Flow Like A Pro: Our Guide to the 7 Best Yoga Studios in LA

Flow Like A Pro: Our Guide to the 7 Best Yoga Studios in LA

There’s certainly no shortage of amazing yoga studios in L.A. — the capital of wellness nation — but finding “the one” (like, the one you want to visit daily and spend the rest of your life with) is a mission that calls for some expert guidance. Local yogi and superfood goddess, Sophie Jaffe, is giving us a tour of her favorites around town. Discover some of the best yoga studios in LA below…

This post is part of an ongoing collaboration with The Chalkboard Mag.

While I often zen out at home with a yoga flow, I absolutely love taking my practice to the studio, where I can always count on the community, the oh-so-inspiring teachers and the powerful energy everyone brings to the space.

Here are my 7 favorite places for cultivating time to bliss-out and celebrate movement, mind and breath.

Love Yoga, Venice 

It only takes one visit to Love Yoga to fall in love with their vibrant, mood-boosting turquoise walls and incredible practices steeped in perspective-shifting dialogue. You’ll be musing over the teacher’s pearls of wisdom long after class is over. This beautiful studio offers a packed schedule of strong teachers (I love Miki Ash’s and Jana Romer’s classes!), as well as awesome workshops and gatherings that help you further dive into the deep connection between your physiology and psychology. Join me on the mat there –- I’ll be teaching in September and October on Thursday evenings at 7:30 p.m.! (And Love Yoga is coming soon to Silverlake!)

Hot 8 Yoga, Beverly Hills + Santa Monica 

Hot 8 is my go-to workout for maximum efficiency. When I only have an hour and want an intensely hard workout, this is my spot! The heat helps you move into the poses quickly and safely without as long of a warm-up, while also stimulating the lymphatic system, which helps your body flush out toxins. My fave class is their Hot Yoga Barre, a fusion of yoga, barre, body sculpting and non-impact cardio that always leaves me feeling super toned.

Yoga Collective, Venice 

As a down-to-earth, funky, friendly studio, the Yoga Collective epitomizes those wonderful Venice vibes. The Collective features sweaty, strengthening classes with amazing tunes, plus they’re right next to Cafe Gratitude and only a few blocks from the beach. Their teachers guide yummy flows rooted in Ashtanga and Iyengar; my faves are Rachelle Tratt and Jackie Smyth. In a typical class, you’ll be mat to mat with the people next to you in a very hot room, so come with an open heart and a big bottle of water. After class, I recommend heading down to the ocean to meditate amongst sand and salt air!

Power Yoga, Santa Monica 

This is the very first place I practiced yoga when I moved to LA fourteen years ago! Bryan Kest, who’s been practicing yoga since he was fourteen years old, started this beautiful, spacious studio so his students could explore freedom and discovery –- the essence of Power Yoga. His studio has a wide array of incredible teachers; a few of my favorites are Dan Ward, Bryan Kest, Anaswara and Travis Elliott. Thanks to the supportive dialogue from the instructors, you’ll come away from all of the classes feeling empowered and stronger in spirit.

Yoga Salt, Culver City 

Yoga Salt was founded by my favorite yoga instructor, Tamal Dodge. I completed my 200-hour teacher training with Tamal. He’s literally the sweetest human you’ll meet -– if you listen to his Salty Thoughts podcast, you’ll see exactly what I mean. Each episode, he shares inspiring conversations with wellness leaders on everything from yoga to conscious business to meditation. If you love a sweaty, vinyasa flow, paired with acoustic guitar and a voice of angels, go to Tamal’s class.

Wanderlust, Hollywood

Wanderlust is a three-story mecca for yogi lovers in LA. They’re the people behind the amazing transformational festivals and believe that a “well seasoned yogi is a well rounded person.” This philosophy is definitely reflected in their incredible events, meetups and yoga classes led by fantastic teachers like Marybeth LaRue, Aarona Lea and Caley Alyssa. They even have a full restaurant with a high-vibrational menu for all meals of the day -– their yellow shakshuka paired with a pressed juice is simply dreamy. They also have kombucha on tap, matcha lattes and superfood smoothies!

