Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Happy New Year 2012 - New Year's Intentions


This morning, I've been sitting at my computer (will do some yoga right after this to counteract the computer slump and clicking wrist ache!). Reading through lots of blogs, checking friends on FB/Twitter and reading local & world news and seeing themes emerge about the New Year.

Lately it's been bothering me how we all rush to make those BIG New Year's Resolutions... Lose Weight, Stop Smoking, Make More Money, Get Rid Of Stress.

In the last few months, I've been setting small intentions for practice and thought the idea of setting New Year's Intentions was probably a better alternative, for me at least. Not that I have been big on resolutions ANYway... too easy to forget! But I guess I have always understood that it takes more that making a resolution. Change, real lasting personal change, takes time. Takes INTENTION. Takes thought... understanding that just saying: " I will lose weight or workout more or get rid of stress" does not address the underlying issues. What makes us eat that puts on weight, what makes us stressed etc? How can we reduce stress? Maybe we just need to learn to accept that some stress is a part of life. Just learn to sit with it for a bit.

Also a part of setting intentions, whatever they are, is reminding ourselves each and every day. Reaffirming those intentions. Accepting that some days those intentions will get no further than stating them. And knowing that some days we will live those intentions and feel the powerful happiness that comes with having lived those intentions.

At the beginning of class I often ask students to set an intention... maybe just a feeling, a word or a dedication of that day's practice to someone who needs their love. A New Year's Intention can be the same. An intention to be more grateful, more loving, or to take a moment every day to think of someone else. Perhaps to feel lightness or to walk around with open eyes or open heart. I saw a great video on FaceBook today that I'd like to share here... it is so simple and profound.




Also wanted to share this blog posting of the Yinsights newsletter that I read. It addresses how resolutions are Yang and the Yin is learning to accept. Read and let me know what you think, if you like! The Yinside of New Year's Resolutions

Here is an excerpt that stood out to me:

"This year, why not resolve to accept something about yourself that you will no longer try to change or improve! You may even decide that this is the year that you accept something about someone else and vow to no longer try to change him or her! Sure, go ahead and consciously make a yang resolution to do or not do something, but why not add a yin resolution this New Year's? What are you going to accept, allow and no longer try to change this year?"

Hmmmm. Makes you think!

SO Happy New Year 2012... live every day as if it were your first and your last!

And Namaste


Thursday, December 22, 2011

Happy Solstice

Just a little note to say Happy Solstice... Really just a Happy whatever it is that you celebrate. In our area, we have been so fortunate this year to have lots of sunshine during the day and clear nights (awesome stars & moon) so the shortest day of the year didn't feel as oppressive as it sometimes can. It is amazing what light does for our bodies, souls and minds...

But thinking about this time of year and what it can mean led me to something that I am focusing a lot on in classes this week: letting go of the old, or un-needed and making room for the new or needed. Letting go of old hurts, be they physical or spiritual and making room for new feelings and new experiences. We can ALL benefit from this. I know that I sometimes hold a physical "hurt" or injury and it takes a lot of conscious thought to let it go, to ease out of that scar-tissue zone and let the healing in. To let the new blood-flow and ease back in. And so it goes with the heart and with the spirit....

Namaste, my friends. Have a wonderful holiday season, hug your loved ones near and far. Appreciate each and every person for who they are; each and every day for what it is for you: a gift.


Sunday, December 11, 2011

What I'm Reading Now: 4 reasons pigeon pose makes you cry - Y is for Yogini


I just revisited this blog today and wanted to share with everyone what I am RE-reading! 4 reasons pigeon pose makes you cry - Y is for Yogini

It is amazing how we learn... well, I suppose I have to clarify that it is how I learn! Sometimes it seems that I make leaps and bounds and learn something new everyday. My brain can't contain it all, can't absorb it and I struggle to convey all that has made its way into my consciousness. At other times it seems that I am not keyed into what is out there for me. Maybe I am, just on a very subconscious level and it where all that I have absorbed is then integrated into me.

SO hips... they are a constant source of interest in class. We complain of tight hips and strain to release what we feel we need to. Pigeon, also knows as Eka Pada Rajakapotasana, is awesome and amazing, although not appropriate for all of us in the most common form. However, if you CAN ease into a pigeon it is amazing what it does for body and mind. I love how the layers of trying begin to melt away as I ease into the pose and feel the hip opening, and the muscles and fascia releasing. Mmmm, good! At times, what is also amazing is how the emotions start bubbling to the surface.

On that note, click on the link from Y is for Yogini, read her posting and let me know what you think!

Namaste...

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Yoga in the Wintertime.... and What I'm Reading Now



Went for a great training session this morning in our town. We are fortunate to have a great set of public stairs over-looking town and the awesome river. And at a count of 413, it means we have a great training area. I sprint down them and walk fast & jog (or do some interval training) up them for a total of 4 times round trip. That's a lot of stairs. And a lot of fun... now. Didn't used to be!


I'm about ready to up it to 5 rounds but am not sure when to make that call. Yoga has taught me to look for the balance between ease and effort... to walk the line and know where I am each and every day. As if by magic Sage Rountree's new blog posting arrived in my email in-box today to remind me that as an athlete, there are some traits that are plusses in sports can be a hindrance in yoga. If you are interested, here is her blog:



Click on the link, read the posting and let me know what you think.


Being that it is winter, I'm also enjoying downhill skiing again! Woot, woot. So that means that I'm adding a few different poses to my yoga classes. Yes, we are doing more Chair Pose - Utkatasana. But also more deep stretches and gentle poses to balance out the actions of skiing. We are spending more time in balances, and looking out for our knees in poses like Warrior 1 & 2 - Virabhadrasana I and II. We are concentrating a little more on our ankles and feet as they spend so much more time immobilized in boots.


I love the change of seasons, the change of sports and the change in my yoga practice. It helps us remember that the only constant in life is change. It helps us learn to embrace the impermanence that is our life and to perhaps appreciate what is now.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

What I'm EATING now: PocketFuel Naturals Almond Butter Blends!


Dang good stuff! You NEED to have some. OK, I have to admit I am biased; it is my husband's company but it is GOOD. It is tasty.... it is addicting. Yeah, it's also good for you. Each pouch packs a tremendous amount of nutrition.

What IS it, you ask? PocketFuel is Almond Butter blended with amazing goodness: seeds, dried fruits & honey and then packaged in re-sealable, re-useable pouches!

Take your WHOLE food (vegan & gluten-free) with you wherever you go. In the car, to work, to play.... to YOGA. I keep a pouch in my car for those days when I absolutely NEED a snack on the way from one thing to another. Stops me from munching on junk food, keeps my energy level high... Feeds my body with all the protein, vitamins & minerals as well as good fats. And for me, the pouch is the BEST. I don't eat a whole lot all at once and this way I can squeeze out what I want and save the rest for later....

Check out the website, like us on FaceBook and best of all: order some today and tell us how much you like it!



Use PocketFuel to power up your day!




Tuesday, November 15, 2011

What I'm Reading Now: My 5 Favorite Kirtan Chants | Top Five Tuesdays | Yoga Blog | Yoga Journal

So I find that the blogs and newsletters that I love reading are piling up in my email inbox again. Time to sort through them and to share my favourites with you. There are so many. Sigh. What a problem, right? :)

The top of today's list is this one:

My 5 Favorite Kirtan Chants Top Five Tuesdays Yoga Blog Yoga Journal

I just love listening to Kirtan and especially artists, like Krishna Das. But really there almost too many to list them.... Prem Joshua, Girish, Wade Imre Morissette... But I also love singing myself (usually as I listen to them, sometimes as I practice) because I love the feel, the vibration of our voices.

