As I observe the leaves changing colors and falling from the trees, being grounded and balanced in my yoga practice is what comes to mind for me. A great pose that symbolizes having a firm foundation while also being balanced is Vrksasana.
- Reduces fat on thighs.
- Opens up the hips, stretching deep hip flexors.
- Stretches and strengthens the shoulders and back.
- Expands the abdominal region, improving digestion and elimination.
- Improves posture.
- Opens the chest, improving respiration.
- Loosens up the vertebrae.
- Relieves lower back pain.
As we say good-bye to Summer and hello to Fall, this month we are focusing on transitions--the act of passing from one state to the next. In yoga philosophy this can be viewed as transitioning into the various stages of consciousness, working through the eight limbs of yoga or transitioning from one chakra to the next. As we transition from Summer to Fall, let's bring our attention to the transitions we experience on and off the mat.
Off the mat, think about how yoga has transformed your lifestyle. Observe your actions and reactions to see if you notice any difference i the way you approach things now that you've gained your practice. Has you yoga practice helped you transition through life in a more conscious manner or with more ease?
On the mat, practice graceful and smooth transitions as you progress from one pose to the next. Place your body parts on the mat softly and with little sound. Encourage ease in transitions even when they are challenging by using the breath and finding softness in asana practice.
We were excited to host this beautiful bride as she gets ready to leap into her new journey and adventure of everlasting love. It was an intimate affair of close friends and family who enjoyed making artsy, personalized mugs before each person lined up to give the bride-to-be loving advice. With shared wisdom from loved ones like, "never argue in public, keep your relationship problems at home", this union is sure to last a lifetime.
Here are pictures from the bridal shower. We wish the beautiful Brittney lots of luck!
Meditation can be done simply. You don’t need to have any equipment. You don’t need to learn any fancy techniques or esoteric language. All you need to do is to bring stillness to your body and invite your mind to be still and simply pay attention. Bringing stillness to your mind is hard, but it’s worth the effort.
What can meditation do for you? For one, it can help you with stress-management. Yes! Who doesn’t need help there? Meditation cultivates focus on what is real right now. If you are stressed, what is real right now? Right - your stress! Your feelings are part of the reality of you right now. Meditation helps you to see yourself as you are. No judgment. No labels. No diagnosis. No blame. Just be aware. As you come to be familiar with what stress is like for you, you can begin to put it into some perspective. You acknowledge your stress, and you acknowledge everything else that is part of you. Meditation can help you to see that you are more than your stress. Your stress doesn’t have to take over your life. You can find those other aspects of your self – the self the world needs you to be. First, you need the awareness.
Here is a very basic meditation to try:
Begin with an appropriate posture. This has nothing to do with manners. Nobody is going to judge you for how you sit, but you want a posture that you can sustain for 20 minutes or more. Slumping or sprawling taxes your back and this will distract you. You can sit in a chair or on a cushion. Start with a straight back, roll your shoulders away from your ears, and let the crown of your head rise. If you are sitting on a cushion, you should cross your legs in a comfortable manner. Try to keep any strain out of your knees. If you are on a chair, you want your feet flat on the floor. (If your feet don’t reach the floor, see the cushion instructions.) Your hands can rest on your knees or you can fold them in your lap.
Now that you have your posture, take a deep, cleansing breath and let it out. Gently close your eyes. (After you’ve read this.) Breathe normally and pay attention to this breath. Your mind is going to wander. This is what minds do. Meditation is a way to train your mind so that it can focus. Focus now on your breath. Do this by counting. Inhale – exhale – 1. Inhale – exhale – 2. Inhale – exhale – 3.
There is no prize for counting up to ten or twenty or 130. There is no penalty if you never make it to 2. Counting your breath is only a device. Think of it as a platform on which you can rest your mind. When your mind starts to wander – and it will – bring it back to this platform and start counting again. Inhale – exhale – 1. Inhale – exhale – 2. You’ll have to catch your mind and bring it back several times before you’re done. Don’t worry about this. Remember that counting isn’t the point. The experience of meditation is its own goal. That experience can include the counting; it will include a wandering mind, and it should include your effort to bring your mind back to a platform of focus.
Meditate for as long as it feels right. There are two qualifications here. First, you should try to meditate for at least 15-20 minutes. Again, there are no prizes if you meditate for an hour or more. There is, however, research and anecdotal evidence to suggest that meditating for less than 15 minutes doesn’t do much for you.
Be gentle with yourself when you meditate. Meditation is practice. You’re not in any competition. There’s nothing to achieve. You’re just extending an invitation to your mind to settle down and pay attention. Remember that your mind is going to wander. This is okay. The practice is the adventure.
The Anahata Chakra is the Fourth Chakra, the Heart Chakra. When we listen with our heart instead of our heads we have the ability to tap into anahata sound which is called the unstruck, subtle sound that is often experienced through meditation. It is when you find union with I-AM.
There are many ways to connect with the Anahata Chakra:
-Stay with your feelings and allow them to be their guide.
-Practicing asanas in silence (w/o music) and concentrating on the heart
-Bija (seed) sound for the anahata chakra is YAM, replace OM with YAM
-Placing palms on the heart and just observing how that connection feels
ॐ Become familiar with some basic poses: Going over a few basic poses like Warrior I, II, Downward Facing Dog and Child's Pose will help you feel more motivated in your first class.
