Mindful Monday: Ajna Chakra

The Ajna Chakra or the Third Eye chakra is associated with the LIGHT element and the color INDIGO.

Mantra: “I see” or “Aum/Om”

The Ajna is located on the forehead between the eyebrows, just above and between the eye line.

It governs your vision, intuition, illumination, psychic abilities, perception of subtle dimensions and movements of energy, connection to insight, wisdom, inspiration and creativity.

When your Ajna chakra is open and balanced, you clearly see reality without the filters of your ego, expectations, past experiences and other social programming. The gift of your Ajna chakra is the ability to be mindful and live in the present moment. Your third eye chakra is the center of your intuition and wisdom, allowing you to open your mind to deeper understandings and expand your intuition.

When it is blocked, you may feel stuck in the daily grind without being able to look beyond your problems and set a guiding vision for yourself and have a lack of clarity.

When it is overstimulated and without support from the rest of the chakra system, you may indulge in fantasies that appear more real than reality, and experience psychic fantasies and other illusions.

To balance this chakra, try forward folds, shoulder stand and balasana, childs’ pose.

See clearly, my dear yogis!

4 Week Shred: Changes for Health, Changes for Life!

Happy New Year! It’s the time of year when we are inundated with fad diets, supplements, exercise programs, and more. But we’ve been there, done that! Maybe it worked for a little bit, and suddenly you find yourself exactly where you started.  What will you change in 2020 to achieve long term results? Our revolutionary bootcamp, 4 Week Shred, offers the important combination of nutrition and exercise to help you crush your goals. 4 Week Shred brings together small group training and group nutrition coaching from registered dietitian Nikki to offer you motivation, support, and the knowledge you need to get fit, toned, and healthy!
On the first day of our Shred program, we will discuss a different way to look at how, what and why we eat, also known as Mindful or Intuitive Eating. So what does Mindful Eating mean? Mindful Eating is a non-diet approach to health and wellness that helps you tune into your body signals, break the cycle of chronic dieting and heal your relationship with food. You will learn the tools needed to help you cultivate a healthier relationship with food and your body.
On week two of Shred, we will explore some of the more popular “diets” and products out on the market today. We will dive into the pros, cons and occasional dangers of some of these popular diet trends marketed for weight loss and health. Why these diets might be right for some individuals and inappropriate for others. Please feel free to post about any particular diet trends you would like to learn more about prior to class.

 On week three of Shred we will focus on nutrition. Some of the topics included but not limited to are: What foods are best to eat pre and post workout? How do fluid requirements change depending on exercise intensity and weather? What vitamins and minerals are important during different stages of life? How often and what types of exercises you should incorporate to meet your health goals?

 Week four will bring us back to Mindful Eating as we share our own struggles and challenges we have encountered during the four weeks together. What have you learned about yourself and what will be your next steps moving forward? Please come with an open mind and willingness to share!

Along the way through our 4 week journey together, we will have some friendly competition where you can earn prizes for meeting different weekly goals. Each week there will be a new goal to conquer. Each nutritional meeting is preceded by an interval group workout led by Teresa. Each 45 minute workout is completely customize able to meet you where you are on your fitness journey. Suitable for both beginners and for fitness fanatics! Additionally, participants will be challenged to attend yoga and yoga sculpt classes on their own during the week. This not only helps you create healthy exercise habits to continue throughout the year, but yoga has been scientifically proven to help with weight loss, toning and injury prevention. Non YBD members receive unlimited yoga at ANY Yoga By Degrees location during the month of February with their enrollment.
 Email Teresa@yogabydegrees.net if you have any additional questions . Ready to enroll?, please click here. We can’t wait to shred with you!
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Wellness Wednesday: The Space That Is Held

Happy Wellness Wednesday, friends!

As human beings we each acknowledge how overwhelming sensations can become as we move through our life. They may become so great that we feel that we no longer have the internal space we need to begin organizing the visceral chaos we experience. We each have had an encounter in which we had the trust and comfort to reach out to someone we know in order to be assisted through a difficult period. 

