Yoga

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.

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

Infrared Sauna Before Or After Yoga?

Infrared saunas offer a variety of health benefits – including helping to excrete toxins, boosting your immune system, aiding in weight control, and improving cardiovascular health. They provide many benefits similar to natural sunlight while protecting you from the dangerous effects of UV radiation.

If you’re unfamiliar with infrared saunas, they differ from traditional hot coal saunas by emitting heat from infrared radiant heaters. During an infrared sessions, I usually feel quite warm – but not overly hot, perspire a bit – but don’t end up drenched in a pool of sweat. I feel like I’m warmed from the inside-out, instead of the outside-in.

Whether you are majorly into Bikram yoga, or don’t dig being overly hot, an infrared sauna session is a great way to warm up. It’s especially comforting when Vancouver winters are dark and dreary. Sauna before or after a Hatha or Kundalini class? It’s really up to you and what works best for your body.

There are a few yoga studios around Vancouver that offer infrared saunas: YYoga Flow and Yogacara Studio are two that I enjoy.

Let us know in the comments below: Where do you love to go for an infrared sauna session?

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/.

Sacred Energy Arts Workshop – A Blend Of Yoga, Tai Chi And Qi Gong

Attention yogis in British Columbia! There is another upcoming yoga workshop happening in March (along with an AcroYoga workshop and Kriya Yoga in Victoria):

EXPLORING ENERGY THROUGH MOVEMENT:
SACRED ENERGY ARTS – A BLEND OF YOGA, TAI CHI AND QI GONG

Teacher: Classes will be taught by Matthew Cohen of Exhale Yoga, Center for Sacred Movement, in Venice, California.

Matthew Cohen has been fully immersed in the study and application of Martial, Yogic and Healing Arts for over 30 years.

His integrated approach to healing is potent and accessible.

He is the founder and master teacher at his Sacred Energy Arts Center in Santa Monica and also teaches at Exhale Center for Sacred movement in Venice, CA.

What you will experience:

  • Explore energy through movement
  • Feel your life force pulse through your body
  • Experience the fluid body in asana

The following classes can be taken individually or as a full weekend:

Saturday March 12, 2011

10 AM – 12 PM: Sacred Energy Arts Yoga Class ~ Balance and Flow

3 – 6 PM: Sacred Energy Arts Hips and Hamstrings ~ A Slow Deep Practice

Sunday March 13, 2011

10 – 12 PM: Sacred Energy Arts Yoga Extended Flow Class ~ Stoking the Fire

3 – 6 PM: Sacred Energy Arts Class ~ Taoist Yoga and Qi Gong

Pricing:

2 hour workshops         $50 + HST

3 hour workshops         $60 + HST

full weekend             $190 + HST

Location: Integrative Medical Centre, West Broadway & Ash, Vancouver, BC

Information & Registration: www.soulspringwellness.ca

Email: christina(at)soulspringwellness.ca

Phone: 604-649-8522

6 Simple Reasons Why You Should Detox

As I am starting my own little ’detox’, I thought it could be fun to share some reasons why detoxing is a good idea. It’s winter and it’s a lot harder to find motivation and energy during this time of year (at least it is for me). It’s an easy time to stray from disciplined yoga practices and healthy habits and instead cozy up in the blankets day after day waiting for the sun to return.

OK, so, detoxing includes cleaning the body from the inside out, resting, light exercise and let’s not forget nourishment. It’s total TLC time (tender, love and care) to help you replenish and renew your optimal health by enhancing the body’s natural healing system. And, there are plenty of ways to detox. You can detox for just a few days up to a couple of weeks, even more. You can also make up your own detox program or get some help from your local health food store. From deep herbal cleansing programs to juice fasting to refuelling with simple super healthy nutrients, there’s a program that can work for you.

It’s an excuse to kick bad habits! Take a break from alcohol, coffee, cigarettes, refined sugar and saturated fats, all of which act as toxins and act as obstacles to the natural healing processes of the body. You can even use detoxing as an excuse to finally quit smoking or to kick the habit of caffeine hydration. That’s right, a double espresso doesn’t do too much for your body even if you have one four times a day.

