Sun Salutations and the Significance of 108

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Since as far back as the beginning of recorded of human history, the number 108 has been associated with deep spirituality and connection between the universe and humankind. Hindu tradition associates the number 108 with the number of Shiva’s attendants, hence the Mala contains 108 beads that circle like the planets of the solar system and represent prayer and meditation. India is known to have 108 sacred sites across the country; the High Temple of Lamanai in Mayan culture was erected 108 feet tall; Buddhist temples are often built with 108 steps representing the 108 steps to enlightenment, and in China, some forms of Tai Chi have 108 movements.

Mathematicians of Vedic culture viewed 108 as a number of the wholeness of existence, and the number 108 is also said to be connected with the Sun, Moon, and Earth, for the average distance of the Sun and the Moon to Earth is 108 times sun and moon's respective diameters. The recurrence of the number 108 is also prominent within the human body. Ancient yogis believed that there are 108 sacred sites within the body; Pranayama, the practice of meditative breath, also contains 108 cycles. One could argue that the number 108 represents an inner-connection between humans and the universe. 

Yogis are known to practice 108 sun salutations during the change of seasons. Practicing 108 Sun Salutations is a meditative practice that connects the body, the mind, and the universe specifically when nature is undergoing a change. And coupled with this change in nature, yogis can start once again, fresh, renewed and inspired.

Please join the Warrior One community in practicing 108 Sun Salutations on Thanksgiving morning at 7am. This practice will lead you through expressions of thanksgiving and appreciation for the wonderful things in life and for supporting others who are less fortunate. Please bring a non-perishable item or two, so we can spread the love and the bounty to others in need.

Effort and Ease

This is week two of Warrior’s Plank Challenge. Isn’t it uplifting to be part of something bigger, a community that shares a common goal?

As the weeks progress during plank challenge, you will increase the time you spend in plank to three-minutes. These early weeks are meant to create a foundation that will prepare your body and mind for creating a three-minute plank.

In your practice this month, consider the duality of yoga and how plank challenge fits into this. Yoga is the duality of effort and ease, sthira and sukha. In order to create peace, you will first need to create  foundation, steadiness, and presence, and plank challenge is a great means of tapping into this.

Plank pose is a powerful pose that attracts attention to your inner-fire and your body’s core. Plank pose ultimately strengthens both. A powerful core supports your entire body and aids in your everyday movement and the demands you place on your body. A powerful core also supports you in all other yoga poses. Tapping into the power of plank this month will also calm your mind and create the comfort that comes with staying in a powerful pose for longer than you typically stay. The magic happens when your mind tells you to exit the pose, and if you stay, shift happens. Shift can manifest in all kinds of ways including  the creation of harmony between mind and body and knowing that you can move past your threshold. 

The foundation you create in plank allows you to surrender and to open up to a never-ending list of possibilities. 

 

You ARE Ready for Plank Challenge

What is plank challenge? It is challenge we hold each year at Warrior One, and it’s a time to exercise your bravery muscles and commit to strength, power, and a three-minute plank. You’re probably thinking, “Whoa, slow down, did you just say a three minute plank?” Yes, but don't worry because you are READY now.

The challenge involves a few milestones: attending 20 classes in 30 days, trying a class in Studio B (weights or spinning) and working up to a 3-minute plank. With each milestone, you will be supported by the entire Warrior Community. Plank challenge is a time to truly connect with your fellow Warriors and work towards a common goal.

In the early weeks of plank challenge, you will start by holding plank in shorter increments, and by the time the final weeks of the challenge are upon you, you will be able to hold a three-minute plank that ignites the fire within you in so many ways. 

Plank pose strengthens your core and stabilizes your entire body for your asana practice. Much like mountain pose, the essence of plank exists in so many other poses. The ones you may quickly think of are poses like forearm plank, side plank, or reverse plank, but did you know that variations of plank are also found in poses like handstand, down dog, and table top? These poses call for you to draw in your core and to stabilize your joints as does traditional plank pose. 

The physical benefits of plank pose are many, including increased stamina and developing a strong core. Yet, your time in plank can also be spent tapping into your mind-body connection. Think of the last time you were in plank for longer than you expected. You may have fought with yourself: “I can’t stay here any longer”, “I am not strong enough for this pose,” “When is it going to end?” But just when you think you just can’t hold it any longer, the magic happens. Your muscles strengthen, your mind shifts, and crazy as it sounds, you can stay even longer! Plank Pose allows your mind and body to come to agreement and to share the same space of strength and fire. Plank pushes you to experience shift and to trust your body regardless of what your mind may be telling you at the moment. It brings you to your edge, so you can reach that edge in all your other poses.

There’s no better time than now to work on yourself. Why wait until the new year? Start your commitment to fitness and to yourself, now. Your Warrior community is full of support and love for the challenging days ahead. Tap into your best self and go for it. Oh, and you’ll get a pretty awesome t-shirt when you finish.  

 

Morning Meditation to shift your perspective for your day!

What if instead of waking up and checking texts, social media and emails, you started your day with a meditation? 

Mediation and mindfulness can set a pathway for a powerful, life changing day. Every time you meditate, you create space for new ideas, breath, health and possibilities! 

