Interested in becoming a Yoga Teacher?
Interested in becoming a Yoga Teacher?
Good morning, dearest mindful ones!
It’s so easy to get caught up in a swirl of non-stop activities, isn’t it? In fact, you may even take pride in your perpetual state of busyness and being able to handle so many things at once. But eventually, there’s a tipping point: where stress builds up and burnout creeps in. That’s why tending to yourself is so vital to a true state of wellness and contentment.
What does your Mind conjure up when you think of tending to yourself?
I think of paying attention to myself. Taking time to turn inward and see what’s really going on physically, mentally, emotionally, psychologically and spiritually.
Noticing what’s really happening and caring for and nourishing myself. Cultivating an overall sense of well-being and contentment.
Today, begin your week by deciding to give yourself some well-deserved attention. When you care deeply for yourself, you become the shiniest, best and brightest version of you that you are truly meant to be!
It starts on the physical level. Close your eyes and take some deep breaths. Your daily mindful practice … of course, take a yoga class at YBD!, but on those days that you just can’t seem to fit one in, still carve out some space to just sit and meditate and tend to yourself.
As the physical body is soothed and loved through proper rest, sleep, nutrition and movement, more awareness of what is happening mentally and emotionally naturally evolves. Notice thoughts and emotions as they arise, and make space for them to move through you. Rather than getting hooked and bogged down and making them mean something, give them so much space to move without attaching or identifying with them.
Take a few moments today to take some deep breaths and just pause. Make this as habitual as brushing your teeth and making your bed!
Take time today to tend to your soul.
Namaste, dearest ones!
Good morning, mindful friends!! Let’s get REAL this morning!
Reality AS IT IS, not how you think it could or should be.
Not your opinions of it.
Not your preferences and projections.
Not your thoughts about it.
Reality. As. It. Is.
The truth is that the universe is always conspiring to keep you alive. To make you happy. On so many levels.
Think about all that must take place for you to survive this entire day! Think about it … your body alone must perform tiny miracles each moment: providing enough proteins and lipids to fuel your body, your mental faculties alerting you to dangers, your spleen regulating immune system. And that’s just on the micro level!
At the macro level, you need fresh, clean water; the Sun continues to shine and provide energy and life to everything on the this earth. You maintain a roof over your head and have plenty to eat.
I invite you to meditate on just how interconnected you are to the Earth’s ecosystem and to realize how important you are on this planet.
When we see just how miraculous and amazing each moment actually is, why do we spend so much time being paranoid. Anxious. Annoyed. Upset. Envious. Disdainful. Sad. Lonely. Depressed. Dissatisfied. Bored. Down on ourselves and those around us? Living in the past …
The universe has and always will provide you with exactly what you need in each moment. You are enough. You are sufficient.
The next time you start to feel anything but grounded in the present, in your body, in reality, take three deep, deep breaths and ask yourself ….
What in this moment is lacking?
Right here, right now, what is lacking in this moment?
As you close your eyes and deepen your breath, you come to the realization that there’s nothing lacking right now. You have and always will receive exactly what you need to get through each moment of your life.
Now that doesn’t mean you’ll always get what you want, but you will always get what you need.
And the more we understand that all of life is this moment and each moment, the less we have the need to project and judge life. As we relax into each moment, we accept life as it unfolds with so much gratitude.
Expectations begin to fall away, thus freeing us from heartache and disappointment.
We truly have the opportunity to embrace life and all its lessons.
Your life is right now. Reality is your next breath.
We start with Intention cards and Essential Oils (optional) to ground and focus. Then it’s time to get comfortable, relax and clear your energy with the sounds of an Ocean Drum followed by 60 minute Yoga Nidra meditation.
End with Sound Healing – singing bowls and tuning pipes tuned to healing frequencies to facilitate transformation.
Bring a friend, bring a pillow, & get set to enjoy a blissful evening of deeper self-care that heals at the subconscious, energic and cellular levels.
Holding onto resentment and pain prevents our hearts from opening and limits the manifestation of our highest intentions. We’ll use gentle movement to get energy flowing and then a quiet introspective Yin practice (YBD restorative) to unfold ourselves into a more joyful experience. We’ll finish with simple breath-work and guided meditation.
