Category Archives: Yoga Reflections

Are You Really Ready For Advanced Postures?

Don’t Get Hurt Taking The Wrong Class

What’s in it for the teacher who teaches advanced postures in a multi-level class? Mostly money. But when your students book private lessons with me because they got hurt in your class it’s a clear signal to me that something’s wrong.

Those types of classes – power yoga, hot yoga, hot vinyasa yoga, aerial yoga, yoga with drapes, etc. – are all the rage right now because it’s an easy way to fill your classroom. Continue reading Are You Really Ready For Advanced Postures?

Yoga Teacher Or Yoga Therapist?

Yoga Therapy Takes A Holistic Approach

Yoga therapy takes a whole-body approach to yoga that starts with assessing each person’s overall health and working with any limitations that are present. Individual assessments are key, since two people with similar conditions could have very different medical histories or complicating factors that would require different courses of treatment.

Can yoga therapy be taught in group classes? I say yes, to some degree. I teach therapy in my Yum Yum Yoga class, where I ask the students to describe their problems. The list usually includes low back pain, tight neck and shoulders, and hip tightness.

Can I teach a general therapeutic class covering these areas? Yes. Will I be able to help each and every student with what might be causing this continual problem? Probably not.

These are broad brush strokes using yoga as a therapeutic tool. Many who find relief are amazed and they begin to gather postures or posture flows that release their tightness. The wise students that truly want their health back take these pearls home and use them between classes to help their problem areas. Some find relief and then want a private lesson to further help their healing. Continue reading Yoga Teacher Or Yoga Therapist?

Evening Practice to prepare for a wonderful nights sleep.

I hear so often that people have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep at night.  Either the mind is going from “things to do” or worry or hormones.  Being careful what we feed our minds before we want to go to bed makes a huge difference in our sleep.  Stay off the computer at least 2 hours before going to bed.  No TV, no newspaper reading, no novel but some light reading or better yet something inspirational… poetry is wonderful and positive before bed.

 I have posted before the Peaceful Sleep Recipe you can look that up  in the blog and it works wonders for me however, I also do calming things while I am sipping the treat or before.  Don’t expect magic you have to participate in this process.  Gentle yoga movements will also help to release the day and to prepare the body and mind for rest.  Here is one gentle yoga session that you can practice before bedtime to stretch relax.  Give it a go and let me know how it worked for you.

E= exhale   I= inhale         E/I= exhale & inhale in that posture

Lying on floor

E/I Knees to chest

E/I partial recline– knees bent feet on floor

E extend one leg long on floor

I other leg lifts with pointed toe

E Flex foot and lower leg till heel taps floor the repeat lift & lower X4 then sustain lift and rotate ankle 5 circle each direction. Moving with the breath

Rest in Savasana for a few breaths then repeat with other leg

E/I Knees to chest

E/I Partial Recline

Moving with the breath

Bridge rolls starting with small lift of lower back Continue reading Evening Practice to prepare for a wonderful nights sleep.

What is going on with the blog????

Well I am changing up the blog a bit.  I am not sure where or what it is going to transform into.  The daily classes were too confusing for everyone to follow or figure out so I may just do a weekly blog or perhaps a newsletter….. I am not sure.  I need to get a new computer and am looking into that as well.  My old one makes these things difficult to do.

So any thoughts on what you all would want the blog to be??   I have thought about just having interesting information about asana or general yoga thoughts or what is going on around town that is fun and not only yoga fun.  Perhaps a listing of workshops that are around.

I will start posting what aromatherapy I used in the classes along with the dates. I know many of you like to purchase them from Susan and it is hard to remember what I used when you are in that yoga bliss state.

Beginner Mind is always what is needed

This article is from a great source of yoga information.

With so many images everywhere of extraordinarily pliable people in striking impossible yoga poses, advertising “yoga for beginners” does help to take the fear down a notch or two for the newcomer. Unfortunately, that hurts the image of yoga more than it helps it.

Carving up yoga into levels of physical difficulty, does not give the right impression of it. It sends the message that yoga is about how well conditioned and flexible your body is.  In case you didn’t know … that has little to do with yoga.

Rarely do I meet anyone who is not a yoga beginner, actually … and that goes for some extraordinarily flexible yoga teachers too.  The modern yoga class culture would seem to suggest that physical mastery of some yoga exercises is the gauge we use to assess a person’s “level” of yoga.
If that were true, though, then we’d have to consider many athletes, world-class dancers and even circus performers as advanced yoga practitioners too.

But we don’t because we know that yoga has very little to do with how flexible you are or how much bodily strength and control you’ve gained. In the holistic science of yoga, these physical abilities really actually don’t count for very much.

