November 2017 Newsletter

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This is the season of Generosity and Service (seva) and it begins with Gratitude!

Yoga means union, and it can mean coming together.  In this sense the coming together is “to make whole,” and if we think in these terms, we can apply the idea to how we are in community.  We work together in the immediate communities we live in and hope to have a positive effect on our global community and extending beyond that, we come to be in awe of our connection to our universe.  Taking this concept from the micro level to the macro level and back again, reflecting within at the intricacies of our body, then the “care and keeping of you” will affect your capacity to care for others too. This process should keep bringing us back to a foundational word:  Gratitude.   What comes when you see and hear this word?  Does your body release and relax, does your breath deepen, does the stress on your forehead melt away, and does your heart swell? The heart opens and so does the mind when we keep coming back to the idea that leads to ideals:  what we have and what we are is enough; all that we need is here.  So, let us be present and be human together in how we can whittle down the “scarcity theory,” that we need more things, more time, more attention, more care.   In this season of giving, where gratitude is our springboard, let us realize that there is enough within us, and between us, and let us use our yoga practice to become more open and more appreciative of how we can give of ourselves.  

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Understanding Singing Bowls 

In this past year our LifeFit classes have been enjoying the use of “healing sound” through the introduction of singing bowls. 

The use of singing bowls has been around for over 2600 years, stemming from the time of the Buddha and made popular by Tibetan Buddhism. The use of singing bowls has spread into many traditional practices, and in yoga, is considered to provide sound healing.

All things made of carbon have a frequency, from rocks/minerals to human beings, and furthermore we all have our own unique frequency.  When exposed to something with another frequency we are affected by it and we are effective toward it too.  Often singing bowls are used before a meditative practice to affect focus, mood, provide clarity, and to center the mind by providing a one-pointed focus.  The tone of the bowl is produced when the wooden mallet is used to strike the bowl and then running the mallet around the bowl with light pressure. Thus the bowl “sings.” The constant tone will cause the brain to move toward a Theta wave frequency, inducing a sense of peacefulness as well as helping to provide clarity of mind.  This consistency will also allow the practicioner to sink into a deeper state of consciousness.  Furthermore, it is thought that musical tones at 7 to 8 cycles/second activate the deeper intelligence, creativity, and self-healing mechanisms of the body. Since our bodies are have specific frequencies, when these vibrations are out of sync, we are prone to disease/illness. Singing bowls provide a healing process by providing and aligning frequencies that bring us back toward internal harmony.  Enjoy the process and consider getting one for yourself. More singing bowls are on their way from Nepal and India, to our LifeFit sangha (community).

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Two new classes on the horizon this month to be held at Christ UMC; 410 N Holden Rd:

In the month of November, LifeFit students and friends have two opportunities to experience the following classes:

1.  Yoga and TRE (Tension and Trauma Releasing Exercise).  Many folks have tried TRE with the formality of the exercises designed by founder, Dr David Bercelli, PhD.  In this group class, we will experience substituting yoga poses and preparations that simulate the work of the TRE preparatory exercises and find the enhanced effect of trauma informed yoga along with this wonderful release practice.  TRE works physically at the facial level yet helps all of us release the effects of stress and trauma that the body tends to hold onto when we do not take time to find healthy ways to care for body, mind and spirit. Prerequisite is to have had a private TRE session or to have attended a TRE workshop.  Register at lifefityoga.com See more on TRE: here.   Dates:  November 19 and 26 3:00 – 4:15  Cost $20 for each class.  Register for both:  $35 Space for 15.  New class will form for the new year.

 

2.  Yoga Nidra November 26, 4:45 – 6:00 pm. Yoga Nidra is a traditional restorative practice that promotes deep rest and performed in a savasana (corpse pose) position. Classically pre- practices and pre-pre-practices are done to release tension and then the body, free of tension, is able to rest in a well-supported, still position, moving through stages of body scan and breath awareness.  The preparations are accessible to everyone, at all levels of fitness.  Register at lifefityoga@gmail.com  Space for 20 The intention is to continue with a monthly class in the new year. Cost is $20 with a percentage of this class going to support the church. Read more on Yoga Nidra here.

