Sunday, January 15, 2017

Shree's Expert Teacher Focus: Valerie Herzog

 By Jessica Addeo


From a student's perspective - the reason I come to Shree, class after 
class and now going on 7 years, is the quality of the teachers. All the
teachers have so much experience, integrity and compassion and when, 
once in a while, I do go elsewhere, it's just not the same.  Even when there is a challenging 
pose which I just cannot master I never feel like I'm not getting 
something valuable out of the process. - AS

What makes a great yoga teacher is not just years of training, bountiful knowledge of human anatomy, powerful alignment instructions or a way with words (although these things all help). What makes a great yoga teacher is authenticity, a commitment to the practice and a willingness to share of slice of themselves to help others on their paths of practice.  In that spirit, we will be sharing little tidbits of info about the teachers at Shree. Some will share yoga related practices and some will share insights into daily life off the mat. In either case, what we hope to offer is a deeper sharing of ourselves to deepen our connections all throughout the Shree community.

Valerie Herzog, RYT 500, Anusara-Inspired Yoga Teacher



Valerie’s classes are upbeat, always include an inspiring soundtrack and speak to her passion for blending yoga with psychotherapy, as “yoga is a form of therapy that is transformational”.  In this week’s spotlight, she gives a peek at what she is up to both on and off the mat and one of her favorite year round beverages to keep her healthy and practicing!

What pose are you currently working on?  How?
So, very basic, post hip-replacement; left leg forward into a lunge, without assist.
Continuing PT in my practice, each and every day.

What is your biggest mental challenge?
Constantly working on letting go of self-judgment. Powerful demon in my life but I feel I'm making progress!

How do you keep yourself healthy in winter (spring, summer, fall)?

Fire Cider: daily dose of this spicy brew, handcrafted in Brooklyn

Check out where Valerie gets her fire cider here:

Or try out your own at home with the following recipe below (adapted from Wellness Mama)

 

Be sure to stop in for one of Valerie’s classes at the following times:

Thursday 6:00 to 7:15 Aligned Flow I&II Yoga
Thursday 7:30 to 8:45 Level I Yoga
Sunday 8:30 to 9:45 Aligned Flow I&II Yoga
Friday January 27th 6:30-8:00 Yoga Core Fusion 

 

Fire Cider Recipe

·        1 medium onion, peeled and rough chopped
·        1 head of garlic, peeled and rough chopped
·        3 inch piece of fresh ginger, grated
·        Apple cider vinegar (organic with “the mother”)
·        Raw organic honey
·        2 teaspoons cayenne pepper powder

Instructions

1.     Place onion, garlic, and ginger in a quart size mason jar.
2.     Add apple cider vinegar to cover the herbs.
3.     Cap tightly and leave in the jar for 2-3 weeks, preferably in a sunny or slightly warm place.
4.     Strain and discard the herbs.
5.     Mix with equal parts raw honey and add cayenne powder.
6.     Store in the fridge and take 1 teaspoon as needed daily or when illness strikes. I’ve taken as much as 1 tsp an hour during illness until I felt better.


Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Growing Your Practice




I’ve been hearing from many friends and students that 2016 was a tough year for them, and how happy they are to be moving forward to the next chapter.  January, one of the darkest months of the year, is optimal time for turning inwards as the season encourages, allowing ourselves to look deep into our hearts and let go of what needs releasing in our lives to make space for something new.  Once that space is made, like hoeing the rows in your garden to plant bulbs in the spring, this dark time in the cycle of the year is an ideal time to sow the seeds for what you wish to grow in the coming months. 

The word Shree means “life-enhancing” or “auspicious”.  It is our goal at Shree Yoga to always be moving towards that goal, both for ourselves and for our students, and we have added numerous ways to do that beginning this week.  We have added several new regular classes to the schedule including Early Morning Yoga, Yoga for Men Series, Master Your Balance, Tame Your Stress.  Upcoming workshops include Inversions for Beginners, Core Fusion, the and popular Melt Method and Intro to Yoga Series.

