Yoga Revival – Week 7: Empty Warehouse Yoga

August 20, 2015

 

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When Friday of week 7 of my “Yoga Revival” came around, I knew I had some free time after work, so planned to do my yoga then. It was another beautiful Seattle summer day, and the great outdoors beckoned me to do it outside. But, in the name of saving time (for a little kayaking), I decided to do my yoga in the warehouse here at Barefoot Yoga HQ after everyone left for the weekend.

I blasted some random yoga music from my computer, and rolled out my Barefoot Performance Grip mat – which has been getting grippier with age (mats really do take some time to break in). I rolled around on a tennis ball for a while, and did some hamstring stretches lying on my back – using a strap. This has become my standard warm-up.

Before getting too comfortable, I jumped up and began my sun salutations. I do these pretty similarly each time, extending the traditional salutations in ways I’ve learned over the years from various teachers, and my own experimentation – that help me to get deeper in each pose.

I am sometimes surprised when my 30 minute watch alarm goes off, and I am only just finishing my sun salutations. It’s a good sign when this happens, and an even better sign when I don’t hear the alarm, because I am so deeply immersed in the practice and the sound of my breathing. I love this about asana practice. It is easy to get so involved in the movement and breathing, that you lose yourself – which is to say you find yourself – completely immersed in the moment. These ancient yoga poses draw us into this kind of meditation, where the body and mind merge as one. There is effort, but there is also an effortless quality to this convergence. Sometimes it just happens…naturally.

Sitting meditation, on the other hand, does not provide movement to assist the mind into such a zone. Over the past 7 weeks since committing to a virtually daily practice, I have done many 30 minute sitting meditations – primarily because I had come to the end of the day without getting my yoga in, and was too full of food to do an asana practice.

There have been moments during these sitting meditations when I was in “the zone” – thinking of nothing, deeply immersed in the sound of my own breathing, very still. But I hazard to guess there have been more moments when I was squirming, my mind wandering, and wondering how long until my alarm would go off, and how was I going to make it.

On this particular afternoon, my alarm went off sooner than expected. So I reset it, and kept going. And I ended with a 10 minute sitting meditation. The random yoga music from my computer happened to have become a buoyantly sung version of the Tibetan incantation – Om Mani Padme Hum – one I had learned many years earlier when hiking the Annapurna trail in Nepal, and reading The Snow Leopard.  

Alone in the warehouse, I sang that chant with the kind of abandon I don’t believe I could have done in a class full of strangers. I was thoroughly immersed in it, “Om Mani Padme Hum” echoing through the warehouse. Those 10 minutes of sitting meditation went by in a flash. I sealed the deal with sivasana, and floated onwards from my warehouse refuge into the sunny Seattle evening – humming peacefully.

 


The Yogi’s Guide to Going Back to School – Whether You’re the Parent or the Student!

August 19, 2015

Suddenly, it’s that time of year again – back to school ads are everywhere, you realize the reading list is only half-done, and you could swear you saw a leaf fall just the other day.

While for some, school is just beginning and for others there are still a few precious weeks left of summer, it’s not too early to start preparing so that the transition back to school –  as well as the responsibilities and time commitments that come with it – are as easy as possible and don’t throw your world off kilter.

We’ve gathered some of our favorite tried-and-true pieces of advice on how to mentally and physically take steps to ensure that (whether you’re the parent or the student!) your school year gets off to a zen start.

  • First off – prioritize and organize. There’s no need to do away with your yoga practice or prioritize everything (and everyone) over yourself. Schedule a time to go food shopping to plan meals for the week, and set aside time to review what you or your child needs to do to be prepared for the first day. Then, even on a busy day, schedule at least a brief time for a practice or meditation – and make that time just as important as the time scheduled for all other tasks. The old saying (hard as it can be to remember) is so true: you need to put on your oxygen mask before you put on anyone else’s.

Yogi’s Tip for Calm and Centered Focus: Try out this 10 minute guided meditation for       clearing your mind and relaxing.

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  • Secondly, stay grounded and keep breathing! Something doesn’t go as planned? Try not to sweat it! Life happens, and with it comes unexpected twists and turns. Try to go with the flow, and remember that everything will be ok!

Yogi’s Tip to Relieve Stress and Stay Grounded: Take a moment for Child’s Pose. This pose is a wonderful way to aide in relieving stress and anxiety, and the angle your body is positioned in allows for deep torso breathing (also a stress reliever).

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  • Lastly, have fun! Remember that school is supposed to be fun. Learning is a valuable and wonderful experience, so enjoy it – whether it’s you or your little one who’s going! Celebrate the start of the new school year with a fun activity that the whole family can enjoy, such as a day of family yoga at the local park, a yummy meal cooked together, or a trip to the local bookstore!

Yogi’s Tip for Fun: C’mon now, this one should be a no brainer! Simply have fun. Or, if you do need a suggestion, maybe a spontaneous dance party or a visit to your local Glowga class?

For all of your yoga needs, come check us out today at BarefootYoga.com!


5 Yoga Poses to Aide in Releasing Anger, the Healthy Way

August 13, 2015

Anger: we all experience it, and it’s a valid emotion for each and every one of us (no matter the sometimes silly or unimportant seeming reason). One thing to always remember is that your feelings are legitimate, and while there may be an underlying cause for anger that you’re not quite aware of, it doesn’t make your emotions any less important. However, when we do not honor these emotions in a healthy way, whether or not the true cause is an underlying emotion we’re not yet aware of (such as frustration, disappointment, or confusion), anger can result in not only an overall negative feeling, but also in sometimes regrettable overreactions – particularly to those closest to us.

The poses below can help any yogi express and acknowledge their anger in a healthy and fulfilling way, hopefully resulting in an understanding of the true reason of the anger, an acknowledgment of who or what the anger is related to, and how to remedy the situation in a constructive and respectful way – to yourself and to others.

1. Child’s Pose

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This is an especially beneficial pose for grief related anger. The calming, protective, and relaxed position of the body can help to offer a soothing way to let out whatever you need to – whether it is a few tears or just a much-needed moment for quiet contemplation and reflection.

While in this pose, allow yourself to feel nurtured and protected while you acknowledge the cause for this grief and anger, allowing it to be released.

 

2. Half Twist Posealso know as Half Lord of the Fishes pose

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Feeling grouchy? Just wring out the anger, man.

This pose is a wonderful way to get a satisfying stretch in and relieve tension that can often rest in the areas of the hips and back.

 

3. Vigorous Sun Salutations

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You know that feeling of punching the bag in a kickboxing class? You may not know it, but that feeling can be translated to yoga as well! Try a few sets of vigorous sun salutations on your favorite mat – enough to work up a good sweat and allow yourself to work out any frustrations of the day, leaving yourself relaxed, rejuvenated, and with a renewed lightness.

 

4. Woodchopper Pose

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This is a great way to release tension, especially when used with a loud and energetic “AH!” as you bring your “woodchopper” arms down.

 

5. Lion’s Breath

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Okay, so this one isn’t technically a pose, but it’s an awesome and empowering Pranayama breathing technique! Set your hands on top of your legs as you breath in through your nose, releasing a loud and breathy exhale from the your belly all the way out as you open your expression as wide as you can while sticking your tongue out. This is a fun and rejuvenating way to release stress and negativity in a way that may or may not have you giggling by the end of it.

Thanks for reading! We hope you enjoyed the post above.

For all of  your yoga needs, come visit us today at BarefootYoga.com!