3 Things Your Yoga Mat Would Tell You If It Could Speak

By AOLRC
January 18, 2019


A Heartfelt Letter from a Yoga Mat to a Yogi

My dear yogi-being,

Namaste!

You and I have been close companions on this beautiful journey of yoga. Today, I am going to take this opportunity to tell you what I’ve been wanting to say for a long time:

1. It’s okay

It’s ok if you miss your practice. I know that sometimes you miss your yoga practice for other things in life – for the laundry, for a party, for meeting friends or that dinner date.

Sometimes you don’t practice for a few days for one reason or another. But when you come back to your mat, there is no need to be unnecessarily harsh to yourself or blame yourself when it takes longer for you to melt into your forward fold, grip your foot during dancer’s pose, or transition effortlessly into chaturanga.

I’m here to say it’s ok, no matter how long you’ve been on or off the mat. Even if you practice everyday or every other day, or rarely – I am here to invite you as you are. I miss you while you are away, but I know the other things you did nourished and added to your journey in different ways. It’s all about the journey. It’s not about the pose, it’s about how you feel in it.

2. Make it a play, I’m your magic carpet

By resting on me – whether it’s through asanas or just by lying down after an overwhelming day – you can transform your mental and physical tiredness into peace and energy. As you press your toes onto me into your Warrior II, I love how I can see the transformation in you from feeling ‘bleh’ to being as happy as a child on a sugar rush. Don’t be afraid to experiment. Flow into movements. Listen to your body. Try new poses. I’m your magic carpet, the instrument to take you to your wonderland within.

3. I’m your blank slate and best friend

I am here to give you the space to be, to release yourself. Roll me out and practice – flow to your heart’s content.

Feeling too emotional or overwhelmed? As you stretch and move through what’s been going on in your life, it’s okay if you trickle a tear in your child’s pose. You can lie down on me and just let thoughts flow. Laugh with me as you move with zeal and enthusiasm on the good days, and giggle with me when you slap face down as you challenge yourself in a Bakasana or Eka Pada Galavasana.

Pour yourself onto me because I’m the space where you can be you – with yourself, by yourself, for yourself. Let’s move and be together as we practice compassion, love and awareness through your asanas, your meditation, and your breath.

All I’m here to say is – you can tell me, and release whatever is in you through the practice. Know that you do and are enough. However it is you need your ‘you time’ – in rest or practice – take it and give it.

Love,
Your Yoga Mat

By Isha Sharma. Full article originally posted on ArtofLiving.com

Next Steps With Your Yoga Mat

Join us for Sri Sri Yoga Teacher Training – an authentic and immersive 3-week 200H Yoga Alliance accredited training with a world-class faculty. Dive deeply into yoga and emerge from this life-changing immersion as a confident, heart-centered yoga teacher with a profound practice to share. Next training June 20 – July 11, 2019 Learn More


 

Interested in learning more about yoga and the programs at the Art of Living Retreat Center? Check out our annual catalog here!

 

Yoga Retreat Catalog for NC

TAGS: art of living , experiences , self-care , wellness , yoga , yoga practice , yoga teacher training

A Breathing Practice to Calm, Soothe, & Relax

By AOLRC
December 20, 2018



For the last 35 years, the Art of Living has taught over 30 million people how to use breathing exercises to quiet the mind, reduce stress and make meditation easier – and Alternate Nostril Breathing is one of our favorites.

In Sanskrit, Alternate Nostril Breathing is called Nadi Shodhana Pranayama, which translates to “subtle energy clearing breathing technique”, and it has many benefits. Alternate Nostril Breathing helps calm the mind, reduce anxiety, and bring a feeling of relaxation to the entire body. It also relaxes the mind in preparation for meditation, which can be helpful for those struggling to settle down before meditating. When performed for just a few minutes, Alternate Nostril Breathing can instantly reduce stress and fatigue, and is a quick and efficient practice to do before high-stress situations such as job interviews and public speaking engagements.

How To Do Alternate Nostril Breathing

  • Sit in a comfortable position with the spine long and the hips relaxed. Release any tension from your jaw. Close your eyes.
  • Place your left hand on your left knee with the palm face upward, or in the Chin Mudra by pressing the index finger and thumb together.
  • Place the tip of the index finger and middle finger of the right hand in between the eyebrows with the ring finger and little finger on the left nostril, and the thumb on the right nostril. Use the ring finger and little finger to open and close the left nostril and use the thumb for the right nostril.
  • On an exhalation, close the right nostril with your thumb and breathe out through the left nostril.
  • Breathe in through the left nostril and then close with the ring finger.
  • Release the thumb on the right nostril and breathe out through the right nostril.
  • Inhale through the right nostril, close with the thumb, release the ring finger from the left side and exhale through the left nostril.
  • These two full breaths are called one round of Alternate Nostril Breath.
  • Perform 5 to 9 rounds of this alternating breath between the nostrils. Remember to always inhale through the same nostril you just exhaled through.

The Nadi Shodhana Pranayama will relax the mind and prepare it for meditation, making it a great technique to perform before meditating.

The Benefits

  • Calms and centers the mind
  • Brings the mind to the present moment and out of the past (releasing old fears, regret, and worry)
  • Therapeutic for the circulatory and respiratory systems
  • Stress relieving and relaxing for the body and mind
  • Helps harmonize the left and right hemispheres of the brain, which correlate to the logical and emotional sides of our personality.
  • Helps purify and balance the nadis, the subtle energy channels, thereby ensuring smooth flow of prana (life force) through the body.
  • Maintains body temperature.

3 Things to Remember

  • The breathing pattern is breath out, breathe in, switch sides.
  • Do not force the breath – keep it gentle and natural. Allow the breath to be smooth and even without creating force or pressure. Do not breathe through the mouth or make any sound such as in Ujjayi breath.
  • Place the fingers very lightly on the forehead and nose. There is no need to apply any pressure.

Full article originally posted on ArtofLiving.com

Watch Art of Living faculty member, Jim Larsen, guide Alternate Nostril Breathing.

Next Steps

Join us for Sri Sri Yoga Teacher Training – an authentic and immersive 3-week 200H Yoga Alliance accredited training with a world-class faculty. Dive deeply into yoga and emerge from this life-changing immersion as a confident, heart-centered yoga teacher with a profound practice to share. Next training June 20 – July 11, 2019 Learn More


 

Interested in learning more about yoga and the programs at the Art of Living Retreat Center? Check out our annual catalog here!

 

Yoga Retreat Catalog for NC

TAGS: art of living , breathing , experiences , health , meditation , pranayama , self-care , wellness , yoga , yoga practice , yoga teacher training
Yoga Routine for Fatigue

Yoga for Fatigue Relief

By Marla Apt
December 10, 2018

Yoga Routine for Fatigue

 

Too tired. For many it’s the default response to every request—even the fun ones. Some of the walking weary are simply too overworked or overstressed to get adequate rest, while others may feel drained by a physical ailment, a psychological condition, or the side effects of medication. Whatever the cause, all can benefit from the respite that a fatigue busting restorative yoga practice provides.