Soulplay Yoga, Culver City

This fun, playful studio offers the most amazing children’s yoga classes that both of my kids take weekly. We love these classes for little yogis so much! While I visit the farmers’ market, the kids get to nurture their self confidence, increase their focus, build physical and mental awareness and have a blast on the mat. They also offer pre- and post-natal classes for new mamas!

+ Got the yoga buzz? Check out our pop-up with both Love Yoga and Sophie Jaffe here!

Free People Blog

Sophie Jaffe Shares Her Life’s Philosophie

Sophie Jaffe Shares Her Life’s Philosophie

Making her next appearance at our Santa Monica wellness pop-up on 9/20, wellness guru Sophie Jaffe took a few minutes to share with us — and you — just what makes her tick…

There are go-getters, and then there are GO-GETTERS. Pretty safe to say that Sophie Jaffe falls in the latter category. Yogi, mom of 2, raw food chef, health and wellness expert, founder of superfood brand Philosophie…we’re lucky enough to be working with her in Santa Monica this fall. If you’re in the area, stop and consider if your existing plans might want to be put on a brief hold?
Your astrological sign:
 Taurus moon, Taurus sun, Virgo rising (Earth mama!!!).
Your spirit animal is:
My son, Leo the Lion.
You are a yogi, raw food chef, healer, health coach, mother. What can you NOT do? 
 
We can all do anything we want. Truly. We are all standing in our own way because we think we have to do something perfectly or “right”. There is no right. There is just showing up and doing.
Best piece of advice you ever got.
Learning the word “no.” Saying “no” to others is actually oftentimes saying “yes” to yourself.
Worst piece of advice you ever got.
I get all sorts of unsolicited advice from other mothers. They loveeeee to share their two cents even when it isn’t asked for. 😉
Go-to superfood.
My berry bliss blend. It’s packed with vitamin C so it works on supporting and strengthening our immune systems while helping our skin glow from the inside out. I add it to smoothies, juice, oats, yogurt and just about anything else.
Your upcoming workshop in Santa Monica is all about the new moon. What do we as women need to know?
As women, we are all affected by the moon and her shifts. The new moon is a time to start fresh, set new intentions for the month ahead, connect inward and check in with our shadowy side. This is a time to journal, take long baths, meditate, rest and cleanse. Solo time is necessary.
 
What should we be learning from this experience?
It’s completely normal to feel more emotional around the new moon. It’s vital to connect with other women to be truly “seen” and felt, and that we are always supported and held by our sisters, even if we don’t always see it or feel it.
 
Your favorite crystal and why:
 
Citrine is so beautiful. It also manifests abundance and brings energies of generosity so that prosperity and success is shared. Citrine is a solar plexus chakra stone used metaphysically to increase, magnify and clarify personal power and energy.
 
What does free mean to you?
Free means expressing myself and living without restrictions — mentally or physically — so that I can feel open, vulnerable and fully connected. Free is a state of mind and I can get there as long as I’m focused on the moment, not future-tripping or living in the past.
+  Follow Sophie on IG!

Free People Blog

FP How We: Yoga

FP How We: Yoga

A home office journey through the deep healing that is yoga…

This post comes to you from Elizabeth Sitzler, senior teacher and head of the mysore program at the Ashtanga Yoga School of Philadelphia.

One of the only “necessaries” for practicing yoga is a focus on bodily awareness and breath-connection. That focus allows us to investigate the concept of Vinyasa – the linking of breath and movement. Since Vinyasa is one of the foundational aspects of Ashtanga yoga, my goal is to emphasize breath and movement in all classes. This particular sequence was rooted in the primary and secondary series of my Ashtanga practice, which are designed to provide grounding energy, or apana, deep healing, and cleansing of the nervous system, through the use of breathing, posture and gaze.