Try something alternative! You should try to avoid chemical-based personal care products or household cleaners during a detox (you would be surprised how much gets absorbed by the skin and lungs!). Chemical-based products are after all, toxic. Experiment with some natural alternatives especially for deodorant, soaps, toothpastes and shampoos. And, get a dry brush for your skin. It feels great!

Say goodbye to stress and hello to yoga and meditation. Stress, in large amounts, creates a toxic build up and slows down the detoxification process, not to mention it can lead to a number of other negative things including one serious bad attitude. Yoga and meditation help you to learn how to deal with the inevitable stress that life brings and in many ways, teaches you to smile from the inside out.

Ok, duh, it’s good for you! Detoxing gets rid of toxins, allows your body to heal and creates a clean ‘slate’ for you to, in a way, start over. Bust out of bad habits and create new, healthier habits. If you are noticing a lot of skin breakouts, can’t think clearly, experiencing a lot of low-grade infections, dark circles under the eyes, feeling sluggish or having intestinal issues, then it’s probably a good time to detox.

Rediscover your discipline. And, why exactly would you want to do that? Well, to get your control back and to find something that you didn’t know you lost. We can get sucked into bad habits for months, even years! Better to nip them in the bud while you still can! And, when you are achieving your goals, you feel great. Detoxing and sticking to it inspires the will within!

Detoxing also inspires others! When you detox and start to feel great, you typically want that greatness for those around you. And, when friends and family start to see how good you are feeling and the good decisions you are making, it’s an inspiration for them to do so too.

Detoxing helps us to get back onto the track of living a healthy life, but it’s not easy, especially not at first. The exiting of toxins can be harsh, especially at the beginning, but just think, it may uncomfortable as they come out, but imagine the damage they could do if you just kept them in there.

Take your time, you can do it and start living as optimally as you can. You won’t regret it.

Meditation Matters

You might have read articles about a recent study – conducted by the University of Massachusetts on 16 participants for 8 weeks  – which showed how meditation can change the brain and increase grey matter in certain areas linked not only with learning and memory, but also awareness and compassion.

Sometimes, these scientific conclusions offer a good opportunity to challenge the sceptical side of our mind, which resists practices that it associates with new age. However, it can just as easily equate  to: ‘meditation actually works, it’s now tangible, it’s all there on the MRI scans’. Hopefully, new evidence like this can incentivise us to develop new habits, and that’s precisely what a lot of meditation relies on:  routines.

It is the same with asana practice: the more you do it, the more you will want to do it and, before you’ve realised, it becomes one of your everyday needs. How many times have you craved practising yoga? Personally, I notice it when I find myself standing in tree pose when stirring a sauce in front of my hob. I know I need meditation when the buzzing of my emotions and thoughts takes over my mind.

If it is not in your daily life and you don’t know how to start, it could be slightly intimidating and puzzling. What does one really do when meditating? So, why not book a class or a short retreat, or drop by your local Buddhist center to learn Metta – the loving-kindness meditation –  or mindfulness meditation, for example. Also, maybe look out for meditation workshops at your favourite yoga studios.

There’s a book I find quite helpful and simple to use, in the same series as The Yoga Bible by Christina Brown, and it’s called The Meditation Bible by Madonna Gauding.  The first sentence reads as an invitation: ‘If you are new to meditation, you will feel comfortable here. And if you are an experienced meditator, you may find renewed inspiration.’

[source: store.higherheart.com]

The first part of the book is a guide to meditation, the ‘what, why and how’ of it, then the author leads us through 140 different meditations, from all sorts of traditions. They are categorised, which can help for days when you have a specific focus in mind: ‘calming and centring’, ‘get moving’, ‘love and compassion’, ‘problem-solving’, etc. Some might sound a bit esoteric, but 140 is plenty to choose from!

Finally, I’ll leave you with Bob Weisenberg‘s fantastic effort of compiling the Bhagavad Gita around different themes, issues and questions. This week on Elephant, he gathers the Gita’s best quotes on The Yoga of Meditation.

