Practice

I love this TedEd talk!

Whether it be yoga, personal improvement or learning an instrument, it's applicable for all types of practice.

We can step onto our mat and do (or don't do) the same moves we always perform then wonder why our practice never changes. This eventually leads to boredom and/or frustration. How can you expect something to change if you don't change yourself? The yoga we do truly has the ability to change your body and your life, but you have to be willing to do the work. Practice effectively and presence what your current weakness is. Connect with it. Play with it.  

This can change your practice.

Remember, effective practice:

  • Is consistent
  • Is intensily focused (presence the task at hand)
  • Targents content or weaknesses that lie at the edge of one's current abilities

Enjoy:

Savasana is for You. . .sana

When I first started teaching Bikram Yoga, it was in New York City in 2004.  My bosses at the time wanted us to ask the students two questions before every class:

Are there any injuries I should know about?

Does anyone need to leave early?

My issue with the second question is that, truthfully, we all “have” to leave early.  We are all busy people, with a laundry list of things to do (including actual laundry).  Living in NYC especially, we all believed that we were always inherently SUPER busy, important, and over-worked individuals.  Furthermore, many of us felt like we were MORE busy, MORE important and MORE over-worked that our peers.  So in yoga class, when given the opportunity to leave before the 90 minute mark, anyone feeling overwhelmed, stressed or, frankly, self-important has the permission to jet out before the final savasana.  I saw students leave classes from right before final rest to as early as right after the standing series.  Certain students would leave constantly after the same poses no matter how soon we got to the pose: if camel was at the 70 minute mark, the 72 minute mark, the 83 minute mark, same student would be seen rolling up their mat during our back bends. My guess is that it was psychosomatic: that part of class just indicated that they had given enough time to yoga class and it was time for the next thing to get done.  

So why does it matter?

Any amount of yoga is good yoga, right?

Well maybe, but one thing that yoga class does is that it equalizes us. We all strip away our days, our lives, our jobs, our troubles, step into our hot shorts and sweat it out.  For those 90 minutes, our lives are put on hold, or at the very least, we work to put our lives on hold for those 90 minutes, recalling that our very busy, important lives will still be there when class is over.   

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The other thing class can teach us is that no matter how injured, sad, preoccupied, at wits end we are, there is someone else in class who is also injured or sad or messed up.  In the room, we are all the same, but the moment we start to think that we are MORE than others, we limit our own growth.  We are not allowing ourselves to be challenged or disengaged with the outside world.  We become only partially present.  

So when we think that leaving right before our savasana would make the most sense for our overbooked day, let me remind you of this:

1). We are all equally important.  Every time we tell ourselves that we are “MORE” than others we are isolating ourselves and reducing our ability to connect and flourish.  If you do what you have always done, you will get what you have always gotten.

2). We all have the exact amount of hours in a day. It is how we choose to spend those hours that differs.  The way to make MORE time in our day is to choose the things that empower us, challenge us and are life giving.  While this isn’t always possible, hopefully the very choice to give yourself 90 minutes keeps you from suffering for 90 years.  

3). Final savasana, which is 2 minutes long, will not make or break your day, but it may make or break your practice.  What makes our practice unique is that in incorporates rest, allowing our muscles to record our work and rejuvenate.  

Take your final rest because you’re awesome and your life will wait.  You control your life, it doesn’t control you.  That ending “Namaste” reflects the teacher’s acknowledgement of your commitment to your practice and your returned “Namaste” acknowledges the teacher’s commitment to you.  But also, that final “Namaste” is a thank you to yourself for being present.  Your final rest is a chance to say thank you to yourself for making the time to do something important: going to yoga and reminding ourselves that we are all in this together. Yoga is the equalizer, the unifier. We are all looking to better ourselves and we are all equally important beings.  Savasana is for you. Savasana is for all. Namaste.

 

What is Kids Yoga?

An introduction from Rainbow Kids Yoga Certified Teacher, Amy Hopkins

Yoga is a fun way for children to develop important skills in a supportive, non-competitive environment.  

Practitioners of yoga have long attested to the benefits including:
Stress and pain relief
Improved circulation and digestion
Better body alignment
Increased concentration
Improved breathing
A sense of peace and well being

The benefits and more are true for children as well.  

