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yogi toolkit

30 Minute Vinyasa Practice

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30 Minute Vinyasa Practice

Hi yogis!

Join me for this 30 minute Vinyasa Yoga Flow. This practice is catered towards yogis with a regular practice. However, those working on building strength can enjoy this video by taking breaks when needed. Enjoy and please reach out if you have any questions!

xoJenny

Have you Subscribed to the Urban Om Yoga YouTube channel yet? Stay up to date with free yoga and meditation videos when you subscribe. Check it out 

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Yoga Corner

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The best part of yoga practice is when you are truly tuned into your time on the mat. Having the best yoga mat and props makes it all that much easier to drop into that place where typical distractions disappear.

For this reason I have created a list of my favorite yoga props on Amazon.com. I have been using these products for years and I highly recommend all the products on my list.

You will also find a reading list for your yoga library with some of my favorite books, should you be interested in deepening your yoga practice off the mat.

Check out the link below and please let me know if you have any questions!

xoJenny

 

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Feeling the heat? Keep it Cool with this Pranayama

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Sheetali Pranayama, also known as cooling breath, is a wonderful breathing exercise to practice in order to keep cool during the hot summer months. This pranayama is said to not only remove excess heat from the body, but it also keeps the mind and emotions cool, calm and in check during fiery Pitta season. 

This pranayama is traditionally done with a rolled tongue. If you are not able to roll your tongue, instead gently place the tip of your tongue to the top two teeth.

The how to:

1. Find a comfortable seat. A great option is to sit cross legged on a pillow, blanket or bolster. Close your eyes and take a few deep breaths.

2. Start with a body scan, checking in from the top of the head and moving down the body. Notice how you are feeling physically, mentally & emotionally. Take note of any areas which show signs of excess heat.

3. Once you feel ready to begin the breathing technique, roll your tongue. Breath in through the mouth with your tongue rolled. When you are ready to exhale, close the mouth and breath out through the nose. Continue this for about 8-10 rounds, doing your best to keep the in and out breaths equal in length.

4. Allow the breath to resume a natural rhythm, breathing in and out through the nose. Take a few minutes to sit in meditation and take note of any cooling sensations.

*As with all pranayamas, if at any point you feel lightheaded, come back to a normal breath rhythm and continue again as you feel ready.

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Over Night Oats- Never Skip Breakfast again!

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Over Night Oats- Never Skip Breakfast again!

today's oat creation: pear, oats, almond milk & organic PB

today's oat creation: pear, oats, almond milk & organic PB

This month at Urban Om we are focusing on making our mornings as beautiful as possible. One way to embrace your inner early bird is to do a bit of planning the evening before so your morning can be as seamless as possible.

One of my favorite preparations for an early morning is over nights oats. These yummy oats take just minutes to prepare and are perfect for a healthy grab and go breakfast. 

My recipe changes depending on what I have in my fridge and what I am craving but check out the basic formula below.

The basic overnight oats recipe:

1/3 cup old fashioned oats

1 cup almond milk

1/4 cup fruit

1 tbs nut butter (optional)

Combine all ingredients in a mason jar the evening before enjoying. Throw a lid on the jar & give it a little shake. Store in the fridge and voila! - you have a yummy, healthy breakfast waiting for you in the morning.

Feel free to get creative! Add cinnamon, agave and/or chia seeds. I love nut butter so I always add a scoop to my oat creations :) Give this recipe a try and comment below with your favorite overnight oat combinations.

Wishing you happy mornings, Yogis!

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a restorative yoga sequence for some seriously sweet dreams

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a restorative yoga sequence for some seriously sweet dreams

Who doesn't wish they could squeeze in a few more zzz's? Sleep is incredibly important for our wellbeing, proper immune function and lowering our stress levels. Although we might be aware of the health benefits of a good night’s sleep, sometimes it can be challenging to transition from the busyness of everyday life into a restful slumber. If you could use a bit of help winding down for bedtime, check out the restorative yoga sequence below. Taking 20 minutes before bed to slow down and unwind could be your ticket to snoozeville. 

