Yoga All the Time
By Laura Mills
I hadn’t noticed it coming on, but suddenly one day after breakfast I felt “icky”—and within the next few hours I realized I had a bit of summer stomach flu. Physically miserable and mentally frustrated, I had no energy with which to do my typical weekend activities like laundry and housecleaning. And, of course, with which to practice asanas…which particularly irked me. With TBY closed for renovation, I had intended to practice at home. But since the stomach flu is a poor companion to asana practice, I opted begrudgingly to curl up on the couch in what felt like a sloth-like stupor.
Amid my thoughts of how far behind I was falling with my chores and tasks, it also occurred to me that yoga at its simplest is taking care of the self. And I realized that in the state I was in, even though I wanted more than anything to jump off the couch into some vinyasas, the best thing for me at that time was rest. Sure enough, within three days my health and energy returned. I came back to my mat happy because I was once again practicing asanas, but happy also because I knew that even while sick I never really stopped practicing yoga.
Trying something new...
Trying Something New
By Laura Mills
I love Sunday afternoon yoga. It’s one of my favorite times to practice. It’s like my mental breakfast for the week; if I don’t get to a class on Sunday afternoon, I feel somewhat off kilter as I move ahead.
Usually occupied by social commitments or chores, Sunday afternoon hadn’t occurred to me as an optimal practice time until recently, one particular Sunday when I felt so stressed (I had been trying to set up a new computer) that I decided, “That’s it. I’m going to yoga.” This was a first; even after years of practice, I had never stopped mid-task and attended a yoga class on a whim.
I realized later that going to yoga was the best thing for me that day at that time. I returned mentally soothed and physically exhilarated. And looking at my “problem,” I no longer saw it as an obstacle. In fact, in my more settled state, and with the humility and gratitude to ask for assistance, the computer got set up just fine.
Since then I’ve paid greater attention to ways of optimizing my practice based on my mental and physical state any given day. Like other needs with which we nourish ourselves, to receive the most from our yoga I believe we require combinations—different times of day; different types of asanas, pranayamas, and meditations; different genres of music (or even, sometimes, no music at all). Tremendous joy, and I believe better health and greater peace, exist in exploring “recipes” that work
MENTAL DIGESTION AIDS US WHEN WIRED AND TIRED
FEBRUARY 6, 2010: As Americans we spend a lot of time thinking about physical digestion (what we eat, when we eat, what we're not going to eat, how many calories stuff has) but what about Mental Digestion. When we have poor mental digestion we experience stuff like poor sleep, obsessive worry, lethargy, impatience, fatigue, anger and an annoying degree of anxiety. How does this happen?
1. Being too sedentary keeps us in our heads, leading to overall mental stuckness. We need to move and breath, like we do in yoga.
2. Watching others move like on dancing with the stars doesn't help our mental constipation. We still need to move and breath.
Two articles that support this:
(1) Well, health experts say that sitting is deadly. "Scientists are increasingly warning that sitting for prolonged periods - even if you exercise regularly - could be bad for your health. ANd it doesn't matter where the sitting takes place - just the overall number of hours it occurs. Several studies suggest people who spend most of their days sitting are more likely to be fat, have a heart attack or even die. After four hours of sitting, the body starts to send harmful signals says Elin Elblom Bak of the Swedish School of Sport and Health Sciences as reported in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.
(2) In the January 29th, 2010 issue of the The Week, page 23 an article suggests "TV can kill you. Watching too much television may shorten your life by years. Australian researchesrs tracked the medical conditions of 8,800 healhty adults for several years; the more television the participants watched, the more likely they were to have died during hte years examined. On average, for every hour per day spent watching TV, a subject was 18% more likely to die of cardiovascular disease, 9% more likely to succumb to cancer, and 11% more likely to die of any cause. The culprit is the inactivity TV promotes. Prolonged watching of TV equals a lot of sitting, which invariablly means there's an absence of muscle movement, study author David Dunstan tells CNN.com. Long, unnatural periods of doing nothing physically, he says, clearly lead to premature death. The antidote is to just get up and move, he adds. The more you move, the greater the health benefits likely to be."
Our mental digestion is relieved by using the breath led poses in vinyasa yoga to help us circulate our energies, both physically and mentally. Otherwise our minds feel both WIRED and TIRED. We have this need to burn off excess energy that's pent up from sitting too much and we also need to breath and refresh our brains. Remember as John Doulillard, Director of LifeSpa School of Ayurveda in Boulder, Colorado says, "everyone thinkgs that when you can't sleep, you have too much energy, but usually people have too little energy: they are TOO exhausted to get to sleep." Please stay with your commitment to yoga and let your life be free of all constipation, mental or otherwise! Peace and light, Silvia
STRETCH YOUR YOGA DOLLAR FOR GIFTS THIS YEAR
GIFT CERTIFICATE PROMOTION: GET MORE FOR YOUR YOGA DOLLAR!
