Celebrate the Sun!

Celebrate the Sun!

by Cali Bowman

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Yoga in sanskrit is defined as “union”.  The beginning of our practice is understanding this union through the connections of the body and breath; of meditation and clearing the mind; in health and happiness.     

Look deeper for this unification in everything and allow your gaze to lift to the sky.  All cultures, creatures, mountains and seasons on earth share this same larger connection- The Sun!  The sun shines upon all things… stimulating growth and power wherever it’s strong energy is absorbed.

Like everything in our ancient yogic tradition, this is old knowledge…Stonehenge and certain Egyptian pyramids were built to face the Summer Solstice setting sun.  Ancient Chinese cultures revered the Summer Solstice in loud and ecstatic celebrations.  Listen outside and you’ll hear the Mountain Chickadees singing louder and the Douglass Squirrels chittering in praise of the longest day of the year.

During Summer we have a chance to maximize our connection with the powerful sun. To build some awareness to the natural changes that occur with more sunshine try to….

  • Be more aware of the surge of solar energy and cultivate it to achieve great things physically and emotionally.  More sun means more power! 
  • Considered the most “yang” season, mirror the increased heat in your life and feel your heartbeat loudly, sing louder and express yourself to your fullest.
  • Fears naturally dissolve when we are full of the sun’s positive energy and we can literally see more clearly.  Accept challenges! 
  • Laugh often!  In Chinese tradition summer and laughter go hand in hand, so to laugh is to honor the sun.  *Note that sun helps the body release Serotonin, a mood enhancer.
  • Allow Spring’s plans to come into the fruition during Summer.  Mirror the plants surrounding you.
  • Eat vitamin D rich foods which are more easily synthesized by sunlight.  Vitamin D helps to maintain and enrich the immune and nervous systems. 
  • Blood vessels dilate under UV rays which can help lower blood pressure naturally.  Go out and feel how your circulatory system is reacting differently to the sun.
  • Face South for a moment of reverence to the sun each day.  Meditate or practice Sun Salutations to the South.
  • Wear the color red and enjoy fire!
  • Honor the Solar Plexus of the body located in the belly.  Take time to strengthen the stomach, eat clean & easily digestible foods and let your belly bathe in the sun!
  • Balance all this new solar energy by jumping in cold water = Lake time!

Let the sun guide us through our yoga practice and life’s journey, connecting us all along the way!    

Join me in celebration of the Sun on June 23 from 12-2pm at Tahoe Yoga Shala.  

In this workshop we honor the sun through stomach strengthening exercises and work to open this energy to the world through progressive back bending while meditating on the Solar Plexus.  

Our course will culminate with the creation of a Sun Mandala Mind Map while enjoying a cleansing tonic.  Finally a quick jaunt to the river for a cleansing dip to re-balance the inner fire.  Bring a bathing suit and hope to see you there!

REGISTER ONLINE

 

Summer Savings

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Summer Savings

Throughout the month of June save 15% on your choice of either a             5-Class or 10-Class Card.

Use Promo Code: SUMMER
May be purchased Online or at the Shala. 

1. Limit one per member.

2. 5-Class Card is valid for 3 months. 10-Class Card is valid 6 months. Pass activates on the date of first use.

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

4. NO EXCEPTIONS

Click Here to purchase online.

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. 

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.  

Spring Ayurveda & Flow Yoga with Rachel Meisler

Bring me your tired, your stressed out, overwhelmed, yearning to recover from injury and live pain-free!  Yoga provides an all-inclusive and welcoming place to work on your issues, whatever they may be.  Perhaps you think about going to yoga class but hesitate because of challenges you’re coping with in your body, mind, or emotions.  Actually, NOW is the only time we have, so this is a great time.  And, yoga is completely adaptable to honor and respect special conditions.  

If you are unfamiliar with Ayurveda, this ancient living science - traditional Indian medicine - is a thriving holistic health care system which includes yoga, nutrition, and lifestyle approaches to healing.  Ayurveda and yoga, hand in hand, offer guidelines for our everyday lives and realistic, down-to-earth practices to improve our selves, relationships, work, and enjoyment; nurture our wellbeing; and promote longevity. 

