Category

News

Jana Gets Over the Hump in Camel After a Year

By News
jana rocker camel milestone hot yoga inspiration

Jana Rocker reaches her ankle in Camel after one year of practicing at Sterling Hot Yoga Works Mobile.

Most new students who practice at Sterling Hot Yoga Mobile are intimidated by the level of heat in the hot room.

Jana Rocker was, too, when she signed up for her first class a little more than a year ago.

“I am terrible with heat,” she said. “But the yoga helped me a lot. I can actually go outside in the heat and it does not bother me.”

Taking that first step to try hot yoga wasn’t an easy one. Cancer took its toll on Jana’s life at a young age.

She lost her arm as a result and watched helplessly as friends suffered and died from the disease.

That experience fueled her calling to pursue cancer research, but she dropped out of graduate school in 1995 when a professor told her she couldn’t do science with one arm.

For 10 years, Jana battled PTSD, depression and anxiety until she realized she was “just settling for the status quo and not growing at all as a person or working in my passion.”

“PTSD was still a problem working in a cancer center for a few years,” she said. “I still have my moments, but one thing I swear by is yoga. The ability to control my anxious responses to the hot room has carried off the mat into my life in amazing ways!”

She ranks her decision to try hot yoga as “one of the life-changing scary moments of life.” Though the yoga studio website assures that hot yoga is for everyone, she still wasn’t sure how it would be for her having one arm.

Jana does her best in each and every class and she follows modifications on various postures to get the benefits from them.

With master’s and Ph.D. in hand, Jana now works for the University of South Alabama’s Mitchell Cancer Institute “to help others not have to go through what I went through,” she said.

Between her demanding schedule of research and publishing, plus a move, Jana came up just a little short of her 15-class goal during the 30-Day Challenge. But she saw its merit as a learning opportunity.

“One thing I have learned from fitness challenges is I have a hard time completing them,” she said. “Life manages to derail my plans, but I just have to go with it.”

Jana did manage to reach a pretty exciting milestone nonetheless. She was able to reach back and grab her heel in Camel.

“When I first started a year ago, I couldn’t even lean back at all,” she said. “I had zero core and back strength. With one arm, it’s all core and back for me!”

Hot yoga’s impact on Jana’s life doesn’t end there. In the year she’s been doing yoga, she’s lost 30 pounds, experienced fewer gout attacks and gained mobility in her fused ankle.

“My right ankle is fused,” she said. “I could move it up and down, but I couldn’t rotate it. I kept trying in reverse Savasana, and now I can actually rotate the ankle.”

Jana is such an inspiration to everyone who practices at Sterling Hot Yoga Mobile. She is proof that Sterling Hot Yoga Works works!

If you’d like to see what benefits your hot yoga journey holds for you, get started today with our 30-day introductory special!

Mobile Yogis in Training on Sunday Afternoons

By News

The Sterling Hot Yoga Summer Teacher Training begins on June 21 in Puerto Morelos, Mexico, just outside of Cancun.

This session, we have three fascinating and wonderful people from Mobile joining us: Michelle Ryan, Sprite McDonald and Scott Singleterry. In addition, Sara Dumas will be joining us in the Fall training!

All four of our trainees are already working to prepare for their trainingthey are watching anatomy videos, completing their CPR and first aid certifications, studying their verbal cues and more!

We are also using the Sunday 4:30 pm class as a workshop of sortsthe trainees are standing on the podium to get used to the view; they will be teaching a posture or two; and depending on the people in class, they may lead a silent class!

Also during class, I will be providing them with insight on bodies and proportions, what to be looking for, how to keep people safe and more.  If you are interested in learning some teaching “secrets,” come to class on Sunday afternoon! It’s fun!

Tada-sana! Tree Pose Breakdown

By News

Lotus Pose Tree Pose How To Hot YogaTree pose and toe stand are the last two poses in the standing series of our Gold 90 and Sterling 60 classes. They seem fairly straightforward, but there are some aspects of the tree pose that bear clarification.

The tree pose that we do in our Gold 90 and Sterling 60 classes has the following purpose: To open up the hips, knees and ankles in preparation for toe stand, and eventually, the lotus position.

Compare the woman on the left doing lotus to the woman on the right doing tree pose in the photo below.

Notice how in both poses the feet are near the hip creases, knees are extended away from the center line of the body and feet are turned outward.

Putting your body into lotus can be challenging on the hips, knees and ankles, and like many poses, some people come to it relatively easily while others struggle for a long time to get there. Tree pose is a great way to help prepare the body for lotus.

Tree comes at a point in the series where your body is relatively warmed up. Your knees and hips and ankles have had the opportunity to open, and although your heart may be pounding, you are encouraged to slow down, focus and balance. Not such an easy thing to do!

