yoga in the morning

Winding Down 2016, Ramping Up to 2017

What up, Rogue Yogis. The time is here. We begin to wrap up 2016 and ramp up to 2017. For some of us, it's kind of hard to do. For some of our Rogue Yogis (including me) there's just been so much shit happening the past few weeks. For some of us, there was so much shit happening the entire year. This blog post is to share with you what's been changed up in our world, provide tips on making it through the holidays (if this season tends to feel lonely), and share updates on what's going to be added in our private FB group for 2017.

It's been real challenging, because we lost 2 people within a 2 week time span. One to suicide and the other to the Oakland Ghostship Fire. Suicide is a tough subject...I can only guess that this person was suffering so much physically that he really couldn't take it anymore. But, when life is taken unexpectedly from people, that also brings sadness. This Ghostship tragedy took away such creative and passionate people. It really brought to light the plight of the artist. As someone that had to resort to living in a really tiny basement annex in order to even get footing in SF, it hits home to see how many creative have to resort to living in less than ideal conditions in order to thrive. Except in a few cases, art just isn't rewarded financially as much as tech.

With all these things happening, the Mongorrian and I were thinking we'd be in Spain by now. But, we're not, and it wasn't initially by our choice. So, we're changing a lot of plans now. A lot of transition is about to happen for us:

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On January 31st, 2017, we're going to Vietnam instead. It was a feeling deep in my heart that we should be there sooner than later, but thought we'd have to put off because of Barcelona. When the Spanish Consulate rejected our application, asked for more information, and stopped responding to our questions and request for another appointment, I took the opportunity to suggest Vietnam. With just a few messages to my cousin, we already had a place to stay with a big family eager to meet the love of my life. We'll be with family for a month, scouting out beautiful locations on the coast for the location(s) of my Spring 2018 Rogue Yogi RE:Treat. We'll be paying homage to my dad, relatives and grandparents. Lots of delicious exotic food will be consumed, and if you subscribe to my Periscope you'll get to see them all.

In March, we'll hit up Cambodia the entire month to meet the hubby's family. THEN, after that we'll hit up Spain for 3 months. Not a year as we had planned, but 3 months. During this time is my Spring 2017 Rogue Yogi RE:Treat in Granada, Spain. What's really great is that we can be able to travel and share this experience while doing what we love. I feel really grateful for this! We also have 5 out of 10 spots filled. Grab one of the last 5 here!

At that point, we don't know where we'll be going. UPDATE: We will hit up France, Germany, Italy, then Mexico in October when we end up in Tulum for my Fall 2017 Rogue Yogi RE:Treat. After that, we will be in Mysore, India for 3 months before my Spring 2018 Rogue Yogi RE:Treat in Vietnam. I will be studying Ashtanga Yoga with Sharath Jois, the grandson of K. Sri Pattabhi Jois (the creator of Ashtanga Yoga). As much as I am about sharing yoga for the urban lifestyle, I'm also about learning about its historical roots and understanding the tradition that yoga came from.

This is not to brag, not to impress you guys, but to share where we're at. And, this next step is a lot to absorb. But, the fact that we're doing this together...let's just say I probably wouldn't be doing this by myself, that's for certain!

Every country we go to, I'll be hitting up a Mysore Ashtanga place, a general Ashtanga or Iyengar yoga studio or some kind of place where I can learn yoga from a good instructor and also practice on my own. That was the non-negotiable part about this journey. It took me awhile to let go of attachment to teaching yoga physically in each country. Once I realized that my number 1 priority is to be a yoga student, the burden just floated off of my shoulders. That isn't to say that I will not be making online yoga sessions. In fact, I will be broadcasting my personal practice as much as I can on Periscope, FB Live, proper classes on YouTube and Teachable. This Rogue Yogi is literally going Rogue. Let's hope I find a good traveling yoga mat that I can lug with my yoga wheel!

