We are tribal creatures who enjoy engagement, connection, conversation, and presence. The practice of Yoga is one of union. Virtual classes provide much, but the connection we feel to others while practicing in person is much deeper.
The transition to more virtual classes as well as those that are on-demand has opened many doors. You can now access any teacher from anywhere and attend practices that may not have previously been available in your area. The opportunity to learn from new teachers, instructors, and guides has given many of us a chance to expand our knowledge and skills.
As we transition from "at home" back to "real life" many of us will continue to practice virtually as well as through on-demand classes. Being able to join in whenever we are able and to re-attend classes we wish to repeat are conveniences we previously didn't have.
Missing from virtual and on-demand practices are the qualities that we seek out as community creatures; connection, energetic exchange, engagement, conversation, and presence. The virtual world is one of connected disconnect.
While joining a practice with people from all over the world we get the chance to see, but not to know them. Our guide may be able to provide verbal adjustments and suggestions, but they aren't specific to our individual needs. We see a two-dimensional figure in a flat space and have to shift our bodies and perspectives to see them, then readjust ourselves into the posture. There are sound delays and internet issues that make participating challenging and, sometimes, impossible.
If you've ever been to Tahoe you know how magical this place is. There is no way to experience the size of the lake except for being at it. You can't experience the magnitude of the mountains unless you stand among them. An entire tree can't be seen to it's fullest magnificence without your own eyes. To see is to feel, is to experience.
Our new practice space at Bliss Experiences has been designed to capture the experience of being at Tahoe whether you are in the basin, or joining virtually. Our intention is to give everyone an experience of being present even if they are unable to be in the space. Of course, there is nothing quite like being within the four walls of our space. Visually and energetically, the experience of being present and with others is unparalleled.
As we begin offering indoor, in-person practices again, we will also continue to invite you to attend virtually. You are welcome to join the practice in whichever way you feel most comfortable.
Spaces will be limited in our indoor sessions. Proof of vaccination or a mask will be required to attend. Physical adjustments will only be available during Individualized Private Sessions. We suggest that you bring your own tools. Mats will be available for rent. You may pay a monthly fee to store your materials in our space. Memberships and registrations are required to attend.
Outdoor classes will continue to be offered on beach and paddle board during which we will not be requiring masks. We ask that you do a health check prior to attending: if you feel sick, have a temperature or Covid-19 symptoms, please do not attend. Bring your own beach towel, water, and sun protection.
Please practice satya (truthfulness) and ahimsa (non-harming) by honestly sharing your vaccination status. Our ability to continue to offer indoor, in-person classes depends upon your honesty and consideration of others and our small business's need to follow the current directives to be able to remain open.
Should music be played during Yoga? The shift to virtual classes has us questioning the necessity of music as part of the practice.
The Sounds of Silence
Originally, there was no music played during Yoga practices. Search YouTube and you can find videos of B.K.S. Iyengar and Patabhi Jois as well as lesser known practitioners guiding others in silent rooms where the only sound is that of their breath.
Fast forward to 2019 and you would be hard fast to find a class that doesn't have music playing. It had become to so common that a silent practice felt uncomfortable. One of the few lineages that continued to offer classes without music were those who practiced in the Iyengar style.
From Mantra to Hip Hop
I began attending Yoga classes in 1999. I wore street clothes to class. There was no music played. As my interest in the practice grew and I began to explore lineages beyond svarupa (my first), I stepped onto the path and never looked back.
I learned that vinyasa simply means an interconnected series of movements done with grace. These classes almost always included recorded music being played in the background. It was most likely Krisna Das mantra. It wasn't until 2003 that I began hearing popular music played during class. At Gold's Gym, where I was introduced to my teacher, she and others would mix in popular music with the traditional chanting recordings.
Adding to the Distractions?
When I was given the chance to choose the music for my classes, I was excited to begin creating mix CDs that included my favorite combinations of mantra, pop, jam bands, and rock. I had cases of music that I would carry with me to every class I taught. Each mix was curated to shift the energy of the practice intentionally.
The longer I taught, the less excited I was about the music I used. Making mixes became tedious, my Ipod could only hold so many songs, and then streaming channels became available. This made my life so much easier.
