Listen To Your Heart

It is Spring.

Open the doors, open the windows and listen. Listen to the birds chirping and the insects buzzing. Listen to your heart. Listen to the message. Hear it.

Breathe in slowly. Let the breath carry your thoughts and feelings. Greet them at the door, or wave to them at the window. Exhale slowly, and without standing in the way, or inviting them to stay, let them pass through your house.

It is Spring. The air is rich, sweet and heavy with new life; it circulates through your house. Let it pour in, mixed with the light and warmth of the sun. Let it refresh like a glass of iced tea.

 

 

 

 

Latitude Sports Club, Salisbury
8:00AM Wednesday, Studio 3
9:30AM Sunday, Group Fitness Studio

Listen

Listen with all your attention. Be still and listen.

Breathe in slowly. Fill your lungs like the water glass from the bottom up; steadily pour the oxygen in until the lungs are full.

Pause.

Breathe out slowly. Empty your lungs like the water glass from the top down; steadily pour the oxygen out until the lungs are empty.

Pause.

In the pause there is a stillness. In this stillness, direct awareness to the areas we tend to overlook; and look. In that quiet, that space between the breaths, look without judgement and connect.

Connect with a small part that is ignored or hidden and see it, as it is. Acknowledge it and address it. That thought, that feeling, that action will no longer be ignored or hidden; no longer a bug, or discomfort to us. It will be free and we will feel lighter not having to carry its weight.

8:00 AM Wednesday  at Latitude Sports Club, Salisbury, MA
9:30 AM Sunday at Latitude Sports Club, Salisbury, MA

 

Meditation-There’s No Place Like Home

Our house, our home is a place to return to at the end of the day that is uniquely ours, where we take comfort and process life. That’s where meditation comes in. It gives us that place to go. That quiet place in our house to take a break and restore.

Focusing on our breath, an object, sound or word is one method of approaching meditation. If the mind wanders it is returned back to the choice of focus. Many have success with this, however, sometimes the focal point gets mixed in with all the other stuff, competing for attention and leaving a feeling of frustration.

Rising above is another approach, described as leaving the busy main floor of a house and going to the second floor, where it is quieter.

Rising above is my preferred approach. Acknowledging  my present state I realize my mind is often jumping all over the place. Acceptance of this state occurs because it is the result of managing a complex life. At this point I try to rise above. I let the thought processes continue, but they become soft, faint  and eventually quiet as I distance myself. When my mind wanders, patience is exercised and I gently take it back to that quieter place, without judgement.

It takes trust to leave the busy main floor, confidence believing nothing will fall apart, and understanding I can pick up where I left off, managing the complexities of life with improved focus, efficiency and less stress.

One day I will learn to retreat to the attic and eventually rise above the house.

Latitude Sports Club, Salisbury
Wednesday 8:00AM Studio 3
Sunday 9:30AM Group Fitness Studio

 

 

 

The Breath Connection

Slow and steady, we breathe in through the nose and we breathe out. Our breath creates a moment; our breath creates change. With awareness and practice, we notice the subtleties of our breathing and how closely it correlates to the way we feel.

When I started practicing yoga, the breathing was the last aspect of the physical practice to fall into place. Following the class, learning the poses and getting acquainted with my flexibility, strength and balance were challenging. At some point, connecting the breath with the movement started happening. Now, paying close attention to the quality and timing of my breath is an intricate part of my practice that I exercise in equal measure as my muscles.

The breath holds the purpose of fueling the transitions and poses, but then something wonderful happens. Change. I look for it; embrace it; the feeling of being grounded, calm and centered, unaffected by external events.

Like the ocean, we can be raging and wild or calm and peaceful.

Latitude Sports Club, Salisbury
Wednesday 8AM Studio 3
Sunday 9:30AM Group Fitness Studio

Yoga, Our Individual Recipe

Yoga is our individual recipe, and we work with simple, quality ingredients such as kindness, compassion, understanding, love and forgiveness. Each ingredient is important with purpose. Each ingredient works with the others to benefit and create the whole.

As Yogis, we nurture the concoction of these ingredients. We hold degrees of experiences, attitudes and opinions about each of them as they are applied to situations. We may have forgotten about some and are reminded to return them into the mix. Much like baking, we use our senses and adjust accordingly; adding a touch of forgiveness in this area, or a little understanding or compassion in that area.

Our time on the mat allows us to get to know each ingredient, apply it and experience it. We melt into poses, whisk away the unnecessary, sift in the high quality and mix through the physical aspect of the practice. In the warmth of the studio we soften as we give and take from the ingredients.

Like fresh-baked cookies, kindness, compassion, understanding, love and forgiveness are often received with a smile.

Bake and give.

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Latitude Sports Club, Salisbury
Wednesday 8AM Studio 3
Sunday 9:30AM Group Fitness Studio

 

 

 

Letting Go

Some days it doesn’t take much to see that we are drained from events that we are wrestling with on a day-to-day basis. Yoga nudges us to take a break from it. Yoga teaches us to let go. We may not be able to let go of events that we are in the midst of, but we can let go of the way they make us feel.

The act of letting go begins as an intention and becomes an action creating movement like waves that ripple through our many layers, releasing negative and stagnant energy. We can let go of anything we choose. Yoga suggests we begin with judgement, expectation and competition.

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Self-Awareness

“Awareness is like the sun. When it shines on things they are transformed.”

Thich Nhat Hanh

Yoga is the practice of self-awareness in the most detailed sense. We strive for this awareness to run deep throughout the many layers of our body, mind and breath.

As we step on our mat, we take a moment to become aware of our present state. We close our eyes and take a deep breath in; as we exhale, we focus our attention inward. Honoring our present state, we plan our practice accordingly. Some days we go easy, taking advantage of modifications. Other days we work hard, accepting challenges.

As we move through our practice, we learn about ourselves. Details embedded in the body, mind and breath have the opportunity to surface in the quiet of the practice. Teaching us and guiding us through the tricky spots in our internal and external worlds; teaching and guiding us towards overall well-being and content.

As our practice ends, we rest in shavasana, the final pose where the breath is easy, the mind is clear and we shine like the sun, transformed.

Latitude Sports Club, Salisbury
Wednesday 8:00AM Studio 3
Sunday 9:30AM Group Fitness Studio

 

 

 

 

Studio 3

I began teaching yoga in Studio 3 almost eight years ago. The studio held a maximum of sixteen yogis including myself.

The dedicated core group holds some history. Wednesday mornings they arrive early, sometimes forty minutes before class to put their mats down. Like family, everyone has a role, a unique personality and a preferred spot at the table or rather at the studio. Newbies were always introduced and included in the group chatter. I would often hesitate before interrupting the multiple conversations to begin class. The group sounded like they belonged in a coffee shop. All that was missing was the coffee.

Eight years later, Studio 3 has been expanded and tastefully updated. It has  doubled in size with hardwood flooring, fresh paint and new lighting.  This new studio space has a relaxing vibe and will be able to accommodate a larger class, and I wonder if it will affect the camaraderie.

By comparison is my Sunday morning class, often a gathering of fifty or more, I have yet to see the same ease of communication and camaraderie develop.

As Studio 3 begins a new chapter, so will my yogis. The group will grow much like families do and I am hopeful they hold on to what is. “Is” being the time before class for silly and serious talk that we all share and enjoy. I may have to bring in the coffee.

Latitude Sports Club, Salisbury
Wednesday 8AM Studio 3
Sunday 9:30AM Group Fitness Studio