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Om Yoga Blog
Om Yoga Blog
Experience Om Yoga and be encouraged to deepen the awareness of the body, mind and spirit bringing forth your highest qualities. Be Inspired to live daily in a way that promotes peace, mindfulness, humility and growth.
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12:11 pm

Grateful

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I grew up with a loving and supportive family, amazing friends, an athletic background, and a limited potential to truly fail. I was a hard worker no doubt, but still – potential was all around me. I didn't know hurt, I got mostly what I wanted, and I expected to be good at whatever I did. 

But this life – this crazy, beautiful, humbling life happened. In fact—shit happened! And it changed my whole story, like many people in their 30s. I never thought I would say this but—thank you, world. Thank you for opening my eyes, and for being different than I expected. These experiences have changed my whole way of thinking, and living, and wanting.

That idea of "happily ever after" as an easy road did not last – instead my deepest fears were realized. I lost people that I never thought I would, I had enough surgeries to make me question my sanity, and my heart has been broken so badly that I lost faith in myself. I’ve asked myself, “What am I doing with my life already?” more times than I'm comfortable with.

Life is hard—really hard—sometimes, but thank you. Seriously. Thank you for making me feel more alive, and for making me less afraid. Thank you for making me happy. My gratitude is magnified because of what I’ve seen – both light and dark phases of life. Thank you for love that is even stronger because I now know hurt. Thank you for making my smile more real because I remember how hard it was to get it back. Thank you for giving me the awareness and courage to question myself, and to make sure I'm moving towards more of what I love.

Thank you for giving me more potential to gracefully get through the harder times—the times that will inevitably come, the times that I now have more experience with, the times that may help me "gracefully fall back into the arms of grace” –as the Lifehouse song, “Breathing,” goes—when I question my sanity.  I have come out more than okay—I have come out trusting myself a little more, and a little bit more me. I'm a work in progress, but I’m finding out that this life really is what we make it.

Remember to be grateful not just for the good, but for all of it.

Yoga helps me to reconnect to that, it helps me to know that I am caring for myself in the good and bad days, and it helps me to remember that I just have to keep breathing, and moving, and trusting as gracefully as I can.

With love,

Kari

9:27 pm

Yoga is a Moving Meditation

pose-mountain_copyI began my yoga practice years ago when I started to fall in love with meditation. I would sit with my legs crossed in silence as I focused all my attention on my breath - trying to slow down the momentum of my mind, as it had been building for the last 22 years of my life. I didn't know exactly how to do it; I tried to research various techniques, but I found it to be a very mysterious topic. Many people say they meditate and share all the benefits of a practice - yet very few actually explain how to do it.

So I then started seeking teachers to help guide me on this new hobby of mine. I found Thich Naht Hahn and Eckhart Tolle. They helped tremendously, and I started to experience deeper and deeper states of bliss. I was very satisfied with my meditation practice; however, once I ended each practice, I noticed that my peace would slowly fade as I got sucked back into the overwhelming world of ego. Sometimes I would lose it sitting in traffic, often I lost it at work, or while dealing with certain "difficult" people.

Eventually, I would get back home and find my peace again by sitting in silent meditation - but I wanted more! I wanted to be able to live every second in these higher states of experience. Then I was introduced to mindful walking. Mindful walking is basically moving very, very slowly so you can experience all the muscles and sensations of each step, rather than walking to get from point a to point b. This was the bridge that helped me understand how I could take my meditation practice to the next level. If I could meditate while I walked, then I could reset much more easily than when I had to find a quiet place to sit.

Yet the walking meditation was not very challenging as far as the physical body is concerned, so when I found myself in a stressful situation, it was still difficult to overcome the drama. Then I tried yoga, which allowed me to keep a mindfulness state while overcoming higher levels of stress on the body. I felt every muscle (many I didn't even know I had) as I transitioned through the countless poses. Yoga teaches me how to move through various strenuous positions while keeping a centered state. This increases my resilience, which then has a tremendous effect on helping me maintain stillness when I find myself in more stressful situations, such as work.