 

The benefits of restorative yoga

Why not a vigorous practice? When someone is deeply fatigued, a dynamic practice, like a double espresso, can be depleting, despite its initial invigorating jolt. Restorative yoga, on the other hand, soothes the senses, so they stop urging the mind and nervous system to react and instead turn their attention inward—on the breath or embedded tension, for example. These asanas also lower anxiety levels and calm the fight-or-flight response—the stress-induced outpouring of adrenalin and other hormones that taxes the systems of the body.

Furthermore, deep, long-standing fatigue can turn the simple, unconscious effort of standing upright into an exhausting task, and when the shoulders stoop and the spine sags, the chest and diaphragm get compressed, the breath becomes shallow, and the abdomen tightens. Under these circumstances, who has the strength or energy to hold their body with integrity in a yoga asana? That’s why blankets, bolsters, blocks, and belts are essential props in a restorative practice. With their help, passive supported backbends allow the chest to expand without physical effort and open the body and mind to the stimulating effects of the pose without draining already-low energy reserves.

   

How this routine relieves fatigue

The first asana of this sequence, supported purvottanasana (upward plank pose), broadens and lifts the chest and frontal diaphragm away from the lower body. This posture encourages the inhalation to expand outward and upward toward the top chest, bringing lightness, while the abdomen can flow downward and soften on the exhalation.

 

Similarly, supported forward bends quiet the mind and body and provide a reprieve from overstimulation by turning the attention of the brain and senses of perception inward. At the same time, because the bolsters and blankets support the organs in the frontal body, the back of the body and kidneys relax and spread, further relieving tension.

 

Finally, inversions provide support for all of the body’s systems, especially the immune and endocrine systems, and thus help address various kinds of hormonal issues—like adrenal fatigue. Inversions give the heart a rest from its effort to pump blood to the brain and let gravity help refresh the legs and lower body from heaviness and vascular stagnation.

 

All of these asanas are meant to be held for up to 10 minutes each. However, if you experience any pain or strain, you may need to rearrange your props or gradually build up your endurance for each pose.

 

SHALAMBA PURVOTTANASANA (OVER TWO CHAIRS OR A BED)

 

 

Place a bolster across the seats of two chairs positioned side by side, a few feet from the wall, with the majority of the bolster on the chair farthest away from the wall. Fold a blanket and place it at the back end of the bolster. Sit at the edge of the chair with the bolster a few inches away from your buttocks.

 

Keep your knees bent, feet on the floor and lie back over the bolster. Place the blanket under the back of your neck and head so that your head isn’t tilting backward. Extend your legs and place your toes on the wall, and heels on the floor. Slowly push away from the wall to straighten your legs.

 

Roll your shoulders underneath you so that your chest lifts and spreads. Let your arms release to your sides. After a few minutes you may wish to change your arm position. You can rest your hands on your front ribs or hold your elbows and take your arms overhead. Breathe here for up to 10 minutes. To come out, bend your knees and use your hands to help you gently sit up.

 

SUPTA BADDHA KONASANA

 

 

Place a bolster vertically a few inches behind you and sit in front of it with your knees bent. Fold a blanket on the other end of the bolster for your head. Bend your knees to the sides and join the soles of your feet together. Tie a large loop through a belt and slip it over your head and around your lower back. Pull the loop in front of you over your toes and underneath your feet so that the sides of your belt are on the inside edges of your legs. Now bring your feet closer to your pelvis and tighten the belt so that it is holding your legs close to your torso. Don’t make the belt so tight that you feel a pull on your knees.

 

Lie back over the bolster and place your head on the blanket so that it doesn’t tilt back. With your hands slide your sacrum and buttocks toward your feet so that your lower back feels long. If you feel any compression in the lower back, you may need to slide a bit more off the bolster toward your feet.

 

Pull your shoulder blades away from your neck and roll the outer edges of your shoulders down so that the chest spreads from the center to the sides. Let your arms release to your sides on the floor, spreading away from your chest, rotated outward, palms facing up.

 

If you feel any strain in your knees or inner thighs, place a support underneath the outer edge of each leg. Close your eyes and rest for up to 10 minutes. Allow the abdomen to recede away from your chest on the exhalations as your chest expands outward and upward on the inhalations.

 

VIPARITA DANDASANA AND SETU BANDHA SARVANGASANA (OVER BOLSTERS)

 

 

Position two bolsters end to end and place two blankets, folded lengthwise, on top to cover each bolster. Sit on the front bolster with your back to the other bolster. Tie one belt firmly around your thighs and one around your ankles to hold your legs together. Keep your knees bent and lie down on your back on the bolster. Pushing off with your feet, slide back until your head rests on the floor, but keep your shoulders on the bolster.

Straighten your legs and extend your arms straight overhead until the backs of your hands rest on the floor. Lengthen the side body toward your arms, and your sacrum toward your heels. If you feel any compression in the lower back, actively lengthen the backs of your legs toward your heels, turn the thighs in, and lift your tailbone (or bend your knees). Rest there for 3 to 5 minutes.

 

Now bend your knees and slide off the bolster until your shoulders and head both rest on the floor. Straighten your legs. Extend your buttocks and the backs of your thighs toward your heels. Rest your arms alongside the bolster, palms facing upward. Tuck your shoulders underneath and rotate your upper arms out to broaden your chest. Keep your chest broad as you relax your abdomen and diaphragm. After 5 to 10 minutes, bend your knees and slide off the bolster until your pelvis reaches the floor. Rest on your back with your thighs on the bolster for 30 seconds before turning to your side, untying your legs, and sitting up.

 

 

ADHO MUKHA SVASTIKASANA

 

 

Sit with your legs crossed at the center of your shins in svastikasana so that your feet rest underneath your knees. If your knees lift up higher than your pelvis, sit up on a blanket or two. Pull a bolster onto your lap and place a folded blanket or two on the other end of the bolster. Press the end of the bolster down under your abdomen as you lengthen your torso forward.

 

Rest your abdomen and chest on the bolster, and your forehead on the blanket. Add more blankets, another bolster, or use a chair if you can’t comfortably reach the bolster. Cross your forearms and hold your elbows, resting them overhead on top of the blanket.

 

Relax your forehead and eyes and allow your attention to withdraw as you rest for two minutes, before changing the cross of your legs and arms and repeating on the other side.

 

CHAIR SARVANGASANA

 

 

Place a chair about two feet away from a wall with the back of the chair to the wall. Put a folded mat with a folded blanket on top of it on the seat of the chair, and two or three folded blankets in front of the chair on the floor. Sit backward on the chair with your legs bent over the top of the chair back. Scoot your hips as close to the backrest and wall as you can.

 

Holding the sides and then the front legs of the chair, lower your torso until your shoulders are on the blankets and your head is on the floor. Take your arms under the chair seat between the front legs of the chair to hold the back legs of the chair. Look toward your torso and relax your throat and tongue.

