Yoga in ME Food Drive

In 2012, Yoga in ME celebrated our grand opening with a food drive to benefit Footprints Food Pantry. (Footprints serves Kittery, Kittery Point, and Eliot residents) Participating is easy! Bring in any donation (big or small) all week and your class is FREE.

In order to make this event even better for those who are already Yoga in ME members, we also give you one entry into our raffle each time you bring in a donation! This year, we have lots of great prizes available. Prizes include private lessons, yoga gear, Yoga in ME swag & more! We’re also offering special discounts on retail and class passes. A very limited supply of discounted annual pre-paid memberships will be available!

As our community has grown, we have continued to celebrate this tradition each year. Every year, we have collected more & more food to benefit our local Southern Maine community. This year marks our 4th birthday and 5th annual food drive! Each year, we have managed to donate hundreds of dollars worth of food, toiletries, and pet supplies to Footprints. The opportunity to see a physical manifestation of the support of our community is so humbling!

We truly love this opportunity to give back to the community. We are really looking forward to this year’s food drive. Help us make it our biggest donation year yet!

Here is how you can participate:

Bring in any food, toiletry, household supply, or pet item donation. Items must be new and unopened. Footprints requests that any food items be date checked to ensure the product has not passed the expiration date.

Here is a list of items that are consistently in high need:

      . peanut butter
      . canned vegetables
      . macaroni & cheese
      . macaroni & spaghetti
      . canned pasta
      . canned “hearty” soups
      . cold “low sugar” cereal & oatmeal
      . rice – brown and white
      . canned fruit
      . canned tuna
      . ramen noodles
      . beef stew
      . dog & cat food
      . sides – pasta, rice, potato
      . hamburger & tuna helper
      . pasta sauce
      . diapers

We thank you all for supporting us and this community for the past 4 years! We wouldn’t be here without each and every one of you!

Looking For Your Community? Join Us For Coffee, Conversation, at Yoga in ME

Sometimes it’s easy to forget that we are social animals by nature. Although we naturally exist in communities, many of us spend a lot of our time alone. Further, the technology and devices that are supposed to connect us to others actually make us feel left out, lonely and even more isolated.

Finding a community of like-minded individuals is a great way to combat loneliness. At Yoga in ME, we want all of our members to feel welcomed and included. Sometimes, coming in for class is enough. But it’s also nice to have opportunities outside of class to connect and get to know other people at the studio.

Recently, we have noticed that our members really enjoy and value these opportunities to connect with each other outside of class. For this reason, we have decided to start offering more of these opportunities for FREE.

Starting in November, we will have Coffee & Conversation every 2nd Tuesday of the month at 10:15. (Immediately following the Boomer class.)

Stay after the Boomer Yoga class, or just stop in to socialize after class. We will  provide coffee, tea, and some light snacks. No registration or purchase necessary!

At the conclusion of our teacher training, we interviewed our graduates about the training. We asked graduates what they would say if recommending the training to a friend. Nearly every graduate mentioned the feeling community that they experienced at Yoga in ME.

In fact, many of our graduates said they had never felt like they fit in to a community before. The community at Yoga in ME was the first time some of our trainees really felt they belonged.

This was a huge wake up call for us. Our hope is that each and every one of you also feels valued and supported by the community here at Yoga and ME. If you don’t, please, please, please let us know if there is anything that we can do to make you feel more at home here. We are always open to feedback and happy to provide a listening ear.

If you love our community and/OR you want to feel a little more at home here, we hope that you will join us for Coffee and Conversation! You never know who you might make a connection with.

What is your favorite way to connect with the Yoga in ME community?

4 Reasons To Join The Yoga in ME Book Club

Have you ever thought about joining a book club? Sounds fun, right? But too often reading is not a priority in our busy lives. In fact, 1 in 4 Americans did not read a book last year! Not to mention, getting together with friends often becomes one of those “I’ll call you…” situations where it just never ends up actually happening.

But don’t let all the discourage you. Yoga in ME is starting a book club! Our first meeting is in December. Here are 4 reasons why you should join:

It’s FREE!

It is completely free to join and you can choose buy or borrow the book. All you need to do is read (at least some of) the book and show up. For our first book club, we are reading Pema Chodron’s When Things Fall Apart. We have copies available for purchase at the studio or you can get it at a local bookstore, on Amazon, or borrow from the library or a friend!