Here is a simple meditation/affirmation practice to start your day with a deeper connection to your purpose and intuition:

1. Find a comfortable sitting position on a pillow, cushion or chair. 

2. Place your hands wherever they feel comfortable (ie: on your lap, on your knees or by your sides.)

3. Sit tall, close your eyes and take three deep breaths. Inhale through your nose, through your nose exhale. 

Open your eyes and read this affirmation aloud. 

                     "I am in perfect balance. I am physically and emotionally connected and healed. i am free of worry and I am at peace with who I am. Every day I grow stronger and more relaxed. I love myself and life.”

Your words are powerful! The words you speak create the life you live. Close your eyes again and feel the energy that speaking these words into existence creates. 

4. Take 3 more deep breaths.

Feel free to sit and breath as long as you like! Set the tone for your day, but also enjoy this mediation at any point to help you reset and regroup. 

The Surrender of Child's Pose

Child’s pose (Balasana) is a nourishing and peaceful pose that often opens a traditional Journey into Power sequence. During an extensive yoga practice, you can also come into child’s pose at any time to rest and restore between challenging asanas. The ease and surrender available in child’s pose amidst a powerful, sweaty yoga class, teaches us that we need this kind relaxation and rejuvenation even during our daily hustle outside the yoga studio.

The benefits of child’s pose are many, and just as coming into child’s pose can be your moment of rest during yoga practice, it can also be your go-to pose at any other time to help relieve stress and tension and calm your monkey mind.

When you come into child’s pose, your body mimics the fetal position, the time of ultimate rest, rejuvenation, and growth. The pose stretches and elongates the spine and relaxes the tension in your chest, neck, and shoulders. When you rest your third-eye chakra on the mat or on the floor, this action sends an instant relaxation message to your brain, and the inward fold of your body in this position sends signals to your brain that it is safe to surrender.

The key here is allowing your body to relax when it needs it. During the normal hustle of your day, child’s pose can bring much needed restoration. You can come into child’s pose in the middle of the busy parts of your day or the parts that may be stressful or overwhelming. You might say, “Of course, I can get into child’s pose, but my brain won’t stop bouncing around,” yet child’s pose can be the answer to calming a restless mind as well. While in child’s pose, focus on your breath and the rising and falling of your chest. Send your breath to areas of tension and unrest. During the normal course of the day, you probably don’t focus on your breath all that much, for it is involuntary; you will breathe whether you intend to or not. When you breathe with intention, your mind can’t help but slow down. And if your mind wanders in child’s pose, just let it go, and come back to your intentional focus on your breath.

Try incorporating child’s pose during moments of greatest tension or unrest in your life, even if you don’t have the time for an entire yoga class. Give yourself permission to relax and rejuvenate despite your responsibilities and your schedule tugging you in different directions. Your body will thank you for this by nourishing your cells, calming your brain, and strengthening your inner power.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY GANDHI!!!

This week's post is dedicated to the birth of one of the most influential pioneers of modern peaceful resistance, Mohandas Gandhi. His development and teachings of satyagraha "truth and firmness", led India through powerful nonviolent resistance to gain independence from Great Britain. Mohandas was is well known by the name Mahatma, "The great-souled one". While his journey was peaceful, it was NOT easy. He was thrown in jail multiple times for standing up for the poorest classes of India, and eventually murdered for being a leader in nonviolent revolution. We are continually inspired by his nonviolent active resistance to injustice and willingness to stand up for those in need. 

To honor Gandhi's legacy and to be a catalyst for justice in your community, here are three ways you can lead a life of TRUTH while staying nonviolent:

1. PRACTICE AHIMSA TOWARDS YOURSELF: It starts with you. Ahimsa (nonviolence) is one of the eight limbs of yoga. When you go inward and practice nonviolence, you can spread nonviolence and peace to others. This means giving your body the space to feel what it needs to feel. Nonviolence does not mean that you don't feel angry. Often times anger is wrongly associate with hate. You can be angry out of LOVE for the greater good, for what is right, and not be hateful or lash out. In fact, it's important to feel your emotions completely before letting them go. There is nothing worse than repressing your emotions because you think you have to be peaceful and happy all the time...THAT can lead to violence and lashing out.  Find a space, like a yoga or meditation class, to work through your emotions in a safe and effective way. 

2.SPEAK UP: Nonviolence does not mean silence or passivity. When you see injustice or mistreatment say something about it! Even if it's friends or family and even if it makes the situation uncomfortable, you must call it out when you hear it. Remember, when people are uncomfortable it creates possibility for growth and change. YOU can make a difference when you speak up. 

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3.SHOW UP: With a simple google search, it's easy to look up groups in your community who take action for change. You can be a part of nonviolent protest marches, making calls to elected officials of office to let them hear your voice, or organizing fundraisers for a specific cause. The key here is to take action! It's not enough just to disagree with what is happening, you have to physically resist against it.

