Yoga Workshop: Elements of Sun Salutations, Dec. 2, 2017

 Photo by Anne Slattery

Photo by Anne Slattery

Elements of Sun Salutations
Emily Hite
December 2
Saturday | 2:30-4:30
YogaWorks Palo Alto
440 Kipling St., Palo Alto
(650) 468-2929
$40

If you’ve taken a yoga class and wondered what the instruction “take a vinyasa” means, or how to do it properly, you’re in good company. In this workshop, we’ll clarify the sun salutation sequences with a focus on alignment. We’ll break down the vinyasa transition and learn strength-building modifications. Finally, we’ll practice moving fluidly between poses, linking movement and breath to find your mindful flow. 

Benefits:
• Foundational knowledge of the sun salutation sequences
• Safe alignment and helpful modifications for poses and transitions
• Confidence to flow through sun salutations guided by your breath 

Emily Hite, RYT-500 and a certified instructor of Annie Carpenter’s SmartFLOW® yoga, loves teaching yogis of all backgrounds and levels of experience. Through alignment-based flow and restorative classes, she encourages students to build awareness of posture, create space to breathe, and simply enjoy living in their bodies. A former professional ballet and modern dancer, Emily earned her B.A. at Stanford University and works on Stanford’s digital media team. 

Workshop Return Policy 

Full payment is required to reserve a space in workshops. All workshops are non-refundable. Cancellations made two weeks or more prior to workshop start date will be issued store credit. No store credit will be given for cancellations made less than two weeks prior to workshop start date. YogaWorks is not responsible for any costs incurred for travel arrangements or accommodations related to this event.

Join me at Stanford's Contemplation By Design on Nov. 3, 2017

All are welcome to attend a free gentle stretching and yoga session at Hoover Lawn on Stanford University's campus. We'll begin at noon. At 12:30 p.m., we'll listen to the Carillon Bells from Hoover Tower, and then join others across campus in a contemplative pause at 12:50. Bring yourself, your friends and loved ones, and a blanket (optional) to enjoy the concert.

Enjoy Contemplation By Design events all week, including a keynote from Alice Walker on Nov. 8.

Carillon Concert Flyer_2017.jpg

Underwear You Can Wear

Imagine a little girl dressing her dolls in tiny clothes. The dolls have fashion model-like proportions and a skin tone different from hers. The girl loves ballet and goes to the theater to watch Swan Lake. She sees 24 swans dressed in white tutus, all about the same size, shape and color, like her dolls, standing in line and moving as one. She attends ballet class, which she loves and excels in, but is told she doesn’t fit the ballet ideal and will never have a place onstage among the swans.

Historically, the ballet ideal body is white and unusually thin, flexible, and long-legged, with high insteps. The girl is gorgeous and a talented dancer. She is black and has a muscular, fit body, with shapely breasts that aren’t well-supported by a leotard. Does she walk away from her dream of becoming a ballerina because her beauty is different from the other swans’?

No. She stands her ground. She wills what she wants. This girl can dance, and she does. She becomes a woman who dances, unapologetically, just as she is. Audiences adore her. They see a strong, beautiful woman who can move powerfully or softly or any way she chooses to – and in her, they see a person who inspires them and their loved ones to inhabit their own truth and fulfill their potential.

The campaign

This is the story of Under Armour’s “I Will What I Want” campaign featuring ballerina Misty Copeland (dolls and swans imagined above). The campaign of documentary video and print ads was successful because it was beautifully produced – a striking series of shots of Ms. Copeland dancing, with voiceover of a little girl – and it told a story of an underdog rising to prominence, which compels those watching the ad to root for the heroine. The campaign upended a typical approach to selling underwear by starring a notable woman whose body has a purpose other than modeling underwear. She has a profession and an identity, and viewers can admire and relate to her.  

A new approach

Ever notice that the example shoe at a department store tends to be the smallest available size? Or that clothing is hung on a rack smallest in front to largest in back? Only the smallest sizes are worthy to be showcased, standard merchandising practices tell us. Same goes for advertising. Underwear models – and models in general – tend to be thinner than the average person. Merriam-Webster's definitions of “model" include both “a usually miniature representation of something” and “an example for imitation or emulation.” That’s a tough order.

With “I Will What I Want” and similar stories of embodiment of power featuring notable women, Under Armour gave us a different kind of ad by showing a novel way to wear their product. The models were not passive clothing racks, but active, successful women, in a variety of shapes, sizes, colors, and strengths, being supported by what they were wearing instead of defined by it.

This post is an part of an assignment for Udacity's Digital Marketing Nanodegree program. Thanks for reading! #IminDMND

Art & Yoga at the Anderson Collection at Stanford University

On June 29 at 6 p.m., I'll be teaching a 50-minute flow class followed by a tour of the Anderson Collection at Stanford University. Registration is full, but you can join the waitlist at anderson.stanford.edu.

