January Student Spotlight

January Student Spotlight

Lunch Break Yogi: Dana King

For many, a yoga practice begins almost accidentally. A friend takes you to a class, you try it to help recuperate from an injury, or a studio is so conveniently located you that can’t help but check it out. Once you’ve opened yourself up enough to just make it to the mat, you have some fun, maybe gain a new insight about the way your body responds to different stimulus, or maybe you are finally able to live mindfully in the moment for those 60-90 or so minutes. For most, the connection is subtle, indistinguishable at first. It is a little tug from within urging you to keep exploring. Dana King’s practice began in this vein; a good friend took a teacher training on a whim, said friend got Dana to practice, and from that little seed her practice grew. Dana’s practice has become a constant through some very major life changes. Seemingly paradoxically, this constant has been the mechanism that has allowed her to change, adapt, and grow to meet the the challenges and discomforts of a transforming life from a grounded perspective. Sporting her recently cropped blond pixie cut Dana is the embodiment of a sprite--quick witted, candid, and playfully engaging, while somehow retaining an air of illusive mystery. On a bright sunny afternoon, she joined us in our Wellness studio to chat yoga, babies, and personal damage control.  


Five years of practice has encompassed graduating from law school, the Bar Exam, two babies, and some big moves for Dana. Falling prey to ego and time constraints the first year or more was primarily a home practice, as she felt “too embarrassed” to practice in the studio setting. That dedicated home practice was her outlet as she studied for the Bar and into her first pregnancy. She laughs as she explains she needed something to release, something that was just for her, something that wasn’t food; yoga seemed to hit the mark. We laugh as the indulgence of food continues to haunt her practice: the GPS on her phone seems to be under the impression that she’s taking an hour long lunch at Bittersweet Bakery next door rather than her daily noon practice, and how bazaar the digital world we live in is that a daily hour long visit to a bakery is somehow more plausible than a regular yoga practice.

Dana maintained her home practice until about a week before the delivery of her son. She credits the stamina she built in her practice, lessons on breath, and being open to change to easing her labor and delivery. In the words of author Anne Christian Buchanan  “To be pregnant is to be vitally alive, thoroughly woman, and distressingly inhabited. Soul and spirit are stretched – along with body – making pregnancy a time of transition, growth, and profound beginnings.” Without yoga, Dana says this process seems unimaginable. Yoga gives us the space to explore our limits and to exceed them methodically. The intense, almost panic-like sensation produced by the sympathetic nervous system when we are in uncomfortable, unfamiliar places in our body (during our practice and in life) often trigger the impulse to retreat, back away, or distract ourselves. For many, these sensations occur throughout pregnancy and definitely during labor and delivery and Dana admits she can not fathom being able to cope and adapt to her body’s changes and the extreme sensations of labor if she had not had a yogic discipline. For Dana hip  openers were one of these deeply uncomfortable places, she endearingly refers to it as the “oh f#@k” place, working to breath through the “oh, f#@k,” and conditioning the body to cope with healthy stressors prepared her for pregnancy and parenthood in ways she hadn’t anticipated. Prenatal practice fortified her trust in her body, her intuition and her ability to be in the moment--lessons she admits may have made her overly ambitious in returning to her practice postpartum.

Feeling blessed with an uncomplicated birth and seemingly easy baby, Dana leapt back into her routine practice just two weeks postpartum. The body awareness she cultivated sent up flairs, warning her she may be trying to do too much too soon. Admittedly, Dana was annoyed with her diastasis recti (a common condition in which the large abdominal muscles separate during pregnancy) at first, she wanted her power back sooner rather than later. Patience and acceptance for ourselves where we are is an essential element of yoga and one Dana reflected on, took to heart and utilized to heal, rediscover and empower her body safely.

The confidence Dana cultivated in her practice and the impracticality of a home practice with a full time job and a baby brought Dana to us here at Reyn Studios. The sacred space of the studio quickly became her preferred venue for her practice, and she became a staple in our mid-day krewe quickly. Our music, collective breath, ample space, and dreamy windows established themselves as a well earned break in her work day. Acknowledging challenges and trusting herself to surrender into moment advanced her practice further than she was even aware of. We at Reyn witnessed her growth on the mat as well as the swell of her belly with her second pregnancy. Like her first pregnancy she found yoga to be essential in managing the physical and emotional demands of pregnancy, parenthood, and work. Through her practice Dana was able to accept her ever changing body and surroundings. She feels that yoga has not only taught her to accept these things, but to make the most of them, to learn from the hard parts and to not try to desperately change things when they aren’t exactly as you’d like them to be. The physical and mental benefits of yoga facilitated more independence and ownership over her body, which many women lose during pregnancy. These coping devices allowed Dana to have an unmedicated birth with her daughter.

As a busy mother of two, Dana applies pranayama, surrender, and the cultivation of inner strength on and off the mat. Witnessing the development of her children, Dana says she feels connected to that cosmic curiosity about our bodies and their limitless potential they exhibit naturally. The limitless potential of yoga, and sense of ownership over her body, is a necessity for Dana these days. Constantly shifting perspectives literally and figuratively allow her to remain sane, she laughs.  Yoga is damage control for life, she says casually, but it calls to mind bKS Iyengar’s thoughts on change, ““Change is not something that we should fear. Rather, it is something that we should welcome. For without change, nothing in this world would ever grow or blossom, and no one in this world would ever move forward to become the person they’re meant to be.” Dana’s “damage control” strikes a fearless embrace of change and her transformation into exactly who she is meant to be.


January Happenings here at Reyn

January Happenings here at Reyn

A special thanks and shout out to Jessamyn Stanley for coming to Reyn this weekend. Your light, love and knowledge will echo throughout our community as well your radiant energy and enthusiasm for the practice. Thanks for all who came out to hear her words of wisdom and share your practice with us.

If your looking for more yoga offerings at Reyn this January here’s what we’ve got on the docket...

Every Sunday, Jan 13 - Feb 3

Beginner's Yoga Series: Foundations of the Practice

This series will focus on not just the basics, but also how to find your own personal alignment and adapt poses to your needs. Recommended for anyone who wants to build a solid foundation in yoga asana. This 4-week offering can be taken as a consecutive series, or students can drop in to any individual class. All four classes are appropriate for beginners, but we strongly encourage beginners to take some or all of the first three classes (Standing Poses, Forward Folding, Backbends & Twists) before attending the fourth class on Sun Salutations.

December Pose of the Month

Pandangusthasana - Toe Stand!

Balance is a precarious thing. In both life and yoga, our ability to stay balanced is based on a complex interplay of strength and flexibility, solidity and malleability. We have a tendency to think that balance is a thing that we achieve, but in truth it is a process. Like homeostasis, we are always moving towards it and away from it, but because the circumstances of our bodies and our lives are never static, balance is a thing that we have only momentarily and which we must constantly work to reestablish.

I’m probably not telling you anything that you don’t already know. You have probably sensed this in your own life. Sometimes it might seem as soon as you have your job or your relationship or your schedule all nice and neat the way you want it, something comes along to knock something out of place.

Hey, I’ve got news for you and it’s really really good.

The work of being knocked off balance and struggling to regain it is what builds the strength that we need to have to maintain balance for longer periods of time. This is truth both physically and philosophically. The way you wobble in a pose is the way your body learns how to be in that pose. The way you wobble in life is the way you learn how to be in your life.

Pandangusthasana, aka Toe Stand, is a beautiful pose that almost everyone hates because it challenges both beginners and experienced yogis. Not to be confused with the pandangusthasana of the Ashtanga tradition, this toe stand is a creative exploration of a tip-toe urdhva namaskarasana and beyond! You need so many tools to maintain balance in toe stand for long periods of time: hip and foot flexibility, hip and foot strength, excellent posture, and really really strong legs. Oh yeah, and focus. And a steady gaze.

Basically, no matter what level of expertise you have in asana, this pose is going to show you where you need to work. As my teacher would say, this pose is “not free for anyone.” It will show you where you’re strong, where you’re weak, where you’re supple, and where you’re holding tension.

I would recommend warming up the feet before you try this pose, by sitting on them, flipping over them, and/or massaging them.


If you’ve never done toe stand before, there’s absolutely no reason to start by trying to achieve the full expression of the pose. Save something for later. Start practicing for this pose by standing in tadasana, lifting your heels, coming into a squat on your toes, and then standing back up again without putting your heels down.


Once you feel like that is working for you, try doing it with one leg pulled into the chest.

Now it’s time to add in the element of padmasana (lotus). Start by bringing each foot into padmasana in tadasana.

The next step is keeping balance in this funky half padmasana. Bring one foot into padmasana, bend the other knee and come in to a low squat. Come back to standing and repeat on the other side.


Alright, now you’re ready. Maybe. It doesn’t matter. Whatever happens is great. Just try it and see what happens.

Stand in tadasana. Bring your right foot into padmasana. Bring the hands to the heart. Lift the left calf. Come into a low squat on the left leg.


Now try it on the other side…



Like I said, this pose isn’t free for anyone, and finding balance in it may be more complicated than balancing your checkbook. Jk. No one writes checks anymore. Finding balance in toe stand may be more complicated than Tetris-into all the things you want to do in a day into your google cal. Er, remember Tetris? Never mind.

Anyways, the point is not to become a toe stand statue, but to play with the pose and enjoy the work of finding and losing balance. While you’re at it, try that off the mat, too.


Thanksgiving RSOM: Solitary Gardens

Thanksgiving RSOM: Solitary Gardens

Can you imagine a landscape without prisons?

Reyn Studios is excited to continue our support of organizations seeking to bring awareness to the issues around mass incarceration, particularly in Louisiana. In support of Solitary Gardens, the artist project helmed by our very own Jackie Sumell is the focus of November’s RSOM.

We are hoping to build compassion, share gratitude and kindness with incarcerated individuals and their families though this partnership. Reyn Studios community members are encouraged to very literally lend a hand on November 24th for a workday in the gardens. We’ll have a brief warm up then get to work assisting in whatever maintenance work the gardens require at this time. Please wear closed toed shoes, bring water, sun and bug protection and work gloves if you’ve got them.


Additionally, we’ve set up a letter writing space in the studio for you to send a note of love, gratitude, and support to incarcerated individuals who do not receive regular correspondence.

Solitary Gardens is currently in correspondence with dozens of incarcerated people (known as "Solitary Gardeners") at facilities around the United States. To people who are in prison (specifically, a solitary confinement cell for a minimum of 23 hours per day) human connection in the form of handwritten letters is crucial. This month, we encourage you to write one or more letters for Solitary Gardens to mail to the Solitary Gardeners as a gesture of solidarity with them and all others impacted by solitary confinement. Note: Please write letters on pieces of paper as cards are prohibited at many facilities. Please avoid any content, materials, or language that might be deemed inappropriate by prison personnel.

