Wild Thing.......you make my heart sing
June's pose of the month is the powerful, amazing heart opener known as Wild Thing (sanskrit: camatkarasana). If you are a regular in Lydia's classes you'll know exactly why she chose this as her favorite pose, and our pose of the month! This gal's heart is wide open, and practicing with her will definitely make your heart sing!
When asked why she loved Wild Thing Lydia responded, "Yes, it's an amazing song but it's also my favorite yoga pose! It's a great way to start your day, with an open and grateful heart. This pose always makes me feel joyful!"
Lydia's advice for practicing Wild Thing at home:
Start in Downward Facing Dog. Bring your weight to your right hand and roll onto the outer edge of your right foot (similar to Side Plank Pose). Keep your hips lifted and step your left foot back behind you. As you release the sole of the right foot to the Earth (same direction as your left foot), keep your right leg straight and point the toes on your right foot as you square your hips toward the sky. Curl back through your upper back. Keep breathing and curl your head back into more of a backbend. Extend your left hand from your heart to express your truest nature - love.
Come practice Wild Thing with us this month. And don't be afraid to practice it on your own and show us YOUR wild side. Post your pictures to our Facebook page or our Instagram account and tag Inner Spring Yoga using the hashtag #SoINyoga. We look forward to letting your Wild Thing make our hearts sing!
Tuesday, May 19, 2015
Forward by Dr. Vasant Lad
Ayurveda is a sanskrit word which means the “knowledge of life”, or more accurately, “the knowledge of longevity”. Its roots are buried deeply in the ancient culture of India. In fact, Ayurvedic medicine is considered to be the oldest system of medicine. Ayurveda is more than a medical science, however, and can only be understood when one realizes that it is intricately woven into the fabric of nature. Over five thousand years ago, spiritually enlightened persons known as Rishis or seers, by close observation of nature and its relationship to man through a supramental state of meditation, imparted that truth from guru to disciple. Today, however, Ayurveda exists in texts, scribed in the form of melodious poetry. Because the roots of Ayurveda were born out of the realm of the spirit, only with a spiritual orientation can one understand this knowledge.
Ayurveda contains the secrets of why people need to cooperate with nature completely in order to ensure their well-being. When there is little or no cooperation, the resultant disharmony is suffering, disease, and finally a premature death. Thus, in dealing with the body in the context of the spirit, Ayurveda is a completely holistic approach to life.
Ayurveda has suggested that a change in the consciousness of one individual, either positive or negative, influences the consciousness of all humanity. Thus, it is the responsibility of every human being to allow a radical change in his/her consciousness in order to bring about transformation in the universe. Ayurveda, having no standard therapy, only reflects and reacts to what naturally occurs in nature. Ayurveda looks at a person completely in relation to his or her environment, and treats each individual as indivisible.
(Excerpts, Dr. Vasant Lad, Pune, India, March 1980, Forward to “The Hidden Secret of Ayurveda”, by Dr. Robert Svoboda, our teacher training book of Ayurveda study for 2015)
In spring the earth sweats...
When tendrils of heat creep into the cool of remaining spring, the earth sweats, and so should you, naturally. Ayurveda teaches that “like increases like”, so the external rise of an element such as heat, enhances the power of that principle inside the body. The primal resting of slow, cold, viscous winter elements in the environment, and in our bodies, relinquishes to warmth. Heavy, accumulated energy in many forms, especially in our lymphatic and endocrine systems, must become fluid and flow freely, like streams into rivers, rivers into oceans.
Sweat (Sveda) from Hatha Yoga practice, is nutritious for the skin, and is not meant to be suppressed, wiped, or showered away immediately. Your own sweats, (Ayurveda recognizes 14 primary sweat types), their volume, odors, timing, and subtle qualities, become a diagnostic tool to help you adopt clean Ayurvedic diet and lifestyle practices. The way that you smell to yourself may actually give you subconscious information about what foods to eat for optimum nourishment, and even the timing of when to eat them.
