Wednesday, October 24, 2012

All Up in Arms

That's me in the picture on the left. Well at least me from the back.  I posted this picture to share a aha moment I had the other day.  As I have previously stated, I have been a student of yoga for over 12 years.  Most of that time I have practiced without the benefit of mirrors.  We don't have mirrors in the practice room at Santosha which was deliberate.  I don't think they belong there but that is my opinion and I truly respect others who disagree.

I was doing a few Sun Salutations the other day in one of our massage rooms, which has a mirror.  I happened to glance up and saw my reflection.  Low and behold, my arms don't match. Who knew?

See how the left one has more of a bend in the elbow even though I was extending the same amount of energy in both arms (so I thought).  Both of my pinkie fingers are reaching toward the back of the room but the rotation of my left hand is much less than my right.  And if you look closely, my left shoulder is a little higher than my right. Again, who knew?  I have never had any surgeries or injuries to that shoulder to cause the difference.

This brings us to my aha moment.  This is my body today, this is me.  It is different than the body I had yesterday and will be different again tomorrow.  No one has a perfect body.  They don't exist and this point I will argue.

Come to yoga with the body that you have, be proud of who you are. The position of my arms aren't an imperfection, it is a sign of my uniqueness. Does the fact that I now know what my arms look like change my practice in any way, not at all.  In fact I find it quite amusing.  It reminds me that I am an individual and that is something no one can take away from me.

Embrace who you are today, come to yoga and just breathe.....

Sunday, October 21, 2012

The Yin & Yang of It All

We started another 200 hour teacher training program at Santosha a few weeks ago and I have been introducing the importance of both yin and yang poses in the practice of yoga.

Without getting too technical (life seems complicated enough at times) yang is a more muscularly active pose while yin still has some muscle to it but the poses (seated) are held for a longer period of time, usually 1 to 3 minutes.  Yin poses are needed to help break up "the fuzz" that accumulates between our muscles while we sleep or due to an injury. Remember the old saying "if we don't use it, we will loose it". Exactly!  If you want to learn more about "the fuzz" check out "The Fuzz Speech" by Gil Hedley.  HOWEVER...if are squeamish you may want to pass on this as he does use a cadaver for demonstration.

So, getting back to yin and yang, we need both in our practice to balance out because isn't that what a good portion of yoga is about bringing everything into balance?  Learning to breathe the same whether we are in a yin or yang pose?

This reminded me of how everyday of our life we encounter yin and yang.  Soft and strong.  But can we learn to bring a balanced breath throughout all of it.  Of course we can.

I will even suggest a topic in your life to help you practice this.  Gas prices.  They go up and they go down. Back and forth, yin and yang.  Can complaining, worrying, getting angry or stressing change the gas prices. No.  Can we change how we react to it? Yes.  Getting upset has no effect on lowering the gas prices and being ecstatic when they go down doesn't guarantee that they will stay there.  See where this is going.  It's all about balancing of the yin and yang of our life. Trying to work though it all with the same quality of breathe and mind.

If this concept doesn't speak to you yet then come and try it on your yoga mat first,  work through the breath and the poses, both yin and yang.  Once that feels second nature to you then you are ready to take it off the mat and of course don't forget to breathe.

P.S. Go Tigers!

Monday, October 15, 2012

A Yoga Reality Check

Truth be told, I do still watch TV.  Not near as much as I used to though.  If I did get rid of our TV the man I live with would probably get rid of me and send me packing and I would be living at the studio.  He and I are definitely on different journeys when it comes to that, but we did promise each other for better or worse.

But lets get back to the point here, every time I turn around I hear of another reality show on the boob tube (when was the last time you heard that?).  It never ceases to amaze me that people allow cameras to follow them around to record the good, the bad and the ugly of their life.  Then again they are getting paid for it.

What will they think 5 or ten years from now when they sit down to watch it again?  Will they have any regrets or embarrassment of how they acted? Will their past come back to haunt them.

But let's look at it this way; we have our own reality show going on every day of our lives.  The good, bad and ugly of our lives are being recorded by the video camera in our mind.  Everything we do, say or think is being documented to determine what kind of future that we will have.  What we have happening here, my dear friends, is Karma.

