Meditation Technique for Beginners- Meditation 101 for Powerful Release

Meditation Technique for Beginners

What are some meditation technique for beginners? First, we need to discover what meditation actually is. All through time, peoples and cultures have looked for ways to go beyond their limits and discover more about themselves and nature. Meditation means “become familiar with” and it is a way of exploring the inner self. When we get busy in the pace of our lives, we are drawn outside. Meditation draws us inside.

Many people meditate to relax and cope with stress. Meditation technique for beginners can help slow the mind and balance the emotions. People use meditation for healing. It can take us a higher state of awareness or clarity. When looking for a meditation technique, ask yourself what you need to achieve and find a meditation that will match that goal. It is a good idea to experiment with the types listed below and find your best fit!

Yogi who is bad at meditating

Not everyone works with a meditation. Many will do the work of meditation on their own. Mediation is a personal pursuit. Avoid simply believing whatever you read or are told and test it against your own intuition to come to know the truth for yourself. There are many types of meditation technique for beginners out there to explore.

If you can develop a regular habit of meditation, it will be easiest to maintain in the long run. Find a time that fits naturally into your daily routine. Start with 10 min a day and build up from there. Many find that over time, their meditation time starts to lengthen naturally.

I love to use soft and gentle music while meditating. You might also enjoy incense or aromatherapy oils. Experiment with these methods. It is easier to meditate when it is quiet and peaceful. Try to set aside a place in your home or garden that allows for peaceful energy. Eventually, you will find that you can meditate in less than ideal situations.

You might want to journal your experiences. Keep a curious mind to what you are experiencing. Be patient with yourself as you are learning meditation technique for beginners. The rewards will come!

Meditation Technique for Beginners- Meditation Positions

The most important thing about meditation technique for beginners is finding a position that is comfortable for you. The posture should allow your spine to be straight without tension. Try each of these and see what feels best to you.

Corpse pose is a great position for meditation technique for beginners that are based around relaxation.
Full lotus pose is a classic meditation posture but it is generally too strong for Western bodies. Try half lotus or easy seated pose for every day meditation use. You can place a cushion under your hips to release the pressure in the back and hip flexors.
Chair Yoga is Accessible Yoga
Sitting upright in a chair is also good for meditation. Ensure your feet can touch the floor- use blocks if needed!

Relaxing Meditation

The ability to relax on a physical, emotional, and mental level is important for maintaining health and well being and is an important starting point for beginners to meditation.

  • Sit comfortably and scan the body from top to bottom, bottom to top.
  • Become aware of anything that enters your mind.
  • Become aware of your feelings as a passive observer.
  • Allow yourself to rest in the stillness.
  • Tune back into your thoughts when ready to come out of the meditation.

Guided Imagery- Visualization

Visualization is powerful and can get you in touch with your imagination. You can visualize colors, places, symbols, mandalas, nature, gods. A good starting point is to find something of interest and focus on that same image over a period of meditation sessions. You can build momentum with the following mediation technique for beginners. Try this meditation while imagining you are in nature.

  • Sit or lie comfortably and scan your body from top to bottom.
  • Imagine yourself on the beach
  • See the beautiful waves, trees, sun, sand
  • Hear the waves, the wind in the trees, the call of sea gulls
  • Feel the sand between your toes, the sun warming your face and body
  • Smell the taste of fresh sea air.
  • Become aware of the atmosphere of the place. What would you do here?
  • Return to the real world by becoming aware of your physical body.
  • Take deep breaths and open your eyes.
Meditation Techniques for Beginners

Sound Meditation

Sound can be a meditation technique for beginners with the use of a mantra. Repeat a word, phrase, or sentence aloud or internally.

  • Sit or lie comfortably and take slow, deep breaths.
  • Bring to mind the mantra of choice and repeat it in a rhythmic fashion.
  • If your mind wanders, bring it back to the sound of the mantra.
  • Let the mantra become softer and softer

Five Senses Meditation

Being present in the moment is an extremely powerful key of meditation technique for beginners. Integrating mindfulness into daily life will improve your quality of life. It can be a powerful tool to counter habits and thoughts of worry or concern. Practice being aware of each sense. What do you taste when you eat? Really listen to someone. What do you smell when in nature? These practices will lead you to awaken into the fullness of the present moment. Try this Five Senses Mediation.