ॐ Arrive Early: Arriving early not only shows respect for your fellow classmates, it also helps you mentally and physically prepare for your yoga class.
ॐ Eat light and healthy: Eat a small nutritious meal before class and drink lots of water. It’s best not to eat at least two hours before class. Drinking water is fine up to class.
ॐ Get comfortable: Wear comfortable clothes that don’t restrict movement. No “yoga pants?” There is really no such thing, if the mood fits, jeans can become yoga pants (smile). T-shirts, tanks, leggings and sweats are just fine. We also have comfortable clothing for sale in our boutique.
ॐ Take your shoes off: Yoga is practiced barefoot and on the earth; shoes are not permitted, socks are not encouraged. Not wearing shoes in the yoga room is not only hygienic but it is also a sign of giving respect to a sacred space.
ॐ Ask questions: If you have questions about yoga, feel free to pull your teacher aside and ask her anything that comes to mind. We are here to make you feel comfortable. All are welcomed.
ॐ Unplug and be polite: Cell phones are a distraction to your classmates and your own mind—please “unplug” before you enter the studio so you can be present in your practice and show respect for your classmates. TURN CELL PHONES OFF, not on vibrate or silent, OFF to make sure it is really OFF. Be mindful of the other students sharing their love and energy with you.
ॐ Don't let your ego guide you: Your ego will rise when you start this journey so remind yourself constantly that the studio is not a place for comparison. You will start to learn and know more if you come often and practice regularly, but don’t become pompous. Let your lifestyle be proof of your practice instead of developing an us vs. them mentality. THIS IS A NO JUDGMENT SPACE and PRACTICE.
When I turned 30, not only was I depressed because I was single with no kids, but I also started getting pimples on my cheeks. Having gone my entire teenage and adolescent years virtually pimple free, you can imagine how surprised I was to get pimples as an adult. At first they were tiny ones I could pop away, then they turned into what seemed like huge volcanoes underneath my skin that would take months to erupt. I later learned, after visiting an over-priced dermatologist, that these stubborn pimples were called cystic pimples. To my dismay, I was now battling what the dermatologist called adult acne (wth). Fast forward seven years, I got over the single lady blues, but the acne still greets me every month. I’ve used the prescriptions the dermatologist regrettably prescribed after I told her chemical peels just won’t do. Like most Western medications, the gels and creams attacked the symptoms, but they didn’t even do a good job at that. Two weeks ago I became fed up and looked for alternative, holistic ways to address my adult acne. Like every homeopathic method, I started looking at my diet. Let thy food be thy medicine.
I eat pretty healthy regularly. I gave up beef and pork at the age of 14, I don’t buy and therefore don’t eat junk food. I stay away from cookies and cakes except for me and my partner’s birthday, I buy organic and free from foods, and I exercise regularly. However, one element that was consistent in my research was dairy. Over and over I read it is not good for the body, it causes bacteria to build-up and it even causes cystic pimples. I eat yogurt almost every day and have done so religiously for seven years, which is as long as I’ve been experiencing acne. Needless to say, this discovery was very disappointing. Morning yogurt has become a routine for me and I love it, but if my body is indeed saying no to dairy, I must hear its whisper to see if it is actually a cry. I have to test eliminating dairy.
[Let me pause here to inject my reasoning. No I am not vain or attached to my body. I know very well I am not the body and this face of mine matters very little when it comes to discovering Truth. However, the acne is a sign that I am not taking the best care of my body, which is my temple while I am walking this earth. Bottom line, I am not practicing ahimsa.]
Now back to the story at hand…
After several nights of researching I decided it was time to practice a yoga lifestyle. I ditched the synthetic gels and creams to give holistic methods a sincere and open-minded try. I made a trip to the Healthy Grocer in Camp Hill and spent an outrageous $150 (ouch!...ouch!...did I say…ouch!) on bentonite clay, psyllium seed husk and other supplements. Oh, and $30 on fruits and vegetables (yes, there is a bit of imbalance here). I zealously pulled out my juicer and began pressing the fruits and vegetables for my 7-day juice fast. I read it takes at least 7 days for the body to get rid of toxins, but I fumbled at day 3. Here’s the thing. If you’ve ever researched juice fasting you will find that most experts say day 2 is a drag, but day 3 is like heaven. Energy levels soar, you experience mental clarity that is unmatched by caffeine, and you just feel great. I personally find on day 3 that I am more humble, present and spiritually connected with all that is around me. So what goes wrong you might ask? Although I feel great and I don’t even feel hungry--on day 3, I do miss solid food. I miss its texture and density. So I eat, I crunch, I chew on something solid.
Two weeks have passed since I tried my detox and each week I’ve crashed at day 3. A new week has begun and today is day 3. My collard greens, kale, carrot, apple and lime juice is in jars and ready to go. Now that I am more conscious of what goes wrong, let’s see if I have the will power to get past today. Stay tuned….
~Nicoli Rena Sinclair
We welcome you to come and explore your yoga, your spirituality and your freedom of expression. With one-of-a-kind handmade clothing, home goods and handicrafts from across the globe, we are giving you a space to express the full you. Explore our new grounds and embrace this new and exciting journey with us. Most importantly, express yourself.Read More