What Do You Need To Get Started With Yoga?

Downward Dog Yogi in Dark Corridor
Shiva_Pashupati

Beginning yoga is not easy for most people. However, humans have been studying yoga scholastically for over 2700 years. Yoga may even be as much as 10,000 years old. We may never know the true age of the practice due to the fact that the tradition was originally transmitted orally. Many consider the Pashupati seal of the Indus Valley Civilization to be the oldest record of Shiva and indicates the practice of yoga likely existed 5,000 years ago.

With the tremendous benefits this sort of activity can provide, it is no surprise that it has been adapted for the modern world. From improving your flexibility to soothing joint and muscle pain, to assisting with mental health and disabilities, to even healing major bodily injuries and improving the quality of sleep yoga has a tremendous amount to offer modern human beings. Starting a yoga practice is much simpler than you might expect. To help you begin, this post will explore what you’ll need to start your journey inwards.

(Image Source)

Guidance

Before you even think about spending money, you will need to look for someone who can guide you to setting goals and exploring what you want from the practice of yoga. This is where yoga studios come in handy, but if you are athletic and healthy, you might just flip on a youtube video and follow an instructor like Yoga with Adrienne. There are also several services that offer online yoga like glo.com or poweryoga.com. Bryan Kest, the founder of poweryoga.com, is one of my favorite instructors and I can’t recommend him highly enough.

It is relatively difficult to start yoga without personalized advice and instruction, especially as we age and our bodies have more issues. Private instruction can be excellent for this, though it will often be more fun to go somewhere with a group of others to practice yoga. These are quite common in outdoor parks or membership gyms. However, I recommend finding a local studio and practicing with a few different teachers until you find one that you like. Everyone is different, and everyone has different goals in yoga. Create goals and find teachers to help you achieve them.

Clothing

Once you have a guide, it will be time to start thinking about the clothing you’re going to wear for yoga. Wear clothing that breathes and allows for your full range of motion, especially if you are trying hot yoga. Shorts, leggings, and obviously yoga pants are all acceptable, but ensure that the fabric isn’t transparent when wet, because you will likely sweat during a class, and if you try hot yoga, you will probably sweat through your clothes. Many students wear skin tight clothing to keep it from moving when you are upside down and in downward dog, but I always take my shirt off when I practice and wear board shorts to avoid unnecessary laundry. The biggest thing is that you need to make sure that your clothing isn’t going to restrict your movement or get in the way.

Equipment

Yoga equipment is very simple. The vast majority of classes only require a yoga mat. My favorite brand of Yoga mat is Manduka. You may also want to get a foam roller, a block, and a strap, as some yoga positions can be more relaxing with props.

Finding Space

Dancer's Pose with a beach sunset

Whether you’re practicing yoga with a group or by yourself, it is crucial that you have an appropriate space. Avoid any areas with bugs, rodents, or dirt/filth. The ideal space helps you to feel calm, privacy to make sure that you are comfortable. Outdoor areas can be perfect for this: gardens, parks, and even beaches all offering tranquil environments that can enhance your yoga. You will often be able to find more than one class or studio near you and you can often try discounted introductory packages to compare and find the right space for you. If you live in Roseville or Auburn, make sure you check out East Wind Yoga, where I teach!

Mental Preparation

Most people talk themselves out of practicing yoga. This is the biggest barrier to beginning for most people. Keep in mind that you DO NOT have to be flexible to start yoga. In fact, inflexibility is the reason many of us practice! You can always improve! Make sure you talk to your instructor about any injuries you may have, or health complications that could affect you during the stretching and workout routines. 

In short, yoga has never been more popular, with people across the world embracing the practice and the tremendous health benefits it can provide. Remember that you just have to show up and the rest usually takes care of itself! Try to let go 😀

the E.T. – Go Big

Enjoy this Electro-House track from ‘the E.T.’

Deep out there in the darkest parts of the sky lie the outer edges of the universe, where life has evolved far beyond the comprehension of humanity. In this space an alien race has come and gone, totally and completely forgotten except for the remnants of their technologies. This is the story of the one who finds a dormant supernova extractor in the darkest corner of space. The pinnacle of alien technology. Upon revitalizing the star, the one is visited by the ancient celestial builders, the creators. This knowledge awakens the dormant genomes of his ancestry and brings him into unison with this ancient, celestial star-builder and destroyer. And he begins to build new stars, to create life itself. Thus, the builder of worlds remembered his ancestry and ascended to the throne of godhood.

