Yoga

MY 5 FAVORITE HEART OPENING YOGA POSES

Heart opening yoga poses are one of my favorite ways to challenge myself...to let shit go...to open myself physically, mentally, and emotionally to the pose, but also to whatever life is currently throwing at me. These experiences are another one of the MANY reasons why I love to practice. This practice is not just about being present on the mat, but also present in LIFE.

Have you noticed how heart opening poses are hard? How they change the way we breathe? How they force us out of our comfort zone? How they even make us agitated and discouraged? Raise your hand if you have experienced these frustrating moments...ME!

*My “oh crap I hate this pose” moment: When I raise myself up into wheel and I let out a grunt, the practice is kicking my butt and so is life. It feels like there is an elephant on my chest and everything feels heavy and the move well just flat out sucks. The first thing that comes to mind when I get up into wheel is I immediately want to come down. I want to throw in the towel and just be done.

But have you also noticed, that when you allow yourself to LET GO...to breathe...to open yourself to the unknown...to be a little fearless...to take a chance...the heart opening pose allows you to fully OPEN and it all feels effortless.

*My “YES!!! FREAKING GO FOR IT pose” moment: Landing in Half Moon pose and feeling grounded, strong, open, and happy is yoga bliss. When I feel these things and all that other mushy gushy stuff, this pose is effortless and yes, just makes me SMILE.

Yes these heart opening poses also require practice, strength, and balance, but they also offer much more than that and I hope you will be able to feel mental and emotional benefits someday soon. In the meantime, here are my 5 favorite heart opening poses. Each one presents its own challenge to me in my practice. What I truly love about these poses is that there is ALWAYS room to grow in both the physical practice, but yes also the mental and emotional. So let it go...Open your heart...Open your mind...Breathe...

CAMEL POSE

CAMEL POSE
WHEEL POSE
HIGH LUNGE - CRESCENT VARIATION
WILD THING
UPDWARD FACING DOG

What is your favorite heart opening yoga pose?

Do heart-opening yoga poses challenge you?

TAKE A MOMENT AND THEN KEEP TRUCKING

Some weeks I feel invincible, strong, fearless, and determined...Some weeks I feel like I just cannot stay afloat...Nothing seems to go as planned...I am exhausted...I am cranky...I am definitely not fun to be around. That was last week. It kicked my ass. I am the first to admit when I do not have my shit together. I acknowledge it. I have that moment. I pick myself back up. I lean on Shannon. I practice self-care and then I keep on trucking. 

My job is a roller coaster. Social Media is a BEAST and some weeks it can just wear me down. This is life. Life has speed bumps. And when we hit those speed bumps we have two choices. We either let the stress and negativity take over or we put on those "Positive Patty Pants" on and YES, we just keep trucking. As I get older and somewhat wiser and definitely a little more stubborn, I won't give in to the negativity. I have learned what works for me to get out of that place and back up on my feet. Because as I always say, when we look at the bigger picture...Life is really good. Here are a few of my "go-to's" for getting myself back up and moving forward - 

Take A Moment

SWEAT IT OUT - Whenever I feel stressed, overwhelmed, frustrated, angry, sad, or need to take some time away from work, relationships, and life, sweating it out is always my favorite way to get my shit back together and start fresh. And usually, that type of sweat session involves my yoga mat and showing up to Sarah’s “The WORKS” class.

This class challenges me physically and mentally. It pushes me...It inspires me...It helps me feel grounded and grateful. I went to 3 “The WORKS” classes last week 3 days in a row and it was exactly what I needed. I was sore as heck and really freaking tired, but I needed someone to tell me to do those dreaded Vinyasa burpees and squat jumps. I needed Sarah to push me. I needed that support system and it worked.

I love my yoga community and I cannot brag enough about Sarah and how she has helped me on and off the mat with my yoga practice, building my strength and endurance, but also being a friend. Yoga is not just about stretching, building strength, and sweating, as amazing as to how this makes me feel. It is also a  wonderful reminder that we have to love ourselves inside and out. That we all have moments, struggles, and breaking points. We just have to take some time to acknowledge this, but also remember to keep moving forward, because life is good and when you look around and remember what you have it is REALLY good.

