Ayurvedic Self-Massage

Massage is often considered a luxurious indulgence. But in fact, it is an important component of optimal health.  The sister science of Yoga, Ayurveda is a holistic health system for everyday life.  Abhyanga is the Sanskrit term used to describe Ayurvedic oil massage.  Among other things, the oil bath is a traditional Ayurvedic home remedy recommended to reduce excess internal heat particularly in the joints, liver and skin. This heat may show up in the body-mind as impatience, irritability, stiffness in the joints, redness in the skin, insomnia and/or indigestion.  Other benefits of Ayurvedic self-massage impart tone and vigor to the tissues of the body, stimulate the internal organs, increase circulation and decrease the effects of aging.

“In Sanksrit, the word “sneha” can be translated as both “oil” and “love.” In Ayurveda there is an inherent connection between enveloping the body in oil and enveloping it in love. Both oil and love provide a sense of nourishment and grounding. These qualities benefit the entire body, particularly the nervous system, and support the entire being - mind, body and spirit.”

Ayurvedic teachings recommend a daily self-massage, which need only take 15 minutes.  Pattabhi Jois, the Indian teacher who developed and popularized the Ashtanga Yoga method, recommended that students take an “oil bath” once per week on his or her day of rest. I have found it easiest to start this self-care ritual twice a month on the new and full moon day as these days are observed as rest days in the Ashtanga Yoga tradition.   

In India, the oil bath is customarily taken with castor oil.  Castor oil delivers the best results, but can be replaced by organic almond, sesame or coconut oil. You can purchase these oils at your local grocery or via a Ayurvedic lifestyle retailer such as Banyan Botanicals.  Banyan Botanicals offers a variety of specialized oils to support individual constitutions or balance particular conditions.

Here is a simple self-massage routine offered by Dr. Claudia Welch. Try doing this routine in the morning for a vital day, or before bed for a more restful sleep:

  1. Put about a 1/2 cup of oil in a 4 oz. squeeze bottle (I prefer a glass bottle).
  2. Warm the oil by placing the bottle in a mug of hot water.
  3. Sit or stand comfortably in a warm room on a towel. Consider choosing a towel that is dedicated for this purpose because over time the oil accumulation will ruin the towel.
  4. Apply the oil to your entire body.
  5. Massage the oil into your entire body, beginning at your extremities and working toward the middle of your body. Use long strokes on the limbs and circular strokes on the joints. Massage the abdomen and chest in broad, clockwise, circular motions. On the abdomen, follow the path of the large intestine, moving up on the right side of the abdomen, then across, then down on the left side. Massage the body for five to twenty minutes, with love and patience.
  6. Every so often, give a little extra time and attention to massaging the oil into your scalp, ears and feet. Apply oil to the crown of your head and work slowly out from there in circular strokes. Oil applied to the head should be warm, but not hot. Put a couple drops of warm oil on the tip of your little finger or on a cotton ball and apply to the opening of the ear canal. (If you have any current or chronic discomfort in your ears, don’t do this without the recommendation of your healthcare practitioner). When you massage your feet and toes, be sure you don’t slip.
  7. Enjoy a warm bath or shower. Minimize the use of soap, and use only where needed.
  8. Wash the shower/bath area. The shower floor will be very slippery and the drain may be clogged a bit. Scrub the shower area well to avoid slipping and pour a kettle of boiling water down the drain to keep it open.
  9. Rest over the next few hours, avoiding hard work, strong sun and swimming in or drinking cold water. Allow the body and mind to rest and rejuvenate for the coming week of practice, study, work and family life.

For the love of oil baths! ENJOY!!

To learn more about the benefits of Ayurvedic self-massage and view how-to videos visit Banyan Botanicals.

My Ashtanga: Mysore Style Yoga Path

Susan practicing Sirsasana - headstand. 

Susan practicing Sirsasana - headstand. 

by Susan Baker

For me Yoga is more of a path than a journey, I see a journey as having an ending point; a path as a never ending movement forward. My path started by taking a few led classes here and there: Flow, Yin and Hatha.  I loved them all but never felt a real personal connection.  Last January I was invited to attend the four-week "Introduction to Ashtanga: Mysore Style Series."  I accepted the challenge and I am forever grateful for that invitation and decision.

After my four-week introduction I began my path of Ashtanga: Mysore Style.  Mysore Style is more than yoga; it is a personal experience guided by yourself, your breath and your teacher.  This self-practice allows you to move and grow at your own pace (I must admit I was comparing myself to others in the beginning).  I have learned that I am strong, that I am capable of quieting my mind and that I can attain goals I never thought possible. Mysore Style practice is the window into your own personal possibilities.  My favorite experiences have been found in the community of other Ashtanga: Mysore Style yogis, the story telling, the chanting and the encouragement I feel each time I roll out my mat to practice.  I am becoming strong, compassionate, and a believer in peace amidst the chaos.

