Unlimited Summer Yoga 2018!

We know how challenging it can be to keep up with a regular practice during the summer months — the weather is beautiful, the kiddos are out of school, and schedules fall by the wayside with last minute getaways, bonus hours of daylight, and extra socializing and sport partaking!

We ALSO know how beneficial it is to keep up with a regular Yoga practice. We hear it so often…

“With all the hiking/biking/kayaking/long distance driving I get up to in the summer, Yoga is my saving grace! I can stretch out, reset, and head back out to do it all over again!!”

So it just makes sense… taking advantage of our Unlimited Summer Yoga pass is the way to go!

UNLIMITED SUMMER YOGA
3 months (June, July + August)
$215

>>> It’s discounted heavily, so you don’t have to worry about ‘wasting’ your money on the days when you’re a little busier!
>>> It’s 3 months long, so you can practice when you can and you don’t have to worry about expiration dates, OR your bank account balance – it’s already taken care of!
>>> If you currently have a 5 or 10 Pack Pass, we’ll put it on hold for you, and on September 1st you can pick up right where you left off!

This pass is valid Friday, June 1st to Friday, August 31st, 2018.
Purchase any time you like, and it will activate on the 1st of June.

AND one last thing to make the deal even sweeter… you’ve got TWO WEEKS to take advantage of LAST YEAR’s price of $199! Purchase before Friday, May 18th to get this Early Bird pricing!!

Are you ready to make your summer even MORE awesome? Purchase now! 

Heated Yoga in the Summer?? You bet!

Here in the PNW, it’s fair to say that most of us aren’t acclimated to the heat. It doesn’t take much for us to say, “It’s HOT out there!“… so, the thought of taking a Heated Yoga class in the middle of summer seems like the worst idea ever… but is it? You might be surprised to know that Heated Yoga  during the summertime offers specific benefits and positive results that can give you a deeper edge on your practice and complement your practice through the cooler months.

{To save time, I’ve cut + pasted a good portion of this article, and I’ve adapted in some places to make it apply to our specific community. To give the author credit, I’ve linked the article at the bottom.}

10 Great Reasons to Practice Hot Yoga in the Summertime 

  1. You’ll better acclimate to the heat outside: Practicing Heated Yoga during the summer months can help acclimate you to the season’s heat and humidity. Your body cools itself more efficiently and effectively through sweat. So when you leave the yoga room, the outside air feels cooler than inside! If you practice often enough, you may notice that outside weather doesn’t feel as hot as it used to, that you don’t need your air conditioning as much, and that you don’t mind being outside as much when it’s sweltering.
  2.  You’ll cope more effectively with the heat: During summer yoga practice, you are reinforcing the proper coping tools for handling heat—learning to focus on the breath when things heat up, or to kneel or sit in order to lower your heart rate.
  3.  You’ll take your practice deeper: Keeping up your practice is the key to maintaining all the headway you made during the winter. It’d be a shame to lose all that range of motion you worked so hard for! In fact, your muscles, joints and ligaments will already be nice and warm when you enter the studio, so you will likely find you’re more flexible and can go deeper into the postures during the summer. Take advantage of the summer months to increase your joint flexibility, core strength and spinal mobility and make gains in your practice.
  4.  You’ll encourage good habits: Heated Yoga encourages you to stay well hydrated and to replenish your electrolytes regularly. This can be a great benefit during the hot summer months. Warmer weather often means you have a lighter appetite, which can take your Heated Yoga practice to a new level by relieving you of that ‘full’ feeling and letting you go much deeper into the postures.
  5.  You’ll be in better shape for summer recreation: By adjusting to the heat in the yoga studio, you’ll be in top-notch shape for any summer sports or outdoors activities you like to do. If you make time for your yoga practice, you may notice that you don’t mind the heat and have more endurance when you’re running, biking, pushing the stroller, hiking, or playing other sports outdoors. Building strength and flexibility through your practice for these activities will certainly help, too.
  6.  You’ll energize your body and mind: Often the summer months can leave us feeling a bit “fried,” both mentally and physically. We’ve all had days when the heat makes us feel super-sleepy and we can’t be bothered exercising.  Yet we know that Heated Yoga helps energize our bodies and our minds and provides us with so many health benefits. Committing to a strong summer practice will keep you from that sluggish summer feeling and give you quality time spent focused on your Self.
  7.  You’ll surprise yourself: That relaxed ‘can’t-be-bothered’ attitude can transform into a relaxed and therefore enhanced practice. I’ll bet you can remember a class when you came in expecting very little and walked out feeling amazing, can’t you? Same sort of thing applies here.
  8.  You’ll detoxify more: If you sweat more during class, you’ll release more toxins. This is great for your internal organs and skin, just remember that with more sweating comes a greater risk of dehydration, so don’t forget to drink lots of water and juicy fruits throughout the day.
  9.  You’ll take advantage of your summer schedule: If you work in a profession where your summer schedule is lighter or more flexible, take advantage of the fact that you have some extra time to spend on yourself and your health. Your body and mind will thank you!
  10.  You will tone up for the summer: You’ll look great and feel more comfortable and confident all summer long!

