Thursday, December 30, 2010

Ten Reasons to Try Yoga

Hi Friends -As we begin a new year, I want you to consider giving yourself the gift of yoga. A class, videos on youtube, a DVD (Rodney Yee is great), or a show on TV (Namaste on Fit tv). Below is a list I found and wanted to share.
Namaste, (the light in me sees the light in you)
Yoga is accessible to all, recommended by many respected enthusiasts, and has a wealth of associated benefits. The practice of yoga can range from meditation and breathing to challenging movements that require skill and stamina. If you're wondering whether yoga is for you, consider these 10 reasons to give it a try.

1. Mind and Body/ It feels good!

The breathing and meditation exercises taught in yoga act as natural tranquilizers, lowering your blood pressure, heart rate and levels of the stress hormone, cortisol. It is a natural way to improve many stress-related conditions such as anxiety, insomnia, depression and even medical conditions such as migraines or asthma.

2. Lung Function

Yoga encourages deeper, slower breathing and strengthens the lungs by putting these good habits in place for those who practice it.

3. Focus

Yoga increases concentration, memory and focus by helping to discipline the mind.

4. Pain Relief

Some people have reported reduced pain associated with PMS, neck and back problems, auto-immune diseases and many other conditions.

5. Circulation

Various yoga poses aid circulation and oxygenation of cells.

6. Stamina

Yoga movements and poses improve strength. Poses are designed to impact various muscles and are also said to massage internal organs.

7. Flexibility

Those who regularly practice yoga will notice their range of movement increasing and enjoy the benefits of greater mobility and flexibility.

8. Posture

By increasing self-awareness, core strength and good postural habits, yoga will help those who practice it regularly to hold themselves better and move with more grace and agility.

9. Anger Management

By teaching those who suffer from anger-related issues more patience, yoga develops the tools to enhance a calm mind. Yoga can be beneficial as part of an anger management program.

10. Confidence

All of the ways that yoga improves someone's life encourages self-confidence, self-belief and a more positive outlook.
*note - these photos were taken by my amazing 8 year old son Indy in early fall.
My photographer holding my jacket while I snap one of him

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Listen to your Heart

Sit comfortably, close your eyes, inhale, exhale, let go. Stretch your arms up then flow them down. Reach forward, chin down, relax, and breathe.
Give this simple gift to yourself.
Make time to listen to your heart. What does is say?
listen to your heart
painting by Lori Portka

Friday, December 3, 2010

The Gift of the Present

It was really tough for me to get to my yoga class today and my students had no idea. Two of my children had bronchitis this week and I was feeling drained and had a scratchy throat myself. I got up, made everyone breakfast, dropped the kids off at school, and my little Scout (three year old son) and I were on our way to yoga all before 7:40. Did I mention it was a struggle today?

It is a 30 minute drive to where I teach so I turned on the radio and tried to get in the yoga teacher mood. Thankfully a mellow Pink Floyd song came on and I was humming along. A wonderful memory actually popped up of my dad and me, front row at a Pink Floyd concert in the 90's. What a bonding experience that was - talk about living in the moment!

After dropping Scout off at Kids Klub, I made it into the cold studio with two men already on their mats. One of the guys uses his daughter's purple mat and that made me smile. The other man came back from his first class with me last week. I love it when first timers come back!

I had a nice group of 12 - mostly regulars and some new. I explained I my throat was a little scratchy but we were going to really enjoy this hour. I began class with them lying on their backs with knees up and breathing. I read a favorite bit out of Yeah Dave's Guide to Livin the Moment book.
He writes,
Living in the moment doesn't involve any crazy stretches, far-fetched formulas, or life-changing diets. it doesn't require you to give away your possessions, commit to wearing loin-cloths, or memorize sacred texts.... "Livin' the Moment" simply suggests redefining the things you love most (e.g., a taste of chocolate, a sip of wine, a great tune) as gateways to the power and beauty of being present.

It ended up being a great class. A student came up to me at the end thanking me, saying she needed the class so much today and she really focused on being in the moment on the mat.  The "new" men told me they already felt younger after two classes, and I floated out feeling refreshed myself. Sometimes the best experiences happen when we least expect them. It's being open to living in the moment and making it count that matters most.
Shine your light,