On August 3rd, I had the pleasure of joining the Free People community at its home office to teach a one-hour, Ashtanga-inspired Vinyasa yoga class. The team had created a beautiful space for practice, decorated with tall plants, soft candlelight and a special Free People touch, which provided a tranquil atmosphere for the students.

Class began with several rounds of cat-cows. Cat-cows are done to open the hips, spine, chest, and shoulders, and serve to bring attention to our bandhas, or internal energy locks. On an inhale, we entered cow pose by arching our back, tilting our pelvis forward, and dropping our head back. On an exhale, we transitioned to cat pose by rounding our back, tucking our pelvis, and dropping our head down.

Next, we heated the body by flowing through 5 sun salutation A’s and 3 sun salutation B’s, then transitioning to standing and balancing postures, including two standing forward bends, triangle, revolved triangle, side angle, revolved side angle, wide legged forward bend, pyramid pose, standing big-toe hold, tree pose, chair pose, a vinyasa with an optional exit through crane pose, warrior one, warrior two, and reverse warrior. The benefits of these postures include opening our spine, hamstrings and hips, as well as strengthening our quadriceps and core. These postures are also nice because they detoxify our bodies, provide a grounding energy, and prepare us for seated postures and back bends.

We opened the seated sequence with staff pose, to lay a foundation for what was to come. We did a seated forward bend, table-top, head to knee pose, seated spinal twist, bound angle, and boat pose. This specific sequence includes highlights from the primary series of Ashtanga yoga. The benefits of these postures are similar to those in the standing and balancing section, and further serve to prepare the body for back bending.

The peak of our practice was our back bending sequence, which included locust pose, bow pose, and a vinyasa forward from downward facing dog to enter the option for either bridge or upward bow pose. Back bends, which serve to energetically awaken the body, open our front (specifically the heart) and strengthen our back. After our back bend sequence was complete, we took a supine twist on each side and another seated forward bend to release our spines. Finally, I closed our practice with viparita karani, an inversion. Inversions are extremely restorative and improve our circulation. After many breaths while inverted, the group took savasana, or final rest.

 

Free People Blog

Releasing Judgment

Releasing Judgment

This post comes to you from our friend, healer and soon-to-be-momma Nina Endrst.

Some days it’s hard to look in the mirror and really face up to what we see. We’re human, which inevitably means we’ll say and do things we’re not proud of. We are flawed, and that’s OK. This work of being a mindful human requires us to meet our edge and keep going. So much of life we cannot control, which is beautiful and terrifying all at the same time. I’ve found my practice is a balance of letting go and focusing on what I can control; the quality and tone of my thoughts, words and actions. I lead mostly with love but I do find myself stuck in judgment at times and this is my work — pulling myself up and out of a toxic place and standing firm in love and compassion. I hope these exercises help you to release judgment and bring us closer to each other.

Be willing to be a student, forever!

I can only speak for myself but, when I peel away the layers, I find that the judgment I feel toward others stems primarily from fear. Fear that I may not measure up in some way, or that the “other” is smarter, faster, stronger, sweeter, whatever! Um, who cares? Everyone is here to do their own thing their own way – so let’s try and learn from each other.

Practice: Start with respect. Next time you feel a pang of insecurity or feel intimidated or by someone – try getting to know them, ask a few questions. Everyone is a teacher on our path and it’s up to us to pay attention and seize these opportunities. Try your best to quiet that little voice telling you to tear them down and let yourself be taught. I find it so rewarding to learn from those who I respect and admire.

Yes, we are different but we are all the same.

Leading international retreats has allowed me to meet people from around the world — all with unique and beautiful stories and often traumatic wounds that run deep. Everyone is different yet the same because at our cores we are love. Making a snap judgment about someone we think is “different” without getting even a glimpse into who that person is or what he/she has endured is detrimental to our overall wellbeing.

Practice #1: Next time you are frustrated by a stranger, take a deep breath and say to yourself internally, “I am them, they are me.” Watch the aggravation dissipate.

