I spent some time recently talking to students in my yoga classes. I was curious about what they were thinking about when they made the decision to start coming to a yoga class. Some were new to yoga and others had years of experience, but there were some common themes in what they had to tell me.
Most people I talked to told me they had decided to come to yoga for its physical benefits – strength, flexibility, balance, and endurance. Within this conversation about physical fitness, however, there often emerged a second theme – the need for stress relief, time for personal growth, and an opportunity to practice mindfulness with the support of others.
Despite initial uncertainty (“…maybe I’m not flexible enough to do yoga”), these students found that yoga allowed them to slow down and open to present moment awareness. Instead of comparing themselves to others, they found their attention moving away from distracting and negative thoughts and toward the way that yoga made them feel. Yoga class gives us a designated time to experience the unique combination of much needed physical movement and breath awareness without self-judgement. These words by Buddhist monk, Pema Chodron, say it all.
“Practice isn’t about trying to throw ourselves away and become something better. It’s about befriending who we already are…We experience moments of being right here that feel simple, direct, and uncluttered.”
Thanksgiving is my very favorite holiday. I love the warmth and the gathering of loved ones with just one simple purpose in mind – to remember how much there is to be grateful for. Wouldn’t it be great if we could feel uplifted by gratitude everyday?
I just returned from a trip to the Himalayan Institute, where I had the privilege of attending a lecture by Pandit Rajmani Tigunait on the topic of “Calming Our Inner Turmoil”. According to Pandiji, our inner turmoil is the direct result of our minds becoming trapped in a cycle of thinking. This endless cycle of thinking impacts our ability to be open to new ideas creating more and more inner turmoil (i.e. “stress”). During his lecture, Pandiji gave one firm recommendation for a strategy to break this cycle, “Remember how much there is to be grateful for.”
According to Psychology Today, Pandiji is right. Developing an attitude of gratitude enhances our self-esteem, improves our relationships with others, increases empathy and resilience, and even helps us to sleep better.
At First Street Yoga, we are grateful for each of you! We look forward to seeing you in a regular class, at monthly restorative yoga on December 1, or at Full Moon Yoga with Singing Bowls on December 8.
Yoga, with its 5,000 year history, could be considered the “original” exercise program. Why, when other things seem to come and go, has yoga lasted this long? Perhaps the key is yoga’s unique combination of physical, mental, and emotional benefits.
On the mat, yoga improves flexibility, muscle strength, physical endurance, and balance while providing beneficial weight bearing exercise to help strengthen bones. Yoga has been shown to help lower blood pressure in those with hypertension and lower blood sugar levels in those with non-insulin dependent diabetes. And, recent scientific studies demonstrate that yoga reduces the harmful effects of stress and increases brain health. WOW! Yoga has benefits “beyond the mat” by encouraging mindfulness, reducing anxiety, and encouraging the development of a positive body image.
Most importantly, yoga is for everyone regardless of age or fitness level. If you have questions about yoga classes at First Street Yoga, give us a call. We would love to hear from you!
In this class, we take the full moon as inspiration for our Hatha yoga practice with the intention of balancing the action oriented sun energy of daily life with the moon energy that feeds our creativity and imagination. This month, our practice is blessed by the presence of sound healer, Kathy Broghammer. Kathy will close out our practice playing her beautiful Himalayan and crystal elemental bowls. Full Moon Yoga is an all levels yoga class appropriate for all ability levels. Mats and props are available on site.
CONTACT : firstname.lastname@example.org with questions. Pre-registration is not required – please come as you are able!
COST: One Class Punch or $15 for Drop-In