Not sure what to say? Share something you saw today that gave you gratitude, perhaps even your understanding of “liberation”, or a special take away from your yoga practice. Questions? Email Mary Okoth at grow@solitarygardens.org.

To facilitate correspondence between families and their incarcerated loved ones this holiday season we are also offering a “free” class in exchange for the donation of a book of stamps.

Below is a description of the project and mission of Solitary Gardens:

Of the 2.2 million incarcerated people in the United States, 80,000 to 100,000 are subjected to indefinite solitary confinement everyday. People are isolated for a minimum of twenty-three hours per day in a six-by-nine-foot (or smaller) concrete and steel cell. No judge or jury places an individual in solitary confinement; the decision is made solely by prison officials. The devastating, and often irreparable, effects of solitary confinement include, but are not limited to, alienation, dehumanization, despair, disorientation, paranoia, and suicidality. Solitary confinement is torture and has been defined as such by the United Nations, the American Civil Liberties Union, and human rights watchdogs around the world.

Solitary Gardens utilizes the tools of prison abolition, permaculture, and alternative education to facilitate unexpected exchanges between incarcerated people in solitary confinement and people on the “outside.” Each 6’x9’ Solitary Garden Bed maintains the blueprint of a standard U.S. solitary confinement cell. The beds are designed and remotely “gardened” by our incarcerated collaborators, known as Solitary Gardeners, through written and photographic exchanges with volunteers.

As prisons are the descendants of slavery, the garden beds are constructed from the ancestral byproducts of sugarcane, cotton, and tobacco, exposing the exception in the 13th Amendment and the illusion that slavery was abolished in the U.S. These former chattel slave crops are grown on-site, and then milled down to produce the components of the Solitary Garden Beds. Ultimately, Solitary Gardens creates conversation, commiseration and inspires the community to imagine alternatives to incarceration.

As the garden beds mature, the prison architecture is overpowered by plant life, proving that nature—like hope, love, and imagination—will ultimately triumph over the harm humans impose on ourselves and on the planet.

Feeling inspired? Want to do more? We got you! Host a garden bed!

Solitary Gardens is in search of individuals or groups that would like to host a Solitary Garden Bed on our site at 2600 Andry St. in the Lower 9th Ward. As a garden host, you would be assigned to an individual garden and partnered with a Solitary Gardener (one of our incarcerated collaborators, directly impacted by solitary confinement) who has remotely designed that specific garden on our site. This partnership is essential to maintaining the exchange and dialogue between our garden site and those who are incarcerated. Essentially, this partnership involves just 1 visit to the garden per week, sending just 1 email per week (via the prison email app, JPay) and writing just 1 letter per month -- all to keep the Solitary Gardener you're partnered with up-to-date on their garden's progress! If interested, please contact Mary Okoth at grow@solitarygardens.org.

September Student Spotlight

September Student Spotlight

Read More Books, Do More Yoga: Emilie Lamy

All good stories invite you to look outside yourself, to experience the world from someone else’s perspective. Reading can take you to a place of escape, a safe haven, on an adventure, serve as an inspiration, a tool, and so much more. The world of books is limitless, yet the structure of beginning, middle and end, the evolution of a character through chapters and transitions provide a familiarity that resonates with many. The duality of expansion, of infinite possibilities within the constructs of language, pages, and bindings, embodies many of the principles we explore in our yoga practice. Like words on a page, our body and mind on the mat take many forms, move through challenges and triumphs, expand and contract. Emilie Lamy, the owner and mastermind behind New Orleans bookstore The Stacks, Reyn Studios yogi and teacher training student, gracefully narrates her relationship with yoga, New Orleans and coping with trauma through the lense of a literary guru, hyper observant and ready to dissect.  We asked Emilie to share not only her personal yoga journey, but also the role of her practice and training during a very transitional time in her life. For the past five years Emilie has made a life for herself in New Orleans, a chapter which is soon to conclude with her moving back to her home country of France.

Big life changes often induce a plethora of emotions. Full of anxiety, excitement and resolve Emilie feels herself pulled in all directions, both on and off the mat.  Emilie’s vulnerability and unabashed honesty in sharing her story is intense, occasionally dark, insightful and approachable. It’s hard not to draw a few parallels between Beauty and the Beast heroin Belle and Emilie. Both are unpretentiously quick witted, compassionate women who draw you into their narrative with ease. The similarities extend past their French identity and love of books, both experienced profound personal growth spurred by a relationship with a deeply challenging partner. Unlike the Beast, Emilie’s love did not transform into a Prince with a “happy ending” seeped in romantic bliss; instead he became more emblematic of the villainous Gastone. Emilie fell hard, she plunged into uncertainty and dependance when she made a self-described impulsive decision to move to New Orleans from France. Her devotion was coerced through manipulation and toxic patterns that took advantage of her insecurities. He drew her away from her friends, family and career to support his art and creative aspirations. Isolated and disconnected she struggled to find herself. Books, and the eventual project of opening a bookstore where her saving grace.

In search for stability and community, Emilie accepted an invitation to a friend’s Kundalini class (a practice she was familiar with from her life in France), and the fragile armor she had cultivated to hold herself together crumbled. Like Kundalini rising she felt everything open, she cried, for what seemed like hours, a mixture of grief, relief, fear and hope spilling out of her. Waves of release, processing and allowing herself to experience the hurt, sadness, and trauma of the last year in a safe, controlled environment lead Emilie towards her yogic path, one of healing. Additionally, the comfort and safety of books bolstered this process, as she found herself fulfilling her dreams of opening a bookstore.

Listening to Emilie share this now, looking chic in her striped tunic, composed and purposeful in her expression is inspiring. The evolution of her practice is idelic of the hero’s journey. Her acceptance to embark on a journey of self discovery was not immediately obvious even as she took her first steps along the path.  At first seduced by the beauty of the studio space in conjunction with the desirable physical aesthetic made accessible through the practice (ie the body image associated with a yogi) and the performative nature of vinyasa Emilie describes her dedication to her practice as almost accidental. It wasn’t peace, forgiveness or a quiet mind that initially established her practice, but a desire for the power, strength and confidence she saw in the imagery and instructors in the studio. Considering the circumstances that brought her to the mat it isn’t surprising to learn her journey started from a place of insecurity, but blossomed into a ritual that brought her safety (in her body and surrounding), grounding, and peace. The community she became enmeshed in through Reyn allowed her to soften, to connect with the sweeter side of life.

Therapy, yoga and her work, the success of her book store and her ability to share so much knowledge with her community have transformed Emilie. She has come to terms with the horrible relationship that brought her here and has come to see it as a blessing in disguise. The path that she has taken to get here, no matter how ugly, still brought her here. Here, in the present where she still gets overwhelmed, where she still feels anxious and unsure, but where she has tools and resiliency to take these things on. Navigating fantasy/expectations with reality and exploring independence rather than interdependence have been imperative to Emilie’s personal growth and healing. Finding the balance between hope and enthusiasm with manageable expectations is something profoundly human. Due to the scope of our imaginations we often romanticize an experience or seek satisfaction through achievement and attainment, in all facets of our lives. By setting boundaries, establishing safe spaces and slowing down, unwinding, undoing we grant ourselves permission to live more realistically. When we live within the parameters of the present,  we connect with what is being offered. Letting go of blame, guilt and shame, or at least putting them on the shelf for a spell, can help you turn the page and have more control over your tale.


Finding a deeper sense of self worth has allowed Emilie to embrace the magic of transitions and uncertainty. Maybe it is synchronicity or simply the phase in life she has entered, but to Emilie it seems as if the entire world has undergone major transformations over the past year. This cosmic serendipity may simply be a shift in perspective that has come with the resolution of this particular journey, but to Emilie who has worked hard to manage her trauma and regain control of her life it feels like a universal shift towards mindful adaptability that she wants to be a part of.

Literature, yoga, and life have reinforced Emilie’s love of learning, sharing, and healing. The universal principle of suffering no longer seems dreadful, but comforting. The manifestation of turbulence and strife provoke a mild panic still but they no longer send her into a tailspin. Knowing that we are all in this together, each of us carrying our baggage, each of us healing and inflicting pain as we go is a touchstone, a place for us to see each other in our profoundly flawed reality, to reach out and connect. Lessons of inclusivity, systemic traumas, implicit bias and the potential to shift the paradigm are now the predominant themes in Emilie’s life. By healing herself she is able to extend further, to imagine more, to care for others in a way she did not realize she was capable of. By humbly accepting the generosity of time, knowledge and the gifts of others she has found herself looking at the bigger picture, and embracing her ability to contribute to a more just and unbiased world.


September Pose of the Month

September Pose of the Month

Viparita Karani | Legs-Up-the-Wall | Waterfall

Viparita Karani, often called Legs-Up-the-Wall pose or Waterfall pose, if taken away from the wall, translates to “inverted” (viparita), “in action” (karani). By exploring this pose physically and intellectually we can tap into a flipped perspective. As yogis we often work towards “perfecting” or “achieving” a desired outcome in our asana, a reflection of human nature to strive towards greatness and to master the tasks we set in place for ourselves.

This month, as we embrace the philosophy of Yoga Therapy, you are invited to consider how you define and evaluate your work, worth, and value, on and off your mat. In supportive poses like Viparita Karani, discover what it feels like to focus on doing less instead of more. You might also notice what it feels like when you can allow your poses to be what they are, rather than pushing yourself to go after a pose. We invite you to explore prioritizing wellness over perfection and utilize asana to reflect on how you are relating to yourself and your world.


Viparita Karani offers an ideal opportunity to relax both mind and body, especially when you combine the physical posture with slow rhythmic breathing. Physical support, muscle relaxation, and a deep, steady breath can help us to activate the “rest and digest” function of our nervous system. The “rest and digest” system promotes a sense of self-compassion, presence, and safety, while also supporting healthy digestion and sleep.

In Viparita Karani, see if you can invoke a sense of receptivity, rather than activity. With each breath, allow yourself to surrender into the support of the ground. Give yourself permission to let go of effort and fully embody the calm, safe, and supported space you have created for yourself, within yourself.

In addition to the cognitive and emotional benefits of the “rest and digest” response, Viparita Karani also offers significant physical benefits. Elevating the legs allows for lymph and other fluids to nourish swollen ankles, tired knees, and congested pelvic organs, refreshing the legs, hips, and reproductive area (for folks who menstruate, this is helpful at any point of your cycle). Practicing Viparita Karani consistently can also help manage chronic discomforts, such as arthritis, digestive issues, blood pressure, migraines, respiratory ailments, urinary disorders, varicose veins, and uterine discomfort associated with menstruation and menopause.  


