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Hello Youtube… Summer Porch Yoga has Arrived

My daughter Piper tells me that all the cool kids put their “content” on Youtube; and, we all know coolness is my lifelong goal, so I am uploading my free videos onto YouTube. You can find me wedged between “Crazy Nuttyass Honey Badger” and “Goat Yelling Like a Man” Or, you can follow this link to my Hips and Hamstrings class https://youtu.be/TCey6kBCIqM
(but seriously that Goat is unsettling)

See you there!

Tara

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Yoga Club Review Take 1

Yoga Club is a subscription wardrobe service like Stitch Fix, Trunk Club or Wantable, but for workout clothing.  I recently participated in a challenge on Yogadownload.com in which a Yoga Club subscription was the prize, and while I did not win, I was intrigued by the idea and thought I would give it a try.

With Yoga Club, there are three levels to choose from, Mantra, Karma and Guru, the names are a little hokey I know, but I guess they had to call them something.  With the Mantra you just get a pair of leggings, the Karma is leggings and top, and the Guru gets you leggings, top and layering piece.  The prices range from $45-$79, and you can choose monthly or seasonal shipments.  I went with the Guru, cleverly deducing that the per item cost is around $26 which is actually quite reasonable.

If you use my referral code, which is, https://my.yogaclub.com/TaraK7 you can give Yoga Club a try and get 25% off your first box.  Full disclosure, I will get “Lotus Bucks” in return, but frankly you need a ton of them to get just to get a 10% discount, so I am a bit nonplussed with their reward program. But please, get yourself that discount because 25% off is nothing to sneeze at.

First, you will take a little style quiz and yes, you do have to give them your credit card information.  Shortly thereafter you will get a bright pink Yoga Club box full of goodies just for you.  It’s like it’s your birthday every month. Let’s take a look at what I got in my first box.

In my happy place watching birds and eating peanut butter 🙂

This is the LA Soul Happy Tank and Peek A Boo Glyder leggings.  I really like both these pieces. At first the leggings seemed a little stiff, but as soon as they warmed up, they fit like a glove.  They are mid-rise and have a cut out detail on the back of the calves. The tank, speaks for itself, quite literally.

Showing a little skin.

Next up, the layering piece, meet the Amari  Revive Pullover.  How did they know I hate hoods, but love these loose mock-neck sweatshirts?  Well played Yoga Club. I really like the weight and finish on this top.  It’s warm, but not too heavy.

Perfect hanging out and drinking coffee top.

Bonus, there is a kangaroo pouch to hide your secret stash, whatever your particular vice may be.  No Judgment.

Skittles, what Skittles? I have no idea what you are talking about.

Since I liked all three pieces there was no need to explore the exchange feature this time.  However, had there been a item I did not want, I could have gone to the website and chosen another item which they will send in the subsequent box, along with any envelope to return the unwanted piece.  There is also a Facebook group where members trade and sell Yoga Club clothing.

So to recap, Yoga Club Round One was a success.  I look forward to seeing what they send me next.  If you want to give it a try, use the link above and treat yourself.

Tara

Finding the Perfect Yoga Mat

People will ask me which yoga mat is the best, and while I can answer that question with absolute certainty for myself, I think you have to consider a number of variables. Here are some tips to buying the perfect yoga mat for you.

My mat of choice is the Jade Fusion, it was an absolute game changer. Given that I have the boniest knees on the planet, I tried numerous mat and supplemental padding permutations. When I found the Fusion mat, my life changed. No more folding mats or setting up towels, I could just drop a knee and focus on the pose, rather than counting the seconds until I could get back up. I have several of these mats and I let clients use them just so they can see the difference. It is always a transformative moment. Check out the Jade Fusion here https://amzn.to/2qKMjsn

This is not to say I think the Fusion is the right mat for everyone, it has some downside. First, in comparison to other mats, it costs a small fortune. Second, it weighs as much as my cat, so lugging it around can be a burden. And, because of the extra density, it makes balance poses a bit more challenging. But to me, those are prices I am more than willing to pay.

