Why YOGA? with Danica Hedin

When I was 4 months postpartum with my daughter, my assistant manager suggested a Yoga Mamas class, taught by his wife, Deirdre Frank.  I had been looking to do a class where I could bring my baby to participate with me, so I decided to try it. I have tried many different workouts at many different places, and never felt like I was a part of the group. Poser YOGA has been the only place where I’ve ever felt like I’m truly a part of a second family. (It was in that class where I met another wonderful woman, Jenny Houston, and her little girl Waylen!)

I felt nervous when I went for the first time, but it quickly dissipated after meeting Deirdre. I’ve since told her, if she hadn’t been so nice and compassionate, I probably wouldn’t have come back. My first class left me feeling amazing, and it was then that I decided that yoga was right for me. I have practiced regularly for over 2 years now, and it’s the only thing that has actually stuck with me. It resonates with me. Through yoga, I have met and taken some classes from some incredible teachers, and I am proud to have them in my tribe, and as friends.

I have always been prone to anxiety, especially through my teenage years and into adulthood, and it was exacerbated after an unfortunate circumstance. Practicing yoga has helped me heal through trauma, combat my postpartum anxiety (I experienced it with both of my children), and anxiety in general. It has become more than a workout. It has be come a lifestyle that I utilize every day whether through asana, meditation, or interacting with people. I choose to be more compassionate because of what yoga has taught me. It has also helped me be a more patient woman and mother, even in my most stressful times. In those moments, I can count to ten and slow down my breathing, and all is a little better.

Yoga has given me a feeling of confidence, and a new found appreciation and respect for my body. No longer am I ashamed of my size , stretch marks, or body type — I am now proud and humbled at what I can do. It has been one of the best confidence boosting things that I have ever done for myself. Yoga is truly a passion for me. When I am unable to show up to the mat, my day feels incomplete.

Why should others do yoga? For the simple fact that it will change your life! It may not seem like it at first, but eventually it will happen. Yes, physically it will change you too, but more importantly it will change your whole mindset. You will feel more compassion towards fellow human beings, and things that used to bother you will not seem as important. (If that makes sense?) Plus you will meet so many wonderful, like-minded people.

To people who are wondering about yoga, and are afraid they don’t have time, I say this, “Whether you show up for 5 minutes or an hour and 5 minutes, it does not matter as long as you’re showing up! Every little bit makes a difference.” Sometimes I only have 5 minutes for a quick flow or meditation. And it truly does make a huge difference.

About six months into my yoga journey, I decided I wanted to share this with other people by becoming a yoga teacher. And since a young age,  I have thought about being a therapist. So I thought, why not combine two of my passions and become a yoga therapist?! It is my nature to be caring and compassionate, and I am the type of person who tries to help people when they need it.  My main goal through this process is to help adults and kids who’ve been through traumatic situations, or are living through personal struggles. I’d like to use yoga as a healing tool… to help them feel better.

In May of this year, I took my first class through YogaFit, and my journey towards becoming a yoga teacher began! It will take some time but I know I will get there. I am excited to see where my next chapter in this yoga journey will take me!

A little about me… I am nearly 36 years old, married, and a mother to two fantastically awesome little humans named Orion (5) and Thea (2.5). My children are among my greatest accomplishments in life. When I am not on my mat you can find me hanging with my kids, reading, or in the outdoors enjoying the beautiful Pacific Northwest.

 

A Gentle Reminder Re: Studio Etiquette

Just this past week, we had four separate students request that we address the noise levels in the room while waiting for class to begin. Understandably, many Yogis seek a quiet, zen-like space, and this might be their only opportunity to decompress throughout the day. Out of consideration, my immediate reaction was to enforce a ‘no chatting’ policy. However, one teacher made a very good point: We practice Yoga, in part, to let go of the things we can’t change, and we seek to find comfort amidst the uncomfortable. On some days, the energy is much more boisterous, and I think we can all agree that this level of noise is a little too much. We do want to instill though, that Poser is a place where like-minded people gather, and we want to promote and encourage this flourishing community.