 

'Non-violence is not a garment to be put on and off at will. Its seat is in the heart, and it must be an inseparable part of our being."
Mahatma Gandhi

Regaining Peace and Calm During Stormy Times

The events over the last week have been quite a challenge for many of us. Hurricane Irma pushed through Central Florida and left in her wake, a number of different challenges for each of us. Our bodies and minds have been in flight or fight mode for some time now, and getting our lives back together and getting back to normal may take some time. Know there is comfort in these stormy times.

It is important to practice more yoga during challenging times. Just coming to the studio can uplift your spirits, energize your sense of community, and prepare you for the challenges outside the studio walls. Practicing with a community that shares your exhaustion and your new-found challenges can empower you to go stronger and more willing to tackle those challenges. Now, more than ever, is a time to embrace the lessons you experience on the mat and bring them into your daily life.

True North: On the mat, you experience True North when you ground down your feet into the earth, stand tall, relax your shoulders, and pull in the pit of your belly. When you’re in True North on the mat, you feel powerful, energetic, and at ease. Practice True North as much as you can when you’re off the mat as well. If you find yourself in a moment of challenge or frustration, ground yourself, send your focus to your feet, your belly, and your spine. Sometimes, it is just that simple; you can reconnect to your peace and power by just stopping in the moment and regaining True North.

Breath: Focusing on your breath is integral on the mat, yet it is also comforting and peaceful to practice ujjayi breath when you face any challenge. Your breath is the center for calm and peace. It slows down your heart rate and  cleanses the storm in your brain. When moments feel overwhelming, reconnect to your breath. It will refresh you, calm you, and settle your frustration. 

Meditation: Taking just a few moments a day to meditate can help bring daily peace and comfort. During meditation, you can turn-off thinking about all you must do, the people you need to call, and all the work that needs to get done. You can regain focus, clear your mind of troubling thoughts, and re-center your actions for the rest of the day. In stormy times, give yourself permission to take this time for yourself. Your mind will calm and the body will follow. 

You can also find peace in connecting your thoughts and deeds according to the 8 Limbs of Yoga; focus as you face challenges with:  Aparigraha, Santosha, and Svadhyaya.

Aparigraha: this limb focuses on non-greed, non-hoarding and focuses on generosity in spirit and action. One can interpret this in many ways, yet in challenging times, you can be the lighthouse and shine your light on others by being generous with your time and your resources. Accept only what you need; be abundant in your energy and spirit for helping others. In addition, you can also be generous with yourself by creating “you” time. Do something you love, listen to music, spend time with friends, practice yoga.

Santosha: this limb focuses on contentment, willingness to accept what is, and gratitude. It is easy to focus on how difficult it is right now. Yet, be willing to accept what is, share gratitude with yourself and your community.

Svadhyaya: this limb is about self-study and the ability for you to reflect and grow. We often grow the most during challenging times. We share experiences, we learn, we embrace our challenges and those of others. Take time to reconnect to yoga, face challenge with intensity and ease; grow in mind and spirit.

Closing the Gap

Have you ever noticed that sometimes you're excited to do something really good for you (like yoga) and other times it's the hardest thing to even get into the car to drive there? Suddenly, the house NEEDS to be cleaned... "there's no way it can wait until after!"... "What about all those emails I never check??" "Ugh, my nail polish is chipping, there's no way I can show up like that!" Or maybe it's something even bigger. Maybe it's depression, anxiety... just plain not feeling up to it. 

You're not alone. 

It's easy to find an excuse as to why you shouldn't do something good for you. Usually, it's easier to do something else. It's definitely easier to lie in bed instead of going to yoga, or grab fast food instead of cooking a homemade dinner. It's like you forget how good eating well or getting exercise feels. You trade that feeling for the ease of convenience or comfort, and it's a dangerous trade to make.

"The hardest part is showing up."

You may have heard this in a yoga class at one point... and it's true! Not just in yoga, but for all aspects in life. Showing up is a decision. You're making the choice to step out of your comfort zone and into the possibility of change, growth, and a new perspective. You choose what is best for you instead of what is most comfortable.

We call that closing the gap: the gap between what you know is best for you, and the action it takes to get you there. It's an exercise... the more you practice, the better in tune you become with what your body really needs. 

CHOOSE to show up! CHOOSE to shine out! CHOOSE yourself!
 

The Power of Hot Yoga

You may ask yourself, why practice “hot yoga?” You could easily perform all these poses in a cool room, right? And wouldn’t it be more comfortable? Well, your initial response may be yes, yet shift doesn't happen when you're comfortable; it happens when you challenge normalcy and comfort. Practicing hot yoga has the power to transform your mind and your body. 

Practicing power yoga in a heated room is an incredible experience, an experience that warms not just the room, but your inner fire, your tapas. Your inner fire gives you the support to sustain you during the course of your practice and to move you outside your comfort zone. Your inner fire moves you and motivates you, not just during yoga class, but out in your day-to-day interactions with the world. Hot yoga prepares you for the challenges you face both on and off the mat.

In a heated room, your tissues soften, and your body becomes more pliable and open to the poses within the power sequence. The heat can also give mental clarity and “spiritual healing”, for the heat in the room ignites your determination, your drive, and your motivation to power on. A hot room can also “boost the purifying fire” in your body because heat helps you sweat, and by sweating, your body releases toxins and those things that no longer serve you. Once released, you will notice your body and your mental fog shift, shift to greater possibilities. There is also a deep satisfaction when the sweat just pours right out of you.

