When I came to Alysha’s children’s class at Yoga Village, I expected kids to be running all over the place and just playing games. I was surprised to see children imitating an easier, animal version of actual yoga poses. The children would first do the pose, then embody the animal and act out its characteristics. The energy and joy I witnessed during her class inspired me to sit down with the instructor, Alysha Tree-Stalsworth, and get an idea of why kids love yoga. 

Q. What made want to start teaching children’s yoga especially?

A: I am a ceritified English teacher, K-12, and theatre teacher. So, I kind of fell into it after I went into teaching yoga and I had other instructors who knew I was in the school system and had asked me to teach children’s yoga with them. I continue doing it because I find teaching very fun and inviting and I love working with the kids.

Q. What do you think the kids enjoy most about the yoga classes?

A: I think kids like moving their bodies and exploring what their bodies can do. They find a lot of fun in imitating other animals and other people, making funny noises, or just acting silly. Anything goes in a kids yoga class; the boudaries are pretty open. Sometime we use toys or play games and it gives the kids a chance to just be themselves. They can be quiet with themselves and howl like monkeys (laughs).

Q. Why do you think the parents like puttitng their kids in children’s yoga classes?

A: I think that varies a lot. I have parents who bring their autistic children and they have really seen a change in attitude with their kids. [The autistic children] have become more alert and they have also learned how to take better direction and control themselves when they get upset. I have also seen the kids gain more confidens and gain a comfortability in moving their bodies and having fun.

Q. What are the main changes you see in kids after doing children’s yoga classes?

A: The kids become more focused and more physically and mentally flexible. They are so creative and are always saying “Let’s do this” or “Let’s make this pose”. They want to create their own poses and new shapes with their bodies, which also translates into creating ideas for themselves in school or at home.

We also sometimes do story yoga where we teach messages about peace and love and we talk about the ideas as a group and children are able to talk experience these concepts as a group. Then they go home and they actually take  that knowledge and apply it at home. I’ve heard some really wonderful stories from parents about how their kid would just walk up to them randomly and say “I love you”. It’s awesome.

Thank you so much again Alysha! For more information, check out Alysha’s website.

Namaste!

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Posted by: yogainslo | May 26, 2010

Children’s Yoga Audio Slideshow

For more information about Children’s Yoga on the Central Coast check out:

SLO Kids Yoga

Yoga Village

Namaste!

Posted by: yogainslo | May 24, 2010

Fitness Update: Week 5

Number of Classes this Week: Two (both Beginner)

Money Spent on Yoga this Week: $0!

It has been another not-so-great week for my fitness plan. I think I was still a little shaken up after my nightmare Bikram class (see Week 4 post). I was apprehensive to getting right back into the studio, so I fell back into my old pattern of excuses. This time around, I noticed an important attitude change. Without yoga, I was becoming more stressed!

When I made up an excuse not to go to class, I felt more stressed at work and during classes. I found myself unable to cope with stressful situations that I would normally just brush off. On Friday, I had to work the entire day while opening our new facility. I found myself getting constantly frustrated trying to keep up in the midst of all the chaos, and by the end of the day I was in tears.

I tried using deep breathing to calm myself down, but it was no help. I was craving meditation and stretching. I felt all out of sorts this week because the massive amounts of stress I was experiencing were creating physical tension in my body.

The tension in my body was trapped because I was not going to yoga. Yoga helps with stress by the combination of stretching and deep breathing loosening the muscles in the body, which in turn flushes out poisons and  toxins. Without toxins, the mind becomes clear and the body begins to fully relax. If the body relaxes, the stress begins to dissipate.

I feel like I have been doing yoga for such a long time that it has started becoming a part of my everyday life. I physically needed yoga to keep my body from becoming over-stressed. Not going to yoga felt like not having breakfast, where you feel weak and your stomach won’t shut up. When I go to yoga, I feel like I have had a good day.

I just have to remember it is a brand new week, with hopefully many good days to come!

Namaste!

Posted by: yogainslo | May 19, 2010

The Big Question: Studio or Gym?

It is the one question everyone asks when deciding where to take a yoga class. Should I take yoga at my fitness gym or go to a yoga studio? Some people believe studios are too expensive, while others say gym classes are too easy. I am going to tell you the main differences of each which could ultimately become your deciding factors.

First, let’s run over a few key differences for yoga studios. Yoga studios are generally more spiritual in practice. If you go to a yoga studio, you have probably already decided that yoga is going to become a large part of your fitness regime. Studio classes are centered around uniting breathing and meditation with exercise to create an overall experience. Studios also create a great environment for yoga. Most studios have dim lighting with a few candles and gentle music to allow the body to relax prior to class time. It is also probably obvious that studios do generally cost a lot more money. The prices for yoga in San Luis Obispo remain generally reasonable only because there are other studios in the area offering similar classes and prices. The best difference about studios is that the teachers are almost always better. The teachers at studios eat, breathe, and live yoga in their everyday lives. Every studio teacher I have had uses clear instruction techniques that showcases their extensive yoga knowledge and training. If you are looking for fitness as well as a lifestyle change, I would highly recommend a studio.