Consider the next Intro to Mysore Series invitation and you will be so pleased you did...

Learn More About Ashtanga: Mysore Style

Register for the Next Intro to Mysore Series

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Help Vets Heal

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Help Vets Heal by Andrea Snyder

 November is Yoga for Veterans Month. The Tahoe Yoga Shala and I hope to make a meaningful difference in the lives of military families. We are thrilled to team up with Yoga JournalRobert Sturman, and yoga studios across the country who are offering free and donation based classes to active and veteran service men and women. This is an amazing opportunity and I am honored to have a skill to offer in support of Help Vets Heal and Warriors at Ease. 

Throughout the month of November with Andrea...

Veterans & Active Military practice FREE on Thursdays (except 11/23) from 7:15-8:15pm.

Donation Based Class to Benefit Warriors at Ease on Saturdays (except 11/11) from 4:00-5:15pm. Memberships will not be debited for attendance in this class. 

My first yoga instructor was a veteran and former pentagon employee. He often spoke of the gifts yoga had brought to him over the years. So deeply had yoga transformed his life that he had quit his pentagon job to become a yoga instructor. He was very involved in The Wounded Warriors Project and worked closely to create opportunities for veterans to access the life changing practices of yoga.

I have seen and experienced first hand how beneficial yoga can be to those who suffer from PTSD. It can make all the difference. There is a strong military influence in my family history. My grandfather was in the army during WWII and spent 3 years in a concentration camp. I watched him struggle to cope with PTSD for years. He never really found an outlet. My uncle, his son, was a pilot in The Vietnam War. While he has not had issues with PTSD, he has battled MS since his early 20's (he just turned 70) and is now succumbing to his fifth fight with cancer. He attributes these debilitating health issues to the use of Agent Orange in Vietnam.

For these reasons, and many more, supporting the Help Vets Heal campaign to help veterans reclaim their lives is very important to me. I am so glad to be able to give back to the veterans and active duty men and woman who fight for us everyday. 

Thank you to the Tahoe Yoga Shala community for making this possible. 

The Shala Welcomes Candice Connolly

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As a Tahoe native, I grew up with a deep connection to nature and a desire to be active year round. When I was an adolescent I found solace while meditating in the woods. I often felt a strong spiritual connection that only became more profound as time went on. In the winter of 2008 I began working at Squaw Valley as a lift-operator, which gave me the opportunity to work hard, snowboard, and be active and outdoors almost every day of the week. During this time, waking early and eating well became a much bigger part of my life. The job was not only fun but also physically demanding and at the time I was going through some big life changes. A new friend suggested I explore yoga, crystals, and other holistic modalities to assist in my personal healing.

I began practicing yoga and flow arts in 2009 and was instantly hooked. I quickly developed a passion for the arts and discovering my unique flow. After becoming a mother in 2012, my desire to cultivate a deeper connection with the practice grew. In the spring of 2013 my studies slowly began when I participated in my first beginner yoga workshop series in South Lake Tahoe, CA with Jennifer Ann Fuller at Mountain Yoga. In May 2015, I completed my first 200hour training with Melissa Martinez-Chauvin from We Are One Flow Yoga Teacher Trainings in Reno, NV.

After completing my training I continued to cultivate and deepen my personal practice. About a year later, I felt ready to share with others so I started teaching donation-based classes at a friends Tae Kwon Do Studio. Soon after I transitioned into teaching at my teacher's yoga studio where I gratefully found my teaching voice. One of things I find to be so beautiful about this practice is that each time I teach, I learn. It's truly inspiring to me how much we all have to offer and share with one another.

In May 2016 I participated in a weekend workshop for kid's yoga, receiving a certificate from KAY providing me with lots of fun tools for creating amazing kids classes. That fall I also completed another 100hr training with Melissa through We Are One Flow..., providing me with many opportunities to step out of my comfort zone; bringing me more confidence and wisdom.

I personally practice yoga to connect with myself; body, mind, and spirit. I also practice to connect with others and ultimately with the Divine that is within each and every one of us. My classes are all levels and I enjoy encouraging my students to find a deeper sense of self-love. My trainings are rooted in a blend of Ashtanga Bhakti Vinyasa Flow. I try to always connect breath with movement moving in and out of postures, blending one breath one movement flow along with holding postures for longer. My classes tend to be both playful and relaxing. I like to bring focus on self-awareness by encouraging each student to allow their unique expression to come through their practice flowing with their own breath. I also like to blend in some pranayama exercises and silent mediation sometimes. I enjoy sharing the things that I love; therefore I often share essential oils in my classes, mantras, and at times oracle cards to name a few. This September 2017 I begin massage school at The Bodhi Tree Healing Center and I am so looking forward to the many things that I will be able to incorporate and share with my yoga classes.

