Reflections

If You Can Breathe, Then You Can Sing

Sitting cross legged, arms raised straight out from each side, palms up, music on. We can sing along if we want to. And to my surprise, we all do. And it sounds…awesome?

I didn’t expect a group of random people – some with vocal talent and others (like myself) with none whatsoever – to sound so lovely. And it wasn’t just this once either, it is every time we repeat a mantra or sing along to a popular song. We sound good. The combined voices are somehow in sync with great tone. It sounds better than any cover band I’ve heard or any church choir performance I used to be tortured with. Yet, these bands and choirs rehearse.

So why does an unrehearsed group at yoga sound better?

The author of Yoga Solara offers many parallels between practicing yoga and singing, offering explanations about why us untrained singers find our voices in yoga.

Relaxation, releasing our egos. The best singers strive to let go of all physical and mental tension and allow their voices to come from an authentic, natural place. If you allow your ego to run your singing, your voice will sound false and manipulated.

Presence. Singing is the epitome of being present in the moment. If you let your mind wander, your voice can become unstable.

Posture. Correct singing posture is identical to mountain pose, with hands at the sides.

Technique and Heart. A great singer understands and cultivates a solid technique, and then, when performing, lets go and just sings from the heart.

Breath, the focal point in both yoga and singing. The ‘First Secret’ to singing is the control of breath. When you have control of your breath that means you have control over the muscles of your diaphragm, larynx, and vocal chords (Singing and Breathing – http://singinglessons4u.net/).

So, a singing voice and the courage to find it is one of the many benefits of practicing yoga. Although I’m not about to start belting out Donna Summer songs or create my own cover band, it is nice to acceptably sing out loud and believe I sound better than I would otherwise.

What are your thoughts about singing in yoga?

Want to sing in yoga? I recommend Gloria’s Kundalini at Semperviva.

The Amazing Seane Corne

I went to Seane Corne’s workshop at Semperviva City studio on Saturday afternoon and have been wrung out all week. Seane is an amazing teacher whose insight into the physical and the spiritual is an inspiration. So many of the things she spoke about resonated with my own practice both on and off the mat. As I looked around the room at the 150 other people there with me I could tell that what she said was as immediate for them as it was for me. She talks about planting seeds that will live in our tissues and come out when the time is right. So beautiful and so true– I know that I still carry wise words from my teachers that come out when the time is right.

She also talked about honouring our darkness and our light because both are sacred. This really hit home to me. Since I have begun to deepen my practice and become more committed to living my yoga, I think that I have begun to push all my “dark” thoughts down– censoring myself because they don’t seem appropriate somehow.

So I’m pondering how to be a yogini with a dark side.

We are all working towards love and working towards union (yoga). Some times it can seem like there is only one way, this ideal spiritual way. But being a yogini who is running late and who needs to take out the trash and do the recycling and would really just like a glass of wine is the path that I am on.

Seane’s teachings honour this path. She teaches that being who you are, whatever that is, is the way to your yoga. So it doesn’t matter what kind of yogi you are, you can come to your mat and learn how to love a little bit more.

YOUR PATH TO PRANAYAMA

breathe deep and relax

We know that the word “prana” means life force and “pranayama”  in Yoga means “breath control” or deep diaphragmatic breathing; which is crucial to both sustaining life, as well as relaxation.

But did you know your diaphragm does more then just help you breathe deeper and cultivate prana? 

Deep breathing establishes the mind-body connection needed to regulate our autonomic nervous system (ANS); which can become under-active or over-active with higher levels of stress, tension and the daily hustle and bustle of our urban lifestyle.

The ANS is comprised of the parasympathetic nervous system (PSNS) and the sympathetic Nervous System (SNS); which are responsible for regulating the body’s involuntary functions; which includes the movement of the diaphragm, breathing, circulation, muscle contractions and how you got into the Yoga posture you are practicing right now!

When we meditate or sleep all of these processes slow, along with our breath and we reach a steady state of deep breathing, which is controlled and methodical.  

