Tag Archives: yoga motivation

Happy Independence Day

Happy 4th of July weekend fellow Yogis! Do you have plans to BBQ, enjoy the sunshine or watch the fireworks? In case you’re still wondering what to do with all this nice weather, here are some holiday happenings in the Portland area:

• Waterfront Blues Festival: Take a blanket, pack a picnic and groove to some live tunes at this year’s Waterfront Blues Festival! Shows will be happening on the grass all weekend, so check out http://www.waterfrontbluesfest.com/
for details on who’s playing and when. Channel your yoga spirit and show the City of Roses your moves! This is also a great spot to watch fireworks- starting at 10:00 pm, this display at Tom McCall 
Waterfront Park is the largest fireworks show in Oregon

• Independence Day at Fort Vancouver: An all-day extravaganza, this festival has something for everyone. Bring the whole family and enjoy food, drinks, games and entertainment. Finish the night off watching an amazing fireworks show synchronized to music. Check out http://www.fortvan.org/pages/fourth-home
 for the full scoop

• Oaks Park Fireworks Spectacular: Music, fireworks and everyone’s favorite- carnival rides! Let the kids play while you enjoy the sunshine and friends. Check http://oakspark.com/upcoming3.html for prices and details

If the crowds are to much for you, why not have your favorite people over and grill in your yard? Here’s a great link with 4th of July themed snacks and drinks http://allrecipes.com/Info/holidays-events-and-occasions/july-4th/main.asp

Can’t see any fireworks from your yard? Try theses spots to chill out and watch the shows:

  • Hawthorne Bridge
  • Mount Tabor
  • Rose Test Gardens
  • Pittock Mansion
  • Top of PSU parking garage on 6th and Harrison
  • Portland City Grill
  • Sellwood Park (you can see both Oaks Park and downtown from here!)
  • West Hills: Terwilliger near OHSU has many spots.

Be safe, be happy, have fun!

Picture from: http://www.pdxpipeline.com/2011/06/30/where-to-watch-fireworks-on-july-fourth/

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Applying the Universal Principles of Alignment in Anusara Yoga

1. Initiate your asana with Opening to Grace, an intentional approach of softness. In the first moment of your pose, align your heart’s intention with your spirit and your physical being. Soften your whole being with humility. You can begin with any asana.
2. Affect the Heart Chakra (The Heart Chakra is the centre from which feelings of love emanate. It is also associated with other virtuous emotions, such as joy, happiness, honesty, respect, compassion, understanding, and generosity, and with loving oneselfin a sincere, non-egotistic way) energy center as you maintain your pose. Muscular Energy, the second Universal Principle of Anusara Yoga, establishes stability andcoordinates physical strength. Muscular Energy draws into the Focal Point, an area of localized power in the body.

3. Expand energy with Inner Spiral. Energy expands from the feet up into the pelvis and waist area, thighs widen.

4. Apply Outer Spiral principle, which redirects energy inward, back down through the tail bone and out the legs and feet. Remember that the previous principles are still active.

5. Activate Organic Energy, the final Universal Principle of Anusara Yoga. Organic Energy is an outward energy that runs through the body’s outer core.

Prepare Yourself for the Holidays

As you find yourself wanting to relax during this hectic holiday season, then realize you forgot the gift wrap, don’t stress! It happens to the best of us. There are a lot of ways to stay calm during the holidays. Yoga can help free the mind of worrisome with a relaxing meditation.

Learning the art of ‘Relaxation’ during the holiday can greatly reduce stress levels. Sometimes we find that creating a peace with ones self can be difficult when your mind is worried about other things. There are several types of relaxing meditations you can start before moving into yoga postures.
They are quick and can be done in several minutes or longer depending on how comfortable you get. The longer you meditate the more stress you release.

‘It is better to learn the art and skill of directly relaxing than to merely distract the mind.’

It is best to maintain breath awareness as you do the practices. You will come to experience the way in which breath is a manifestation of energy, and how that energy flows throughout your being.

  • First, tense all of the muscles of the face, including forehead, cheeks, mouth, and upper neck. Then release with full awareness. You will notice the relaxation.
  • Gently roll the head from side to side, with awareness of the tightening muscles, and the feeling of release.
  • Tighten the shoulders, pulling them upwards and forwards. Then release.
  • Tense the entire right arm, from the shoulder down through the fingers. Do this without making a fist or lifting your arm off of the floor. Allow your attention to be deep inside the arm, not just on the surface. Then release slowly, with awareness.
  • Tense the left arm in the same way, and observe the release.
  • Gently tense the muscles of the chest and the abdomen, while continuing to breathe without holding the breath. Then release.
  • Tense and release the right hips and the buttocks.
  • Tense and release the right leg, down through the feet and toes in the same way that the right arm was tensed and released.
  • Tense and release the left hips and buttocks.
  • Tense and release the left leg.
  • While no longer tensing any muscles, allow your attention to drift back up through the legs, through the abdomen and chest, through the arms, and back to the face.

This method of relaxation can be repeated depending on how you feel after the first time. It’s best to practice breathing while doing any type of meditation, and when your worried about shopping or food these breathing technics will help you to stay calm and relaxed.

