By Vedya The November new moon begins the lunar cycle of the Full Beaver Moon. Our Native Americans were not thinking of perhaps what you are thinking! Long ago this was the time to trap the beaver before the swamps froze to keep warm through the winter. Out here in Austin, Texas, we probably won’t be setting any traps to catch beavers, but we will be enjoying the cool nights and shorter days as we welcome in our beautiful fall season. The New Moon phase of 0% illumination begins November 7, at 10:02 AM. This is a great time to start new projects and “turn over a new leaf,” which is easy now in Austin with the abundance of leaves falling in all directions. Now is the time to release habits and patterns that are not serving our greatest potential. This new moon cycle beckons us to venture through doors that have long been open, just waiting for us to walk through. Can we dare to dream, dare to allow our creative talents to flow and open to new vistas of possibility? What tools can kickstart this flow of energy? Being in our yogic community of deep breathers, conscious
By Emily Smith In my early days in yoga, navigating the sea of asana, philosophy and lineages was at best confusing. At that time in east Texas, there wasn’t a yoga community. There weren’t yoga teachers. I had to seek out yoga and this was at least a two hour drive, and more often a longer more costly flight across the country. Looking back, I am actually thankful yoga was not as accessible as it is now. I doubt if I could stream yoga, I would have committed as fully. I doubt I would have sought out my teachers with such determination. I am not sure meeting my teacher, Doug Keller would have come about. My seeking took me all around the country. I would return from a conference or workshop with few skills and a deep desire to look like what I had seen performed. I would push and push my body into binds and positions which ultimately moved me into destabilization and pain. I had not yet adopted or understood the true gifts which yoga had to offer. It seemed to me at the time, yoga was something to be achieved and somehow the amazing feats of gravity
By JenJo Another day of “Austin’s water boil watch” brings the idea of conscious eating and consumption. So many times we unconsciously care for ourselves. We forget if we washed our hair in the shower, so we do it again. We can lose track of the time and put off eating till we are “starving”. Then we shove an emergency nutrition bar in our mouths from the glove box, while we wait in rush hour traffic. I am no stranger to giving or hearing the excuses. What if we decided to make a change? Let’s pay attention to what we put in and on our bodies. Let’s notice how our food is grown and prepared. Let’s honor the food we receive with a set, setting, and blessing. On November 11th, I will be leading a class about Mindful Eating and I would love to take this journey with you. We will talk about cultures and customs around food from the past until now. I’ll give you ways to listen to your body and create a healthy lifestyle. Kundalini Kriyas and Meditations will be done in supporting this activation. “The Body Temple – Kundalini Yoga for Body Acceptance, Eating Disorders &
By Rhonda Green Have you noticed you are not as steady on your feet as you used to be? Is balance becoming more challenging? Are you worried you might fall? You are not alone. Balance is a common concern for many of us. The physiological roots of balance are complex. It involves the integration of various sensory and motor systems in the brain and body, including: vision (to perceive direction and motion) vestibular system in the inner ear (which monitors motion and provides orientation clues, such as which way is up) proprioception (the ability to sense where your body is in space) muscle strength agility and reaction time If any of these systems are not functioning properly, we can lose our balance or fall even while just walking or standing up. The picturesque, strong, steady Tree Pose in yoga symbolizes what we might imagine when we think of having good balance. It definitely checks all the boxes. It requires focus, centering, strength, flexibility and being grounded. The reality is that balance can be more of a factor when we are moving, transitioning or adjusting. Falls don’t usually happen when we are standing still or in a steady state or pose.