Practice #2: Try striking up a conversation with someone who on the surface seems completely different from you. Or perhaps someone you’ve labeled this or that but never actually taken the time to get to know. Open your heart and mind and connect.

Compassion starts with you.

It’s impossible to love someone if you don’t love yourself. This I know to be true. So, let’s start there. How do you show yourself love, what do you do to take care of you? How do you speak to yourself when nobody is listening? How much time and energy do you spend judging yourself? Most of us are doing the best we can and that’s more than enough.

Practice: Write down all the nasty things you say to yourself and sit with it. Then burn the list. Next, commit to being nice to yourself. Start with a personal growth plan – What are you doing to take care of yourself currently? What makes you feel good, energized and close to your highest self? How can you invite more of that into your life?

When in doubt, compassion is always the answer.

 

Free People Blog

Beauty Vacation Packing: What a Yoga Master Brings to the Mountains

Beauty Vacation Packing: What a Yoga Master Brings to the Mountains

Reach a higher elevation with an antioxidant-charged serum, natural bug spray, crystal-infused water and more…

In anticipation of doing yoga among the mountains — surrounded by epic peaks and crisp, fresh air — we’re counting down the days to our upcoming Glacier National Park retreat in Montana. The 5-night excursion will be led by yoga master and health coach Maria Margolies, who combines her understanding of Ayurveda, macrobiotics and mediation, among other studies, into her grounding practice. Here, we asked the wellness guru to teach us about her beauty routine and what she’s packing in her suitcase to keep her skin, hair and spirit in harmony with the mountain setting.

Photo by Enrique Aviles.

Raw Coconut Oil

I don’t go anywhere without it! It’s great for inner and outer beauty. I use the raw kind externally on my skin and hair to moisturize and cleanse. And I combine it with essential oils, such as lavender or frankincense as bug repellent, deodorant or just for pure relaxation. Internally, I put a bit of the oil in my coffee or smoothies for extra fats and to slow down the absorption of sugar. It’s also wonderful for oral health in toothpaste or for oil pulling, which is an ancient Ayurvedic practice of swishing oil on an empty stomach for 20 minutes to draw out toxins.

DIY Superherb Blend.

I combine powerful adaptogenic superherbs to help boost my immune system, balance hormones and mood, combat the effects of stress and fuel me. I go for a mix of medicinal mushrooms, maca, ashwagandha, he shou wu, cacao and cinnamon. I add this to coffee, hot water, teas, smoothies, milks or juice.

Bug Spray

It’s important to me to find something that’s natural, great for the outdoors, moisturizing and smells divine.

Electrolyte Supplement.

This helps keep me hydrated after yoga, teaching, hiking, surfing or when ever I am very active. A supplement improves hydration, muscle recovery and performance and helps me burn energy efficiently.

Beauty Chef Dream Repair Serum

I love this oil. I usually make my own beauty products, but this one feels so incredibly rejuvenating after a long day outdoors in the sun.

Palo Santo and Cinnamon.

I always travel with some sticks for smudging and clearing space. Our ancestors used spices and common herbs found in gardens to clear space, cleanse, protection and increase vibration. Palo Santo is also used to repel mosquitos in Ecuador!

Water Bottle.

It’s a must! I carry one in my bag wherever I go, always. This way I make sure I keep hydrated at all times. Often when we feel tired, and in need of a pick-me-up, we are mostly dehydrated so instead of reaching for a coffee next time, drink a big glass of water! I’m obsessed with this crystal water bottle. The water feels so charged, energizing and purifying from the raw crystal that lives inside.

+ Put your packing list to the test! Join us on our last FP Escape of the summer — book here today

Free People Blog

FP Escapes: Chloe Kernaghan on Sardinia

FP Escapes: Chloe Kernaghan on Sardinia

As we take to the the Mediterranean seas this Saturday, yoga guru Chloe Kernaghan sheds some insight on the trip ahead…

Tell us a little about yourself — who is Chloe Kernaghan?