More benefits of Yoga for kids include:
Improved strength and flexibility
Increased self confidence
Building positive self image
Nourishes creativity
Teaches self acceptance
Increases sensory awareness and body awareness
Builds coordination and balance
Expands self awareness
Develops self discipline and self control
Helps build concentration
...The list goes on!

The most important and a large focus in kids class is that Yoga is FUN!!!

I recently completed, with the encouragement and support of Leah and Julie, the Rainbow Kids Yoga Teacher Training.  After many years of teaching Bikram Yoga, which I know and love to my core, I was amazed at the different approach of the Rainbow Kids Training.  I spent 3 days laughing, playing, and trying all kinds of new postures that are age appropriate for children 3-17.  

In Yoga for Kids class, there is a balance between spontaneity and structure, so that kids learn to listen as well as express themselves creatively. The basic philosophy of Rainbow Kids Yoga is that kids learn best while having fun. Kids Yoga classes interweave story, song, games and poses, allowing children to learn in a multi-sensory environment.  Children are encouraged to respect and pay attention to their bodies, coming in and out of shapes when they are ready. In a yoga class, children often go on magical journeys around the world, learning about different cultures, animals, plants, even planets.  Children have an innate affinity with the natural world.  I am finding as I gain experience teaching kids yoga that they understand and enjoy learning about and caring for the earth and its inhabitants.

I am honored to have this opportunity to further grow with Yoga, and to get to know these amazing young beings! Kids class is always so fun! 

Namaste Notes - Words of Challenge

Everyday a reminder: you want the impossible.
Everyday a salute to myself: si se puede. 

I dream of soaring still in eagle and gracing in bow. Now, I'm a clumsy turkey and awkward bow tie and it's ok! I do this everyday cuz I can't wait for me to get out of me so I can discover that tranquil cosmic sea, hush that neurotic ego yelling at me, and prowl in the world as a vagabond tiger of control, power, mirth and other precious things. 

So everyday a pledge: namaste.

Namaste Notes - Benefits: inside, out, bones to skin

The benefit of a great night’s sleep is reason enough to practice and this benefit may be granted even with a limited practice. Our skin too will naturally exfoliate itself in just one class by opening pores and ridding toxins through our sweat. Soundless sleep and refreshed skin are just few reasons to explain our ‘bikram glow.’  

Another advantage comes over time with increased flexibility. Bikram’s beloved heat allows each of us to reach new depths and loosens are bodies so that we perform our physical activities to its full potential. Strong flexibility works to battle tight hips, tight hamstrings, and a rigid spine. This looseness makes each of our everyday tasks easier to accomplish. Flexibility feels great and is very useful in our daily lives, and who can argue how cool it looks. I must admit I have just incorporated our first standing back bend into a breaker-esque and crowd pleasing dance move.

Alongside our continual reaching is our breath, and we must never take the importance of quality breathing for granted. Yoga quickens our blood flow and allows for more oxygen to get to our cells which as a result helps them function better. Yoga also increases levels of hemoglobin and red blood cells, which carry oxygen to the tissues. There is blood thinning as a result of making platelets less sticky and by safely decreasing the level of clot-promoting proteins in the blood. This can lead to a decrease in heart attacks and strokes. Studies have also shown drops in blood pressure and increased lymphatic drainage . This helps the lymphatic system fight infection and deplete the toxic byproducts. A boosted immune system through breathing and yoga sounds too good to be true but it definitely is!

Yoga asanas prevent cartilage and joint breakdown by all of its body motion and stillness.  Yoga improves our posture by strengthening and our spine while we simultaneously protect it. Yoga in the long run will also show lower levels of sugar in our blood.   Low blood sugar decreases your risk of diabetic complications such as heart attack, kidney failure, and blindness.

Yoga’s gifts extend to the mind and spirit. Yogis more than often leave the studio much happier than entering. We experience peace of mind during and in between asanas, and we feel better about ourselves each time we come. The yoga path is a healing one and we are reminded to care for ourselves in each moment of practice that eventually, if not immediately, will extend to remind us even when not in class.

