Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Yoga Pearls

When we first come to our yoga practice, many times it's about health or exercise, then about breath, but eventually you bring all of you to the mat.  If you haven't laughed or cried on your mat, wait no longer.

Namaste, Debbie

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Invisible Relaxation

(Previously published in the July, 2011 newsletter)
When you need to practice restorative yoga poses, but your situation does not offer the best environment, you can move into invisible relaxation.   You may be in the grocery store checkout line, wondering why the line is not moving and what's going on.  Instead of raising your blood pressure and getting bent out of shape, you can follow a few simple steps to relax, instead. You can access this method anywhere, whether you are seated at your desk at work, alone or in a crowded grocery store checkout line.  
By Tia Tran [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons
Begin by paying attention to your body, especially the position of your spine.  Elongate your spine and allowing a soft curve in the small of your back.  Be tall and strong  and imagine yourelf gently being lifted by the top of your head.  Allow a soft curve to form in the small of your back.  Close your eyes or look down.  
Awareness  to your breathing is next.  Take a few long and slow breaths, keeping the spine elongated.  When your spine is lengthened, your diaphragm will function effectively and your breath will be easy.  Allow your shoulders to drop with your exhalations, and relax your arms .  If you are seated, they can rest on a table.  Soften your abdomen, release tension around your eyes and around your jaw.  If seated, relax your legs, feeling the support of your chair; if standing, feel your feet rooted to the floor, but don't tax your leg muscles.  We only want firm footing, so the rest of your body can let go.
Rest in the present and, be in this moment and in this place, as you inhale and exhale deeply.  Allow yourself to be a part of your current  environment.  Be aware of your inner feelings, of the sounds around you and beyond the room or building that you are in.  Sense the texture and feel of your clothes against your skin, what is happening in this moment and include it all in your relaxation.
Return when you are ready.  Begin by taking a few more long and quiet breaths and slowly open your eyes or raise your head, giving time to your eyes to adjust to your environment.  Continue with your work or activities, now feeling relaxed and refreshed.

Namaste, Debbie

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

So...What IS Yoga?

Yoga is a mind body discipline that originated in India more than 5,000 years ago. Hatha Yoga, practiced in the West, focuses on physical postures or exercises called “asanas”, breathing exercises called “pranayama” and meditation. These components of yoga bring the body, mind and spirit together in harmony.
As individuals have become more aware of yoga’s benefits, it has gained respect as a valuable method for managing stress and improving health and well-being.
Credit: LocalFitness.com.au
Via WikiMedia.com
Many physicians now recommend yoga practice to patients with back pain, cardiovascular conditions, arthritis, depression, and other chronic conditions.
In the Yoga tradition a central theme is “everything is joined or yoked together.” A student of Hatha Yoga will benefit from connecting mind, spirit and body as physical postures, breathing techniques and meditation are practiced.
The benefits of yoga for health and fitness have long been reported by many students of yoga, and now scientific research is confirming many specific benefits of a regular yoga practice.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Letting Go

(Previously published in the Aug, 2011 Newsletter)
By Photos Public Domain [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
In life, we have much to be grateful for:  good health, abundance, love of family and friends, shelter and so much more.  Sometimes on our life’s path, we encounter an obstacle—a difficulty or change—and we react by holding on.  In reality, quite often it is best to let go.  In the yogic tradition, this is the practice of pratyahara, which is the withdrawal of the senses, and pranayama or breath.
I have used the following poem in class to assist us in our practice and to help with releasing that which we cannot control.  It is an anonymous poem called Letting Go.
Letting GoTo let go doesn’t mean to stop caring;
It means I can’t do it for someone else.
To let go is not to cut myself off…
It’s the realization that I can’t control another…
To let go is not to enable,
but to allow learning from natural consequences.
To let go is to admit powerlessness,
which means the outcome is not in my hands.
To let go is not to try and change or blame another.
I can only change myself.
To let go is not to care for, but to care about.
To let go is not to fix, but to be supportive.
To let go is not to judge,
but to allow another to be a human being.
To let go is not to be in the middle arranging all the outcomes,
but to allow others to affect their own outcomes.
To let go is not to be protective,
it is to permit another to face reality.
To let go is not to deny, but to accept.
To let go is not to nag, scold, or argue,
but to search out my own shortcomings and correct them.
To let go is not to adjust everything to my desires,
but to take each day as it comes and cherish the moment.
To let go is not to criticize and regulate anyone,
but to try to become what I dream I can be.
To let go is not to regret the past,
but to grow and live for the future.
To let go is to fear less and love more.