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...
Poison?  not me!

Poison? not me!

You can think of a yoga practice like a river flowing through you.  When you start a yoga practice, only a trickle of “water” or energy might be flowing to each muscle, organ, or gland.   You also know the steps to take to make the yoga work.  You come consistently, with joy, over a period of time.  Slowly the tides start to change in your body.  You begin to experience more energy, less pain, and just a general sense of well being that lasts after yoga practice.  Here is where you need to know how yoga works for it to become more effective, and begin to take steps off your mat for your health and well being.  The philosophy will make all the difference in your life.  In fact, one of the teacher trainees said it best, ‘The part of this training that I was least looking forward to was the philosophy, and in fact, this is the part of training I enjoy the most, and have learned the most.  The way you (Paula) have described it has made an impact on my life.” Most of us have “unknowingly” drank some poison in our lives, according to philosophy.  In fact, I drank a little bit yesterday, by mistake.  You see, even for those of us who know, it is easy to slip up under society’s pressures.  Arsenic will not kill you with small doses overnight, but gradually it does.  The poison that I’m referring to is complaining.  At some point, most of us (especially under trying circumstances) complain and vent our frustrations out.  When we do this, it is...
The power of forward folding

The power of forward folding

Ahh, the power of a forward fold becomes transparent when one has practiced this simple asana for many a time.  Each time, and with each practice, simply letting your head reach for your knees has a profound effect on your mental and physical tension in your whole body.  Did you know some of the benefits of uttanasana or intense forward stretch? Reduces depression if practiced regularly cures insomnia and relieves fatigue increases blood flow to the brain, soothing the brain cells and sympathetic nervous system regulates blood pressure relieves migraines and stress-related headaches tones the abdominal organs relieves stomachaches by neutralizing acidity strengthens the stretches the hamstring muscle increases the flexibility of the hip joint strengthens the knee joint and it’s surrounding tissue and muscles This power asana is in a series called the sun salutes, and because of it’s effectiveness we practice uttanasana many times during the sun salutes.  As a teacher, one thing I encourage my students to do is a forward fold against the wall.  Here the upper back can rest against the wall, with the head supported by blocks.  Holding an asana or posture for 1-3 minutes increases the power, especially because it is so soothing.  Go ahead, and try it, and see what a forward fold can do for you!! See you on the mat, Paula...
Desires of the Heart

Desires of the Heart

If we stop and listen, desires of the heart are stamped upon our consciousnesses to listen.  When we listen to the guidance of the heart, we go towards what our true dharma, or path really is.  I believe this creates a life of health, happiness and true contentment and fulfillment.  The problems arise when we get “caught up” in our thoughts.  One such dream of mine was to have a yoga center.  This was a dream, and you can bet my logical brain “threw” many reasons NOT to do this.   I knew better than to “give into” these thoughts that arose, but I have to say, sometimes it was very difficult.  Each year of a growing new business brought a special concern or unwise thought, that came up so strong, I wanted to run away from it.  But I didn’t.  I focused on a larger goal, (helping many people) and kept moving forward. We all get stuck in our thoughts from time to time. The key is not to let it continue any longer than necessary. Focus on the bigger goal.  Lets say, your goal is to practice yoga.  You’ve heard that it’s good fix for that nagging back pain that has been with you on and off for many years. So, you start coming.  Within a couple of weeks, you’re really sore, tired, and sometimes, the thoughts even take you out of coming to practice.  Before long, your thoughts create easy ways for you to skip your yoga practice.  Maybe they go like this…… This yoga is really for “young” people. I couldn’t possibly do “hot yoga”!! If...
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