http://yoga.org.nz Tue, 02 May 2017 08:30:09 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.20 Peri-Meno-What? Menopause Explained http://yoga.org.nz/blog/2017/peri-meno-what-menopause-explained-simply/ http://yoga.org.nz/blog/2017/peri-meno-what-menopause-explained-simply/#comments Tue, 02 May 2017 03:41:21 +0000 http://yoga.org.nz/?p=7417

Peromeno-what? by Claire Bhavani

Learn the brightside of menopause – click here.

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7 Ways to Practice Your Om in the Great Outdoors http://yoga.org.nz/blog/2016/6956/ http://yoga.org.nz/blog/2016/6956/#comments Fri, 15 Jan 2016 01:45:50 +0000 http://yoga.org.nz/?p=6956 Have you ever felt a need for a change of perspective?  If a crowded yoga studio makes it difficult for you to concentrate on the postures, it may be time to shake things up and take your practice out the door. After all, yoga was originally intended to get people to commune with nature, so it makes perfect sense for you to get your om on at the park, beach, mountains or wherever your spirit takes you.

Not only is bringing your practice outside totally freeing, it is also incredibly revitalizing and liberating.

If you’re ready to leave the comforts of the studio behind, here are some simple ways to safely connect with nature to achieve bliss no matter where you om.

1 – Be Open to the Idea of Losing Your Mat

The thought of letting your yoga mat go can be scary because it can be like leaving a part of your practice behind. But, if you ever want to take your om outdoors, you simply have to learn to lose it. Most mats weren’t created for an outdoor environment. Place your mat on the grass or sand and you’ll find it much more difficult to navigate through the asanas because of creases and folds.

Yoga blankets and beach towels aren’t exactly your allies when it comes to practicing yoga outdoors as sand and dirt tend to stick on them. Why not take advantage of grass, nature’s version of a yoga mat? The foot-to-earth contact is grounding and playful, bringing a free-spirited energy into the practice.

2 – Treat the Local Landscape as Your Prop Closet

Just as you bring your practice into nature, so should you bring nature into your practice. There are park benches, boulders, tree stumps to monuments, fallen logs and slopes. The outside world is full of things you can use to elevate your yoga practice. You only need to put your creative mind at work in order to put these natural props to good use.

Doing Ardha Chandrasana (Half Moon pose)?

Make use of a small boulder as your hand’s landing pad. If you’re in the wilderness, you can utilise a sturdy tree while you practice an inversion to avoid flipping all the way over.

3 – Embrace the Elements

Doing yoga outside presents a number of factors including dirt and the weather, which you need to embrace in order to have a more gratifying experience.

Rather than battling against the outdoor conditions, shift your thinking and try to enjoy each tactile feeling. Part of taking your practice outdoors is grounding into the Earth, feeling its surface with your bare hands, knees, feet and even your back. Don’t worry about getting a little dirty and just give it a try. Let the sensation of the elements resonate through your body–it is an incredibly powerful feeling.

4 – Gaze at Something

Take a look at the flower in bloom. Simply setting your gaze can already inspire you to reach further, breathe deeply, and hold a posture longer. This can stimulate meditation during your yoga practice, so do set your drishti or point of gaze.

Also, according to a Swedish study, staring at nature’s organic fractals induces an inward attention and a wakeful, relaxed state. If you’re wondering, fractals are groups of similar figures combined in a way so they look one and whole. The outdoors are teeming with fractals – mountains, trees, rocks, leaves to enumerate a few.

5 – Apply Sunscreen

As with any outdoor activity, you should never forget your sunscreen. You’ll be outside where the sun is shining and bright, so slather some sunscreen on to avoid ending up looking like a raisin in the years to come.

Also, bring an insect repellent while you’re at it. Whether you’re in the woods or in your backyard, it’s a good idea to use repellent to keep those critters at bay.

6 – Join an Outdoor Class

If you need more guidance or simply prefer a company, consider taking an outdoor yoga class. See if your local studio offers classes during this season.