The heat could easily be a reason to give up, but the heat pushes you to challenge yourself and to go beyond what is comfortable, easy and typical. The heat allows you to connect with your edge, all the while strengthening your body and your spirit.

Heat can help you see results more quickly. Since the heat allows you to move more easily, you can be more in touch and connected to what your body is telling you. The heat is fuel for cleansing and detoxing, and the heat has the ability to release years of tension in just a short amount of time.

5 Yin Poses to do before bed for a better night's sleep

Warrior One is a Baptiste inspired, power yoga studio. But did you know we also offer Yin/Restorative/Slow deep stretch classes? Yin yoga is the opposite of Yang (hot power) yoga. It's usually done in a cool room with poses held for about 3-5 minutes targeting the joints and connective tissues that enclose your muscles. It is restorative, relaxing, and most importantly, introspective. Slowing down the body also slows down the mind, and you are able to go inward to "check in" on how you feel and WHAT you feel in each pose.

If you can't make it to class, here are 5 effective yin poses you can do in your own bed before you go to sleep to get a better night's rest. With your awareness on your breath and your body, the mind chatter dwindles away, and you'll be off to dreamland in no time!

1. Legs Up the Wall

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Sitting sideways, get the side of your hip as close to the wall as you can. Swing your legs up the wall as you lie down on your back. Option to put a pillow under your hips or head for extra support. Close your eyes and breathe. Stay here for 5-10 minutes. 

Benefits: - Extremely restorative, legs up the wall takes the pressure off your heart to pump as hard. Your heart rate slows down. 
               -Your internal organs get                  a richer blood supply
               -Your brain gets a greater supply of
                oxygen improving your memory and mood.

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2. Spinal Twist

Pillow Tucked under knee 

Pillow Tucked under knee 

Draw your right knee into your chest and take it across your body. Keep both shoulders on the ground/bed. If your knee is coming up tuck pillows underneath for support. To complete the twist through your cervical spine turn your head in the opposite direction of your knee. Complete both sides. 

Benefits: -Spinal decompression
               -Twisting massages your                  internal organs and                         improves their function. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reach up, elongate your spine 

Reach up, elongate your spine 

3, Sleeping Deer

Sit in a wide legged position. Set 1-3 pillows on the outside of your right leg. Bend your right knee. Option to keep your left leg straight or bent for a deeper twist. Reach your arms up, lengthen your spine, then turn to face your pillows and lie down. If you want to go deeper still, try turning your head to the right. Remember to breathe. 

Turn towards your pillow and lie down

Turn towards your pillow and lie down

Benefits: -Spinal Decompression
               -Can help reduce anxiety                  and restlessness.
               -Helps improve digestion                  and relive gas.
              

 

 

 

 

Option to have back leg straight or bent 

Option to have back leg straight or bent 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                               4. Reclining pigeon

Lie on your back and place both feet on the wall. Create a 90 degree angle from your hips to your heels. Lift one leg and place your ankle on top of the leg that is bent. If you need MORE scoot closer to the wall. If you need LESS start to straighten the leg that is on the wall to your appropriate edge. Everyone is different! Find what you need for your body.

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Benefits: -Stretches and releases the gluteal muscles and specifically the smaller muscles of the glutes (ex: piriformis) which can get very tight.
               -Puts pressure on the hip joint, which sends a surge of fresh blood and synovial fluid (think WD-40) to your joint.

 

5. Reclining Butterfly 

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Lie down on your back with a pillow under your head. Take the soles of your feet together and your knees wide. Place your hands on your low belly. Option to tuck pillows under both knees, get comfortable!! Breath 5-10 deep belly breaths and notice the rise and fall of your hands.

Benefits: -Stretches the inner thighs (adductors) and groin. 
               -Stimulates abdominal organs like the ovaries and prostate                           gland, bladder, and kidneys
               -Helps relieve symptoms of stress, mild depression,                                       menstruation and menopause.

 

Now reap the benefits of your practice by lying flat on your back in savasana. Close your eyes and breathe. Who knows, you may even drift                                                         off to sleep ; ) 

 

 

Why Power Yoga?

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The fifty-three-pose sequence in Baptiste Power Yoga combines strength and vigor with flow, breath, drishti, and core stabilization. All of this is combined with heat to provide “dynamic, life-changing forms of physical and spiritual fitness.” Baptiste Power Yoga is much different than other forms of yoga practice: it is accessible to anyone, no matter the age, experience, or level of physical fitness. It is “purposely challenging” to awaken your body, to bring you to your edge, and to make way for vitality and power off the mat as well. Power Yoga is not about becoming super-flexible; it’s about building your physical and mental strength and about knowing your own body.

Baptiste Yoga provide you with a practice that allows you to grow in your own way, to become your own teacher. It’s about “discovering your authentic self” and not about competition or comparison. In our competition based society, we are trained to compare ourselves with others, to compete for the bigger and better, yet in Power Yoga, you can drop all of this, you can be vulnerable, and you can do what’s good for your own body. You may worry that your triangle pose does not look like your neighbor’s triangle pose, but know that everyone’s will look different. Each person’s triangle is an expression of his or her own body. You are a unique human being, so your triangle will always be as unique as your own expression. Start where you are and then be open to the possibilities that can arise with each new day of practice. You’ll be pleasantly surprised by what shifts will happen.