The teachers at Shree have also committed to a Personal Yoga Challenge for 2017 and we would love for you to join us! This is all about growing your personal sadhana (practice) in ways that will bring more Shree to your life. For example, Chaya is committing to sitting for morning meditation 5 days per week and attending 2 classes per week.   Valerie will practice 3-5 times per week either in class or at home, and include a 1-minute arm balance each practice. Jessica pledges to stay connected to her practice by aiming to take 5-10 minutes daily to practice, whether that be meditate, go for a walk, take a brief restorative or just take a quiet moment.   I (Rachel) am committing to 2 full practices (60-75 minutes) per week, at least one of them in a class, and working on press handstand 5 days per week.  Those are our personal challenges - now you!  Check out the website for suggestions, or speak with your teacher before or after class to create a plan to help you live your most meaningful and inspired life.   

Beginning January 1st register for the Personal Yoga Challenge either online or in the studio.  The program will run for 6 weeks, you pick the start date and what you want to work on.  Then create a page in the Challenge book in the studio (markers & stickers available to make it as beautiful as you are!) with your name, your goal, start and end date. Each class you take, each time you meet your challenge, log it in the book. Each week you will receive an inspiring email written by one of our expert teachers delivered right to your inbox to keep you connected and motivated.  When you’ve reached the 6-week finish, tell your teacher and we’ll all celebrate with you.  A special prize will be awarded to everyone who completes their personal Challenge.  For more info and to register click here.

As always, we look forward to another amazing year of alignment and grace both individually and as a community.  We treasure each and every one of you and what you bring to make our world more Shree.  Wishing you all a blessed and peaceful 2017.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

The Gift of Yoga by Jessica Addeo



THE GIFT OF YOGA
by Jessica Addeo

Present over perfect.
Quality over quantity
Relationship over rushing.
People over pressure.
Meaning over mania.

-Shauna Niequist 
The holidays are upon us and as always it is a shiny, bright, and dazzling time of year. All year round life has the capacity to be beautifully busy and full. However, during this particular season, the fullness feels ever-present. As the expectations and commitments pile on, it can all start to feel overwhelming. The to-do lists are long, but connected to something meaningful. How do we stay connected to the meaning of it all? We practice.
 
We practice on our mat. As we move our body and breath to the tempo of the instructor we begin to come back to ourselves. Slowly the only thing that matters is feeling your foot on your mat, or feeling your shoulder blades wrap around the back of your heart or even just your breath. You leave class feeling refreshed, nourished, and grounded. In this space you begin to remember why you do all the things you do this time of year. The to-do list shifts from a never ending set of expectations to carry on your shoulders, to a representation of the love you feel and want to share. How do we keep this feeling with us as we move off of our mat and into our daily lives? Again, we practice. 

 

This time we practice off of our mat. As we go about bringing to life the traditions we hold near to our hearts we feel the four corners of our feet underneath us and know that we are grounded. We feel our breath and know that we are present. We hear our teacher’s words whispering in our head and we keep coming back to ourselves. We shift to a place of awareness inside where we begin to feel everything around us more fully and clearly, without the overwhelm. The beauty this time of year has to offer becomes the center of it all.  This is the gift of our practice. It is what makes yoga at Shree so meaningful and special. And most importantly it is what keeps you connected to the meaning, your meaning of the holiday season, and not just to all of the external factors that this time of year elicits.

The “perfect” holiday is one where people come together who are happy, connected and present. You can show up for your loved ones with perfectly executed traditions but on the inside feel frazzled and disconnected. Or you can choose to practice, both on and off your mat, and bring to the holidays a grounded, present version of you. Taking a yoga class when you have so much else to do can seem like just one more thing on the to-do list, but when you realize the present this practice has to offer, it seems like the perfect addition to your festivities.

