+1-941-713-1637
2722 Manatee Ave W Suite #2, Bradenton, Florida 34205

Posts filed under: Yoga Blog

Yoga Blog

My thoughts and insights into my own yoga practice and that of my yoga teaching.

  • Karma or commercialism? Douglas-Tompkins-Fashion-giant-dies-after-kayaking-accident-in-Chile.jpg

Karma – BBC  reports on passing of Founder of NorthFace and Esprit :

“Tompkins had come to see the consumer culture that his clothing companies had promoted as “another destructive manifestation of an industrial growth economy toxic to nature”.
I think we could all learn a little from Douglas Tompkins on the lack of karma in buying into consumerism to fill a void. Perhaps we can be more conscious of the impact of our material consumption and consider if we really need the things we think we do, or can we be happy and fulfilled without them? #DouglasTompkins #karmaorcommercialism #BBC

 

Continue Reading →
  • Yin Yoga Bradenton

There seems to be a yin yoga buzz in the air as yoga teachers and students are realizing the power of quieting and turning inward with the healing effects effects of yin yoga.

What is yin yoga anyway?

Yin was popularized by several yoga teachers; Paul Grilley and Sarah Powers, both influenced by the work of Dr. Hiroshi Motoyama and Paulie Zink.
Yin is the opposite of yang. Yin brings feminine energy and yang masculine. Think water and fire, moon and sun, hidden and exposed. We need to cool off what we burn.

What are the benefits of Yin Yoga?

Yin postures are mostly done on the mat and held anywhere from 2-5 minutes at a time, focusing on the release of myofascial tissue in the back and sacrum as well as the deep connections within the joints and attaching ligaments.  Further, yin postures are useful for working the Chinese meridians throughout the body. As Dr Motoyama’s studies verify the flow of energy throughout the body, these subtle yoga poses work deeply in helping to unblock congested areas in our bodies.
Opposite from America’s ‘need for speed’ or quick results, Yin yoga’s slow approach with a focus on letting go and working with the breath can have a powerful affect on those who have a fast paced stressful lifestyle or a lot of trauma held in the body. The opening of the myofacial tissue ‘trains’, a term coined by Tom Meyers, can both bring up and release a lot of old holding patterns or the memory of a physical or emotional trauma.
With all this in mind, Yin is a great tool for slowing down the accumulated effects of stress and helps us by moving through our difficulties and challenges by looking and working inward rather than escaping outward through habitual distractions or outwardly expressive poses.

Who benefits from yin ?

Everyone, especially those of us with busy fast paced lifestyles, active athletic hobbies, or high intensity cross training sports. It is not suited for acute injuries, but good for old injuries with scar tissue damage or postural imbalance (balanced with strengthening). Let your teacher know if you experience any sharp pain, numbing or tingling.

What to expect in a yin yoga class?

Expect long held stretches with a focus on your breath. When you feel anxious due to the intensity, your teacher will talk you through holding the pose by using breath as a tool for focus and turning inward. Expect to feel calm, tired, sleepy, depressed or even irritable after a yin practice, but with a great comeback boost of confidence and mindful awareness once you have released any negative charge that may have been brought up. On the other hand, you may just feel great throughout and not have any of these growing pains at all 🙂

Reflective expression and the artful balance of yin and yang

We all need to find balance between an expressive and reflective self.  Too much of one or the other can cause an imbalance that can affect us emotionally, physically and spiritually.  One great way to achieve this is to cultivate the mindful balance of yin and yang.

Yin Yoga Classes can be found in our weekly yoga schedules page

 

Continue Reading →

Do We Need Self Care?

I have recently been thinking and reading a lot about Self Care and unconditional love towards ourselves. As a massage therapist and yoga instructor I certainly have struggled with this topic, as I know I must walk the talk in order to teach it. So, I often have asked the questions; How do we love ourselves? How can we give to ourselves through out the day, everyday and still give to our spouses, children and jobs? Further, what if I don’t have a bath tub to take a hot candle lit bubble bath or a budget for a destination spa or even a pedicure? Perhaps you remember the famous 1980’s commercial: “Calgon take me away!”?

Lets explore this topic and get real on how we can set fourth on loving and caring for ourselves by overcoming old thinking habits of what self care really is so we can stay in balance mind, body and spirit and learn how to do this from within instead of through external habits or excuses.

Take Action For Yourself

The first step I found, along with my husbands support, was to learn how to say the word ‘NO’ and decipher how my time was spent pleasing others out of a sense of obligation as opposed to giving out of love. Secondly,  implementing self-care times into my schedule by scheduling breaks. Thirdly, to list or just ponder the things that make me feel happy and ‘hurdle’ my excuse mechanism and do it!  In order to make any of these practices a reality, it is extremely helpful to build an understanding support network that understands self care does not mean you are being selfish, but wise.