The accompanying photo (courtesy globalchants.com) is of a Harmonium one of the most common instruments used in Kirtan, Vaja Kirtan, Bhajan, and Qawwali Indian Music.

The various poems or chants are also so wonderful and thoughtful and speak to me. The ones that Erica Rodefer lists (and her rough translations) on her blog are:

1. Om Namah Shivaya. I bow to the Self.

2. Sita Ram. Sita and Rama are deities who are husband and wife--to chant Sita Ram is to unite with our own perfect masculine and feminine.

3. Shiva Shiva Shiva Shambho. Mahadeva Shambho. Shiva is the essence and source of joy. Lord, the bestower of good.

4. Om Gam Ganapataye Namaha. I offer my love and devotion to Sri Ganesha; please grant me success in my noble endeavor.

5. Lokah Samastah Sukino Bhavantu. (My favorite!) May all beings everywhere be happy and free.

As I was researching this I found SO many other chants that I have never heard and it's helping me to listen to the ones that I already know with new ears.



Always keeping a beginner's mind...



Namaste

Sunday, October 30, 2011

More amazing MUSIC



Just heard Wade Imre Morissette's song SO Alive... and watched his video as well. LOVE the sequence that he has set to his wonderful music and and practicing that this afternoon. Inspired by so much amazing yoga out there...


(Photo of WIM From So Alive video)




To those who come to my classes: stay tuned because we are in for some new music and new sequences!

Namaste

Saturday, October 29, 2011

What I'm Watching Now: Beware the Yoga Flashmob! | Daily Cup of Yoga



LOVE, love, love this! Made me just get up and practice with them here in my living room!


Beware the Yoga Flashmob! Daily Cup of Yoga

I've downloaded this AMAZING music (Trevor Hall - The Mountain on his album Everything, Evertime, Everywhere) and also have now, I think, gotten this beautiful flow down and will bring it into class on Monday at Samadhi! Woot Woot. Think I shall also bring it into my Friday noon class at Hood River Sports Club. It is such a fun one.

Namaste and listen to some amazing music today and DANCE.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

What I'm Reading Now: 5 reasons you should be more than happy to pay for yoga class - Y is for Yogini



Every once in a while I get a blog posting that just makes me laugh or makes me say YEAH, right! This was one of them... I am so fortunate to teach at studios that value yoga and teachers in general but I know that is not the case for everyone. Even when I volunteer to teach yoga, I feel the appreciation.

I have to ask myself every once in a while: why do I teach? Yes, I teach because I LOVE yoga. Love how it makes me feel, think and live my life. But I also love the interactions with students: the community, the energy and the way it challenges me to be my best self. But I also need to pay some bills, like everyone, so I get this posting.

(photo courtesy Yoga Dork)

As always, click on the link and if you are so inclined, let me know what you think!

5 reasons you should be more than happy to pay for yoga class - Y is for Yogini

Namaste

Monday, October 24, 2011

What I'm Reading Now: Five-Minute Yoga Challenge: hang your head to free your neck. — Five-Minute Yoga

OH boy, now this speaks to me big time. I talk about it all the time in class. But I still see students holding onto their heads, tensing their necks and not releasing in downdog and forward folds. And not to be outdone, I catch myself doing it as well and need to remind myself at least once during every practice to "let go" of my head. To feel the weight of my head as it hangs and gently lengthens my spine.

What I like about this posting (I LOVE this blog and this teacher, Eve Johnson, and it doesn't hurt that she's a fellow Canuck) is that she takes us step by step through the process, reminding us that it all takes time. It is a process. Click on the link below and read the posting.

Five-Minute Yoga Challenge: hang your head to free your neck. — Five-Minute Yoga

Namaste and Release that Head to free your neck!

What I'm Reading Now: Ganda Bherundasana | Challenge Pose | Yoga Blog | Yoga Journal


This is a beautiful pose... and after reading this blog posting I see a way to bring it into class with props and how to successfully teach it using those props. Always like a challenge and a good way to bring it into my practice!
Click on the link below and read on...

Ganda Bherundasana Challenge Pose Yoga Blog Yoga Journal

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Seane Corn Occupies Wall Street | Yoga Buzz | Yoga Blog | Yoga Journal

Wow, this is really interesting... SOMEthing IS happening here. All of a sudden I had the song from Buffalo Springfield (For What It's Worth) going around in my head...

....There’s something happening here.
What it is ain’t exactly clear....

Click on the blog to read about the yogis involved in Occupy Wall Street, who knows where this all will lead, maybe some reall change, maybe some real answers:

Seane Corn Occupies Wall Street Yoga Buzz Yoga Blog Yoga Journal

Remember: We are ONE.

Awesome (yup, that overused word is appropriate here)

Thursday, October 6, 2011

New Movie: YOGAWOMAN

Another long hiatus from blogging. I so needed it! My daughter and I went on an amazing trip together and now she is off at college. coincidentally, my son also left the same day to return to college and it's taken me a little bit of time to absorb the changes. Good changes, but changes nonetheless! I am THRILLED for us all but the body, soul and mind need a little time to adjust.

Now back to SOME of what I love... yoga: practicing, teaching, learning, reading, listening, watching and finally blogging about yoga...





This is another movie that I just have to see! I would hope that my classes encompass some of this magic and beauty. Yoga is for everyone but as a woman I especially identify with the teachers and students in this trailer. Teaching people, anyone, yoga has made me realize HOW much we all need it.

Woohoo, another must see!

Let me know what you think!

Namaste my friends.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

What I'm Reading Now: Yoga Therapy May Help Prevent and Treat Orthopedic Problems - NYTimes.com

It's been a while again since I last blogged.... haha, I feel like I am in confession and have to admit to this! BUT that's how it goes sometimes.

SO this came across my email today and I was happy to read it and see that yoga, once again is a GOOD thing... Please click on the link and read the article, especially if you have shoulder problems.





As always, I would really love to hear from you.


Namaste and enjoy the summer sunshine and beauty around you...




Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Great News!



I am happy to announce that I'll be joining Emma Rossoff for the summer at Anahata Yoga. Come join me for OUTDOOR yoga starting July 6th. Emma, Sybil Nance and I will each be offering a slightly different flavour of yoga and we would ALL love to see you in class. Nothing better than getting OUTSIDE in the summer time.

This morning's class was awesome... just enough sunshine to warm us and just enough of a breeze to cool us as we practiced. We would love to see YOU next week.... info and schedule below. You can click on Anahata Yoga to get more info and the complete schedule.

Anahata Yoga – at Hood River's Waterfront Park

- Wednesdays – Fluid yoga- 9:30-10:45am – Water-like sun salutations followed by vinyasa flow to energize your body & focus your mind. 1 hr 15min


*** NOTE: drop-in $10/ class or purchase an 8X - $65. Please bring cash or check and come early to register and sign a one-time waiver.


Namaste... hope to see you under the blue skies soon.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

New Movie: Yoga Is - A Film About The Transformational Power of Yoga



Yoga Is I just received a yoga newsletter about this movie and can hardly wait to see it! Below is exerpted from their website:

"Thirty million Americans and countless millions worldwide have taken up a practice that is transforming their lives. Follow filmmaker Suzanne Bryant as she meets with the most prominent Yoga Gurus and teachers in the west and travels to India to explore the power of this ancient practice. Along the way she discovers what YOGA IS.

This is the story of a woman who thought she had it all ...until she lost her beloved mother to cancer. Trying to process and understand her profound grief, Suzanne embarked on a journey and turned to a deeper practice of yoga.