Power Yoga is about transformation. The sequence is designed according to the way your body is supposed to move. It builds true strength, rather than “superficial” strength.  It purposefully trains your body to move in the ways you move in your everyday life: bending, twisting, stretching, and lifting. It is practical. Everyday activities can become more agile, powerful, and graceful with consistent practice. Power Yoga is about training the whole-person. And most importantly, you’ll experience shifts right away in both energy level and stamina as well as in the immediate connection with your own body. This connection is so powerful that you’ll want to keep on practicing.

You are Ready NOW!

The recent Disney classic, Moana, redefines the heroine young girls and women aspire to be. If you haven't seen the movie yet (and if you haven't... watch it tonight!!!) the main character, Moana, must make the choice between staying safe on her island and become head chief, or following her dreams of sailing out to explore the open sea. When trouble strikes and Moana must find away to save her people, she decides to take a boat and set sail to find the solution. Is she scared? Absolutely. Does she make mistakes along the way? Definitely. She moves past this though and steps outside her comfort zone in a big way. Moana is "Ready now".

The typical definition of being ready usually means you have everything figured out and there is little room for failure. What we are talking about though comes from an energetic place. A place of wanting something in your life, and maybe being afraid or nervous or thinking of a million excuses as to why you can't do it, but doing it anyway. Usually what stops you from doing something is the story in your head that says "I can't."  How do you overcome the negative voices? The answer is you don't have to shut them out. It's OK to be scared. The only thing you need is believing that you are ready, even if your brain is telling you something different. 

The energy of being ready now is powerful. You overcome the feelings of doubt by simply taking action. Find comfort in the discomfort and embrace the possibility to grow!! The next time you're on your yoga mat, try something that you'd normally avoid, like getting your front leg to 90 degrees in warrior one, or trying a handstand! (You can always ask your teacher for help :) Do this on your mat, and it will start to show up in your life too. 

No spoilers, but by "being ready now", Moana embarks on an amazing adventure that changes her life and everyone she comes into contact with. Seriously, watch the movie and seriously... You are READY NOW!! 

The Prize Is in the Process

 

The journey of yoga practice is a journey with no end. There is no finishing point today, tomorrow, or years down the road. There is no prize for the best half-moon or the most balanced crow pose or for how many days you practiced this week. In fact, the prize, in yoga, is the process of shift that happens with each new practice, each new day.

Yoga allows for subtle shifts as well as for ground-breaking realizations about your body, mind, and spirit. There is no set time-frame for when these shifts happen, and there’s no exam at the end that confirms your skills in advanced asanas. Instead, know that the process is called, “yoga practice,” not “yoga perfect” for a reason. As a matter of fact, your practice most often ebbs and flows. Each new practice is never quite like the previous one. For example, some days you may feel like coming into wheel pose is an absolute impossibility, and other times you may feel no power or benefit in Warrior One. During these moments, you may even doubt that shift can happen, or you may think that your regressing rather than advancing. Yet, in these moments of doubt, what is most important is that you know that the true power is in what you’re learning about your body’s communication with your mind.

Five Ways to Find Beauty in the Process:

1.      Know that there are no limits to how far you can go in a pose: there is always more space to explore a pose, even if you feel you’ve mastered it. Try checking in with your breathing or checking in with your True North. Are you present in the pose, or are you just going through the motions?  

2.      Know that there is no goal to achieve or test of your ability in yoga: believing that you must be perfect in each pose can lead to frustration or injury. Know that your body tells you what it needs and listen to it, even if the need is different than yesterday or different than tomorrow.

3.      Use the posture as a tool to explore the body: ask yourself what feels invigorating, and go there. Ask yourself if you could go a little further, and go there. Drop your ego and explore what is naturally happening in the moment.

4.      Trust the Natural Order of things: your ego, sometimes, can push you too hard right out of the gate. You might be thinking that you must get it right the first time or that you should be able to balance in tree-pose right away. Yet, reflect on the process of the butterfly. Each butterfly begins as an egg, transitions to a caterpillar, envelopes into a chrysalis, and then transforms into a beautiful winged creature. The natural course is not rushed, skipped, or dismissed. The butterfly is beautiful because of the process, and without the process, there is no butterfly. Sometimes your yoga practice can be messy; sometimes you may feel like nothing is happening, but know that shift is happening.

5.      Know that sometimes results are not always visible: Each day your practice brings new things, and every fraction of an inch is meaningful. Know that small shifts can lead to ground-breaking changes in your life. Take one step-at-a-time, and rewards will come to you.

 

 

Give Up What You Must.

When was the last time fear stopped you from accomplishing something?
I mean...stomach dropping, anxiety inducing, sweaty palms fear.
Fear of failure, ridicule, rejection.

Notice the events and thoughts that run through your mind as you relive this: "I can't do this." "No way." "I'm not strong enough/skinny enough/smart enough." Any excuse to talk yourself out of it and avoid feeling fear. 

