Ebb & Flow

Month: October, 2013

Ice Cream for breakfast

Image

I had to share this one, the best soft serve I have ever had, with only 4 ingredients

1 cup frozen bananas

1/2 cup almond milk

1 spoonful almond butter

1 spoonful cocoa or cacao

Blend until smooth (add a little more almond milk if it gets stuck.

Yum…just yum. you’ll be running around with this one asking others to try it.

Advertisements

Sutras

images

Just a brief snap shot of yoga

Patanjali is the writer of the yoga sutras. They were believed to be written 1700 years ago and contain 195 sutras. These sutras are intertwined with many Indian philosophical systems including Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism.

I find hatha yoga developed by B.K.S. Iyengar very fascinating. The use of blocks and bolsters and straps allow the new practitioner to attain poses and learn where they can progress if they continue their practice. Also….the best class I have ever attended was an advanced yoga class in college where we learned how to use bolsters. The entire class went silent and I don’t remember where the hour went because I was so entirely relaxed. I even forgot about the noisy metal heater behind me. Iyengar yoga is based on Patanjali’s eight limbs of yoga.

1. Yama: there are 5 yamas outlining ethical standards of how you conduct yourself

2. Niyama: there are 5 outlining self discipline

3. Asana: the body is the temple of the spirit, asanas are what is also known as poses which develop concentration

4.Pranayama: the breath

5.Pratyahara: withdrawal from the outside world and developing inner strength

6.Dharana: recognizing internal distractions

7.Dhyana: being entirely aware with uninterrupted concentration

8.Samadahi: peace

Yoga Room

Image

To me a yoga room is a safe space. It is well lit with lamps and takes advantage of natural sunlight using windows. For hot yoga, the fans regulate the temperature of the room to create the most comfort for your practice. Wood floor is best, as it is easier to clean for a hot class and does not absorb the smell like a carpet floor would These are the physical attributes of the room that contribute to a great practice.

The feeling of the room is entirely up to the teacher. It should be a place where you recognize you are safe. If you are the teacher and you use harsh words, or make someone uncomfortable, you have altered the feeling of the room and it is very difficult to regain the trust of your students. As a teacher it should be your goal to create comfort, be mindful of others and their comfort levels. It takes a lot of trust just to come to a studio! “I’m in my pajamas (or bathing suit) I’m gonna move my body all around you all-strangers in this hot room…sorry if I sweat on you.” It’s scary at first. As a teacher recognize those fears of yourself and your students and use your voice, cues and sometimes gentle assistance to let them know, “I’m hear for you, don’t be scared, I’m just so happy you are here. We are all in this together.”

I’ve been in a room where the teacher got upset and the whole room’s shoulders went up to their ears. An extreme case but it sticks in my memory.

Image

I’ve also walked into a teacher training and had a teacher welcome me with a smile and ask me to join and greet me with a hug. I was so embarrassed walking in, but she made me feel so comfortable and happy to be there.

Be mindful of your words, gentle with others trust and practice your own meditation, so that others may practice theirs. Remember humor is good, and always appreciated in class. Just a little smile to lighten up on the load of a difficult practice.

Kitchen Play

Play with your fruits and veggies. Here’s some fun recipes to try this week.

Greek yogurt and blueberry quinoa parfaits in a ball jar

imgres-2

 Pumpkin peanut butter and apples

imgres-3

Cute Thanksgiving Veggie Turkey

imgres-4

Handheld Cucumber Salad “sandwich”

images

Salad in a ball jar :]

imgres

Whipped Peachy Keen Quinoa

imgres-1

Yurrmz

Yoga Transformation

A beautiful story to inspire all. Arthur changed his life through yoga and by never giving up.

What is your yoga challenge?

Do you find yourself feeling like you need to look or act a certain way?

Do you feel as though there is not enough time in the day to practice?

Do you spend too many hours thinking “I should be doing” then you do doing?

We all face these challenges. It is important to be aware of our inner voice, but not let it guide our emotions and our actions. Recognize that the inward monologue is not nearly as important as the world around you and the 2 feet beneath you. You can choose to step out of your fears and do. You do not have to hide in your “I shouldn’t or I should’ve or shoulds.”