To me, yoga is more than just a physical workout designed to create strength and flexibility. If it is practiced with a mindful perspective, it can also become a moving meditation. Once you master the art of finding stillness, even in the midst of intense physical movements, then you become an unstoppable force of peace and bliss. Every second holds the opportunity to find and cultivate peace, regardless of the level of stress or challenge.

It reminds me of a powerful quote I heard somewhere: "It is one thing to be a monk in a monastery, it is another to be a monk in the midst of our chaotic world."

Much Love,
Ryan Astheimer

Check out Ryan's blog!

9:19 pm

Inversions Everyday: The Benefits of Getting Upside Down

IMG_9492_copy Try it even if it scares you!

As a child, I took gymnastics and was fearless in trying new things.


Fast forward 30 years to having two children, and being in a completely different stage in my life - and somehow I can still do a headstand. I will never forget the first day I was able to put my head on the mat and kick one foot up in the air…maybe I wasn’t as old as I felt?

I used to thunder to the floor, flipping over again and again. Sure, it was embarrassing - but I just knew I could do it. I remember the elation and  perma-smile that lasted for many weeks when I started to hold my headstands. It didn’t matter what was happening in my life, I could handle it. If I could do a headstand at my age, I could do anything!
I believe in getting upside down everyday! Inversions are beneficial for everyone.

Here are 5 reasons why you should get upside down:

1. Face Your Fears: Inversions bring a child-like sense of joy once you start to catch some air. Bringing your hips over your shoulders can be scary at first, but once you start to let go and trust your body, you can bring that inner tapas (fire, root to burn) into all aspects of your life!

2. Increased Blood Flow and (Caffeine-Free) Energy: Throughout the day, it's highly beneficial to add inversions into your practice and cut back on other items that give you a kick. Before a large meeting, press up to handstand against the wall for 30 seconds instead of going for that second cup of coffee ;-)! Inversions give the inner spirit a different perspective to view life. Inversions are great all year long, but are extremely beneficial during the winter months when we are indoors more, and stagnant energy seems to be more of a challenge.

3. Gives Your Heart a Break: Inversions allow gravity to pull your tissues, fluid, and blood in your body downward, reversing blood flow and giving your heart a break. I like to finish class with an inversion before I take Savasana. 

4. Keeps You Focused: You have to stay focused to invert upside down. Practicing Dharana, or concentrating to connect with steadiness, empowerment, and one pointedness, will release you from distraction. Allowing you to remove the clouding of your mind and remain in the present moment will bring tranquillity to your practice.

5. Provides a New Perspective without EGO: Inversions take core strength, dedication, and perseverance. You will shed the layers of ego, and gain a new perspective of what your are capable of. You will also practice Ahimsa, or non-attachment. You will appreciate being in the present moment more than nailing the yoga pose or posting it on FB ;-).

However, if you are darn proud of yourself or you want to inspire others to join you in this awesome journey - I say share it and rise the vibrations! Together we rise! Don't be afraid to be judged for just shining your light!!! SHINE ON! ;-)

Be your true self and shine on!

Be Well,  
Michelle

9:16 pm

You Might Fart: Insights for new (and not so new) yogis


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You did it: you’ve started a yoga practice. You’ve heard everybody and their brother talking about it -- friends’ friends, the babysitter, and even your 76-year-old aunt have gotten into yoga. So you said, "What the Heck? I’ll give it a shot." And here you are, embarking on a really cool new adventure. Being new to anything is both exhilarating and a little crazy, and there’s a lot you don’t know yet. To help you navigate the practice and etiquette of yoga, here are some of my top tips for yoga newbs (and not-so-newbs).

You will not be kicked out of a yoga class for wearing socks, a Hanes t-shirt, and 1970’s sweat bands.