TIPS FOR A SMOOTH SUMMER PRACTICE:

  •  Hydrate Properly. Proper hydration is extremely important for every physical activity but, due to the increased sweating in Hot Yoga, hydration is even more important.  Drink at least 1 to 1.5 liters of water before every class.  Such preparation will also prevent you from needing or wanting to gulp lots of water during class, which can cause stomach cramps and generally act as a distraction.
  •  Replenish Electrolytes. Electrolytes are salts and minerals, such as sodium, potassium, and calcium that may be lost from the body during periods of heavy sweating.  Symptoms of electrolyte deficiency include dizziness, headaches, cramping and fatigue.  Electrolytes are contained in most sports drinks, but drinks that are low in sugar, e.g. coconut water, are preferable and healthier.  A mixture of water, sea salt and lemon juice can also work to restore lost electrolytes, as well as tomato juice.
  • Eat right. As with any physical activity, you’ll want to make sure you’re eating right to help you perform your best. While a snack or light meal an hour or so before working out is recommended (fruit, fruit juice, raw vegetables, a small serving of almonds or trail mix are all viable options), you might want to allow two hours between any snacks and four hours between any heavy meals and your yoga practice. The only thing worse than practicing with a belly full of water is practicing with a belly full of food! You’ll want to eat a snack or meal that contains both protein and carbohydrates within an hour of finishing your practice.
  • Listen to your body and respect your edge. Only you know how far you can comfortably push your body. Listen to those signs that your body offers you. When our muscles are warm, it’s easier to stretch them, which means that suddenly body parts find it easier to reach one another—forehead to the knee, fingertips to the toes, foot behind your calf muscle. Move slowly and mindfully to a point where your muscles feel challenged, breathing all the while! Don’t feel the need to “keep going” in a pose if the intro level is enough of a stretch and challenge for you. Your yoga practice is yours and yours alone. Quiet the ego–that little voice that tells you to push harder when you know you could risk injury–and just breathe and enjoy being where you are now.
  • Dress for it. Hot yoga is not the time to be modest. No one is there to judge you, and no one looks his or her best when dripping in sweat. Wear tight-fitting clothes, as looser garments trap heat. Tank tops are a great choice, as they allow for better range of motion and generally stay in place better than a T-shirt. Regular cotton clothing is not recommended—once drenched in sweat, it will feel heavy and clammy against your skin. A moisture-wicking headband is great for keeping sweat from dripping in your eyes. That’s a surefire way to break your concentration!
  • Go au natural. Though it seems counterintuitive to shower before a workout, I often rinse off before yoga practice to remove any lotions or oils that will make my skin even more slippery once my body starts to sweat. Skip the perfume, the smell of which can be overwhelming in heated, humid rooms.
  • Take rest as needed. If you feel lightheaded, dizzy or otherwise ill at any point during the practice, take a break. Take a knee, sit down on your mat (keep your head above your heart), or if on the floor, rest in Savasana.