Todd Explains How To Release Stress

Todd uses LinkedIN to connect with other professionals and peers in the Yoga world. Recently he answered a question someone put up on LinkedIN Answers and we wanted to share it here with you today because his answer is something we all could take the time to remember once in a while.

The question:

  • “How do you relax or release stress. Many of us work 24/7 so how do you get to relieve your stress and get some time with the other people in your life ? I started a Martial Art when i was young and now i teach it and have done for 20 years approx (Absolute tae kwon do Association), 30 years in martial arts helped me. What do you do?”

Todd’s Answer:

Yoga, as you probably already know, is an awesome way to relieve stress because of it’s emphasis on the breath. When we’re stressed there’s tension in the chest and the breath is short. It’s so elementary, we often overlook it but just to pause and breath will be a huge relief. In yoga, we change the symptoms and through changing the symptoms, we effect the cause. In other words: you feel stressed so your chest tightens and you don’t fully breath. Then, because you don’t full breath, your chest tightens and you feel even more stressed. This is just one example of how if we’re not conscious, we can accidentally fall into a wheel of suffering. Because life IS good, it doesn’t have to be that way.

Next time you feel stressed, find a quiet place on the floor to sit. Elevate your seat on a folded blanket or a pillow. You want your spine to be straight and there should be a healthy curvature  to the low back. If sitting this way is uncomfortable, sit against a wall or even in a chair is better than nothing. Rest inside your state of being and know that it is not the true you; that your true nature is to be happy and joyful; that underneath the stress, there is freedom, waiting to be discovered. Feel the breath flow, breathing in and out through the nose. Notice the shortness of your breath cycles and begin to lengthen them. Try playing with at least a five count inhale and a five count exhale. If you can, extend these to seven or eight. Bring your breaths all the way up into the top of the chest and even hold them there for a moment before releasing. Try not to “fight” with the breath, by clinching the jaw or gripping the shoulders. Rather, let the tongue rest in the mouth, teeth slightly separated, lips lightly together. The shoulders rest back and down. You want the inhale to last just as long as the exhale. Pausing at the bottom of the breath is also helpful. Working the breath even just three to five minutes will make a dramatic difference in your stress level. After you’ve finished, let your breath go back on autopilot and notice how the chest has opened, the breath is naturally deeper, and the stress feels like a distant mountain you’ve just conquered. You are not governed by your emotions. You have the gift of consciousness and with it, you can remember that emotions are fleeting. They come and go like the weather. Remembering this fact will help you see the big picture and weather the storm when it comes. Be well!

Todd Vogt (Studio Owner)

One Of Those Days

Sometimes getting to yoga class can feel like you are fighting a battle in a war. It is not a constant feeling, but some days are just harder than others to get into a yoga state of body, mind and spirit.

There are those days when going to class can feel like the last thing in the world that could possibly be good or healthy. Today may be one of those days? You may have been traveling, crashing in hotels, trying to do yoga poses in the small space between the queen sized bed and the television. You know, the space that your luggage doesn’t spill out of it’s zippers and onto the floor. Your week may be filled with the duties of a mother or father, constant driving, cooking, cleaning, driving, changing, running, driving… you know who you are. If you are a student you may be finishing your FAFSA and registering for classes, trying to get the last bits of sunshine on your skin before the clouds roll in and you are sentenced to the library for 9 months.

The result of life’s constant responsibilities can make ones body and spirit look at yoga as “the straw that might break the camel’s back”.

It could be so much easier and pleasant to warm up a cup of tea and settle in with that book you have been trying to read. You may think your day could be less stressed if you didn’t have to think about how clean your yoga pants are or if you will get to class on time. These thoughts can poison your motivation and make leaving the house more work than is necessary.

When your thoughts drift to other things, when you can’t imagine yourself peeling your butt off the couch and into a pair of stretch pants, when the only thing that sounds good to you is NOT doing yoga, that is when you need it the most. If you find yourself smacked in the face with these thoughts, unable to get up and out, just think on these things and you may find an easier time for yourself.

When you first began your yoga practice, why did you start?

Keeping your goals in the minds eye will help you find motivation and inspiration.

Think of the health benefits.

Yoga has many health benefits and a consistent or frequent yoga practice will change your physical health for the better.

Mental Calm.

If you live a high stress lifestyle, yoga can be a great balance for your mental state. Breathing exercises help with the management of stress and anxiety, practicing them in yoga class is a great way to burn breathing into your memory for use in emergency situations.

Weight.

Plain and simple, a regular yoga practice burns calories, plus the encouragement you get through your new mental state can help you address other problem areas, such as diet and intake levels.

Blood Pressure:

Scientific studies have shown that certain poses, Savasana (Corpse Pose) specifically, reduce the effects of hypertension.

Community:

We are always encouraging our students to become part of our community and to bring their friends into our community. Having a partner in yoga or someone who is expecting to see you in class can have a huge impact on whether or not you actually make it to class. Plus, yoga is always more fun with someone you love!

Honestly, the benefits of a regular yoga practice are numerous and thinking upon any of these reasons can be a fantastic motivation for any yogi who struggles with the idea of getting into the studio. We hope to see you in class!