 

Place your feet on the top of the backrest of the chair. Roll the outer edges of your shoulders down and open your chest. Lift your shoulder blades and the sides of your rib cage up perpendicular to the floor. Keep your hips on the seat of the chair as you stretch your legs up to the ceiling one at a time. Keep your legs perpendicular to the floor, straighten the knees, and balance the two sides of your pelvis evenly on the seat of the chair. After a couple of minutes, you can take your legs, one at a time, up onto the wall. Rest the backs of your heels on the wall with your legs straight. If you can’t reach the wall, keep your legs straight up perpendicular to the floor or rest your feet on the top of the chair’s backrest with your knees bent.

 

Hold this asana for up to 10 minutes. To come out of the pose, bend your knees and place your feet on top of the chair’s backrest. Let go of the chair legs with your hands and, pushing the chair toward the wall with your feet, slowly slide back off the chair until your pelvis reaches the floor. Rest for a minute on your back with your calves on the seat of the chair and a blanket underneath your head (not your shoulders). Then roll to your right side and sit up.

 

VIPARITA KARANI

 

 

Place a bolster with two folded blankets on top of it near a wall, with a couple of tall blocks between the bolster and the wall to keep the bolster from rolling into the wall. Sit with your right outer hip on the bolster so your sit bones are touching the wall. Use your hands behind you on the floor to support you as you roll your sacrum onto the bolster and your legs up the wall. Push your hands into the floor to push your hips closer to the wall. Gently lower your head and shoulders to the floor, careful to keep your hips close to the wall.

As in sarvangasana, roll the outer shoulders down into the floor and lift the sides of your chest. Relax your throat and allow the neck to lengthen away from the bolster. Relax the abdomen and allow it to recede back toward the bolster.

 

Close your eyes and settle here for 10 to 15 minutes. If your legs get tired, cross them in svastikasana, feet resting on the wall for a few breaths, switching the cross halfway through. To come out of the pose, bend your knees and bring your knees and feet together. Press the feet into the wall and slide off the bolster until your whole back is on the floor. Cross your legs in svastikasana and rest them on top of the bolster; switch the cross of your legs halfway through. Then roll over to rest on your right side before sitting up.

 

Deepen your practice of Iyengar yoga and experience a new level of self-awareness that brings clarity, peace, and strength. Marla Apt hosts the Iyengar Yoga Immersion at the Art of Living Retreat Center from August 1-4, 2019.

 

Marla Apt, a Senior Intermediate Level certified Iyengar Yoga teacher, is based in Los Angeles, where she teaches public classes and conducts teacher training in addition to teaching workshops in the US and internationally.

 

This article was originally published in Yoga International Magazine, and is reposted with permission from the author.


Interested in learning more about Ayurveda and the programs at the Art of Living Retreat Center? Check out our annual catalog here!

 

Yoga Retreat Catalog for NC

TAGS: fatigue , Marla Apt , yoga , yoga routine

Too Busy to Breathe? 5 Easy Tips to Incorporate Yoga into a Busy Day

By AOLRC
November 22, 2018



Regular contemporary life is quite hectic, and the mind, body, and spirit go through various spins just trying to keep up. While we’re running amuck, tending to chores, and fulfilling our duties, we have a tendency to fall out of sync with ourselves, which eventually results in a deterioration of our health and well-being.

The truth is that we all need a support system in the form of something that can help us keep running and remain healthy even on our busiest days. Yoga has been helping people for centuries to achieve complete balance in the body, mind, and spirit. The science of yoga is universal and does not require a specific time, place, or schedule in order for practitioners to benefit. You can make it your most reliable companion, even on the busiest of days. All yoga needs is the right mindset. Here are five ways you can incorporate yoga into your hectic schedule and achieve greater balance, harmony, and wellness.

1. Begin the Morning with Sun Salutations

If you snooze in the morning, then you shall lose the day! True to these words, yoga demands commitment, but in return, it will be your constant supporter, even through your worst days. The first step to incorporating yoga into a busy lifestyle is adjusting your body clock so that it is in line with the daily cycle. As a yogi, it is essential to function in harmony with the energy cycle of the sun. This means getting 6-8 hours of sleep, along with ensuring that the wake-up time is at or before the sunrise. Turn off the lights and put away your electronics by 11pm, so you can wake up feeling fresh and active just before the sun begins to shine its first rays. Begin your day with 10 minutes of Sun Salutations, which can have the same effect as a 45-minute workout. Through Surya Namaskar, you not only pay homage to the ultimate source of power (the Sun) but also start your day off prioritizing your mind, body, and spirit.

2. Practice Yogic Breaths On-the-Go

Breath is the source of life. Yoga explains how breath is directly linked to the health and wellness of the entire body and mind – this pranayama breathing technique can be performed anytime and anywhere. All you have to do is breathe into the full capacity of the lungs, retain the breath for a few seconds, and gently breathe out through the nostrils. This is recognized as Simple Relaxation Yoga Breathing. This process of breathwork not only clears any channel blockages in the body and mind, but also ensures that impurities are flushed out from the body in the form of carbon dioxide. If you want to kick it up a notch, there are a few other yogic breathing techniques that you can try, such as Alternate Nostril Breathing, Sudarshan Kriya, Sheetali Breath, or Kapalbhati.

3. Embrace an Ayurvedic Diet Regimen

Ayurveda, the sister science of yoga, has a significant role to play in sustaining a yogic lifestyle. Our body is composed of different doshas (constitutions) that directly influence our physical and mental behavioral patterns. Maintaining a dietary discipline according to the body constitution is crucial for gaining the maximum results from your yoga practice. If you are unsure about your dosha, then seek the help of an Ayurveda expert, and begin to incorporate the suggested personalized diet that they will recommend.

4. Take Yoga Breaks

If you’re too busy to roll out the yoga mat and perform a full routine, this doesn’t mean you can’t practice yoga! If you are devoted and in need, then the science shall accompany you wherever you go. Take a few minutes in the car, at work, at your desk, or in the kitchen to practice some Chair Yoga. Try the Seated Spinal Twist, Cat/Cow Pose, Seated Camel Pose, Seated Forward Bend, Seated Tree Pose, or any other poses that you can perform comfortably and in the space of a few minutes. These poses are simple, restorative, and highly effective in keeping the circulation of energy up and running through the entire body from head to toe.

5. Conclude the Day with a 10-Minute Meditation

Now that you are all set to doze off, invest in a few minutes of guided meditation and self-reflection. This can be done by lying down in a supine position, and gently reminiscing about the gifts of life with gratitude while embracing any disparity with positivity. This will help you sleep better, as the practice puts both the mind and the body in a peaceful state.

The first step to welcoming yoga into your life is a resolution. The rest will follow.

By Manmohan Singh. Full article originally posted on ArtofLiving.com

Next Steps

Join us for Sri Sri Yoga Teacher Training – an authentic and immersive 3-week 200H Yoga Alliance accredited training with a world-class faculty. Dive deeply into yoga and emerge from this life-changing immersion as a confident, heart-centered yoga teacher with a profound practice to share. Next training June 20 – July 11, 2019 Learn More


 

Interested in learning more about yoga and the programs at the Art of Living Retreat Center? Check out our annual catalog here!

