Friday, December 30, 2011

Next Up? A New Year

For many years I have tossed around the idea of doing B.K.S. Iyengar's asana courses, Appendix 1 of "Light on Yoga."  The courses detail 300+ weeks of personal practice, as if one were studying asana for the first time all the way to an advanced practitioner.

Michael Jordan was asked what he was thinking about as he was dribbling and shooting a basketball.  He said he was thinking of the fundamentals, the skills he learned first.  Being a teacher, and a long-time yoga student, the fundamentals are still important.  I decided to do Iyengar's course, starting from the beginning.  I started it on Monday, December 26.  I felt inspired; why wait 'til the new year?

Our lives can be seen as an onion whereby we continually move from this level to a deeper one, learning the next lesson, the next peel of the onion.  When we are consciously students, we learn more.  To consciously be a student, we need guidance.  Sometimes we guide ourselves, at other times someone else does the guiding.  This time, Iyengar will provide the guidance.  In doing his asana course, I will be learning another level, another peel of the onion, of the postures.  In turn, I will be learning about myself in the postures.

I have the audiobook by Stephen Levine, "A Year to Live."  It is an awesome audiobook!  I have been very busy and have lost a bit of myself, the last year or so.  This year, 2012, I am taking my life back! Committing to such a long program is a bit daunting, to say the least!  LOL  But I will learn more about myself, as well as the postures.  My goal is to commit to the first year of the course.  I'll see what happens at the end of the year.

The first two weeks of the course contain postures, all of which I have, obviously, done before.  They are: tadasana (mountain pose), vrksasana (tree pose), utthita trikonasana (triangle pose), utthita parsvakonasana (extended side angle pose), virabhadrasana I and II (warrior 1 and 2 poses), parsvottanasana (pyramid pose), salamba sarvangasana (supported shoulderstand), halasana (plow pose), and savasana (corpse pose).

I can't wait to see what I will learn!  And if anyone wants to join me in this endeavor, I'd love the company!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Yoga Challenge - Day 21 - The End???

Hello Faithful Challengers,

Today was a fine day.  I did 1 1/2 hours of asana, 20 minutes of meditation, and 40 minutes of yoga nidra.

Some of you have told me about the difference this Challenge has made in your life.  I am thrilled for you!!!  And, I am very proud of you for sticking with it.  You inspire me.  I've had a great deal of fun hearing from you and experiencing the Challenge along with you.  Although I said the Challenge was 21 days long, I actually planned for 22 days.  I did this to say that just because the Challenge is 21 days long, that doesn't mean your practice has to end.  So, I challenge you to take this a step further.  Take your practice from 21 days to 22 days and beyond.  You have had a chance to feel the difference a consistent practice can make in your lives in just 21 days.  How much more can you do for yourself?  How big a difference can a long-term, consistent practice make for you?  Now that you know what it can do for you and for your life, how can you not continue?

Feel free to use the Facebook discussion page and wall to tell me and each other about your practice, or you can email me.  Feel free to ask questions!  I'll still tell you about my practice here and there during blog posts and newsletters.  (If you haven't signed up for the newsletter, there is a link on the website and the blog site, or you can ask me to add you to the list.)  Whatever you do, don't stop your practice!  You've got a jump on it; keep it going!  This won't be the last challenge, even for this year, but don't stop and wait for another challenge to get back into your practice.  You are worth it!


Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Yoga Challenge - Day 20 - Today's Practice

Hi Yogis,

WOW!  Day 20 has come so quickly!  I hope you have been having a good time with the challenge.  Today, my practice consisted of 1 hour 10 minutes of asana and 20 minutes of meditation.

"See" you tomorrow!


Monday, March 28, 2011

Yoga Challenge - Day 19 - Today's Practice

Hello Challengers,

Today's practice was 20 minutes of asana, 20 minutes of yoga nidra, and 15 minutes of meditation.


Sunday, March 27, 2011

Yoga Challenge - Day 18 - Yoga and Aristotle

Hello Fellow Challengers,

Today was a fairly busy day with class this morning and busy work around the house.  I moved some things and cleared out some clutter.  You have to get the old out to get the new in.  Or, as Aristotle once proposed, "nature abhors a vacuum."