Purchase $50 gift certificate receive $10 more in value (eg buy $50 get a $60 gift certificate to give)
Purchase $100 gift certificate receive $25 more in value (eg buy $100 get a $125 gift certificate to give)
Beat the economic crunch by letting TBY help you stretch your money further in a good way. Ask any of our team to help you make a purchase at the studio at your convenience from November 23rd until December 25th. Wishing you peace on earth and more healthy wellness gifts for all mankind!
BEING HUMAN BY TBY TEACHER LYNN MINTON
NOVEMBER 20, 2009 CLASS THEME: I was cleaning out my email box and came across an email I had sent to myself while on a couples weekend in early October.
This is an excerpt from Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert I would like to share with you...
"The Yogis, however, say that human discontentment is a simple case of mistaken identity. We're miserable because we think that we are mere individuals, alone with our fears and flaws and resentments and morality. We wrongly believe that our limited little egos constitute our whole entire nature. We have failed to recognize our deeper divine character. We don't realize that, somewhere within us all, there does exist a supreme Self who is eternally at peace. That supreme Self is our true identity, universal and divine. Before you realize this truth, say the Yogis, you will always be in despair, a notion nicely expressed in this exasperated line from the Greek stoic philosopher Epictitus: "You bear God within you, poor wretch, and know it not."
St. Augustine wrote, "Our whole business therefore in this life is to restore to health the eye of the heart whereby God may be seen."
As I reread this passage and my heart smiles.
Have a joyful day,
I TEACH: Friday...Basics...1pm Monday...Level 1...1pm See you soon:)
DO YOU RESPOND OR REACT? HOW TO LESSEN THE DRAMA
I am feeling that vibe from the universe where I can tell folks are experiencing super busy minds but tiredness at the same time. Perhaps its end of summer buzz where we feel an energetic shift taking place and are in the process of making a million decisions for the next month. Well whatever the reasons I thought we'd focus tonight on clearing the mind and relaxing our hearts. Our philosophical focus on the difference between reacting and responding (only one is healing)!
We will begin seated with meditation, then recline followed by some supine poses to calm and relax. After this we will use standing poses to anchor us more fully into the moment. Finally I will guide us through a step by step approach to learning handstand (working at our own pace) so that you can practice this pose safely at home. At the end of practice we will enjoy an extra long final relaxation to bring it all together.
The poses will help us practice making choices. For we are surrounded with choices some more obviously healthy than others. Yoga wakes us up so we can be more present to the choices we are presented and from there we choose to either react or respond. These aren’t the same thing. Reacting is negative and Responding is positive. Which one are you doing?
Reacting is out of control feeling that just eats up our energy where we are too caught up in the details to understand the situation. Examples include excessive worry and anger. Whereas responding in calm and mindful and we are fully in charge of our feelings so no energy is wasted. We see the big picture. “Respond” comes from two root words: Re- meaning Back, and Spondere meaning “To Pledge.”
As a result in this practice we learn about our old ways of reacting, our habits and instead pledge to ourselves to create healthier habits and respond in a quiet way without the drama. In this way we no longer ourselves trigger fight or flight response with every decision and instead remain more calm. The sympathetic nervous system remains easeful and the mind finds quiet. It’s all here for you to discover on the mat. Love the day! Silvia
DOSHA CLASS: ROOT OF STRESS
Is this class for you? Well, if you experience stress in your life understanding Ayurveda can only help. Why? Because Ayurvedic theory takes nearly every conceivable stress influence into consideration—from seasonal changes that affect our well-being to what we eat and how we move that can all lead to disease. It also sheds light on the thought patterns and physical tendencies that can make stress a constant stumbling block or a non-issue, depending on how well we understand ourselves. To put it in most simple terms Ayurveda boils down to one basic idea:
Trace stress back to its roots, then find lasting ways to change the patterns that cause it.
According to Ayurveda, each of us has a unique mix of three mind/body principles which creates our specific mental and physical characteristics. These three principles are called 'doshas'. Most of us have one or two doshas which are most lively in our nature, with the remaining one(s) less significant. The three doshas are known as: Vata, Pitta and Kapha.