 

Yoga Retreat Catalog for NC

TAGS: art of living , Ayurveda , experiences , health , healthy lifestyle , meditation , self-care , wellness , yoga , yoga practice , yoga teacher training

8 Yoga Poses that Kindle Gratitude on Thanksgiving

By AOLRC
October 23, 2018


Start your Thanksgiving day with 8 yoga poses that inspire gratitude.

For the best results, hold each pose for five to ten breaths.

1. Mountain Pose with Raised Hands (Urdva Hasta Tadasana)

This welcoming, powerful pose kindles gratitude as you open your heart and stand grounded in receptivity. Feel hopeful and grateful for all your dreams and the unknown adventures of the future that give you a sense of purpose and openness respectively.

2. Standing Forward Fold (Hastapadasana)

This releases the spine and invokes gratitude as you learn to trust your feet to hold you and allow fresh, oxygen-rich blood to move towards your brain for mental clarity. Allow your worries and negativity from the day to roll down your spine and pour onto the floor, and feel renewed with gratitude for the positivity in your life.

3. Child’s Pose (Shishuasana)

This gentle hip-opener inspires gratitude as you fold forward into yourself, get closer to the earth as if you are putting a gentle kiss of gratefulness on the forehead of mother earth. Bow down and surrender. Let go of things that are not serving you. Find gratitude for your very breath—a sign that you are alive and everything is possible.

4. Camel Pose (Ustrasana)

This challenging pose inspires gratitude as you practice courage and vulnerability while remaining open. As you open your heart, throat, and shoulders, find gratitude for all the courage you’ve summoned into your life, and how it’s helped you through challenges big and small.

5. Seated Forward Fold (Paschimottanasana)

This hamstring stretch inspires gratitude as you focus your attention inward. As you breathe calmly, consider one part of your body for which you are especially grateful.

6. Supported Reclining Heart Opener (Supta Baddhakonasana)

This relaxing chest opener softens and opens up your heart chakra and inspires gratitude as you allow the props to support you. Think of a friend, family member or mentor who is dear to you and all you’ve learned from him or her. Allow the thought of this person to inspire feelings of being nurtured and loved. Feel the gratitude for yourself and those around you radiating out from your heart center.

7. Knees-to-Chest (Pavanmutasana)

Lying down, draw your knees into your chest and wrap your arms around your shins. Take a moment to feel gratitude for yourself. Hug yourself and accept who and where you are.

8. Corpse Pose (Savasana)

This “ahhhhh”-inducing pose inspires gratitude as you rest completely and let go of all tension. Find compassion and gratitude for your own journey, for all of your strengths and all of your struggles. Finally feel compassion and gratitude for all beings everywhere, wishing them health, happiness, and ease on their journeys as well.

On this Thanksgiving day, I encourage you reflect on what your yoga practice has done for you over the years. Not only will this get you in the spirit of Thanksgiving, but it will also give your practice new meaning and purpose.

Celebrate gratitude for a month

Studies prove that giving thanks can make you happier, and gratitude increases a sense of well-being by 10%. Try it and find out for yourself!

Starting from Thanksgiving day, maintain a gratitude journal. Every morning, start your day with a simple gratitude meditation about 3-10 things you are grateful for, both big and small. Simply jot down the little moments of grace that comes effortlessly into your life. You will be amazed at how these small blessings cultivate a beautiful “just right” abundance of love and joy. Make the whole month about giving thanks, not just one day. And you will see that it will become your lifetime habit.

Finally let us remember that Thanksgiving is much more than turkey, stuffing, and pumpkin pie. This year find gratitude not only for your blessings but also in the challenges that have shaped who you are today.

By Sejal Shah. Full article originally posted on ArtofLiving.com

Next Steps

Join us for Sri Sri Yoga Teacher Training – an authentic and immersive 3-week 200H Yoga Alliance accredited training with a world-class faculty. Dive deeply into yoga and emerge from this life-changing immersion as a confident, heart-centered yoga teacher with a profound practice to share. Next training June 20 – July 11, 2019 Learn More


 

Interested in learning more about yoga and the programs at the Art of Living Retreat Center? Check out our annual catalog here!

 

Yoga Retreat Catalog for NC

TAGS: art of living , experiences , gratitude , health , wellness , yoga , yoga practice , yoga retreat , yoga teacher training

I’m a Neurologist. Here’s why I trained as a yoga teacher.

By AOLRC
October 23, 2018
 

Roople Unia is a practicing neurologist and fellowship trained in movement disorders and cerebral vascular disorders, and now a yoga teacher too. Why? Following the recent Sri Sri Yoga Teacher Training we had the opportunity to ask this very question.

Roople is passionate about practicing medicine but realised in order to support her patients further, in areas beyond the realms of medicine, she needed a new tool. Roople wanted to provide her patients with something extra – freedom from pain, not just physical pain but the emotional stresses of everyday life.

“I wanted to be able to provide patients freedom

from pain, not just physical but the emotional

stresses of everyday life.”

Roople shares her story in her own words…

A Yogic Education with a Foundation in Science

I chose the Sri Sri Yoga Teacher Training because it has a very practical approach to yoga. It has a foundation in science, anatomy, and physiology but it also just brings that joy to practicing yoga. So this program in particular appealed to me because it’s so simple and yet so practical.

The Real Wow Moments For Me

For me, the thing the training really brought to me was confidence, a sense of I can really do this, anyone can really do this so that’s one of the real wow moments for me. On the training there was a wide range of people from all walks of life, all ages, cultural backgrounds and it’s for everybody.

“I feel refreshed, I feel energized, I feel excited.
I have experienced the feeling of being

my most authentic self”

I’ve super charged my batteries here. After week one, my classmates looked at me and said you look refreshed. I said yes I do feel that way, I feel refreshed, I feel energized, I feel excited. I did this to share this knowledge with other people and to invite them here to experience what I have experienced, that opening up, the feeling of being your most authentic self.

“This has been a transformative experience for me.”

 

Giving Back To My Community

I’m planning to not only provide opportunities for my patients to take Sri Sri Yoga but also for the health care workers. There is a huge problem in health care right now, there is a high rate of burnout and people really need this now. So this is the time for me to take this to my coworkers and say we need to be there for our patients and in order for us to do that we have to take care of ourselves.

“We need to be there for our patients

and in order for us to do that we have to

take care of ourselves.”

 

Life After Yoga Teacher Training

Roople is now back working in ER and sharing the gifts of yoga with her patients and co-workers. In an already exceptionally busy role, Roople has shown us that by using the yogic tools gained on the training program to support her well-being she is able to continue with her profession and share yoga.

We are grateful to Roople for sharing her inspiring story, one that reflects how the integration of East and West can bring about true health within communities.

One question remains. How will you share yoga within your community?

Teach and inspire, or simply deepen your yoga practice.

The Sri Sri School of Yoga Teacher Training Program captures the true essence of yoga through the outer study of the ancient discipline and the inner study of the self. At the same time provides a very practical approach to the physiological and anatomical aspects of teaching asanas.

Join us for an authentic and immersive 3-week 200H Yoga Alliance accredited training with a world-class faculty. Dive deeply into yoga and emerge from this life-changing immersion as a confident, heart-centered yoga teacher with a profound practice to share. Next training June 20 – July 11, 2019 Learn More


 

Interested in learning more about yoga and the programs at the Art of Living Retreat Center? Check out our annual catalog here!