East Wind is Closing for the first time in 15 Years

Hey Everybody,

Unfortunately, I have to cancel my classes at East Wind Yoga for the immediate future. As officially mandated, I am going to have to postpone my yoga classes until after quarantine. I’d love to continue to maintain my classes with appropriate social distance, unfortunately the studio is being forced to close and there is nothing I can do about it.

HOWEVER

I saw this coming, so I’m ready.

FREE YOGA CLASS DOWNLOAD

I recorded my yoga class yesterday. You can download the audio here:

File URL: https://elliottelford.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/1-Hour-Flow-with-Elliot.mp3

Here is the accompanying Spotify Playlist:

Sorry, but here’s what I got 😀

I am so sorry to not be able to offer any more classes for the time being in person. However, I am planning on starting to live stream via my FACEBOOK PAGE and will be uploading as many online resources as I can, perhaps even youtube tutorials. I’d love to hear what you want!

Mystery is OUT NOW

Mystery Cover Art

the E.T.’s latest melodic electro house track is a well mixed 120 BPM adventure in the key of D.

Production

I spent about 6 months producing the track and I got a lot out of trying to work with all of the different sounds and variations of the original melody that I was able to create. I used all of my production technology, which now includes Fabfilter PROQ3, Izotope’s Trash 2, Sylenth, Reaktor, and all of the native Ableton plugins.

Mystery is available on all streaming platforms!

https://distrokid.com/hyperfollow/theet/mystery

Download

Continuing Work with Ashtanga

Waking up early in 2020

Krishnamacharya

The new year has brought a new wave of inspiration for my yoga practice and working on the Ashtanga Primary series early in the morning. I’ve been waking up at 5:30, 6, and sometimes even earlier to ensure that I can do most of the series before I have to leave for work.

The entire series usually takes me a couple of hours, because I mediate for 10 minutes before and do some easy yin stretches if I need to before starting the series. Often I don’t finish, but about half of the time, I do. I’ve also practiced the intermediate series a few times, but I am working on getting my flexibility back so the primary series is what my body needs right now.

Adjustments

Patthabhi Jois

With that said, I am taking a long time to get warmed back up in the series. My shoulder are requiring a good amount of patience and stretching to re-align the ligamentation underneath my shoulder-blades and there’s no point in rushing. Rushing leads to loose ligaments that need to be re-tightened and stabilized.

Things are going great in the series, but I’ve had to back off a lot. I am also landscaping full-time right now. My wrists and hands have also needed a lot of care and slow stretching and supporting the series with yin has been the theme so far.

Performance Improvements

I think that on Saturday I held a handstand for a full minute really easily. My sinuses have improved and so has my digestion. My skin is also clearing up and I’m finding that I have a ton of energy during the day, but I am still adjusting to doing yoga every day. Ashtanga requires a lot of time and energy output, focus.

The First Ashtanga Workshop of 2020!

Saturday at 1 we had an awesome practicing the series! We only got through about half because of the orientation and making sure that people had adjustments available, but we did a lot! The opening chant was fun and we got a good chance to chat before the workshop began.

What an awesome group of people! A lot were fairly advanced and a few were probably close to the finishing postures of the series. I’m super excited to see what week 2 will bring.

Growing from Surya Namaskar

I’ll conclude with my biggest takeaway of practicing so often this year and that is self compassion. Some days, its okay to not finish. Some days, finish everything you can, especially if you wake up early and have time. A little amount of yoga and stretching goes a long way with the body and mind.

The two sun salutations are special in this way. You can wake up and practice them anywhere. And they are special movements for the spine, the nervous system, and the mind. I always feel soothed and more connected, clearer of mind and more focused after moving in unison with my breathing. The discipline of waking up early to unify the mind and the body are extremely rewarding in terms of mood and my ability to stay positive and not succumb to stress.

Its the little things that add up to something great. I’m excited for the second workshop this week. If you are going, practice a little every day and see how your body feels during the sequence!

Ashtanga with Elliot 2020 Yoga Workshop Series

This year I have decided to do something deeper and more durable for my yoga students.

Ever since India, I’ve wanted to share the daily Mysore style of yoga practice with my community and this dream is finally coming to fruition! Get into the best shape of your life with yoga!

Date and Times

Saturday, February 1st, I will be leading the Primary Series of Ashtanga from 1PM to 3pm. I will host this every Saturday at 1PM leading up to June 13th, which will be our 20th and final workshop for the series.

I will also be coaching and mentoring each student that wants to start a daily yoga practice from the Primary Series. I want to help YOU!

It’s time to transform your life! It will be A LOT of hard work, but the reward of better mental and physical health is extraordinarily valuable. This will also get your body into shape, lean, toned, and thin if you eat properly as well.