NOURISH YOUR BODY - Feed your body what it wants and ENJOY it! When I am having one of those weeks, where I feel like I have no control over my workload and life, food USED to be that one thing where I felt like I did have some sort of control. This was not a good thing. Trust me, it is not healthy mentally, physically, and nutritionally. Controlling your food intake is exhausting and takes up a lot of energy. Energy that could be going to someplace else. Food control during stressful moments does not solve anything. It can actually make things worse. Honor your body. Give it what it needs. This moment and this week will pass, so nourish your body with the foods that it is craving and it will all balance out in the end.

Nourish Your Body

We have to remember that our bodies are always changing and craving different things each week. Some weeks I just want to eat BIG salad bowls and smoothies...Some weeks I just want waffles and thick slices of bacon and more bacon. You have to honor these cravings and give your body what it wants. How cool is it that this happens? Life would be so boring if we ate the same thing every day. There have been nights where I just wanted to eat ice cream and cookies. And guess what I ate just that and it tasted and felt awesome. I fulfilled that craving and then moved on. Yes, it has taken me time to figure this out, but I can honestly say that I am so much more aware of these moments and it feels good to not have to worry about controlling the food.  

Nourish Your Body

DISCONNECT - JUST DO EXACTLY THAT! Stop scrolling, liking, commenting, emailing, and even turn your phone on silent. It is an amazing feeling. This past weekend we went to the RBC Heritage Cup in Hilton Head and it was a huge relief that I had to keep my phone on silent. It felt AWESOME. I was more present with our friends, with Shannon, and soaked up that beautiful sunshine, food, cocktails, and the experience.

I needed the weekend to disconnect, because it is so easy to burnout, especially when you are managing multiple accounts, and always trying to stay on top of the comments, mentions, and tags. I was starting to go bat crazy. So I 100% needed to just take that time to breathe, recharge, press restart, and just live life. Thank goodness my friend took all of our pictures, because by the middle of the day I didn’t even bother checking my phone. WAHOO!!!

DISCONNECT

During the hustle and bustle of the work week, I obviously cannot disconnect like that, which is fine, as this is my job, my livelihood, and it is what pays the bills. To stay somewhat sane on a daily basis, I always take Lucy for our afternoon walk and leave my phone behind and I am “trying” to shut it ALL down around 9:00 PM. It is hard because I love what I do and I get excited to see the growth, the interaction, and the excitement for the brands I represent, but I always need to remember, SLOW DOWN and turn it off!

HAVE THAT FLIPPING MOMENT - We are all allowed to have “that moment”. Whether it is crying, screaming, or just being silent, give yourself permission to feel all the feels. It is okay to break down. It is called being human. Once you get all that crap out, put those “Positive Patty Pants” on and just keep on trucking.

What self-care tips do you practice when life is just a HOT MESS?

MY FAVORITE YOGA POSES TO STRETCH YOUR HAMSTRINGS

Running...Strength Training...Sitting for long periods of time...and overall inflexibility causes tight hamstrings. The hamstrings NEVER lie and these big ass muscles are VERY crucial for our daily movements, so it is important to make sure that you to take the time to stretch them.

MY FAVORITE YOGA POSES TO STRETCH YOUR HAMSTRINGS

Let’s be real and state the obvious, that many of us do not take the time to stretch. I will be the first to admit this and I have admitted it MANY times. That is why I make time to incorporate yoga into my training schedule EVERY week. It honestly the only way that I can disconnect...slow down...breathe deeply...let shit go...and yes STRETCH.

If you cannot make it to a yoga class, then I highly recommend you take some time after your workout or your long day of work to do as many of these poses as your schedule allows. Grab your mat; put on some music; get in the zone to stretch. I promise you will feel better...Pinky swear!