 

Yoga Retreat Catalog for NC

TAGS: art of living , experiences , integrative medicine , living yoga , pain management , yoga , yoga practice , yoga retreat , yoga teacher training
Yoga Routine for High Blood Pressure

Yoga for High Blood Pressure

By Marla Apt
September 10, 2018

Yoga Routine for High Blood Pressure

Keeping high blood pressure in check

Chances are at least one person in your life – a family member, someone you work with, or a good friend – has high blood pressure and takes one or more pills a day to bring it under control. Why so likely? Because high blood pressure – what doctors call hypertension – affects one in three adults in the United States. Elevated blood pressure, which increases the risk of stroke, heart failure, and kidney disease, is often described as a “silent killer.” Recognizable symptoms do exist – fatigue, nosebleeds, nervous tension, ringing in the ears, dizziness, bursts of anger, headaches – but not generally until blood pressure is dangerously high.

 

Stress as the culprit

Blood pressure – the force blood exerts against the walls of your arteries as it travels through the circulatory system – fluctuates during the day, increasing during exertion or stress and decreasing when the body is at rest. Most doctors agree that a blood pressure reading of less than 120/80 is ideal for adults, and diagnose hypertension when those numbers reach 140/90. The top number (the systolic pressure) refers to the amount of pressure in the arteries when the heart beats or contracts. The bottom number measures the diastolic pressure, or how much pressure remains in the arteries between beats, when the heart is relaxed.

Although several conditions can cause secondary high blood pressure (kidney disease, hormone abnormalities, type 2 diabetes), more often than not a high-stress lifestyle can lead to what doctors call “essential” hypertension, where there is no disease-specific cause.

 

The benefits of yoga and pranayama

Yoga, when performed mindfully, can reduce this type of stress-induced hypertension, while addressing its underlying causes. It pacifies the sympathetic nervous system and slows down the heart, while teaching the muscles and mind to relax deeply.

 

Pranayama can also be extremely beneficial. Research studies demonstrate that conscious breathing quickly lowers blood pressure. Practicing pranayama while lying down encourages the breath to arise smoothly from a relaxed state, without any force. If you do choose to sit, keep your spine straight and lift your chest, while keeping your head down in jalandhara bandha, so that there is no strain on the heart.

 

A few notes on poses

While a general yoga practice has a pacifying effect and can bring the nervous system into balance, some asanas work better than others for actually lowering blood pressure – and simple modifications make others more beneficial. For example, do cooling poses, such as forward bends where the head is supported – to bring a sense of calm to the head, neck, face, and diaphragm. Modify any standing poses in which the arms are normally extended overhead (like virabhadrasana I) by placing your hands on your hips. In trikonasana (triangle pose), look down toward the floor instead of up at the ceiling to keep blood pressure from rising. Steer clear of poses that compress the front of the diaphragm, such as dhanurasana (bow pose) and mayurasana (peacock pose), which can drive blood pressure up.

 

Anyone with untreated high blood pressure should avoid unsupported inversions, such as shirshasana (headstand pose) or adho mukha vrikshasana (handstand pose) – or any other pose in which they can feel pressure in the throat or temples, or that cause respiration to become heavy or difficult.

Practicing a modified halasana (plow pose) is a good way to experience the benefits of inversions without the potentially harmful effects, because you can learn to bear weight on the upper body and lengthen the sides of the neck without any strain. So if your blood pressure reads on the high side, stick to the modified version below.

 

Forward bends and other introverted asanas teach us how to quiet the brain and lengthen and soften the neck along the path of the carotid artery. When doing these poses to lower blood pressure, support the head, which has a cooling, calming effect on the whole body.

 

A yoga routine for high blood pressure

The following sequence is designed to prepare you to work toward the practice of inversions safely and without raising your blood pressure. At no time should you feel agitated or uncomfortable in any of these poses. If you feel flushed, hot, or dizzy while practicing, come out of the pose and rest in balasana (child’s pose) until you feel normal again.

 

End your practice with at least five minutes of shavasana, using a blanket, if necessary, to support the back of your neck so it stays long and your face can completely relax toward your chest.

 

Supported Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward-Facing Dog Pose)

 

Begin on your hands and knees and place two or three blankets (folded lengthwise) underneath your chest. Press the weight evenly through the hands as you straighten your arms and lift up through the inner edges of the arms. Release your shoulder blades away from your neck toward your hips, straighten the legs, and lift your pelvis up into adho mukha shvanasana (downward-facing dog pose). Separate your feet wider than hip-width apart.

 

Lift the pelvis away from the wrists and, keeping the legs firm, press the fronts of the thighs away from the torso toward the backs of the legs and lengthen your calves down toward your heels. Extend the inner arms from the wrists toward the shoulders as you move the shoulder blades away from the neck toward the pelvis.

Let the back of your neck release down so that your head (somewhere between the top of your forehead and the crown of the head) can rest on the support. If your head doesn’t comfortably reach your support, add another blanket. You shouldn’t have to bend the elbows in order to reach the blankets. If your neck feels compressed or your head jams into the blankets, lower your support.

 

When you can balance the dynamic action in the limbs and torso with the rest and relaxation in the head and neck, you’ll be able to hold the pose for a few minutes without feeling strain. When you come down, separate and bend your knees, sit on your heels, and release your head to the floor in balasana.

 

Supported Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend Pose)

Separate the feet as wide apart as the narrow side of a yoga mat. Align the outer heels and little toes on the edges of the mat, and place a block at its tallest height between your feet and in line with your big toes. Depending on your proportions and the flexibility of your hamstrings, you may need more or less support. Stack a couple of blocks, if necessary, or put the blocks or a folded blanket on the seat of a chair to rest your head.

 

Bend forward, straighten your legs, and place the crown of your head on your support. Hold the ankles and spread the elbows apart from each other. Move your shoulder blades away from your neck, but let the back of your head descend toward the floor. Even though your head is resting on your support, keep the majority of your weight in your feet, balancing the weight evenly between the front, back, inside, and outside edges of the feet. Lift your thighs firmly and press the thighbones toward the backs of the legs without disturbing your head. The back of the neck should feel long and the chest broad. Breathe normally and stay in the pose for as long as you like, up to three minutes. Place your hands on your hips, inhale, and come up.

 

Supported Pashchimottanasana (Posterior Stretch Pose)

Sit on two folded blankets and extend your legs straight in front of you in dandasana (seated staff pose), feet hip-width apart. Place a bolster lengthwise on top of your legs, with a folded blanket on the bolster closer to your feet. Lift the sides of your torso up. If you find that you’re slumping backward, sit on more support. Extend forward and hold the outside edges of your feet with your hands. Lengthen your abdomen over the bolster and rest your forehead on the blanket.

 

If you can’t reach your feet, hold a belt around the feet; if your head doesn’t reach the blanket, rest it on a chair instead, padded with at least one blanket. Straighten your legs and press the thighbones toward the floor as much as you can without allowing your heels to lift. Relax the forehead and spread your elbows as you release the shoulders apart and away from your neck.

