Simple ways to practice Yoga without the guidance of a teacher.
1. Establish Consistency
When we don’t have the call of the alarm to wake us, or our schedule shifts unexpectedly, it can become difficult to retain a consistent schedule. Many of us take advantage of the lack of responsibility we have on the weekends or during vacation to sleep in, float through the day, and generally feel the freedom to avoid tasks.
Yoga teaches two practices; do not get lost in habit (karma), and remain consistent in your practices (tapas).
When we begin doing something without awareness it has become habit. Do you think about which hand you use to hold your toothbrush? When was the last time you had to think before picking up a pencil to write? When you get in the car do you think about where the key goes? I’m sure you can think of many other habits that you have developed over time.
Consistency requires consideration, awareness and intention. It is the constant practice of thinking about what you are doing and choosing to do that which serves yourself and others. Sometimes it is as simple as choosing to bag your own groceries. It can be the establishment of a time to go outside each day no matter where you are or what you are doing. The practice of consistency requires that you consciously choose to act rather than relying upon that which comes easily.
2. Breathe First
A long, deep inhale and exhale can be the difference between throwing something across the room and walking quietly out the door. Begin a practice of drawing in and releasing one or more deep breaths before entering a room, a conversation, or engaging in a new activity. Not only does a deep breath help to calm your mind and body, it also creates a shift in focus. It can give you to pause and a moment to consider and reflect upon what is happening so that you can address what’s to come next with a more calm and intentional approach.
Get S$!t Done
Creating a list of tasks to complete and checking off, disposing of, deleting, etc. that list as each is completed can be incredibly satisfying. Sometimes, when we feel like we have all the time in the world, we will fill in that time with busy-work or distractions. When a “to-do” list is available, it can help you to focus and address that which needs to get done. Rather than spend a half hour checking out your social feeds, you could be scheduling a dozen posts. Instead of watching videos on Youtube, you could be repairing that hole in your pants.
Enjoy The Little Things
I love that this is one of the Zomblieland rules. From the comfort of your sofa there are countless little things to value. First and foremost is the fact that you have a couch to sit on. I can remember when I moved into my first apartment and we had no couch. I can also recall when we moved into our house and we had no furniture at all. A couch is a wonderful thing!
For those of us who reside in Tahoe South we get to enjoy the magic of living in a forest. City dwellers get to enjoy the majesty of architecture. Whether you enjoy peace and quiet or hustle and bustle, the sounds of silence or the laughter of children, take a moment to enjoy that which you have chosen to have surrounding you.
The time you take to enjoy the things that bring you joy and peace pays off later. When you are in a stressful situation, dealing with negative energy, trying to problem solve, or being a friend when someone is in need you can reflect back upon these things. Recalling them can help you remain more calm and collected by providing your mind with a shift in perspective.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or call the studio at (775)580-7224.
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.
It can be difficult to put your self into someone else's shoes. As our situation changes, so does our focus. Try these practices to help you remain aware of others while still focusing upon your needs.
Yoga teaches us to focus upon the moments in-between experiences. Before getting out of your car, stepping into a building or space, or beginning a conversation take a moment to pause. Just as we pause before entering into the second side of a posture, we must do the same before transitioning from one activity or experience to another. Pause and give yourself a moment before entering into the next moment.
You may be on vacation and in a mindset of enjoying yourself, but that doesn't mean that everyone around you is experiencing the same state of mind. Your vacation is likely infiltrated with people ready to provide you with information, materials and opportunities. All of these people are working. Reflect upon how you would like to be treated while at work. Let those who are working know that you value what they do.
When you return to work, reflect upon how it felt to be away. Revisit those moments that made you smile or during which you felt content. Reflect upon moments in your day that are similar.
Dependent upon our primary focus we will see different things. When you are out on the beach you might not notice the napkins that just flew away from your picnic. While celebrating with your friends you may not take the time to search for that bottle cap that flipped out of your hand.