(Join the exclusive group and get this content that I'm releasing to the members)

Note: If any one is reading this blog, lives in another country, is connected with a studio owner or an underground music venue, and knows any local ambient/downtempo/deep house DJs, I would love to continue my Rogue Yogi yoga pop-up sessions. The chances of this happening are unknown, but I am putting it out there to make this dream come true.

Side Note: I'm doing my best within the limitations and glitchy inconsistencies that Facebook has. It hasn't been easy trying to broadcast the way I want without FB malfunctioning. So, if the yoga sessions are not happening that well in our private FB group, I'll record the session and load it there and/or YouTube.

So....that's where we're at.

All I can do is be at peace with all these struggles and challenges. It's kind of sad, but a true reality that when you lose someone, you get a wake up call, and some people.. their perspective of life changes. Some things that were a big deal just aren't anymore, and priorities shift to others that used to sit on the back burner.

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[Tweet ""The struggle ends when gratitude begins." --Neale Donald Walsch"]

Struggles don't end forever, it's just for that moment, I am aware of what I do have at the moment, I'm alive, I can breathe, I can practice yoga, I can mentally practice meditation. In that moment, there is no struggle. It's this sense of "wow, I have something very good", and maybe it'll last for 15 seconds, 1 minute, maybe 1 hour. But, for that moment, there isn't really a struggle. It's a practice.

For those of you that may feel like the holidays are rough, lonely, or shitty, it may be difficult or easy advice to say, you can take a look at what you do have.. if you can find some outings with some friends, or have pets, find something that you can look forward to, no matter how small or big it is.. to help you get through the holidays. Because I know what it's like to go through several winters that were lonely and less than idea, and it can be better than that if you shift your perspective for just that moment.

Ramping up to the new year, I won't ask you to make new years resolutions, new promises, new majestic goals all of a sudden.

I WILL tell you to take a look at the past year, look at the lessons you learned, what realizations did you make, what appreciation do you now have or forgot to have...and from those lessons you can apply them into the new year. It's more of a gentle shift, to take it one degree differently, instead of all of a sudden doing all this different routine.

I would say, make a gentle shift. If you need someone to talk to, if you want to share something that inspired you, share it in the group. That's what the FB group is for. You're welcome to share inspiration, meditations and...I actually do encourage you to share your progress in yoga. It's not to show off, but to hold yourself accountable in sticking to your practice.

In the Lounge, I'll be sharing a yoga pose of the week, a meditation of the week and more music, (especially my curated playlists so you can play it in Spotify at your own leisure)

Just more connectedness is what I intend for our members in 2017.

Take on the holidays, the shift and the direction you'd like to move your life to...what's that next small step for you?

With Love,

Julie Tran (Your Local Rogue Yogi)

Track of the Moment: Always Like This (Andhim Remix) - HVOB



Rogue Yogi School: What are the Different Styles of Yoga?

I've been asked in my private Facebook lounge, "Rogue Yogis Run the World" a few questions about how to choose the right class of yoga to take. There's so many different names, categories, skill levels. It can be so intimidating or risky to take a class without having prior knowledge about it! What if you don't know the pose names? What if you have injuries? What if you just want the fitness aspect, or if you want to be sure there will be meditation with your physical practice? This is a sh*t ton of questions for a beginner to deal with!!! Note: When I say the word "yoga", I'm talking about the physical practice of Yoga. The stretching of the limbs, the movement on the mat, the combination with meditation. The actual word "Yoga" applies to an entire philosophy of living a nourishing and peaceful life. But, in this blogpost, I'll be referring to Yoga as the class you can take in studios or practice at home.

I'll mention here about the various styles that range from a sweat-inducing/ass-kicking fitness class to a gentle and very relaxing one that needs no effort exerted (lazy yoga, what?!)  There are actually over a dozen styles of yoga, but I'll cover about half of them here. These are the most popular styles and the kinds that I support for a Rogue Yogi lifestyle, starting with...