7 – Seek the Perfect Spot

Your location affects your mood, so pick an area where you’ll be comfortable to practice. Stretching out in a warrior pose while in direct sunlight may seem invigorating but may also be quite tiring.

Practice in a place with shade while opting for a beautiful view. Remember, the goal is to unwind and escape from the city’s hustle and bustle. Find a natural view and orient your practice towards it.

Outdoor yoga allows you to sink into your surroundings and feel at ease with nature while also enabling you to deepen your practice. Yoga is such an organic practice that it makes total sense to practice outdoors. If you’re a budding outdoor yogi, make sure to keep an eye out for new locations. Remember, the place where you om soothes body, mind and soul.

References:

http://materialscience.uoregon.edu/taylor/art/art1901-1LITE.pdf

noelle4 (1)

Noelle Rodriguez is the founder of LiFE, a yoga, music and art studio in the Philippines. There, she spends her days meeting creative people and devising ways to further innovate in the health and wellness industry. She also teaches yoga and coaches people to be their greatest selves. You can learn more about her at www.noellerodriguez.com. Visit LiFE for the first time here www.lifeyogacenter.com

Take this advanced yoga pose outdoors!  A tortoise loves the grass!!

Tortoise Pose – Kurmasana

Benefits: In this movement, the body takes on the shape of a tortoise with its limbs drawn in, symbolizing withdrawal of the senses, or pratyahara. When one draws the senses inward towards silence, the mind becomes calm and composed and the practitioner develops a sense of equanimity in all of life’s situations. On a purely physical level, the muscles that run the entire length of the spine receive a delicious stretch, while the abdominal organs receive a deep massage.

For Step by Step Instructions, Go Here.

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Greet the Sun: The Ultimate Guide to Healing Insomnia http://yoga.org.nz/blog/2016/greet-the-sun-the-ultimate-guide-to-healing-insomnia/ http://yoga.org.nz/blog/2016/greet-the-sun-the-ultimate-guide-to-healing-insomnia/#comments Tue, 12 Jan 2016 22:54:47 +0000 http://yoga.org.nz/?p=6951 A sunrise is a thing of beauty—unless it’s peering mockingly at you through your blinds after a sleepless night. In that case, the breaking dawn is an unpleasant reminder that your last chances for sleep are slipping away.

Insomnia can be frustrating—believe me, I know. I have been struggling with it for a year now, since the birth of my last son. Since then I have researched just about every possible cause and remedy, lucky for you!

I want to share with you a guide to sleeping better, coming from my own research and personal experience. Please keep in mind that I am not a doctor, and that seeing your doctor for a check-up and blood work can help you find the best treatment option.

Step 1: Find the Underlying Cause

What do you think is causing your insomnia? Are you stressed? Are your hormones imbalanced? Do you have a poor diet? When I first started having sleep problems, I did a little brainstorming. I knew I was post-partum and that I had additional mood changes. I began journaling and tracking my menstrual cycle and a pattern began to emerge; most of my insomnia was happening right when my estrogen levels peaked before ovulation. A daily health journal is a great way to keep track of your diet and exercise, and to identify potential triggers for your insomnia.

Step 2: Strive for Better Health

You may not be able to pinpoint exactly what is causing your sleep problems, which is why a holistic approach to healing is best. You might find that a few dietary and lifestyle changes are all that is needed to sleep better. Use the tips below to greatly improve your chances getting a good night’s sleep.

Wake early and exercise- I could have separated these into 2 points, but I chose to put them together because the combination of the 2 is doubly effective in combating insomnia. I find that my chances for sleep are the best when I have been up since the sunrise and have resisted the urge to take a nap during the day. Exercise has countless health benefits, including reducing inflammation which is an underlying cause of many illnesses. Exercise also helps tire the body so it doesn’t feel restless at night, especially if you sit at a desk for most of the day.

