Month: March 2014

Yoga injuries: who’s at fault?

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Great post on yoga injuries!

Yoga Spy

urdhva-mukha-svanasana Ever been injured in a yoga class? Chances are, we’ve all felt a twinge in one class or another. So, who’s at fault? The teacher? The student? Or are occasional tweaks simply part of being active and exploring our limits?

Since William Broad began writing about yoga injuries in the New York Times, most fingers have been pointed at unqualified yoga teachers. Michaelle Edwards, founder of YogAlign, goes further, claiming that yoga injuries are prevalent because many poses are anatomically incompatible with the human body. This is a complex issue, too long for a blog post. A few thoughts for starters:

utthita-trikonasanaPain versus strong sensation

In February, a few weeks into winter session, a new student politely told me, “Last week my back hurt the day after class.”

What?! “How long did it hurt?” I asked her. “Did you feel pain during class?” I couldn’t imagine any intro poses injuring this healthy 20-year-old university student.

It turned out…

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Speak Life

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A friend gave me some really great advice yesterday. “It’s truly this simple, if they are not speaking life into you, supporting and being there for you, you don’t need them in your life right now.”

It made me examine not only who I have around me but also what I’m putting out there to others. I only want to speak life, love, forgiveness and truth but it doesn’t mean I have to stick around and listen to other’s hate or negativity.

So I challenge you to walk away from negativity and hate and be equally aware of your words and actions towards others.

It really is this simple, speak life. 🙏🌷😊

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Love One Another

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You don’t have to understand someone’s journey to stand by them.
You don’t have to approve of their decisions to love them.

If you treasure who they are to you, love them above all else.

Offer them a hand to hold instead of saying I told you so. Offer them a shoulder to cry on instead of a judgmental stare. Offer them a hug instead of a tongue lashing. 
Offer a listening ear instead of advice.

Simply being there for someone can mean more than you could ever know. Don’t hate what you cannot understand. Life is simply to short. Love One Another. 🌷

Be True To You 😊

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A simple truth that speaks to the soul ❤️

Beginner Tips and A Yoga Instructor’s Responsibilities.

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As I was catching up on some reading yesterday, I came across a blog that caught my attention and made me think.  A yoga student had an experience in a yoga class where the teacher didn’t really observe or pay attention to the student’s in her class. I myself have had a similar experience in a yoga class I attended many years ago. The teacher taught with her back to us. Which is not necessarily bad but it wasn’t ideal to me and seemed to make the class feel disconnected and lost. I watched and practiced as some of the student’s didn’t know how to do every pose and struggled as she kept going through her flow. Please note that I am not trying to be negative toward this teacher she did a great job but it was simply a different style of teaching. And for some that have been practicing yoga for a while this may be the exact class needed but for beginners you might tend to get a bit lost or overwhelmed. So here are a few tips for finding the right class and instructor.

A few tips for beginners:

1)    Check the level of the yoga class you want to attend. If you’re brand new to yoga, look for a beginner or basics class.

2)    Tell the yoga instructor your yoga experience and ask him/her if the class is appropriate for you.

3)    Be sure and tell the instructor about any injuries so that he/she can provide modifications.

4)    Brand new? Let the instructor know and ask would you mind keeping an eye on me to make sure I’m doing the poses correctly?

5)    Have questions, just ask! We love to help and assist. It’s why we teach 🙂

Here are a few things I believe yoga instructor’s should try to accomplish in every class:

  • Safety. This should be number one. It doesn’t matter if you can do every pose it’s more important to stay injury free. An instructor should be able to provide you with verbal alignment cues and adjustments when necessary.
  • Observation. An instructor should be observing the pose and facial expressions of their students. This will allow them to cue more effectively and adjust the class flow as needed.
  • Present Moment Awareness. An instructor should do their best to be fully present and aware by making themselves available and approachable. I believe these to be key attributes that are necessary to build relationships and become the best instructor that you can be.
  • Community. The instructor should make an effort to make everyone feel welcome and comfortable in class. It creates a community that student’s feel comfortable in and overall provides a better yoga experience. The more we feel at ease the more we let go of judgment and competition to open up and enjoy our yoga.

