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Yoga Philosophy on Roe VS. Wade

This decision has brought a lot of division and with each side taking stands against each other it has made me ponder where does the philosophy of yoga stand on this?  Every yogi knows that one of the ethical restraints of yoga is non harming, and that is what we work on, but wait there is more.  Each and every one of us has been birthed for a specific reason to work out some specific karma we have accumulated.  What one person does to eradicate their karma may be at odds for us to understand, but is crucial for their spiritual journey. 

For instance.  I sometimes eat meat, mostly fish.  This goes against the ethical restraint of ahmimsa, or non-harming.  I have gone vegetarian and have felt quite bad, not just once, but many times.  My physical body needs protein.  This is part of my karma.  I cannot keep up my practices or energy level up without protein, and believe me I have tried, in all sorts of different ways.  Recently, I took a yoga retreat with a gal from Miami, and she told us many stories, but one of them was her disclosing to her guru/teacher, that she eats meat.  Her guru said, well this is part of your karma on this birth cycle. 

After some more thought about the philosophy, and what yoga stands to teach us is really this.  Stay in the middle.  If you want to keep your body healthy stay in the middle.  That means no crazy fasting, then eating a bunch, or doing yoga for 10 hours a day for a year, then nothing for the next year because you are injured.  The sweet spot is in the middle.  But what if I applied that to my world, my thoughts about others, and about myself?

We cannot judge others, because we are not living in their body, and living out their karma.  What one person decides to do might be against what we would do, but yet, we are not in their body, and living out their karma are we?  What if we applied, “staying in the middle” and gave each person the grace to do what they wanted, and not to judge them, but to love them.  In high school both of my best friends got pregnant.  One decided to keep it, the other abort it.  Although not in touch now, I stayed friends with both at that time, because I understand both of their decisions, and understand life is sometimes gray, not black and white.  Both of them felt strongly about their decision, and I hope still feel comfortable about that decision today.

After the yoga has worked on your mind, what is left at the end of the day is love.  Patience to extend to others, patience for yourself.  Often it takes many births to kill the karma each of us has accumulated.  Once we know this for ourselves, we can simply love.  Go past the judgement and ranting.  Just be love. 

See you on the mat,

Paula

Yoga Philosophy Roe Vs. Wade

This decision has brought a lot of division and with each side taking stands against each other it has made me ponder where does the philosophy of yoga stand on this?  Every yogi knows that one of the ethical restraints of yoga is non harming, and that is what we work on, but wait there is more.  Each and every one of us has been birthed for a specific reason to work out some specific karma we have accumulated.  What one person does to eradicate their karma may be at odds for us to understand, but is crucial for their spiritual journey.  

For instance.  I sometimes eat meat, mostly fish.  This goes against the ethical restraint of ahmimsa, or non-harming.  I have gone vegetarian and have felt quite bad, not just once, but many times.  My physical body needs protein.  This is part of my karma.  I cannot keep up my practices or energy level up without protein, and believe me I have tried, in all sorts of different ways.  Recently, I took a yoga retreat with a gal from Miami, and she told us many stories, but one of them was her disclosing to her guru/teacher, that she eats meat.  Her guru said, well this is part of your karma on this birth cycle.  

After some more thought about the philosophy, and what yoga stands to teach us is really this.  Stay in the middle.  If you want to keep your body healthy stay in the middle.  That means no crazy fasting, then eating a bunch, or doing yoga for 10 hours a day for a year, then nothing for the next year because you are injured.  The sweet spot is in the middle.  But what if I applied that to my world, my thoughts about others, and about myself?

We cannot judge others, because we are not living in their body, and living out their karma.  What one person decides to do might be against what we would do, but yet, we are not in their body, and living out their karma are we?  What if we applied, “staying in the middle” and gave each person the grace to do what they wanted, and not to judge them, but to love them.  In high school both of my best friends got pregnant.  One decided to keep it, the other abort it.  Although not in touch now, I stayed friends with both at that time, because I understand both of their decisions, and understand life is sometimes gray, not black and white.  Both of them felt strongly about their decision, and I hope still feel comfortable about that decision today.

After the yoga has worked on your mind, what is left at the end of the day is love.  Patience to extend to others, patience for yourself.  Often it takes many births to kill the karma each of us has accumulated.  Once we know this for ourselves, we can simply love.  Go past the judgement and ranting.  Just be love.  