Hatha: It used to be the name of the general form of yoga. The physical aspect of practicing the "Asanas" (the poses) combined with the meditation. So, styles like Iyengar, Ashtanga, Vinyasa, and Power are all under the "umbrella" of Hatha! But, now it's begun to be used as a category of Yoga that's very gentle. It's perfect for a beginner or someone who's gone off on a life "tangent" and hasn't been on his/her mat in a long-ass time. Recovering from an injury? Step back in with a Hatha class! The students remain in each pose for about 8-10 breaths. With each movement is one breath. Inhale to lengthen, exhale to contract. The poses are not vigorous nor are they intended to build strength. They're also known as "level 1", "gentle yoga class" or "gentle hatha" classes.

Vinyasa: If you see a YouTube video, or take a class where you're led to a plank position, then down to the mat, followed by the chest lifting, then lowering the chest down, pressing the hands down while lifting the hips high up (which has your body creating an upsidedown "V" shape), that whole sequence of poses is called a "Vinyasa". These classes incorporate this sequence, perhaps over and over (as in Sun Salutations at the beginning of class), or interspersed in between other poses. As with Hatha, each movement is synchronized with breath. Each time you lengthen, extend, contract, you are taking a deep inhale or a deep exhale. This helps to facilitate oxygen circulating throughout your body as you tone your muscles.

Some classes move you through the poses very quickly to give you a cardio effect. Those are called "power flow"/"dynamic" classes. I honestly don't dig these classes, as you aren't given enough time to connect with your breath and your body. I've almost injured myself in these types of classes because I'm just trying to keep up with the instructor's cues. I also don't like teaching these styles of classes because I'm too busy trying to move students through the sequences and have no time to get connected to my students. (Therefore, I don't teach this style anymore).

Ashtanga: Designed by Pattabhi Jois, one of the forefathers of the structured yoga that you see today. You are guided to breathe with each movement. Ashtanga has a set of specific poses to repeat at almost every class.  Each segment has 3-4 increasingly difficult degrees of the same pose. If you can't practice the higher version, you would repeat the previous version. What's really cool about Ashtanga, is that because you're practicing the same set of poses over and over and over, you have the ability to master it better, if not quicker, because you're so consistent with the poses.

(Mysore is the practice of doing an even smaller segment of a sequence over and over and over for at least an hour.)

The Ashtanga classes I take begin with a meditation, a theme around the practice, and some chanting. About 95% of the classes are the same poses. Once in awhile, we will learn a new pose towards the end of class, like an arm balance. So dope .

Your Ashtanga teacher would make adjustments and also make an assessment on you being ready to move on to the next level series, with a bit more advanced poses. Mine gives explanations on why we practice a specific pose a specific way. She describes what can happen to the body with a wrong and repeated movement that could be injurious.

Ashtanga involves a lot of core engagement, or locking in your abdominal muscles. This helps to bring in the other muscles for any given pose.

At the end of the classes, there is some more chanting before we lie down in Savasana/Corpse Pose.

Power: Power Yoga is a form of Vinyasa and Ashtanga Yoga. There are various styles of Power Yoga. There's 2-3 different teachers that developed their own style of Power Yoga. It's kind of misnomer, as it isn't always about generating Power and Vigorous Strength to practice on the mat. It can be, as there are challenging poses to hold for 5 deep breaths. There is no rapid movement from one pose to another, and there's more time to get connected to your breath and how your body is feeling. It's actually very meditative.Power Yoga doesn't have the same sequence every time. It depends on how the teacher is gauging the room, or how the teacher is feeling. The one constant may be the sun salutations, which is at the beginning of the practice. But, after that, there may be a whole different set of poses that the teacher did not instruct on during the last class. As with any yoga class you have the option to rest in Childs Pose, take a sip of water, and join the rest of the class for the next pose that you feel ready for.

I see it more as an "empowering" yoga, because you are encouraged to think for yourself and to take your practice to whatever length is good for you at the moment. There's also dialogue throughout the entire practice. It mainly focuses on reminding the students to breathe, to get connected to the body and to quiet the mind. They're ways to bring awareness to the practice.