Clean practices, specific to your constitution, bring new scents to body fluids; sweet, metallic, mineral laden fragrances, much like the essences found in the bitter and astringent native, edible flowers and greens produced by mother nature. She makes these essential healing plants, and their tastes, for us from her sweat, mingled soil nutrients of meadows and forests.
Ayurveda sutras classify six tastes present in substances, and also present in the taster: sweet, sour, bitter, pungent, and astringent. Each one produces more strength (for the body) than the one which follows it, (in the order they are listed).
Sweating during exercise not only reduces the body temperature perfectly for each individual, but maintains water-electrolyte and acid-base balances. Avoiding sweating, attempting to stop it with cold drinks, cold air, and chemical body care products, may not be the healthful course of action you are seeking.
Recognize also that emotions triggered by conditions of heat, those in the Pitta (fire&water) realm of energy, such as frustration or anger unexpressed, can surface as agitation toward the outer condition of heat. Yoga and meditation can help you come in closer touch with, and gain relief from, the effects of emotions held in the body and mind. Sweating is a natural physical release mechanism. Breathe deep, relax into the heat; understanding can help you to trace aversion to its root.
If you are exercising to maintain healthy weight, and bring luster, vitality, and equanimity to your body, mind and spirit, join the earth in a good sweat. My Astanga Yoga teacher, Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, always cautioned never to practice in direct sunlight, but recommended sweating, “100 drops daily”!
Soaps are not recommended for use on your skin, or any scrub products which are not edible, as the skin absorbs these emollients as if they were eaten. Rely on gentle “Ubtans”, body pastes or scrubs used periodically to release dead skin layers. You can make them from organic flours, clays, mulled herbs,
combined with fruit and vegetable juices, natural oils or essential extracts.
For the past few days I have been craving watermelon. As a light dinner, I will pluck some fresh mint from the garden, juice it with the melon and mix it (by hand) with organic white rice flour and a little unrefined coconut oil, to make a paste with a texture that feels good to my skin. (In regard to eating melon of any kind, Ayurveda says, “Eat it alone or leave it alone”. Melon should not to combined with any other foods, even other fruits.
Rely on your intuition, and use Ubtans several times a week in warmer weather, so that skin can breathe freely; even less during fall and winter. Just a little research and relying on your own sensitive nose, will lead you to the right ingredients, many of which you may have in your kitchen already. The simpler the mixture, the better. Fruit enzymes can sometimes be too harsh for certain skin types, so always test your scrub. A little applied inside the wrist is a good sensitive place; never leaving on too long if it seems to irritate. You can even save “Time” by making a healthful smoothie for breakfast, and smearing it on your face!
A good resource to learn more about Sveda: Ayurveda today, Summer 2009 issue, “Rasayana for Meda Dhatu Mala”, by my favorite Ayurvedic physician and teacher, Vasant Lad, BAM&S, MAS / www.ayurveda.com
As a second recommendation, download the food combination chart from his resources section on the web site, and begin to incorporate combination practices as a firm diet foundation, while you discover your constitutional type and needs at present, and move into an understanding of the foods best for you.
Kari has practiced Yoga, meditation, dance, and a holistic lifestyle since her youth, growing up on a farm in Harrison County, Indiana. She has spent many fulfilling years traveling and studying around the world, receiving a certification in Hatha Yoga from Yoga East in 2001.
Among her most inspiring and beloved teachers are Sri K. Pattabhi Jois (Astanga Yoga), Ramanand Patel & Francois Raoult (Iyengar Yoga), Sufi Master Adnan Sarhan (Meditation), Dr. Vasant Lad (Ayurveda), Grand Master Mingye Ding (Qigong/Taiji), Steve Schumacher (CranioSacral Therapy), Esak Garcia (Bikram Yoga) & Russil Paul (Nada Yoga). She is the founder of Onecologie: finding true health and joy through intuitive synchronicity with nature.
Friday, May 1, 2015
|Laura DeMent, RYT|
Practice Utthita Trikonasana at home:
1. Step your feet wide (3-4 feet) and extend your arms up to shoulder height. Check that your ankles are directly under your wrists, if not, adjust accordingly.