The coolest part about this workshop is that you can take it with you. This series isn’t going anywhere and is great for decompressing after traveling, or being cooped up in a desk or small space. There are so many benefits from a yoga practice.

Remaining Workshop Dates:

  1. 2/1
  2. 2/8
  3. 2/15
  4. 2/22
  5. 2/29
  6. 3/6
  7. 3/13
  8. 3/20
  9. 3/27
  10. 4/4
  11. 4/11
  12. 4/18
  13. 4/25
  14. 5/2
  15. 5/9
  16. 5/16
  17. 5/23
  18. 5/30
  19. 6/6
  20. 6/13

Pricing

The entire Series will be donation based. This DOES NOT mean free. It just means that you pay what you feel is right. Single Workshop sessions are $20 (if you only attend one).

FAQs

Q. What is the primary series?

A. The primary series is a specific sequence of yoga postures taught in Mysore India by the Jois family. It is widely regarded as the most advanced practice of physical yoga.

Q. Is it beginner friendly?

A. Yes, absolutely. This workshop is perfect for people new to yoga. Everyone from the experience teacher to the brand new yogi can learn the primary series. The series gets longer as you get more advanced, but the warm up is perfect for someone who has never practiced yoga before.

Q. Can I come to the workshop for free?

A. No. If you have circumstances preventing you from paying 5$ for a 2 hour class, we can talk about it, but the exchange of energy needs to be mutual. I have starved enough.

Q. Can I bring friends?

A. Of course! Please have them contact me to sign-up, or share this page with them.

Q. Do I have to attend every workshop? Can I choose a few to attend?

A. Yes, I understand that people are busy and that you may not be able to attend every workshop. I only ask that you let me know your plans when we start.

Q. How are you going to help me to practice every day?

A. I will be supplying large amounts of resources and information at the workshop dates. I will also be posting online about my own practice and will be enabling my students to practice as much as possible.

The Abdominal Wall and Attraction to Potential Partners

Have you ever been at the gym doing crunches and planks with your buddies and had no idea what you were doing? When you start talking about what you are working out, you are discussing abs, or abdominal exercises. Most often what we are talking about when working out or exercising is the rectus abdominis muscle via crunches and leg ups or even planking. This muscle becomes more visible as body fat percentage lowers and is sought after each New Year by men everywhere, only to remain illusive due to its dietary requirements (it has more to do with body fat with muscular strength). You may think this is the sole perpose for a man’s existence, but it is not.

The abdominal region is far more complex than one muscle. The abdomen, or lower thorax contains severals layers of muscular tissue that interweave to hold your organs in place and keep your spine upright so you can walk. These muscle tissues interweave to form the necessary support for an upright spinal column. I’ll talk more about the “6-pack” rectus abdominis muscle in a moment.

Obliques, Ribs, and Organs

abdominal 2 (GRAY)

The ribs are an often forgotten power center for posture within the body. They contain several muscular connections to bones and tissue around them. They do this to take tension from the spine by using accessory muscles. There is a massive connection between the accessory muscles and the diaphragm. These acessory muscles help us to breathe.

The Three Forgotten Abdominal Muscles

They are the internal and external obliques, which means diagonal and the transverse abdominis These muscles are responsible for the wall of muscle tissue underneath the rectus abdominis. These are all abdominal muscles. Together they muscles support the lower back and the organs of the thorax (chest cavity).

The Pyramidalis muscle, Linea Alba, and Hip Flexors (more forgotten abdominal muscles)

The pyramidalis is another abdominal muscle connects to the pelvis in two places (this is the V at the bottom of the rectus abdominis. It inserts into the linea alba via a pointed connection halfway between the belly button and the pubic bone. The linea alba is the fibrous muscle that runs up the center of the abdomen. It inserts into the diploid process at the bottom of the sternum. The linea alba is compose mostly of white collagen connective tissue. Linea Alba means “white line” in Latin.

The hips flexors and perineum are two more important muscle groups. The muscles create support for the back in concert with the abdominals. The hip flexors, in particular, have a huge amount of interaction with the spine. The hip bones connect the abdominals and the ribs .

Female Type Pelvis
Male Type Pelvis

Back onto the ‘6 Pack Abdominal Muscles”

The rectus abdominis is the top layer of muscle tissue visible and is the most common sought after muscle for looks. It is thought to provide an indication of health for prospective mates, but I wasn’t able to find any evidence for this assertion.

There is a surprisingly giant gap in the research when it comes to research about the attraction of the opposite sex. Statistically speaking, men value physical attractiveness more than women and women value similarities more than physical attraction. If you are overweight, you are more likely to be attracted to overweight members of the opposite sex.

