Reflections

The Neti Pot How-To

If you get sinus headaches, pressure or pain, or have allergies, you know just how agonizing it can be. Here’s something that might help.

Using a Neti Pot is a very old cleansing technique and tradition of India. There it is referred to as Jala Neti. The literal translation means ‘water cleansing’ or ‘water irrigation’. It is a flushing out of the nasal cavity. Our nasal cavity is full of fine hairs called cilia. This flushing helps them to move faster and thus push irritants, bacteria etc, to back of the throat where it can be spit out or to the nose where it can be blown out.

Some people use a Neti Pot to help with sinus congestion, sinusitis, allergies, and sinus infections or as a preventative measure. It’s also a more cost-effective form of treatment and, in addition, doesn’t have all the side effects of prescription medication.

The way it works is that the Neti Pot is filled with a body-warm solution of water and salt (it is recommended to use Iodine-free salt or natural sea salt. Also, remember to use a fresh solution every time). The solution is then poured into the nostrils one at a time while breathing through the mouth. You then switch sides. Remember to learn forward and tilt your head to the opposite side of the Neti Pot. Also, when finished, it’s good to first sniff in gently a couple of times to help return the nasal passages back to normal (sometimes referred to as ‘helping them dry’) and then gently blow your nose – do this oh so gently. If any gets into your mouth, don’t worry, just spit it out. If you accidentally swallow it, it’s OK too. It is also important to note that there should be no pain or uncomfortable feeling involved. If there is, stop immediately and reassess.

The solution helps to remove anything that may be ‘stuck’ up there – dust, pollen, bacteria, excess mucus, pollutants, etc. It is typically eight ounces of water and a fourth teaspoon of salt. The salt should be dissolved completely. If you use too much salt, your nasal cavities will be sure to inform you with a nice burning sensation. Also, the water must not be too hot. Test the water both for temperature and salt before using. Also, it is very important to take the time to ensure all of the water has drained from your nasal cavities. Take your time and it will be a worthwhile, healthy experience.

Click here for a  short how-to video that could be helpful. I have not purchased my Neti Pot from this company, but I feel the video is helpful and has some really good tips.

And, as you may already know, yogis, as cool as they are, do some pretty weird things, but these weird things usually pay off in the end. Enjoy and try something new!

Yoga Pants or?

I’ve heard a LOT of talk over the last little while that “Yoga Pants are Not Pants!”  From newspaper articles, word of mouth, to even a pol on Virgin Radio a couple of weeks ago. While yoga pants, specifically lululemon branded ones, seem to be the staple in the yoga community around Vancouver, there seems to be a lot of huffing & puffing about whether or not yoga pants should be worn out in public.

Whether you want to call yoga pants and all the accessories, tanks and hoodies as part of the fashion industry or not, there are certainly enough styles and colours and fabrics to enter them into this category, as I’m sure all the designers who make these items would agree.

So being the devils advocate that I am, I’ve compiled a list of 3 Places to NOT where Yoga Pants and 3 Reasons Yoga Pants are Pants!

3 Reasons Yoga Pants ARE Pants;

  • Well, let’s just say – They are PANTS!
  • They are more cleverly designed than a pair of sweat pants from the 80’s with the elastic ankles.
  • They are available in multiple colours, fabrics and styles and there is something for everybody from straightlegged to tights to capris.

Posted in a Gastown Shop Window; Ishara boutique, 38 Water Street, Vancouver, BC

While the argument can be construed that they are great if you are going to or coming from yoga they aren’t meant to be worn everywhere. Sure, but in reality how are most yoga pants different from regular pants? Form fitting? Yes, but so are tights or pencil skirts for that matter.

But realistically, there is a time and a place for everything! While I will admit, I do wear yoga pants A LOT, as tights or in the summer as capri”s, they are multi functional when I want to run in & take a class, I don’t need to go home and change first. But there are places that we really don’t need to see the lululemon logo!