Schedule, plan and ‘firewall’ your breaks and time off.  There are countless studies that show that taking breaks, resting or meditating promote a more productive and a happier rested you. Further, this old myth of ‘working until you drop’ will only make you sick, tired and unhappy. I think working practices in our country has proved this already, so I will not diverge into other examples.

You will never finish all you have to do on your list because the list will never end, so you might as well take a deep breath and take breaks. In order to do this you must, must, must schedule them into your morning, afternoon or evening. These can be as short as 10 minutes to several hours of doing something nice for yourself. If possible, turn the sound of your phone off or forward your phone calls to someone who can take messages or reach you in case of emergency.

What is Right For You?

What do you do on your break? Do what makes you feel happy, rested and feeling balanced. If you are tired you need to restore: take a nap, lie down, take a relaxing restorative yoga class, just sit, stretch your neck, breath and relax your shoulders, put your legs up and breath etc. Take into account why you are tired as well. Is it sleep or lethargy from diet or a difficult time in your life? In that case do something that can uplift your mood. There are many yoga poses that can help relieve depression and tiredness. For example, legs up the wall, any sort of restorative or active back bend or inversion pose. Ask your yoga teacher or look online. Other uplifters can be through diet and exercise. Eat something whole and alive like fruit or vegetables. Or perhaps you have not had protein. Eat the kind of protein your body needs, whether it be tofu, meat fish or vegetables. Maybe a piece of dark chocolate. Go for a walk, look at birds and feel the breeze. See a movie, read a book, write, talk with a friend…..when in doubt just sit still with yourself and practice breathing fully and deeply.

The list of ‘break time’ feel good activities is endless and extremely personable. Just because your best friend or the latest ‘wellness trend’ says to eat this or do that does not mean it’s right for you. Drop the guilt and judgment and do what’s right for you. This is love. If you enjoy a favorite hobby or magazine, like to watch lizards in the garden or have a glass of wine and it makes you happy and it is done responsibly and healthily then do it!  I like the 80/20 rule. I am 80 percent full-on healthy with 20 percent wiggle room for those french fries or a lie in till noon day. Just do not judge it if your body, mind and emotional being needs it.

Be A Courageous Warrior

Finally, stop complaining that you do not have time and do it. Stop playing victim and stop dramatizing about things that stress you out. Stop being unkind and criticizing yourself and learn to listen to your body and your heart, not your mind or ego telling you you do not have time or that you must do something your heart is not into. Remember, you are in charge now!! Be courageous. Stop feeling guilty, listen to your own advice, sit yourself down and look yourself in the eye and be truthful and listen to your heart. The next time you habitually ‘get busy’ or say ‘yes’ when you mean ‘no’- take a moment to stop, take three breaths and ask yourself what it is you really, really want or need to feel balanced. I cannot tell you how many countless times I have laid my hands on clients that simply hurt themselves repeatedly by pushing themselves physically, emotionally and mentally, and this also includes myself. Perhaps, it’s time to ask ourselves these questions of why we do harm to ourselves or work out of fear? Again, just sitting and being with yourself without a ‘distraction buffer’ will help answer these questions. The ‘Warrior’ within us is not afraid of space.

Spread Your Love

Take time to do nice things to love yourself with self care. To ignore your own needs can be detrimental to your health and general well being and also that of your loved ones. If you do not take care, they will suffer as you suffer. If you are happy, they will feel the love as you emanate love.

Happy Valentines!

Kathleen

Continue Reading →
  • Making Time For Daily Self Reflection

The Challenge is Daily Self Reflection

Making time for a home yoga practice is always a challenge. Whether its walking the dog, brushing your teeth or driving your car, there is always time to be present with your body, mind and breath. There are actually 8 limbs or categories of yoga, with the physical posture (asana) being only one of them. However, sadly enough many Westerners focus on the outer or physical realm leaving the rest of ourselves including our inner selves by the wayside.

Yoga teaches us the practice of self- study called Svadhyaya or self relfection, creating a positive environment in which we can grow. By becoming a witness and taking a non judge mental approach towards ourselves we can asses where we are mentally, emotionally and physically at any given time.

Breath

Let’s start with the breath rather than our physical posture and build from there.  Are you breathing deeply and fully? I like to ask students to imagine a filling a carafe from the bottom up (belly, ribs, neck, shoulders) and three-dimensional breath expanding on all sides, like a balloon. How about the quality of your breath? This will reflect where your body and mind are. Chances are if your breath is short and fast, it’s highly possible your mind is racing and your body is tense. Of course the breath will adjust to your level of physical activity if your doing something active, but you can still be aware that you’re breathing effectively. There are many breathing techniques in yoga that can be implemented any time of the day- one easy one in particular could be just taking a mindful deep breath in through your nose, pausing at the top of the inhale and slowly exhaling long through the nose. You can do this 3-10 times consciously slowing the breath down. Great! Now this is meditation!