What if there was a way to give up that fear, and let in the possibility of trying something new?

See, humans are already born whole, complete and lacking nothing. And somewhere along the way you start to believe the lies others tell you, that you need to fit within certain limits or else you aren't good enough. You consume yourself with pleasing others and being "enough" that you lose your true, authentic voice in the process. Self doubt appears and knocks you down even more. Think about it! You wouldn't dare say to your friends/loved ones the negative things you say to yourself.

Society demands the avoidance of fear. Avoid discomfort, avoid putting yourself out there, avoid growth, or else you'll be judged. You are born into an Olympic swimming pool, full of wonder and awe and then you start building limiting walls around yourself, forgetting that there's a gigantic opportunity to explore.
You stay swimming back and forth in your small box. 

The key to breaking free from the chains of doubt and fear: Is to acknowledge it's existence ...and let it go. 

That's right! You have the power to break yourself free and to dive into the Olympic pool of possibility. 

Let's try this:
1. Acknowledge: Go back to your example of when you felt fear. Really relive this moment. FEEL the fear. Every time you allow yourself to acknowledge that fear is there in the first place you have the control to let it go. This is different than resisting. Resisting causes the fear to still control the steering wheel. By staying open and feeling whatever comes up, you take back the control and you can let it go.

2. Acceptance: After acknowledgment comes acceptance. You must embrace the fear without judging why it's happening or that you wish there was a different outcome. 

3. Declaration: Now that you've embraced your fear, declare it gone. "Right now, I give up fear." not, "I'm going to give up fear." or even "I want to give up fear." 
The practice of speaking what you declare for yourself right now is powerful. Putting those words into existence creates an energetic shift which shifts your attention off of what is holding your back to what will set you free. Your words create your life!

Letting go and giving something up are different from when someone says "Just get over it!"  You can't let anything go until you've taken ownership of your experience and emotion. It's giving up the emotional weight that you've been dragging around so that you can feel lighter. That's when you are able to separate yourself from the "walls" you put up for yourself, and break them down, brick by brick. 

This is a moment by moment exercise. It's not a one time fix. Self-doubt and fear are strong feelings that creep back again and again. But, you are stronger. Do this exercise every time you feel fear. On and off your mat! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Get into the Flow

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The word Vinyasa is derived from Sanskrit, which means “to place in a special way.” Yet, more simply put, vinyasa means flow, and flow is the synergistic movement among all the poses in a Baptiste Power Yoga sequence. Yogis are more apt to hear the term, vinyasa, in the sequence of chaturanga, upward-facing dog, and down-dog. Yet, flow is present in the entire practice: from flip-dog to side plank, to pyramid to twisted triangle, to lizard lunge to half-pigeon, and so on. Vinyasa equates with free-flowing movement and the lack of resistance. Since yoga practice is practice for life, once you surrender to the flow on your mat, you can surrender to the flow in your daily life.

Flow allows you to drop the stories in your head (I can’t do it; I am too tired; I am not flexible enough), and allows you to create free-flowing, meditative movement. Flow allows for presence and creation of “dynamic energy” that can sustain you for the duration of your practice.

"Your Breath is Your Flow....."

To start surrendering to the flow, connect to your ujjayi breath throughout your practice; be conscious of it; let it move you from one pose to the next, for your breath is your rhythm, your flow. Conversely, when you hold your breath in a pose like chaturanga, your body starts to activate the sympathetic nervous system, the “fight-or flight” response, and instead of flow, you create resistance; instead of surrendering into the pose, you’re gearing up for impending harm. The beauty of ujjayi breath is that with each new breath in, you create a clean slate, so if you lose your breath at any time, just tap into it again. Once again be conscious of your breath, and a pose like chaturanga will be less challenging and will become more powerful.

Your focus on breath will help create the flow in your practice; you’ll flow like water from crescent lunge to prayer twist, like a river flowing around the rocks, rather than being blocked by the rocks in your path and the stories in your head. 

And….. flow can happen off the mat. Accessing your ujjayi breath will help bring ease to difficult situations, stressful times, and moments of resistance. Simply tap into your breath and the flow will come!


 

 

Be a YES!

It's Monday. You just got off work and you have the option of going home, grabbing dinner, and watching Netflix OR heading to yoga. Even though you're tired from a long day, you choose yoga because you know that the benefits are far greater than laying on the couch. You're listening to your body, making a choice based on what is best for YOU, and making a commitment to show up. That commitment is called being a YES. To be a yes means making an internal shift. It's using the power within you to create a life based around what YOU want by speaking it into existence and taking action. It all starts with showing up. 

OK so you show up to the yoga class. Once you've made that internal shift, "being a yes" shows up on your yoga mat in a physical form. The teacher calls out a pose that comes easily to you. You confidently shoot into upward bow, sail into half moon, or lay in savasana. You are a YES for these poses because they are familiar and there's no risk involved.
Now the teacher calls for a pose that is difficult or even unknown to you. Suddenly your mind floods with, "I can't do that" "There's no way" "I'm not flexible/strong enough", shutting the possibility down before you even have a chance to try. You close yourself off and are a NO to these poses.
 (It is very important to note that not trying because of fear and not trying because of injury or contraindications are two COMPLETELY different things. Its vital to listen to your body and make a smart decision based on your personal needs.)
Imagine feeling the fear of trying that new pose... but doing it anyway! Even if you fall, or don't do it perfectly...who cares! Moving past the physical/mental blocks, you say "YES!" and suddenly you find yourself in handstand!