  • Sit comfortably and tune into your sense of smell. Become aware of smell from moment to moment.
  • After a few minutes, change the focus to taste. What do you taste on your tongue?
  • After a few minutes, change the focus to the eyes. Open them and take in what you see.
  • Close your eyes and be aware of your touch. Can you feel the touch of fabric against your skin?
  • Next, move to hearing. Listen to sounds close up and far away.
  • Turn inward and rest in the stillness. Do nothing, just be.
  • Move through your senses in reserve order and take some deep, slow breaths.
  • Commit to observing your sense as you go about your tasks.

Mediation Technique for Beginners 101

Now it is up to you, which meditation technique for beginners is the best for you? Try out my mediation techniques- Mediation Magic!

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How to Sequence an Ashtanga Class- Logical Flow of Energy

How to Sequence an Ashtanga Class

How to sequence an ashtanga class? You must understand the science of the sequence. This is the way an ashtanga class warms the body, reaches a peak, stretches the body to avoid lactic acid in the muscles, and then cools the body back down toward savasana.

The Ashtanga Primary Series is designed to lengthen the back. Forward folds combined with back bends give the body an energetic release and lengthening focus. Got back pain? Spend a little time with Ashtanga! A good teacher will understand how to bring a class to a peak and lead back to relaxation.

How to Sequence an Ashtanga Class Step by Step

Start you class with an intention. If you are sequencing traditionally, you will begin in Samasthiti. Sometimes I like to sit cross legged or in Virasana, depending on the interion that I am going for. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • yoga sutra
  • physical strengthening
  • place of the body to stretch
  • building character through the eight limbs of yoga
  • chakras
  • how to let go and rest (mentally and physically)
  • part of the body to focus on
How to sequence an ashtanga class

Next, begin the movement in a logical order. With Ashtanga, there are four sections; warming with Surya Namaskara, strength building with the standing asanas, stretching with the seated asanas, and closing with the back bends and inversions. Jumping out of the this order does not make a lot of sense to the body and you will not find a logical flow. We want our body to release and for the mind to follow in order to create a mind body connection.

Tips for Ashtanga Primary Series
How to Sequence an Ashtanga Class- Standing Postures

Keep these tips in mind when setting the pace of your class:

  • Slow, counted breath, calms the body and allows us to get deep mentally and physically. Faster counting energizes the body. The intention will dictate the pace of the breath and therefore, the pace.
  • Set the rhythm right at the beginning with Surya Namaskara A. This sequence links the movement and the breath together. You can project the rhythm with the tone of the voice.

Things to Avoid When Sequencing

A yoga class should make a student feel better than when they started. Think of how to sequence an ashtanga class from warming start to cool down finish. One of the challenges is to calm the mind along with the body. The sequence can dictate the pace, as listed above, as well as the mental focus. Avoid jarring experiences. Keep the flow, the vinyasa. Avoid a lot of static postures all in a row. The mind and the body need a rest. Work as a unit. We become conductors leading the students and the vinyasa.

Try this flowing sequence and see how your body feels:

Use this sequence in tandem with Surya Namaskara A. It can give the students a break from the static poses.

How to Sequence an Ashtanga class with Adjustments

Physical adjustments can help to increase a student’s understanding of their body while in each asana. I am under the opinion that a yoga teacher should always get consent before physically adjusting a yoga student. My favorite way to do this is with consent cards. They look like coasters with one side saying yes to hands on adjustments and the other side saying no thank you. As a teacher, I like knowing what a student is comfortable with. It takes a lot of pressure off me.

All that being said, here are some tips for physical adjustments and how to sequence an ashtanga class:

  • The student leads the adjustment. Be aware of the other’s state by following their breath.
  • Breathe as you approach a student so they know you are there.
  • Work into the adjusting; start steady and at the base of the pose. Lead with comforting motions and gradually go deeper and deeper.
  • Only adjust the student to enhance the posture.
  • Observe your students. You can learn a lot from observing.

