In honor of International Yoga Day, 14 Street Y’s yoga instructor Susan Turchin shares her thoughts on why she began practicing yoga, how it has helped her, and how to incorporate yoga easily into your own life.
I moved to Manhattan in my mid-20s. I had a job working for a major New York City retailer and it was stressful! It was a new kind of stress, nothing like I what I had felt before during my college years, and I wasn’t quite sure what to do about it. I didn’t like living that way, so I needed to find a way to get rid of that energy.
Luckily, I came upon a yoga studio in my neighborhood and decided to give it a try. I’d always liked things that involve the body, physical things. I took dance classes since I was a child, so I knew the joys of moving my body. It turned out that that yoga studio was the perfect thing for me! I took classes several evenings a week after work and I found that peace that comes to us when we practice yoga. It was more than just body movement; it was breathing and concentration. It was letting go of all the things my mind stressed about and it was bringing peace into my life.
Here is an easy way to incorporate yoga into your life on a daily basis. These twelve postures done in succession tone the entire body and help the mind focus, while bringing calm to your emotional state.
- Starting with Mountain Pose, stand with your feet parallel and close together, coming into an easy erect posture. Draw the lower abdominal muscles in, feel the tail bone tuck under slightly and elongate your spine. Put your shoulders back, opening through the heart space. Elongate your neck with your head balanced on the neck as the crown of the head reaches for the heavens.
- Reach your arms out in front with the palms of your hands facing each other. Then, moving the arms towards the ceiling, reach up with your arms in-line with your ears.
- Hinge forward from the hips, reach your arms out and fold forward into a forward bend.
- Come into runner’s lunge by placing the finger tips on the floor in line with your toes (bend your knees if you need to) and stretch your left leg long back behind you, planting the toes on the floor. Be sure that the right leg forms a right angle from the shin to the thigh.
- Coming into “downward facing dog” pose, take the right foot back to meet the left foot. Plant your hands firmly on the floor so that your body is in an inverted “V” position.
- Move into a plank pose by lowering the buttocks and bring the body into a long line as if you are in the top of a push up. With the elbows tucked in close to the torso, bend the elbows to lower yourself to the mat.
- Coming into a “Baby Cobra” pose, use the muscles of the upper spine to lift the head, neck and chest upward.
- Press into the hands to return to “downward facing dog” inverted “V”.
- Come into runner’s lunge on the opposite side by swinging the left leg forward, placing the foot between the hands.
- Bringing the right leg forward to meet the left, you will find yourself back in standing forward bend.
- Reach the arms out long in front, hinge up from the hip joints, and stretch your arms overhead.
- Bring the palms of your hands together and lower your hands to your heart. Take a breath and feel the effects of Sun Salutation.
#14YSolstice Rooftop Yoga
Friday, June 21 | 7:00 – 8:30 AM
Make sure to join Susan this Friday for #14YSolstice Rooftop Yoga!
The 14th Street Y celebrates International Yoga Day and the Summer Solstice, the longest day and shortest night of the year. A time to mark the pinnacle of the Sun’s power to fuel the growing season as well as celebrate the light within all of us, we join with the worldwide yoga community to practice 108 sun salutations. 108 is considered a sacred number in the yoga tradition. Bring water and practice at your pace.
This event is FREE and open to all. Space on our rooftop is limited, so please RSVP and come early to reserve your spot.Register Here