Mindful Monday: Happy MLK Jr. Day 

Happy Mindful Monday, friends, yogis, deep thinkers and not-so-deep thinkers, too! 

Most of us have the day off today – from work and our children –  from school. Except us yoga teachers and staff. Yoga doesn’t take federal holidays! ūüėā

But how many of us truly know exactly WHY the third January of the month is a federal holiday? We all know Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous speeches right? And that he was a champion of non-violence. We may know that he gave his very life for his beliefs in racial equality, freedom and justice. 

Today we celebrate the life and legacy of a great American whose inspiring words, vision and the way he lived  continue to uplift us.  He taught us through his example ‚ÄĒ the values of courage, truth, justice, compassion, dignity, humility and service that so radiantly defined Dr. King‚Äôs character and empowered his leadership. On this holiday, we commemorate the universal, unconditional love, forgiveness and nonviolence that empowered his revolutionary spirit.

Many of Dr. King’s beliefs and morals mirror the teachings of our Yoga Sutras. His steadfast belief in non-violence aligns with our very first Yama – ahimsa. 

Dr. King dedicated his life to the service of others. And we practice yoga specifically to strengthen mind, body and spirit precisely to be of service to others off of our mats. 

We commemorate his guiding principle of unconditional love and equality for all. Dr. King‚Äôs great dream of a vibrant, multiracial nation united in justice, peace and reconciliation mirrors the highest ideals we seek when we step on our mats. Yoga becomes the great unifier for us all. It doesn’t matter what your racial, economic, political or social status and beliefs are when we practice moving together,  breathing together, focusing in the same direction, sharing energy as we all move to embody our highest and best manifestations. 

Today, let’s practice yoga together in honor of one of our greatest leaders. If you can’t get to your mat today, make a personal committment to serve and uplift humanity in some small way – karma yoga.  Or practice your breathing while stuck in line or in traffic. Meditate for five minutes today. As we elevate ourselves, we cannot help but to elevate humanity. Move with love. 

Mindful Monday: January Blues

january_blues-01

Happy Mindful Monday, friends! We’ve made it through our first week of 2017! Yay us! We’ve wound down the holiday season and kicked off this new year with a huge bang! As this momentum wears off, and we move back to normalcy and our safe and steady routines, we segue into the real JANUARY – long, dark nights; cold, dreary days; post-Christmas blues and the “letdown” from the newness of it all.

Things don’t seem as shiny and exciting. The reality of this long, cold month really begins to set in. I hear so many friends and yoga students complaining of lethargy, grumpiness, stress, low-energy, insomnia, sluggishness … yup, there it is the January Blues! And when we are feeling low and rundown and uninspired, our immune systems are compromised, and it is very likely those suffering from the blues will catch a bad cold or even the flu.

Well, I have to ask … didn’t you feel this way last year as well? I know I did! And it’s no wonder! I’ve been eating and drinking like a rock star for at least the past month! Oftentimes we do this to ourselves! What goes in, must always come out.

So what are some ways to beat the blues?

  1. Practice POSITIVITY! As soon as you hear yourself go into autopilot to bitch about how cold it is, just remind yourself, “Well, no duh! it’s January in the Midwest; there’s really no surprise there!” When I used to teach 6 a.m. sculpt classes, I would try to appreciate the stillness and beauty of those 4:30 a.m. mornings rather than the earliness of the hour or the temperature outside. Many¬†days it took some work as I struggled to leave the warmth and comfort of my bed, but as it slowly became habitual, (no pun intended there) it was easier and easier!
  2. Practice GRATITUDE! While that may seem like a trite phrase that every single yoga teacher on this planet throws around, it truly is such a huge key to finding contentment and happiness! When we focus on all of the blessings we do have, there is that much less time to complain about what is lacking or what we don’t have! Even though it may be freezing outside, can we appreciate the sun as it shines? Or the fact that we are not sleeping outside in the cold weather as many do!
  3. Speak only of HEALTH, WELLNESS and PROSPERITY. What we speak out loud tends to manifest itself! We all know those chronic complainers who talk about how sick and tired they are all the time, and guess what? They are constantly sick and tired all the time!
  4. Surround yourself with positive, happy people! You know where you can find a lot of them? Yup, you guessed it – at a yoga studio! Or a health club. Or any other place where people gather to FEEL GOOD. And nothing feels better than shutting your crazy brain off for an hour and MOVING YOUR BODY! We won’t even talk about all the feel-good hormones that are released that instantly lift your mood! Just think of it as MAGIC.
  5. SLOW DOWN. Take your cues from NATURE. Many parts of nature are DORMANT during this time. Don’t feel guilty about hibernating on your sofa for an evening or even an entire weekend doing something to soothe your soul! Binge watch your favorite show! Or find a new one – I have some recommendations, if you’re looking for a new one! Inbox me.
  6. January is the perfect time for a DETOX or a CLEANSE. Find something to PURGE. You can clean up your diet. You can tap out of social media for a few days. You can clean out your kitchen cupboards and pare down to the essentials. The daily DECREASE of STUFF is so good for the mind and spirit as well as the body.
  7. Focus on OTHERS. Be very cognizant of those who seem to be in a January funk Рreach out to those persons and help to lift their spirits!  Surprise them with one of your YBD guest passes! Or buy a random stranger a cup of coffee or pay for their meal. Help out at a homeless shelter or your local food pantry.