Newsflash: Americans are a nation of consumers - materialistic achievers who really like to have their “stuff."  Yoga has not been immune to this mindset; hence, the giant success of brands like LuLu Lemon. Nothing made me sadder than the time I overheard some moms talking while waiting to pick up their kids, when one of them said, “I’d really like to try a yoga class, but I don’t have the clothes. And if I did, everybody would run the other way if they saw me in yoga pants!!”  People – I’m going to write this in all capital letters because it is so important:  IT DOES NOT MATTER WHAT YOU WEAR TO YOGA! Yes, you will see people decked out in matching ensembles, with the latest water bottle, mat, headband, and a monogrammed sweat rag. If that’s what it takes to get them off the couch and into a down dog, then great! But what you wear and how you wear it is a personal choice. The only thing that matters is that you’re rolling out your mat (or towel, or just using the floor), and practicing yoga. There are no fashion police in yoga. In fact, the traditional garb worn by the Indian men practicing yoga very closely resembles a giant white diaper. Even today, those studying Iyengar yoga often wear traditional Pune bloomers, which look a lot like a huge diaper cover. Hey, if they can wear that stuff, you can wear whatever the heck you want to yoga.  I am known to practice in mismatched random get-ups in the studio, and my husband’s boxer shorts at home when the mood strikes, god help us.  And guess what: nobody cares. Throughout my years of practice, I’ve developed a well-rounded squad of makeup-less, sweaty, ponytailed friends who know and love me for what’s on the inside – not for what brand of yoga pants I’m rocking. Yoga simply doesn’t care what you wear or look like, and neither do true yogis. So throw on some socks, if that’s what floats your boat, and get yourself to class.

Make like Darth Vadar and breathe.

The room is packed and steamy, music fills the air, the teacher is very nonchalantly telling you to lift your leg over your head, look at your butt, and wrap one arm behind your back -- and to breathe. Breathe-?! You’re thinking, WHAT?! You’re just trying to make it through the twisting, turning, and balancing without falling on your face. Breathing is about the last thing on your mind. No matter how many times the teacher cues inhaling and exhaling, many newer yoga students simply don’t think this is for them. In fact, many view breathwork as the gravy on top of the yoga practice. They get so caught up with executing poses that they nearly skip the breathing altogether, deteriorating into panting and puffing wherever it conveniently fits in.

I’m sure you’ve heard your teachers tell you that breathing is the most fundamental component of your yoga practice. They’re not lying. Here’s the deal: when you focus on cultivating and controlling your breath, your breathing shifts from the medulla oblongata to the cerebral cortex (the evolved part of the brain). This controlled, steady breath allows thoughts and emotions to be bypassed – so you can experience focus and calm awareness. If you do NOTHING else in your yoga classes, take your teacher’s advice and breathe. There’s nothing more powerful than audible breath in a yoga class, the sound of a sea of focus and calm inhaling and exhaling like the rolling of the ocean, even through the most challenging poses.  If you think, “that breathing thing is kind of stupid, I’m just here to sculpt on my yoga butt”, I beg you to give it a shot. You’ll feel fantastic, and start tapping into the energetic superhighway available to you through your yoga practice.

 A random stranger’s sweat is flying all over you. Do not panic.

I’d only been practicing yoga for about a month, when I took a really popular class. I was all set up in my little corner, with a nice 5-ft swath of open space around me, when the room began filling up at an alarming rate. I was surrounded. I looked around incredulously as yogis coolly set up their mats less than 5 inches from mine. Worse yet, one was a 6’2” Navy Seal-looking guy wearing some form of yoga boxer briefs. WHAT?!  I decided I was definitely going to complain to the management. This was crazy.  How could I be expected to practice with nearly naked complete strangers so close? It wasn’t until two years later and 200 hours of Registered Yoga Teacher Training that I realized that close proximity isn’t something to be skeezed out over: yoga is an internal practice. And besides, pretty much all asana takes place within a 72” x 24” yoga mat – so it honestly doesn’t matter how close you are to someone. So when (not if, but when) you find a stranger lift into three-point down dog and fling their foot sweat onto your mat, and when you bend into a wide legged forward fold and find your head dangerously near someone’s ass, don’t freak out. Come back to your breath, close your eyes, and be grateful for a sense of community. Then go ahead and flip your dog right onto your neighbor’s mat. 

