Student Spotlight: Evan

Yogas citta vrtti nirodhah: Yoga is the stilling of the fluctuations of the mind. from The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, 1:2.

  • Name: Evan Silverstein
  • Age: 38
  • Length of Practice: 16 years, most active over past two years.
  • Most Gratifying Pose: Triangle
  • Most Challenging Pose: Crescent Moon
  • Pets: 3 Dogs, Sweet Potato (Beagle Mix) 14, Rosie (Poodle Mix) 12 & Tina (Poodle Mix) 7.
  • Favorite Philly Bike Excursion: Schuylkill River Trail

Curiosity

Improvising a triangle variation to build strength, flexibility and self-awareness

Evan was one of the first curious souls to join our Men’s Yoga class here in South Philly. He brings a sense of fearlessness to his practice, constantly setting new goals for himself and exploring ways to integrate yoga and mindfulness into his everyday activities at work, home and everywhere in between.

Determination

Evan building core strength while flying high in a variation of Locust Pose

Evan brings a quiet intensity to his practice, exemplifying the yogic metaphor of heating the iron in order to shape it. I admire his determination to develop the strength, flexibility and focus needed to find stillness in even the most advanced postures.

Balance

Grounded and focused in Extended Hand to Toe Pose

Evan demonstrates a quiet confidence moving into challenging poses and holding them while focused on his breathing. Evan enters AND exits these postures with the same degree of grace and focus, remaining centered and grounded.

Present Moment Awareness

Evan reflecting on how to pay closer attention to his breath, both on and off the mat.

Our Men’s Yoga class focuses on building the core strength needed to keep doing all the things in life we love doing. We break down traditional yoga postures into basic physical movements that can be applied to our everyday work-life routines. Evan exemplifies this integration of mindful movement into our everyday activities at work, home and everywhere in between. It is perhaps his present moment awareness that makes Evan such an inspiring student. He follows his breath through each posture and then applies what he learns on the mat to reach his full potential off the mat. I cannot wait to take his class when he completes his teacher training!

STUDENT SPOTLIGHT: BEN

“I always feel better after a yoga session than when I started.”

  • Name: Ben
  • Age: 77
  • Length of Practice: 18 months
  • Most Gratifying Pose: Warrior 1
  • Most Challenging Pose: Transition out of Down Dog
  • Pets: 1 Cat, Pumpkin (who invariably appears to encourage us during triangle pose!)
  • Favorite Excursion on Bike: FDR Park & the Philadelphia Navy Yard

Dedication

I count Ben among those students I most enjoy teaching. He never takes a pose off. His combination of enthusiasm and discipline allows us to explore the healing and revitalizing power of each posture. He epitomizes the ancient yogic principle of tapas, the inner fire that inspires us to “leave it all on the mat”

Life without tapas is like a heart without love.” – BKS Iyengar

Self-Acceptance

Ben’s consistency in no small part can be attributed to an understanding of his own thresholds and range of movement on any given day. He stays within himself and is comfortable making adjustments to account for “the usual suspects” in his knee and hip. He works with what he brings to the mat and his calm focus provides a solid foundation for building strength and flexibility. He offers this advice to students just starting their journeys on the yoga path, “You would be surprised at how beneficial practice can be if you give it a chance and stick with it.”

Presence

Ben enjoys regular time on the bike and tennis court and believes yoga facilitates his active lifestyle. I believe his mindset here is critical. Yoga is not an end into itself, but rather a gateway through which we can continue doing everything it is we love doing AND with greater awareness. Beyond building strength and flexibility, simply paying closer attention to our breathing can help us perform almost any physical activity more safely and efficiently. After all, we don’t stop breathing when we roll out of Savasana!

It has been an honor to join you on the path, Ben!

Student Spotlight: Carol

We feel really strongly that yoga is for everybody, and yet the images of people doing yoga don’t tend to represent our own bodies or those we teach. So we decided to start a new blog series highlighting our own students, in an effort to shine light on regular people doing yoga and what that might look like. Plus, we wanted to learn more about our wonderful students outside of the classroom! Our first spotlight is on Carol, who was kind enough to come into our home so that we could get to know her a little better. Carol is so motivated and consistent in her practice, she inspires all of us to show up!

C is for Carol and Consistency

  • Name: Carol
  • Age: 68
  • How Long Practicing Yoga: 4 years consistently, 20 years sporadically
  • Favorite Pose: So many feel good!
  • Most Challenging Pose: Boat Pose
  • Sun Sign: Pisces
  • Pets: 2 cats, Diva and Misty
  • Favorite Sweet Treat: Dried Fruit
Carol holds her plank pose for 2 minutes every day!