3 Places to NOT Wear Yoga Pants;

  • Funerals – Take the extra 5 minutes and put on a pair of slacks that will make you come off as being a little bit more modest, especially if you are in a church.
  • Weddings – Unless the wedding involves a yoga class they are probably way too casual to pull off at a wedding.
  • Job Interview and maybe the job depending of course what it is, if you work in a business office downtown, the lulu’s won’t fly!

While I’m sure there are the lover’s and the haters out there on where they should and shouldn’t be worn, but my vote is in; Yoga Pants are Pants! What do you think?

Yoga-ee People

Patti Paige Baked Ideas Custom Baking

“So, where do you work?” I ask a new acquaintance.

“Oh I work in Kitsilano,” she replies with an unimpressed tone.

“Oh yeah, I work around there too and used to live there. I love Kits, such a nice area,” I respond cheerfully.

“Yeah, it’s ok. It’s very Vancouver and all yoga-ee,” she states, accentuating the ee.

“Yes, I know,” and to her surprise I add, “I’m actually all yogaee myself.”

Vancouver yoga people. Just a bunch of clones wearing Lululemon spandex suits, headbands, and legwarmers with yoga mats on our backs, shopping for organic produce in Capers or Whole Foods. We prefer Naturopaths to Doctors, tea to coffee, and vegetables to meat. We believe that because we practice yoga, we are better than the general public. We feel better, act better, and look better in tight clothing.

I used to be convinced of this stereotype, allowing it to create negative feelings towards practicing yoga. Then, a few years later, I went to my first class.

Rather than being surrounded by the image-conscious people I expected, I was surrounded by all sorts of focused, non judgmental yogis enjoying their practice and supporting mine. Lululemon? Yes of course it was worn – and good thing since most spandex pants reveal bum crack during every Downward Facing Dog. Matching outfits? I couldn’t tell you since my attention was drawn inward rather than towards analyzing classmates’ clothing choice. I even had the option of sipping a free cup of tea before class.

There is an instant sense of comfort when you begin class and recite om for the first time. We’re all there for our own reasons and it has nothing to do with personality type or fashion sense or where we choose to buy our produce. I wasn’t being looked at or stereotyped, so how could I speak of these yogis with negative connotation?

There is no denying that Vancouver is full of practicing yogis who do fit the stereotype to a certain extent. I’m a vegetarian, Lululemon wearing, tea drinking yogi. Yet this doesn’t determine who I am. There is such a wide range of people who practice yoga in this city and we are much more diverse than any stereotype’s classification.

I used to think yoga was for wealthy yuppies in need of an indoor activity during winter. Until I tried it and was pleasantly surprised. Perhaps this new friend of mine should just try it, too.

YIN & YANG: A RUNNERS GUIDE TO YIN YOGA

With the Sun Run and the BMO half/full marathon just around the corner adding a little Yin to your Yang could be your best preventative approach towards staying injury free this season.

As an ultra marathoner and Yoga teacher I realize that stretching is a crucial part of any athletes repertoire. Over time, as we age, and especially in competitive athletics when load is applied continuously our structural frame our connective tissue and joints are ultimately the most affected. This creates stiffness, limited mobility and sometimes injury.

 So how does Yin and Yang relate to human physiology?

Yang tissue make up muscles, are more fluid-filled, soft, and elastic.  Yin tissue make upconnective tissue (ligaments, tendons, and fascia) and bones are dryer, harder, and stiffer.  By extension, exercise that focuses on musculoskeletal tissue is yang; exercise that focuses on connective tissue is yin.

Through dynamic movement and the linear mechanics of running, we place 8 times our body weight with every gait cycle; which generates a large amount of heat within working tissue. So it’s no wonder so many athletes gravitate towards adding a little Yin to their Yang practice.

