Donation Classes Benefit Alpine Watershed Group

Every two months the Shala selects a new local organization to support through its weekly by-donation class on Sunday at 5:30pm. In the months of March and April, 100% of donations made will support Alpine Watershed Group. Cash or check donations only please. All are welcome!!

Mission Statement:

Alpine Watershed Group works to preserve and enhance Alpine County's watersheds for future generations through education, collaboration, and implementation of projects.

What is AWG?

Alpine Watershed Group (AWG) is the community-based environmental organization focused on preserving and enhancing Alpine County's watersheds. For nearly 20 years we have been working to create opportunities for Alpine County residents and visitors to participate in meaningful environmental stewardship programs. We conduct water quality monitoring, implement meadow restoration projects, and educate and engage our community members on promoting watershed health.

Located just south of Lake Tahoe, Alpine County holds the headwaters of five rivers—the Carson, Mokelumne, Stanislaus, South Fork American, and Upper Truckee. The majority of Alpine County is managed by state and federal agencies, with 96% of the county designated as public land. With only 1,200 residents spread over the county’s 700 square miles, Alpine County is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts. Please visit AWG’s event calendar to find opportunities to help steward our incredible natural resources.

All About Ashtanga

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by Laura Josephy

Ashtanga Yoga is a traditional style of Hatha Yoga popularized by Sri K. Pattabhi Jois of Mysore, India (1915-2009). Ashtanga Yoga is said to be rooted in the Yoga Korunta, an ancient text written by Vamana Rishi.  This text was imparted to Sri T. Krishnamacharya in the early 1900’s by his teacher Rama Mohan Bramachari, and was later passed down to Pattabhi Jois throughout the time of his study with Krishnamacharya, beginning in 1927.  The term Ashtanga, meaning eight limbs, refers to the set of essential practices listed in the “Yoga Sutras of Patanjali.”  They are yama, universal ethical observances; niyama, personal observances; asana, posture; pranayama, breath extension; pratyahara, sensory transcendence; dharana, concentration; dhyana, meditation and samadhi, meditative coalescence. Jois believed that it was essential for most practitioners to enter the eight limbs through posture practice as it facilitates the purification of the body and mind creating a suitable environment for meditation.   

The main components of Ashtanga Yoga emphasized by Jois are vinyasa and tristhana.  The Sanskrit word vinyasa is typically translated as movement with the breath.  In colloquial language today, there term vinyasa often refers to the transitional movements that reset the body between each pose or between each side of a pose - think chaturanga, up dog, down dog.  More specifically it means a focused, intentional sequence of form, movement and breath that frees the mind.  In Ashtanga Yoga each movement is assigned either an inhale or exhale, while the state of the pose is given five complete breaths.  The breath intrinsically directs and shapes movement in the body.  The inhale resonates with rising and spreading patterns like lifting the arms overhead. The exhale enhances downward and inward patterns such as forward folds.  A key aspect of this movement-breathing system are the bandhas, or locks, which seal energy inside the body lending it both buoyancy and stability.  Mula bandha, the root lock, is a physical and energetic lifting of the center of the pelvic floor that is correlated with the exhalation.  Uddiyana bandha, the flying lock, is physical and energetic scooping of the lower abdominals correlated with the inhalation. Finally, tristhana refers to the three points of action/awareness - posture, breath and looking place - that are important in internal purification at the level of the body, nervous system and mind. Vinyasa coupled with bandha and tristhana creates a strong internal fire that, when practiced over a long period of time with great devotion, remove the six poisons discussed in the yoga shastra  - kama, desire; krodha, anger; moha, delusion; lobha, greed; matsarya, envy; and mada, sloth - that obscure the light of our True Nature. 