I believe that yoga has helped me become more patient and loving on all levels. Ultimately allowing me to live with more presence, awareness and compassion. My hope is that through sharing the practice with others I can ripple out more LOVE and acceptance into the world and assist in the Healing of the whole.

Navaratri: The Nine Nights of the Goddess

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NAVARATRI: The Celebration of the Goddess
Monday, September 25th from 3-345pm with Kacey Davy

Donation class benefitting Sierra Child & Family Services.

Join us for Sanskrit chanting and storytelling…

This class will honor the Goddess with chanting of mantras, flowers, and offerings of food. All are welcome to join in this celebration of the Goddess. 

FREE! Bring a snack and something special for the altar.

REGISTER ONLINE

Navaratri is widely celebrated throughout India and symbolizes a time for internal reflection and purification. “Nava” means nine and “ratri” is night. The first three days are devoted to the Goddess Durgā who symbolizes the destructive and protective aspect of ourselves. Durgā represents the destruction of our inner demons by acknowledging our shortcomings and emotions such as fear, selfishness, desire, and anger. The next three days we honor the aspect of Lakṣhmī who represents our seeking of prosperity in the form of positivity, courage, generosity, and devotion. During the last three days we celebrate the Goddess Sarasvāti who represents spiritual knowledge, wisdom, creativity, and the ability to know our true Self.

Spread the Bhakti Kirtan

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Sunday, October 1st I 7:15 - 8:15 p.m. I Donation Only

Join Laura and friends for a casual evening of devotional music and song.  Our voices are healing instruments of connection, joy and transformation. YOU ARE WELCOME - whether you're a professional singer or prefer to save your vocals for the privacy of the shower!  Chanting is an authentic expression of the heart that helps us wake up to who we are. This is a donation only event.  No one turned away for lack of donation.  Come sing your favorite bhajans!!

100% cash or check donations benefit Sierra Child & Family Services.  

Fall 2017 Schedule Changes

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DOWNLOAD THE MINDBODY APP - View the Shala's Fall Schedule online and stay up-to-date on class cancellations, changes and teacher substitutions. 

Namaste literally means "I bow to you."  Every moment we are together – from the street outside, to class, to back outside again – we have the opportunity to respect and appreciate one another. Here are some wise and gracious yogi etiquette guidelines:

Signing-In:

  • Please sign-in before every class and print LEGIBLY.
  • Signing-in for every class is essential for payment purposes and so that we can compensate our teachers according to class attendance.
  • While reservations/advanced payment are not required, they streamline the registration process leaving you with more time to relax and enjoy your yoga experience.  For your convenience, reservations can be made via the MindBody App. Please review our reservation and cancellations policies

DOWNLOAD THE MINDBODY APP

Respect for the Studio:

  • Turn OFF or put all cell phones in AIRPLANE MODE. Vibrate mode is a distraction. Leave cell phones in storage cubby.
  • Remove shoes before entering the studio.
  • Roll mats out quietly.

Class Etiquette:

  • Please arrive at least 5 minutes before class begins.
  • If you are taking a class from a teacher who is new to you, arrive early to inform him/her of any injuries or conditions.
  • When you’re waiting outside, please be quiet as there may be a class in progress.
  • If you are late for unavoidable reasons, enter quietly and wait in back until after opening chanting/meditation –  this is NOT the time to find your spot -  then please join the class.  If the class is full, be prepared to move your mat and allow the teacher to make a space for latecomers.

Respect for Teachers and Students:

  • Please observe basic hygiene when attending yoga class: clean body, clean clothes and clean mat.
  • Out of respect for your fellow yogis and teachers, if you are feeling immune compromised or flat out sick, the Shala requests that you take rest or practice at home until you have recovered.
  • Refrain from perfumes and oils as many people are allergic.
  • Consider bringing your own yoga mat; it is more hygienic.
  • Spray and wipe studio mats with provided spray and towels after use.
  • Stack props neatly. Place cotton blankets with fringes facing back.
  • Reduce skin-to-skin contact with our props by wearing a shirt. This also makes it easier for teachers to make adjustments.
  • If you tend to sweat, bring a towel to class.
  • Please do not use our blankets to wipe sweat from the floor or your body.