Check our schedule to see when you can give yourself the gift of yoga.

Happy Practicing and Happy Holidays from Shree Yoga 



Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Samavesha celebration



Abpve the timber line



Recently Chaya and I went to northern California to the Samavesha festival, which is an annual gathering of Anusara yogis, both teachers and students and I wanted to share some of the experience with you.  It was held at the Mt. Madonna Center, in the redwood forest, and although we had been travelling all day, we took the longer route via the incomparable Route 1 up the Pacific coast and couldn’t help but stop at one of the many beaches to walk through the waves and breathe the sea air.  The Center itself was quite beautiful, located “above the timber line” (more on that later) overlooking Santa Cruz and the ocean. In addition to housing a Yoga School, a private K-12 school, and the College of Ayurveda, it is also home to an intentional yoga community, many of whom had lived there for 20+ years. At the center of the grounds was a Temple dedicated to Hanuman, where they did an arti or offering service each day which added music and blessing to each morning.

Hanuman taking his famous leap


Stopping at the beach along Route 1 to put our toes in the sand

Anusara Yoga, or now ASHY (the Anusara School of Hatha Yoga) has been very busy establishing itself as a teacher-led school.  There is a core group of teachers and leaders who have been purposefully refining the amazing system first created by John Friend, and the method is stronger now than ever before. There were participants from all over the world and it was so awesome to meet so many like-minded folks speaking the same language of yoga and holding the unique vision we all hold so dear. 
 
A couple of big updates:
·      ASHY is now officially a non-profit organization, with all the benefits that entails.
·      ASHY has just elected its first Board of Directors, hailing from 9 different countries – including our own Chaya Spencer!
·      ASHY Immersions and Teacher Trainings are currently ongoing in 15 different countries.
·      Immersion and Teacher Training materials have been reworked to present one of the most in-depth, comprehensive and well-respected yoga methods worldwide.

Chaya being honored as part of the first Board of Directors

I have to admit that I was a little nervous heading to the retreat, but it was such a relief and a renewal to see Anusara alive and well and flourishing worldwide.  The highlight of the week for me was being there with our own amazing Chaya.  She does not like this kind of attention so she downplays it, but really everyone, we have a rock star in our midst.  At every session and meal we attended together dozens of people would come up to thank her for staying with Anusara, for helping to create and hold the vision for the school of yoga we study and practice. She was honored as one of the first Board Members, and was asked to introduce the sublime Sally Kempton who was there teaching a couple of sessions.  Sally spoke about her time at the Siddha Yoga ashram 40 years ago when she and Chaya were roommates, practicing and studying yoga together.  What an unbelievable gift we have to be able to study with someone who helped to shape modern yoga as we know it, who learned directly from some of the greatest yogis our generation has known and is right here in Saddle River bringing those teachings to us!

Chaya introducing Sally Kempton

Old friends reunited

Sally led us in 2 beautiful guided meditation experiences, and they were the high point of all the sessions I attended. We were invited to invoke the goddess energy of Bhuvaneshwari, imagining her sweet and loving motherly presence in our own hearts, and then in the space behind the heart.  We did this in partners and we were invited to sense the space behind our partner’s heart, and the goddess presence there. It was a sweetly transcendent moment of connection, feeling the oneness of all beings reflected back to you in the eyes of another. It was a true moment of being “above the timber line” in my own awareness, and an experience I will carry with me for a long time as one of being loved and held by a divine energy that loves and holds the entire universe. 

Although what we teach at Shree is modern yoga at its best, this is not “exercise yoga”.  It has the support and framework of a thousands-year-old tradition of freedom and connection to the divine at its heart and as its ultimate goal. Chaya, our director and leader, carries with her the blessing and wisdom of a lifetime of study and practice, and is an equal among peers that are some of the most well respected teachers and practitioners of modern yoga.  I am refreshed and renewed by the direction ASHY is heading.  I have never been prouder to be an Anusara Yoga teacher, and to hold a place on the roster of teachers at one of the oldest, most well-established, intentional yoga schools in New Jersey. I hope you’ll join me in congratulating Chaya on her appointment, and celebrating our part in this ever evolving and growing school. Join us for one of our many inspiring Anusara classes soon to do it in person!

