yoga

Steadiness & Ease through Yoga

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“Sthira-sukham asanam.” Sutra 2.46 these are the words that kept floating in my head while teaching this morning. 

Sthira meaning steadiness. Sukham meaning ease. Asanam is yoga pose. So in each pose, we should have steadiness and ease. Not only through our physical posture, but our breath and mental fluctuations. 

When we enter a pose in yoga, one should find the stability and comfort to be in that pose. Certain poses may cause tension or agitation. So how does one settle into that moment? The breathe. 

Allowing for our breathe to be easeful - maybe it’s slowing it down; actually taking an inhale; or taking a fuller breathe. These are for you to discover in your practice on and off the mat. 

Our yoga practice, should create ease and steadiness within our lives. If it’s not that ask yourself what needs to shift? Do I need a slower practice? Do I need to move more? Do I need to meditate? Yoga Nidra? 

So not only is this sutra relevant to our yoga practice, its key for day to day life?

Punch Drunk Love from Sacred Sound

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The morning after! Feeling a little hungover, yet really good.

That is what it feels like today after a 90 minute session Sacred Sound Sanctuary. Melinda Kinzie best describes her work as ”part shamanic sound healing journey & energy medicine salon”. And that is exactly what it is. She began with a brief opening about sound healing and our energetic bodies, setting intentions and allowing your body to do what it needs because it still receives the healing. Then off we went to Never Never Land!

I will admit it was a challenging for me to completely shut my brain off during the session; however, as I lay there I knew my body, brain, soul, energetic bodies were receiving so much. The first half of the class, felt like my body was releasing stagnant energy that was no longer needed. It felt as deep as my bones. There were rattles and drums and Melinda’s voice chanting complimented all of the sounds. Then she began to lay the Crystal Singing bowls and it’s as if the room was full of angels. The energy was calming, healing and full of light.

Coming back to reality was a transition and as the owner of the studio having to move back into the regular swing of things, I stayed mindful of moving slow and minimizing conversation. So many left with prayers to the heart and a bow of the head.

By the time, I got home last night, I felt light. Bright. Joyful. Full of ease. It felt really good to be in my body. My sleep last night was so deep and restful.

Today, I woke up feeling slightly hungover. My body felt different, yet good. So of course, I wanted to search and try to find an explanation online. However, I told myself to just feel. Until Melinda texted me and then I was able to ask her. This is what she said: “Most of us are running on a fair amount of adrenaline these days and most of us have some degree of adrenal fatigue. So when we go into a rest & letting go that is that deep, our bodies do not experience it in an hour and a half. Our bodies are not linear. We really come into the truth of where our body is actually at. Our endocrine system is at peace and calm. It is not experiencing adrenaline or cortisol. A lot of time people feel really tired because you are actually hearing where your body really is. The epsom salt bath afterwards is great because there is a lot of shifting in the electrolytes in the body. Lot of changes in the brain, pineal glands. A lot of neurological patterns melting in the brain that are no longer needed. We are having release.”

We are excited to be hosting Melinda Kinzie next month.

Fascia: what is it and why work with it?

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Lately, the myofascial balls or these super bouncy balls have been a part of yoga class. 

Fascia is connective tissue within the body. There are several layers. The first being the superficial which lays just under our skin. It houses part of the immune system. After our skin, it has the most nerve endings and is a passageway for blood vessels. Fascia encapsulates the whole body and acts as a protective and support system. 

The second layer, which is the layer we work with in class is the deep fascia. This is dense fibrous tissue that surrounds each muscle, runs through the muscle and envelopes each fiber. It also comes together to form tendons. This layer helps to transmit force. It also lubricates the tissue to allow for muscles to slide and glide by each other. 

The last layer is the visceral layer which suspends organs in the cavities. 

Back to that middle layer or the Deep Fascia With age, injury or overuse this layer can get stuck. When this happens there may be pain in the muscles or joints; decreased range of motion; less mobility throughout the body for example. 