Did I miss any? What are a yoga instructor’s responsibilities? What do you want to see more of and less of in class? What motivates you to show up for class with your favorite instructor? What makes you not want to go back? Please share your thoughts and/or questions.

Find more yoga and inspiration at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Be-PresentYoga/336705043142303 and on twitter:@bepresent100

Work in progress

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Sometimes we wonder why certain things happen. This is a beautiful reminder when things are tough, when you seem to have lost your way. Hold your head high and keep moving forward. You are becoming who you are meant to be….beautifully and wonderfully you! ❤️

More inspiration and yoga on Facebook at be present yoga or twitter @bepresent100

Yoga everyday? Patience in your pose.

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You should do a little yoga every day. It’s what I’ve always heard from other instructors and practitioners. And for a while I went along with the norm when asked, “How many times a week should I do yoga?”  But lately, I find myself following up with a little more than the standard response and here’s why. It depends on the individual and on the yoga poses your incorporating into your practice. It’s all about creating balance and space in your life, mind and body. For instance, I recently tried to practice every day for an hour and 1/2 mostly to work on arm balances because my EGO was telling me I should be able to do a certain pose, now.  Our ego likes to create a false sense of urgency that we’re not enough, that we’re not doing enough making us feel panicked and overwhelmed.

Practicing yoga everyday is not a bad thing. However, my intention of practicing every day was more ego driven than anything else so I ended up getting sore, tired and burnt out.  It also made me have to lay off of my yoga practice completely for a few days, which irritated me even more. I was trying so hard to be more, to get more, to do more that I interrupted the natural ebb and flow that I wanted so desperately to create. Now what I should have done was vary my practice, instead of all arm balances all the time, I should have worked on my hip openers, maybe a few chest openers. What can I say? This yoga teacher can be stubborn at times.

So instead of focusing on the frequency of your yoga or what the norm is, because it’s going to be different for everyone, focus on how your body feels and where you can carve out time to work on a few poses or an individual pose. I say this in my yoga class, “make the pose work for you,” and in this case “make the yoga work for you.”  You’re more likely to be consistent in your yoga practice, if it’s accessible and doable for your schedule.

How to create balance in your yoga practice:

1)  Schedule your yoga time. Start with 2-3 times a week of consistent yoga practice whether in a class, video or home practice. This helps you build a foundation and for most, is an obtainable goal. It also gives your body a chance to rest or to maybe add a run or weight class.

2) Listen to your body. As you practice yoga you will naturally develop more body awareness over time. The key is listening. So if your body is telling you it needs a break, take one. No yoga pose or practice of any kind is worth injury, ever.

3) Change up your yoga. By being smart and changing up your yoga routine you are able to prevent injury and burn out. For example, if you’re working on arm balances one day, work on hip openers the next, vary your practice. The possibilities are endless with yoga.

4) Be patient. Part of the reason I fell in love with yoga was the challenge. There is always something to learn. While that’s refreshing, at times I forget this and I want to be able to do every pose, now! So remember it takes the time that it takes and that’s okay. Trust the process.

It’s all about creating balance on and off the mat. Sometimes we get in a hurry to rush the process or pose because everywhere we look we see a challenging arm balance or a beautiful backbend that we really want to achieve. Our ego says yes, I want to do all of those poses today! But the enlightening part of yoga teaches us that it’s not about the pose but rather what we learn about our self while reaching for the pose. It teaches us to be kind to ourselves, to let go of judgment and competition with ourselves and others. Be patient, do the work and listen to your body and I guarantee your journey and your poses will unfold beautifully just as they should in their own time.

Find more yoga and inspiration at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Be-PresentYoga/336705043142303 and on twitter:@bepresent100

Rest In Knowing This.

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Every time I read this it brings me peace and comfort. Sometime we may not know exactly where we are going, we may feel a bit lost or uncertain, it is then more than ever that we must trust in our journey. Rest in knowing that this moment will not last and that we are exactly where we need to be in this moment. 🙏

Find more inspiration and yoga on Facebook: be present yoga or on twitter: @bepresent100

A Yoga Teacher That Doesn’t Namaste!