Oh, that’s why it’s so heavy

My standard advice when choosing a mat is the same that I give when buying a cake, look for density. There are some nice mats out there that won’t break the bank. If you have been practicing for a while and are ready to treat yourself to a premium mat, check out Jade and Manduka. I have a Manduka mat that I use at my office and it is really nice, not quite as dense as the Fusion, but a really good mat at about half the price. Check out my Manduka mat here: https://amzn.to/2H7PqkT

There are good options at places like TJ Maxx and Target. Gaiam is probably best known, they have a premium line which I am seeing a lot of, and people seem pleased with them. When looking at mats, try to find a minimum density of 5mm, you can generally tell by the size of the roll how dense the mat is, if it looks like a taquito, it is probably 3mm so move on. Here is a nice Gaiam mat with lots of color choices: https://amzn.to/2J5ZjjD

Also, consider length. Standard length is 68” which is fine if you are 5’8″ or shorter. For taller clients, I recommend they spend the extra few bucks for the 74” mat, it is a rarely regretted decision. Extra wide mats also exist, so don’t just buy the first thing you see, get what you need, you are going to spend a fair amount of time, face down on this thing. The Jade 74″ Fusion mat is here  https://amzn.to/2J6i2f3 Gaiam also has a nice extra long/wide mat as well: https://amzn.to/2HtgTAR 

While there are plenty of mats which will serve you well out there, I have definite opinions about those big puffy “fitness mats.” Stay away from them. They are not designed for yoga, they have no grip, the ends roll up, and they condense to a tissue-thin sheet when you press on them. I cannot tell you how many people have bought them thinking the puffiness will make them more comfortable, only to be disappointed and frustrated when they don’t work.

This guy, yeah… avoid him.

Bottom line when buying a mat, consider how often you practice, if it’s more than once a week, spend a little more for a premium mat. If you practice once a week or less, get yourself a nice quality 5mm from one of the mass retailers. A final word of warning, if you float the idea of getting a mat as a present, be specific about the mat you want, otherwise the decision will be made on color and price and that does not always end well.

I would love to hear from you, please comment below and let me know your favorite yoga mat, and what it is about the mat that you love.

NEXT LEVEL VIDEOS- CORE BALANCE CHALLENGE

This class combines the two things my clients request most, cork work and balance. I don’t believe balance is improved by standing on one leg, but rather, by challenging the body’s ability to adjust during movements in all planes. Handily enough, all balance work requires core strength. I have combined kneeling core and balance work, with leg swings and lunges, a core isolation flow series, then a long leveraged balance sequence, we finish on our backs with a series I call dead crow progression. Not gonna lie, this one’s a challenge.
You will need a block.

NEXT LEVEL VIDEOS- YIN YANG FLOW

SUMMER PORCH YOGA- YIN YANG FLOW from Tara Kestner on Vimeo.

Seek Balance in All Things. This Yin Yang class is designed to balance the sweet ease of a yin yoga class, with the spicy effort of a yang flow class. The first twenty minutes are slow paced, gentle poses. The middle 20 minutes are a slow easy flow designed to loosen the joints and get your energy moving. The class finishes with 20 more minutes of quiet yin postures for a soft landing into final relaxation.

NEXT LEVEL VIDEOS – Hips & Hamstrings

Issues with low back pain?  Tight hip flexors and hamstrings are often the culprits.  Try this lower body focused class to loosen those areas and provide some relief to your back. It’s beginner friendly and the only equipment you need is a strap.  If you don’t have a strap, a long belt, dog leash or towel will do the trick.  Enjoy!

NEXT LEVEL VIDEOS- Yin Yoga Tribute

Please enjoy this short practice which is my tribute to Yin Yoga.  I designed this session to introduce my public classes to the concept of Yin Yoga.  This particular session is a portion of a longer one hour class which will be available on my Vimeo page,  https://vimeo.com/user64021270  in the near future.

Give it a try and let me know what you think.

