Try It Out
I've been practicing living a lifestyle of Yoga since 2000. When I first began practicing it was because my friends were going, it was free and I liked the physical workout. The first practice I tried was in the style of Svarupa; a gentle practice which uses blankets and blocks and requires a lot of stretching. At the time, I was living in Boston and, once my wallet got a bit fuller, I was able to experience a variety of other styles simply by wandering the city and looking at posted schedules.
The Yoga Lifestyle
When I moved to Tahoe I couldn’t find a studio that aligned with my lifestyle. Living here afforded me many opportunities to explore, adventure and play, but I didn’t feel at home at the only studio in town.
I was the local school counselor and had been hired to teach a few Private Practices. As people got to know me, they asked me to begin offering classes locally. Soon, I had a following and I begun developing a small business. Now, I share my lifestyle with people in my studio, at various homes, on the beach, paddle board and am happy to practice with anyone, anywhere.
More Than Poses
When I’m not working, I play outside at any chance I get. During the Summer I ride my bike every day. I ski and hike, swim, paddle, and am always looking for a new experience to try.
I practice Yoga everyday and everywhere. This doesn’t mean I do Yoga poses every day. Nope. I've learned that Yoga is much more than poses. It's a way of living. Yoga is everywhere, all the time.
Every one of us can benefit from a little stretching, balance and strengthening. We can all benefit from peace of mind, and quiet time. Yoga is movement, breathing, mindfulness, wellbeing and contentment. You know that feeling you get when you're floating on three feet of powder? It's Yoga. How about when you’re cruising down the most perfect section of single track without a soul around? It's Yoga. When you’re the only one floating on the crystal clear lake. It’s Yoga. It's always there, even if you don’t consider yourself a Yogi(ni).
Practice Yoga Everywhere
Today take a moment to look at your own life and find those moments of Yoga; moments when you've reached out to others, enjoyed some time to yourself, found balance, strength and calm.
To learn more about finding those moments of peace in your life, join the practice at Lake Tahoe Yoga or book a Private Session with Jenay.
Considering attempting this 5000 year old practice that has somehow become a modern phenomenon? Nervous? Don’t be. Here are a few secrets to know before you jump in.
1) What To Wear
Back in 2000 when I first began exploring Yoga I would show up for classes in anything from whatever I had worn to class that day to my running shorts and a tank. "Active Wear" was not a thing. It wasn't until I started attending classes at a local gym that I began to seek out clothing that would better allow me to stretch out and bend my body.
There's no need to go shopping for the "right" clothing to wear to your first Yoga class. Wear whatever you feel most comfortable in. A little hint: before you choose those tights you ordered online, do a forward fold with a mirror behind you and make sure they aren't too revealing.
2) What to Bring
You don't need any special tools to do Yoga. In fact, Yoga mats are a modern phenomenon. It wasn't until B.K.S. Iyengar came onto the scene that things like blocks, straps and bolsters became synonymous with the practice of Asana. If you are in need of some extra support during the practice a good teacher will notice and provide you with assistance, a variation on the posture or improvise a tool.
Bring water and, if you have long hair, tie it back so that it is not a distraction during the class. How you look while you are doing Yoga is of little importance compared to how you feel.
3) What to Do
Observation is the key to learning anything. If you are just beginning practicing Yoga feel free to look at the teacher and around the room. This is not so you can compare yourself and attempt to be like everyone else, but more so to gather information and decide if this is the right place for you to be. We all get uncomfortable when outside of our elements, and a Yoga Asana class can certainly make you feel like you are on a different planet. The only way to learn more about what to do is to observe.
A good teacher will not only demonstrate the postures, but describe them well. Watch, listen and do your best to follow the instructions. The more you do, the more comfortable you will become.
4) What to Say
Personally, I like it when the studio is buzzing with conversation before I begin teaching. I think it is important to meet the people with whom you are sharing the room and the class. This helps everyone feel more comfortable practicing and helps to eliminate the "silent competition" that can be created when people do not talk to each other.
I also think it is important to ask questions. If the class you attend begins with a chant or invocation as what it means and why it is being done. If there is any sort of saying, expected practice or movements that everyone seems to know and join the only way you will learn is to ask why and how.