A great chance to encourage yourself to read.

As mentioned earlier, 1 in 4 Americans did not read a book last year. If you struggle with finding the motivation to read, this might be just the push that you need! I always find that a deadline makes me much more motivated to accomplish my goals.

There will be food!

We’ll be providing some light refreshments and attendees are encouraged to bring a pot-luck dish to share. As always, tea and water are available free of charge!

Community!

When questioned about what they love most about the studio, almost every person I talk to says: the COMMUNITY. Joining us for our book club and pot luck is a great time to connect with the Yoga in ME community and get a chance to interact with other members outside of class. Some of us might even wear “normal” clothes! (Read: not yoga clothes).

There you have it, 4 great reasons to join the Yoga in ME bookclub! We hope to see you there!

 

FIND OUT THE NEXT BOOK GROUP DATE

 

 

5 Opportunities to Practice Gratitude at Yoga in ME This Holiday Season

The opportunity to practice gratitude at Yoga in ME  is a very important part of our community. At the end of many of our classes, we offer an opportunity to take a moment of gratitude. Often, I will invite students to think of one thing that they are grateful for today. Practicing gratitude is a great way to improve your interpersonal relationships and spread positivity to others in your life. Practicing gratitude can also bring numerous benefits to YOU. Read more on the “selfish” benefits of practicing gratitude in this post.

Some of you may be thinking “well, that’s all great… but what does practicing gratitude even mean?”. There are many small ways to practice gratitude. Some of these include: keeping a gratitude journal, verbally expressing gratitude to loved ones, or even just thinking about things you are grateful for on a regular basis. Another wonderful way to practice gratitude is by giving back to your community.

If you’re looking for more ways to incorporate gratitude in your life, here are 5 opportunities to practice gratitude at Yoga in ME this holiday season:

1) Join us at our Veterans’ Day Outreach and Fundraising Event

Grateful for our veterans and want to support our FREE Yoga for Veterans Classes? Curious about the class? Now is your chance to try it out and/or ask questions – or just show up to show your support for this life changing program. This is a once a year opportunity for friends and family to join the class to see what it’s like – or to bring a veteran(s) you know that might enjoy their first class more if you were there to support them.

2) Come Practice Gratitude at Yoga in ME at our Annual Thanksgiving Day Gratitude Class

Take some time to care for yourself and cultivate gratitude before the distractions take over the mind. You may notice the rest of the day is truly something you can feel grateful for. Any donation appreciated.

3) Participate in Our Fall Food Drive

How lucky are we to have the opportunity to give back to others? Each year, we celebrate Yoga in ME’s birthday at our fall food drive. During this week long event, we collect a trunk load of food and other items (or more!) to donate to Footprints Food Pantry in Kittery. More information about this fun annual event coming soon!

4) Monthly Give Back Yoga Nidra

At this class, we support a different cause each month. We are grateful to Erica for donating her time to host this class and for the opportunity to give back to some awesome local organizations. We especially love to support local causes that our members are involved in, like End 68 Hours of Hunger. If you are active in a local non-profit please talk to Erica about how this class can help you!

5) Weekly By-Donation Community Class

We are so grateful to our teacher trainees for donating their time to teach this class and Rachel for volunteering to coordinate it! This class is a great opportunity to show your appreciation to these teachers (all you have to do is show up!). It is also an opportunity to support our FREE yoga for veterans program by donating.

Bonus opportunity: participate in our November Gratitude Tree! Read more about that on the blog soon!

We hope that you will join us for as many of these opportunities as possible. These are just a few of the ways that we are practicing gratitude at Yoga in ME this season. How are you practicing gratitude? Let us know in the comments!

Laughter Yoga: The Art of Laughing for No Particular Reason.

Laughter Yoga: The Art of Laughing for No Particular Reason Written By: Rachel D.A.

Laughter Yoga was really my first experience with Yoga. Wait…What? Laughter Yoga? “What the heck is that?” you might ask. That would be a very valid question.

Laughter Yoga is a series of exercises that promote unconditional laughter.