Yoga For Iliotibial Band Syndrome

Many yoga practitioners are runners and cyclists, and too many of them know the aggravation and discomfort—even pain—that comes from iliotibial band syndrome. Until recently, ITB syndrome was thought to be caused by friction of the ITB rubbing against the thigh bone near the knee joint. Recent research may indicate, however, that pressure from the ITB on a fatty tissue between the ITB and the knee joint may in fact be causing the pain. This tissue is a nerve hub that experiences pain when extensive flexing and extending of the leg builds pressure on the fatty tissue.

The following are symptoms typical of ITBS:

• Pain above the knee
• Swelling or thickening of the ITB over the lateral femoral epicondyle
• Pain at the hip
• Clicking at the knee or hip

These are usually the causes of these symptoms:

• Increasing distance in training too rapidly
• Running downhill
• Cycling with feet in an excessive angle
• Running excessively on a crowned surface
• Weak hip abductor muscles

It took a masseuse, 2 chiropractors, a doctor, an X-Ray, and finally a physical therapist to diagnose me with ITBS 4 long years since my actual injury, which occurred while stretching for my black belt test in Tae Kwon Do. I’d practiced yoga for several years by then, but I stopped when it felt like my right leg was constantly trying to pop back into my hip.

I stopped riding horses because every time I posted for a trot, I would feel my hip clicking. I stopped training after receiving my black belt in Tae Kwon Do for many reasons, but one of them was that I couldn’t do a roundhouse kick with my right leg without rolling across the dojo floor whimpering in pain. I stopped running while studying abroad for a semester in Europe because there were too many hills and my right knee was having none of it.

Faced with stress related to mild weight gain (hey, there was a lot of pasta and gelato to be had in Italy), I rekindled my relationship with yoga and was met with comfort—until the day I fell off a 10 ft. high wall in a vineyard onto my back and wrist, effectively spraining the latter. I should have gone to a hospital but I insisted I was okay (as I cried myself to sleep that night in excruciating agony). Three weeks later, I tried to do a simple plank pose and crashed to the floor.

It took an entire year to resume my yoga habits, and although all my wrist takes is a little warming up, my right hip remains my greatest obstacle. It hurts to do yoga and yet I know it is yoga that will ease my pain. This, of course, takes time and patience, and I am still on this journey. The following poses, however, are geared toward runners and sufferers of ITBS. Although my progress is slow, it is progress nonetheless.

• Square
• Cow face forward fold
• Pigeon
• Outer hamstring twist
• Outer thigh twist
• Half lord of the fishes twist
• Cross-legged reclining twist
• Frog legged pose

[Pigeon,GaiamLife]

If you suspect that you suffer from ITBS, consult a physician or physical therapist before attempting these poses. Afterward, if any of the poses are unfamiliar, most can be viewed in detail on YouTube or www.yogajournal.com. Be gentle with your body and with yourself. Happy healing.

Author Bio: Maria Rainier is a freelance writer and blog junkie. She is currently a resident blogger at First in Education where recently she’s been researching the highest paying college degrees around along with some low paying degrees you might want to avoid. In her spare time, she enjoys square-foot gardening, swimming, and avoiding her laptop.

Online Yoga Class Review

For the times when we can’t make it to our weekly yoga class, there’s always the online alternative. I thought I’d capture and provide a few words to some of the online classes I’ve come across. Here goes!

Yoga Today – search, stream or download yoga classes!

There are three teachers featured on Yoga Today: Adi, Neesha and Sarah. They each offer various yoga styles, levels and focus. Classes range from Ashtanga, Anusara, Kundalini, Hatha blend and Vinyasa and provide for the novice to the more advanced guru. The website has over 200 one-hour video courses all shot in beautiful backgrounds and settings (mostly outdoors in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, USA). Each class has typically two students, along with the teacher, so it’s great to see adjustments and the different variations they offer based on ability. At the end of the class, you can rate and provide feedback – you can also check out what others have written. I’ve tried classes with each of these teachers and there’s no doubt about their expertise! I’m a fan! You can choose to download individual classes or purchase a membership. Annual unlimited membership is 89.95 USD. The site offers a weekly free class! www.yogatoday.com

Yoga Download – also a search, stream or download!

