Central MA and Southern NH (978) 227-8297

Anita

Yoga professional, teacher, author of Yogaminute, motivational speaker

Yoga for Couples

Maura and Jeff practice together

Maura and Jeff practice together

 

 

 

Love to do yoga? How about sharing it with your spouse or your significant other? We all know how beneficial yoga can be for your body, your mind, and your spirit-now, think of that times two! Here are some ideas to get you motivated to try yoga as a duo!

 

1.Set a Time

As a couple, you can set a time to be together. Put it on your calendar and send a reminder text letting your honey know you are spending this special time just with him/her!

2. Set a place

If you are beginners, go to a studio to get the proper instruction, but practice at home together. The bedroom is a great place to do yoga.  The final pose is savasana after all, and what better way to do this pose than in bed!

3. Set an Intention

Meditation is a big part of your yoga practice and setting an intention lays the groundwork for a deeper, more concentrated practice.  Establishing a mutual intention with your partner creates a shared goal and lasting bond.

What poses should you do as a couple? The field is wide open if you are an experienced yogi and using each other as a "prop" allows for deeper stretching. However, unless you are a trained professional, I wouldn't recommend hands on assists or over stretching. Also it important to refrain from giving "advice" to your partner during yoga, which could lead to physical injury and discord within the relationship. Start by developing a mutual breathing pattern and choosing a set of poses that you know. Always start with a warmup and end with your final resting pose. In yoga, as with most things, quality is always more important than quantity.

You will find as you progress through your shared yoga practice, a greater appreciation for the physical, mental, and spiritual benefits will follow. This can lead to a more fulfilling, intimate relationship. Yoga is good for one; fantastic for two! Give it a try today!

 

Bring Yoga to Work in 2016

stress-versus-relaxation-16489424Yoga has long been regarded as a great way to improve health. The physical benefits include developing and improving flexibility, strength, and range of motion as well as aiding digestion and circulation.  Having a healthy body is conducive to employee productivity. But employers and employees also should investigate the use of yoga in the work place for its other benefits as well.

Yoga can:

  • Calm and clear the mind
  • Relieve tension and stress
  • Promote thinking and memory
  • Reduce stress and anxiety
  • Build confidence and self-esteem

Starting a practice at work does not have to be complicated. Some employers might opt to bring in an instructor and provide a space for before work, after work, or lunch time classes. A trained, certified instructor will carry liability insurance and can set up and administer the whole program for the employer. Alternately, a trained professional can teach employees how to incorporate yoga breaks. Yoga does not require special clothing, lots of time or space. It can be as simple as learning breathing techniques for instant stress relief or learning a series of poses that can be done in a chair or using a wall.

The use of yoga in the work place is mutually beneficial. Why not try it in your work place for 2016?

Have You Lost Your Holiday Joy?

christmas_tree_drawing

It is that time of year again when we are bombarded with ads, music, movies, and TV specials all guaranteed to make us joyful, happy, and part of the holiday season. In between the ultimate gift guides, retail sales, and all types of food and home preparation, is the underlying belief that this holiday will be the BEST EVER (marketers capitals, not mine) if only this or that item is added to your life, shopping cart and credit card.

But there are many among us who do not welcome the holiday hoopla and in fact become more depressed and stressed the more they think about it. Perhaps it's because their loved ones are no longer part of the celebration or perhaps they have health or financial considerations. For many, this season is more dreadful than joyful.

Have you lost your holiday joy? These tips might help:

1. Acknowledge

Don't try to hide it. If the holidays are not for you, acknowledge it. Don't apologize for how you feel.

2. Give yourself Permission to say No

Say no to parties you don't want to attend. Say no to cooking up a massive feast. Say no to decorating. Say no to shopping and overspending.

3. Gift Yourself First

Give yourself the gift of time if you are grieving. Give yourself the gift of quiet if you are stressed. When people ask, "Is there anything I can do?", throw away your pride and accept their help.

4. Look Beyond Yourself

There are so many opportunities to give of your time, talent, and treasure. Helping others helps ourselves.

5. Let the Joy Come to You

Every day think about one thing that makes you smile. For me, it's my dog, teaching yoga, my morning coffee, and my cozy bed at night. Perhaps when you are ready and willing, the joy might return.

Let the light that's within you shine forth from your mind, through your words, and from your heart. Namaste.

Being Thankful in a Thankless World

Being Thankful in a Thankless World

grateful

 

This month we celebrate both Veteran's Day and Thanksgiving. On Veteran's Day, we are reminded to express our thanks to the brave men and women who dedicated their lives to serve our country. The day of Thanksgiving reminds us to show appreciate for all that we have. But what about the rest of the year? How do we show thankfulness, especially in our world of entitlement, instant gratification, and apathy?