Try waking with the sunrise and doing several rounds of sun salutations. This should get your blood flowing while also getting you centered for the day.

Avoid overstimulation before bedtime- I know I will have trouble sleeping when I find my thoughts are churning close to bedtime. Overstimulation is a huge trigger for insomnia, so try to avoid any type of media or activity that gets your adrenaline pumping. Too much light from screens can also interfere with the release of your sleep hormone, melatonin. Try and dim the lights and avoid all screens at least an hour before you plan to go to bed.

Reduce stimulants and inflammatory foods- Its common sense to quit stimulants like caffeine all together when you are fighting insomnia, but a more mild caffeine such as green or white tea before noon should be fine. Consider trading your coffee for bone broth, it will give you energy as well as replenish your minerals.

Chronic inflammation in the body contributes to all sorts of illnesses. Eating a diet consisting of whole foods and avoiding known inflammatory foods like sugar (from processed foods), and alcohol can help reduce that inflammation and improve your health.

Support healthy hormones- For women, your monthly cycle is a reflection of your overall health. If you have PMS, painful or irregular periods, you may want to research ways to soothe and regulate your hormones. In my case, my hormones had everything to do with my insomnia. Reading up on the subject and tracking my cycle has been instrumental in my healing process.

Supplement magnesium- It’s been said that if you live in the modern world, you are probably deficient in magnesium. Entire books have been written about the wonders of this mineral, and it is highly recommended for improved sleep. Magnesium supports a healthy nervous system and may reduce anxiety. Try taking Magnesium in a form that is easy for your body to absorb, like Magnesium Glycinate. Be cautious when researching on your own and taking supplements; they can be just as powerful as prescription medication and can have interactions with other drugs. Start slow and start one new supplement at a time so you will know if you have a reaction to it.

A Word about Sleep Aids

Sometimes, you don’t have time to wait for your new healthy lifestyle to take effect—you need some sleep now. So what are your best options?

Prescription sleeping pills are notorious for having serious side effects that are ironically much worse than the insomnia itself. I have heard horror stories of sleep walking, making phone calls while asleep and feeling drowsy and out of it into the next day. I would urge you to avoid these if possible.

Low dose melatonin supplements are generally considered safe, but shouldn’t be used on a regular basis.

Diphenhydramine, also known as Benedryl or Z-Quil is an antihistamine that causes drowsiness in most people (for some it has the opposite effect). It is widely used and considered safe, but also should not be used on a regular basis.

It’s best to talk with your doctor about your options when it comes to sleep aids. Hopefully you will only have an occasional need for them, once your body starts thanking you for adopting a healthier lifestyle and better sleep habits.

Remember to listen to your body—it will tell you what it needs to sleep well, stop dreading the dawn, and meet each sunrise with a smile.

Can you gift yourself 4 minutes for a sweet Savasana? A favourite yoga pose that restores us, any time of day:

Short Relaxation – Savasana

Benefits: Savasana unites the mind, body, emotions and spiritual aspects of the self together. It relieves physical and mental fatigue and soothes the sympathetic nervous system.

For step by step Instructions, go here.

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Potato Salad – Make it Now with the Easy Recipe! http://yoga.org.nz/blog/2016/potato-salad-super-simple-recipe/ http://yoga.org.nz/blog/2016/potato-salad-super-simple-recipe/#comments Tue, 12 Jan 2016 22:37:41 +0000 http://yoga.org.nz/?p=6945 Its vegetarian, uses staple ingreadients found in any pantry and feeds a family on a budget.  Did I mention is happens to be delicious?!

Ingredients:

4 large potatoes

3 eggs

1 onion (red onion is better)

1/3 cup chopped green onions

1/3 cup chopped parsley

1/3 cup olive oil

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 Tablespoon vinegar (optional)

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 teaspoon red pepper

1/2 cup fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon Sumac (optional)

Method:

Cook the potatoes (until just tender) and eggs in gently boiling salted water.  Peel the potatoes and eggs, cut into smallish cubes and set aside in a bowl and dress while warm, with olive oil vinegar, fresh lemon juice, salt, sumac and pepper to taste, and Chop up the onion, green onions, parsley and add them to the bowl and mix gently.