However, daily stress, tension, muscle fatigue and anxiety can obstruct the fluidity of breathing leaving us with shallow, rigid breathing patterns. This results in unbalanced or impaired autonomic responses that restrict the flow of energy in our body, thus weakening our prana.  

Deep diaphragmatic breathing exercises engage the diaphragm, abdominal wall and rib-cage which improves the inner space within the abdomen for the organs to move freely.

Practicing your pranayama helps to circulate freshly oxygenated blood throughout the system, improves mental clarity and activates the PSNS by stimulating the vagus nerve; which induces the relaxation response, and provides a healthy respite from chronic stress.

Your Path to Pranayama can begin in a relaxed seated or supine posture. Place one hand on your chest and the other hand on your belly:

  • Steady your mind.
  • Breathe more slowly.
  • Breathe more deeply, from the belly.
  • Exhale longer than you inhale. 
  • Cultivate Pranayama

Happy Breath makes Happy Prana!

Sources:

*  Full Path to Pranayama article can be found here:  “The Da!ly Muse” YogaFORM’s official blog site.  http://gimmedailymuse.wordpress.com/  

* Yoga Anatomy: author Leslie Kaminoff and The Breathing Project, Inc – NYC

Keeping It Fresh With A Little Heat

In the spirit of trying new things and keeping it fresh, I thought I would try out a Hot Yoga class.

Now let’s give some background here; I have been practicing yoga for about 13 years & I just starting teaching in 2009. I first tried Hot Yoga in 2003 but was hurt by an enthusiastic teacher who thought my hip could open further. It could not, and consequently I couldn’t sit cross legged for three months.  So understandably I was a little nervous heading to Yyoga on Sunday night to try out Brant Forrester’s YHot class.

First Questions

My first question upon entering Flow Wellness on Burrard Street was rather personal; during my moon cycle should I be practicing Hot Yoga? The guest experience member at the front desk was very helpful. She stated that there are many schools of thought but practicing on your first day of your cycle is not recommended, nor are inversions.  Good on both counts, I head in.

The Build up

Seated in the waiting area before the Fire room I asked a few yogis why they practice Hot Yoga. One yogi stated that he liked the cleansing aspect of the deep sweat.

Another yogi stated that he was on his 30 day challenge; having missed one day, he was catching up by taking two YHot classes. He professed that he loves the challenge and is now addicted.

Marcie, another yogi, seated with us stated that she has a very active mind and that Hot Yoga offers her the challenge she needs.

Everyone warned me I would sweat a lot. They recommended I bring a change of clothes for afterwards.

Here we go

Finally allowed to enter the studio, we set up our mats & got ready to move. First I have to say the room wasn’t as hot as I expected. It was warm but not unbearable. Although the room didn’t get any hotter, I warmed up considerably with all the movement.  There were definitely times during the practice that I felt the need to leave the room. But I just got closer to the ground in Child’s Pose and used my breath to relax.

Brant was very reassuring as he stated immediately that Yoga is your practice. As with all types and levels of yoga; do only what you can, only what your body feels is okay, not what your mind expects of you. There is no competition in yoga, especially not with yourself.

Starting us off in a deep yogic breath; Brant allowed us to get centered and comfortable with the room. Once we were comfortable, he encouraged us to try our Uyaji breathe; preformed by creating a soft sound at the back of the throat while inhaling and exhaling through the nostrils. This sound can help with focusing the mind.

Brant guided us softly throughout the practice using a combination of laughter and encouragement. Starting with postures that remained closer to the floor, we gradually worked into standing poses and balancing postures. Brant challenged you yet also let you decide the level of exertion.

The Deep Satisfaction of Accomplishment

After going through a nice sequence of postures we were back on the ground to do some stretching. Sensing the end was near I was pleased that I had made it. I have to admit that I have never felt a deeper sense of satisfaction than when Brant encouraged us to prepare for Savasana (Corpse Pose). I felt calm and relaxed; no tension anywhere in my body.