The teacher touched you four times during class. Surely, they’re hitting on you, right?

So, you’re a new yogi, and you look up during paschimottanasana to see the yoga teacher draped over the person in front of you like a cheap suit. Say WHAT?!!  Don’t freak out – you haven’t just witnessed a private inappropriate moment, it’s just a yoga teacher assist.  One of the greatest things about yoga classes at a good studio with good teachers is the practice of assists. Teaching proper form can give you profound benefits in your yoga practice, take you into poses you otherwise may not be able to fully access on your own, and it also protects you from injury. It just happens that assists can sometimes look, well, weird. It’s important for all new yogis to know that your teacher has gone through many hours of assistance practicum, and is trained to not use their fingertips, a lingering touch, or to ever touch you inappropriately. When an assist is done well, all you’ll feel is WOW, and not OMG. If you have concerns about being touched in assists, let the teacher know before class that you’d prefer not to partake – they will not be offended, I promise.

True or False: If you lift your leg higher than the person next to you, you win. 

As a life-long Type A personality and former competitive athlete, nobody can understand the lure of physical competition better than I can. If you’re one of those people who secretly races the person on the treadmill next to you at the gym, yoga is going to be a paradigm-shifter for you. For me, it was like the moving of the Earth’s tectonic plates to get to a mindset where I finally “got it” that yoga is NOT a competitive sport. Every yogi is on a different leg of their yoga journey, and every practice looks different. It’s totally cool to be inspired by those who can do poses (with calm, steady breath) that you can’t do yet. But I remind my students, in nearly every class, to avoid the dirty, dark trap of comparing yourself to others in class.  Ego can crap up your practice really fast. I encourage my students to close their eyes as they practice, take their drishti inward, and strive to feel the poses from the inside out.  I particularly love that my studio doesn’t have any mirrors. This really drives home the integrity of the message I’m sending my students, and encourages them to get away from competing with others around them, and worse yet, focusing primarily on what they look like while they’re in a pose. This isn’t Instagram, my friends – this is real life, and yoga is an inside job.

Someone farted. And it was you.

With all the conscious breathing, inward focus, OMing and everything else, yoga can start to take on a serious modulation. I mean, you’re on your mat to achieve ultimate enlightenment and transform yourself into a unicorn, right? The truth of it is that yoga can ABSOLUTELY be a life-changing pursuit. But the tone it takes is entirely up to you. If you step onto your mat with a sense of openness and adventure, you will be delighted by what the practice can bring. If you step onto your mat with intimidation, seriousness, and dramatic expectations, you’re going to not feel too great at all. And besides, when you start getting all caught up and taking yourself too seriously, the universe has a way of putting things back in check. Case in point: while on a business trip, I took a class at a “fancy” studio in Los Angeles. These people were SERIOUS about their yoga. You could cut the enlightenment in the room with a knife, it seemed. I admit, I was intimidated. And then somewhere in the midst of a prayer twist, somebody farted. (No, it wasn’t me, but it sure could’ve been after the huge lunch I had earlier that day.) The class kept right on going, but since there was no music in the studio, it was a pretty sure bet that everybody in the room heard it. After that, it was kind of impossible to be intimidated the practice, and by what I had considered to be “superior” yogis. Nope, these were just people, and this is just life. That’s all.  It was a great class that I’ll never forget, because I couldn’t stop smiling the entire 1.25 hours.

When closing class, I love to cue my students to “turn the corners of your mouth up”.  And, as we sit in anjali mudra (hands at prayer, heart center), I love to ask my students to touch just their fingertips together. It’s a gentle, yet powerful reminder to be light. Ain’t nothin’ THAT serious, my friends. It’s just yoga. 

 
Buffy McCoy Kelly is a writer, Creative Director, and yoga teacher who loves to find the fun in stuff. Join her for class M- 6pm, Th -6pm, Sat- 8am. 