So join me to learn more about how to Balance Your Dosha, address the root causes of stress instead of the symptoms. All in an effort to live in peace and happiness. Yours with blessings, Silvia
INTRODUCTION: · Philosophy is the love of truth · Science is the discovery of truth through experiment · Spirituality is the experience of truth and application of it in daily life · Ayurveda is the science of life – both systematized knowledge and practical wisdom, an art of living healthy that ecompasses all phases of life, body, mind and spirit. It includes practical and theoretical aspects. · Ayurveda building blocks – 5 elements (Space, air, fire, water and earth) exist in all matter both organic and inorganic. Man has all 5 elements within him as we are part of nature. Our 5 sense and how our bodys function related to the 5 elements. · These 5 elements combine into 3 basic energies or principles which are present to some degree in everyone called doshas. · Space/air make up vata · Fire and water make up pitta · Water and earth make up kapha · Doshas govern our choices biological and psychological. When in balance they generate noble qualities such as understanding, compassion & Love. · When out of balance due to stress, improper diet, environment they give rise to negative emotions such as anger, fear and greed. · All three are in everyone but just like our fingerprints are different and unique everyone has an ENERGY PRINT · Health depends on maintaining this proportion in balance. Balance is the natural order of things, imbalance provokes and reflects disorder. · Health is order, Disease is disorder · You can learn to see that self understanding is the foundation of life. Habits and tendencies are related to our constitution. · When you can anticipate the kinds of illnesses and imbalances you are likely to have, you can take precautions to PREVENT THEM FROM ARISING. You can adjust your lifestyle daily routing, diet, amount of sleep, type of exercise to keep your DOSHAS IN BALANCE and health at its best!
· Philosophy is the love of truth
· Science is the discovery of truth through experiment
· Spirituality is the experience of truth and application of it in daily life
· Ayurveda is the science of life – both systematized knowledge and practical wisdom, an art of living healthy that ecompasses all phases of life, body, mind and spirit. It includes practical and theoretical aspects.
· Ayurveda building blocks – 5 elements (Space, air, fire, water and earth) exist in all matter both organic and inorganic. Man has all 5 elements within him as we are part of nature. Our 5 sense and how our bodys function related to the 5 elements.
· These 5 elements combine into 3 basic energies or principles which are present to some degree in everyone called doshas.
· Space/air make up vata
· Fire and water make up pitta
· Water and earth make up kapha
· Doshas govern our choices biological and psychological. When in balance they generate noble qualities such as understanding, compassion & Love.
· When out of balance due to stress, improper diet, environment they give rise to negative emotions such as anger, fear and greed.
· All three are in everyone but just like our fingerprints are different and unique everyone has an ENERGY PRINT
· Health depends on maintaining this proportion in balance. Balance is the natural order of things, imbalance provokes and reflects disorder.
· Health is order, Disease is disorder
· You can learn to see that self understanding is the foundation of life. Habits and tendencies are related to our constitution.
· When you can anticipate the kinds of illnesses and imbalances you are likely to have, you can take precautions to PREVENT THEM FROM ARISING. You can adjust your lifestyle daily routing, diet, amount of sleep, type of exercise to keep your DOSHAS IN BALANCE and health at its best!
MAY 22, 2009: Some of us cannot afford to travel far away places for spiritual retreat but yoga class provides us the same benefits right here in our backyard. So travel with me to a place where we can refresh from the events of this week. Ok? So what does it mean to find renewal? To better understand this we must first ask ourselves how do we define Health? Do you have health? Do your work colleagues or family members have health? If you know what Health is then what is WELLNESS? Are they the same?
The WHO (World Health Organization of the UN) defines health as “not only the lack of disease, but also the physical, social, spiritual, and mental well-being of the human.” So to me this sense of renewal we realize from yoga is to move us not from disease only but toward radiant well-being. There is a continuum of wellness. And it is on-going and in process. We don’t just get it and stop because we’re done.
This is why renewing our spirits, our sense of hope on the mat is vitally important.
If we eat dinner on clean dishes and then tomorrow try to eat on those dirty dishes it wouldn’t make sense. We would understand that we have to wash them and we’re not done there, if we use them we’ll have to wash them again and again. Same goes with keeping our spirit refreshed. We have to work at it. Each day we find ourselves making withdrawals from our spiritual reserves so each day it is crucial we make deposits and renew our commitments to our improved wellness. So join me on the mat day in and day out for your own Spiritual Renewal so you can feel renewed enough to think more clearly and figure out the right course of actions to take next. Love yourself, love your day, love your life! Silvia
HOPE: HOW YOGA PREPARES US FOR CRISIS
APRIL 10TH, 2009: There has been a lot written about how yoga can help modulate the stress response. A great article in Harvard Mental Health April 2009 edition goes into wonderful detail about this. Key points made from this article include "yoga practices can reduce the impact of exaggerated stress responses and may be helpful for both anxiety and depression. By reducing perceived stress and anxiety, yoga appers to modulate stress response. This in turn decreases physiological arousal - for example reduicng the heart rate, lowering blood pressure, and easing respiration. For many dealing with stress yoga may be a very appealing way to better manage symptoms. Indeed, the scientifc study of yoga demonstrates that mental and physical health are not just closely allied, but are essentially equivalent."