Yup, it’s silly, very silly, and it IS meant to be. There is really very little Asana involved, however the yoga part comes from the deep breathing involved to keep the oxygen flowing through the body while you are having so much fun. To me, it is another form of Pranayama (a basic aspect of the yoga practice). So, your next question might be “WHY?”

Why would you want to spend time laughing at nothing at all?

There are actually so many reasons to laugh this way. They say that Laughter is the Best Medicine and research is finding that that is very true. More and more studies support the positive effect that laughter has on the body, mind and spirit. In the 1960’s a well known author named Norman Cousins was diagnosed with a severe immune-deficiency disease. This disease left him in extreme pain and unable to function.

At the time there was very little the medical field could do for him and no hope for recovery. He found that when people visited him and made him laugh through funny stories, movies and jokes, he felt better for awhile. He created a rule for all his visitors that they must make him laugh if they wanted to spend time with him. Eventually he did make a full recovery that he credited, in large part, to laughter.

Let’s take a look at just a few of the benefits:

  • Helps control blood pressure and heart disease
  • Boosts the Immune System
  • Alleviates pain by releasing endorphins and serotonin as well as other “feel good” hormones
  • Suppresses the release of cortisol, the stress hormone. In fact they have found that laughter can reduce cortisol in your system by 24% as opposed to medication (4%) or meditation (4 – 5%).
  • Makes it easier to cope with challenge and conflict
  • Defuses fear, anger and boredom
  • Helps build teamwork
  • And possibly the most helpful of all is that 10 minutes of laughter will yield about 2 hours of being pain free

Another advantage is that it makes you vulnerable.

Many might argue that vulnerability is not an advantage and are afraid to be vulnerable, yet, according to Brene Brown, vulnerability is the key to living completely in the present moment – that wonderful place where creativity, joy and hope thrive.

When I talk to people about laughter and it’s benefits, many people react with “Oh, I love to laugh! I laugh all the time.” I always say “that’s great! Keep it up”. But most don’t realize that when you laugh at something funny, like a joke or a funny story, you only laugh for about 20 seconds.

The truth is that it takes about 10 minutes or more of laughter to bring you to the place where you can reap the benefits listed above. That’s why Unconditional Laughter (Laughter Yoga) was developed. It doesn’t hinge on something funny, you just keep laughing at nothing at all. Don’t worry, a good Yoga Laughter Leader will help.

One of the most wonderful things about this practice is that you don’t even have to laugh for “real”.  Your body will get just as many benefits from fake laughter as it will from real laughter.

Keep an eye out for more on the benefits of laughter and how to incorporate more of it into your life. And a  Laughter Yoga class.

Top 3 Reasons People “Can’t Do Yoga” (And Why They Should Do It Anyway)

Whenever I get asked the age old question “What do you do for work?” My answer is: “I own a yoga studio!” Sometimes people are excited and want to know more – but more often, people’s faces fall. “Oh, I can’t do yoga” they say… followed by a reason why. These responses are so discouraging to me. Not just because I want people to come to my business. But also because people think that they can’t participate in this wonderfully healing practice for exactly the reasons that they SHOULD be doing this practice.

Here are the 3 most common reasons people give me that they can’t do yoga:

I can’t do yoga: I’m not flexible.

Guess what! Most of our students aren’t flexible. In fact, I probably have the tightest hamstrings in the room. Yoga is not just for people who can already put their foot behind their head. People who can’t touch their toes need to be here because yoga can help BUILD flexibility!

Strength and flexibility are both extremely important for our health, especially as we get older. And regular yoga practice is one of the best ways I know of to increase flexibility. Furthermore, “flexibility” can mean very different things to different bodies. Or we might be very flexible in some areas or not others. A well rounded yoga practice might not get you touching your toes in 2 weeks, but the best way to start working towards that goal is to start practicing!

I can’t do yoga, yoga is for young, skinny people!

Sorry, this excuse isn’t going to work on me either. First of all, most of our students at Yoga in ME are 50+! Most of us have regular human being bodies here, too. Second, yoga can age right along with you. Here are Yoga in ME, we base a lot of our classes on a sequence of postures called Boomer Yoga (taught to us by Beryl Bender Birch). The Boomer Yoga sequence is athletic, dynamic, and also takes into account that we can’t do all of the things that we could when we were 15. And that’s okay!

