Category Archives: Uncategorized

The ultimate Gift

Setting time in my life for……ME!

I wish I could set down with my younger self for a conservation. It would go something like this…..

Wise self:  “You know, Paula, you seem a little short tempered, how about doing something good for yourself?”

Younger self:  “When I leave the husband and kids, I feel so guilty about the time being gone.”

Wise Self:  Having a healthy body, mind and spirit is a gift to others, because you have more love to spread around”.

Younger self:  “Really?, it seems like that wouldn’t be the case.  Maybe I will sign up for that yoga session, and really stick to it.  That made me feel the best I have felt in a long time.”

Wise Self:  “Taking care of yourself, is really the ultimate love you can share among family.  Taking the time for self-care says I love you enough to want to be healthy for you and me.  Taking time for yourself will also make you really present the times you are with your loved ones, instead of wishing you were somewhere else.”

I started my yoga career when my youngest was in kindergarten.  And yes, it is so true; the more I did yoga the more energy I had for everyone, and everything on my plate.   That has helped my practice stay consistent. Doing the yoga for them, helped me on the days where it was hard to start practice by myself.  

You just need to start doing yoga until it becomes something very regular; like brushing your teeth.  You wouldn’t dream of going out with a dirty mouth, just like your day is not complete without some yoga in it.  You notice the days you do yoga, there is more of an ease, a flow, and a sense of gratitude for your practice.  You wouldn’t know how this would feel when you only do yoga once or twice a week.  

Our body is our temple.  It is up to us to love it, and take care of it.  It’s the only one we have, so it’s vital to keep it strong, flexible, and healthy.  Yoga will do that.  

Give yourself the ultimate gift of health this year.   The Gift of yoga everyday.  You will not regret or look back the time spend on your mat.  

See you on the mat,

Paula

The best gift of yoga.

This gift of yoga comes unannounced, and quietly comes into your mind, body and heart without fanfare or bells and whistles.  It is not a particular pose, like finally nailing your handstand. It doesn’t come from a particular teacher, nor a particular class or even a particular yoga center.  It comes from practicing yoga, day in and day out.  It is born of struggles, disappointment, pain, and wanting to give up, because you know, life; you are busy.  But something inside of you persists, practices and doesn’t stop.  That someone or something inside of you that yearns for light, 24/7; that sees a bigger picture than strength or flexibility combined, that sees you for you, how you really are, what and who you are.

As I woke up this morning, life’s troubles stared me right back in the face, with a big smirk.  Life has thrown me a 1/2/3 punch that has threatened to take me down.  All that I love and cherished has been on the line.  Times where I have gone into the darkest places in my mind, that I ever have.  Threatening to consume, and spiral downward, I have rose up.  Well, I should say the practice of yoga has lifted me up.  

This is a feeling absent from your circumstances.  For instance, if we have 2 weeks of solid rain, it might make you feel a little blue or down, or even big life events, such as the loss of a loved one, loss of a job, loss of a home.  At times like these, when we are at the lowest of lows, it would be really difficult to see how doing some yoga poses might help you feel better.  It’s at this point, even seasoned yogi’s might want to give up their practice.  

The yogi’s have a special sanskrit word for this.  “Ananda”.  Ananda is bliss, joy that comes from these physical postures.  It’s not the bliss you feel when life is going right;  you have the right job, secure in your finances, secure and happy with your friends and family.  But this is the bliss and joy you feel despite circumstances telling you to feel down.  This joy brings tears to your eyes, it is so bright, so full, so complete.  

This Ananda is within each and every one of us.  This is within our grasp, and embedded in our soul.  It is who we really are, when we remove all of what life has thrown our way.  This is the real gift of yoga.  This is why I practice, although I didn’t come to the practice looking for this.

Don’t believe me, like a real scientist, go and practice yourself.  And then we you “think” you know all of what yoga is, step up your game.  Go to someone who will find your tightness, or the area you are most weak in.  That leads you to this path of Ananda.

See you on your mat,

Paula

No more LUMPS.

Why I practice yoga daily

After a 20+ year consistent yoga practice, I can honestly say I’m just scratching the surface of benefits the practice beholds.  Nevertheless, the riches are there….