Practicing with the support of a wall:

  • Determine the height and distance you need from the wall.
    • If your hips and legs are feeling stiff, we recommend that your support prop (a folded blanket, block or bolster) should be lower and placed further from the wall.
    • If you are feeling more flexible and open, you may prefer to use a higher support prop and practice closer to the wall.
  • Set your support prop a few inches from the wall, sit sideways on one end of the support. Exhale and swing your legs up wall. Rest your shoulders and head on the floor.
  • Your sitting bones should be “dripping” into the space between the support and the wall.
    • Your torso should arch gently from pubis to the top of the shoulders. You may need to adjust your support prop or position.
  • Release the base of your skull away from the back of your neck and soften your throat and jaw muscles.
    • If your shoulders, upper back, or neck are feeling tight, we recommend a  small rolled blanket under your neck to support your cervical spine.
  • Let your shoulder blades soften into the ground and release your arms and hands by your side, palms up.
  • Keep your legs firm enough to hold them vertically, and invite the weight of your belly to release into the back of your body.
  • Soften your gaze or close your eyes.
  • Breathe!
  • To dissolve the pose slide the support out from beneath you, allowing the body to come to the floor before turning to the side and return to your seat.


  • Adding a bolster for more support.
  • Using a strap, snug around the thighs, just above the knees to help hold the legs in place.
  • Taking the pose without support of the wall. Using a block benea the sacrum with legs “floating” in space.






August Pose of the Month

August Pose of the Month

Alternative Vinyasa

You probably recognise the term “vinyasa” as a popular style of yoga but it also refers to a particular pattern of action: chaturanga-to-updog-to-downdog. Your body may be down with all of these chaturangas, or it may not. Perhaps the first several chaturangas feel great, but then it goes south. Maybe the classic “vinyasa” series just doesn’t feel safe right now because you have an injury. All of the above are valid sentiments in a community of ever-changing individuals.

The reality is that for some students, the repetitive action of plank-to-chaturanga-to-updog-to-downdog is not needed or appropriate. And for others, we just have days when the body shouldn’t be doing the sequence or we need time to build strength. But that doesn’t mean we need to avoid Vinyasa classes all together. We just need to get “slightly more clever than our habits.” - Desikachar

One definition of “vinyasa” is “to place in a special or purposeful way.” When we look at the classic “vinyasa” sequence, there are are a lot of benefits, including: strengthening (plank and chaturanga); neutralizing (utilizing both forward folds and backbends); rhythmic and meditative (synching movement and breath and bringing us into the moment).   

If you know some alternative vinyasas, and if you stay in tune with your body, breath, and energy as you flow, you can intuit what you need in a given vinyasa or sun salutation: more strengthening (sthira)? More ease (sukha)? More meditation through movement and rhythmic breath? Pause? Then find a pose or combination of poses that embody that.

NOTE: If you're working with injury, ask your doctor what positions and/or actions (extensions, flexions, and ranges of motion) are appropriate or risky. Also, listen to your body. Even if it’s considered a “safer alternative,” if a pose or pose variation feels painful, don’t do it.

Here are 10 alternative vinyasas we will be working with this month, but feel free to explore and be creative (speaking to both teachers and practitioners).  

1. Hold Plank

Simple idea that can have profound results in terms of strengthening. Skip the chataraga and updog and just take an extra breath in plank. Energize the heels and gaze slightly forward. focus on spreading the shoulder blades and pressing into the floor. Really tone the transverse abdominal muscles and notice if the elbows want to splay or the hips dip. If needed, you could even bring your knees down here to prevent compressing the low back. But once you’ve cultivated the core strength to keep your lower back safe and supported, see if you can press your thighs up without sticking your bum out.

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2. Strengthening for Those with Wrist Pain

If you want the strengthening component, but you need a break from being on the hands and a time out for your wrists, drop onto forearms and enjoy some time in Forearm Plank or Dolphin.

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3. Chaturanga Push-up

My personal fav and the ultimate strengthening alternative. Also, it may be that transition from chaturanga-to-updog that is problematic. It’s a lot on the shoulder! If chaturanga is fine and you want to keep it spicy, but skip updog transition, you can add the chaturanga push-up. You don’t need to go super low with your chaturanga, and you can modify with one or both knees on the floor (keep your knees behind your hips).

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4. Lower Slowly From Plank-Press to Prone Backbend

Emphasis on keeping it slow when you lower will result in a pass through of chaturanga building strength and mindfulness. Once you are on the floor you can press to cobra, low cobra, or shalabhasana. A great opportunity to add an extra breath to strengthen the back body and elongate the rhythm of vinyasa.

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5. Knees-Chest-Chin  

You can bypass chaturanga and head straight to cobra by passing through knees-chest-chin. From plank, shift your shoulders in front of your wrists, just as you would for a chaturanga or chaturanga pushup. From there, lower your knees to the floor (they’ll be behind your hips). With your knees down, and your shoulders and chest forward, you’re set up perfectly for a cobra or low cobra pose. Release the tops of your feet to the floor as you slide through to cobra. This is a well established fluid alternative to chaturanga that tends to maintain the rhythm of the classic “vinyasa.”

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6. Introspective Flow

Skip the chaturanga and the backbend, and get more time in forward folding shapes that encourage you to draw inward, but still enjoy the strengthening aspect of plank. From Down Dog, sink the knees towards the floor for floating anahatasana, float forward to Plank and return to Down Dog. Great for practicing axial extension of the spine as well.

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7. Hang out in Down Dog

If you need a break from movement and you just want to be still, hang out in down dog! Feel free to add variation like staking a hip or twisting.

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8. Cat/Cow

Keep flowing with the breath but take the effort back a notch by dropping into some cat cow.

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9. Classic Vinyasa on Blocks

Just as it sounds! Blocks under the hands will take pressure out of the wrists and allow for more space. Space is a powerful idea to work with in your vinyasa flow. See how space enables clear transitions and a meditative rhythm.

10. Child’s Pose

Tune in and breath. Have a moment of meditative pause to empower your practice.

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July Pose of the Month

July Pose of the Month

Prasarita Padottanasana / Standing Wide-Legged Forward Bend

July at Reyn Studios is all about reflecting, decompressing, and growing from a place of awareness and stability. To cool both the physical and metaphysical body, we will be breaking down Prasarita Padottanasana ((pra-sa-REE-tah pah-doh-tahn-AHS-anna,) Standing Wide-Legged Forward Bend,) and exploring some of its variations. Folding poses are associated with turning inward. They are a time to slow down and turn the focus towards yourself, acknowledging and releasing ideas and patterns that are not serving to the self or others, and refocusing your awareness to those which are. Prasarita Padottanasana calms the mind and soothes the nerves, something all of us could use a bit more of in the oppressive New Orleans heat and contentious political atmosphere. By exploring familiar shapes such as Prasarita Padottanasana, we are able to feel the impacts of micro adjustments and optimal alignment in our practice. The sense of empowerment we find in this asana coincides with the strengthening of the thighs, stabilization of the knee joints, and lengthening of the hips, hamstrings, and calves. Habitual practice of Prasarita Padottanasana improves the strength and flexibility of the spine as well. In our constant attempt to manage our stress, anxiety, depression, and fatigue, Prasarita Padottanasana is a welcome addition to our practice as it is associated with an improvement in these areas. A four month study published in the Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies found that participants in yoga, particularly a practice that incorporated the wide-legged forward bend, showed a reduction of blood pressure, heart and respiratory rate as compared to the control group.

Our practice is inspired and initiated for a variety of reasons, but the improved sense of well being, health, and harmony are results that keep us coming back to the mat. In a world that often feels demanding, insensitive, intolerant, and detached, it is our work as yogis to do the self work that allows us to fight the fatigue this environment cultivates. We must rejuvenate ourselves with our practice and our community in order to counter negativity and enhance compassion and tolerance. In order to utilize the benefits of yoga we must practice from a place of self-awareness, grounding and centering. From a strong foundation we are able to expand, stretch, and grow. In the words of yogini CHARITY FERREIRA “Whatever your intention, when you make positive changes grounded in self-awareness, you can connect with the truth of who you are and why you do what you do.”


Prasarita Padottanasana A

Stand in Tadasana (Mountain Pose) facing one of the long edges of your sticky mat. Step or lightly hop your feet apart anywhere from 3 to 4 1/2 feet (often aiming to have the ankles in line with the wrists when the arms are outstretched is ideal)

  • If you need a bit more support walk the feet towards one another a bit.
  • Rest your hands on your hips, shoulders firm on the body, ribs cinched in.

  • Check that  feet are parallel to each other. Lift your inner arches by drawing up on the inner ankles, and press the outer edges of your feet and ball of the big toe firmly into the floor.

  • Engage the thigh muscles by drawing them up and back.

  • Inhale and lift your chest, lengthening front torso  so it feels slightly longer than the back.

  • Exhale and, maintaining the length of the front torso, hinge at the waist to lean the torso forward from the hip joints.

  • As your torso approaches parallel to the floor, press your fingertips onto the floor directly below your shoulders. Extend your elbows fully. Your legs and arms then should be perpendicular to the floor and parallel to each other.

  • Inhale draws the spine into the back torso so that your back is slightly concave from the tailbone to the base of the skull. Bring your head up, keeping the back of the neck long, and direct your gaze upward toward the ceiling (think cow pose).

  • Energetically push your top thighs straight back (without hyper-extending the knees) to help lengthen the front torso, and draw the inner groins away from each other to widen the base of your pelvis.

  • Keep the concavity in the back as you exhale, walking the fingertips between the feet.

  • Take a few more breaths and with an exhalation press your inner palms actively into the floor, fingers pointing forward. Bend your elbows straight back (like chaturanga)  and lower your torso and head into a full forward bend maintaining the length in the torso as you go.


Modifications for Greater Access or Depth

If you have the flexibility to move your torso into a full forward bend, walk your hands back until your forearms are perpendicular to the floor and your upper arms parallel (again, think chaturanga). Be sure to keep your arms parallel to each other and widen the shoulder blades across the back. Draw your shoulders away from your ears. Option to grip a block longwise between the forearms, pressing the hands actively into the floor. This action of the arms will also get you ready for poses like Headstand variations and Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Pose).

  • Balance the weight evenly between the four corners of your foot to help keep your hips in the same plane as your heels, as there is a tendency to lean back, causing undue tension.

  • The idea here is to get your head below your heart, which will reduce “hot-headedness” and invite an introspective quality that is emotionally and energetically nourishing. Bringing the head to a block if it does not reach the floor facilitates this connection and calming of the senses.

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  • Bend your knees if you need to for this variation.

  • When you find yourself in a steady and comfortable position, take 5-10 deep breaths, without constricting the back of the throat. On particularly hot days, try exhaling through your mouth to let go of excess internal heat. Stay in the pose anywhere from 30 seconds to 1 minute.

  • To come out, bring your hands back on the floor below your shoulders and lift and lengthen your front torso. Then with an inhalation, rest your hands on your hips, pull your tailbone down toward the floor, and swing the torso up. Walk or hop your feet back into Tadasana.

