Central MA and Southern NH (978) 227-8297

Anita

Yoga professional, teacher, author of Yogaminute, motivational speaker
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Doormat vs Welcome Mat?

Are you a door mat or are you a welcome mat?

I was watching Jeopardy the other night and I don't even know what the category was, but the contestant's response was, "What is a welcome mat?" Alex's response was  "Correct! Welcome mat or door mat are both acceptable responses." I thoroughly disagree. There is a difference between people being a door mat or a welcome mat.

There is a difference between people being a door mat or a welcome mat. Which are you? Click To Tweet

If you tend to be a door mat, than you are unhappy when perceive a job is beneath you. You grumble and gripe when the extra project gets dumped on your desk, when there is a need for extra coverage and you are "volunteered", when there is a family crisis and you reluctantly step up to the plate. Everything to you is a crisis and crazy, and you just don't understand why everyone can't see how mistreated you are.

If you tend to be a welcome mat, then you gladly take on a new project and work the extra hours. You ask for extra responsibilities, listen and learn. You are enthusiastic and humble. You offer suggestions rather than demands, you are respectful rather than condescending, and open to whatever changes might happen.

As I watch another year of graduations take place, I wonder how many of these new grads will be door mats and how many will be welcome mats? Which are you?

Yoga Helps Replace That 4 Letter Word

Intriguing title, why did you click it? And what four letter word I am talking about?

The four letter word is FEAR.

FEAR keeps us from achieving our goals. FEAR paralyzes us and keeps us up at night. FEAR keeps us stuck in unhealthy jobs and relationships. FEAR leads us to hibernate and wallow, perpetuating even more FEAR, resentment, anger.

What can you do about it?

Replace FEAR with YOGA. Yoga helps to calm your mind. Yoga will help to keep you centered. Yoga will help you realize your self worth. Yoga will help you to set an intention. Yoga will help to get you un-stuck and take positive action. When you learn to tap into your inner wisdom through yoga, you will be able to see a whole myriad of possibilities.

Do you need help? This week I am so excited to be part of the Life Beyond Limitations Free Online Summit with Dr. Molly Casey – starts April 11th, 2017. I will be discussing how to overcome obstacles and live life beyond limitations! Claim Your Spot Now by clicking here. I look forward to helping you achieve your dreams and goals through yoga!

http://www.drmollycasey.com/lbl-27

Let’s Talk About the Mula Bandha in Yoga

During the course of your yoga practice you might have heard the term mula bandha. What is this and why is it helpful?

If you study or have knowledge of the chakras, the first one is called the muladhara chakra. In Sanskrit, mula means base, so the reference is to the base or root chakra. The term bandha means lock. So does this mean to lock your root? Not exactly, but it does refer to the perineum, and it can be a very useful tool to help strengthen this area. For men these are the muscles around the perineal body which lie midway between the anus and genitals. For women, the contraction is felt in the area surrounding the cervix. Using the heel of the foot, a soft object, or a specially designed cushion helps to contract these muscles.

Contracting these muscles takes practice, particularly because when you tense one muscle, many more follow. Start by sitting in a comfortable, cross legged position. Concentrate on the breath and you breathe in and out through the nose. Keep the breath following smoothly until you feel the body relax. Squeeze the entire perineal region, being careful not to also stop the breath flow in the ribcage. Repeat until you feel comfortable activating this area.

Daily practice of the mula bandha will increase the benefits of the yoga pose. Click To Tweet

Next, contract the perineal region, maintaining a steady breath, and hold the contraction for about 8-10 breaths. Think of the area as an open purse, and when you are contracting the muscle, you are drawing the strings closed on the purse. With practice, you will be able to contract this area without engaging the anal muscles. Don't rush it. A few minutes of practice a day will do it.

Once you can hold the contraction without also holding your breath, you are ready to engage in the mula bandha lock for your meditation and breath work (Pranayama). Ideally, the mula bandha should be held during the entire yoga class to "lock" in energy and allowing you to hold a pose for its maximum benefits. NOTE: Sorry, this is not for pregnant women!

Why is engaging the mula bandha important? For women, it helps menstrual and menopausal maladies, nourishing this area and providing blood flow and circulation. For men and women, it helps to regulate breathing and lower blood pressure and also increases digestion. For all yogis, bringing your attention the the root area, helps you feel grounded and supported physically, mentally, and spiritually.

 

Choosing the Yoga for You

Got questions about yoga?

 

 

 

January is the time that many people are looking to get started in a fitness regimen. Cardio and weight training used to be the norm, but in the last few years, more people are asking me about yoga to meet their fitness goals. I am happy to see the spread of yoga into the mainstream, but since the practice of yoga has been westernized and commercialized, there are some misconceptions out there that I'd like to address.

Looking good in leggings and sporting an ohm tattoo does not a good instructor make. Click To Tweet

First, there are many types of yoga and you need to find the tradition that suits your personality and fitness goals. If you are looking for a vigorous workout, try a vinyasa flow or a power yoga class. If you are recovering from an injury, look at hot yoga or restorative yoga. If you like routine, try a bikram class. If you are looking to deepen your practice with meditation involved, go for hatha or anusara.

Second, find a class with trained instructors. Looking good in leggings and sporting an "ohm" tattoo does not a good instructor make. Investigate by asking for recommendations; look at an instructor's reviews on their website, Facebook, or Thumbtack; and check out the directory at www.yogaalliance.org which is the premiere certifying organization for yoga professionals.

Thirdly, realize that the movement (asana) is just one facet of yoga. If that is your main goal, then you probably can find a yoga class at your local gym or Y. But if you are looking to incorporate the deeper practice of a yoga lifestyle, than you would be better served in a Center that specializes in yoga.