We can not change the people around us directly but as yogis, we can be more mindful of how we express our thankfulness. Here are three simple ways to do that:

  1. As you wake up in the morning and before you even get out of bed, say to yourself, "I am thankful."
  2. As you go throughout your day, add the words, " I am thankful for...." and name one thing. Keep it simple, direct, and don't over think it.
  3. Lastly, set a purpose or intention as you say, "I need to be thankful for..." again keeping it simple and direct. How often do we think about our blessings and worse still, sincerely express our thanks?

Setting your affirmations (I am thankful) and adding your intention (I need to be thankful for...) helps you to be a conductor of positive energy. Think about how acknowledging your thankfulness will impact your life and the people around you. Send it out and see what returns. I thank you for taking the time out of your busy day to read my words. I hope in some way they resonate with you and you can be a catalyst for change in your home or work environment.

Peace,
Anita

Discover Yoga

Stressed out? Muscles in knots? Stuck in a job or relationship you don't want? You need to discover what yoga can do for you! Practicing yoga can:

Improve you physically

  • Develops a strong and flexible body
  • Increases balance, body awareness, and coordination
  • Improves digestion, circulation, and elimination

Improve you mentally

  • Calms and clears the mind
  • Relieves tension and stress
  • Promotes thinking and memory
  • Reduces stress and anxiety

Improve you spiritually

  • Builds confidence and self-esteem
  • Develops discipline and self-control
  • Encourages social awareness and responsibility
  • Inspires respect for self and others

All in just a few minutes a day.  (Don't believe me? See my book, Yogaminute!)

columbusFind out for yourself.  Discover yoga this month.  Better yet, bring a friend with you (or your boss). Be open to what you can discover with yoga!

Chant to Remove Obstacles

image

This is a picture of Ganesha, a Hindu deity known as Lord of the Hosts. Ganesha is very recognizable as the elephant headed god. He is often pictured with a spade or pitchfork in order to prod humans back to the right path. With his long, strong trunks he is renown for being the remover of obstacles.

Is there something that might be holding you back from reaching your goals and full potential? Perhaps incorporating the chant to Ganesha might be just what you need.

MANTRA TO REMOVE OBSTACLES

Gum Ganapatayei Namaha

( Guhm Guh-nuh-puh-tah-yei  Nah-mah-hah)

Gum is Ganesha's seed sound. Gana means power or group. Pathi indicates spouse. Ganapatayei is the spouse of power and the group. Yei is the shanti activating sound. (From Thomas Ahley-Farrand, author of Healing Mantras and Chakra Mantas)

This is mantra can be incorporated into your yoga practice during meditation or as you are setting your daily intention. Chant at least three times.  Be sure to begin and end with the peaceful sound of Ohm.

Return and Begin Again in Work and Play

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act but a habit-Aristotle

zen

 

It is September and many are saying good bye to the frivolity of summer and returning to school, work, and fall activities.  September is serious.

Yet September can also offer you the opportunity to begin again. Why would you want to? As a beginner you are curious, open to new ideas, and want to put your best foot forward. As a beginner you realize that it is sometimes better to take a step back, observe, and listen. As a beginner you are excited and that excitement carries over into your relationships with your customers, colleagues, and family. Here are some tips:

Simplify

When you talk can people understand you? Or are you immersed in jargon and corporate speak that very few can decipher? What are you trying to prove? Communicate directly and simply.

Get off your pedestal

It's happened to me (more than once!) and will probably happen to you sometime in your career. Everyone can be replaced. When you decide to rest on your past achievements rather than seek new ones, your outlook and output is stale, predictable and boring. Look ahead rather than over your shoulder.

Practice Integrity

America was built on achievements and ingenuity. We celebrate and glamorize winners. But accomplishments built by deceit and at the expense of others are empty. As much as we like to glorify, we also take gleeful satisfaction when someone's dishonesty or ill treatment of others is exposed. In this day and age it is a matter of seconds before your lack of integrity (or real or perceived) is blasted over social media.

In yoga we talk about returning to the beginner's mind as an enhancement to your physical and mental practice. Imagine carrying this over to your business and personal life, greeting each day with enthusiasm, purpose, and energy. Return and begin again to experience the joy your work can bring!

 

 

 

Yoga Dog Days

Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer-Nat King Cole

The dog days of summer actually refer to the bright star that rise and sets with the sun, Sirius, or Alpha Canis Majoris. In yoga it conjures up our most recognizable poses, Updog and Downdog. This month let's also throw in One Legged Downward Facing Dog as well!

updog

 

 

 

Upward Facing Dog (Urdhva Mukha Svanasana)

1. Lie prone on the floor. Inhale and lengthen through the neck and crown. Exhale. Roll the shoulders back.

2.Place the palms on the mat about shoulder width apart. Push down through the palms as you straighten the arms, lifting the chest. Try to keep the thighs firm.