Yin Yoga provides a slower, calmer method of yogic stretching that targets the joints, ligaments and fascia/connective tissue in the body. When combined with deep diaphragmatic breathing; the vagus nerve is stimulated and the relaxation response within tissue is activated, releasing new depths in postures, deeper ranges of motion, or an increased flow of energy can be achieved by focusing on the deeper tissues of the body through this practice.

Moreover, a yin approach works to promote flexibility in areas often perceived as nonmalleable, especially the hips, pelvis, and lower spine, all areas that runners need to be mindful of during their peak training leading up to race day.

As you approach the Sun Run and BMO half /full marathon create space for Yin Yoga, it’s a great addition to your taper. Try YogaFORM on Saturday mornings on the North Shore, or if you are an evening Yogi; one of my favorite spots is YogaPod, also on the North Shore, Friday afternoons and Saturday evening bliss!

 Happy Yin, to all your Yang!

Letting In The New

With spring in the air, it’s possible that you have been going through your closet with the intention of spring cleaning. I certainly have been trying my best to purge those things I no longer need.

Sadly I have a habit of holding onto things longer than necessary.  I have a tendency to attach memories to specific items making it hard for me to let go. That in itself is not a bad thing, but when you become attached to items because of memories, these memories literally become burdensome.

The Eight Fold Path

Within Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras there is an Eight Fold Path offering guidelines to cleanse the body and mind in order to lead a more meaningful and purposeful life.

The first four limbs of this path are concerned with gaining control over the physical body, fine tuning our personalities and developing an awareness of ourselves.

Over the years, with the help of my yoga practice, I have gained a deeper awareness of myself. I have found that there are certain personality traits and behaviours that no longer serve me. By following the Eight Fold Path I am striving to reach my true potential. This has not been easy, nor am I anywhere near finished. Perhaps I never will, but it’s the journey, right?

The First Limb: Yama

According to the Sutras, Yama focuses on behaviour and how you conduct yourself in life. An individual’s ethical standards and sense of integrity become very important when concentrating on this first limb.

There are five Yamas:

Ahimsa: nonviolence

Satya: truthfulness

Asteya: non-stealing

Brahmacharya: sensory control

Aparigraha: non-covetousness/non-hoarding

Sophie Legrand discussed Brahmacharya in her post titled “Browse with Moderation”. To further continue along my journey, I am concentrating on Aparigraha.

According to the Sutras, Aparigraha literally means the non-accumulation of worldly objects caused by covetousness and attachment. Looking honestly into my life, I can see that I have accumulated a lot of “stuff” which I have attached sentimental value. Holding each object in my hand, asking myself, “Do I really need this anymore?” I can answer truthfully. I come to the understanding that the memories attached to that object are within me; I do not need the object. Do you also attach memories to objects and then feel you will lose those memories without that object?

Aparigraha asks us to travel light; to let go of the old, in order to make room for the new. New possibilities await if you only make room.

I was very lucky to learn these lessons while earning my 200 Hr Yoga Certification at Semperviva Yoga.

I encourage anyone who is interested in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras to search out Rolf Gates & Katrina Kenison’s Meditations from the Mat. Rolf Gates approach to the Eight Limb Path is very readable.

(Source: Yoga.am)

4 Things You May Not Know About Yoga Teacher Training

1. For some of us, it may be our first yoga-type training…

Typically practitioners at all levels and ages show up to yoga teacher training. I attended with students who had been practicing and studying for several years in addition to others, whom like myself, had been practicing for less. The important thing to remember is that it’s not a competition and no one is going to judge you – if you feel a little unsure about where you are, you can always contact the teacher(s) hosting the training to get their opinion. Most schools seem to accept all levels, but there are also some who suggest a recommended amount of experience. The training will most likely be challenging both physically and mentally, so some experience and preparation will indeed be helpful.