Suzanne's journey led her to India on a spiritual quest to learn more about this powerful ancient practice. She studied yoga and Ayurveda in Kerala, Ashtanga Yoga with Pattabhis Jois and his daughter Saraswati, met with Guru Neem Karoli Baba’s son in Vrindavan to learn about Bhakti yoga and came face to face with a near death experience herself. While in India, something had shifted within her, the light had returned. "

Just watching the clip gave me shivers because I know this to be true... once the door is opened, it cannot be closed.

Let me know what you think...

Namaste

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Sweet Summer...



Wow, I have taken quite the break from blogging. Life's been busy, with family and friends, work and play. And the weather seemed to take its sweet time to make the change from spring to summer. Some of the transitions I was talking about have happened like my daughter graduating from high school, dancing in her last dance recital. Family's been here which was AWESOME but tiring... the photo is of my momma and sister after they came to one of my yoga classes (LOVED that).


However sadness also came to our little community affecting many near and dear to us, reminding us to hug our children just a little tighter. That just seemed to zap that last little bit of whatever creative force I had in me.

Made me realize all the more how precious life is, each and every moment. Whether filled with smiles or sadness it is THERE for US. Grab it and GO. Grab it and LIVE.

And lately, I've been pensive and have just not felt like I have anything NEW to say. However, over the last days, I find my mind on overdrive again so perhaps it is time to, well... I can't say put pen to paper, but I'll put fingers to keyboard and type. :)

Just listening to Ladysmith Black Mambazo singing Homeless with Sarah McLachlan... LOVE it. I am in the mood to make some new yoga play-lists too.

So please stay tuned... don't forget about me. :) I've just been percolating, been marinating... been letting all the good stuff I read, watch, do and hear settle in and will have lots to say over the next while.

Namaste, may your days be filled with what makes you smile.



Sunday, May 22, 2011

What I'm Reading Now: The Pragmatic Yogi - Do Not Shoulder the Burden!



Over the past little while I've been dealing with some shoulder pain... probably due to how I practice yoga when I teach. Looking over at students while in poses, jumping in and out of said poses to go over to a student and then showing modifications on the fly. Note to self: listen to myself a little more and move MINDFULLY from pose to pose. AND read the following blog postings another time!


I love yoga and that is what keeps me balanced in many areas of my life. I also love stand up paddling and that means I really need to have a strong upper body, especially shoulders. When we paddlie a lot and especially over long distances (like when I race) and when we are fatigued we rely on brute strength, on our joints to get us through. Last year I worked a lot on core strength and paddling from the core and not the shoulders and it really helped. But I do have the tendency to fall into old habits... ;)


Lisa, The Pragmatic Yogi refers to a couple of other blogs in this posting and I have read them (one is by a kayaker) and am making notes. Please do click on the posting and read, then let me know what you think.

The Pragmatic Yogi: Do Not Shoulder the Burden!: "Shoulder pain is a common occurrence yet can be complex in nature. It can be the result of injuries old or new, wear and tear of the glenoh..."


Happy Spring... let the sun shine!



Friday, May 13, 2011

What I'm Reading Now: The Daily Bandha: How to Balance Opposites in the Foot and Ankle




Hmmmm, somehow I lost my posting for this in cyber space?? And I really like what I had written. Guess this is a lesson on NON-attachment! ;)

SO what I really loved about this posting from The Daily Bandha is learning HOW to balance our various muscles in the foot and anke and how to be AWARE of this whole area. We spend so much time in our shoes that our feet lose that natural strength and connectedness with the ground beneath us. Yoga gives us the opportunity to reconnect.




(Image courtesy of The Damily Bandha)

Read the posting below and let me know what you think!

The Daily Bandha: How to Balance Opposites in the Foot and Ankle

Namaste

Monday, May 2, 2011

This is all I can say....

"I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy. Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that."

- Martin Luther King Jr.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

What I'm Reading NOW: 11 Qualities of the Ultimate Yoga Instructor

Took a little break from blogging... it is hard work to keep on keeping on. There are so many awesome things out there to read and absorb and filter on down to my blog and classes and workshops. Some days I am just overwhelmed. But in a good way. I read this posting and it rings very true to me. I believe there are many amazing instructors and mentors out there and have often pondered about what makes one suited to teach, let alone be an awesome teacher. The most important one, to me is: Be TRUE to yourself, your nature. When you teach and guide from a place of truth and authenticity I believe that you convey what you would like to. Another important quality is humility. And kindness. To oneself and one's students. And a curiosity, and desire to delve deeper into yoga and how it affects us truly in all aspects of our lives.... but I think you should read the posting that I read on MindBodyGreen:

11 Qualities of the Ultimate Yoga Instructor

And do let me know what you think... I LIKE feedback... Really and Truly!

Happy April, sunshine-y day.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

What I'm Reading Now: Yoga Journal - Emotions in Motion

Hooooo Boy, we are living in some very stress-full times these past few... months? Years? Not just me, not just the US but the world as a whole. There is a media storm coming at us every day and we are inundated with information 24/7. At times it feels as though it is all so darned OVERWHELMING.

So is it any wonder then that this sometimes comes out in our yoga practice? When we are coming into still-ness... settling into being in the present moment? I have to admit that when it first happened to me, quite a few years ago, I was stunned. All of a sudden, in Savasana I started crying. Not sure what the "straw that broke the camel's back" actually was: maybe the music, maybe the pratice itself, maybe something my wonderful teacher said... but the waterworks started. And flowed. And flowed. After class I dabbed my eyes and raced out.

And I was confused... previously I had only experienced the expansiveness in my practice: the heart opening, the bursting of energy & happiness, the lightness of being. So this was new. And uncomfortable. And made me want to flee.

But I didn't; I stayed with it. I am happy that I did. Shortly after that, my teacher (I SWORE she was a mind-reader, still think she is) talked about emotions in class... How they can seem to come at you suddenly and powerfully. But as we gain confidence in our practice, in ourselves, we learn to sit with it and to know that there is a reason for everything. Our bodies are our reality check, they tell us whether - we like it or not - when something is wrong. Or right.

SO click on the Yoga Journal link below and read what came into my e-mailbox this week: Yoga Journal - Yoga Asana Columns - Emotions in Motion

Namaste, honour your emotions this week,

and always.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

What I'm Reading Now... LOTS!


Some days are just more fruitful than others. Some days we give and receive just what is needed and other days... welllllll. You know. I don't always get the chance to read the many blogs that I subscribe to and they can pile up. But this morning I kept looking through and there were just so many that grabbed my attention.


(photo courtesy of NYTimes.com)


The one from Yoga Journal's Yoga Buzz blog especially. This wonderful Buddhist loving kindness prayer is quoted and I plan on making it a part of my ritual:


May you be safe and protected from harm. May you be happy with peace in your heart. May you be healthy, able, and strong. May you go easy through sunshine or storm. The one by Elena Brower in Mindful Smack also stood out... Make it your task to SEE THE GOOD!


The one from Yoga Journal is about changing your world or at least your experience of it by changing the words that you speak... and perhaps the ones that you don't.


And finally the one from NYTimes made me realize that old(er) age brings with it it's unique set of problems but sometimes some of the same problems that can plague us at any age: eating disorders. Our society focuses so much on being thin that we sometimes lose sight of the perfection of the imperfection of our bodies.


So pour yourself a cuppa, grab a comfy seat and read on:










Namaste my cyber yogi-friends and Happy Reading. Let it percolate and maybe let me know what you think...;)


Friday, March 18, 2011

What I'm Reading Now: Devil Wears Prana - Owen Grady: Pure Yoga Tune-Up

I was on this blog today, reading another entry entirely when I saw this posting. The work TUNE-UP grabbed my attention immediately.

