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Showing posts from 2009

A White Christmas - Count your Blessings

Here's a lovely song for a white Christmas, from the 1954 movie, "White Christmas" by Irving Berlin!


When I'm worried and I can't sleep
I count my blessings instead of sheep and I fall asleep counting my blessings
when my bankroll is getting small I think of when I had none at all
and I fall asleep counting my blessings.

I think about a nursery,
and I picture curly heads,
and one by one I count them
as they slumber in their beds.

If you're worried and you can't sleep,
just count your blessings instead of sheep
and you'll fall asleep counting your blessings.

Merry Christmas everyone, may you be warm and sleep well!

Tempus Fugit

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The title of this post is Latin, thank you Romans, thank you Virgil perhaps. It literally means "time flees". I think to another saying, "time flies". I noticed this Latin phrase mentioned on a yoga blog I like to read. It makes me think of my dad, he liked to quote things here and there, in Latin and other languages too.

In some ways this pithy summation is true of 2009, and all years before really. My second niece was born this year, my father passed away. Makes me think of another saying, "time stops for no one". That draws me to a book I read today, The Music of Dolphins by Karen Hesse. It is the story of a young girl raised by dolphins when she is lost at sea. She is taken from this oceanic family to civilization and named Mila, miracle. There are well-intentioned people around her, but her own wisdom is so very strong. She loves music and they share Mozart with her, which she adores. She wants to meet him. As her doctor explains that he is dead but h…

5 Firefly Thoughts for These Moments

December is moving along and here we are approaching the week of get togethers, family gatherings, gift-giving and Christmas. Lately I've been reflecting on the message of the moment. Charlie Brown's Christmas comes to mind (I gotta watch it soon), today at school a poem was shared about not losing sight of what honestly matters. How easy it is to get sidetracked though. What are a few wonderful things we can do to make these days with family very special? Considering the yoga philosophy I have a few, I'm sure you guessed I would tie this to yoga ;).

1. Stay in the present moment. It might be delightful or difficult to relive the past, but in both cases, it is over and done. Let's enjoy THIS present moment by turning off the cell phone, and turning on our listening ears. What's new with people, good or bad?

2. Practice ahimsa. Sure Christmas dinner and cookies are beckoning, but will two heaping piles of mashed potatoes make us feel better than one? Enjoy the food, l…

Algonquian poem

As we gaze upward at the cold, clear and scintillating sky this December, we may see meteors abound, and shimmering stars winking down on us. We might reflect on this Native American poem.

We are the stars which sing,
We sing with our light;
We are the birds of fire,
We fly over the sky.
We look down on the mountains
This is the song of the stars.

Om Shanti, (Om means the sound of the universe, Shanti means peace)

Kat

yoga day usa!

JANUARY 23, 2010 Yoga Day USA

http://www.yogadayusa.org/

What should we do? I'm still thinking about it, but I'm guessing something fun and something to do with free yoga!! Let me know your thoughts!

Om Shanti,

Kat

Concerts

Going to a concert allows you to explore the world through music. You may hear it or feel it or dance it out, but you are absorbing the atmosphere in a group, hopefully with friends and kindred spirits near. Tonight I saw the Cranberries downton at the Midland and was taken back to a long time ago, when I first bought a tape (wow) by them, probably about 1993. I loved their sound and equally importantly the lyrics that discuss family, war, pain, and peace. Dolores O'Riordan has recently released a new solo album, The music continues to move me, I hope you can find that which moves you in life, it makes mine feel so much more worthwhile. She told us the song below is about those that carry us through the tough times in life. She's recently had 4 children, so perhaps a few difficult moments. What a blessing friends are! I consider her my friend :)

Namaste,
Kat

The Journey (lyrics) by Dolores O'Riordan on No Baggage (2009)

When I was lost
I saw you pointing towards the sun
I know I…

Thankful Yoga Class for a Family

Thankful Yoga will meet Sunday at 3pm @ BFF in Prairie Village at our regular location. This is FREE class, however, if you would like to donate towards our family in need, any amount or item is welcome and all of it will go towards the family listed below. There are six children and they live in Kansas City, KS. I was able to "adopt" them through my school district.