BIG Q! I’m first and foremost a mover. I joke that I speak in movement better than I do English. I’ve always been pulled towards movement: as a kid through dance, and now this world of yoga. I was born and raised on the island of Guam, a tiny slice of paradise in the middle of the Pacific. I was surrounded by an incredible community and was pretty much always dancing and performing. Upon moving to NYC, I started practicing yoga at studios around the village area as a way to complement all the dance and theater work I was doing at NYU, eventually leading to my first 200 hr certification. Two years ago, we started SKY TING YOGA…. So I guess if I were to compile all of that into a tag: I am a yoga teacher, a student, a small business owner and, most importantly, someone who lives to MOVE! 

Of all the paths within the wellness community, why yoga? 

I guess I didn’t even consider other paths as I began my yoga studies. I came to it because of the heavy emphasis on the physical (the asana practice) in group classes, which felt relatable with my movement background. But upon more in-depth studies, the greater questions and explorations that the practice brought up for me kept me wanting to go further, dig deeper. The braiding together and studying of the body, breath and mind continues to teach me on a daily basis. 

You’re about to embark on a seven-day sailing retreat with FP. What are you looking forward to most? 

Oh! So much!!!! What I am super looking forward to is just being on the water for 7 days. From getting up early to meditate and just taking in the expansive view, to falling asleep to the gentle rocking of the sea, it’s a real reset for me — a true break from city life! I also LOVE going to new places, and this trip is going to bring us to some incredible spots that most travelers don’t even have access to… small islands, secluded beaches, tiny Mom & Pop seafood restaurants… heaven!!!!! 

What are you most nervous about? 

It’s a funny thing to admit but, before every retreat, I always am a little anxious about meeting everyone! Basically we’ve all signed up for spending a week together on small boats traveling around foreign lands… and you have to wonder — will everyone like me?!? It always ends up great, but even as a teacher I want to make a good first impression! 😉 

How do you transition from teaching in the hustle of NYC to the open seas of the Mediterranean? 

The yoga locations on this retreat are way less formal than my studio in NYC, with some of the formality and maybe rigidity of a NYC class being taken away. We’ll still be practicing quality yoga, but there will be more room for playtime, workshopping a pose, asking questions, and gaining a greater sense of understanding for the practice. With this retreat revolving around water, I’m planning to incorporate how water can support a practice: in quality of movement, where the element of water is in the body, etc. 

What would you like our guests to take away from this retreat experience? 

I think every person comes on a retreat with a unique set of wants/needs/expectations. And generally, a retreat leaves you in a place you would never have anticipated. For this trip especially, I would love for everyone to leave with a greater sense of connection, maybe to the group of new friends they spend the week with, maybe with nature and our role in that system, maybe with the yoga practice itself, learning tools and techniques to bring home. This retreat will be intimate, so there will be lots of opportunity for exploring, sharing and relating — definitely some potent work to be done! 

What does free mean to you? 

I think, in some ways, we’re all part of systems and on paths that at times can feel inhibiting or limiting. One of the greatest lessons of the yoga practice has been understanding how to use the confines of a boundary to create more space and find more freedom. My teacher always quotes “paradise is a walled-in garden”, and I think there is power in using that to your advantage. When we surpass our own definitions of who we are and why we are and how we are, there is a one-ness that is unmistakable and liberating. However, we still have to exist on this Earth. So, to harness an inner sense of power over yourself, unlock any sort of limitation to use to your advantage! 

Be sure to stay up to date with Chloe and follow her on Instagram!

+ Looking to Escape? Join us on our next adventure in Glacier National Park this August! Book here today. 

Photo by Jana Kirn

Free People Blog

FP Escapes: Inside Glacier Under Canvas

FP Escapes: Inside Glacier Under Canvas

Get a glimpse inside the breathtaking campground, home to our August FP Escapes retreat

Where peaks touch sky, glaciers move earth, waterfalls carve rock, and wildlife roam free… Welcome to Glacier Under Canvas, and home to our August FP Escapes retreat. Glacier Under Canvas takes camping to a whole new level, with luxury tents and endless mountain views giving you the opportunity to camp without ditching the comforts of home. Still not convinced to join us this August? Read below our conversation with Crystal McDonald from the Under Canvas team to help make the trip to Montana that much more desirable. 