Let’s remember the concept of ANNICA – the impermanence of all things in LIFE. The weather; our desires and temptations; feelings, thoughts, emotions; circumstances and conditions are all subject to rising and falling. This thought allows us to maintain an equanimity of mind knowing that soon things are bound to shift. Let’s learn to enjoy each fleeting moment, including the cold and dark ones, for they remind us that we are blessed with life and with breath.

Annica! Annica! Annica! Be happy, my friends!

 

4 week Shred

4 Week Shred is back in 2017!

Looking to spark a change? Be happy. Be strong. Be healthy. Be free from what holds you back! We have a few spots open for January 2017 Shred! You will work with fitness instructor Teresa & nutritionist Susan to fit a customized plan for your life! Call or sign up at any location for an informational call to find out more & start the ball rolling to finding the you Рyou know you can be!

4 Week Shred is back in 2017!

Our successful 4 Week boot camp program starts January 8th in Western Springs. Don’t miss this amazing opportunity to get customized nutrition coaching, meal plans, and workouts! This is the first step toward achieving your health and fitness goals! Whether you are trying to kick start your weight loss, increase your fitness levels or live a healthier lifestyle the 4 Week Shred will set you up for long-term, sustainable achievement. Make 2017 your best year yet!

What is 4 Week Shred?

4 Week Shred is a food and fitness program designed to support, educate, and motivate. We will meet once a week on Sundays for a boot camp workout and nutrition workshop.

Program Schedule: January 8th ‚Äď January 29th¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†

Sundays 1/8-1/29
3 pm to 5 pm
Nutrition Workshop and Boot Camp
Western Springs YBD

Due to the customized meal plans, nutrition workshops and coaching from the Shred Leads, we will have to limit the number of participants!  Secure your spot today!

Components:

  • Customized meal plan written by Registered Dietitian (RD), Susan Rizzo
  • 4 Nutrition workshops with opportunity for Q+A with RD
  • 4 HIIT boot camp classes customized for maximum results
  • Customized workout plan
  • 1 month unlimited yoga and yoga sculpt at ANY 6 YBD locations
  • Support from fellow Shredders and leads
  • Food and experience journal
  • Hard work and life changing RESULTS!

 

Pricing:

Yoga By Degrees Members: $150- includes 4 HIIT boot camp classes, 4 nutrition workshops and customized meal plan

Non-members: $275 – includes 4 HIIT boot camp classes, 2 nutrition workshops, customized meal plan, one month unlimited yoga and yoga sculpt classes at ANY YBD location

Email Teresa at 4weekshred2017@gmail.com for any questions you may have!

Are you ready to sign up? Enroll online, in studio, or over the phone at any YBD location by 

January 7th!

 If you want to read about a Shredders experience in April, please follow this link https://breathesweatsmile.wordpress.com/2016/05/11/4-week-shred-success/

 

Who are the leads?

Susan Rizzo, RD, LDN, CDE

Registered Dietitian

Susan has been a Registered Dietitian (RD) for over 30 years. She is passionate about the value of good eating and exercising for its role in health. For the past 15 years she has enjoyed educating clients as nutrition counselor and diabetes educator for AMITA Health-Alexian Brothers. Over the years she has been involved with various weight loss programs including Weight Watchers, the YMCA and The Solution Program.  Recently she has advised clients involved with The Daily Herald’s Fittest Loser competition. Susan holds certifications of training in Adult and Pediatric Weight Management with the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Her expertise in nutrition has helped many clients individualize their food choices leading to improved weight and health status.  She is dedicated to educating people with the tools needed to self-manage their weight and meet health goals. A long time believer in the powers of physical activity she has enjoyed a variety of pursuits throughout her life including running, walking, yoga, tennis, ice skating, soccer, biking and dancing. She raised 4 children and is sensitive to the needs of busy lifestyles.