The answer to how is always yes
— Baron Baptiste

Being a yes does not mean saying yes to everyone and every opportunity that comes your way. In fact, every time you say "yes" to one thing, you are saying "no"to another. When you say "Yes" to trying a new yoga pose, you actually say "Yes!" to growth and possibility and "No!" to self doubt and fear.
When you tap into your inner "yes-ness", BIG things happen, not just on the mat, but in your life. Think of something you've always wanted to do.. but have always made an excuse as to why you couldn't do it. Maybe it's traveling to Europe or sky diving or starting your own business, anything! When you put the energy of being open to opportunities that used to scare you, and trust your inner voice, you step outside your comfort zone. THIS is where growth happens. You have a reservoir of power inside you waiting to be released just by saying "Yes!"

Being a Yes is a moment by moment exercise. It's a practice, just like yoga. Remember to trust your inner voice and only say "Yes" to opportunities that align with your truth, not what someone else wants or thinks you should do. There will be times when voices of doubt seep back in that will tell you "I can't." Stay open! Maybe it's even something you've tried before and now you're trying it in a new way! The more you practice, the more dramatic the changes will be in your life. You'll start showing up for people in bigger ways because you focus your energy on what matters most. Take a stand for yourself and "BE A YES!"

If you want to read more about "Being a Yes" and living an empowered life, we highly recommend reading "Being of Power", by Baron Baptiste

 

<---- Click on the image to check out the book at Amazon.com
 

Five Ways to Find True North

Imagine coming into a yoga studio that smells of freshly burning incense, where the lights are dim, and the mood is blissful.  For a moment, you’ve calmed the voices in your head preventing you from going to class, and you’re ready to begin. The setting is perfect for calming your monkey-mind and for reconnecting with your body. Yet, a few minutes pass, and your mind says differently; those voices start creeping back into your consciousness, urging you to remain in your comfort zone, avoiding any discomfort or challenge. And, as usual, the struggle between mind and body begins, and you fall into your “default” practice, your comfort zone.

Many yogis experience “default” practice at times, where, for example, transitions between poses are the same as always, when the full expression of a pose never quite reaches the edge, and when it’s easier to quit than to stay in a pose when it becomes too much of a challenge.

You often hear the teacher say for you to find Tadasana in each pose, whether you’re currently in mountain pose, or in crow, or in handstand. Tadasana is True North in essence. With your feet forward, your shoulders back, your belly pulled in, and your head forward, you are essentially in true anatomical position; your body is perfectly aligned. Think of anatomy class, the anatomical models, both skeletal and muscular, are always represented the same way, true anatomical position, Tadasana, or True North. Our bodies are made for maintaining this position in all that we do on or off the yoga mat. Any default practice can be shifted with focus on True North.

Ways to find True North in your Practice can be subtle, but transforming. Consider these small changes the next time you come to your mat, when those voices are telling you not to go for the challenge:

1-     Notice those voices in your head, but let them go; they do not serve you in your practice.

2-     Observe and Listen to your body in each pose. Your expression of twisted triangle, for example, is your own expression, yet could you focus on grounding your feet into your mat, rather than focusing on your brain saying, “you can’t do this?"

3-    Observe and Listen for the alignment of the pose. Are your feet at 12 o’clock? Are you grounding down through all four corners of your feet? If not, do it! It will take your mind off those voices telling you, “no!" So, what if you’re in handstand? Ground down through your hands, lift the pit of your belly, and flex your feet, like you’re going to push to the stars above you. Your focus on True North Alignment will curb the voices in your brain saying, “Come down, won’t you?"

4-     Observe and Listen for possibilities in the pose. If you can pull the pit of your belly in during Mountain Pose, do the same in triangle or half-moon. Once you embrace the full expression of the pose, your edge, you are up to bigger and better things.

5-     Observe and Listen for what’s missing and find access to the tools that will help you right here, right now in the pose. Could you sink a little lower in Chair Pose? Could you mesh your fingertips and palms with the earth while flying in crow?

 

 

 

10 Subtle Transformations from Yoga that Make a Big Impact

Many yogis share a similar story, the same drive that brings you coming back to your mat. It’s the desire for change, transformation, and discovery. And while that may happen in huge exciting ways — like conquering that handstand you always wanted to do — it also sneaks up on you in little ways.  Here are 10 subtle ways in which yoga transforms your life and how they can be bigger than you imagined. 

1. You don't feel so concerned about how you look, and feel a newfound appreciation for your quirks and curves.

2. You become more aware of how much you complain, and make a natural effort to be kinder and more patient. 

3. You find you can take deeper, fuller breaths, and feel the calming effect almost immediately. 

4. You don't get as grossed out by sweaty people or touching feet with your neighbor because you do it all the time at the yoga studio!

