The practice of returning home

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Writing / yoga


In returning to my home studio after a week away, I am reminded that as part of my yoga and meditation, I love the ritual of returning to my mat and placing props and inspiration in a special way to support my practice. 
Though after having traveled to visit my brother this past weekend, I was reminded of another aspect — part of living in alignment with my practice off the mat, yoga goes with me wherever I am — even if I don’t have my mat or props. 

One element of yoga represents a connection to my core sense of being — not only to myself, but the connection to the world around me. It draws out a sense of ease and comfort — it feels like home, resting in this connection.

I have found that it is not so much about when, where, or how I practice — but that I practice. 

So each morning, I found a corner of hardwood floor in my brother’s home — just enough space, and I practiced, finding home again and again. 

Sharing my practice this week at Eka Yoga Seattle:

Thursday @ 4:30pm / Saturday @ 4pm / Monday @ 615am

Exploring the breath —

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Blog / yoga


“Inhalation engulfs the whole body, expanding from center to periphery. During exhalation, the tide recedes drawing back toward center. The in-breath is a movement toward the peripheral consciousness; the out-breath moves into the core of consciousness.”  
– B.K.S. Iyengar, Light on Life 
Exploring the flow of the breath in this week’s classes @ Eka Yoga • Thursday @ 4:30pm • Saturday @ 8am • Saturday @ 4pm

30 sun salutations for my 30th birthday 

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yoga

 


variations on sun salutations:

✔️1/2 sun salutation a: mountain • upward salute • forward fold • 1/2 lift • forward fold • upward salute • mountain

= focus on neutral spine

✔️ sun salutation a with cow + cat vinyasa: 1/2 sun salutation • step back to table top • cow + cat • +/- downward dog • forward fold • 1/2 lift • forward fold • upward salute • mountain

= minimizes weight bearing

✔️sun salutation c variation: mountain • upward salute • forward fold • 1/2 lift • forward fold + step back to low lunge • step forward to forward fold • 1/2 lift • repeat other side

= opens front of hips

✔️sun salutation a + modified vinyasa: 1/2 sun salutation a + step back to plank • +/- lower knees + shift torso forward + lower to earth 1/2 to full way down • cobra • table top • downward dog • forward fold • 1/2 lift • forward fold • upward salute • mountain

= + knees lowered builds strength to prepare for full plank +/- chaturanga, reduces weight bearing

✔️sun salutation a variation: 1/2 sun salutation a + step back to plank • +/- lower knees + shift torso forward + lower to earth • locust • table top • downward dog • forward fold • 1/2 lift • forward fold • upward salute • mountain

= reduces weight bearing in backbend

Meditating with the waves

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Writing


Meditating with the waves this morning. 

Each breath is different — attuned with the present moment. 

As breath enters the body, diaphragm descends, the belly inflates, the ribcage expands, the heart lifts. As breath is released, everything recoils back toward center. 

A reaching toward & drawing back, mirroring the waves on the shore.

Vata Pacifying 

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Ayurveda / Blog


I am teaching one more class at Eka Yoga before heading out of town for a few days to celebrate the big 3️⃣0️⃣! 

Vata Pacifying Hatha • Thursday @ 4:30pm 

When Vata energy is deficient in the physical body, mind, and spirit, symptoms such as joint stiffness, reduced circulation, rigid thought processes, or depression can arise. Restore a sense of flow in the mind + body through a warming and soothing practice.

PS Thank you to this amazing team of teachers who are covering my classes this weekend ❤️

📷 Angela Glaz

winter solstice + transitioning into kapha season

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ayurveda / Blog / Writing

IMG_5407.JPG

last night’s full circle winter solstice gathering at Eka Yoga, led by Marissa with Naturefy— tapping into nature’s changes with the transition into kapha season. when we align with nature, we see its reflection in mind, body, & spirit. the practices of ayurveda include an awareness of nature’s elemental shifts along with adaptations to create harmony with seasonal changes. the altar pictured above represents earth + water, winter’s predominant elemental expression — though depending where you live, vata elements of air + space may wax & wane as well.

winter embodies a slowing down & drawing inward. the season invites moments of reflection & introspection, but also a gentle stimulation & encouragement of warming energy so as to bring intentions forward as we turn away from darkness & slowly move toward light-filled days.