We love your mission statement, “To enrich lives by enabling people to share experiences in the outdoors in comfort and style.” Could you tell us a little more on how Under Canvas continues bring this mission to life. 

Being outdoors definitely inspires, restores and connects people!  Adventuring in the wild doesn’t come easy for everyone, but experiencing the outdoors also doesn’t have to mean “roughing it.” We provide unforgettable experiences and believe that immersing yourself in nature strengthens relationships and fosters environmental consciousness. Not to mention it allows you to decompress from the daily demands of being so connected!

Can you share with us some of the things that Glacier Under Canvas guests would be privy to: tours/activities/etc.?

We offer many fun activities that our guests can enjoy, like whitewater rafting and canoeing, stand-up paddle boarding, horseback riding, guided backcountry tours to Glacier Lake, even cowboy cookouts. Did I also mention Llama Trekking?  How cool is that!?  The park is nearly one million acres in size, so the list is virtually endless. You might even spot some cute bear cubs!

Under Canvas has a few other locations. Where are they located?

It’s so hard to pick a favorite because they’re all so fabulous!  Next month we are opening Under Canvas Zion, and our team has some really special things in the works!  I hear there’s going to be an amazing lobby tent with a fire pit and trees inside, a campfire-inspired restaurant AND a huge yoga platform with a meditation area! Each location is totally unique and incredible in its own way — but you guys already know that because you’ve visited our camps in Yellowstone and Moab!  Here’s some other exciting news too — we have more new locations rolling out in 2018, including Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

5 words that capture the essence of Glacier Under Canvas?

Adventure, relax, escape, inspire, discover.

Giving back is a huge part of who Under Canvas is. The months of May & June are blocked off specifically for hosting charitable camps. Could you tell us more about this? 

Yes, giving back is at the core of who we are!  We love sharing the gift of nature and we support organizations who work in partnership to offer that experience to children, youth and the disadvantaged.  Before our Glacier location opens each season, we host charitable camps and help provide the ultimate experience in the great outdoors — and when it comes to sleeping in a safari tent there is never a lack of excitement (or late-night laughter)!

Our mission to bridge society to the great outdoors is a priority. Organizations can always contact us for more information!

If Glacier Under Canvas had (or has) a spirit animal, what would it be?

A bear! They are wild and powerful creatures, yet beautiful and graceful.  And nothing says adventure like a bear!

What does the word free mean to you?

Not having a care in the world.  But more importantly, being confident and truly comfortable with yourself!

+ Join us in Glacier National Park this August! Book here today!! 

Want to learn more about our Glacier National Park Escape? Meet and stay up to date with our yoga teacher and holistic health coach, Maria, who will be joining us in Glacier NP!

Free People Blog

Soho Pop-In: The Power of Intention with Nina Endrst

Soho Pop-In: The Power of Intention with Nina Endrst

Consider making a new intention today — stop by and talk to Nina in person at our Soho location this Friday, 7/7!

Shared from our dear friend and muse Nina Endrst’s upcoming workshop…

Students often ask me about what it means to set an intention. Here, in this editorial series, we will begin to uncover and explore the meaning and importance of intentional living. Together we will dive in and practice the powerful art of positive thinking and manifestation.

What does it really mean when a guide invites you to set an intention? How can we actively participate in the creation of our reality?

About a year before I moved to Tulum, Mexico from NYC, I sat down with a somewhat cloudy vision of what I wanted out of this life. I asked myself this lofty question and wrote what at the time appeared to be the simplest list of all time. (Seriously? That’s all you got, Nina?) The list read:

Yoga. Beach. Peace.