Dont be an Egg!  Get started with meditation using this super relaxing, guided meditation!  

Meditation for Happiness – Dhyana

Benefits: This meditation will help you to come alive within your physical heart by deeply feeling the life force pumping vitality and life around your body. Transform emotions that do not serve you and open up to a deeper vibration of happiness within your body/mind. At an even deeper level, more fully realize how your practice is aligning your heart and your soul so that you are happier, healthier and more joyful with each day. Through meditation, visualization and affirmations uncover your truth, connect to your inner truth and shine as the co creator that you truly are.

For Step by Step Instructions, Visit here. 

 

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19 GREAT REASONS YOU’LL WANT TO YOGA OVER THE HOLIDAYS http://yoga.org.nz/blog/2015/19-great-reasons-youll-want-to-yoga-over-the-holidays/ http://yoga.org.nz/blog/2015/19-great-reasons-youll-want-to-yoga-over-the-holidays/#comments Tue, 15 Dec 2015 02:50:12 +0000 http://yoga.org.nz/?p=6700 For those of us submerged in the Western culture of Christmas and New Year celebrations, it can be tempting to miss your practice over the holidays.  Busy timetables, distant relatives, lots of travel, there are many things to raise the tension over the holidays and there will always be excuses to miss your practice (see 22 TOP EXCUSES TO MISS YOUR YOGA PRACTICE, PLUS 7 TELLING OFF’S AND 7 INFALLIBLE WAYS TO MAKE IT HAPPEN!).   With the bigger picture in mind, it makes sense to decide on your holiday practice, make a resolve to stick to and JUST DO IT!  Keep in mind these reasons to Yoga over the holidays.

Yogic Eating

  • Avoid headaches!  Inversions after over indulging in food or alcohol could send the toxins rushing to your head.  Stay clean for a painless vacation.

  • Staying near as possible to your regular mindful, healthy eating and you won’t be as vulnerable to ingesting as many toxic sugary foods and alcohol at parties.

  • You get to share and inspire others with healthy, hearty meals. Stuck for ideas? How about this tasty 13 minute side dish Vegetable Quinoa 

Physical

  • Be ready to keep building on your practice in 2014 without needing to regain what you lost over the holidays.

  • Keep Energized!  Even if you burn the candle at both ends during the silly season, your yoga practice can uplift you in minutes.  Sun salutes anyone?

  • Strength moves like planks, soak up excess blood glucose from sugary treats and alcohol.  Try crocodile pose to increase your insulin sensitivity (that’s a good thing;) 

  • Dare to be different! -Get healthier instead of bloated and lethargic over Christmas.

  • Brrrrrr if you live in a wintry Christmas climate then keep moving with flows to keep your internal heating boosted!

Mental

  • Why undo good habits and cause a struggle for you to get back into routine? Just stick with it!  Try this super feel good morning practice to keep things going

  • Look forward to the well-deserved sense of pride and achievement that comes from sticking to what you know’s best for you.

  • Yoga gives you a clear and strong mind when socializing with people that may not share your healthy lifestyle choices.

Emotional

  • Be Happy!  Yogic breathe to stay calm and centered. 

  • Yoga is a great excuse for some ‘me’ time during the chaos!  Treat yourself and easily squeeze in an express practice to soothe your soul.

  • Be less reactive to unavoidable visitors when irritation arises.

  • Hanging out with your Yoga pals during the festive period is a great way to ground yourself. Stay in touch,  inspire others whilst sharing your joys and frustrations on our Facebook page

  • Whilst the holiday experiences and elated emotions come and go, yoga is your friend for life.  Don’t neglect your constant companion these holidays!

