Stability Leads to Freedom

Stability Leads to Freedom

As yogis, we are attune to the fact that we are spiritual beings, and most of us are open to using our yoga for finding new ways to improve ourselves. When a challenge arises, we seek to learn from it so we can grow and evolve to do better next time. But, often, what is hidden underneath are old habits that do not serve us, called samscaras, in Sanskrit, which linger and keep us from making progress or replacing the old, limiting habits with the new. It is too easy to let our old habits lead the way and it is rather challenging to be mindful to embrace new ways of doing things.

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Sun Salutations

Sun Salutations

The “Summer Solstice,” June 21, the longest day of the year, is approaching. This auspicious day and the weeks leading up to it, have been celebrated throughout time among yogis and in many cultures. On this day, we have 12 hours of sun in our area of the world. Furthermore, we are encouraged to meditate and focus on “light.” Ancient cultures recognized that the sun, which provided energy for our existence here on earth, was in fact Divine light, put there by a Higher Source, and thus much reverence is built around giving attention to the Sun. Yogis practice Sun Salutations, in Sanskrit, Surya Namaskar, at the summer solstice. In some lineages the idea is to use the auspicious number 108 and repeat a sun salute any increments of 3 or 9 repetitions, building up to 108 rounds. Remember that each round is actually one repetition with the right side leading followed with another repetition of the left side of the body leading. It is only good that we build up our practice of many repetitions, remembering “ahimsa,” doing no harm or nonviolence, so that we do not overdo while building tolerance, gradually increasing the number of repetitions we can do in a practice session. There are many variations on the Surya Namaskar and you can see/follow from the Morning and the Strengthening Sequences in our book and DVD, Essential Yoga Practice.

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How to Nurture Our Future Unfolding

How to Nurture Our Future Unfolding

Epigenetics is a fascinating topic. Scientific discoveries are ever-expanding, and it is now known that our environment can change the expression of our DNA. Epigenomes, the chemical markers that lie along the length of our DNA, can be as important to our development as the genes we inherit. And the epigenome can be altered by various lifestyle choices we make. Think about the implications of this: We inherit certain genes that impact how we think, react and feel in certain situations. If we change our diet, our exercise regimen, use pure and potent essential oils, create authentic and loving relationships, and/or experience a paradigm change in how we view the world -- all these factors can influence and even completely change the expression of our DNA because these lifestyle changes affect our epigenomes.

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Get Out in Nature, Go Straight to Samahdi (Yogic Bliss)!

Get Out in Nature, Go Straight to Samahdi (Yogic Bliss)!

As we celebrate Spring and Earth Day this week, we contemplate the connections of being in nature with the practice of yoga.

As humans, we experience an undeniable pull to nature. When we are outdoors, our body and our mind automatically feel lighter and life seems simpler. Nature immediately takes us to a place of being that can sometimes take years of dedicated yoga practice to achieve.  There are many ways that nature and yoga parallel significant lessons. To intertwine them is a harmonious  practice.

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Bridging Transitions

Bridging Transitions

One of my favorite yoga poses is bridge, done while lying with back body supported by the floor, feet planted under the knees, eyes focused toward the infinite space above. The movement into bridging requires core engagement to rise up against gravity, the strength of the back body, the willingness of an articulating spine. There is no absolute one place in the body that defines strength of the holding pattern – an example in the ideal that the whole is more than just the sum of its parts.

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Living with an Open Heart

Living with an Open Heart

In the wintertime we are encouraged to practice back-bending poses, since they build heat and provide the nervous system an opportunity to ground, to be centered and to allow us to be open to the future while we conserve our energy for the coming spring. We constantly recognize that our asanas practice has many lessons for application “off the mat,” and into our daily life.