2 months old boy.... size 6-9 months. Needs a baby bouncer, diapers size 2, gift card to Walmart

4 yr. old boy - wears 4T shirt, 5T pants - likes drawing/coloring materials

7 yr old girl - wears 12/14 girls top and bottom - likes Hanna Montana, Twin comforter, playing cards

10 yr old girl - wears size 7 girls - likes high school musical, twin comforter, playing cards

16 yr boy - Lg. mens shirt, 32/22 - pants - MP3 player or IPod, headphones

11 yr. old boy - med. boys shirt, 8 boys pant size .,...Bakagon balls, remote control car

Hope to see you Sunday, let me know if you can make it! Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!
Ka…

Let us Give Thanks!

This weekend I attended the memorial service of a dear friend from college that passed away recently. He beat cancer as a teen, and it returned at 30. If I could sum his amazing life-loving attitude up in one phrase, it would be one that the priest shared on Saturday, "Live it out!". Sunday I went to the UU church service with my mom and the Minister shared the story below, an excerpt from a New York Times article by Susan Schnur. To read the full article, click the title above.


"Once, many years ago, sleeping on the sofa bed in the living room of my boyfriend's parents' house in Teaneck, N.J., I witnessed a performance of gratitude the likes of which I have never seen elsewhere.

It was the middle of the night - I was up with my own back pain - when the light flashed on in the upstairs hall and Jon's father came padding down into the room. Oblivious of me, he went into the kitchen, cut himself a slab of rye bread with a butcher knife, then stood with it in the…

i *heart* yoga

Click the title above to read how recent research shows meditation may be wonderful complement to medication! See how heart health increases with meditation practice, blood pressure down, other benefits too! Cheers to savasana, healthy mind, healthy body.

One heart,

Kat

Artists Helping the Homeless - Click here to see more!

In case you have not heard, KC is moving up in the yoga world! Check out this link to an annual event that helps homeless people and involves yoga! I have been reading a lot about yoga recently, and want to continue to get involved in more that just the physical practice of yoga, I hope to teach a part of the class at this event next year, we'll see if I can obtain my RYT by then! In The Heart of Yoga by T.K.V. Desikachar he writes some words of wisdom for us.

"However beautifully we carry out an asana, however flexible our body may be, if we do not achieve the integration of body, breath, and mind, we can hardly claim that what we are doing is yoga...In yoga we are not creating something for others to look at. As we perform the various asanas we observe what we are doing and how we are doing it. We do it only for ourselves. We are both the observer and what is observed at the same time."

He is a beautiful writer and person. I enjoyed this description of how we must focus…

Fruits of my Labor

Isn't it so easy to come up with an excuse as we end our day and head home from work? I'm tired, I'm hungry, so we skip the gym and grab some unhealthy food choice. What brings us to this victim state? At the end of the day, can we admit it? Ourselves. We might not know how to take that moment to sit and clear the mind before we turn reactive instead of proactive. It is immensely difficult but if we open the channel that contains love of self, it gets easier. Open this energy within yourself. Breath in health and let it wash over. If you can't get out to run or to pump those weights, or even to a yoga class, throw your mat down in your house, flick on your favorite beats, and your own body becomes not only the method to still any brain chatter, but indeed the weight to strengthen muscles, and the force to ground us.

If you want, test out chair flow with forward folds alternating for 3 minutes with deep satiating breaths, cow/cat for 2 minutes, and 5 minutes of gentle su…

November Yoga Audio Class Link - Click here to listen!

Hello everyone!

I'm continuing to progress with the process of creating audio yoga classes! You can access the November 3rd class by clicking on the title above. Sounds quality is okay, I'm still exploring some options and positioning of music and microphone. In the future, I will make these classes available for a 5 dollar contribution for time and effort. For now, here is another free class for you to enjoy. I welcome feedback, I think it's a little hard to hear at first but gets more clear pretty quickly. Also, the end is left open for whatever length of time you wish to enjoy savasana!

Peace and love,
Kat

November Poem

As we once more connect ourselves to the present moment, let us consider the beautiful Sunday that lies before us. Here is a poem to capture it's magic.


"How silently they tumble down
And come to rest upon the ground
To lay a carpet, rich and rare,
Beneath the trees without a care,
Content to sleep, their work well done,
Colors gleaming in the sun.