See you on the mat,

Paula

The Goal

Doing the yoga is a pretty straightforward simple act.  When you make the choice to come, you come and take the class, working on the physical act of moving your body, and coordinating your breath at the same time.  The whole time you are moving, breathing, the channels inside are you are opening up, circulation is increasing, dead cells are carried away, and new cells are being rebuilt, before you enter your car for the ride home.  These channels connect to every tissue, organ, and gland in your body.  Slowly overtime, the yoga starts to build and work in your body, with every practice, every day.  The effects are so subtle, one hardly notices them, until you stop for a time, maybe even months, and realize the yoga was working at a very deep cellular level, keeping illness at bay, keeping you in a good mood, more days than not. 

It is hard to stay focused to the goal of yoga.  You may climb up the ladder very quickly, achieving many difficult poses, only to slide back down again, losing your progress.  At this point, you might question if the yoga is working, especially when you hit a slow progress, even slipping backwards.  This is when you need to keep on practicing.  It’s very important at this time.  If you ask yogi’s, some will mention, they have practiced on and off again, for many years, but never steadily for a time.  They have never hit a difficult period in their practice. 

Like life, practicing yoga can be a struggle to fit in.  Those difficult times or when we face uphill battles are crucial periods in our practice where the yoga can really make huge strides.  Achieving postures here are not the goal but just showing up for you;  your physical body, mental body, and spiritual  body. 

This is not something I can tell you, you have to experience it for yourself.  You have to feel inside the storm, and when the sunshine comes out in your body, through the practice;  You have to feel this.  Yoga will make you flexible, but that is not the goal.  Yoga will increase your strength, and stress resilience, but that is not the goal.  Yoga will do many things, to keep you healthy, but the goal of yoga is to open your mind.  When you are working on those tight hips, or inflexible hamstrings, yoga  is opening energy channels in your mind that allow you to accept new ideas, new ways of thinking and doing things. 

This is a lofty goal.  Great thinkers and achievers sat back and allowed “What if?” and started to dream the impossible.  Imagine if the whole world practiced yoga.  I dare say new inventions, different ways of helping humanity would unfold for the greater good of society. 

So next time you are on your mat, breathing, moving, think about those energy channels.  Carrying away the bad and replacing it with good.  Yes, the yoga works, even in our worst practice on our ugliest day, when we simply show up and do the practice. 

See you on the mat,

Paula

Keep on keeping on…….Don’t stop until you know you are at the top!

Look Within to find the answers

Does anything ever annoy you? Wow, this could was a loaded question to me years ago, because EVERYTHING annoyed me….let me tell you……

Things that annoyed me:

  • People who ate with their mouth open, or crunched loudly
  • or dragged their fork through their teeth with bite fulls of food
  • People who drove slowly
  • People who didn’t step up to the line, waiting
  • smelly smells , heavy perfume
  • basically at some point, everything annoyed me

What I’m saying is this. I spent a lot of time before a regular yoga practiced thinking about how annoying different people are….slowly, as I practiced yoga,, these thoughts, along with others began to slowly disappear. It didn’t happen over night, but with a regular yoga practice, my thoughts tend to be much more positive and hardly ever annoying. This is due to the simple fact on how yoga works in your body. With your breath and movement these “annoying things” were removed, that previously had been stored somewhere in my body.

Your nervous system works like that. You take in information that might be beneficial, and store it in nervous system. The very physical practice of yoga is to heal the nervous system, meaning we are in a hyper state, or a sleepy state. Left untreated and unbalanced the nervous system can bring about a host of problems that you will have to treat, ie: high blood pressure, heart disease, cancer, kidney/organ problems . That is why it is upmost importance to practice yoga. The cooling sensation of a forward fold stimulates the rest and digest state or parasympathetic nervous system, and raising your hands overhead, leaning back, or backbends stimulate the sympathetic nervous system. We need both to be in a balanced state.

Being annoyed is just another state of anger or frustration. We think we have to control our surroundings, when really we can control the way we think. People have told me, well that is just the way I am, that’s how I think. Well just imagine a world where everyone had a more positive outlook on life…….

Because when you are positive, your body is most likely healthy.

