myself for the first time last year, with good results for the management of anxiety and muscle tension. If you’re interested in trying it for yourself or looking for a practitioner, I highly recommend… [Continue Reading]

Book Review: Awakening Shakti

By S. Brooke Bailey Sally Kempton’s most recent book, Awakening Shakti: The Transformative Power of the Goddesses of Yoga, explores feminine energy from the tantric perspective. My yoga book club has been reading the book for several months now, usually discussing one goddess at a time. I must admit that I wasn’t drawn to knowing… [Continue Reading]

Alternative Healing Series: What is Cupping?

Cupping involves skin being drawn into glass or plastic cups via suction (Photo: Valerie Viosca)

You may have seen celebrities with the trademark circular bruising that is caused by cupping and wondered what in the world had happened to them. I talked with Valerie Viosca, a New Orleans licensed acupuncturist and massage therapist who is certified to perform cupping therapy, to gain more insight on the practice. Valerie says, “In… [Continue Reading]

5 Things to Add-In to Help You Clean-Out!

Raw_Republic_Kale

By Sheena Mannina of Raw Republic It’s generally simple to advise on internal cleansing as our bodies naturally begin to detox in the absence of the inflammatory items we consume regularly, namely processed foods, caffeine, sugar, soda, meat, dairy and medications. For this reason, we cleanse when we sleep. Though you would benefit significantly by… [Continue Reading]

Alternative Healing Series: What is Reiki?

Amberly Fox is a Level-II Reiki Practitioner in the New Orleans area (photo courtesy of A. Fox)

By Nikki Carter January 29, 2014 Each month in 2014, YL will seek to help you understand a certain type of alternative healing method. For this feature post, I chose Reiki and spoke with Amberly Fox, a local yoga teacher and Level-II Reiki practitioner. Reiki is a Japanese technique that literally means “spiritually guided life force… [Continue Reading]