My physical health.  Generally, I feel pretty great.  If an ache comes up in my body, I’m usually able to work it out in yoga practice.  This alone is worth keeping up the practice.  I speak of this all the time, but let me tell you something of what happened lately.  My family’s DNA has had its fair share of neck issues.  Low thyroid, tumors on cervical discs, to name a few things.  My sister has had 3 surgeries, removing tumors from the neck area, with the last surgery being quite painful and difficult to heal from.  They were benign thankfully, but still needed to be removed.  Six months ago, I noticed a sizeable lump on the back on my neck.  I watched it come and go, and noticed that it was bigger on day’s I was feeling “off, angry, and a host of other emotions”.  I buckled down in my yoga practice, and consistently did a practice revolving around the neck and shoulders.  I made sure that when those emotions came, I had coping mechanisms in place, such as breath, getting out in nature, and meditation, and doing some things that filled me up from the inside.  It’s been a couple of months now, and I feel no lumps back there, but I know I still have more work to do.  Right now, I’m content with the fact that it looks like I’ve healed myself from a potentially, painful expensive surgery.  

This is exactly how yoga works to heal us.  Underneath everywhere, trapped in fascia, organs, breath are “unfelt” emotions.  We hide our emotions, because we are taught as children to not cry, to not throw temper tantrums, or even discuss our feelings.  At least not in our family.  All of those emotions are buried in the body, but can be accessed, felt, and let go through the practices of yoga and meditation. 

My mental health.  Yoga practice has made a huge impact on my mental outlook.  Before yoga, I can remember crying over the drop of a bucket, or a harsh word from someone.  I am so much more steadfast, and less reactive than I ever was.  This makes me enjoy life to its fullest degree. 

I know I have work to do yet.  I feel strong, capable, balanced and able to focus on the task ahead.  A journey, I’m so thankful to be able to take. 

Thank you all, friends, clients, and teachers of Anahata to walk on this journey together.  May we all lift each other up, and feel good together!

See you on the mat,

Paula

Strength Building Anyone?

Aerial yoga is such a wonderful practice to build strength and flexibility in the body. This picture demonstrates how to take an ordinary pose, such as pincha mayurasana, or scorpion, and use the hammock to build up strength for the final pose, unassisted, without the hammock.

When the hammock is down at the hip crease, (blue shirt) more of your weight is supported by the hammock, say about 50%. When you stretch your legs up long, (pink shirt) the fabric falls out of the hip crease to your knees; this changes the weight ratio to 20% supported in the hammock, and 80% support coming from the core, arms. Final version in the hammock is where you let the fabric wrap around your ankles, and lets you work on the flexibility part of the pose.

Pincha handstand benefits are:

* increased back strength, increased core strength, increased digestion, inversions are wonderful for calming your mind, they also develop focus, and arm strength, particularly in lower arms and wrists if doing the pose resting on lower arms. Most importantly, they allow us to play, and test our limits and beliefs on what we think about ourselves. The hammock supports our journey to awesomeness!

I have told my students, I will always practice aerial, as you use your body weight through space, it’s the ultimate core work out. It alone has has eased my back, knee pain like no other practice.

It’s also a great way to learn traditional head stand. If some of these more difficult poses seem unatainable for you, come and give hammock a try, not just once, but at least 6-8 times, or until you are reasonably comfortable with a beginner class.

Come and see us aerial teachers, upside down!!

Paula

Yoga’s Secrets

The other day I was struggling. I was in the midst of family disputes, money concerns, and spouse concerns. I was feeling anxious, overwhelmed and not quite sure how or what to do. I decided to “table” everything in the back of my mind, for I was going to the studio to teach an aerial class. Stretching, strengthening, and most importantly breathing my way through teaching the aerial class, I felt a huge shift happen. At one point during class I was feeling so GOOD, coming right out of an inversion, I shouted “God Bless America that feels so GOOD!”

Turns out, this is a huge secret on how yoga works to keep us healthy: A positive Mood. I left that class feeling there was NOTHING I couldn’t handle, and when I got home at least some of the above concerns were settled. Having a positive mindset can be a total game changer when life throws us curve balls of stress.

Previous research has led to findings that support links between a positive mental outlook and physical health benefits such as lower blood pressure, less heart disease, and healthier blood sugar levels. A study from Harvard suggest there is a very strong link between our physical health and wellness and our Mood and mindset.

