Yoga – More than just physical movement

Movement or asana (physical positioning) is just one of the 8 limbs of yoga. (Click Here to view a description of the 8 Limbs of Yoga). There are literally 7 more limbs (such as breath work) which provide us with ways to better our perspective and general well-being. They often say that yoga is not about self-improvement but self-awareness, but because we do become more self-aware, and aware of our thoughts and surroundings, we often improve our lives just by connecting the two in a more positive light.

Through yoga practice we develop these limbs, which helps with perspective, focus, and just a healthier lifestyle in general. Even though we reach out to love others, the introspective part is what grounds us first, to be able to go out and love others. After all, once we have compassion for ourselves, then we can have compassion for others. We must first observe and recognize what we currently are being and doing in order to realize areas where we can be more helpful.

The time we take as an outsider observing our inner thoughts without judgement is what helps us to change the inner dialog of our thoughts. Once we realize the effects of those thoughts and inner conversation on our emotions and health, we can then refocus on things that will impact our lives in a more positive light (letting go of what no longer serves us – as we say). After all, thoughts determine our choices and choices determine our actions and actions determine our lives.  As I say “seek positivity, use control, and focus on God”.

Author: Karen Garrett

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Our Sacred Breath

People often fail to realize the impact and control we have on our physiological selves by using our sacred breath. Other than the mind, breath is one of our main tools that we have to help us relax and remain calm (among other benefits).

Examples of breath work in yoga are: letting the exhale become longer than the inhale – helps with anxiety, letting the inhale become longer than the exhale – helps with depression. There is the Bellows breath which helps produce heat, alternate nostril breathing which clears out the sinuses, and the Ujjayi breath, which is energizing, warming and helps the throat. There is even an anchored breath, which helps us relax and become grounded. That anchored breath is also helpful in a stressful situation where it is most beneficial to become relaxed and make better decisions.

The 3-part breath (Viloma Pranayama), or belly breathing, not only helps to bring more oxygen into the whole body, but is also most beneficial in our body’s healing process. It slows us down and helps get us away from that fight or flight syndrome, which is the reason we have stored tension in the body, where we hold passed trauma, and which can cause disease and other issues. The body can only heal itself by reducing the breath count to less than 15 breathes per minute.

So, of the many types of breathing techniques, people in the yoga practice realize the benefits it has on the physiological self, which is why it (Pranayama) is one of the 8 limbs of yoga where we often take some focus during yoga class.

Author: Karen Garrett

Grievances of a yoga teacher (Chapter 1)

YOGA IS FOR EVERYONE!

If I just had a nickel for every time someone said they would not come to yoga class because they are not flexible. Yoga is for everyone, regardless of flexibility and all of those other mainstream excuses we hear. Of the various myth’s out there as to why someone states an excuse as to not take a yoga class, flexibility levels are near the top of the list. The yoga teachers I know, as well as myself, can’t believe people are still believing these false concepts. Although one of the benefits, flexibility is not even one of the 8 limbs of yoga, and actually asana (postures) or movement itself, is just 1 of the 8 limbs of yoga. If you click on that link you will find that yoga involves not just the physical body, but the mind and spirit as well. This brings me to my next point.

Good yoga teachers know that students should not even be pushing themselves into positions that will stretch them passed 70%-80% of their stretching ability. This wreaks havoc on the fascia and can actually make you less flexible. Students can challenge themselves in poses as long as ego and comparison to others has been eliminated and they are listening to and honoring their bodies on that given day (as each day our bodies differ). A student’s ability to really listen to their bodies is what makes an excellent yoga student. Perfectionism does not go with yoga and as my good teacher friend Cindy will tell you, seek C or C+ effort, as A+ mentality in yoga will get you an F.

With respect to the aforementioned, I am a huge fan of students doing their own thing. Resting in a child’s pose when they do not want to do a particular pose, or even laying down in my class is great, as long as they are honoring healthy sensation in their bodies.

Whether you never exercise or are a professional athlete, size and fitness levels do not matter because there are modifications for every yoga pose and beginner classes for any level. You do not even have to be in shape, although magazines and other media would have you believe otherwise. The idea is to explore your limits, not strive for some super flexible perfection.

No excuses, No excuses, Not excuses – Just come and have a good time!
You will benefit from it!

Benefits include: calmness, stress reduction, mindfulness, external and internal body awareness, and pain management.

Yoga helps you to develop coping skills and to reach a more positive outlook on life. Click here for a quick view of the various other benefits to adding a yoga routine to your life.

Author: Karen Garrett

The 8 Limbs of Yoga

Yama is the first of the 8 limbs of yoga and means “restraint” (I call it “restraint of the flesh”) The five Yamas are ahimsa – kindness (non-violence), satya (truthfulness), asteya (not stealing), brahmacharya (moderation) and aparigraha – generosity (not hoarding).

Niyama is the second limb of yoga, referring to self-restraints or personal ethics, which include saucha (purity), santosha (contentment), tapas (austerity), svadhyaya (self-study) and Isvara pranidhana (surrender to a Higher Consciousness).

3rd – Asana means “seat” in Sanskrit and refers to the postures or poses that we practice – movements you normally see in a typical active yoga class. Positions of the body, connecting the mind and spirit to create strength, flexibility, balance and focus.

Pranayama is the fourth limb of the 8-limbed path of yoga and means life/energy retention or expansion. Pranayama refers to control of the prana (breath), puraka, (conscious inhalation), kumbhaka (retention of the breath) and rechaka (exhalation). Click here for my explanation on the untapped gifts of breath.

