Tag Archives: yoga

Morning Rituals

lily pad

 

In the Ayruvedic Tradition, it is recommended to start one’s day with a morning ritual.  These rituals can aid in firing up digestion, bringing about a feeling of groundedness and are overall balancing.  After attending a mini workshop on Ayurvedic Morning Rituals, I made a commitment to  myself to begin more of a routine in the morning.  I decided out of the list of Ayurvedic rituals I would start my morning with a glass of warm lemon water, oil pulling and meditation.  Previously I tried a morning meditation practice and would end up very frustrated as I would sit and worry about packing lunches and getting everybody out of the house so, I just gave up on morning meditation and started meditating in the evening.  I decided to make this work, I needed to restructure my morning.   I Pack lunches first while doing my oil pulling then, after my daughter  leaves for school,with the house still dimly lit and quiet, I meditate.  Just after 2 days, I felt more grounded and centered and, grateful for the time I gave to myself.  I look forward to my morning rituals.  I also wanted to take a moment to share that the Yoga Studio that I teach at, Yoga on High, is opening a School of Ayurveda.  Please follow the link if you are interested in learning more about this.

http://yogaandayurvedainstitute.com/school-ayurveda

What are your morning rituals?  How do you start your day off feeling centered?

When diet is wrong medicine is of no use.
When diet is correct medicine is of no need.
~Ayurvedic Proverb

Exhale

sky

 

 

Ahhhh!  Doesn’t that feel better?  This is a time of year when our ‘to do list’ gets longer and longer and we run around practically holding our breath.   Sometimes in Urban Zen we advise a patient/client to notice their exhale.  This can often slow their breath rate and relieve feelings of anxiety.  When we exhale we release CO2 and other toxins and, create space for fresh oxygenated air which feeds our cells.  As we exhale consciously, we can release thoughts that are not serving us in that moment creating spaciousness for the present.   I invite you to take time to exhale.  Maybe you pause several times a day and take 3 conscious breaths allowing your mind to focus on each exhale and feel your feet on the ground.   I wish you and yours a healthy, happy Holiday Season!

Living with Intention

I’ve really missed being here!  I hope this finds you and yours well!  This past summer I set an intention to spend quality time with my kids and I did just that.  We had a wonderful summer together!  My kids for the most part got along.   We didn’t go on any extravagant vacations, we simply enjoyed each others presence, visiting local attractions, enjoying  trips to Jeni’s for delicious ice cream, and hiking through our local parks.

 

photo Elise and Liam

Intention according to the dictionary is: An aim that guides action.  At the beginning of many of the yoga classes I teach and attend, the teacher offers a moment to students to set an intention for their practice.  Often this intention comes from asking oneself, “why did I come to yoga today?”.  This intention creates an “aim” or focus for one’s practice, and, maybe even one’s life off the mat.

I have found  the act of setting daily intentions  allows me to maintain my focus and move through my day with purpose and connection to my family and students.  By no means does this mean that I live a “perfect” life without regrets.  Living with intention provides me a “road map” so, when I take a wrong turn I can find my way back.

As we head into the Holiday Season it is my intention to stay present and to enjoy time with my family.

Shitali Pranayama

Shitali means cooling.  I thought it fitting to share this breath practice as the humidity of summer arrives.  This pranayama practice is great for my MS students to help deal with the heat and, great for my prenatal students to lessen their nausea.  My daughter and I routinely practice Shitali Pranayama when we are feeling nauseous from hormonal changes.

Benefits: 

*Activates the liver and spleen

*Improves digestion

*Relieves thirst

*Calm  feelings of anger

*Alleviates nausea

*Can help lower fever

Shitali

 

How to:

Find a comfortable seat with the natural curves in the spine.  Stick your tongue out and curl it, if you cannot curl your tongue as this is a genetic trait, make an O shape with your lips.  Inhale through the mouth, feeling the cool air flow over the tongue then, close your mouth and exhale through your nose.  I’ve read that you should do 5 rounds of this breath in order for it to be effective and, I recently read to do no more than 10 rounds in one sitting.   However, you can practice Shitali Pranayama several times a day.

