Yoga Results

Some of you might wonder……Does yoga really work?  For those of us who practice on a daily basis, we know, because we feel it.  We feel the difference between rocking your day, and just getting by.  We feel the energy restored to the body.  I have had such evidence by myself.  Years ago, I had a cyst on my back, nothing alarming, but decided to get it taken off.  It promptly grew back.  I decided to live with it.  After a couple of years of regular daily yoga practice, the lump disappeared.  Who knows how it could have manifested later into disease?   For years in my 30’s I had persistent  yeast infections, and yes, you guessed it, those cleared up after yoga practice. Over the years I have had knee problems (skiing), back problems, reoccurring sinus infections, flus, stomach bugs, colds just to name a few.  That was all before yoga.  Since undergoing teacher training, I have not been bothered by any of the above.  That’s a lot of years, under my belt, that I’ve felt yoga working.   I have seen people even with cancer heal themselves with yoga practice.  Yoga will get you the results you want.  BUT, you have to know how yoga works.  It would be very difficult to know how yoga works unless you studied under a teacher who knew it well, for themselves.  That is why the student/teacher relationship is so very important.  That is why people who like yoga, and start to feel a little better decide to take the yoga teacher training and immersion.  You just have to know more! Remember,...
As Gardeners

As Gardeners

One of my favorite sutra’s (threads of yoga knowledge written by the sage, Patanjali) is this:   “We must become as Gardeners”.   In order for people to understand how yoga works, he used the concept of seeds.  When you plant good seeds, you sow good things.  When you plant weeds, you harvest weeds.  So, as we go about our day, “we must become as Gardeners”, and plant good seeds. Mostly, we are concerned with ourselves, or family.  A lot of time is revolved thinking about ourselves.  How we feel, how we look, how others feel about us, etc. etc.  But, say, we enroll in yoga teacher training.  And yes, I did yoga teacher training primarily for myself.  But, something begins to shift when we start to teach others.  The yoga began to make me feel good, and that wasn’t enough for me.  I wanted others to feel as good as I did with the yoga.  I found I really enjoyed when others left feeling as good as I. Slowly, but surely, the yoga asana begins to reduce the “I” of the ego, into care for others.  This is how I begin my day.  I took steps to make others have a wonderful day.  You see, this is not rocket science.  Go out, and do something good for others, and report back to me, how you feel.  Everyone would say, well, “I feel pretty terrific when I do something for others.”  And that is how yoga works… Some additional notes…..Say, you really get good at gardening, and planting some good seeds.  There are some other things that can affect how good...
Set Free

Set Free

At the very root of our yoga practice, on and off the mat, we are seeking Moksha.  The Sanskrit word “Moksha” means to set free, let go, liberate.  Think of a horse being free of a harness;  as soon as everything is off the horse, they go into the pasture, roll, and shake their skin.  In part, that is why we feel so good after practicing yoga;  our burdens have lifted, we feel light. However, the lines of yoga practice and philosophy have been “blurred” by consumerism.  In an effort to keep afloat, yoga studios across the country, and even in our back yard have events mixing alcohol  and yoga.  In fact, when I googled “yoga and”, the word wine was 5th down from the top.  Shape magazine calls it “pretty much, the best thing ever”. Except it is NOT.   If we are that stressed out, there is a deeper problem underneath.  Some yogi’s say that underneath our anxiety issues is layers of sadness and grief.  In our yoga teacher training program it is described as such……. Friends go out, relax, laugh, after a week of work.  Somebody suggests a round of drinks, and nobody wants to be “left out”, so everyone drinks.  One of those persons, has  layers of grief, held in their body.  The alcohol feeds that grief, and temporarily numbs feelings or sensations.  In other words, you forget about that grief.  It’s so good to shed layers, or forget about that grief, so much so, that they go back for more.  In fact, they have such a good time, they go back again, even when their...

Take a breath, with intention

Yogi’s, Recently I listened to a TED talk by Max Strom, called “Breath to Heal”.  Max is an international yoga teacher. Here are some notes from his talk… Whether it’s financial woes, health issues, or just loneliness and busy traffic, people are under more low-level, chronic stress than at any other time in history. Forty-three percent of all adults suffer adverse health effects from stress and the CDC estimates that up to 90% of all doctor’s office visits are for stress-related ailments and complaints. Americans are so stressed out that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) declared stress a hazard of the workplace that costs American industry more than $300 billion annually. By the year 2020, the World Health Organization says our leading health concern is Depression and anxiety.  Over 25% of women take medication for these conditions, and men are not too far off that mark.  Centers for Disease control has labeled sleep dysfunction a major contributor to diseases.  Have no doubt, we are stressed human beings. Most of the time, we don’t regulate our breath, but intentional breath work  changes the way you feel internally.    The Defense Department is advocating yoga and breath work for veterans.   In fact, the Navy Seals uses breath work to calm and center themselves before missions.  This is not something “new age y”, but real techniques the yogis have used for hundreds of years to heal themselves.  They use it because it works, and is effective. Some of the benefits of intentional breath work are:  calm, focus, and being non-reactive. This technique of intentional breathing is said to halt an anxiety/panic attack...

Solar Power

Often, when I start a yoga class, I chant “OM”.   After a long “OOOOOMMMMMM”, sometimes my new students ask me how on earth do you make your OM last that long?!!   Taking a full inhale, depends on how well you can exhale.  Taking a full inhale involves a complex group of muscles, but the main driver for that lengthy inhale depends on a muscle called the diaphragm.  The diaphragm is an upside down umbrella shaped sheet of muscle that separates the upper half of the body to the lower half.  This muscle attaches to itself, which is unique. There are many yogic techniques that strengthen the diaphragm, but I would like to talk specifically about the sun salute or suyra namaskar.  This ancient practice of worshiping the sun, the source of all life on the planet, works every part of your body, makes your spine flexible, and tones all major muscles of the body.  What makes this practice even more healthy is when ujjayi (audible sounding breath, done through the nose) breathing is added to each movement as in Ashtanga Yoga. In the Ashtanga yoga method, you learn the sun salutes with ujjayi breathing.  For instance, when you raise your arms overhead, and take a breath in, the muscles surrounding the lungs, arms chest, and even neck muscles open up and get longer, lengthening the inhale.  When you fold forward, and bring your head towards your knees, the air is squeezed out of the lungs, assisting the body to get rid of carbon dioxide. For every movement of a sun salute, there is either an inhale or...
It’s our choice

It’s our choice

Everyday, we are faced with decisions.  We create our lives by our thoughts, words and actions.  Often people say it’s hard to find the time to get to yoga.  I understand how busy we really are.  But with a little creative thinking, we can find the time for everything we WANT to do.  Often, it’s about shifting priorities.  Let other people in your life do the errands this week.  Let your teenagers cook, go to the store, and do their own laundry. Maybe we have to get out of balance, to realize how important balance really is.  When my kids were little, life was busy.  I think it was easier to meet their needs, and ignore my own, for a time.  When I “woke” up, I started making better decisions.  After not working our regularly for years, I started bicycling.   Feeling so much better, I took to extremes in my work out regime.  First a 30 minute spin class was enough.  Then I started “adding”.  I wasn’t happy until doing an hour or more of cardio per day, plus weights.  When I started training for a marathon, I developed hip pain.  The only thing that took my hip pain away was yoga.  I just went from one extreme to another, without being in balance. Today, my life is in balance.  Yes, I’m super crazy running a business, but I do take time.  I make a choice for yoga practice everyday, even if it’s just 5 or 10 min.  I make a choice to work out, and do cardio 3 times a week or so.   I also make the...
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