I first met Carol L. in the fall of 2017 while teaching a Hatha Yoga series run by the Wallingford-Swarthmore Community Classes organization. Since then, she has attended roughly 115 yoga classes with me and a few workshops!!

“Compared to most other exercises, yoga is the best for allowing you to move at your own pace and accepting your limitations. It gives the best benefits without stressing joints and muscles. And it helps with self acceptance.”

-Carol L.

Carol gets to the mat about 5 hours a week and on top of that, logs a lot of miles on her treadmill for cardio.

“Yoga just makes me happy. Even thinking about doing yoga makes me happy. I’m more flexible, stronger and my balance has improved. I also have reduced much of my stiffness and back pain. I experience sciatica much less often, and when it does come on, it lasts a much shorter time.   My balance has improved.

-Carol L.

See you soon on the mat, Carol! Stay tuned for more Student Spotlights!

Yoga for Stronger Bones

Yoga practiced on a regular basis could help strengthen your bones! Certain poses including Warrior II, Triangle, and Tree are considered weight-bearing exercise, often recommended along with a healthy diet for optimal bone health.

“Yoga puts more pressure on bone than gravity does. By opposing one group of muscles against another, it stimulates osteocytes, the bone-making cells.”

-Dr. Loren Fishman, author of study Twelve-Minute Daily Yoga Regimen Reverses Osteoporotic Bone Loss”

Recently, I’ve had several students approach me after yoga class to talk about their bones. “I just got the results from my most recent DEXA scan, and there’s been an improvement in my bone mineral density score in my spine!” says one 73-year old student who started practicing yoga consistently about two years ago in my classes. Another student, who just turned 70, reported a similar result on her latest scan. Both were kind enough to share their results with me, pictured below.

The DEXA or DXA scan is today’s established standard for measuring bone mineral density, and helps to estimate the density of your bones and your chance of breaking a bone. According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, “a bone density test is the only test that can diagnose osteoporosis before a broken bone occurs.” If you’ve got osteopenia or osteoporosis, it’s reflected in the numbers.

In fact, more than 200 million people suffer from osteoporosis. Worldwide, 1 in 3 women over the age of 50 and 1 in 5 men will experience osteoporotic fractures in their lifetime.

We reach peak bone density by our late twenties, and then it’s maintained by a continuous process called remodeling, in which old bone is removed and new bone is created. The renewal of bone is responsible for bone strength throughout life. Certain factors like age, genetics, lack of exercise and poor diet can slow down bone renewal, and then our bones might thin to such a degree that we develop osteopenia or osteoporosis. Happily, there are lifestyle changes you can make to maintain and build bone density.

Bridge Pose (Setu bandhasana) stretches the spine

Of course we’d love to attribute the slight improvement in our yoga students’ bone mineral density scores to the practice of yoga. The only real change they’ve made has been adding a regular yoga practice, and neither of them are on medication. So just how effective is a regular yoga practice for building stronger bones?

According to one study, “there is qualitative evidence suggesting improved bone quality as a result of the practice of yoga.”

The study is pretty much the only one of its kind, and its revelations are being touted in Harvard Health and The New York Times. Researchers prescribed 12 yoga postures held for 30 seconds each, practiced on a daily basis by 221 participants. They measured bone density at the beginning and end of the study, and concluded that yoga “actually builds bone significantly in the spine and the femur, the two most frequent sites of fracture.” You can find out more on Dr. Fishman’s site, Sciatica.org.

The 12 yoga poses included in the study:

Image from Dr. Fishman’s Study
  1. Tree (Vrksasana)
  2. Triangle (Uttitha Trikonasana)
  3. Warrior II (Virabhadrasana II
  4. Extended Side Angle (Parsvakonasana)
  5. Reverse Triangle (Parivrtta Trikonasana)
  6. Locust (Salabhasana)
  7. Bridge (Setu Bandhasana)
  8. Supine hand-to-foot I (Supta Padangusthasana I)
  9. Supine hand-to-foot II (Supta Padangusthasana II)
  10. Straight-legged twist (Marichyasana II)
  11. Bent-knee twist (Matsyendrasana)
  12. Corpse (Savasana)

We do most of these poses in our classes on a very regular basis, as they were covered extensively in our 250-hour teacher training certification. It’s been eye-opening to learn that not all yoga poses are good for someone with bone loss issues, and could actually increase risk for a vertebral fracture – as in poses with extreme spinal flexion (as in, forward folds.) Yoga should be practiced under the guidance of an experienced teacher who provides safe alternatives to classic poses, with an emphasis on proper alignment.