CitedGreat Reasons and Tips for Practicing Hot Yoga in the Summertime

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 Richard Shaw

“OK. Look, you have no more excuses. You have no scheduled deadlines or commitments, and you don’t have to be in your shop this morning. You have to go to Yoga with me… now!”

That is how I started in Yoga: coerced, cajoled, however I may want to describe the conversation that led to an incredible change in my life. It came from a dear friend who cared for my well-being. She became my mentor for Yoga. I had been dedicated to backpacking and mountain biking my entire adult life. My work was mostly upper body torqueing, muscle, joint and tendon straining. My back was a total mess, stemming from a debilitating fall that occurred while mountain biking on the Appalachian Trail in Vermont before the craze went viral. The results were a severe neck injury that wrecked havoc on my entire back and took decades to heal.

I didn’t believe in stretching. I just hit the trail on my bike or with a 40LB backpack for days of crossing mountain passes; every moment just bearing the pain. A small price to pay. Right???

In the beginning, I could hardly stand straight, or bend over, or lay flat, or sit up straight without accompanying layers of pain and of course, embarrassment. The other folks doing the Yoga were not even looking at me but I was looking directly at this wretched creature in the mirror who could not do any of the poses even remotely close to their intended positions. I hated it at first, but not because of the pain. It was due to my inadequacy and my silly ego pride.

Months went by and a slow transition occurred. I was able to forgive myself for being incapable. My practice taught me one thing at first and that was to let go of all pretenses and really just go with the flow. After 6 months or so I could finally see a faint glow of hope and a light appeared in my body/brain connection. A realization occurred that my body was slowly gaining on a reversal of that havoc that created so much pain in my life. It released me from the angst of trying and delivered me to a state of actually doing. A flow of resiliency started to take effect. The poses became much more than a mere challenge. My body responded with a sigh of relief and my inner life felt a sanction that I had always sought in my every day life. Backpacking and hiking in the woods was a meditation for me. My inner landscape became one with nature. The trees were very forgiving and kind. I worked on blending my presence with all that was natural in life. This worked just fine when I was in the mountains. The peace ebbed when I returned to civilization. The monkey mind always surfaced and once again I was cursing the people who couldn’t drive according to my standards.

Things have changed. Tranquility now has its place in my day to day life. Life has become a practice of sorts. My time on the Yoga mat has transformed this wracked, impatient creature into a more compassionate and peaceful individual. The practice of folks like Iyengar have become my goal. I realize that he started Yoga in his teens and continued to teach into his nineties. I started in my sixties and want to continue and teach into my nineties.

I take classes, mostly with women who are stronger and much more resilient than I could ever be. My goals are slowly being reached because of a dedication to my practice. All of these folks that I practice with are mentors and I am thankful for having landed here, in Port Angeles and at this Yoga studio. Years ago, I started out with Bikram Yoga and gravitated towards the Hot Yoga classes, but realize now that so much of my own resiliency is a result of the Yin and Restorative classes. The instructors here, at Poser YOGA are my inspiration to want to teach Yoga.

So….. I’ve committed to taking a Yoga Teacher Training in Barcelona for the month of May with a lead-in of two weeks prior in order to become more prepared for the 200-hour intensive!!! Then 1 week of beach on the Med.

At first I was full of extreme apprehension and self-doubt. The instructors here, especially Jenny, have done nothing but encourage me to do this. My goal is to come back into the area and teach, to bring more men onto the Yoga mat and to encourage the older folks in our community to move around and strengthen their aging bodies. This is something I know so well.

Namaste, and see you on the mat.
Richard Shaw

Why Yoga? by Marianne Sullivan

I had many old ideas about Yoga.  I thought it required more of me than I was capable of delivering – athleticism, flexibility, concentration skills, etc.  I thought I would hurt myself if I contorted into those crazy poses. I thought Yoga was for young skinny people. On my own, I would not have enrolled in Yoga classes.  So, when my dear friend JoAnn called me and said, “Hey, I’m gifting you three Yoga classes.  Come to the beginner’s class with me. It’ll be fun!”  I’m not certain why but I just said, “Yes”.

