How to Tune Out the Brewery Sounds

Our studio is made up of unique brewery spaces that we love. Sometimes those places are noisy because we’re in the taphouse or even right where the beer is being made. Either way, it can help us grow a more grounded and focused yoga practice. So what do you do when you’re on your mat and the sounds start distracting your thoughts?

Breathe!

Salem Yoga Beer Gilgamesh

As soon you start paying attention to the breath, a lot of things get quieter and you stop unintentionally seeking distractions from other senses. Here are some options:

1. Start counting!

An average breath is very short and shallow. When you extend your inhale/exhale to 3 seconds each, it gets a little deeper. As you repeatedly count out the breath cycle, not only will the brewery sounds drift away but you will also get more oxygen into the body which has all kinds of health benefits! (Your brain and your muscles LOVE oxygen.)

2. Engage Ujjayi breath.

Ujjayi is a little noisier than what you normally do and a great place to focus because of the sound it makes and the attention it requires to keep it engaged. 

Ujjayi is simple to do once you hear someone do it. The best way to describe it is that you make a constriction in the back of your throat to make your breath sound like the ocean. It’s very similar to the strong exhale you use to fog up the bathroom mirror mixed with a long heavy sigh out the nose. (Ask one of our Yoga + Beer teachers if you want to make sure you’re doing it right!)

portland yoga beer ecliptic

Focus on your feet

Sometimes counting the breath isn’t enough or perhaps it’s too distracting in itself. That’s when your feet come in handy! We’re on them for the majority of the flow portion of our practice. Are they cold? Are the warm? Are your toes gripping the mat? You have three arches in your feet, try to keep them active. This can happen by just lifting all your toes. Feel free to give it a try whenever your mind wanders to the beeping sound of the forklift backing up at Gilgamesh!

Drink a beer

We all have evenings where our brains want to do anything but focus. Those are the days when you hear the brewery sounds the most. Don’t get frustrated! In that situation, try stimulating another one of your senses. Take a sip of that nice dark porter sitting at the top of your yoga mat. (Water works great too!) And whatever you choose to drink, fully enjoy it in that moment and pay attention to the flavors. Then take a deep breath and come back to your mat.

Cheers!

5 Poses to Help De-Stress the Holidays!

Lets face it, we like to run ourselves ragged by giving, giving and giving during Christmas season. We love doing it ourselves too! But when it starts to feel like you don’t even have time to breath, taking a few moments for yourself probably isn’t a bad idea. That’s why all our Yoga + Beer classes are free for December, we want you to take a little time for yourself!  

However, if you can’t make it to class this month, we made a short and simple sequence that is built to help you lighten the load. That way you can keep adding to the holiday cheer(s)!

Child's Pose

Grab a couple decorative Christmas couch pillows and sit on the floor with your knees apart. Place pillows between your knees and far enough forward so that you can rest your head the on pillows too. Be generous with the pillows and prop yourself up nicely. Fold over the pillows and find a comfortable supported Childs Pose. Stay here for as long as you’d like and simply focus on taking deep, steady breaths.

High Lunge w/backbend 

High Lunge w/backbend

High Lunge w/backbend

Stand at the top of your mat. Take a big step back with your right foot. Make sure your left knee doesn’t go past the ankle. Keep your back leg strong by pressing the heel back while keeping the right hip parallel with the left. Both arms reach up. Take a deep breath in and bend your elbows and reach your chest up towards the sky. (Again, keep your abdomen strong and supporting the spine.)

Pyramid Pose 

Pyramid Pose

Pyramid Pose

From High Lunge, straighten your front leg (being careful not to over extend). Then hinge forward at the hip till you reach halfway. If your hands touch the ground, great! If they don’t touch, that is equally as wonderful. Grab some books to prop your hands up on so your chest can remain lifted.

Forward Fold

Step to the top of your mat. Bend you knees and fold forward. Relax here and let your ribs rest against your thighs. Take several deeps breaths and hang onto each elbow.