Prasarita Padottanasana B:

  • Follow the same set up as for the A variation.

  • Head reaches to the floor, crown may rest on the floor.

  • Hands remain on hips


Prasarita Padottanasana C:

  • Maintain the same actions as previous variations for basic set up and alignment.

  • Clasp hands at sacrum.

  • Squeeze the palms together, drawing the elbows back, muscularly opening the heart and shoulders.

  • Work with gravity in the fold, crown of the head reaching for the floor, hands and draw away from the spine.


Prasarita Padottanasana D:

  • Maintain the same actions as previous variation for basic set up and alignment.

  • From the folded position fingers reach for for toes.

  • Lock the index and middle finger around the big toe, elbows extend outward as you fold.


Reyn Studios

June Student Spotlight

June Student Spotlight

Good morning, would you like to introduce yourself to the Reyn community?
Yes, hi i’m Jerry Tassin.

Who are you on and off the mat Jerry?
Job wise, I have always worked in IT. These days I work as a stat man, a data analyst for the Louisiana Supreme Court.

Wow, okay!
In the drug court program, which is very interesting work. We just started a new software project to replace our current case management system, so I am up to my knees in data conversion and configuration and whatnot so that has been a lot of fun. Besides practicing yoga and work, I read a lot. I like to read lots of different types of books.

That is fascinating work I’m sure. Any particular genre you like to read?
Well, there is a series of Zen authors and Zen books that I like to read, ancient as well as current. In these last couple years I have started to like poetry more, I like essays, and the fiction I read is mostly ideas rather than plot driven.

Awesome, it sounds like your off mat life is reflective of, yet has some serious variances from the rigorous practice we are used to seeing you do. What brought you to yoga initially?
Back when I was in my fifties, when I started to feel less flexible, stiff and achy, my wife suggested I try yoga. We were living in Texas then, so I went with her to a wellness center there and learned a few asanas, poses, back then especially I was adverse to groups, so I developed a sequence for  myself that I practiced at home. Then, when we moved back home, here to New Orleans I felt I needed to up my game some. By then I was in my sixties {chuckles}, so I started exploring, and I discovered vinyasa, and I discovered Reyn Studios and I have been here ever since.

Jerry that is beautiful. You committed to about ten years of a solo home practice, that is a really interesting and powerful way to begin your practice.
Yes, but I have learned the wonderful thing about coming to a studio is the teachers. You know, when you can refine using their verbal cues, and when a teacher uses a physical assist, gently drawing your shoulder back in trikonasana, or helps you move your hip creases back in downward dog, and you get to a level that is hard to achieve on you own, that is the wow! It is a really wonderful feeling. I really appreciate the teachers, and am now more comfortable in groups but it is really the teachers here that have been terrific. Those that were once here and are no longer, as well as many of the current teachers. I realize I haven’t had a class with you yet!

Aw, I know. We have some good ones, and I have such a limited schedule I feel like I do not get to spend as much time with all y’all as I’d like at the moment.
You are in good company, there are wonderful people who teach and have taught here and I really cherish what I have learned from them.

Beautiful, besides your personal desire to improve your practice, as lead you to feel more comfortable and drawn to practicing in a group setting rather than practicing on your own?You know, I’m not sure. Coming here, you walk in the door and you are welcome. There is always a smile, a welcome, a chit chat before you head up to class, you  don’t just walk up say hello sign in and move along, it's not that type of thing. There is always a welcoming atmosphere here. And, the teachers, the teachers, it is all of that which has made me less averse so to say, and just the familiarity of the place.

We do try to make it feel like home a bit, so we are happy to hear it works for you. Do you still practice with your wife?
No, we actually no longer live together {laughs} but we are still married. I do practice with my daughter, she is into yoga. In face any visit to Chicago where she lives is also a visit to her studio there.

I didn’t mean to pry, but that is so cool that you get to share your practice with you daughter. Yes, she was recently here for a work conference, and I brought here to practice here. We have had fun practicing together here.

Do you feel like practicing with family, in these sometimes challenging or vulnerable poses or classes, changes or influences your practice?
No, not really, but it is nice when there is a particular challenge to hear someone else’s perspective.


Do you think having that shared experience on the mat helps your relationship in other ways, or allows you to have a different type of connection?
Yes, I do. Yoga as a whole makes you more open, and of course there are other areas that we have in common. Sometimes you know, you leave a yoga class and you feel bigger than you are, your heart, your lungs, your capacity is greater, so yeah I think it does help in all relationships.

Definitely, what are some other ways you feel your yoga lessons have seeped into your off mat life?
It has transferred in to my work life, oh yeah. The patience, and the concentration of trying to focus and to occupy a pose, it trains you to be in the moment so that you learn to focus your attention on a specific movement or in a specific situation, it helps. You are able to be more present with individuals and more present to the work that has to be done, so rather than going off in all directions I am able to focus my mind more on what it is I need to be doing.

This conversation demonstrates that you have a really good connection to not only the physical asana, but also to the metaphysical components through your study of philosophy and Zen scholars.
The mental aspects of it have been terrific for me. You know, in fact, as I near my seventies, the mental aspect has become more important you know, and even that, being able to be in the moment, no matter what is going on around you, it helps. The mental aspects is a big deal, and I really enjoy what I read.

We you interested in the Zen philosophies, and the more traditional Easter Spiritual text prior to your relationship with yoga?
Only a little bit, there was a curiosity but I wasn’t moved to study it.

As we go we delve a little deeper.
Yes, I like it a lot, the focus on experience, just the idea of experiencing an asana or transitioning into an asana, the focus on your daily life, eating, sleeping, cooking,  you know whatever, it is fulfilling to notice each of these things.

I find one of my important take away lessons, which helps me off the mat, is being more mindful of those transitions like you mentioned. Being more mindful in how I move through the day, not focusing on getting from point A to point B, but instead being more aware of the process of the journey. I really appreciate what your talking about in that aspect.
My relationship to one legged standing balances is interesting because it frustrating for me, it's either hit or miss, and some days the right leg and foot are better, and other days the left leg and left foot are better and who knows why? It gives me the opportunity to laugh at myself for one thing.


Then it also translates into living, Catherine Burke talks about this often, about balance, and correction. Sometimes we might correct a little too much and we have to come back, or we might get a bit overly emotional about something, not that emotion is bad, but maybe you overreact to something so you have to come back from that. You know I think the standing balances offer me the most lessons as far as life is concerned. Then of course on Saturday, Lindsey said “you are welcome to wobble” which you know is true, it's a thought which most the time you think “no I don’t want to wobble” so to welcome it, it changes concepts and thinking.

Yes, it is okay to wobble, to feel the shakes and know they mean change, its all okay as long as we can find our breath right?

{Laughs} Very true, very true, sometimes easier said than done.

Besides standing poses are there asanas or a series that you find yourself more drawn to in your practice?
I really like the standing stretches, those like trikonasana, extended side angle, half moon, though it is only now that I am becoming comfortable with half moon, I like those because you are expanding in all directions and that feels good.

That balance between strength and vulnerability is really powerful. Are there poses which you find yourself more averse to?
Inversions {Laughs}, I can do a headstand supported, but I have never been able to do a headstand without some kind of support, handstand I have never done. I don’t know what it is, but I do have an aversion to it, I don’t welcome those.

From my perspective it sounds like it might be a bit of a mental block to getting there rather than a physical block as I do think you have the physical capacity to find those poses if you’d like. There is something that feels unnatural to most about flipping your weight totally upside down, which is often challenging to come to terms with.
Agreed, you know some people do it because they like the challenges, but there are other poses such as side crow which offer me a challenge that I welcome, and I think ‘well some poses I just don’t have to do’. For example, whats the pose where you bring your leg over your shoulder?

Compass pose?
Yes Compass pose, I’ll never be able to do that. No matter what I won't get it but I will always try it, just to see how far I can get and of course have a good laugh about it as well.

Awesome perspective. Do you think that you have always had such a great sense of humility? Or has yoga helped you explore and cultivate that side of yourself?
I think yoga has helped, I’ve got an ego just like anyone else. I think one of the things I have learned from Zen is that you may think something but that doesn’t mean you have to say it, and that works in line with this, if your ego is too strong maybe you might feel like you have to spout, but I have found I can hold back better than I used to.

What an incredible lesson, it is definitely something most of us are striving for both on and off the mat. Is there anything else in particular you would like to share about yourself or your practice? Or is there anything you would like to share with people who may be new to the practice or hesitant about trying?
Going back to when I said I did not want to practice in groups I really think yoga teachers make it. I really admire the preparation, the vulnerability, all of it. Reyn Studios has had, and still does have such wonderful people here teaching, it is worth it to explore all the teachers, there will be some you are able to connect more with,  so try them all out. There are some that are just really really special.

I strongly agree with that, you mentioned Catherine and Lindsey earlier and they both really brought it all together for me as well. With them I felt, still feel, brought into the fold, which gave me that kind of epiphany, click, like ‘oh this is what we’re doing here, I like it’ I think that, and then finding your space change things for me a lot.
{Laughs} Yeah, and that also helps with your ego in that, I tend to be very independent, but knowing that the teachers can help you manage your independence and to grow in your practice is really special.

To find strength in our community, knowing we are there to support each other.
Yeah, I think the students who practice here have a good attitude, it seems to be a community and convivial attitude. I don’t really see anyone trying to show off or take up all the space or all the attention.

That is something we as a staff have been working on and encouraging in each other as well, so it is rewarding to hear it has permeated and is felt by the students as well. You know, you’re okay wherever you are.
That is a Zen thought!

What poses would you like to share with us today?
Why don’t we try tree, see what that feels like since I spoke to it and because it will be fun to see what today holds. And I can do sukhasana, because I meditate.

I would love to see that. How long have you been meditating?
In my current phase I mediate first thing in the morning, and that has been going on for over a year. Before that it was more of a, whenever I felt like it type of thing. Of course when Shannon was here and she had that meditation class I learned a lot from her. It is interesting, even mediation people address very differently, or approach it differently. That whole idea of returning, returning to your breath, returning to your seat, returning to yourself. Just letting those thoughts, recognizing it but letting them go, it a good but challenging thing.  I wear this {wrist mala} first to remind myself not to take myself too seriously, and also the idea that, it is a term I have just learned the jiko, the universal self, so that, my approach to people can be, yeah we’re all in this together.

Wow, thank you for sharing, that’s inspirational. I know you thought about participating in our teacher training…
Yes, I have earned my 200 hour certificate, but I do not think it is sufficient. The reason I wasn’t able to take the teacher training was due to this new project at work. With the new aspects would not be able to commit to the time or effort. Once we have the software ready I will have to travel around the state to do trainings on it, so I will be away a couple of different times. This is a bit disappointing but you know how it is.

It just wasn’t the right time.
Yeah, maybe next time or next year.

