ARE YOU READY TO YOGA?

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“The reasons above are used when I try to persuade friends, family, and total strangers to take yoga for the first time.” It’s a big action for many, but a move in the right path for the bodies and minds of those that take it.
The benefits of yoga are many for both body and mind, and the great news is that yoga is accessible to anyone and everyone. If you can breathe, you can do yoga! It’s a question of finding the best style, the right teacher, the right format, the right level and the right venue.
I’m here to remind you that there are simple recommendations that can keep your practice safe and practical, regardless of the style of instruction:
*INTENTION—take a few moments to make sure your head’s in the right place before you step on the mat. Most of the time, we’re to blame for our injuries. We watchasana the rest of the class and let ego take over—we want to be the best even if we’ve never tried it before! No amount of ego is going to help you if you push your body too far.
*3 KEYS—in Yoga at Connie’s instruction, there are three “checks” used for each pose: foundation, alignment, and breath. If the foundation is secure, whether it’s your feet, hands, shoulders, forearms, or hips, you’ve significantly reduced your chances of falling. Alignment refers to the spine, pelvis, and joints. Be attentive of these areas—your body will let you know if you’re going too far out of your natural alignment. The last is obvious: if you are not breathing, we recommend to back off and start over!
*PRIVATE CLASSES—most people experience Yoga asanas for the first time in a packed studio with little guidance. If you’re starting out, take a Private Class that will teach you the fundamentals before you head into a class. You’ll feel assured and enjoy it a lot more.
*PACE YOURSELF— Slow and steady wins the race here—when you’re consistent and mindful, your practice will evolve. Plus you’ll start to enjoy yourself!

Enjoy your week, Connie

   

What the Tuck?!?!

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It’s time to debunk myths and set the record straight about the tuck. I’m talking about the pelvic tuck, also known as the pelvic tilt. For a while now, the tuck has become far too popular in fitness vocabulary. The word “tuck” has been used by weightlifters and CrossFit coaches to teach athletes to how to engage their glutes and open their hips; think at the top of a squat or a box jump. Yoga teachers have also taken to using the term to cue a flattening of the spine to prevent low back crunching. The tuck originated as a well-intentioned correctional cue. However, the tuck has taken on a life of it’s own. From a biomechanics perspective, the tuck is causing more harm than it is good as people are misunderstanding it’s proper use and purpose. If you have pelvic floor dysfunction or a diastasis recti or other core issue, the last thing you want to do is tuck your pelvis under you as it creates a reduced curve in your lumbar spine (your spine needs its curves for balance), it tightens the pelvic floor muscles, and it creates muscle imbalances in the hips and core. Having a pelvic floor dysfunction or core issue resolved by becoming aware of a tucked pelvis is very gratifying.

The true meaning of APARIGRAHA (letting go)

 

 

 

Let-Go

The true meaning of APARIGRAHA ( letting go)
This week has been troublesome. My father has COPD and was admitted to the hospital on Wednesday for breathing issues. He could not catch his breath which is life, and all I could think about was he was losing his. I wanted him to try harder because I know when the breath is held too long that what nourishes us can turn toxic. The hospital room was full of chaos that Wednesday evening before a nurse took my dad’s hand while he was grasping and began to pray for breath. There was a calm that came over the room, and at that moment there was peace. The nature of aparigraha is impermanence – everything changes. Falling back to the breath and watch the rise and fall of each inhalation and exhalation, we can feel the truth of the transience of all things. My dad’s fear was gone as he returned to his breath. Dad told me later he felt he had only a few breaths left that night. In my heart, I knew he was right.
APARIGRAHA means nonpossessiveness and can also be interrupted as nonattachment, nongreedy, clinging, better said “letting go.” Our journey in this life should be light while caring and enjoying thoroughly.
Why is aparigraha so hard to practice? Still unable to shake the worry and stress, so I then decided to dive deep into trying to understand better what practicing Aparigraha meant. Is it just letting go, detaching yourself? Or is there more to it. I wonder how many suitcases of expectations, plans, resentments, and unforgiven moments I carry around with me on a daily basis. “Aparigraha is taking what we need: taking what serves us and letting go when the time is right. Aparigraha allows us to become more present by letting go of expectations.” I remembered this quote from a yoga tape I once watched, and I wrote it down for moments like these. I sat for a long time in silence, contemplating these two sentences. I dropped into a place of mental stillness that had been evading me for days. My faith in God and art of the practice is finding space to think clearly enough to discern what needs to be held closely and what needs to be let go. “Aparigraha isn’t about letting go of all things – it’s about letting go of the right things at the right time.” Practicing trust will keep us in check and keep us open to life’s unfolding.

LABEL ME-I DON’T THINK SO!

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Throughout our lives: families, teachers, friends and rivals are constantly sticking labels on us, saying what we can and cannot become or do. At times this is good; such as building confidence and encouraging us, however, there are times that people put negative labels on us such as loser, crazy, fat, nerd, weak, and incapable.
You cannot stop the negative comments, prevent the negative labels, but you can choose to stop putting yourself down.
Walt Disney was told that he wasn’t creative, Lucille Ball was told that she didn’t have any acting skills; the basic denominator in the success of these people is they chose to remove the negative labels.
My experience was when I labeled myself ” you can’t write”” In high school, my creative writing teacher informed me that I would never be quite as good as the rest, so I decided I wasn’t going to live with that label. Through diligence and constant practice to learn how to write has helped.
I hear students labeling themselves and other students in yoga all the time- “inflexible,” “weak” or “incapable.” Yoga doesn’t discriminate and you comparing yourself is robbing you of satisfaction. When these negative labels come up is to think first – it’s ok. Wrong labels can keep you from your practice; don’t go the next 20 years allowing one negative label hold you back. Once you let go of what defines you, then there will be freedom and awareness about the changes happening “WITHIN” your body. Make sure that you’re wearing the right labels, and always do your best and let yoga do the rest!! Have a great week, Connie

Don’t Make A Resolution—Make A Commitment

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When Does Movement Become Yoga?