my end of the year schedule at Eka Yoga:

• thurs 12/22 @ 4:30pm

• mon 12/26 @ 4:30pm

• thurs 12/29 @ 9:30am + 4:30pm

• sat 12/31 @ 4pm

• create illumination from within as you explore your winter landscape •

aparigraha: acknowledging abundance

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ayurveda / Blog / Writing

In The Secret Power of Yoga, Nischala Joy Devi explains Yoga Sutra 2.29 + the concept of abundance (aparigrapha) —

“Acknowledging abundance, we recognize the blessings in everything & gain insights into the purpose of our worldly existence,” – Yoga Sutra 2.29, Nischala Joy Devi, The Secret Power of Yoga

Deborah Adele describes aparigraha as relating to the present moment — being immersed & engaged in “life and one another.”

More traditional interpretations of this sutra as non-attachment or non-possessiveness offer an additional dimension. If we are not present-centered, it is likely that we are holding on to something in the past or perhaps worrying about something yet to come in the future. In either direction, we are being held by or attaching ourselves to something — a distraction from the abundance each moment offers. These states are different from reflection or manifestation, in that awareness is infused throughout.

In practicing aparigraha from the elemental lens of Ayurveda, we create the space to be free within the fullness of the present moment, allowing for an easeful sense of balance. In Ayurveda, balance creates sattvic energy, corresponding with the gentle warmth + glow of the element of fire and an even distribution throughout the elements. Within the ease of the present moment, we are ready to both share and receive. By contrast, if we hold on, there is a heaviness attached to its maintenance, blocking the flow of receiving. This type of holding creates tamasic energy, corresponding to the elements of earth + water. If we are future-focused, there is an anxiety attached to its maintenance, cutting off the outward flow of sharing. This type of attachment creates rajastic energy, corresponding to the elements of air + space.

This sutra invokes attuning with the energy within + around us, which involves an intelligence around holding on & letting go. In this sense, we can turn to the breath as a guide. With each inhale, we fill with nourishing energy. We do not hold on to this breath forever. We exhale to empty, finding ourselves poised to receive once again, and the cycle continues. The breath teaches us a sensitivity toward non-permanence — the transient nature of life, mental states, emotional states, physical ailments, and even nature itself in its changing seasons.

With the beginning of the final month of the year can come a sense of urgency — a rush to the finish line of the year. We will soon transition from fall into winter. The shorter & darker days we are now experiencing will soon begin to become longer & lighter. Notice and align with nature. If we allow aparigraha to enter our lives, we can slow down to enjoy the richness of the season, the introspection it offers as we contemplate with awareness the coming year, and rest in the abundance of the “doux présent de la présent” (the sweet present of the present moment, Jacques Prévert, Allicante).

the elements of air + space

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Ayurveda / Blog / Writing

In considering the elements of air + space [vayu + aakash] that constitute the vata dosha, they relate to both movement + stillness. These elements are pervasive and exist both internally — e.g., the movement of the breath, the movement of the thoughts, and externally — e.g., the movement of the wind in the atmosphere. These elements share a relationship — movement creates space, and space creates a boundary-less sense of expansion and freedom. When working together in balance, these elements extinguish rigidity and fixation in the mind and body. In the embodiment of vata energy that speaks to the element of air, there is an inherent love of movement — but how the movement is executed greatly influences the physical, mental, and emotional qualities within us. Imagine a calm breeze as opposed to a windy fall day, or an even and steady breath as opposed to a held or short breath, or feeling the space between thoughts, as opposed to an erratic and fast-moving thought pattern. When movement is slow, steady, and mindful, vata energy is soothed, and space is created in the body and mind. Conscious movement eases the transition into stillness that also speaks to the element of space. In the ayurvedic tradition of treating dis-ease with opposites, stillness is deeply nourishing to vata energy. Yet even in stillness, there is subtle movement through the inner-workings of the body. Through this subtle movement — e.g., the movement of the breath — space is created. The combination of balanced air + space elements creates a deeper connection within the body to allow for greater mobility and freedom of movement, in addition to finding comfort in stillness. From a mental and emotional perspective, the space between the thoughts expands, cultivating lightness, flexibility, and creativity as qualities that connect to the essential and infinite self + all that space pervades.