Is It Free?
For years I had a collection of channels on my Pandora or Spotify that I could easily select and play knowing that the music playing would be just fine for whatever I chose to teach. The songs themselves became less important. The energy of the music needed to align with the energy of the class. As time passed, though, discussions over the legality of using music and requirements for licensing began to rise in the Yoga community.
Now, Yoga studio owners have to cover the cost of licensing to play music as part of their classes. It is a growing issue and the question of whether we are performing and choreographing to the music is the main reason this new issue has arisen.
Back to the Basics
I began using less music, at lower volumes. In my own practice, I do so in silence. When the pandemic hit and we could no longer practice together in groups my virtual classes naturally shifted to be guided by voice only. No one seemed to mind. Of course, if they want to, anyone can mute themselves and play music in their own home while they practice virtually. However, in many discussions among those who join me, they agree that the silence is quite nice.
Keep the Peace
You'll notice that there is music added to the recorded classes we offer on YouTube and On-Demand. However, when you join a live virtual session it will be in silence unless you choose to play music in your space. If you haven't tried a silent practice, perhaps now is the time. I find that it provides an opportunity to truly connect with your breath, remain aware of your body, and spend time with your thoughts.
Join a Live Virtual Practice with Lake Tahoe Yoga by becoming a member of Bliss Experiences. When you register your account will receive one (1) credit to join any scheduled Monday class.
Receive a Private Evaluative Yoga Session before you join a scheduled practice.
I Don't Need No Stinking Props!
I have been guiding Yoga Practices since 2006. My practice and teaching style began as Vinyasa. I had no desire to appear as though I didn't know what I was doing or that I needed a prop to access a posture. I was young, fit, strong and (kind of) flexible.
Experience Leads to Wisdom
My teacher, guide and friend, Amy Pearce-Hayden, strongly suggested that I teach an alignment practice. It changed my entire perspective. I had to practice with tools in order to be able to teach with them. I had to focus upon what I was doing accurately, inaccurately and also what I saw my practitioners doing with their bodies. I would practice creating with my body the postures that I saw my practitioners doing. I became skilled at seeing, feeling and doing postures with both accuracy and misalignment.
Begin Where You Are
Rather than attempting to force me into shifting my perspective, Amy gave me the opportunity to experience what I wasn't willing to see. I was allowed to work from my practice of Vinyasa and develop a deeper understanding of the postures through my own practice and desire to be a better teacher.
This is what an Evaluative Session can do for you. Before jumping into one of the practices at LTY give yourself the opportunity to get to know Jenay and the Rajahatha lineage. Give us the opportunity to learn about your practice, understanding and experiences. Then, we can work together to help you choose the practices that most align with your needs and desires.
Are you ready to begin the practice at LTY? Request an Evaluative Session to identify the best sessions with which to start.
One of the instructors at LTY recently approached me to ask for advice on how to differentiate her classes and make them more accessible for beginners. I was overjoyed to hear her say that she wanted to improve her skills so that she could help make everyone feel more comfortable in her classes. Teaching beginners is not an easy skill to learn. Many teachers approach their instruction from where they are; they teach based upon their abilities and knowledge. Learning to break down the poses in a away that is accessible for new practitioners and exciting for those with experience takes practice.
Teaching for You
One of the topics covered in the Lake Tahoe Yoga Teacher Training Program is how to teach FOR our practitioners rather than TO them. Those of you who have joined the practice at LTY know that no two practices are ever the same. We change up the postures, sequences and focus in every session. Our goal is to keep you focused, but also to challenge ourselves as teachers. Our intention is to create practices that are for you. From the poses to the breath and the energy of the space (even when outdoors) we are constantly considering ways in which to make Yoga happen in every aspect of the practice.
Every Body Can Do Yoga
Just like you, our team of teachers have a variety of styles, talents and abilities. We are proud to offer classes that are inclusive for all bodies. We use tools to help ourselves access postures and are honored to share our knowledge of tool useage with you. We accept all practitioners as themselves. We want to know what your goals and intentions are, what you hope to get out of the practice and how you intend upon growing, changing and transforming through the practice. Come to us with your requests, needs and wishes. We are ready to guide you upon your path.
