Posts Tagged "Yoga"


When I first started practicing yoga a few years ago, my mind was very busy and analytical during practice. I think that’s pretty normal! There’s a lot to pay attention to. Looking back, I know I was actually pretty tough on myself. But there was something there- a seed that kept me coming back to my mat, kept me practicing. Over time, things evolved. My practice shifted, and I started to be more myself on the mat. With that came more ease, more joy. Much of this came from a shift in how I perceived yoga practice, and ultimately how I perceived myself. Here’s what I have learned so far. I would love to hear what you have learned as well. Be yourself and do what feels good. Yoga is an exploration of the self. We are all very different, so our practice will vary from person to person and even from day to day. Get rid of striving, grasping, and comparing. Try to shut off the message “am I doing this right?” and tune in to “how does this feel?.” Feel the rebound from the poses. Too often in class we may feel in a rush to get from one pose to the next. Doing the postures is not the only goal of yoga, nor is “keeping up” or going at any particular speed. Doing the postures, whether they are for strength, stretching or balance, will change the energy in the body. Take a moment or two to notice that shift in energy between poses. That moment when we let go. It is delicious! The biggest rebound of all can come after savasana. Once you sit up, don’t be in a hurry to jump off your mat unless you absolutely need to be somewhere. Sit quietly and enjoy the results of your practice. Practice without expectation of a particular result. If we go into class expecting something specific, like nailing a certain pose, or feeling a certain way, we may come out disappointed. Why not open up to whatever manifests itself that day. Be curious. Be surprised! Practice is an amazing thing. The more we practice the more we change and grow, and most often in unexpected ways. Let your breath create space – breathe deeply. Full breaths make us strong and calm. They provide a rhythm that underlies our practice and draws us inward to ourselves. When you are ready, branch out and try something new. Never say never. Challenge yourself to try a different class style or different teacher, even practice at a different time of day. Learn something new like a meditation or breathing technique,...

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Our biggest obstacles can often come from a surprising source: ourselves! How often have I heard myself say “I can’t” or “That’s not me.”  These reactions are just stories I have made up over time. After a few years of regular yoga practice I am finding my stories are shifting, changing, and I am opening up to a lot of things I never thought possible.   One of the really important parts of yoga is svadhyaya – self study without judgement.   The hours I have spent on the mat have been like a little rectangular laboratory for my life in general.   I have found that over time, with practice, the obstacles I thought I faced faded away.   At first, I could never find my breath, or stick with it, my mind was so busy.  Now I adore breath work, and find it can calm me down easily.   Also, I used to look at some of the poses and  think… well…someday…?  Hahaha!   Then one day during practice, I would just pop up into a pose I thought was far out of reach for me. Isn’t it freeing to know yoga is a practice? Here are some other stories I have changed, despite perceived obstacles. I went to do my yoga teacher training at age 52.  I spent a month off-grid on a mountain, on a farm, in Costa Rica.  It was life changing.  I loved it. No I was not “too old” to do this.   Age is just a number. I somehow own a yoga studio!  My background is in public education.   It could be perceived as a pretty good fit, if being organized, being fascinated by people,  and building community are the prerequisites to owning a business.   I have learned to stop second guessing myself,  and make decisions with my heart and what feels right rather than telling myself that if I “knew more about business” I would know what to do.  I love Get Yoga and am so so proud of it. For a long time I told myself I still had brown hair.   Well, what a story that was!   An expensive, time consuming and itchy scalp story.  I don’t even know why, but one day in January I decided I had had quite enough of that. I grew out my (not brown) roots for 3 1/2 months and then got all the fake brown chopped off.  Hello freedom!   I like being who I really am, and my short silver hair does not fall into my face when I do downward facing dog. One of the biggest...

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Planting Seeds

Planting Seeds


Posted By on Jan 6, 2017

Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds that you sow. Robert Louis Stevenson   What if we changed our perspective a bit and thought of ourselves as gardeners? Gardeners planting seeds. Through our words and actions we can plant seeds for the kind of world we want to live in.  Leading with our hearts, being generous and compassionate.   Lifting up others.   Giving without calculating how much our efforts are worth in time or money. Maybe the seeds we plant won’t grow right away.  Seeds need different conditions in order to be able to germinate and grow. Some need a long period of dormancy, waiting hidden under the soil.   Some need the cold of winter, or the heat of a fire. We need to be mindful of the kind of seeds we plant and make sure they are good ones, because they will eventually grow up all around us and shape our world.  Every time we plant a seed of resentment, jealousy, greed, or anger this seed will wait to grow in our world as well.   Care and mindfulness is needed if we want to plant the seeds that will truly enhance our lives and the lives of those around us. Plant seeds for the kind of world you want to live in.   Then trust these seeds will grow in time.   The miracle is this- the more we give, the more we have.   Leonard Nimoy.       Leslie January...

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Are you holding on too tight? The seeds of much of our discontent come from our ego-minds trying to control that which we have absolutely no control over.   As we continually struggle with that disconnect between how we perceive reality should be, and how it actually is, we cause our own suffering. Life is 10% what you make it, and 90% how you take it.  Irving Berlin What is the antidote to this suffering?   Gratitude.   The simple mantra “Thank you.”   Say it, feel it, and almost immediately a sense of ease can follow.   The heart will open, and make space for compassion. Our yoga practice is a great place to start practicing aparigraha.   On our mats we have the opportunity for some quiet reflection as we breathe and move.   Maybe we can loosen our grasp on some perceptions we have in our practice that may be causing us to feel distracted or unbalanced in our minds. Here’s a start: -Let go of the mental image you have of how a pose should look if it is perfect.   There is no perfect.   We are all different. -Let go of what you did on your mat yesterday, and what you want to do tomorrow. Maybe you held tree pose for 5 breaths yesterday and today you lost your balance 5 times. Don’t keep score. What’s important is accepting the present moment experience and realizing yoga is a practice. Coming back to a pose after we fall out of it teaches us just as much about balance, strength, and concentration as staying in the pose. -Let go of comparing yourself to what the person next to you is doing, or grasping at what they are doing thinking you should be doing it too. Yoga is an individual practice. Everyone has their own strengths and needs. Open up to what’s happening with gratitude. Gratitude for breath, for movement, for that calm that sometimes sneaks in. How can we take aparigraha off our mats and into our lives? Continue that mantra “thank you” whenever you encounter a challenging situation. We may wish people we encounter would act differently.   But everyone has something to teach us. Most likely that person who may be acting in a negative way is suffering somehow.  Open yourself up to learning what that person can teach you, and you may be able to ease their suffering, and your own. Find a mantra for gratitude: “Thank you for teaching me patience.”  “Thank you for teaching me compassion.” Sometimes seeing and accepting things as they are requires us to step back, take a...

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