Finally, realize that nothing in yoga should ever hurt or make you feel uncomfortable. Choosing the yoga practice that reasonates with you might take some time, but it is so worth it. I have had students who have started with me go on to other practices and then loyal students who have been with me for years. I cherish both because their experiences make me a better instructor.

I hope that you consider adding yoga as part of a healthy lifestyle and find the practice that enhances your enjoyment and quality of life. It is so worth it!

 

YogaAnita is Moving

Dear Friends,


Sadly, we have to say good bye to our Leominster location. Thankfully I was able to reserve additional space for classes at the Dragonfly Wellness Center on Devens. For those of you who have already been there, you know what a truly beautiful space this is and for those of you who haven't been there yet, you are in for a treat! And along with the space, wellness services, and other fitness modalities, comes the Natural Health Cafe, where we can relax after yoga with a tasty treat and beverage. I am grateful to Anne at Dragonfly for making room for us to add another class there, but mostly I am thankful to all of you who will join me on a journey to another new location. Initially, I will offer two classes there: Monday at 4:30pm and Saturday at 9:00am. The first class will be January 7, 2017. You may prepay online or in person and use your credit/debit card too. Many thanks for your comments and patience.

For those of you not joining us in our new location, I wish you well and hope that you will continue your yoga practice. It has been an honor to serve you.


Peace,

Anita

Fitness Motivation Tips for 2017

Here's my contribution:
#53. ANITA PERRY
Author and Blogger
http://yogaanita.com/

What are my 3 best fitness motivation tips for 2017?

Accept Change

Acknowledge and accept change-change in your body, change in your relationships, change in your career. Know that you have the power within to become a better you.

Find Your Goals

Set an intention to be healthier. Once you set an intention and send it out into the universe, you have set the ball the rolling. Follow through by making a plan for your eating and movement.

Be Positive

Surround yourself with positivity, cut out the negativity. Sometimes we hold on because it is convenient but not in our best interest. Keep what serves you and your goals, discard the rest.

Please read 99 more tips here. Thanks to Cathy Scarlett @ garagegymplanner.com for compiling!

Practicing Kindness

Peace in yoga

Kindness towards yourself and others is not an easy thing to do. Reflecting on your use of time, how often does kindness figure in? Can you go just a few minutes without letting negative thoughts come through? As a teacher in an elementary school and as a yogi, I hope to model kindness in my everyday actions, yet I realize that there are some days when it is a struggle, when it is easy and convenient to deflect blame or wallow in negative thoughts.

A few weeks ago my mother passed away. In that time I have been the recipient of so many kind acts that it humbles me.  I'd like to acknowledge some:

  • Nashoba Valley Hospital in Ayer which supplied coffee and snacks while we were sitting with my mom.
  • Kelleye, the nurse on duty, who explained the end of life process to us, checked in without being obtrusive, and stayed passed her shift to give my dad a hug.
  • The neighbors and relatives who brought food, sent cards, and sat with us
  • Other neighbors and friends who went to visit and sit with my dad after everyone went back home to their lives
  • The people I work with who came to the wake, sent me messages and cards, and Jeff who baked delicious bread when I returned to work
  • Other people who know me from my yoga practice, blog, and facebook, who sent words of encouragement

Thank you for your kindness. Kindness received becomes kindness given. Perhaps in the aftermath of this election, our leaders can practice that as well.

 

Preparing For (A) Fall in Yoga

changeYesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.– Rumi

 

It is now officially Fall when we prepare our homes and ourselves for the winter months ahead. How can yoga help? As yogis, we know how yoga can help us physically, mentally and spiritually (see Discover Yoga). As we dive deeper into our practice, we invite ourselves to change with it. Sometimes, these changes are not what we expect. Often times, being open to change can also lead us down the path of pain, disappointment, and rejection. It far more comfortable shut ourselves away from people and situations outside our comfort zone, staying in our little hobbit holes of complacency. Yet when you are stagnant in one place, negative feelings will eventually percolate and bubble over. How long can you be ignored, marginalized, and taken advantage of before you become bitter, depressed, and robotic? I always tell my students who are new to yoga that the hardest poses they will do is centering at the beginning of class and savasana at the end because in these poses you are forced to be quiet and to look within.

So how can yoga prepare you for what lies ahead?

First, it is helpful to know that you are not alone. In this age of social media, there is always someone or some group out there who you can connect with (in a safe way of course). Isn't it true that being anonymous is so much more freeing than being face to face? Just remember to use common sense when posting, getting and listening to advice.

Second, change isn't all bad. You can always take "baby steps" if the change is within your control, go with your gut, and don't second guess yourself. You are your best teacher.

Finally, yoga is made to help you navigate changes. Listen to your breath, listen to your body, follow your heart. Be open to the changes within. Let yoga be your guide.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fish Pose (MATSYASANA) for Spinal Flexibility

Fish Pose

Fish Pose

Sometimes it is good to be a fish out of water! Here's how to do Fish Pose:

Nikki

Nikki

  1. From a sitting position with your legs extended (Staff Pose), walk back about two steps and come down on your forearms.
  2. Look towards your feet. As you inhale expand the chest towards the ceiling. As you exhale, let the head drop back as little or as much as you would like.
  3. When you are ready to come out of the pose, look towards your feet, and walk your hand forward towards the hips.

    Patti

    Patti

Fish Pose is beneficial to stretching and strengthening the upper back, opening the throat, stretching the hip flexors and abdominals.

Thanks to Patrick, Nikki and Patti for posing!

 

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