If you are not comfortable with physical adjustments, consider verbalizing adjustments. Educate your class that adjustments might happen. Start with simple verbal ques and gradually lead into physical adjustments. Follow these steps and the more you teach, you will feel very comfortable with how to sequence an ashtanga style class.

Check out the following program: Ashtanga for Dummies. It is the perfect program for learning how to sequence an ashtanga class. It will boost your teaching skills!

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Macros Recipes for Winter Season- 5 Bites You will Love!

Macros Recipes for Winter Season

I am hypoglycemic and Macros Recipes for Winter Season make my body feel good! Macros is a short term for macronutrients, the three categories of nutrients that we eat the most and fill our bodies with energy- fats, carbohydrates, and protein.

I started the Macros way of preparing my food with recipes from Clean Simple Eats. I have been doing it for so long that now I adjust my favorite recipes from my childhood into macros too. It is simple to create a balance with the app MyNetDiary. It eases my mind to know I have my whole day set up with healthy and tasty macros recipes for winter season.

I like lots of variety in my diet so I plan my recipes seasonally. I try to use fruits and vegetables that are in season to save a little in our budget. I am never home to cook when we actually need to eat so my husband and I do all our meal prep in the evenings. We prep two-three days at a time and eat breakfast, lunch, dinner, and two snacks throughout the day. Each meal is around 350 calories, divided into macros. I am not a fancy cook, I do pick recipes that are quick and taste good!

Here is a sample of a day in my Winter Season:

Breakfast– I love Breakfast shakes.  I often start off my daily yoga routine with a breakfast shake. Macros recipes for winter season gets the day off to a great start.

Lunch

Macros Recipes for Winter Season

Roasted Cauliflower Soup

  • 2 C Cauliflower florets
  • 1/4 C onion chopped
  • 1/2 T olive oil
  • 1 C Chicken broth
  • 1/4 tsp minced garlic
  • 1/3 C plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/3 C shredded mozzarella cheese
  • Chives
  • 2 slices turkey bacon chopped
  • 2 slices honey wheat bread

Roast cauliflower, onions, and garlic in olive oil in 400 oven for 20 min. Cook chopped bacon and set aside. Add cooked cauliflower mixture to broth, mozzarella cheese, and Greek yogurt to a blender. Blend until smooth. Top soup with crumbled bacon and chives. Enjoy with bread on the side.

Serves 2- 315 Calories; 10g fat, 37g carbs, 25g protein

Dinner

Taco Salad

  • 16 oz lean ground beef
  • 2 C yellow onion
  • 1/4 C taco seasoning
  • 16 C green leaf lettuce
  • 2 1/2 C black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 C corn
  • 2 C tomatoes
  • 1/2 C Mexican shredded cheese
  • 1/2 C plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 C salsa
  • Green onions, sliced

Brown ground beef and onions together in a frying pan over medium/high heat. Add taco seasoning. Remove from heat. Assemble salad by piling up all ingredients on a place. Use Greek Yogurt and salsa as the dressing and green onions to garnish.

Makes 8 servings; 350 Calories, 13g Fat, 36g Carb, 25g Protein

Snacks

1 Quick Bite- Macros Recipes for Winter Season

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ball

Macros Recipes for the Winter Season
  • 1 C Natural Peanut Butter
  • 1/2 C raw honey
  • 1 serving Vanilla Protein Powder
  • 1 1/2 C Kodiak power cakes mix
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Dash of sea salt
  • 30 dark chocolate chips

Mix peanut butter, honey, protein powder, Kodiak mix, vanilla and salt together in a large bowl. Stir in chocolate chips last. Using a cookie scoop, scoop into balls. Store in fridge or freezer.

Makes 26 servings- 105 calories; 5g fat, 11 g carbs, 5g protein

 

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Now that you have your Macros recipes for winter season, you are ready for 10 Mindful Weight Loss Tips.