 

Happily,
Solasana

 

www.yoganonymous.com Eight Benefits of Hot Yoga

www.yogajournal.com 38 Health Benefits of Yoga by Timothy McCall, M.D.

www.artofliving.com Benefits of Yoga

Namaste Notes - Kids yoga for grown ups

Let me share some exciting news about the studio! There will be another kid’s yoga class for children between the ages of 3-5. Kids yoga is about having fun and it centers more around the children themselves than postures or breath. These classes use yoga as a platform to introduce the importance of keeping healthy, calm, happy and active. We’ll use the surrounding world of nature and our environment to relay the same lessons and messages adults receive from yoga. Kids yoga offered at our studio uses the methodology of Gopala Amir Yaffe, founder of Rainbow Kids Yoga.

So how can a child benefit from yoga?

Let Rainbow kids Yoga count thy ways: improves strength and flexibility, increases self confidence and builds a positive self image, increases emotional strength, nourishes creativity, helps to balance body and mind, teaches self acceptance and generates positive self image, teaches self love, builds coordination and balance, expands self awareness and awareness of others, develops self discipline and self control, helps build concentration, improves posture, fortifies all bodily systems like nervous and circulatory, increases awareness of breath, it is non competitive, expands awareness of nature and environment, encourages teamwork and cooperation, teaches relaxation and reduces stress, teaches children to find inner peace, encourages compassion, kindness, and respect, and ultimately, yoga is so much fun and encourages smiles!

Many studies also prove of yoga's effectiveness in helping children with such challenges like asthma, ADHD, eating disorders and past abuses. It is often taken for granted about how much stress a child encounters but if we try to see the world through their eyes, perhaps a little more light can be shed for us all.

The busy pace of a child's life can find a quiet and joyful focus in yoga classes. Children indulge in discovering freedom, and yoga provides a safe space for them to do so. Kids classes are not about doing yoga postures in proper and guided alignment, it is about doing yoga in harmony with ourselves and each other...sure sounds like yoga to me.

Always with a smile,
Solasana
 

Rainbow Kids Yoga. Yoga for Kids and Families: 3 days intensive teacher training course. the (almost) complete toolbox. Gopala Amir Yaffe.

www.parents.com “The benefits of Yoga for kids.” Visi Tilak

www.yogajournal.com “The benefits of Yoga for kids.” Marsha Wenig.

Namaste Notes - Stop the Thirst!

Welcome back, fellow yogis! This month we are not going to embark on a new chapter just yet, instead I want to extend our previous glistening dialogue to include hydration and the importance of electrolytes. Hydration and electrolytes work synergistically to help us feel how we want and should: good! So...if you are not feeling good, this could mean something is out of balance.

New students are informed they might feel dizzy, nauseous or experience cramping and these all can be symptoms of dehydration. Sadly enough, most of us are dehydrated on a regular basis. 

Our thirst is often mistaken for something else like fatigue, hunger or a headache.

But actually, all the above signs can be symptoms of dehydration. Every cell in us needs water to operate correctly and this need is magnetised after a detoxing and rejuvenating bikram class.

Proper hydration cannot happen during class! It must happen before and after.

It takes our body almost an hour to fully process our water taken in one sitting. So the water we sip in class is not meant to hydrate but more to refresh us.

If we are craving water from the onset, or feel the need for water between many poses, it is a likely indicator of dehydration. Drinking water outside of class should be done by schedule and not by our thirst.  If we are thirsty during class, we are already behind in proper hydration.

The truth is, water alone is not enough for us far-reaching-always-striving-& breathing very devoted yogis. Our water needs fuel to really power us and that fuel is delivered by electrolytes.

Electrolytes are minerals that, when dissolved in water, break into small electrically charged particles called ions. Electrolytes regulate our body's fluids by maintaining our Ph balance  and creating the electrical impulses essential to all our physical activity. Water then serves as a conductor, allowing ions to move across membranes and carry fluid, nutrients and waste. In this process, electrons signal nerve impulses and voluntary muscle function. So replacing lost fluid is just as important as replenishing the lost electrolytes, and not doing so will not only hinder our potential as glorious yogis, but it would also put us at risk for harming ourselves.