Final words

I would encourage anyone to try out a Hot Yoga class. The fear that had held me back was unwarranted, and I am glad to say I am now a big fan of Hot Yoga. I hope you will become one as well. And if not, at least you can say you tried.

(Source: life123.com)

21 Beautiful Benefits of Yoga

There are many positive and wonderful benefits that we can gain from the practice of yoga. On a physical level, yoga cleanses and strengthens the body. However, these physical benefits are simply a side effect of this powerful practice. Yoga also harmonizes the mind and body making them work in sync. When this happens this opens up the opportunity for us to attain what we thought were unattainable feats. We are so often unable to perform optimally due to stress, confusion, negative emotions, self-doubt and other conflicts of the mind. Yoga can help to correct this.

Here are just some of the tangible benefits that can be achieved through the practice of yoga.

Yoga can help to…

  1. relieve anxiety, depression and stress
  2. increase self-confidence
  3. improve your mood
  4. alleviate anger and hostility
  5. improve concentration and motivation
  6. improve memory
  7. improve reactions times
  8. improve metabolism
  9. improve posture
  10. improve your sleep
  11. improve balance
  12. prevent migraines
  13. delay aging by stimulating detoxification
  14. relieve constipation
  15. alleviate allergy symptoms
  16. reduce blood pressure and pulse rate
  17. help prevent disease by massaging internal organs
  18. help improve your immune system
  19. heal the body and prevent injuries
  20. make you more flexible and strong
  21. enhance a sense of awareness, overall consciousness and gradually lead us toward self-realization

What have you experienced?

Uncovering the Patterns

I went and saw the movie “Limitless” this weekend and I got to thinking about the “subconscious mind”. The idea behind the film is that as humans we only utilize approximately 20% of our brain power, but imagine if were able to use 100% and what we could accomplish. The movie briefly touches on the patterns that are embedded into our subconscious mind and how they can govern our lives. We also refer to the subconscious mind in yoga and meditation and how these practices can help us to uncover the patterns and thoughts that lie there.

Source: http://www.subliminalgateway.com

This idea of the subconscious mind is not a new thing, nor strictly linked to yoga, and has been brought up and researched by the likes of many scholars throughout history. If you google, “Subconscious Mind”, you will find many articles on how uncovering these patterns can help us to be more successful and happier.

Sigmund Freud, the founder of psychoanalytic theory, divided the mind into multiple categories, including the conscious, subconscious, ego and super ego minds. But for our sake, we will just look at the subconscious mind; also referred to as the unconscious mind. The subconscious mind contains all of our feelings, urges, memories or our thoughts that are outside of our awareness, all of which can influence our behaviours and experiences even though we are unaware of their influence.

The images of the unconscious place a great responsibility upon a man. Failure to understand them, or a shirking of ethical responsibility, deprives him of his wholeness and imposes a painful fragmentariness on his life. – Carl Jung

As yogis, we know that by practicing yoga and meditation we can begin to train our subconscious mind and discover the patterns that lie there and perhaps do a little “housekeeping.” Many of you may have discovered, through an intense practice or a meditation practice, you feel lighter “more free”, shed a tear or two, or find anger boiling you to the point that you want to scream. These are elements of our subconscious that we have ultimately “stirred up” and can begin the process of dealing with, cleaning out and then moving on!

The patterns that lie in the subconscious, have been there since the day we were born. These feelings and thoughts have influenced our decisions and have played an important roll in who we are, however they may have also steered us away from things that we want, due to fear and anxiety that “we cannot” do something for risk of failing.  Take for example an example from the book Kundalini Yoga: The Flow of Eternal Power;

“Think about an elephant. They say elephants never forget (neither do people). Have you ever wondered why a huge two thousand pound elephant will stand so obediently in one place, tied to a short stake in the ground, held only by a thin chain around its ankle? The elephant doesn’t try to move, because he has been programmed to believe he can’t. How? Simple. The baby elephant is tied to the stake when he is very young. Whenever he tries to move, the chain bites into his leg. He can’t get away, because he’s not strong enough. Every time he tries to move, he gets hurt – a lot. The elephant very quickly catches on to the fact that moving is painful. In order to avoid getting hurt, he gives up trying. Even after he has grown to full size, and could easily tear out the chain, along with the post, and probably the whole circus tent, this gigantic, powerful elephant doesn’t even try to get free, because he believes he can’t.”