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8:25 am

To Hell With My Ego

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I have been teaching yoga for 4 years – 5 classes a week – 200 miles per week. For the last few months, I kept hearing a small voice telling me I needed to make a change in my life. I didn’t know what that change should be, although I knew I was getting anxious not getting enough time for my personal practice. I was anxious worrying that the classes I was teaching weren’t coming truly from my love of yoga, nor from the love in my heart. I couldn’t help but wonder – where had it gone? I was trying to cram in my daily walk of 3-4 miles in as well; I told myself I was doing this for my sweet Labrador, Sable. I was also being pulled between “my time” and time I needed to spend in the office. Something had to give. My priorities needed an adjustment.

Then, the unexpected reality slapped me right in my Third Eye - this reality was called a triple bypass. Me? Yes. Me.

Ego = a false belief about ourselves, a lie about who and what we really are…living that lie is a terrible anxiety. Ego fights hard for survival. The ego is our self love turned to self hatred.

Wow - did I ever have a change of heart (pardon the pun). Now I am learning to take the time to heal, to rest, to practice returning to love in my heart. It’s been there all along. I look forward to returning to Om to teach and share my love of yoga - but from here on, it will not be all about how hard can we push ourselves. It will be more about how far can we go inside of our own self to find more love - the love we were created with when we were born. The love inside that makes each and every one of us perfect. The perfect love. It is there.

I am now allowing myself to experience quality, meditative, spiritual and self-love time on my mat each day. This time has shown me to embrace my current limitations. Not to force anything. To flow more with what the universe has to offer me. To go deeper with my breath. To find stillness in my mind and my thoughts. To appreciate each moment – and to practice what I preach.

Life is merely the presence of love.

Love, Peace, Happiness, and Joy.

Tammy

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2:07 pm

Yoga calms the racing mind


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Yoga Sutra 1:2 Yoga is the cessation of the fluctuations of the mind

Translation: Yoga calms the racing mind. By the time I was 19 I had endured many forms of abuse as a child. To say Yoga changed my life is an understatement. Asana, the physical practice on our mats, is only one of the 8 aspects of Yoga in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. It is widely believed that through the practice on our mats, the other 7 aspects of Yoga come naturally. Hence the famous quote “99% Practice, 1% Theory” by Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, founder of Ashtanga Yoga. Composed of 4 sections and 196 sayings, these Yoga Sutras give the practioner a blueprint of what is to be gained by participating in this “thing” we call Yoga.

When I began my yoga practice at age 29, my mind raced all the time. I was so fearful of life that I had a backup plan for every relationship and life scenario possible…“just in case” the worst was to happen. Having said that, I can honestly say that surprisingly, I didn’t begin Yoga to calm my mind, be more flexible, become less stressed or any of the typical reasons one might hear about on a normal basis. I’m not sure why I began. But those things began to happen, so I stayed on course.

In 2009 I took my first Yoga teacher training and was introduced to the other 7 aspects of Yoga. If this practice has taught me anything it is that I am not scared anymore. Sure, I worry and have doubts about certain things just like everyone else does. But I do not let fear paralyze me. Through the practice of Yoga, I gradually learned to do poses on my mat that I never thought possible. Yes it sounds superficial and some would argue “that’s not what Yoga is about.” And I fully agree. But for me, when I realized I could do something with my physical body that I never thought possible, it translated itself into miracles with my mind and spirit I never thought possible. I took what I learned on the mat off the mat, and that has made all the difference.







By April Cannon 


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April is a teacher at Om Yoga, she is known for her strong Ashtanga inspired classes, and for giving students wonderful assists throughout her classes! 


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2:38 pm

Down Dog Checklist


Down Dog is one of those yoga poses that seem so simple yet its actually quite the opposite. When coming to your mat & into your first Down Dog, take a few moments, scan your body and make sure All Parts Are Go in this fundamental pose of your practice. After child's pose, Down Dog is actually meant to be a pose to come back to, check back in with your breath & allow your heart rate to slow when in a faster paced vinyasa class. After years of Down Dogging, the checklist below is how I check-in to my first Down Dog & each time I return to it.