We Love Our Small Class Sizes
Our studio space can fit just 20 mats (25 if we really want to get cozy). In a typical scheduled practice we will have just 1-10 practitioners. This leaves plenty of space for movement, tool placement and expression of each individual in the space. As teachers, we love this. We are able to give everyone attention. Whether offering specific guidance for an individual’s body, answering a question asked during the practice or providing an adjustment to each and every participant, we enjoy spending time with our practitioners and knowing that each individual has been noticed. You will never be anonymous at Lake Tahoe Yoga. You will always be welcomed into the studio as a member of our intimate community of Yogis.
Do Not Be Fearful
Regardless of your ability, age, knowledge or comfort level with Yoga, we invite you to join us. Try one of our classes. We would be honored to have you join our community. Give us the chance to guide you through the poses, breath and mindful practices of Yoga. Give yourself the chance to feel better, every day, through the practice of Yoga.
1) Tahoe is a Year-Round Playground
We have what are called "Multi-Sport Days" in Lake Tahoe. Any day of the year can include skiing, hiking, biking, swimming, paddle boarding, kayaking, and more. In any month of the year you can go out for a relaxing boat ride or tour the basin via car. Between the Tahoe Basin and the valleys below there are so many options for activities that you will need to stay for more than a weekend to truly understand why we love Tahoe.
When planning any retreat, it is important to have options. In Tahoe, they are built in. We have activities for people of all ages, sizes and ability levels. Every day of your retreat can include a new adventure that you can guide yourself, or hire a resident to arrange something just for your group.
2) This is the Air the Angels Breathe
Mark Twain is quoted as saying, "To breathe the same air as the angels, you must go to Tahoe." Lake Tahoe is the perfect place to breathe freely. The fresh mountain air, blue bird skies and incredible views will refresh and renew you from the outside-in. Residents of the basin will often brag of feeling like "super heroes" when at lower elevation. The thin air results in a need to breathe more deeply, move with consciousness, and consider what your body needs. Every breath you take while on your Yoga Retreat will remind you of the value of breathing.
The ancient Yogis would head to the Himalaya to practice. In Tahoe you can discover why they chose the mountains as a place to practice mindfulness, breath and movement.
3) The Views
In the studio, on the beach or paddle board, atop a mountain, on a boat, a roof deck or on the lawn; no matter where you choose to practice, the view is sure to be amazing. Studios like Lake Tahoe Yoga offer the unique option of a custom-built practice at the location of your choosing. The intention is to set the stage for a Yoga Adventure. Yoga is the practice of union and one of the best ways to connect with yourself, others and the world around you is to engage. Learn to practice with the sand between your toes, a board shifting on the water, the wind blowing and birds singing. At Lake Tahoe all this an more will enhance your practice.
Seek out an instructor who is familiar with the area and has local connections. Tahoe is a magical place with many unique and hidden opportunities. Trying to discover the best view or place in which to practice takes time. Rely on those who know.
4) We Know How to Have Fun
Lake Tahoe is located on the border of California and Nevada. California is known for having a laid back lifestyle and easy going attitude. Nevada has a reputation for nights that never end. Lake Tahoe combines the best of both worlds. Rent a boat and relax on the water or spend some time in the sun on the sand. Tour the Thunderbird Lodge, go down to Vikingsholm, climb up Fannettte Island or dive off of the rocks near D.L. Bliss or walk the grounds of the Pope Estate. In the evenings, plan for food and drinks, dancing and more. There are places to find mocktails, vegetarian and vegan options as well as locally sourced foods. Whichever type of fun you are into, Tahoe can accommodate.
Yelp can help, but a resident will be your best source for places to try. The Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority can direct you to Tahoe's Best spots for fun, relaxation, food and more.
5) Tahoe is still a Hidden Gem
Visitors typically come to Tahoe for two reasons: Winter and Summer. What most people don't know is that Tahoe has more to offer. The warmth of Spring brings with it fields of wildflowers and soft mountain biking trails as well as the rush of waterfalls . The Fall season is crisp and cool. It is the perfect time for a beach cookout or early morning paddle.