See you on the mat,

Paula

That extra Little Hmmmmm….

A regular consistent yoga practice will help you dodge bullets of life, and let me share a story that proves this point. This past weekend I went on a yoga retreat to Mexico, and met many wonderful yogi’s; some who have practiced over 17 years, others just starting, and most in the middle.

Often we don’t think how we are feeling, unless we are feeling ill. Yoga helps move the energy, and keep you feeling great most day’s. A guy mentioned on retreat, they went out to a bar, and had some tequila shots; sounds like maybe one too many. The next day of retreat was the last day, and practice was early at 7 am. This guy woke up feeling pretty hung over, and decided to give the practice a try, and sleep on the plane ride home. He was really surprised that in the middle of practice he realized, headache gone, nausea gone, and feeling really good!

As we go about life, how many days are we really thriving and feeling great? Our yoga practice can be started early in life, or for those more reluctant later in life, when forced to do “yoga type exercises” at physical therapy. Yes! many things done in physical therapy have some of the same goals of yoga, and are similar movements.

Yoga helps. It helps you stay positive and outgoing. It helps you balance the body. Yoga helps you if you are addictive to substances. Now after many years of consistent practice, if I drink one beer, my body feels like crap the next day. Since I don’t like to feel like crap, I find no need to touch it, nor either the over the counter drugs a lot take to get through the day, ie: pain killers, aspirins, or even allergies. I just don’t have any of that at the house, because we just don’t need it.

At the end of the day, Yoga practice gives us that little extra humm of satisfaction, and relaxation that no alcohol or drugs can do, without the bad side effects. Yoga does work, and often slowly, like water hitting a stone. But everyone knows that eventually, the stone will take the shape that the water dictates.

I dare you to prove me wrong!

See you on the mat yogi’s,

Paula

How Yoga Works

You might think that this has been the only life your body has lived….But just like that recycled soda can, we have had many lives; that is how our body remembers things. When my daughter was very little, I found it so cute that she packed a purse where ever we went. I mentioned this to someone else, and they thought it was because I carried a purse; aka, like mother like daughter, but at that time in my life, I did not carry a purse. I believed she remembered from another life, that is what you do.

It’s best described like this. Your body remembers everything, EVERYTHING that has happened to it. Hurtful discussions, old injuries, death of oneself, and unending sorrow of losing others. Let’s say each and every act is recorded on a piece of paper in a big room. Some things are not that hard to get “over”, like classmates calling you names. Other things, big items, like losing friends, your death, family members are recorded on big scrolls, because they are big “events” that are body will remember. Lately, I’ve noticed that my husband only likes to use one hand. He favors that when lifting, or really doing anything. Why is that? The other hand is perfect, in fact a very useful tool. It’s not hard to imagine, that in a past life, the unused hand/arm might have been injured, or hurt. His body is remembering that, and favoring his other hand.

So when we come to yoga, we are really working on that mind and body. Those recordings of events are logged into our fascia ( or connective tissue) and muscles, bones, ligaments, organs and glands. That is why sometimes with yoga practice, we cry, we laugh, we let go of those emotions that have built up. With the physical practice of yoga, it is very balanced; what we do on the right, we do on the left. We start a new recording, and in my husbands mind, after a yoga practice of working your right arm, we do the left arm, and the brain or tissues can release that previous arm injury and realize that I can use both arms, and can forget about that “old injury”.

This is how yoga heals us. Our families pass down different beliefs and emotions, and their bad shoulders, become our bad shoulders, but it is a proven scientific fact that is not always the case. We are choosing to believe what they did; remember those pieces of paper in that room? Well, each and every practice we are able to remove a piece or two of paper, and begin to rewrite our body’s past, and change the chemistry of the body down to a molecular level. Other modalities, such as meditation, right balanced movement, awareness therapy among other do some of the same things. As our body lets go of the past, we become lighter, happier. especially when we first start yoga practice. However, ask any long time yoga practitioner, and sometimes it takes awhile to rid the body of knee, hip, shoulder or any kind of pain, so persistence, joy, and being kind to oneself, along with a good teacher to guide you is essential to yoga.

So, smile when practicing yoga. Enjoy each and every time of letting go, releasing, and becoming a better, healthier you, down to a molecular level.