Walk out of your history today and if you feel like doing yoga in the park or smiling at a stranger because it just feels right-then by-golly do it! Don’t let your fears  become you.

Go with the Flow

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Flow 1: 

Downward Dog

Inhale R leg up- bend your knee-opens the hip

Look up flex your foot- R leg to your R thumb-back foot flat

Inhale warrior 1-look up

Exhale warrior2

Look at right palm-R palm up

Inhale over into Reverse warrior-back arm slides down the leg

Glide back to warrior 2

Turn to the back wall, elbow meets the knee

Inhale L arm straight up-look up

R hand meets ground on the outside of the foot

Upper arm to ear-palm facing the ground

Look down-L arm down

Raise onto back toes

Inhale R arm up-look up

Wrap-pull shoulders square to the side wall

Look down

R hand on the inside of R foot

Walk your hands forward-elbows down-lizard

Head down- you may drop the left knee and point toe-breathe

Back knee up-back foot flat

Inhale L arm up-look up

Wrap or bind

Shoulders parallel to side wall

Come into lunge-heel pops up-chest up-Hands at heart center

L elbow meets R thigh

elbows one line-stay here or inhale R arm up-L arm extends to the floor

Wrap or Bind

Look down drop hands to floor-R foot back

High to low

Exhale body down

Inhale up dog

Exhale downward facing dog

L leg straight up bend the knee open the hip….

(Repeat on the other side)

Flow 2: 

Inhale R leg up point the toe

Look up at R thumb-step it through to R thumb-back foot flat

Inhale warrior1

Exhale glide into warrior2

Look at R knee-Turn you toes in and turn to the side of the room

Feet parallel

Stretch arms out-shoulders down-chin up

Exhale swan dive

Grab your heels-elbows bend

Eyes on floor-inhale pull-exhale pull

legs straight, open your feet more, eventually your head will touch the floor, pull and pull

inhale arms out to a T

Come all the way up

Exhale warrior 2

Look at floor-hands to floor

High push up

R hand beneath you-stack the legs

Inhale upper arm to ear

maybe lifting the top leg-toe pointed

Hold it

Look down hands down high plank

Hold here or 5 military push ups

4-3-2-1

To your flow exhale lower

Inhale up dog

exhale down dog

(Repeat on L side) L leg up, point the toe

Flow 3: 

Meet in Downward dog

Inhale R leg up point the toe-bend the knee-open the hip

Look up flex the foot- R foot forward to R thumb-back foot flat

Inhale warrior 1 look up

Exhale glide into warrior 2

Eyes on R knee-R leg straight

Exhale into triangle

Stretch up-stretch forward R arm comes down meet floor or ankle -L arm goes high

Look up reach up

Exhale wrap

shoulders parallel to side wall

Look down-hands to the mat- step back foot forward to make a small teepee

R arm up look up-wrap

Look down-arms fly back into airplane

Body weight forward-L leg up point the toe

Hands at heart center

Half moon-R  hand down-L arm up

Rotate you are between 2 walls- flex L foot

Airplane arms up palms down

Hands at heart

Twisting half moon

L arm down R arm up

Point the toes

Look down hands to mat legs back

High to low

Exhale body down

Inhale up dog

Exhale downward facing dog

Inhale L leg  up point the toe-bend your knee-open the hip…

(Repeat on L side)

Flow 4:

R leg up point the toe

Look up

R knee come to R wrist for pigeon

L knee down-point back toe-R foot in line with L knee

Inhale head up-slide L leg back-look at the mirror hips square

Hands push into floor chest up

Exhale look in the mirror

Lifft back leg and stack your legs over the front-or sit with ankles crossed

Inhale arms up

Exhale body forward-walk fingers head down relaxed

Head up-cross ankles

Hug your knees into chest

Arms in front of you Roll over feet-palms to mat as you jump or step into high push up

Hold bring your body forward on your tippy toes

Exhale body down

Inhale up dog

Exhale down dog

Inhale L leg up point the toe… (Repeat on L side)

Exit flows with inhale half lift

exhale forward fold

Inhale rise up

Exhale hands at heart center for tree prep

Mirror Effect

imgres

If you have ever opened your eyes big and giggled at a baby, it is likely you have seen the gesture returned with chubby cheeks and a giggly little wiggle. Mirror neurons are how we are able to learn from watching others. Mirror neurons are located in the premotor cortex. When we observe someone moving or performing a particular actions, we observe and create motor circuits to perform similar actions.