Body

Now that you’re breathing, where is your body? Are you sitting, standing, walking or lying in a way that feels balanced? For starters, we can’t possibly breath effectively if we are hunched over a computer or in a traffic rage.

Follow these posture tips throughout your day by having you’re ‘little teacher witness’ nearby with a ‘ruler’ reminding you to sit or stand tall with shoulders back and your neck long like Abraham Lincoln.

  • When sitting pull your gluteal flesh back and sit on your sitting bones and if standing be sure your heels are under your hips.
  • Watch you are not tucking your tailbone throwing you off balance.
  • When reclined, recline elegantly so your spine stays long and is not compromised.
  • Rule of thumb, if something hurts it is possibly out of balance.
  • If you have any chronic pain, by all means check with a physician first.

Mind

Now, where is your mental head space? We often like to create distractions or get busy to avoid our sometimes over active minds. Remember ‘you are not your story’ and can drop the drama. Ask your witness what is really true now, or are you obsessing over the past, future or something simply out of your control? It’s time to witness and harness or reverse any unnecessary thoughts that may not be serving you. I understand with our busy hectic lives that an hour meditation may not be on your priority list, but what about a few seconds or minutes here and there? Kind of like a check in. Maybe you can build up to 10-15 minutes on a good day! Often, when I get a moment, I might take a close-by seat or sit in my car and just check in with my self, my breath and my body and consciously relax my jaw, shoulders, thighs and hands to see I am not gripping. Just by doing this practice we can learn to ground and get out of our heads. After awhile of practicing this check in or witnessing the minds activities we can start to maybe notice patterns or judgements we have developed overtime and work on reversing this negative charge by just being patient with yourself and not reacting to the mind, but rather the present moment. Ultimately, it’s a dance with our ego.

So, we can practice Yoga or balancing with nature simply through an exploration of awareness. Check in with yourself often and do not be afraid to explore yourself;
your breath, body awareness and your mind or ego.

Continue Reading →
  • cancer massage

My students frequently ask me ‘how often should I do a home yoga practice at home in between classes’?

How Much Time Does It Take To Do a Home Yoga Practice?

The answer to this is it depends on how your schedule allows you time to go into a deep practice or a just a light practice of simple mindfulness throughout your day. Yoga is not just a ‘physical practice’ (as many westerners assume) but also a mental and spiritual practice thats helps us connect to our inner self, slow down and calm our minds. In turn, your yoga practice can help maintain an overall sense of well being.
(more…)

Continue Reading →
  • What kind of Yoga should I do?

With so many styles of yoga available, it is easy to understand how some people might feel confused about choosing the right yoga class and teacher for their specific needs. Many students ask what kind of yoga should I do? After a decade of sometimes painful, frustrating and wonderful yoga experiences and even a trip to India seeking the truth, I have learned to just keep it simple. Deciding what style of yoga and teacher you need is an important step to keep a safe yoga practice that compliments your needs on a physical, spiritual and mental level.

Choosing A Yoga Class Style That Suits Your Age and Fitness

Choosing the right class for you can depend on some of the following factors; your age, personality, constitution, lifestyle, schedule, location, physical fitness, mental clarity, etc.  For example, if you already have an established cardiovascular fitness regimen, but a stressful lifestyle, then you may consider a more gentle and restorative class to balance your well being.  On the other hand, if you are young and fit and need to burn off excess energy, then you might consider a more vigorous practice.  If you are a senior, you may need a more gentle practice style with a focus on stretching, strengthening and balance.  Perhaps you can blend all the above by combining both challenging and relaxing styles, as I often like to do depending on what will bring me into balance, by balancing both Yin and Yang styles of yoga.

Consider Your Physical Health and Mental Attitude

Also, be sure you and your teacher both understand any health imbalances you are dealing with.  Injuries, medication, and disabilities may call for poses to be modified or avoided.  In dealing with an old hip and back injury I often need to sit on several blankets or even a chair for a lengthy seated meditation or to avoid any hip stretches if my hip is feeling aggravated.  I also avoid any classes that are labeled ‘flow’, ‘Ashtanga’ or ‘Vinyasa’ when my back or hip feels irritated or vulnerable to prevent me from overdoing it.  These styles are often vigorous with many forward bends that can be unsuitable for back injuries and/or senior practitioners.  On the other hand, I may practice this style if I am feeling balanced and practice carefully. Overall, take special care in finding both a class and teacher that are safe and interesting for you, so you may safely deepen your practice and bring your self into harmony, whilst considering any injuries you may have that require an appropriate yoga style.  Sometimes it takes time to find the right class and teacher that suites your needs.

Its All About Balance

Be mindful and aware of your special needs and what it is YOU need to bring yourself into balance and try NOT to follow what the ‘latest yoga trend’ or even your ego may suggest. Remember, yoga is about bringing harmony and balance to your mind and body. It is not just a physical practice, but a means to prepare the mind for meditation. Even if it is all done sitting in a chair, it is still Yoga.

Continue Reading →