The style of Power Yoga I studied was designed by Bryan Kest. He studied under Pattabhi Jois, incorporated his Ashtanga yoga from the Eastern world and adjusted it to meet the Western world halfway. If you haven't noticed, yoga classes in the Eastern world are a lot more meditative, while yoga classes in the Western world are a lot more fitness-oriented. So, Power Yoga takes both hand in hand.

Iyengar: Designed by B.K.S. Iyengar. Very technical form of yoga. Where the same poses as the other styles are demonstrated, but a lot more time is spent on the alignment, the musculoskeletal alignment, thorough cues for each and every part of your body, and use of props (blocks, straps, bolsters, chairs). There's a huge focus on how the pose looks. Some may not generate a lot of heat due to not incorporating vinyasas. I have taken some classes where we were engaging so many parts of our body that we were building up a sweat. The next thing you know, we are working on headstands and handstands.

Kundalini: Really focused on breathing exercises with chanting, mantras. Belief is that you have this energy coiled up at the base of your spine. It's like a coiled up serpent. So your kundalini practice would unleash all these pent up areas of energy from your body.

Yin: Sometimes referred to as "yin", "restorative" or "yin/restorative". They kind of overlap. With Yin Yoga, you're kind of relaxing in a pose, but you are actively stretching for at least 5 minutes. You're asked to find your "next edge" which is a point of discomfort but to deepen your pose and getting your body used to the pose. Improves circulation, flexibility, fascia, tendons.

Restorative: You're propped up by all these bolsters to ease any effort on your behalf to be in the pose. For example, I led a Yoga Nidra class. I started my student off with a supported Fish pose. The bolster is under his back to lift his chest, with another bolster under his knees. His head is resting on a blanket on top of a block. There's no trying to find an edge. He's just simply relaxing with no effort.

SoooOooOooo...I mentioned a LOT of styles of yoga!

One tip on how to choose which one to try:

-Call into the studio and ask the staff to describe how the class goes. How long are you in a pose? Is it 5 breaths? or 10? Is it gentle, or is it sweat-inducing? Is there meditation, spirituality, or any "dharma" talks? The more you ask, the more you can be prepared on what to expect.

Check out YouTube for demonstrations of this.

If you have injuries? Take restorative or a Hatha class. Get your bearings on how a yoga class flows. You'll have enough time to gauge if a certain pose feels good or not. If you choose to take any of the other yoga classes (Power, Ashtanga, Vinyasa, Iyengar)...if something doesn't feel good... that's where your brain and heart come in. Use your common sense. Rest in Childs pose, take a sip of water, then join the class on the next pose. Restorative is good for relaxation of muscles and connective tissue as you recover from your injury.

See if the teacher is understanding and knowledgeable about modifications or alternative poses you can do to ease the weight off of the injured body part. More on how to assess a Teacher in another post!!

Was this blog helpful? Let me know in the comments below!!


Julie (Your Local Rogue Yogi)

Mural by Victor Reyes, his work is all over SF. Def check him out here!

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How to Practice a Classical Sun Salutation

Need a nice Yoga flow to practice in the morning? This sequence is called a Classical Sun Salutation. It warms up all the major muscle groups in your body! Have no time to practice? Just do 3 rounds of this to start your day!

  1. At the top of the mat, stand with your feet together, hands at your heart
  2. Inhale arms forward and up
  3. Exhale as you fold forward (Uttanasana)
  4. Inhale the left leg back, knee lowers (Chest lifted, fingertips down).
  5. Exhale step right leg back to Downward-Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
  6. Inhale...
  7. Exhale as you lower your knees chest and chin to the ground (Crocodile/Ashtanga Namaskara)
  8. Inhale as you slide onto the belly, chest lifts to Cobra (Bhujangasana)
  9. Exhale to Down Dog
  10. Inhale left leg forward (back knee lowers), fingertips down, chest lifts
  11. Exhale step right leg forward, forward fold.
  12. Inhale arms forward and up
  13. Exhale, hands to heart.

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To see the sequence done in one take, check out my video below! Let me know how it went for you in the comments below!