Why wouldn't our yoga practice need a tune-up every now and then? Think about it: our cars get tuneups, our furnaces get tune-ups... you get the idea. We soldier on, month after month, sometimes year after year practicing... maybe in a way that is injurious to our bodies. Even as teachers we tune in to our class so much that at times we tune OUT of our own bodies. Until something starts to hurt. Hmmm. Where's the Ahimsa in THAT? Click the link below to read the full posting and let me know what YOU think....

(photo courtesy Devil Wears Prana)

Devil Wears Prana: Owen Grady: Pure Yoga Tune-Up: "Owen Grady teaches Yoga-Tune Up..."

I also read the blog that was referenced in the Devil Wears Prana posting anad wanted to link to it here... It was a very illuminating posting for me. I love that word. ILLUMINATING. So please do click on the link and read for yourself:

James MacAdam - Confessions of a Type-A Yogi

Namaste and Happy SUPER Moon this Saturday.

Send some love and postive healing energy to Japan.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

What I'm Reading Now: The Daily Bandha - A Tip for Helping Hyperextended Elbows & Knees


This is a great blog posting. I have already used the tips in it in my classes yesterday and today. Cick on the link below to read. It is really illuminating!

(Image courtesy of Daily Bandha)


The Daily Bandha: A Tip for Helping Hyperextended Elbows and Knees i...: "Aligning the bones accesses their inherent strength so that yoga poses ultimately require less muscular effort to maintain. For example, in..."

So I didn't add much to this posting when I initially wrote it because I was chewing on it. Quite a bit actually. I see lots of Downward Facing Dogs every day... and many of them have elbows alignment such as that shown above left. I have always searched and continue to search for the best ways to convey to my students HOW to adjust alignment and feel comfortable in each and every pose they settle into. But I do need to remember that we all hear things and understand them in OUR own time. Sometimes we can hear the SAME thing said to us every day for a year and yet we haven't LISTENED to it... we haven't really HEARD it. So perhaps I need to listen a little more and learn to adjust in a different way so that my students can hear what they need to hear. In the meantime... as I said at the beginning of this posting, please do click on the link and read Ray's blog entry. He knows how how say it!

Happy Weekend.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Starting Something New


Last week was the first full week of my new classes at Samadhi in White Salmon. The first week of March I started with my new noon Gentle Yoga class and had one student... which was AWESOME. She hadn't been back to yoga in a while and needed my full attention. The following week... 7 people showed up. I am so looking forward to this class. The other class that I cam teaching at Samadhi is a Monday evening Vinyasa class, a long-term subbing gig. I love the group of people that come to that class too.

Well, actually, come to think of it, I really enjoy the people that some to ALL my classes and (cue the sappy music) really appreciate being able to teach all of them.

Here's my schedule for those who aren't on my email list and who don't always look at my News or Classes page:


My usual schedule at the Hood River Sports Club:

- Tuesdays - Slo Flow- 8:30am-9:45am –Longer held poses for a complete body workout. 1 hr 15min
- Thursdays - Restorative Flow- 5:45pm-7pm –More floor work for a complete restorative session. 1 hr 15min
- Fridays - Vinyasa Flow- noon-1pm –Fast paced class with modifications for everyone. 1 hour

Members FREE. Non-members, drop-in fee of $12/class OR 10X card for $95.-.

My new schedule at Samadhi in White Salmon:

- Mondays - Vinyasa- 6:00-7:15pm –Faster paced class for a good end of the day workout. 1 hr 15min
- Wednesdays – Gentle Yoga- noon-1pm – Gentle paced class with modifications for everyone. 1 hour

NEW to Samadhi? Your first class is FREE. After that, drop-in classes $10/ class OR 10X card /$80 with no expiration OR Unlimited Monthly classes $60

SUB Schedule:

- Tuesday, March 15th – 6:45-7:45am – Morning Yoga (for Sybil) at Hood River Sports Club

Come and join me in a class or more!

Japan...


My thoughts & heart are with all the people in Japan and those with family and friends in Japan... not just those directly affected by the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear reactor problems but all of the country. As an aside, as a country, we have SO much to learn from how Japan has always prepared for earthquakes, tsunamis and other natural disasters. Wow.

In Friday's nooner class I asked everyone to take a moment to think of the disasters and to send positive energy towards them. I know that sounds cuckoo to some people but I truly believe in sending it out there....

BTW, as Buddhism is a major religion in Japan, I found this Buddhist prayer from Clarissa Pinkola Estes written for Japan and thought I'd post an excerpt:

May all those in Japan be comforted. May all be found. May all the injured be helped. May all the frightened be calmed. May all our brothers and sisters know spirit has wings, and we are with them all with true love.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

What I'm Reading Now: The Daily Bandha - A Benefit of Using the Big Toes in Yoga


Lately I have been following this blog as I am delving deeper into anatomy and understanding so much more about how our bodies move and why we need to do things certain way in yoga and as we move through our lives in sports and daily activities. Yoga brings us the awareness we need to begin the process in each of our own UNIQUE bodies.

As we move through various poses in my classes I often mention grounding through the base of the big toe, feeling the gentle and subtle engaging of the muscles in our legs. Read Ray's wonderful explanation and look at Chris' revealing drawings to understand this further:

The Daily Bandha: A Benefit of Using the Big Toes in Yoga

(Image Courtesy of Daily Bandha)

I feel that all of our connections to the ground, whether our feet, hands, sitting bones, even knees in some poses need to be balanced and subtle and energized. This provides us with proper and even balance throughout the body.

So Ray begins his posting with this question:

"Have you ever noticed how the pelvis seems to drift backwards in standing forward bends, especially Uttanasana?"

Hmm, UH, YEAH! I notice it in myself and in my students. In our effort to bend and "touch our toes"... we neglect to do the adjustments to bring the pose into alignment.. for our body:

I begin by taking stock of my hamstring's flexibility that day. If necessary, bending my knees so I feel comfortable as I settle into Forward Fold. I inhale and lengthen my sitting bones to the sky and exhale releasing my heart towards my legs. I then further awareness by grounding the big toes into the mat. This helps to bring the pelvis into the correct positon for this pose. In Uttanasana I really feel my breath, often bending my knees so much so that my torso rests on my thighs. Only as I feel the release do I begin to straighten my legs. And that sometimes doesn't happen until several Surya Namanskaras!

But I think the best thing to do is to read Ray Long's posting for yourself. He really gets into the WHY and HOW this works. It starts to make sense when you read it and try it on yourself.

So, try it out: right here, right NOW...

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

What I'm Reading Now: Love Your Lotus - Love Your Life | Practice Playlist

I'm loving this blog by Dana Flynn of Laughing Lotus Yoga Centre. First off, what a GREAT name for her yoga centre! She posts an awesome video with this blog entry. To watch it, click on the link below.

Love Your Lotus: Love Your Life Practice Playlist Yoga Blog Yoga Journal

(Photo Courtesy Yoga Journal, video screen shot)

SO what did I love so much about this particular entry other than the title? Which, BTW, I do love.

She begins the posting talking about traveling in India and marveling at the way the scenery and language changed with every mile. Marveling at how she can move her body (or make her body "travel") this way and that and the name of the asana changes with each subtle or perhaps not so subtle movement. Dana goes on to recount driving by endless fiends of mud only to finally see fields where brightly coloured lotus flower started to spring up from the mud... and then she writes:

So wake up, family, get the mud out of your eyes: You are already made up of asana! Feel the awe as you move your amazing body temple this way and that way. Here comes a field of lotuses!