In times like these it is vitally important we reach out the most trusted, precious people we know to hold space. All too often we may feel like a burden for dumping our emotional baggage onto someone else so we continue to let it pile within until space is constricted to its max. However, we never know when someone else’s presence, experiences and additional information will be what we need in order to begin healing. These people who offer themselves as containers may simply provide their presence with the absence of words or perhaps communicated guidance. Regardless, their centered self brings a sense of steadiness that we can lean on as support as their presence creates an environment in which we can productively dwell without the fear of how we are perceived.

When someone offers their presence, they offer one of the greatest gifts that someone in need may ever receive. We must emit our gratitude to these beings of light as we would struggle onto our next moment if it was not for them



Mindful Monday: Throat Chakra

The Vishuddha Chakra is associated with the Ether element and the color BLUE .

Mantra: “I Speak” or “Ham”

The Vishuddha is located in your neck and throat.

It governs your feelings of being heard, self-expression, ability to advocate for yourself, emotional honesty, living an authentic life and how you manage conflict and confrontation.

When Vishuddha or throat chakra is in balance, you’ll be great at making yourself understood. You’ll be able to say what you really want to say tactfully and clearly. You’ll know what you need, and be able to state that out loud in a way that gets people to listen.

When it is blocked, throat chakra primarily manifests in an inability to say what you really want to say. You may feel like you’re stuck holding onto secrets, that people don’t want to hear your thoughts, or that you can’t find the right words for your feelings.

When it is overstimulated, you may find yourself speaking rudely, out of turn, or maliciously. Looking down on others, you become highly critical of small details. The slightest, most innocent comment from someone may strike you as intentionally rude. You may even speak negatively about yourself, or others, to the point it borders on verbal abuse. Gossiping, criticizing and judging and non-stop talking are telltale signs of over activity.

To balance this chakra, fish pose, ploughing or shoulder stand. Lion’s breath is also a great way to clear and balance Vishuddha!

Happy Monday, and be expressive, dearest yogis!

Wellness Wednesdays: Back to Basics

Happy Wellness Wednesday, friends!

As we move into the new decade we cannot help but hear everyone share their new year goals and perhaps how they may achieve it. I saw a common theme amongst the table conversations and social media posts that in order to achieve a goal, we must act aggressively towards it.

It can be a positive mindset, sure, but sometimes this mind set may cause us to become so mono-focused, distracted by comparison that we lose sight of the opportunities on the periphery of our vision. If we allow our self to stay receptive, we remind our self of the basic roots that ground us in which allows us to flourish as a whole to our desired goals. These basic roots are simply reminders to keep us feeling at an optimum-physically, emotionally, mentally, energetically, socially, etc for the purpose of attaining what we yearn for. They are beautifully unique to each of us.

If we reflect back on our daily activity, we may notice how mindless we can become. It is almost like we are on autopilot. It can be overwhelming to drastically swap mindsets immediately. However we have our ability to practice with intention and balance as we must experience both ends of the spectrum to understand balance. We can reflect on our core values and build based off our broad foundation. So while our complex life may encourage us to become the next bigger, better, best, sometimes it may be necessary to take a moment to redirect our focus inward to cultivate the space we need in order to grow with the basics.



Mindful Monday: Anahata Chakra

The Anahata Chakra is associated with the Air element and the color GREEN.

Mantra: “I love” or “Yum”

The Anahata is located at the center of your chest.

It governs your feelings of unconditional love, compassion and joy. It is the bridge between the lower chakras and the upper chakras, joining the physical with the metaphysical.

When your heart chakra is open and balanced, you are flowing with love and compassion, you are quick to forgive, and you easily accept others and yourself.

When it is blocked, you may experience feelings of grief, anger, jealousy, fear of betrayal, and hatred toward yourself and others.

When it is overstimulated, you may say yes to everyone and anything, love indiscriminately, losing your sense of identity and become co-dependent.

To balance this chakra, try camel, standing bow and bridge pose.

Be loving, my dear yogis!

Wellness Wednesday: Clean Slates

Happy Wellness Wednesday and happy New Year!