One final, very interesting finding is that men are more attracted to novelty, and women to familiarity (read the article).

More and more evidence is arising that attraction is genetic. First, Behavior does not create homosexuality. It occurs natually and is genetic. Second, in our courtship of partners, we seek similar genetics to our own. Add social influences that help to determine what we find attractive, including fashion, perceptions of success, etc on top of these biological factors. Dive into the research. See for yourself.

Conclusion: Advice for Stretching the Spine

You can see how connected the muscles of the abdomen are with the hip flexors, ribs, spine, and diaphragm and how all of these muscles work together to create posture. All of these muscles are responsible for the health of the spine and in many ways the organ tissue in the thorax (stomach, kidneys, etc). Make sure you stretch your legs and hips to really get your spine mobile and strong!

I’ll do a separate article on the hip flexors next week. And visit again soon! You can subscribe to get an email update every time I publish an article.

References:

  1. Sex Differences in Attraction to Familiar and Unfamiliar Opposite-Sex Faces: Men Prefer Novelty and Women Prefer Familiarity (https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10508-013-0120-2)
  2. On the Fashionable Sexiness in Aesthetics (https://www.ijac.org.uk/images/frontImages/gallery/Vol._3_No._4/2.pdf)

Finishing up a Year of Landscaping (2019)

Meadow Vista Project

First of all, Merry Christmas!

It was about this time last year that I decided to take on my first big solo job. I’ve been working hard this year to get the equipment that I need to be in business. I owe a huge thanks to Dave Thomas for believing in me, helping me, and teaching me what he knows about landscaping. He helped me huge on my first few projects (one was in Granite Bay) and has taught me so much about making durable, high quality outdoor construction products.

Jamie and Joe Bryant’s Yard Before Photos

Jamie and Joe Bryant’s Yard After Photos

I have learned a lot in the past year about landscaping and have gotten the chance to build my arsenal of tools to be able to take on large scale projects. I now have a great, reliable truck that I use to haul materials and I’d also like to get a dump trailer to increase my hauling capacity.

But the journey hasn’t been easy. At the beginning of the year when I first got the truck I burned up the clutch from not knowing how to drive a manual, which was very costly. But over the course of the last year I’ve gotten a lot better at driving the truck and am now completely proficient at shifting and driving in traffic up hills and all that. Here’s a pic on the right of them hauling my truck away after I burnt up the clutch. She’s running great again, I’ve just started to use the 4 wheel drive in the snow!

Learning how to plan and estimate yards

Since the beginning of my time in landscaping I have loved designing yard for depth and color. I am starting to get very proficient at laying out plants for future growth and want to continue to learn about companion planting and how plants like to grow in groups and with diversity. I am far better at finding the grade of the ground, planning drainage, and creating proper water flow for erosion control.

Drainage, Drainage, and more Drainage

It seems like every new job that I do requires large amounts of drainage. Other landscapers skip on this step and most homeowners don’t know about it, but drainage is an essential part of maintaining health soil for your plants. Heathy soil drains water, meaning that water does not accumulate, pool, stand, and gather bacteria that can kill plant roots. This is especially important for desert and mountain landscapes that see heavy downpours during the winter.

Working for T & M in Meadow Vista

Dave and I worked great together, but I also love to work alone and have been hard at work creating a useable backyard for a client up in meadow vista. I have finished a few portions of the job and things are looking great! Here are the major features:

  • 3 Ft Pressure Treated Retaining Wall
  • Benda Board Grass Area
  • Posts for Blackberry Trellis
  • Sod Fresh from Seed
  • 1 ft Retaining Wall for sod
  • New Mountain Steps with drainage and DG fill
  • New Patio Area for fire pit replaced river rocks with decomposed granite
  • Brick and Mortar Border with concrete footing for decomposed granite patio
  • New Fire Pit with Custom Flagstone cap, wet look finish

The UnderGround

For the first few weeks of the job, I had to focus on something completely different than what you see above. It was actually extremely messy for the vast majority of the project and only in the last few days was I able to start getting everything really clean again.

Drainage Installation

When I begin working on a new project, I focus on one thing; the water.

This is how the Earth moves and shapes itself. It is therefore the primary component of land/property management and outdoor construction. It always amazes me how little people know about erosion and grading, but it is the primary component of maintaining any kind of healthy landscape. Standing water kills plants, just as easily as not watering plants at all.

Drainage is essential for landscaping. Any type of hardscape (cement, stone, brick) requires it and honestly it should be considered whenever any type of construction is being planned.