I have an excellent reminder to a DIY remedy that will not only help us catch up, but also keep us ahead with electrolyte power! Electrolytes are so essential! I will share a life saving potion with you:

Hocus pocus, all yogis focus
Shake some water with salt and lime
Only helps us to feel divine

Electrolytes can be taken in supplement form like in Emergency C or NUUN tablets, but less processed forms can be found like in my pagan potion formula above or in the never disappointing force of coconut water.

Coconut water!!!! It’s is like holy juice for the yogi!

In Hawaii, coconut water is called "noelani" and that means dew from the heavens. I would love to elaborate on the magic of this fruit but alas that's another namaste note. The better hydrated we are with fluids and electrolytes, the more we will sweat and feed our self-made feeling good space in our practice. We are masters of our own yoga fate and there are simple ways to live so that we may fulfill the destiny we want to create.

Always with breath,
Solasana


www.mindbodygreen.com "Hydration and Replenishment for hot yogis" by Marina Chetner

www.bikramyogaparkslope.com "The Ultimate Hydration Survival Guide for Bikram Yoga" by Admin

www.waterbenefitshealth.com "Bikram Yoga and Electrolytes" by Julia H.
www.active.com "Electrolytes 101" by Emma Williams

www.articles.mercola.com "71% of Those Who Drank Coconut Water Lowered Their Blood Pressure " by Dr. Mercola

www.npr.org "Coconut Water to the Rescue? Parsing the Medical Claims" by Eliza Barclay

Namaste Notes - Sweat 101

Greetings happy yogis!

Welcome to Namaste Notes!

I am a kindred yogi myself, warmly embracing our studio as my yoga home. I hope to share each month some lessons learned, and even unlearned, in Bikram practice. This unique yoga form changes how I live and its rewarding effects are so pivotal and transparent that I will strive to occupy this written space as a communal platform to relate just some of these paramount revelations.

Well, I hope you are all happy and if you are not, by the time you finish this post, you may find yourself treating your dismay with a naturalEy high dose of...sweat! Sweating is the lube of this awesome high and it doesn't get much more indulgent than the sweet, sexy, and sane self-care through Bikram.

Drip drip drip. We haven't even reached our first water break. Drip drip drip. Personally, those audible out comings get me really motivated. I try to make myself alone in class but when I hear the team not far from me working just as hard I am, I know...I am in the right place; and sweating in class is the right way to pull us through till the end.

That sparkling scented glow is SOOO good for us and its benefits might resolve some of your concerns in your practice. Our sweating is our personal AC and it’s obvious why we appreciate that in class of 105 degrees.

The more we drink water before and after class, the more we sweat and stay cool in class. The more we keep ourselves hydrated, the better we feel in class.

Dehydration can cause dizziness, nausea, and over all, a not- so-fun time pulling through class.

Concerned of overheating?
Drink plenty of water to upkeep your inner AC. Hydration produces sweat and our sweat ultimately helps us with our endurance.

The advantages of B.O's tears go beyond class too. Sweat is a key contributor in detoxification. Sweat releases alcohol, cholesterol and salt. Sweat helps terminate several toxins our body creates and improves the skin. Our skin is our largest organ so it makes sense to keep it healthy and happy. Sweat naturally unclogs pores and controls acne. Sweat also plays a pivotal role in decreasing the accumulation of kidney stones. Sweat demands our bodies to stay well hydrated and this in turn keeps our kidneys flushed and cleaned. Sweat also rids our body of modern chemicals like BPA and DEHP. Sweat is our own natural antibiotic. Sweat produces dermcidin and this is a very powerful tool against harmful invaders. Dermcidin is a protein and anti-microbial peptide released through our sweat and acts on the skin as a part of the instinctual defense of the immune system. dermcidin can help fight germs and injuries ranging from annoying insect bites, deserved cat scratches, or even the still existing tuberculosis. Sweat and the immune system are in synergetic friendship and gratefully, all we have to do to let this blossom is to come to class and sweat: sweat out the bad while we also sweat out the good.

Our sweat produces endorphins!