Meditation Technique for Beginners- Meditation 101 for Powerful Release
Meditation Technique for Beginners What are some meditation technique for beginners? First, …
How to Sequence an Ashtanga Class- Logical Flow of Energy
How to Sequence an Ashtanga Class How to sequence an ashtanga class? …
Feeling Alone During Deployment-3 Kids Means Never Alone
Feeling Alone During Deployment Listen on Spotify! Feeling alone during deployment with …
8 Tips for Thriving in Ashtanga Yoga- Demystify Practice
8 Tips for Thriving with Ashtanga Yoga Listen on Spotify! Ashtanga yoga …

Feeling Alone During Deployment-3 Kids Means Never Alone

Feeling Alone During Deployment

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Feeling alone during deployment with kids, what an ironic phrase. Am I really alone?  No, I am actually rarely alone.  And this is the rub of this deployment thing. I have three kids to manage and a dog, who actually belongs to my husband, but he is not here, is he.  So I never feel alone, yet I always feel alone, yet I am always feeling alone during deployment with kids.

Yoga Traveler Kids
Three busy Turner Kids

I am feeling alone during deployment with kids in the duty of driving them to and from ballet (4x a week), gymnastics (2x a week), swim team (2x a week), music lessons (1x a week), seminary (2x a week), church youth meetings (1x a week),  allergy shots (1x a week), and horseback riding lessons (1x a week).  I leave a kid alone to do their homework while I am out dealing with a different kid and I hope that the homework is being done.  I arrive home to a dark house with three kids who need dinner after all our lesson and the dog, who has been alone, now wants to play. 

Need for Online Yoga for Beginners
Mochi- the little doggie who weasels her way into my heart and onto my mat

Feeling Alone During Deployment with Kids is Exhausting

It is exhausting, this feeling alone during deployment with kids. I feel like I am barely holding on most of the time.  Before deployment I was not very flexible and during deployment, I am even less so.  Our lives need to run like clockwork because it is already more than I can handle so any cog thrown in the wheel will do me in!  Heaven forbid I oversleep by 15 min (my alarm goes off at 5:00am, unearthly hour) because then I will not get a shower before I am off to teach yoga three times a day.  At least I am alone in the shower.

Should I take time for some breath retention practice to try to take some control of all these feelings? I am still feeling alone during deployment with kids…

Feeling Alone During Deployment with kids- It’s all for a good reason!

But, this man…..

Feeling Alone During Deployment

This man is who I am doing my best to support.  Yes, I probably whine to him more than I should and he listens with patience (the benefits of being married to a social worker.)  I am proud of him as the Director of Operations on the base and I get more proud when I can hear the excitement in his voice as he details what he is learning and the opportunities he is having. 

I know that this is a growing experience for all of us. I rely more on my kids to help out so that I do not feel so alone in my daily duties and decisions. I rely on FaceTime to run my feelings and concerns by Josh. I rely on yoga to help me to remember to breathe and stretch out my stress. I rely more on the Lord to make the difference and I am never truly alone.

Are you in preparing for a deployment or in the midst of one?  Get my Top 10 List for Surviving Deployment!

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Meditation Technique for Beginners- Meditation 101 for Powerful Release
Meditation Technique for Beginners What are some meditation technique for beginners? First, …
How to Sequence an Ashtanga Class- Logical Flow of Energy
How to Sequence an Ashtanga Class How to sequence an ashtanga class? …
Macros Recipes for Winter Season- 5 Bites You will Love!
Macros Recipes for Winter Season I am hypoglycemic and Macros Recipes for …
8 Tips for Thriving in Ashtanga Yoga- Demystify Practice
8 Tips for Thriving with Ashtanga Yoga Listen on Spotify! Ashtanga yoga …

8 Tips for Thriving in Ashtanga Yoga- Demystify Practice

8 Tips for Thriving with Ashtanga Yoga

Listen on Spotify!