2. Turn your right foot out 90 degrees (so that it's pointing toward the top of your mat), and turn your left foot in 35 to 45 degrees (to the right).
3. On an exhalation, extend your torso to the right, directly over the plane of your front leg. Hinge at your right hip crease and let your right hand drop to your shin, your ankle, or the floor behind your right foot.
4. Extend your left arm toward the ceiling with your shoulders stacked. Turn your left palm in the same direction as your face and turn your gaze toward your left thumb.
5. Breathe evenly, in and out, through your nose. Hold the pose for 5-7 breaths, then hinge up to standing on an inhalation. Repeat on left side.
Benefits of Trikonasana (from YogaJournal.com):
- Stretches and strengthens the entire leg from the hip to the ankle.
- Stretches side body
- Stimulates abdominal organs.
- Improves digestion.
- Relieves stress.
- Relieves back ache.
- Therapeutic for anxiety
She adds, "I have had a hard time with my neck in this pose. I had a teacher tell me to make my head parallel to the floor, then move the skull back in space, then turn to look up toward my thumb. This set of instructions made a big difference for the comfort of my neck in Triangle."
Unroll your mat and give Utthita Trikonasana a try today!
Laura was first introduced to yoga in 2002. At first, she enjoyed yoga as a form of exercise that did not bother her knees. As she continued her practice, yoga became a way to live her life in a balanced and healthy way. In 2005, Laura was asked to sub a yoga class and realized she would enjoy teaching. That fall she enrolled in OM yoga's Weekend Warrior teacher training in Indianapolis and graduated in 2006.Laura's teaching is inspired by her teachers, Seane Corn, Chris Crews, Frank Mauro, Ramanand Patel and Laura Spaulding. Her classes focus on alignment, breath, flow and the use of props to make the asanas (postures) accessible to all students.
Monday, April 27, 2015
Twisting, forward bending and inverting can be less than blissful when your stomach is full of heavy, greasy food. But do fruits and veggies have enough fat and protein to keep you going through the most rigorous vinyasa practice? What should you eat to keep you going all the way to Savasana?
A handful of nuts (I prefer cashews and walnuts) is a perfect pre-yoga snack. Their fat and protein will keep your energy levels up and their fiber will keep you feeling full. Plus, nuts are easily digestible, meaning your energy won't be spent on digesting food, but instead available for supporting your practice.
The sugar in the dates will slowly release, keeping your energy levels up for your entire practice. Dates are also a good source of fiber, so you won't feel hungry again before your practice over. Dates are packed with vitamins and minerals. Dates are also high in potassium which helps maintain proper fluid balance in your body, and plays a role in fueling your muscles.
3. Protein Smoothies
PlantFusion protein powder, coconut water, spinach and berries blend together for a perfect pre-yoga snack. The plant based protein in PlantFusion is perfect for providing muscle energy. Coconut water helps balance electrolytes. Spinach is great for bone health, and berries provide a great source of antioxidants. Put these together and you have one powerful combination. Plus, a small smoothie before class won't leave you full and uncomfortable for your practice.
4. Kit Bars
If convenience is what you want in your pre-yoga snack, Kit's Organic Fruit and Nut Bars by Clif are your answer. With many flavors to choose from, you could have a different snack each day of the week. Just throw one in your bag on the way out the door. My favorite is Dark Chocolate Almond Coconut.....made with Organic Dates, Organic Almonds, Organic Unsweetened Dark Chocolate, Organic Coconut, Organic Virgin Coconut Oil, Sea Salt. These are perfect blend of fat and protein and carry the health benefits of many of the options listed above. Plus, with the dark chocolate, they taste so much like a treat you'll forget they are healthy!
Bananas provide many of the same benefits as dates, are portable, and readily accessible at any market. An obvious pre-yoga snack!
With these five healthy and delicious options, you'll never have to come to class hungry again. Tell us, what are some of your favorite pre-yoga snacks?
Carrie Klaus, E-RYT
Wednesday, April 22, 2015
"I believe the single most important thing you can do to heal our planet is to adopt a plant-based diet!
