My Philosophy|
I believe in movement. I believe that the link between emotional trauma and the physical body is a strong one; that our life experiences are all stored in our bodies in some way, whether we know it or not. Yoga is one of the most powerful healing tools to release emotional pain and tension, and to create new neural pathways that allow us to have the life we desire. A life where we can handle the good and the bad with grace, love and compassion. Yoga teaches us something new every time we step into our meditation space, or our mats to practice asana (the physical poses). We develop a sense of strength deep inside that becomes our light and our guide. The physical, the emotional, and the spiritual unite to create who we are. I believe that any style of yoga, any style of movement, is good for the soul, and that to follow what lights you up is all that matters. 
My Schedule|                            Private Sessions |
Monday 12:00pm Vinyasa {Pura Vida Fitness + Spa}                                            60 minutes $75
Tuesday 10:30am Vinyasa All Levels {Yoga Pod LoDo}                                         90 minutes $95
Thursday 5:30pm Vinyasa {Pura Vida Fitness + Spa}
Saturday 8:30am Vinyasa Level 1 {Yoga Pod LoDo}
Postures to Love|
Just like forward folds, which I will soon post, backbends are crucial to a healthy yoga practice. I have been practicing hot yoga for about 6 years. For 4 of those years it was almost a daily practice. Traditional hot yoga is comprised of 26 poses (13 forward folds and 13 backbends), to promote optimal spine and joint health. I make a point of incorporating a strong backbend practice into my vinyasa teachings, because of their ability to promote vitality. And some days it just feels so damn good. 
What I love about backbends is that they don't even have to be super deep to be considered one. A standing backbend involves lifting your chest and engaging your core. A slight gaze upward is sometimes all you need.
When I am getting myself into a deeper standing backbend I almost always bend my knees. When you bend your knees you are essentially telling your low back that you care about it. It gives your lower spine a bit more room to move deeper without pinching your straining. Try it out, it feels much better. 
So what exactly are the benefits of backbending?
Helps to regulate high blood pressure
Stretches your abdominal muscles helping with digestion
Helps you breathe which improves your respiratory system
Increases your spinal flexibility
The heart opening action can help release emotional tension and calm the nervous system
The last benefit is my all time favorite. As a yin/restorative yoga teacher, I always appreciate the poses that help us balance out our nervous systems and bring us back to homeostasis. In the chaotic world that is our life it is hard to find stillness and slowing down, and heart openers can bring us that feeling. 
Be sure to enter backbends with ease, start small, and breathe deeply. Inhale lengthen, exhale deepen. 
Camatkarasana, or wild thing, can be difficult to get in to. Like most backbends, getting into them can really depend on the day. We live in a very busy world absorbing everybody's energy around us daily, and it can be challenging to not take things personally, to stay in on your own path, and to open up fully; to be vulnerable. On days we are feeling open this asana can feel amazing, and on days we are feeling protected and stiff, it can be totally out of the question. But I often feel compelled to go into this posture even when I am feeling closed; as a way to heal. This posture requires a few different things, so here are a few tips for getting into it. 
1. From downward facing dog, lift your right leg up and back, bend your knee, and open your hip.
2. Stay here for a few breaths and pull your heel towards your seat and sending your kneecap upward.
3. Pivot onto the edge of your left outer foot, and and set your right foot behind you (try to press the sole of your left foot down for extra stability).
4. Keep lifting your hips up towards the ceiling and take your gaze towards the front of your mat.
5. Finally, reach your right hand towards to front of your mat and take 5 deep breaths into your heart space.
If wild thing is not in your practice, stay in step 1 and over time work your way into the full pose, eventually this posture turns into Urdhva Dhanurasana, also known as wheel pose, our biggest back bend. But take your time, there is no rushing in yoga, and no end goal.  
{Wild Thing}
Standing Backbend
{Ardha Chakrasana}
Anahatasana {Puppy Pose} + Chest Opener
This posture is one of my all time favorites. As a bodyworker I would say more often than not I am massaging people through their shoulders and chest because of stress, tension, and emotional blockages that are keeping them closed and protected. It is tough to find great stretches and expansion through the chest and heart space. 
For puppy pose I recommend placing one block under each elbow to allow for deeper opening across the frontline. Set your knees under your hips and let them float gently upward and you move your chest towards the earth. This pose is a great back bend for your mid and upper back, and it also softens the heart. Add the bend through your arms and you've taken your pose to a whole new place. Close your eyes and allow your forehead to soften to the ground and deepen your breathing along your spine and heart. I love this posture for restorative purposes to help balance out your nervous system. Try it out, see how it feels.