On & Off The Mat – A Yoga Blog

by Christy DeBurton

 

Plantar fasciitis is a pretty common complaint that I hear from yoga students. Since I just had another student asking me about it I thought I would post these two short videos from some anatomy-based yoga teachers here so that you can educate yourself in the hopes of preventing plantar fasciitis yourself, or mitigating it the next time you have a flare up. And…remember what I always say about lifting your arches in poses like Warrior 1?!?! It can make all the difference in the world. 

 

 

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BY MADISYN TAYLOR

 

Remembering to pause and take a breath before we react, can shift the energy of the outcome.

 

We have all had the experience of reacting in a way that was less than ideal upon hearing bad news, or being unfairly criticized, or being told something we did not want to hear. This makes sense because when our emotions are triggered, they tend to take center stage, inhibiting our ability to pause before we speak. We may feel compelled to release the tension by expressing ourselves in some way, whether it’s yelling back at the person yelling at us, or rushing to deliver words of comfort to a friend in trouble. However, there is much to be said for teaching ourselves to remember to pause and take a deep breath before we respond to the shocks and insults that can come our way in life.

 

For one thing, our initial response is not always what’s best for us, or for the other people involved. Reacting to childish rage with childish rage will only escalate the negativity in a situation, further ensnaring us in an undesirable dynamic. Similarly, when we react defensively, or simply thoughtlessly, we often end up feeling regret over our words or actions. In the end, we save ourselves a lot of pain when we take a deep breath and really tune in to ourselves, and the other person, before we respond. This doesn’t necessarily mean we don’t say anything, although in some cases, that may be the best option.

 

Some situations require a fairly immediate response, but even just a moment of grounding ourselves before we do so can help enormously. The next time you find yourself wanting to react, try to pause, and in that pause, take a deep breath. Feel your feet on the floor, the air on your skin, and listen for a response to arise within you, rather than just going with the first thing that pops into your head. You may find that in that moment, there is the potential to move beyond reaction and into the more subtle and creative realm of response, where something new can happen.

 

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Some of you may have heard me mention the year-long Yoga Wellness Educator training I am in the midst of taking. Although I’ve been teaching for over 20 years, there is always so much more to learn. This training is a great source of continuing education for me, especially because most of the classes are taught by physical therapists and doctors who also happen to be yoga instructors. I am excited to bring what I’m learning into my group yoga classes and private sessions, and am happy to report that at least one of my students has commented on all the new cues and concepts she notices me giving students to work on! 

 

Besides bringing new ideas into my yoga classes, I will also be sharing some learnings on my blog and Facebook page from time to time. I thought I’d start with the topic of balance, since it is something that gets more challenging as we age. 

 

Per one of my recent trainings, 7 things that can affect your balance as you get older are:

  • Changes in your inner ear
  • Infections
  • Blood pressure medications
  • Circulatory problems
  • Lower activity level
  • Poor leg alignment
  • Weak spinal muscles

 

Do any of these sound familiar to you? If they do, be kind to yourself when you practice balances and just do what you can. As I always say in class, even if you don’t hold the balance perfectly, just the effort you’re putting forth is making you stronger!

 



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BY MADISYN TAYLOR

 

There is power in knowing your personal limits – your willingness to accept these limits can give you the means to flourish.

 

Every human life is defined, to some extent, by limits. No one person is capable of fulfilling every possibility. We are all born with unique aptitudes and sensitivities, and it is these qualities that largely determine the paths we will travel in life. What invigorates, excites, and inspires one individual may exhaust or overwhelm another. When we understand what we as individuals are capable of reasonably handling, we gradually learn to accept that we have control over our wellbeing. Yet determining where our limits lie can be difficult, as it is likely we have been told time and again that the discomfort, fatigue, and stress we felt while engaging in activities outside the range of our comfort zones was all in our heads. If you have never before given thought to the notion of personal limits, creating a list of those tasks and situations that leave you feeling drained can give you insight into your own.

 

You will know definitively that you are operating within your limits when you have the necessary energy and drive to address your personal and professional commitments. This is not to say you should not push yourself or work to extend the range of your capabilities. The wisdom you gain through dynamic self-examination will give you the tools you need to create an individual life strategy that allows you to achieve your goals without compromising yourself or your needs. The limits you honor by focusing your energy on what you can do rather than what you cannot do will not interfere with your ambitions unless you allow them to interfere. You can thrive within your limits, actively shape your circumstances, and avoid anguish by simply recognizing that certain aspects of life nourish you while others drain you, and doing your best to perceive the fine line between applying yourself diligently and overworking yourself.

 

You may be surprised to discover that your limits change over time. Your willingness to accept these limits as they reveal themselves to you can smooth your passage through life and give you the means to flourish.

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I thought I’d write a little blurb and post some pictures to show what we’ve been doing in the Yoga Immersion Program so far this winter! We’ve had some great discussions revolving around the 8 Limbs of Yoga and the qualities of a good yoga teacher/yoga class. We’ve touched on the benefits of using pranayama (breathing techniques) and the bandhas (energy locks) in our yoga practice. I think the most ‘a-ha moments’ have come from our Posture Clinics, as the pictures below demonstrate: examples of hanging in your shoulder joints in Down Dog vs. finding stability and using your shoulder muscles more; using the wall and blocks to find proper spinal and knee alignment in standing poses like Warrior 2, and more. It has been great to spend time ‘geeking out’ about yoga with fellow enthusiasts this winter. I look forward to more Posture Clinics, sharing how to design a well-rounded yoga class, discussion of the Yoga Sutras and more over the next couple months!

