Introduce yourself… How did you get into the practice of yoga?
My name is Tyler LaVigne, I grew up in Santa Cruz, California, and moved to San Diego to study Kinesiology at San Diego State University. I have always been an active person from surfing to rock climbing to tennis, preferably outdoors in nature. I was introduced to yoga in college because I was experiencing a great deal of lower back pain and wanted to improve my surfing abilities. I was always so sore and stiff in the mornings so I decided to incorporate yoga into my routine. Within a couple of weeks, I no longer had lower back pain and my surfing was much more fluid and flowing. As I continued to practice, I began to learn yoga was much more than just a physical practice and found the spiritual effects of yoga in my practice and in my life.
What is the essence of yoga? How does it fit in the modern, busy world?
The essence of yoga incorporates the breath, body, and mind. Finding a connection with all three is a person’s yoga practice. Once the breath is calm, the body is relaxed, then the mind begins to still. This is exactly how yoga fits into the modern busy world. It passively slows a person’s mind down, and allows him/her to focus on the present moment, which gives a person more mental focus, and concentration on their daily tasks.
What benefits does yoga offer for those of us that are always on the go? Especially who don’t have time to relax and refresh themselves?
It has tremendous benefits for a person who is always on the go – those are the people that need yoga the most. By giving yourself just ten minutes a day to practice yoga either when you wake, before lunch or before bed, a person will feel more refreshed for their day, and relaxed for a restful night sleep.
I have heard that yoga breathing practices can help one overcome stressful events? Yoga breathing practices offers what health benefits?
Breathing is one of the most important aspects of yoga and can be difficult at first, but overtime, long deep full expansive breathing will become natural. This is the aspect of yoga that helps to overcome stressful situation when you are off of the yoga mat. The health benefits of yogic breathing are amazing as it brings more fresh oxygen into the lungs; it increases the amount of oxygen a person is able to use for energy, and increases your overall endurance. Yogic breathing can also decrease one’s blood pressure and heart rate, which relaxes the mind and brain waves, creating a relaxation for the mind and body.
If someone is new to yoga, what would you recommend as a starting point?
I would recommend a gentle Hatha Yoga class for someone that is new to yoga. This is a slower paced class and the teacher focuses on breathing and alignment of the postures.
Do you think mediating is a good side practice to do along side yoga?
Incorporating mediation is a good side practice to do with your regular yoga practice. I always enjoy mediating before or after my yoga practice. It helps to center myself before I began my practice as well set my intention for the yoga practice. Mediating is a wonderful way to deepen one’s self enlightenment and find inner peace.
Which series of yoga positions do you like to recommend? Why?
A yoga series that I would recommend would include a warm-up (sun salutations), standing postures (triangle), balance pose (tree), seated posture (single leg forward fold), and a backbend (bridge). By following a practice like this, a person is able to warm the muscles/joints, create flexibility in the hamstrings/shoulders, and openness in the hips. These are the major parts of the body that become tight and carry stress.
If I was at home and had a little free time, what yoga positions could I do to help center and ground?
Begin with two sun salutations, one standing posture, one balancing pose, one seated posture, and one nice hip opener (bound angle or pigeon pose). Any kind of balancing asana (pose) is a great way to help ground and center a person. One of my favorite grounding asanas is Vrkshasana (Tree pose).
Does yoga really help refresh and renew the mind and soul, bring them into inner harmony?
Yes, without a doubt. Yoga translates to “union” meaning a union with the mind, soul, and breath. After the practice of yoga, you get a feeling of lightness, relaxation, and the view of the world through your eyes will change. You become an observer of the world and your thoughts. You feel relaxed, refreshed, and energized all at the same time. It is an amazing way to create relaxation and find inner peace.