Thursday, July 10, 2014

Teaching THIS week in L.A and our touring rig

This past weekend I assisted one of my favorite people, Annie Carpenter, at the Wanderlust Festival in Aspen/Snowmass, CO.  It was a really nice few days of assisting, practicing and mountain biking in one of our favorite areas. Here are a few pics of the "rig", our home away from home, as a hot air balloon was launching at 5:45 am. near us!

Now, I'm on my way to L.A to teach for the week at Exhale, Venice ( Hope to see you soon either here, there, or on the road. Here's the Exhale schedule for the week:

Friday, July 11th: 10:30 am.
Saturday, July 12th: 9 am.
Sunday, July 13th: 10:30 am.
Monday, July 14th: 7 am. AND 5:30 pm.
Tuesday, July 15th: 9:15 am.
Wednesday, July 16th: 7 am. AND 5:30 pm.

*E-mail Jamie directly at to schedule a one-on-one session

Friday, July 4, 2014

Good morning from Aspen/Snowmass & Santa Monica workshop sign-up

The Jamie Elmer Yoga trailer and truck at Wanderlust Aspen/Snowmass -
solar panels in full effect!!

Don't forget everyone, to preregister for my upcoming workshops and con't ed. series at Santa Monica Yoga!

To get the early registration price, you must sign up, and pay, prior to the 11th of July.

You can go to the Training and Workshops page of my site, and pay with a credit card via PayPal, or you can send a check via the address on the Contact page.  Please write in the memo line, the date and name of the workshop you'll be attending.  All checks must be received by 7/10/14.

JULY 12th 
Posture 101 - Lower Body
In Part 1 of this series you’ll learn the bones, muscles, tendons and ligaments of the lower leg, and how they are a part of our everyday alignment. We’ll look at this area of the body in relation to Tadasana (mountain pose), and our yoga standing postures. 

You’ll learn the most common imbalances of the lower leg, common injuries and aches and pains, and how to help remedy these imbalances through correct yoga alignment.

You’ll also learn take home yoga, pilates and physical therapy exercises for yourself and your students directly related to this area of the body.

JULY 13th
Let’s get inverted
This inversion (going upside down) workshop is for you if:
  • You’d like to learn how to go upside down safely and with proper alignment.
  • You’re intimidated or scared of inverting!
  • You love to invert!
We’ll practice the building blocks of how to go upside down in to Handstand, Forearm Balance, Shoulder Stand and Headstand. We’ll build strength and flexibility where it is needed to work towards these inversion. We’ll also practice and learn the process of how to eventually go upside down without using the wall.
There is a place in this workshop for everyone, regardless of your level or length of time practicing yoga. 

Saturday, June 7, 2014

The YOGA of Mountain Biking

The easy part of the trail

Last week, as I was riding, I was thinking about writing this blog. I realize that while on a mountain bike trail I should be concentrating on the trail and NOT on my blog, but I was. What came to mind is this:

When I first began yoga, it was not love at first class or asana. Not in the least. Having had a professional classical ballet/modern dance background, yoga was actually very challenging for me, physically and mentally. It was not what I expected. I wanted to give up. I wasn’t used to anything physical being hard for me, and that made me angry. So, on this recent bike ride, I was thinking back on my first experiences mountain biking. It was hard, frustrating, challenging. Just like a yoga class, mountain bike trails and biking terrains are VERY different. To say that you tried yoga once or twice, or tried mountain biking and it wasn’t for you is like saying that you tried vegetables and didn’t like them! The options are limitless when it comes to how varied all of these experiences can be. So, for the first year or so of mountain biking, I was frustrated and very much felt like I did initially, with yoga. “This is hard. I hate this. It hurts. Who needs this anyway”? (But when I left class, or finished the ride, I always felt better….)

Well, a number of years in to mountain biking now, and about 18 years in to yoga, I can confidently say that they are very much related. First, I needed to find the KIND of mountain bike trails that were right for me. Then, like yoga, I needed to practice and not get completely fed up with myself if I wasn’t perfect on the entire trail or didn’t fall. Now, I must admit, I really enjoy when I don’t fall on a trail. It brings me a great sense of satisfaction, but falling isn’t bad. Just like in yoga. Its not about doing it perfectly. Its not about keeping your balance or doing the level 3,678th advanced version of the pose. No, its about the experience and our mental and heartfelt reaction to the experience. Don’t get me wrong. I love the days when I feel like I’m a mountain bike pro. But, inevitably, that day is followed by a day where I feel as if I’ve never ridden a bike before. In the end, its all about the balance (to sound cliche). We need the days and times where we challenge ourselves to grow, get stronger and explore something new. And on the flip side, we need to know when its a day to go on a bike trail, or do a yoga sequence, that we know, is familiar, and one that we can gain a great sense of confidence from. We need both, the challenge and the ease.

For all those out there, bikers and yoga practitioners alike, or none of the above, keep an open mind and remember that, we need a variety of physical activities for our mind, body and heart. There is no substitute for cardiovascular exercise, and there is also no substitute for Ujjayi breathing (yogic breathing). (And on a side note, for any of you who think, “That’s not for me”, keep an extra open mind about it. You may just fall in love with it!)

Friday, May 2, 2014

A little walking backwards can't hurt!

Greetings! For nearly the past three weeks, I've been in Southern Oregon, teaching at Rasa Yoga Center. Its been so nice to be at a studio, and in a community long enough to get to know people a little more than in a quick, in and out, Teacher Training or Workshop weekend. Thanks for having me!

While here, in addition to teaching classes, I've worked with quite a few students one on one. I love these sessions. One of the things I've given people as Om work lately, as part of their "yoga prescription", is to walk backwards. This may sound strange at first, but walking backwards is an absolutely great way to balance many imbalances in our gait/walk. In our every day life, so much of what we do strengthens and tightens the front of the body, and weakens our back body. When we walk backwards, we automatically start to stretch our calves, stretch our thighs and hip flexors, and strengthen our hamstrings and glutes. If your back is a bit sore from too much sitting (in your car, a desk, the couch!) get up and take a little walk backwards. Chances are, you'll feel better right away. Walking backwards is highly under rated and under used. Try it out....

From here in Oregon, I'll be headed to Los Angeles to teach next week - public classes, one on one instruction and my back bend workshop!  Please see my schedule page above for my class schedule and details on the workshop. Thanks. Hope to see you soon!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Bring your attention DOWN

After our mountain bike ride today in Flagstaff, AZ (which is a really great town BTW!), the first thing I needed was to stretch my calves.

So often, in yoga or other movement and exercise forms, people focus on stretching their hamstrings (upper, backs of legs). In my years of teaching, I often, instead, give students the "homework" of stretching their calves. They're overlooked and under appreciated! Here are two simple ways to stretch your achilles, soleus and gastrocnemius (the main tendon and two muscles that make up the lower, backs of your legs). When you stretch your calves, you'll help to release your hamstrings (backs of your legs), and move with more ease throughout your day. Try it. We ALL need it.

(These two stretches are especially good before your yoga practice. Your first Forward Fold and Downward Facing Dog will feel different)

Achilles and Soleus Stretch - feet about a foot apart, both feet straight ahead, both knees bent and heels on the ground - hold for about ten slow, deep breaths

Achilles, Soleus and Gastrocnemius Stretch - front knee bent, back leg and knee straight and heel down - if you need more stretch, step your back foot further back - hold about ten, slow deep breaths (most people will feel this stretch more than the one above)