Spiritual

  •  With all the external stimuli it would be easy to lose focus of your true nature over the holidays.  Keep your practice, and use online guided meditations to treat yourself to an internal holiday sanctuary every day of the year.

  • Share the gift of Yoga.  Treat enthusiastic friends or family to a shared practice and contribute to their health and the global spread of Yoga and expansion of consciousness J

  • Why throw away the full benefits of your established practice?  Patanjali writes of spiritual maturity being reached when you have a practice that remains uninterrupted,  that you do not stray from, no matter what life brings (Sutras 13 and 14, Four Chapters on Freedom, Swami Satyananda Saraswati, Yoga Publications Trust)

Not everybody celebrates Christmas and New Year.  We can all treat each and every day as sacred and celebratory by remaining true to our Yoga Journeys, showing compassion towards ourselves and others and remaining unaffected by all the hype.  Yoga.  Not just for Christmas.

Yogasync Me!  Commit to gift yourself this yoga class three times a week and see how you breeze through the festivities!

Pick Me Up Yoga!

Join The Conversation:  How do you sneak your Yoga into the Holidays?

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Would You Wear Period Jewelry? http://yoga.org.nz/blog/2015/would-you-wear-period-jewelry/ http://yoga.org.nz/blog/2015/would-you-wear-period-jewelry/#comments Mon, 07 Dec 2015 08:06:22 +0000 http://yoga.org.nz/?p=6942 Menstruation brooches, rings, cuffs, and other sparkly trinkets are being created by London designer Lili Murphy-Johnson. The sparkle-lover in me is enchanted by the idea, the Menstrual Advocate wants to ponder this and go a little deeper…

“The idea came from me dealing with my own PMS,” Murphy-Johnson, 22, toldMashable. “The irritability and anxiety that I felt was stopping me from being able to think of ideas for a jewelry collection, so I decided to start by replicating these PMS symptoms into jewelry to get me started.”

I’m delighted by the creativity, yet am concerned by the way it is portrayed:
“There are lots of downsides to having your period – cramps, discomfort and pain among them” says Stuff – Life & Style “but a British designer has come up with an idea to improve things. Period jewelry… The young designer hopes the collection will change taboos around menstruation”

The message here is clear: periods are ‘bad’ things with many ‘downsides’ yet adding a little sparkle will change all that… The article continues: “Murphy-Johnson’s collection is a nod to those frustrating, messy leaks that women either endure or live in fear of during the average 450 periods they get in their lifetime.” Again, we are directed to think of the “frustrating messy leaks” as the epitome of menstruation, which alas can’t be controlled or changed, or so we are led to believe by ‘Stuff’ writer.

Lili Murphy-Johnson says: “I think a lot of people still find talking about menstruation difficult. A lot of people think it’s gross when people do talk about menstruation. I think the stigma of it is so ingrained in our culture that even if people know it’s logically not gross, it’s still difficult to feel comfortable about it.”

I would have like to see the conversation go deeper, wider… Why is menstruation “logically not gross?” What is the actual substance of menstruation? Why should women be empowered by it? These essential questions are not asked, neither answered, by jewelry wearing.

Period jewelry is lovely,
yet it needs to be an artistic beginning, not an end result!

“I hope it can give a space for people to talk about it” says Murphy-Johnson “if it can change anyone’s perceptions that would be great.” It’s hard to build a positive tower on negative foundations. Rather than period Jewelry in itself changing anyone’s perceptions, education is needed to accompany it. Otherwise why would any girl or woman want to boast jewelry that depicts what she thinks of as trash?

What are Your thoughts?

Would you wear Period Jewelry? And is wearing it enough to change negative cultural tides?