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Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.” -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

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1 Timothy 4:4 ESV 

For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving,

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If you only say one prayer in a day, make it thank you. – Rumi

October 2017 Newsletter

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The world is a beautiful place, and the vibrant colors of the fall season point out God’s glory every which way we look.  We cannot help but feel energized by the transformation before us.   As change is contemplative, we cannot help but come full circle to feelings of gratitude for our place here, and now. Hopefully what comes along with that is a sense of responsibility.  Keep renewing yourself by getting outin nature!  Savor the sights, the flavors, the air and the opportunities.  Do your practice outside whether it is yoga asana, meditation (sitting or walking), pranayama in the fresh air, and/or journaling amidst the swirling colors.  Seek to understand and to accept, and be surprised at what may happen, “the way that opens.”  My contemplative question this season is not “what shall we practice,” or “how shall we practice “(the teacher in me, planning for my students), but why do we practice?   I encourage you to look at the bigger picture:  go wide and then go deep.  My answer is that we practice to strengthen body, mind and spirit, to do our duty, to live our dharma, but most importantly to really live!  What a gift, to have a lifetime on this earth.  Amidst the man-made madness around us, I practice yoga with its three pillars (self study, discipline and devotion to God) intentionally to seek inner peace.  The centering effect is not just grounding and energizing, but deepens my faith and improves my outlook.   It would be a shame, to float by all the glory, to miss the opportunities to explore and connect, to learn and to serve.  “I encourage you to go out and see everything with a fresh new set of eyes,” as Parker Palmer says.  Why do you practice? Share with me and with your classmates.  Everyone who answers will be included in a drawing for a LifeFit giveaway: a yoga bag!

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Getting to the Heart of Meditation

Many people come to the practice of meditation, to affect the habits of the mind, anticipating that it is something to do with the logical thinking mind. The notion is to sit, to be still, and to learn how to quiet the racing mind which seems to be the sign of the times, constantly increasing and getting out of hand the more we allow ourselves to be over-stimulated.  These are misunderstood notions. There are many forms of meditation and they share the ideal of the practice:  to tame the wandering habits of the mind, thus cultivating the capacity to not be consumed by this part of our human nature. 

 

We are not trying to disembody our head but to realize that the mind is tricky! First of all, when meditation is new, it is very hard to sit still (the back gets tired, we notice too many things and begin to fidget).  Therefore it is suggested that you have a supported meditation practice or even a walking meditation practice, depending onyour nature. And if we can bring our focus to our feeling body, then the intuitive wisdom of the heart and gut will guide us with what should be the one-pointed focus of our meditation. No matter if we choose it to be some aspect of our breath, a mantra, a mudra, a pranayama, a sound, a prayer, an aromatherapy, the habit of continuing to come back to that one-pointed focus, no matter how many times the mind wanders, will help you through the rest of the day when you cannot focus because of the many directions of oscillating thoughts. 

 

Another idea is to drop out of your thinking mind and into your heart center, your feeling body.  Sit with whatever is there. This one pointed focus will help you with acceptance and overcoming obstacles based on just that.  We can never “think” our way into such forward steps, but we can feel, from the heart, the center of our intuition, where, what and how are the right ways for us.  What are you waiting for?  Meditation is a powerful way to find“your way.” 

 

Add aromatherapy and the effect is exponential, depending on what you seek, a sense of clarity (Peppermint and orange), grounding (tree oils),  emotional lift (floral oils), happiness (citrus oils), or spiritual direction (anointing oils like frankincense and myrrh).  See more at the blog at www.essentialyogapractice.com

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It's Our Birthday

It’s our Birthday!!  Essential Yoga Practice is about to be a year old - help us celebrate! Subscribe to our weekly blog at www.essentialyogapractice.com, follow us on social media:  Face Book, Instagram, Twitter and soon to be a flourishing Pinterest.  As we engage our audience, we hope you Comment, Share, Tag and ReTweet to be entered in our giveaways.  Have’nt bought your copy yet…. Kindle version will be on sale on our birthday, October 26!  Thank you friends, for your support! Love, peace, yoga and aromatherapy happiness to you!