Bikyasa yoga does not use mirror neurons directly. The teacher is giving commands and cues to change the movement of the class. There are many, especially those that are new to the class, that will watch others and perform the movement as they see around the classroom. This is why many studios encourage new students to place their mats at the back of the class. This is not punishment, it’s to allow new students to copy those that have been practicing for a long time and have developed their postures. Muscle memory will come with repetition, mirror neurons respond to what they see instantaneously.

Mirror neurons may benefit in my training if I observe good examples of posture and movement and bring that to my own practice. Studying and learning new words and cues that I find helpful will take practice and research on my part. From my class this morning I learned that I really liked the teacher’s cues for High to Low push up.

Inhale body forward

Exhale lower body-elbows in-low push up

Inhale toes point-shoulders down-chin up- up dog

Exhale-roll over toes-hips up to downward dog

after the first round you can simplify it to even fewer cues

Day 1

I was very nervous for class. As we began class in child’s pose, my head was literally spinning. After we completed the first sun salutations, and I realized that I knew this sequence and I felt confident that I could let my body move, I felt calm. When we returned to child’s pose again, I felt at ease. It was like dancing again, we had danced together, and all shared the same experience in our own way, there was nothing to fear.

As the class went on I felt much more at ease. When it came down to the act of teaching the class in small groups, I was not prepared for what I would find out about myself. I was so worried about reading the script which is meant as a dialogue, not as prose to memorize, and so worried about my classmates at my mercy that I completely jumbled my words. I got myself tongue tied and saw the result- a small group of people trying to “look up and look down” at the same time…ooops!

On my car drive home, I may have looked crazy, but I could recite all the way up to the first downward dog, with all of my favorite cues and with good timing. Speaking in front of a class, this will come with practice. I know now, I am confident in how I move my own body and when I am speaking to myself, but I struggle to let myself speak and act as a yoga teacher to others. I hope this post will help others who are struggling with this same concept. It’s not easy trying to guide someone through an action which you are directing, I have a whole new respect for directors. Guiding a yoga class is like taking a mirror, turning it upside down and trying to write the alphabet backwards today, but with practice it will become second nature and there are many skills (like being direct-and not apologizing all the time!) that will be very beneficial for me to learn.

-Greta

Introduction

27030_1340240019993_5155565_n

When I hear the phrase “ebb&flow” I think of the ocean, that power of the tide rushing in. It could knock you off your feet as it comes in and leave you chasing after it for more when it leaves. Hours could be spent watching the tide chasing and tickling the sand, and you feel a part of something bigger than yourself as you follow the dance.

This is how I felt when I stumbled upon yoga, truly stumbled. I had spent years practicing dance and yet I knew that my balance was always my weakness. I could move and turn as much as I pleased, but when it came to sitting still, I would briefly pause and move on before it became clear I had fallen. The first thing I learned that made me love yoga, was that you do not have to be entirely still to balance. There is always a movement, an active transition, an “ebb&flow” if you will to maintain a static motion. You feel your calf muscle twitch as you stand on one foot, it is actively moving to maintain a stillness. And that unlike dance, you will fall, and that’s entirely ok. That’s all part of the learning process that never ends, for any of us.

I wanted to be a part of that, I wanted to teach and meet others that were scared to try it because of preconceived notions of what yoga is.  I wanted to create a class that challenged others, and that yoga does not necessarily mean standing still or amazing flexibility.  I wanted yoga to be seen as something that could be done everyday by anyone, not as chore, but as a meditation that brought you back to the feet beneath you. It is about recognizing where you are and connecting with that person and accepting yourself as you are, even and especially those days when you fall.

-Greta