Teresa Larem

Yoga Instructor/ Yoga Sculpt Instructor/Shred Facilitator

Teresa has always been a lifelong athlete, starting with soccer in kindergarten and continuing with tennis, basketball, softball, track, yoga, dance and rock climbing. If it’s active she likes it! Teresa discovered Yoga sculpt in 2013 and has been in love ever since due to the intensity, fun and results she has received from sculpt and fusion.  She began teaching Yoga in 2014 and soon followed with Yoga Sculpt in 2015 and has recently helped train the latest group of teachers at YBD. She loves teaching sculpt and fusion because she loves to have fun and motivate people. She truly believes that being active is the key to a long and healthy life and hopes to make working out fun for her students. Her other hobbies include soccer, CrossFit spin, walking her dog, reading, and yoga.

side-plank-jan-pose-of-the-month-2017

JANUARY POSE OF THE MONTH: SIDE PLANK

Side Plank, Vasisthasana

Have you set an intention for the new year? If you’re like many of us, you may set resolutions in January but by the following December realize they haven’t come to fruition. Often times that happens because we have big, audacious dreams but forget to put into place the mechanisms to achieve these goals. Big dreams start small. So today, think about your final goal and then dial it all the way back to the daily or weekly things you’ll need to accomplish in order to get there.

Perhaps this year you work towards a strong vasisthasana (vah-sish-TAHS-anna), side plank! This is a terrific posture to focus on because it’s accessible at all levels of practice; it’s modifications and variations are nearly endless! You can start with your bottom knee grounded for more support, as you feel more comfortable you may choose to stack your legs, and ultimately you may decide to float your top leg up to challenge your balance. Just like goals outside of the studio, there’s little steps you can take along the way to reach your final destination. Give it a try today!

To find your side plank:

  • Press your left palm into your mat
  • Shift weight to the knife edge of your left foot
  • Stack your right shoulder over the left and reach your right hand to the sky
  • Engage your bottom tricep
  • Draw your low belly in and up
  • Strengthen into your thighs and keep your legs active and engaged

Playful modifications and variations:

  • For a grounded modification, drop your left knee to your mat and stack it directly below your left hip for support
  • As you feel more stable, firm into your right leg and hover it parallel to your mat
  • If you‚Äôre feeling playful, then this can be taken all the way to your Wild Thing by dropping the ball of your right foot behind you and spiraling the barrel of your chest towards the ceiling

Benefits of vasisthasana:

  • Strengthens your arms, core and legs
  • A great posture for your wrists as it both strengthens and stretches them
  • Improves your focus as your balance is tested

‚ÄúNothing happens without focus. Don‚Äôt try to do everything at once. Take it one step at a time.‚ÄĚ – Dave Ramsey

loukia

Meet Loukia, YBD Teacher of the Month

Meet our first Teacher of the Month of the new year! Loukia has such an amazing story of transformation and following your heart. After leaving her career as a high school administrator, she¬†completed her teacher training with us at YBD and has been inspiring students ever since. We are very grateful to be part of Loukia’s road to happiness and are grateful she shares her joy with our YBD community!
Monday

6am, YBD2¬†95¬į-Western Springs

Tuesday

6am, YBD1¬†95¬į-Naperville

Wednesday

4:30, YBD1¬†85¬į-Elmhurst

Friday

4:00, YBD1¬†85¬į &¬†5:45, YBD2¬†105¬į-Downers Grove

Saturday

12:00, YBD2¬†95¬į &¬†1:30¬†Restorative-Western Springs

When and how did you come to yoga?
I began regularly practicing yoga in 2011 when YBD in Wheaton opened. I had a number of physical ailments so I thought yoga would help. I was also looking for a way to reduce stress from my role as a high school administrator.  The heated studio felt detoxifying and relieved my stress after a long day of work.  The candles of the dimly lit studio exuded an aura of calm and it was a rare opportunity for quiet time in my day. I found yoga to be physically challenging with the added benefit of challenging me mentally every time I stepped onto my mat.  As I began to move in and out of the poses in the vinyasa flow classes, my body began to feel alive, my mind began to quiet, turning my negative self-talk into positive, self-love.