I believe that the asana we practice are dances... lotus flower dances of happy movement in our bodies.

Get out and MOVE! Get out and DANCE....


Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Oooh, Boy.... Go EASY on Yourself!


WHY is that SO difficult to do?? I read a GREAT article in the NYTimes online (LOVE that paper) that I have to share. Somehow, this morning I felt it necessary in my yoga classes to mention that we should consider extending the same compassion to ourselves that we offer up to others... something that I know firsthand can be a real challenge. After class I spoke with a student who relayed a story that confirmed my thoughts: that's easier said than done!

photo courtesy Sadie Nardini)

Then I came home and read this article entitled Go Easy on Yourself, a New Wave of Research Urges and the following pops out at me:

“I found in my research that the biggest reason people aren’t more self-compassionate is that they are afraid they’ll become self-indulgent,” said Dr. Neff, an associate professor of human development at the University of Texas at Austin. “They believe self-criticism is what keeps them in line. Most people have gotten it wrong because our culture says being hard on yourself is the way to be.”

Ah yes, indeedy! Just think of this: Do you treat yourself as well as you treat your friends and family?

I have to confess it is like I have 2 standards: one for me, and one for everyone else. I work to counter the common myth that being hardest on yourself is the way to be... not that I don't think it is important to challenge ourselves, to better ourselves. But we must learn to treat ourselves with love and compassion and... trust.

It ends with this: “The problem is that it’s hard to unlearn habits of a lifetime,” she said. “People have to actively and consciously develop the habit of self-compassion.”

So, with that in mind: place one hand over your heart, the other over your belly, breathing deep belly breaths. Be GOOD to yourself ;), click on the above link, read the article and let me know what you think.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Oh My, What a Sunny Day


Today is a beautiful day here in the Gorge. Too sunny to sit inside and do what I ought to be doing. Life's too short, gotta get out and PLAY! Took the time to run along the water with my daughter (ack first time since a few weeks due to a cold, snowy weather and just plain busy-ness) and then came home, picked up the dog and went for a walk out on the sandbar. Ahhh, feel better already!

We are fortunate to live in a very inspriring area full of active, engaging people and it is days like today when I appreciate it all the more. And the funny thing is that I feel our community not only physically (like out running or walking and at yoga class) but at, of all places... on FaceBook.

Hah, I know you are LAUGHING. Go on, get it out of your system...

But it is a great place for us all to share our thoughts for the day, photos of our activities as well as catching up with people that we just don't see every day but still want to be connected to. In other words, it isn't a replacement but rather an enhancement of our connectedness. 'Nuff said!

And so I am now sitting at my desk, catching up on... yup, yoga blogs & newsletters. Got this one today from Rodney Yee & Gaiam Yoga Club, and it got me to thinking. The newsletter was entitled: Why start your day with yoga? and went on to say:

Here we are in the middle of life — with headstrong teenage children, aging parents, crisis-ridden siblings, and downtrodden friends. Every day we wake up to another challenging surprise. In the words of Rumi, “Who can stand in this wind?”

We all need a reprieve from this chaos. A practice that helps you feel centered every day will help you find that reprieve. A little meditation, a single yoga pose, or a moment of focusing on the breath can be the saving activities of your day.

Beginning your day with a yoga practice sets up the possibility of being close to your center, which is peace. Letting peace be the foundation for your actions and observations in the world can be an essential tool to surviving a crisis — and maybe turning a crisis into an opportunity.

Still, after years of practice, my wife Colleen and I sometimes forget to utilize all our yoga tools. We have to encourage each other to roll out of bed and onto the mat some mornings. Taking time for our practice results in more resilience and more energy to deal with all that comes to our door.

Practice, practice, practice ... so when the storm comes you can fly right into the eye of the hurricane.

Gives you pause... makes you think. Starting the day with a peaceful sense of purpose, an inate knowing that you can be OK, that you have what it takes to get through whatever life has to throw at you... that's a good reason to practice yoga. I love the sentence: "Letting peace be the foundation for your actions..." That peace can directed towards others, but can also be for you. Contemplate that.

And it doesn't mean you have to take the time for an hour or hour and a half long practice. Maybe you take the time to breathe, find your centre while you are making your morning coffee. Perhaps you strike a pose as you wait for your toast to pop up... Take the time for YOU.

Namaste, and remember:

Get out(side) and PLAY. Laugh a little, or maybe a lot.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

What I'm Reading Now: Devil Wears Prana - Teaching Yoga: The Assist


Another of my fave's is the Devil Wears Prana... and not just because of the blog name! Although I have to say that was one of the reasons I initially clicked on the link to her blog! But once there, I found so much to read and learn. So this topic is a particularly important one to me. I have been rather remiss in "getting off the mat" during class and rely mostly on verbal adjustments and assisting. For the obvious and not so obvious reasons.
(Photo courtesy Yoga Journal)

Firstly I firmly believe in self adjusting but also because when I began teaching I was just TOO SCARED to get off my mat! It was a SAFE zone! Later on as I learned to assist through training and workshops I would occasionally get off and adjust and assist but never as much as I think I should. Those darn SHOULDS coming out again. However, I believe in the process and have confidence that I am developing as I am meant to. I am adjusting and assisting newer students more often now and even more seasoned yogis when I know them well. So these blog-tips and thoughts were so timely and welcome today... and makes me want to go to the training in Palo Alto in April!


Click on the link below to read for yourself:


Devil Wears Prana: Teaching Yoga: The Assist: "The Yoga Of Touch: Physical AdjustmentsPure Yoga Teacher Training in Palo alto begins April 1st! To touch, or not to touch… There ..."

This is part of what I posted as a comment:

.... I generally feel most comfortable guiding my students through adjustments and refinements verbally or by setting up my pose next to them and mirroring. I will physically adjust or assist the new yogi that may be processing the pose in a way that is potentially opening themselves up to injury. Self adjusting is so important, ensuring that we become confident in our own bodies. That being said. easing someone or adjusting or assisting the confident yogi can be awesome. I know I appreciate it when I get these helps. As I become more confident in my abilities I do assist more but ONLY if the student so desires. Thanks again for your tips and insight.

So, those who come to my classes, let me know if you'd like me to assist and adjust you in class...


Namaste


Wednesday, March 2, 2011

What I'm Reading Now: The Pragmatic Yogi - Asana Analysis: Standing Straddle/Prasarita Podatt...


I have acknowledged my addiction to blogs... but I find that I learn so much from them that it justifies the time I spend reading. Some days I don't read any and some days I read... quite a few ;) The Pragmatic Yogi is a great one, written by a PT and Yogi. She brings a different awareness to yoga for me. Since I LOVE Standing Straddle AKA Prasarita Podattanasana and an conscious of all the ways we can injure ourselves in this pose, my antennae perked up when I saw this posting.

(Photo courtesy Pragmatic Yogi & Yoga Journal)

Read the post here:

The Pragmatic Yogi: Asana Analysis: Standing Straddle/Prasarita Podatt...: "This is a great pose that provides a number of benefits. It is a forward bend and an inversion. It stretches and strengthens the legs. It ca..."

I appreciated reading the Points of Body Awareness that Lisa writes about and I was able to feel them all when I eased myself into that pose today. Sometimes it is good for yogis and yoga teachers to hear a different voice, whether spoken of read, guide us through a pose. It especially helps me retain a mindfulness that I may otherwise lose.