At that time I was desperate for a change — sick and depleted. When I wrote it I had no plans of heading to Mexico — or any beach for that matter — and this list did not resurface in my conscious mind, even when I was offered a teaching gig in Tulum. I stumbled upon it right before I made the move and it was then I truly realized that our words, thoughts, and intentions are so incredibly powerful.

These practices are for everyone — whether intention setting is part of your daily ritual or you haven’t written in a journal since childhood. This is for the dreamers.

Clearing Meditation – releasing limiting beliefs.

We all have limiting beliefs – I’m not smart enough, I shouldn’t do ___, that would be selfish, I’m too old, my friends and family wouldn’t approve… the list goes on and on. It’s easy to get stuck in this dialogue, making it difficult to break free from the chains of our mind and live our happiest, most authentic lives. Think of this clearing meditation as the first step, a small but important step toward whatever it is you dream of.

Find a quiet place in your home or out in nature. Take a few moments to settle in and receive your breath. Notice what’s happening in your physical and emotional body as you begin to slow yourself down. When you feel grounded, start to elongate the breath, inhaling for a count of 4, exhaling for a count of 4, through the nose. Visualize yourself at the beginning of a long, clear and open path with nothing standing in your way. As you breathe, feel yourself walking down this path, sweet air on your face and supportive ground beneath your feet. Stay here for 10-15 minutes. When and if your mind starts to wander, be patient with yourself and gently bring your attention back to your breath count. Release.

Strip away all the stuff — what do you really want?

Perhaps this seems daunting – but instead of allowing the doubt to creep in, try and listen and, more importantly, trust that little voice inside — our intuition is pretty spot on. Only you know what is best for you. Grab a pen and paper and begin to make a list, or perhaps write a letter to yourself in which you paint a picture of your highest reality. What does it look like? How do you feel? Who is with you? What are you doing?

Co–create with the universe through visualization.

Many of us haven’t been taught or have forgotten that we can do anything, that we are, and always have been powerful enough to co-create with the universe. Let yourself tap into your childlike mind for a moment; spirited, imaginative, innocent, naïve, just beginning your journey. Take your list or letter and meditate on it, then draw or find images that evoke happiness and peace and bring it all to life on a vision board. Visualization is magic.

Happy dreaming. <3

Free People Blog

FP Escape-d: Revisiting Palm Springs with Nina Endrst

FP Escape-d: Revisiting Palm Springs with Nina Endrst

Leading yoga retreats is my primary focus as a yoga guide, and while I always have “a plan,” the sequences and teachings don’t completely come to life until I meet the attendees. It is a beautiful and necessary practice to be prepared, but we must try and allow ourselves to show up without expectations and let the magic unfold – on and off the mat.

After meeting the beautifully diverse group that made up our recent Palm Springs retreat, I was deeply inspired to create and hold space for these women to explore their innermost layers. This wave is from a sequence I taught one morning, during which time I felt particularly connected to the women before me. This wave is meant to open and expand while also drawing the energy and love inward. I hope it serves you well and that you will join us on our next adventure.

With love and gratitude,

Nina

Open

Meditation

I like to start and close each class with meditation. For some of us, this is a comfortable seat with a long spine and deeply rooted seat; for others, a supported bridge or legs up the wall. Allow yourself to drop in, in any way that feels good. Bring your attention to your breath or a mantra, for example: Inhale strength, exhale fear. Sit for as long as you like.

Child’s Pose

Bring your big toes to touch and your knees as wide as the mat here. On your next exhale settle your seat toward your heels and allow your outer hips to release while dropping your heart and forehead down to earth. (10-20 breaths)

Warm

Cat/Cow

These very common poses are meant to lubricate the spine and start to wake the body. First, come to a table top position. For Cat, wrists are directly below shoulders and hips above your knees. On your exhale spread your fingers wide and root your palms down as you round the spine and bring your gaze softly toward your navel. Keep pressing your hands and tops of the feet into the earth. (You can also opt to curl the toes here.)