All levels welcome.
Good morning! Happy Monday, mindful ones.
There are millions of reasons to smile each day! Even in the midst of tragedy and loss, there’s always space for a smile.
One of my very favorite emotions is laughter shining through in the midst of tears.
But it doesn’t have to be so dramatic!
As we focus so consciously on breath work in our yoga and meditation practices, a very simple addition is to layer in a smile.
It’s the first time I do each morning.
Smiling can become a habit, much like all of our other conditioned and learned responses.
Start practicing on the easy stuff.
Today it’s pretty easy to smile at the sun and mild, springlike weather!
Smile at your barista.
Smile at your coworkers – especially the crabby ones! It annoys them and makes you smile even harder.
Smile when your friend texts you.
Smile at a funny meme.
Smile for no reason at all.
Then start practicing smiling at the harder stuff.
Just smile when your son spills his milk.
Smile when the person in the car in front of you is going under the speed limit.
Smile when the person next to you beeps their horn.
Smile when you really don’t feel like it.
When things are really rough, start digging deeply for one measly reason to smile.
Choose happiness. Choose gratitude.
Happy October! In this time of transition from summer to fall, it’s so important to work on grounding and stabilizing.
October pose of the month is Paschimottanasana or intense west stretch.
Pashchima = the West, or the back of the body.
Uttana = intense stretch.
This pose honors the inner wisdom and voice of your spirit; calms the nervous system, and allows you to literally turn in toward yourself. It is one of our most grounding poses!
• Extend your legs in front of you and ground down through both sitting bones. If your low back is particularly tight, consider sitting up on a folded blanket so your pelvis can tip forward.
• As you bow over your legs, aim to initiate the fold from the pelvis/hips, as opposed to the mid back.
• Keep the lumbar spine long, and then round over with the thoracic and cervical spine.
• Take slow and deep breaths as you surrender to the stretch and connect to the inner quietude.
Simple and yummy!!!
Good morning, mindful ones! It’s the first day of October, and it definitely feels like fall.
After the autumnal equinox, our days get shorter and shorter and the nights become darker and longer.
This is the time for dramatic and drastic transitions evidenced by how quickly Starbucks started peddling their pumpkin spice lattes (end of August!) to all of the Christmas decorations retailers are already selling!!!! Can we please at least get through Halloween?!
Personally, I prefer to take my cues from Mother Earth. The lush greenery surrounding us turns to vibrant hues of orange, red and gold; a biting Vata wind flows through; trees slowly demonstrate the process of non-attachment, one by one eventually letting go of each and every one of their leaves.
Right now, as we transition into fall, we can capitalize on the light, clear, and moving Vata energies in our practice! Join me for an arm balance and inversion workshop this Friday in Elmhurst!
We will begin with a stabilizing and grounding warm-up, and we will spend the majority of the practice actually practicing poses like crow, one-legged crow, side crow, headstand, forearm stand and handstand!
You can sign up at any location or even online! Let’s fly!
Have a great week, yogis! Namaste 🙏🏾and aloha 🤙🏽
Aloha! Good morning, mindful ones!
I had an amazing trip to Hawaii to kick off my 47th year around the sun, and I am so happy and grateful to be back home. And I brought the Aloha Spirit back with me!
From the moment I stepped off the plane at the Honolulu International airport, I was immediately enveloped in so much love, warmth and acceptance. This was my first introduction to the Aloha Spirit.
I always thought that Aloha was merely a way to greet someone hello and goodbye. And while technically this is true, Aloha means so much more. (Much like Namaste!)
Here’s the origin of Aloha:
Alo: sharing; in the present
oha: joyous affection, friendship
ha: life energy, life, breath
Aloha means love, affection, peace, sympathy, pity, kindness, mercy, and compassion. However, it is also a deeply ingrained element of Hawaiian culture.
The Aloha Spirit is a beautiful way of living, the ultimate organic lifestyle, and a direct path to living a peaceful and fulfilling life. It is so deeply connected to our yogic lifestyle.