 

Extend through the backs of the heels and move your back ribs toward your front ribs down onto the bolster. Keep the back of the neck long and soft and relax your facial features. Hold for two minutes and then return to dandasana.

 

Supported Halasana (Plow Pose)

Experiment with this pose using blankets, a bolster, and a chair for support. If you feel any discomfort, simply come out of the pose and rest in shavasana. Stack three folded blankets at the end of your mat. The smooth, folded edges of the blankets should be in line with the edge of your mat. Open another blanket on the floor in front of your mat for the back of your head, place a bolster on the mat behind your blankets for your pelvis to rest on, and position a chair on the floor in front of your mat and folded blankets. Lie down with your shoulders, upper back, and base of your neck on the stacked blankets, your head on the blanket on the floor, and your pelvis resting on the bolster.

 

Reach your arms overhead and hold the feet of the chair. Push the chair away from you until your arms are straight. Bring your arms back by your sides and place your palms on the bolster. Rotate your upper arms outward and open the chest. Pressing your hands into the bolster, bend your knees toward your chest, lift your pelvis off the bolster, and take your feet overhead, toes onto the seat of the chair. Separate your feet as wide apart as the seat of the chair, toes curled under.

 

Clasp your hands behind your back, straighten your arms, and roll onto the outer front edges of your shoulders. Press your wrists into the bolster and lift the sides of your chest away from the floor. Relax your throat and allow the back of the neck to softly lengthen.

 

Pressing your toes down, lift the fronts of your thighs away from your head and straighten your legs. Release the clasp of your hands and rest the backs of your hands on the floor besides your head, elbows bent at a 90-degree angle. Keep your legs active but your head and neck passive, and your throat and face completely relaxed. To come down, bend your knees and slowly roll your upper, middle, and then lower back to the floor, keeping your head down. Rest on your back for a minute before rolling to your side to sit up.

 

Supported Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Bridge Pose)

Sit on the front end of a bolster and belt the tops of your thighs together. With your knees bent and your feet on the floor, lie back onto the bolster. Using your feet to push against the floor, slide off the bolster just until your shoulders reach the floor and are at the same level as your head. Then extend your legs straight, backs of the heels on the floor.

 

Roll the outer edges of the shoulders underneath you and broaden your chest as you lengthen your arms alongside the bolster. Turn the upper arms out and the palms toward the ceiling. If your lower back aches or feels compressed, elevate your feet on a support and lengthen the sacrum and buttocks toward your heels.

Relax your throat and allow the root of the tongue to descend toward the back of the throat. You can close your eyes and gaze inwardly toward your chest, so that your forehead and cheeks soften and release completely. Relax the area between the eyebrows and around the temples.

 

Stay in this pose for as long as you like – up to 10 minutes; you should feel completely relaxed. On an exhalation, bend your knees, push your feet into the floor and slide off the bolster until your entire back comes to the floor. Rest the backs of your legs on the bolster for a few moments and then roll over to your right side and sit up.

 

After sitting up, you can cross your legs and bend forward to rest your forehead on the bolster. If your head doesn’t reach, elevate the support. Hold for a half a minute and then change the cross of your legs and repeat on the other side before sitting up.

 

Deepen your practice of Iyengar yoga and experience a new level of self-awareness that brings clarity, peace, and strength. Marla Apt hosts the Iyengar Yoga Immersion at the Art of Living Retreat Center from August 1-4, 2019.

 

Marla Apt, a Senior Intermediate Level certified Iyengar Yoga teacher, is based in Los Angeles, where she teaches public classes and conducts teacher training in addition to teaching workshops in the US and internationally.

 

This article was originally published in Yoga International Magazine, and is reposted with permission from the author.


Interested in learning more about Ayurveda and the programs at the Art of Living Retreat Center? Check out our annual catalog here!

 

Yoga Retreat Catalog for NC

TAGS: blood pressure , Marla Apt , yoga , yoga routine

In House: Shakta Khalsa on Yoga with Children

By Shakta Khalsa
September 5, 2018

Growing UP with Yoga - Art of Living Retreat Center

 

Children today are under as much stress as adults. And with the busy, achievement-oriented lives they lead, kids need tools to help them self-nurture, self-adjust, and feel happy. Children are expected to behave in ways that their nervous systems cannot easily manage without physical activity, yet they are increasingly inactive in school and at home. And every day the number of children diagnosed with ADHD, Autism, and other sensory issues grow higher.

 

The good news is that kids can find much balance and support via natural exercise and play—in the form of yoga, meditation, and mindfulness. In the formative years of childhood, yoga is purposeful play that brings physical, mental, and emotional fitness. Yoga tools include calming breathing practices, affirmative songs for positive self-talk, and movements/poses to organize the nervous system and strengthen the physical body.

 

Recently I sat down with three young people who did, in fact, grow up with yoga. The first is a young woman who was my yoga student from age three until eight and recently reconnected with me after twenty years. Madeleine told me how yoga impacted her life as a child, and how it has continued to help her grow as an integrated, authentic person.

 

Madeleine: from preschool yoga to yoga teacher

Madeleine holds a special place in my book, Fly Like A Butterfly, and in my heart as well. As an eight-year-old she was one of the child models in my book, and for five years I taught a weekly children’s yoga class at her Montessori school. Beginning at age three, Madeleine was one of the children who took yoga with me for all five of those years.

 

After being out of touch with Madeleine for decades, she found me on social media around two years ago. I am delighted to say that we have been talking back and forth ever since. She is now twenty-five and an accomplished hatha yoga teacher in Santa Barbara, California.

 

A foundation of yoga

Shakta: It is thrilling to reconnect with you, Madeleine. I am wondering what you most remember about your yoga classes with me when you were young?

 

Madeleine: I remember doing the washing machine exercise when I was really little, like three or four. Then candlestick was more fun by the time I was eight. I know it is actually called shoulder stand, but I still like calling it candlestick!

 

Shakta: I am wondering about the years between Montessori school and adulthood. Did you just continue to do yoga on your own?

 

Madeleine: Once I stopped Montessori school, I stopped doing yoga. It was a huge transition when I started public school. For example, in public school we were sitting all the time, not like in the Montessori classroom where we moved around and chose our work. I stopped doing yoga, but it was always there for me—emotionally—when I needed it. Another thing that was really different was that I was expected to do physical fitness in public school. PE was kind of scary to me. Yoga was never scary, I guess because it was only about what you could do. I never enjoyed sports or competitive things, and that’s why PE was scary. I stopped doing yoga, but it was always there for me—emotionally—when I needed it.

 

Returning to yoga

Shakta: So tell me, how did you get back into yoga?

 

Madeleine: When I was fifteen and in boarding school, I remember seeing pictures of people on the internet who were doing yoga. My thought was, “Oh, I remember doing that!” So I got some videos and practiced by myself throughout high school. Then in college I took a class.

 

Shakta: How wonderful! And this lead to you becoming a yoga teacher?

 

Madeleine: Sharing yoga with friends lead to becoming a trained yoga teacher. Back in high school I started teaching my friends…I still called shoulder stand “candlestick” and things like that.