Yoga philosophy promises that “yoga brings on a feeling of Wellness”. Previous to yoga, I ran, cycled, and exercised, but what is unique about yoga? To some extent, you are moving your body, breathing in those other things. We hold mental, physical, and emotional tension in the body, and by yoga’s moves of strengthening and stretching along with breath, we are able to let go of the tension that is literally strangling our good health. In Savanna we realize that above concerns/stress can’t weigh us down. When we invert, we are able to change our perspective and realize how harmful the stress really is.

It’s not just me, ask any yogi why they practice. Another client from the class mentioned she almost didn’t come to practice she had such a bad headache, and after class her headache was gone. This is not unusual for me to hear. It’s one of the very best Secrets of yoga.

See you on the mat,

Paula

No Mud No lotus

Here is my muddy story.  Part of the yoga journey is that it brings its own unique way of awareness.  You become aware of the “muddy” parts of you, as well as the “lighter” parts of you, ie:  the good that you have done, but also the bad.  

I drank in high school, quite a lot.  I also didn’t know where to put the empty bottles after I drank the beer, so I threw them out the window, on the way home.  Definitely knew better, but getting caught with a bunch of empty bottles of beer was enough incentive to look the other way when I trashed them.   Long story short, after a sickening evening, I gave up my alcohol, not looking back a minute.

That brings me to today, 40 years later.  This is how yoga works.  Every action you do creates either “mud” or “light”.  I know back in high school, trashing those bottles was a hassle to the home owners who had to pick them up.  I had created some mud in my body, mind and life.  

I love to swim every day, it doesn’t matter in what condition, I usually swim in the Little Miami River, close to my house.  In my favorite swimming hole, for the past couple of years a big Rumpke trash can has found its way along the bank, and settled in amongst a dead tree. There on the bank it filled up with sand, lodged its self into the tree and stayed put, even when spring rains came, and the river rose.  The other day I decided I was going to dig this out, and clean up this very pretty spot on the river, in lue of the bad karma I had planted years ago with the bottles.   Got my husband, the dog, a shovel, and my suit on, and started the task.

Lord, I wish I knew how much those big trash cans can hold, because this one had concrete like silt sand and mud wedged into every crevice of that can.  I began to dig, curse, shove, rock back and forth, and dig some more.  After 4 hours, and a broken lid, it finally freed its self from the tree.  Covered in filth, little knats were all over me, and needless to say, I was a cranky camper.  While I was digging, I thought about stamping out that “bad” deed I did, so many years ago, and vowed never to do this again.  

I “saw” that trash can only because I had planted some bad deeds in my life years ago.   I should expect to see cleaned up areas in my life, because I had taken a drastic step in cleaning up my mind and life.  You see the seeds we plant, either good or bad, never go away, unless we take action against them.  In fact, seeds that you plant years ago, not only don’t go away, but they get bigger, kind of like the action of someone cleaning up maybe 30 bottles of beer, that would equal an hour of time, to 40 years later, to cleaning up a trash can along a bank that equaled 4 hours of time.  Seeds get bigger over time.  

When you step on your mat, you do more than stretch your body, you CLEAN it out.  You clean out the clutter of your mind, and the tightness in your body, so you can reflect on the good you have done, along with the bad.  This is really beautiful, because it puts us completely in charge of our destiny.  We can control our future.  For what you sow, you shall reap.  They say the lotus flower that blooms a beautiful pedal flower comes from the muddiest part of the lake. I understand that now. if we can right our actions from the past, think on how the whole world would change from people cleaning up their past wrongs.

See you on the mat,

Paula

Fear? No, That’s confidence!!

Most people think that when you take a Yoga Teacher Training Course that you have desires to become a yoga teacher.  I did not feel that way.  I knew that I loved yoga, and every class made me feel awesome, so much so, that I wanted to continue feeling awesome for the rest of my life, so that is why I signed up.  I thought I would receive training on how to live, and that these poses could make me a healthy person.   I also felt like my angels (and inner gut) were practically shouting in my ear to do this, that it will be good for you, and to trust the process of learning.  I did get all that I expected, and so MUCH more!  

