Surya Namaskar B – Sun Salutation B

Surya Namaskar B, or Sun Salutation B, is the second flow in the opening sequence practiced in the Ashtanga Series. It is performed in 5 rounds immediately following Surya Namaskar A, linking breath to movement to form a rhythm.

This flow is nearly the same as Sun Sal A, except for 3 details.

  1. Utkatasana (Chair Pose) replaces a simpler Urdvha Hastasana.
  2. We add in Virabhadrasana 1, or Warrior 1. There is one for each leg, with a vinyasa in between.
  3. You do not hold all of your Adho Mukha Svanasanas (Downward Dogs); only the final one [Asana #15] is held for 5 full breaths.

Benefits of Surya Namaskar:

  • Strengthens the body and improves muscle tone
  • Improves posture
  • Improves flexibility
  • Increases blood circulation and warms up the body
  • Helps relax mind, and build mental focus
  • Reduces stress and anxiety

Beginners’ Tips

*Note: I added Beginners’ Tips to the Sun A blog, so this will only focus on Virabhadrasana 1

Virabhadrasana 1 [Warrior 1]

[For Right Side, From Adho Mukha Svanasana]

Inhale: Rounding back, lift right foot off the mat and bend knee, lifting the knee as close to the chest as possible.

Exhale: Gaze forward, bringing right foot forward and lowering to mat between hands. Pivot left foot outwards at a 45° angle, maybe stepping to the left for a more stable foundation.

Inhale: Sweep both arms up, meeting palms overhead for Virabhadrasana I which should look like:

  • Palms together, arms straight and shoulders lowered away from the ears.
  • Gazing up at thumbs, but not tensing the neck
  • Lengthen the spine and draw the lower ribs inwards
  • Hips squared to the front of the room, sending the right hip back and the left hip turning forward
  • Right thigh should be parallel to the floor, with the knee bent at 90°, stacked over the ankle, and pressing down through heel.
  • Left leg is straight, with the foot turned out to 45°, and grounding through the heel

*Modifications*

  1. Arms: leave palms shoulder width apart; bend elbows if needed; or lower arms to where it is comfortable; maybe not at all!
  2. Legs: Shorten stance or straighten out the front leg as much as needed.

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Surya Namaskar A – Sun Salutation A

Surya Namaskar A, or Sun Salutation A, is the first sequence practiced in the Ashtanga Series. It is performed in 5 rounds at the beginning of your practice, linking breath to movement to form a rhythm.

Benefits of Surya Namaskar:

  • Strengthens the body and improves muscle tone
  • Improves posture
  • Improves flexibility
  • Increases blood circulation and warms up the body
  • Helps relax mind, and build mental focus
  • Reduces stress and anxiety

Tips

Work on creating a smooth rhythm, linking your breath and the movement between the poses.

When you reach Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Dog), hold the pose for 5 complete breaths, inhale and exhale; before moving through to the next pose. This will really fire up your body!

Beginners Tips

*Edit*

Surya Namaskar A is a fairly simple sequence, but there can be some difficulty for beginners. The most complicated part of the sequence is from Ardha Uttanasana transitioning down to Chaturanga. To go from a standing forward fold to a push-up in one breath can be intimidating, but it can be broken down into a few more breaths to make it more approachable.

[From Ardha Uttanasana]

(If your hands don’t quite reach the ground yet in Ardha Uttanasana, bend knees and fold forward until you can place both palms firmly on the ground)

Exhale: Step right foot to the back of the mat in a High Lunge position. Keep left knee stacked over left ankle as you straighten the right knee and press down into the toes.

Inhale: Step left foot back to right foot in a High Plank position or the high end of a Push Up. Keep the body long and back straight, pressing firmly through the palms.

Exhale: Lower down to Chaturanga Dandasana, a low Push Up position. Ideally, this is:

  • Gazing straight ahead, but with a relaxed neck; don’t strain it!
  • Shoulders are strong and squared, and pushed back
  • Elbows at bent 90° with the arms squeezed into the torso
  • Back is strong and straight,

*Modifications*

  1. To lower down with more control, bring the knees to the floor first.
  2. Lower down directly onto the mat; keeping shoulders stacked over the wrists, and just lay stomach and thighs on the mat, keeping the chest lifted as much as possible.

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Packing List – 1 Month in Bali

Detailed packing list for an extended trip to a tropical destination.

This detailed packing list will break down everything you need to bring on an extended trip to Southeast Asia. My experience was a month in Bali, but this list can apply to one week in Thailand, if that’s where you’re going.