It’s a deep reverence and respect for Mother Earth and Nature. And the acknowledgement that each of us is an important part of Nature. We all matter. We are all equal.
Aloha and Namaste, dearest, sweetest yogis!!!! Have a beautiful week!
Chakrasana AUM: 108 Aums to Celebrate the Fall Equinox with Kristin S
Glen Ellyn // Friday September 21 7:30 – 9:30pm
108 is a mystical number in the yogic tradition, especially at the fall equinox. Come celebrate the beginning of the season of change. We will work to balance the chakras with chanting 108 AUMS, sacred sound healing, restorative practice and some guided meditation. All skill levels, passive practice.
Advanced Arm Balances & Postures Workshop: Beyond Crow and Headstand with Stacey Z
Downers Grove // Saturday September 22, 2:30 – 4:30pm
This workshop is appropriate for those with a strong understanding of foundational poses.
Sign up online: www.yogabydegrees.net or call any studio
Aloha and good morning, my yogi friends! I’m writing this blog from our 50th state, Hawaii, and I’m overflowing with gratitude for simply being alive in this moment. And while it’s still pretty early morning here, I should really be wishing you a good afternoon! Here is my early morning view as I write this blog.
We are on the fourth week of a series about four Zen states of mind. It’s important to note that there are many other Zen mind training techniques and mental states than the four I’ve focused on these past weeks. I’ve chosen to highlight these particular states, because we can begin to apply them to our yoga practice and daily lives. This is in no way an exhaustive list!
Read more about the first three Zen states here:
Now, let’s move to our final state of mind called Zanshin.
Zanshin literally translates to “remaining mind” or the “mind with no remainder.”
Zanshin is a general and constant state of relaxed awareness or perceptiveness. This state means that although you’re not actively watching out for things, you are constantly aware of your surroundings and situation. Think of a public safety officer or a first responder: they are always sizing up situations even when off duty. Constant situational awareness.
The concept of Zanshin is that one should be fully present in whatever action is at hand. When eating, eat. The mind is fully engaged in the action of eating. When practicing yoga, practice yoga. When standing, stand. When writing, write. It is being in the here and now, totally immersed in the task at hand, and there is no “remaining mind” to think.
And to take it one step further, every action and every thought in the here and now must be right and harmonious. Every routine, mundane action is important and should be done with Zanshin.
A beautiful example of Zanshin:
Roy Suenaka, the author of Complete Aikido, tells a story about aikido’s founder that is the epitome of this concept. They were seated on the floor face to face having tea and talking when Morihei Ueshiba, without turning his head, casually reached behind himself and then held something out for Suenaka to see. “Ah, a young cockroach,” he said, before gently putting it to the side. Only later did the significance hit Suenaka. How was Ueshiba so aware that even when focused on their conversation could he not only sense the presence of something so small but be able to know exactly were it was so that he was able to pick it up without looking?
There is a samurai saying that roughly translates to: “When the battle is won, tighten your chinstrap.” This means that zanshin should always be practiced, even after a big success or goal has been met. Never rest on your laurels. Be prepared at any moment for another attack (if you’re a samurai). But also that the battle is never over until you stop striving.
If you’ve been working for years on a particular yoga pose, you don’t stop practicing once you achieve it! If you reach your PR in weight lifting or any other competitive sport or arena, it’s not the time to relax and start slacking.
There is a second component to zanshin that can be summarized with this beautiful thought: Everything is aiming.
There is a story of a master archer who consistently hits bullseye after bullseye, even splitting his own arrows in the middle of the bullseye, blindfolded and in complete darkness.
This is attributed to the process being of utmost importance, not the goal! Each and every small detail is preparation for the ultimate goal. But the paradox is that the ultimate goal is not the focus; each and every boring, mundane, repetitive task that is performed thousands of times is where focus lies. Once one has performed every minute detail ad nauseam, the goal is inevitable and can be reached without the luxury of seeing the target.
Have a great week, yogis! As always I love to hear your comments and feedback. And of course if there any topics you’d like covered in our weekly blog please let us know!