The Meadow Vista job was a great chance to work on my knowledge and to start planning from end to end of a job. The drains will keep the hillside from erosion and will maintain the grade that I create for the grass area, patio, and retaining wall that I built. I am really happy about how it has turned out so far, and my clients want a lot more work done!

Working with Dave Thomas has afforded me some awesome opportunities

Again, shout out to Dave; he is a very skilled worker. Working for him has taught me a lot because of the diversity of work that he takes on, from fencing to sod installations to full yard tear-outs and re-installs.

Here are some of the categories of Dave’s jobs that I got to work on:

  • Sod Installations
  • Drainage Installations
  • Grass Alternative Lawn Installations
  • High Quality Fencing Replacements
  • Retaining Walls (wood and stone)
  • Light Masonry (I am working on my first stone wall)
  • Benda board installations
  • Pathways
  • Laying Brick
  • Brick and Mortar walkway bordering
  • Brick Fireplaces
  • Concrete Cutting
  • Sprinkler Repair
  • Gate Repair
  • Gate Installation
  • Tilling
  • Trenching
  • Sod Removal
  • Small Tree Removal
  • Limb Removal
  • Pruning
  • Weeding
  • Weedwacking
  • Brushcutting
  • Thicket Clearing
  • Plant Installs

So I really do owe Dave a huge thanks, he taught me a ton! Its pretty obvious when you see high quality work and Dave is consistently getting work done. Thanks again.

Concluding a Year of Hard Work

I am very happy with how all of my projects this year have turned out. I typically continue to work on yards after installs (I don’t mow grass, but I do trim trees, bushes and hedges!) on maintenance, repairs, etc. I have gotten pretty good at installing irrigation manifolds and timers! Next year I will be focusing on water efficiency for xeriscapes, more masonry and carpentry production, and I am really hoping to get into more metal working (though who knows if this will pan out). I currently am working on a big rock wall and will post some pictures as soon as I feel like its pretty enough 🙂

Thanks for reading! If you are interesting in getting me to come out and look at work, I do bids for free.

Contact me for your next project!!

Music Writing and Upcoming Artists for 2020

Independent Music Production Studio

Lately I have been very centered and focused on writing better music, which always seems to happen in tandem with spending more time practicing yoga. I can remember in India when I first started making music with Ableton every day after I practiced the Primary Series with Saraswathi. I think I was inspired by Rumi while I was there and just wanted to find stuff to create.

I’ve always been into EDM, but making music gives me an extra excuse to be a mega-nerd about it. I make a few new playlists every week for my yoga classes, follow me on Spotify for them. My favorite artists this week are Black Gummy, Sayer, and Eprom. I’ve also been registering to Deadmau5’s latest album and like it a lot more than when it was first released. Sayer should be named slayer, his sound is so cool.

Somethin Somethin and No Mana have also been making great music this last year. About a week ago I went on a Mat Zo, Matt Lange, Flume, and Yung Bae have also been in my most play lists.

Lessons on writing melodies and mixing

After my last album, it became pretty apparent to me that I needed a lot of work in the studio learning about mixing and getting my sounds to layer and compliment each other. I saw a post from Noer the Boy on Twitter about Ableton lessons and decided to give one a shot.

It turned out kinda magnificently, Noer, or Noah, the guy I’ve taken probably a dozen lessons from is a prolific writer and has lots of great tracks already finished. His mixes are also very much on point; they punch through the speakers and the music makes me want to get moving. Its pretty exciting.

I have also finished my studio, meaning I have 2 Yamaha monitors and a subwoofer that get pretty loud so I can hear everything. I can understate how powerful this is going to be for my mixing; until recently my music was all made out of headphones (which don’t have nearly the same dynamic range as good studio monitors. More high quality tools to get better results.

More Progress in Melodic Structure

Writing a full melody has always been kinda difficult for me, but I really feel like I have written a few tracks that have a great melody and that are almost ready to be released. I have a lot of work to do on the mixing of them, designing some more dope sounds for ’em and on tying them all together. The new mixing tools I’ve gotten recently are also helping a ton.

It has been a journey in patience as I experiment with all different kinds of keys and modes to get the flow of the music going just right, but I think I’m getting there. I’ve also been able to finish buying all of the professional tools that I need for my studio, so now I can focus on the writing.

One last artist to watch for: G JONES

This guy just did his first headline at Red Rocks and will be starting to tour internationally here soon. Make sure you check out this pioneer of bass music when you get a chance.

More Music Coming Soon…

I have a bunch of tracks that I am working on that will form EROS Part 3. I’ve been working a bunch on the storyline as well, the whole project continues to evolve a lot. Check back in the next few weeks for the nunu 😀