And also as a yoga teacher, we need to feel comfortable giving proper modifications that support wherever a student may find themselves on a given day. There are days when practicing the modified pose is more restorative for all of us and I love knowing and showing them.

SO thanks, Lisa AKA the Pragmatic Yogi!


Monday, February 28, 2011

What I'm Reading Now: Spoiled Yogi: If I Owned a Yoga Studio ...

OH boy, this one speaks to me. I firmly believe that what you put out there comes back to you at least tenfold or more. I really believe in Karma yoga, that is giving back to the community. I LOVE teaching yoga to people who have never practices yoga, and students are not risking anything by coming to a free class. That being said, I also need to feel valued and in our society that means getting paid. ;) Also helps pay for the groceries! But there is a happy balance and I like what this blog suggests: at least one free class a month. That and all of the OTHER things she mentions.... Read for yourself and feel free to let me know what you think... c'mon, be daring... COMMENT.

Spoiled Yogi: If I Owned a Yoga Studio ...: "... I'd have at least one free class a month. And when I say free, I mean FREE!, not donation-based or almost free. Why? Because people who ..."

On another note, kind of along the lines of having a studio EXACTLY the way I'd want: Something that I do that isn't always popular is that I am happy to recommend another yoga teacher or another studio to a student. After all it is all about the student, not about the teacher, not about the studio. And that isn't something that is unique to yoga... it is called CUSTOMER service. I'd like to think that I treat a student as I'd like to be treated: with honesty and authenticity. It really IS possible to make a living while staying true to your principles. It might not always be easy... but if it where, then it wouldn't be so rewarding!

Namaste my friends and as always, take a few minutes to connect to your breath each and every day!

Friday, February 25, 2011

From Spoiled Yogi - What Does Your Favorite Pose Say About You?

Oh my, I FORGOT to add this blog posting! I love this blog anyway but this particular one stood out...

Spoiled Yogi: What Does Your Favorite Pose Say About You?

It is a hoot to think about your favourite pose and what it might say about you! HA! Frankly my faves change with the seasons and my moods and the mobility of my body. Not to mention the sports that I am currently doing.... for example today I was skiing and so my hips are feeling the need to open. My quads are in need of stretching... and I NEED restorative yoga. During the summer months when I am gardening, paddling and cycling and the weather is warm and sunny all the time, I have other needs.

What about YOU?? Send me a comment!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Radiohead - Lotus Flower



Sometimes I feel like I should be in a 12 step program:

Hello, my name is Heidi and I am a voracious reader of yoga blogs....

BUT, I can't help myself. There are a lot of great blogs out there and I absorb from so many sources. So much to learn and so little time, it seems.

I read the Flying Yogini and today she posted this great video that I just had to share. It is Radiohead's Lotus Flower... the dancing just got to me and I had to get up and join in as it played. Think I'll be adding this song to my yoga playlist... which changes frequently, as my students know!

Get up and dance....

Friday, February 18, 2011

What I'm Reading Now: The Daily Bandha: A Cool Tip for Deeper Breathing in Yoga

More important reading for Pranyama Month! I absolutely LOVE this blog and I learn something new every time I read it. And especially in light of my focus this month, I am learning more.

I have Ray Long's books and use them constantly to inform and reaffirm my teaching. The illustrations by Chris McIvor make it all come together so well. (Image courtesy of DailyBandha.com)

This is what Ray has to say:

So, here’s a cue for activating one of my fave accessory muscles—the serratus anterior (SA) and his buddies, the rhomboids. Pause for a second. Rest your hands on your thighs. Now, exhale naturally and then gently draw the shoulders back to bring the scapulae (shoulder blades) towards the spine. As you inhale, imagine pressing the sides of your shoulders and upper arms against an imaginary wall, like a doorframe. Feel how this expands your chest. Repeat this cue two more times before reading on . . .

Click on the link to read on....


And, as always, IF YOU FEEL like commenting... please do so. Really, I know people read my blog but sometimes I feel like I am talking into a VOID!

Just saying, is all.... ;)

What I'm Reading Now: Men and Yoga: What's the Biggest Misconception?



This is a GREAT posting MindBodyGreen blog. Click on the following link to read the whole thing: Men and Yoga: What's the Biggest Misconception? - MindBodyGreen



SO the guy whose picture I have included in this posting is Michael Taylor who teaches at Strala in NYC. Here is what HE had to say about what he thinks the biggest misconceptions are:



Michael Taylor: Can I pick two? One is that yoga is weird -- for odd-balls! The other is that yoga might give a good stretch, but we need to get strength and fitness elsewhere. For the first -- yoga is a health system, designed at a time when health meant our Whole health, and when we couldn't turn to surgeons or pharmaceutical dispensaries as a last resort. So there's nothing intrinsically weird about a system that gives us self-reliance and control over our physical and psychological well-being. No doctors required. True, some of yoga's teachers over the past few decades have been a bit strange, but the system itself is very straightforward and uncomplicated. My wife (and yoga teacher!) Tara Stiles is making this very clear -- and her approach is vastly expanding yoga's reach and impact now. It's not about adopting new languages, or anyone else's religions or philosophies -- it's simply up to your own direct experience.

What do YOU think?


Thursday, February 17, 2011

Wonderful Day


Hi All,


What a wonderful day this turned out to be... my cold (why am I calling it "my" cold?) is ALMOST gone and we had snow up at the mtn so I went skiing with my daughter, her boyfriend and a good friend of mine. It's amazing how GOOD it feels to feel... GOOD. Can never take that for granted. Any day on the mtn is a good day.

Also I am working on putting together a series of workshops and that seems to be coming together nicely... more details to follow for my gorge-area friends and fellow yogis.

I have been enjoying bringing more pranayama practice to my yoga classes and am looking to expand to the chakras next month and beyond. My pranayama practice made me think a lot more about the heart chakra... OK, maybe it was VALENTINE'S day or reading Donna Freeman's posting on elephantjournal that did that. Whatever the reason. I have also been doing a lot of heart opening and softening poses in my classes.

I took this photo yesterday afternoon from the dining room window at our house... it just looked so neat and made me feel artistic again. I have been letting that side of me... rest... for wont of a better word, for a while. I have set an intention to let it flower again.
Maybe it is that spring is in the air? The days are getting longer, albeit SLOWLY, and I see the little changes in the garden so perhaps that is feeding my creative energy.

March isn't so far away after all....

Namaste

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

What I'm reading: Spoiled Yogi: A Yoga Story: Sofia

Spoiled Yogi: A Yoga Story: Sofia: "Yoga discovered me a couple of times in my young life, but I was only truly captivated by its immense power within the last year. Growing up..."

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

What I'm Reading: 5 Ways to Get More Out of Every Pose | Yoga Blog

OH boy, I had to share this. As a teacher, there are days I feel that I repeat these things ad nauseum, but I believe they are all SO TRUE.

And when I hear another teacher or amazing yogi saying the same things I know it is so.

To read the entire posting for yourself, click the link:

5 Ways to Get More Out of Every Pose Top Five Tuesdays Yoga Blog Yoga Journal

Below I have listed her 5 things, in a nutshell, but DO read her posting to get the details! Trust me, it is worth it.

1. Hold it
2. Breathe into the area of sensation
3. Pay attention
4. Relax
5. Change it up

Couldn't have said it any better myself...

Erica Rocks.

SO Stoked... YogaDork Giveaway!


So... here I sit, at home, trying to nurse my body back to health... feeling a little sorry for myself (What! How COULD I catch a nasty cold.... duh) while remarking at how our bodies just do what they need to do no matter what our minds wish when I get an email saying I'd WON something.