That idea can apply to your yoga practice as well.  It is easy to get stuck in a yoga practice rut, doing the same thing every day, not challenging yourself.  When you don't challenge yourself, you don't grow.  When you do the same practice every day, you might become bored and drop your personal practice altogether.  If you challenge yourself to practice a pose you find difficult, for example, you might find yourself becoming more at ease in that pose.  You might even come to like a pose you didn't think you ever would!  Try some new music, or no music at all.  You get the idea.  Let go of your standard daily practice and add something new every now and then; change things up and see what it brings into your life.

Today I challenged myself with a bunch of forearm and "regular" plank poses, and other arm-strengthening poses.  My arms might be a bit sore tomorrow, but I will have achieved something in the process, and not just stronger arms and back.  I will have achieved just a little more self-confidence because I challenged myself.  My practice today was 45 minutes of asana and 25 minutes of meditation.

Keep challenging yourself!


Saturday, March 26, 2011

Yoga Challenge - Day 17 - Short and Sweet

Today's blog post will be short and sweet as I am ready to go to bed!  I did 25 minutes of asana and 10 minutes of meditation.

I hope you all had great Saturdays!


Friday, March 25, 2011

Yoga Challenge - Day 16 - I Can't Believe It!

Hi Fellow Yogis,

What I can't believe is that it is the 16th day of our challenge.  The 16th day!  It is insane how quickly time passes. What I want to remind all of you of is that time does pass quickly.  Procrastination or apathy isn't an option if you are going to look at the last month, the last year, or your entire life wishing you would have done things differently.  So start doing those things that are truly important now, not later, not tomorrow, and especially not the tomorrow that never comes.  We are born with the understanding that we will not be alive in our human bodies forever, and we won't know until it is too late when our time will run out.  So live like you don't have the time, because you really don't.  LIVE a FAN-FREAKIN'-TASTIC life!  Make certain you enjoy your days on this earth.

Today I enjoyed 30 minutes of asana and 15 minutes of meditation.  What did you enjoy?


Thursday, March 24, 2011

Yoga Challenge - Day 15 - Keepin' On

Hello Challengers,

Today was a day to keep on keepin' on.  It was a busy day in Reno, helping my partner at the hospital (he had an outpatient procedure) and we were not able to get back to Incline Village due to the snow and the closing of Mt. Rose Highway and I-80.  Due to my inability to get back up the hill, tomorrow's 7:30 and 9:00 a.m. classes are canceled. Hopefully, I will be able to get back up the hill tomorrow morning and won't have to cancel the 12:15 meditation or the 6:00 p.m. Rock 'n Roll Yoga.

Today, I did 35 minutes of asana and 15 minutes of meditation.  I was able to do my practice in spite of the events of the day only because I was determined to do what is best for me.  There are few times when we are truly not able to do what is in our best interests.  We only have to pay attention and treat ourselves with the love and care we deserve.  You are important and you deserve your best!


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Yoga Challenge - Day 14

Hello Fellow Yogis,

Today was a fun day!  I did 1 hour of asana, 20 minutes of yoga nidra, and 20 minutes of meditation.  I also went to a new knitting group and met some really nice ladies.  It's always nice to meet people who like the same things you do.  I can't wait to knit with them again!

I hope you all had great days, as well, and are enjoying your practices.


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Yoga Challenge - Day 13 - A Lucky Day!

Hello Challengers!  Today was a busy day, but a good day.  I had a nice conversation with my Feng Shui Consultant, Gail Hill of Feng Shui Element in Incline Village, where I live and have Awareness Village.  We made some changes to the studio, that feel really good.  There will be some more changes in the studio space soon, as I am able to get what I need to get.

I also did 25 minutes of asana and 20 minutes of meditation.

Rock on!


Monday, March 21, 2011

Yoga Challenge - Days 11 and 12 - Back on Track

Hello Challengers!  Yesterday I wasn't feeling well and actually didn't do my practice.  In the morning I felt like I could do a gentle, restorative practice, but kept putting it off and I didn't get it done.  I think I'm like most people who intend to do something first thing in the morning, then put it off and it never happens.  Obviously it is best to get things done as soon as possible.  Of course, what's even better, especially with a daily practice, is to do it at the same time every day.  That way, after it becomes a habit, your mind and body get clued in to what is going on and you get the most benefit.  At a time like this, though, you can only let the past go, concentrate on this very moment and do the best you can do, right here, right now.