Moving forward, let’s all be mindful of our conversations and be aware that there are others in the room.

Yoga certainly has a culture all its own, and sometimes expectations are subtle, so don’t worry about it if you’ve been left unaware!! Perhaps a quick read-through of the tips on our ‘Studio Etiquette‘ page will serve as a good refresher for all of us.

Namaste, and I love you.
Jenny xx

PS:  For more, here’s an article you might like:
“Quieting Your Mind in a Noisy Environment”

 

WHY YOGA? by Tracy Fitzwater

How did I come to yoga, and stick with it for two plus years? I had dabbled in yoga, first after I graduated from college and moved to Port Angeles, and then a few years ago at the school where I taught before I retired. Both of those experiences were fairly short-lived, but the idea of practicing yoga didn’t go away. I believe I liked the idea of practicing yoga, and once I began going to yoga class, I realized that yoga is much harder than it looks.

My son’s girlfriend, a dedicated practitioner, invited me to my first class at Poser Yoga. I think she paid for my attendance that day, but I’m not really sure. Downward Dog absolutely killed me – trouble getting into the pose, shaking arms, desperate thoughts, and that was just the first one that day! However, I went back. I’m kind of surprised I did, to be honest, because the physical part of yoga wasn’t all that much fun. It was very challenging.

But then something started to happen, and yoga became more than the poses. One day the question was asked – what do you want out of yoga? I realized I didn’t want to be one of those old ladies who fall over, break my hip, and that’s it – down and out. I wanted balance and strength, and if it wasn’t too much to ask for, a bit of grace. I’ve never felt totally comfortable in my body; maybe this was a way to find that acceptance. And, I wanted to be a retired person who lived long and healthy, and I had a good feeling that yoga might be part of how I reinvented myself.

When I go to yoga now, my head is in a very different place. I practice, for the most part, with my eyes closed. I focus on my breathing. I’ve gotten a lot stronger, and so some of those poses that get held, Downward Dog, Chair, Warrior I and II, are very manageable and holdable – I’m not begging in my mind for release. And if something is too much, I have no problem dropping into Tabletop or Child’s Pose; I’m not competing with anyone. I’ve come a long way since that first session.

What would I say to someone thinking about starting a yoga practice? It’s harder than it looks, but it’s very doable. Your practice is unique to you. Use the props, and don’t feel as if that’s cheating – it isn’t. Appreciate breathing, and don’t be surprised when your breathing gets better, too. Wait for the quiet in the practice, and not just in the studio, in your mind. And appreciate the community that comes together – that final clearing breath, the collective Om, and Namaste bring it all full circle. It’s an hour that really does honor the divine in all of us.

And that’s my yoga story.

 

Candlelight Yoga, December 3rd

Okay everyone, you’ve been waiting patiently for this…

It’s time to slow down.

Give yourself permission to rest. Blowing through life will not earn you a medal. Rest your head, rest your heart, rest your bones, dear One.

 

Embrace the change of season, conserve your energy, stoke your inner fire, and go deep within.

Join Brooke Cole and Jenny Stewart Houston for a Restorative/Yin Yoga session, followed by a guided Nidra Yoga meditation and warm tea. You’ll be so glad you did.

Pssst…. The first 8 to reserve with payment will get $5.00 off! Register here!

{Monthly Members, this one is on us! Please let us know if you’re planing to come, and we’ll reserve your spot. Don’t sign up online, or it’ll charge you!}

Sunday, December 3rd
5-7PM
$25/ticket

What do you get when you practice with Ann Carlson?

I asked Ann to describe to me what she feels her students get from her when they come to her classes. And in thoughtful and delicate fashion, Ann delivered MORE than I could put into a poster. Here are her words, and you’ll soon see why a class with her is unlike any others at Poser YOGA.