However, there are benefits to taking yoga at a fitness gym. Yoga at gyms are for the occasional yoga member or a great starter for a complete beginner. Usually every gym explains every pose for every yoga class because each class has different attendees. Also, many gyms combine yoga classes with another type of fitness class, like Pilates or Dance. These hybrid classes have become extremely popular because they offer a greater physcial challenge with less spiritual aspects. The one main chancy detail is the teachers. Some teachers have been extensively trained and may also teach at a studio while others may just be a Pilates teacher who knows a few yoga postures. I have had my good and bad experiences with teachers; the worst one was where the teacher was actually teaching from a sheet of yoga pictures printed from the Internet! One of the best differences is the price. You get a gym membership plus all the classes you could want probably for the same cost as a studio. If you are a gym lover who just wants a few relaxing yoga classes now and then, I would definitely stay away from the studio.

In short, you can be a lover of yoga in a gym or a studio. Don’t rush to buy a membership just yet because finding your best fit is what is most important to gain the best experience possible!

Namaste!

Posted by: yogainslo | May 17, 2010

The Words of Yoga

Posted by: yogainslo | May 17, 2010

Fitness Update: Week 4

Number of Classes: three (two Beginner, one Bikram)

Money Spent on Yoga this Week: $14

 

       I bought a 30-day special at Bikram Yoga SLO this week before I went to my Friday Bikram class. This week has been especially tough on me. I have been working a lot with little sleep and lots of caffeine. I went straight from work to my Bikram class, without a decent meal in five hours and only one glass of water that day. I didn’t really think about how my hungry, dehydrated body would affect my performance in class, but I really wish I would have.

      I started feeling very dizzy halfway through the class and found myself taking multiple breaks, which was out of character for me. When the class was over, and my body started feeling how hard it had worked, I started to feel nauseous. And I mean really nauseous. I was shaky and dizzy the entire drive home – and it took me six glasses of water, four oranges, a waffle, and three cups of Trader Joe’s Shrimp Fried Rice to cure my sickness. When I woke up the next day, my body felt extra sore and weak. I kept drinking lots of water throughout the weekend, with hopes I would never feel that awful again.

       I learned a painful lesson after my horrible Bikram class.  After doing some quick research, I learned that a Bikram class requires 12 to 16 glasses of water prior to a class. That is basically twice the daily recommended amount of water (eight glasses). In other words, a hydrated body is a happy body.

       I can’t believe I am basically half-way done with my Yoga plan! It seems like time has been flying by and it has become easier to make a commitment to my classes. I can’t begin to tell you how much my new flexibility has been helping me in my everyday life. My back used to crack at least ten times a day, and now with the help of the spine-strengthening exercises most of my classes have been providing, my entire back feels much stronger. And a stronger back helps to build strong abs! I have lost an entire inch in my waist and I can already see such a better fit in my shirts without worry of my lower belly pudging out! I am a happier person on the inside, which is giving me confidence to show my outside!

       I am proud to say I bought my first string bikini in a long time, just because I thought the strings always highlighted my love handles. I felt so cute and confident when I tried it on, that I instantly bought it! I cannot wait to see what this next month has in store for me.

Namaste!

Posted by: yogainslo | May 11, 2010

Map for Yoga on the Central Coast

Here’s a map for those who are ready to check out or join a studio! Even if you are not located in San Luis Obispo, I have included some of the most popular studios all over the Central Coast!

Namaste!

Posted by: yogainslo | May 9, 2010

Fitness Update: Week 3

Number of Classes: Three (1 Restorative, 2 Beginner)

Money Spent on Yoga this Week: $59 (pricey..)

 

Even though I am still trying to figure out how to fit yoga classes into my schedule, I went ahead and took the plunge and bought a membership. A one-month membership at the Yoga Centre for $59. That is reasonably cheap, considering the price of one class is $15. Now, I have to keep up my routine more than ever because I paid good money for it! Anyways, the main thing I focused on this week was trying a new class outside my comfort zone. I am mainly a Hatha Yoga girl, but after feeling sore from long days of school and work, I decided to give Restorative Yoga a try.

I sometimes forget that not all Yoga classes give you a workout. But Restorative Yoga was one of the most relaxing experiences I have ever had, like creating my own spa hour. Basically what Restorative Yoga was to me was a very watered-down version of Hatha. We had maybe eight different poses we held anywhere between five to ten minutes at a time. Instead of using our bodies to stretch in a pose, we would use a multitude of props to create a comfortable, modified version of that pose.

My favorite was modified forward fold. Instead of having our spines and necks craning to grab our feet, I was hugging two bolsters (think giant body pillows) to keep my neck and spine straight. It looked something like this:

rights to dorestorativeyoga.com
Restorative Yoga version of a Forward Fold

It may not look too comfortable, but I honestly could have fallen asleep just like that.

