By Alejandra Torres | February 28, 2017 | People
These eight Miami yogis will inspire you to lay out a mat, strike a pose, and learn Sanskrit.
As the founder of Pilathon, Emily Bench uses her killer rooftop sessions in the heart of Wynwood to utilize her favorite yoga pose: the Tree Pose (Vrksasana).
"If you want strong ankles, this is the asana to practice. I visualize tree roots coming down my ankle to the ground, and lengthen my spine to the sky. I like to have to stop and focus on one thing only, and this asana gives you that possibility in an accessible way. If you practice it outside, you can even get to feel or experience what it is to be blown by the wind."
This certified Miami yogi lives up to her name by practicing the art in different corners of the city, including at Corpo Yoga Studio where her students practice her favorite move: the Upward Bow (Urdhva Dhanurasana).
"This posture, along with other backbends, can help to alleviate chronic back and neck pain. Backbends are also known to increase blood flow around the spine and diaphragm thus flushing important organs such as our kidneys. On a more obvious level, the Upward Bow helps to stretch the shoulders, chest, and upper back. Overtime, backbends can help to correct poor posture and improve the way we breathe on a daily basis."
If you can’t catch one his classes at Equinox Miami Beach, don't fret. Pablo Lucero also offers a more intimate experience online, where you can stream classes in both English and Spanish! Here, learn to perfect his favorite stance: the Standing Mountain Pose (Tadasana).
"It’s a basic yet underestimated, challenging pose when practiced with proper alignment. It is my favorite pose because from a physical standpoint, it promotes good posture and from a spiritual point, it represents what I stand for: my truth, values, and dreams. Standing in Tadasana brings harmony and enthusiasm to our lives, and it also increases our mind, body, and spirit awareness at every moment. A solid mountain posture steadies the breath, strengthens the legs and abdomen, improves circulation, and releases lumbar spine tension to avoid lower back pressure. When externally rotating the shoulder, pulling them back and down helps us to open the chest and heart to the experience and presence of now. Practicing this pose on our mats, in the grocery line, or chatting with a friend will teach us more about ourselves than we think we know. Stand tall."
As you patiently wait for her e-book to launch, grab a yoga mat (and some Jiva Active Wear) and head over to Exhale Spa to practice Gabrielle Cohen’s go-to position: the Dancer Pose (Natarajasana).
"It has the ability to transform anxiety and negative energy into a strong, yet calm energy. Plus, it just feels really good! It’s a hamstring, heart, and hip opener. Some other benefits of this pose are that it challenges balances, helps ease the mind, helps aid digestion and bloating, and improves concentration. Finally, it raises the heart rate, which ultimately helps keep a strong and healthy heart."
When she’s not teaching V Art of Wellness classes at The Confidante Miami Beach, Tracie Vlaun is most likely coaching celebs on the Warrior III Pose (Virabhadrasana III).
"I particularly like this pose because it seems so simple to balance on one leg, but actually [it] requires full body, mental, and physical awareness, as well as staying completely in the moment. In my classes, I reference this pose to life. I enjoy putting a cardio series before we launch into Warrior III as an analogy of life. In life, we have chaos and imbalance—then in a brief second we are forced to focus, balance, and find clarity within work, family, and relationships. Warrior III trains your brain to cut out the chaos, focus on your breath, lengthen, balance, and feel full empowerment."
Whether she’s hosting public classes, teaching private sessions, or video blogging yoga poses for any occasion, Sara Quiriconi never forgets her favorite posture: Warrior's Bridge.
"Derived from the Budokon®Yoga practice, a mix of traditional Hatha yoga and martial arts, Warrior's Bridge is one of my favorite postures for both strengthening and stretching. Simultaneously opening up the hips, side body, and upper back, you're also strengthening the legs, glutes, and shoulder girdle. Energetically opening up the heart and the throat, this posture leaves you emotionally empowered, strong, and free to the unknown. Note: This posture is a bit different than the greater known 'Flipped Dog' posture, which (in my humble opinion) puts too much pressure on the shoulder and most low backs."
As a Yoga for Athletes instructor, Amanda Mestre works with athletes of all levels—including players in both the NBA and NFL—so she knows a thing or two about her favorite pose: The Forearm Stand (Pincha Mayurasana).
"This pose strengthens the upper back, increases shoulder mobility, improves balance, relieves stress, enhances spinal mobility, and develops arm strength. The muscles that make up the shoulder girdle begin to open and increase in endurance and strength the longer you hold this pose. This pose is challenging because it requires you to engage all of the tiny and large muscles used to stabilize the body upside down. In this split version shown above, the stability of the posture is increased. Your breath must be calm and fluid to ease the body into maintaining [an engaged] core. This posture requires you to be completely mindful and present, and leaves no room for worries or anxiety."
Head over to the Nautilus South Beach, a SIXTY Hotel for complimentary yoga classes every Saturday with Green Monkey Yoga instructor and extraordinaire, Jasmyn Russell. Then, leave it all on the mat doing the Forearm Plank (Phalakasana).
"It is a full-body strengthening pose, and it exercises the participant in the three most important aspects of asana: It provides stable engagement in every muscle, steady gaze (drishti), and full, deep breaths. It is a posture that builds strength, not only in the body, but it requires strength in the mind as well. Also, it is one that is available to most, if not all, body types. During my classes, I use this posture to bring my students to a full expression of a yogic asana, as well as a time to use my best dad jokes to make them laugh. Yoga is easier when you smile!"