A very special private wedding-day yoga class

(Class and blog offered by Yoga Farm instructor Neko)

I was so excited when I got asked to teach yoga for the bride to be and her wedding party on the morning of her big day at the John Joseph Inn last Saturday. I called to talk to the bride, Christy, beforehand, to get an idea about what her party’s needs and yoga experience was, and I wanted to know all about the ‘how’d you two meet’ story, so that I could cater my class to their love story.

yoga-outside2Christy and Timothy were set up on a blind date at a wedding in 2012. They had many interests in common and became friends first, taking turns visiting each other in NYC and Massachusetts, doing fun outdoor activities together, for a couple of years. Their bond became super strong, and one of Christy’s friends finally said to her, “why aren’t you two dating, you’re clearly made for each other.” It didn’t take long for them to decide that was a great idea. They picked their wedding date a year in advance, so didn’t realize that it fell on the Supermoon Full Moon, which is a very auspicious day!

When I arrived at the John Joseph Inn on a perfect Saturday morning, the party was getting ready to stretch, relaxed and low key, commenting on having a bit too much fun the night before. I set up outside in the apple orchard, with spots in the shade and in the sun. So there we were, wedding party and John, the owner of the John Joseph Inn, in the middle of the apple orchard on a beautiful sunny August day in Lansing, NY, just a couple miles from the Yoga Farm, doing yoga! Surrounded by lambs. With tails! Did you know that sheep are born with tails? Long ones, like cats. It was such a surprise to me.  I themed the class “devotion” and had each person set their own personal intention for something they were ready to devote to in their life, guiding them into a meditation of rooting that seed of devotion into the earth thru their feet. Then I had us all hold hands as we each grew a branch, extending out to Christy and Timothy, which carried a blessing for the couple. Then we were ready to stretch!

outdoor savasanaI had a diverse crowd to cater to, because Christy’s mom had never taken a class before in her life, whereas Christy is a seasoned yogi, having years of practice under her belt. I made a simple and fun class to accompany all levels of experience, offering both Sun and Moon Salutations. Sun salutations heat the body up, where as Moon Salutations cool the body down. Mom did great and Christy and company loved the class as well. My classes always end with an optional head massage (receiving assisted touch during yoga relaxation is my favorite) and everyone gladly accepted, sprawled out under the apple trees, on their yoga mats and blankets.

I left the ladies and one gent with an ease of mind, body, and renewed sparkle in their eyes. Nothing makes me happier than bringing ease and joy to people’s life. I was honored to share in their special day of union and celebration.

— Neko

Is Yoga OK for someone with back pain?

Some of the yoga postures in our healthy back yoga sequences at Yoga Farm.
Some of the yoga postures in our healthy back yoga sequences at Yoga Farm.

Recently in classes and private sessions here at Yoga Farm, some students have said that they are experiencing some back pain, and are hoping that the practice of yoga can help them heal and prevent further injury and discomfort.

Fortunately, for many types of back pain, yoga can be a key component in overall back wellness.  Yoga can provide cost-effective, non-surgical support, strengthening and relaxing the muscles of the back, core, hips and legs.

“I would like to express gratitude to the Yoga Farm…in Sept/Oct, I took extra yoga classes (and a gong bath) to work on severe back pain — and it worked! My back is now pain-free and I am back to normal. Many thanks.”  — Karen S, Lansing NY

The spine is a complex structure, and it relies on a substantial set of muscles in the back and front of the spine as well as the legs and hips to support it.  Back pain of many varieties can result from an imbalance of these muscles.  A weak core (abdominals and obliques), can cause back pain.  Hips and Hamstrings that are too tight can pull the spine out of shape.  Minor curvature of the spine (scoliosis), can lengthen the muscles on one side while shortening the muscles on the other side of the back, resulting in discomfort over time.  Poor posture while standing, sitting, driving all can create imbalances in the muscles that hold up the back, eventually causing pain.

In our Easy, Light and Fun classes at Yoga Farm, our sequences are designed to be back-safe.  We avoid poses or exercises as much as we can that could create back pain or worsen an existing condition, while examining alignment so that students learn how to practice yoga in a way that is helpful.

In our private yoga therapy, we study the condition(s) of an individual, often with the input of chiropractors, physical therapists, and doctors, and create specialized yoga sequences just for that person.  We meet once a week to practice these sequences with the support of an expert and coach the individual in overall back wellness.

Our approach to supporting someone with back trouble in our group yoga classes and private yoga therapy sessions looks at the following key areas:

  • We lengthen and strengthen the back, legs and hips
  • We develop core strength
  • We stretch the hamstrings and quadriceps
  • We open and relax the hips and shoulders
  • We breathe into tight and painful areas, circulating healing energy

If you are experiencing pain in the back, hips, or shoulders, yoga can be a key component of your overall wellness.  Please let the instructor know when you arrive in class if you have any current discomfort so that appropriate support (using props) and modifications (gentler backbends for example) can be provided for you.

Read more about yoga exercises and how yoga can help back pain.

Please email us if you have questions about the appropriateness of a class for you or if you’d like to discuss yoga therapy to help improve the health of your back.