Yoga in Paradise, Anyone?

What are you doing in the new year? Join Kisa for a winter escape from January 25-31, 2016 and start your year with a fresh perspective in the lush practice space of Selva Armonia Retreat Center in Uvita, Costa Rica!

Explore the Practice and Possibilities of Yoga during this 6-day exotic retreat. Dig deep, explore, befriend, and connect to the true nature of yourself with daily asana, practical philosophy, and pranayama teachings. Outside of practice, take time to enjoy the natural and relaxing ambiance of the area.selva

Yoga is a practical practice – accessible by everyone and laden with possibilities to explore and discover the true nature of our selves. What possibilities will you find with your practice?

WHAT TO EXPECT:  A yoga practice that is based on a desire to understand and befriend, rather than assume or achieve is a powerful tool for self-enquiry. When we step on our mats ready to embrace vulnerability, explore the discipline and detachment of practice, and passionately pursue the truth of who we are, we are practicing yoga. With practice, possibilities are revealed.

This retreat is open to those with a sincere curiosity and a desire to know more about themselves and the possibilities that are revealed with a dedicated practice.

Kisa uses a playful, encouraging approach to explore movement, mind and the challenges presented when we look deeper into ourselves. During the week, we will meet with new poses, examine familiar poses, and see what possibilities unfold with the practice.

RETREAT INCLUDES:  Round-trip airport ground transportation (SJO to Selve), 6 nights of luxury accommodations, full service vegan cuisine (all meals provided throughout retreat), twice daily yoga/pranayama/meditation practices, and more!

PRICING:  $1700 after January 1, 2016 ($1550 Early Bird pricing) *Does not include airfare.

TO REGISTER: Pay Online, Call 406-752-7244, or Email

Paradise, here we come!

What’s in a stretch?

If I had a piece of chocolate for everytime someone asked me this question…

So, to get my hamstrings to stretch… do I just need to stay in that pose for a long time? How long is long enough?

My answer is always the same.

As often as you can, as long as you can.

But. let’s be clear about this activity that we call Stretching. When you stretch, you are working on loosening up the muscle fibers and fascia that is so tight that your mobility has been compromised.

Most doctors and physical therapists will tell you that it requires 30 seconds to 180 seconds to loosen the tightness in the muscle or the connective tissue that you are stretching. Ultimately how long you stay depends on what you were trying to achieve. Learning the appropriate position and pressure is key to increasing sensitivity and getting what you want from the stretch.

Tips for the Best Stretch:
1. Set up in a relatively comfortable position where you can stay for a period of time with little fatigue. I usually recommend slanting Uttanasana for hamstrings (also known as Butts-Up-the-Wall).

2. As you increase the pressure, breathe and relax the muscles you are stretching in order to release the contracting muscle fibers and connective tissue fibers.

3. Continue to breathe and let go of the contracting muscles. In other words you have to make a concerted effort to relax what is contracting and pulling. This is not always an easy task. But as your sensitivity increases you will have more control.

4. Stay for at least 30 seconds up to three minutes. Continue to breathe and become more sensitive so you are better able to actively relax what is tightening.

5. Remember to always move with careful attention in and out of a stretching posture. I often see injuries occur when people haphazardly get out of poses. It pays to be attentive.

With regular practice you will find improvement in no time.

But you can keep the chocolate coming!

Wednesday Morning Practice – 7/25/12

Today’s morning class was a good one! For those interested, here’s the sequence:

1. Supta Tadasana (Reclining Mountain Pose) w/ arm variations at wall

  • Lie down with feet on wall, knees bent; straighten legs by pressing inner heel to wall
  • Urdhva Hastasana arms with palms facing and arms straight; make arms as long as you can as you take thumbs to the floor overhead
  • Urdhva Baddanguliyasana arms with fingers interlaced; make arms as long as you can as you take thumbs to the floor overhead (change interlace)

We had a little teaching moment (thanks to Frank and Pam for demo) to see how important the work of the hands and arms is to help break up the concrete in the upper back. REMEMBER:

  • Keep fingers interlaced evenly from pinky-side to pointer-side
  • Widen base of wrist and heel of palm
  • Turn outer edge of armpits to ceiling and inner edge of armpits to floor

2. Urdhva Prasarita Padasana (Upward Extended Feet)

  • We used the strap around the heels to help raise and lower the legs to 30/60 degrees and then to hover; then, we freestyled with no strap!

3. Supta Utkatasana (Reclining Powerful Pose)

  • Feet at wall, knees bent, arms overhead
  • Nail inner heels to wall, squeeze inner thighs together, draw navel in and lift back ribs to thumbs and front ribs to pinkies

4. Utkatasana (Powerful Pose) with ropes

  • Facing the wall, grab each side of the high rope withe one hand
  • Nail inner heels to floor, squeeze inner thighs together, draw navel in and lift back ribs to thumbs and front ribs to pinkies – WHILE lowering hips and buttocks towards the floor.

5. Utkatasana (Powerful Pose)

  • Freestyle!

6. Slanting Uttanasana (Intense Stretch/Standing Forward Bend) at wall

  • Legs straight, heels out, hips to wall – RELAX neck and eyes

7. Chatushpadasana (Four-Footed Pose) w/ two blankets, block, and strap

  • Head on the floor, shoulders on blankets, block between the thighs, feet hip width apart, and strap around the ankles
  • Raise and lower hips using same actions from before: inner heels down, thighs together, navel in
  • THEN – turn upper arms out and tuck shoulders under the upper back

8. Ardha Halasana (Half-Plough Pose) to chair

  • Add another blanket or two (or three) to the stack
  • From the same actions in Chatushpadasana, get shape of shoulders tucked and chest wide, then tuck knees and take feet to chair
  • Use hands to life skin on back to tail, nail elbows down

9. Savasana (Corpse Pose)

  • Ahhhhhh… yes. We used a thin blanket under the head and put legs on the chair. In any set up, make sure that you are set in a way that you can be still. Allow your breath to maintain its natural rhythm – both the volume and the speed of the breath.