Tahoe is beautiful during every season, but only peaceful during a few months out of the year. When planning your yoga retreat consider visiting when it's less busy and you'll find that peace is easy to find.
Jenay specializes in creating unique practices that honor your requests and always includes some extra TLC. Contact Lake Tahoe Yoga to join a scheduled practice or, have one customized for your group.
Lake Tahoe Yoga began as an idea. For years I would joke about various locations being "a great place for a studio." I never thought I would actually become a studio owner. It wasn't until I was approached by some locals who were curious about my skills beyond counseling that I considered starting my own business. I began with just a few classes, some private sessions, and free classes. Once I began actively teaching, I realized how much I had to learn about business, people and community.
Giving too Much Away
I am enthusiastic about instructing, guiding, and helping others to discover their paths. The teacher in me is always proud to see my students demonstrate their understanding, develop new skills and grow as individuals. While instructing others, I am always learning. It wasn't until it was too late that I realized the very people that I had been supporting, guiding, and instructing were planning on attempting to become my competition. Upon leaving Lake Tahoe Yoga Studio they took more than the knowledge I had shared; they took practitioners, ideas and more.
It is incredible to look back to 2008 and review how rapidly technology, advertising, marketing and business has changed. During this time there have been positive and negative shifts in every field. I have had to change everything about the way I market my business. What will never change is the roots of Lake Tahoe Yoga.
Many of the studios, gyms, etc. in town may be listed on Mindbody or some other app. They may have pretty photos with people posing on their instagram. Maybe they are offering classes at breweries, art studios, wineries, with goats and cats and dogs. They are viciously competing with one another. Lake Tahoe Yoga continues to remain focused on our roots: the practice, the knowledge and sharing it with others.
Putting our Money where it Matters
Lake Tahoe Yoga wouldn't exist if it wasn't for our community. It was the locals that encouraged me to begin instructing and who continue to support the studio. I didn't practice at any other studio in Tahoe. I didn't train with a studio here. I didn't learn how to run a business by working for another studio. Everything at Lake Tahoe Yoga grew through active learning, community engagement & support, and the dedication I have to the practice, studio, and practitioners.
Our social media photos are of Tahoe and people just like you and me doing their best to access more than a pose. They are trying to access Yoga. They are living in this world, working beside you. They are breathing, moving and observing themselves and the world around them hoping to bring forth positive change.
Every penny spent to advertise Lake Tahoe Yoga is purposeful and focused. From local memberships for TRYP, SLTWHS and Tahoe Chamber to social media the advertising is calculated to be the best way for us to reach the community and to give back.
Supporting Small, Local Yoga Studios & Businesses
Over the past 10 years I have learned much about Tahoe South, business, and people. I have grown as an instructor, business owner and individual. I have deepened my understanding of Yoga and what it means to truly practice. I know I am not perfect. I remind my students that not everyone lives life with an open mind and that most people are in service only to themselves. Taking this lesson to heart, I have chosen not to advertise on the popular apps so that I can donate a portion of Lake Tahoe Yoga's profits to local and international non-profits.
When traveling, I seek out the small, locally owned studios that are not listed on Mindbody and do not have fancy advertisements or websites. I have discovered wonderful studios, new instructors, friendships, connections and more. I have expanded this practice beyond Yoga studios and have begun seeking out small businesses, as well. It has opened many new doors.
Go Small, Support Locals
There is no guarantee that the studio you find listed on Mindbody is the best, nor is there a guarantee that the teacher instructing in the basement of her house is any good. You will never know if you don't try it out. How about giving that new teacher in the basement a try before heading to the studio paying to be noticed? Step into that funky little shop on the corner instead of going to the one with thousands of reviews. Ask a friend for a recommendation, ask a local where they go, step off of the beaten path and try something new. For it is only when we try that we know.
When the thermometer reads single digits, and the window shows nothing but wind and snow, the idea of working out can send chills down your spine, literally. The cold has a way of deterring us from fitness goals and leading us to the couch, fireplace and hot chocolate.
There are plenty of indoor and fun options for staying fit and focused in the winter.