Stanford community, I'm teaching a new class for the Center for Ethics in Society at the law school on Thursdays. Sign up through Stanford's Health Improvement Program. Hope to see you on the mat! 

New Year's Yoga

Do you make New Year's resolutions? Some years I do, hopefully, and other years I don't, cynically. This year, I took up a practice my friend recommended of writing down 100 things I want to do in 2017. Most of them are fun and not necessarily driven by a higher purpose. Number one, for example: "Wear steam-unwrinkled clothes" using the clothing steamer I received as a Christmas gift. I also listed what I'd like to let go.

During the last few days of 2016, I went camping with friends in Big Sur, along the coast of California, shaking up my routine and getting clearer about my vision for the new year.

Naturally I practiced and taught some yoga, and paused to appreciate that it also can be playful and not about perfecting a form. Physical postures, breathing exercises, and meditation help with letting go of what you don't need as well as adding what you do. What's more, you don't have to look or feel your best to do it. Whatever your mood, energy level, or capacity to focus that day, yoga can meet you there and guide you to a more balanced place. What do you want to cultivate this year? What are you ready to shed?

If yoga is part of your 2017 plan, I'd love to see you on the mat!

  • Sundays at 9:30 a.m. (Hatha 1/2)
    YogaWorks Palo Alto
  • Mondays at 12 p.m. (Prenatal Yoga)
    Stanford University

Sadhana


How does a yoga practice advance? Had the chance to explore the question during Annie Carpenter's Sadhana training at Yoga Tree Potrero recently. One route we discussed was choosing an approach that leads to stillness. 

As yoga postures grow familiar with repetition, I notice that discoveries within them become increasingly detailed, subtle and exciting. Sometimes my experience in the pose changes dramatically. Years ago, I could will my body into an approximate shape of Supta Virasana but would strain my knees and lower back to get there. Eventually I accepted help and propped my way into a less intense version that I could sustain while doing the work I needed. Steadily building strength to hold my middle together, I returned to lying down without strain. Now, with awareness of the orientation and activity of my feet and shins, I feel complete support and a welcome stretch that makes me want to stay awhile and see what unfolds. 

Movement for Arthritis

I'm excited to be teaching Prenatal Yoga and Yoga for Arthritis through Stanford University's Health Improvement Program. Recently I saw a New York Times piece on managing arthritis that inspired me to write a blog post; here it is on Stanford Medicine's Scope.

Interested in the HIP classes? Stanford faculty, staff, alumni and spouses are eligible to sign up. Visit the HIP website for more information.

 Photo courtesy of Leslie Kazadi

Photo courtesy of Leslie Kazadi

Meditating in your environment

 Photo by Natalie White

Photo by Natalie White

Windhover, named for a series of paintings by Nathan Oliveira inside, is a center for contemplation and reflection and one of my favorite places on Stanford University campus. Visiting Windhover reminds me of practicing meditation. You go on your own (swipe your ID to enter) or with friends, move around, stay awhile, maybe move again. Wander inside or outside or both. Walk the labyrinth. Wade into the shallow pond. Sit and rest your gaze on the art or close your eyes. Pay attention to the soft bubble of the fountains or listen more closely to the silence around it. Come back the next day and have a new experience. It's just a few steps away from the busier, livelier parts of campus, but a sweet retreat for any amount of time. Visit and I'll take you here!

Yvonne Mounsey on The Siren in George Balanchine's "Prodigal Son"

In 2008, I had the honor of interviewing the former New York City Ballet principal dancer Yvonne Mounsey for a George Balanchine Foundation Interpreters Archive film about the ballet "Prodigal Son." The Balanchine Foundation recently published the videos, which had previously been available in libraries. Below is our interview, which followed a rehearsal coaching session with Melissa Barak as the Siren, Mounsey's signature role in the 1950s.

Yvonne was my ballet teacher and one of my most fun friends. She died in 2012. The interview was conducted at her school, Westside School of Ballet in Santa Monica, California.

Practicing Non-Violence

Tonight I'm planning classes for this Sunday at 8 and 9 a.m. at Yoga Tree Potrero Hill and thinking not so much about a sequence of poses, but much about ahimsa, non-violence. The longer I practice yoga, the more I see it in the world and the more I see the world within it. I had a chance recently to talk with a biology professor who is also a dedicated wildlife conservation photographer. Her work balances strong and soft approaches to educating viewers about the poaching crisis that threatens elephant extinction and calling hearts to end violence toward the friendly giants. Read my post about Susan McConnell's photography on the Stanford News site. See more of Professor McConnell's work on her website.

 Photo by Susan McConnell from "On the Shoulders of Giants" at Stanford Art Gallery

Photo by Susan McConnell from "On the Shoulders of Giants" at Stanford Art Gallery