Chair Pose w/twist

Chair Pose w/twist

Chair Pose w/twist

Rise to stand with your feet together or apart. Hands come together at your heart. Drop your seat down and make sure you can see the toes of your feet. Twist your torso to the right and place left elbow on your right thigh. Work at lengthening the spine and taking big breaths here. 

(Repeat High Lunge and Chair Pose so that you get both sides)

Hoppy Holidays!

All Levels Yoga | Lunge Twist

Lunge Twist. We include this pose in a lot of our Yoga + Beer classes. Sometimes it feels good to have this pose be strong and active, but sometimes you just want to relax a bit more.

Here are 5 options for this pose that you can take anytime this pose is suggested in class.

1. Come into lunge with your back knee down, and your hand (same hand as front leg) pressing into the front thigh to spin your heart open. Other hand is on the ground (or your pint glass).

2. Same as Option 1, but a little deeper twist. Opposite elbow outside your front leg, create a fist with that hand and press into the fist with your other hand to help find the revolving action in your upper back.

3. Back knee off the ground, lean forward 45 degrees with hands at heart and start to rotate at the waist, bringing opposite elbow toward front leg. Stay here without trying to latch the elbow. 

4. Start with Option 3, and then just open your arms. 

5. The classic pose. Hands in prayer, opposite elbow outside front thigh, with back knee off the ground and back leg very active.

Happy practicing!

All levels yoga modifications. Yoga and Beer. Oregon yoga. 

Down Dog Options

So you're in class...and your wrists are getting uncomfortable. But you want to do more than sit and enjoy a drink. (Although that is fine too!)

In our last blog post, we gave you some alternatives to Down Dog. But if the pose feels relatively comfortable except for your wrists, here are some options to modify just the hands and arms. Give them all a try and see which works best for your unique anatomy. 

Down dog modifications. All levels yoga. Yoga + Beer. Yoga classes in Oregon breweries in Salem, Albany. Silverton, Portland and Newport. 

1. (top) Roll your mat up and place the heel of the hand on cushioned area, fingers on the ground. Press down through the front of the hand to help avoid wrist pressure.

▫ 2. (left) Make fists with your hands and press fists into mat, strengthening the wrists. Effective but it can be a little strange for down dog - so it will take some getting used to! 

▫3. (right) Drop down to forearms, spread the fingers wide and practice pressing down into the front of the hand where fingers meet the palm.

Hoppy practicing! 

All Levels Yoga | Down Dog

So you're in class. And you're in Downward Facing Dog. Again. And your wrists are like ... nope. And your shoulders and arms are unhappy with you. And you know what? That's okay. 

While Downward Facing Dog is considered one of our "classic" and common yoga postures - it is hard. And it takes practice to build up the strength and endurance necessary to hold this posture comfortably. 

If you've attended a Yoga + Beer class, then you'll know that we like lots of options at Yoga + Beer. And we fully support not forcing things that don't feel good. This pose is harder than we give it credit for sometimes, and sometimes you need alternatives. Don't beat yourself up, just choose one of these options which will help you continue to build strength for Downward Facing Dog. 

1. Check in with your Dog
Before you hate on Down Dog, assess where your weight is. Can you pull more weight back into your feet and out of your hands? Are your fingers and palms doing their fair share - or are your wrists doing all of the work? What if you bend your knees a little bit, does that make it more comfortable? 

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2. Dolphin
Drop down onto your forearms for dolphin pose. It's hard in its own right, but gets you off your wrists. Keep elbows in line with shoulders. And if this pose is really intense in your low back or hamstrings you can take your feet wider on the mat, and maybe even bend your knees. 

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3. Table
Drop down onto your knees for table. Wrists under shoulders. Knees under hips. Long, flat back. You can work the strength of yours arms, the length of your spine and the support of your core in this shape - all of which are necessary for Down Dog. It's basically a less intense version of dog down. 

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4. Child's Pose
And finally there's a Child Pose, but in an active form. You can just relax here if you are feeling like you need to chill out. But if you want to keep working endurance for Down Dog ... instead of just laying in the shape, press down into the palms and get your arms active enough that your forearms and elbows lift off the ground. You can work your down dog arms in this shape, but with less intensity.

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Happy Practicing!