There are two formats in which Ashtanga Yoga is traditionally taught and practiced; led and “Mysore Style.”  Yoga practitioners today are most familiar with the led format in which the teacher guides the entire class through a sequence of postures simultaneously. However, the Ashtanga Yoga method was built around the “Mysore Style” class, so named because this was the way in which Pattabhi Jois taught in Mysore, India.  Ashtanga Yoga today continues to be taught primarily in the Mysore Style format by Jois’ grandson Sharath in India and by other qualified teachers all around the world. In the Mysore Style each student is given individual instruction within the group setting.  The movements, breath and other aspects of the practice are learned gradually in a step-by-step process accessible to anyone.  Through repetition students begin to commit small sections of a sequence known as the Primary Series to memory.  Students arrive anytime during the two hour class period and are welcomed into a room filled with the sound of the breath as instruction and questions are kept to a whisper.  A new student’s practice may only be 30 minutes.  In this first class students are taught the basic breathing techniques, the tristhana method, the Sun Salutation and possibly a few standing poses.  This approach allows students to establish a solid foundation in both body and mind; to integrate what was learned previously before progressing further and to adjust to a new daily routine.  Doing too much too fast often brings the risk of strain and imbalance while learning gradually allows time to develop the strength, flexibility and confidence necessary for a sustainable practice.  This process will likely surface the mind’s strategies of avoidance, resistance, distraction, impatience and self-judgement. Ultimately a form a mindfulness training, such is the path and process of Yoga. These moments are opportunities to let go of conditioning and to wake up to the fullness of the present moment experience. 

Many misperceptions about Ashtanga Yoga Mysore Style exist.  Though the class is not led, ample one-to-one instruction and hands-on assists are given.  You need not practice for the full two hour class period, be a yoga teacher, highly experience or even at all familiar with the sequence. The Primary Series is the template from which all students work independently yet each unique body inhabits the shape of any given pose differently such that modifications are given making the practice accessible to all - young, old, big, small, flexible, strong.  Like any practice or skill, the key is consistency.  At the start, you will likely discover new muscles. Regularity in practice will relieve the muscular soreness and invigorate the body-mind each day.  Having practiced this method almost exclusively for many years I am admittedly biased.  I feel the Mysore Style method gives me the room I need to work at my own pace and level, to follow the rhythm of my own breath and to draw my attention inward in a way that is not possible in led classes. I am able to explore the sensations of my body and carefully observe and feel the pattern of my breath in a way that settles my thoughts and clears my mind. Yet I am not alone. I am in the felt presence and support of the other practitioners breathing and moving in the room. We are in it together as a community.  This inspires and motivates me to get on my mat morning after early morning. It gives me permission to be vulnerable as a student of the practice myself and to listen, learn, grow and transform through its teachings.  

Join Laura in her upcoming 4-Week Intro to Mysore Style Series, January 14th - February 4th. More details available HERE. 

FLASH SALE! 8 for $80!!

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This offer is available online only through Monday, November 27th.

Click HERE to purchase!

Please note that this promotion has a couple special considerations...

1. Limit one per member.

2. This pass is valid for 60 days only. Pass activates on the date of purchase.

3. Pass is non-refundable, non-transferable, and cannot be combined with any other discounts.

4. NO EXCEPTIONS

Thank you for making the Shala the vibrant community that it is! 

Namaste,

Shala Teachers & Staff

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.

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

Getting Out of the Norm: Discover the Anomalies of Vinyasa Yoga

by Hannah Greenstreet

Traditional yoga methods, whether Ashtanga, Iyengar, Bikhram, etc., are founded on specifically designed techniques, poses, and sequences. These sequences are purposeful creations that offer a beacon to physical and energetic health and wellness. By utilizing the practice consistently with proper technique, we train our minds and bodies to find clarity, strength, and balance. So why explore the anomalies? Why venture outside the well-crafted poses of these long lineages of yoga? 

On August 12, Hannah will lead a workshop that will explore unusual variations rarely taught in a standard yoga class; unique and creative postures that challenge us to enhance our awareness of our bodies and reinvigorate our minds. So often today, it is easy to get comfortably stuck in routines, following systems that establish a safety net for our reality. There are many benefits to routines, often encouraged in the health and wellness world, as a gateway to ease and happiness. However, holding ourselves to a steadfast structure can also put limitations on our growth. We can get unconsciously caught in “autopilot” mode, often going through the motions with less and less intention and presence. When we lose grip of our experience in the present, we can get caught in expectations and norms that may not align with what we truly need and desire.

Therefore, this workshop will dive into anomaly (a.k.a. irregular) poses of yoga. Fun, interesting, out of the ordinary poses to mix up the orthodox and innovate some flare into your practice. By moving in new ways, we can access ideas and ways to get into our bodies further. This process allows us to step out of boxes and beliefs of ‘right and wrong’ and reinvent our asana practice to hopefully inspire and motivate.

Discover the Anomalies of Vinyasa Yoga Workshop with Hannah

Saturday, August 12th I 12-2 p.m. I $30

Register ONLINE prior to Friday August 11th to reserve your space!