Cheers to rewriting the past, Cheers to a new body!!

See you on the mat,

Paula

Surprising benefit of Aerial Hammock

After teaching aerial for 13+ years, the biggest benefit of adding aerial to your weekly activities is to bring health to your body, specifically the central nervous system.  Your nervous system is your body’s command center. Originating from your brain, it controls your movements, thoughts and automatic responses to the world around you. It also controls other body systems and processes, such as digestion, breathing and sexual development (puberty). 

Most of us are born with an unbalanced nervous system.  That is why yoga is so beneficial to us;  using the body to fold forward, and bend backward brings the nervous system into a balanced state.  If we are feeling tired all the time, what we need are back bends to stimulate the sympathetic nervous system, and the hammock supports us wonderfully as we lean back allowing blood to flood the higher parts of heart, throat and brain.  Likewise, if we are stuck in a go go and go faster mode, or foot on the gas paddle all the time (overactive sympathetic nervous system) we will BURN out over time and we need to hold forward bends with support from hammock to stay longer, to influence the parasympathetic nervous back in balance.  Staying in sympathetic drive is like waiting for a heart attack to happen.  

We are not meant to go go go all the time, and cannot replace the nervous system like our brakes on our cars.  The central nervous system also controls our thoughts and automatic responses.  Are you a Debbie Downer, or someone who automatically thinks the worse will happen?  Practicing aerial overtime will turn your thoughts around, because when you are feeling good, generally your body is doing good, or healthy.  

What you see on social media is people using the hammock to wrap around different parts of the body, to increase flexibility and strength in the body.  Our hammock  classes will also do this, but our GOAL at Anahata is to influence your HEALTH using the hammock for a healthy central nervous system.   

Excerpt taken from Yoga International, Making forward bends accessible….(picture is what we practiced on Saturday, a forward bend with a chair)

“The nerves of the parasympathetic nervous system originate in the cranium and sacrum. Forward bending stimulates these nerves by stretching the neck and low back, which is calming to the nervous system as we literally turn within. We also create a feeling of safety because the sensitive front of the body is well protected. This experience of drawing in energetically is the mark of forward bending and one of its most profound benefits.”

Excerpt taken from Franklin Cardiovascular Associates. (read the whole article…..it will help you understand better!  

“The sympathetics typically increase heart rate and blood pressure to pump more blood to deal with stress; and dilates pupils to see more, bronchi to inhale more oxygen, and peripheral blood vessels to bring more blood to the muscles. The parasympathetic nervous system does the opposite. If the sympathetic system, like the accelerator of a car, becomes over-reactive it may actually damage the other component of the autonomic nervous system, the parasympathetic nervous system. In the car analogy, this is like driving fast all the time and therefore, having to stop hard all the time. Doing this you wear out the brakes faster. The problem in the human body is that we cannot replace the “brakes” (the parasympathetics). Once the Parasympathetics wear out you are essentially a heart attack waiting to happen.”


See you on the mat,

Paula

Vibrational Energy

Most people think yoga is yoga, ie: the yoga is the same as it is anywhere, however that is not entirely true. Ask any yogi who has done both, and see what their response is. Most if not all shout “a yoga studio” is the best place to learn yoga. Over the years I have taught in both, and this is my findings……

  • If you are coming to yoga because of frazzled nerves, the gym is not for you. Most gyms share spaces with bikes, or other classes, and the atmosphere is not the same. How can you find any peace with someone grunting and dropping weights next door?
  • Most teachers at gyms teach a “watered down version of yoga”. Most of the time it’s not due to the lack of teachers knowledge, but the requirements of your boss. When I taught at a gym I was reprimanded for chanting “OM” at the start and end of class. Any type of spirituality was discouraged. BTW: Did you know chanting OM sound opens up the root chakra, and runs up the spine creating a sense of wellbeing? It’s a very good thing.
  • Teachers at gym often have their hands tied behind their back. Most don’t have the props needed to access deeper spots in the body, nor do yoga teachers have availability to senior yoga teachers who can share a vast knowledge of yoga.
  • One class fits all is often the type taught at the gym. A yoga studio knows a combination of all types of yoga, vinyasa, yin, restorative, hot, aerial is what is needed to fully heal.
  • Often studios have workshops or classes to deepen your practice, aka speciality yoga.
  • Studios have wonderful yoga teacher training programs. That is how I got started going to a studio, and wow, what a difference; I’ll never step foot in a gym to practice yoga again.