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Partner Yoga with Children to build Trust and an Element of Fun

Partner Yoga with Children to build Trust and an Element of Fun

It takes intentional effort and mindfulness to teach and lead children, no matter if from the perspective of a parent, caregiver or educator. People who choose to work with children are following their inherent, inner guide and gravitate to a heart connection to the children in their safe-keeping. Knowing that children are our future puts us all in the position of a sweet responsibility to inspire, empower and support them,

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Partner Yoga to Build Intimacy, Trust and an Element of Fun

Partner Yoga to Build Intimacy, Trust and an Element of Fun

This week we offer you a partner yoga sequence. Partner yoga provides many great advantages, to include understanding yourself and poses better when afforded support and balance, an opportunity to build relationship trust, a chance to change perspective, and a means to deepen your practice whether you are a novice or an experienced practitioner.

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Attention to Intention

Attention to Intention

Sankalpa, a Sanskrit word which refers to intention, is typically the beginning of each practice, whether you give attention to it deliberately, anmng the intention specifically or whether you arrive at your practice with an unconscious intention. Seasoned students come to understand that all yogic practices are preceded by a Sankalpa and the reason behind this has great depth as each practice is an opportunity to honor the intention and to grow in our understanding of our place in this world.

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Beginning Anew, Using the Power of Intention

Beginning Anew, Using the Power of Intention

Each part of yoga practice is just that, a practice. In coming to the beginning of your yoga practice, whether it is meditation, pranayama, asana,…. traditionally there is attention to the breath, for many reasons. Focus on the breath calms the nervous system, since a “watched breath” tends to slow and become full and deep. Where your attention goes, your awareness grows.

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Infuse the Holidays with Yoga and Essential Oils

Infuse the Holidays with Yoga and Essential Oils

This winter holiday season is a time when schedules tend to kick-up a notch (or ten), we develop a sixth-sense awareness of the needs and feelings of people around us, and we might experience positive or negative feelings as we reflect on our past and current circumstances and how they reflect our personal and family traditions.

No matter what your past traditions have been, and no matter how satisfied or peaceful you feel with your current situation, there is always room to introduce new holiday traditions to infuse your soul with deepened gratitude and peace. Consider choosing one or more selections from our holiday buffet of ‘new traditions’ selections

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Anchor to Gratitude

Anchor to Gratitude

Did you know that cultivating gratitude is a skill? It’s a mindset, it’s a way of life. It’s also a very worthwhile pursuit because of the incredible benefits of cultivating gratitude – we recommend starting by spending 5 minutes/day in a gratitude journal. Interestingly, we start experiencing MORE of these benefits the longer we consistently keep a gratitude journal.

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5 Yogic Ways to Cultivate Gratitude

5 Yogic Ways to Cultivate Gratitude

Join us this November as we begin a mindful practice of gratitude to see what unfolds in life. Lets consider a daily practice so that the conditioning effect on both the mind and the body become more habitual. There are actually many ways to focus on a gratitude practice so we are suggesting something simple and doable, that we might lock elbows together and make it a collective exercise in this EYP community – ready to join us?

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On Strength and Grace in Yoga and in Life

On Strength and Grace in Yoga and in Life

To reflect on inner strength from a yogic perspective, we want to consider all the ways we yoke our practice, so that we look from the angles of physical strength, emotional stability, and spiritual steadfastness.  We can find that our understanding of Santosa (pronounced Sahn – toe – sha), the Niyama (“rules” for self-observance),   which means contentment, holds the key to offering us another facet for contemplation on strength and grace.

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Live Your Practice, Claim Your Joy!

Live Your Practice, Claim Your Joy!

Yoga means to unite or to yoke, but on a deeper meaning, it is the realization of the interconnectedness of everything, from the micro to the macro level. Our practice helps us to understand our place in our world and therefore helps us to rise to our obligations, not in a way that is cumbersome, but with realization that life requires sweet responsibilities.

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Releasing Tension

Releasing Tension

Excess tension is stealing not only our peace, but the quality of our lives. Physically, when the body is under tension, the cardiovascular system is challenged, cholesterol and blood pressure increase, the breath becomes fast and shallow, nutrition is compromised as the body excretes vitamins and minerals rather than absorbing optimally from foods, muscles hold unnecessary tension for prolonged periods, and adequate sleep becomes harder to access.

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