5. You start seeing that annoying person at work as less annoying and capable of feelings just like you. 

6. You find that when you're eating for your body, you're naturally eating healthier. No diet needed. 

7. You're considering doing things you've never thought possible before, like teaching a class or quitting the job you hate. 

8. You start approaching family drama in a much more tactful way and find your relationships growing closer. 

9. You start noticing the unhealthy cycles in your life and you're moved to try and break them. 

10. You start taking your yoga everywhere. 

 

If you are ready to start making BIG changes even in all the little ways, drop in to Warrior One, .

Kale Yeah! Quinoa Salad

 

Spring is here, which means warmer days and time to detox from the winter months! Kale is high in antioxidants and nutrient-rich, keeping you energized and feeling amazing! This tangy, delicious recipe only takes a few minutes to prep, and it's great to keep in the fridge and meal prep.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup quinoa (red quinoa pictured but any is delicious)
  • 1 bunch of kale
  • 1 apple, finely chopped
  • 1 yellow pepper, finely chopped
  • Dried cranberries 
  • Pumpkin or sunflower seeds optional (not pictured)
  • 3 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 3 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • Lemon juice of 1 lemon

Craft Your Salad!

Rinse quinoa and boil with 2 cups of water until liquid is absorbed and quinoa is fluffy. Finely chop kale, apple, and yellow pepper and mix with dried cranberries and seeds. Let boiled quinoa cool completely, then add to kale mixture and mix thoroughly.

Dress it up!

Combine mustard, apple cider vinegar, white wine vinegar, maple syrup, sea salt, and lemon juice in a separate dish. Mix thoroughly and add to salad. In a covered bowl, mix salad for best result.

Fuel up and enjoy!

 

Insightful Yoga: The 5 States of the Mind and What To Do About Them

Yoga is the cessation of the movements of the mind. Then there is abiding in the Seer’s own form.
— Patañjali, The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

The mind is constantly fluctuating as your emotions ebb and flow with the patterns of your life. The practice of yoga aims not to end that fluctuation, but to allow you to reach a state of balance where even the highest of highs and lowest of lows can be approached with a clear awareness, focus and intention. However you have reached your moment of awakening, it has likely created within you a longing to learn more, experience more, and grow more. To navigate the stages of the mind, you must first recognize them and DROP what you know to make SPACE for honest personal inquiry. Pantajali defined 5 states of mind in his yoga sutra that can guide you in recognizing your mental state and how to grow with it.

  1. Wandering (Ksipta)

This is described as the “lowest state of mind.” In this state you may feel agitated, unable to fully comprehend your thoughts, experiences, and communication with others. You may hear the term “monkey-mind” to characterize this uncomfortable state in which you may find yourself stuck in unhealthy cycles that bring continuous pain into your life.

What to do:

Recognize your destructive patterns and make an honest effort to change them. This can be a physical cycle, like unhealthy eating habits or lack of exercise. Or it can be personal and emotional. For example, how does your self-talk benefit or harm you? It can involve our communication with others. Do you find that your relationships tend to follow a similar pattern? What role do you play in that sequence and how can you improve it?

2. Dull (Mudha)

You are now aware that change is in the air, but still lack real focus and awareness. You may find yourself forgetful, unable to communicate as your true self, and only able to focus on material concerns or the day-to-day hustle without awareness of life’s subtle nuances.

What to do:

In this state you may still find it challenging to drop what you know and refocus your attention on what’s really important. Especially when faced with difficult times or new adjustments in life, remind yourself of your purpose, your intention, and your true self — especially in those moments where you feel like the last thing you have time for is meditation and yoga. You will find that staying aware of your spiritual self, even amid the mayhem, will allow you to move through life’s changes with a newfound ease.

3. Restless (Vikspita)

As you begin to reach a higher awareness, you may experience a sense of restlessness as your mind alternates between moments of clearness and distraction. This confusion may make you indecisive and not entirely in control of your actions, but at least able to notice and contemplate the subtleties of life.

What to do:

This is a time to focus on meditation, your tool for staying still and focused while combatting the monkey-mind. In meditation, you enjoy brief periods of peace and clarity that are hard to hold on to. A regular meditation practice will make you better able to grasp those moments and make them a way of life.

4. Focused (Ekagra)

Now the mind is both relaxed and aware. The internal chatter subsides and the potential of the mind becomes clear. As you find it easier to focus, you lose the restlessness, confusion, and agitation because you can now concentrate on one subject with an open, honest heart and without successive distracting thoughts.

What to do:

The journey isn’t over, yogi. Use your new one-pointed state to trickle through your daily life. Sense things with more than your five senses and allow your ego to subside as you now have control over your thoughts, actions, and desires.

5. Arrested (Niruddha)

You are now able to hold one single successive thought in mind. Complete stillness is the ultimate enlightenment, and the quieting of thoughts is achieved entirely, allowing you to glide through life without a reaction to its fluctuations.

What to do:

Continue your yoga practice. Continue to constantly analyze your mental state and your connection to the universe. Continue making progress in your yogic pursuits and looking for new ways to grow and develop.