Some tips to remember:

  1. Hold each pose for up to 1-minute;
  2. Try to do each pose 2 - 3 times;
  3. Listen to your body...Remember to breathe...And take your time with getting into the pose and holding the pose...Do not get frustrated...Enjoy and embrace the pose!
  4. Use props if are unable to touch the ground in certain poses. Yoga blocks can be your best friend!

Pyramid Pose:

  1. Make sure that your front foot is aligned with your back arch;
  2. Square your hips to the ground;
  3. Reach for the ground and allow your upper body to fall over your front knee;
  4. Fold forward as much as your body will allow you and HOLD!

Head to Knee Forward Bend:

  1. Bring one foot into your groin, while the other goes straight in front;
  2. Keep the front leg straight and reach for your foot;
  3. As you reach as far as your body will allow you, let your head relax and fall off the straight leg;
  4. I like to cross my wrists and pull myself towards my foot to get real deep into the hamstring;
  5. Hold, breathe, and try to relax!

Big Toe Pose: L O V E this one!!!

  1. Stand straight up with your feet hip-width distance apart;
  2. Slowly fold forward and grab your big toes with your thumbs and peace fingers;
  3. Pull your toes toward your face; bend your elbows to the side; and bring your chest towards thighs as far as your body will allow you;
  4. This pose will let you know how tight those hamstrings are, so be patient with your body and this pose...Remember to breathe and move into it slowly!

Triangle Pose:

  1. If there is one pose you should do every day...this is THE ONE! It is one of my favorites for stretching my hamstrings; opening my heart and shoulders; improving and strengthening both my balance and core. YEP, it works all that stuff!
  2. Make sure your front foot aligns with your back arch and your feet are spread wide. An easy way to get into this posture is from Warrior II;
  3. Slowly hinge your body forward and bring your front hand as close to the ground as possible;
  4. Keep your hips and chest open and facing forward;
  5. Keep your legs and core engaged...Do not get lazy in this pose...Feel that hamstring burn;
  6. You can use a block for support if you cannot reach the ground and you can grab your big toe for a different variation.

Reclining Hand to Big Toe Pose:

  1. Lay on your back and take a moment to breathe and enjoy that time laying down;
  2. If you don’t have a yoga strap, you can always use a towel, jump rope, etc.;
  3. Keep your spine glued to the mat; one leg straight and on the ground; and bring the opposite leg up. If you cannot grab your foot, use your prop.
  4. Try to keep the lifted leg as straight as possible, while slowly bringing closer to your nose;
  5. Hold...breathe...let your body settle into the stretch!

Let me know which ones you start adding to your daily stretching sessions...Like I said up above, make the time to take care of your body. Whether it is five minutes or 30 minutes, a little self-care goes a long way both physically and mentally.

Embrace the hamstring BURN and just do it!

WHO IS SARAH FRICK

I am so excited to introduce y'all to this amazing yoga goddess, woman, and friend!!! It is going to be hard to truly describe her in this post, so if you are ever in Charleston, you NEED to come take her class THE WORKS! Sarah is beautiful, passionate, inspiring, determined, and can we talk about that body and her hair....#WomenCrushWednesday!

WHO IS SARAH FRICK

Here is the deal - I practice 3-4 times a week at Charleston Power Yoga. YES, that is a lot of time on my mat, because it is what I LOVE to do. It is my favorite place to sweat...to disconnect...to surrender...and to challenge myself physically and mentally. I am grateful for this space and this community. And I love how THE WORKS has helped my strength, endurance, and overall health and wellness. It is freaking hard and intense and it is the only class that I let someone else tell me to do burpees and squat jumps.

THE WORKS is no joke! But there is a reason why everyone keeps coming back to Sarah’s class week after week and the classes are always booked. Sarah’s energy is contagious. When she walks into that room, you know that shit is about to go down. She is this tall beauty, who rocks crop tops, a strong and powerful body, and like I said...that hair! She knows what she is doing. She loves what she is doing. She puts all it out there...the good...the bad...and the sometimes not so pretty. I love women like this. She is fearless. She is REAL. She puts it ALL out there. There is no bullshit. So friends...MEET SARAH...

