Power Outage? A Great Opportunity To Practice Yoga!

Yoga in ME is currently experiencing a power outage. At the time this post was written there were 484,000 customers without power in Maine. For some of us, it sounds like it might be a while before it comes back. This is a little bit daunting. But, bear with me on this one, this power outage is also a great opportunity to practice yoga.

How, you might ask? I can’t do fully bound lotus without heat! Well, you don’t have to! At Yoga in ME, we think it’s very important to remember that the practice of yoga is not just doing the asanas (or postures). According to the yoga sutras, Yoga is: the attempt to still the fluctuations of the mind.

In other words, all you have to do to be practicing yoga is put effort towards being present in the moment.

That’s right, folks. As long as you are present with what you are doing in the moment, you are doing yoga. This applies no matter whether what you are doing is a yoga posture, meditation, or something more everyday and mundane like folding laundry or preparing a meal.

For some of us, a power outage is our worst nightmare.  Basic things that we have come to rely on like heat, running water (if you have a well) and refrigeration no longer function. This can be very stressful and even dangerous in some circumstances. But a power outage is also a great opportunity to slow down. We are forced to unplug, and be present with what we are doing.

So how exactly does this work?

Well, when the power is out, it simply isn’t possible to be reading an article on your phone while watching something on TV and also playing solitaire on your tablet. In other words, we are forced to do fewer (and often quieter) things at a time. Instead of engaging in multiple activities at once, we might spend our time doing something like reading a book or playing a board game with the family. We are less stimulated and more able to be present with the people around us. THIS is yoga!

Not only are we forced to unplug and do fewer things at once, we are also forced to do many everyday things “the old fashioned way.”. Read, slower and more mindfully. Doing the dishes becomes a much more mindful task when you have to heat water on the camp stove. Washing and rinsing in basins rather than doing everything in the quick instant hot water of the sink!

Are you practicing yoga during the power outage? Tell us how in the comments!

My Yoga Life – A Work in Progress

My Yoga Life – A Work in Progress

Written By Rachel D.A.

Three years ago, I was, mostly sitting in a chair at home watching TV all day long. I did have an office for business that I visited a few days a week, yet mostly I was just sitting around even there. My whole body hurt pretty much 100% if the time. I was very overweight and was walking with a cane. One of the reasons I spent so much time in a chair was that I could barely get up from the chair. When I did, it was painful.

I shared office space with a Chiropractor. At the time she had some patients (a mother and daughter) who owned a yoga studio down the street. The mother, Nancy Garnhart, kept inviting me to try yoga, “Just try it” she said. She even offered me a free class. I was reluctant and told her why. I explained that I could barely get up from a chair, how was I going to get up from the floor? Nancy kept saying, “All you need to do, to do yoga, is to breathe.” Well, I was sure that I was still breathing.

I knew that I had to do something because, essentially, I was just sitting around waiting to die and while I was no longer young in years, I was too young to feel this way. That sounds extreme, yet, at that time, that was how I felt. I had no direction and couldn’t figure out how to get out of the rut that I was in. Finally, my curiosity got the best of me, and I decided to take my free pass and give yoga life a try.

I’m not going to lie. When I first started, I hated holding a posture for 5 eternal breaths. I couldn’t handle the perspiration that  poured down my face burning my eyes. I basically felt like a baby elephant caught in a ditch.

For some reason, I kept going and kept going. I didn’t really care so much how I looked, or even how uncomfortable I was. The thing that I noticed was that afterward I felt better. So, I kept going and going and going.

Now, three years later, I no longer use a cane or sticks to walk with, I am about 85% pain free. I released 21” and 3 clothing sizes and have learned how to eat mindfully (which is the key to weight loss and maintenance). And I have learned so much more.

I have heard people say that yoga saved their lives. I’m not sure I can entirely claim that. What I do know to be true is that yoga has changed my life forever. It is true that most come to yoga for the physical aspect first. Often, they stay for all the other benefits.

For myself, the yoga life benefits are vast. Surely the calming of the mind is helping me to balance my life. Going deeper with practice is also having a positive effect. I am almost at the end of my 200 Hour Teacher Training Class. I feel that, at my mature age, I have new reasons to go forward and thrive. Now, I am looking forward to getting certified and teaching what I know about yoga to others.

~Rachel

 

Getting Down with Your Dog – Practicing Yoga With Your Dog

Yoga with your dog, not for your dog!

