Meditation

Ten poses to relieve stress & anxiety

Like last week, this week’s inspiration for class came from lessons learned along the way to manifesting change in my life. I’m currently holding the threads of several projects in my hands and meditating, praying, working, envisioning… anything available to weave them into the life I wish to create. Each of them is dear to my heart. I am fully committed to seeing each of them through- all of them tied in some way to yoga, this ancient, transformative science that I love. I want to guide, help, and inspire others through yoga. I want to help them realize the infinite brilliance within themselves by walking the walk and leading by example.

The dedication I feel in my heart to doing what I believe is my life’s work will not rest, and it will not take ‘no!’ for an answer. Even if you don’t have an entirely clear vision of what that “work” looks like for you, you may still feel the pull of your heart’s knowledge that you are, in fact, here for a reason. That your life has meaning. Your heart’s longing to reconnect with that purpose may feel as urgent as the burning dedication I feel to willing my yoga “career” into existence.

So, the time to do something about it is now, right?

In the interest of doing this as expeditiously as possible, I’ve honed in on the tremendous time-suck that is stress and anxiety. They can deplete you on every level… often needlessly. I mean… can you ever remember worrying your way to a positive solution? When was the last time you sat back and marveled at how constructive your stress is? Know why? Because it’s not.

We need all of our time and energy to be available for this mission of ours- correct, Captain? So, stress and anxiety. MUST. GO.

As I was beginning to build this ‘relieving stress and anxiety’ asana sequence, it occurred to me that idea is a bit redundant. Greater calm, peace of mind, and present awareness are benefits of every yoga practice I can think of. I found, however, that certain asanas and categories of asanas are linked more strongly with producing changes in the body that soothe feelings of stress and anxiety. Inversions, for example, are well-known stress and anxiety busters, along with any poses that get the heart elevated above the head. The increased blood flow to the brain can change your whole outlook on things.

Postures that stimulate and engage emotional centers in our body soothe stress and anxiety as well, such as backbends (for the heart center) or hip-openers (for the hips and the sacral chakra).

Here are ten of the stress-and-anxiety-relieving yoga postures that made the final cut for class this week:

1. Cat/Cow (Marjaryasana)
2. Downward-Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
3. Pigeon Pose (Eka Pada Rajkapotasana)
4. Locust Pose (Salabhasana)
5. Wide-Angle Seated Forward Bend (Upavistha Konasana)
6. Half Lord of the Fishes Pose (Ardha Matsyendrasana)
7. Bridge Pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana)
8. Legs-Up-the-Wall Pose (Viparita Karani)
9. Reclining Bound Angle Pose (Supta Baddha Konasana)
10. Corpse Pose (Savasana)

Of course, I would be remiss not to acknowledge that stress and anxiety often have such a powerful hold because we are not always fully conscious of the ways they are working. They can become a kind of default response that happens without our conscious mind offering any say in the matter. If we override that pattern of defaulting to stress and anxiety whenever a challenge arises, the power of our conscious presence opens up a multitude of positive possibilities for dealing with life.

We brought this onto the mat by “making it conscious,” using our practice to anchor our consciousness in the present moment. Making the breath conscious, silently repeating, “the breath is going in – the breath is going out.” Making the postures conscious, paying close attention to the unique physical sensations of each one. Making movement conscious, moving with integrity and intention.

“Making it conscious” can transform any challenge or situation by bringing your awareness to the resources available to you right now. And, let me tell you, they are far beyond anything you realize when burdened by stress. I play the “making it conscious” game while making dinner, cleaning the shower, eating, driving, working… the list goes on and on.

If there is one thing that I gained, personally, from this week’s adventures on the mat, it is a greater sense of power over stress and anxiety. By shining a conscious light on them, I feel more able to see and accept them for what they are. From that place, I have the upper hand in deciding what role they will play in my life- whether I will let them interfere with my dreams or meet them courageously/consciously like any other challenge. Guess which one I pick, mes amis?