Being an advanced yoga practitioner means much more than demonstrating how far you can backbend. It means demonstrating an uncommon level of poise Continue reading Beginner Mind is always what is needed

Peaceful Sleep Spiced Milk

Here are the two ways to make this peaceful sleep milk.  This also builds Ojas the nectar that is you.

Peaceful Sleep Spiced Milk from Denise O’Dunn  Balance & Bliss Ayurveda

Organic milk, soy milk, rice milk or almond dream –  to make 1 cup   Ghee (clarified butter)  1 spoonful   Maple syrup   to taste

Use a “pinch” to a “shake or two” of each spice —- to taste

Turmeric                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Cinnamon                                                                                                                                                                                                           Nutmeg                                                                                                                                                                                                        Ground Cardamom

Warm ghee till melted add milk or liquid of choice add all spices and when warm (not hot), pour into your favorite cup….. follow your breath as you sip slowly…….. enjoy the sweet aroma and imagine yourself drifting into a deep and peaceful sleep.    Good night

Another version from Larissa Carlson  also Ayurveda Lifestyle Coach

This can be used 3 times a week as it is very rich

Soak 3 dates and 8 almonds in water to just cover these items overnight. So this can be done in the Am if you know you want to drink this in the evening.  Pour off water and the skins of the almonds will slide off you can also remove the date skins if you like ( I eat the dates with the skins)

1 cup of milk of choice see above  add in these spices a pinch to a few shakes

ground ginger powder, ground cardamon, turmeric, cinnamon, nutmeg.  Warm this but not hot.  Can leave out spices you don’t care for or just use a very small amount.

You can have this in the am or evening (evening helps with sleep) or as a 3-4 pm snack.  Some people like to puree the almonds and dates or you can cut up the dates before heating or you can use your spoon to eat them.  Ayurveda eating encourages eating like a queen for breakfast and a King for lunch and a pauper for dinner so this could replace the evening meal.

BKS Iyengar at 92 still living yoga.

Iyengar Yoga is very much in my lineage of yoga that I study and the teachers I study with. It is beautiful with its focus on alignment and making the postures available to everyone using props.  Yoga will become a part of anyone that opens their heart to the practice…….. and this is what it is a practice something that is never finished even at 92.  
Much love to Mr. Iyengar
Going strong at 92
Published: Sunday, Dec 12, 2010, 10:22 IST
By Rahul Chandawarkar| Place: Pune | Agency: DNA

Yoga guru BKS Iyengar, who turns 92 on December 14, still breathes fire. Age has not diminished any of his energy and spirit.Sipping his favourite filter coffee in his study at the Ramamani Iyengar Memorial Yoga Institute (Rimyi) in Pune on Friday, he launched into a spirited attack on the proponents of ‘power yoga’ and ‘hot yoga’.“Hot yoga makes no sense. Beyond obvious sexual connotations, it means little else. Tell me, if yoga was actually hot, then why were the yoga maharishis performing asanas in the cold Himalayas,” says Iyengar.About power yoga, the nonagenarian says, “Power yoga is hardly new. My guruji taught us power yoga in the 1930s. Power yoga is nothing but a more exertive form of yoga which involves jumping. Yoga is simply the union of mind, body and soul.”

On the eve of his 92nd birthday, the yoga guru prides himself on living in the present. “I believe in living in the present tense. There is no point crying about the past and speculating about the future. I had a very difficult past. I had only two students in 1939 and the people in Pune were actually hostile towards me. However, I worked harder and succeeded. Today, Iyengar yoga has become a massive tree which has spread across the world. Nobody is hostile towards me and I have so many friends. I have every reason to live in the present.”

The yoga guru is happiest about being a yogi and a sanyasi. “God took away my wife 35 years ago and forced me to become a sanyasi. Today, I see God in every asana that I perform. I may not have called my institute an ashram and I do not wear orange robes, but at our institute, the sincere practice of yoga is the only objective.” the yoga guru said.The yoga guru, who still practices yogic asanas for at least three hours every morning said it had become an integral part of his daily life. “Yoga is not an addiction for me. It was an addiction when I was a young man. Today, yoga inspires me. Every day, I learn something new and interesting. I cannot have my meals, without practicing yoga. My practice gives me new ideas, thoughts and feelings,” the guru said.Elaborating on his practice style, the yoga guru says, “There are 300 joints, 700 muscles and 96 kms of blood circulation system in our body. When I practice a particular asana, I need to pay attention to every single part of my body. When I practice, my intellectual awareness is flows from head to toe, like the river to the sea. I find this gratifying and interesting.”