Lotus Pose Tree Pose How To Hot YogaHere are the steps to execute the pose:

1.  Ground yourself in alignment.

2.  Pick up your right foot with your left hand and if you need to, hold your right knee with your right hand. Be careful of your knee and your ankle. At any step, if you feel discomfort, proceed with care. If you feel pain, back off.

The goal is to put your foot in your hip crease, but your body proportions may require you to place your foot in a different place!

Look at the images below: The first woman’s foot is on her leg and it may never be on her hip because her shin bone is relatively short and her hips aren’t yet open.

The second woman’s foot is super high on her costume, because her shinbone is really long! Both are doing the posture correctly for their body type and for the condition of their hips, knees and ankles. Tightness in any of these joints may keep you holding on to your foot, and that is perfectly okay!

Lotus Pose Tree Pose How To Hot Yoga

3.  Slowly, gently allow your knee to come down toward the floor. Now remember the lotus pose — the knee is positioned away from the center line of the body approximately 45 degrees — so in tree, it is absolutely appropriate to have your lifted leg positioned away from the body.

The ball and socket of your hip joint may never allow you to position your leg so that it’s parallel to the standing leg and by forcing it, you could injure your hip!

Look at this group shot of people doing tree pose — everyone is trying the right way; no one’s legs are parallel.  Not even close!

Lotus Pose Tree Pose How To Hot Yoga

4.  Eventually, when the hip joint and the hip flexors open up enough, you will have two legs in one line FROM THE SIDE like the photo on the left.

Lotus Pose Tree Pose How To Hot Yoga

5.  The last part of the pose is to find alignment on all planes. Stretch your spine up, and stretch your tailbone down to prevent your rear end from sticking out. Look in the mirror and work to get your shoulders level and hips level.

Avoid sinking into the standing hip. The yogi on the right is out of alignment — see how her shoulders are not level and her hips are not yet level? This is common especially when you have to hold your foot. But she’s working toward it and will be there soon!

If you are challenged by tree pose, that’s okay! Start slow, hold on to your knee if you need to, work slowly, take your time, focus on your breath and alignment as best you can. And know that you’ll be on the floor resting very, very soon!

Reggie Wilson Shares Inspirational Yoga Story

By News

Reggie inspirational yoga storyThis is Reginald Wilson. Reggie started practicing with us in August of 2014. In his introductory month, he practiced 22 times. Since then, he practiced, on average, about three times a week.

This Superbowl Sunday, February 1, Reggie felt a tightening of his chest. His wife insisted he go to the hospital and after several tests, the doctors determined that Reggie had 100% blockage in one of his arteries and he needed a triple bypass.

After the surgery, the doctor asked him what he had been doing and Reggie told him, “Sterling Hot Yoga.”

The doctor said that there’s a good chance the yoga saved his life! His heart had actually developed alternate routes around the blockage and the strength of his systems got him through the surgery with relative ease!

Reggie returned to his practice this week and he is taking it slow and following our one rule. We are thrilled that he is Sterling!

Do you have a friend or family member who needs inspiration to come to class? Share this story!

What’s your story? I bet you have one!

Core Strength, Iron Hour and Standing Head to Knee

By News
Core Strength Iron Hour Sterling Hot Yoga

Iron Hour helps build core strength, which helps improve your postures in the Sterling 60 and Gold 90 hot yoga classes!

In many of the standing poses in our yoga series, we talk about the locked knee.

The locked knee, in good alignment with the ankle and the hip, is absolutely important, and it takes a great deal of strength to maintain it for more than a few moments.

In Standing Head to Knee, locking both knees is especially challenging.

In this wonderful photo example, Jason Winn is executing the full expression of the pose where his arms are extended, no longer holding on to the foot.

Yes, absolutely, Jason has a tremendous amount of strength in his legs, but it’s core strength that’s holding it all together!

Strong abs, strong legs and strong arms (and a lot of determination) are what allows Jason to pull off this beautifully executed pose.

It’s strength that supports flexibility and flexibility that supports strength. And now, Sterling Hot Yoga Works can help you to attain both.

Adding Iron Hour to your practice is a great way to improve your Standing Head to Knee and many other poses! But remember, taking the Sterling 60 and the Gold 90 also helps you to maintain good overall health! It all works together!

Sterling Hot Yoga Featured on Studio 10!

By News

Did you see some familiar faces on TV recently? Sterling Hot Yoga Mobile was featured on Studio 10, our local FOX affiliate’s morning show.

Lucille was on set to discuss the basics of hot yoga—such as the need for the heat and most importantly the breathing!

Then those familiar faces—some of our very own Sterling Hot Yoga Mobile yogis—demonstrated various postures, making this a wonderful opportunity to promote our studio.

