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Restorative Yoga – Relax, Restore, Renew

Restorative Yoga – Relax, Restore, Renew

Yoga has the ability to create bliss on many levels – physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. The key to this state can come from a variety of practices, but one form seems to stand out when it comes to relaxation. Restorative yoga uses long, supported holds to relax the body and restore the nervous system, which has the ability to open doors to the subconscious mind. We look to answer a few questions you may have about restorative yoga and how you are able to benefit from this healing practice.   How is restorative yoga different? There are different styles of restorative yoga, but generally they all have the same intention. Restorative yoga uses props to support the body, meaning there is no physical effort or strain in maintaining a pose. In fact, it is encouraged to be in complete relaxation. If there’s any intensity, sensitivity or pain then it’s important to ease out or provide more support using props. If the pose is not supported, the body unconsciously holds tension to protect your joints, ligaments, tendons and muscles. This can prevent the nervous system from entering it’s relaxation phase, known as the parasympathetic response. In a deep restorative yoga practice, you may relax in a pose for 10 minutes or longer. Moving quickly from one pose to another can disrupt the relaxation response, which makes patience and timing essential to a restorative yoga practice.   How does restorative yoga affect the nervous system? During everyday life, we are constantly bombarded with stimuli from our environment. For most of us, we’re operating with a fight-or-flight response, a.k.a. the stress...
Connection Celebration Meditation Yoga

Connection Celebration Meditation Yoga

Connection Celebration Meditation Yoga. Everyone has their own interpretation for the individual experience, or collective experiences, that relate to these values. Although each word can be explained in a unique way, there is a unified nature in their meaning. A meditation yoga experience can include many ways to connect and celebrate, whether that’s to yourself or to others. Connection: A meditation yoga practice can create connection to your highest self. It’s important to connect to more than asana (or poses), but to all that yoga encompasses. This includes our awareness of our breath, which can connect us to deep, inner stillness and true bliss. Cultivating these qualities can make big differences on and off the mat. This awareness causes us to avoid those outer distractions – that way, focus can remain on what is truly important in life. Celebration: After the fun and connection with friends and family over the holidays, it can be difficult to go back to “normal” life. As corny as it may sound, every day is an opportunity to celebrate. Celebration can be as simple as being grateful for the life and the learning experiences that come our way – even sharing the same connection to the human experience can be a cause to celebrate! A sense of community can be created through a shared experience of mindfulness, connection, and celebration. Meditation and yoga can be a great way to create a deeper connection with yourself and others.     Looking for ways to connect and celebrate through a meditation yoga practice to welcome the new year? Invite new beginnings for 2015 by joining us...
Gratitude

Gratitude

Psychology Today defines gratitude as an emotion expressing appreciation for what one has. They also refer to studies that show how cultivating gratitude can increase our well-being and happiness. So how can you cultivate gratitude or what makes it so important? When we take time out of our busy lives and reflect on what we are grateful for, we are setting an intention for ourselves. This intention for gratitude takes away from simple wants and needs, which allows a person to feel fulfilled. It creates the space for the realization of what is truly important in life. Gratitude can be the smallest of things, even waking up in the morning and thinking “I am so grateful for this warm bed.” Sometimes when life gets hectic, we forget about the little things. We may even get so caught up, we forget about our gratitude for the bigger picture – friends, family and loved ones. So how do we cultivate gratitude? It may be simpler than you think. You can even reflect on gratitude when you are in a frustrating situation. For instance, the next time you’re in line at the grocery store, reflect on the gratitude for the items in your basket; the ability to afford groceries is also something to be very grateful for. Looking at ways you can create light in every situation will help you find a deeper connection to gratitude in your...
The Importance of Small Yoga Classes

The Importance of Small Yoga Classes

It is only in recent history that public classes have been popularized and relevant in yoga. Many of the traditional teachings were translated orally from teacher to student. Notice the wording there – teacher to student. The recent phenomenon of public classes are a long stretch from the private teachings of previous traditions; however, there are still many benefits in taking public yoga classes. The important difference to realize is the significance of small yoga classes. 1.) Personal attention In previous traditions, a one-on-one experience guaranteed that the practice was developed for the student. In small yoga classes this attention can still be given and evenly distributed to all students. In a class with 20+ people you will simply not be able to ensure quality or safety for all individuals. 2.) Community In larger classes it’s nearly impossible to get to know other students, let alone your own teacher. Small yoga classes ensure you have the opportunity to have personal attention while getting to know your teacher. This also allows you to bring up questions and concerns about your practice without having to put your name on a waitlist. 3.) Knowing their priorities Many studios trade the benefits of small yoga classes to create income. If a studio has small yoga classes, they are willing to give up profits in exchange for student well-being. In the yoga community, I think there is something to be said when you are willing to maintain your integrity to create a quality yoga experience for students. In modern yoga, it’s often we get lost in a crowd. Choosing the right space for your...
Yoga Vocabulary

Yoga Vocabulary

By Emily Kane – Studio owner and member of Yogacara Teacher Training staff Yoga Vocabulary As a yoga teacher our vocabulary speaks volumes about our ability to lead with compassion and awareness. There are certain yoga vocabulary and phrases that should be avoided in the context of a yoga class but not everyone is aware of this taboo. 1.)   Push or shove Unfortunately many people still use these words when teaching a class. If you look up this term in the dictionary the synonyms are assault, attack and force – just to name a few. A careful choice of words allows the teacher to embrace Ahimsa – a non-harming principle included inthe moral codes of yoga known as the Yamas.   To read the rest of Yoga Vocabulary, check out the Yogacara Yoga Teacher Training...
The Kundalini Yoga Experience | Yogacara Studios

The Kundalini Yoga Experience | Yogacara Studios

by Janet Ward, E-RYT Lead Teacher 200 Yoga Teacher Training Welcome to the Kundalini Yoga Experience.  It is the year of the Snake, a perfect time to dive deeper into the mystery, magic, meaning and music of Kundalini energy. This bio-electric elemental creative life force energy is in everything. In every person it has its own intelligence, its own unique fingerprint frequency. Kundalini yoga and meditation can connect us deeply to our inner guru.  Yogi Bhajan who brought this technology westward from India in the late sixites was a Sikh and in the Sikh religion there are no more gurus.  The only guru is the Guru Granth Sahib – the holy book of the Sikh religion which contains wisdom from many traditions and is a beautiful testament to peace, love and greatness. When Kundalini is awakened there is an experience of self- knowledge revealing an inner light.  Paradoxically, this experience of light can include a surrender to what Christians call the dark night of the soul. In surrender to this spiritual trial we ultimately find the union, the oneness of Yoga and we become more sensitive, refined and intuitive. There are myriad ways to activate Kundalini energy; Yoga, pranayam, meditation, visualization, chanting, dancing, Shaktipat (the touch of a master) , fasting and other austerities, koans, self-inquiry, sex.  We are fortunate to have techniques to ground the radical experience of Kundalini awakening. As Shakti awakens and enters each chakra she sets it spinning.  Its elements dissolve and she rises up. Chi, Ki, Ruach, Manna, Ache, Elan Vitale, Fuerza Vitale, Holy Spirit, Kung, Kukulkan, Quetzalcoatl – these are all names for the...
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