DOGA, the term coined to performing yoga practices with your furry friend has become increasingly popular as niche markets in the yoga industry have greatly expanded—you can do yoga with just about anything these days! You can do yoga with beer, wine, goats, and even yoga with your dog!

Lately, there has been some anxiety and ambiguity when it comes to practicing with your dogs, most commonly being: “I can’t even get my dog to sit let alone Downward Dog!?” Or another big one: “OFF LEASH!?” The answer is simply, no we are not teaching your dogs how to do Yoga, but rather how to do Yoga with your dog.

The Intention of Yoga with Your Pup

Traditionally, any yoga practice or class begins with setting an Intention for that time, day, class, etc. Similar to a yoga practice, dog ownership is a commitment that also deserves Intentions; whether it be daily, monthly or yearly—every good thing in Life stems from a genuine Intention.

Now you may think, “well dogs can’t literally set an Intention.” Although they may not be able to verbally communicate this to you, their actions speak louder than their barks so to speak. Dogs by nature are excellent ‘vibe feelers,’ and for the most part their anxieties and reactions are developed from the vibrations the owners give off on a daily basis—whether you realize this or not, your dog absolutely senses what you are vibrating at any given time (positive or negative!).

By setting a positive Intention with your canine, your yoga practice has already set off to the right paw. Intentions for these furry practices can range from:

  • Letting go. Let go of all meticulous control of the animal and letting it just Be a dog
  • Acceptance. Accept where your relationship is now with your dog and openness to the direction it is going
  • Peace. Peace with who your dog is and peace with yourself as its caretaker

Intentions for practicing with your pets are endless, and perhaps starting out small like completing an entire class without correcting your dog’s natural behavior is just enough.

The Ups to the Downdogs

As an owner, practicing yoga with your dog may just be the best part about your day and there surely are more benefits to a playful practice:

  • You don’t have to feel guilty about leaving your fur friend at home
  • You can begin to build a more organic relationship with your pup; both stretching and rolling around on the floor, basically getting down to their level
  • You may even gain a new respect from your dog as your own energies and vibrations begin to stabilize, thus allowing you to be more present in your dog-parenting

From a Dogic point of view, this an exciting new activity they get to share with their most beloved human being, another excuse to play and love. So the next time you hesitate about practicing with your puppy or bringing them to a Doga class, check your ego, ask yourself where is the anxiety present, and how could an Intention alleviate that second-guessing so that both you, and your furry best friend, can receive the good vibrations of Yoga.

 

Paw-ma-ste,

 

Dannika & Ole Miss

What’s stopping you from practicing yoga?

From time to time we post an essays written by the students in our 200 Hour Teacher Training Program as part of their homework. This is one student’s essay.


The Monday before weekend two of our teacher training,  my mother was hospitalized in Massachusetts so I spent the week leading up to our training course at the hospital.  Initially, I was disappointed at the timing.  I was unable to attend yoga classes, engage in “my” practice at home or adequately prepare for the rigors of the weekend course.  But, as it turned out, the week was filled with opportunities to practice yoga 24/7.  The situation certainly demanded a calm, focused, and quiet mind grounded in the present moment.  It would have been easy to be overcome with scary thoughts of what the future might hold.  As luck would have it, I found the chapel and traveled there each day to breathe and meditate!  I tried to be self-aware, observing the flood of emotions that passed through me from day to day… I was sad…I was stressed…I was agitated…I was frustrated…I was scared.  But I tried not to wallow in these feelings – just acknowledge them and let them go.  I tried to stay PRESENT.  I surrendered control of what was happening to a source greater than I and trusted that events would unfold as they were divinely intended.

So it would have been easy to say I couldn’t ‘do’ yoga that week.  And the Sutras would have been right to label me careless, negligent, and lazy about my practice. Instead, despite the little time I had to do the postures, I found infinite time to “do the work”.

 

Your Yoga Practice: It’s the Journey, Not the Destination

Have you ever been in class and felt like you just can’t keep up? Every time you get settled into the posture, the teacher moves on to the next one. Maybe you keep your focus and continue with your practice. Or maybe you get frustrated. Your mind starts to wander. Suddenly you aren’t on your mat anymore but instead, as Beryl sometimes says, you’re on the “bus to Hawai’i”.

“What am I supposed to be doing?” “Why don’t I look like the person next to me?” “I did this easily yesterday”

Continue reading “Your Yoga Practice: It’s the Journey, Not the Destination”