Ashtanga yoga is a very physically demanding practice so we need tips for thriving in Ashtanga Yoga. But the time and energy you put into it will be worth it if you approach your practice with some ashtanga yoga tips in mind:

8 Tips for Thriving in Ashtanga Yoga

8 Tips for Thriving in Ashtanga Yoga- Demystified

  • 1. Lower your expectations of your body- many of the poses in the Primary sequence are demanding physically and you may have to build up some strength. Remember that yoga is Practice. The fun is in the journey!
  • 2. Practice everyday- Just 15-20 min daily will keep your muscles warm and flexible and will help you build the strength you need for all the chaturangas in the Primary series!
  • 3. Utilize your props- Blocks and straps can help a lot with those tricky poses.
What to put in a yoga bag for beginners
  • 4. Work with a teacher- Find a teacher that understands the ins and outs of Ashtanga. You need to learn Ujjayi breath and how to utilize the Bandhas (energy locks)
  • 5. Learn how to breathe- Ujjayi breath of course!
  • 6. Are you sore? Two more weeks! Ashtanga yoga may bring up pains from old injuries or just muscle aches that never knew you had. Don’t give up! This is just the body adjusting. Learn the difference between good pain and bad pain by listening to the breath.
  • 7. Learn modifications- All yoga poses can be modified as you take your Ashtanga journey. Using yoga props (see 3) and working with a good teacher (see 4) will help you learn modifications to suit your body. I think this is one of the best tips for thriving in ashtanga yoga. Modifications will help you to understand what is possible for your body. Here is a modification video of the Surya Namaskara A and B sequence.
  • 8. Get a quality mat- I started yoga and felt I did not need a mat at all. Wrong! I quickly learned that I enjoyed a thick mat that rolled flat every time and a mat that was sticky enough so that I did not slip in adho muhka svanasana or when I began to sweat. My favorite is Manduka!

I hope you enjoy and use the 8 Tips for Thriving in Ashtanga Yoga.  Next, check out my yoga program, Ashtanga for Dummies!

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Meditation Technique for Beginners- Meditation 101 for Powerful Release
Meditation Technique for Beginners What are some meditation technique for beginners? First, …
How to Sequence an Ashtanga Class- Logical Flow of Energy
How to Sequence an Ashtanga Class How to sequence an ashtanga class? …
Macros Recipes for Winter Season- 5 Bites You will Love!
Macros Recipes for Winter Season I am hypoglycemic and Macros Recipes for …
Feeling Alone During Deployment-3 Kids Means Never Alone
Feeling Alone During Deployment Listen on Spotify! Feeling alone during deployment with …

Yoga for Gratitude for Beginners- 5 Open Heart Practices

Yoga for Gratitude for Beginners

Listen on Spotify!

I teach yoga for gratitude for beginners. Yoga can fill me with so many emotions- joy, calm, energy, peace.  Since yoga is such a part of my life, it comes full circle that I would seek out yoga to elicit gratitude.  Let’s practice five asanas together this week to feel gratitude. (And try this Mantra exercise for more gratitude.)

Yoga for Gratitude for Beginners- 5 Open Heart Practices

Yoga for Gratitude for Beginners

Humble Warrior- Clasp your hands together behind your back in Warrior II.  Inhale, look up, exhale fold forward toward the bent leg with the crown of head reaching toward the floor.  This will stretch the inner thighs, hips, and shoulders.  Dedicate this pose to someone you love and feel grateful for them. Yoga for gratitude for beginners may bring your emotions in line with your loved ones.

Yoga for Gratitude for Beginners

Anjanyasana- Sink hips down, draw in the lower belly, and reach the chest open as you gaze to the sky.  Try to close your eyes and focus on the breath to sink deeper into the pose. To feel yoga for gratitude for beginners, dedicate this pose to a place you love and feel gratitude for the time you have spent in that place.

Yoga for Gratitude for Beginners

Wild Thing- From Downward facing dog, lift you right leg into the air.  Bend the right knee and let the foot guide your body to flip.  Lift the hips to the sky and feel the heart space open. Feel the stretch through the sides of the body and the energizing effects of the backbend. Make sure to try both sides! Dedicate this pose to your amazing body.  Feel gratitude for what your body allows you to do.