 

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BY MADISYN TAYLOR

 

Speaking our truth may involve risking rejection, but when we allow ourselves to follow the flow of life, we are supported.

 

As children most of us learn that honesty is better than dishonesty, and we may not question this beyond whether or not to do what we’re told. As adults, however, we can go deeper to examine our choices as investments of energy with predictable risks and returns. When we speak the truth, we affirm what already is. This is like using a paddle when the stream is already moving the same direction. We are already supported by the universe and its energy flow, so we don’t need to exert much energy, leaving more for other pursuits. But dishonesty redirects a portion of our energy against the flow, which requires extra effort. In addition, it creates an alternate reality that requires further energetic input to be maintained. So we can easily see that we are best served when we work with the flow of the universe.

 

Life is not always clearly defined, so we may find it useful to follow our choices to their logical conclusions. We may feel that little untruths are harmless, but they can be like small cracks that weaken an overall structure over time. Even giving someone a compliment or trying to protect them can create problems later when the alternate reality we’ve created becomes the basis for further actions. Even if the actions that follow are honestly done, the underlying unstable foundation of dishonesty will threaten to topple things eventually. This can lead to further energy being spent on keeping things hidden, working to remember the tales we’ve spun and fearing the consequences of being found out. Life doesn’t need to be this draining, but we can make the choice to free ourselves from the bonds of dishonesty at any time.

 

Speaking and living our truth may involve risking, among other things, the possibility of rejection. But when we allow ourselves to follow the flow of life, we are supported. We can then use our energy to cultivate physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being and to create our dreams, rather than leaving ourselves too drained to even maintain our existence. Today we can make honesty our choice in every interaction, bringing the nurturing power of the universe’s energy into our lives to bring positive, lasting results.

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Valentine’s Day is right around the corner! What could be better than to give your loved one the gift of YOGA? You can choose a $20 e-gift card for a drop-in class, $90 to book a private session with me, $50, $100, or any custom amount you choose.

 

Click on the graphic above for 4 special Valentine’s Day designs, and click HERE to order yours today!

 

 

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BY MADISYN TAYLOR
When we are hard on ourselves, we send our bodies the message that we are not good enough.

 

One of the key components of human consciousness that most of us need to address and change is our tendency to be hard on ourselves. We do this in ways that are both overt and subtle, and half the work sometimes is recognizing that we are doing it at all. For example, if we find it difficult to graciously accept compliments, this is probably a sign that we tend to be hard on ourselves. Other ways in which we express this tendency include never feeling satisfied with a job well done, always wanting to be and do better, and getting mad at ourselves for getting sick. Getting mad at ourselves at all indicates that we need to rescue ourselves from our learned ability to be unkind to ourselves.

 

In essence, when we are hard on ourselves, we send our bodies the message that we are not good enough. Whenever we do this, we do damage that will need to be addressed later, and we sap our systems of much-needed energy. Being hard on ourselves is a waste of precious time and energy that we could use in positive ways. To begin to understand how this works, we can think about times when someone made us feel that we weren’t good enough. Even just thinking about it will create an effect in our bodies that doesn’t feel good. We may be used to the feeling, but when we really tune into it, we instinctively know that it is not good for us on any level.

 

Like any bad habit, being hard on ourselves can be a challenging one to release, but the more we feel the burden it places on us, the more motivated we will be to change. At first, just noticing when we are doing it and how it makes us feel is enough. As our awareness increases, our innate impulse toward health and well-being will be activated, moving us out of danger and into a more positive and more natural relationship with ourselves.

 

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Back by popular demand! As many of you know, I take the opportunity during the 2-week holiday break from regular classes to offer some fun, informative drop-in classes that you don’t see during the rest of the year. Pre-registration is required–sign up early as classes will likely sell out. Sorry, these classes may not be used as make-ups.

 

 

Saturday, December 29, 8:30-9:45am
Ask The Teacher!: Asana Workshop

“What’s the difference between Cobra, Sphinx and Upward Dog?” “What do you mean by ‘zip up your abdominals’?” “Am I doing ___ right?'” Here’s your opportunity to ask questions, get your alignment checked, and ‘workshop’ some of the asanas that we commonly see in our practice but don’t always have time to break down in class. If you’re wondering if you really need this class, I’m here to tell you, you do! Bring your requests!

 

 

Saturday, January 5, 8:30-9:45am *SOLD OUT! ASK TO BE PUT ON THE WAITLIST!*
Dump the Slump: Shoulders, Neck & Upper Back Clinic 

Do you have tight, tense shoulders or back pain? Do you slouch? Do you sit at a desk or in front of a screen for a good part of your day? Has your yoga teacher recommended this class to you? If your answer is yes to any of these questions, reserve your spot ASAP! We’ll stretch tight muscles in the front of the body, ‘wake up’ weak muscles in the back, work on softening tense shoulders, focus on improving posture, and alleviate common shoulder, neck & back problems.

 

**Click HERE to register.**

$20 each. Sorry, no refunds.

Only 7 spots available per class; reserve yours soon!

namaste angel

 

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Our first Vegan Happy Hour class was a success! I was too busy talking and Bill was too busy cooking to take many pictures, but here’s what we served:

 

MENU

Herbed Walnut Cheese

Zuppa Toscana (Tuscan Soup)

‘Crab’ Cakes

Tempeh Reubens

Chocolate Cupcakes with Salted Buttercream & Vegan Icecream

Beer, Wine, Cider

 

Everyone was excited about the free Better Half samples from Califia Farms, and we got lots of nice compliments about the class, including one email from a participant today: “Thanks again for a great evening of food, conversations and education about all things vegan!  Loved it!!!”

 

 

(You can click on the pictures for a slightly larger view.)

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