Bond with Your Babe
After having a baby your life may feel like periods of rest between bottles, diapers and feedings. Yoga classes that allow you to include your newborn are opportunities to get out of the house in a safe and clean space with other parents dealing with the same issues.
The practice may include movements that encourage you to include your little one, or focus upon you while your infant rests upon the mat. In either case you are given permission to care for yourself while still being present with your newborn.
Love Up Your Little One
Touch is one of the most beneficial treatments for baby (and parent) ailments. Hugs, squeezes, rubbing and rocking can have beneficial effects for all of us. While practicing Yoga Asana that allow your body to stretch and slowly release you are afforded an opportunity if mutual benefit. As your body opens, you can give some physical love to your babe.
Gnelte stroking if their faces aces and arms can induce a calming effect. Rubbing bellies and backs can encourage digestion’s and bowel release. Hand and foot rubs help baby to develop the sensitity necessary to open and close, flex and extend, in preparation for grasping and waking.
While caring for your newborn, toddler or preschool-aged little one you may become lost in the repetition of actions. Your day might feel like a repetitive rhythm of folding and holding. Yoga Asana provides a variety of movements that help you recover from repetitive movement.
In preparation for the arrival of your newborn movement is invaluable. Yoga offers more than poses. As you practice, you will become more aware of your body’s needs. In doing so you will be able to reduce discomfort and prevent pain that could result from the carrying if extra weight and adjustments to your internal organs.
Teach Then Peacefulness
New studies are reviewing the benefits of guided focus and peaceful spaces in lieu of detention and punishment. Starting off your little one’s life with opportunities to enjoy peace, quiet and themselves could give them the ability to do so for the rest of their lives. Not only will Yoga Asana give your babe the chance to move and try new things in a safe place, but the peace and quiet of the studio will help them to feel safe relaxing. They might even begin requesting that you do Yoga at home, too!
Learn to Teach
Kidding Around Yoga will be offering a weekend training in Yoga for Kids! Join us on April 27 & 28 to learn how to teach Yoga for children. A free class will be offered on Sunday, April 28.
You are what you eat, and if you're not fueling your body correctly you might feel run-down. After all, your body is a machine. Food is fuel. Although, there is certainly room within the engine for a treat from time to time. There's a reason luxury car owners only put premium in their vehicles. They know it helps the car run better and can extend its life. It can also help reduce the need for some maintenance tasks down the road.
Your body works in the same way. It needs the right food in order to convert it into the kind of energy you can use. This is challenging considering there are a lot of elements in modern-day food that are highly addictive. However, if you focus on thinking of your body as a machine that deserves quality fuel, you’ll get on the fast track to feeling more energetic.
How Food Effects Performance
1. Sugar is arguably the world’s worst drug. There’s nothing wrong with natural sugar in very small quantities. However, most of the sugar we consume today is highly processed, and we consume it in great quantities. Eating sugar influences your sleep, your fatigue level, your mood, and your overall health. Processed sugar can be linked to type 2 diabetes, is highly addictive, and contains empty calories. Plus, we build up a tolerance for sweetness. A person who has never had processed sugar would likely gag at a slice of birthday cake. Re-train your tongue to natural sweetness, such as berries and fruits, and you'll find an energy boost.
2. Caffeine is the most widely used drug in the world. Caffeine is genuinely a drug, but one that is socially acceptable. It affects every part of the body, including the brain and our energy levels. Like sugar, it is also very addictive. It can cause withdrawal symptoms if you have a coffee habit, and many people think they depend on it to keep their energy levels high. It can work in the short-term, but it also comes with a crash. Weaning yourself off of coffee and replacing it with decaf tea over a long period of time can help stabilize your energy levels.
3. The starve and binge cycle is doing a number on your energy. There are various approaches to eating for fat loss and muscle gain. Many work in the short-term, but at the risk of our sanity and energy levels. One diet in recent years that has leaked over from the bodybuilding world to mainstream society is intermittent fasting. There are many types of this fasting, but a common one is to have an eight-hour “feeding” window every day followed by 16 hours of fasting. During those 16 hours, only water, coffee, and small items less than 50 calories are allowed. It can help bodybuilders cut weight for competitions, but was not meant for non-professionals or for use long-term. As you can imagine, your energy levels will be all over the place. However, it can be addictive to see those pounds (aka water weight) drop so quickly. Remember that diets should be a healthy choice for life with wiggle room, not a prison that dictates your daily life.