When the book The Secret was released, it focused on the fact that we can access our subconscious mind utilizing the Law of Attraction. The Law of attraction briefly states that; like attracts like! You attract yourself to whatever you give your focus, attention or energy to whether wanted or unwanted. While this isn’t a new philosophy and tends to be pretty self explanatory, it makes us see how our thoughts and beliefs can manifest our lives.

The subconscious mind makes no distinction between constructive and destructive thought impulses. It works with the material we feed it, through our thought impulses. The subconscious mind will translate into reality a thought driven by fear, just as readily as it will translate into reality a thought driven by courage or faith. ~ Napoleon Hill

If we look at both the scenario of the elephant and the Law of Attraction and back at our lives, we may notice similar “ideas” or “perceptions” we may have about our own reality. Our yoga and meditation practice helps us to battle our stresses and to “unlock” the ideas of our subconscious mind and by doing so we become more aware of our “self” and begin our journey to the ultimate goal of yoga; enlightenment!

Back to the movie, while it has nothing to do with yoga & would certainly not be the best way of discovering the patterns in your subconscious, it shows you that by unlocking your potential you can become everything you want to be and so much more. The power of thought, and the power of believing in our true selves can help to make us bountiful, beautiful and blissful and live the life that we have always imagined!

What patterns have you unlocked in your subconscious mind through your yoga and meditation practice?

Spring Cleaning With Yoga

I can feel spring in the air, which means I’m restless and full of energy. What does this mean for me as a yogini? This year it means letting go of all the junk that has built up over the winter. It’s not just dust in my apartment– as we all know. Junk builds up everywhere; in my body, my mind and my heart. Each day as it warms up I go back to my mat to open myself up and clear myself out. Getting into those stuck places with breath.

I’m spring cleaning with yoga this year.

Spring is about rebirth, but that means many things. Spring is an opportunity to change up my yoga practice and experiment with new styles of yoga and postures that have seemed challenging in the past. This year I want to use the energy that spring offers to try new things and let go of old habits of mind.

This is a bit scary, too. Trying new things also holds the possibility of failure. The Bhagavad Gita teaches us to let go of the fruits of our actions, because only the actions matter. For me this means really going for it and becoming comfortable with failure, both in my yoga practice and in my life.

So I’m working on Pincha Mayurasana (forearm balance). Every time I go upside down I learn something new about failure as I fall out. But I also learn about letting go– letting go of my expectations and fear of failure. One day (maybe soon, maybe not) I’ll stay up there.

It’s okay if it takes a while because falling out is part of my spring cleaning.

YOGA: DO YOU MOVE WITH INTELLIGENCE?

A  well worn “Post-It” sits on my bedside table adorning this phrase; “Action is movement with intelligence” by B.K.S Iyengar; a mantra or better yet a metaphor for pretty much anything we do in life, on and off the mat. 

Question is…how often do we practice it?

Last night I stumbled upon an intriguing article from the NY Times called “Stretch/ When Yoga Hurts” by Lizette Alvarez and it reminded me of how necessary it is to take the time to move with careful precision and be mindful of limitations in our body.

 The foundation of her article outlines the exponential rise of injuries in Yoga over the last several years. Her top 2 findings below are agreeably valid:

1. The overzealous, eager student (we have all been there).

2. Poor alignment and bio mechanical asymmetries.

 As a YogaFORM teacher, Movement & Performance Coach I work daily with clients on corrective strategies to become more kinesthetically aware of their own unique mechanics, and it makes a world of difference on and off the mat.