Yoga for Gratitude for Beginners

Ustrasana- With the knees hip width distance apart, start by placing your fists on your lower back.  Lean into the hips and press the front of the body forward.  If you think you can deepen the pose, release the hand to the heels.  Dedicate this pose to something you have achieved.  Feel gratitude for those who have helped you along the way.

Yoga for Gratitude for Beginners

Malasana- Take your feet as wide as your mat and turn the toes out.  Bend knees and come into a yogi squat.  Widen your feet to help you bring your heels to the floor.  Bring your hands to heart center and your elbows to the knees to help open the inner thigh and hips. Dedicate this pose to something that brings you great joy.  Feel gratitude for this emotion.

Prayer for the Beginner Yogi

I am grateful for you, you who have taken the time to journey with me.

I am grateful that you will take the time to share my joy of yoga.  I wish the same for you.

Namaste


Get started the right way with Yoga for gratitude for beginner yogis! Download for FREE “Top 10 List for Yoga Beginners.”

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10 Powerful Mantras for Gratitude Beginners

Mantras for Gratitude Beginners

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Let’s learn about Mantras. I have 10 mantras for gratitude beginners. A mantra is a sound, vibration, or word repeated to focus one’s mind on one point.  The purpose of the mantra is to connect to something higher, like having mantras for gratitude beginners.

Tips to Change negative thoughts

Mantras were originally meant to be chanted in Sanskrit, making them more powerful because of their vibrational connections with the Divine.  Mantras make the mind calm as we focus on one phrase.  We could think of them as affirmations that serve to reprogram our thoughts.  It would be like telling ourselves, “I love me,” daily.  Maybe at some point, we would start to believe it!  

Mantras for Gratitude are Powerful

Whether we admit it or not, words have power, and when we speak them or write them, we give meaning to those words.  Mantras for gratitude beginners should mean something to you, and when expressed, that is when they have true power.  We are sometimes guilty of speaking negative thoughts to ourselves.  How wonderful it would be to “brainwash” ourselves out of these negative thoughts with a positive mantra.

How to Say Mantras for Gratitude Beginners

Traditionally, you would chant a mantra with a mala, a string of 108 beads with a main bead like a tassel connecting them together.  I was gifted some beautiful mala beads by a beautiful yogi friend.  One hand rests on the knee and the other hands moves the mala while you chant the mantra (traditionally the sound “Om”) and move the beads.  Each bead takes one chant.  When you reach the guru bead (the tassel), you flip the mala around and start over.  Manta’s do not have religious affiliation like a rosary.  If you have a mala, try your own mantras for gratitude beginners chant today!

Mantras for Gratitude Beginners

At this time, we may feel weary of the state of the world, the uncertainty of our health and the health of others we love.  I find that one way to change my thoughts, is to focus on things or people around me that I am grateful for. 

Mantras for Gratitude Beginners Challenge

Think of ten things to be grateful for and place them on sticky notes all over the house- the bathroom, the kitchen sink, doorways.  Each time you pass a sticky note, chant the mantra ten times.  See how this might change your mind.  I would love to hear what it does for you! Try some Yoga for Gratitude to go along with your mantras!

Mantras for Gratitude for Beginners

Get started the right way with Yoga! Download for FREE “Top 10 List for Yoga Beginners.” 

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Meditation Technique for Beginners- Meditation 101 for Powerful Release
Meditation Technique for Beginners What are some meditation technique for beginners? First, …
How to Sequence an Ashtanga Class- Logical Flow of Energy
How to Sequence an Ashtanga Class How to sequence an ashtanga class? …
Macros Recipes for Winter Season- 5 Bites You will Love!
Macros Recipes for Winter Season I am hypoglycemic and Macros Recipes for …
Feeling Alone During Deployment-3 Kids Means Never Alone
Feeling Alone During Deployment Listen on Spotify! Feeling alone during deployment with …

Ashtanga Primary Series Closing- Powerful Back Bending Experience

Ashtanga Primary Series Closing

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The Ashtanga Primary Series Closing Sequence- You have now arrived at the “bread of the sandwich.” This portion of the practice is primarily focused on back bending.