Sunrise over the mountains

Beautiful outdoor meditation space
Bill Mahoney sharing the wisdom of the Upanishads

Kirtan with Shantala
Lots of heart-opening yoga

Mt. Madonna Center


Friday, October 14, 2016

Acorns and Enlightenment

(We live in) a self-organizing and self-correcting universe: the embryo becomes a baby, the bud becomes a blossom, the acorn becomes an oak tree. Clearly, there is some invisible force that is moving every aspect of reality to its next best expression.


We have a huge oak tree right next to our property that has been dropping acorns all over our driveway for weeks now.  I am always grateful to this tree during October as the days get darker and my mood usually follows, because each little acorn is the reminder of the potential of every small being in creation. (I have kept a bowl of them on my altar for years for this very reason). Acorns, like all seeds, hold the potential of the entire tree inside themselves. It’s from the tiniest of sources that some of the biggest beings on earth spring from, and whenever I feel small I meditate on my acorn collection as a way of connecting to what is contained inside these little tidbits and myself. 

In our yoga practice, one way we move towards our fullest potential is through cultivating enlightenment.  I used to think “enlightenment” was some aha moment, like in cartoons when a light bulb pops up over someone’s head, and that when it “happened” to me I would suddenly and miraculously be free from the challenges and pitfalls of modern life.  I actually think it does happen that way for some people, albeit few. For most of us though, the spiritual path towards "enlightenment” is a slow steady progression of little awakenings and a shift in how we see the world and our own experience.  Danny Arguetty in his book the 6 Qualities of Consciousness says “Enlightenment is a never ending process that simply continues to illuminate more and more.” It is a daily practice of waking up and choosing to see a little more light in the world than you did the day before. It takes a wide angle lens to see this perspective or else the path of enlightenment can be discouraging.  We have to look back past yesterday to 2, 3, maybe 10 years back to see what shifts have happened and see the progress we've made and how far we've come. 

In the acorn/oak analogy, enlightenment is bringing the dormant, potent qualities of the entire oak contained within the seed to fruition which takes a certain cultivation - the right soil, water, sunlight, fertilization.  In our own lives, we bring our own potential to realization through not only our yoga or meditation practice, but meaningful work that fulfills us, through the people we choose to surround ourselves with who help us nurture our own unique and powerful qualities, through study and contemplation and soul cultivation.  As Tantrikas we are not looking to transcend life, but to enlighten the life we already have, to bring more awareness, love, joy, and ease to the here and now. We become “enlightened” when we realize that although our experience on the physical plane is most often the acorn, we are really the oak.

Tantra teaches us that we are all unlimited divinity which has chosen to take the form of a limited body, and it is paradoxically only through that form that we are able to reveal the infinite possibilities of who we really are. That is the “invisible force” Ms. Williamson is referring to; it is woven into the fabric of our being, the coding of our DNA and it is our life's spiritual work to uncover it. It is the force contained in the oak and in the acorn, it is in you and me, moving us towards our next best expression. Whether it lies dormant because it wasn’t offered the right conditions to flourish is entirely up to you.

It is easy to come to the mat and feel full, divine, spectacular. But it’s when we leave the room that we really begin our practice, and that we take those sparks of connection we touch on on our mat or meditation cushion and put them into practice.  With that in mind, be aware this week of when you feel small, insignificant, unimportant.  Let each acorn you see – and you should see a lot this time of year – be the reminder of what is contained inside you.    

Once again, the great Marianne Williamson:
From a mind filled with infinite love comes the power to create infinite possibilities. We have the power to think in ways that reflect and attract all the love in the world. Such thinking is called enlightenment. Enlightenment is not a process we work toward, but a choice available to us in any instant.