The Power of Sanskrit & The Present Moment

Live in the present. The idea of living in the present moment is a common goal amongst us, especially yoga practitioners. We seek to be more mindful, more aware and look to the practice of yoga to help us achieve this. If we are not worrying about the future or dwelling on the past, then we are immersed in the beauty of the present moment. That’s not easy to do! Our minds are so busy managing work, family, friends and life that finding ourselves really in the present moment is often short lived. The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, tell us that yoga is citta-vritti-nirodhah. Yoga is the quieting of the vrittis (thoughts) of the citta (the mind). The practices of Yoga and meditation teach us how to find clarity, how to become more mindful, and how to connect to our mind through our body.  When engaged in the practice of Yoga we are learning how to live in the present moment. For example, most yoga teachers will invite you to connect to your breath. That simple instruction can help to quiet down the chatter of the mind and offers the opportunity to look inward and truly connect to the present. 

Often yoga classes begin and end with the sound of OM. It is said to be the primordial sound, or the sound of the universe, encompassing all sounds, and all of creation. When we chant OM we connect to the universe, to ourselves and to each other. Chanting OM helps to quiet the mind and come into the present moment. How can such a simple sound have such a profound affect on our mind? That’s the power of Sanskrit. Sanskrit is the language of yoga and meditation; it’s a spiritual, vibrational language. It has the power, like music, to uplift the heart and soul. The sound of the Sanskrit language has the power to put us at peace and learning Sanskrit can teach us how to live in the present moment.  

On June 10th & 11th I will offer the American Sanskrit Institute's (ASI) Level 1 Immersion at the Tahoe Yoga Shala. The method created by the American Sanskrit Institute uses yoga philosophy to teach you how to achieve present moment awareness. When the senses are completely focused on listening to the sounds, the sight of the alphabet, and the feeling of making the sounds then learning becomes an experience rather than a struggle. At first you’ll become aware of what thoughts (vrittis) are blocking you from experiencing the present. Then you’ll learn a technique for controlling where you place your attention based on the Yoga Sutras. This method has proven to help anyone who wants to learn the language and is a guaranteed way of learning. Even if you’ve never thought of learning Sanskrit, this method can help you to learn and master anything you put your mind to. The experience itself of participation in the Immersion is an experience of using Yoga to truly live in the moment. Vyaas Houston, the founder of ASI, says that learning Sanskrit connects us to the joy we experienced as children. It’s true, the joy and happiness of engaging the sounds of the language in this weekend Immersion can connect you to that peaceful, happy, live in the moment place you are seeking. That’s the power of Sanskrit. 

Learn More About Kacey's Upcoming Sanskrit Immersion HERE

Prana Vinyasa Yoga

By Crystal Woodward

In the last year the practice of Prana Vinyasa Yoga has blossomed into my life.  My foundation as a yogini has been in styles of yoga that, to me, feel strong and masculine.  As I have begun to open to my own authentic energy and voice, I wanted to call feminine energy into my practice and teaching. For the next chapter in my development, I went looking for a style and teacher who embodied the divine feminine. I found it in the creative, fluid and dance-like approach of Shiva Rea and her signature style, Prana Vinyasa Yoga. 

In Prana Vinyasa I discovered a beautiful place to explore the creative physical movement of vinyasa yoga. I was able to submerge into the feeling of flow in the body and drop into the current of my breath as the ebb and flow of inhales and exhales. This style is like a mandala - rich, circular and complete.  Though the work continues each time I step on my mat, the method encompasses a holistic approach to the yoga practice.  I am grateful for ongoing courses in Yoga philosophy, Ayurveda, meditation and mantra.  These courses inform the myriad of Prana Vinyasa sequences - from foundational work, to the elemental body, to moving through the Chakra system. This diversity has given me the opportunity to be more mindful as to how I am feeling or the circumstances surrounding any given day.  With this awareness I intentionally pick a practice for that day that manifests greater balance and happiness. Beginning to embody Prana Vinyasa has allowed me to open to my creative power and accept all the different areas of my practice and life.

I am delighted to share Prana Vinyasa Yoga with each of you in my weekly classes on Monday and Friday at 5:30pm. Join me for a special Rhythm + Flow: Live Music + Yoga Series.  Let your body move to the rhythm of original electronic music!