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A disclaimer: I spent most of my month in one villa in Ubud, spending most of my time in yoga clothes, and then less than a week in a homestay on the eastern side of the island. I didn’t roam around too much, and it hardly rained while I there. I traveled with:

  A Small Backpack as my carry-on bag. I stuffed extra clothes, and important items in here, just incase of lost luggage.

A Purse which I only used for the airport since it fit my boarding pass, passport and money comfortably. I kept my important documents and extra money in here for the rest of my trip, and didn’t actually take it out much.

A Fannypack (or bumbag, whatever you want to call it) This was my best purchase and I want a bunch more. I used this whenever I went out, to carry my daily essentials, like sunglasses, sunscreen, money for that day, etc.I got mine here in Hamilton from Out of the Past on King Street, and I might need to go buy more.

A Big ol’ Suitcase for my checked luggage. It was 17″x8″x25″ and I kept it underweight the whole time, so less than 50lbs. Leave space in here to bring all your goodies back home!

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This was my first time traveling here, and I definitely overpacked a little, but still ended up forgetting things. Like a power adapter. And a hairbrush. And tops, besides the tank top I wore on the plane.

Also, I’m a lady, and this list will reflect that. If you’re a man traveling to Bali, don’t bother with the bras or dresses.


Essentials

You have to bring these along with you, no question. Even if you bring one little backpack, put these in there.

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  • Passport
  • Visa- You may not need to get a Visa beforehand, or even on arrival, depending on your length of stay. I was staying 28 days, so I did not require one, saving me $25USD.
  • Travel Insurance
  • Boarding Passes and other Tickets

Make sure to bring copies of all of these important documents, or better yet, take a picture of them and save copies in your email, so you can access them wherever you have internet.

  • Indonesian Rupiah- You will need some money on arrival for taxis or any other purchases, so I would get some money exchanged at home (at a lower exchange rate) before you leave. I would suggest bringing $1-$2 million Rupiah with you. That’s only $100-$200 Canadian dollars. Bali – where you’re a millionaire. An easy exchange for shopping: $1 = R$10,000
  • US Money- Bring the US money for your Visa-on-Arrival, if required, but if you plan on bringing more to exchange in Bali, make sure those bills are crisp and brand new – money changes won’t take them otherwise, and it’s an annoyance to have useless money.
  • Debit and Credit Cards- There are lots of ATMs around. They usually charge about $5 each time you use them, so take the max out when you do (usually $1-$2.5 million Rupiah)

Clothing

Best tip for packing – roll your clothes up, it’s much more compact. And, less is always more. In this case, the less you bring with you, the more you can bring home. Remember to look at the weather, and consider what activities you’ll be doing on your travels. For me, it was 30°C (86°F) and sunny, and I did a lot of yoga, wandered around Ubud and went to the beach. If you’re going hiking up mountains in the monsoon season then maybe add a few items.

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Do not wear this to the temple.

Basics

  • 5 Tank tops or crop tops- it’s really hot, all the time, so bring your summer clothes. Bali is a little less restrictive, so don’t worry about the spaghetti straps.
  • 2 T-shirts- the sun is pretty relentless here, so avoid the shoulder burn with a loose, cotton t-shirt.
  • 1 Long-sleeved top- if you want to go to any temples or religious ceremonies, be prepared to dress respectfully.
  • 4-5 Shorts- I brought a combination of denim, loose cotton, and active-wear shorts.
  • 2-3 Skirts- Maxi skirts are great for the heat, but if skirts aren’t your thing, just pack more shorts.
  • 3 Dresses or Rompers- Again, this is up to you, but I liked just throwing on a lightweight dress in the heat, and they double  as bikini cover-ups. Bring one ‘fancy’ dress, if you’re going to head out on the town.
  • 1 Pair of Leggings- For chillier evenings, underneath your dresses, or visiting the temples. I wore mine under my pants on the plane, so they didn’t take up any extra space. If you’re doing more athletic activities, maybe bring more, or just more athletic shorts.

**Gentlemen, bring lots of breathable button-down tops, or tank tops. Lots of shorts are a must, but lots of men in Bali tend to wear a sarong .

Remember; all these items of clothing can be bought for about $5 in the markets, once you arrive in Bali. Bring only one of each item on the list and save room for lots of new clothes.

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Outfit for a day of shopping in Ubud. Everything on the list is in that bag already.

Underwear

  • 8 Pairs of Underwear- You should only have to do laundry once a week, this way. Don’t overpack on underwear, it takes up more space than you think. If you are a really light packer, only 2-3 pairs might do for the wash-and-wear traveler.
  • 5 Bras- Bring some sports bras and regular ones. Sports bras look good under your loose fitting tops, and are great for the occasional yoga class.
  • 3 Pairs of Socks- You won’t be wearing running shoes that often, so 1-2 pairs of ankle socks and 1 emergency pair of big warm socks for a trip up a mountain will be more than enough.