For Cow, on your inhale, press into the hands as you arch the back and reach your heart toward the sky while broadening across your collarbones. Lifting your gaze here elongates the neck, but be careful not to throw the head back. (Take Cat/Cow on fingertips if you have wrist sensitivity.) Repeat 10-15 cycles. Inhale/exhale.

Wave

Downward Facing Dog

With close attention on your hands, start to press into the palms and knuckles of each finger as you inhale, lift your hips up and back to the sky. I like to keep my knees bent in DD and allow my pelvis to move closer to the earth as I draw my sits bones to the sky. You can also straighten the legs here and encourage the heels toward the ground. They may not reach, and that’s OK! Start to hollow the armpits here and draw them towards your heart, widening and opening the upper back. Hold here for 1 minute and see what comes up and through as you set your foundation.

Open Heart High Lunge

Lift the right leg to the sky and step the right foot between the hands, bend deeply into the right knee and light the left thigh toward the sky as you press the left heel back in space. Inhale, reach your arms to the sky and bend the elbows as you open your heart. Interlace your fingers and clasp your palms to touch as you exhale. Draw your hands gently down to the earth as you lift your heart. Hold steady here, stay soft, open and receptive. (Hold 1 minute.)

Warrior 1 with Eagle Arms

Spin the left heel down. You may have to adjust your footing here in order to square the hips. As you exhale root into the outer edge of the left foot and energetically draw your inner thighs toward one another as you keep a deep bend (front knee over ankle.) Extend your arms and wrap the left under your right, allowing the palms to meet. As you exhale draw your elbows gently away from you and your shoulder blades together and down the back. Find a soft, steady gaze as you bring the energy in, stay close to yourself here. Hold for 1 minute.

Come back to Downward Dog – repeat left side (optional vinyasa between sides).

Slow down

Forward Fold

Walk your feet slowly to the front of the mat from DD. Take a very deep bend in the knees and let your belly and heart rest on your thighs. Release the head and neck here. Let the arms hang if you wish or take hold of opposite elbows behind the knees and hug everything in tight to hold yourself here. Hold 1 minute and breathe.

Malasana Squat

From your forward fold, come to the balls of the feet and let the knees splay out to the sides as you sit toward your heels and round your spine, allowing your head and neck to release here. If available, reach your palms behind and hold heels – curl in and breathe. Hold 1 minute.

Rest

Supta Baddha Konasana

Come to sit and make your way down to your back. Bring the souls of your feet to touch as you release the hips and let the knees fall out to the sides. If you have blocks or blankets, you can use them to support your knees here. Place one hand on your heart and one on your belly. Rest for 10 minutes.

+Want to learn more from Nina? Be sure to check out more articles here, and sign up for our next wellness retreat here

Photos by Emily Sellers

Free People Blog

#MovementMonday: Backbends with Sky Ting

#MovementMonday: Backbends with Sky Ting

A great exercise to integrate into your routine, as you prep for the transition from spring into summer…

This post comes to you from Sky Ting co-founder Chloe Kernaghan, who will be guiding our July Escapes sailing retreat from Sardinia to Corsica.

Updog to Downdog

Start in a Downdog with knees bent, and on an inhale bring chest forward (arms stay straight!) and come into Updog with toes tucked. Start to move forward and back between the two shapes, you can go fast or slow, making sure to use your breath to move you through.

Camel

Stand on the knees and shins set up hips distance apart. Take your hands to your low back and begin to lift your breastbone up to the ceiling. If its available, you can take your hands to the heels- while maintaining hips over knees and chest lifting up. Stay for 5-10 breaths, and finish in a simple seat.

Downdog Flips

Start in a cross-legged dog with the right leg on top. Shift the weight into your right hand and begin to turn your feet to the left until they rotate to face the back of the mat. Begin to flip the chest and hips up to the ceiling, allowing the left arm to reach overhead. Backtrack to a cross-legged dog, and switch to the second side. You can swap sides a few times, making yourself feel more spherical!

+ Check out more of our #MovementMonday routines here and don’t forget to follow @fpmovement on Instagram

Free People Blog