Why did you start teaching yoga?
I experienced a series of losses in 2014 and practicing yoga healed me from the inside out. Being on yoga mat helped me heal and come to terms with all the pain of my loss and grief. In 2015 I decided that if I could help even one person feel better and find peace through yoga, then training to be a yoga teacher would be worth it for me. I completed my training in the fall 2015 and have been enjoying the journey of being a new teacher this past year.

What is your favorite pose?
My favorite pose is tree pose, vrksasana. The essence of tree pose is to find balance. However, in tree pose you might sway, like a tree does in the wind but your foot stays rooted in to the ground. Allowing myself the freedom for my body to move and find its balance while I visualize still being rooted into the earth allows me to find acceptance of my body and my life in that present space and moment. Balance is something I work really hard at on and off the mat so I love tree pose because of that!

Who inspires your teaching?
My own yoga teachers have been my inspiration.¬† I’ve been blessed to have caring, kind, and compassionate yoga teachers and realize the impact a teacher can have on students every time they step on the mat.

Tips for beginners…
Learn to live in the uncomfortable.  You will inevitably find your first class challenging and a bit awkward and uncomfortable as your body moves in and out of the various poses.  Learn to live with that uncomfortable feeling of a beginner because everyone at one point or another was a beginner, even your yoga teachers!

What’s your favorite quote?
Life is a balance of holding on and letting go.

Mindful Monday: New Year, New YOU

imageHappy First Mindful Monday of 2017, yogi friends! It is truly a blessing that we have an opportunity for a crisp, clean, beautiful slate! The truth is that we ALWAYS have that opportunity – each morning we are reborn. Each new breath carries with it pure potential. Yet the symbolism of a brand-spanking-new, squeaky clean year for a fresh start is simply irresistible!

Often times, it is not the daily increase, but the daily DECREASE where you find significant growth. More than 100 of our YBD¬†teachers and students have participated in my 21 day reset detox over the past four years, and many have described this experience as life-changing. I’ll be leading it once again from our Wheaton studio this month. Continue reading, if you are at all interested in uncovering a brighter, shinier, leaner, healthier and more vibrant version of YOU in 2017.

Why a detox?

We will be removing five potentially harmful substances from our diets in order to observe the deeper levels of our unconscious minds and uproot deep-seated complexes, patterns and fears. We will reveal a deeper sense of clarity within and break from the habit of instant gratification.
Removing these substances will create space to observe a deeper connection to the role food plays in our lives and how it affects us. You will have the opportunity to break from artificial stimulants and depressants and return to the natural rhythm and flow of your body. Ending the vicious cycles of spikes and drops in your blood sugar levels and self-indulgence followed by self-flagellation.
The human body is a brilliant living organism that has the intelligence to heal and rejuvenate itself. This cleanse will allow you to identify and to eliminate your common cravings and triggers – releasing yourself from stale habits and moving you toward a higher level of wellness.
It takes 21 days to shift your tastes and cravings and start to respond to healthier, simpler foods. Your blood sugar will balance out as you are freed from old addictions.
Over these¬†21 days, you will be performing a hard REBOOT of your habits and routines surrounding food. It is most interesting to see what happens with those substances we cannot “live without” (morning jolt of java, day drinking, evening glass of wine?) I challenge you to LET GO and see what happens. Can you transcend your petty attachments? Aren’t you stronger than your desires? What is it we are covering up with food?
The process will be key during the detox. What comes up? Emotions, struggles, triumphs – you will begin to see exactly how food has affected your moods, body, mental state. You will uncover emotional attachments to food – do you reach for a cookie when you’re unhappy?

This process is a GIFT to yourself and to your body. Removing processed foods and alcohol gives a break to your liver and kidneys; your body will release stored junk (toxins, emotions, habits). You will experience more clarity about yourself and within your relationships as you begin to confront your own defenses and barriers.

Please remember that we are working toward progress and NOT perfection! If you’re ready to jumpstart your path to a healthier body, clearer mind and a deeper sense of conscious awareness, then this cleanse is definitely for you!
ANYONE can do this cleanse for 21 days. It is medically unassailable, and you will literally feel your body and mind vibrating from their highest levels. But it is definitely not for EVERYONE. This cleanse is HARD WORK. You will be forced to your uncomfortable edges. It is a way of living and eating SIMPLY for 21 days. Where MINDFULNESS reigns in every moment of your day. How much are you willing to WORK to begin to truly unlock your POTENTIAL?
Sign up at any of our YBD locations or online! We will meet Sundays 3- 5 p.m. in our Wheaton studio on January 8, 15, 22 and 29.
Wishing you and your family a new year filled with happiness, good health, success and prosperity!