3. Press your tailbone toward the pubis, adjust the head if you feel too much strain the in the back. Keep the neck lengthened. Look straight ahead or slightly upward. Hold the pose for about 5 breaths.

Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)downdog

1. From Upward Facing Dog, curls the toes under to lift the hips. The arms should be stretched forward, fingers spread, weight on the palms. The forehead is as close to the mat as possible.

2. Rise up on the toes to lift the hips even further, then gradually let the heels come to the mat. You should look like and upside down "A".

3. Take 5 long deep breaths in this pose, as you release tension, and continually modify to get the best stretch for your body.

4. To come out of the pose, relax into Child's Pose, go into One-Legged Downward Facing Dog or continue your Sun Salutation series.

One-Legged Downward Facing Dog (Eka Pada Adho Mukha Svanasana)

1. From Downward Facing dog, lift your right leg off the mat and extend straight back. Keep the foot flexed and try to lift from the quadricep.

2. Continue lifting the extended leg towards the ceiling, but avoid twisting the torso and hips. There should be a long straight line from your right fingertips to the right heel.

3. Hold and breathe for about 5 counts, pressing through the extended heel. Lower the leg.

4. Repeat on the left side. When finished relax into Child's Pose.

Benefits of all 3 poses:

I'm relaxed. Are you?

I'm relaxed. Are you?

  • Quiets the mind
  • Stretches the hamstrings, quadriceps, hip flexors
  • Develops confidence that you can balance
  • Brings blood flow to the bran area. Helps to relieve headache and depression.

 

 

 

Enjoy the rest of your summer!

Anita

 

 

Balance in Tree Pose

 

Tree pose (Vrksasana) is a classic yoga pose for strength, endurance, flexibility and balance. These are the benefits for the body, but what about the mind? Can you find balance in tree pose?

tree-_pose-vrksasana-yogaFirst how to do it:

1. Stand in Mountain pose, arms down by your side.  Start to move your weight to your left foot as you slowly inch your right foot close to the left leg.

2. Turn the right foot so that the instep is resting on your ankle, with the toes remaining on the floor.

3. Visualize your left leg as the tree trunk, making it strong and "rooted" into the floor or mat.

4. Keeping the eyes looking down, slowly start to move the right foot up the left leg.  Pause at any point that you need to stay stay comfortable and balanced.

5. When you feel balanced, start to lift the eyes, center the head, and start to raise the arms to heart center. Pause here or continue to lift the arms overhead.

6. Like a real tree, you will sway and move. Relax! Feel free to lower the leg and/or arms and try again.  A big hint is to not look at someone or something that is also moving.

7. When you are ready to release, lower the arms then  leg, and repeat on the other side.

Now for the mind-it is very easy to become discouraged in tree pose when you can't balance as long as you'd like or at all. Remember, every time you come to the mat, your body is different. Don't judge yourself. Yoga is not a competitive sport, either with others or with yourself. If you are finding this pose difficult physically, use the wall or a chair to help you. If you have a cold or inner ear infection that will also make this pose difficult.

 Mental balance is something else. What is blocking you from being balanced? An unresolved conflict? Problems at work or at home? Too many demands on your time and energy? Acknowledging these situations and taking steps to resolve these disturbances will help bring balance to your body as well as your mind.

 

5 Top Reasons for Yoga Now!

run dont walk

 

 Have you heard this old joke?

                     Q. If April Showers bring May flowers, what do May flowers bring?
                      A. Pilgrims!

In my yoga practice, April, rather than January, seems to be the month of yoga pilgrims. Perhaps it is because I live in the cold Northeast, and winter seems to make everyone but the hardy hibernate but April is my highest month of new students, many of whom are trying yoga for the first time.  These new students, like pilgrims,  are seekers. Some are seeking the physical-flexibility, relief from pain, or a low impact workout. Others are seeking the spiritual-calm, peace, tranquility, or enlightenment. Some are looking to follow the latest fad (yes, yoga is now main streamed), some think they'll meet a hot guy (or girl) in class. Here's what you can expect should you decide to start a yoga practice:

  1. Overall health and vitality in a non-competitive atmosphere, that doesn't care what you look like, where you come from, or how fit you are or aren't
  2. A healthful practice that should never, ever, hurt you
  3. Better sleep, better sex, better digestion
  4. Increased sense of confidence and self control
  5.  A glowing outer and inner you

If this sounds good to you, contact your nearest, certified yoga instructor and make that pilgrimage to yoga today.  Your body, your mind, your friends and family will thank you!