Let me back up a bit… my husband Steve and I moved to Port Angeles in January of 2015.  We were thrilled to be retired and able to move to this community. We were making friends and ready for our next adventures.  We had a minor setback in that I needed to have my knee replaced in October of 2015. I recovered well and we were ready to really enjoy our retirement.  We met so many lovely people and we felt at home here. We were thriving. However, in July of 2016 Steve was diagnosed with cancer and passed away the next November.  I was in a state of shock and despair for which I doubted I could recover. Volunteer Hospice Grief Group helped tremendously and a community of angels in this community, including JoAnn, carried me through this difficult time.  Still, I was in the throes of grief and I had not been taking very good care of myself. I had lost a great deal of flexibility in the knee that was replaced. I wasn’t doing very well. I felt like I couldn’t breathe. So, when JoAnn suggested I join her for Yoga – saying “yes” was a great beginning.    

It’s been several months now and I just love going to classes.  I became a monthly member after those three introductory classes.  I do my best to keep saying, “Yes” to the next class.  Yoga practice is critical to my physical, emotional, spiritual and mental wellbeing.  I attend Beginners Basics on Tues and Thurs, Slow Flow on Wednesdays and Restore on Saturdays.  I don’t like to miss my Yoga! The quiet, joyful teaching style and community of Yogis (no matter what our level) sustains me.  I feel lighter. I feel a part of. The despair and debilitating grief is gone. Yes, I have my tears. In fact, I cry all through the Restore class – but that’s good for me.  I let the tears as well as the joy come up and out of me in class. I laugh out loud during Beginner’s class when Jenny asks, “Are you breathing?” I don’t have to pretend I’m some kind of blissed out guru or physical contortionist.  (That was an old idea of mine too!) I get to breathe again.

Back in January, I saw this young woman in crow pose in a magazine.  I took a picture of it and sent it to Jenny. I said, “I want to be able to do that by the end of 2018.”  Later, I said, “I want to do that by my 62nd birthday” (which is April 1st/No Fooling!)  Well, I was half kidding but WE DID IT!  I feel like my ten-year old self. I have a new enthusiasm about my life.  I laugh a lot. I have a steadfast community of friends, the Poser YOGA family and a deep belief in the spirit of goodness in our world.  Combined it sustains me. I feel transformed and can’t wait for my next Poser YOGA class. “THANK YOU JENNY!”

Marianne Sullivan

 

 

The Hardest Part About Yoga

“The hardest part about Yoga is making it to class.” This is truer than true, isn’t it?

I polled some students today, asking them to share their reasons why they sometimes don’t make it to class. Do any of these sound familiar to you?

*I was feeling lazy.
*Once I got home, I wanted to stay at home.
*My friend(s) canceled and I didn’t want to go alone.
*Financial limitations.
*My schedule conflicts with class times.
*I needed to help with grandkids/family members.
*I had too much to do.

None of these answers surprised me. They’re all very real and very valid reasons. What I WAS surprised to hear was this:

*Sometimes I work through my lunch break so I can leave early and make it to class.
*Sometimes I leave my desk a mess, and tell myself I’m going to make it to class no matter what, and some things will be left undone… for now.
*Sometimes I have to say ‘no’ to someone else, so I can say ‘yes’ to myself.
*My excuses used to sway me, very easily, with every other type of exercise I’ve tried, but I love Yoga so much that I hate it when I have to miss a class. And I can’t wait to come back!!

We all know how relieved we feel when we {finally} make it to a class. Never do we regret making our well-being a priority… especially while floating away in Savasana!

Sometimes sacrifices are made. Sometimes we must get creative with our schedules and/or finances. Sometimes we must be brave and show up, even when our friends don’t. Sometimes we must say ‘no’ to someone else so we can say ‘yes’ to ourselves.

Because we are worth it. And dang, sometimes that Savasana is calling our name!!

Grow Through What You Go Through

We’re entering week three of a new year. Maybe you’ve set some goals for yourself, some ‘New Year’s resolutions‘…. how’s it going so far? If you didn’t set yourself up for success right off the bat, you might be discovering that it takes a whole lot of gumption to actually do what you said you were going to do.