Make a plan
As with any time of the year, an important part of maintaining a healthy routine is by planning to commit to a daily dose of exercise.
Try yoga asana as an exercise at home
Changing up the routine can help you make your workouts a little more exciting and give you new feats to discover. According to Healthline, yoga asana is the easiest way to stay fit in winter. You can be any fitness level to start and it can be done at home. Try a new yoga asana class this winter or commit to a fitness plan that can be done at home, with friends, or at the gym.
Yoga asana can be done almost anywhere, especially indoors, which means you can stay out of the cold while you work out. There are plenty of free online classes and tutorials that can teach you the basics and get you started.
The Yoga Journal maintains that yoga asana can keep you healthy this winter. By implementing certain poses you can increase circulation and help your body clear out bacteria and viruses by filtering them out through the lymph nodes. A regular yoga routine can also help you stay warm and prevent aches and stiffness.
Build your home gym
Taking some time and a little investment in a simple home gym can really pay off in terms of motivation. All you need is your body and a few basic tools to help. Having a specifically designated space in your home for your workouts will set you up for success. With just a few basic tools and equipment, you can ensure a full-body and effective workout, even as the snow falls outside.
Don’t let your body down this winter. Keep it active with a creative approach to in-home training. Remember to make a plan and a commitment to yourself and your goals. Implementing exercise as a regular part of your day can bring years of well-being and health.
Photo Credit: Pixabay
Do the Rewards Equal Your Efforts?
Everything you do has an equal return. Every thought you have, every word you speak and every action you take will result in a reaction. You have control only over that which you think, say or do. You cannot control anyone else or the results of what they do. Yoga teaches us to practice observing our thoughts, words and actions and becoming aware of the intention behind each. If the intention is to make yourself look good, hurt someone else or to improve your life alone, then Karma results. I like to imagine Karma as a small seed. One is not a big deal, but a bag, bushel or box of seeds can get very heavy. The more Karma seeds you create, the heavier they get.
Throughout your life you have stitched together various activities, people, and experiences that all have something in common. Reflect upon the work you have chosen to do, the places you have spent time, the topics that you have studied and the people to whom you have become close. Can you identify the common thread?
That to which we are drawn is most often our Dharma; our life's duty. Once you begin observing and reflecting you may be able to see the common thread throughout your life. You may even notice that it is something for which you feel passionate. In addition, it is something that effects more than just you. Typically, it is something that you are able to do that makes life better for others.
Can you identify your Dharma?
Before, throughout, or to close any Yoga class, your teacher will offer some guidance in discovering your Dharma. Knowing what to look for is the first step toward identifying your life's work. The Dharmic Topic of the day will give you something upon which to focus as you move through asana. A good instructor will weave this theme throughout the class. While you move, he or she will guide you in considering the theme. While practicing, you may make connections to how you are feeling physically, energetically, or emotionally.
Consider the Dharmic Focus of Divinity.
Your teacher may suggest that you consider the idea of recognizing divinity in all things, including other people, even those with whom you do not get along. While you move through asana, rather than getting lost in mindless chatter, perhaps you will begin to think about those who have wronged you; people with whom you are frustrated or angry. Perhaps you will begin to see that their divinity is blocked by their actions. Next, you may begin to reflect on how your behaviors may make it difficult for others to see the divinity within you. As you continue to practice, observe and reflect, you may begin to bettter understand yourself and, thus, see your Dharma.
Remaining on the Path of Dharma
Upon identifying your Dharma, the next step is to continue to do your life's work without over-doing it. Yoga is a practice of balance; we must always be seeking Sattva (harmony). Just because you finally know what to does not mean it is time to become forceful. Your eyes have been opened and you know what to look for. Opportunities to practice Dharma will present themselves as appropriate.
While you practice observing and reflecting, it helps to have some guidance. Gathering useful knowledge about Dharma can help. We recommend attending practices that include a Dharmic Focus. On your own, you can read books that provide such focus. One of our favorites is Meditations from the Mat by Rolf Gates.
You may also choose to book a Private Session during which we can focus on exploring the common thread within your life. Contact us to begin the process.