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It would seem you can’t hear the word yoga without hearing the word Namaste. However, I never finish the class with Namaste. Instead, I may offer a word of encouragement or thank my students for showing up to practice with me. No one has ever asked me why but I am sure they have been curious seeing how it is the standard way to end a yoga class for most.

What does Namaste mean? One of the most common definitions for Namaste is “the light in me honors the light in you.” Which is lovely, but honestly, the word has never resonated with me from the beginning of my yoga journey. The first couple of classes I made an effort to add the word at the end of class because it is just a word. But it felt fake to me so I stopped using it in class and haven’t since. I have no problems with my students using it or other teachers using the word if it resonates with them. I simply choose not too. I’m not going to do something simply because it’s the expected norm. I’ve always done things my own way and maybe it’s my way of being a bit of a yogi rebel. I’m not sure. What I am sure of is that I’m going to try my best to live as authentically as I can and be true to myself and to my students on and off the mat.

The moral of the story isn’t so much about the use of the word Namaste but rather it’s about finding your own path, doing your own thing and creating your own way. Staying true to yourself regardless of what others around you are doing, whether it’s a word, a pose or a common belief or philosophy. Be BRAVELY YOU, without hesitation or regret!

Find me on Facebook at: be present yoga or on twitter: @bepresent100

Reflections and Lessons: Choose Love

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As I turn another year older I reflect on lessons that I’ve learned and wanted to share.

1) You don’t have to have life figured out at any particular age. The life where we know exactly what we want to do and be, the one were perfectly settled in and we know it all, doesn’t exist. No one has it figured out. We’re all doing the best we can whether were 15 or 90, and that’s plenty good enough.

2) It doesn’t matter what other people think about you. You’re the one that lives with your decisions, good or bad, and they are yours alone. The people who love you will be there for you, regardless. And that’s the people you want in your life. No approval needed.

3) There is enough in the world for everyone. Getting caught up in jealousy or competition no matter the reason is a waste of time and precious energy. When something great happens for someone be genuinely happy for them. By sharing in their joy and happiness you truly get happier. The more love, gratitude, kindness and happiness you show others the more it will be returned, abundantly. Always choose love!

4) It is okay to feel any emotion, any time. Give yourself permission to feel. It doesn’t make you stronger to hold it all in or weaker to let it all go.

5) Love One Another. Relationships are truly the only thing that matter in life. Treasure those you love, spend time with them, make memories with them, laugh uncontrollably with them, cry with them, share stories with them and hug them every time like you may never see them again. Memories will be all you have one day.

6) Letting go of things or people doesn’t mean you love them less. It just means you’re moving on. No more. No less. Appreciate the time or learn from the experience. Grow.

7) Regrets are a waste of time. If you didn’t try you would have never known. You did the best you could at the time and that’s good enough. Let it go.

8) It is okay to ask for help and support. It doesn’t mean you’re weak. It means we are all human and that’s why God didn’t just make one person. He knew we would need one another. You don’t have to do it alone. There are people you can depend on and people that love you. Set your ego aside and simply ask.

9) Control is an illusion. Trying to force relationships, people or things to keep them in your life becomes messy and exhausting. Let go of what you need to, whether that’s relationships, a bad attitude or things you’ve shoved in the closet. Creating space and getting rid of the negative, opens space for the positive. The right people and things that will nourish and fulfill you will start gravitating to you when you release control. See no. 6.

10) No expectations for yourself or others. Nobody’s perfect. We have to believe in ourselves and in others that we are all trying to do our best. Cut each other some slack. Life happens, the good the bad, and everything in between. The less you resist and the more you try to ebb and flow with life instead of fighting it or getting angry with it, the happier you will be. Practice.

Here is where you can contact me and find more yoga info. https://www.facebook.com/pages/Be-PresentYoga/336705043142303 and on twitter:@bepresent100