By Jo Eckler, Psy.D., RYT THREE BENEFITS OF PSYCHOLOGICAL FLEXIBILITY (AND HOW TO BUILD IT) Yoga offers us so many gifts for body and mind. Sometimes we can get caught up in the visible physical changes, whether it’s deepening that forward bend or seeing our muscles grow. Other changes are also just as important, but more difficult to see. Psychological flexibility is a term coined by Steven Hayes, Ph.D., that describes the ability to experience all the internal thoughts, emotions, and sensations that we as humans go through and still be able to make choices about our behavior in order to live more in alignment with what’s important to us. That sounds complicated, but it’s as simple (and as difficult) as this. Say you really value being a good friend. You want to go to a big party celebrating your best friend’s recent achievement, but you feel really anxious around crowds and people you don’t know. You have two options. First, anxiety could run the show and you could stay home, leaving your friend an apologetic voicemail and feeling bad about yourself. Or you could find a way to take anxiety along for the ride and go to the party,
By Alyson “My mala broke, what do I do?” Usually, it’s a tough moment because we become attached to our malas, having chanted and worn them for some time. But, according to the yogis, once your mala breaks, you no longer need that one. Meaning, the relationship/karma associated with the mala is complete. So, it is a time to celebrate the end of that connection. I say Congrats! Of course, as the owner of Atma’s Offerings, I am always happy to replace a mala that breaks within a 30-day period. But, back to the yogic philosophy…. I suggest taking some time for reflection after a mala breaks. Take a moment to re-read the card that describes the stones on the mala. Take note how and why that particular stone (or seed/wood) showed up in your life when it did. Reflect on how it’s worked for you from the time you received it to the time it broke. Maybe it broke at a poignant time? Maybe it was a gift from someone who needed to be in your life at that time? Maybe you now embody the energetic property it offers? Ask yourself these questions and hear your own truth. When
By Jessica Stephens YIN YOGA, SOUND THERAPY & ENERGY HEALING I studied music for a big part of my life. Earlier this year I became certified as a Sound Therapist, and I was reminded how much music and sound contribute to my well-being. I admit that even I have been skeptical in the past of “energy workers,” or people who claim to work with the energy in your body to fix your stuff. What kind of woo-woo is that? And honestly, I haven’t been a huge fan of fixing things lately. From the guidance of my wise yoga teachers, I’ve worked more on learning and healing from all those things I might have previously tried to fix or ignore even. But I’ve found some magic recently in the form of Sound Therapy and Reiki, which is a form of energy work. It isn’t just woo-woo or magic, though. There is science behind energy work. To quote Carl Sagan, “We are made of starstuff.” It’s basic physics. We move around through our lives, vibrating bodies of energy, our thoughts and motions sending waves rippling out into the world around us. We are, after all, made of atoms and molecules, which constantly
By Jodi We all take daily steps and actions in our lives; many of us do not realize where our consistent steps are actually leading us. With the fast-pace of the modern world, going within and slowing down often seems counterintuitive, counterproductive, and “down-right wrong”, and yet for most of us, it is the very thing needed. In this age of digital devices, our nervous systems are flooded with constant streams of information from texts, emails, calls, social media feeds, online communication and notifications of various sorts. In addition, there is the expectation of being instantly accessible from anywhere the world. All of this information and expectation places an immense pressure, namely stress, on our system- mind, body, and emotions. Over time, our bodies and nervous system can only handle so much before it begins to break down from all of the pressure. With the constant connection to our gadgets and devices, we aid to the growing disconnection with our spirit. Many of us have numbed and lost the inner connection with ourselves, our bodies and with the rhythm of life. In my many years of study and working with people, I consistently find that people are longing for that
By Alyson Malas have become a popular tool in the yoga world these days. The reason is not just because they are beautiful to wear, but also because they really work! If you are not sure what a mala is, I sometimes describe it as a rosary, but for yogis. You usually find them with 108 beads plus one guru bead at the end. 108 is a sacred number in yoga world and the extra guru bead represents that you have all the knowledge you need inside you. A tassel is at the end of the guru bead and it represents the lotus flower. Malas (sometimes called malabeads or prayer beads) can have a very powerful effect on the mind, body, and spirit. They help increase one’s focus and concentration. They activate a healing response by lowering heart rate and reducing blood pressure. Using these tools helps to reduce stress and balance one’s emotions. Malas help bring in wisdom and depth. Depending on what stone you use can also have an effect. Wood beads usually have a grounding quality, diamond cut beads can amplify the energetic property of the crystal, and even mixing and matching the gems can create different