There are events in our lives that contribute themselves to creating a clean slate. Birthdays, leaving a job, and days like today- the start of the new year. It has its own underlying energy that encourages us to take on life eagerly. This new year may remind us the importance of focusing on what we choose to create because if we give our conscious awareness to unwanted aspects of our life we will only allow what we resist to persist.

We must be gentle towards our self in times of new beginnings as it is a vulnerable moment of change. It does not serve us to get down on ourselves if we do not reach our intended goals immediately. So often we feel we must act aggressively in order to achieve our desired goal. However, this can cause us to be mono-focused and avoid seeing the opportunities on the periphery of our vision. We must soften to expand.

This is why we practice with intention. We have the ability to send our focus and energy to the aspects of life we choose to gravitate towards. We acknowledge the forward motion, choose to reset and start again. Just like the new year, making the conscious decision to begin again has its own underlying energy. However we never have to wait for an event, like the new year, to begin again. As we move through life we realize it never really stops despite the circumstances we are in. But just like what we observe in nature, there are periods of obvious growth and dormancy that signal a time of waiting for the right moment to burst forward. We, too, can do the same if we allow ourselves to be receptive. Each time we choose to clean our slate we dedicate ourselves to flourish from our current version of ourself.



Mindful Monday: Manipura Chakra

The Manipura Chakra is associated with the Fire element and the color YELLOW.

Mantra: “I do or “Ram”

The Manipura is located between your naval and your solar plexus.

It governs your feelings of will, inner power, strength, ego, stamina and self-esteem.

When this chakra is balanced, you feel powerful, strong, confident, capable active and determined.

When it is blocked, you may experience feelings of unworthiness, lack of energy and determination, guilt and fatigue.

When it is overstimulated, you will experience control issues, stubbornness, be overly critical and tend toward perfectionism.

To balance this chakra, try Navasana (boat pose), dhanurasana (upward facing bow) or and standing twists like crescent lunge with prayer twist or revolved Trikonasana (trianglepose).

Be powerful, my dear yogis!

December 2019 Pose of the Month: Malasana or Garland Pose

Hey, yogis!

This is our final POTM not only for 2019, but for the entire decade!

Our December 2019 pose is Malasana or Garland Pose, sometimes simply called a yogi squat.

I love closing the year with such a grounding and stabilizing pose!

Let’s do it!

1. Start in a standing position with feet mat with distance apart and hips externally rotated with heels in and toes turning outward.

2. Draw your hands to heart center as you bend your knees and lower your hips toward the earth.

3. Rock your weight back and forward a few times until you find stability and balance.

4. Drive your feet into the earth, wrap your core around your spinal cord, slurp your belly off your upper thighs and lift out of your waistline.

5. You’ll feel Apana vayu, the downward and outward flow of energy stabilizing as you experience Prana vayu through the upforce of energy lifting through your spine.

6. Placed your palms together at heart center and use your elbows to pry your hips open even wider.

7. Other variations include expanding chest by grounding one hand and reaching in opposition with the other hand.

Enjoy, yogis!

Wellness Wednesday: Holiday Roots

Happy Holidays, yogis!

If you have not noticed yet, Nadja and I have started the tradition to kick start Christmas Eve by practicing together in a full room with the lovely YBD community followed by taking an annual photo before beginning our family festivities. Starting our day with a flow with the community is always a humbling experience as we can all gather to breathe, sweat and smile. We can remind ourselves of the good in humanity and return to the roots of why we celebrate this time of year.

It is inspiring to see so many students still prioritize their practice in the midst of the holiday chaos. I think the the true purpose of the holidays can often be swept amongst the details. While celebrations are intended to honor life’s more momentous occasions, these sentiments can be swept away by the stress of overloaded to-do lists and on-going holiday obligations. There are ways, however, that we can celebrate without running ourselves exhausted.

The holiday season may be the perfect time to take inventory of our personal values without the influence of social media and other external sources. We must allow ourselves to detach from expectations and adjust existing traditions in order to create the inner and outer fulfillment we wish to seek during this time of year based off aknowledging our deepest values. In doing so we may inspire others to reconnect to the purpose of the holidays. We have the ability to pause when the festivities become more of a hassle than a celebration. The holidays will be the most rewarding when we return back to it’s roots.