Pratyahara is the fifth limb of yoga and is the practice of withdrawing the senses from the outer world. Through this withdrawal, yoga practitioners heighten their inner awareness.

Dharana, the sixth limb of yoga, is “holding,” or concentration/focus/attention, and refers to the ability to focus exclusively on one object.

Dhyana is the seventh of the 8 limbs. It takes the practice of concentration on an object, dharana, to the deeper level of meditation (observation and reflection).

Samadhi is the final of the 8 limbs of yoga in which the person meditating merges with the object of meditation. It has been defined as “Ultimate Bliss”, “putting together”, and “going towards sameness (sama).” Basically tranquility, fulfillment, and spiritual illumination.

Yoga Benefits

With all of these benefits, who wouldn’t want to begin a yoga practice!?!

 Yoga is a great way to get in tune with your body and your inner self. It teaches mindfulness and keeps you in the present (present). It also helps keep you focused and observant of your surroundings. Other (Mental, Physical, Spiritual) benefits include:

Stress Reduction

Stress can expose itself in many ways, including back or neck pain, sleeping problems, headaches, drug abuse, and an inability to concentrate. Yoga provides coping skills and other ways to reduce stress.

Mental clarity and calmness; increased body awareness (also = early detection of physical problems); relieve chronic stress patterns; relax the mind; centers attention; and sharpens concentration (child athletes use to enhance their visual and mental focus)

Physically yoga helps with:

Lowering blood pressure

Asthma (Click here for other Breathing Benefits)

Increased flexibility

Increased muscle strength and tone

Improved respiration, energy and vitality

Balancing metabolism

Indigestion and Constipation

Diabetes

Weight reduction

Improved circulation, heart disease and cholesterol

Improved athletic performance

Better posture and Balance

Menopausal symptoms & PMS

Self-acceptance and esteem, anxiety

Protection from injury

Energy levels, Depression

Prevents cartilage and joint breakdown

Protects your spine and over-all bone health (Arthritis)

Boosts immunity

Brain – Growth in the prefrontal cortex, a brain region associated with executive function, working memory, and attention

Pain Management

Yoga will lessen chronic pain, such as in the lower back, arthritis, headaches, carpal tunnel syndrome, and even the issues associated with insomnia.

The Homeopathic Approach

Yoga helps the body to heal itself. It also helps to remove toxins from the digestive track!

 

Visit me at the College of Southern MD, LaPlata Campus

In addition to Live Out Loud Yoga in LaPlata and South Potomac Church (Tuesdays at 7pm FREE CLASS!), I also teach Yoga at CSM (LaPlata campus). At CSM I teach Wednesdays at noon, and now Mondays at 6pm. I am also a sub, so you may randomly find me there as well. Please contact me to request any at-home sessions.

The classes are for the whole community.

CSM has a great deal by purchasing what they call a GroupEx passport, which I believe is $120 for 3 months. With that passport you can take any array of classes which include: Paddle board yoga (Fun!), Zumba (regular and aquatic), Body pump, Cardio, Aquatic exercise, Pilates, Spin Class and more…

See their full schedule here: https://www.csmd.edu/programs-courses/non-credit/personal-enrichment/wellness-fitness-and-aquatics/group-ex-passport/lapl-calendar

Personal Sessions Now Offered

I now offer personal yoga classes for individuals in the privacy of their own home. The cost is just $50 for the hour, staying within a 35 mile radius of the 20602 zip code. These sessions can be as vigorous or relaxing as you choose, or a combination. Whatever you choose, the gain you receive in your mind, body, and spirit is of tremendous benefit. Remember that motion is lotion. It’s always time to make your health happy.

Come visit me at Live Out Loud Yoga

As some of you know I also teach at Live Out Loud Yoga Studio in La Plata, MD, directly across from Casey Jones.  You can see the schedule (as well as when I teach), by going to their website here: www.liveoutloud-yoga.com

You can also register and sign up on the website, so All you need to do is bring yourself in some comfortable, bendy clothes, as mats and other props are provided for you. 

Thanks and See you Soon 🙂

Online Classes Coming Soon

The Online Classes will be viewed from FaceBook Live but only registered attendees will be able to view.  To become registered first simply fill out the registration information Here, then the link and information will be sent to you. On the day of the class you will simply log on and view the class Live. If you miss the time-frame, you can always view the prerecorded video. However, about 15 minutes Before and After each class I will answer any questions you may have.

Please Sign up to Follow this Blog so you will be notified via email as to when my Live Online Yoga Classes begin.  These online services should be up and running soon.

**I am sorry as PayPal is the only form of payment I am accepting at this time for online classes. You will also need a FaceBook account of some sort to view the video as well. These features should improve in the future.

~Thanks and I wish you Joy, Health, and Love – In Jesus Name~

Group Session Discounts

I currently teach in-house group lessons and have a few mats, straps, and blocks to share. The classes will be themed Christian unless you prefer secular (just let me know). The fee is where each student pays $10, however the house host provider receives the class for FREE!! 3 Student minimum required (not including host) – 4 Student minimum depending on location. Requirements just include a space big enough for all of the participants. Contact me through the Contact Page Here or call and leave a message on my number 302-715-2796, and I will call you back ASAP. The bigger the class the better, but I would ask that as house host, you try to leave distractions outside as to help in providing an optimal setting.

*Signed Waivers are Required Before Class Begins

I also teach at a studio in La Plata, MD. Those classes are secular and if you are interested, you would just go through the studio. The link for them is provided here:
http://www.liveoutloud-yoga.com

~Blessings~