For this practice you will need:

2 blocks or firm pillows, some wall space, a blanket (optional), and an eye pillow (also optional)

Short and sweet meditation

Begin in a crossed leg seated position, back facing the wall. You might want to sit on your block or blanket for additional support. You can also use the wall for back support if this is helpful. Close your eyes and draw your attention to your breath. Before you change your breath in any way, notice the natural rhythm of your breath. Take note of where the breath wants to live in the body and the quality of the breath. Be aware, there is no right answer to these questions. This is not about judgement but rather building awareness. Take this time to check in how you are feeling at the beginning of your practice.

After a minute or two gradually begin to deepen your breathing and begin:

3-part breath (dirga swasam pranayama)

Divide the inhale into 3 equal parts, breathing into the belly, the ribs, and the chest. If it is helpful, you can use your hands to guide your inhale as you move the breath up the torso. Allow the breath to be continuous as you initiate your inhale from the low belly, lift the breath into the rib cage/diaphragm, and then the chest. Once you reach the top of your inhale, take a long, continuous exhale, following the same path in reverse. Repeat 5-10 rounds. You may slowly start to lengthen the breath as you feel ready.

*as with all pranayama (breathing exercises), stop if you become dizzy or lightheaded

 
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Legs up the Wall:

Snuggle one hip next to the wall, knees facing up toward the ceiling

Lay on your back as you simultaneously swing both legs up the wall. You can place your hands behind you to help this action.

Cover your eyes with an eye pillow. 

Take long deep breaths into the belly. Enjoy this pose for 5-10 minutes

*If the legs fall asleep, you can either come out of the pose or hug the knees into the chest for a few breaths and re-stretch the legs when you are ready.

*If the hamstrings are tight, the knees can stay a little bent in this pose. 

 
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Supine Twist

Bend the knees into the chest 

Rock the knees over to the left with your feet  gently pressing into the wall

Stretch your arms out on the floor, in line with your shoulders, chin turned towards your right shoulder

Optionally place your left hand on top of your right thigh to gently encourage the leg toward the floor, thus deepening your twist. 

Breath deeply, finding a smoothed out version of that same 3-part-breath with which we started practice. Hold 10 breaths, then switch sides

 

Supta Baddha Konasana

Lie on down on your back with an optional low folded blanket under your head. 

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Bring the soles of your feet to touch, open your knees to the sides, laying the thighs on either your blocks or firm pillows. 

Gently place an eye pillow over your eyes and a blanket over the belly. A blanket placed on the abdomen adds a sense of grounding, which is very helpful as you ease your way towards dreamland.

Enjoy this pose for 10 minutes. 

When you are ready to finish your practice, draw your knees together and rock side to side a few times. Roll to one side to press yourself up to sit.

Take a few breaths in a seated position, take note of how you feel. Then head to bed for some seriously sweet dreams!

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Hipster Yoga: 20 minute hip opening yoga video

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Hipster Yoga: 20 minute hip opening yoga video

Dear yogis,

I am off to Tulum this weekend for Brynne Billingsley and my Winter Escape retreat and I couldn’t be more excited! For those not joining us on the retreat this time around, I wanted to leave you with a new video so we can practice together while I am away :)

This 20 minute hip opening vinyasa flow is great for any time of day. Take a short break to stretch, breathe & re-center. Your body and mind will thank you for it!

Enjoy this feel good flow and let me know how it goes!

Adios!

xoJenny

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legs up the wall: the cure-all yoga pose

Legs up the wall is sometimes know as the cure-all yoga pose. It boasts healing benefits for ailments ranging from anxiety to headaches to insomnia, making it a go-to yoga pose for just about anything.

I practice this pose almost every day as I find it to be a brilliant way to rest my legs after running around the city all day. It is also a wonderful way to find a bit of energy when you feel like you could use a boost.

Check out the video below for a rejuvenating, relaxing 5 minute restorative practice. This video includes a short and sweet meditation followed by legs up the wall with optional variations. You can practice this sequence any time of day, but it is especially helpful as an afternoon pick-me-up or an evening wind-down at the end of a busy day. I hope you enjoy this powerful healing pose as much as I do!

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wishing you a bright new year!

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wishing you a bright new year!

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As we bid farewell to 2017 and say hello to 2018, I would love to share with you a practice I have found to be a powerful way to ring in the new year.

