Posts Tagged breathing

Can you breath into a moment?

Can you breath into a moment?

Have you ever been in a yoga class, where your yoga teacher says: breathe into your back? Or breathe into your lower back? I bet the answer is yes, and I bet you wondered how does one exactly breath into the back? Or lower back?

After a few classes of hearing this expression, I started visualizing my inhalations going to my back, my lower back or wherever I was feeling tense.

With the warriors 1 or 2 I felt tension underneath my shoulder blades, so I breathed into my shoulder blades, later on I continued breathing into the back of my legs in every forward fold, into my hips in triangle and so on. Then I realized, breathing into my body parts will not only release tension but also made good sensations even better, after a good Yoga class I would continue the pace of my breath and the relaxation feeling would linger even longer.

My breathing awareness kept expanding to different areas of my body or, should I say ? “different areas of my life”? I consciously lengthened  my breath whenever I felt stressed out, or confused or when my mind was foggy.

Lately I am breathing even deeper into “moments” I am practicing  what I call “good moments stillness”. Through this new breathing technique you can extend the life of the good moments, it also works with feelings, thoughts and sensations.

Just when your mind tells you that everything is great with your life, you take a “deep breath into that moment” savour it, with your soul and exhale. As the present becomes past the sensation remains.

However when your mind say things are not as perfect anymore, breathe into that moment as well, the “ “good moments stillness” technique will switch your mind’s thoughts for a feeling of hope, which is also a pretty good feeling.

So, here I share with you the expansion of my breathing techniques, I am sure have already heard about this, but probably you were not aware of the name.

Let me know if this pranayama also works for you, or if you find new applications for it

Posted in: Open Door Yoga

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Tuning in with spring

Tuning in with spring

It was already a beautiful sunny day, the second in a long weekend, I was feeling great after a good night of sleep and the anticipation of the coming yoga class, this one was a special Ayurveda workshop, new word for you? so it was for me, it made sense to me when I also heard that we’ll be combining essential oils and yoga these words are music to my ears now the two of them together is as good as it gets.

Put in simple words we were going to tune in with spring and leave the winter behind release all the energies that the cold had blocked out in the last few months and make room for the coming warmer seasons, at least that’s what I understood.

But in case this is not extended enough here is the explanation in KristenMcCarthy’s (our yoga teacher) words:

The workshop was inspired by Ayurvedic Science, Shamanism, and the wisdom of plant medicines. I combined yoga and essential oils to offer students an experience of the five elements of nature through their practice. Each season enhances or pacifies certain elements to maintain balance.

I want to empower students to view their practice as a medicine that acts in specific ways on the body and mind. There is a wisdom in learning how to apply the right practice at the right time in our lives. When we align our practice with the natural rhythms of the season, it helps us return to homeostasis in body and mind. The real medicine is alive in the world around us, and healing occurs when we remember that we are apart of the fabric of nature.

Here is the original synopsis of the workshop that Kristen wrote up:

Essence Yoga for Spring: Fire and Water

The finest material of our bodies are made of the five elements of nature: earth, water, fire, air, and space. These elements live in dynamic movement within us and are influenced by the same force that cycles one season into the next. Balance the variable qualities of Spring through the medicines of yoga and therapeutic grade essential oils. Seasonal yoga postures are enhanced through the application of pure essences that support the seven dhatus (tissues) of the body, and the five koshas (layers) of the being. This month, we connect with the elements of fire and water through a Yin / Yang practice: Cypress, Frankincense, Marjoram and other synergistic oil blends promote the quality of flow through the connective tissues, circulatory and lymphatic systems. Return to the Spirit of Life.

After the workshop I realized: maybe acknowledging all the changes that our bodies go through every season helps soothing the unpleasant effects of these changes instead of just fighting them by trying to feel the same way all 4 season long which is one of my struggles.

This 2 hours Ayurvedic Science workshop, for me was an experience of deep relaxation,I don’t think I walked home I must have just levitated, it was really that relaxing.

Today, one day after the workshop I still feel its effects, more flowing, letting go some blockages.

I have now I had officially said goodbye to winter reset and ready to keep smelling all the flowers also taking all the sunny days plus the rainy ones too, those are not as bad as everybody say they are.

I am tuned in with spring !!!