Yoga is one of the best forms of therapeutic movement; as it provides an atmosphere where one can practice internal awareness, and become aware of their limitations while working towards methodical corrective mechanics.

 Therefore, to build upon my “Post-It’, intelligent action and movement implies focusing on improving the responsiveness in the body for an all encompassing awareness.

This means that each movement we make and the corresponding transitional movements require exquisite observational skill and mastery to cultivate alignment and prepare the body for automatic responsive sequencing. As you continue to observe, adjust and integrate into your postures, this will lead to less strain on the all the muscles, bones, joints, (CNS) Central Nervous System and (PSNS) Parasympathetic Nervous System responses.

When we move and act with intelligence and intention we open channels within our structural framework that results in improved alignment, a nurturing sense of balance and steadiness in postures for better symmetry overall. 

How’s your form? Do you move with intelligence?

Sources:  

NY Times article: Stretch/ When Yoga Hurts, by Lizette Alvarez: http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/07/24/24stretch/

 YogaFORM Links: www.fittotrain.com.  Blogroll: http://gimmedailymuse.wordpress.com/

Keep Yourself Open To Something New

If you are a long practicing yogi or new to the practice, you might have noticed that there are a lot of choices out there.

When I first started practicing yoga, there was one evening class at UBC called yoga. They didn’t even distinguish it by saying Hatha. Now, there are so many studios in the lower mainland, teaching different styles, I am sure you could go to a different class every day and not run out of options.

So with all those choices where do you start?

Price might be your starting point:

Yoga can definitely be pricey. This can be quite daunting when you are not exactly sure which type of yoga would be best for you.

There is the option of getting a two week unlimited pass. This is great for when you want to try out a specific studio. But what if you aren’t sure which studio to try out?

I feel the best option out there is the Passport to Prana card. With this card you have the option of trying out quite a few different studios. Depending on when you buy your Passport to Prana card, you might have a year to try out all the different studios registered with this program. The most current Passport to Prana card expires in July, but that gives you at least three months to figure it out.

Try the smaller studios; they can be a lot cheaper than the bigger chains. Even your local community center can offer a pass card at a reasonable rate.

Ask around:

You’d be surprised at what the universal will provide if you only just ask. Why not ask the girl walking down the street with a yoga mat on her back. I know that asking a stranger in your own town might seem a little intrusive, but hey, give it a go! I am sure she won’t mind too terribly, if you ask politely. Failing that, try the internet. You have already found us here; there are reviews throughout our site & hopefully many more to come. Be brave, search around.

Sometimes you just have to plunge in:

Be courageous! Try something new. I feel the best thing to do is keep your mind open, give yourself permission to be a little awkward. Remember to be kind to yourself and not worry so much about perfection. If you don’t like the specific style you chose, try again. Yoga can sometimes be like trying on a new pair of jeans; they don’t always fit like your old comforts, but you might surprise yourself into converting to something new.

Remember to keep it fun:

One of my favorite yoga teachers at Semperviva, Bernie Clark, reminds me all the time: laugh, have fun, you’re paying for this.

5 Fundamental Yoga Diet Principles

We are what we eat! The quality and types of food we consume affects us both mentally and physically. Here are some fundamental diet principles for everyone, especially yogis.

Prefer nutritious value versus going for taste – sure, there may be days when a chocolate covered donut sounds better than an apple, but if you really don’t have to (really, really) then don’t do it. You’ll end up feeling better about the apple. Learn to overcome your cravings and make awesome food choices.

Choose nature – seasonal fruits, vegetables, seeds and whole grains. You can even try the 100-mile diet (eating only produce and food that has been grown and made within 100 miles from where you live).

Don’t over eat. I’ve heard that it’s best to only fill your stomach half way up. It makes it easier for digestion and it also doesn’t leave you feeling lethargic. Taking your time when eating and chewing puts less strain on your digesting system. And wait until after your meal to consume liquids. Remember over eating leads to weight gain!