For the Anusara Junkies:
Open to Grace: With the fullness of your breath, feel fullness of your own potential.
Feel the inner body bright with limitless divinity.
Fill up with the limitless potential within the limitation of your skin.

Muscular Energy: Firm your muscles like the shell of the acorn containing potential within.
(From the earth to the FP) Like tree roots drink water, draw energy up.

Side Body Long: Let your body lengthen from hip to armpit and feel your unlimited potential grow inside you.
Lengthen the side body and feel the oak inside your acorn begin to flourish.

Inner Spiral: Widen your sitbones let your acorn blossom open.
Broaden inner thighs back and apart and open to new possibilities lying in the seed of your being.

Outer Spiral: Root your tailbone down into the fertile soil of your soul’s potential.

Organic Energy: Blossom like the mighty oak.
Bring forth the light of your own potential through the form of the pose.
“Enlighten” your pose with the knowledge of your own oak nature.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

The Universal Puzzle; Lady Gaga, Meg Ryan, Sophia Vergara and Anusara Yoga


The thing that is really hard, and really amazing, is giving up on being perfect and beginning the work of becoming yourself. – Anna Quindlen

I had a conversation with my hairdresser a few weeks ago while I was getting my hair cut.  She was telling me how often a client comes in with a photo or image on their phone of a hairstyle they like and want her to give them.  The person in the photo often looks nothing like the client, has a totally different hair color and texture, and often these clients leave dissatisfied with the outcome despite her best efforts to gently tell them that it’s not really possible to make their hair look that way.  

We all want to look good, we all aspire to be better, brighter, as beautiful as we can be.  But that aspiration has to be grounded in reality.  It has to come from wanting to celebrate who we already are, rather than a desire to be something/someone else. My teacher Todd Norian says “Yoga is being virtuosic in who you already are.”  Bottom line, if you look like Meg Ryan don’t bring your hairdresser a photo of Sophia Vergara. Stand bright and beautiful in your Meg Ryan-ness!
In the 6 Qualities of Consciousness, Danny Arguetty says “Though we are all different, we are all connected….this (Tantric) point of view is deeply focused on the gift of the diverse expression that is human embodiment, as opposed to the quest of extraction from life or a re-unification with a larger energy.”
The Tantric tradition of Anusara Yoga is based in non-duality, meaning not two.  When we see life from the viewpoint of non-duality, we see how the One can only be expressed thru the many.  Since the Absolute is all-encompassing, it is only through the diversity of forms and creation that we begin to glimpse the wholeness that is Universal Consciousness (or God if you prefer).  There are yoga traditions that teach disconnect from the body, from worldly pleasure and individuality, but one of the many reasons I love the non-dual Tantric tradition is that it celebrates the body.  It just does not make sense to me that we were created to simply overcome the creation that the Divine manifested into the world - that this body is an impediment to freedom and transformation.  Tantra teaches that the body can be a portal to achieving those ends, not an obstruction we need to get past on the way to something better.   It is not beyond but through the body that we are able to reach liberation.