Yoga Download offers a pretty huge range of yoga classes in addition to various levels. Yoga classes range from Forest, Office, Prenatal, Hot, Restorative and Vinyasa yoga (and much, much more – some I didn’t even know existed!) to also offering Pranayama classes. You can choose between 20, 30, 45 and 60-minute audio or video classes. In addition, each class offers a downloadable pose guide. The site has around 28 yoga teachers. The site also offers music by chosen music artists and yoga products. Each class is typically set up with information regarding to style, theme (ie weight loss), intensity, props and a rating. You can preview a class even if you are not a member! Annual unlimited membership is 89.95 USD. The site offers 20-minute audio and video classes for free. www.yogadownload.com

Yogaglo – stream on your computer or HD TV!

Yogaglo offers a range of yoga styles and teachers from Anusara, Hatha, Restorative, Basics, Yin, Pre and Post Natal and Vinyasa. They also offer meditation classes, tutorials, lectures and workshops. Levels start at one and climb to three. In addition, they offer a choice for class duration starting from five minutes to 225 minutes. There are over 800 yoga classes to choose from and a choice to stream from your computer or HD TV. You can get a sneak peak of the yoga classes as well as comments from online students. There is also a beginner 7-class series for chosen yoga styles. Monthly membership is 18 USD. The site offers a 15-day free trial! www.yogaglo.com

Would love to hear your experiences and any online classes you’ve checked out!

Passport To Prana

If you haven’t yet purchased your Passport to Prana yet, it’s not too late, they do not expire until July 31, 2011. For only $30, you only have to use it twice to get your money’s worth as most drop in fees are $15.00 plus.

This is the second year I have purchased the Passport to Prana, and while last year I probably only did use it twice, this year I’m hoping to get more use of it and am well on my way. With almost 30 locations there are LOTS of options for taking in a class here or there, however if you don’t drive or don’t have the time to venture out to some of the locations then you probably will only use it a few times.

A few wonderful friends of mine have all purchased the Passport to Prana and we use this time to catch up as we venture out to try a new studio & a new teacher and have brunch or dinner after. It’s a great and affordable way to check out new classes and studios, and especially if you are hunting around for “your” space to practice in, this is a fantastic option to get a feel for the studio and see if you want to become a member. For me, I use it to try different styles of yoga, Bikrams, Anusura, Kundalini with different teachers and get a different feel for my favourite styles.

Are you planning a vacation anytime soon? Make sure you check out wwww.passporttoprana.com and ALL the other Canadian cities plus many US cities and purchase your Passport to Prana for wherever you are going.

Be A (Yoga) Buddy

Last week in We’re All In This Together, I was writing about Michael Stone’s workshop and how he strongly believed in the crucial role of communities.

It really changes your experience to have a yoga buddy. It’s nice to go to class and see at least one familiar face, to share your practice and to talk about  it afterwards.

It can be a lovely relationship, full of kind gestures like saving a mat, and preparing some props, but also it can mean sending a quick text if one of you doesn’t come to class as usual. A yoga buddy can be the one who gets you out of bed if you have the winter blues: and that’s priceless.

[source: www.ehow.com]

Also, there are lots of things you tell your yoga buddy that you might not share with other important people in your life as yoga is such a safe environment for many of us.

Getting to know your fellow yogis seems to be easier said than done for a newcomer, and as yogis, we prefer our carrots and our relationships to be organic. Often the most difficult step is the first one. So here are a few suggestions to start engaging with fellow yogis:

  • drink water and tea: the water cooler and the tea room are the bars of yoga. They are an easy opportunity for socialising.
  • changing room: not all changing rooms lend themselves to conversations but some are quite friendly.
  • friendly accessories: I’ve got a few pair of cute socks from Europe and I get a lot of nice remarks on them. So socks can be an ice breaker!
  • props: ask your neighbour if they need bring an extra prop.
  • partner yoga: why not choose practices that involve more partner work such as acroyoga.
  • teacher training, workshops, retreats: spending time with a group of yogis will definitely create affinities.
  • blogs: read other yogis’ blogs or connect with them on social networks, you can end up meeting in real life!
  • smile: it’s always a good thing!
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