At other times, they wildly fly
Until they nearly reach the sky.
Twisting, turning through the air
Till all the trees stand stark and bare.
Exhausted, drop to earth below
To wait, like children, for the snow."
- Elsie N. Brady, Leaves

In case you might be curious the flowers pictured at the top of the blog are from a lovely amaryllis that my mom gave me a few years ago. It is now sitting in the garage, letting go for a while until the cherry red flowers shoot up like stars once more!

Namaste,
Kat

Leaf Lessons

It feels like the annual tree dance took quite a while to get going this year, but suddenly the leaves are turning gorgeous shades of warmth, and some branches are already appearing to bare slightly. A few of these organic masterpieces are now glowing at the height of brilliance, with such a delicate shading of green to yellow to orange to red, it almost seems to me as though the tree is a shimmering three dimensional portal to another place far away and divine.

Perhaps we are seeking to make a change in our own lives too? Much as the trees, it may feel like no change is visible for days or weeks, but if we focus our energy and will, day by day we can enact subtle shifts and before we know it, a new season is revealed in our life's journey. For example, I recently decided to give up caffeine. I wasn't drinking too much, about 1/2 a small cup of strong coffee before 7am, but I felt like I was relying on it too much to go from a coma-like state to false energy each dawn. Also I w…

Water Pure and Natural

Over dinner at the Well in Waldo recently, I sat with 3 close friends after a long hiatus in our girly group getting together. How often does time get away from us? We vowed to meet more regularly as we enjoyed the atmosphere and catching up. One friend is preparing for her upcoming wedding, another is on the verge of a great promotion. The third is dealing with issues at work, we can all relate to that!

The topic of water, or to be more exact, how much water intake is ideal came up and we had a bit of a debate going. One friend said you might not need much at all, and we discussed 64 oz as the magic number (about 8 large glasses), so I decided to turn to some research to see if I could find a better answer. Masaru Emoto comes to my mind immediately. He conducted some interesting experiments about the nature of water, after all, our bodies are at least 62% water by weight! Check him out for details on how water might be affected by the vibes it receives! The fact alone that we are way…

Fall Finds Us

We find ourselves in October, trickling and swirling into Autumn. This is a cooling time of year, we are falling to and toward stillness, with inward reflection. Who can say it better than John Keats, 1819. Here is his poem that lights up the ideas of the present.

On Autumn

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eaves run;
To bend with apples the moss'd cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For Summer has o'er-brimm'd their clammy cells.

Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?
Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find
Thee sitting careless on a granary floor,
Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;
Or …

Training Thoughts

This weekend I was fortunate to attend a training for yoga. It was approximately 8 to 6 each day and involved varied topics. My thoughts from training are numerous and take some processing but they will definitely show up here and there in classes very soon! We discussed more poses, chakras, verbal adjusting/enhancing, cueing, warming breath, types of learning, aruvedic thoughts and subsequently a book I want to read by Robert Svoboda. My goals include getting off the mat more as I teach, and direct personal verbal adjusting. I enjoyed absorbing a variety of perspectives and comments, both internally and through others. It's refreshing to encounter positive spirits that are striving to be kind and better teachers, working through the 8 limbs of yoga and working to be a more delightful presence on this planet, within this enthralling universe.

Namaste,
Kat

Time

This planet is about 4.6 billion years old. It was a molten ball, later an oceanic sterile sphere, and now it teems with life from thermal vents to icy waters to lush jungles. Humans have roughly been around 3 million years, depending on what you consider human, some would say more like 30 thousand. Absolute max, each of us will move through this planet for 130 years.

Makes you think right? How do we get caught up in the small stuff? Life is so precious on this vivacious blue planet, and definitely rare in this universe. Take each day as a beautiful, precious, and divine blink in the grand scheme of things. Balance your life with short-term and long term joy. Try to keep this big picture in mind if you have to deal with a crazy driver, or some chore around the house. Take some moments every day to enjoy the beauty of this world, and the joy of life and it's fragility.

Namaste,
Katherine

Mrtasana - The Pose of the Corpse

Each time we end yoga, we arrive at our final relaxation. Known as Savasana (also spelled Shavasana or Sarvasana) the meaning of the sanskrit word above in the title (stated mrta-asana) literally means corpse. It can be found at any time but is most often noticed gently giving closure to each yoga practice. The amount of time we can explore here varies from a few minutes, up to a half hour, some suggestions state approximately 5 minutes for every 30 minutes of practice. I want to take a little more time this week to experience and develop what we are feeling and what we are doing here.