Whether you want to learn more about Sterling Hot Yoga or you want to see some of your favorite yogis, check out this video!

Iron Hour Yoga: Learning the Proper Weight Hand Grips

By News

 

During Iron Hour Yoga, holding your weights in the proper manner will help you to get the most out of your exertion and ensure a safe and effective practice.

There are three positions in which to hold your weights: pronate, supinate and hammer grip. A pronated grip is when the back of your hands are facing the ceiling and your hands are wrapped around the weights with palms facing down.

In the standing series, during the lat pulls in Warrior II, you start the posture with a pronated grip. On the floor series with weights, the dumbbell chest presses require a pronated grip.

The second way to hold your weights is the supinated grip. A great way to remember supinate is to think of “soup.” Remember the movie, “Oliver” when little Oliver Twist with upturned hands asked for more soup? “Please sir, I want some more!”

Just like Oliver, whenever you supinate your grip, make sure your palms are turned upwards! The first biceps curls we do in the standing series is done with a supinated grip.

The third hold is the hammer grip. This is an easy one—imagine you are holding a hammer! Instead of holding the weights so that they are parallel to the floor
(pronate or supinate) in the hammer grip, the weights are perpendicular to the floor!

The second biceps curls in the standing series is done with a hammer grip. This will work a different part of the biceps muscles than the supinated grip.

For each of the three grips, make sure the back of your hand is in the same plane as the back of your forearm. Don’t bend your wrist too far forward or too far backward—imagine you have a ruler taped to the back of your arm and hand so that you can be sure to keep the carpel tunnel open as much as possible!

During Iron Hour, make sure you get the proper grip!

New 2015 Schedule Includes New ‘Iron Hour’ Class

By News

Sterling Hot Yoga Class GoalsSterling Hot Yoga is pleased to offer new yoga class that is designed to build strength, tone and give you the power you need to excel in the hot room and beyond!

I have been doing the Iron Hour in bits and pieces in order to learn how to teach it, and I have to tell you, I really like this class, and I truly believe you will too.

Here is a description of all the class offerings we will have in 2015:

Gold 90: Your traditional Hot Yoga class, featuring two sets of 26 postures and two breathing exercises in 90 minutes. Everyone is welcome to sweat, stretch and heal in this foundational class.

Sterling 60: A shorter version of Gold 90. With a faster pace and fewer sets of some poses, Sterling 60 combines flexibility and cardio for those who want a 60-minute hot yoga experience.

Iron Hour: A perfect complement to a hot yoga practice, Iron Hour combines yoga with light weight training. Men and women of all fitness levels are welcome to tone and sculpt, build lean muscle, improve metabolism and see results! Iron Hour is a heated class, but it won’t be as hot as Gold 90 or Sterling 60.

With these three classes, you will have the opportunity for a full health experience. You will heal your body and mind; you will strengthen and stretch; you will feel better and stronger inside and out!

The graphic at the top right shows the relationship between your goals and the classes.

When you choose your practice regimen, consider your goals! Use this handy matrix below as a guide to your Sterling practice. And of course, come as often as you can and experience improved well-being with a regular practice!

How to Choose Your Sterling Schedule

The new schedule will begin on January 11. The number 1 in any combination, reminds me of my mom and will always bring me luck. It brought me to Mobilehave you ever noticed all the ones on Highway 10 leading to our fair city? So on 1/11 Shoshana will lead us in our first Iron Hour class. I like that.

We have worked so hard to consider all of your needs, and after creating dozens of variations, we finally came to a decision that really resonates with us, and hopefully with you.

So here it is:

SHYWM 2015 Class ScheduleWe will have new schedules printed before the end of the week and new brochures soon. I think you will like them both. Make sure you download the Mind Body Connect app to secure your place in Iron Hour! We have a feeling it’s going to be VERY popular!

Is Your Smartphone a Pain in the Neck?

By News
How Hot Yoga Can Prevent Text Neck

Pressure caused by the angle of the neck and the weight of the head from looking down at mobile devices for long periods of time can lead to “text neck.”

A few days ago, I sat in the back seat of the car for a trip to New Orleans, and for the length of the two-hour drive, I was on my phone texting and responding to emails.

By the time we reached the Big Easy, my neck was sore and felt overstretched. Turns out that “text neck” is a growing health condition caused by having your head hung forward and down to look at your mobile device.

Text neck causes an increase in pressure on the musculature over the head and shoulders because of the downward angle and weight of the head while texting.

The more the head shifts forward, the greater the pressure around the neck area, which can cause changes in the cervical spine, the curve of the neck, and the structures that support the neck.

These changes can lead to symptoms including: tightness across the shoulders; headache; neck soreness; pain the back, arms, fingers and hands; and tingling in the upper extremities. Left untreated, text neck can lead to permanent damage of the cervical spine!