We concluded class this week with a guided meditation using the San Kalpa sutra. It is an ancient Sanskrit sutra that amplifies the power of your intentions.

My intentions could sure use a little amplification right about now. How about yours? Try it and see!

Namaste!

Share

Yoga this week!!

Uh oh! I will be teaching this week on Monday at 10am.

Monday comes after Sunday, and Sunday is lil man’s 4th birthday party. Apologies in advance for leading our class with a wicked birthday cake hangover. ๐Ÿ˜‰

No, that’s totally not true. It will just make me… sweeter.

Join us to find out the exciting conclusion to our story!

Topic of the week: Relieving stress and anxiety with yoga

See you on the mat!

Share

This little light of mine…

Confidence.

What can I confidently say about confidence? That was the task that I set before myself when preparing to teach this week.

Before I had even begun giving too much attention to my class this week, one word kept coming up: confidence. The idea resonated with me, personally, as I am manifesting changes in several areas of my life. In my yoga career, especially, I am recognizing more and more the importance of self-confidence and believing in yourself. It’s fundamental.

But how could I translate my inspirations about confidence into a yoga practice? I felt that the idea was worth exploring. After all, success would mean that one of my students might connect with her own sense of self-confidence in a new way.

‘Ok. Let’s do this.’

I decided to begin where any serious inquiry begins- on Google. I found pages upon pages of insightful quotes about confidence, most of which essentially boil down to the same thing: Have faith and confidence in yourself and anything is possible.

Believe in yourself. In your dreams, aspirations, and abilities.

All of it hitting right at the level of the solar plexus chakra (manipura, meaning ‘cave of jewels’). It is the chakra of ‘I can.‘ Of willpower. Of honoring one’s self. Its color is golden, sunshine yellow, and it radiates from the base of the sternum like a little, golden sun.

Twists are the category of postures most closely associated with the solar plexus chakra, so I included several twists (prayer twist, supine twist, and matsyendrasana).

We also returned to the visualization of the radiant, golden sun in standing poses, like mountain and warrior I.

Fearlessly shine that light of yours in every direction for all of creation to see.

Working with these exercises helped me experience ‘confidence’ in a new light in the days leading up to class. In my meditation and yoga practice, I began to connect ‘confidence’ to other chakras, too, especially the root chakra (muladhara) and the throat chakra (vishuddha).

The root chakra governs our sense of safety and security. Without a strong foundation, we cannot stand tall. How can we make the leap for our dreams and ambitions if we are standing on shaky ground? Standing poses strengthen the root chakra (mountain, warrior I, eagle, humble warrior).

Finally, I integrated several postures that activate the throat chakra (vishuddha). This is our center of communication outward, governing our ability to verbalize our thoughts and ideas and to speak our truth. Forward bends are the category of poses that is associated with the throat chakra. We paused in uttanasana and paschimottanasana for somewhat longer than other poses to allow a deep opening of the entire body and to stimulate the throat chakra.

Taken together, these three chakras and their associated qualities light the picture of confidence that came into focus for me this week. As I said before, this particular combination resonated with me most in this time of manifesting in my life and working to bring about positive changes. I know that these ideas hit home with many of you, too. So many of us are riding the seas of change and attempting to keep our balance. If you were not able to come to my class this week (or if you were), I hope that some bit of information that I have shared has touched you in some way and that you are inspired to recognize that you are, in fact, awesome and fully able to realize whatever you set your mind on.

Yes, my dears, you can.

Namaste!

Share

Kamelien loves you!

โ€œIf you look deeply into the palm of your hand, you will see your parents and all generations of your ancestors. All of them are alive in this moment. Each is present in your body. You are the continuation of each of these people.โ€

~Thich Nhat Hanh

Happy Born Day to Thich Nhat Hanh! And also, to my son, Maxim, and my dear, sweet Grandma Martha with the angels! 0:)

Share

Yoga props for your home practice

Happy Wednesday! I made you a present. I initially intended to make this video in September (National Yoga Month), but I was sidetracked by illness for a little while there.