But most of all the biggest difference was how it felt at the studio vs. the gym for yoga. When I stepped into that studio, my body was started “singing”. The vibration set by teachers was HUGE. You can feel that, even if you don’t know what it is or can name it. Here is a quote from an article on Heathline explaining Vibrational Energy,

“Proponents believe it’s possible to speed up or slow down the vibrations that occur at the cellular and atomic levels by changing our thoughts, behaviors — and even our surroundings. 

Changing those nanovibrations, it’s thought, could ripple outward, affecting our mental state and physical health.”

And that my friend, is the best reason to give a studio a try.

See you on the mat,

Paula

Elementor #799

Thou shall not fear.......

After I had taken my Yoga teacher training, and some time with the yoga practice, someone after class asked me why do I practice?  Without much thought, I answered, “Fear of death”.  Even caught off guard by my response, it has taken me this long, to contemplate my thoughts with regards to the answer.  Most of us don’t want to talk about death.  We avoid it, and some of you will move on to other more pleasant things to think about, but with the recent events of Covid going through our country, this is a worthy topic to discuss.  

Don’t misunderstand me, I hope to live a long ripe age, and with the practice of yoga at my side, chances are better than most that I will.  What I really think we need to ask ourselves is NOT what we are fearing, but why we aren’t living.  Currently in my life, I have did a great deal of things that scare the crap out of me, running a successful business being at the top.  At the end of my life, and really now, I feel at peace.  If I died tomorrow, I would be at peace that I lived my life to it’s fullest, loved the hardest I could, and contributed the best  that I can, using my talents the spirit gave me.  

Before yoga I stood on the sidelines of my own life.  Playing it safe was my motto.  If you put yourself out there, you might fail, and failure in our society is such a disgrace.  I have stood and faced failure, and decided to learn from it, grown from it, and use it to propel myself towards my destiny.  

Most will think “geez, I just wanted to do yoga for my bad knees, or to get longer hamstrings”, and you will get that if that is your wish.  But don’t you think to live at peace is greater than having open hips?  To use your talents, that no one else has, to say I did it?  Here is wishing you peace, today and always…….

See you on the mat,

Paula

 

Yoga will help with THAT??

Running around for the Holiday’s doing my shopping, I was taken back at what I witnessed.  A guy came in to the photo department at Walgreens, and proceeded to rip the Walgreens worker to shreds because his pictures came a little off.  It was uncomfortable just being in that space.  The 2nd encounter was the poor girl who greeted people at the BMV.  Many people couldn’t understand why their place in line wasn’t saved, when they went out in their car, chatted to friends, etc. on their phone, and missed their text informing them they were up in line.  The girl did the best she could to fit them it, meanwhile making everyone wait longer behind them.  

My point?  It always circles back to yoga.  Yes, I know it is flustering when you loose your place in line, or when someone gets your order incorrect.  But to simply take it out, and vent your flusteration is doing harm to your body.  When a strong emotion comes in us, everything possible says we must get rid of it, and we usually do so by taking it out on an innocent bystander, or even worse our own loved ones.  Seems like there is a better way, and yes it’s yoga.  Yoga helps you deal with strong emotions.

This is also a good reminder on how karma works. When you yell at someone, you create a seed, that one day will ripen at someone telling you off, and ruining your day.  We must remember to simply breath, remove ourselves from the problem, take a deep breath, and then start to communicate without using strong emotions or words that harm others.  Seems like there is a shortage in service industries so know before hand that you might wait. 

It’s also helpful to give yourself some leeway to learn this new way of communicating.  Sometimes you will fail, and fly off the handle.  But if you sit silently, and carefully review your actions it will help you do a better job next time you want to yell at someone.  

Remember you are creating your own world each and everyday.  Do your best to get to your mat, and get rid of the tension in your body, and your mind.  This was a HUGE difference I noticed in myself after yoga teacher training.  One day, I just turned to my husband, and asked him if I was kinder lately.  I felt different, less reactive than before.  It was a very good feeling indeed!!

See you on the mat,

Paula