How does travel, especially for work, impact your practice?
Well I don’t travel a lot, this is a bit unusual. I do have a travel mat that I pack and take along, I go through a sequence in the hotel room, and I think at this point I can’t do without it.

Especially when you are traveling, the energy and odd positions we find ourselves in for any length of time.
Yes, and your diet is often a bit different.

Totally, I know I need to be able to shift all that energy around, and you know, come back home. There it is, coming back to your seat, coming back to the breath, no matter where you are.
Yes it is so important. I can’t imagine not practicing at this point, you know it is more of a matter of when not if I will.

Do you practice everyday then?
I do, whether it be here or at home or both. I have a thirty minute sequence I have made that I do at home.

How long have you had such a rigorous practice?
A few years, up until a few months ago since I have been coming here I was always a morning person. Then I had hand surgery so I became accustomed to having mornings to myself, so now I am an afternoon person here. But I do sit for a time and do my sequence in the mornings pretty much everyday. When I come here in the afternoons it is after work and an addition.

A bonus, or time for your community practice. Is there anything else you’d like to share?
No I think that is about it for now.




June Pose of the Month

June Pose of the Month

Simhasana / Lion Pose

June at Reyn Studios means the temps outside are just as hot as those in the studio! The heavy, sticky heat of New Orleans can really take its toll on us. We move slower, feel confined to the climate controlled indoors, and are always looking for some sort of relief. Simhasana (sim-HAHS-anna), or Lion Pose, gives us the opportunity to cool the body with our breath. A seated pose, with many options for modifications to fit every yogi’s practice, Simhasana is characterized by its distinctive roar produced on our exhalations. The exaggerated opening of the eyes and stretching of the mouth and tongue encourages us to embody our inner lion. Utilizing this pranayama tool we are able to unlock our voice, release contradictions in the throat and chest and to bring energy and awareness to our throat.

By cultivating the essence of a fierce, roaring lion we are able to release nervous energy and find new strength within ourselves. Routine practice of Simhasana can help manage anger and anxiety, especially if we feel as though we have not be able to express ourselves the way we’d like. The grounded, intentional power and release we find in Simhasana builds our confidence and gives clarity and conviction to our voice allowing us to use it wisely and to address the injustices around us without feeling burdened, scared or overwhelmed.

Blowing off steam mindfully through Simhasana we can lighten our load and practice. Physically Simhasana relieves tension in the chest and face. Working with the humidity to keep our skin plump and wrinkle free Simhasana stimulates the platysma (a flat, thin, rectangular-shaped muscles on the front of the throat) which when contracted pulls down the corners of the mouth tightening the skin and muscles and smoothing the wrinkles in the skin on the neck. According to traditional texts, Simhasana destroys disease by activating the tonsils and immune system. Lion pose facilitates activation and awareness of the three major bandhas (Mula, Jalandhara, Uddiyana) which help us throughout our entire practice.


From a table top position cross the right ankle over the back of the left. Feet point slightly out.Sit the hips back on the heels, allowing the perineum to rest on the right heel.


Bring hands to rest on either the knees or the floor just in front of them. Fan the fingers out and press down through the palms like a lion sharpening its claws.

Inhale deeply through the nose.


As you exhale open your mouth wide and stretch your tongue out, curling its tip down toward the chin, open your eyes wide, contract the muscles on the front of your throat, and exhale the breath slowly out through your mouth with a distinct "ha" sound. The breath should pass over the back of the throat. Option to lift slightly off the heels and you push into the hands and gently arch the spine. Gaze (drishti) at the spot between the eyebrows (bhrumadhya-drishti) or at the tip of the nose (nasaagra-drishti).

Modifications for Greater Access or Depth

Those with knee injuries should take caution when practicing Simhasana and opt for a different leg variation when necessary.

Simhasana can be practices with many leg variations.

Legs Uncrossed (Vajrasana is a kneeling pose- sometimes called thunderbolt)


Legs Crossed in front of you in Sukhasana or Siddhasana (Easy pose- can find more space in the pelvis by sitting on a block)


Legs in Mandukasana (Frog Pose- to add a hip opener- for this modification try placing your palms on the floor in front of you with your fingers facing towards you. Keep your hands a few inches from your body, and then lean forward slightly.)


Legs in Padmasana (lotus pose- more advanced variations of this pose walk the hands forward to to tilt the pelvis towards the Earth, fingers face the knees)



Interesting info on the mythology of the pose

Reyn Studios

RSOM PRIDE presents Gay Night!

RSOM PRIDE presents Gay Night!

Wednesdays at 7pm

Reyn Studios Outward Movement (RSOM) is a long-standing endeavour to use our practice and our space to raise awareness and support for our community. In the spirit of PRIDE, our June RSOM will be geared towards celebrating and supporting the LGBTQ community in New Orleans. The proceeds from the Wednesday 7pm will go to BreakOUT NOLA (a local organization that helps LGBTQ youth). In addition to proceeds there will be a donation box for those who wish to give a little extra.

Beyond the funds, those of us who have been there know that solidarity and community are very much needed as well. We need your presence even more than your dollar. Yoga is about union; it's about stretching ourselves to see past the differences to that which connects us. Allies are not just welcome, they are wanted.

LGBTQ friends who wish to come to the Wednesday night 7pm, but can’t pay, are WELCOME! Simply go to the desk and tell them you are “Emma’s guest” and your class is free. We truly hope to see you there. Please tell your friends. Happy PRIDE!

May Student Spotlight

May Student Spotlight

How Ashley Bartlett Found What She Didn't Know She Was Looking For

Let’s start with a little introduction, who you are on and off the mat, and any little personal info you’d like us to know right off the bat:
My name is Ashley Bartlett-Patosik. Most people just call me Ashley Bartlett since it is easier. I stay at home with my daughter who is 3, which pretty much occupies all my time when I am not here at the studio. I’m usually just trying to keep her wrangled and be her personal assistant, which is the worst job and the best job.

Definitely, 3 is a very active age, full of new developments- like the 3-teens, where they suddenly learn they have attitude and can eye roll!
Oh yeah, she eye rolls really hard, it must be genetic. {laughs}

Does she practice yoga with you? Do you have a shared practice at home?
She does do some moves with me. She has randomly started doing all these yoga moves; the other day she went into tree pose and asked ‘do you do this in yoga?’ and I was a little surprised and impressed, and said ‘yes, how did you know that?’ Then she goes into downward dog and asked ‘what about this, do you do this in yoga?’ and I said yes, then she stood tall like mountain pose and asked if we do that, and I was like, ‘wow, yes, how do you know all of this?’ So yes, she likes yoga and is very interested in it and likes me to teach her and to practice with me, she gets her little mat out and unrolls it on the floor by mine.

That sounds adorable!
Yeah, its really cute and a fun thing to bond over.

Awesome! How long have you been practicing?
I’ve practiced on and off for years, but seriously started practicing last year. A friend brought me here, I started taking a few classes, but still had a gym membership, unfortunately. But I did end up cancelling it. Pretty much the last half of 2017, I stopped going to the gym and pretty much dedicated my time to coming here at least three times a week, but really any time I could fit it in I would come. It was really nice when Estel {my daughter} started school in the fall, which freed up some time. I had three mornings a week that were mine. With that time I really tried to start coming here, which became a routine and I am SO happy. 

What factors tipped the scales in favor of yoga rather than the gym?
I just liked how I felt after better. I also felt that my body changed and responded better to my yoga practice as opposed to weight training, and trying to work out on my own, which I did like doing, just not as much as I enjoyed my classes. A big factor is also all the instructors here at Reyn: every class is a little different, every instructor I have really enjoyed. They feel connected to what they’re doing. I basically became addicted. Once you start coming and you see those little gains, like ‘wow I can twist a little bit further here’ or ‘wow I can do this now’ and it becomes a little bit more addicted. You feel yourself wanted to go to class, you think ‘I want to try going deeper’ or ‘I want to get my forearm stand’ or ‘ I want to go upside down’ you want to try new things, and those little steps and progress made it that much more rewarding and addicting to me.

That really speaks to the practice as a greater entity, in that it definitely challenges and changes not only our bodies but our minds. Our brains get hooked on the practice and the sense of community we build with our teachers and others who have a similar routine. Sharing our practice with others is part of what keeps our practice fun.
Those factors have really become important to me. I struggle with anxiety and I find that coming to yoga has helped with that significantly. I do not have to take any medicine or anything like that now. I just try to exercise and bring little things from my practice to my life when I can, meditate when I can, but I have found that once I got into a regular practice here there was a marked decrease in my anxiety which was huge.

Thank you for sharing that. Do you find the effects of your practice lingering off the mat and trickling into your daily routine? Is that something that has helped with your anxiety? 

What are some other ways yoga has impacted your life off the mat? If any?
One big way is that it inspired me to do the teacher training! I feel like it has helped me and in turn I want to learn more intensely the practice and then help others if I can in any way. I already talk about it a lot, I try to get others to come with me. I got one friend to come with me a few times and now she has a membership and comes regularly. I got my husband to come with me the other day, I just think its great. Like you said, I like that sense of community. You come in and everyone is very happy and welcoming, the studio space is gorgeous. Off the mat I am definitely more centered and grounded, which certainly helps with having a 3 year old.

I feel ya, the patience we cultivate is so useful when dealing with kids.
Getting that time here to myself, where its just me and my mind and my body, after not having that for almost 3 years is life changing.


You are touching on something near and dear to my heart as a doula and pre/post natal yoga teacher: that sense of ownership over your body, and having to rediscover that, is a huge transformation. The sense of self after you’ve had a kid, while you’re raising a kid, can be really challenging. Do you feel comfortable sharing a little bit about your postpartum journey and how yoga contributed to your sense of self now after sharing your body with another person so intensely?
Postpartum I have been fortunate enough to stay home with my daughter, but it is her and I all the time. My husband travels a lot for work, so it is her and I. At first, once I could, I started walking with her, pushing the stroller, we got a jogging stroller so we could go on runs and things to get moving, but it wasn’t really my time so much as it was our time. It was exercise, but it wasn’t really body changing. It was enough to make you feel good after, but it wasn’t quite what I was looking for. It was hard because I didn’t really know what I was looking for until I came here, and found yoga here, really. That was when the mind body changes started to happen.

That is a really cool journey, thanks for sharing. What was the catalyst that inspired you to take the teacher training from there?
It was right around Christmas and I had seen the emails and instagram post, and felt unsure. I talked it over with my husband. I told him it would be nice because if I did become a yoga teacher, with Estel being in school schedule wise it would really work for us as a family. And also finding a way to get some financial independence would be really nice since I haven’t had that in a while either. And I want to do it for me; it’s like going back to school really. I want to prove to myself that I can do it and go on from there, see where it takes me.