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Yesterday is only a dream,

and tomorrow is only a vision:

But today well lived, makes every yesterday 

A dream of happiness, and every tomorrow

     A vison of hope.  

Look well, therefore, to this day!

Such is the salutation of the dawn. – Sanskrit Proverb

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The most difficult times for many of us are the ones we give ourselves. ― Pema Chödrön, When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice For Difficult Times

 

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Meditation practice isn’t about trying to throw ourselves away and become something better. It’s about befriending who we are already. ― Pema Chödrön, The Wisdom of No Escape: How to Love Yourself and Your World

September 2017 Newsletter

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September is National Yoga Month!  It is also a month of much change, the end of Summer, the beginning of the school year, the fall equinox and all the fun that goes along with the change of season from crisp weather to harvest celebrations and,… all is brightened by God’s color palette in nature.  Sometimes change is daunting and we cling to our lingering ways.  Change is inevitable and embracing change is what will help us stay present, enjoying and appreciating the gifts that accompany life unfolding.  What part of your yoga practice keeps you resilient during times of change?  Share with us on the following LifeFit Social Media platforms for your chance to win a LifeFit yoga mat bag, to carry your mat to practice in style!

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7 Benefits for Healthy Radiant Skin from Your Yoga Practice

 

If you are wanting to find relief from stress, build resilience in body, mind and spirit, then it’s time to do yoga! While it is highly regarded as a holistic approach to wellness, the list of the benefits of yoga is long, as well as tried and true.  Let’s take an unusual avenue of approach and look at how yoga can improve your … beauty routine!  

 

Healthy skin starts from the inside out, and several yogic practices lend themselves to creating healthy, glowing skin! Here are 7 beautifying benefits accessed through the practice of asana, pranayama, meditation, aromatherapy, and Ayurvedic wellness regimens:

 

1. Create a rosy glow with inversions

 

Don’t be afraid of inversions; embrace the many “preparations” for inversions that equally help to increase the flow of blood to your face and upper body. Though shoulderstand, handstand, headstand and backbend more often come to mind as inversions to practice, the following also are included in this category: downward facing dog pose, fish pose, child’s pose, plough pose, legs up the wall pose and triangle pose.  All of these poses enhance circulation underneath your skin since the alignment requirements provide a different angle against gravity for the heart to pump blood.Blood delivers nutrients and oxygen to the skin, while flushing out waste from your skin cells, therefore Improving blood circulation and providing a rosy glow! 

2. Heal damaged cells with pranayama – an antioxidant effect

 

Pranayamas, or breathing exercises, are effective routines that can build resilience to the cardio-respiratory system, refine how the muscles of respiration integrate with core engagement muscles, provide detoxification (elimination of CO2), and help to counter stress. Pranayamas also increase oxygen flow to aid in cell regeneration, and therefore to speed healing.Deep breathing opens up your lungs, increases lung capacity, and allows your body to accommodate more oxygen, which will facilitate the delivery of blood directly to all cells of the body, especially to your skin cells. Couple this with having a healthy diet to ensure good nutrition, and your oxygenated blood will be rich in regenerative properties to heal injuries, chronic issues, and skin damages caused by free radicals and excessive sun exposure.

 

3. Get rid of skin impurities with detoxifying asanas

 

While deep breathing and asanas improve oxygen supply and blood circulation, certain asanas help the digestive process of the body, thus aiding in detoxification. This poses include the categories of twists, backbends, and folds.  Incorporate them in all your sequences and you will not only have a well-rounded practice but you will energize your body too!  Backbends create heat, and increasing your core temperature helps your skin eliminate impurities and toxins through perspiration.  Your intestines are where nutrients and minerals are absorbed to repair and nourish all the cells of your body, especially your skin, the largest organ of elimination.  Thus, a sluggish or compromised digestive system makes one more prone to acne breakouts, allergies, dull skin and other skin problems.  

 

4.  Reduce stress with meditation  

How your body “wears stress” is first evident in the outward appearance, your skin. This is apparent in dull, irritated skin, as well as one’s expression and one’s posture. Give attention to distressing with building a meditation practice to facilitate your spiritual growth, clarity of mind, and relief of tension.  Your inner glow will radiate!