Yeah. Sure. But really, this is a good one. I read this great blog called YogaDork and a while back there was a contest asking us to answer the following:

Big Q – How do you keep your yoga fresh?

Here's what I wrote:

"GOOD question! How DO we keep it “new” or “fresh”… how to keep from burnout in yoga and indeed in other aspects of our lives?

I take the time to listen to what I need (as opposed to what I want)… and this is NOT always easy. Sometimes it means just going ahead and trying a new pose, a new class or teaching a new pose, technique or listening to new music. That usually triggers a response within me and I can go from there. And I love it when I SUPRISE myself and that “new” pose or challenging pose is just what I need, or the reaction from the class is: COOL! What next?

If ever I feel stale I take a day off… do something DIFFERENT and come back to yoga refreshed.

Sometimes just finding a different place to practice, whether in the same room or not is enough… and I like to shake it up a bit with my students and have us face in different directions during practice. Who says you have to do it the same all the time?

Oh, and SOMEtimes all it takes to keep things fresh and new is… a NEW OUTFIT! I think I need one.

Namaste "

Now, I don't know if it is what I wrote or luck of the draw but either way I think it is So Cool. I am so stoked and will wear my new MeSheeky outfit with PRIDE!

Keep life FRESH!
Let your heart sing EVERY day....

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

What I'm Reading: Softening my Heart. ~ Donna Freeman


Got a link to this blog posting this morning Softening my Heart. ~ Donna Freeman elephant journal. Obviously appropriate for February, Heart Month... Valentine's Day, etc.

In this posting, Donna writes:


In Indian thought, the heart chakra is the centre from which feelings of love, joy, generosity, understanding, compassion and respect flow. It is the centre of positive (yang) energy in the body, and when it is open and connected to the breast, these feelings course throughout the body. Ultimately, when the heart is softened, we can sense the divine in all beings and epitomize the sentiment behind namaste (the divine in me, sees the divine in you) in all our actions and interactions.

How DO we soften the Heart? I find myself saying that as I teach class and perhaps am not conveying the concept well enough. Read her posting to learn how to soften the heart within your yoga practice. I will be incorporating more of this in my classes!


Namaste, and embrace the Day...


Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Always Learning, Always!

Am feeling rather under the weather this week but I can't say that it is bothering me too much... well other than my not running today (hey, the SUN WAS OUT!). Sometimes we need that permission to take it easy, to give ourselves a break. And when that doesn't come from within... well, getting a cold will do it for you!

That being said, I taught 2 yoga classes today and really enjoyed them. I subbed for a friend of mine at 6:45am and love seeing familiar faces that I don't normally get to see that often. And my practice at that time of day is softer and more introspective, gradually waking up and getting ready to greet the day. It seemed to be the right pace for everyone in the class too. I spent less time practicing and more verbally cueing and find that influenced my wording. Perhaps because I am feeling a little sick, I was gentler and saw it reflected back at me through my fellow yogis. As the title of my post says: Learning, always....

Then my usual Tuesday morning crew (plus & minus a few) arrived a scant half hour later and it was wonderful to see them and be ready to take the slow-flow up a notch and build more heat, albeit also in a gentler way today. Not only for me but for a couple of student's injuries. Again, room for learning as I watched the students a little closer for the cues as to when to take it up a notch and when to dial it down. Not that I don't do this ANYway, but it just felt more in tune today, more intuitive.

OH, and then this blog posting arrived in my inbox this morning: 5 Signs You Might Be Trying Too Hard. Gave me a lot to ponder as I recognized myself and some of my students! Read the blog posting and let me know what you think.

This is excerpted from the posting by Erica Rodefer:

If I've learned anything from my practice it's that trying hard doesn't always lead us to our goals. It is possible to try too hard. Trust me. If trying too hard were a place, I'd be the queen! If you try to force your body into a pose you're not ready for it might work for a while, but over time the outcome will not be pretty. Slow and steady almost always is more effective. There has to be some effort, though. So how can you tell if you're trying too hard?

Thank you Erica. Again, learning. I love life, makes my heart sing.

On another note, perhaps related, perhaps not. As I was running the other day a thought occured to me... why is it that many of us have such difficulty taking care of ourselves, really taking care of ourselves? Not the diet, exercise, beauty, blah-blah stuff... but the REAL stuff. Taking care of our mental & emotional health? Maybe because it is so much easier to take care of the external: going to the dentist, getting a haircut, buying the "right" groceries, running etc.... But when it comes to taking time for ourselves to decompress we leave it be, or squeeze it in at the end of yoga practice... (apologies to David Bowie's song)

A savasna, an OM, and thank you ma'am, we are DONE. Hmmm. Makes you think.

Not to take away from meditation in motion, which improves my mental health as I run, cycle, ski, paddle etc, etc but sometimes moving all the time takes us aways from what is REALLY going on underneath the surface. You know what I mean... what is silently, slowly simmering under the surface.

SO, on that note, I will endeavour to take time each and every day to listen to my mind. To be still, and quiet, to see what rises to the surface.

What do you think? Let me know. Or not!

Namaste, my yogis and yoginis.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

LOVE this song....

No yoga today... I went running, stretched a bit afterwards and then decided I needed a break from yoga for a day. I saw this on a friend's FB posting, downloaded the song from iTunes, and the video from YouTube.... and wanted to share with you.

This will be on my Yoga Playlist this week... jsut have to figure out where it will go...


Friday, February 4, 2011

More Pranayama appreciation....

It seems that pranayama awesomeness and awareness is all around me this month! I subscribe to the blog My Five Minute Yoga and the following posting arrived in my inbox this morning - Five-Minute Yoga Challenge: find a time of day to watch your breath. Couldn't be any clearer to me that this is where I need to be directing my energies this month! If you would like to read Eve's posting, please click on the link: MyFiveMinuteYoga.com

I love that she sets up these mini challenges for the reader to take part in and they are all achievable and realistic. I like that she tells it like it is. We are all human and starting a new habit or changing old habits can be difficult. So break it down to 5 minutes... that's all it takes. And give it some time to settle in so that the new practice becomes... well, a new habit!

So this week's challenge from Eve is to find a time of day to watch your breath. It's that simple and she gives wonderful, detailed instructions on how you can do that. Instructors always talk about that in class but the challenge (there is that word again ;)) is to take that OFF the mat and into your regular life. To catch yourself when the time is right and carve that 5 minutes to STOP... listen to your breath and let the process begin...

Will you take the time?

I hope so... :)

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Serendipity in Action: Breathe with the Dalai Lama! | Yoga Buzz Blog


I love life... sometimes it is SO serendipitous. Here, in little ol' Hood River, I have dedicated my February to Breath Awareness and Pranayama and I get this lovely posting from Yoga Buzz.

From February 4-6: His Holiness The Dalai Lama will initiate The Buddha Maitreya. Maitreya is the Buddha of Universal Love, and the goal of this teaching is to bring abundance, peace, and joy to the planet. For this event, taking place at a monastery in India and documented by Elevate Films, The Dalai Lama has called ten thousand monks from around the world.

Read on:

Breathe with the Dalai Lama! Yoga Buzz Yoga Blog Yoga Journal

Since we cannot all just up and go to India, here is the link to the site Do As One... where there are online "breathing rooms" and we call join others from around the world to breath together! From their site I have copied this:

"The Goal: To serve and connect humanity by establishing a legacy of healthy, conscious breathing.

The Vision: One billion people will breathe together synchronously by November 11, 2012."

The final question in the Yoga Journal blog posting is:

"We want to know: Do you think breathing together has an effect on the planet?"