Drinks. Avoid as much alcohol as possible and limit your intake of caffeine to two cups of Joe or tea per day. Drink at least ten to twelve glasses of water (at least two glasses when you first wake up).

Don’t count calories or stress about vitamin in-take. Don’t be a slave to your taste buds, but focus on what is most healthy. Learn to listen to your body’s needs and remember moderation – do this and you’ll get exactly what your body needs. Yoga is all about self-discipline-you can do it.

Remember to take the time to detox, set goals, find your motivation and make choices that truly optimize your life and those around you.

Namaste!

Photo credit: http://yoga-connection.com

How To Start Your Day Calm & Relaxed – Without Yoga

I have a confession to make: I am not a morning person – never have been and probably never will. Most of us don’t have a lot of time in the mornings, so here are some tips to start your day calm and relaxed when you don’t have time to fit in a morning yoga class:

  • Get Some Sun: Wouldn’t you love to be awoken soothingly by a gradual brightening of your bedroom and have a gentle ray of sunshine warm you face? Ok, you’re thinking, how do I experience that every morning in Vancouver? You can’t. But, take advantage of the mornings that do provide you with sun. Step out onto your deck or patio, close your eyes and feel the warmth of the sun on your face. Be present in the moment, be still, relax, and feel gratitude for this rare occasion.
  • Get Some Fresh-Air: Open your window take a long, deep breath of fresh, crisp morning air. Feel your lungs expand while you nourish your body with oxygen.
  • Take A Moment Of Peace: Take some time to experience your own personal moment of silence. Before you reach for your iPhone to check your emails, before you go wake up your kids, before you say good morning to your partner, take time to just “be” – don’t do anything or think of anything but focus on your breathing: This will calm your mind and body.
  • Read A Positive Quote: This could be an inspiring piece of advice from friends or family members, or quotes you have collected from literature. Keep them by your bedside table, or on a sticky-note attached to your bathroom mirror. Say them out loud, or to yourself, to positively affirm your intentions for the day.
  • Drink Warm Water With Lemon: Most of us are addicted to some form of caffeine – either tea or coffee. Try drinking a warm cup of water with fresh-squeezed lemon as an alternative morning beverage. This powerful concoction provides you with a shot of vitamin C and stimulates your digestive tract. It is also an alkalizing drink, helping to wake-up your liver and aiding in flushing your systems of toxins.

Now you’re ready to start your day calm, relaxed and ready to take on the world!

[Source: haberdasheryandhome]

All I Know About Yoga

is that I know nothing, to paraphrase Socrates, a man in the know.

Socrates by David

When it comes to our relationship to asanas, one may realise that a lot of it has to do with:

  • what we know
  • what we think we know
  • what we think we should know
  • what we would like to know
  • what we don’t know that we know

When I started yoga at my local gym in London a few years ago, I didn’t know what I was doing at all, and had close-to-zero body awareness. Most of the classes were multi-level, which gave me that daunting notion that everyone else knew what they were doing. On low days, I felt like a total body idiot. I wanted to know what they knew and make my stupid body do what they did.

So I stubbornly went back to class until I started to know enough to start to get profoundly fascinated and transformed by what my stupid body had to teach me.

Michael Stone in his workshop mentioned that yoga attracts perfectionists, the ‘never enough’ crowd which I belong to. I googled the word and found this definition: ‘perfectionists derive a very real sense of pleasure from the labours of painstaking effort.’ Sounds familiar?

Perfectionists love an all engrossing activity that offers an infinite array of refinements. There is also something quite obsessive-compulsive about yoga: the very repetitive and ritualised nature of it. You go to several classes a week and listen to the same cues for years, but somehow each time you hear them, they sound new, and you apply yourself to them as diligently as you can.

Now that I’m doing  my teacher training, I’m learning those cues in the hope that one day, I’ll repeat them to other people and share what I know, what I’ve learnt painstakingly, with much effort.

Cues can be quite deceitful, though. Our mind and body memorise them and hardly question their purposes. Do you know why you do all of the things you do in an asana? We can hear and perform a cue hundreds of times sometimes without asking ourselves why.