2. It’s not always about learning to teach…

Not everyone may attend yoga teacher training to learn how to teach, but to deepen his or her knowledge and practice. Typically yoga teacher training offers comprehensive and invaluable information. Areas of study can include meditation, chanting, philosophy, Asana practice, Pranayama (breathing techniques), anatomy, physiology, diet and nutrition, in addition to how to start teaching and setting up logistics. Training to become an effective yoga teacher typically takes many years of dedicated practice and not everyone who graduates may immediately start to teach. Instead they may be inspired to go even deeper into the exploration of yoga, broaden their expertise within different aspects or specialties or continue to develop and evolve their personal daily practice.

3. Be prepared for the unexpected…

As the time becomes nearer, you may be both anticipating the experience and feeling a little anxiety. This is natural. It is important to get plenty of rest and to try and arrive with an open mind and ready to be teachable. It is also a good idea to prepare for not only the physical challenge, but also for the mental. Yoga training can be intense and detoxifying. Along with it can come moments of bliss, but also strong sensations and feelings. You may find yourself asking quite significant questions or wanting to deal with a certain issue. There may also be elements of resistance, even confusion. One of the best things you can do during this time is to simply trust in the process of yoga. Know that the experience is worth it and that all the effort it may take to deal with it is too. And, most importantly, know that you already have what it takes to get through it.

If you are taking a residential intensive, may not be able to return home or  to your family or friends. Don’t be afraid to seek the support from other willing students or teachers around you.

4. The changes are continuous

You may experience both subtle and dramatic changes during your yoga teacher training. It will most likely not stop there. The transformation may happen all at once or gradually over time. Either way, you will more than likely start to grow a clearer understanding about who you are. Yoga brings us to places within ourselves where changes need to occur. Doing yoga everyday will definitely bring a dramatic change as it will relieve stress, release negativity and promote awareness and a positive outlook on life.

I would love to hear your experiences.

A Day with Sadie!

A Day with Sadie!

Saturday was a blissful Sadie Nardini filled day. Having watched a few of Sadie Nardini’s FREE YouTube video’s over the last few months, when I heard that she was coming to Vancouver, I knew I had to go.

Sadie had several workshops at yyoga (various locations) throughout the weekend, but I was only able to attend the Saturday sessions at Highgate (Burnaby).

{source: www.sadienardini.com}

If you are not familiar with Sadie Nardini, she is the founder of Core Strength Vinyasa Yoga.  Based out of NYC, she travels internationally, has her own Core Strength Vinyasa Yoga teacher training program as well as retreats and offers hundreds of free videos on YouTube.

Saturday consisted of two two hour workshops at the beautiful Highgate Yyoga with some fantastic Core Strength Vinyasa yoga. The basis behind Sadie’s Core Strength Vinyasa yoga is a new way of looking at asana’s and simplifies how to use our “core” more efficiently when practicing. A practice that left me feeling it the next morning, which is the best kind in my opinion. But that’s JUST the yoga!

We all know yoga classes offer us so much more than just the yoga, and what makes us enjoy the asana even better is a fantastic teacher, which Sadie most certainly is. A real, down to earth type of person, who gives you the impression that going out for coffee with the woman would be fun and insightful all at the same time. She has a raw presence about her, and after conversations about “what is the point?”, why do we do the things we do when we really don’t want to? Why do we feel we need to please other people, when it doesn’t please us and why do we feel the need to not tell these people or look out for ourselves? She encouraged us to respectfully but honestly speak our truth, don’t give everything you have to somebody else and leave nothing for yourself.

I find that my most favourite teachers or yoga classes are the ones that give me a piece of self reflection that stays with me as I walk out the door, oh and the soreness the next morning. Take Sadie’s truth message posted on her Facebook account this morning, “THIS week, start saying what you really mean, respectfully, and yet honestly…to yourself, and those around you. Why hide, if you really believe that you’re OK just as you are, that ultimately you don’t need anyone’s acceptance to be passionate and happy and your truth is equally as valid as anyone else’s? Hmmm…”

Brilliantly awesome! Thanks Sadie for a fabulous day of learning how to move through asana’s with more ease and core strength and that little bit of self reflection I needed to start off a new month! Looking forward to your return for the Vancouver Yoga Conference in the fall.

