Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Instructor Toby Boring: strength & flexibility

Toby, a certified vinyasa yoga teacher through the Ashville Yoga Center, has been practicing yoga for fifteen years (seven of those with Debbie Harvley), consisting of group classes and his own personal practice at home.
Toby grew up on a dairy farm in Tennessee, but currently resides in Greenwood, teaching yoga at Mat Works since his retirement in 2011.  Yes, he is a serious Clemson fan, in case you see his orange yoga mat and wonder!
His favorite thing about yoga is how it changes. He came in for the exercise, and ended up learning more about the breathing and balance poses. "They require strength and flexibility." Toby remarked. "You wouldn't think they would, but they do."
Any advice for the rest of us? "Get on the mat and just do it," he says.
And his favorite pose? "Triangle, because it requires strength, balance, and flexibility. A little bit of everything," he says.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Give Yourself a Challenge

(Previously published in the Sept. 2011 Newsletter)
In order for our yoga practice to grow, we must learn how to challenge ourselves both in body and mind.  During September, National Yoga Month, why not deepen your practice by giving yourself a challenge.  You may want to consider using some of the following techniques:
Move to the Edge when you are in a familiar posture by stretching a little deeper into your posture.  This stretching is a magic place known only to you.  By being in touch with your body, you can listen for when you've arrived at YOUR edge.  Release all distractions and focus on your body, as you explore your edge, posture by posture.
Add a Challenging Posture or two to your routine.  Look for the ones that give you a feeling of strength, power and self-confidence.  Think about the one that you usually avoid or the one that you've told yourself you can't possibly do--just try it.  Be in tune with your breath and how it helps you move your body to the edge with your new postures.  Let go of the negative emotions and allow yourself the opportunity to meet your challenge.
Visualization Offers Power in working towards a difficult posture. When you learn to use the power of the mind, you will be able to help your body move deeper into a pose, just by working to SEE yourself in a new pose or just deeper into an existing pose.  Just deepen your breath and work to SEE every detail of moving into your challenging pose.  SEE yourself smiling and holding the pose for a longer period of time.  Focus, breathe deeply and power up with this new awareness.
Pratyahara to Help Create Inner Focus.  This is the point in your yoga practice where you move from the exterior sensations to the interior, using the breath and mind to focus on the body.  The key is to observe your body and breath as a witness. 
Try these methods on your own, or ask me about them at the beginning of the next class you attend.
Namaste, Debbie

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Yoga Pearls

When you are practicing a difficult pose or a new one that you aren't familiar with, choose to move into the pose in a mindful way, with a healthy dose of ahimsa (non-violence).  Focus on a regular practice with a systematic approach and the pose will be attainable.  So many of us want to do the full pose immediately--NOW!  Perhaps it is not appropriate for us now.  Be patient.  Persevere.


Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Teacher Appreciation Day & Teaching the Teacher

Today is Teacher Appreciation Day.  I offer much gratitude to all of our wonderful Mat Works teachers.

Today is also my last workday of this week.  Tomorrow is the first day of my advanced yoga studies teacher training at the Asheville Yoga Center.  I will have three days of instruction to further my knowledge base in yoga.

Being a teacher is very rewarding.  Knowing that I can apply my knowledge to help others is satisfying and healing.  As teachers, we can tire and we can become stale.  Taking time away from the work and continuing our education keeps us balanced and up-to-date, so that we have more to share with students--with all of the Mat Works Yoga community.

I've been waiting a long time to study with Gary Kraftsow, founder and director of the American Viniyoga Institute.  My class is "Therapeutics and Viniyoga".  We will study how to offer yoga therapy for the lower back, sacrum and hips; as well as the upper back, neck and shoulders.  These new skills wills allow me to assist many of our Mat Works students like Despina Yeargin, who needs daily therapy for neck and shoulder tightness and pain.

I look forward to continuing our yoga practice together.  This is a wonderful and healing community of dedicated teachers and students.  We are all blessed.