And if you are curious to learn more about Ayurveda, you can ask questions to Kristen at the studio or, how about consulting these Ayurveda books for free from the Vancouver Public Library?
Let us know if you enjoyed the workshop and want to learn more about Ayurveda or Yoga in general

Posted in: Open Door Yoga

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A Meditation on Self-Love

Cody Briggs 100

Photo © Cody James Briggs (codyjbriggs@gmail.com)

Love can mean many things. One can know a love for a person, animal, place, taste. You can love your home, your spouse, your parent, your child. There is the love you feel for your city, your country, or a destination you travel to. You can love a food, a piece of clothing, a book or a song. There is the love of a family, love from a friendship, a sexual love, a romantic love or a platonic love. You can contemplate and lament the many type of love in your life for hours upon hours. You can list the several people in your life that you feel love for. We know that these actions and the act of loving in itself will most-likely have positive effects. We rarely consider the negative impact of loving.

Practising self-love is important because we often find ourselves spending so much time giving love and being kind to others. This is really a beautiful thing, especially when love and kindness is returned. However, loving the all the beautiful and amazing people in our lives takes a lot of energy. You can say “I love you” quite often to the loved ones in your life… But how often do you say “I love you” to yourself?

Below is a Meditation on Self-Love. Think of this meditation as a way to “re-up” and “replenish” your depleted love supply. Self-love will help to boost self-confidence. The people that love you rarely notice your flaws, and the more you practice self-love, the easier it will be to let go of  flaws that you often focus on.

  1. Sit comfortably on a mat, bed, chair, pillow, prop… Anything that helps you keep the spine straight, tall and long. Begin to focus on your breath. Start to breath evenly through the nostrils and deepen your inhales and exhales.
  2. Place one or both hands over your heart. Begin to visualize your chest filling up with a light. This light is strong but instead of shining outwards to the world, is is brightly glowing inside your own body. Try to maintain this vision of your own bright. Start to think of it as a sensation of love, compassion and kindness for yourself.
  3. Continue breathing deeply. Continue to also keep the hands over the heart as if to keep this light and love inside yourself for your own use. Start to cultivate a deeper feeling of self-love for yourself.
  4. Sit for 5-10 mins, or as long as is comfortable. When you are finish, release the hands from the heart, but maintain the self-love and light you have created for yourself. Finish by wrapping your arms around yourself and giving yourself a big, long hug, imagine sealing in the light and love as you do this.
  5. After your meditation, if you begin to notice self-deprecating thoughts creep into your head, stop, take a moment and asses these thoughts. Let them go and think of that bright light inside yourself!

Posted in: Breathing, Meditation, Miscellaneous, Open Door Yoga

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Mindfullness and Meditation in May

Photo © Cody James Briggs (codyjbriggs@gmail.com)

May is National Mediation Month. A lot of us may have trouble grasping the vast realm of mediation. If you’ve never ventured into that world, it is can be a challenge to take the steps to start meditating. There is a  lot of evidence that supports the healthy benefits of sitting quietly and being mindful and are so many ways to do it. Once you learn how to meditate, you have a life-long tool to combat stress, anxiety, and depression, fight fatigue, reduce blood-pressure, and calm nerves. Meditation also centres and focuses your mind which can help with getting work done in class or career. As well, a regular practice can help with bodily functions and improve immunity. When you are stressed, your muscles tighten-up and your jaw clenches. However, when you are relaxed during meditation and yoga, these effects are reversed, creating the ideal body for digestion, fertility, and renewal.

We could go on and on about the many reasons why we should meditate… But let’s talk about how we can get started meditating right away!

Start Small – You need only to start with a few minutes a day. Commit to 2-5 minutes when you first wake up or right before bed. This small amount of time, is not overwhelming and definitely doable. Once you see the benefits start, you can slowly tack on a few minutes every week or so.

Upright or Reclined – Depending on your body, you may want to lie down on the floor, bed, or couch. Sitting upright against a wall or in a chair works well too. If you do not have trouble in the back, you can sit comfortably with crossed-legs. Otherwise, if there is tightness in the hips, knees, or ankles, stretch your legs out.

Long & Strong Spine – Whether you lay or sit, find somewhere comfortable and safe for your body to be for the next few minutes. This means, try to keep the spine straight and tall. Lengthen through the back muscles so that you can fill up your lungs to the full capacity. Relax your shoulders. If you notice that you continue to slouch, hunch, or tense up the muscles, keep correcting your posture and relaxing the body. Use pillows or props to support yourself if you need to.