When their meanings are suddenly unravelled, it can be a real epiphany – at least for me, I’m easily awestruck – another piece falls into place in the puzzle of an asana or a family of asanas.

I was marvelled by an interview of B.K.S. Iyengar in the movie Enlighten Up – which I would only recommend for its bonus features -, where he was explaining that he recently had a revelation about the alignment of the ribcage in headstands. His face was lit by pure glee as he admitted this. I just thought ‘wow, he’s still learning and seem to find so much joy from it’. This gives a lot of hope to yoga perfectionists everywhere.

Before we started our practice with Michael Stone, he invited us to forget all we knew about yoga. It felt incredibly liberating and brought everyone to the same level, as it should.

We should apply this Socratic principle to our practice and step on our mats with a virgin mind because this is how we’ll pay better attention to what our body knows. We will continue learning and get to know all those levels of refinement that give perfectionists so much pleasure, and above all joy.

5 Excuses to Skip Yoga And 5 Reasons to Do It Anyways!

Although most of the time I have a lot of motivation I find myself sometimes lacking the discipline that could so nicely compliment it. This lack of discipline can lead me into a lot of trouble, but I’m working out ways to really listen to my body as to when it’s best to simply rest and when I should muster up both the motivation (and discipline) to persevere. As we know, if we want to really reap the benefits of yoga, we have to consistently practice and keep our focus.

1. I’m tired. This is probably the biggest excuse and the most frequently used (and probably the most valid given that a lot of us work a full-time job. Yoga a mere compliment to everything else we do). But, there are ways to get past fatigue. One of those ways is to get moving. Taking a few minutes for sun salutations to simply warm the body up could be all it takes to re-energize and prepare for a full practice (5 Sun Salute A’s and 5 Sun Salute B’s and a nice 5 minute Savasana could do the trick). Another way is restorative poses. Staying in a few restorative poses for 5-10 minutes can help to restore some lost energy (supported backbend for savasana, and a personal fave, supported legs up the wall pose). There are times when it’s best to refrain from practice all together (some refrain during their period, a new moon, full moon or sickness). Given these times, it’s most important to listen to your body and to do what’s best for it. And, let us not forget about meditation! We don’t always need a yoga practice to meditate!

2. I ate too much. This one has sabotage written all over it. You pretty much know when your class time is and if you have a home self-practice, well then, you have no excuse really as you can wait until your belly is ready. If you aren’t eating during the day because your life is too busy, then it’s probably a really good time to bring some balance (and nourishment) back in so as to not miss a class that can be so good for someone who is so busy (and possibly frazzled).

3. I don’t want to leave the house. For whatever reason, we all feel like we want to be hermit (or feeling shy) from time to time. In those instances, and if you don’t have a home self-practice, there are A LOT of great teachers who offer online classes. And, not that the online classes should replace the real thing (as we could miss out on great adjustments, the connectivity, etc), but sometimes online classes are exactly what we need when we don’t feel like going anywhere or perhaps when the weather isn’t great for driving, walking or cycling.

4. Oh I’m a little sore. Perhaps we’ve done a bit too much of this or that that has left us a little bit sore. Well, yoga is just the thing for sore muscles (of course listening to your body in order to not over do it). Yoga helps to relax tight muscles and helps to remove lactic acid build up (the stuff that makes muscles sore). Yoga can actually help the body recover faster from whatever other training sessions we endure.

5. I’m feeling depressed. There’s nothing that can’t turn that frown upside down like some yoga can. Yoga has been proven to help elevate mood and help with temporary phases of depression. Some of my favorite postures for when I’m feeling blue include, all-levels backbends (upward bow pose, bridge pose, camel pose and upward facing dog). Sometimes a good Vinyasa or a sweaty Ashtanga class can also help get you back in the swing of things.

What are your experiences, excuses, and reasons to keep going?

Photo credit: http://www.iyogalife.com/.

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