Floating Through The Practiced Storm

Savasana. The pose of all poses. You rise from your deep, calm, refreshed state with an increased positivity and gratitude towards life. You steadily prepare to face the outside world, bringing with you the qualities enhanced during class. Before you can collect your things and gather your thoughts to go on your merry way, the entrance is flooded.

Fellow yoginis, desperately anxious to find peace and start their practice, rush to the crowded cubicles and still occupied mats. You and others in a successful tranquilized state are bombarded with questions as to whether you’re coming or going. Your peace is interrupted, but you try hard to hang onto it as you dodge the incoming traffic and make your way out of class.

Doesn’t this abrupt behaviour confuse our purpose in going to yoga? The practice in breathing through discomfort and applying it to our daily lives. Being calmly present to deal with temporary strain.

So why not breathe through the discomfort of not getting our usual spot in class? Or the hurry to place our belongings in the cubicle closest to the exit? Or the anxious need to achieve ten full minutes of happy baby before class begins? How about respecting our community, our Kula, to help enhance its practice rather than suspend it.

We’ll all eventually arrive on our mats and begin our practice our way, moving to accommodate our bodies’ needs. Once class is finished, the positive energy we leave with is not determined by how strategic we were before class started.

So let’s face this challenge, despite how badly we need our next class. Let’s incorporate the strength, compassion, and integrity we learn from yoga and ensure its carried forward once we enter our yoga community. So when we exit class, we stay afloat rather than being forced to sink.

My Yoga, My Responsibility

I’ve been thinking a lot about personal responsibility– especially with regards to my yoga practice and the yoga that I teach. Injury is serious, especially in advanced yoga classes. Everyone knows someone who has hurt themselves. Ryan Leier, one of my dear teachers, talked about this the last time he was here in Vancouver: “I’m not going to talk so much about your kneecaps, because I trust that you all know what to do with them”. That trust is vital because it empowers me be conscious and honest within my own practice.

But I’ve been talking about kneecaps in my classes– maybe too much.

Yoga is a tool for me to practice taking responsibility for myself. On my mat I reconnect with who I am and with who I want to be. Yoga gives me the strength and the peace to go out into the world and live the life I want to live. I think that most people who stay with their practice do so because it teaches powerful lessons about personal responsibility. The practice of yoga allows us to be honest and to be present– to take responsibility for our actions and our thoughts.

But yoga teachers do have an enormous responsibility to their students. They are responsible for providing a safe environment and finding a balance between challenging students and protecting them. Ultimately it’s up to each individual to take responsibility, both physically and emotionally. Yoga is intense– it brings stuff up and can be hard on the body if we’re not careful. So each yogi needs to take responsibility for themselves every time they practice.

I feel so lucky that my yoga practice teaches me how.

MOVIE REVIEW: FIERCE LIGHT, WHEN SPIRIT MEETS ACTION

What does Yoga and Activism have in common?   COMMUNITY!

Last night I watched the ground breaking documentary, “Fierce Light, When Spirit Meets Action” an in-depth look at the power that is released when our spirituality/belief and activism meet.

Sparked by the movements of Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Desmond Tutu,  Thich Nhat Hanh, and Mandela, by igniting a global movement of positive, compassionate action. It is a global journey of social change motivated by love, and the necessity to save our world through ethical action.

When asked by students what my message is, I say I am an Activist for Compassion, thus my message is to be an activist for compassion.

It is here, where we see a direct correlation between Yoga and Activism; both deeply rooted in community. The growing popularity of yoga at this time of global transformation and shift of inward search for our own humanity is not a coincidence.

If we look at the definition of a Yogi it is someone who strives to live in harmony with the earth, our environment and embracing the connection with another; which is at the heart of belonging.