But I didn’t forget you, my dears!

I made this video for you to demonstrate ways that you can re-purpose items from around the house to use as yoga props. My home practice is the heart and soul of my yoga practice. It gives me the ability to spend time on my mat every day even though I am a full-time mommy.

Even if you don’t have time for an entire class, just spending a few minutes in postures that work the areas where you need it most can change your whole outlook. Or if you have a few minutes before bedtime, you can do a few restorative postures to let go of your day and prepare your body and mind for sleepytime. Use the props that I’ve suggested in this video or have a look around and get creative.

Here are links to the sites I mention:
~YogaGlo
~Yogis Anonymous
~My Yoga Online
~SoulTV

I don’t know about you, but my favorite part is the rainbow.

Share

Yoga this week!!

There’s a yoga party, and you’re invited!

Monday at 10am.

Don’t be tardy for the party.

ps- the word for this week is: Confidence.

Share

WWHSD? (What would Higher Self do?)

Well, my friends, we’re 10 days past the fall equinox now, and my fall check-in is over. The intensive period of “fall cleaning” has come to an end, and I have much more clarity about the work I have ahead of me in the remainder of 2012. As I was preparing to teach this week, I hoped to bring some of my new-found inspirations to the mat and share them with my students. So, what is my final answer? What bits of wisdom do I have to impart as we move ahead? In short, love, love, love yourself. When it comes time to choose, choose love!

As part of my fall check-in, I listened to Doreen Virtue’s Chakra Clearing: A Morning and Evening Meditation to Awaken Your Spiritual Power (available on iTunes) regularly. It was a great addition to the process, doing the kind of clearing energetically that the fall winds are working on outside right now. The segment related to the sacral chakra resonated most with me.

In that segment, she asks the listener to release their appetites and desires to the light within, aligning the listener’s personal will with the One Will of their Higher Self and Source.

Two of the most active fronts of my fall check-in involved my efforts to give up caffeine and sugar. At times, I would catch myself pre-assuming that hitting the drive-thru for a big, tall, sugary drink was part of the plan. My habits and appetites were over-riding my power of choice without me even noticing. So, along with a regimen of hip-opening poses (balancing for the sacral chakra) on the mat, I relied on the affirmation that I shared with you last week:

โ€œI am harmoniously aligned with the ceaseless flow of supply and love that springs from the golden fountain of light from within my center. All of my desires are perfectly balanced right now.โ€

It became like a kind of WWHSD (What would my Higher Self do)? And, guess what? The answer was nearly always the same: Make the choice that is kind, loving, and life-affirming. Doing so now will have ripples of positivity far into the future.

I had chosen to let go of caffeine and sugar because, despite an initial boost, they leave me feeling depleted and… just plain yucky. More and more lately, those trips to the drive-thru would end with me feeling sick, anxious, and jittery. Each time I saw the same result, I would wonder why on earth I was making the same mistakes over and over- and treating myself so unkindly. Rather than dwell, I decided to make a better choice, and the habit of turning to my Higher Self in moments when I was tested was supporting that process. After I had been working with that for a few days, I came to a new level of understanding… while browsing videos on YouTube. YouTube was recommending a video from Doreen’s Angel Detox Month. The title or description asked something like, “Has your Higher Self been guiding you to give up alcohol?”

Click!

Had my Higher Self been speaking to me all along (though I wasn’t getting an A+ at listening)? Had it actually been my Higher Self asking me to make more loving, healthy choices for myself? Had my choice to focus on phasing out caffeine and sugar been guided by my Higher Self?

Of course.

I became more intent on being open and present to the wisdom of my Higher Self. Then, pop! The same word kept coming up over and over- Ahimsa. To be more in tune with the wisdom of my Higher Self is to be dedicated to observing Ahimsa, or non-harming. Always make the kind, loving, compassionate choice, beginning with the choices I make for myself.