Arms are typically near the sides of the body, but might be as far out as 45 degrees, with palms facing skyward. The hips are relaxed, allowing the ankles and feet to fall limp. The torso and core are loose, moving only with the rise and fall of breath. Is is especially important to align the neck as best we can, allowing each ear to be equidistant from the tops of the shoulders, a parter or teacher may …

Yog-blah?

Ever feel like you are in a yoga pause? Maybe you feel like you aren't gaining ground in terms of flexibility, breath, or other things. But consider that neither are you losing ground! Society has allowed us to lose some of the innate strength and posture our predecessors experienced consistently. Instead of working on the farm, we're slouchin' on the couch. Rather than sitting up straight in a wood chair, we're hunching towards that computer screen and forgetting our spines!

What does it take to maintain? I would say from my own experience that a weekly practice does wonders, both mentally and physically. If you are looking to make noticeable flexibility gains, or strength changes, 2 or more times a week might be something to try and test out. I have definitely noticed more flexibility after about 1 year of steady weekly practice, but when I practice more than once a week, I definitely feel that I'm getting stronger as well. You might consider some introductory we…

The Voice of Yoga

Yoga can be linked to song in many ways, in some classes the teacher or the whole group may sing, chant or even yell. Today I enjoyed listening to the Summer Singers share Mozart in C Minor. It was a lovely series of Latin verses superimposed over joyful music, for in fact Mozart composed this series for his own treasured wedding. As I listened to the 12 parts, my mind focused on the music at first, but at times my psyche wandered to life, future tasks and goals, and to my dear family, both alive and those that have passed from this world, both recently and long ago. When listening to this classical music, my mind felt occupied on a different level, and I believe to hear this music live and through human voice added a component that I plan to make a part of my life from now on.

Actually, I have been trying to include song in my life more lately because I have been studying the throat chakra, also known as Vishuddha. I happened upon this chakra because I have been going through the loss…

Living Yoga

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August has arrived quickly, the summer flowing by as it is likely to do. I have done yoga all summer for which I am grateful. Some fun places I have experienced yoga include my hotel workout room at the Westin in Baltimore, on the sunny shores of San Diego pre-surf lesson (see photo, Vanessa and I in dancer), in a small yoga apartment in Manhattan, KS, with a gifted teacher of great peace, and of course at the Barefoot Fitness Studio. I have felt joy experiencing yoga in a variety of places, both with good friends, and by myself also. May your yoga journey also allow you to find the warm embrace of life wherever you are.

In addition, I have read an interesting book this summer, one which has greatly opened my eyes both to the fragility yet resiliency of life, and to the wonder of this planet. If you enjoy science, history, geology, evolution, or just a good story consider checking out A Short History of Nearly Everything, by Bill Bryson. You will not be disappointed.

Namaste,
Kat

Yoga Sola (Yoga Alone)

Sometimes during yoga we feel the energy of the group. A teacher is guiding us, we almost don't have to think, allowing our ears to send signals to the brain which then sends magestic instructions down many nerves in our body. Does yoga at class and yoga at home or by oneself feel different? Of course. Because we must be the guide, making the decision to take the next step. It's really quite a different concept. If you would like to do a yoga class on your own, I recommend the following format as a really rough guide. Let your decisions and desires truly make the practice your own.

Warm up. Find something that is gentle, but brings energy to the back and limbs:
cow/cat
extended spinal balance (where your raise opposite arm and leg)
flowing bridge (on back, raising and lowering hips with knees bent)
sunflowers/moonflowers

Action time. Do some sun salutations, with high or low energy, always taking childs if you want it, not feeling any need to keep pace, or maybe blowing your old pac…

Yoga and Robots

What do you think of when you hear the word robot? Roomba, R2D2, Hal? Something that can't think for itself comes to my mind, maybe no ethics. Something not alive, yet maybe it has some sort of intelligence. I recently attended a teacher training where we put together a robot, and programmed it as well. I was intrigued but not enraptured by the complex connection of small pieces over and over as a structure emerged that could carry out a variety of functions. It could roll around, sense distance through IR and ultrasound sensors, even avoid obstacles and certain surfaces. In fact, we could use a computer program to deliver a list of complex commands that it could carry out for while, til the battery ran down. Even with all this ability, I was struck by how much more complex the human mind and body are, and how we are very far from ever creating a machine that can closely mimic our dynamic organic state. Thank goodness.