My main goal next week is to try a few classes that just look interesting to me. Even though I feel more comfortable in Hatha Yoga, I could love another class even more if I just tried them first. As for any physical changes, some of my friends have told me that I look “so tiny” (whatever that means). I have not been actively weighing myself because I am not doing this to drop tons of weight, but just to tone up and feel better about myself. The main change I have noticed is one from within. My posture has improved tremendously and I just feel lighter. I am not sure if I look it just yet, but I definitely feel it!

Namaste!

Posted by: yogainslo | May 5, 2010

Interview with Mary Fischer, on-campus yoga instructor

I got a chance to interview Mary Fischer, who is a long-time yogee and on-campus yoga instructor. I asked her a few question about her yoga practices, as well as some differences between studio classes and fitness classes.

Q: What got you into your love of yoga?

A: It started back in 7th grade. I was a competitive player for tennis and I used to get really nervous before my tennis tournaments. So, I would put in a Denise Austin yoga tape and do yoga for an hour before my tournaments. It would help me calm down and get me relaxed and focused on my match beforehand. From then on, it just became a wonderful outlet for me in high school and college just to deal with stress. I’m such a Type A personality, and it has really helped me go with the flow more. Once you’re in, you are definitely hooked.

Q: You teach yoga on-campus. Why do you think on-campus yoga is such a great alternative for someone who isn’t ready for a studio?

A: Well, it is free here and yoga is definitely a rich man’s hobby [laughs]. If you are a beginner, it is a great place to start out. Not only is it free, but you are also going to learn all your basics. So, that when you do maybe graduate and go to a studio you will be well-prepared.

Q: What are some other main differences between on-campus and studio yoga classes?

A: You are going to find a more driven yoga crowd at the studios. I have a lot of fun teaching on campus, but there are a lot of people there who have never done yoga before. A lot of the people who take classes on-campus are surprised by how serious some people are about their practice.

Q: I just started going to a studio as part of my blog and I have definitely seen those differences, and it has been really great for me so far! And I was just wondering where you practice yoga?

A:  I go to the Yoga Centre. I absolutely love it. I have tried out a lot of places, and this is my favorite hands-down. They have amazing teachers and every class is different, just an incredible atmosphere

Q: For those people who are on the fence and thinking yoga isn’t for them, why would you say yoga is for them?

A: Yoga is for everyone. Honestly, my dad just went for the first time this morning after 63 years, and loved it. Everyone can use more flexibility in every way. It is the perfect cross-training for athletes. If you are not an athlete, just the simple stretches and yoga moves can increase your circulation. Its going to help in so many ways. I feel like if everyone did yoga, the world would be a much more peaceful place. It’s good stuff.

Q: Any last words you would like to add in?:

A: Honestly, if you haven’t tried it, go give it a try. Broaden your horizons. It’s a beautiful practice, it really is.

Such a huge thanks to Mary for giving me a wonderful interview!

Namaste!

Posted by: yogainslo | May 3, 2010

Fitness Update: Week 2

Number of Yoga Classes: two (both on-campus, yikes)

Money Spent on Yoga this Week: $0 (FREE!)

 

I cannot believe this week went by so fast. It was midterms week for school, so that meant little to no sleep and lots of last-minute studying. I have to admit, I was afraid to update a post for this week because I did not reach my fitness goal. Even though I am fulfilling a promise to an invisible support group, I felt like I was letting a ton of people down by underachieving. But I wanted to tell you the two important things I learned from my lousy week.

  1. If you are setting aside a certain amount of workouts to get done in a week, you HAVE to work out Sunday or Monday. Working out first thing in the week not only sets a positive workout attitude for the week, but it also sets a positive mindset as well. I was so stressed all week with studying that I did not make it to my first yoga class until Thursday.  I automatically cancelled out Sunday; and after Monday passed I just kept saying, “I can still get four workouts if I start tomorrow”, and then it turned into “I have to go tomorrow to get four workouts”. Eventually, I convinced myself that completing my minimum would be like finishing a marathon. Well, you can see where this is going. I was obviously not in the right mindset to work out for the majority of the week, and when it was time to go work out, I was too exhausted to do anything. If you workout in those first two days, you should see an improvement in how quickly you get ready for the gym for the remainder of the week.
  2. Specials do not last forever. They barely last that long at all. All gyms offer the beloved “new members only” special, which they pray will lead to a membership – symbolizing a loyalty to that studio (or at least a month-long loyalty). The only problem is the money. Money is always the problem it seems like, especially when you are in college. For this fitness plan, I tried to see how many yoga classes I could attend while spending the least amount of money. Well, once the specials fade, so does the inexpensive factor. Now, I think I will have to choose a month-long membership in order to stay on track with my fitness plan! There are only two free classes offered here at school, and paying for one class is much more expensive than getting a membership. That is why the specials are there; to lure in the customers with cheap offers, and then force them to choose to stay or part ways. I wish there was a SLO Yoga Membership package for all three studios.

 

I think it might be time to pick a yoga membership to buy. I will have to consider pricing and class times and hopefully decide on one before that crucial Monday class!

Namaste!

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