As all of these pieces began to fall into place, I came across and article by Erica Rodefer, 5 Questions Before Going Deeper. In her article, she explores the practice of Ahimsa on the mat. She interprets the Sri Sathya Sai Baba quote, โ€œBefore you speak, think- is it necessary? Is it true? Is it kind? Will it hurt anyone? Will it improve on the silence?,โ€ for the practice of asana.

The points she brought up in her article served as a great springboard for introducing Ahimsa into my class this week. I offered her questions to my students as a way to bring their attention back to the present moment, back to their breathing, and back to a place of listening to the cues they get from their bodies, as well as from the wisdom within.

I encouraged them to be open and honest with themselves in determining the version of the poses that suited them best. After all, going into a deeper expression of a posture can, even will, come over time with dedication and mindful attention to the body’s cues. Making the safest, most loving choice for your body right now will lead to being able to go deeper after time. The inverse, however, is not true. Pushing to go deeper now will not lead to good form in the future. In fact, it will likely lead to an injury in time. It may momentarily flatter your ego or satisfy some appetite, but is that worth making a choice that may endanger your well-being in the long run? If you pause to ask yourself- is it kind? is it necessary? will it hurt anyone?, and then listen for the wisdom of your Higher Self, the answer will be clear.

Namaste!

Share

Yoga this week!!

October is here!

It is one of my very favorite months. I get to celebrate with all of the wonderful, beloved Libras in my life, including my little man. And, man, birthdays can be fun when you are four. Like- magical.

At least, that’s how I remember it. Lucky me! I get to take part in that with my son soon.

Halloween’s also a major celebration in my house. I would venture to say that it is second only to Christmas. Big. Time. Stuff.

So, join me on Monday, October 1 at 10am to kick off this exciting month with yoga!

You know you wanna ๐Ÿ˜‰

Share

Can I get a witness?

Very soon, it will be a year since I began my yoga teaching career in earnest. Looking back over this year, I have learned an enormous amount about living life as I’ve tried to discover my unique voice as a teacher. I’ve become much more of a teacher to myself than I had been for a long time. That is wonderful and needed. I know it is work that will continue for the rest of this lifetime. And now, I’m ready to have some other students, please. Ha. But no really, I feel like I’ve had a great year, and I am ready for more. After a year, I am committed to expanding as a yoga instructor more than ever before.

So now what?

Sometimes, phrases or concepts or images will buzz around like bugs in the summer. Do you ever get that? Something will circle around my head over and over until finally I have to pay attention to it. One of those things lately has been the idea of discovering my own unique voice as a teacher. What do I wish to say and how do I wish to say it?

I became a yoga instructor for the love of it and its ability to deepen my understanding of life. But I can’t just tell my students or anyone who will listen to do what I do and expect them to receive the same kind of benefits that I do. What is it about yoga that has captured my heart and imagination for so long and how can I translate that as a teacher?

My first step, I decided, would be to go back to where the love affair began- my mat. Like I often say, “I forget the question, but yoga is the answer.” So, I’ve gotten on my mat more faithfully than I have since before my son came along. My practice is stronger than it has been in more than 5 years. It’s not just more advanced, it’s richer.

My focus grows day by day. I am relearning my body. Not everything is where I left it, so the experience is that much fresher. It’s like a whole new world. I see its ripples out into other areas of my life, too.

So, that’s all great for me, personally, but what does it mean for me as a teacher? What about this experience do I want to share?

If I had to distill it into a short answer, I guess I would choose: learning to approach life from the heart-space. Or shorter yet, witness consciousness.

I have not only been practicing more “advanced” postures, I’ve also been exploring in the other direction, balancing vigorous vinyasa practices with restorative ones. I’ve discovered that my sense of the beauty of yoga can be experienced in a challenging arm balance or the most lulling restorative pose. The ways of getting there may be different, but when I’m “doing it right,” I arrive at the same place-the stillness of my heart.