A few years ago, I started the tradition of closing out the year by listing all the positive aspects of the past year. No matter how big or small the event, the accomplishment, the blessing, I sit with my journal and list all the beauty that has entered my life. This has proved to be both a wonderful way to reflect on the past year as well as a way to embrace a positive perspective for the year to come. 

Not only does this practice frame the closing year in a positive light but it is very telling as to what IS working in our lives and how we can grow the positive aspects of our lives rather than being overly focused on what we need to change, uproot and shed. 

I encourage you to give this exercise a shot for a happy and positive transition into 2018.

Wishing you and your family a bright and happy New Year!

Much love,
Jenny

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Too busy for Yoga?

Too busy for Yoga?

There is an old Zen saying, "you should sit in meditation for 20 minutes a day, unless you are very busy; Then you should sit for an hour." 

This saying rings so true as I am currently moving out of my apartment where I have lived for the past 7 years. Between sorting through papers, organizing clothes and getting the room ready for the next tenant, this Zen reminder is just what I have needed to keep my practice going, even when super busy.

I think of all I have to do in order to get ready for my move (on Sunday!) and it feels like any spare moment when I am not teaching, I should be working to prepare for the move. However, knowing myself and knowing the power of meditation and yoga, most days I have carved out time for practice. Having a little time on my mat has given me the calm focus I need to stay on task and not get too distracted. This post-yoga focus has been a sharp contrast to days when I was 'too busy', didn't practice and somehow wasted more time than if I had spent just a bit of time on my mat.

I always love a nice, long yoga practice but it is true that we do not always have the time. That's why we could use a break from the all or nothing mentality. A 15-30 minute practice can do wonders, leaving you grounded, centered, focused and ready to take on whatever tasks are at hand. 

For this reason, I have been creating short yoga sequences and sharing them on YouTube. (You can subscribe here if you haven't already!) Anytime you need a shift of energy but don't feel like you have the time, try a video from the Urban Om Yoga channel, like the one below. Just 13 minutes is all you need for an afternoon boost :) Check out the video and, as always, let me know if you have any questions! 

xoJenny

This video was filmed in the loft I have called home for 7 years. Excited for a change but I will miss this dance floor!

City Calm in 3,2,1 with 2-1 Breathing

City Calm in 3,2,1 with 2-1 Breathing

My yogi toolkit is a collection of short practices I count on to bring balance and calm to my day. These practices are a great way to supplement a yoga practice when I have a few minutes to spare.

One simple practice I carry in my yogi toolkit is 2-1 breathing, or Rechaka Pranayama. This simple breathing exercise doubles the length of the exhale, bringing stress relief to body and mind. It is the perfect antidote for anxiety, insomnia and stress. Unlike other pranayama techniques, this practice can be done anytime, anywhere, without the supervision of an instructor.

Practice this yoga gem the next time you have a few minutes to spare and want to quiet the mind and regain focus. It is a great exercise to have in your back pocket and I highly recommend adding it to your yogi toolkit :)

The how to:

Begin by taking a tall seat, with the legs crossed. Ideally the hips are higher than the knees. Feel free to sit on a blanket or yoga block if this makes this alignment possible and/or feels better for your back. Close the eyes and begin to breathe evenly in and out through the nose.

Once you feel you have established a consistent rhythm, breathe in for the count of 2 and breathe out for the count of 4. Take a few rounds of this breath ratio. As you are ready, increase the breath ratio by inhaling for the count of 3 and exhale for the count of 6, then progressing to a ratio of 4 to 8, and so on. Take care not to push past your breath capacity. This exercise should feel calming and should not create strain.

Take this 2-1 breath for a few minutes, or until you feel the mind settle. Once you feel ready, take a few even breaths, bringing the breath back into a steady, equal rhythm. Open your eyes and continue your day, with a bit more calm and clarity. 

Just a few minutes of Rechaka Pranayama has the ability to quiet the mind. Try it out the next time you need to recenter, such as the next time your train is stalled! Give it a try for instant calm.

Just a few minutes of Rechaka Pranayama has the ability to quiet the mind. Try it out the next time you need to recenter, such as the next time your train is stalled! Give it a try for instant calm.