Are you feeling… Disappointed? Uninspired? Unmotivated? Did you unknowingly expect your goals to magically come to fruition, just because you thought them and desired them to be true? Well, here’s your #truthbomb for the day: Goals are just dreams until you put them into action.

The good thing is, goals can be set, and RE-set, at any time, not just January 1st. Would you like to start over? Well… guess what? Today is your lucky day because  [insert today’s date] just happens to be the new January 1st!

We all have ‘stuff’ that comes up. This is absolutely true. Road blocks, be them mental, emotional, physical, financial, work-related and/or relationship-related. And we get stuck… or even worse… stopped. However, it’s in our predicting and foreseeing of these obstacles, and how we meet them face to face, that can drastically alter the outcome. How resilient are you with respect to your road blocks and how often do you allow these obstacles to keep you from what you’ve set out to accomplish? Do you resent these set backs and resign to complacency? Or do you transform these road blocks into building blocks and grow through what you go through?

Here’s a very simple example: You and a friend have set a goal of attending one yoga class/week. Your friend is having car troubles and is not able to offer you a ride today. Do you:
A) Cancel your reservation. “Oh well, it wasn’t meant to be.
B) Reschedule for another day. “Thank goodness there’s another class I can make it to  this week!”
C) Take a taxi, ride the bus, walk, or ride your bike to class. “This is just a minor glitch in the plan.”
D) Not only do you make it to class, you encourage and inspire your friend to join you on the adventure, and the two of you have so much fun that you decide this will be your new, regular mode of transportation on your yoga day! “It feels great to stay committed to our goals, and this revision has made it that much more rewarding!”

How you handle set-backs largely affects your outcome, but let’s start from the beginning, shall we?

One at a time, choose an area in your life to focus on. You’ll spend approximately 8 minutes in each area, spending 32 minutes total (4 areas x 8 minutes).

  1. Personal Development goals
  2. Career/Business/Economic goals
  3. Toys/Adventure goals
  4. Contribution goals

BRAINSTORM. Set a timer for 5 minutes and write rapidly. If there was absolutely no way you could fail, what could you accomplish? Keep your pen to paper and let your ideas flow. Keep it simple. Don’t worry about the details, they will come later. Let yourself dream; be a kid. Be outrageous. Give yourself the freedom to explore what’s possible, with no limitations.

SET A DEADLINE. Take 1 minute to assign a timeframe for the goal. How long do you expect it to take for you to get done what you want to accomplish? Setting deadlines will make these dreams much more real, and tangible.

CHOOSE ONE PRIMARY GOAL.  For 2 minutes, write down all the reasons you are committed to this goal and why is it’s worth investing your time. Why is this goal important to you? You have GOT to feel motivated and inspired by this goal, otherwise re-word it or change it altogether.

Follow these steps and… CONGRATS! You’ve just set 4 one-year goals, one for each major area in your life!

And now, here’s where you’ll take a closer look. With each one-year goal, break it down into achievable chunks. Determine short term, measurable steps that will bring you closer and closer to achieving your goal. Give yourself room to adjust as you set these steps in motion. Consider setbacks that could present themselves, and how you expect to overcome them. Be realistic and honest, set priorities, and track your progress. Ask others to help you remain accountable, and share with them when you achieve your goals.

Above all, the most important part of goal setting is to celebrate your successes! No matter how small these accomplishments may seem, they are all part of the larger picture! You will one day look back and see how far you’ve come, and the effort required will have been well worth it!

Grow through what you go through. This really does hold weight. Every experience that is put in front of us is a new opportunity for growth and change. We can choose to accept these obstacles, and rise above them, or we can allow them to hold us back. You have the power to make your dreams a reality. Isn’t this so exciting?

What kind of impact do you want to create in your own life, and the lives that surround you? Don’t be afraid to live large, and out loud.  The alternative is dreary and sad and small – you are so much more than that. Everyone else knows it, and if you haven’t already,  it’s time for you to discover it too!

