Taking the Kinks Out of a
Long Road Trip
Pose: Crescent Lunge
Why You Should Do It: Sometimes there's nothing better than hitting the road to find your next adventure—but all that driving can be tough on your shoulders and lower back. Doing Crescent Lunge at every pit stop can help counteract the effects of hours spent behind the wheel.
Serious drivers aren't the only ones who should consider adding Crescent Lunge to their yoga routines. This pose is also good for:
» Strengthening the muscles needed for running.
» Stretching the hip flexors.
» Building balance.
How to Do It: You can go into Crescent Lunge from Downward-Facing Dog by stepping your right foot between your hands, aligning your right knee over the heel. Or you can simply set your feet hip-distance apart and then step forward with your right foot far enough for your left heel to leave the mat.
» Inhale and raise your torso upright, bending the front knee to a 90° angle.
» At the same time, sweep your arms overhead and draw your tailbone down towards the floor.
» Engage your core (don't let the lower ribs protrude forward) and draw your shoulders down from your ears.
» Hold the pose up to one minute, dropping back into Downward Dog if that's where you started, then repeat on the other side.
Note: Make sure your front foot is facing forward as much as possible, and don't forget to push into your back foot.
Variation: Instead of reaching up, push into your car for some resistance.
Be Careful If: You have blood pressure or heart problems.
Dare to Do Yoga Bare?
Doing yoga without clothing? With other people in the room? Uh…
It’s an experience that everyone should try at least once, according to Monika Werner, of Bold & Naked in New York City’s Theater District. The vast majority of her students “absolutely loved the experience and come back for more.”
Werner believes that naked yoga can be life-changing.
“You gain a self-confidence that you can take everywhere,” Werner says. “In a clothed class people do their practice and leave, but in a vulnerable setting like naked yoga, people feel connected, they communicate before and after class, and it’s the most open, energetic, non-judgmental atmosphere you will ever experience.”
Willow Merveille, owner of NYC-based Naked in Motion, notes that when people hear about
naked yoga, “the first thing they’re gonna feel is fear. Maybe you’re fearful of your safety, you’re fearful that people are going to judge you.
Some people think that naked yoga is for thin, athletic people, but I would argue that it’s the opposite—we are very focused on trying to make all people feel welcome, especially those who are struggling with their bodies. The more that you face that fear, the less scary it typically becomes.”
Naked yoga “is particularly beneficial for people with body image issues,” adds Werner. Really, everybody should try.”
Interested? Start by learning as much as you can about what kind of session you are booking. Merveille strives to create a “safe space” for her clients, noting that “because nudity is so tied into sexuality, the questions that people have are about sex: ‘Is this a sex party? Are people going to be touching me?’”
Case in point: In a regular class you might welcome a teacher correcting a pose or position through touch, but you may not feel as comfortable if you’re in the buff. It’s a good idea to inquire about studio policies so you know exactly what to expect. Also ask about the policy on nudity; some studios require full nudity at all times, a concern for women who are menstruating.
Presently there are a lot more all-male naked yoga classes available than anything else, but other options are available. Be sure to inquire: “It’s important to figure out who is welcome to this space. If it is just a straight up all-gender class like our classes, it totally varies on who will show up,” says Merveille.
Ultimately, a positive naked yoga experience boils down to preparation and managing expectations. “I know a lot of people are nervous to do naked yoga for the first time, but there is nothing to be scared or nervous about,” says Merveille. “Just show up as you are and you will be fine.”
Yoga for Soul Searchers
When: April 26–May 3
Where: Boone, North Carolina
What to Expect: A retreat that uses yoga, meditation and other
methods to help you "feel more in touch with yourself and with the world around you"
Why: Because your spirit could use some uplift
More Info: artoflivingretreatcenter.org