Tibetan Bowl & Gong Sound Healing

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September 27th I 7:30 - 8:45pm I $25 Advance 

Nationally known Sounds True recording artist, educator and author, Diáne Mandle performs an intense transformational sound immersion with ancient Tibetan bowls, gongs and percussion to soothe, inspire and awaken the body, mind and spirit. The concert is designed to relieve stress, enlighten the mind and bring people into a transcendent state of being. Come prepared to lie in shavasana (final resting pose) throughout the majority of class while experiencing the sound healing and meditation. 

Advance Online Registration Highly Recommended - Register Online HERE

Diáne Mandle is an internationally known Sound Healer, Teacher, Recording Artist with Sounds True and Author based in San Diego. A frequent presenter at the Deepak Chopra Center, the Golden Door and Rancho la Puerta, she has been part of the Integrative Therapy Team at San Diego Cancer Center, has presented workshops for cancer patients and oncologists at Sharp and Scripps hospitals and developed and conducted a sound meditation program for incarcerated veterans with PTSD. Diane offers workshops and concerts internationally and operates the Tibetan Bowl Sound Healing School in southern California. She is featured in the upcoming film: Tao: Living in Balance along with healers such as Dr. Wayne Dyer and John Gray.

More on Diáne's Work at: https://vimeo.com/195824528

View a Concert Video: http://youtu.be/jgClpZpFboM 

NPR Interview: http://www.kpbs.org/search/?q=tibetan+bowls&x=0&y=0\

Visit Diáne's Website: www.soundenergyhealing.com

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The Road to Bliss with Kali Om

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Maha Sadhana means “The Great Practice,” and this amazing intensive will help you overcome imagined limitations, deepen your spiritual connection, and make rapid progress in your practice. We'll do plenty of hip, spine and shoulder-opening postures - some of which you may not have seen before - and focus on how they fit into the philosophy of yoga, including its ethical roots and scripture. We’ll also do mantra (chanting), pranayama (breathwork) and concentration – the goal of which is to settle the mind into silence so that we can experience our true, blissful nature. These practices were learned directly from Kali's spiritual preceptor, Sri Dharma Mittra. All levels with previous yoga experience are welcome; Ashtangis will find this to be a wonderful adjunct to their regular practice.

Kali Om has been teaching yoga since 1998 and is registered at the highest (E-RYT 500) level. She has completed 200-, 500-, and 800-hour trainings with her guru, Sri Dharma Mittra, and studied five times in India with Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga master Sri K. Pattabhi Jois. She is also certified to teach pranayama (breathwork), meditation, Hormone Yoga Therapy for Menopause, Prenatal yoga, Yoga Nidra, Psychic Development, Gentle/Restorative yoga and yoga for seniors, as well as yoga therapeutics. She leads retreats locally and in Belize, and is a columnist and cartoonist for “Yoga Chicago” magazine. She’s a lead instructor for the Chicago School of Yoga’s teacher training program, and is co-chair of the Vivekenanda East-West International Yoga Festival. She teaches as an offering to her guru. More at wwwyogikaliom.com

Friday, November 10th I 5:30 - 8 p.m. I Shiva Namaskar: Intro to Asana & Pranayama

An introduction to Sri Dharma Mittra’s challenging-yet-meditative Shiva Namaskar vinyasa, which is designed to open the body quickly and efficiently; variations will offered for different levels. We’ll also explore how asana and pranayama fit into the larger yoga system.

REGISTER ONLINE

Saturday, November 11th I 9:30 a.m. - 12 p.m. I Raja Yoga Maha Sadhana

Our focus will be raja yoga, or the royal path of yoga (the yoga of mind control, from the Yoga Sutras). We’ll weave the Eight Limbs of Yoga into our practice - which will include asana, pranayama, chanting, philosophy and meditation. Sri Dharma Mittra says “Without Yama, there is no yoga.” REGISTER ONLINE

Saturday, November 11th I 4 - 6:30 p.m. I Chakras and Nadis: Divine Purification and Yoga Nidra

Yoga Nidra is an active, lying down meditation that purifies, rejuvenates and energizes all of the body’s systems, bolstering its natural healing capacities and relieving depression, anxiety, headaches, and cravings. Divine Purification includes special breathing, chanting, visualization and concentration techniques to help open the nadis (subtle energy channels), calm the mind, and stimulate the chakras. REGISTER ONLINE

Sunday, November 12th I 11:30 a.m. - 2 p.m. I Bhakti Flow Maha Sadhana

Bhakti, or the yoga of devotion, will be the focus of our final practice, which will include asana, pranayama, chanting, philosophy and meditation. REGISTER ONLINE

TUITION:

Full Urban Retreat I $130 prior to October 1st - $160 thereafter

REGISTER ONLINE for FULL RETREAT prior to OCTOBER 1st

Individual Workshops I $50

Teacher Spotlight: Andrea Snyder

Tahoe Yoga Shala Teacher Spotlight

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Teacher Name: Andrea Snyder


Practicing Yoga Since: 1999 


1). Tell us about the first yoga class you took? My very first yoga class was through the University. The instructor was young and I think overwhelmed. We didn’t do much, but I remember the first class she had us sit back to back and do breathing exercises where we had to sink our breath and concentrate on drawing our navels towards each other. I remember being so sore the next day. I haven’t done anything like it in a class since. Unfortunately, the college class didn’t end up leaving a good impression on me and my experience with yoga for the next 10 years was spotty and inconsistent. I “refound” yoga in my early 30's and then I fell in love with it. I was looking for something to help replace the feeling of peace that I got from running. Yoga allowed me to shut off my “monkey mind” and allow my body and mind to completely connect in a way that was magical and powerful. Through my new found practice, I felt strong for the first time in my life. Both mentally and physically. I took that first class, and have been practicing almost daily since. Every time I get on my mat, I learn something new about myself and my body.

Teaching Yoga Since: 2013


2). What do you remember of the first yoga class you taught? I taught my first class to my boyfriend. He had done yoga regularly for years before we’d met and had decided eventually that it wasn’t for him. I knew this going into it. The class I attempted to teach him was way too advanced and the experience was awful. I could tell he was miserable and I asked several times if he wanted to stop. His response was “if you want to quit and give up, that’s up to you”. I kept going and got through the entire sequence and have pretty much considered him as my most difficult student.

3). Who/what are your teachers? Why? Every person who I have ever taken a class from has been my teacher. I love taking yoga to this day and I look at it as a constant opportunity to be a sponge and absorb everything that they have to teach me. My students are also very much my teachers. Because I teach so many level 1 classes, I am constantly faced with new faces and bodies who are trying this moving thing out for the first time. Every new body is a challenge for me. Every question they ask is an opportunity to look at movement in a whole new way.

4). In what ways has yoga supported or impacted your life? I have a degree in Archaeology. At the time that I made the choice to go to teacher training, I was in the process of getting my Masters in Public Health and Epidemiology and I was miserable. I was managing a yoga studio at the time and found myself wanting to be there and be on my mat all the time. School had always been fun to me, but it had become a duty. I was lying in bed one day feeling sorry for myself because I had a 25 page paper to write and the thought, “what if I could do yoga all day” popped into my head. It stuck there. I turned the idea over and over for weeks. I finally brought up the idea of teacher training with my boyfriend and his response was “I was wondering when you would finally do it”. I dropped out of school two days later and started teacher training within 2 weeks. I haven’t regretted my decision a day since. I am in love with teaching and my new life.

5). What does your current yoga practice include? Why? My current practice is a mixture of taking classes when I can, doing my own set sequence, and working through my classes for the week. I try to never teach anything that I haven’t done myself. Sometimes that means doing the class that I am teaching you five times in a row until I feel I’ve worked out what I need.

6). What currently inspires you? People who have passion. Passion for anything whether it’s yoga, or dance, or music. I love watching and being around people who are doing what they love.

7). What is your favorite season? Why? I’m weird. I like all seasons, but Spring. I love Summer because I like to hike, swim, canoe and just be outside in the sun. I love the Fall for the colors, for boots and comfy sweaters, and for the smell of fall. I love Winter because I love, love, love the snow. I learned to downhill ski for the first time this year and now I love winter even more!


8). What secret helps you to maintain balance and stay healthy? Yoga! Yoga keeps me balanced. I definitely can feel a change both mentally and physically when I don’t get to practice regularly. My dog also keeps me balanced. He keeps me in the present.

9). A fun fact most people don’t know about you? I was a line tech for the cable company for 10 years. I climbed telephone poles with nothing more than 2 inch spikes on my feet. I also lived in Peru off and on through my undergrad degree. That’s much more fun to talk about. It’s my favorite place on earth, other than Fallen Leaf Lake!


10). What do you want to share with the Shala community? I think that what I’d like to share is something that nobody ever told me when I first started yoga. At some point you might fall deeply in love with yoga. It might be what gets you through the day or helps you overcome a break-up or hardship. Like everything else, you might wake up one day and feel like yoga is no longer there for you. Like this thing that was there is no longer working. Just know, that the feelings will come back. It might mean that you take a break for a week or so. It might mean that you need to try a different teacher or style. Know that this practice of yours, wherever it’s at, will always be there for you waiting right where you left it.