Resources:
http://sourcesofinsight.com/how-tony-robbins-sets-goals/
https://www.wikihow.com/Set-Goals

 

 

Falling in Love With Yoga… Again. by Brooke Cole

The other day I was filling out an application to attend a work related training that specializes in helping people overcome job related stress and trauma. The application asked to list any specialized training that I had that could be useful for the position. I listed my yoga teaching and practice, including how long I’ve been doing both when it suddenly dawned on me that I’ve been practicing yoga for 18 years! 18 years! While it may not seem like that big of a deal to some, the fact that I’ve been dedicated to anything for that length of time truly amazes me. You see… I’m one of those types of people who has spent a lifetime searching for some greater purpose whether it be an educational degree, a rewarding career, a fulfilling workout regime, or a place of residence that I can truly feel at home in. I have wanted to be an actress, a forensic scientist, a helicopter pilot, and have lived in many different parts of the country and even world. Yoga has been with me through it all. While I may not have practiced the physical form of yoga every day for those 18 years, the philosophy and teachings have been with me every single day since I started practicing. That’s quite an accomplishment for someone like me that tends to float through life, bouncing off of one dream to the next, and often gets bored with routine.

All of this holds a particular relevancy to something that I’ve been experiencing lately on a personal level in regards to my workout routines. Like many women out there I have struggled most of my life with developing a positive body image of myself. I poke and prod, and judge, and cringe when I stare at my reflection in the mirror each day and compare myself to unrealistic ideas. I try to combat those feelings and thoughts of inadequacy by sometimes jumping aboard the latest fitness bandwagon, by pushing and forcing myself into routines and programs to reach self-imposed goals; goals that don’t really have a functional purpose in everyday life, but rather hold me to a self-inflicted standard of beauty all in the name of vanity. You see, I’m not working out to train for anything. I’m not an athlete or a competitive sports lover; in fact I’m quite the opposite. I pride my solitude, like strolls through nature, and would rather play for the enjoyment of it all rather than the competitive need to win. But most of all I’m just a woman that wants to feel good when I put on a pair of shorts. So I give in to all the media bullshit of “try this fad, and you’ll see these results”, or “take these supplements and eat these foods to shed fat”, and while these things may work for some which is great… surprise, surprise, I eventually get bored. And that’s where I am. I’m bored with my usual cardio and strength training routines, bored of going to the gym, I’m bored of boot camps, bored of home workout videos, bored of trying to shed the pounds with fad diets… but more importantly, I’m bored and tired of doing something that feels burdensome and doesn’t make me happy.

And so the other day as I attempted to re-boot my enthusiasm to get back on track with my fitness routine, I found myself struggling big time. Then out of nowhere I heard this little voice from deep inside ask, “Why the fuck are you doing this then?” And the only answer I could come up with was, in order to look good. Not feel good, but look good. And that’s when the insanity of being obsessed with how I look on the outside hit me. It doesn’t matter how good I look on the outside. If I haven’t cleared the shit thoughts about myself cemented deep within my brain, and cellular tissues; no amount of burpees, dead lifts, or fad diets is going to help either. Enter my yoga practice, which I sometimes neglect to focus on, doing other activities like running, or pushups, or burpees (I really hate burpees) and indoor cycling, while mind you… hating every minute of it. But here’s the thing… never have I once felt that way about yoga. (Okay maybe once or twice during a Bikram Yoga class when I secretly wanted to rip my instructor’s face off for barking “more, more, more” at me, but Bikram Yoga is a whole other beast). With that one exception, I’ve never hated going to my yoga mat. It’s like that funny meme that floats around the Internet, ‘”I regret going to yoga”, said no one ever.’ Lately I find myself gravitating towards my yoga mat like a Rebel Starfighter being pulled to the Death Star by a tractor beam. But for some barbaric reason, over the past several years, I have put losing weight, which I really don’t need to lose that much of, ahead of my yoga practice… and I’m tired of doing that. Which got me thinking about the New Year, and I what I want it to look like for myself.