A gentle modification of Extended Side Angle (Parsvakonasana)

I’m so excited for my students who have committed to a regular practice and seen some heartening benefits show up in the very fabric of their bones! They continue to do the work, and it’s wonderful to witness firsthand what could be part of a relatively low cost and low risk answer to maintaining strong healthy bones and avoiding broken ones. Yoga also comes with some pretty great “side effects,” such as better balance, improved posture and strength, and reduced levels of anxiety. Hope to see you and your beautiful bones on the mat soon!

For best bone health, Harvard Health recommends:

  • eating foods rich in calcium, such as low fat dairy products, sardines, salmon, green leafy vegetables and calcium-fortified foods and beverages.
  • getting more vitamin D from the sun or a supplement
  • doing weight-bearing exercise every day
  • not smoking
  • not drinking too much alcohol

Note: if you are under 30, building bone so that your peak bone density score is as good as it can be could help you tremendously later in life! All of the above recommendations apply to those who are still building bone density.

Resources:

Hatha Yoga – New Series

Unwind with this gentle but challenging ancient form of exercise. Learn basic yoga asanas or postures to improve strength, balance, and flexibility while focusing on the thread of the breath that “yokes” the mind and body together. Whatever your age or level of fitness, you’re welcome to join this accessible yoga class with a real group spirit. Come practice with strangers and leave as friends! And we’ll be adding more anatomy to our classes during the months of May and June!

Classes meet at Wallingford Presbyterian Church, an exceptional venue with hardwood floors and stained glass windows, and a feeling of sanctuary for all kinds. Class size limited to 35. Either sign up for all 5 sessions, or drop in for $15 to one.

Hatha Yoga Thursdays -May 9th – June 6th / 6-7pm / $50 for 5 sessions

$50.00

About the Instructor: Ann MacMullan Jeans, a native of Swarthmore, is a certified yoga instructor (EYT-200) and teaches in the Philadelphia area with her company Team Sun Wellness. Ann believes in the healing power of yoga and meditation for everyone, no matter what age, level of fitness, or life circumstance. For more information, email Ann at info@teamsunwellness.com.

“I have attended classes with Ann, participated in workshops, and worked with her in private sessions. Ann senses what each individual needs in all of these different settings. She is perceptive, insightful and kind. Yoga has helped my balance and focus. I wholeheartedly recommend her.” – Amy S.

Post Thanksgiving Gentle Flow

Join us at 12:00pm on the Saturday after Thanksgiving for an all levels Gentle Flow class! We’ll  breathe, stretch, and move to restore precious vitality. This class is safe for all levels: whether you’re a total beginner, haven’t gotten to the mat in a while, or have a regular practice. Show up in whatever state you are in, and be guided through an accessible fun sequence designed to connect mind, body, and spirit.  Blocks and straps are provided, and some extra mats are available as well. $10 to drop in or use your existing class card.

Saturday November 24th – 12:00pm-1:00pm
Wallingford Presbyterian Church – Fellowship Hall
110 E Brookhaven Rd, Wallingford, PA 19086
  • Drop in for $10!
  • Pay through PayPal or credit card using the buttons below
  • Or arrive and pay with Cash

 

Post Thanksgiving Gentle Flow Yoga Class

$10.00

Ann_Jump!About the Instructor: Ann MacMullan Jeans, a native of Swarthmore, is a certified yoga instructor (RYT-200) and teaches in the Philadelphia area with her company Team Sun Wellness. Ann believes in the healing power of yoga and meditation for everyone, no matter what age, level of fitness, or life circumstance. For more information, email Ann at info@teamsunwellness.com.

“I have been a grateful student in Ann’s yoga classes for a couple of years. I have especially appreciated her non-judgmental and very encouraging approach. Her classes offer increasing challenges for students to stretch their bodies and their repertoire of yoga poses, but always in a compassionate, supportive, and peaceful atmosphere. In addition, her subtle humor and intention to connect personally with her students makes practicing yoga just plain fun. As Ann expands her teaching opportunities, I hope to follow her for as long as I can move my body!” -Judy S.

*Affordable yoga in a supportive community environment*

Fall Yoga Deals!

The fall calendar is lining up and you’re invited to attend our classes in a new format – by buying a class card that will enable you to be a bit more flexible with your attendance! Class card can be used to attend any of Ann’s group mat sessions in the Wallingford-Swarthmore area during the FALL SESSION.

FALL CLASS CALENDAR

Gentle Yoga – Tuesdays at 9:30am (September 4th – 25th) Swarthmore United Methodist Church. 4 classes.

Hatha Yoga – Thursdays at 6:00pm (September 6th – September 20th) Swarthmore United Methodist Church. 3 classes.

Gentle Flow Yoga – Saturdays at 9:30am (September 29th – November 17th) Wallingford Presbyterian Church. 8 classes.