Why do we create robots? To explore, work, carry out tasks impo…

A Poem of Remembrance

During yoga, our emotions often surface, sometimes they can even surprise us. This could occur during a very happy time, with feelings of great bliss washing over us. It might also bring feelings of sadness if we have experienced a loss of some sort and have it on our mind, maybe because of a specific date on the calendar, or because the loss was recent. The poem below was sent to me by my sister, who received it from a friend who lost his dad when he was only 19, he's now 47 and carries it with him always. May it bring you comfort to you for any sort of loss of a loved one that you have experienced.

DEATH is nothing at all. I have only slipped away into the next room.
I am I, and you are you. Whatever we were to
each other, that we still are. Call me by my old familiar name, speak
to me in the easy way which you always used. Put no
difference in your tone, wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow.
Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes we
enjoyed together. Let my name be e…

Gentle Yoga

How many times do we focus so intently on something that we absorb tension into the body? We might be typing, painting, knitting, carrying bags, or maybe just having a tough conversation. I think this happens all the time and often without us even realizing it.

What is gentle yoga? Well our usual weekly class is a practice of Hatha Yoga, with a vinyasa (and flowing) component as well. In gentle yoga, the pace of class can slow down, leading to a very thoughtful approach to the postures, and perhaps a chance to work on our alignment, both mentally and physically. We may flow less, and hold each asana for more breaths.

Especially during the hot summer season, you may wish to work on stilling your energy, and cooling ourselves down through more respect given to the yin aspect of yoga is possible. The calmness, steady breathing, and peace of holding still in space and time should not be underestimated. This practice can energize us without overheating, and sooth us into letting go of any t…

Ahimsa and DAD

In yoga, most of us start with exposure to the asanas, the actual physical poses and postures that we move through during class. Interestingly, if you continue to explore yoga, you arrive at a place where you discover some of the philosophy behind it, and this can be so fascinating as we move through life and try to understand the complex and at times difficult experiences we are having.

Some of the yamas have particularly been bubbling to the surface of my mind in the last few days, as I go through the extremely difficult experience of losing my dad. One of these is ahimsa and thinking of all the yamas, I think my dad reminds me of this concept most. This word means the absense of cruelty and the strong force of compassion. It can mean "pure love" and selfless service. He was very compassionate, and I always felt that while he was very strong, his spirit had such a gentle component. He could barely bear to hear any of us talk about a scratch or scrape without wincing, our pa…

Super Superfoods

Steven G. Pratt, MD and Kathy Matthews have coauthored a wonderful book, Superfoods, Rx. Click on the title to visit their wonderful web page, which lists 25 different Superfoods, the list is growing! The unique and unifying factor to these foods is that they can help to prevent or reverse aging and related diseases (according to research), and are simultaneously nutrient rich and mostly low calorie. Each has its own special properties and niche in our health. We probably can't eat them all every day and that's okay! Just pick your favorites and add them in as a healthy snack or meal as often as you can. Your body and mind will thank you! (Especially for that dark chocolate ;) )

The superfoods include:
Apples
Avocado
Beans
Blueberries
Broccoli
Cinnamon
Dark Chocolate
Dried SuperFruits
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Garlic
Honey
Kiwi
Low Fat Yogurt
Oats
Onions
Oranges
Pomegranates
Pumpkin
Soy
Spinach
Tea
Tomatoes
Turkey
Walnuts
Wild Salmon

Namaste,
Kat

Recent Reflections

Just a few random thoughts from me recently about life and yoga. Honestly life is so unexpected. A good person I know from college is very sick. One friend of mine is getting married, moving across the country and starting grad school - so many lovely things all at once! Another friend recently took the time off work to lunch with her dear grandmother who is now going through some really serious health issues. A woman I work with helped her mom through surgery, though it was fine, and now some complications are arising. It really just underlines something I really have learned well in my life, but forget from time to time. If there's something you really wanna do, plan it now. Buy and wear that swimsuit, make that call, whatever it is, don't wait too long. Tomorrow is farther away that we expect sometimes, in fact, things change and then it's out of our grasp for good.