4. Let your instincts drive your breakfast decisions. Should you skip breakfast? Only eat all-protein at breakfast? Keep it light? There’s no one answer for everyone. Breakfast is the time when you “break fast," and your body will tell you what it needs in the morning. As long as you’re not regularly heaping piles of pancakes or other desserts playing dress up as breakfast, you'll be on point. Some people need a generous breakfast while others require a little more time to wake up before their body starts asking for fuel.
5. You’re not feeding your muscles or re-fueling after cardio. When you work out, you depend on stored energy (fat and glycogen) to get through it. With weight-bearing exercises, your muscles demand protein immediately afterward to repair and heal. After a cardio session, your body needs a little BCAA boost. Failing to eat, or making poor food choices, after a workout isn’t just draining your energy. It’s also minimizing your workout.
Feed Your Body What It Needs
When it comes to food as energy, it sounds so simple, but it can be very difficult to choose the right things. There’s a lot tied to food, including emotions and addictions. However, it’s a good idea to simply remind yourself that you’re fueling your body. What do you need, what do you want, and what are you trying to do with food that might be better addressed in another manner?
Hatha Yoga describes the Shatkarma in the second chapter of the Hatha Yoga Pradipika. Shat is Sanskrit for 6 and Karma is the word for Action. The ancient Yogis believed that in order to understand the universe you needed to first clear out the impurities, toxins and distractions of humanity. To do so you had to begin by cleaning out your body.
The Encyclopaedia of Traditional Asanas describes hundreds of seats; various ways in which to move the body in an effort to eliminate the limitations that result in discomfort. The Sanskrit word "as" means "to sit." Asana can also be interpreted as "establishment in the original state." The postures were designed to create heat (Tapas) allowing us to eliminate toxins and impurities in the physical body so that we could move into svabhava (introversion). The practice of Asana eventually provides us with steadiness and inner awareness of our True Self.
Breath and movement are the keys to Yoga. Every breath directs and deepens movement. Directed breath or kripalu.org/resources/why-do-pranayama Pranayama specifically directs your body, mind and internal energy. Proper practice of Pranayama can lead to the creation of body heat, spiritual experiences and energetic shifts. The formal practices described by Hatha Yoga are done so with a specific intended use and course.
By today's standards some of the practices described by Hatha Yoga are downright disgusting. Swallowing a milk soaked rag (Dhuati Karma) doesn't sound like something I want to do. However, there are many practices that we continue to apply today in order to keep our bodies clean.
Neti: Nasal cleaning involved the use of a string threaded up the nostrils and through the sinus passage. Today we use neti pots, sprays and tissues.
Dhauti: Cleansing of the digestive tract included milk soaked rags and forced vomitting. Modern science has helped us to identify foods that can clean our system.
Bhasti: Thank goodness for modern science and doctors who help us to keep our colons healthy.
Trataka: Blinkless gazing was used to clean the eyes. Many of us practice this just because the view is so beautiful. Eye drops assist us when we are ill or require a little help on a dry day.
Consider that which you do to keep your body healthy and clean. Many of our current practices and habits have roots in those of the ancient Yogis. What practices can you add to you life to clear away the toxins from the world around you, eliminate that which you do not need and create a bit more space for internal focus?
Ashta Anga refers to the eight limbs of Yoga. According to the ancient texts, “The Yoga Sutra of Patanjali,” and “The Hatha Yoga Pradipika,” all eight must be practiced in order for Yoga to occur. Yoga is both the means and the end. It is the combination of the practices of right action, speech and thought. What is right is defined by the eight limbs. When we follow the guidelines provided by the ancient Yogis we are more likely to be upon the right path.
The Right Practice for You
Every body is different and each one of us is unique. Just because all of your friends are taking “Hot Yoga” or “Vinyasa,” style classes that does not mean it is the right practice for you. In fact, it is rare that a hot or active practice is the best place for any of us to begin. The additional stress placed upon your body due to warm temperatures and new, challenging movements can actually hurt you. As with anything new, your first Yoga practice should be slow and well directed. You should be given the opportunity to attempt simple movements, ask questions and provide feedback to your teacher about how you are feeling throughout the session.