Imagine that there was only one type of tree, one type of flower.  Life would be so boring.  I envision the Universe as a giant puzzle, and each of us is a small but integral, irreplaceable piece.  If you’ve ever done one of those 1000 piece puzzles you know the frustration that comes from getting to the end and discovering that a piece was missing – even just one tiny piece out of a thousand would diminish the whole picture. As I was writing this blog post and searching for a picture of a puzzle with a missing piece I found countless websites dealing with this very topic - clearly the Universe wants the picture to be complete!  When we don’t step as fully, as completely, as beautifully as we can into the light of our own being, we are shorting the universal puzzle.  We are holding back the fullest expression of the Divine that can manifest into the physical world.
Non-dual Tantric practices, such as Anusara Yoga (and other mystical, non-dual traditions) gives us access to 2 primary aspects of ourselves – the ever unchanging, ineffable, eternal spark of divine light that is our true nature, and the beautiful, unique, individual physical/mental/emotional form we exist in in the world.  Yoga is about uniting or yoking those 2 things together, interweaving them so they are inexorably linked and in doing so gives us the insight into the fullness of our own being and at the same time the nature of the Universe. 
We are all made of the same "stuff", and when we can step into our own authentic light as fully as we can, we reveal divinity to the world.  We help to complete the wholeness that is the nature of being.  We can’t do that trying to be someone else. We have to be the piece of the puzzle that we are, and recognize that if we’re not filing that role as completely as we can, the overall puzzle is not complete without us. 
There are many beautiful writings and teachings about this, but this week I’m leaning towards Lady Gaga’s:

I'm beautiful in my way
'Cause God makes no mistakes
I'm on the right track, baby
I was born this way

Don't hide yourself in regret
Just love yourself and you're set
I'm on the right track, baby
I was born this way.

Off the Mat: I used to go to a chiropractor who had a sign hanging in her office that said “99% of all unhappiness comes from comparing yourself to others.”  Not sure if the percentage is quite that high, but I’d be willing to bet that it’s close.  Notice this week how often your happiness is dependent on comparing yourself to others – not only the way you look, but the way you act, the way you do your practice, the way you relate to your family or friends.  And then, from a place of wanting to be your best, most beautiful self (not fixing something that is broken, or judging yourself too harshly) make a shift in your thinking to celebrate who you already are.

On the mat: We worked on very “muscular” poses – meaning that we had to use a lot of muscular energy, using that feeling of the muscles “hugging the bones” as a self embrace or hug, deeply honoring our bodies as divine vehicles for awakening.  Try lots of Uttkatasana, Garudasana, Garudasana arms in Vira I, arm balances, garudasana legs in handstand or headstand – anything requiring your muscles to fire up!

Open to Grace: Open to the potency of your own being.
Celebrate who you are but open to your own possibilities.

Muscular Energy: Embrace who you are right now, knowing it holds the seeds of all you can become.
Hug muscles to bones and even deeper and connect to your uniquely divine presence.
Firm muscles and create the outer form of your exceptional, irreplaceable puzzle piece.

Inner Spiral: Widen your sitbones and widen your potential to be your biggest brightest self.

Outer Spiral: Sink your tailbone down and anchor yourself in the beauty of who you already are

Organic Energy: Let the radiance that is inimitably you shine forth.
Pour your irreplaceable spirit into the unique form of your body and light up the pose from the inside.
Let the light of your divine spirit shine through your individual pose.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Facing Adversity


Last week I was traveling, which is such a great opportunity to catch up on guilty pleasures which in my case is listening to TED talks.  I was so inspired by Aimee Mullins’ talk that I had to share.  She was born with a rare condition which left her without fibulae in her legs.  At her birth, her parents were told she would never walk or have a "normal", mobile, independent life, and her legs were amputated just below the knee around her first birthday.  One might put the label “disabled” on such a person, but she subsequently went on to learn how to walk with prosthetics, created the industry standard for athletic prosthetic legs, and became an Olympic track runner setting world records in 2 events.  This is only one of a very long list of accomplishments including becoming the youngest person ever to have top-secret security clearance at the Pentagon. She has graced the covers of Life, Vogue, and Bazaar magazines as a model, and has become a spokesperson for WSF (Women’s Sports Foundation) among other leadership and inspirational roles.  “Disabled” doesn’t seem to fit…



Aimee’s talk was about how she achieved the amazing things that she did not IN SPITE of adversity, but BECAUSE of it. She never got the message “disabled” from the people around her, and from a very young age she learned that it was her attitude and her work ethic that was more important than the circumstances of her birth. She goes on to say “Success and happiness are not dependent on having overcome adversity; it's not something that happens when you get to the other side. It's not an obstacle we have to get around to get on with living our life, it's part of our life.  The question is not whether you're going to meet adversity, it's how.”