Today I listened to a lecture by an engineer. Yoga has really increased my awareness of not only my own br…

Yoga Mamas say: "Stand UP!"

Turns out, moms know best when it comes to our spines! Here are some thoughts about posture, and how to work on improving ours ours. In particular many of us tend to round our shoulders forward, and our head moves forward as well, putting extra pressure on the upper back and the muscles there. Thanks to YogaJournal and Julie Gudmestad for the following information! For the entire article, click here!
Better Posture 101 Your mom was right: You'll look better and feel great if you stop slouching and stand up straight. Yoga can help you do just that—in a way that honors your spine's natural curves. Here's a guide to assessing and improving your posture. By Julie Gudmestad POSTURE PRINCIPLES To create great alignment for your body, I recommend a three-part strategy. First, build awareness by assessing your posture and your lifestyle. Next, create a yoga prescription for your specific postural problem by incorporating a few simple poses into your regular practice. Fin…

The sixth month is here!

June. One of the most promising months of the year, in more ways than one! In the northern hemisphere, June contains the most longest days of sunlight. So slather on that sunscreen and let's go outside! The birth stone is a pearl, and the flower is a rose. Does any other month smell so sweet?

The name June (Juno) comes from Hera, the Goddess of Marriage and Households, so this is a lovely time to notice many wedding occurring. From gardens to churches to Vegas, the numbers of unions are high this month! There are many fun celebration days in June, so read below to find a few that you might enjoy this week! This is courtesy of author Susan Wittig Albert via her monthly newsletter, All About Thyme!

June is National Iced Tea Month (Drink up!!)June 2: Today is the feast day of St. Elmo, the patron saint of sailors. June 3: St. Morand's Day, patron saint of vintners, wine growers, wine makers. June 4: Hug Your Cat Day. Somewhere, a cat is waiting for a hug. Don't disappoint her…

Eat, Drink, and be Merry!

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One of the major processes of the human body is digestion. Why is this important? According to the National Institute of Health (NIH):

"When you eat foods—such as bread, meat, and vegetables—they are not in a form that the body can use as nourishment. Food and drink must be changed into smaller molecules of nutrients before they can be absorbed into the blood and carried to cells throughout the body. Digestion is the process by which food and drink are broken down into their smallest parts so the body can use them to build and nourish cells and to provide energy."

This NIH web page contains a wealth of knowledge about the digestive system and how it works, click here to read more. Take a look at the picture as well and for a moment try to visualize how what we eat and drink travels through us.

How does digestion relate to our practice of yoga? Well there are many considerations. Click here to read about a variety of topics like the nutrient cycle, balance of the diet, heartburn…

I Love Lucy! ;)

Sometimes it's tough to find good yoga clothes and accessories. There are several companies that are geared towards the yoga community, but one that I have found stands out. It's called Lucy (www.lucy.com). They carry a variety of clothing with neat designs and good quality, and some awesome sales! Check them out next time you are doing some home shopping and I think you will be pleasantly surprised.

Namaste,
Kat

Yoga Under the Sky

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So you may have been practicing yoga for a while. Your down dogs are feeling more comfortable and your tree branches are shaking less. You are feeling greater flexibility, better breath awareness, and stronger stabilizing muscles throughout your body. What better way to give your practice a lovely mix up than to take your mat outside!

Practicing yoga outside has many potential benefits. These include:

The sounds we encounter connect us with nature and humanity.It brings us directly to the energy of the world.
Little differences in a living surface of the earth and grass can make balancing a bigger challenge.
Being in nature can help us feel outside our concerns as well, giving perspective.
The sunshine can foster vitamin D production, and feelings of bliss.
Deep breathing can take on a new facet as our sense of smell carries the ecosystem around us into our practice.We hope you can join us at Loose Park, May 9th at 10am, for a little Yoga Under the Sky!

Namaste,
Kat

Yang Yoga

A few posts back, I mentioned Yin. As spring floats on and we drift towards longer days, now is a wonderful time to consider the complementary force to yin, known as yang in the western world.

Yang is white, male, active, dominating, positive, and initiating/creating. Yang is associated with day, mountains, hills, fire, wood, and air.

According to Wikipedia, yin and yang are opposing, and can transform eachother, and yet they are rooted together, and thus are balancing.

