Celebrate International Yoga Day with a Free Online Class

Celebrate #InternationalYogaDay with EkhartYoga by tuning in to their Facebook Live Stream Class with World renowned teachers Esther Ekhart and David Lee Lurey!

The class starts in about 1.5 hours! You can virtually practice with fellow yogis from all over the world by joining in a 45-minute Yin-Yang flow. Esther and David will do a short Q&A right after the class. You can leave any questions in their comments on their FaceBook event page.

Join me and grab your mat, wherever you are in the world, for non-edited fun!

 

 

 

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Free yoga challenge – mini detox

My favorite yoga site EkhartYoga is hosting a FREE mini detox challenge.

3 days of online yoga and healthy eating to promote a healthier you!

Starting today, May 13th, you are cordially invited to join for 3 days of yoga and healthy eating! All you need to do is sign up and you’ll receive an email with links to 4 free yoga and meditation classes….. That’s it!

Alongside these classes, you’ll also be provided with some advice and suggested recipes to help you get the best out of this mini challenge.

Join in to receive Free access for 7 days. You can access these classes from May 13th until the 20th!

What to expect?

This mini challenge consists of 3 full-length yoga classes by Esther Ekhart AND a meditation by Esther Teule, all on the theme of ‘detoxing’ the body and mind.

 

So who’s with me?

 

 

Never Force a Pose

Today’s wisdom is that wherever you end up in a pose [Asana] is exactly right for you. No forcing, just being. Never force your body into a position that causes pain. Our bodies all move differently because of how our bones are connected. One person may be able to do full Virasana aka Hero Pose [sitting between the feet] while others may need a variation [sitting on their feet, a cushion or blocks] because of ankle or knee pain. I know it can be hard to be content, and you’ll want to do some of those amazing poses full on, but your body’s wellness is more important.

You will still be able to experience tremendous shifts in your body, mind, and heart while focusing on your safety and wellbeing. Never force a pose, or else you can cause yourself an unnecessary injury. Be humble, explore the boundaries, and see what your body can do. Move with care, have gratitude, and maintain and appreciation of all it can do for you. You can thank your body by taking care of it in return.

 

Urdhva Dhanurasana

Urdhva Dhanurasana by AndysArtworks.etsy.com 

 

 

Upcycled/Recycled – Portable Ganesha Altar Kit

X-posted from my Creative Space.

Sometimes I like to challenge myself and do something new. Think outside the box and step outside of my zone of familiarity, and my zone of comfort. Kind of like the saying, do something new or something that scares you everyday. Not necessarily just by creating this piece, but also by sharing more about myself at the end.

I looked through my stash of art supplies and I decided to craft this portable altar kit. It could also be described as a mini-shrine, and mine is made of upcycled, repurposed and recycled materials. You don’t have to spend a lot of money on something like this. Honestly most things I acquired for free, already had on hand, or made. I gave a few examples of what I gathered the products from to give you your own ideas. On how you can upcycle things into a meaningful craft.

If you’re unfamiliar with what a shrine or altar is, here’s a brief description. While The dictionary talks about them being a receptacle for sacred relics, or a place considered sacred because of its relationship to a holy person or event, they can also be for other reasons. You could have one for political, humorous, satirical, one’s family, travel, nature, basically anything that is of interest of the artist creating the piece, or  imbibed with intentions for the person it’s being designed for.

 

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Materials used:
The “box” was made from an old altoids [mints] tin I had lying around.
The covering is a combination of papers from old kannada calendars, printer paper, cardstock, and scrapbook paper.
The sacred objects are items that hold value and have meaning to me. Things I have picked up during my travels.
-A red rock from a vortex in Sedona, Az.
-Incense
-Rudraksha seed/bead from a spiritual retreat.
-Thread from a puja in India.
-Mini-ganesha idol/murti.
-Sacred symbols, quotes, yantra, shloka book, mantras etc… I made using scrap paper and my printer.
-Auspicious paper marigolds.
– Battery powered candle.
-Bag to wrap everything in. [from a spare velvet gift bag, originally given to me with a birthday gift inside]

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I never feel like it’s 100% finished, because I add special items from my journeys, and because I keep adding items from a personal wish list of items I originally wanted to add to the little altar that I came up with as I was creating it.  Portable altars come in handy for those who travel, someone living in a small space, someone going off to college, and I am sure there are other examples.

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Taking a deep breathing and just diving in. Since I don’t always talk about myself on here, as some of you may not know I celebrate an amalgamation of holidays and this craft honors the cultures that resonate with me. I honor Hindu culture and customs, as well as the standard American / Catholic Holidays that are common such as Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter etc… The next Hindu holiday upcoming is Ganesha Chaturthi, and since I will likely be out of town this little altar will come in handy for me. I do not consider myself to be a religious person, but a person who is spiritual.

I previously haven’t written many personal details on my blog  due to the need in the professional world to have keep details of my personal life withheld. Keep my cards held close to my chest and keep myself out of the limelight.  I am now at a new path in my life where I can share more, not be so closed off or guarded. After not having done this for so long I feel really vulnerable to open up. Sometimes it can be freeing to write to a world of strangers, to write to no one you know in particular, but today alas is just one of those days I just feel more susceptible to judgement. Anyway I hope you enjoy hearing about me and getting to know more about me from time to time. I also hope this post maybe taught you something new or inspired you to do something new today as well.

September is National Yoga Month!

I’m excited to announce that it’s that time of year again, no not my birthday, its National Yoga Month!! You can join a worldwide community and celebrate national yoga month with other yogi’s. This month numerous studios are offering free classes, or even a free week of classes, or discount off your first month of membership if you sign up for a membership plan. You can check with your local studios and teachers to see what your options are, or take my suggestion below.