Fondly known as ‘Womb Visionary’, DeAnna has been transforming lives worldwide for over 25 years, teaching women and girls how to love themselves unconditionally! She helps women dissolve PMS symptoms by drawing spiritual strength from their cycle; guides women in the art of welcoming girls to empowered womanhood, and inspires women to hold Red Tents in their communities. Visit her at: www.deannalam.com

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Is This The Reason Gyms Always Force a Contract but Yoga Doesn’t? http://yoga.org.nz/blog/2015/daydreaming-of-yoga-ah-youre-addicted-in-the-best-way/ http://yoga.org.nz/blog/2015/daydreaming-of-yoga-ah-youre-addicted-in-the-best-way/#comments Fri, 04 Dec 2015 14:24:03 +0000 http://yoga.org.nz/?p=607 Daydreaming of Yoga? Ah, You’re Addicted in The Best Way

One of the main differences between people who go to the gym and those who practice yoga is that the latter do it because they like it. Now, there may be some kind of study done to back this fact but you don’t need statistics to know that it is true.

Is There Peace and Joy?

Just look at the people in a gym. They are all sweating, grunting, grimacing and generally looking quite miserable. Now, look at the people in a yoga studio. You will see serene, beatific smiles, smooth and graceful movements and most of them look good or comfortable even with all the sweat dripping. Of course, you may observe one or two faces, showing signs of strain when doing some of the more difficult poses, and you can tell the beginners from the regulars. It’s also likely that you hear the teacher often saying relax, smile, remember to breathe or don’t clench your teeth.
The only common factor between a gym and the yoga studio is sweat but the yogis seem to be enjoying it.
You exercise because you have to. You do yoga because you like to.

Is it Healthy Gym Body VS Healthy Yoga Life?

Search for motivation and exercise online, and you will find many books, blogs, articles, sports gear and videos that’ll give you arguments ranging from the rational to the innovative, such as losing weight to fitting into a smaller size dress. Why? That’s because the widely accepted notion is that nobody enjoys exercise. You do it for a reason, to stay healthy, to look good or lose weight. Well, this is where yoga and most people who practice yoga regularly, differ. They do it because they enjoy it. They look forward to the hour and a half or so of daily activity if not with pleasure at least not with dread or dislike. They don’t need excuses. It seems like the most natural thing to do.
It defies reason.

Naturally Dedicated to Your Practice, Willfully and With Gladness

When you are extremely dependent on something and feel out of sorts without it, it becomes an addiction. Most regular practitioners feel this way when they have not had their daily dose of yoga.
The risk of doing Yoga regularly is that it tends to grow into an addiction. Not initially, though it has been known to happen in some cases, but over a period of time, practising yoga makes you want to do it regularly. Is this a good thing?
Well, there’s hardly any downside to doing yoga. It’s like playing a sport you like. It’s even better. Unlike many sports, the chances of injury or pain are minimal when you do yoga.

Om For Yoga!

You will find people who like to play or run but you will rarely find people who like to exercise for the sake of it. Is this why gyms often charge monthly memberships while you can drop-in to a yoga studio and pay for just one class? Perhaps the yoga teacher expects you to return while the health club or gym trainer knows you won’t unless you are forced to or motivated by membership to.

Yogasync Me!  Here at Yogasync we know that an aware person can have a gym practice that is skilfully and mindfully executed as its own ‘Yoga’.  We also know that many gym goers slack on correct integration and alignment, and even pass on stretching…leading to injuries and imbalances.  Using Yogasync brings new awareness to the stalest of gym workouts, by bringing new intelligence to body movements.  Its so simple you wont believe what you’ve been missing out on! Not convinced? Then try this FREE introduction to the Yogasync style and become someone who can take their yoga into the gym, for even more gains in strength, size and tone.

Yes, Astound Me With Simple Alignment Cues That Make a HUGE Difference to My Body!

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Wanted Dead or Alive – A Guru http://yoga.org.nz/blog/2015/wanted-dead-or-alive/ http://yoga.org.nz/blog/2015/wanted-dead-or-alive/#comments Thu, 03 Dec 2015 15:25:33 +0000 http://yoga.org.nz/?p=660 Life-Changing Teachers

Finding or being drawn to an excellent teacher, no less a true guru, is a great boon and often life-changing. Whether you are following the footprints of a teacher no longer on the earth plane or basking in the physical presence or a living guru, you have likely reached a turning point in your growth and development as a human being, as a yogi, as a soul.