  • 15 CLASS CARD – $125
  • 12 CLASS CARD – $100
  • 8 CLASS CARD $75

Payment: Use the payment buttons below or send a check through the mail to:

Ann MacMullan Jeans / 1809 S. Bancroft St Philadelphia, PA 19145

 

 

I want all the yoga: 15-Class Card Bundle

Attend your choice of any of the 15 total fall classes Ann is offering, including Gentle, Hatha, or Gentle Flow Classes. This offer does not apply to classes run by the WSCC.

$125.00

 

 

I want most of the yoga: 12-Class Card Bundle

Attend your choice of any 12 fall classes Ann is offering, including Gentle, Hatha, or Gentle Flow Classes. This offer does not apply to classes run by the WSCC. 

$100.00

 

 

I want some of the yoga: 8-Class Card Bundle

Attend your choice of any 8 fall classes Ann is offering, including Gentle, Hatha, or Gentle Flow Classes. This offer does not apply to classes run by the WSCC.

$75.00

 

September Hatha Yoga

Unwind with this gentle but challenging ancient form of exercise. Learn basic yoga asanas or postures to improve strength, balance, and flexibility while focusing on the thread of the breath that “yokes” the mind and body together. Bring a yoga mat. Props like blocks and straps are sometimes used to help safely attain or deepen a pose. (Blocks and straps are provided.) All levels welcome! Class size limited to 25.

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Thursdays:  6:00-7:00pm September 6th – September 20th
Swarthmore United Methodist Church
129 Park Avenue Swarthmore PA 19081 right next to Library
  • 1 Drop in Session = $12
  • 3 Sessions = $30 (come to any 3 of the Thursdays)
Payment Options:
  • Pay through PayPal or credit card (buttons below):
  • Send a check: Ann MacMullan / 1809 S. Bancroft St. Philadelphia, PA 19145

FALL HATHA YOGA – 3 SESSIONS

$30.00

FALL HATHA YOGA – 1 SESSION

$12.00

CHECK OUT OUR CLASS CARD FALL BUNDLE DEALS! 

About the Instructor: Ann MacMullan Jeans, a native of Swarthmore, is a certified yoga instructor (RYT-200) and teaches in the Philadelphia area with her company Team Sun Wellness. Ann believes in the healing power of yoga and meditation for everyone, no matter what age, level of fitness, or life circumstance. For more information, email Ann at info@teamsunwellness.com.
“Ann is an excellent teacher who knows yoga. More importantly, she is attuned to the abilities of her students. She adapts the practice so that we can safely participate and gain from the experience. It is a true gift.” – Amy S.

Hatha Yoga – Summer Class

Unwind with this gentle but challenging ancient form of exercise. Learn basic yoga asanas or postures to improve strength, balance, and flexibility while focusing on the thread of the breath that “yokes” the mind and body together. Bring a yoga mat.

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Thursdays:  July 12th through August 23rd – 6:00-7:00pm
Swarthmore United Methodist Church
129 Park Avenue Swarthmore PA 19081 right next to Library
1 Drop in Session = $15 (new option!)
3 Sessions = $30 (come to any 3 of the Thursdays)
7 Sessions = $60 (come to all of the Thursdays)
Payment Options:
Pay through PayPal or credit card (buttons below):
Send a check: Ann MacMullan / 1809 S. Bancroft St. Philadelphia, PA 19145

HATHA YOGA – 1 SESSION

$15.00

HATHA YOGA – 3 SESSIONS

$30.00

HATHA YOGA – 7 SESSSIONS – SUMMER

$60.00

About the Instructor: Ann MacMullan Jeans, a native of Swarthmore, is a certified yoga instructor (RYT-200) and teaches in the Philadelphia area with her company Team Sun Wellness. Ann believes in the healing power of yoga and meditation for everyone, no matter what age, level of fitness, or life circumstance. For more information, email Ann at info@teamsunwellness.com.

Hatha Yoga – Early Summer Class

Unwind with this gentle but challenging ancient form of exercise. Learn basic yoga asanas or postures to improve strength, balance, and flexibility while focusing on the thread of the breath that “yokes” the mind and body together. Bring a yoga mat.

vrkasana_ann
Thursdays:  May 10th through June 14th – 6:00-7:00pm
Wallingford Presbyterian Church – Fellowship Hall
110 E Brookhaven Rd, Wallingford, PA 19086

3 Sessions = $30 (come to any 3 of the Thursdays)
6 Sessions = $50 (come to all of the Thursdays)

Payment Options:
  • Pay through PayPal or credit card (buttons below)
  • Send a check: Ann MacMullan / 1809 S. Bancroft St. Philadelphia, PA 19145

HATHA YOGA – 3 SESSIONS – EARLY SUMMER

$30.00

HATHA YOGA – 6 SESSIONS – EARLY SUMMER

$50.00