How can we relate these concepts to our lives? Maybe by keeping the idea of balance present. Are we leaning too far one direction in our lives, or on the mat? Maybe we have too much motion, and need a moment of stillness. Perhaps we require the balance of a day off lounging, or a vacation where we do nothing active, but rather find ourselves in a valley resting. On the other hand, are we letting go of a dream because it seems like a high mountain to climb? Perhaps we can be very positive towards our goal and begin to take…

Weather or Not

Here is a beautiful song to read through or listen to on a rainy day! Enya - A Day Without Rain

Ever close your eyes?
Ever stop and listen?
Ever feel alive
And you’ve nothing missing?
You don’t need a reason,
Let the day go on and on.
Let the rain fall down
Everywhere around you.
Give into it now,
Let the day surround you.
You don’t need a reason,
Let the rain go on and on.What a day, what a day to take to.
What a way, what a way to make it through.
What a day, what a day to take to a wild child.Only take the time
From the helter skelter.
Every day you find,
Everything’s in kilter,
You don’t need a reason,
Let the day go on and on.
Every summer sun,
Every winter evening,
Every spring to come,
Every autumn leaving.
You don’t need a reason,
Let it all go on and on. What a day, what a day to take to.
What a way, what a way to make it through.
What a day, what a day to take to a wild child.

Know Yourself to Grow Yourself

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In this spring season, all is in renewal. Old leaves are breaking down, fortifying new growth. Shoots, buds, and seeds prepare for the surge. This may be a time to reinvent ourselves as well, breaking away old husks, with velvety new ideas and plans steadily rising forth. What better way to address and maybe even confront our self, than to reflect upon our name. To recall the meaning, the culture, and source of our own personal identity and concept, can help us move forward. Whether we accept this version or seek to weave a deeper tapestry is up to us! Click the link below to find your name and it's wonderful history:

FIND YOUR NAME MEANING HERE!


Thanks to Jellaluna on Flickr for this lovely spring photo!
Namaste,
Kat

A Yoga Poem

In this time of tumultuous weather, changing landscapes, and restlessness, we can always find a comfortable and beautiful place on the mat. Here is a poem about Sun Salutes to keep in mind, found on this Web Page, it is written by Lenore Horowitz, thanks to her for allowing us to read it here. Perhaps as the weather warms, we can find a moment to experience a Sun Salutation outdoors, facing the glowing sol.

Sun SaluteStand firm on the axis
of your two arches.
Head down,
breathe deep of the damp earth
where roots have spread under old leaves.
Raise your arms slowly,
face turning like a daffodil
still wet from night's dew
until sun's beams
warm your coat of many colors,
and eyes open, astonished
at the golden glow
pulsing to arms
which lift weightless,
drawn by heart's gravity
to salute the sun.

Namaste,
Kat

The Alpha and the Omega,on OIL!

As practioners of yoga, many of us try to eat healthy. This is a daily effort that requires thought, planning, focus, and in the end a strong will, given all the American infrastructure that creates unhealthy eating opportunities around many corners, not to mention the lack of exercise! Hey, in Spain I walked 5 miles every day just to get to work, that is a great longevity builder! Unhealthy food at social functions and work, "fast" food looming on every street, busy schedules that don't allow a great deal of time for cooking all contribute to making healthy choices a little tough. Not to mention all the conflicting data about what actually is healthy!

Well, one major thing we can consciously do for ourselves is consider trying to add some omega 3- fatty acids to our diet. What is it? Fat? Yikes! Yes it's fat, but it's the good kind, and we need some so lets go for the good stuff! It is found in various fish as well as a few different nut and plant oils. According…

Vernal Equinox

Ahhhh. March is progressing, and we have passed the Ides unscathed. Hyacinths are budding up so quickly now, and the first daffodils are blooming tentatively in my front yard. The dear lily of the valley pips are poking through the mulch, and irises are raising their pointed blades with valor, as if daring winter to return! Lilacs are waving hello with new green fingertips, and tulips are unfurling satin leaves like jubilant flags. On March 20th, at 11:44am, we will find ourselves once more at the vernal equinox. Without any external calendar, my enduring jade friends all over the yard already know this, spring is arriving!