So what this says, which yogis have known, is that we practice yoga today to help us manage the crisis we might face tomorrow. It might seem weird to think of ourselves preparing for challenges but it makes sense that the best time to prepare for a crisis is BEFORE it happens. In class we try out various poses to create sometimes stressful situations (for instance a new pose, a pose with lots of sensation, transitions from pose to pose) and we observe how we respond. We practice responding to the crisis in other words. So then we can diagnose ourselves in our own crisis management. How would you do?
Do you lose hope when faced with something new? Do you respond to trying and failing with self criticism, do you give up? Do you get mad at the pose, at the teacher, at God? It is easy to give up hope. But the sobering reality is that if we give up, we are mentally and physically impacted.
Einstein says, "Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow." The worst thing we can do is lose hope, stop risking living our lives fully become fearful or worse yet apathetic. Apathy is the enemy of love. And yet in these sometimes trying times so many of us have lost hope. So consider this "To lvoe is to risk not being loved in return. To hope is to risk pain. To try is to risk failure, but risk must be taken because the greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing."
I understand, I used to have the false belief that if I "did life right" everything would be smooth sailing and I'd be protected from anything bad or unpleasant. Then my Dad died suddenly trhough hospital negligence, then other family members became sick, my corporate job was in jeapordy. And I realized everything we are learning today is preparing us for tomorrow's crisis. Yoga won't stop stress. It will help us manage stuff that happens to us. There lies the difference. And it asks that we have the quiet courage to remain hopeful above all else.
An unknown author writes, "May you have enough happiness to make you sweet, enough trails to make you strong, enough sorrow to keep you human, enough HOPE to make you happy." So dudes, breathe HOPE because you know without a doubt that your YOGA practice will prepare you for any difficulty you face! With humble love and enormous gratitude, Silvia
YOGA FOR HEALTHY BACKS: FREEDOM!
NOVEMBER 18, 2008: So here's the thing you guys, you know my history, Run Over By Car, Back Pain Result, Yoga is Medicine, No More Back Pain. It's a short story. Now as I've often said in class the physical pain is nothing compared to the emotional toll illness/injury take upon us. I've been there. If feels like you're TRAPPED. Like you can't get out. If feels like what I imagine prison to be like.
So tonight we talked about Freedom as it relates to a healthy back. It was powerful for me and I hope it was for you too. You see I totally believe in FREEDOM: Freedom from physical pain, freedom of choice, freedom of speech, freedom of feelings, freedom to love, freedom to be yourself. But really for me it started as a desire to be FREE of back pain, then it moved into a desire to be free of emotional pain. So here in a nutshell are the key points from tonight's practice. ENJOY! BE FREE, LOVE FREE! Silvia
Yoga Poses help back pain by improving circulation that brings nutrients to the intervertebral disks while removing toxins.. Disks don't have independent blood supply therefore they depend on movement of surrounding structure to aid in the delivery of nutrients. Movement causes the disks to be compressed which squeezes out stale disk fluid and then to expand bringing in fresh supply. Be sure to stretch all major muscle groups around the hip joints: adductors, quads, rotators, hamstrings. When Hip rotators are tight they hold the pelvis too much and the force of movement transfers up to the low back putting strain from there on up the spine.
Best Yoga Pose Focus: Move spine in all 6 directions (flexion, extension, rotation, lateral flexion); Puppy/Cat Tilt on all fours and in Bridge Pose; Hip Rotator Stretches (Supine Pigeon, Seated Pigeon, Pigeon, Standing Pigeon, Warrior Poses; Gentle Twists (Triangle); Safe Forward Bends (Wide Legged or Supine on your back)
Yoga Breathing: Slow deep breaths help ratchet down an overactive stress-response system, which leads to muscle relaxation because it triggers the "relaxation response" the antidote to flight or flight. The focus on all three parts of the lungs (especially deep abdominal focus on exhalations) helps bring in more oxygen. The wave like undulation of deep inhales and exhales gently massage the spinal column which brings nutrients to spinal disks.
"Yoga done right gets more interesting over time. Good poses don't just improve the functioning of the physical body, they engage your mind. Bringing your attention to what you are doing, and precisely how you are doing it, builds the ability to feel your body's signals. This greater proprioceptive awareness (your felt sense of your body position) also allows you to notice changes-this serves as an EARLY WARNING SYSTEM when stress, poor posture or other factors may be leading to back pain." - Dr Timothy McCall