This post was inspired by being in class a few weeks ago, looking back thru my legs and noticing a dude in the row behind me, shaking like a leaf in down dog just a couple minutes into the practice. My first thought? I'm so strong...I can Down Dog all day! Second thought...Us girls are badasses -- we down dog, handstand & arm balance the boys right off the mat. Finally, I thought, I wonder what he could be doing differently to find comfort & ease in his Down Dog.


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Down Dog Checklist:



- hands placed shoulders width apart or just slightly wider

- fingers spread wide, index fingers parallel, pressing into all parts of both hands evenly -- firmly pressing into the base of your thumb & index fingers as well as the fingertips, careful to not dump weight into your wrists

- unshrug shoulders/traps down & away from your ears -- pulling shoulder blades down your back & in towards your spine

- tailbone lengthening up towards the ceiling, while maintaining a slight tuck to engage lower abdominals and narrowing the front of your pelvis

- feet placed in line with your Sitz Bones, (or slightly wider if more comfortable) actively pressing heels down towards the mat - lengthening & stretching your achilles, calves & hamstrings

Side Note: it's ok if your heels don't touch -- a lot of people get caught up in having  their heels touch the mat. Effort to touch by staying active in the pose, continue to lightly press down & back.


A couple things your do NOT want to be feeling in your Down Dog:
- Pain and/or uncomfortable pressure in your shoulders, wrists, neck
- Pain in your low back


Hope you find this helpful next time you are on your mat!


Much Love,

Lauren Schwaiger



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Lauren is a healthy, happy, active living enthusiast, free-spirited, dreamer & life lover. Lauren created LaurenSchwaiger.com in September 2013 in hopes of inspiring & motivating others by sharing her ongoing & always evolving love affair with fashion, food & fitness + her other loves-of-life such as close friends, family, music, travel & anything else that that brings joy into her life!



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3:56 pm

Stop and Smell the Roses






Yoga. The first time you heard the word you probably had visions of one of the following:

1) A swami master in loin cloths sitting in lotus pose and levitating above his mat
2) A long limbed super slender woman twisted into some impossible pretzel while smiling blissfully
3) A room full of people on mats breathing with eyes closed and chanting words you don't understand

Add the word POWER in front of yoga, and another vision comes to mind: A warm or hot room full of fit and toned sweating bodies moving quickly from one pose to another as a maniacal teacher paces the room calling out pose names in sanskrit faster than you can recite your ABC's in English.

Let's get one thing straight right off the bat. I have no problem at all with any of the above 4 visions. And while I doubt I'll levitate any time soon (and certainly not in a loin cloth) I have been known to attempt pretzel-ish poses, chant with my eyes closed, and sweat in a fast-moving class. There is a time and place for each of these versions of yoga; that's the beauty of the practice! It can be adapted to fit any particular individual, and even the same individual at different times. It's not every day I can do ninety million chaturanga pushups... some days I just need to sit and meditate.

I offer you a challenge here, especially those of you that like to practice version number 4 from the above scenarios; sweating profusely while moving quickly from one pose to the next. Yes, it's a great workout. Yes, you get your heart pumping. Yes, your muscles get warm and stretched. BUT... Sometimes we rush those flows, barely even taking the full inhale / exhale before transitioning to the next. Take for example Surya Namaskar A (sun salutation A). Typically this is cued as follows:

1) Inhale as arms rise
2) Exhale to fold
3) Inhale to halfway lift / lengthen
4) Exhale to fold
5) Inhale to rise again
6) Exhale hands to heart center

This little series only takes 3 full breaths. As you sit here reading this take note of your breath at its current rate and see how many seconds it takes to breath three times. Heck, maybe even set the stopwatch on your fancy smart phone and see for yourself. If you're like me, probably anywhere from 6 - 12 seconds, depending on how shallow you normally breathe and whether or not you started to breathe more deeply when I called your attention to your breath (ha - caught you!). Now reset the stopwatch and take those 3 full breaths reeeaaaaaallllllyyyyyy fully. Concentrate on pulling your breath all the way down into your diaphragm, below the belly button on the inhales. On the exhales let all of your air leave your body completely, pulling your belly in. For me, that took 37 seconds. Over 3 times the amount of time when I was just breathing "normally!"