Outerwear

  • A Hat– keep the sun off your face with a wide-brimmed hat. You can buy lots of cute ones in Bali though!
  • Rainshell Jacket- ultra-light, and easy to pack, for the occasional tropical downpour
  • Light sweater- bring something like a cotton hoodie, a flannel top, or a denim button-up for any chilly evenings.

 

Other

  • 3 Bathing Suits- These are a must. Bring your own, as I didn’t see many in Bali that I would have purchased.
  • 1 Sarong- Bring one if you must, but you can get them for like 7$ in Bali, and they’re beautiful batik fabric.
  • Hair Accessories and Jewellery- You’ll need something to tie up long hair, and you might want to dress up some of your outfits with favourite jewellery pieces! There’s tons of neat stuff to buy in Bali, though.

 

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Forever Young Swimwear  |  Aqua-La Vie en Rose  | Aqua- La Vie en Rose

 

Shoes

  • Closed-toe shoes- Bring a pair of runners if you want to hike up a mountain to watch the sunrise.
  • Sandles- I brought a pair of closed-toe flats, instead, since I’d be walking on hot dusty roads. Flip flops or any type of comfortable, casual sandal will do.
  • Dress Shoes- For your night out, sipping Bintang on cozy patios.

Toiletries

All these toiletries can be bought in Bali, exceptions noted.

  • Toothbrush and Toothpaste
  • Deodorant
  • Shampoo and Conditioner-I would only advise bringing shampoo if you need “After-Swim”, to get rid of chlorine form your hair. As most people here have dark hair, this isn’t an issue, so I couldn’t find the stuff anywhere, and had green hair for a week.
  • Feminine Hygiene products- Diva Cups are great for travel!
  • Razor + Shaving Cream- Waxing treatments are super cheap in Bali, so you may not need to use these as often.
  • Prescriptions- Get your prescriptions filled before you travel, they usually cannot do it once you get there.

Extras

  • Sunglasses
  • Sunscreen 60SPF+
  • Bug Spray- There’s lots of mosquitos with lots of diseases over here, so protect yourself. I didn’t get one bug bite, mind you…
  • Waterbottle- You’ll need a good one for wandering around outside in the heat for hours.
  • Earplugs- For the plane, for noisy roommates, for loud apartments, anything!
  • Beach Towel + Beach bag- Bring an empty tote and a lightweight beach towel for seaside trips.
  • Travel Journal- I always bring one of these, just to document my day.
  • Travel Guide Books and Maps

Tech

  • Cell Phone- There is WIFI almost everywhere, but if you want reliable service, pick up a SIM card, you won’t need more than 1GB of data per week, which costs about $15 Canadian.
  • Chargers
  • Adapters- You’ll need the correct power adapters for all your electronics to charge up.
  • Camera, Video Camera, GoPro- Document your travels! Cellphone cameras are great, but GoPros are everyone’s new favourite thing.
  • Laptop or Tablet- Bring something besides your cellphone, if you’re doing any more screen work, there’s lots of places to lounge and get some work done, or upload pictures.
  • Headphones- They might not give you any on the plane.

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15 Reasons to take your Yoga Teacher Training Abroad

If you’re thinking of getting certified as a Yoga Teacher, you should consider going abroad for the experience! IMG_20151116_080042289

Before you leave, you have to decide what type of yoga teacher training is right for you.

Will you start with your 200 Hour certification, or jump right into 500 Hour? What type of yoga practice will you train in? There’s schools offering Yin, Restorative, Ashtanga, Hatha, Vinyasa, Iyengar, Kundalini… the list goes on. Deciding on the type of school is most important, since it will shape your yoga practice and career afterwards, but if you to go abroad, you’ll have a lot more options to choose from than if you stayed at home.

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The biggest difference you’ll probably find is that when you go abroad, you get a full-on, intensive month of teacher training. I found that most schools in my area at home only offered weekends in-class, over a 10-month period. I needed something to totally immerse myself in; so I could take in a lot of information and learn all this cool new stuff, without being distracted by “home life”.

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Once you have an idea of what type of training you want to take, pick a country! There’s probably lots of schools to choose from in the country you’re from, but it’s an amazing experience to go abroad and explore a new country while learning something new! Lots of tropical countries offer training year-round, which is great, because you will be leaving home for about a month. Think Costa Rica, Thailand, Indonesia, Australia and of course India… but lots of European and North American countries offer training in amazing locations as well, so don’t rule them out!