Ashtanga Primary Series Closing Sequence

When I do a back bend, I like to focus also on the forward lengthening of the poses. This way, I will find balance and not overtax my back. This lifting and lengthening is made possible through a strong focus on the hands and feet creating the base of the pose. We must find a solid grounding point for the hands and feet. If we do not utilize our legs, we take all the strain into the arms and lower back. The legs and feet must create a balance for the arms and hands.

Ashtanga Primary Series Closing Sequence

Please note that I would add Urdhva Danurasana (wheel pose) and Paschimottanasana (forward bend) before the shoulder stand. Back bending poses are always countered by forward bends.  This brings us back to a neutral point.

Use essential oils in yoga class

This is a great book to outline the Ashtanga Primary Series Closing Sequence, Ashtanga Yoga: The Practice Manual

Back bending asanas are a dynamc tool for keeping the spine supple and healthy. Since the spine houses the nervous system, when our spine is loose, we create clearer pathways for the nerve signals to travel the body. Omit poses that do not feel right and come back to them later. Find the joy of back bending! Rejoice in the opening of your heart!

Ashtanga Primary Series Closing Sequence

What is your favorite back bend in the Ashtanga Primary Series closing sequence? Take a journey through the Ashtanga Sequence with Surya Namaskara and Ashtanga Primary Series.

Get started the right way with Yoga! Download for FREE “8 Tips for Thriving with Ashtanga Yoga.”

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Meditation Technique for Beginners- Meditation 101 for Powerful Release
Meditation Technique for Beginners What are some meditation technique for beginners? First, …
How to Sequence an Ashtanga Class- Logical Flow of Energy
How to Sequence an Ashtanga Class How to sequence an ashtanga class? …
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Macros Recipes for Winter Season I am hypoglycemic and Macros Recipes for …
Feeling Alone During Deployment-3 Kids Means Never Alone
Feeling Alone During Deployment Listen on Spotify! Feeling alone during deployment with …

How Yoga Changed My Life- 1 Asana at a Time

How Yoga Changed My Life

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This is the story of how yoga changed my life. I have always been a physical person.  I grew up dancing ballet and continued to teach ballet until I had my second child.  I participated in heavy hitting cardio classes until I was 39 weeks pregnant with my third child.  Then I had that third child:

How Yoga Changed My Life
My family in 2011: Me and Pants, Bear 5 yrs, Bub 2 1/2 yrs, and Josh

You see that happy looking family?  What is really going on with the sweet mom there? I always struggled a bit with postpartum depression and my third pregnancy rocked me.  Since Josh and I were outnumbered, I felt that I had to stop doing anything for “me.” I felt guilty for giving more attention to the baby than my other kids and I became angry and resentful.  I cried every night as the sun set. 

After 10 months of these feelings, Josh, my husband, finally said, “You need to get some exercise.”  I remember looking at him like, “how is that even an option?”  I felt that I needed permission to take care of myself.  I could not fathom dragging myself out of bed for the 5:00am cardio classes that I was taking before. My local gym had an 8:30pm yoga class and maybe I could feed Pants, put Bub and Bear to bed, and leave everyone with Josh.  The class time checked all my mommy duty boxes. 

My First Yoga Class

I went to that class.  I did not own a yoga mat and had no intention of getting of one because I did not want to invest money into something that would not last.  So I sat on the bare floor in the back of the room and we breathed.  It felt like the first time I had taken a breath in 10 months. 

How yoga changed my life? We started to move (a vinyasa style class) and I felt my muscles come alive again.  With the breath connected to the movement, I felt both calmed and powerful at the same time.  I felt the control and flexibility of the ballet I loved, and the vinyasa movement took me out of my head.  It was an amazing experience and I wondered why I had never taken the opportunity to try yoga.  Do you think I bought a yoga mat?  Indeed I did!  Many in fact!

I practiced consistently for a year.  In my home life, my outlook was completely changed.  I no longer felt guilty for my outlet because I knew that I was a better mother and wife when I returned from my calming and stimulating yoga.  You cannot help others if your cup is empty.  I could see how yoga changed my life already.