 

 

yogachicagojan2017article

Huge thanks to the YBD Community!

We are so thankful to all of the wonderful Yogis who stepped up to participate in the Wounded Warrior Challenge and Register To Be A Match for a member of the Downers Grove, and now YBD community.   Our hearts are so warmed to know that we have so many kind and giving souls that we get the opportunity to spend our time with everyday.  The Jan / Feb 2017 Yoga Chicago article pictured here summarizes these Charity drives and what the results were.   Namaste, thank you again and see you on your mat!

Mindful Monday: Dhyana

meditation

Happy Monday, friends! Well we’ve managed to get through another Christmas! Whether you absolutely love this time of year or are counting the days until your life goes back to its routine, time continues to march onward. Now is the¬†time for contemplation of the year 2016 and goal setting for the year 2017. What things did you do great this past year? How will you build upon those successes? What were some misses this past year – and what are the growth opportunities you’ve identified? How will you choose to spend your last week of 2016? I just know that there are amazing things in store for you in the upcoming year!

If you‚Äôve been following our blog weekly, you‚Äôll know that we‚Äôve been covering¬†Ashtanga¬†yoga ‚Äď the eight limbed path of yoga.¬†Below is¬†a quick recap of the previous six¬†limbs that we‚Äôve disussed.

  1. Yamas¬†‚Äď the guidelines for social behavior: clean your home
  2. Niyamas¬†‚Äď self-disciplines: reverence for your home
  3. Asanas¬†‚Ästyoga poses: start to settle¬†into your home
  4. Pranayama¬†‚Äď breath control, life energy: animate your home
  5. Pratyahara¬†‚Äď the withdrawal of external senses, to rest in your home.
  6. Dharana –¬†immovable concentration of the mind

Dharana sets the stage for dhyana, the perfect contemplation of meditation. It is total absorption into the object being focused on. This uninterrupted flow of concentration creates devotion. Dhyana distinctly differs from the one-pointed concentration of dharana in that it is ultimately a state of being keenly aware without focus. In this quiet stillness the brain produces few or no thoughts at all. The strength and stamina it takes to reach this state of stillness is quite impressive. In dhyana we dissolve separateness and experience the deep river of peace.

As you cultivate a consistent meditation practice, you will derive both mental and physical benefits in your life. Modern science and medicine are just now measuring the benefits of this ancient practice to explain¬†how the body physiologically changes and how each of the trillions of body¬†cells are charged with more prana (energy). Increased life force or prana results in joy, peace, and enthusiasm. Below I’ve listed a small percentage of the vast ¬†benefits of mediation.

Physical Benefits

  • Lowers high blood pressure
  • Reduces anxiety
  • Decreases tension-related pain, such as, tension headaches, ulcers, insomnia, muscle and joint problems
  • Increases serotonin production that improves mood and behavior
  • Improves the immune system
  • Increases energy level, as you gain an inner source of energy
  • Can assist with weight loss and other physical goals
  • Improved athletic performance
  • Can provide significant relief from asthma and allergies

Mental Benefits of Meditation

Meditation brings the brainwave pattern into a relaxed state that promotes healing. The mind becomes fresh, delicate and beautiful. With regular practice of meditation:

  • Emotional stability improves
  • Creativity increases
  • Happiness increases
  • Intuition develops
  • Increase in mental¬†clarity
  • Sharpens the mind by increasing focus
  • Slows aging of your mind
  • Can help with improving relationships

How do you tell the difference between concentration and meditation? If there is awareness of distraction, you are concentrating and not meditating. The calm achieved in meditation spills over into all aspects of your life. Try practicing meditation during a hectic day at work, shopping for groceries, attempting to return/exchange holiday gifts, or even waiting in a busy queue of traffic!

As you set your goals for 2017, perhaps sitting in meditation each morning when you arise may be one of them! Start small; set your timer for five minutes each day and build from there. Imagine yourself at this time next year after a full year of meditating! You are 100 percent pure potential, my friend! Let’s talk more next year… On behalf of all of us at YBD, wishing you and your family a safe, healthy and prosperous new year filled with love, happiness, success, ¬†yoga and meditation!