But I also had some major questions coming into training.  I was/am Catholic, would I be taught a different religion?  Was yoga a religion?  (answer:  No yoga is not a religion, but a way to live at peace with yourself and others, that aligns with your religion values, no matter what religion you happen to be). My biggest fear was still lurking…..I didn’t feel worthy enough to teach this awesome practice.  I couldn’t do ½ of the poses, I was very stiff and inflexible.  And, Oh the horror of standing up and teaching others how to do this??!!!  Very intimidating!!  But I put in the work of learning.  I was horrible at pronouncing Sanskrit, so my teacher made a cassette recording (back in 2006!) on how to say everything.  I went home, studied, worked, and put in the time to learn.  

You know, when you are ready, the teacher appears.  Thus, is how I happened to fall into teaching yoga.  Mid way through teacher training, I got asked to teach a class, and accepted, and things naturally fell into place.  Although I was nervous before, probably during and after teaching, it felt right to do this.  Probably more right than most decisions I had made with my life.  It took many years of teaching not to be so nervous, and to stand up and really know I can teach.  

I tell this story to my trainees to let them know, it’s ok to have many fears, it’s not ok not to do anything about them.  Sure, you might feel difficult overcoming any hurdle, but it’s better than doing nothing about getting over that hurdle.  

And the best part?  All these years later, when I stand up, teach, I still get a thrill!  I feel humbled and honored that people want to come to my class, but I get it’s not about me!  It’s about the student’s experience of yoga on their mat, and I’m just a “guide”.   If I have done my job of learning how yoga works, I can be a better teacher, and I’m still learning!  I work hard to “lighten” the load everyone carries, and to bring a little calm in their day, and to see them smile on the way out???  Bonus!! My friends!  Pure bliss!

See you on the mat,

Paula

“everything you want is on the other side of fear”

Spread your Wings!

Here’s Morgane and Shreparna spreading their wings!!

How many times have you got a message from the Universe calling you to do something, but old patterns or fears stopped you from doing that?  Some people say it takes us more than 7 times to hear some advice, before we are ready to “act” on that advice, and see how it works out in our lives.  

Have you ever heard the saying, “When the student is ready, the teacher appears?”.  This has been true in my life lately.  In February, I visited a yoga studio in Miami, and just signed up for a vinyasa class.  Well, little did I know how much this class would affect me.  I arrived, and this very big room had over 75 people in it….all ready for yoga, mats were being re-arranged for late comers, and people were getting caught up with their friends, chatting.  It started.  This teacher started playing the harmonium, got us OMMMMing, and then moved on to chanting.  Immediately, tears started rolling down, as emotions I held onto are being released.  After chanting, we did some very fast asana, before melting in some long hip/ low back releases.  The sweat was rolling.  After a very peaceful welcomed savasana, we sat up again, and did some final chants, before Omming for the last time.  

Some of you know how much I love to chant.  Chanting regulates the breath, opens up the chakras, very similar to the asanas or postures we do in yoga..  Some people do chanting as their yoga practice;  Called Bhatki yoga,  it is very powerful indeed!  This got me to dreaming, and recalling about wanting to do this when I first became a yoga teacher, ie:  chant + yoga.   I purchased a harmonium, and then started to look online wanting to take lessons.  Basically, my lessons fizzled out, as online and what was being offered was not working to teach me.  So the harmonium went into the closet and sat for 10 years or so.  Coming home from Miami, I just knew the time was right, and dug it out of the closet.

I started calling around, and found someone, who could meet individually with me.  Well, don’t want to toot my horn, but after 2 lessons, I am singing a song, and playing the harmonium with it, and chanting to Kali.  This teacher is floored, saying most people have a much harder time getting this instrument.  Well, I guess in my mind, I have been working up a long time to this moment.  I can’t wait for the day to sit down, and bring this amazing experience to Anahata;  it’s time, and feels OOOHHH SOOOOO RIGHT!!!  

Are you the same?  Have you been thinking about doing a yoga teacher training, or teaching aerial, but fears, timing, or just life has stopped you?  Well, I was reminded today, how very precious each day is, as I learned of a friend’s passing.  We only have this life, and if we are getting a message to do something, it’s probably because NOW is the time.  Pocket your fears, and sign up.  Maybe I’m the teacher you have been looking for.  

See you on the mat,

Paula

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