Living in Pain
I began practicing Yoga because all of my friends were enrolled in the class and it fulfilled a course requirement. I continued practicing because it initially reduced and then eliminated my debilitating back pain.
My pain had begun in high school as a result of scoliosis and growth spurts while competitively running in track and cross country. I continued to run while in college and continued to damage my back further. Adding insult to injury; my role as a teacher for children with autism required that I lean forward to reach desks and be at eye level with my students. There were days during which, due to the pain, I couldn't stand up straight, sit comfortably or sleep.
Yoga for Healing
Yoga Asana as well as the calming effects of breathing consciously and mindfulness practices helped me to heal. The movement was the perfect prescription for my back. The breathing helped me to remain calm when managing stressful situations and aggressive students. The mindfulness practices helped me learn to slow down and focus so that I could pause before putting my body into an unsafe position or activity.
As I continued to practice I learned the differences between the various modern styles and began to explore the various practices. When I met my teacher, in New York, I was granted access to the lineage of Rajahatha Yoga and began to develop my own practices in a way that best works for my life.
Continuing the Healing
Although I enjoy attending group classes at Yoga studios, my personal practice is what keeps me healthy. I spend less time moving actively and more time slowing down. The more slowly I move, the more awareness I have, and the better I am at addressing whatever issues; physical, emotional, energetic or mindful, that I am dealing with.
If you are ready to begin healing and to feel better through Yoga you might consider seeking out a teacher who has experience in more than just teaching classes. That which you experience physically could be a manifestation of something deeper and vice versa. Seek someone who can offer more than just poses. Find a Guru: a guide who sheds light where it is currently darkness.
“The Holidays;” the time period that begins after Halloween and ends at the onset of the following year. It seems as though the promotion of these days begins earlier every year. As a result, you may be feeling any number of emotions and energies as you prepare for and are inundated with the events of the season.
Yoga can help. Here are 5 ways to apply the practices of Yoga to your life so that you may be a bit more calm, reasonable, and in control this holiday season.
Transalated to mean non-harming this practice of one of consideration of yourself and others. We all react to stress differently. We all perceive the holidays differently. We all experience the world differently. Practice non-harming this season by remembering the following:
-Participate in that which brings you and those closest to you happiness.
-Give yourself and others space and time to complete that which they are focused upon.
-Prepare yourself by taking a few moments to breathe before engaging.
-Eat, Drink and Enjoy slowly.
Self Study is the practice of learning from others and listening for our own vibrations. While spending time with friends and family practice listening. Ask about their lives, their experiences and their opinions. Allow them to express themselves. Listen for the gems of knowledge that are revealed as they share their stories.
If you become overwhelmed with the chatter, distractions, and noise of the day step aside to a more peaceful and quiet space. Reflect upon the goodness of the day. Take the time to enjoy all that you have been given and created for yourself. Hum or Aum in honor of the wonder of your life.
Move, groove and get active. Encourage others to join you. Yoga prescribes poses for specific application, but you don’t need to be in class to experience the benefits of conscious movement. Twist gently to massage your digestive system. Move through a seated version of cat and cow to move food through. Encourage children to get moving during a game of tag. Massage your grandmother’s shoulders. Take a walk outside. Activity before and after eating will help you to digest your food and feel energized.
Moderation may be one of the most challenging practices of the season. You may feel like you “have to” buy, eat, go, give, etc. Practice moderation by pausing to consider each choice you are about to make. Reflect upon the value of the item or experience. What is your intention behind each? Choose that which improves your life and that of others rather than that which looks or sounds good in the moment.
Surrender, dedication and devotion are the words used to translate this term. Be willing to surrender to the traditions of the holidays. Have fun, be silly, try something new and celebrate with time-honored traditions. Disregard the aspects of the season that spark negativity. Instead, focus upon the joyful moments so that you may experience Yoga all season long.