“I like to think it’s the marriage between my eastern and western Yoga training that make me unique. My first training, with two very experienced and revered “western” Yoga women was a wonderful foundation to begin my teaching path. They covered the entirety of the Yoga practice/lifestyle, with lots of emphasis on anatomy and energetics which translates in class to what my teacher calls “evolutionary sequencing”. Meaning there is a rhyme and a reason for each pose, pause, breath, and movement.. strengthening and lengthening muscle groups in a way that feels cohesive and makes sense to the body, limiting the risk of injury and hopefully giving the class a sense of fluidity and grace. From that strong foundation I moved on to my 300 hr training in India, where I studied “Sattva” Yoga, Sattva meaning WHOLE. I deepened my understanding of the power of mediation, pranayama, and kriya in addition to asana and how to use these to break through old patterns, habits and “bio-memory”… things we store in our body over the course of our life. I weave these practices into my classes for what I consider to be a well-rounded and thoughtful practice, a nice marriage of the West and East. I’ve never taught the same class twice as I like to keep it fresh and base my classes on the energetics of the current environment we as human beings inhabit. I also like for my students to learn something in class outside of how to do a pose; for example during a side stretch I might say “the major muscle being stretched here is the QL in your low back, which bears a lot of weight throughout our daily lives sitting and hunching over and in front of computers or in our cars, it loves to release that tension and tightness”. Ultimately, my goal isn’t to get students into fancy-looking poses, it’s to help them get to know and understand their bodies on a deeper level, noticing more subtle layers within themselves and ultimately cultivating the witness or observer of themselves. We’re talking mindfulness here. I want people to come to their mats to feel peace, to notice when the shadows inside them arise, not to judge themselves but to accept their experiences with grace and ultimately bring more mindfulness not only into their relationship with their bodies but their every day life.”

And let’s close with a quote that resonates with Ann, and completely embodies her (if might add!!) from her 200 hour teacher, Gina…

Don’t wait. Carpe diem! Life is precious and fleeting and we must fearlessly face that which keeps us from our potential. Do the hard, hard work to transcend those regressive patterns NOW. Seek the teachers who guide us toward that transformative edge. And at the same time, infuse your life with leisurely pursuits, see the humor in this journey, and get your butt out into Nature. What an essential teacher she is!!

GETTING BACK TO OUR ROOTS Series: A Yoga Journey with Ann Carlson

Yesterday our dear, kind-hearted teacher Ann​ shared her thoughts on the most recent national tragedy, and how she turns to Yoga to help calm the flurry of emotions and fears. Thank you, Ann. Your perspective is on point, and such a good reminder that we truly DO get to choose the thoughts we think, and how we respond to things that happen around us and to us. Love and light to you, and to all beings.

 

GETTING BACK TO OUR ROOTS Series: A Yoga Journey with Ann Carlson
It’s a tough Monday. I’m walking around my house and can’t seem to finish one task. My mind can’t focus as the events in Las Vegas last night are so fresh, Tom Petty’s death is strewn about all over social media, Port Angeles is scheduled to slide into the sea any minute now (earthquake woes), natural disasters everywhere, my cramps are worse than ever today and I don’t have the energy to cook (I’m hangry). There are so many things wrong in the world today, so much fear, so much negativity. It’s easy to fall down the worm-hole of it all, feeling hopeless and helpless. I think it’s valid to feel those low-level energies, they are the first steps on the path of renewal, action and hope. Another struggle I often feel is white/first world guilt. When I see the tragedies happening all over the planet, all the people suffering, I can’t help but think “why me?” Why do I get to live comfortably? Why is my life so easy? It doesn’t seem fair at all.

Enter Yoga.

