Common Traits

I don’t know about you, but I want to live a long healthy life.  Turns out centenarians have certain habits that yoga helps develop.  Here is how yoga can help you live to 100 or even beyond…… Mix and Mingle.  Being part of a community, coming to class, talking to your teacher.  These are all ways we need to stay connected.  It’s a rarity in my classes when I start to teach, that I don’t find other people chatting with each other, or welcoming a new face.  Staying connected and being part of a regular yoga class community is a very good thing. Keep moving.  Centenarians move their bodies, about 7 hours total for the week.  Balance, strength and cardio training were all used.  And yes, you can get all 3 in yoga, even cardio, where a vinyasa class will keep you sweating and moving. Keeping your mind physically fit.  Good yoga instruction does not involve mirroring what the teacher does in front of the class.  It’s about listening to subtle ques, and following through with instructions.  It’s the mind body connection. Positive attitude.  Yoga helps immensly see yourself in a positive light, as well as others.  Problems that arise tend to not stress regular yoga practitioners out much. Chill out.  Stress is killing us, well before our time.  it’s real, and it exists.   This is a huge benefit of starting and maintaining a yoga practice. Listen to your gut.  Practicing yoga over a time, will help you naturally eat healthier. When you start and keep up a regular yoga practice, you will find many more things that will...

Paula’s Beach Reads

If you get a taste of the practice of yoga, it takes over your life, in a very good way.  It changes your physical body, mental body, and spiritual body.  So, most of my life is learning about this practice.   Here are some of my favorite books, including some you may not think of as “yoga books”, but they are nevertheless.  These books remind us how to live, how to treat others, and how to overcome challenges in our lives… How Yoga Works, by Michael Roach.  This is my philosophy book for my 200 hour training.  The secrets of how yoga works to make us truly whole are revealed here in a delightful story based on how these precious teachings reached Tibet form their home in India, over a thousand years ago.  Contrary to philosophy books, this is not boring (although it takes a while to pull you in), and is wrapped around characters wanting a better life because of chronic back pain. Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramhansa Yogananda This book is probably best understood after you have learned a little about yoga in your 200 hr certification.  There is quite alot of sanskrit, but wonderful notes at the bottom to help you understand.  It’s real life, real yoga, and the possibilities of what is obtainable with this practice.  One of the Top 100 Spiritual Books of the Twentieth Century. New Bonus Materials added to this edition include: the last chapter that Yogananda wrote covering the years 1946-1951 that was not available in the original edition, the eulogy that Yogananda wrote for Gandhi, a new afterword by Swami...
Your best life

Your best life

All of us are birthed with certain unique abilities and talents.  Our best life should be on sharing those gifts with the world.  There is real power in that!  Where we fall short, is with the thoughts that come up stopping us from using those gifts.  Those thoughts are non-serving, damaging to our very self.  Your yoga practice, everyday, will kill those thoughts.  Slowly, as you return to your mat everyday, you trust your body, and your mind will follow suit. Let’s take an example…..You have always loved ice cream.  In your spare time, you invent new flavors, new combinations that wow your friends and family.  You secretly would love to open an ice cream store.  In fact, you look at the logistics at doing that, but you don’t have enough money saved up.  You don’t have the slightest idea on where to begin, or how to do it.  So, you go back to work, day after day, forgetting about your dream, believing it not possible. Not living your dream, a dullness sets in the body; a different kind of pain.  This dullness/pain enters the body and mind, and is hard to get rid of.   What would I suggest??  Start a yoga practice.  Let me explain. One of the best things that happen in yoga is believing in your self.  It does not happen overnight.  But it does happen.  When you step on your mat, you discover the limitations that are in your body.  That tightness in your body, is like a mirror for the mind, reflecting the rigidity of the mind.  Day by day, you begin to...

Going the extra mile

You started yoga because you wanted the practice to do something specific…..heal your back, fix your knee, heal your shoulder, or clear your mind.  But did you know, that the yoga you do off your mat could be just as powerful?  Yoga’s ethical restraint, “Saucha”, or cleanliness can be a powerful awareness tool to help us live in society. The habits we pick up throughout life off the mat may or may not serve us, and the idea of our practice is to recognize what doesn’t help us and what does, and everything we do aids us towards being happier, healthier and more awake and aware in life. If we take our ‘bad’ habits’ on to the mat with us, then our practice becomes a lot harder, we have to sift through the ‘impurities’ or negativity we’ve picked up before reaping the benefits of Yoga. One example of living Saucha is being aware of your surroundings, and the clutter we accumulate.   Our environment often reflects our state of mind.  When your house is messy, your mind feels cluttered as well.  This affects our ability to focus and concentrate, doing our job well.   This is the biggest reason I created the prop room, so that each studio space would feel spacious and uncluttered.  Each shelf of the prop room has a function and purpose, and it’s up to each one of us to keep that space clean and organized.  Why would that be important in your yoga practice?  It’s easiest to explain this way….. Say, you enter a public bathroom and it is dirty.  There are towels on the floor,...

Clean your area, clean your thoughts.

It used to be that when one wanted a specific book from the library, you would go to the card catalog.  The card catalog had a card for every book in that library;  all the information you wanted to know about that book was also listed on that card.  It is very similar to our brain, and how yoga works.  Unbeknownst to you, when you walk into a room, your brain scans the room, picking out details, shapes, colors, and placement of people and things, and actually stores that information for later use, if needed be.  A problem arises when we have too much possessions, too many thoughts, and too much to do and remember.   As a result of many items in the room, (or thoughts in your brain)  your inability to concentrate will make you stressed and decrease your performance.  This can happen in yoga, when where you practice at is not clean, or has many items competing for your attention. That is why clear thinking affects your lifestyle and longevity, and the practice of yoga begins to remove the clutter from your brain, and clears your thoughts.  Sometimes, this is why yoga at the gym is not effective.  You hear music blaring next door from Zumba, you feel weights dropping on the floor, and the room itself might be a multi purpose room, used to store items for many different classes.  When I taught at the gym, we couldn’t even dim the lights for savasana, and even worse, people would come and go, unrolling their mats during the middle of savasana.  This makes it very difficult to...
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