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I chose an Ashtanga Vinyasa training in Bali, Indonesia for my certification. I practice this type of yoga, and after reading through All Yoga Bali‘s brochure, I decided this school offered the course I was looking for. I chose Bali because it’s really far away from home, and I’d never been to Asia, or the Southern Hemisphere before… and Bali is amazing.

Here’s 15 reasons why you should travel abroad and become a yoga teacher

1. Cost-effective

A big reason I chose not to take my training in Canada is because it’s very expensive here. For the same price as most 10-month, weekends-only training in my area, I got meals and accommodations in Bali, on top of the intensive 24-day course. This was the biggest selling point for me. I still had to pay for airfare, but the experience paid for itself.

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2. Traveling to a new, exciting country!

This is obvious. But, honestly, nothing is better than travel!

3.  Going to class is awesome

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Even if morning meditation is 7am, you know the only reason it isn’t any earlier is because the sun hasn’t come up yet! Wherever you choose to go, the setting will be beautiful and you’ll be running to morning practice with your tea still in hand!

4. New best friends!

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When you first arrive at your training, it can be a little overwhelming to suddenly be living with 20 strangers. Don’t worry though, after your first intense yoga class together (and certainly after that first week), you’ll all be feeling the same way and will be bonding in no time.

5.  You’ll practice a LOT of Yoga

We practiced asana 3 hours a day and meditation and pranayama for another hour or two, on top of 3-4 hours of practical class work. It was always a long day, but it was so exciting and there was so much to learn with all my new friends that the days started to blur by.

I practiced a lot more often that I would at home, and it was great to get in 2 practices every single day.

6. Your Yoga practice will deepen

Now, I’m not saying you will improve and you certainly won’t be walking out of there on your hands. Because before you can deepen your practice, you will probably fall apart and won’t even be able to do Paschimottanasana II for a few days.

This is more yoga than you’ve probably ever done, and you will be physically exhausted.

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But after you cry a little and collectively complain with your other yogis, you will all find that tomorrow is a brighter day, and your muscles got the rest that they needed last night and you can actually even fold yourself into Padmasana this morning! You cheer each other on and share in others successes, because even though Yoga is a personal practice, it is meant to be shared and enjoyed, just like life 🙂

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7. You will learn to TEACH! [all kinds of students!]

When you go abroad, lots of others are headed where you are as well! When you start teaching, you learn that your students are your own best teachers. Different students have different needs, and being thrown into a mix of people lets you learn how to work with all kinds!

Learning to teach, developing sequences, measuring my own breath and pace were all amazing, and I cherish these new skills I’ve developed.

8. Homework is just that much easier

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You still have homework in paradise.

But it’s okay, because it’s yoga homework, you’re sipping tea, munching granola and bananas, and you have 23 friends to ask for help on which muscles are working in Navasana.

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9. Study breaks are taken in the pool

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In between practice and anatomy can jump in the pool and cool off. Can’t do that at home.

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10. The food is amazing and healthy

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Grab a bite to eat before jumping in the pool!

My retreat offered vegetarian-only meals. For me, it was a change, but I found a ton of new things I liked!

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I ate healthier here than i would have at home, that’s for sure. I also took healthier habits back home, too!

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I still snuck into town for Bacon on weekends…

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11. You’ll have some extra fun

We had a beach day. It was a blast trying acroyoga and handstands, playing in the waves and bonding over silly yoga jokes.

12. You really immerse yourself

It’s All Yoga, all the time, here. After a full day of practice and classes, you have a bit of homework to do as well. You’re half-way around the world from home, so you don’t have to think about anything else, it’s perfect.

13. Graduation is really neat

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The morning of your graduation ceremony is what everything you’ve been working for has built up to.

Everyone is excited and relieved… until we learned there’s just 108 more Sun Salutations left before we can get our hands on our certificates.

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Nothing beats getting your 200 Hr certificate in the jungle, surrounded by beauty.

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14. You’re already here… why not explore?

Take day trips, wander around town, hit the beach… make it your vacation! You’ll be busy with your training most of the time, but take advantage of your Saturdays off, and don’t immediately head home after your course is finished!

15. Coming home to teach!

Coming home is a great feeling, especially if you have something new to share with everyone! I was sad to leave Bali and its warm weather, but it’s nice to be back in Hamilton too.

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1 Reason not to take your training abroad?

You have to say goodbye to all your new friends you just made… and none of them live in the same country as you. IT’S REALLY HEARTBREAKING, but now you have 23 couches to sleep on around the world 🙂

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