My favorite studio EkhartYoga.com, is offering a limited time offer of your first month for $1 when you sign up now.  There are numerous classes, programs, nutrition information and more. In honor of National Yoga Month the theme for September is a 30/30 Yoga Challenge [30 minutes for 30 days]. 30 minute classes will be suggested daily with three themes, Day 1 core, Day 2 balance, and day 3 integrating both in a class. The cycle repeats as we gradually increase our strength.

I am in no way affiliated with EkhartYoga, I am just a humble yogi such as yourselves. I believe in promoting and sharing causes I care about.

 

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Happy Varamahalakshmi

Today is Vara(boon) Mahalakshmi(Goddess of Wealth) festival. Celebrated across south of India. The women folk celebrate this for the wellbeing of their families. Eight forces or energies are recognised and they are known as Siri (Wealth), Bhu (Earth), Sarasvathi (learning), Prithi (Love), Keerthi (Fame), Shanthi (Peace), Santhushti(Pleasure) and Pushti(Strength). Each one of these forces is called a Lakshmi and all the eight forces are called the Ashta Lakshmis or the eight Lakshmis of the Hindus.

Here’s wishing one and all a happy Varamahalakshmi.

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Your breath is your companion

One of the most valuable bits of yoga advice for any level of yogi is that your breath is your companion. It’s the one thing that is always with you, and can guide you both on and off the mat. If your breathing is strained or shallow on the mat, you’re probably pushing yourself too hard and need to back off and soften the pose a little. Listen to your body’s natural queues so you don’t injure or strain a muscle. Off the mat, perhaps you’re feeling stressed. Take a few moments to breathe deeply to focus and ground yourself.

If you’re anything like me and keep a daily yoga practice because you love how you feel after a practice and or suffer from mental illness, then you can understand the need to ensure that you move safely and don’t injure yourself. If I personally miss more than a day or two I start feeling manic and depressed, hence the near daily yoga to keep me off any sort of anti-depressants. I listen to my breath and remind myself to move with “Sukha” [ease], fluidity, grace, and pay attention to what my body and my breath are telling me. Not to say anyone is perfect, I know I am not, and sometimes we end up with an injury on or off the mat…but do what you can to prevent it and your body will thank you in kind.

Deep Breath By Melanie Weidner

Deep Breath
By Melanie Weidner

Free yoga for International Yoga Day

June 21st is the International Day of Yoga! In honor of this day Ekhart Yoga is celebrating by offering everyone a day of free yoga, meditations, and relaxation classes, which includes the highlight of the day: a 108 Sun Salutations class. There will be a class for beginner levels. More details and info at their site. You can sign up for alerts from Ekhart yoga directly and or follow them on Facebook.

Who else will join me in this fun endeavor?

 

June 21 was declared as the International Day of Yoga by the United Nations General Assembly on December 11, 2014.

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Yin Yoga and Unwinding the Knots of Thoughts

My thoughts, struggles, and a love/hate relationship with a Yin Yoga style of practice began about a year or two ago. It’s an interesting path for those who aren’t aware, and you hold the poses for 3 minutes. The poses you know from a yang style of  yoga like a hatha or vinyasa practice, are the same asanas [poses] but are called a different name. Example what I traditionally know as Pigeon Pose [Eka Pada Rajakapotasana] is now called Swan Pose in Yin Yoga.

At the time I dove in feet first and took a class and just didn’t really care for it. It challenged me in a way that felt uncomfortable. Now don’t get me wrong, challenge can be good for us so let me explain. Holding poses for 3 minutes was physically not comfortable. My muscles started screaming at me “is it over yet”? They longed for that singing bowl/gong sound to signify the end of holding the asana.

Fast forward a few months [during which I passed the time with yang yoga, tea, and reading of yoga articles], I discovered that you should incorporate a yin style with the yang to balance your life. Who doesn’t need balance! So one evening I was feeling particularly moody and crampy. I didn’t have the energy to do a fast past class. I was in pain [due to menstrual cramps], and desperately required some relief. I needed something gentle yet effective. I rolled out my lovely ombre yoga mat and threw on a yin class.

Yin yoga definitely tests my focus and concentration because I am turned in ward for so long. My challenge is that dreaded monkey mind many of us are so familiar with. When the mind becomes consumed with all those manic thoughts cropping up from out of no where, I have to use a trick to place the thoughts somewhere to clear my mind and make space for healing.

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I’ll share a trick with you. In order to stay focused and tuned-in while turned-in, I unwind the knots of thoughts. I do this by continually pushing any thoughts out of my mind. My trick is to imagine a set of 3 baskets. One for the past, one for the present, and one for the future. All those manic thoughts that keep popping into my mind go into those baskets. If it’s a thought from the past then it goes into the past basket, and so on and so forth.

Circling back to the yin, I stuck with the class and after 60 minutes felt like I cultivated space for healing and really accomplished something which had been challenging me for a while. When you’re in pain it really feels like that much more of an accomplishment.

Today I can say I finally embrace the yin with the yang on a regular basis. Enough so that I even decided to invest in a few helpful props i.e. a bolster and zafu cushion. Yin helps keep me balance in the evening before bed time or when I need something more low-key or therapeutic due to back pain or menstrual cramps. I’m glad that yin yoga exists as an option. I try not to go a day with out some sort of yoga, otherwise my mind starts spinning in that downward cycle of depression, not to mention physical pains from life such as long commutes to work or sitting at a desk for hours. It’s a test of your concentration but so worth it. Perhaps this personal essay / post will give you that inspiration to give it a go like I did and not give up.