 

 

NEXT LEVEL VIDEOS


They are finally here! The videos that I have long promised to my live classes are becoming a reality.  For those of you who take my classes, you know I change my theme and sequence each month. Sometime around the end of the month, I will be producing a video of that month’s class so you can replay your favorites.
Remember, this is no excuse to miss class, I still want to see you, in person, on your mat at least once a week.  You are part of a community that needs you, whether you know it or not. I will link the classes here at Next Level Yoga when they come out, but you can always go to my YouTube Channel Tara Kestner Next Level Yoga YouTube Channel

Right now the videos are all free, in return I only ask that you take the time to subscribe to the channel and share them on your social media so we can build an online community, just like the great groups we have here in Ohio at the live classes and workshops.
Many Thanks,
Tara

The Use Your Words Project

Have you ever had a goal you wanted to achieve, but struggled with where to start?  I have been working on a project with my yoga clients to help get them out of the starting gate and moving towards that goal. It’s called the Use Your Words Project. With this project I hope to help people harness the power of intention to achieve goals and lead a more mindful life.

Words have real power, and combining your words with a few simple rules, you can reach your goals or make those changes you have thinking about but have simply lacked the catalyst to get started.

Taking inspiration from the MyIntent Project, I am making and selling custom-made intention bracelets.  These pieces are an integral part of the project, serving as the touchstone of your goal.

The power of intention

Here’s how it works.

Choose a word that represents your goal or aspiration.  For example, someone who is struggling with getting things done, might choose the word PRIORITY.  So the next time they are overwhelmed with a long list of tasks and short time to do them, they will be reminded to question what has priority.  It can be any word you want, it just needs to make sense to you.

Once you have the bracelet there are three simple rules to follow.

First, wear your word continuously for three weeks.  Why?  Because research has proven it takes at least 21 days of repetition to either make or break a habit.

Second, take a photo of your word and post it to whatever social media you like and tag it with #useyourwordsproject.  If you are not on social media,  then simply take a photo of your word and find a way to display it.  You can save it as your phone or computer’s wallpaper, or have the photo developed and put it out where other people can see it.

You don’t have to include an explanation unless that is something you are comfortable with, just the photo alone will serve as your outward and public declaration of your intention or goal.

Third, tell three people during the 21 days about your word.  It can be as simple as “look at this cool bracelet I bought, I chose the word priority to remind me not to get caught up in unimportant tasks”  The reason for this step is to help you articulate your purpose.  The more you talk about it, the more likely you are to do it.

That’s it.  Simple right? Give it a try and see what happens.

Brass & Nickel Tokens

Intention Bracelets $10.00    These bracelets are made with waxed cotton cord and your choice of a brass (gold tone) or nickel (silver) token.  String is available in black, blue and purple.  The bracelet has an adjustable sliding knot. Free shipping in the US.

To order use the contact form below. Credit cards are welcome on the Paypal account.

 

 

Use Your Words Bracelet

Custom made intention bracelet designed to be used with the Use Your Words Project.

$10.00

Yoga + Essential Oils

Incorporating esseyoga-eontial oils into your yoga practice is a great way to maximize the benefits of yoga. I know, it can feel a little out there to think that rubbing a drop or two of some plant oil on you is going to have some tangible effect on your body. However, think about this: before we had modern synthetic based drugs, people cured multitudes of maladies with plants alone.

Scientists who are way smarter than me, figured out how to mimic those plants’ chemical compounds and created drugs that have profound effects on the body, curing all manners of disease. So I ask, why is it so far-fetched to believe those same plant oils, in their purest forms, would not have the same effect now?

In short, its not, it just takes a little getting used to the idea. To be clear, no-one is suggesting you should forgo all modern medicine for essential oils, that would be irresponsible, but why not give it a try and see if you realize any benefits?

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The use of essential oils for therapeutic purposes is called aromatherapy. Different oils provide different benefits. Some oils can improve concentration or reduce stress, while others help boost the immune system or improve the quality of sleep.

There are many different oils out there, the trick is to find what works for you. That will depend on what you hope to achieve. Here are a few essential oil basics: for enhanced relaxation try lavender, marjoram or ylang ylang. Conversely, for energy try peppermint, rosemary or wild orange. For focus and concentration, try grounding oils like sandalwood, frankincense and cedarwood.