Body Scan – You will hear yoga instructors ask you to “scan your body” in class. This is a simple type of meditation that focuses on body awareness by doing a body scan, usually from top-to-bottom. As you slowly work your way through your major muscle groups and bring awareness to each and every small and large body part, notice where you feel tight and begin to “breath into” those areas, gently relaxing them with each breath. Also notice what areas feel open already and see if you can relax them even more.

Meditation on Goals – We posted this meditation using visualization techniques back in April for our Goal-Setting Series: http://opendooryoga.bc.ca/goal-setting-for-spring-part-i/

Breath Awareness – Trying to focus only on your breath. If your mind starts to wander to other things, just observe and be aware, then bring the focus back to your breathing. You may want to focus on deepening the breath, or making your inhales and exhales as big as possible, or you may just want to simply observe your breathing. Continue to keep bringing your awareness back to the breath.

Mantra – We often chant “Om” at the beginning and end of our yoga practice. Using this word or, any affirmation/positive phrase, creates the simple practice of mantra meditation.

Do you meditate? What is your favourite mediation practice and what benefits do you notice?

Posted in: Meditation, Miscellaneous, Open Door Yoga

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Wanderlust Festival Whistler August 1-4, 2013

Mix Yoga, Meditation, DJ’s, Live Music, Gourmet Food and Wine in Whistler? Why not?

From the Wanderlust website; “Wanderlust is a one-of-a-kind festival bringing together the world’s leading yoga teachers, top musical acts and DJs, renowned speakers, top chefs and winemakers. We’re talking about fun in the sun and dancing under the stars. Hiking on peaceful trails and gettin’ your down dog on at the top of the mountain. Sipping poolside cocktails with your friends, and then enjoying a tasty farm-to-table dinner with views of the surrounding mountain peaks. Early morning meditations and all-night chakra spinning musical performances. At the core of the Wanderlust experience is our yoga and meditation program, which features a deep roster of teachers representing the broad spectrum of yogic disciplines. We bring together a careful selection of internationally renowned instructors and highly respected regional teachers, giving you the chance to study with a high concentration of gifted experts that you wouldn’t find at your local studio.”

This is quite an eclectic mix of activities for sure. Stand-up Paddleboard Yoga on a lake (!) Kids Yoga Classes, Yoga Celebrities, Lectures, and Moby! It’s a bit over-the-top, could prove to be over-crowded, and it’s definitely not inexpensive. Wanderlust may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but you must admit that yoga, in all its forms, is here to stay.

 

wanderlust whistler

wanderlust whistler

 wanderlustfestival.com

 

 

Posted in: Miscellaneous, Open Door Yoga

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Be Still and :)

yoga
Leonie is a 48 year old PE highschool teacher and a very recent graduate of the Open Door Teacher Training Course. Here’s what she had to say about her experience…
“My name is Leonie and I graduated at the end of March 2013 from ODTT. I cannot say enough about the course, the teachers, and the wealth of information we were exposed to. For me it was priceless, the best decision I have ever made. However, I would say the best part about the teacher training was not being able to predict “How I would be“….it was totally about the journey and the unfolding that occurred from week to week.
I learned alot about what I love and what I love to do. For me, the ODYTT gave me the skills, knowledge and courage to inspire youth at my school to be more present and real with what they are experiencing. It provided me with a course where they could literally unplug “and tune into their breath, their body and their heart”. They Love it, as they freely admit how stressed, and over-functioning most of them are.
The course at my highschool “Rockrodge” is now called “BE YOGA”…just Be it, Be live, Be-real, Be kind, Be calm, and my favourite, Be still and :). I now offer the “Be-yoga” as a senior PE elective. Its’ name came to fruition during the business section of the course with Georgina.
I love teaching the Yoga, as it requires me to practice what I preach…so I actually feel like I become the student and they are the teachers. I feel relaxed and playful and simply enjoy how much they “really change and drop into themselves” within the span of 1 hour…it is a gift to have this opportunity.”
Namaste
Leonie

Posted in: Miscellaneous, Open Door Yoga, Teacher Training Graduate Profile

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