Today I was feeling much better!  This morning I cranked out 65 minutes of asana and 35 minutes of meditation.  I am back on track!


Sunday, March 20, 2011

Yoga Challenge - Days 9 and 10 - Two for the Price of One

Hello All.  I realized this morning that i didn't blog last night. Oops, sorry about that!  I did NOT however, forget to practice.  Yesterday, I did 1 1/2 hours asana, 40 minutes of yoga nidra, and 20 minutes of meditation.  Today, due to a lack of time, my practice consisted of 20 minutes asana and 10 minutes meditation.  Hope you all have had a great day.  See you tomorrow!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Yoga Challenge - Day 8 - It Was a Great Day!

Today was a great day!  I am having an equally great, and busy, evening, so today's blog post will be short.  My practice consisted of 5 minutes of pranayama, 90 minutes of asana, and 15 minutes of meditation.  It was a really nice practice.  I felt refreshed, relaxed and serene afterward.

I hope all of you had a great day, and, if you didn't, you can find at least one thing that was great.


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Yoga Challenge - Day 7 - Constancy

Good evening!  I hope all is well with all of you and yours and that you are having fun with this Yoga Challenge. Today, I did 40 minutes of yoga nidra, 10 minutes of pranayama, 45 minutes of asana, and 20 minutes of meditation.

I was thinking this afternoon what I might want to write about today.  The idea of constancy popped into my head. To be constant is to be steadfast, stable and to act with a sense of resolve.  Only when you apply constancy to your personal yoga practice can you really reap the benefits of yoga and meditation in your body, mind, spirit, and, ultimately, in your life.  There is no other way!  Sure you may feel great after a weekly class, but that quality of "great" you feel is fleeting.  What if it were possible to absorb the benefits of yoga and feel those benefits more consistently over a greater period of time?  It is possible, if you have constancy in your personal yoga practice. Without constancy, there is no way to acquire the physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual benefits of yoga over the long term.

The best way to be constant is to practice, no surprise there.  This takes a continued commitment to you practice; it's not just a one-time event.    Before establishing your practice, it is helpful to think about the "why" of your practice.  What are you hoping to gain from your practice?  Your purpose, your "why," will help you craft or design your practice.  Reviewing your purpose, seeing that end goal, and contemplating your "why," will help you develop the constancy needed to reap the full benefits of your personal yoga practice.  Reviewing your purpose will help you challenge yourself when you get stuck in a rut or any time you become distracted away from your goals. When you apply constancy to your practice, you will be on your way to a new body, a new mind and a renewed spirit.


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Yoga Challenge - Day 6 - Requesting a Do-Over

Good evening, fellow yogis!  I did 35 minutes of asana and 10 minutes of meditation today.  How is it going with your practice?  If you feel distracted from your goals, which you might experience right around now, just do what the ancient yogis and meditators did, begin again.  That's right, just put your expectations aside, forget about the past, and any failures you feel your might have perpetrated against yourself, and begin again.  Whatever has happened, it was in the past, it's done.  All you have is this moment right now.  This moment is all that matters, so just begin again.

One time about six or seven years ago, when I had been feeling particularly crappy about my life, I was meditating.  The words "begin again" popped into my head as if someone was yelling them at me.  That has been the most profound lesson of my life to date.  "Begin again" doesn't give you free license to be mediocre at everything you try, that would require a different lesson.  What it does give you is permission to be compassionate with yourself and the peace of mind that sometimes, even with our best intentions, we don't quite meet the marks we set for ourselves.  We can request, and take, a do-over any time we need to.

Tomorrow marks the seventh day of the Challenge, and the completion of the first of three weeks.  Take a look at your practice and see how you have been doing with the challenge and make any adjustments you need to make.  If you need to begin anything again, then begin again.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Yoga Challenge - Day 5

Hello Challengers!  Today was a busy day of bookkeeping for a friend, an appointment and teaching.  I took the opportunity for 5 minutes of pranayama, 25 minutes of asana, and 20 minutes of meditation, which really cleared my brain!

I also took time out to get some containers for the goods I plan to make while moving toward adopting a zero waste lifestyle.  (I am inspired!)  I also bought two books, and created a meetup group called Zero Waste Tahoe.  Those who are interested in coming to group meetings to support each other in this endeavor (you don't have to be perfect!) can go to the meetup group site here  I'm excited about the chance to meet others who are interested in this idea, as well!