No imagine that you bring this deeeeeeep breath into your practice while doing that Surya Namaskar A above. Take a full 30 - 40 seconds for each round. Take this a step further into your practice and think about your vinyasa flow. The steps are cued as follows (from a down dog):

1) Inhale into high plank
2) Exhale lower into chaturanga
3) Inhale into upward facing dog
4) Exhale into downward facing dog

None of these poses are actually held as poses - it's just one big transition. I call this the "touch and go" vinyasa. I had a friend years ago who flew small planes, and on one occasion I had the opportunity to fly with him. As we flew around central Ohio he radioed the local small airports and we did "touch and go's" where we came in for a landing, but then just taxied and took right off again. When you flow through your vinyasa are you just doing a touch and go, or are you actually "landing" the poses? To get your body used to slowing down, take a full round of breath in each pose like so:

1) Inhale into high plank, exhale as you hold, inhale once more
2) Exhale into chaturanga, inhale as you hold, exhale once more (imagine there is a bouquet of gorgeous roses underneath you at this point. You don't want to collapse and get poked by the thorns, so just hover and inhale deeply to smell them!)
3) Inhale into upward-facing dog, exhale as you hold, inhale once more
4) Exhale into downard-facing dog

Notice anything different? When we stop and smell the roses as we flow our practice brings new opportunities to the mat. We have a chance to feel each pose more fully we realize that the challenge in some poses, like chaturanga, is in the holding not just the executing of the transition to the pose. We more fully appreciate the muscles of the body holding and supporting us in the pose. We can more mindfully scan our body to ensure proper alignment for injury prevention. And most importantly we give our minds an opportunity to slow down as well. It's hard to let your thoughts wander too much when you're holding that chaturanga!

Give it a try the next time you're practicing alone, or even in class. Don't worry - most teachers won't care if you're moving slower than their cues. Take your time... stop and smell the roses!



Namaste, 

By Pam Juliano



I have been practicing yoga since 1999 when I was invited to a class at a local library. Initially trained in the Iyengar style I spent several years in Fort Lauderdale (FL) as a student at the Broward Institute of Yoga. Over the next 7 years I subbed classes and coordinated a children's yoga program while at the same time completing my Bachelor's Degree in Elementary Education. In 2006 I relocated to Fort Mill where (after a short break from my practice to have another baby) I discovered Vinyasa style yoga and my practice began once again in earnest. I obtained my RYT-200 in Vinyasa Yoga and am excited to be a member of the Om Yoga team! I am mom to two wonderful daughters (aged 19 and 6) and step mom to another two kiddos (aged 13 and 11). I have a passion for healing through movement, meditation, energy, and holistic approaches including essential oils and herbs. On top of that I work part time as a bookkeeper and tax return preparer which keeps my nerdy side satisfied. I truly believe that my purpose in life is to enrich the lives of others through my service to them.



11:32 am

Prenatal Yoga Q&A with Kiesha Battles

prenatal yoga

What is Prenatal Yoga?

We provide a supportive environment for women to practice yoga postures and breathwork specifically designed to create space for the baby and to ease and manage discomforts associated with pregnancy. 

How can yoga benefit my pregnancy?
Prenatal yoga offers many benefits for expecting mothers and their new babies. Practicing yoga during pregnancy has been proven to help prepare the body for childbirth. There are also a number of emotional and spiritual benefits. Physically, prenatal yoga strengthens the muscles used in childbirth, enhances flexibility, increases circulation, reduces lower back discomfort and swelling around sensitive joints, alleviates nausea and other common pregnancy discomforts. Spiritually, the intentional breathing, meditation and inward reflection of yoga provides a deeper sense of awareness of oneself during pregnancy and can nourish the mind and soul. It also aids emotionally, while in preparing to welcome a new baby into the world. 