 

Shakta: I always think it is good to lighten up about yoga and help people relax and laugh. Madeleine, I’ve seen you doing some very impressive arm-supported poses. What do you think about the current image that yoga has—for example, the way yoga is portrayed as super-fit people doing poses that are impossible for most people?

 

Madeleine: I guess they want to show what looks good in photos. No one wants to see shavasana (deep relaxation pose) in a picture! When I do some of the more intense poses, people ask me if I was a gymnast, which is ironic because that was always so hard for me—I could never even do a cartwheel! But I look at yoga as playing. It was never something I had to “accomplish.”

 

Yoga is playtime

Shakta: Sounds like you do it because you enjoy it.

 

Madeleine: Exactly. When I go into the yoga studio as a grown-up person, I never go because I have to. It is always playtime—it’s “me time.” I can go to a yoga class anywhere in the world and feel that I am back home. I teach full time, fourteen classes a week. It’s my life now! I feel really lucky because I could never work in an office. And you know, I feel really honored. All these people come into one room together. It is probably the one time of the day that they don’t have their cell phones. They aren’t paying attention to anything else. No technology, just breathing. We are all just breathing together. It feels like home. And I can go to a yoga class anywhere in the world and feel that I am back home.

 

Shakta: Now you are inspiring me, your original teacher!

 

Yoga for the mind, body, and soul

Madeleine: (Laughing) I love how it helps with everyday life. I had asthma as a child, and yoga and meditation have helped me to breathe better. Yoga has helped me to be more mindful, to pay attention to my body and what’s going on around me. Lately I’m noticing the difference between emotions, how they come and go, compared to things in life that are more permanent.

 

I love how yoga helps you realize that what is going on in the moment is a mirror for how you are feeling in that moment. For example, if I really want to get into a pose and it is not happening, I can be aware of what’s going on in my body, I can recognize it outside of class too. I can recognize that I need to calm down a little. I can work with that same feeling when it is happening in traffic. I can notice it and change it instead of getting overcome by things happening around me. And, Shakta, I am just wondering—how do you do that with children?

 

Shakta: Little children understand these things if you put it in language they can understand. That’s what I do in my Radiant Child Yoga work, and that is what I did with you all those years ago in the Montessori school!

 

Madeleine: I’ll never forget the spaghetti test [see practice below]. I wish I could do it with my adult students to help them experience what it feels like to relax. It’s such good biofeedback! I wonder what will happen with all these children who grew up with yoga? Something great I think!

 

Shakta: Something like what has happened for you, my dear Madeleine!

 

The spaghetti test

Lie down on the floor, face up, arms at your sides. Imagine you are stiff like spaghetti when it is in the box. Inhale and tense your entire body. Exhale and be like cooked spaghetti—soft and relaxed. Do this three times. Have a friend test you to see if you are “cooked” by gently picking up one arm and wiggling it to see if it is relaxed.

 

Make a difference with child yoga

As Madeleine clearly demonstrates, growing up with yoga can be an organic process that has a profound impact. One heart, one mind at a time. Do you feel called to share the joy of yoga with children? Join Shakta for her Radiant Child Yoga Training at the Art of Living Retreat Center from November 7th-11th, 2018, and contribute to the building of a more peaceful world.

 

This article was first published in Yoga International, and is republished with the permission of the author. It is presented in excerpt. Read the full article here.

 

Shakta Khalsa, ERYT-500 and IKYTA certified Kundalini Yoga teacher, is a leading expert on children and yoga.. She is a parent, Montessori educator, and a yoga professional recognized by Yoga Journal magazine as one of the top five Kundalini Yoga teachers in the world. Shakta is the Founder and Director of Radiant Child® Yoga, an internationally-known training program for teaching children yoga and working with/raising children consciously.  In the children’s yoga community, Shakta is considered the “godmother” of the children’s yoga movement.

 

Interested in learning more about Ayurveda and the programs at the Art of Living Retreat Center? Check out our annual catalog here!

 

Yoga Retreat Catalog for NC

TAGS: child , childhood , in house , shakta khalsa , yoga
Yin Yoga - Art of Living Retreat Center

The Gifts of Yin Yoga: A Balance to an Active Life and Practice

By Brahmani Liebman and Jashoda Edmunds
September 4, 2018

Yin Yoga - Art of Living Retreat Center

The yoga practice of your dreams

What if you could listen to dharma teachings and receive the benefits of being in a yoga posture?

 

What if you could calm the nervous system and enhance your energy at the same time?

 

What if you could practice meditation and yoga simultaneously?

 

What if you could find a practice that was both contemplative and energy enhancing?

 

What if you could nourish the connective tissues, joints, and bones while also accessing the deeper parts of your mind?

 

What if your active practice could be even more fluid?

 

What if you were able to sit with even more comfort and ease in your meditation practice?

 

What if you had a practice that complemented Kripalu Yoga in its invitation to grow in tolerance and go beyond your self-limiting beliefs?

 

Welcome to Yin Yoga!

We first discovered Yin Yoga at a Yoga Journal Conference in Manhattan around the year 2000. That class taught by Sarah Powers inspired each of us. She modeled how to marry our two loves of meditation and yoga practice. We both observed a more open body and quieter mind, as well as a depth experienced through the integration of the dharma (specifically yoga, Buddhism, and psychospiritual inquiry) while holding the postures. We had been students of Vipassana meditation for a number of years, and this gave us each freedom to include and share all that has inspired us in our practices and studies.

 

As we all know, the tendency in the Western culture is to overschedule, keep busy, do more, and go, go, go. We see it happening from early childhood on throughout life. We even see it manifesting in the world of yoga and meditation. Yin Yoga offers the possibility to stop, look, and listen. Yin Yoga asks us to keep being here in this moment, because it is the only place that life is happening. It’s the perfect complement to our active lives and to a more active yoga.

 

What is Yin Yoga?

The three basic teachings or tenets of Yin Yoga are:

  1. Practice appropriate pressure: Come to an edge of sensation that is neither neutral nor alarming.
  2. Remain muscularly passive: Come into the posture while allowing the muscles to be soft and passive, so the prana can move through the body to nourish the connective tissue, joints, and bones.
  3. Stay awhile: Longer holdings of three to five minutes enable you to grow the capacities beyond the mind and the self-limiting concepts of what we think. This steady pressure allows prana to accumulate and flow.

Placing the body in a posture, Yin style, invites an open receptivity to inspiring teachings. This can happen when practicing in a class or on your own, through recordings.

 

As a teacher of Yin Yoga, you have the opportunity to share relevant and meaningful teachings that inform, inspire, and light you up. When you impart teachings during the Yin portion of your classes, you can carry that theme throughout class and into life.

 

How to use Yin Yoga

How and when might you use Yin Yoga? It can be practiced on its own, as well as part of a yin (passive)/yang (active) practice. To receive the greatest benefit to the connective tissues, joints, and bones, it’s best to practice before warming the muscles in an active practice.

 

One of our favorite things about Yin Yoga is that it can be practiced upon waking, right in the comfort of your own bed. Place your body in a Yin pose; set the timer for three to five minutes; breathe long, slow Ujjayi breaths; and allow the pose to prepare the body and mind for sitting meditation. In fact, preparation for meditation is one of the primary benefits of Yin Yoga.