A yogi seeks self-realization through the practice of action to become a more centered and rounded partner of society. By living in an other-centered way rather than a self-centered way, the yogi lives harmoniously with the earth, with all beings and things, and ultimately with oneself. This is the very way of life that is reflected in our leaders who have taken compassionate action towards a better world.

The practice of yoga on the mat can provide us with very practical skills to enable us to dismantle our present negative culture, a culture of dis-ease, based upon the exploitation of the earth and injustice of our fellow human and to act with non-violence to shift the paradigm towards social change.

So the next time you are on your mat, think about how you can transfer the loving, compassionate traits evoked from your practice and take them off the mat.  Imagine individuals and organizations connected by a shared commitment to compassionate, positive action….that’s most definitely Fierce Action!

Transform.  Inspire.  Enable

Coming Back to You

Among the many benefits of yoga, I believe the most important is it has allowed me to be more present in my life; to be more present within me.

From the moment I step into the studio I feel myself connect more fully to my body. I feel my shoulders relax.  I concentrate more on my breath. I start to notice the tenseness in areas I didn’t realize until I took a moment to listen.

All throughout our busy day we shut the voice of our body down; we don’t have time to listen to what it is telling us; the slight twinge of an achy hip, the tense area between the shoulders, the pull of the muscles down the back, the knee that continues to slightly throb. All these tiny voices of the body are being drowned out by the mind. I have to get this done; I need to pick up groceries, what am I going to make for dinner? When will I have time for me???

Within the yoga studio, I am there only for me. I am there to feel my body move. I am there to listen to what it tells me I can and can’t do. The instructor at the head of the class is only making suggestions; only I know what my body needs.

But listening to the body takes practice; it takes time. The mind has huge expectations of us. It criticizes, it judges, it sets goals from out of nowhere. If you take the time to listen and believe in what your body tells you, you will find a sense of peace; a calmness that allows you to believe that you are exactly where you are supposed to be. Your body is perfect in its imperfection.

Sometimes when I come out of a yoga class, I am more aware of that wonderful body. The placement of my foot upon the sidewalk; how the ball of the foot takes the weight transferring it through the arch and on to the heel. As I shift the weight from one foot to the other, I feel my body sway from side to side.  The expansion of my lungs as I take in a full deep breathe, the rise and fall of my chest, the long deep exhale. The slight soreness coupled with the deep heavy relaxation, the calmness of the mind.

I exist here and now.

It doesn’t matter that I have laundry to do or that I need to get groceries. That my taxes are waiting to be done.

For those precious moments after a class I can feel a deep sense of connection to the earth as I take in the lush green grass, the profusion of new buds on the cherry trees, the magnolia that are blossoming.

I find myself looking at the quality of light; how different it can be from dawn to sunset. The cool blues of the morning, the deep golden oranges of the afternoon into the sunset; the golden hour, and finally the magenta blues coming just after the sun has set.

What the rain sounds like as it hits the leaves of a tree. How the earth smells different after a light rain.

All the senses of my body are alive with the beauty of life.

The world is a plethora of sights, sounds and smells which I find myself so grateful to be a part of.

Even if I can’t find the time to practice I know that just a small walk out my door allows me to be present in my life. From the knowledge I gathered throughout my practice, I can take a few precious moments a day to breathe; to come back to me.

What does yoga bring into your life? What do you do to bring yourself back to you?

(source: realliferealyoga.blogspot.com)

Browse With Moderation

In our teacher training last week, we discussed Brahmacharya. This fifth yama invites us to moderation and to not squander our energy, and hence to exercise our will-power. A lot of us in the class realised how in our modern age, a great deal of our energy leaked through the infinite, colourful, ephemeral and ever so stimulating internet.

I don’t watch TV any more, so nowadays when I’m feeling bored or my energy is low, instead of reaching for the remote, I just open a browser on the laptop, and wander around twitter, facebook or youtube.

A lot of the time, I do learn things, I find inspiring blogs and articles. There is an undeniable educative value to the internet but it can be also a wonderful tool of procrastination. So when do our cyber-musings become a real waste of energy?