Very cool, yoga seems to have helped you really find a sense of self. Teacher training really is a huge undertaking a big personal journey, I feel like you are embarking on it with a good head space, you’re open to it, without placing too many specific expectations on it. That seems like a very mindful place to begin.
I am very nervous. I have a lot of negative self talk happening right now, partly because I do come here and the teachers are so good that I get intimidated, but then I’m like they had to start somewhere too.

Years and years of practice go into that though.
Yeah, and I am just starting so its getting over the nerves and the sense of ‘what are you doing?’, ‘you can’t do this’ and reminding myself that I can do this.

I believe that you can do it! Even just trying to engage with these teachings and connect deeper with the practice is big… I wouldn’t say that as an ego boost as the ego can really be humbled during your training, but it definitely has the potential to build genuine confidence that comes from a more complete sense of self which is really cool and you’ll find that just like everyone here, no matter the level of experience, that we have days where it seems crazy that people think you’re good and that you have an impact on their life and you still question your authority in that department, its human.
True, I do think that after conquering pregnancy and childbirth I have a sense of confidence in maybe a weird way, but I think, ‘you did that, pretty much the craziest thing you can do with your body, so you can make it through yoga teacher training.’

There really is nothing like child bearing, the exploration that goes with pregnancy and birth. For instance, you may feel like you know yourself and the inner workings of you body as much as anyone can, then suddenly everyday your body is different, and the power that comes with harboring, nurturing and growing a whole no other person within you  is so transformative. It is one of the biggest yogic journeys you can take.
Yes, and I am one and done, so this is a nice segway to the next stage in my life. Having a little girl, and maybe becoming a yoga teacher hopefully, someday, feels exciting.

Awesome! What did you do before you became a mother?
I worked in retail. I was the stylist at J. Crew for three years after moving here from upstate New York where I am from. I moved here about six and a half years ago, so before that I ran an art gallery. I have an Art History background. I have always done something related to visual art. I taught art classes in private studios, I worked at an art center and ran the gallery, then I came here and I taught an after school art program while working retail.

Do you think that you eye for aesthetics and a deeper understanding of something, rather than just noting the top superficial level, has influenced your practice?
I think so. There is definitely an art to it, especially with symmetry and finding symmetry in the body. I feel like I am very tuned into that in a way; I feel like  when I first started and I would lay in savasana at the end of class I could feel in my body that one side was way heavier than the other. Then after about 3 or 4 months I could finally lay there and not worry if I was settled evenly; I was. Little things like that, and the micro improvements really appeal to the art side of me if that makes sense.

It does, and is really beautiful. You are able to see the layers and the different components of the practice.
And the movements themselves are beautiful and like a dance.

Is there anything in particular you are showing us from your practice today? We always want to give you the chance to show your progress or inspiration, or something that makes you feel strong and powerful or has been transformative in some way.
I have been thinking about this and haven’t been able to decide on one thing in particular.

Do you have a favorite pose or series in your practice that feels like your home base?
No, not really.

Do you have a least favorite?
Yeah, I would say, I don’t love bird of paradise, but I am working on it and trying to learn to love it. Camel is also really hard, I don’t love camel.

Is the drawback in those shapes more physical or the mental components?
I think both.

Those are both deeply openers of very vulnerable places, your hips in bird of paradise and your heart in camel. It can be challenging to bust those wide open.
It is, I have hip issues too. I played soccer pretty much my whole life so hip focused poses are really challenging for me. It has improved with time but they are hard.


It is wonderful that you are open to finding more comfort there, to challenging yourself to be more open and content in discomfort. Is there anything else you would like to share with people about yoga and what you learn in your practice?
What I tell people is that everyone has some preconceived notion about what yoga is I think, that maybe you have to look a certain way or be a certain way to do it, but that is totally not true. I was not in the best shape when I started, and I could feel my body, and parts of my body felt gross in certain positions. I would get discouraged, but I kept trying for a week, and I tell them to do the same. At the end of that week you’ll want another week and another, it builds if you allow yourself to really try it from a fresh perspective. As you grow you’ll find that you enjoy it, you’ll find things that you really love about it and find out where the hard parts are. Like I touched on in the beginning, you’ll find these little gains, whether they are really tiny gains in length or a big twist or just the way you feel when you leave some days, then all of sudden it becomes a part of your life that you cannot live without. I think people should just try it, really commit to trying it and see where it goes.

What a great insight. It also really touches on something we in the yoga community struggle with, in that people do have strong preconceived notions about what yoga is or isn’t, they don’t realize that yoga is for everybody and every body. As soon as you find the sweet spots and your place on the mat it all is available to you--all the lessons of the practice, the breath, the space, it's all there waiting for you.
Definitely I think there is space for everyone to try it and love it.

Interview by Melanie Schatz

May Pose of the Month

May Pose of the Month

Virabhadrasana II / Warrior II

April was a big month for us at the studio! Our studio manager, Melanie, got married, and our staff doubled down on preparations for our upcoming teacher training. With our efforts focused elsewhere we missed sharing a pose of the month with you in April. May will find us exploring our strength and power in Virabhadrasana (veer-uh-buh-DRAHS-uh-nuh) II or Warrior II pose. Virabhadrasana is a standing pose that enhances stamina and stability attributes of the warrior incarnation of Shiva it is draws its name from.  

Regardless of our daily routines, we all could benefit from the deep hip opening, stretch in the legs, groins, and chest, and improved concentration we cultivate in Virabhadrasana II. When we include this pose in our practice, we build strength in the entire body. Strong activation of the feet tones the arches of the feet and ankles. We tone the pelvic floor and abdomen as well as generate more powerful muscles in the thighs and buttocks, improving our stability and endurance on and off the mat. Properly aligned Virabhadrasana can relieve backaches and improve digestion as well as open the chest and shoulders, which encourages improved breathing capacity and circulation.


Begin in a wide legged stance, feet parallel and engaged, shoulder stacked over hip. Pivot the front foot toward the short side of the mat, lining the heel up with the arch of the opposite foot. Knees should be inline with and facing the same direction as their corresponding foot and ankle. Activate the thighs as you inhale the arms parallel to the floor aligned with the legs, palms face down, shoulders drawn onto the back body.

Exhale and bend front knee over the front ankle, so that the shin is perpendicular to the floor. If possible, bring the thigh parallel to the floor. Check to see that your front big toe is visible by drawing the front knee back, opening the hips. Take a wider stance if your knee is moving in front of your ankle. Press evenly into the outer edge and inner toe mounds of the back foot to anchor the pose and charge the muscles of the extended leg. Sink evenly into your hips.


Maintain equal length on both sides of the torso by keeping the shoulder stacked over the hips. It is tempting to lean the torso over the front leg, but to maximize the benefits of this pose keeping the shoulders and hips aligned is best.  Let the tailbone draw towards the pubis, and draw the belly towards the spine on your exhales to keep the torso open.  Broaden across your collarbones and lengthen the space between your shoulder blades. Engage your triceps. Drop your shoulders and lift your chest. Turn the head to look over the front leg, gaze is focused just beyond your middle finger.  Hold for 5-10 breaths. 


Inhale as you press through both feet, turn the front toes parallel with the back, and release the arms.  Repeat on the opposite side for an equal number of breaths.

*To Note*

Virabhadrasana II can be modified to meet you where you are. Adjusting the distance between the feet to improve your balance can make this pose more accessible as we build our strength and flexibility. It is very important to maintain proper knee alignment to avoid straining the joints. The bent knee often drifts inward; correct this by drawing towards the pinky toe side of the foot as you work to bring the thigh to parallel. To increase the intensity of this pose, outwardly rotate the arms so that the palms face up, shoulder blades draw down the back. Once you feel capable of building from there try rotating the arms inwardly and outwardly with your breath as you hold the strength in your legs.

The fierce energy of this pose and its ability to ground us while opening our hips and chest create an intensely liberating experience we hope you connect with as much as we have.

Reyn Studios

March Student Spotlight

March Student Spotlight

Robert Weimer Presses the Reset Button With His Noon Practices

Good morning, please introduce yourself, who you are on and off the mat. I think we would all love to start there.
My name  is Robert Weimer, I work here in the CBD, I’ve been practicing yoga for about two and a half years. I started in more community based yoga, not really knowing what I was doing or what to expect, I was doing it and found I liked the idea of a complicated pose and breaking it down to its component parts and trying to figure out which component parts I could do and which I needed to work on. I am fortunate enough to work a couple of blocks away so I can come practice yoga five to six days a week, typically p to seven or eight times a week. I still do some community based yoga as well.

Awesome! What do you do when you are not on the mat?
Well, I work in a law office.

I imagine you find use for your practice off the mat pretty frequently in that environment.
Yeah, my noon practice that i try and go to week days is certainly a pause button from the … the hecticness of work I guess.

What brought you to yoga initially? What made you seek out that first community class, that said “ I guess I’ll try this”?
Well I was actually talked into by a friend, another competitor I believe it was Higher Power was doing a special…

We don’t see other studios as competitors, the more yoga the better!
{laughs} Sure, well they were having a special that was with MoPho that has specials on some beer and pho, so that was what got me to do it that first time.

I like it, I’m very incentivized by food and drink as well, always a great way to draw people in. Did you find that yoga spoke more to your physical body or mental/spiritual body in the beginning?
Obviously at first I didn’t know what I was doing, but I like being put into complicated situations and I like trying to figure them out. At first it was just blasting through a class, then it became understanding what the calls and descriptions of the poses where, and then, later, building on that was understanding the different queues the instructors here giving and what exactly they were trying to emphasize or de-emphasize, and then add more layers upon layers. Lately, more me, it has been all about the breathing, making sure I am keeping, well trying to keep. A three count breath, making sure they are even, trying to match my movements to the breath I find that when I do count the breath and get it synced properly, I have a higher sense of awareness a heightened sense of proprioception, where i am in space, what quest I can give myself, what I am forgetting about. Using the exhales to strengthen and lengthen out poses and remember little things I often forget such as the location of the hips, or pulling in the belly when you are breathing or things like that. So I think for me yoga is more of a layering process, which is what I like about it, there's no end game, always the ability to add another layer and another layer, eventually I think where I would like to be would be to not have to think so much about the breath and know where I am going to be moving at all times rather than guessing or looking around, not focusing on or seeing all the things I'm not doing.

Fair enough, where do you get your yoga inspiration?
Ah, well, that is a harder question, lets see, well I do love the sense of community people often talk about in a yoga class room, there are a core group of people here at Reyn that I find really do strive for bettering their yoga practice and I feed off their energy, as they do better, as they hold a handstand or arm balance you get more inspiration and more focus as to your own practice and its kind of one of those things where even though everybody, well even though there are no cheerleaders in yoga we all act as each other encouragement and applauses so to speak.