Nevertheless, travelers on the spiritual path, especially relative new-comers, sometimes puzzle over whether they are missing out if they haven’t arrived at the feet of a physically living teacher. Even in my own family, there is disagreement about which is preferable; my sister, an accomplished alternative healer, has consistently sought out an exemplar she can touch and speak to, while I have never seen my guru in the flesh.

Pros and Cons of Living Teachers

Like everything else in the kingdom of maya (our commonly perceived and dualistic world), there are pros and cons to consider. There is a certain logic in the fact that a student of physical phenomena and techniques, such as my sister, would want to witness the physical example provided by a teacher who shares the same three dimensions that she does.

Is there a better way to learn yoga asanas than to have them dynamically demonstrated before one’s eyes? Hard to imagine! Not only are the nuances of positioning—lowered shoulders, expanded rib cage—easily perceived, but there is a natural inclination to generalize from the example of the teacher to oneself. As the old adage goes, seeing is believing and the incontrovertible evidence in front of you leads to the conclusion, “If he can do it, I can do it”.

One frequently experienced negative of following a leader incarnate in a human body is the fact that they can be just as much heir to the ills of the flesh as you are. While they may have reached adepthood in mastery of their own body or have an uncanny ability to convey spiritual principles to their students, development in other areas may lag or at least clash with your ideals. Sexual peccadilloes, a penchant for luxury cars, or a tender ego can be a cold wake-up call and hard to integrate with the benefit you have received.

Following Masters of the Past

In discussing the pros and cons of a guru not currently available in physical form, I suspect I will part company with folks who set reason and the evidence of the senses as their standard of truth. In fact, they also part company with traditional yogic philosophy; in the classic example of a rope mistaken in the gloom for a snake, the Sutras of Patanjali teach us that the senses are unreliable. There is another mode of perception, an inner eye whose light is essential life force and whose object may be a guru not present to the physical eye. To meet one’s teacher in this classroom is in itself a powerful lesson in the scope of reality. With a graciousness that exceeds understanding, a guru whose time on earth will quickly pass leaves breadcrumbs for his future devotees to follow: these may be writings, devotional practices, or disciples who outlive the master and embody his or her teachings.

Unfortunately, it is far easier to over-idealize a teacher who is not standing right in front of you. Imagination is sometimes the enemy of genuine spiritual experience. A true guru is not seeking to be idolized, but emulated, does not desire to see his individualized reflection in others but is fiercely dedicated to liberating his chelas from obsessive attachment to their own ego-image. Most of us have a tendency to put our heroes on a pedestal and there is only room for one up there. This is not following; it is abrogating one’s responsibility to become.

In weighing the pros and cons, we can rest easy in the thought that all great teachers and gurus, “living or dead”, hold one thing in common. Their gift to us is bringing our concentration and consciousness firmly into the present moment: this posture, this breath. All temporal disadvantages of how or who we follow are outweighed by this power to introduce us to the eternal now

Yogasync Me!  Move towards the yogis or yogini’s ultimate goal, of resting fully and lovingly in this one and only present moment.

Fierce Grace Yoga

 

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Yoga: Sweet Respite for the Weary Parent http://yoga.org.nz/blog/2015/yoga-sweet-respite-for-the-weary-parent/ http://yoga.org.nz/blog/2015/yoga-sweet-respite-for-the-weary-parent/#comments Thu, 03 Dec 2015 02:00:35 +0000 http://yoga.org.nz/?p=2510 Whether you are a working or stay-at-home parent, sometimes it feels like everything you do is for someone else. Working moms and dads are often on their boss’s watch all day, tending to their needs, only to come home and take care of children, spouses and housework.  Stay-at-home parents often say they have completely forgotten the meaning of “me time.” When you are constantly serving others, it’s easy to feel like a prisoner in your own life; it’s as if you’ve been robbed of your free will.  If you are not careful, resentment can start to build towards the loved ones you so generously give yourself to.  So what can you do to feel better?