If you are interested in learning more about the philosophies and practices of Yoga as well as how to transition into a Yogic Lifestyle contact us at LakeTahoeYoga@gmail.com or call the studio at (775)580-7224.
When you're consumed with a busy work-life schedule, wellness is not a priority and often forgotten. We are too preoccupied with the hustle and bustle of life's demands. Opting for what's better is not an option. We prefer to do things that are convenient, easy, and fast. We're eating fast food, skipping exercise, and drinking numerous amounts of coffee. When you do have the spare time to work out, you're exhausted and the only thing you want to do is relax. Since you're seated comfortably on the sofa, why not zone out in front of the TV? Don't feel guilty. We've all done that. So the question remains, how is it even possible to be consistent with your wellness? It takes discipline, dedication, and perseverance with all aspects of your work-life schedule.
One of the most critical details to pay attention to is how you manage your time. Organize your time using a calendar app and a virtual assistant. It will clear some clouds from the chaos in your life. Set a schedule to plan not only work, but also your meals, exercise, and free time. A little can go a long way with wellness. Even if it’s just for 10 minutes, enter it in your calendar. Set it on repeat to keep you on track. Be wise and realistic with your time allocation. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself not accomplishing tasks and goals. Inadvertently affecting your overall wellness to a negative state.
Prepare Healthy Meals
If you find yourself eating on the go most of the time, you’re likely eating highly processed fast food items that are loaded with fat, salt, carbohydrates, and sugar. Avoid that at all cost by preparing healthy meals. It’s possible to prepare healthy meals within the same amount of time as getting fast food. Based on The Statistics Portal study in July 2017, a fast food drive-thru service wait time is approximately 4 minutes. This study is based on the quickest fast food drive-thru services. This means that the wait time can be longer. You can prepare a healthy meal in 5-minutes! With meal preparation, it gives you full control to create healthy meals in no-time and done on a regular basis.
Exercise at Work
If you don’t have time to exercise at home, exercise at work. There are many exercises that you can do at your workplace. Stretch and do chair exercises every hour. You’ll forget to do this. This is when an hourly reminder set on your smartphone comes to your rescue. During a break, go for a brisk walk. If you work at a building with stairs, climb up and down the stairwell after lunch to burn off those calories. Don’t sit in traffic. Instead, go to an exercise class or the gym right after work. To make it more interesting, work out with a fellow associate. Having a workout partner will keep you motivated. However you see fit, do something that sparks your interest. You’ll look forward to doing your exercise regimen more often.
Get Plenty of Rest
Without getting enough sleep, you’ll be lethargic and unmotivated. On top of it, you’ll be jeopardizing your wellness and work performance. Make sure you sleep at a reasonable time and no less than 8 hours. Set a reminder during the weekdays if you have too. Save the partying on the weekends and on special occasions. Recharge yourself during the day with power naps from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm. Any later, it will disrupt your bedtime schedule. A 6, 30, or 60-minute nap will serve you best.
Wellness doesn’t only mean being physically fit and eating right. You can be in the best shape of your life and love your veggies, but if there’s a dark cloud above your head, what good will that do? When you keep a positive outlook in life, it will help you immensely. Start with practicing mindfulness and light meditation daily. You don’t need to be chanting a mantra while seated in a cross-legged position. You can do this anytime and sit however you like anywhere quietly for a few minutes. Then close your eyes, clear your mind, and take deep breaths. Try focusing on your daily affirmations. Believe in yourself and take action each day to accomplish your goals.
Don’t be hard on yourself if you miss a few days or if you want to treat yourself. It’s okay. Consider it a break, but don’t wait too long or overdo it. Stay positive and think about the importance of your wellness. Then jump back into your daily wellness routines. After all, you’re not adopting new habits. You have a calendar. You eat and sleep daily. It’s a matter of being wiser with your time to incorporate work, life, and wellness altogether. In time, it’ll feel natural and you won’t have to struggle with your wellness again.
Celebrate Yourself by Celebrating Others
The practice of Santosha is defined as having an attitude of contentment through which unexcelled happiness, mental comfort, joy and satisfaction is obtained.
We humans seem to always be seeking satisfaction in the external world and our internal fantasies. Only when we comfortably accept what we currently have will be able to do the practices that lead to the highest realization.