Endorphins are a quenching and refreshing cup of ‘happy juice’ we earned after all our hard work, producing a naturalEy high! Endorphins are hormones secreted within the brain and nervous system that activate the body's opiate receptors, causing an analgesic and euphoric effect. When class is over and we lay in savasana, that self made glory we feel comes from the endorphins we have been prized with for our focused and determined practice. It's not exercise generally speaking that produces happy juice but vigorous exercise instead, exercise that makes us sweat. A casual promenade around the block will not give you that cerebral bliss that can be felt all around and down deep. Touching O zones and producing endorphins act as natural painkillers for us. These sweaty byproducts can even soothe a sore neck we had before class. Being natualEy high is the best place to be in my book. I hear our awesome teachers often say that the worst class is the one you missed. I am reminded of that every time I finish class and experience that pure elation I have made for myself. I am always so glad I made it to class despite whatever may be going on in my tired and fun and busy life. I hate to demystify that rapturing intoxication but it primarily comes from our sweet, sexy and spiritful sweat.


Xoxo, Solasana

www.medicaldaily.com; Surprising health benefits of sweating that actually don't stink by Lizette Borreli

www.lifehack.org; 10 amazing benefits of sweating you didn't know by Lisa Stewart

www.fitnessmagazine.com; Sweat health benefits by Ayren Jackson-Cannady

www.fitness.mercola.com; The many health benefits of sweating by Dr.Mercola

Top 10 Reasons to do hot yoga in the Summer :

  • You don't have to put jeans on after class.
     
  • You look and feel better in your bathing suit.
     
  • 90°F outside feels temperate after being in the hot room.
     
  • You are already warmed up and can get deeper into your postures.
     
  • Relieve sore muscles from gardening, chopping wood and sleeping on the ground in the woods.
     
  • Have better balance while fishing in the river.
     
  • Increase your time for the Portland Marathon.
     
  • Make new friends.
     
  • Cold showers.
     
  • Because yoga is always FUN!

 

 

Radiant Heat

What makes the radiant heat panels so great?

Our heaters, like the sun, produce radiant heat waves which work to heat up water. Because the human body is made up mostly of water, this infrared heat transfers extremely effectively and can help gently increase blood circulation, rid the body of toxins and even provide pain relief.*

The radiant heat panels are cleaner!

Unlike force air heating systems, our infrared radiant heating panels do not blow dust or allergens. They do not release any emissions, chemicals or pollutants and help keep the air in the yoga studio clean and clear.*

These panels are GREEN! 

The panels are 99-100% recyclable. They do not need maintenance or cleaning with filters, fuels or ducts. Plus, they are made in the USA!!!

*heatinggreen.com

It's all about having the right tools.

I love to snowboard and it takes a lot of gear to be prepared for variable weather conditions. Construction and demolition require the right tools to be thorough and efficient. Buying a set of tire levers to fix a flat changed my bike commute completely. My husband Stephen always says, "work smarter not harder."

For Bikram yoga, the (physical!) tools you need are pretty simple: mat, towel, water, clothing. Our average class temperature is 105˚F, so it's important to dress appropriately for the hot room. Shorts are ideal, and a bra top for ladies is helpful so you can see how you're breathing in the mirror.  

Oh, the mirror. Looking at yourself in the mirror is part of the Bikram class. Many students, myself included, wear leggings and a tank top when they first start practicing or T-shirts on the guys that quickly get torn off after half-moon pose. For me, the thought of wearing shorty shorts and a bra top wasn't even in the equation of my comfort level. I arrived to class one day mentally prepared to practice only to find that I forgot my leggings at home and reluctantly purchased a pair of shorts from the studio rack. I started class mortified and incredibly self conscious but once I started practicing in shorts I never went back to leggings, ever. I was shedding the layers, from the outside in. Looking at my own eyes in the mirror? Well...that's another blog post.  

Being dressed appropriately for class not only gives you and the teacher the ability to see your anatomy, but also gives you one less thing to "worry" about. Having properly fitted yoga clothes allows you to focus more on your practice and less on tugging things into place or worrying about flashing some side boob. Try to go from leggings to shorts. You'll be able to see your knee locked and adding that visual component to your practice gives your nervous system the added visual to the physical feel of what it means to be locked.  

Before leaving for the studio I'd go through my checklist: clothes, mat, water bottle. Keep it simple, and your practice will thank you.  

We're still in the process of setting up our retail, but to help set you up we've collaborated with Portland based Evolve FiT Wear to get you 15% off your online order. Happy shopping, and see you soon in the hot room!  

Cheers,
Julie