I feel ya, one of my favorite things about yoga is there no winning

I love that you can't really be “the best at yoga” but you can always refine and grow.
Yeah, another thing I really like, in this studio in particular is that each teacher provides a slightly different class and there is nothing better than a well received class, and I think it is so interesting when you start a class and you aren’t really sure which direction its going to go but then perhaps half way though, or a quarter of the way in, it really clicks with the majority of the people in the room and you can see that it is well received. That reception is good because, it can encourage the teacher to try more, to break the sort of monotony you can find in a pure vinyasa class where they just stick to Sun As and Sun Bs, but sometimes you need to change it up, even when you may not want to {laughs}.

Definitely, we need the salutations to warm us up, and to start burning out our blockages, but as someone who has taken the 108 Sun A classes where you feel the intensity and the meditation but know you could not sustain your daily practice if it did not incorporate more variety.

So, you are taking our upcoming teacher training…
Yes, I am, I am super excited about that, I think it is going to add some more layers to my practice and help me, understand more about the focus on the cues, like exactly what a teacher should be striving to bring to a class, what it is they are communicating that and try to understand the background, or back of the house of yoga rather than just being a passive participant on the mat.

Totally, I think passive is an unfair word to describe your practice but I do understand where you are coming from. When you started out deepening your practice did you ever think you would want to explore teacher training or did it unfold more gradually as you put the puzzle together?
I am not the type of person to do things in half measure, so if I am going to do something I am really going to do it typically, fortunately or unfortunately depending on how you look at it. I am not a leader by birth or personality at all but I find myself being...refining and becoming better at a certain thing to a point at which I can assist others to learn those things so naturally that puts you in a slight leadership position. A better way to answer the question is that, yes,  I had an idea once I realized that yoga was closer to chess than checkers that it was something that I would want to be interested in refining and getting better at.

I love that simply, between chess and checkers, it ture so much of yoga is a mind game. Having the type of disposition , where you do not like to do things in half measure, where you like to achieve and figure out the nuances, do you find that yoga can sometimes challenge that part of your personality, to the core, in that a millimeter of change in the body can change everything, rather than large obvious gains?
Yes, it is definitely stimulating, , and you know, I think more interesting answer to that question is when i get  a new cue from a new teacher that I hadn’t thought of before, or maybe even disagree with, and trying to figure out where they are coming from with that. For example, lately it has been all about hip rotation and I am having a hard time visualizing what the hip rotation is bringing to the table, I know it is important but I just have to wait for it to click so to speak.

Totally, as someone who is loves hip work in my practice, working with people who work in a more corporate space or at a desk job, that hip opening does not click, which usually means that what you need the most. I have had lawyers brag about how long they were sitting in one place working out the details of a case. I always find it amazing, but also worry about their blood flow, it essentially becomes non existent in the lower half of the body. A teacher once told me the poses you hate the most, the ones we do not understand or resonate with are the ones we should be doing everyday, which I feel you can really agree with.
For sure, for example this last pose of the month, uttita hasta padangustasana, hand to big toe pose, I found that at first I kind of hated it, but now, I can live with it, I guess I am getting better at even though I still do not care for it, but I understand it is part of the process.

What about that pose irks you?
So, okay, I find I do not have the strength in my, abductors, to pull and pivot, I can only go so far. One thing I have found really good is I am really starting to learn about the toe lock, how to lock it {demonstrates loss lock}

Yes, having the loose lock makes it more challenging to properly engage through the foot, which can straining the hands, wrists, ankles and foot.
Yeah it does, so learning the lock and also the cue I like is to draw the shoulder back, it really opens up a lot more space. I still don't particularly enjoy it but you gotta do it.

I spent almost a year trying to do a standing split everyday as it gave me a lot of discomfort and brought out a lot of resistance, now I almost like it, it at least feel familiar and connected, and that sense of integration is the theme in yoga we tend to connect to, its what keeps us coming back to the mat, so it is  great to see other yogies working it out and living it. What type of poses to you find yourself drawn to? Maybe some that feel more accessible or more fun?
Well, I really like a lot of the poses that people don’t seem to care for, like plank great, side plank is great, bow pose,  is nice, I also like transitions and find them very important, like a jump back, and jump through, which is something we do not get a chance to do everyday in our practice but is important, and I think they are one of those things that if you don’t start trying and fail miserably, you’ll never want to do it. Then of course there are inversions and arm balances, those are great, for different reasons, I find a lot of people jump to inversions simply for the instagram worthy nature of it, but I prefer it because I think of it it as its is, like a hand stand is an inverted, upside down tadasana, which means it is so important to get your body aligned, engage the core, point your feet, and to breath, that is something a lot of people forget, to breath once they get upside down, I like doing it at the end of class because it gets all the blood back to your head which a great. With the arm balances, those are fun, they provide more strength, arm strength and shoulder strength, I like that, and they are super challenging of course.

You make a really great point  in that our inversions are simply a flipped version of familiar poses like tadasana, which is so important to our practice then translating that to the inverted versions, taking the metaphysical properties as well, being vulnerable, showing up, drawing awareness to your breath, while insanely out of sync with what typically feels normal to us is such an incredible trait to cultivate within yourself and to enjoy doing.
Sure, of course.

it is very impressive, you should give yourself some credit for the work you’re doing.

Do you like to share your practice with anyone, or is it more of a personal journey?
{Laughs} I tend to set up in the back of class, simply because I find  that if I do take different variations or try new things I am not distracting others, I am trying to be as least distracting to others as I can. So to answer your question more directly, I encourage people to come and do yoga, a lot of my friends who tend to be looking for some sort of workout so to speak ask me about it and I encourage them to do that, however I also realize not everyone is going to be able to devote the amount of time  and interest that I do, so its difficult to work out with someone who won't take it beyond beginner levels, dabbling. I encourage them, I wish they would, but everyone has their own goals I guess.

Thats a really cool, authentic approach. Do you ever find in your day to day off the mat, say at work or some times when things feel hectic you wish everyone would just take a few deep breaths with you?
{laughs} You know everyone has their cross to bare so to speak, everyone has their own things going on, something work for someone somethings are just completely unpalatable to others I think yoga as a universal cure all is not going to work, but I think being aware and focused, choosing to devote your attention and passion to a thing, those are all things that yoga seems to emphasize, I think that is an important emphasis for anyone with or without yoga.

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Great insight. So which poses are you going to demonstrate for us to day and why did you choose those to highlight in your practice?
I figured one or two, maybe both. I was going to do a pincha, and an arm balance with eagle wrap legs, which is one I have just started to stick.

Awesome one where you feel strong and steady and one that shows growth!

Interview by Melanie Schatz

March Pose of the Month

March Pose of the Month

Shalabasana / Locust Pose

The pose of the month for March is shalabasana, or locust pose. It's a prone backbending posture that we practice often in class, but one that's so valuable for back health that it's worth taking the time to explore more in depth. If you spend any time in your day seated, working at a computer, driving, etc., there's a good chance your shoulders slump forward. Shalabasana helps to counter the all-too-easy slump, greatly improving our posture and how we sit, stand, and move through our lives. 

If we practice locust thinking that it should be a big backbend, we'll only feel frustrated by it. Instead, think of it as a chance to bring greater strength and integrity to the posterior chain of the body - backs of shoulders, arms, spinal muscles, glutes and hamstrings. This is an especially important focus since our vinyasa practice gives us so many chances to stretch the back of the body. We want to make sure our backs are strong as well as open. 


To practice the pose, start by lying on your belly, with the forehead to the floor and the arms down by your side. Turn your heels slightly apart, big toes slightly together. This will initiate an inner rotation of the legs.

Improper vs. proper feet alignment

Improper vs. proper feet alignment

Start the pose by drawing your shoulder blades towards one another and down the back, away from your ears. This will lift the fronts of the shoulders off the ground. Then lift the head, the legs and the arms. Spinning the palms down towards the floor will help encourage the external rotation of the shoulders, keeping the chest open. Feel that your legs stay hips width distance apart, and that you're lifting and lengthening from your inner thighs, rather than clenching the outer hips to lift the legs. As you are lifting, focus on creating a sense of length through the whole body, from the crown of your head to the tips of your toes, rather than trying to lift high up off the ground. Remember this posture is about strength, rather than a huge range of motion. If you feel compression in your lower back, lower the legs a little and think of reaching them longer behind you. Also imagine your lower belly wanting to pull away from the ground (though it won't, of course), instead of getting a bigger backbend by pushing your belly into the ground. Because we're lying on our stomachs it will naturally be harder to breath into the belly. So, focus on moving your breath up into your chest, helping it to reach further forward. Make sure to keep the back of the neck long, and the legs straight. If it's uncomfortable for the fronts of the hips, place some padding under the pelvis.

Opposite arm and leg variation

Opposite arm and leg variation

There are many variations to explore and ways to make the posture easier or harder. You can interlace your fingers behind your back, which will allow for more ease in opening the chest. You can also work opposite arm and leg, lifting the right leg and extending the left arm forward. This can help us become aware of differences in sides. If you struggle with understanding the action of inwardly rotating your thighs, try it with a block between your feet. Press your feet into the sides of the block and try to lift the block as you lift the rest of the body. Whether it lifts or not, this will turn on the inner thighs and train the body to know how it feels to lift without compressing the lower back. You can also practice it with the hands on the ground, like a modified cobra. Or for grater challenge, extend the arms overhead, or interlace fingers behind your head, pressing the back of the head into the hands. This also strengthens the neck.

Interlaced fingers behind the neck variation

Interlaced fingers behind the neck variation

In our vinyasa practice, the fronts and tops of the shoulders get very strong - think planks, chatarungas, down dogs. Shalabasana gives us a chance to bring more strength to the back and bottom of our shoulders, so that our shoulder strength is more balanced. Try incorporating more of it in your practice this month and see if you notice a difference - perhaps in place of up dog during your transitions. 

Reyn Studios

February Student Spotlight

February Student Spotlight

Blair Wade's Journey to the Mat


So, what brought you to yoga?
How honest can I be?!

Hahahaha as honest as you want to be!
Okay. So, I used to be a heroin addict for some years… I went to rehab, but still left feeling a little lost… Then a friend of mine recommended yoga! And just a few weeks before that I had bought a mat, so I was like ‘yes, I’m ready let’s go!’ And I’ve been coming ever since for almost two years now.

Amazing! That’s honestly not too unfamiliar of a story in the yoga community… When you can discover the high you can give yourself naturally through this practice, it’s pretty cool!
Yea. I used to paint a lot which would quiet my brain down, but I haven’t picked up a brush in years. So when I come to yoga I come seeking that stillness of mind and I feel like I’m [reminded to] think less and enjoy more, ya know?

Yea! Do you feel like you get to express some of your creativity on the mat since you no longer paint anymore? Or do you prefer the structure and guidance of surrendering into what the teacher of the class is telling you to do and how to do it?
That’s actually a great question, because in the beginning I definitely needed that guidance of somebody telling me what to do and how to do poses ‘right’, but now that I feel like I have a little bit more of a foundation. I feel like I can branch out a little bit. That’s what I love about going to so many different classes! I get something different from one [teacher] than I do from another.