Mindful Monday: Dharana

focus

Happy Monday before Christmas, friends! This time of year can have so much significance for us. Kids home from school. Time off from work. Inordinate amounts of time spent with family. For some, this can be a painful time of year, missing loved ones and dealing with loneliness and sadness. Many, myself included, have a marathon week of getting shopping done, gifts wrapped and staying focused on the many tasks at hand.

If you’ve been following our blog weekly, you’ll know that we’ve been covering¬†Ashtanga¬†yoga – the eight limbed path of yoga.¬†Below is¬†a quick recap of the previous five limbs that we’ve disussed.

  1. Yamas Рthe guidelines for social behavior: clean your home
  2. Niyamas Рself-disciplines: reverence for your home
  3. Asanas¬†–¬†yoga poses: start to settle¬†into your home
  4. Pranayama Рbreath control, life energy: animate your home
  5. Pratyahara – the withdrawal of external senses, to rest in your home.

As each stage prepares us for the next, the practice of pratyahara creates the setting for¬†dharana, or immovable concentration of the mind. The root of the word is “dhar” which means to hold, maintain or keep. As the sixth limb of yoga, dharana is the practice of holding one’s mind onto a particular inner state or topic. We fix the mind on a single pointed focus, such as breath, the small space above the upper lip, or navel, without allowing the mind to ¬†wander through memories, reflective thoughts, bodily sensations.

Through the disciplines of the previous limbs, we’ve definitely begun to develop our powers of concentration. Through yamas and niyamas, we’ve¬†begun¬†directing our attention. Through asanas, we have begun to temper the body and focus on specific and more subtle sensations. Through pranayama, we begin the task of refining our minds.¬†Through pratyahara, we bring our senses under control and are¬†still enough to become more observant of the mind. In dharana, concentration on a single point becomes effortless. You know the mind is concentrating when there is no sense of time passing. Extended periods of concentration naturally lead to meditation or dhyana, which is the seventh limb of yoga.

Now we truly begin to unleash the great potential for inner healing.

On behalf of all of the staff, teachers and management of YBD, we truly wish you a very Merry Christmas!

Mindful Monday: Pratyahara

pratyahara

Happy Mindful Monday, yogis and yoginis! Another Sunday, another snowfall and another day closer to the end of 2016! As we wind down this year, it’s a great time to start to slow down and reflect. Our complete yoga practice provides us with the tools to do just that.

If you’ve been following our blog weekly, you’ll know that we’ve been covering Ashtanga yoga – the eight limbed path of yoga.¬†Below is¬†a quick recap of the previous four limbs that we’ve disussed.

  1. Yamas Рthe guidelines for social behavior: clean your home
  2. Niyamas Рself-disciplines: reverence for your home
  3. Asanas¬†–¬†yoga poses: start to settle¬†into your home
  4. Pranayama Рbreath control, life energy: animate your home

This now brings us to our fifth limb, Pratyahara, the withdrawal of external senses, to rest in your home.

Our conscious breathing sets the stage for Pratayhara, where we transcend sensory stimulation and draw focus inward. We stay fully aware of the five senses, but we observe objectively and therefore the mind can rest. We stop living off the things that stimulate; we dispassionately observe the cycle of stimulation and reaction and are no longer a slave to the senses. No longer functioning in their usual manner, the senses become extraordinarily sharp.

Concentration, in the yoga room or the boardroom, begins as a battle with the distracting senses. In mastering pratyahara, you no longer unnecessarily respond to the itch on your nose or hear the baby crying in the restaurant. You are able to fix your focus on your main objective.

According to Patanjali, the¬†eight limbs work together: The first five steps ‚ÄĒ yama, niyama asana, pranayama, and pratyahara ‚ÄĒ are the preliminaries of building the foundation for ¬†a spiritual life. They are concerned with the body and the brain. The last three, which we will cover in subsequent posts, ¬†are concerned with reconditioning the mind. So it becomes clearer that¬†yoga is nothing more than a process which enables us to stop and look at the habits¬†of our own minds; only in this way can we understand the nature of happiness and unhappiness, and thus transcend them both. Yoga provides an opportunity to ultimately¬†attain enlightenment or the full realization of oneness with Spirit. Enlightenment lasts forever, while a flat tummy can disappear in a week. Trust me, I know of which I speak. The tummy part, that is – I’m still working on the enlightenment part.

Until next week, my friends… Breathe. Sweat. Smile.