Each vegetarian saves over an acre of trees every year. We are destroying not only our U.S. forest land, but also the rainforest, at an alarming rate, all for the sake of raising cattle for food. More than half of the water consumed in the United States is used for raising animals for food. It takes 2,500 gallons of water to produce just one pound of hamburger.....that's over 250 five-minute showers for just one pound of meat. As a vegan, I could leave my tap running all day and not consume as much water as a meat eater.
Eating meat pollutes our air and our waters as well. Animal agriculture is responsible for over 15% of all greenhouse gas emissions....that's more than the entire transportation industry combined. One single hamburger patty requires enough fossil fuel to drive your car 20 miles! And animals on factory farms produce 87,000 pounds of waste PER SECOND (130 times the amount of excrement produced by the entire human population). Much of that waste flows into our our nations streams and rivers.
We all eat 3 or more times a day. If you really want to do something useful for the health of our planet change what's on your plate!"
"Use a glass or stainless steel water bottle, and carry it with you wherever you go. Drinking water is the #2 self-care non-negotiable, so you should be drinking lots of it!
I would also say, eat off of real plates and use real utensils. Avoid plastics at all meals. Carry re-usable dinnerware and utensils with you to potlucks and family gatherings and set an example for others to follow!"
"Let's go outside on Mother's Day. We'll sit down on the ground, dig a hole in the dirt and gently drop in a tomato plant. We'll love and care for it every day, helping it take root and grow. Then one day we'll pick the ripe fruit from it's vine, take a delicious bite, and let the miraculous juice run down our chin. We'll close our eyes, breathe, and say "Thank you Mother Earth. We are grateful.
"Invite your favorite buddies over to celebrate the bounty of Mother Earth. She will blush with the love you harvest. Cook together, swap veggies, and make avocado face masks.
Also, adopt! Don't shop! So many sweet furry friends are in need of good homes. Please don't support breeding more pets."
"Breastfeed at least up to 6 months. Breast milk is a renewable resource and creates no pollutants. Plus, it's the most nutritionally sound food you can give to your baby!
And, use cloth diapers. Over 18 billion disposable diapers are thrown into landfills each year....and they aren't biodegradable!
There's a learning curve with both of these suggestions, for sure......but both are worth the effort!"
"Be a conscious grocery shopper! Shop at local farmer's markets whenever possible. Use your reusable grocery bags! Use less plastic! Decompose your leftover vegetable and fruit scraps into the soil for less trash build-up. And of course, lean toward a more vegan/vegetarian diet. One step at a time. It doesn't get easier, you only get better!"
Tuesday, April 14, 2015
I’ll just say it.
Absolutely, positively 100% selfish.
I’m putting my own needs at the top of my list of priorities. I’m putting on my own air mask before helping others. I’m finally recognizing that I need something in my life, and I’m making it happen. I’m putting dusting and laundry and dishes and vacuuming lower on my to do list than yoga. I’m opening up the windows, cranking the music, and getting lost in the present moment when I “should be” planning meals, going to the grocery, or picking up toys.
Yep. I recognize and value my own well being and what I can contribute to the world. Therefore, I’m selfish, right?
Somewhere along the way, as we women began climbing the corporate ladder and fighting for the equality we so righteously deserve, we seem to have put ourselves last. We have redefined taking care of ourselves and labeled it “being selfish”. We judge each other if a friend’s house isn’t spotless. We think meeting other people’s expectations is more important than finding our own joy.
So, yes. I’m selfish. Because one day, between running from work to the grocery store… and vacuuming while trying to sing to my daughter... and scrubbing the baseboards at 1 AM because that was the only time I could fit it into my schedule… and trying to come to grips with the fact that one of my best friends was dying from cancer… I just stopped. I was tired. I was miserable. I wasn’t a good mother nor a good wife, nor a good friend. As my friend was dying, she still came to visit us, to be silly and to make some amazing memories with us. I’ll be eternally grateful to her because in her last few months in that cancer-ridden body, she taught me that the only thing that matters is this exact moment. RIGHT NOW. If what you’re doing right now doesn’t make you happy, don’t do it. It’s that simple.