How often do you practice?
Five times a week! I need to build up a better home practice, but I like to come here for the adjustments!

Hahaha I understand… So do you feel a sense of being supported by the community here?
Yes, absolutely. I think if it wasn’t for the community here I might not be so good at holding myself accountable to come practice so often! Cause while I enjoy it… some days I’m more tired and don’t want to come, but I’m so used to seeing and connecting with the people here that I still show up [even in those moments where] I may feel more tired. And I also went on a yoga retreat with Karina last summer that had a pretty big impact on my life! I made a bunch of positive changes to my life after that. . .

That’s great. I didn’t know I was supposed to be getting to know myself until I started practicing yoga more. You really do have to figure out who you are basically [in order] to live in a healthy or mindful way.
Yea, I feel like we only get so much time… and if I’m not learning something new, or trying to be better, or trying to accept where I’m at in the moment (wherever that may be), what’s the point of being here, ya know?! There’s so much negative shit going on in the world. You gotta do what you can for other people, but you also gotta do what you can for yourself.

That’s true. We’re taught that self-care is this silly thing, but there is just no way to continue providing for other people if you yourself are running dry. You have to refill the well! And [I believe] making time for yourself on the mat is a great way to do that I think.

Do you feel like these lessons have permeated throughout your life off the mat?
Yea, I’ve been able to find a little more patience. You know when things aggravate me it’s nice to take a minute to breath instead of just reacting all the time and flying off the handle! And I think I’ve learned to keep finding that balance between effort and ease as well.

Yes, it’s always a balance between strengthening and the surrendering!
It’s kind of a cliche, but yoga really did change my life. I learned how to start thinking for myself a little bit more and how to start listening to my body a little bit more. So this has all been a very strengthening [process] for me. I’ve just learned a lot, and I feel like there’s always something new to learn.

That’s wonderful. Thanks for letting us feature and share your story and journey with the Reyn Community!
Yea, this wasn’t nearly as bad as what I thought! Hahahaha.

Hahahaha. Well, any last thing you want to say to anyone reading?
Enjoy having your own experience!

Interview by Melanie Schatz

February Pose of the Month

February Pose of the Month

Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana I + II/
Extended Hand to Big Toe Pose I + II

Liberate your pelvis, strengthen your core, and lengthen your hamstrings this month with Extended Hand to Big Toe Pose! Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana I + II is a special way to begin and/or end any one of your asana practices. You can lie it down or stand it up! In either relationship to gravity, this pose is an excellent way to activate (as well as just get a sense of) your entire body from the mounds of your big toes to the crown of your head~

May these following variations and alignment queues inspire you into having a more subtle, sensual, and holistic experience in Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana I + II.

(and no fears if you think you have the tightest hamstrings in the world! by extending some patience and compassion towards yourself, this pose can be accessible to you at any point in your flexibility journey!)



*To Note*

Our bodies are expressions of where we’ve come from (what we’ve been through) and where we are striving to move towards; therefore, all bodies and expressions will look drastically different from one another regardless of how similarly we place our bones and engage our muscles. It is not so much about the aesthetics of the form as it is about the sensations of flow that we are attempting to cultivate within these postures. Therefore these images that proceed are not intended to create an ‘ideal’ of what your practice should or should not look like, instead these images are intentionally being used as a means to communicate abstract ideas about anatomy via a more relatable format so that you may be guided into your exploration of this posture verbally as well as visually.

Remember, these poses are not static! Keep flowing with the waves of your breath ~ And let the easeful rhythm of your inhales and exhales help balance out the efforts of your muscles that assist you in sustaining the postures.

May the process of practicing this pose be one that empowers you

Reyn Studios

January Pose of the Month

Camel Pose / Ustrasana

Embrace the possibilities of the New Year by opening up your heart with this January’s pose of the month, Ustrasana! Practicing Camel Pose is a sure fire way to bring more space as well as strength into your central channel of energy, your spine. By mindfully activating your musculoskeletal system with the appropriate amount of care and attention, Ustrasana may safely leave you feeling restored, renewed, and revitalized in your own body, breath, and mind.

May these following offerings of queues and modifications inspire you into a more dynamic, authentic, and holistic experience of this posture. We hope you enjoy the exploration and embrace the unknown of what’s to come with curiosity, care, and compassion!

*before practicing camel pose, make sure to thoroughly warm up the range of motion in your hip flexors (psoas and quadriceps) as well as your upper back (thoracic spine)!*



Mix & match the use of props, the placement of your palms on your heels or sacrum, the position of your head, etc. to find the unique expression of this posture that makes the most sense for your body at the particular time of your practice!

We look forward to opening our hearts with you in the New Year!

Reyn Studios

*To Note*

Our bodies are expressions of where we’ve come from (what we’ve been through) and where we are striving to move towards; therefore, all bodies and expressions will look drastically different from one another regardless of how similarly we place our bones and engage our muscles. It is not so much about the aesthetics of the form as it is about the sensations of flow that we are attempting to cultivate within these postures. Therefore these images that proceed are not intended to create an ‘ideal’ of what your practice should or should not look like, instead these images are intentionally being used as a means to communicate abstract ideas about anatomy via a more relatable format so that you may be guided into your exploration of this posture verbally as well as visually.

January Student Spotlight

January Student Spotlight

Omar Rashid: Student of Yoga, Teacher of Youths


When did you start practicing and why?

O: I started practicing in college [about 10 yrs ago] cause my friend Mel said, “hey take this yoga class it’s amazing” [so shoutout to Mel! We thank and love you] and I went and it totally changed my view of fitness! I also found that the practice of linking my breath to my movements created this kind of meditative aspect that I found to be really invigorating and addictive… as well as challenging! So I was immediately enticed and ended up taking that yoga class every semester until I graduated. And then after college I took a break from yoga until I moved to New Orleans and found this studio which I really like.

That’s great to hear! We’re happy to have you a part of this community. Could you expound more upon the mediative aspect of the practice that you found and still find to be so enticing?

O: Well, it’s almost like I’m high when I leave… except better! My mind can drop into this space of effortlessness that allows me to no longer continue racing from one thought to the next of ‘what do I have to do next, what do I have to do next, what do I have to do next?!’... And I know it sounds like a cliche now, but I do feel like I’m with the present after I practice.

And how does this feeling of being present inform the rest of your day that proceeds your practice?

O: Well that feeling of being present is definitely not a constant, which is why I practice... There are times when I walk out of the studio and my excessive mental chatters returns within ten minutes and then other times it lasts for a lot longer. [However] I think yoga does give me the tools to find that calm mental state for when I’m off the mat and into the world.

Have you ever used those tools in your teaching profession?

O: Yea, definitely! We all need to take a deep breath in the classroom… And for me personally, I find that the ability to observe how I’m interacting with children and giving directions is a useful tooI that I have gained through the yoga practice. It allows me to be much more intentional, less reactive, and [more capable] of giving very clear and concise directions that allow the students to then feel more confident and successful in whatever it is we’re learning… And if I am not regularly practicing [yoga] I often times do not feel grounded enough to teach [in that manner]... and I very easily slip back into old negative patterns.


What negative patterns do you feel like are challenged in your yoga practice?

O: Well, I am so ingrained in this society that has brought me up to feel like I always need something more, ya know? I need a better job, I need more money, etc…. just always feeling like I need to progress in some very certain way comes up in my yoga practice… That kind of egotistical drive to do this pose better, and the next pose better, and the next classe better can get in the way o fully embodying just being here and recognizing that I don’t have to do anything other than just be human in this moment… Which is difficult, because I’m feeling this drive that’s been so embedded in me to be everywhere else but here. And I can understand the theory of ‘being present’ but it’s so much harder for me to practice it… But I’m always enthusiastic about showing up [to do so]. Coming here is something that I really look forward to. And I come for the yoga, but I really end up staying for the people. The sense of community here is what keeps me coming back.

Thank you for being a co-creator of this community! And for being so willing to share your perspective and have this conversation.

O: Of course.

Interview by Olivia Bowers

December Student Spotlight

December Student Spotlight

It's a dose of yoga a day for Nikki Simard


When did you start practicing and what brought you onto your mat?

N: I started right after moving to New Orleans. It had been my “to do list” while I was living in Ireland beforehand but [yoga] wasn’t really anywhere, and so when I moved here it was like, ‘ok cool it’s accessible’! I’ve been here for seven years [and practicing] for six and a half years… I always want to dance and move and be weird- so I knew that [yoga] would feel great! The focus yoga places on balancing out your body, getting to know your body, and creating some sort of physical intelligence [while] being this very expressive and delicious thing is really attractive to me. And… I was just ready to start taking care of my body.

What about this practice keeps you so loyal and dedicated to showing up everyday?!

N: Well I do appreciate the psychological and philosophical aspects of yoga, but honestly it’s the physical aspect that attracts me the most. And then aside from being curious about the physical language of sensation, I notice that if I skip yoga for ‘x’ amount of time I really notice a difference. But if I’m practicing regularly, I feel balanced, I feel good, and I’m able to be a better person in the world. It’s my hashtag self care. It’s my sanctuary! So I make sure to try and prioritize this and come everyday.

What are some of the more challenges aspects of this practice for you?

N: Trying not to let my ego get in the way! You know, if you really want get your toe to your head or reach any kind ‘outcome’... just trying to [remember] that it’s not about that, it’s about the journey. And the practice is this kind of tangible reminder that this is a lifelong process, and it’s not just about obtaining a physical shape.


Has your intention behind practicing yoga evolved since you began years ago?

N: Yes, I think that in the beginning I was just proving to myself that I could [even] do it! And now my intention is to carry out my [broader] intention of taking care of myself. And then when I get here, I get to sink into being present and begin the practice of observing myself.

How has yoga impacted your life outside of the studio?

N: After practice, I always feel more equanimus and compassionate towards others. I think that I used to be more quick to react and lose my temper in stressful situations, but over the years I have been able to become a little more peaceful and empathetic. I also just feel like my daily yoga practice highly informs and supports the work that I do for my job as a massage therapist!

Have you found this practice to be healing for you in any way?

N: Totally. Since I’ve been coming to this space for five years… I’ve been through so much in life. And I have had so many moments of letting things go here and crying in savasana… Or when I had been crying all day- I got to come here and feel empowered. I have had a lot of emotional healing here, because it’s my place to touch base with myself. And whether I like it or not- when I’m [on my mat] I get to face myself and go from there.

Do you have any advice for anybody who is nervous or anxious to start yoga?

N: Just try it and know that… if you want to feel good… do it! And it’s never too late to start. The time for yoga is now!

Interview by Olivia Bowers