Hi! I’m Sarah

WHO IS SARAH FRICK

The girl behind THE WORKS, a lifestyle brand that encompasses fitness, food, love and heartache, all lit to the soundtrack of my life.  Music lights my soul on fire and so I use it as often as I can on and off the mat. I am solar powered and spend as much free time out in the sun and on the water as possible!  I LOVE to sweat anyway I can and enjoy so much the cathartic release that if offers when intentionally received. My goal is to make all the people in my life and beyond feel connected.  Feel less alone in their struggles. Feel more included and seen. To laugh when it's hard and cry when it's needed. A little tequila. Some great food. My people. Its all I need really.  I am a momma to 3 beautiful earth babies, Waylon (4) and twins, Della and Van (1), and 1 sweet angel in heaven, Grace, and wife to a bad ass husband, John.

WHO IS SARAH FRICK

I’ve been teaching yoga and energetic movement for over 13 years.  My love for a strong physical practice along with a deep love and need to go below the surface in search of real and raw emotional connection and release led to my signature class The Works. The works is an opportunity to throw yourself all in.  We blend breath work, power yoga, cardio, plyometrics, isometrics, core, glutes, and stretching all to a playlist that will energetically and emotionally move and deliver you from sequence to sequence.  We work the whole body. The ins and the outs. This class is an opportunity to feel it and practice along with it. Sometimes we 'let it go' and sometimes we learn how to operate and move along systemically with it.  To create ease in transition and flow strong and flow softly all thru life crisis' (which means opportunity in Chinese). We all have fires they just look different. So we throw ourselves into the room together and move- breath- and sweat together in response to these fires.  And thru this breakdown and gentle unraveling, we not only become physically stronger but start to come home to ourselves. Where the truth and the heart live. No stranger to life's fires myself - I use these tools to heal myself and those I meet on the mat. As we heal--- WE heal.  

WHO IS SARAH FRICK

I have co-owned Charleston Power Yoga in downtown Charleston and Mount Pleasant for over 8 years and I am inspired daily by the amazing community and crew I get to live and work alongside.

Who wants to join me and sign up for THE WORKS? I PROMISE you will LOVE LOVE LOVE IT!

Yoga Goddess - Jessica Haims

What do you look for in a teacher when it comes to taking care of your health and fitness? What makes you come back to keep taking their classes? Is it knowledge, passion, their personality, or that they can kick your butt and yell at you, while still having a pretty smile plastered on their face? We all have different likes, goals, and reasons for practicing a healthy and active lifestyle, so it is great that nowadays there are a plethora of options to fit YOUR needs. 

When it comes to yoga teachers whose classes I revisit, I like a variety of styles, that fit whatever my body is currently needing...it could be more focused on stretching my hips; building up my core; or honestly just getting my butt kicked and getting in a good sweat session. I want to introduce you to Jessica Haims from Powerflow Yoga. She is ONE of those teachers who in a matter of 75 minutes educated me, stretched, strengthened, and kicked my butt! Her passion and knowledge of the yoga and the human body...The way she effortlessly flowed into the poses...Learn more about this beautiful woman and why I consider her a yoga goddess!  

Yoga Goddess - Jessica Haims

I Am Jessica Haims:

My approach to yoga is to be safe, educational, challenging, and fun. I believe in educating students about their bodies so that they are equipped to make appropriate decisions about their bodies on and off the mat. Classes are based heavily through a lens of biomechanics and anatomy, always explaining to students why we do a pose a certain way. I want to offer as many tools as possible to my students so that they learn how to modify poses when necessary, and know how to play their edge when appropriate. I am both a vinyasa teacher and Yoga Tune Up® teacher and seek to blend these two styles together to link movement and breath in an intelligent manner. I mainly work one on one with students teaching self-care; we come up with a routine at home comprising of myofascial release work, corrective exercise, and yoga. After suffering a serious back injury due to years of competitive ballroom dancing and teaching full time it became my mission to empower students with the relationship to their bodies!