By Ravyn Abboushi Austin yoga lovers, enthusiasts, teachers, freaks, geeks and athletes: this September we have a rare opportunity to study with a master yoga teacher and long time student of TKV Desikachar. Mirka Scalcow Kraftsow co-founded the American Viniyoga Institute, where she has trained hundreds of teachers and Yoga therapists, many of them in the Austin area. After years away from teaching locally, she is returning to reconnect and support the community of practitioners and teachers here. Mirka is such gift to the yoga community because her yoga teaching is rooted in her deep understanding of the transformational power of yoga in everyday life. Mirka meets students where they are and helps them to open their hearts and see the strength within, while recognizing the desire to connect to that which is bigger than our daily selves. My experience of studying yoga with Mirka is that she has the kind of fierce tender wisdom that is vital in a teacher. She is able to show the way inward to what we are capable of right now-just as we are. She calls this the gift of “Ordinary Samadhi” or “The goodness of ordinary yoga”. Simply clearing the way and giving
By Mark Uridel Join us for our annual Kirtan Benefit Concert on September 22, 2018 from 6:00 – 7:30 at Yoga Yoga Westgate in Austin. Chanting (kirtan) is a major part of the path of devotional (bhakti) yoga. When we see the beauty of our own being we are seeing the beauty of the Being that is the One of which we are all a part. And when we turn towards that One, love is the natural reaction of the heart. The words of these chants are called the divine names and they come from a place that’s deeper than our thoughts, deeper than the mind. And so, as we sing them, they turn us towards ourselves, into ourselves, inward toward our heart. Special guest musicians Shiv Naimpally on tabla and Jeremy Devens on guitar. This event benefits YOU and proceeds go to Playing for Change, a non-profit that builds and maintains grass-roots music schools in impoverished areas around the world. www.playingforchange.org Namaste, Gloria and Mark Uridel
By John Mackey Staying healthy is a primary concern. Our joints last a lifetime with attentive care: yet they take a lot of unhealthy punishment if we mistreat them. Understanding the anatomy of the foot, ankle, and knee joint along with their proper movement and alignment while under stress, and how to strengthen them gives us a safe and enjoyable practice, and a knowing sense of calm that our practice will not elicit harm. For principles of foundation alignment, we might begin by researching the history of yoga. In the past, a student practiced one-on-one with the teacher. Krisnamacharya for example, taught his few students completely different styles (the ones we know now as ashtanga, iyengar, viniyoga, etc.) And if we look at the asanas, they varied. Why? Let’s not focus on the sequence or style of the practice, but rather the look of pose itself. As an example, Tadasana (mountain pose) has a different shape in Iyengar hatha and in ashtanga yoga. Why would this be? Since K Pattabi Jois, B.K.S. Iyengar, and T.K.V. Desikachar were each taught by Krishnamacharya. The logical explanation is that each of his student’s body required a different variation of the asana (and also
By Laura Marcotte Addiction is a disease that touches many lives. We can be addicted to all sorts of things- diets, shopping, sex, food, love, substances and our phones. We start using these things as a distraction from pain but end up separate from ourselves. Without our center we forget our truth and become lost. For the last 10 years, my work with clients struggling with substance abuse has been extremely informative. The tools they receive from yoga and meditation serve them. When you think about the transformative powers of yoga, awareness is one of the the most important. As a yoga practitioner, self awareness is gained each time we take to the mat. We begin to know our patterns, our bodies and our feelings.This new awareness is key to personal growth and making changes. We gain insight into how to soothe, heal and grow in self compassion and understanding. In addiction we look outside for answers and lose touch with inner knowing. It’s the opposite with yoga. Self awareness and a positive connection with turning inward can aide in the rebirth or restart that is recovery. On October 6th, I will be leading a training on Yoga for Trauma
By Mehtab Benton Have you ever heard anyone snoring during a gong relaxation? It can be a little annoying, especially if it turns out to be yourself. Yet it does seem natural to zonk out during a deep relaxation. But if you do sleep with the gong, you may be missing the best part of the relaxation – the deep personal transformation that comes from the sound of the gong while in an engagedaltered state of consciousness. There is a special state in the practice of yoga called Yoga Nidra, or literally “yogic sleep.” Yogic sleep is a state of consciousness much akin to the deep meditative state that the brain can achieve by accomplished meditators. There is a heightened sense of awareness accompanied by a deep relaxation of the nervous system. The body seems incapable of movement, much like a pre-sleep state, yet the consciousness remains fully engaged. Yoga Nidra can be likened to an induced state of self-hypnosis where a post-hypnotic suggestion is seeded by the individual before that state. This practice has been done in India for centuries in a variety of applications, from healing, learning, and simply deeply transforming the individual on all levels of consciousness.
By Mark Uridel There’s an urban myth that “it takes 21 days to start a new habit.” This was a statement from a plastic surgeon in the 1950’s. Dr. Maxwell Maltz noticed that when he gave a patient a new nose, it took about 21 days for them to get used to it. “These, and many other commonly observed phenomena tend to show that it requires a minimum of about 21 days for an old mental image to dissolve and a new one to jell.” he wrote in his book, Psycho-Cybernetics, that sold 30 million copies, and the rest is history. First of all, he said “a minimum of 21” and secondly, this was an educated guess, not substantiated by any research. Fast-forward to 2009, where researchers were determined to find out exactly how long it does take to form a new habit. Researchers Lalla Phillipa, et al, found that it takes between 18 and 254 days to form a new habit with an average of 66 days. The latest research is confirming that Yoga practice can change your brain in a positive way. Meditation creates activity in our prefrontal cortex, the seat of our consciousness, as well as the