Now to amp up those benefits try incorporating essential oils into your yoga practice. Here are a few suggestions on how to do that:

  • Use a Diffuser: Diffusing aerosolizes the oil molecules allowing you to breathe in their benefits. The most safest and most effective method is to use a diffuser which you can find either online or at most stores like Bed, Bath & Beyond. You simply add water and a few drops of oil and hit the start button. diffuser
  • Topical Application. Basically, you rub a few drops directly on to the skin. Always test for skin sensitivity first, and consider using a carrier oil such as fractionated (fatty acids removed) coconut oil to dilute the oil and cover more of the skin’s surface. Depending on the oil and the desired effect, there are a variety of ways to apply, for instance; rub peppermint on your chest or biceps before sun salutations for an energy boost; for relaxation, massage some lavender into the soles of your feet before final seated and reclined poses, or rub some sandalwood into your hands, cup your hands in front of your face to breath in the scent during the initial breathing exercises at the beginning of class.Foot care and foot massage in salon
  • Ingestion. Oils that are safe to ingest, such as lemon, lime and peppermint can be added to your water to sip during and after class. Be sure to confirm the oil you are using is safe for ingestion. Personally, I use doTerra products which carry a supplement label, letting you know they are safe to ingest, unless you see a similar label, do not assume you can ingest the oil.

supplement

If you are interested in learning more, I teach Essential Yoga Workshops each month which incorporate oils into the yoga practice, consider giving one of those a try. The yoga is suitable for all levels of experience, the oils are all provided and most importantly, we have a lot of fun.

Here is the link to our Facebook page for more information on yoga and essential oils https://www.facebook.com/essentialyogaworkshop/ or better yet, go to: http://bit.ly/essentialyoga and register to join us sometime.

TOLEDO FIREFIGHTER YOGA STARTS JANUARY 11, 2016! (For real this time)

Shannon-12

WHAT’S ALL THIS ABOUT?
This class is beginner friendly and appropriate for all experience levels. It will be therapeutic yoga, designed to undo the damage done to the body either at work or just the stress of everyday living. Each class will have a nice balance of work for increasing flexibility, joint stability, balance and overall stress relief. Sound like something you need, then read on…

WHO’S IT FOR?
This class is available to active and retired firefighters and their immediate families.

WHEN?
Mondays from 5:00 pm-6:00 pm, please arrive at least 10 minutes before class begins. Starting date- January 11, 2016.

WHERE?
Toledo Firefighter Union Hall
714 Washington Street
Toledo, OH 43604

HOW MUCH?
Free, yep that’s right, zero dollars, it is a benefit provided by Local 92 to firefighters and their families.

I’M INTRIGUED, TELL ME MORE….

**Don’t own a mat? No problem. Mats and props will be available for use, the only condition is you must let Tara know that you will be coming and need a mat before class.

** What should I wear and bring? Don’t feel awesome in spandex pants, no problem. Just wear something comfortable, Lightweight clothing is best, layers are your friend. I recommend bringing a beach size towel with you, the floor can be hard and cold.

HOW DO I JOIN?

You can email me at kestnert@bex.net or message me on Facebook at Tara Kestner Next Level Yoga Ltd. if you need a mat, otherwise just show up about 10 minutes before class starts at 5:00 pm.

WANT MORE INFORMATION?
Like our facebook page for updates http://www.facebook.com/nextlevelyogaltd
or, email kestnert@bex.net

TOLEDO FIREFIGHTERS YOGA CLASS UPDATE

4-ways-to-love-the-yoga-poses-you-hate

Houston, we have a problem, but like the crew of Apollo 13 we will sort it out and get back on mission shortly. Until that course correction is complete the start date for the Yoga for Toledo Firefighters class is on standby.

To be clear, the class will still launch (sorry, can’t seem to stop with the NASA puns) and it will still be available to, and specifically for Toledo Firefighters and their family members. Further, it will be on Monday evenings at 5:00 pm, it will just not be starting on November 16, 2015.

In the meantime, contact me and I can direct you to some free online yoga classes you can do in the privacy of your own home, or full view of the public if that is your game, no judgment here.

Thanks for hanging with me, I will keep you posted here and on my Facebook page when I have a solid start date.
Tara

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