Welcome to June! The halfway mark in our year. A time to reflect on where we have been so far in our pathway of self-care, as we are guided along by yoga's ethical principles--teachings that can serve us even 'off' our mat into our daily lives. First, our June specialty class announcement! Mark your calendars!
I'm pleased to say that I will be assisting with spreading the word about LifeForce Yoga® at the International Association of Yoga Therapists Symposium on Yoga Therapy and Research that is being held in Reston, VA this month. My teacher Amy Weintraub will be leading a plenary session at the symposium and I have been invited to assist at the LFY exhibition space. I'm honored to share how Amy's protocol for balancing mood can help those dealing with symptoms of depression and anxiety.
Also exciting is that my functional movement teacher, and founder of my 1000-hour yoga therapy certification program, Susi Hately, will be also leading a community session at the conference! It is such an privilege to have the opportunity to study with Susi and learn about how her principles of therapeutic movement can contribute to greater ease and stability in the body. So it is SUPER COOL that I will get to see both of my teachers this month!
Now for specialty class news:
Functional Movement: The June Therapeutic Yoga for Shoulders and Hips is scheduled for Saturday, June 11th, 2:30-4:00 pm, at Body Grace Fitness and Yoga in Vienna, VA.
This class is a terrific way to become more deeply attuned to your body's inner messages, particularly if you tend to experience limitation through your shoulders and hips. Through small, mindful and gentle yoga-inspired therapeutic movements (seated, standing and supine) and a connection to natural breath, participants can quiet tension and nurture calm in both muscle and mind as they explore their optimal range of motion and then apply this knowledge to yoga poses.
Reserve your spot this month by contacting Jan at firstname.lastname@example.org.
June: Staying Present - Let the Yamas Help
Welcome to June! After a cool, rainy May in Northern VA, temperatures have finally begun to shift, and the sense of summer is approaching. Anticipation is high for all that summer brings--school’s release, summer evenings, cookouts and pool time, family vacations, and camps for kids.
Summer brings excitement and a sense of new adventure. At the same time it often uproots us from our normal routines. As we focus on a calendar of scheduling and preparing for summer pastimes, we can be drawn away from feeling grounded. We are flying high with expectation and this can feel elating at times. I, it can also upend feelings of balance and continuity in our lives, allowing stress to seep inwards.
How can yoga help? Even ‘off’ our mat?
At Heart Tree Yoga we have reached the mid-point of our year-long exploration of yoga’s ethical principles, guided by Deborah Adele's The Yamas and Niyamas: Exploring Yoga's Ethical Practice. Tying together what we have discovered these past 5 months about yoga’s ethical restraints--the Yamas-- can help provide the guidance we need to stay grounded and rooted even as expectation abounds around us.
Here is what we’ve discovered:
So, segue back to summer. How can the practice of nonharm, truth, nonstealing, nonexcess, and nonpossessiveness help us stay grounded and rooted at a time when expectation abounds?
The answer lies within us. It begins with the magic of mindfulness.
What does this mean?
It means noticing when we start to get caught up in the whirlwind of our summer schedule. Listening to all parts of our physical, emotional, and mental body, and honoring these messages by taking time for self-care and reflection. Tapping into our non-judgmental inner wisdom and opening our hearts compassionately to the magnificent essence of our entire being.
It means slipping off our shoes and sensing the grass beneath our feet and inhaling the air’s flower-infused scent after a summer rain. Savoring the sweet tastes of summer’s bounty and listening to the symphony of summer’s small creatures. Stopping to take in the lushness of the season’s sights. Striving to find these small moments in each day since they point us back to the present moment.
It means inviting quiet stillness to appreciate what nature teaches us about not rushing through growth and unfolding and practicing gratitude for ‘enough’. And it means learning from our breath how to let go and welcome life moment by moment while releasing what serves us no longer.
I want to close with a quote from garden photographer and author Martha Brettschnieder’s book, Blooming into Mindfulness: How the Universe Used a Garden, Cancer, and Carpools to Teach Me That Calm Is the New Happy.
“Living mindfully, with intention and purpose in the present moment, results in a sense of steady, confident, contented joy.”
As June leads us into summer, be open to your own joy and contentment. Bloom your way into mindfulness. Practice what yoga can teach us about finding balance and a sense of staying grounded--even amidst expectation--by observing self-care, self-compassion, self-acceptance and self-love.
Be. So you can Live.
With light and love,
Blog Archives including Heart Tree Yoga's Yamas and Niyamas Study from January-December 2016 and seasonal newsletters.