Carry a trash bag wherever you go. Once you arrive at your location observe the space around you before you set up and after you have packed up your belongings. Take the time to clean up the space. Look around you and enjoy how beautiful the space looks and your part in keeping it clean.
Read & Review
When participating in activities that require you to read information regarding how to prepare, where to meet and what to do prior to joining in it's important that you read all of the details. Before you book, when you receive your confirmation email, and before heading out on any adventure, take the time to read the details about what you are endeavoring to do.
Many experiences require that you complete a waiver form. Doing so ahead of time will save everyone time. The meeting location may not be completely obvious. Double check the directions to make sure you have reviewed every detail. Review the information about how to prepare or what to bring so you don't have to run back to the car or leave your belongings in an unsafe place. Arrive prepared and knowledgeable and the experience will be that much better for everyone.
If you're interested in learning more about mindfulness and the lifestyle of Yoga join the practices at LTY.
Learn more and book: https://www.laketahoeyoga.com/scheduleofclasses.html
Becoming A Yoga Teacher
Did you know that anyone can be a Yoga instructor? Anyone at any time can say that they know how to teach Yoga and can easily begin selling Yoga classes. There is no certification required, no registration, no education.
Of course, we know that this is not what makes a person a Yoga teacher. The ability to instruct people to move through various postures does not necessitate special training. However, the skills needed to guide people through a Yoga sequence that intentionally creates physical, energetic and emotional change requires depth of study and practice. The Yoga Alliance provides us with a set of guidelines to follow in our training.
Self Study is one of the most important practices a Yoga teacher must do. While studying the texts, philosophies and practices of Yoga we must apply that which we learn to our lives. We must move with the intention of noticing how it effects our own bodies and live as witnesses and observers of our own thoughts, speech and actions.
Teaching Yoga requires constant practice and study. It requires self awareness, continued study, growth and development. A Yoga teacher is always practicing, but not always posing. They are developing deeper awareness of themselves in order to gain a better understanding of the practitioners whom they guide.
Intense, but not Intensive
The training required to become a Yoga teacher is intense, but it should not be intensive. The quality of the training a blossoming practitioner attends can make the difference between them becoming an instructor or a teacher.
The most common initial Yoga teacher training program is 200 hours in length. A comprehensive program includes everything from history to anatomy and should also cover the philosophy and practices of traditional Yoga. To fully grasp these concepts it is important that a budding teacher apply them to life. To do this, we must walk the walk and talk the talk, everywhere. We must take the time to understand and apply everything we learn. A quality Yoga teacher takes the time necessary to develop themselves, their knowledge and their own practice.
Everyone has their own special set of skills. A quality Yoga teacher does more than instruct poses. They absorb themselves into the practice and radiate their passion into the studio as well as out in the world. Every aspect of their life is dissolved in Yoga. Listen to how your teacher speaks, watch them move, notice what they do while demonstrating or moving through the room. Listen for their unique set of skills.
Learn about your teacher. Do they have a degree? In what field? What lives did they live before they became a Yoga teacher? How does their past effect the way in which they teach? Each one of us applies that which we had learned before we became Yoga teachers to the way in which we teach and live. When you practice with a quality Yoga teacher you will be able to see, hear and feel who they are as a result of their past experiences.
Value Your Teacher
Standing on your head, jumping from downward dog to handstand and being able to wrap your legs behind your shoulders does not qualify you to teach Yoga. In fact, many teachers lack the flexibility to access many of the party trick poses you will find on Instagram. In addition, just because your teacher can do these things that does not mean they can teach you to access the positions in your body or that your body can move in those ways.
Think about your favorite teachers in school. What qualities made them memorable? A quality Yoga training offers more than instruction during a work out. The teacher should create space, energy, guidance, support, instruction, direction, passion, enthusiasm and availability. The practice of Yoga is a way of life and they should share their life with you every time they teach.
When you find your Yoga teacher demonstrate how much you value them by paying full price, letting others know what makes them different and showing up to support what they do and continue to learn and grow with them.
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.