Yogic response to the BP Oil Spill

My teacher Aadil Palkhivala gives his thoughts about the oil spill and how we are all responsible.  See also my tweet for today for an article from  Barbara Streistand about the spill.

Things to think about and meditate on.

In Purna Yoga, everything — from the greatest disasters, to personal challenges, to the seeming insignificance of breaking a glass — must be viewed through the yogic perspective of cause and effect, so that we may take personal responsibility for our lives. Purna Yoga teaches us to look at each of our actions, thoughts, and feelings and to take full ownership of our choices and their effect upon the world. When we break a glass, it may be easy to accept the consequences of our choice: we clean up the broken glass, and resolve to be more aware and respectful of material objects. But when the problem is an oil spill of devastating proportions, it may be a little harder to accept personal responsibility. For, no matter how you look at it, each one of us is personally responsible for this oil spill.

Now before we all want to bury our heads in our hands and never look up, let me tell you that while this burden is shared by all of us, and it only takes a few of us to make a difference.

So, what do we, as yoga students, do? The first thing we have to do is to understand what is really happening and why. Energy sources such as oil and coal were pressed into the earth thousands of millennia ago. These resources were meant to be left alone and were put into the earth to sustain the earth and were never meant to be brought up to the surface. When we go inside the earth and pull out what is meant to be kept inside, there are going to be problems.

Very often you will hear that coal and oil are the black fuel from hell, while solar and wind are the bright energies from heaven. These resources are designed to be used because they are so accessible! However, because solar and wind energies are practically free, there is not much financial gain for large corporations for promoting solar and wind. Having made the decision as a race to use oil, we now need to decide what to do. We have to ask ourselves if it right to use so much fuel. Is this in integrity with our purpose? Are we willing to change in order to save our planet?

Second, we must understand the ramifications of this spill on all of us. The oil is polluting the water and the atmosphere as it evaporates. The oil is turning into tar balls ranging in size from pin heads to golf balls. Since fish do not distinguish between oil and food, when they open their mouth, tiny tar balls are swallowed and become part of the fish. If we consume these fish, or the fish that ate these fish, we are bringing these toxins into our bodies. Very soon we will have to stop eating fish until there is a total disintegration of the oil itself. This may take decades.

Third, we must do our work by inviting Divine Light into the earth and into the oil. We must ask with deep sincerity for the protection and the transformation of this dark energy that has been violated, that has been yanked out from the earth. Therefore it is important that students of yoga bring as much light as possible into the oil spill and into the earth, and ask The Divine to help us find a more peaceful resolution to our energy issues, ones that do not interfere with nature. As Margaret Mead wrote, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” The Divine only needs a small group of people willing to pray with enough sincerity for real and lasting change to occur.

Yoga Injuries being responsible

Here is an article that illistrates how yoga can get a bad name for “causing” injuries.  When reading over this article I couldn’t help but notice everything that was said between the lines.

In the first illustration of injury the writer admits that entering an open class rather than a beginner would have made her feel like she had been demoted. After all she had done years of yoga before…. but not for “quite awhile”. This is a very real illustration of the ego stepping in and pushing the body from feeling to forcing. The body will remember the previous years of yoga only if you offer the yoga with ahimsa (none harming) will the body open and flower with this offering.  Alas she did not offer yoga to the body in this manner. She pushed herself into an intermediate pose ,Plow, she also admits that her yoga practice had been in the past an addiction to the stretching feeling of the muscles releasing.   Not only did she join in a practice that was not a beginners she pushed into a posture that she was not ready for.  Did she use props such as blankets to insure the safe curve of the cervical spine? I think not since she developed a bulging disc in her neck. Thank goodness the Dr she went to said her disc could have been bulging before and that she had premature osteoarthritis (which she didn’t know she had). The more telling lines were ““But hyperextending your neck while putting weight on it most likely made it bulge even more, which pinched your nerve.” Plow and shouderstand are just that bearing weight on the shoulders  not the neck!!  Many people don’t want to use props because they feel it makes their practice beginner when it really is the advanced yogi that loves their bodies enough to create a stable, safe base to start their postures from.  Mr B.K.S. Iyengar uses blankets for his shoulderstand/ plow practice even after 70 years or more of practice.

The truth is also in the article which I attach here:    Overall, yoga has far more potential to heal than to hurt: Studies suggest it can help relieve chronic lower-back pain, depression and anxiety. And students tend to think of yoga as gentle and healing, even when done rigorously. But the fact is Continue reading Yoga Injuries being responsible