Begin to practice Santosha by celebrating those in your life who help you to feel happy, comfortable and joyful. Realize the satisfaction and contentment that results from having them in your life.
Practice Yoga Everyday, Everywhere
Just because September has been designated as "National Yoga Month" doesn't mean that you should stop practicing when the month has ended. Just like any other lifestyle Yoga is to be practiced regularly in order to have the best effect.
Remember that Asana is just one eighth of the practice. There are seven other fabulous aspects that you can incorporate into your life. Conscious breathing, mindful focus, inward awareness, etc. can all effect you at home, at work and while out enjoying the world.
Your health depends upon more than just one month of Yoga. The best time to begin is now and the best time to continue is forever.
Contentment Happens When We Let Go
Most of our lives are driven by control. We have schedules, responsibilities, places to be and people to see. Add the practice of Yoga to your daily schedule. Join a class, follow a video, book a private session. Booking the time for yourself will allow you the opportunity to let go.
Your time in the practice is time to let go. Release the worries and stresses of the day. Relax and know that there is no where else to be. Learn to practice taking time out for yourself. Learn to change your lifestyle with Yoga.
Practice Yoga, Change Your Life
Yoga is, if nothing else, a practice in mind over matter. The more we practice, the more we begin to change the way we feel, see and engage in the world. Join us and learn to begin creating change. It may not happen quickly, but that feeling of Santosha (contentment) will slowly express itself as you continue to focus upon Discovering Your Self.
Contrary to popular belief, it doesn’t take hundreds of dollars per month and three hours every day to get into shape. It is possible to enjoy a healthy and active lifestyle, even if your budget is bare and you barely have time to breathe. These activities will fit into your schedule without purging your pocket.
Park entrance fees aside, hiking is an activity you can enjoy with friends and family for free. And even more than simply getting in shape, hiking will help you get in touch with nature, which studies have shown can have a positive impact on your mood. The Healthy Living section of Huff Post reports that hikers are among the fittest people out there and enjoy lower blood pressure and longer attention spans than the rest of us. Hiking on dirt trails is also easier on the joints than pounding the pavement.
There’s no denying that running is good for the heart. Even a short five or 10 minutes jog each day can drastically lower your chances of dying from cardiovascular disease. Fitness further reports that running triggers a chemical in the brain that produces euphoria and burns an astounding 12.2 cal per minute. Another significant benefit of running is that you don’t have to have any special equipment, just a pair of practical running shoes and a desire to strengthen your core, legs, heart, and lungs.
Like hiking, yoga provides a boost for both mind and body. It’s also one of the easiest ways to put yourself in a relaxed mindful state. Yoga and guided focus are used nationwide as alternative therapy in addiction recovery to help people overcome both physical, mental, and emotional burdens. DrugRehab.org explains, “This is because these activities allow you to focus your mind and can relieve stress and anxiety, both of which are triggers for relapse in many individuals who are in recovery.
Trampolines aren’t just for kids, although bouncing for half an hour with your children is an excellent way to burn calories while toning and tightening every muscle in the body. If you don’t have kids or the room in your yard for a recreational trampoline, a small fitness trampoline will get the job done. Not only is jumping on a trampoline fun, but this specific motion encourages your lymphatic system to rid itself of waste. Jumping also improves coordination and balance and is a relatively low impact form of cardiovascular exercise.
Take extra steps
How many steps in a 24 hour day does it take to meet general fitness guidelines? According to Fitbit: 10,000. That’s just enough strides to equal five miles…When you think of it that way, it’s an impressive feat for your feet. While it can be hard to figure out exactly how to get that many steps in on an average day, it’s possible if you look for opportunities. Here are a few ideas: park as far away as possible at the grocery store. Make two trips instead of one to the laundry room for each load. Walk to the mailbox instead of stopping on your way into the driveway,
Whether you’re hiking, jogging, jumping or sneaking in a little yoga under the stars, keeping your body in motion is paramount to a healthy body and mind. Dr. Edward R. Laskowski of the Mayo Clinic says just 30 minutes of physical activity each day will go a long way toward improving your health. And, when you break it up into short burst of activity, there’s no excuses for not getting off the couch or away from your computer.