When can should I practice Prenatal Yoga?
Prenatal classes are highly recomended for women in all stages of pregnancy. After birth, with your doctor's consent you should be ready to resume gentle yoga exercises to restore body tone, strength and flexibility. We recommend starting with our Yoga Basics and Slow Flow classes.

Can I still take a non-Prenatal Yoga classes?
Expecting mothers with a regular yoga practice prior to pregnancy can continue practicing. Inform the instructor that you are expecting and share any concerns/information you would like to share. The instructor can provide specific modifications as needed. 

When are classes held?
Prenatal Yoga - Saturdays at 11am-12pm. 

What should I bring to class?
Bring your yoga mat and water. Small blanket and/or pillow optional. We have blocks, straps at the studio and we also rent mats and sell water. 


Namaste, 


Om Yoga 


About the instructor:


Kiesha is a Yoga Alliance Experienced Registered Yoga Teacher. She has been teaching yoga in studios, gyms, spas, churches, classrooms, and more in the Charlotte and surrounding area since 2011. She completed her 200 hour training through Kristin Kaoverri's Subtle Yoga and Personal Transformation Program (2012). She also holds certifications in Kids yoga through the Grounded Kids Program (2013) and Prenatal yoga through Enlightened Yoga (2014). Kiesha has a background teaching Power, Vinyasa, Deep Stretch, Restorative, Prenatal, and Kids yoga. Her studio resume includes teaching at Gotta Yoga, Okra, Yes 2 Yoga, Mint Hill Yoga, KadiFit and her classes at the YMCAs are highly popular. She has created yoga programming for senior, kids summer camps, elementary and middle schools, and more. In addition to yoga, Kiesha formerly has over 15 years of corporate experience in business with an expertise in project management, IT audit, and training and development. Kiesha holds a Masters of Asian Studies focused on religion and philosophy. It was during her academic studies where she encountered Iyengar Yoga and has been practicing for over 10 years. Kiesha's style is traditional yet contemporary blending breath connection, alignment, hands-on assists and providing options for all levels. She's currently continuing her Hatha Yoga studies with Maya Breuer, Senior Kripalu teacher and Prenatal studies with Amani Murray, RPYT.

Kiesha Battles

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1:03 pm

Funky Yoga is not our style Y'all!



Greetings, 

Saucha is one of the five Niyamas, which are the observances or practices of self-training. Saucha is the practice of cleanliness and purification of body and mind. This is done through Asana (Yoga poses) and Meditation. Now let's talk about the cleanliness and purification of your yoga mat, yogitoes (towel), and your yoga clothes. Here are some ways to clean your yoga gear naturally, without chemicals!


Clean Your Yoga Mat:

In a glass spray bottle fill 3/4 water 1/4 distilled white vinegar, and 35 drops of your favorite antibacterial essential oil. We use tea tree, lemongrass or eucalyptus for a fresh and clean scent at the studio. Try to use a glass spray bottle, some essential oils can start to degrade plastic if left for too long. Spray your mat and let it sit for a few minutes in the sun. The sun is the most natural anti-microbial remedy there is. If it's a rainy day wipe your mat down with a clean wash cloth after you spray this special magic potion on it!


Defunk your sweaty Yoga Clothes and Yogitoes:

Your Yoga gear is Funky, trust me you do not want to be that person! You also don't want to buy new clothes just because your favorite yoga outfit stings the nostrils. First of all, make sure that you hang your sweaty clothes and yogitoe towels to dry before you place them in the dirty laundry basket. This will most likely prevent the build up of funky bacteria. Then every once in a while soak your clothes and yogitoes in a bucket, bathtub or sink with 4/5 water and 1/5 distilled white vinegar for an hour. Vinegar kills bacteria and neutralizes odor. After soaking your clothes you can wring out the excesses water and throw the clothes in the wash for your usual laundry cycle.

For more information about essential oils for cleaning, natural remedies and overall wellbeing contact our dear friend and yoga student Michele Aschenbrenner. She is a local Doterra consultant. Michele will also be at Om Yoga this Friday for our Meditation Workshop to share a few tips and some great information on how to use essential oils for yoga and meditation!

Namaste, 

Maria Lages

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