The vernal equinox will mark the point at which the very center of the sun will lie directly above the equator, rising, climbing, poised, and then our blue planet will begin to tip this lovely northern hemisphere oh so gently yet powerfully towards warmth, summer, light, and growth. The word Equinox stems from latin ( meaning equal and night) and informs us that on …

The Yoga of Yoda, mmmm.

Ever since I was a little girl, I have loved Star Wars. I'm sure many people feel the same way, but as a kiddo with only 4 t.v. channels living in the country and rare exposure to that glowing screen, I really fell in love with it. I distinctly recall Jabba (although he was much much bigger in my mind than he looks now), scaring me but thrilling me, and all the fun stuff and creatures that kept unraveling before my wide eyes.

The past few weeks we've been watching the three original episodes and last night many of the phrases that Yoda pontificated really caught my "yoga" ear. The first related to staying in the present moment. He's upset with young Luke for having such little patience.

He says, “Ready are you? What know you of ready? For eight hundred years have I trained Jedi. My own counsel will I keep on who is to be trained. A Jedi must have the deepest commitment, the most serious mind. This one a long time have I watched. All his life has he looked away... t…

Don't worry, get dirty.

Feeling down? It's February and a few lovely days sprinkle in here and there, but we've reached the time of year that many people get the winter blahs, looking forward to the spring days ahead. In keeping with yoga's philosophy of staying in the present moment, how can we enjoy this time of year? One truly excellent way would be to get outside and start digging around! Maybe trimming some of the dead plants from last year, or raking a few errant leaves that have swirled back into the yard. Possibly turning the compost pile, or gathering any fallen bark or twigs. If you don't have a yard of your own, ask any family or friends if they need a hand, yard work is tough to get to for many people these days, they'll be so grateful to you for your energy!

It turns out this won't just make your friends and neighbors happy, it will make you happy!! According to a recent study at the University of Bristol, the bacteria in dirt have the ability to boost seretonin levels in …

Without violence

The world is full of violence, unfortunately. Some say it may just be a part of human nature but this is definitely not the only way we can respond. The "news" reaches us daily, from drug lord atrocities, to military casualties, to crimes right in our own city or neighborhood. It assaults us but even as we are forced to absorb it we must continue with our day and so in order to cope, we develop a shield. We find justification for the violence, or think that it will not extend to us, or accept it as a requirement of living. Some maybe even turn the news off, trying to block it out. Some philosophies find additional ways to deal with this toxic presence and one concept in yoga may help us not only simply cope, but rather return a different way of being back to the world.

Ahimsa is the sanskrit word that literally means "without violence". In other words, the goal that we do no harm, that we do not kill or harm others. In some versions, this can extend even to a bug on…

Guided Imagery: What can it do for you?

As we practice yoga, each person moves through a series of asanas (postures) that engage the body and breath. However, we always contrast this activity at the end of each yoga class by finding ourselves in corpse pose, allowing the mind and body to clear and relax. Finding this calm and relaxing place allows us to encounter stillness and return to our life refreshed.

In the upcoming weeks and months of class, I plan to incorporate occasional guided imagery into the final moments of class. What is guided imagery? According to web md, this thought process is based on the fact that your mind and body are connected. Guided imagery is a program of directed thoughts and suggestions that guide your imagination toward a relaxed, focused state.

In some cases it may allow the subconscious mind to present discoveries and itself to the conscious mind. At other times, it is simply a way to see where we are and where we would like to be, carving out time and space for our imagination to flourish.…

Bringing Yoga to Work.

Today was a day off, sort of, I didn't teach 100+ rambunctious students so anything is pretty relaxing compared to that. From 8 to 11 am we had teacher meetings and a water quality presentation, then from 11 on, entering grades and getting ready for the new semester. I kinda overdid it. I could have left at 1pm because I had special permission, but I just kept doing more. I moved a large tree that weighs about 100 pounds. Really I did, I had to slide the pot onto a big flattened cardboard box and haul it across the room. Then I wanted a table up front and hauled/slide that, probably weighs 50 pounds and went about 40 feet, I have a lengthy science room. Whew. Exhaustion. My left arm was already a little sore from falling at my soccer game, I won't go into why a yoga lady fell kicking a free kick with no one anywhere near ;) I'm trying to figure that one out right now, definitely a lack of mind body connection at that moment!

Many of us can get into a zone at work. We soldie…