The answer is fairly simple: You must take some time each day or week to do something just for you.

Yoga is a great way to clear your mind of mental clutter while enjoying some peaceful solitude. You can practice in a private room in your house with headphones on if you are already familiar with the asanas, or you can attend a yoga class. The calm and quiet atmosphere of a yoga class is a welcome change from noisy, rambunctious kids or chattering co-workers.  Yoga practice allows you to gently direct your attention to the present moment, where there is peace and space.  Let your worries, stress and anxiety melt away as you stretch your muscles and focus your mind.

Relish in the beauty and stillness of your own spirit.

Treating your body to a good workout combined with quiet meditation can feel incredibly refreshing and leave you with a renewed sense of energy.  However, it is important to note that yoga is not the only option for taking some “me time.” You can take a long walk to the park, see a movie alone or wander around an art museum.  In fact, the more time you spend doing different things for yourself, the more you will appreciate the time you spend at work and with your family. When you exercise your free-will, the feeling of being “trapped” diminishes and is replaced by love and gratitude.

Yogasync Me!  Need an express practice?  The experts at Yogasync have helped out by preparing these10-30 minute sequences.  All you have to do is pick one that appeals to you today and press play!

Quickie Me Time Here

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Are You a Phony Yogi? http://yoga.org.nz/blog/2015/are-you-a-phony-yogi/ http://yoga.org.nz/blog/2015/are-you-a-phony-yogi/#comments Fri, 06 Nov 2015 03:13:10 +0000 http://yoga.org.nz/?p=2519 Today is like any other Saturday for Kansas City-based yoga instructor Magen Casterline-Hayes. Preparing for class, she unrolls her mat, dims the lights and reaches for the lavender-scented essential oil to pass around. To her students, she is the picture of balance and serenity. Behind her own eyes, she feels she is anything but.

“I had a few drinks on Wednesday, ate half a bag of processed potato chips on Thursday…and last night I lost my temper and yelled at my daughter.  Sometimes I just feel like a phony yogi!”

Central to yoga philosophy is Patanjali’s Eightfold Path, or ashtanga—literally meaning “8 Limbs.” They are meant to serve as guidelines for how to live your life in a healthful and meaningful way. Among them are ethical standards such as truthfulness and abstaining from jealous thoughts, as well as rules for self-discipline such as the regular practice of meditation.  So what happens when you step outside these guidelines every now and then, or on a daily basis? Should you still show your face in class?

            “Yeah…I have broken every single one of those limbs at one time or another,”

“I have come to accept the fact that I’m not perfect.”

Magen says that when she starts to mentally judge herself in class, .she shifts her thoughts to how she can help her students achieve what they want and need from the practice. She also feels she is not the only harsh self-critic, and that many people shy away from practicing yoga because they feel they don’t fit the yogic image.

            “Today’s cliché yogi is skinny, vegan, and never yells or drinks alcohol…only herbal tea.  I think some people think yoga is not for them because they are over-weight, smoke cigarettes or make other unhealthy choices in their lives…and that is a shame. Yoga is beneficial to any lifestyle.”

At the end of the day, maybe yoga is not meant to chide you for your weaknesses, but to create a peaceful space for self-love and acceptance. Human beings are never perfect, and if they were, then why would we need something like yoga in our lives? Yoga isn’t a platform for self-judgment and criticism; it is simply an ever-present pathway back to our true selves.

Magen feels that yoga teachers tend to attract their students and likewise. She enjoys teaching multi-level classes to bring in a diverse group of students.

            “I think that is why my classes are often filled with people of all shapes and sizes. We all have something to learn from each other and I want everyone to feel welcome.”

Yogasync Me!  No image required for this sample from Week One of the Yogasync Beginners Course:

Beginners Yoga

 

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