Cause and effect, you reap what you sow; do unto others as you would have them do unto you.  However you want to phrase it, what is recorded today will come back to us in the future.  Think of Karma as a boomerang, if you throw a red one out and red boomerang will come back; throw a white one out, a white one comes back.  OK, so you get the picture.

So what kind of future do you want?  Well that all depends on you.  For the next few days, imagine that you have a camera crew following you around all the time.  But not only can they record your actions, they can record your thoughts also.  Would that change how you acted, spoke or thought knowing that it was going to come back one day as reruns to determine your future.  Practice love, compassion, joy and equanimity tomorrow because there is a camera crew following your every move.  And course, don't forget to breathe.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Yoga & the Peacock

This pose is called "One-Armed Variation Peacock pose (Pungu Mayurasana) and no that is not me in the picture and truth be told that may never be me.  And I am OK with that.  So we have the moral of the story in this blog right out in the open at the beginning of the story. It's OK that you can't do a certain pose. It's just OK.
Instead try and focus on what you can do.  That's it, that's all I have to share.  No drama or lecturing, just short, sweet and to the point. And of course....don't forget to breathe.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Happy Anniversay Santosha Yoga!

This weekend we are joyfully celebrating Santosha Yoga's 3rd Anniversary. The saying "time flies when you are having fun" has never rang truer. It’s hard to believe that three years ago I was nervously signing a lease, hiring contractors and picking out paint colors.

People often comment to me that it was be wonderful that I have achieved my dreams.  Honestly teaching and owning a yoga studio was never in my line of vision.  The main reason I took the training was to deepen my knowledge and person practice.  I never intended to teach at all.

But apparently that isn't what the universe had in mind for me, and for that I am grateful.  Too often we allow ourselves to get pigeon holed into what we think society wants us to do, what is proper for our age, social status, etc. 

I had a new student come in the other day for her very first yoga class ever.  She said that she wasn't sure she should try it because her "friends" told her that she would never be able to do yoga.  I truly had to bite my tongue.  With friends like that who needs enemies.  I know, they thought they had her best interest in mind, but how many times in our lives does that happen to us, that we are afraid to spread out wings.  That's were the magic of yoga comes in. We are on a path that we think we should be on because that is what others told us instead of listening to our heart.

Yoga isn't all about the outer body or if we can touch our touch our toes, it is what we learn about ourselves on the way down.  It is about coming together and forming a community of like minded people.  I have seen friendships forms and even a romance blossom.

As I type this I am listening to Vishnu Blue warming up and doing a sound check for a Candle Light Yin class that they will be performing at 7:00 PM.  Dave & Abbey, who are the main energy of the group and own House of Yoga in Berkley, reached out to me when we first opened and have been friends every since. This practice of Yoga and owning Santosha has brought the most amazing people into my life.  I am truly blessed.

Thank you all for your continued support, energy and love.

Blessings and Namaste


Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Happy Yoga Feet

I had my first real experience with Reflexology this past weekend. We had a four hour workshop at the studio learning the basics of Reflexology with Lori Jones from the Center for the Healing Arts in Sterling Heights. She was a wonderful teacher and her energy and passion was contagious.

The Reflexology Association of Canada defines reflexology as: "A natural healing art based on the principle that there are reflexes in the feet, hands and ears and their referral areas within zone related areas, which correspond to every part, gland and organ of the body. Through application of pressure on these reflexes without the use of tools, crèmes or lotions, the feet being the primary area of application, reflexology relieves tension, improves circulation and helps promote the natural function of the related areas of the body."

We partnered up and with Lori's guidance introduced ourselves to the process and technique. It was WONDERFUL. I came into the class with sinus pressure and left opened up and much, much more relaxed. I kept on asking Lori "why isn't everyone beating down the doors to have this done". She said that it is happening as more find out about it.

We are hoping to have Lori available a few days a month at the studio for appointments. But the moral of this story is don't be afraid to try out different things to help you on your journey of inner and outer healing. And this technique isn't new, it has been around for thousand's of years.

Lori's teaching was positive and encouraging, reminding us that anytime we try something new it is going to take time. A good time was had by all.

But the one thing that really stays with me from the class wasn't anything really related to reflexology. It was words of encouragement that she said during class. She told us that if we break down the word "impossible" it becomes "I’m possible". Short, sweet and to the point. Great words to live by and of course remember to ....just breathe.