From there, I am able to witness the big picture more fully and objectively- without getting caught up in the mental gymnastics that my ego finds irresistible.

It was a breakthrough for me the day I realized that I did not need to silence my stream (sometimes cloud) of thoughts. Rather, I could just give up paying them so darn much attention. Turn down the volume, as it were.

The more I acknowledge my thoughts and let them go, watching them float by from my heart-space, the more I adept I become at approaching the present as a witness rather than an ego.

If there’s any part of my yoga practice that I hope to share in my teaching, it’s that. It’s not the most complicated asanas or transitions. Approaching the present moment with an open heart, regardless of where your limbs are positioned and what your mind might want to say about it, and witnessing a bigger picture.

Lucky thing for me- when you teach from that place, you are much more able to teach about that place. So, I am staying faithful in my asana practice and striving every day to practice the qualities that I want to be able to teach to others. I must say- I’m looking forward to the next year. I feel positive about what experiences it has to hold.

Want to connect more deeply with your heart center right now? Sit in a comfortable seated position. If you are in a chair, place the soles of both feet flat on the floor. Hands can rest in your lap. Focus all of your attention on the area of your heart. Take 5 slow, deep breaths, matching the length of your inhalation and exhalation. Feel as if you are able to gently draw the breath in through the heart center and release it gently through the heart center.

Namaste!

Share

Crystal in the spotlight: Amethyst

And finally:

7th chakra / crown / amethyst

Attributes: Amethyst is one of the most spiritual stones, promoting love of the divine, giving insights into its true nature, and encouraging selflessness and spiritual wisdom. It opens intuition and enhances psychic gifts. This is an excellent stone for meditation and scrying and can be placed on the third eye to stimulate it. Sleeping with Amethyst facilitates out-of-body experiences and brings intuitive dreams. It transmutes ‘lower’ energies to the higher frequencies of the spiritual and etheric realms.

Healing: Amethyst boosts production of hormones, and tunes the endocrine system and metabolism. It strengthens the cleansing and eliminating organs and the immune system. An excellent cleanser for the blood, Amethyst relieves physical, emotional, and psychological pain or stress, and blocks geopathic stress. It eases headaches and releases tension. […] At a subtle level, Amethyst balances and connects the physical, mental, and emotional bodies, linking them to the spiritual. It cleanses the aura and transmutes negative energy, and stimulates the throat and crown chakras.”

~from, The Crystal Bible by Judy Hall

Yes, please!

Share
Page 3 of 812345...Last »

Upcoming Events

Jul
27
Thu
4:00 pm Yoga @ Vera Via
Yoga @ Vera Via
Jul 27 @ 4:00 pm โ€“ 5:00 pm
VeraVia is an all-inclusive, luxury health and wellness retreat, located within the Park Hyatt Aviara Resort in Carlsbad, CA. Please visit VeraViaFit.com to learn more.
Jul
28
Fri
9:00 am Prenatal Yoga @ Cap Wellness Center
Prenatal Yoga @ Cap Wellness Center
Jul 28 @ 9:00 am โ€“ 10:15 am
Prenatal Yoga appropriate for all trimesters.
Jul
29
Sat
12:00 pm Yoga @ VeraVia
Yoga @ VeraVia
Jul 29 @ 12:00 pm โ€“ 1:00 pm
VeraVia is an all-inclusive, luxury health and wellness retreat, located within the Park Hyatt Aviara Resort in Carlsbad, CA. Please visit VeraViaFit.com to learn more.
Jul
30
Sun
9:30 am Prenatal Yoga Flow @ Cap Wellness Center
Prenatal Yoga Flow @ Cap Wellness Center
Jul 30 @ 9:30 am โ€“ 10:45 am
A 75-minute yoga flow, appropriate for all stages of pregnancy.

Latest Instagram posts

Latest tweets

Subscribe for updates

Email Format