My Sunday at 5:30pm Flow and Wednesday at 4pm Ayurveda Hatha classes adjust according to needs of the students present and consider the other current states.  These conditions exist on multiple levels: for the individual, the community, planet, and universe.  For example, the weather on any given day is a state that we experience on all of these levels simultaneously.  We may therefore choose a more grounding practice when needed, and a more uplifting practice at another time of day, month, season, year, lifetime, era, or epoch!  This is the essence of the application of Ayurveda in Yoga.  Furthermore, as in any yoga practice, the individual has ultimate power and is encouraged to self-regulate along the continuum of effort, discipline, and surrender, creating unique experiences within common poses.

With springtime’s sporadically warm and cold weather and wet heavy flows of snowmelt, we may feel heavy, lazy, overwhelmed, resistant to change, or in need of a push.  Ignite the fire of a yoga practice to burn off winter’s accumulated toxins and melt away stagnation, breaking through damns of energy to allow the natural flow.  

Perhaps if you are in balance, you notice as the days grow longer, you feel more motivated, curious, or inspired.  This is the perfect time to return to yoga or to begin fresh.  Like a seed buried in the dark earth, fed by the snow, and called by the penetrating warmth of the sun to break open and sprout, we may struggle through the aches of cracking open as we grow.  But it is only via this process of courageous transformation that we are ever able to truly bloom and be our most beautiful selves.  

Yoga is a vast body of knowledge, an ocean of wisdom, with countless approaches, variations, and endless room for growth.  Particularly if you feel stuck in a rut in your life somehow, now may be the time to break from the routine and try something new.  

As both yoga and Ayurveda summon the awareness that we are part of Nature, we discover the heart of our own true being in these traditions.  We begin to live more in tune with the rhythms of the universe, bringing us the sense of fulfillment that manifests in contentment.  We wake up with the sunrise and shift our schedules and activities as the seasons change.

Come as you are in this moment, and open yourself to your great potential.  Give yourself the opportunity for a new life, at home in your own body, to embody your dreams, and not just survive but to blossom and thrive, right now. 

Feel free to contact Rachel with any questions, concerns, for a private class or consultation, or just to talk about yoga over a cup of tea.  You can find her at the Tahoe Yoga Shala or through her website, OceanAyurveda.com.  

Energy Anatomy

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By Gina Quincy

The Sanskrit word Chakra literally translates to wheel or disk. In yoga, meditation, and Ayurveda, this term refers to meeting points of subtle energy channels called nadi.  These channels carry Prana (life force) throughout the subtle energy body keeping us vibrant and healthy. There are seven primary Chakras which move along the spine from the tailbone to the crown. These swirling wheels of energy correspond to nerve plexus in the physical body.  Each of the seven main chakras contains bundles of nerves and major organs as well as our psychological, emotional, and spiritual states of well-being.  Each Chakra controls a specific area of our physical, energetic and emotional body.  As we bring attention to each Chakra thru breath, color visualizations, mantras, and clearing statements we can illuminate fears that may be preventing energy from flowing freely.  When we let go of fear by opening and balancing the Chakras we can begin to see our life's purpose clearly.  

Chakra Clarity is like having a clear glass of water in front of you.  As the Sun shines into the glass you see a rainbow refracted onto the wall.  The glass of water is you; your body, your mind and spirit.  The sunlight is the white light of the Divine.  The rainbow is the energy of your True Nature spread out into the world.  As we step into the rainbow - a place of clear-seeing - we see that security, gratitude, happiness, unconditional love, peace, intuition, and source energy is the reality.  Everything else is an illusion.  When you feel negative emotions come up, remember this illusion. Bring yourself back to your breath and see yourself lit up in rainbow colors.  

The last Charka Meditation of the season is this Sunday, December 18th from 7-8pm. Step into Chakra Clarity and receive an energy anatomy "tune-up" that will keeping you dancing through the holiday hustle and bustle with grace and ease. 

Namaste: The Rainbow Light in me sees the Rainbow Light in YOU!