One approach to facing adversity is to develop a sense of curiosity.  In his book the 6 Qualities of Consciousness, which we are using as inspiration this month at Shree, Danny Arguetty says: “The Tantric teachings of Yoga invite us into inquiry without a specific singular way to engage them. Instead we are invited into inquiry.  We are offered the opportunity to take a seed concept and sculpt it in a way that helps us enhance our vitality, energy, creativity, and heart.” In the case of Aimee Mullins, this concept could have been “disabled”, but she instead took her particular situation and saw it as an opportunity to create something new.  Her prosthetic legs became the model for all athletic prosthetics – they didn’t exist before her and her particular disability and now have gone on to help hundreds of athletes perform at their best. 

Danny goes on to say “In the face of specific challenges as well as in the course of daily living, these Tantric teachings help us Connect to our inherent skillfulness and empowered presence through consistent practice with a mindset of inquiry.”  Ms. Mullins talked about looking at her circumstances as a possibility rather than a disability.  I know for myself my challenges and injuries have all led to greater awareness and understanding, even though when I was in the midst of dealing with them it sucked.  We don't know what we're made of until were tested and that's the gift adversity gives us - the ability to see our own power and what we are capable of.  We often don’t know until we are called to dig deep.

When we come at our lives from a spirit of inquiry we see opportunities for growth.  A different pathway than the one you expected is often jarring, but approaching it with curiosity lets us see possibility and potency rather than restriction. How often do we come to our mats with a fixed mindset of what and how things will play out? We tell ourselves “I can’t because….” Those thoughts become the seed concepts we develop.  So when we come to our mats with a spirit of open curiosity, or a mindful intention of what we wish to cultivate, we sculpt our experience in a way that enhances our practice and life rather than staying stuck in self-limiting patterns. It makes the impossible seem possible.  This is what I love about thoughtfully sequenced yoga - that even if the final pose is not available right now there's something you can do about it to make it available in the future.

There will always be challenges.  I tell my children all the time, you cannot change your circumstances – what happens happens.  All you can change is your reaction.  We don't need to get rid of adversity we just need to get good at it.

Off the Mat:
Examine your “seed concepts” – the things you believe about yourself. Ideas that start with “I can’t do that because…” or “I’ll never be able to….” or “My body doesn’t….” etc.  Try replacing those statements with “I’m going to try doing…and see what happens.”  “This may take some time.” “I’m going to train my body to…”

On the Mat:
Approaching challenging poses, whether that is a Warrior II with good alignment, or balancing in handstand is daunting if you don’t have a plan. Just trying the pose over and over without proper warm up and strength building won’t get you very far.  Look up sequences and exercises to help you get ther – message me and I’m happy to send mine! Everything is possible if you are working in a thoughtful, progressive and sequential way.  In my Monday class we worked towards Eka hasta bhujasana to eka pada koundinyasana II with lots of core work, hip openers and hand balancing prep.

For the Anusara Junkies:
Open to Grace: Open up to the possibilities this practice has to offer you.
Open to a deeper breath and open your mind to a spirit of inquiry.
When I call the pose, come at it as if it's the first time, sculpt it from an inner experience of wanting to shine radiantly in whatever form it ultimately takes.
Ground your hands and ground yourself in who you are and who you have the capacity to become.

Muscular Energy: Muscles embrace bones to embrace the situation at hand wholeheartedly
Hug midline and draw into a place inside of complete confidence in yourself and your abilities.
Hug midline to pull into your inherent skillfulness.
Hug midline and connect to your empowered presence.

Organic Energy: Spread your self-confidence through the whole form of the pose.
Let your inherent skillfulness shine brilliantly wherever you find yourself in the pose.
Radiate your empowered presence from the inside out.