 

Other times to practice might be before bed or in the middle of the night, to allow the nervous system to settle, or anytime an active practice is not appropriate (such as during a healing process).

 

Wide-Knee Child’s Pose, Yin Style

  1. Begin in Table pose, with knees under hips and hands under shoulders.
  2. Spread the knees wide and bring the feet towards each other.
  3. Press the hips back and as close as possible to the feet and meet the appropriate edge.
  4. Come to rest on the elbows and spread them wide, placing one hand on the other and resting the head on your hands. Keep a gentle press into the hands or elbows to keep the weight back in the hips and out of the knees.
  5. Stay in the pose for three to five minutes.
 

To release,

  1. Press into your hands
  2. Bring your buttocks off your heels
  3. Lift one knee at a time and bring it back under the hips
  4. Press back into Child’s pose
  5. Pause and feel the effects.

For a variation on the posture, try either beginning in Child’s pose; extending the arms overhead; or resting the chest on a folded blanket or bolster.

Experiment with this practice and make it your own!

 

Connect to your inner wisdom for transformation. Brahmani Liebman and Jashoda Edmunds host Journey Into Yoga: Awakening the Wisdom Within this September 21-23 at the Art of Living Retreat Center.

 

Brahmani Liebman, MSEd, E-RYT 500, has been studying yoga and meditation since the 1970s and has been a yoga teacher since 1988. A member of the Kripalu Yoga Teacher Training faculty, she founded the Rivertown Center for Yoga and Health in Dobbs Ferry, New York. She is cocreator, with Jashoda Edmunds, of Journey into Yoga School of Yoga & Meditation teacher trainings and the CD Journey into Yoga: Awakening the Spirit. Brahmani has additional training as a Phoenix Rising yoga therapist and Transcendental Reiki master/teacher.

 

Jashoda Edmunds, E-RYT 500, has studied yoga since 1971 and began teaching in 1987. With Brahmani Liebman, she is cocreator of Journey into Yoga teacher training and the CD Journey into Yoga: Awakening the Spirit. Jashoda is a founding member of the Kripalu Yoga Teachers Association (now the Kripalu Yoga and Ayurveda Association) and a member of the Kripalu Yoga Teacher Training faculty. She also draws on her study of Buddhism and her training as a Phoenix Rising yoga therapist, shiatsu practitioner, and craniosacral therapist.

 

Interested in learning more about Ayurveda and the programs at the Art of Living Retreat Center? Check out our annual catalog here!

 

Yoga Retreat Catalog for NC

TAGS: art of living retreat center , brahmani liebman , jashoda edmunds , meditation , yin yoga , yoga , yoga practice , yoga retreat
Leap of Faith - Art of Living Retreat Center

A Leap of Faith

By Jurian Hughes
August 20, 2018

Leap of Faith - Art of Living Retreat Center

 

A few years ago, I did a terrifying thing: I took off the entire month. Unpaid. Rather last-minute. With no real plan in place. I called it my Sacred Sabbatical, and it came out of a moment of intense clarity in a women’s restroom at the end of what should have been a stellar Red Letter Day but wasn’t, when I realized in a flash that I was urgently in need of an extreme gesture of radical self-care.

 

As someone who likes to have her ducks in a row and her coffers full, the idea of an unplanned and unbudgeted month off and unplugged was pretty radical. Terrifying, in fact. Now, I think everyone should do it. And regularly.

 

Re-wilding

After two weeks spent decompressing through the joys of manual labor and almost daily sunrises and sunsets over Lake Winnipesaukee, I headed to California for two of the most glorious, magical weeks I’ve ever had: re-wilding in glorious Big Sur, alongside a beloved friend. Those were precious days spent reclaiming life, remembering what makes me happy, experiencing “the new”, the “unfamiliar”, taking risks, and feeling the freedom that comes with that. So, of course, I had to skydive.

 

Learning to leap

My advice about skydiving is this: If you have any inclination to skydive whatsoever, DO IT. It had been on my bucket list decades ago, but somehow it had unceremoniously fallen off – “too old, expensive, unnecessary. “ To step so literally into the unknown, at 13,400 feet, strapped to a human being whom you’ve just met, with nothing to save you but a bit of fabric, is an act of such complete and total faith that it has the power to transform on a cellular level. And that was my prayer as I let my body fall out that open door.

 

Choosing faith

My entire Sabbatical – a word which has its roots in ‘sabbath’, ‘sacred’, ‘shabath’; commonly thought of as a period of rest and rejuvenation granted to professors; was practiced in ancient times, when every seven years the soil was left to rest, and debtors and slaves were released. My entire Sabbatical was a practice of “Letting Go”. Choosing Trust. Choosing Faith.

 

The Universe seemed to keep whispering – or at times shouting – this in my ear over those weeks of adventure. And in that culminating act of jumping from a plane, I experienced the most palpable awe, gratitude, and bliss that I’ve ever known in my life. It felt as if in that literal leap of faith, that surrender and resulting flight, my whole being changed. My cells experienced – and I hope they will remember, always – what it feels like to completely let go, to abandon control, to tell God with every atom of my body, “You do it.”

 

Relishing surrender

How ironic that in total relinquishment there can come a feeling of such tremendous power! But the unwillingness to let fear win is an act of courage. The moment in which we choose not to let fear strangle us is a moment in which we choose Life. Those choices, those moments have the potential to re-wild our souls, to awaken our joy, our imagination, and to let us see our world through fresh, open eyes.

 

Keep letting go

My practice now is to keep letting go, to look for the habits, thoughts, patterns and choices that are keeping me small and safe. I want to live every day with the memory of that palpable awe, gratitude and bliss, which I experienced when I left that safe plane in favor of the open sky. And I endeavor to remember that awe – and gratitude and bliss – is so worth taking a leap of faith for!

Today, may you do one thing that makes you tremble just a little, and that therefore has the power to rekindle your spirit. May you, too, take a leap of faith toward awe, gratitude and bliss.

Join me this Sep 22 – Oct 2 at Art of Living for ten days that promise to rekindle your spirit.  Because if not now, when?

 

Jurian Hughs, E-RYT 500, MFA, is founder of the Yoga of Voice; co-founder of A Wild Life Sanctuary™; co-creator of The Yoga of Yes; a Let Your Yoga Dance® teacher trainer; voice coach; personal mentor; writer; speaker; and theatre performer known for her passionate, playful, and engaging teaching style. As a senior faculty member of the Kripalu School of Yoga since 2006, Hughes has led thousands of workshops and programs and trained more than 1,000 Kripalu yoga teachers.

 

For more about Jurian, visit jurianhughes.com. Join Jurian for her ten-day Let Your Yoga Dance® Teacher Training at the Art of Living Retreat Center from September 22 – October 2, 2018.


Interested in learning more about Ayurveda and the programs at the Art of Living Retreat Center? Check out our annual catalog here!

 

Yoga Retreat Catalog for NC

TAGS: fear , jurian hughes , mindfulness , trust , yoga

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