How Yoga Changed My Life- Abroad

My husband’s life was in turmoil however. He was working for a company that was quickly going under and my husband was going down with the ship. Josh started the application for the US Air Force and I looked for ways that I could help support the family finances from our home. 

Since I was not a stranger to teaching, I looked into 200-hour Ashtanga Yoga Teacher Training program.  This seemed a good fit because if my husband did get accepted into the military, we would be moving and yoga is something I could teach anywhere.  The training was excellent and I started teaching a group of wonderful neighbors in my home.  Then Josh was accepted into the US Air Force and I became “Yoga Traveler.” This is how yoga changed my life and continues to change my life.

How Yoga Changed My Life
Yoga in Las Vegas, Nevada
How Yoga Changed My Life
Yoga in Misawa, Japan
How Yoga Changed my life
Yoga in Enid, OK

Do you have a yoga story? This is how yoga changed my life. How has it changed yours?

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The 8 Limbs of Yoga Journey-Powerful move into Enlightenment

The 8 Limbs of Yoga Journey

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Samadhi is the final realization of the Self, the last limb of the 8 limbs of yoga journey.  When we reach Samadhi, we are absorbed in the highest state of consciousness, or enlightenment. Take an 8 limbs of yoga journey with me.

How do we get there?  We need to follow the five Yamas (the social ethics), the five Niyamas (observances), master the yoga asana (postures), and master pranayama (yoga breathing).  And then are we done?  No!  Yoga is a lifelong journey to the Self.  Let’s explore the four limbs that will take us deeper into the Self and lead us to enlightenment.

8 Limbs of Yoga Journey

The Steps to the 8 Limbs of Yoga Journey

  1. Pratyahara– Turning Inward, sense withdrawal.  To live pratyahara, we control our mind’s impulses and desires and the stimuli coming in through our senses.  We learn to master our senses.  When I taste chocolate, my tongue says “more please.”  But if my intellect says “not right now,” then I have governed my senses with intellect.

Pratyahara Practice from The Yoga Mind by Rina Jakubowicz: Enjoy this meditation. Sit on your yoga mat with your spine tall.  Close your eyes and become aware of your taste.  Do not judge, just observe.  Shift to your sense of hearing.  Listen without adding stories.  Move to the sense of smell.  Don’t add preferences, just observe.  Then go to the sense of sight.  Even with the eyes close we can sense colors, lights, and darkness.  Finally, move to the sense of touch.  Notice the clothes on your skin, your hair, hot or cold sensations.  Notice without attachments or desire. Take five deep breaths, open the eyes, and return to the present.

2. Dharana– Concentration, focusing or attention.  We concentrate toward our ideal- self-enlightenment.  Concentration means your intellect is strong enough to keep your mind focused on one thought and avoid all the distractions.

Try this Dharana practice from The Yoga Mind.  When we react to something emotionally, ask:

  • Can I stop what I’m doing right now?
  • Do I want to get out this emotion?
  • If the answers are no, come back later when the answers are yes and answer the following:
  • What emotion or thought has taken over me?
  • It is useful?
  • What is the unfulfilled desire I have right now?
  • What is my intellect saying I should do?

Now you can move forward with action!

3. Dhyana– Meditation.  This is our last step in the 8 limbs of yoga journey toward Samadhi.  When we meditate, we should lose the identifications with our body, mind, and intellect.  Now we identify with the Self.  Dhyana is deeper than 10, 15 min a day practice.  Those practices are good for keeping the mind calm, focused, and relaxed, but to reach Samadhi, we need to do more along our 8 limbs of yoga journey.  When we are in true meditation long enough, we enter Samadhi.

“Trying to meditate with a head full of desires is like a plane trying to take off with too much cargo.  Planes must offload the cargo to take flight.  Just as humans must offload their desires to be able to meditate.”

Swami A Parthasarathy

4. Samadhi– And our journey has finished with enlightenment. We have completed the 8 limbs of yoga journey.  Samadhi happens when we have been fully purified by the wisdom gained.  We transcend the body, mind, and intellect entirely.

“Yoga is the journey of the Self, through the Self, to the Self.”

8 Limbs of Yoga Journey

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