One of the reasons yoga has become such a powerful force in my life, is because of the physiological and psychological changes that come with a regular practice. In class the other night, we discussed the power of our thoughts and belief systems that we have about ourselves and how yoga can help to change that. We have about 60,000 thoughts a day, 95% of them are the same that we loop over and over again, while 80% of them tend to be negative. We spend our waking hours in a conscious stream of thought in what is called Beta brain wave activity. The majority of our thoughts however, are unconscious, or thoughts that can only be accessed or changed during Theta Brain wave activity and are harder to change during Beta activity. These thoughts shape much of how we perceive ourselves and the world around us. It’s helpful to think of an iceberg to understand the magnitude of this. A very small piece of an iceberg representing our conscious or Beta thought patterns is seen above the surface of the ocean. But if we go deep underwater, we find a much larger portion of the iceberg representing our subconscious or Theta thoughts. This is where the power of yoga comes in. In yoga we spend much of our class linking our breath with certain movements, and enter into a Theta brain wave state. By accessing those thoughts in our yoga class, we have the ability to start changing the thought streams that persist in our consciousness that don’t serve us, and replace them with more nurturing, positive ones.

So for me, this New Year ushers in the awareness and resolve to start doing more of what I truly love to do, by spending more time at the base of the iceberg and not worrying so much about the surface appearances. From now on I’m working out to initiate real change, not just the superficial change located at the exterior or tip of the iceberg, but rather the stuff that lurks at the bottom and has me believe that I’m fat or unworthy. This year I resolve to do more of what I love to do, and let go of the shit that brings me down. (This means you burpees). I resolve to dedicate myself to be the best person I possibly can, and let go of norms and standards that are imposed on me by an image-obsessed, commercialized, profit hungry world. The Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu said that, “a good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving.”  Well, that’s going to be me from now on… a good traveler. A traveler who recognizes what makes me happy and what doesn’t… and if it doesn’t… giving myself the permission to let that shit go, and do more of that I love.

Namaste lovelies… and Happy New Year.

Ouch, That Hurts: Blue Yoga Mat by Tracy Fitzwater

I’ll be the first to admit that my attendance at yoga can be sporadic. I try for once a week, and am generally very happy with twice a week, and if I make it to a third practice, it’s both great and somewhat unusual. And because I’m retired, I don’t have a schedule that makes sense to anyone but me. However, when I want to go to yoga, I’m there. And it was going well for me until I got injured.

I’m not exactly sure where I got hurt, but I know it was from overuse. In addition to yoga, I also work out at Cageworx, and on Tuesdays, I zip over from the 4:00 yoga class to the 5:00 fitness kickboxing class, and I also go to the Wednesday & Friday noon classes.  While yoga is mostly gentle, and very introspective, fitness kickboxing is just the opposite. There is loud music, it’s very active, and there is hitting and kicking accompanied by a lot of sweat. It’s a different bunch of muscle groups, and much like yoga, it’s fun to see improvements. In yoga, it’s holding chair longer or level arms in Warrior II, while in kickboxing, it’s hitting the heavy bag harder and improving on various kicks. And, for me, improving my biceps. Such a small thing, but my accomplishment nonetheless.

The injury happened at home, but it was for a sort of prideful dumb moment – I was showing off my new, improved push up to my husband. I was part way down, and all of a sudden it just hurt – what just happened?! That put a stop to that push up in a big hurry, and I didn’t think too much about it until a couple of days later when my entire shoulder and collarbone hurt. And since I’m not a fan of  pain, I quit going – to everything.

So now what? The shoulder and other connected parts are feeling better, and I haven’t done a pushup since then. I ice it down when I need to. I’ve pretty much stayed home, and gone back to walking. But the problem is, I miss yoga!! I miss kickboxing!! I miss exercise that makes me sweat and contemplate life!! It’s absolutely no fun to get injured, and while I know I have to take it easy, I want to go back. And more than that, I feel disconnected from the studio and the people who are also practicing with me. I feel part of this particular community, and I didn’t realize how much I had come to rely on, and appreciate this. As I listen to my body, I’m ready to reconnect….back to the mat. Back to yoga twice a week, and kickboxing fitness twice a week. Back to my version of a schedule.