Being mindful of this exact moment is my yoga.
My yoga could be a few quiet minutes reading a book that lights up my mind. It’s rolling out my mat and moving my body in a way that leaves me grateful for the breath that keeps me alive. It’s ensuring I have a few minutes each day for meditation to purify my thoughts. It’s recognizing when I’m distracted and shutting down my family when I should be engaging and connecting. Yoga for me is quieting that critical voice that says the guy who just cut me off is a jerk who can’t drive. My yoga fills my heart with love and admiration for my husband and kids and gives me the wisdom to soak in each moment of it. It allows me to silence the ego that pushes me to work harder, faster, and fancier.
Yoga allows me to connect with others on a deeper level, to appreciate their stories, and to accept them without judgment.
A decade ago, I would have said that yoga was my way to stay fit. It was a way to keep trim and toned. It was a bit of a stress reliever as I was in the midst of proving my worth and potential so I could have a successful career. It was my time to be quiet after speaking to a full classroom for eight hours.
Along this journey over that decade, I’ve grown wiser, happier, healthier, and closer to my family. I can give freely. I can love them freely. I can love myself freely. As I’ve been chasing each day, I’ve been busy living the life I want to live, not just being busy wishing I could. This journey isn’t over yet though. The next phase is only just beginning.
I want to share yoga. Many of us seek permission of sorts to do what we know in our hearts is the right thing to do. I want to help others find their own voice and give themselves permission to let go of the worry and negativity.
Once one realizes how much more there is, it’s impossible not to want others to have the same. So now, I’m thirsty to know more, and the real adventure begins…
Kim began practicing yoga to escape the stresses of a corporate job with a heavy travel schedule. Throughout a handful of moves across the country, yoga has provided a sense of home and stability.A learner by profession, Kim is passionate about helping others learn, and she's on a mission to inspire others to ditch the guilt, eliminate the busy-ness that consumes our society, and enjoy a balanced life stemming from self-empowerment and kindness.
Tuesday, February 17, 2015
Embracing the yoga practice during the Lenten Season can help Christians better understand the meaning of Lent and why the above mentioned practices are observed. In the Yoga Sutras, Book 2 Sutra 1, Patanjali tells us "accepting pain as help for purification, study of spiritual books, and surrender to the Supreme Being constitute Yoga in action". In other words, self-discipline, self-study, and self-surrender are the preliminary yoga. Patanjali goes on to say in Sutra 2, "self-discipline, self-study, and surrender help us to minimize obstacles and obtain samadhi (bliss)". Through study of the Yoga Sutras we see that our efforts are a means to samadhi, or absorption - a mind clear and focused on God.
According to the Yoga Sutras, the first practice of yoga in action is "accepting pain as help for purification", or self-discipline. This can be likened to the Lenten practice of giving up vices. Our nature is to run after pleasure and by abstaining from those things we find pleasurable our minds are steadied and purified. Under the practice of self-discipline we can also add the Lenten practice of adding things that bring one closer to God. Lent is a great time to commit to your yoga asana (posture) practice and/or your meditation practice.
Another form of self-discipline often practiced during Lent is abstaining from meat on Friday. In fact, abstaining from meat and other animal products is, in my opinion, the highest practice of the yogic practice of ahimsa (non-harming). Non-harming is an essential practice for the yogi, as it creates karma that leads to eternal happiness. Through the practice of ahimsa we develop our compassion, and through compassion we begin to see our self in all beings, and see that we are all a direct line to God.
We see that the practice of yoga is much more than the physical practice of asana. The practice of yoga is a set of practices designed to awaken us to the Divine. By embracing the yoga practice your commitment to and understanding of your own faith can be strengthened. Even if you aren't a practicing Christian, I encourage you to use this holy time to deepen your practice and understanding of yoga and connect with your own Divine Self!
Meat Free Resources:
Plant Powered Kitchen
Engine 2 Recipes
Post Punk Kitchen