Yoga has taught me that opposites are necessary. That without darkness there is no light. That life is hard, and bleak, and terrible sometimes but that love wouldn’t feel so good, powerful, strong and healing if we didn’t also have the experiences of fear and hate. Yoga can help transmute those low-level energies into new awakenings, new perspectives. So today instead of walking around feeling helpless, unworthy of my good life, frustrated at the world; I stopped. I sat and I put my hands on my heart and I bowed my head and cried. Instead of trying to analyze and label and wonder “Why” I let the feelings come through my body and out my teary eyes, I felt my heart get warm and I connected to a space bigger, more spacious that is overflowing with love. Love for myself and love for the world. I felt hope. I felt the weight lifting. I opened my eyes and felt almost instantly re-charged by my little love/cry mediation. Because what yoga teaches you is that it doesn’t always have to look like a pose, you don’t even have to move to be “doing yoga”. You can live every minute of every day practicing your yoga. Practicing mindfulness. Witnessing your experiences without judgment and reaction, moving from a place of connection to your truth is very powerful; and your truth is always love. It’s been my experience that things like forgiveness, hope, love, compassion and empathy; they’re stronger than their lower counter parts. They aren’t going anywhere, either. They will always be there to grab a hold of in the face of fear and tragedy. If you’re new to yoga and reading this, you might be attracted to yoga because of the physical benefits, but the coolest part about it in my opinion is the way it will start to show up in your life outside of class. We practice patience, non-judgment, self-acceptance in our physical practice, so we shouldn’t be surprised when that compassion starts to change our lives outside the studio. The world can always use more love and light, and it starts with cultivating it inside ourselves so we can give of it freely to others.

International Yoga Day was a SUCCESS!!

We celebrated International Yoga Day in Webster’s Woods, just behind the PA Fine Arts Center. The location was perfect… quiet, peaceful, and private. 35+ Yogis joined in community to promote compassion, love, and kindness, and a BIG thank you goes out to our dear Diane Urbani de la Paz for capturing the event with a few photos. Also, a thank you to Jessica Elliott for opening up the space to us so willingly (with less than a week to prepare, after our original venue fell through!) and to Brooke Cole and Kalei Myers for co-teaching and generously and lovingly holding intention with me.

Keep An Open Mind, by Andy Brastad

Pic of Any BrastadAs Shakespeare‘s HAMLET said:

There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”

This can be interpreted like this: ‘You have to believe what’s right in front of your eyes, even if you didn’t previously believe it.’ Or more loosely interpreted… keep an open mind regarding things that you may not yet understand.

The body is composed of minerals, cellular liquids, and other compounds that make up the physical body. These constituents make up cells, tissues, organs which in their very basic form are chemical compounds made up of atoms and other sub-atomic particles. We know that atoms can be positively, or negatively charged or have a neutral charge. Groups of atoms then have an electromagnetic charge. Taken altogether, the various electromagnetic fields that exist in the body create an energy field that pulses at a frequency unique to each individual. This energetic field surrounds the body and extends out one to three feet.

The human body also contains energy centers know as chakras or dan-tiens. These energy fields resonate with their own specific frequency. In Qi Gong we concentrate on three of these energy fields to open, balance, and harmonize them with each other and the body as a whole. In doing so we increase our own internal energy (known as Qi) to restore and maintain good health.

Our health, mood, feelings, all affect the strength and vibrational energy field frequency. When a person is healthy/happy, they have an optimistic outlook and they’re content. Their vibrational frequency is high. When a person is pessimistic/sad/worried/depressed, their vibrational frequency is lower. If this condition persists for an extended period of time, the person is prone to disease and poor health. In Qi Gong we work to not only harmonize and balance our Qi energy, but through meditation, we balance our emotions as well.

Even if you don’t practice Qi Gong, it doesn’t mean that it isn’t working within you. Having a positive, optimistic outlook will benefit you greatly and hopefully lead to a long happy life. And that is partly due to the power of Qi Gong.

To learn more about the power of Qi Gong, join Andy on Tuesdays, 5:15-6:15PM