OH boy, what a great question! Especially at this time in our history, I believe this to be true.

What do YOU think?

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

What I'm Reading: 5 Things I Wish I Had Known About Yoga As A Beginner | Yoga Blog

LOVE, LOVE this posting.

5 Things I Wish I Had Known About Yoga As A Beginner Top Five Tuesdays Yoga Blog Yoga Journal

And I love reading all the comments as well. I also posted a comment which I'll add below. I think it is important that we all take the time to reconnect to the beginner's mind. Perhaps not all the way there for me, as there were just so many things that made yoga a challenge both physically and mentally. But to have the attitude of openness and a willingness to experiment. I love the definition of Beginner's Mind, which in the Zen tradition is called Shoshin. Click and read to learn more. I especially like this quote from Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind:

"In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities, in the expert's mind there are few."

Here's what I posted as a comment to the 5 Things blog posting:

"Wow, I have so many things that I wish I'd known... BUT then it wouldn't have been such a personal journey. I think I would have missed some of the most valuable lessons I have learned.

That being said... I wish I'd known HOW to listen better, to allow the process to begin. And to just not be so impatient... and to know that forgiving myself was not a sign of weakness but a sign of love.

I so love reading everyone's posts. Thanks! It helps me as I teach beginners a lot and I need to remind myself that we are all beginners... "

SO, with that, I will remind myself to embrace the Beginner's Mind in all that I do. Well, I'll try, that's for sure!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Pranayama Month.... Surya Bhedana


So February is here! Wow... as I sit here with blazing sunshine outside my window, it is hard to believe that it is still WINTER. Well, at least here in the PNW.

The American Heart Association calls February American Heart Month... I find it a wonderful way to incorporate heart opening poses into my practice and infuse my teaching with all manner of poses relating to the heart, both physically and emotionally. And, to me, delving deeper into pranayama is just a natural extension of that theme.

Last week, as a prep, we explored how our breath affects us on a daily basis: in our practice, at work, at play, as we sleep... under stress, in happiness, relaxed or busy. Then we began to explore how we change our mood, our perceptions and indeed our body through our breath... our power, our source.

Here is a great link to a site that asks some great questions such as what IS pranayama. Also suggested reading - Light on Pranayama: The Yogic Art of Breathing by BKS Iyengar

We all talk about Ujjayi Breath, aka Whisper or Victorious Breath and throughout practice I often remind my class come back to the breath, but this month we will reconnect to what it really means to practice Ujjayi Pranayama.

As an aside: It is thought that the best way to correctly learn pranayama is with a teacher, so I would suggest that, if you have never practiced some of the breathing techniques I write about this month, that you take a class.

This week I am introducing Surya Bhedana Pranayama (also known as warming single nostril breathing) during the beginning portions of class. This breathing technique stimulates the heating energies in our body. The sun or Ha (right side of body) or Yang energy is called forth through this breath and is thought to stimulate the brain and indeed the body. I am also linking here to Yoga Journal's page on Surya Bhedana Pranayama so you can compare what is written.

My experience in this morning's class was that I began to feel energized and ready to take on our practice with a clearer head. Unfortunately we had so many things to talk about after class that I forgot to ask my students... if any of you are reading this, please comment below.

I would love to hear from anyone else familiar with this technique to let me know your experiences...

Enjoy your yummy breaths.

Friday, January 28, 2011

What I'm Reading: Runner's World Newsletter

As I continue to run and feel more and more comfortable and strong I have begun reading Runner's World online. This particular posting struck a chord with me and I have been sharing it with friends:

The Magic of Running Mantras From Runner's World

I find myself using mantras, not only when running, but when I do other physical activities and also what I do things like... vacuuming (anything to get that carpet clean;) ), or even driving long stretches on the highway. At times also when I practice asana as it has a meditative quality.

Last summer, after the news of an old friend's cycling accident had gone from the initial accident and trauma to the long, long road of recovery, I started appreciating anew what I CAN do. I began offering up the energy of, not only my yoga practice, but also my paddling and cycling and running to her. as I approached the last leg of one particularly taxing SUP race, I kept saying:

For you Peg, because I CAN, I DO.

That was my mantra that day.

What mantras do you use, and when?

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Breath of Fresh Air...

What a wonderful class today! Thank you to all who were there. This is why I love to teach... when I look around the room at my fellow yogis of all types that are doing what they need to do to get into a pose and find that balance between effort and ease. Allowing the breath to guide them into and out of poses and to help them find that sweet spot. Ahhhh, love it.

Well, it also helps that the sun is shining brightly!

But this class did help me firm up my resolve and intention to bring more pranayama practice into class. We did some breath awareness (as always) to understand the importance and different qualities of our inhales and exhales. How does our inhale make us feel? How does it change the body? And the same with the exhale. We then branched out to alternate nostril breathing and next week we will explore more breathing techniques. Learning to listen to our breath to understand ourselves a little better....

I am really looking forward to sharing!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Happy New Year 2011


Well, 2011 is here in FULL force. And I think it has taken me this long to let it all sink in. I often sense the need for time to allow things to settle in me before I know how I feel. This year will be full of changes and I am feeling a little unsettled so perhaps I was avoiding my blog (AKA my conscious thoughts) for a couple of weeks.

The New Year is a wonderful time to set and reset our Intentions. A time to recalibrate and renew. To come back our Centre. And the best way I know of to do that is with the Breath. Over the last weeks, I have sensed within me a yearning to connect to that Vital Essence. So I am (re)reading and practicing and will be (re)infusing my teaching with Pranayama practice over the next months. Connecting our breath with our movement.


The image with this post is from the artist Melanie Wiedner. Click on her name as I linked it to see more of her stuff. I found it when I googled breath, yoga, pranayama....

As I write this I am listening to Wade Imre Morissette's Maha Moha: The Great Delusion . The song that is playing right now is: Burn It In The Fire. The lyrics resonate with me as we start this New Year:

burn it in the fire
(© 2008 w.morissette)

Sarveshaam swastir bhavatu~ auspiciousness for all
Sarveshaam shantir bhavatu~peace for all

Sarveshaam poornam bhavatu~fullness for all
Sarveshaam mangalam bhavatu~prosperity for all

Sarve bhavantu sukhinah~happiness
Sarve santu niraamayaah~free from disabilities

Sarve bhadraani pashyantu~ looking to the good of others
Maakaschit duhkha bhaag bhavet~may none suffer from sorry

Burn it in the fire

****

I am, as always, learning to see the beauty in the ebb and flow, the dance of our lives. Our lives are not static, nor should they be. I have to say that I don't always feel that it is wonderful to see that change, but I do strive to embrace impermanence and change. You know the feeling: things are going along swimmingly and then all of a sudden they are not. On the other side, things are stuck or not going as they "should". We just want to rush through this moment and come out on the other, better (real or perceived), side. Learning to embrace the moment, learn from it and then leave it behind. Sometimes that is painful!

Especially when we have children... as infants, you are their whole world. They are these incredible, wide-eyed babies and then, seemingly the next minute, they are pushing you away! Wanting and needing to "do it mySELF"... to live their lives. We see this in tiny increments from the moment they are born. I have learned SO much from my children, from the moment they were conceived. I am truly blessed to be their mother and am as awed by that now, 21 years later, as I was when I had my first child.

As both my children (for they will always be that in my heart) embark on their own lives, I am recalibrating, renewing... enjoying the dance of my life and learning to embrace the impermanence of that life. And to know that it is all good.

So 2011 will be an awesome, life changing year full of love, hope, challenges and adventures.

Namaste... the light in me honours the light in you.