After recently trying my first “Yoga in the Vines” class at Folktale Vineyards & Winery in Carmel, California, I was so inspired by the moving experience that I felt compelled to collaborate with their amazing yoga instructor, Kate Balog, to create a yoga tutorial series.
Thanks to Kate Balog and our friends at Folktale Vineyards & Winery, Inspirations & Celebrations is excited to present the “Yoga in the Vines Series”. This new 5-part series of beginner yoga tutorials was designed to help you unwind among the vines while learning different exercises that help your mind and body.
For many people, the study of yoga is a deep and personal journey toward inner connectivity, strength, and wellness. Whether you’re a yogi or a novice, our goal is to inspire and educate you about the benefits of yoga. With that said – Namaste and Cheers!
Yoga in the Vines Series – Part 1
To help you build energy and boost confidence, in Part 1 of this 5-part Series, Inspirations & Celebrations’ Fitness Contributor Kate Balog (a certified Yoga Instructor based in Carmel, California) shares 5 yoga exercises.
Yoga To Build Energy & Boost Confidence
Have you ever felt stuck or less than the best version of yourself? As a society, we all have a tendency to hold in our true feelings, not wanting to be perceived negatively or rock the boat. We spend time over-thinking and analyzing ourselves to the point of exhaustion– the constant doubt and fear suck our energy dry. The good news is there is a way to overcome these feelings and to move the energy in the body to release what holds us back.
All of the postures in the following series are designed to open (1) the solar plexus to increase energy and confidence, (2) the heart chakra to align our energy with our true essence, and (3) the throat chakra to coordinate our communication and self- expression. Take your time moving through each posture allowing your body to self-adjust. Pay attention to your breath, making sure to breathe deeply. It is recommended to sit in meditation for at least 5 minutes after the series for maximum benefit.
Bhujangasana – Cobra Pose
- Correct Posture: Start laying down on your belly, placing hands next to ribs. Tops of the feet, legs, and hips stay down on the mat as you push into the hands to lift the torso and arch the spine. If you have less flexibility in the spine, keep the elbows bent. Hold for 1-2 breaths.
- Benefits: Best known for its ability to increase flexibility and strengthen the spine and shoulders. Opens the solar plexus, heart and throat chakra.
- Avoid If: Not advised for people suffering from a hernia, stomach ulcers or hyperthyroidism.
AdhoMukhaSvanasana – Downward-Facing Dog Pose
- Correct Posture: Begin on hands and knees. Folds of the wrists should be directly under the shoulders and parallel to the top edge of the mat, with the middle finger pointing to the top of the mat. Pressing weight firmly through your palms and knuckles to evenly distribute weight, tuck your toes and lift your knees off of the floor. Reach your pelvis up to toward the sky and gently begin to straighten your legs. Firm the outer muscles of your arms and rotate arms externally. Draw your chest toward your thighs and relax your head.
- Benefits: Energizes and rejuvenates the entire body, building strength in the arms, shoulders, and legs while stretching the hamstrings, shoulders, and spine.
- Avoid If: Not advised for people suffering from wrist injuries, diarrhea, high blood pressure or a headache.
Utthita Parsvakonasana – Extended Side Angle Pose
- Correct Posture: Begin standing at the front of your mat. Turn to the left and extend your arms sideways to shoulder height, palms facing down. Step feet as wide apart as wrists and align heels. Turning right leg and foot outward to a 90-degree angle, making sure toes are pointed to the top of the mat. Bend your right knee until your right thigh is parallel to the floor, keeping the right knee directly over the heel (you may need to widen your stance). Turn left toes in slightly, aligning right heel with the arch of left foot. Keep the back left leg straight and torso open to the left. You should now be in Warrior II. Place your right arm on your right thigh, reaching the left arm upwards towards the sky and then up and over the top of the head with the palm facing down. Hold for 3-5 breaths and switch sides.
- Benefits: Improves balance and develops stamina and full-body coordination, as well as concentration, energy, and confidence. Relieves shoulder and lower back pain.
- Avoid If: Not advised for people suffering from high or low blood pressure or insomnia.
Ushtrasana – Camel Pose
- Correct Posture: Bring knees to the mat, hips-width distance apart. Stand on the knees with arms at the sides, slowly reaching the right hand to the right heel and then the left hand to the left heel. Push the hips forward and lean back, but do not strain. Relax the whole body into the stretch and hold for 3-5 breaths. Repeat.
- Benefits: Massages abdominal organs to alleviate digestive issues. Increases flexibility and reduces pain in the back. Realigns and opens drooping shoulders to improve posture. Opens the lungs helping them fill to their fullest capacity. Opens the heart and throat chakra.
- Avoid If: Not advised for people suffering from severe back problems.
Navasana – Boat Pose
- Correct Posture: Begin seated with knees bent and feet on the floor. Keep the spine straight as you lift your feet, bringing your shins parallel to the floor with knees bent at a 90-degree angle. Find balance on the sit bones keeping the spine straight. Extend your arms forward. Once you feel stable, straighten the legs, and gaze at your toes. Soften your eyes and your face, and hold for 3-5 breaths. Repeat 2-3 times. Finish by laying flat on the mat and breathing deeply into the belly.
- Benefits: Builds power and strength in abdomen, spine and hip flexors, steadying the body’s core.
- Avoid If: Not advised for people suffering from heart problems, asthma, diarrhea, insomnia or neck pain. Avoid if pregnant.
How to follow the ‘Yoga in the Vines’ Series
To follow this 5-part yoga tutorial series, subscribe to Inspirations & Celebrations by email, RSS, or Bloglovin.
If you live in or are visiting the Monterey Peninsula, to participate in a live “Yoga in the Vines” class, head over to Folktale Vineyards & Winery in Carmel. “Yoga in the Vines” is hosted weekly on Saturdays at 10 am and includes a 90-minute yoga class followed by a complimentary glass of wine (for $20 per person).
For more exercise tips and tutorials from fitness experts and celebrity trainers, check out the Fitness section on Inspirations & Celebrations. Be well and stay inspired on your fitness journey!
Fitness Contributor: Kate Balog
Kate Balog holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications, a Holistic Health Certification from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, and a 200-Hour Yoga Alliance Teacher Certification through Vinyasa Yoga School in Rishikesh, India. She has been trained in Hatha and Vinyasa yoga- asana, pranayama, meditation, philosophy, and yoga therapy. She is also a Reiki 1 & 2 practitioner. Kate’s teaching combines ancient yogic technique with modern understanding to create a felt energetic experience of alignment and balance. She currently teaches in Monterey & Carmel, California. Stay up to date on upcoming posts, classes & retreats at www.yogarise.org