[source: http://praiseworks.wordpress.com]

To me, it is when I run out of real purposes to connect to the web and I’m anxiously looking for stimulation, something that will distract me from boredom, loneliness, unpleasant tasks, low mood, etc.

How can we exercise our will-power and direct our energies to worthier pursuits?

First, we can monitor our time and use of the internet, and develop awareness to our browsing. Do we need to check my email, Facebook, Twitter, etc. every 10 minutes? Also, we could play with our abilities for delayed gratification and motivate ourselves with an internet break. For example, ‘I’ll watch that video on youtube once I’ve finished this task I really don’t want to do’.

What can we propose ourselves to do instead?

  • Lonely: why not call a friend, meet someone for coffee, talk to a co-worker, or just go to a yoga class.
  • Bored: maybe think of more creative ways to use our time, like grab a yoga book and read about a posture, a yama, a pranayama, or simply meditate and find out more about the void within.
  • Low: why not get the mat out and practice a few twists and backbends, or cook a tasty nutritious meal for your partner, family, friends or just yourself!
  • Procrastinating: we all know that the earlier we get over unpleasant but unavoidable stuff to do, the better we feel. So just do it and reward yourself after, not before.

Being mindful of how we spend our time and energy is a way of taking care of ourselves. When we waste our time surfing, there is this latent feeling of letting ourselves down. By entertaining the inner child within in a more productive way, we also connect with our more nurturing self.

Who Are You? Do You Really Wanna Know?

Click here for some inspirational music: Who Are You?

Yoga can help build self-confidence, self-awareness and help us to take a more proactive approach to life. Yoga can be one of the biggest gifts you can give yourself, but it takes patience and the courage and willingness to make life-altering changes. Yoga can transform your life.

There is a yoga style for everyone and there are no rules that say you have to stick to just one style. Take your time to find what best suits you and your personality. Styles range with technique and focus, but whatever path you choose, keep going and keep an open mind. Even if at first you find yourself practicing simply to become more physically fit or more relaxed (both will happen), over time you may just find yourself going back more and more for the clarity that yoga brings.

It is important to know that there may be elements of confusion, resistance and even intimidation that arise (I have experienced all of them personally), especially during the early stages of your practice, and of course later on too. Don’t let these things stop you. Take these sensations as signs that you are doing the necessary ‘work’ to uncover deeper truths within you.

Despite yoga’s popularity, some people see yoga as only for the trendy, flexible or religious. Well, none are true. Yoga is thousands of years old, it’s for anyone who’s interested and it’s non-competitive. It is, however, what you make it.

Yoga encourages us to take on kindness toward others and ourselves. Creating awareness and appreciating oneself and others goes a very long way in improving the quality of life for everyone and every living thing on our planet. And, yoga because helps us to feel better both physically and mentally, chances are when we feel good in both of these areas, we feel good in our lives and we want others to feel this way as well.

Yoga helps to reduce stress and tension and helps us open to clarity. When we are thinking clearly, we can start to get in contact with our deepest passions and to what we want to achieve in this life. This clarity, even if not understood at first, often instigates us to ask ourselves more profound questions (What am I doing here? What do I want to do?). And, perhaps it even encourages us to formulate a plan, develop a routine (i.e. practice every day) and to stay on track.

The changes that take place could be massive or subtle. Some find themselves changing careers completely while others find themselves improving the situation they are currently in. Everyone has the possibility to work with the potential they have no matter what it is or has been.

How we practice yoga can also tell us a lot about how we feel in other areas of our lives. Our practice is often a true reflection of our own individual struggles. For example, pushing to hard, not enough, having difficulty relaxing, troubles with the breath, doubting, not enough motivation or belief, no discipline, etc.

Yoga can be a tool to help whatever we do in life, to do it better. It is a journey and the more time we spend on it (on the mat), the more will be revealed. Take a chance. Discover yoga, stick to it and discover who you are.

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