But the good news? According to Health Xchange and our wonderful chiropractor Jessica Jones, one of the best remedies for text neck is to engage in posture-focused exercises like yoga!

In Sterling Yoga, here are some specific things you do that will help your neck health:

  • Neutral Position: Starting class with your whole body in alignment is wonderful practice for keeping your head balanced on your shoulders. Stretching your spine and head up to the ceiling while stretching your tailbone toward the floor will help to align your entire spine. Bring your ears over your shoulders.
  • Pranayama Deep Breathing: Keep your hands on your chin and create a little bit of pressure throughout both the inhale and the exhale. The resistance you create with this pressure will help to build strength in the sternocleomastoid, the trapezius and other muscles of the neck. Stronger neck muscles will help to hold up your head.
  • Back Bending: When you bend backward (lots of standing and floor poses have back bending), you counteract the forward movement common to text neck. Make sure, though, that you extend your spine, including the neck, to give your vertebrae room before bending backward. Also, make sure you move to your full range of motiondon’t push itjust go where you can and over time you will be able to go further.
  • Forward Bending: Although it might seem that forward bends would exacerbate text neck, it can actually help! By mindfully compressing the front of the neck for short periods of time, you can increase the blood flow to that area. And increased blood flow means improved overall systems!
  • Active and Passive Twisting: The passive lateral twist that you do when you turn your head to the right and left in face-down Savasana will help to increase the range of motion in your neck, and help to decrease the negative effects of text neck; in active twisting in poses, like triangle and spine twist, it will help even more! Take it easy, and go where you can. Don’t push it. Always move with precision and purpose.

So if you text a lot or look at your phone for long periods of time, and especially if you notice neck pain from mobile device use, take lots of breaks and make sure you practice your yoga and focus on the poses above. Happy texting!

Yoga Anatomy: Agonist & Antagonist Muscle Groups

By News
Agonist Antagonist Muscles How They Work

When you bring the hand toward the shoulder, the biceps is the agonist muscle and the triceps is the antagonist muscle.

In the last newsletter, we discussed the elements of alignment. I hope that you have had the opportunity to focus on your alignment both in and out of the hot room. Alignment is such an important part of you practice and of your life!

This time, we’ll talk about agonist and antagonist muscle groups. For almost every major movement in the body, there is an agonist and antagonist muscle involved.

The agonist muscle is the primary mover involved. Usually this means a contraction or shortening of the agonist muscle in order to create movement.

The antagonist muscle has several functions. It can relax (lengthen) in order to allow the agonist muscle to function to its fullest. It can also slow down the movement of the agonist muscle to prevent tearing or overuse.

An example is the biceps and triceps muscle group. When you do a biceps curl (see image above), the agonist muscle is the biceps, and the antagonist muscle is the triceps.

Now this is where it can get tricky. When you create the opposite movementwhen you bring your hand AWAY from your shoulder (see image below)the agonist muscle is the triceps and the antagonist muscle is the biceps.

Agonist Antagonist Muscle Groups Illustration

When you bring the hand away from the shoulder, the agonist is the triceps and the antagonist is the biceps.

This is because in order to create the movement of bringing the hand away, the triceps has to contract or shorten and the biceps has to lengthen or relax.

Why is this important in yoga? Because if you understand the relationships between muscle groups, you can work smarter to get the most out of your practice!

When you contract (or shorten) your quads (agonist), you will help your hamstrings (antagonist) lengthen more effectively and more safely.

When you suck your stomach in, thus contracting your abs during a forward bend (agonist), you will help to more efficiently stretch the muscles in your back (antagonist).

Think about all the muscle pairs that work together in the movement of the body. Different movements will engage different muscle groups in the wrist, arm, shoulder, spine, hips, knees and ankles. Think about what muscles you contract in order to get other muscles to relax.

Here’s another element to consider: as mentioned above, another job of the antagonist muscle is to slow down the movement to ensure a safe bend. In our muscles, there are these things called “stretch receptors.” They are there to prevent you from overstretching and tearing muscle.

When you first start to stretch, you might find resistance in the muscle. But if you hold the stretch, in a few moments, you might find some relaxation and give in the muscle, thus allowing you to stretch deeper. That’s the stretch receptor saying to the muscle, “Okay, I can see this is a safe stretch, you’re not going to tear anythinggo ahead.”

This is why, for example, in Standing Separate Leg Stretching, it’s so important to both contract the quads (agonist) to release the hamstrings (antagonist) and also hold the pose for probably longer than you’d like to get the best stretch possible. Bouncing is not so good; a long, slow, firm and constant pull will get best results.

So in November, think about your agonist and antagonist muscles!