 

5. Create a toxin free environment with aromatherapy

 

Yoga’s sister science, Ayurveda explains that we are all unique beings, with a constitution that defines much of our preventative health practices, and that all 5 elements:  earth, air, fire, water and ether are include in our make up.  Therefore this plant based practice uses aromatherapy to clear the atmosphere of airborne pathogens, enhance mood, provide energy as well as nutrition. How we use aromatherapy and essential oils can be both preventative as well as medicinal. Want to know more?  Get your copy of Essential Yoga Practice book and DVD here.

 

 

6.  Nourish your skin with Ayurvedic massage

 

Once your know your constitution, it is not just the direction of diet and nutrition unique to your needs, but direction with regard to your daily self care practices, your Dinacharya, to include skin massage with carrier oils infused with herbs and essential oils, aromatherapy, and other detoxification practices.

 

7. Tone your muscles with asana

 

Complete your yogic beauty regimen with asana practice to tone muscles, including face muscles. A well-rounded asana practice will attend to strength, flexibility, and balance, of body mind and spirit. A combination of these components  The practice of Hatha yoga gives attention to breath work with each pose and especially in the transition between poses. This will stimulate circulation of blood and lymph and benefit the body as explained in the previous points.  Furthermore, feeling facial yoga and Ayurvedic face massage will stimulate circulation and release of tension in the face, neck and head.  Facial yoga is known to stimulate your facial muscles to tone them and to prevent sagging, as well as to nourish the skin.

 

Yoga provides many wellness tools that when used with consistency improve health from the inside and out. Using Ayurvedic diet and daily practice regimens, using natural beauty solutions, using your asana, pranayama and meditation practices, yogis can experience overall mind and body healing and can radiate their true nature!

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Clinical research is growing fast in the area of yoga!

 

For many years, yoga teachers and enthusiasts have touted the benefits to the body of this ancient practice, but it is the rare physician who both endorses it and documents its value in clinical tests. Dr. Fishman has done both.  Read more on Ancient Moves for Orthopedic Problems

To you, O Divine One, from whose hands comes the work of creation, so artfully designed, I pray that this work I am about to do may be done in companionship with you. May the work that I will soon begin sing praise to you as songbirds do. May the work that I will soon begin add to the light of your presence because it is done with great love. May the work that I will soon begin speak like a prophet of old of your dream of beauty and unity. May the work that I will soon begin be a shimmering mirror of your handiwork in the excellence of its execution, in the joy of doing it for its own sake, in my poverty of ownership over it, in my openness to failure or success, in my inviation to others to share in it, and in its bearing fruit for the world. May I be aware that through this work I draw near you. I come to you, Beloved, with ready hands. — Father Edward Hays in Prayers for a Planetary Pilgrim

To you, O Divine One, from whose hands
comes the work of creation, so artfully designed,
I pray that this work I am about to do
may be done in companionship with you.

May the work that I will soon begin
sing praise to you
as songbirds do.

May the work that I will soon begin
add to the light of your presence
because it is done with great love.

May the work that I will soon begin
speak like a prophet of old
of your dream of beauty and unity.

May the work that I will soon begin
be a shimmering mirror of your handiwork
in the excellence of its execution,
in the joy of doing it for its own sake,
in my poverty of ownership over it,
in my openness to failure or success,
in my inviation to others to share in it,
and in its bearing fruit for the world.

May I be aware that through this work
I draw near you.

I come to you, Beloved,
with ready hands.
— Father Edward Hays in Prayers for a Planetary Pilgrim

All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.       Martin Luther King, Jr.

All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.      

Martin Luther King, Jr.

A 24 hour day consists of 8 hours of rest, 8 hours of labor/dharma/sadhana, and 8 hours of self care and this last section includes caring for body, home, family, relationships, preparing food, spiritual study and enjoying life!  - Aadil Palkhivala 

A 24 hour day consists of 8 hours of rest, 8 hours of labor/dharma/sadhana, and 8 hours of self care and this last section includes caring for body, home, family, relationships, preparing food, spiritual study and enjoying life!  - Aadil Palkhivala