Note:  Please discontinue practice if it does not feel right for you.  Also, if you start to get a sore throat, gargle with warm salt water.

“Feelings come and go like clouds in a windy sky. Conscious breathing is my anchor.” Thich Nhat Hanh

Balance On and Off the Mat

sunset

Ardha Chandrasana has become one of my favorite yoga poses.  By engaging the core and finding the strength of the standing leg, I can open into freedom, into a feeling of bliss.  I often tell my students that by practicing balance poses we can find balance in our life off the mat.  Hmmm….  With my children home for summer and my erratic work schedule, I seek balance on a daily basis.  As I mentioned in my post Disconnecting to Connect, I set aside a day each week to just be with my children fully engaged and present.  This helps me to have some balance between work and family time.   A recent trip my family and I took to Lakeside, Ohio offered me just what I needed to feel firmly planted and open.   At Lakeside, there is very limited access to Wi-Fi, the local coffee shop is the only place that offers Wi-Fi, so I refrained from my daily activity on email, only using my phone to tell my daughter when to return to the cottage.  Our days were spent riding our bikes, walking down to play by the lake and sitting on the porch reading and greeting the passer-byes.  I felt firmly rooted with an open heart and mind to be present for my family and myself.  Returning home I had a busy week of Yoga for Girls Camp yet, I felt so grounded and open to each moment of the week.  I’m still enjoying a sense of balance as a result of this week that my family spent away from the chaos of our modern life fully engaged and balanced.

How do you find balance on and off the mat?

“Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance, order, rhythm and harmony.”  Thomas Merton

 

Yoga

Lately I’ve been seeing  so many photos of beautiful yogis in amazing poses that I can only dream of doing.  I know it is my ego causing me to feel insecure and less than.  I also know that yoga is so much more than a perfect body in a perfect pose.  After all I teach yoga to many populations that will never be able to attempt, Eka Pada Sirsasana, yet, they and I are still yogis and yoginis (female).   Yoga is more than the practice of asanas (postures).  It is also meditation and pranayama(breath practices).  I believe Yoga offers a set of tools to facilitate a life lived with presence and compassion.    I love yoga and am so grateful for finding yoga in my late 20’s!  I love how I feel after my practice and how yoga and meditation  help me to be more present and joyful in my daily life.   My hope is that if you have shied away from yoga because you are not fit, flexible, or are living with a disability,  you give yoga a try.  Find a studio near you that offers classes based on your needs and commit for at least 28 days and notice how your practice begins to affect you physically, mentally and spiritually.  It may just open your heart to yourself and the world!

“The success of yoga does not lie in the ability to perform postures but in how it positively changes the way we live our life and our relationships.” 

TKV Desikachar 

cobra

An AHA Moment

2012-09-16 15.42.00

 

I had a wonderful practice this morning.  As I laid down for Savasana my mind started to wander to posting here.  I was thinking that maybe I would post about setting intentions for practice, teaching and, living, for that matter.  I would share how I set my intention to be present and open to receive guidance.  Suddenly I had this “thought”,   not sure what to call it, that my body is truly just a vessel in which God’s love and work is flowing through. I felt this wonderful sense of comfort that I’m not really in control I just need to be and to remain open.  I began weeping.  I felt this overwhelming sense of peace, joy and freedom.  Surrendering control feels right, frankly, it feels amazing!  I’m sure I will move in and out of this comfort and freedom as life’s struggles appear but, for this moment, I’m celebrating this AHA Moment.    Have you had any AHA Moments?  Please share!

“Understanding dissolves fear.  When we understand the true nature of our being, fears dissipate.  We are spiritual beings not human beings.”  Brian Weiss