Well, I guess that's all for today and I'll "see" you tomorrow!


Sunday, March 13, 2011

Yoga Challenge - Day 4 - Keepin' That Promise

I was very tired today, but still kept my promise to myself and to all of you.  I did 35 minutes of asana and 15 minutes of meditation.  It was a mellow, more gentle practice, suitable for a tired girl, and I was pleased to have much more energy afterward.  After practice I went out to do some shopping.  I had been reading about a family with a zero-waste lifestyle, and I wanted to buy a couple things to institute some of the ideas in my own life.  (I do think it sounds funny to go shopping to work toward participating in a more minimalist life.  LOL)  If you are interested in spending less money and taking better care of our planet, check out this blog

In yoga, we and our planet are one.  When we take care of our planet we take care of ourselves.  What ways do you take care of the planet and yourself?

I look forward to my practice tomorrow and hearing about your practices.

Yoga Challenge - Day 3 - Promises to Keep

Hello All!  It is 11:59 p.m. right now, and I just got back from a wonderful evening out.  But like my home practice for this Challenge, I promised myself, and you, that I would blog every day about my practice.  So, here I am keeping my commitment.

I have found that once I break a promise to myself, it is easier to break it again.  Have you found that to be true, as well?  It is much easier for me to keep a commitment to someone else, in this case all of you, that it is to keep a commitment to myself.  I guess I still have lessons to learn regarding yesterday's blog about loving myself.  I have read, and discussed with others, the idea that keeping commitments to yourself gives you a sense of trust in yourself.   And, it is easier to love someone you trust, in this case yourself.  I think it is true, and I think it is important.  Why keep commitments to others and not think yourself worthy of keeping commitments to yourself?  It really doesn't make much sense, does it?

About my practice, this morning I did a few minutes of pranayama, 45 minutes of asana, and 10 minutes of meditation.  Then I had a relaxing and really fun, ordinary kind of day.  I hope your day was as great as mine was!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Yoga Challenge - Day 2 - Loving Me

This morning I did 10 minutes of pranayama, 1 hour asana, 40 minutes yoga nidra, and 20 minutes meditation.

I never know what I might want to listen to while I practice, sometimes I don't listen to anything at all.  Today I started out listening to Tim McGraw, whose music I don't think I have ever done yoga to.  Anyway, I was listening to a song called "One of These Days."  I like the song, and the last verse says, "One of these days I'm going to love me."  Isn't that what it is all about?  I think loving yourself is one of the best reasons to have a home practice, and a great way to show yourself some love.  Home practice is a great place to learn about yourself, and learn santosha, acceptance of what is, which leads to acceptance of ourselves and those in our lives, just as we are.

After Tim McGraw, I went for Fleetwood Mac, Elton John, Minnie Driver, and finished with The Beatles.

One thing I do want to mention is that today, with the Earthquake and Tsunami in Japan, we were reminded that we are all citizens of the world, we are all human beings, and we are all connected.  What started in Japan was a crisis of our planet, not just Japan, and it affected many people here at home in the U.S. and in other countries.  It is such a tragedy, the destruction, the loss, and the pain of those who were injured and those who lost their lives. In the spirit of the true meaning of Yoga (unity/oneness), please remember those who are suffering.  Put in a prayer, a loving, compassionate thought or good energy for the Japanese people, and for the victims, their friends and families, no matter what their nationality.

My hope is that you will all have fun during the Challenge and learn something about yourself in the process.  I will leave you with a song, "Here Comes the Sun," the last song of my practice this morning.  Tomorrow is a new day, with a new sunrise.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Spring Yoga Challenge - Day 1

This morning I did my yoga and meditation practice.  It was 5 minutes of pranayama, 30 minutes of asana, 20 minutes of yoga nidra (yogic sleep), and 15 minutes of meditation.  I was very tired this morning after not sleeping long enough last night, so I honestly didn't want to do anything at all.  Of course, once I got started I was happy to be doing my practice, and 100% mindful and engaged.  I think one of the most important thoughts in creating a personal practice is to "just do it."  Once you get started, momentum is created.  When you create that momentum every day, you can maintain the momentum over the long haul.  "See" you tomorrow!