Why did you start teaching yoga? 

I started teaching yoga because it gave me a sense of empowerment and peace that was uncanny. In 2011 I took my first class ever (at Powerflow Yoga in Chatham!) and it was the HARDEST thing I had ever done (seriously I thought I was going to collapse on the mat by the end of it) - but then savasana came and I nearly fell asleep. I left the yoga room called my mom and said “I want to be a yoga teacher after school” - it was one of those weird gut feelings. I did my first training a little over a year later and fell in love with the studies of anatomy. Over the past year, I have dove deep into the study of biomechanics, anatomy, and the science of stretching. The more I learn about anatomy, biomechanics, physiology, etc… it reminds me why I always want to teach - to help people understand their bodies and to feel good in their bodies.

Yoga Goddess - Jessica Haims

What is your favorite pose and why? 

Half moon! There are SO many different ways of approaching this pose with props, the wall, different isometric contractions - I always find something new about my body in this pose. When I’m in it I feel like I’m flying and floating!

What is your least favorite pose and why? 

I have a hate/love relationship with warrior 3 (which means I probably need to do it more ;) ) - it always kicks my butt no matter how many times I do it!

What advice would you give to someone (aka - me) who is scared of handstands? 

Work slowly away from the wall and with a teacher you trust. Going upside down is a HUGE mental game so it’s all about taking those little steps until you feel ready! There is a move called “scissor kick handstand” that Phillip Askew taught me and it helped me get away from the wall and over my fear of hand standing (will have to show you during our coffee date!). Working on shoulder/core stability and hamstring mobility are major players in working into those handstands. One of my favorite moves are working planks and doing scapula push ups! Another great exercise is doing plank with a blanket under your feet and pulling the blanket towards your hands (ending in forward fold) and then sliding back out to plank.

How do you practice a healthy lifestyle? 

Yoga Goddess - Jessica Haims

I practice self-care by setting aside time for myself every day - whether it's 5 min or an hour for a workout. I love to go hiking, cooking, writing, reading, and watch old Hollywood movies! I make sure to fuel my body with clean food, get in exercise 5 times a week, and take 2 complete days of rest when I can to re-charge and do active recovery (or binge watch Netflix for hours ;) ! ) 

Sweet or salty? 

SWEEEEEET!!!!! I have such a strong sweet tooth - chocolate covered anything will have my name written all over it. My one vice is chocolate and coffee - I can never say no to it. My favorite chocolate is german chocolate, but my favorite sweets are my homemade chocolate chip marshmallow cookies - they are out of this world!

Tell us 3 FUN things that we should know about you...And if there is anything else you want to add, go for it.

I LOVE old jazz music - I always say I was born in the wrong era… I love old Hollywood movies and music. Ella Fitzgerald, Solomon Burke, Etta James, Duke Ellington, Sam Cooke, Tommy Dorsey, Frank Sinatra, this list goes on and on. I would have killed to live in that era and see those people perform. I had the honor and privilege to see Tony Bennett live with one of my best friends (she got me a ticket for Christmas!) I started tearing up during the performance - it was one of the most amazing experiences.  

I won world and nationals in 2011 for ballroom dancing! I miss those dancing days with all my heart and when I hear music my mind will wonder off into choreography!

Yoga Goddess - Jessica Haims

My dream is to have a huge back yard one day for a garden and chickens!

I am a huge nerd and love spending free time reading about human anatomy and the latest research on the science of stretching (Jules Mitchell is an amazing resource for anyone interested). One of my goals with teaching is to eventually develop an anatomy module for 200-hour training that gives newer teachers a concrete understanding of the human body. It is our responsibility as teachers to keep these people safe and I would like to see the bar raised in this department!

What do YOU look for in a teacher?

Tell me your favorite teacher and where they teach!