Furthermore, physical activity continues to be extremely (if not even more) important as we get older! Regular physical activity keeps us healthier. Plus, yoga improves balance, flexibility and even bone density! Yoga is also great place to make connections with other like-minded people and reduce stress.

I can’t do yoga, I don’t have time.

An old Zen proverb tells us: “You should sit in meditation for twenty minutes every day — unless you’re too busy. Then you should sit for an hour.” The same principle can be applied to practicing yoga. If you don’t have time for it, you probably need it even more! Busyness is an unfortunate plague in our modern society. Most of us are on the run from sun up to sun down (and some of us all night too. And we are STRESSED out.

Did you know that yoga is great for stress and anxiety? Find out more about our upcoming series: Yoga for Stress and Anxiety here. Even if you don’t have time to come in for a class, these practices can be extremely beneficial. Sitting in meditation for as little as 3-5 minutes a day can have a huge positive impact on stress. If you’re looking to get started with a home practice you can schedule a private lesson with me to learn more about yoga and some tools that you can take home with you. Another option is to read about these techniques online or in books and start a home practice on your own!

Before you started yoga, did you think you couldn’t do it? Share why – and your experience when you did come to class in the comments below!

 

My 6 Year Old Wanted To Raise Money For Las Vegas Children “Who Don’t Have Parents Any More” What She Said Next Brought Tears To My Eyes…

On Tuesday, my 6 year old daughter, Lilliana, came home from school and told me she wanted to “send money to the kids in Las Vegas who don’t have parents any more.” I was touched. My girl has a big heart and, as a result, she always wants to help others. Unfortunately, there was just one problem: she doesn’t have much money beyond her piggy bank. I asked her where she was going to get the money. Her response surprised me. In fact, it brought tears to my eyes.

Lilliana told me she wanted to teach a yoga class for kids “because your job is already to help people feel better”.

I was touched that, not only does she want to help, she wants to do it by spreading peace, love and mindfulness in our local community. I can’t think if a better way to raise money to raise money for such a deserving cause! We hope that many of you will consider taking a break from all of the negativity that surrounds us and joining us for this fun class!

Sometimes it feels like we are surrounded by disaster. One tragedy after another plays out on the news. As a result,  it seems like we are powerless to do anything to stop them or help. Seeing tragedies like the recent shooting in Las Vegas, it is easy to sink into this hopeless mindset.

However, my teacher, Beryl teaches that part of our responsibility as yogis is to practice kriya yoga. Yoga in action. Sometimes, even the most experienced yogis need a reminder of this. And sometimes children are our best reminders.

Please join us Saturday, October 14th and 1pm for a fun, playful family yoga class lead by budding yoga teacher, Lilliana and experienced adult and children’s yoga teacher (and mom) Lydia.

Register and/or Donate Here

Join Yoga in ME at Eliot Festival Days, 2017!

Eliot Festival Days of 2017

The last Saturday of September marks the traditional date of the Eliot Festival Days. Eliot Festival Days are the last hurrah of the summer season here in Eliot, ME. Although the name seems confusing, (why isn’t it Festival DAY?), this annual celebration is always a great time! We love being a part of this awesome, local community event. It looks like the weather will be beautiful so come on down and join us for a day of fun!

The day is jam-packed with lots of outdoor activities such as: a 5K, a kid’s run, a parade, local vendor displays, and even an “outhouse race” (yeah, we weren’t sure what that is either, find out more here). This year’s Eliot 5K Road Race will raise awareness and monetary donations for the “End 68 Hours of Hunger” campaign, a cause near and dear to our hearts. Registration information can be found on the event’s website. You can find the full schedule of events here.

Create Your Own Inspiration

This will be our fourth year at the festival, and Yoga In ME is doing our booth a little differently at this year’s Eliot Festival Days. We are hosting a hands-on activity to cultivate inspiration and community awareness. At our booth, participants will have the option to create their own kindness rocks. Small rocks and craft supplies will be provided by the Yoga In ME staff. Expressing your most creative Self is greatly encouraged. This event is open to the public and participation is not required but all are welcomed to stop by, meet the Yoga In ME staff and talk yoga! We are looking forward to seeing you there! Learn more about our booth here.