Fascia is a fibrous tissue mainly composed of collagen amongst other things including white blood cells, fibroblasts, elastin and ground substance. The ground substance is key in attracting water and it fills the spaces between fibers and cells which comprises 70% of fascia. Collagen creates the structure of the fascial web. 

When we roll on the balls, a foam roller, or block in class we are breaking down the fascia. In doing so, the body needs to repair itself, so it increases collagen production and the release of fluids into the system. Being well hydrated is key for the body to lay down clean fascial lines in order to reduce the stickiness of the fascial tissue. 

Myofascial release can decrease pain, increase range of motion, increase recovery time and increase pliability of the muscles. 

If you come to class and have something you want to work on, let me know so we can incorporate it into the sequence. If you have any questions, please reach out to me. 



Theta Brain Waves and a New Way of Being

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Brain Waves are getting more press lately, but, what exactly are they and why is it important to access the theta state?

 

If you have been to a Yoga Nidra (yogic sleep) class with me, or, more recently, a Yoga Drumming class, we touch upon the importance of entering the Theta Brain Wave state and why you should attend one of these classes. It got me researching more to understand this state and know its various benefits. 

 

There are 4 different types of Brain Wave activity: beta, alpha, theta and delta. Beta, the quickest wave, is consciousness, or, being awake and active. Followed by alpha, where one is relaxed, calm, and not thinking. Those moments of relaxation where you are just enjoying the clouds rolling over head, or your favorite spot atop a mountain where you can take it all in and just enjoy the moment. Theta is the next state and occurs when one is in deep relaxation/ meditation with the possibility of mental images. The most common time one accesses this place is just before they fall to sleep or in REM sleep. The final stage is delta and this is when one is in a state of deep sleep or dreamless sleep. 

 

Back to theta: for those who do not meditate, it is that place just before you fall to sleep where your body is at rest and your mind is at ease. It’s that place of deep reverie. We can learn to access this state more often through deep meditation, yoga Nidra, or, by listening to music with a specific beat that entrains the brain to the same binaural beat, i.e. drumming. 

 

Theta brain waves are the subconscious. In this place one has access to the stored memories, feelings, and, increased access to intuition. In yoga, this is the place where one can access the Soul - the part of us that is connected to the Universality of all that is. Through this connection one can reprogram the conscious mind by making positive suggestions. 

 

At the beginning of Yoga Nidra you are often asked to set an intention and to visualize that intention happening, and, feeling it in every part of your body. You are creating new programming in your cells. Very cool!

 

In addition, the deep state of relaxation induced by being in a Theta state of mind increases creativity by accessing the subconscious. It enhances a prolonged state of calm. It augments a deep relaxation thereby by decreasing stress and stress hormones. This helps to bring balance and healing back to your body. Theta brain waves increases receptivity and increases memory recall. 

 

The benefits of entering Theta brain waves are rather amazing. So, the next time you have the opportunity to take a Yoga Nidra class, Yoga Drumming with Entrainment, or deep meditation, say “Yes” because it can enhance a calm and relaxed state of being and benefit your health.

Yoga Nidra - Sleeping on a Cloud of Yoga

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Yoga Nidra is known to many as Yogic Sleep or Sleeping on a Cloud of Yoga. It is a guided meditation that leads the practitioner though 61 points in the body while laying down. This allows one to enter a state of deep rest. During this practice, the most  dominant brainwaves are Delta Waves. At this frequency, external awareness is suspended and one enters a state of healing and regeneration. Yoga Nidra offers one important time to relax one's mind and restore their bodies from stress, fatigue or imbalances. 20 minutes of Nidra are equivalent to 8 hours of sleep.

Today we are more stressed and our lives are quite busy; thus taking the time to deeply rest is essential to one's health and well-being.  Mountain Rose offers bi-monthly Yoga Nidra classes and private sessions. For more information, please email ana@mountainrosevt.com or call 802-496-9204.