One of the (many) things I love about  yoga teacher training is the interesting conversations that come up. We have talked about the difference between movement and yoga.
Is it when you teach a particular set of positions or actions? Is it when you can perform a specific set of poses? Maybe when you’ve mastered the ancient philosophy?
IT’S VERY HARD TO BE PURIST ABOUT YOGA GIVEN THAT IT, LIKE ANYTHING THAT’S IN USE, IS CONSTANTLY CHANGING.
Languages change all the time as people use them. The only ones that don’t are the ‘dead’ ones like Latin. Bodies change all the time as we use them too – it’s called adaptive change.
YOGA IS NO DIFFERENT?
Yoga has, in being, a rather twisted history (pun intended) and what we call yoga these days bears a great resemblance to what people called street contortionism a hundred years ago.
And a WHOLE bunch of poses that are in standard rotation now didn’t exist, to the best of my knowledge, when I started practicing yoga. Because it’s constantly changing. Knowing this broadens the scope somewhat for what could be called yoga.
HERE’S MY  TAKE
Is it the mindful movement? Is there breath awareness?
YES? THEN IT’S YOGA.
So running can be yoga, as can walking, as can movement and bio-mechanical explorations. Surfing. Cycling. Of course, when people come to a yoga class they aren’t expecting to go for a run, but rather to do stretchy things and breathe, but that doesn’t stop you from enjoying your run in a yoga-like way. The calm in the brain that keeps me coming back to my practice.
I have been known, quite regularly, to teach entire classes without ever teaching a ‘classical’ yoga pose. Guess I’m part of the living tradition then…

 

All I Want for Christmas is a Stress-free Yoga Class!

Dear Santa,

For Christmas, I’d like to take yoga classes I can zone out into my own peaceful state and not be compared to my fellow students. I want classes I take and teach to be filled with people of all sizes, those new to yoga and those who have practiced for years.

I want those yogis to be flexible and inflexible. I want Joe and Jane Doe to come in off the street because yoga is just as much for them as it is for me and you…

I want them to wear clothing from the Dollar Store instead of sporting matching water bottle, mat, hair band, top, and bottom sets from the various stores. I want to feel like yoga is truly for everyone, and not just for model-esque, elitist snobs who fill studios because they don’t have to work and because yoga is the cool thing to do…

In short: I want the true heart of yoga to shine so bright it feels like a sun-kissed summer day permanently lodged deep in the soul. Could you do that for me, or us, old guy. Could you? Hit me baby, just one time?

Unanimous 

Fall is the season of transformation!

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We can see this all around us in nature: the leaves are falling, the air is changing and we are harvesting an entirely new crop of fruits and vegetables.

It is important that we change with the seasons — just as nature does — by adapting our daily habits,food choices and yoga practice…Ironically, it is only through change that was can stay grounded during this shifting season.

Emotional Maturity

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In today’s world, we are always in motion, always exposed to the noise of information, to visual congestion, and to the media. Our instinct is to shut down and hide maybe even run away. It takes an enormous amount of “emotional maturity” to keep our options open rather than to submit to our instinct to flight or fight nature. Therefore, we never have time to be with ourselves or to relate to others and make excuses as I am too busy (overused words) which layered with cynical and egotistical attachments. Over-scheduled? Scared of downtime? Afraid of silence? Is busy-ness a choice? Is this why you are suffering? Sure, there are projects, appointments and plenty days with a full schedule, but how to approach those moments is entirely up to you. Begin with taking responsibility to stop what is stimulating the pain.
Yoga teaches us to slow down, to let go of the busyness, to rediscover how to feel, to tune into the body, to observe, to live mindfully and to silence to reconnect with our thoughts.
Have compassion for yourself and stop missing out on “your amazing life”!

Events

Yoga and Wine by the Lake

Hosted by Jeff Hunt and Connie Pease

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Relax your mind, body, and soul, as you listen to the calming waves of Decatur Lake. This one hour; instructed; yoga class, is perfect for beginners or experienced alike, as you overlook the surreal and peaceful waters. As you end your class feeling rejuvenated and empowered, enjoy a glass of wine and light appetizers with friends while you reflect on your day and week.
Email or Call for more information or to register: conniepease@hotmail.com or 217-620-3306
25 spaces available and sign up and pre payment required to hold your spot- no exceptions
Fee $20.00
All proceeds go to Feed the Hungry
Included:
1 hour instructed yoga class, outside on decks, overlooking Decatur Lake (Please bring your own mat- there will be some provided)
Hosted by Yoga at Connie’s and Jeff Hunt

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Decatur Library “FREE YOGA” Classes

BYOYM (Bring your own yoga mat and block) and come learn how yoga can enrich your life!

All Levels Yoga

Check Connie Pease’s Facebook page for Instructors Dates.

Class Time: Noon until 1 pm
Location: Madden Auditorium
130 N Franklin St, Decatur, IL 62523
Instructors- Kathleen Owen, Sue Weinstein and Connie Pease

Online Classes

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Yoga Ease
The studio will be offering online classes for downloading starting in July. We will be creating new sequences, offering workshops,guided meditation and private lessons. You can enjoy a free 30 minute yoga video podcast or download for 99 cents. More Details Soon